Nikolai Bukharin Archive

The Case of Bukharin


Recorded: March 5 - March 12 1938;
Source: “The Case of the Anti-Soviet Block of Rights and Trotskyites”, Red Star Press, 1973, page 369-439, 767-779;
First published in English: “The Case of the Anti-Soviet Block of Rights and Trotskyites”, People’s Commisariat of Justice of the U.S.S.R., 1938;
Online Version: Marxists Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2001;
Transcription/Markup: Mathias Bismo.


 

Interrogation of accused Bukharin, Evening Session, March 5, 1938.

Interrogation of accused Bukharin, Morning Session, March 7, 1938.

Last Plea, Evening Session, March 12, 1938.

 


The case of Nikolai Bukharin was set during the last of the Moscow Trials. On March 13th 1938 he was, along with Alexei Rykov, Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Krestinsky, Arkady Rosengoltz, Vladimir Ivanov, Mikhail Chernov, Grigori Grinko, Isaac Zelensky, Akmal Ikramov, Faizulla Khodjayev, Vasili Sharangovich, Prokopy Zubarev, Pavel Bulanov, Lev Levin, Ignaty Kazakov, Veyamin Maximov-Dikovsky and Pyotr Kryuchkov, found guilty “of having committed extremely grave state offences covered by articles 58-1a, 58-2, 58-7, 58-8, 58-9 and 58-11 of the Criminal Code of the R.S.F.S.R. (...) and guided by Article 319 and 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the R.S.F.S.R. (...) to be shot, with the confiscation of all personal property.”

He was found guilty of: “being irreconcilable enemies of the Soviet power, on instructions of the intellkigence services of foreign states hostile to the U.S.S.R., in (they) 1932-33 organized a conspiratorical group known as the ‘bloc of Rights and Trotskyites’, which united underground anti-Soviet groups of Trotskyites, Rights, Zinovievites, Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and bourgeois-nationalists of the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Central Asiatic Republics.”

The Soviet Court also found that: “On the instructions of enemy of the people L. Trotsky, and of leading participants in the ‘bloc of Rights and Trotskyites’ - Bukharin, Ryjkov and Yagoda - (...) with obviously treasonable purposes, entered into direct relations with representatives of foreign states hostile to the U.S.S.R. and negotiated with them regarding the forms of assistance to be given to the aggressors in event of their attack upon the Soviet Union (organization of terrorist, diversive and wrecking acts and espionage). The leaders of ‘the block of Rights and Trotskyites,’ Rykov, Bukharin and Yagoda among their number, were not only fully informed of the espionage activities of their accomplies, but in every way encouraged the extension of espionage connections, and themselves gave instructions to the participants in ‘the bloc of Rights and Trotskyites’ when they conducted their treasonable negotiations with representatives of foreign states, thus expediting preparations for foreign intervention.”

The Court further claimed that “in 1918 Bukharin, and the group of ‘Left Communists’ headed by him, in conjunction with Trotsky and the ‘Left’ Socialist-Revolutionaries. The aim of Bukharin and his fellow-conspirators was to thwart the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, to overthrow the Soviet government, to arrest and assassinate V.I. Lenin, J.V. Stalin and J.M. Sverdlov and to form a new governments consisting of Bukharinites, Trotskyites and ‘Left’ Socialist-Revolutionaries. In executing the plan of the conspiracy, the ‘Left’ Socialist-Revolutionaries in July 1918, with the knowledge and consent of Bukharin, raised a revolt in Moscow with the object of overthrowing the Soviet government; it has been further established that the attempt on the life of V.I. Lenin committed by the Socialist-Revolutionary Kaplan on August 20, 1918, was the direct result of the criminal designs af the ‘Left Communists,’ headed by Bukharin, and of their confederates, the ‘Left’ and the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries”

In 1961, Bukharin’s wife, Anna Larina, was finally able to deliver Bukharin’s “last testament,” completely repudiating these “confessions,” to a Party control commission investigating the case for his rehabilitation. Looking back on his testimony and trial, Anna Larina said:

“But the most amazing thing is that, despite everything, the time of shining hopes had not passed for him. He would pay for these hopes with his head. Moreover, one reason for his preposterous confessions in the dock – incomplete, but sufficiently egregious confessions was precisely this: he still hoped that the idea to which he had dedicated his life would triumph.” [Anna Larina, This I Cannot Forget, Pandora, 1994]