First Published: Wembley, 1980
Transcription: Hari Kumar for Alliance-ML, 1998
HTML: Mike B. for MIA, 2005
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2005). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
In 1948-9, during Stalin's lifetime, a serious attempt was made to initiate precisely the same kind of economic reform — one that would have led to the restoration of an essentially capitalist society in the Soviet Union — which was ultimately brought about under the Brezhnev regime.
The "economic reform" of 1948-9 was carried out on the theoretical inspiration, and under the leadership of Nikolai Voznosensky — a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU since 1939 and of its political bureau since 1947, who held the posts of Chairman of the State Planning Commission since 1937 and Deputy "Prime Minister" since 1939.
In 1947 there was published a book by Voznosensky entitled "The War Economy of the USSR during the period of the Patriotic War", a feature of which was the author's claim that the distribution of labour between the different branches of the Soviet economy "was" (meaning "should be") determined by the law of value" (meaning the profitability of individual enterprises and industries). Voznosensky therefore demanded that the prices of commodities should be "market prices", "based on their values or "prices of production" (the latter term being defined by Marx, in his analysis of capitalist economy, as cost of production plus an average profit). He therefore emphasised the need to enhance the role of "cost accounting" (accounting based on the profitability of individual enterprises and industries) in the organisation of production, together with that of economic incentives in the form of bonuses to the personnel of enterprises:
"The most elementary law governing the costs of
production and distribution of goods is the law of value…In
economy the law of value signifies the need to calculate and plan in
terms…of money the cost of production…The state plan in the
economic system makes use of the law of value to set the necessary
in the production and distribution of social labour and the social
product…The law of value operates not only in production, but also
exchange of products…Prices….in socialist economy too are nothing
monetary expression of the value of the product, or its cost of
in the final analysis, of the quantity of socially necessary labour
its production…The law of value operates….also in the
labour itself among the various branches of the Soviet Union's national
economy….The following distinguishing features must be noted as
planning and organisation of production at Soviet industrial
the war economy period…strict cost accounting, profit and loss
and reduction of the costs of production. A highly important lever
increased production is the creating, through a system of premiums
WBB) of a personal incentive to raising output…Scientific
not deny the significance in Socialist economy of the law of value,
and profit and loss accounting…
As for profit and loss accounting in Soviet economy, not only does it not run counter to the Socialist system of economy, but serves as a substantial stimulus to the development of Socialist production, inasmuch as it contributes to growth of profits".
(N. Voznosensky: War Economy of the USSR in the Period of the Patriotic War; Moscow; 1948; p. 116, 117, 118, 121, 138, 139).
Roy Medvedev testifies to the "popularity" of Voznosensky's book among a section of Soviet economists;
"Voznosensky's book…soon became popular
economists. Some of its these began to be cited on the same level as
(R. Medvedev: Let History Judge; London; 1972; p. 482).
"Stalin's strong objections to Voznosensky's economic theses were made public only more than four years' later, in 1952 — the significance of the delay will be discussed below — in his "Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR", a significant part of which was devoted to a refutation of these theses (though without naming Voznosensky as their author):
"It is sometimes asked whether the law of value exists and operates in our country, under the socialist system. Yes, it does exist and does operate. Wherever commodities and commodity production exist, there the law of value must also exist… Does this mean that…the law of value…is the regulator of production in our country…? No it does not. Actually, the sphere of operation of the law of value under our economic system is strictly limited and placed within definite bounds… Totally incorrect, too, is the assertion that under our present economic system… the law of value regulates the 'proportions' of labour distributed among the various branches of production.
"If this were true, it would be incomprehensible why our light industries, which are the most profitable, are not being developed at the utmost, and why preference is given to our heavy industries, which are often less profitable, and sometimes altogether unprofitable.
"If this were true, it would be incomprehensible why a number of our heavy industry plants which are still unprofitable…are not closed down, and why no light industry plants, which would certainly be profitable…are not opened."
"If this were true, it would be incomprehensible why workers are not transferred from plants that are less profitable, but necessary to our national economy, to plants which are more profitable — in accordance with the law of value, which supposedly regulates the 'proportions' of labour distributed among the branches of production…
"The law of value can be a regulator of production only under capitalism,…
profitableness is considered not from the
standpoint of individual plants or industries, and not over a period of
year, but from the stand point of the entire national economy and over
of, say, ten or fifteen years, which is the only correct approach to
question, then the temporary and unstable profitableness of some plants
industries is beneath all comparison with that higher form of stable
permanent profitableness which we get from the operation of the law of
development of the national economy and from economic planning".
(J.V. Stalin: Economic Problems of the USSR; Moscow; 1952; p. 23, 25, 27-9).
But the controversy around Voznosensky's economic theses was by no means merely an academic one since, using his authority as Chairman of the State Planning Commission, Voznosensky proceeded to initiate an "economic reform" designed to bring these theses into effect.
"In taking this step, Voznosensky did not only have the public support of many leading economists — many of those who publicly supported his economic theses, such as Leontiev and Gatovsky, naturally played a prominent part later in supporting the theses of Liberman which paved the way for the precisely similar "economic reform" carried out under the Brezhnev regime. He was also assured of powerful support in the highest ranks of the Party and state apparatus, particularly in Leningrad. Among those openly associated with Voznosensky's "economic reform" of 1948-9 were:
Aleksei Kuznetsov who had been First Secretary of the Party in Leningrad from 1945 to 1946, when he was appointed a Secretary of the Central Committee;
Grigori Popov First Secretary of the Party in Moscow and also a Secretary of the Central Committee;
Petr Popkov who had succeeded Kuznetsov as First Secretary in Leningrad in 1946 and was also a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet;
Mikhail Rodionov "Prime Minister" of the Russian Republic;
Aleksei Voznosensky (Nikolai's brother), who had been Rector of Leningrad University for 1944-48, when he was appointed Minister of Education of the Russian Republic;
Ivan Goliakov President of the Supreme Court; and
Colonel-General Ivan Shikin Head of the Chief Political Directorate of the Soviet Army.
Among other prominent figures associated with Voznosensky who supported his economic theses more discreetly was:
Aleksei Kosygin the present "Prime Minister" of the USSR, who had been Director of the Oktyabr Spinning Mill in Leningrad in 1937-8, "Mayor" of Leningrad in 1938-9, "Prime Minister" of the Russian Republic in 1943-6, Minister of Finance of the USSR in 1948, and Minister of Light Industry of the USSR from December 1948, and who had been a member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the Party since 1948.
"His (Voznosensky's — WBB) ally in economic
seems to have been Aleksei Kosygin, the present Chairman of the Soviet
(M Kaser: Comecon; London; 1967; p. 23).
"A Russian defector who was in Leningrad at
(1948-9 — WBB) and was in close contact with Kosygin during his visits
city, reports that Kosygin became drunk at a birthday party he attended
one night and referred to Stalin as a 'pockmarked bastard', adding
words to the
effect that the Soviet Union could become a great country…if only the
dictator could be removed. There is little reason to doubt this story".
(M. Page: The Day Khrushchov Fell; New York; 1965; p. 186-7).
By this time, opposition views were being quite openly expressed in Party and State circles in Leningrad. This was demonstrated during a visit to the Soviet Union in January 1948 by a Yugoslav delegation headed by Milovan Djilas.; This was two months before the Soviet government recalled its military and civilian experts from Yugoslavia, and four months before the Communist Party of Yugoslavia was expelled from the Communist Information Bureau for, among other things, pursuing a political line which
"…can only lead to
an ordinary bourgeois republic, to the loss of its independence and to
transformation into a colony of the imperialist countries".
(Communist Information Bureau: Resolution on Yugoslavia, June 1948, in: J. Klugmann: From Trotsky to Tito; London; 1951; p.11).
Naturally, the reception of the Yugoslav delegation in Moscow was cool. It was, however, warmly received by Party and state circles in Leningrad:
"Djilas, Koca, Popovic and Vukmanovic
to visit Leningrad. They were warmly welcomed there, given a villa and
by Popkov, the Secretary of the Regional Committee".
(V. Dedijer: Tito Speaks; London; 1953; p. 321-2).
Djilas himself, describing the delegation's visit to Leningrad, pays tribute to the "simple humanity" of the Party and state officials in that city, with whom he felt he could "very quickly arrive at a common political language":
"The trip to Leningrad…refreshed us, and brought us some relief…Our encounter with Leningrad's officials added human warmth to our admiration. They were all, to a man, simple, educated, hard-working people,…but they lived lonely lives… We got along with them easily and quickly… We observed that these men approached the life of their city and citizens…in a simpler and more human manner than the officials in Moscow.
It seemed to
that I could very quickly arrive
at a common political language with these people….Indeed, I was not
surprised to hear two years later that these people, too, had failed to
the mills of totalitarianism just because they dared to be men".
(M. Djilas: Conversations with Stalin; Harmondsworth; 1963; p.130-1).
The cordial relations between the Yugoslav delegation and the Party and State officials in Leningrad did not go unnoticed in Moscow:
"At the occasion of his last visit to the USSR, Comrade Djilas, while sojourning in Moscow, went for a couple of days to Leningrad, where he talked with the Soviet comrades…Comrade Djilas has abstained from collecting data from these (leading — WBB) officials of the USSR, but he did so with the local officials of the Leningrad organisations.
What did Comrade Djilas do
there, what data did he collect?…We suppose he has not collected
for the Anglo-American or the French Intelligence Services".
(CC., CPSU; Letter to CC, CPY, May 4th., 1948, in: The Correspondence between the CC of the CPY and the CC of the CPSU(B); Belgrade; 1948; p.52).
The last paragraph quoted from this letter takes on a new significance when it is recalled that by 1949, the leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia were accused of being, not merely counter-revolutionaries who aimed to restore capitalism in Yugoslavia, but active agents of the Western Powers, engaged in espionage and plotting within the socialist countries. The Cominform resolution on Yugoslavia of November 1949 thus referred explicitly to:
of the Tito-Rankovic
into a direct agency of imperialism".
(Communist Information Bureau; Resolution on Yugoslavia, November 1949, in: J. Klugmann: ibid.; p.112).
Of further political significance in connection with the "Leningrad Affair" is Sulzberger's report of 1956 that:
"…Party leaders now confide
Kuznetsov…(were) in 1949…trying to establish a separate Communist
organisation in the Russian Soviet Republic …with headquarters in
instead of Moscow".
(C. L. Sulzberger: The Big Thaw; New York; 1956; p. 47-8).
It is against this political background, as well as in conjunction with Voznosensky's economic theses, that must be seen the "economic reform" introduced by the State Planning Commission, headed by Voznosensky, which came into effect on January 1st, 1949. By this measure wholesale prices were "reorganised" to bring them into line with their values or "prices of production" (cost prices plus an average rate of profit). As a result:
"…the prices of many basic materials and
charges increased to double or more".
(R. Conquest: Power and Policy in the USSR; London ; 1961; 9. 105).
Some Western economists saw the significance of the "economic reform" at the time:
"The planning authorities in the Soviet Union
have…clearly…decided that…a functional use of the price
mechanism is a
necessary precondition to a sound and smoothly working economy".
(M. C. Kaser: "Soviet Planning and the Price Mechanism", in: Economic Journal, Volume 60; March 1950; p. 91).
Some weeks after the introduction of Voznosensky's "economic reform", its opponents struck back.
On March 13th., 1949, it was announced that Nikolai Voznosensky had been "released" from his state post as Chairman of the State Planning Commission (being replaced by Maxim Saburov), and that Mikhail Rodionov had been released from his state post as "Prime Minister" of the RSFSR (being replaced by B. Chernousov).
On March 14th., 1949 it was announced that Petr Popkov had been "released" from his state post as member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (being replaced by Vasily Andrianov).
On March 15th., 1949, it was announced that Ivan Goliakov had been "released" from his state post as President of the Supreme Court (being replaced by Anatol Volin).
On July 15th., 1949, it was announced that Aleksei Voznosensky had been "released" from his state post as Minister of Education of the RSFSR.
On January 15th., 1950, a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet restored the death penalty (abolished in May 1947) for treason and certain other crimes against the state.
And in two stages, on January 1st., and July 1st., 1950, the Voznosensky "economic reform" of 1949 was nullified
This appears to have been the sum total of all that was published in the Soviet Union at the time concerning the counter-attack launched against the opposition groups headed by Voznosensky.
But in February/March 1949, Aleksei Kuznetsov was removed from the post of Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party; Nikolai Voznosensky was removed from membership of the Political Bureau of the CC; Petr Popkov was removed from the post of First Secretary of the Leningrad organisation of the Party; Ivan Shikin was removed from the post of Head of the Chief Political Directorate of the Soviet Army.
And in December 1949, Grigori Popov was removed from the posts of First Secretary of the Moscow organisation of the Party and Secretary of the CC of the Party (in both of which posts he was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchov).
In Leningrad most of the leading Party and state organs were restaffed. Frol Kozlov told the 19th. Congress of the CPSU in October 1952 that in that city:
"…recently more than 2,000 persons…have been promoted to executive positions".
(F. Kozlov: "Speech at 19th. Congress, CPSU," in: Pravda, October 14th., 1952, in: R. Conquest: ibid.; p. 100).
By July 1949, Voznosensky had been expelled from the Party, since a resolution of the CC (unpublished at the time) dated July 13th., 1949 refers to him without the appellation "Comrade".
Some members of the opposition group were transferred to minor posts for a time: Kuznetsov to be Secretary of the Far Eastern Bureau of the CC, Popov to a "responsible job in city construction". Voznosensky, however, was not given such a post, and remained at home working on a new exposition of his economic views to be entitled ">The Political Economy of Communism"
In November/December 1949, Voznosensky, his brother, Kuznetsov, Popkov, Popov, Rodionov, Goliakov and Shikin were arrested and in 1950 tried on charges which, in the case of Voznosensky himself, included the passing of secret papers of the State Planning Commission to a foreign state.
(V. Kolotov: Article in Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Gazette), November 30th., 1963, in: R. Medvedev: ibid.; p. 482).
Some of the defendants in the "Leningrad Affair" — including Nikolai Voznosensky, Kuznetsov, Popkov and Rodionov — were sentenced to death, and executed on September 30th., 1950. Others survived, to be released and "rehabilitated" by the post-Stalin leadership: Popov was appointed Ambassador to Poland in March 1953, and Shikin was awarded a medal in December 1954.
Aleksei Kosygin escaped prosecution
intervention of Mikoyan and
argued with Stalin that he was completely loyal".
(M. Page: ibid.; p. 186).
But after the 19th. Congress of the CPSU in October 1952, Kosygin was demoted from full membership of the Political Bureau to alternate membership of the new Presidium — despite the increase in membership of this body from 12 to 25.
In view of Stalin's known strong opposition to the economic theses put forward by Voznosensky, there is no reason to doubt the truth of Khrushchov's assertion — in his "secret speech" to the 20th. Congress of the CPSU in February 1956 — that the counter-attack against the group headed by Voznosensky was initiated by Stalin:
affair' was also the result
wilfulness which Stalin exercised against party cadres…
"Stalin personally supervised the 'Leningrad' affair….
investigation of the
Voznosensky and Kuznetsov".
(N.S. Khrushchov: "Secret Speech" to 20th. Congress, CPSU, in: The Dethronement of Stalin; Manchester; 1956; p. 23, 24).
In view of the fact — referred to in the introduction — that at this time Stalin and his political allies were in a minority on both the Central Committee of the CPSU and its Political Bureau, there is also no reason to doubt Khrushchov's statement that the counter-attack was launched outside these organs:
"Had a normal situation existed in the
Committee and in the Central Committee's Political Bureau, affairs of
(the 'Leningrad Affair' — WBB) would have been examined there in
with party practice, and all pertinent factors assessed…Stalin
supervised the 'Leningrad Affair' and the majority of the Political
members did not, at that time, know all the circumstances in these
matters…It is a characteristic thing that the decision to remove him
(Voznosensky — WBB) from the Political Bureau was never discussed but
reached in a devious fashion. In the same way came the decision
removal of Kuznetsov and Rodionov from their posts".
(N. S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 23, 31).
Khrushchov gives no details as to the "devious fashion" in which Stalin and his colleagues secured the removal of the group headed by Voznosensky from their Party and state posts, without this having first been approved by the Central Committee or its Political Bureau. It may be assumed, however, that they adopted a similar procedure to that which they had used successfully in similar circumstances in the 1930's.
The first step in this process was that the General Secretary's personal secretariat, headed by Aleksandr Poskrebyshev operating as an intelligence service outside the control of the oppositionist majority, would carry out its own investigation into the activities of the persons suspected of treason. If the results of this investigation were positive, the evidence would then be passed over to the official state security organs. Even if these organs were headed by concealed oppositionists (as in the Yagoda/Yezhov period of 1934-38) or by sympathisers with the opposition (as in the Abakumov period of 1946-52, the period under discussion here), the heads of these organs were then faced with the choice of either pursuing their own investigations and acting upon the evidence, or of risking their exposure as accomplices of traitors. As a matter of policy agreed among the concealed oppositionist conspirators, they invariably chose the first course. Backed by the decision of the state security organs that a prima facie case had been made out against the persons concerned, Stalin, as General Secretary of the CPSU, then felt in a strong enough position to take emergency action in the name of the Central Committee — dismissing them from any responsible Party posts they might hold and recommending to the appropriate state organs their dismissal from responsible state positions.
This is, doubtless, what Khrushchov meant in complaining, in his "secret speech" to the 20th. Congress of the CPSU, about Stalin's:
"arbitrary behaviour"; (N. S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 7).
and of his:
"..many abuses, acting in the name of the Central Committee, not asking for the opinion of the committee members nor even of the Central Committee's Political Bureau"; (N. S. Khruschov: ibid.; p. 9).
Of course, this emergency action on the part of the General Secretary required ratification by the Political Bureau and the Central Committee. But this faced the oppositionist majority with the choice either of endorsing the action that had been taken, or of risking their exposure as accomplices of traitors. As a matter of agreed policy, they invariably chose the first course of action. As Khrushchov expressed it:
"Such conditions put every member of the
Bureau in a very difficult situation… You will understand how
was for any member of the Political Bureau to take a stand against any
another unjust or improper procedure".
(N.S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 131).
The question remains to be answered: who was responsible for the conspiracy of silence which surrounded the dismissal of Voznosensky and his colleagues from their party posts, their arrest and trial?
Clearly, Stalin and his political allies, being strongly opposed to Voznosensky's economic theses, could only be assisted in their attack upon these theses by the public announcement that their author had been charged and found guilty of treasonable crimes against the Soviet state.
opposite interest, since they favoured Voznosensky's economic theses, which they intended to revive as soon as circumstances made this practicable. Having a majority on both the Central Committee of the CPSU and its political Bureau, they used this majority to limit as much as possible the adverse effects on their position arising from their forced ratification of the "purge" initiated by Stalin: they secured the adoption of resolutions which forbade publication of the dismissal of Voznosensky and his group from their Party posts, their arrest and trial, together with any official denunciation of Voznosensky's economic theses.
Thus, on July 13th., 1949, the Central Committee of the CPSU adopted a resolution endorsing the dismissal of the Editor of the magazine "Bolshevik" and several members of its editorial board for having published "excessive praise" of Voznosensky's book
"The editors of
'Bolshevik' permitted a
mistake when it opened its columns to sycophantic praise of the booklet
Voznosensky 'The War Economy of the USSR during the Patriotic War',
it as a 'profound scientific investigation' ".
(CC. CPSU: Resolution of July 13th., 1949, in: Pravda (Truth), December 24th., 1952, in: R. Conquest: "Power and Policy in the USSR"; London; 1961; p. 104).
This resolution, like others adopted by the Central Committee at the time on the "Leningrad Affair" was not published at the time.; Only on December 24th., 1952 — more than three years later — was a section of it cited in an article in "Pravda" by Mikhail Suslov
The first published criticism of Voznosensky's economic theses appeared also in 1952 when Stalin seized the opportunity afforded to him by his allotment of the "harmless" task of writing a criticism of a draft textbook of political economy to denounce these theses, but without naming Voznosensky as their author.
It was about this time — the autumn of 1952 — that a Kremlin radiologist, Dr. Lydia Timashuk, wrote to Stalin accusing a number of Kremlin doctors of being involved in an opposition conspiracy which had resulted in the murder of a number of Soviet leaders who had been closely associated with Stalin — including Andrei Zhdanov and Aleksandr Scherbakov— by means of criminally wrong medical "treatment".
It was in this atmosphere of the investigation of this case, in which it was widely rumoured that a number of prominent Party and state leaders were suspected of involvement, and immediately following the public trial in November 1952 of Czechoslovak Party and state leaders (headed by Rudolph Slansky and Vladimir Clementis), in which the defendants admitted to treason in collaboration with Party and state leaders in Yugoslavia, that the concealed oppositionist majority on the Central Committee of the Soviet Party and its Political Bureau were forced into permitting the minority to secure a reversal of the policy of "silence" in relation to the "Leningrad Affair" which had been in force since 1949.
On December 24th., 1952, as has been said, an article by Mikhail Suslovwas published in the official paper of the CC of the CPSU, "Pravda", quoting for the first time from one of the CC resolutions of three years earlier in connection with the "Leningrad Affair" and, again for the first time denouncing Voznosensky's economic theses by name as revisionist:
Voznosensky's ('The War
the USSR during the Patriotic War' — WBB) confused the solution of
the political economy of Socialism, represented a hotchpotch of
views on the part to be played by plans and the state in Soviet society
fetishism of the law of value, which was allegedly the governor of the
distribution of labour between the sections of the national economy of
(M. Suslov: Article in Pravda (Truth), December 24th., 1952, in: R. Conquest: ibid.; p. 103-4).
Following the publication of this article, an intensive ideological campaign was launched against Voznosensky's economic theses.
On January 9-11th., 1953, a conference of nearly 1,000 economists deemed it opportune to condemn the error made by those of their number who had supported Voznosensky's economic theses.
On January 12th., 1953, an editorial in "Pravda" compared the struggle against Voznosensky's economic theses with that waged against:
adventurers and right
(Editorial, Pravda (Truth). January 12th., 1953, in: H. E. Salisbury: "Moscow Journal"; Chicago; 1961; p. 312).
On January 28th., 1953 the journal "Kommunist" (Communist) denounced by name a number of economists and philosophers for their support of Voznosensky's economic theses.
The campaign directed against Voznosensky's economic theses came, however, to an abrupt haltfollowing the death of Stalin on March 5th, 1953.
Twenty-one months after Stalin's death, in December 1951, the still concealed oppositionists in the leadership of the Soviet Party and state felt their position strong enough to take their revenge on Viktor Abakumov who had been Minister of State Security at the time of the "Leningrad Affair".
On December 24th., 1954, it was announced that Abakumov, together with five other leading officials of the security organs in 1949-50, had been triedin secret by a military tribunal of the Supreme Court for "treason and political sabotage". All had been found guilty; four, including Abakumov, had been sentenced to death and executed; two had been sentenced to long term imprisonment. The official announcement declared that Abakumov:
fabricated the so-called 'Leningrad case' ".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 10; p. 13,978).
Fourteen months later, the opposition leaders felt secure enough to throw off their masks of having been Stalin's "loyal collaborators". At the 20th. Congress of the CPSU in February 1956, First Secretary Nikita Khrushchov in his "secret speech" accusing Stalin of the "murder" of many "good Communists", described Voznosensky and Kuznetsov as:
"…talented and eminent leaders";
(N. S. Khruschov: "Secret Speech", 20th. Congress, CPSU, in: The Dethronement of Stalin; Manchester 1956; p. 23).
(N. S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 23).
"…the so-called 'Leningrad affair' …was fabricated".
(N.S.Khruschov: ibid.; p.23).
"Persons who innocently
and honour has been restored to the glorious Leningrad Party
Abakumov and others who had fabricated this affair were brought before
their trial took place in Leningrad and they received what they
(N. S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 24).
Of course, as a surviving member of the opposition conspiracy who escaped detection during Stalin's lifetime, Khrushchov was bound to present the liquidation of those of his fellow-conspirators who were detected as "unjust" and the result:
falsification, and of
of revolutionary legality";
(N. S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 14).
It must, therefore, be considered a notable tribute to Stalin's integrity that even Khrushchov felt compelled to admit that Stalin acted in these cases from the highest motivesbelieving — and, from the standpoint of Marxism-Leninism, correctly believing — that he was acting in defence of socialism:
"All this which we have just discussed was done during Stalin's life under his leadership and with his concurrence; here Stalin was convinced that this was necessary for the defence of the interests of the working classes against the plotting of enemies and against the attack of the imperialist camp. He saw this from the position of the interest of the working class, of the interest… of the victory of socialism and communism…He considered that this should be done in the interest of the party, of the working masses, in defence of the Revolution's gains".
(N. S. Khrushchov: ibid.; p. 32).