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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 14. 1967.

Russian progress

Russian progress

"Religion comes from the Middle Ages. There is no God. So we like our youth to spend their time in more useful activities than going to church, such as going to Universities and technical institutes," said the Soviet Ambassador Mr. Dorofeez, speaking at Victoria recently.

"But I don't think I am boasting if I say that the Soviet people have a higher moral standard than in any other country." He referred to the replacement of bus-conductors by honesty boxes, and added, "According to the law it is not hard to divorce a wife, but it is not so easy to do it in the eyes of your mates in the office or factory."

"Sometimes in the local press so-called experts on Russia publish articles denying that there is freedom of individuals in the Soviet Union, but they do have these rights under rules and laws." but he added that freedom in Russia does not include the right to disregard these rules to the detriment of others. "Our idea of freedom." he said, "has nothing to do with individual wilfulness and anarchistic neglect of social responsibility."

Mr. Dorofeez used statistics to outline the progress of the Soviet Union in the fifty years since the Revolution, citing figures for industrial output, and agricultural and cultural development.

Looking forward to what he called the "socialist Utopia" he predicted that by 1970 national income would increase by 40 per cent, passenger-car output would increase four-fold, a 35-hour week would be instituted and the paid holiday period would be prolonged by a month.

"Facts show that the Revolution brought education to within the reach of the broadest masses," he said. "Before the Revolution four out of five children were not in school, but today three out of five people (excluding pre-school children) have studied in the Soviet Union.

"University students get a scholarship which is large enough to live on," he said, but added later that a university course might involve six lectures a day. six days a week, all obligatory.

Looking at Soviet Union with the wisdom of hindsight the Ambassador asserted "In my mind the creation of socialist society means an entirely new stage in the history of mankind. It creates an entirely new way of life in all spheres, social, economic and political.

"Our country pioneered economic planning," he said, "and now the system has been started in many other countries. Planning of the economy put an end to anarchy of production and unemployment.

"We think that world civilisation has been enriched by the concepts of abolition of private property, planned economy, abolition of personal exploitation, obligatory work to all, guaranteed employment and socialist democracy of real people's power."

Asked if he thought Soviet Union's standard of living was expanding fast enough to absorb New Zealand's wool production he said "We haven't closed the door. The ball is in your court. Pass it back."

On the subject of international warfare, he said, "We support peaceful coexistence because we know that only suffering for the people will result and nobody will win anything taking into consideration the destructive force of modern weapons. We are sure that sooner or later we will win the minds of people by peaceful competition."