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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 11. 1967.

Teaching of hate at young age sickening — Says John McGrath Commenting On His Recent Visit To Russia

Teaching of hate at young age sickening

Says John McGrath Commenting On His Recent Visit To Russia

[unclear: Moscow] Ort, and the militia examind assport and spoke to the young on his left. He was Viadimir[unclear: e] English and he welcomed me behalf of my host, the student council of the USSR, [unclear: Viad] Council Member and a man [unclear: luence], we bypassed Customs [unclear: we] vere out to the car—alloted to for my stay.

The [unclear: Dr] into Moscow was through [unclear: orests] and the small [unclear: ttered] villages and [unclear: live] steel memorial [unclear: only] from Moscow which [unclear: mmen] the dead of the [unclear: se] War. It stands on [unclear: the sp] Nazi Germany was [unclear: nally] and is a reminder [unclear: to] of the huge Russian [unclear: du]the war.

[unclear: At the tel] I met Serge, a [unclear: stu] the Student Council [unclear: ad] my interpreter [unclear: for] stay.

[unclear: We sta] with Red Square, [unclear: na] the Kremlin and in [unclear: fr] in's Mausoleum. The [unclear: to] was half a mile long. [unclear: later] week Serge and I [unclear: eue] about 200 yards [unclear: ent] trance—a privilege [unclear: ly] corded to foreigners [unclear: and] just far enough to [unclear: event] from the pilgrims. [unclear: the] shuffled past the em-[unclear: med] and up out of the Square. Serge and [unclear: walk] I along Kremlin Wall, past the graves of many Soviet Citizens and the plaques on the Wall which held the ashes of other prominent men.

I stopped to photograph the plainest grave of all, The only one without a statue and the people near me thought it amusing to see a foreigner so recording the grave of Joseph Stalin.

But back to that first day and our walk into the Kremlin and around the parks, museums, theatres and, of course. Government buildings, that are inside it. As always, I was looking at the people —heavy and pale in facial features and complexion and wearing warm heavy coats and fur caps.

In the Kremlin stands the Palace of Congresses built by Khrushchev for the 1961 Communist Party Congress. There I saw the Bolshoi Company's glorious ballet "Swan Lake." I also saw the Museums, which show that an outstanding feature of the Revolution has been the preservation of the art of the Soviet peoples.

Both in Moscow and in the ancient religious cities of Vladimir and Sonzdal, (about 100 miles away) I saw the icons, tapestries and carvings of biblical events carefully restored. Also on display was the gold throne of the last Czar and several richly decorated coaches.

Serge told me that Lenin had ordered that what was good in the old order must be retained and what had been good in the years before the Revolution was the art of the peoples of Russia.

Back by train to Moscow, which I saw as an architectural bore. The many dull apartment blocks crowd out any buildings of more attractive lines. I was driven past an experimental area where an attempt was being made at a more aesthetic approach to building—for general use if successful.

The Moscow University lies almost entirely within one huge building complex. Its tower rises 33 storeys and 250 metres above the ground and the building not only holds nearly all faculties, but also has a fully equipped gymnasium and Olympic pool and still manages to provide accommodation for 7500 of a total roll of 35,000 students.

I was interested in the structure of its Students Association and found it very weak, with most activity lying with the Faculty clubs and the University Trade Union of students and teaching staff. The activities of this union range from arranging financial assistance for needy students to the organisation of student holiday camps.

I suppose student attitudes are international and in Moscow I soon forgot any suspicion of criticism of the country's rulers being discouraged. I learnt that the youth organisation Komsomol had forced the resignation of a Minister through its sharp criticisms, and in the arguments I had with many students I encountered a wide divergence in political thought.

Although I met few university students. I had a long discussion with a group from a teachers training college. To teach at a primary school these students took a course lasting four or five years with a foreign language being compulsory.

I asked about the difficulties of recruiting teachers for remote areas, but the Principal of the "Institute" blandly informed me that this was no problem and that his graduates (70 per cent of whom were women) were happy to go all over the Soviet Union. The students were very keen on sport and knew of and inquired after New Zealand's Peter Snell.

But my most interesting experience was at the Palace of Pioneers, on Lenin Hills, in Moscow. The Pioneers are boys and girls in the nine to 13 years of age group. Almost all children in the Soviet Union join and the present membership is 24 million.

Their Moscow palace was a dream Student Union Building. In it for the education and recreation of the pioneers is a planetarium and an observatory with a 5in telescope, a space display and Museum, classes in cooking, sculpture, aero-modelling, photography (including cinematography), drama and science, while facilities include a small athletic stadium, a swimming pool and two theatres.

But the most significant sphere was the International Department. Its motto: "Peace and Happiness through the Friendship of all the children in the World"—and its function: The installation of propaganda into the Soviet children.

A piece of metal was on display, it could have been anything, but our guide, a girl of 11. told me that it was part of an American plane shot down by students over North Vietnam. We went on to two large photos—and I was told they were French "pioneers" who were "murdered by Fascist security forces in 1961." The palace was dedicated to the memory of the two young Communists. I left with the feeling that such systematic teaching of hate at such a young age was sickening.

The International Club asked me about New Zealand "Pioneers" and asked if I could get them to write to their Russian equivalents. I said I would but do not intend to. There would be little thanks in New Zealand for starting a correspondence between "Brownies" and the Pioneers.

Quickly my week went by. I visited the factories, saw the famous Moscow circus, and heard a renowed classical guitarist. On the final day Serge and I went to Red Square for the last time. I went through the Lenin Museum and could well understand why a British author once remarked that it was the world's greatest practical demonstration of how to run a revolution.

It was the 97th Anniversary of Lenin's birthday. My last memory of Moscow is the thousands of red . flags fluttering from every building in the city.