Brezhnev has been in power for 18 years. After his death, who will attend his funeral in China?

Translated from the Headlines (Toutiao 头条新闻)

Author: Nan Gongxin(南宫欣)

On November 14, 1982, in Zhongnanhai, Deng Xiaoping suddenly told the staff around him: Before Comrade Huang Hua’s special plane took off, he asked him to give a speech at the Capital Airport. I have a few “important things” to say here.

People around him told Deng Xiaoping that in order to save foreign exchange for the country, Comrade Huang Hua took an ordinary flight, which has now taken off.

It happened to be by Deng Xiaoping’s side. “The CCP’s pen” and Hu Qiaomu, Mao Zedong’s secretary of the year, were also there. Deng Xiaoping immediately turned his head and asked Hu Qiaomu to draw up a pen to draw up an “talk to reporters” in the name of Huang Hua and send it urgently. The Chinese Embassy in the Soviet Union.

What kind of important task did Comrade Huang Hua perform so that Deng Xiaoping had to arrange such a “talk” for him at the last juncture?

Empire pinnacle

In 1959, a special exhibition was held simultaneously in New York and Moscow.

People can see the first man-made satellite model, the huge nuclear-powered icebreaker, and the protagonist who built these great achievements: the statue of the socialist worker.

But in Moscow, the enthusiasm of the Soviets greatly exceeded the Americans’ imagination: the Americans did not take the route of “tall”, but went straight to people’s daily life, providing jazz, basketball, high heels, abstract paintings, and a luxurious atmosphere. American cars.

Pepsi-Cola even distributed a cup of its own products for free on the spot, and the audience surrounded the company’s booth.

In front of various advanced appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers that were unheard of at the time, US Vice President Nixon and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union Khrushchev faced hundreds of reporters. They used the kitchen exhibition hall as the battlefield and developed their famous verbal anger. “The Kitchen Debate”.

The two leaders talked about happiness, and even poke each other with their fingers to show off their tough images.

This intense scene bustled the reporter below, and the flashlight and clicking sound did not stop for a second.

Associated Press reporter Safier wanted to include Khrushchev, Nixon, and the advanced American washing machine behind him in the lens to create an excellent front-page material for the newspaper.

Suddenly, a tall Soviet official forcibly squeezed behind Nixon from the crowd, between Nixon and the washing machine, and left a frontal close-up no less than the two protagonists in this historical scene.

No one knows who this reckless Soviet man is, but he is undoubtedly very good at capturing opportunities.

On October 14, 1964, Khrushchev was at a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

This seemingly rude brawny once again used the two powers to decide the contradiction between Suslov and Serepin. Instead, he was elected as the supreme leader of the Soviet Union and assumed other important positions in Khrushchev.

For the next 18 years, Americans will have a headache for every move of this name: Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, the second-longest leader in Soviet history.

What Brezhnev enjoyed was the “golden age” when Soviet hegemony reached its peak. When he came to power, the United States had already begun to face a dilemma in Vietnam.

Brezhnev once again seized the opportunity to strengthen control over Eastern European countries. Outside Europe, he also successively signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with 12 countries including Egypt, India, Iraq, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. The figure is everywhere in the world, and the US-Soviet competition for hegemony has entered a state of “Soviet attack and US defense”.

One year before his death, on September 4, 1981, the Soviet Union took the initiative to invite NATO observers to the Baltic Sea coast to visit a military exercise “West-81” against them.

This mankind’s unprecedented scale of exercise really scared Westerners:

The 500,000 armies and the boundless sea of ​​advanced T-72 tanks meant that in the case of not using nuclear weapons, east of the English Islands in Western Europe would have to surrender to the Soviet army within a week at most.

No one dared to throw nuclear bombs against Brezhnev. In 1981, the United States had only 23,191 nuclear warheads, while the Soviet Union had 32,049 nuclear warheads. During the same period, the Soviet Union’s military expenditure also exceeded that of the United States, which is known for its wealth.

In the nearly 20 years that the whole world was afraid of nuclear wars that would destroy the earth, Brezhnev stayed in the Kremlin, his eyes fixed on the United States on the other side of the globe, and he changed president after president.

He died suddenly in his apartment on Kutuzov Street in Moscow due to a heart attack on November 10, 1982, at the age of 76.

Empire crisis

The death of the highest leader of the socialist camp is undoubtedly a major event that shocked the world.

Those small countries and heads of organizations that rely on Soviet economic assistance, such as the leaders of Eastern European satellite countries, Syrian President Assad, and PLO leader Arafat, a total of 32 heads of state and 15 heads of government, apply or be invited as soon as possible. Come to the funeral.

This funeral is bound to be grand and extravagant to match the powerful status of the Soviet Union. The details involved are also extremely numerous, requiring the successor general secretary Andropov to look through it at a glance.

In Andropov’s heart, he always remembered a major event related to the global political landscape: a major event that could almost be called a shame in his career.

The Soviet intelligence agency, the KGB, has long been regarded as the largest intelligence agency on the planet integrating the CIA and the FBI. It enjoys a nearly unlimited budget that is not listed. As long as the KGB wants to know, no matter where the earth is, there is nothing. Any secrets at all.

Andropov has served as the leader of the KGB for 15 years since 1967. All changes and internal affairs in and outside the Soviet Union cannot escape his eyes.

Unexpectedly, it was such a powerful institution. In Andropov’s tenure, he failed to detect an incident related to the US-Soviet struggle for hegemony: Kissinger secretly visited Beijing.

In 1972, Nixon, who had become the President of the United States, successfully visited China, and the world was in shock.

This is because everyone knows that once relations with China ease, the United States can accelerate its withdrawal from the quagmire of the Vietnam War and focus on restoring its strength to deal with the aggressive Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union is not as strong as the United States. The financial pressure on the Soviet Union caused by the prolonged arms race is much heavier than the United States.

In 1976, the U.S. GDP was 1.87 trillion U.S. dollars and military expenditure was 91 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for about 5%, while the Soviet Union’s GDP was only 0.69 trillion U.S. dollars, only one-third of the United States, but military expenditures accounted for 17%, as high as 1,200. One hundred million U.S. dollars.

This is exactly what Mao Zedong’s diplomatic strategy is wise, whether the United States and the Soviet Union are willing or not, China’s role in the world political arena cannot be ignored by them.

The pragmatic Andropov is very sober and rational. Like Arkhipov, the leader of the Soviet Union’s China-aided expert group, no matter how fierce the Soviet high-level debate on the direction of international politics is, they have never spoken ill of China.

Now that Andropov has become the new owner of the Kremlin, can he make good use of this advantage, and what attitude does China have towards him?

All these questions naturally depend on the method and who was sent by China to attend Brezhnev’s funeral.

It is Deng Xiaoping, who has come back to power in Beijing, to show how much China attaches importance to the Soviet Union in the future.

Great man layout

In fact, Brezhnev’s funeral will be the second time that China has sent people to participate in the funeral of the top Soviet leader.

The last time China did this was on March 8, 1953, when Premier Zhou Enlai led a large high-profile delegation to Moscow to attend Stalin’s funeral.

Because Khrushchev stepped down midway, Mao Zedong declined the participation of foreign leaders after his death. It took nearly 30 years for China and the Soviet Union to wait for such an opportunity for “funeral diplomacy.”

Which one should I choose? Deng Xiaoping was smoking cigarette after cigarette, thinking and thinking.

The great man’s considerations are all-inclusive. At present, China has decided to shift its focus of work to economic construction. In a world where the US and the Soviet Union are striving for hegemony, since China can have a good relationship with the United States, of course, it must also have a good relationship with the Soviet Union, which is already in the socialist camp.

Only good-neighborly friendship is the prerequisite for the sustainable advancement of economic construction.

Brezhnev did not fail to recognize the important role of China. Shortly before his death, on March 24 of the same year, he delivered a speech in Tashkent, Central Asia, in which he clearly stated:

The Soviet Union has never denied China’s socialist system; it fully recognizes China’s sovereignty over Taiwan and opposes the term “two Chinas”; it has expressed its readiness to hold talks with China on improving Sino-Soviet relations.

This signal was immediately caught by Deng Xiaoping, and he instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately respond to this “don’t deny people thousands of miles away.”

Two days later, Director of Information Qian Qichen said at the first press conference of New China: China has noticed Brezhnev’s speech and emphasized that it depends on the actual actions of the Soviet Union.

As the famous KGB chairman, Andropov never attacked China. Naturally, it was also in the background that Deng Xiaoping needed to consider.

Brezhnev’s funeral is now becoming the best time for China and the Soviet Union to test their actual actions.

In the end, Deng Xiaoping made up his mind and decided to send a high-level envoy to Moscow to attend the funeral, and the delegation’s specifications were best able to take advantage of this rare opportunity to directly contact the Soviet foreign minister and even hold a dialogue.

The founder of New China’s diplomacy, Zhou Enlai, has passed away. There is actually only one such candidate-Foreign Minister Huang Hua, who has worked under Zhou Enlai for a long time and has a thorough knowledge of all the political patterns of the world. This will be after Zhou Enlai’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1964. The most senior government official sent by China.

Huang Hua first accompanied Ulanhu, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress, to the Soviet Embassy in China to express his condolences. The traditional friendship between the Chinese and Soviet people was mentioned again in the eulogy.

After deciding on the candidate, Deng Xiaoping still couldn’t rest assured. He thought about opening up a new situation in Sino-Soviet diplomacy when the new leader came to power. Therefore, after Huang Hua’s flight took off, he also seized the last opportunity to ask Hu Qiaomu to write temporarily. , Drafted an emergency talk.

Special treatment

On the morning of November 14, 1982, the Chinese Embassy in Moscow, which received an urgent order, sent the printed speech to the Soviet side before Huang Hua’s flight landed.

Andropov, who had just gotten up, looked at this A4-size speech, his frowning sorrow was gone, and he immediately ordered the major Soviet newspapers to publish this report in a newspaper to be published the next day.

In the VIP room of Moscow International Airport on the 14th, Yang Shouzheng, the Chinese ambassador who was waiting for the pick-up, hadn’t waited for Huang Hua and his party but was waiting for Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Ilychev.

Illichev smiled and said to Yang Shouzheng: “We have seen that conversation, and it was very positive.” Then he took out the manuscript and started discussing with Ambassador Yang what could be improved in his words and sentences.

The gay atmosphere that China and the Soviet Union have not seen for many years seems to reappear in the VIP room.

At 12:10, the long-awaited reception staff from China and the Soviet Union finally saw Huang Hua’s delegation. Yang Shouzheng quietly pulled Huang Hua aside and gave a brief report on the “airport talk”.

Only then did Huang Hua know that during his time in the sky, he returned to the airport and gave a talk. He took the manuscript and read it in person, and couldn’t help but praise sincerely: “Comrade Xiaoping’s decision-making is really wise, and Comrade Qiao Mu’s article is really good!”

In the morning of the second day, the people of the entire Soviet Union knew from the newspapers that the Chinese side not only commented that Brezhnev was an “excellent state activist… his death was a great loss to the Soviet country and people”, but also expressed concern about his successor. General Secretary Andropov put forward new expectations.

The sincerity between the lines can be felt by everyone.

At 9 o’clock on the 15th, the grand funeral was officially held on Red Square. Relatively speaking, the lower-level Chinese foreign ministers who attended were more honored than many heads of state.

The funeral was held at Lenin’s Tomb. On the left are representatives of socialist countries, while representatives of capitalist countries headed by US Vice President Bush Sr. are on the right. Under normal circumstances, no more than a Soviet interpreter is allowed. People enter.

Huang Hua’s status as the foreign minister is not only listed on the first level of the left ladder, along with other heads of socialist countries but also allowed to be accompanied by four people to appear on the stage. The wreath he presented is also placed in a very conspicuous position.

After the funeral, Huang Hua and other foreign leaders came to the George Hall of the Kremlin in the afternoon to meet with the newly appointed general secretary.

Andropov shook hands with the leaders with different expressions walking in front of him and exchanging their usual greetings in 30 seconds.

When he saw Huang Hua, he held the other’s hand tightly and kept saying something. It took three minutes for the two parties to let go and say goodbye.

Soon after, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union came to Huang Hua’s residence and checked with Li Fenglin, the director of the Sino-Soviet Negotiation Office, verbatim with Huang Hua and Andropov’s conversation records.

During his stay in the Soviet Union, Huang Hua enjoyed the highest level of treatment among all over 150 government delegations and 40 or 50 high-level delegations.

Feeling the sincerity of the Soviet side, and at the same time on Deng Xiaoping’s order, he offered to visit the member of the Soviet Central Politburo and Foreign Minister Gromyko.

Gromyko and Huang Hua’s first confrontation still ended in vain, but everyone on both sides felt that Andropov and Deng Xiaoping were sincere and sincere in the Sino-Soviet relations.

As a last special courtesy, before Huang Hua left for China, Andropov once again sent someone to invite him to visit the Gagarin Astronaut Training Center in the Soviet “National First-Class Restricted Zone”.

Huang Hua also laid a wreath for the Gagarin Monument, and the Soviet general handed over a microphone, which was greeted by Soviet astronauts on a mission in space: “We welcome leaders from our great neighbor China. Have a great time at the Garin Astronaut Training Center!”

Huang Hua replied: “I sincerely thank the Soviet aerospace heroes…safely return to our common planet…!”

Andropov is a shrewd, strong, calm, and pragmatic leader. After he took over the general secretary, he immediately launched a tit-for-tat and drastic reform against the long-suffering Soviet ailments, almost like China’s Deng Xiaoping.

In 1983, the total industrial output value of the Soviet Union exceeded the annual plan, reversing the situation of declining growth and failure to complete the plan over the years. The total agricultural output value has increased by 5% over 1982, and the market supply has also improved significantly.

It is a pity that such an outstanding leader died of chronic kidney disease after only one year and three months in office. This time, China sent Vice Premier Wan Li to attend his funeral.