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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 7. 1962.

Suomi and the Soviet

Suomi and the Soviet

Students may think Victoria has harmony troubles, with the Anarchists striking the discord in an otherwise peaceful settlement. Whatever it is, it is nothing compared with the disruption going on in European student circles at this moment. As most people are aware, the VIIIth World Festival of Youth is to take place in Helsinki from July 25 to August 5 this year. It appears, the Finns are playing unwilling hosts; the Festival's chief sponsors being the Soviet-centralised World Federation of Democratic Youth and the International Union of Students.

It is interesting to note too, that most of the Western countries are not sending delegations — Britain, Austria, West Germany, India, all abstaining. New Zealand shall not be represented. We remember, when a few years ago, some Communist festival cabled N.Z.U.S.A. for delegates, the reply went something like, "sorry can't afford to"; whereupon the Soviets replied that all expenses were paid! This caused N.Z.U.S.A. considerable embarrassment and kept the Excuses Officer working overtime to find another, more suitable apology for absence. Should N.Z.U.S.A. send delegates to I.U.S. and W.F.D.Y. conferences, and not to those exclusively Right in flavour, viz., I.S.C.? It's certainly a talking point.

Another amusing, ironical associated with the forthcoming World Festival of Youth has to do with the I.U.S. (Prague) publication The Student. In issue 2, 1962, there appears an extensive article questioning the claim of Finnish youth and students of not wanting the Festival. Unfortunately for author Chief Editor Mazen Husseini, there is also published a statement (made by one of Finland's leading Social Democrats) to the effect that the Festival was "one of the most important activities of International Communism." This trifle nearly cost the Chief Editor his job — I.U.S. boss Jiri Pelikan threatening to have Husseini sacked for "incompetence and stupidity." Such are the rights of Communist editors.

The Finns have their problems, and it seems, the Soviets theirs. Whether the latter succeed in their mass-recruiting campaign will be indicated by the size of I.U.S. membership after the Festival. (Apart from Soviet controlled areas, the vast majority of I.U.S. members are from the newly formed African states). In the meantime the Xth International Student Conference is scheduled to take place at the University of Laval in Quebec, Canada, from June 8 to 22. Delegates from N.Z.U.S.A. shall be attending this meeting.

A recent visit of Kenny Khaw, a Cosec Associate Secretary, was disappointing. Poor publicity and notification, the decadent administrative set-up of N.Z.U.S.A., and general student apathy, all helped to make Mr Khaw's visit to Victoria a memorable one. Eight students — all non-New Zealanders — constituted an audience at a meeting on May 21.


Quill through mortarboard