Mao Zedong recognised his own anti-Stalinism:
(1) When the Soviet Union requested us to follow their suit at that time [refers to the denunciation of Tito’s revisionism by the Cominform in 1948 – annotation: NG], it was difficult for us to oppose it. It was because at that time some people claimed that there were two Titos in the world: one in Yugoslavia, the other in China. (...) Khrushchev already corrected the mistake concerning Yugoslavia [rehabilitated Yugoslav revisionism – annotation: NG]. (Mao Zedong; Conversation with a Yugoslavian delegation, between 15 and 28 September 1956).*
(2) Stalin advocated dialectical materialism, but sometimes he lacked materialism and, instead, practiced metaphysics; he wrote about historical materialism, but very often suffered from historical idealism. Some of his behaviour, such as going to extremes, fostering personal myth, and embarrassing others, are by no means [forms] of materialism. (Mao Zedong; Conversation with a Yugoslavian delegation, between 15 and 28 September 1956).
(3) Before I met with Stalin, I did not have much good feeling about him. I disliked reading his works, and I had read only “On the Basis of Leninism,” a long article criticising Trotsky, and “Be Carried Away by Success,” etc. I disliked even more his articles on the Chinese revolution. He was very different from Lenin: Lenin shared his heart with others and treated others as equals whereas Stalin liked to stand above everyone else and order others around. This style can be detected from his works. After I met with him, I became even more disgusted: I quarreled a lot with him in Moscow. Stalin was excitable by temperament. When he became agitated, he would spell out nasty things. (Mao Zedong; Conversation with a Yugoslavian delegation, between 15 and 28 September 1956).
(4) I have written altogether three pieces praising Stalin. The first was written in Yanan to celebrate his sixtieth birthday [21 December 1939—ed.], the second was the congratulatory speech [I delivered] in Moscow [in December 1949—ed.], and the third was an article requested by Pravda after his death [March 1953—Ed.]. I always dislike congratulating others as well as being congratulated by others. When I was in Moscow to celebrate his birthday, what else could I have done if I had chosen not to congratulate him? Could I have cursed him instead? After his death the Soviet Union needed our support and we also wanted to support the Soviet Union. Consequently, I wrote that piece to praise his virtues and achievements. That piece was not for Stalin; it was for the Soviet Communist Party. As for the piece I did in Yanan, I had to ignore my personal feelings and treat him as the leader of a socialist country. Therefore, that piece was rather vigorous whereas the other two came out of [political] need, not my heart, nor at my will. Human life is just as contradictory as this: your emotion tells you not to write these pieces, but your rationality compels you to do so. (Mao Zedong; Conversation with a Yugoslavian delegation, between 15 and 28 September 1956).
Now that Moscow has criticised Stalin, we are free to talk about these issues.
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