Exiled Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn has warned that the policy of detente -- friendlier relations between the Soviet Union and western countries -- was a "self deception".
Exiled Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn has warned that the policy of detente -- friendlier relations between the Soviet Union and western countries -- was a "self deception". Mr. Solzhenitsyn made the remark on British television in an interview on Monday (1 March).
Mr. Solzhenitsyn said that detente was necessary, "but detente with open hands ... your partners with whom you are conducting detente, have a stone in their hands and it is so heavy that it could kill you with one single blow".
He said that the Soviet armed forces had already overtaken the West in many respects, and in others were on the point of overtaking them.
"The navy --Britain used to have a navy. Now it is the Soviet Union that has a navy, control of the seas, bases," Mr. Solzhenitsyn added.
He also criticised Britain's Defence Minister, Mr. Roy Mason, for saying that after Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in Helsinki, Finland, the Soviet Union was passing the test. Mr. Solzhenitsyn pointed out that the Soviet Union was responsible for the fall of western-backed forces in Angola.
"I don't know how many countries have still to be taken. Maybe the Soviet tanks have to come to London for your defence minister to say at last that the Soviet Union has passed the test."
A member of Britain's House of Lords, Lord George-Brown, once Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, resigned the day after the interview and he gave Solzhenitsyn's remarks as one of the reasons for his resignation. He said the time had come for people "to stand up and be counted if they want to keep democracy". His resignation was precipitated by the defeat of an amendment to proposed legislation affecting press freedom.
The film contains part of the interview with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The questions are in English, with Mr. Solzhenitsyn's replies in Russian. The commentary also includes a translation of the replies. Transcript follows: