"Americans should know that after the revolution of 1776, there were other revolutions," said Vladillen M. Vasev, the charge d'affaires at the Soviet Embassy, "and they produced great art. Ah, I'm getting nasty."
He chuckled, and so did Andrew Stewart, president of one of the companies that produced the art book designed to bring such awareness. Stewart stood with two boxed bottles of Stolichnaya vodka tucked under his arm. The vodka and the party last night at the Soviet embassy were given by the embassy in honor of the unusual joint publishing venture by the New York company of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., and the Leningrad-based publishing company called Aurora.
"Art of the October Revolution," compiled by Mikhail Guerman, is a book of paintings, some by Marc Chagall, done by artists in Russia from 1917 to 1923.
"What it shows is the exuberance of the revolutionary zeal," said Don Guerra, sales manager for Abrams, Inc., which is publishing several books with Aurora, often showing paintings that Westerners rarely have seen.
There was some talk of the SALT II summit starting in Vienna, which Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin is attending. "We have a saying - no news is good news," said Vasev, who is also deputy ambassador while Dobrynin is away. "It's your saying, but we claim it," he quipped.
As usual at embassy parties, there was much talk of the sumptuous spread of meats, sausages, and pastries.
"Have you seen the caviar?" asked Fred Eisenhart, from Brentano's Book Store, as he surveyed the table.
Another guest commented that he had, but it was gone "within the first 12 minutes of this party."
Conversations sprang up around the food table. On one side, two guests engaged Vasev, who smoked his cigarette in a cigarette holder, in a discussion of East versus West. "The Russians have all the political freedoms in the world," he said. "But we have managed to do without capital parasites . . . Authority in Russia is a very good word. Write that down."
Asked whether Anatoliy Scharansky would be released before the end of his Russian prison term, Vasev replied, without say hesitation:
"I don't (foresee it). We don't have political prisoners, we have people who break our laws. Mention that," he said. "We don't want people in prison. The less people in prison, the better for our society. But sometimes we have to put people in prison. Put that in." CAPTION: Picture, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Stevens, left, with Vladillen M. Vasev; by Joe Heiberger