Moscow Trials. The Case of Bukharin

Interrogation of accused Bukharin - Evening Session March 5

THE PRESIDENT: We shall now proceed to the interrogation of the accused Bukharin.

Bukharin: I have a request to make to the Court on the following two points: firstly, to give me the opportunity of freely presenting my case to the Court, and, secondly, to permit me at the beginning of my statement to dwell more or less, as far as time will permit, on an analysis of the ideological and political stand of the criminal "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites," for the following reasons: firstly, because comparatively little has been said about It, secondly, because it has a certain public interest, and thirdly, because Citizen the Public Prosecutor put this question at the previous session, if I am not mistaken.

VYSHINSKY: If the accused Bukharin intends in any way to restrict the right of the State Prosecutor to put him questions in the course of his explanations, I think that Comrade the President should explain to Bukharin that the right of the Prosecutor to put questions is based on law. I therefore ask that this request should be denied, as provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Bukharin: That is not what I meant by my request.

THE PRESIDENT: The first question to the accused Bukharin: Do you confirm the testimony you gave at the preliminary investigation about your anti-Soviet activities?

Bukharin: I confirm my testimony fully and entirely.

THE PRESIDENT: What do you wish to say about your anti-Soviet activities? And Comrade the Procurator is entitled to put questions.

VYSHINSKY: Allow me to begin the interrogation, of the accused Bukharin. Formulate briefly what exactly it is you plead guilty to.

Bukharin: Firstly, to belonging to the counterrevolutionary "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites."

VYSHINSKY: Since what year?

Bukharin: From the, moment the bloc was formed. Even before that, I plead guilty to belonging to the counterrevolutionary organization of the Rights.

VYSHINSKY: Since what year?

Bukharin: Roughly since 1928. I plead guilty to being one of the outstanding leaders of this "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites." Consequently, I plead guilty to what directly follows from this, the sum total of crimes committed by this counter-revolutionary organization, irrespective of whether or not I knew of, whether or not I took a direct part, in any particular act. Because I am responsible as one of the leaders and not as a cog of this counterrevolutionary organization.

VYSHINSKY: What aims were pursued by this counterrevolutionary organization?

Bukharin: This counter-revolutionary organization, to formulate it briefly...

VYSHINSKY: Yes, briefly for the present.

Bukharin: The principal aim it pursued although, so to speak, it did not fully realize it, and did not dot all the "i's" - was essentially the aim of restoring capitalist relations in the U.S.S.R.

VYSHINSKY: The overthrow of the Soviet power?

Bukharin: The overthrow of the Soviet power was a means to this end.

VYSHINSKY: By means of?

Bukharin: As is known...

VYSHINSKY: By means of a forcible overthrow?

Bukharin: Yes, by meant of the forcible overthrow of this power.

VYSHINSKY: With the help of?

Bukharin: With the help of all the difficulties encountered by the Soviet power; in particular, with the help of a war which prognostically was in prospect.

VYSHINSKY: Which was prognostically in prospect, with whose help?

Bukharin: With the help of foreign states.

VYSHINSKY: On condition?

Bukharin: On condition, to put it concretely, of a number of concessions.

VYSHINSKY: To the extent of..

Bukharin: To the extent of the cession of territory.


Bukharin: If all the "i's" are dotted-on condition of the dismemberment of the U.S.S.R.

VYSHINSKY: The severance of whole regions and republics from the U.S.S.R.?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: For example?

Bukharin: The Ukraine, the Maritime Region, Byelorussia.

VYSHINSKY: In whose favour?

Bukharin: In favour of the corresponding states, whose geographical and political...

VYSHINSKY: Which exactly?

Bukharin: In favour of Germany, in favour of Japan, and partly in favour of England.

VYSHINSKY: So, that was the agreement with the circles concerned? I know of one agreement which the bloc had.

Bukharin: Yes, the bloc had an agreement.

VYSHINSKY: And also by means of weakening the defensive power?

Bukharin: You see, this question was not discussed, at least not in my presence.

VYSHINSKY: And what was the position with regard to wrecking?

Bukharin: The position with regard to wrecking was that in the end, especially under pressure of the Trotskyite part of the so-called contact centre, which arose roughly in 1933, despite a number of internal differences and manipulatory political mechanics, which are of no interest to the investigation, after various vicissitudes, disputes and so on, the orientation on wrecking was adopted.

VYSHINSKY: Did it tend to weaken the defensive power of our country?

Bukharin: Naturally.

VYSHINSKY: Consequently, there was an orientation on the weakening, the undermining of defensive power?

Bukharin: Not formally, but essentially it was so.

VYSHINSKY: But the actions and activity in this direction were clear?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: Can you say the same about diversive acts?

Bukharin: With regard to diversive acts-by virtue of the division of labour and my definite functions, of which you know-I mainly occupied myself with the problematics of general leadership and with the ideological side; this, of course, did not exclude either my being aware of the practical side of the matter, or the adoption of a number of practical steps on my part.

VYSHINSKY: As I understand you, there was a division of labour among you.

Bukharin: But I, Citizen Procurator, say that I bear responsibility for the bloc.

VYSHINSKY: But the bloc which you headed set itself the aim of organizing diversive acts?

Bukharin: As far as I can judge by various things that rise in my memory, this was made dependent on concrete circumstances and concrete conditions.

VYSHINSKY: As you see from the trial, the circumstances were concrete enough. Did you and Khodjayev discuss the fact that too little wrecking was being done, and being done badly?

Bukharin: About accelerating wrecking there was no talk.

VYSHINSKY: Permit me to question the accused Khodjayev.


VYSHINSKY: Accused Khodjayev, did you discuss with Bukharin the question of accelerating wrecking activities?

Khodjayev: In August 1936, when I spoke to Bukharin in my country house, he said that wrecking work was feeble in our nationalist organization.

VYSHINSKY: And what ought to be done about it?

Khodjayev: To intensify it, and not only intensify the wrecking work, but to proceed to the organization of uprisings, terrorism, and so on.

VYSHINSKY: Accused Bukharin, is what Khodjayev says correct?

Bukharin: No.

VYSHINSKY: Was the organization of an insurrectionary movement one of your aims?

Bukharin: There was an insurrectionary orientation.

VYSHINSKY: There was an orientation? Did you send Slepkov to the North Caucasus to organize this business? Did you send Yakovenko to Biisk for the same purpose?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: And is this not what Khodjayev says in relation to Central Asia?

Bukharin: I thought that when you asked about Central Asia my answer should deal only with Central Asia.

VYSHINSKY: And so, you deny this fact with regard to Central Asia, but not the line of the bloc, whereas I asked you about the line of the bloc.

Bukharin: And I said that the question was decided from case to case, depending upon geographical, political and other conditions.

VYSHINSKY: You deny Khodjayev's testimony? I invited Khodjayev just now to testify against you because I consider it important to illustrate the fact that your "bloc of Rights and Trotskytes" gave instructions from case to case, as you put it, depending upon circumstances, for the organization of an insurrectionary, diversionist and wrecking movement. Do you agree with that?

Bukharin: I agree with that. Only I must clarify it, so as to avoid confusion. The uprisings you are referring to took place in 1930, whereas the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" was organized, as you are aware, Citizen Procurator, in 1933.

VYSHINSKY: But its tactics did not differ in any way from the tactics of your Right centre. Do you agree with that?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: That is, the organization of an insurrectionary movement was part of the activities of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" as well?

Bukharin: It was.

VYSHINSKY: And you bear responsibility for it?

Bukharin: I have already said that I bear responsibility for the sum total of the actions.

VYSHINSKY: Did the bloc stand for the organization of terrorist acts, the assassination of leaders of the Party and the Soviet government?

Bukharin: It did, and I think that the organization of this must be dated back roughly to 1932, the autumn.

VYSHINSKY: And what was your relation to the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov? Was this assassination also committed with the knowledge and on the instructions of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites"?

Bukharin: That I did not know.

VYSHINSKY: I ask you, was this assassination committed with the knowledge and on the instructions of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites"?

Bukharin: And I repeat that I do not know, Citizen Procurator.

VYSHINSKY: You did not know about this specifically in relation to the assassination of S. M. Kirov?

Bukharin: Not specifically, but...

VYSHINSKY: Permit me to question the accused Rykov.


VYSHINSKY: Accused Rykov, what do you know about the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov?

Rykov: I know nothing about the participation of the Rights or the Right part of the bloc in the assassination of Kirov.

VYSHINSKY: In general, were you aware of preparations for terrorist acts, for the assassination of members of the Party and the government?

Rykov: As one of the leaders of the Right part of this bloc, I took part in the organization of a number of terrorist groups and in preparations for terrorist acts. As I have said in my testimony, I do not know of a single decision of the Right centre, through which I was related with the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites," about the actual commission of assassinations....

VYSHINSKY: About the actual commission. So. Do you know that one of the aims of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" was to organize and commit terrorist acts against leaders of the Party and the government?

Rykov: I said more than that, I said that I personally organized terrorist groups. But you are asking me whether I knew of such aims through some third person.

VYSHINSKY: I am asking whether the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" had any relation to the assassination of Comrade Kirov.

Rykov: I have no information regarding the relation of the Right part to this assassination, and therefore I am convinced to this day that the assassination of Kirov was carried out by the Trotskyites without the knowledge of the Rights. Of course, I might not have known about it.

VYSHINSKY: Were you connected with Yenukidze?

Rykov: With Yenukidze? Very little.

VYSHINSKY: Was he a member of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites"?

Rykov: He was, since 1933.

VYSHINSKY: Which part did he represent in this bloc, the Trotskyites or the Rights? To which did he gravitate?

Rykov: He must have represented the Right part.

VYSHINSKY: Very well; please be seated. Permit me to question the accused Yagoda. Accused Yagoda, do you know that Yenukidze, of whom the accused Rykov just spoke, represented the Right part of the bloc and that he had direct relation to the organization of the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov?

Yagoda: Both Rykov and Bukharin are telling lies. Rykov and Yenukidze were present at the meeting of the centre where the question of assassinating S. M. Kirov was discussed.

VYSHINSKY: Did the Rights have any relation to this?

Yagoda: Direct relation, because it was a bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.

VYSHINSKY: Did the accused Rykov and Bukharin in particular have any relation to the assassination?

Yagoda: Direct relation.

VYSHINSKY: Did you, as a member of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites," have any relation to this assassination?

Yagoda: I did.

VYSHINSKY: Are Bukharin and Rykov telling the truth when they say that they knew nothing about it?

Yagoda: That cannot be so, because when Yenukidze told me that they, that is, the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites," had decided at a joint meeting to commit a terrorist act against Kirov, I categorically objected....


Yagoda: I declared that I would never permit any terrorist acts. I regarded it as absolutely unnecessary.

VYSHINSKY: And dangerous for the organization?

Yagoda: Of course.

VYSHINSKY: Nevertheless?

Yagoda: Nevertheless Yenukidze confirmed...


Yagoda: That at this meeting they...

VYSHINSKY: Who were they?

Yagoda: Rykov and Yenukidze at first categorically object


Yagoda: To the commission of a terrorist act. But under the pressure of the remaining part of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites"...

VYSHINSKY: Principally the Trotskyites?

Yagoda: Yes, under the pressure of the remaining part of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyltes," they gave their consent. So Yenukidze told me.

VYSHINSKY: After this, did you personally take any measures to effect the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov?

Yagoda: I personally?

VYSHINSKY: Yes, as a member of the bloc.

Yagoda: I gave instructions...


Yagoda: To Zaporozhetz in Leningrad. That is not quite how it was..

VYSHINSKY: We shall speak about that later. What I want now is to elucidate the part played by Rykov and Bukharin in this villainous act.

Yagoda: I gave instructions to Zaporozhetz. When Nikolayev was detained...

VYSHINSKY: The first time?

Yagoda: Yes. Zaporozhetz came to Moscow and reported to me that a man had been detained...

VYSHINSKY: In whose briefcase...

Yagoda: There was a revolver and a diary. And he released him.

VYSHINSKY: And you approved of this?

Yagoda: I just took note of the fact.

VYSHINSKY: And then you gave instructions not to place obstacles in the way of the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov?

Yagoda: Yes, I did .... It was not like that.

VYSHINSKY: In a somewhat different form?

Yagoda: It was not like that, but it is not important.

VYSHINSKY: Did you give instructions?

Yagoda: I have confirmed that.

VYSHINSKY: You have. Be seated.

THE PRESIDENT (to Vyshinsky): Have you any more questions?

VYSHINSKY: I have another question to put to Bukharin. Was your attitude to terrorism positive or negative, to terrorism against Soviet statesmen?

Bukharin: I understand. The question of terrorism arose for the first time for me in a conversation with Pyatakov, and I must say that I knew that Trotsky was insisting on terrorist tactics. At that time I objected.

VYSHINSKY: When was that?

Bukharin: In the end Pyatakov and I found a common language under the formula that it would all work out in the end and that all differences would be ironed out in one way or another. And then I have reported to you, Citizen State Prosecutor...

VYSHINSKY: You reported to the Court in my presence...

Bukharin: I reported to the Court in your presence that actually the orientation on terrorism, strictly speaking, was already contained in the Ryutin platform.

VYSHINSKY: I understand. I want to know whether your attitude towards terrorism was a positive one?

Bukharin: What do you mean by that?

VYSHINSKY: That you were in favour of the assassination of leaders of our Party and the government.

Bukharin: You ask whether I, as a member of the centre of Rights and Trotskyites, was in favour of...

VYSHINSKY: Terrorist acts.

Bukharin: I was.

VYSHINSKY: Against whom?

Bukharin: Against the leaders of the Party and the government.

VYSHINSKY: You will tell us the details later. You came to favour this roughly in 1929-30?

Bukharin:. No, I think it was roughly in 1932.

VYSHINSKY: But were you not in favour of the assassination of leaders of our Party and government in 1918?

Bukharin: No, I was not.

VYSHINSKY: Were you in favour of the arrest of Lenin?

Bukharin: His arrest? There were two such cases-about the first of which I told Lenin himself; as to the second, I kept silent about it for reasons of secrecy-regarding which, if you like, I can speak in greater detail. It did take place.

VYSHINSKY: Did it take place?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: And about the assassination of Vladimir Ilyich?

Bukharin: The first time it was proposed to keep him under restraint for twenty-four hours. There was such a formula. But in the second case...

VYSHINSKY: But if Vladimir Ilyich were to resist arrest?

Bukharin: But Vladimir Ilyich, as you know, never entered into armed conflicts. He was not a brawler.

VYSHINSKY: And so you expected that when you came to arrest him, Vladimir Ilyich would not resist?

Bukharin: You see, I can mention the case of another man. When the "Left" Socialist-Revolutionaries arrested Dzerzhinsky, he did not offer armed resistance either.

VYSHINSKY: That always depends upon the particular circumstances of the case. And so, in this case you counted that there would be no resistance?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: And did you not count upon the arrest of Comrade Stalin in 1918?

Bukharin: At that time there were several talks about...

VYSHINSKY. I am not asking about talks, but about a plan for the arrest of Commrade Stalin.

Bukharin: And I say that it I do not agree with your description of it as a plan, then permit me to prove to the Court how it was in actual fact. Then, it may be said, it was not a plan, but a talk.

VYSHINSKY: What about?

Bukharin: There was the same talk about the formation of a new government of "Left Communists."

VYSHINSKY: And I ask you, did you have a plan for the arrest of Comrade Stalin in 1918?

Bukharin: Not of Stalin, but there was a plan for the arrest of Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov.

VYSHINSKY: All three: Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov?

Bukharin: Quite so.

VYSHINSKY: And so, not Comrade Stalin, but Comrades Stalin, Lenin and Sverdlov?

Bukharin: Exactly.

VYSHINSKY: There was a plan of arrest?

Bukharin: I say that there was not a plan, but talks on the subject.

VYSHINSKY: And what about the assassination of Comrades Stalin, Lenin and Sverdlov?

Bukharin: Under no circumstances.

VYSHINSKY: I shall request the Court at the end of today's session, or at the next session of the Court, to call as witnesses on this question Yakovleva, a former active member of the group of "Left Communists," Ossinsky and Mantsev, former active members of the so-called group of "Left Communists," and then the "Left" Socialist-Revolutionaries, Karelin and Kamkov, members of the Central Committee of the "Left" Socialist-Revolutionaries, in order to question them whether Bukharin and the "Left Communists," whom he headed at the time, together with the "Left" Socialist-Revolutionaries, had a plan, and what kind of plan, for the arrest and assassination of Comrades Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov. I have no more questions for the present.

Bukharin: May I begin?

THE PRESIDENT (after conferring with the Members of the Court): The Court has decided to grant the request of the State Prosecutor to summon as witnesses Yakovleva, Ossinsky, Mantsev, Karelin and Kamkov.

VYSHINSKY: That fully satisfies me.

THE PRESIDENT: You have no more questions to put to Bukharin for the present?

VYSHINSKY: Not for the present.

THE PRESIDENT: I must explain to the accused Bukharin that it is not a speech for the defence he must make, nor a last plea.

Bukharin: I understand that.

THE PRESIDENT: And so, if you want to say anything about your criminal anti-Soviet activities, you may do so.

Bukharin: I want to deal with the subject of the restoration of capitalism. May I?

VYSHINSKY: Of course, that is your chief speciality.

Bukharin: I want first to deal with ideological positions, not in the sense of declining responsibility for practical, criminal counter-revolutionary activities. I have not the slightest desire that the proletarian Court should conceive such an opinion. I want to reply to the question which Citizen the State Prosecutor put to Rakovsky, namely, for the sake of what did the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" carry on such a criminal struggle against the Soviet power? I realize that I am not a lecturer and must not preach a sermon here, but that I am an accused person who must bear responsibility as a criminal, facing the Court of the proletarian country. But just because it seems to me that this trial is of public importance, and because this question has been dealt with extremely little, I thought that it would be useful to dwell on the program which has never been written down anywhere, on the practical program of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites," and to decipher one formula, namely, what is meant by the restoration of capitalism, in the way it was visualized and conceived in the circles of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites." I repeat that in desiring to dwell. upon this aspect of the matter I have no wish to disclaim responsibility for various practical things, for my counter-revolutionary crimes. But I want to say that I was not one of the cogs of counter-revolution, but one of the leaders of counter-revolution; and as one of the leaders I play and answer in a far greater degree, bear far greater responsibility than any of the cogs. And so I cannot be suspected of wanting to wriggle out of or repudiate responsibility, even if I were not a member of the Right and Trotskyite organization. The Court and the public opinion of our country, like the public opinion of other countries, as far as progressive mankind is concerned, can judge how people sank to such depths, how we all became rabid counter-revolutionaries, traitors to the Socialist fatherland, and how we turned into spies, terrorists and restorers of capitalism, and what, in the end, were the ideas and political standpoint of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites." We embarked on treachery, crime and treason. But for the sake of what did we embark on this? We turned into an insurrectionary band, we organized terrorist groups, engaged in wrecking activities, wanted to overthrow the valiant leadership of Stalin, the Soviet government of the proletariat.

One of the very widespread replies Is that through the logic of the struggle we were forced to become counter-revolutionaries, plotters and traitors, that we were led to the shame, to the crime, that has brought us into the criminal dock. I need not say that such things do not happen in public life; here there is a logic, the logic of the struggle is combined with the methods of the struggle, with the platform.

I want to dwell on these facts, although I am convinced that actually such a terminology may sound rather strange in relation to such criminal activities, but nevertheless it seems important to me to dwell on this.

It has been proved many times, and repeated tens of thousands of times, that the Right deviation, from the moment of its inception, when it was still in an embryo, from the moment of its inception set itself the aim of restoring capitalism. I do not intend to speak about this. I want to speak of another aspect of the matter, from a far more important standpoint, from the objective side of this matter, because here there arises the problem of accountability and judgment from the standpoint of the crimes revealed in Court, all the more so because I am one of the leaders in the dock. We must here start from the beginning.

The Right counter-revolutionaries seemed at first to be a "deviation"; they seemed, at a first glance, to be people who began with discontent in connection with collectivization, in connection with industrialization, with the fact, as they claimed, that industrialization was destroying production. This, at a first glance, seemed to be the chief thing. Then the Ryutin platform appeared. When all the state machines, when all the means, when all the best forces were flung into the industrialization of the country, into collectivization, we, found ourselves, literally in twentyfour hours, on the other shore, we found ourselves with the kulaks, with the counter-revolutionaries, we found ourselves with the capitalist remnants which still existed at the time in the sphere of trade. Hence it follows that the basic meaning, the judgment, from the subjective standpoint, is clear. Here we went through a very interesting process, an over-estimation of individual enterprise, a crawling over to its idealization, the idealization of the property-owner. Such was the evolution. Our program was-the prosperous peasant farm of the individual, but in fact the kulak became an end in itself. We were ironical about the collective farms. We, the counter-revolutionary plotters, came at that time more and more to display the psychology that collective farms were music of the future. What was necessary was to develop rich property-owners. This was the tremendous change that took place in our standpoint and psychology. In 1917 it would never have. occurred to any of the members of the Party, myself included, to pity Whiteguards who had been killed; yet in the period of the liquidation of the kulaks, In 1929-30, we pitied the expropriated kulaks, from so-called humanitarian motives. To whom would it have occurred in 1919 to blame the dislocation of oureconomic life onthe Bolsheviks, and not on sabotage? To nobody. It would have sounded as frank and open treason. Yet I myself in 1928 invented the formula about the military-feudal exploitation of the peasantry, that is, I put the blame for the costs of the class struggle not on the class which was hostile to the proletariat, but on the leaders of the proletariat itself. This was already a swing of 180 degrees. This meant that ideological and political platforms grew into counterrevolutionary platforms. Kulak farming and kulak interests actually became a point of program. The logic of the struggle led to the logic of ideas and to a change of our psychology, to the counter-revolutionizing of our aims.

Take industry. At first we raised an outcry about over-industrialization, about over-straining the budget, and so on. But as a matter of fact this was a program demand, it was the ideal of a kulak agrarian country with an industrial appendage. And psychologically? Psychologically, we, who at one time had advocated Socialist industrialism, began to regard with a shrug of the shoulders, with irony, and then with anger at bottom, our huge, gigantically growing factories as monstrous gluttons which consumed everything, deprived the broad masses of articles of consumption, and represented a certain danger. The heroic efforts of the foremost workers...

THE PRESIDENT: Accused Bukharin, you have again not understood me. You are not making your last plea now. You were asked to testify to your anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary activities, but you are giving us a lecture. In your last plea you may say whatever you like. I am explaining this to you for the third time.

Bukharin: Then permit me very briefly..

VYSHINSKY: Tell me, accused Bukharin, how all this took shape in practice in your anti-Soviet activities.

Bukharin: Then permit me to enumerate certain points of program. And then I will immediately pass on to relate my practical counter-revolutionary activities. May I, Citizen the President?

THE PRESIDENT: Only more briefly, if you please. You will have an opportunity to make a speech as your own Counsel for Defence.

Bukharin: This is not my defence, it is my self-accusation. I have not said a single word in my defence. If my program stand were to be formulated practically, it would be, in the economic sphere, state capitalism, the prosperous muzhik individual, the curtailment of the collective farms, foreign concessions, surrender of the monopoly of foreign trade, and, as a result-the restoration of capitalism in the country.

VYSHINSKY: What did your aims amount to? What general prognosis did you make?

Bukharin: The prognosis was that there would be a heavy list towards capitalism.

VYSHINSKY: And what transpired?

Bukharin: What transpired was quite different.

VYSHINSKY: What transpired was the complete victory of Socialism.

Bukharin: The complete victory of Socialism.

VYSHINSKY: And the complete collapse of your prognosis.

Bukharin: And the complete collapse of our prognosis. Inside the country our actual program - this I think must be said with all emphasis - was a lapse into bourgeois-democratic freedom, coalition, because from the bloc with the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the like, it follows that there would be freedom of parties, freedom of coalition, and follows quite logically from the combination of forces for struggle, because if allies are chosen for overthrowing the government, on the day after the possible victory they would be partners in power. A lapse not only into the ways of bourgeois-democratic freedom, but in the political sense into ways where there are undoubtedly elements of Caesarism.

VYSHINSKY: Say fascism simply.

Bukharin: Since in the circles of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" there wasan ideological orientation towards the kulaks and at the same time an orientation towards a "palace revolution" and a coup d'état, towards a military conspiracy and a praetorian guard of counter-revolutionaries, this is nothing other than elements of fascism.

Since the features of state capitalism about which I spoke operate in the sphere of economics...

VYSHINSKY: In short, you lapsed into outright rabid fascism.

Bukharin: Yes, that is correct, although we did not dot all the "i's." That is the formulation characterizing us as conspirators, restorers of capitalism, true from all points of view. And quite naturally, this was accompanied by a disintegration and degeneration of the whole ideology, our entire practice and methods of struggle.

Now permit me to go straight on withan account of my criminal activity.

VYSHINSKY: Perhaps as a preliminary I might ask you two or three questions of a biographical nature.

Bukharin: By all means.

VYSHINSKY: Have you lived in Austria?

Bukharin: I have.

VYSHINSKY: For long?

Bukharin: 1912 to 1913.

VYSHINSKY: You had no connections with the Austrian police?

Bukharin: None.

VYSHINSKY: Have you lived in America?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: For long?

Bukharin: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: How many months?

Bukharin: About seven months.

VYSHINSKY: In America you were not connected with the police?

Bukharin: Absolutely not.

VYSHINSKY: On your way from America to Russia you passed through...

Bukharin: Through Japan.

VYSHINSKY: Did you stop there for long?

Bukharin: A week.

VYSHINSKY: You were not recruited during this week?

Bukharin: If it pleases you to put such questions...

VYSHINSKY: The Code of Criminal Procedure gives me the right to put such questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Prosecutor has all the more right to put such a question because Bukharin is charged with attempting to assassinate the leaders of the Party as far back as 1918, with raising a hand against the life of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in 1918.

VYSHINSKY: I am not overstepping the Code of Criminal Procedure. If you like, you can say "no," but I may ask.

Bukharin: Quite right.

THE PRESIDENT: The consent of the accused is not required.

VYSHINSKY: You made no connections with the police?

Bukharin: Absolutely.

VYSHINSKY: Like Chernov in the bus. I am asking you about connections with some police authority.

Bukharin: I had no connections with any police authorities whatsoever.

VYSHINSKY: Then why was it so easy for you to join a bloc which was engaged in espionage work?

Bukharin: Concerning espionage work I know absolutely nothing.

VYSHINSKY: What do you mean, you don't know?

Bukharin: Just that.

VYSHINSKY: And what was the bloc engaged in?

Bukharin: Two people testified here about espionage, Sharangovich and Ivanov, that is to say, two agents-provocateurs.

VYSHINSKY: Accused Bukharin, do you consider Rykov an agent-provocateur?

Bukharin: No, I do not.

VYSHINSKY (to Rykov): Accused Rykov, do you know that the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" conducted espionage work?

Rykov: I know there were organizations that conducted espionage work.

VYSHINSKY: Tell me, did the Byelorussian national-fascist organization, which was part of your "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" and which was led by the accused Sharangovich, conduct espionage work?

Rykov: I have already spoken about that.

VYSHINSKY: It conducted espionage work?

Rykov: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: It was connected with the Polish intelligence service?

Rykov: Yes.

VYSHINSKY: You knew about this?

Rykov: I did.

VYSHINSKY: And Bukharin did not know?

Rykov: In my opinion, Bukharin also knew.

VYSHINSKY: So, accused Bukharin, it is not Sharangovich who says so, but your pal Rykov.

Bukharin: Nevertheless I did not know.

THE PRESIDENT: Comrade Prosecutor, have you any more questions?

VYSHINSKY: I want to make myself clear to the accused Bukharin. Do you understand now why I asked you about Austria?

Bukharin: My connection with the Austrian police consisted in my imprisonment in an Austrian fortress.

VYSHINSKY: Accused Sharangovich, you were a Polish spy, although you have been in prison?

Sharangovich: Yes, although I have been in prison.

Bukharin: I have been in a Swedish prison, twice in a Russian prison, and in a German prison.

VYSHINSKY: The fact that you have been in jail is no proof that you could not have been a spy.

Accused Rykov, you confirm that after all his terms of confinement in the prisons of various countries, Bukharin, with you, knew of Sharangovich's spy connection with the Polish intelligence service? Knew about it and approved of it?

Rykov: I knew of organizations which conducted espionage work.

VYSHINSKY: The fact that Bukharin had been in various prisons did not prevent him from approving his accomplices' connections with the Polish intelligence service. You understand this?

Rykov: No, I do not.

VYSHINSKY: Bukharin understands it.

Bukharin: I understand, but I deny it.


Bukharin: I must speak briefly about the various stages. Practically speaking, the foundations for my counter-revolutionary activity as far as the Right deviation is concerned, its evolution down to the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites," with corresponding methods of struggle, with corresponding criminal actions, were laid deliberately as far back as 1919-20, when from my pupils at the Sverdlov University I mustered a distinct group, which began to develop very quickly into a faction. The membership of this group is known. It is in the material of the investigation, and as far as I can judge by the remarks of Citizen the Procurator he has information on the subject.

VYSHINSKY: Among your pupils was Slepkov, the man you sent to the North Caucasus to organize insurrections?

Bukharin: Quite true. I can cite several more facts.

VYSHINSKY: Of the same kind?

Bukharin: No, not of the same kind.

VYSHINSKY: But of the same type?

Bukharin: No.

VYSHINSKY: Well, something similar to it?

Bukharin: Excuse me, I cannot explain everything in one word.

VYSHINSKY: Continue.

Bukharin: A certain nucleus of cadres was formed which subsequently became one of the component parts in the aggregate counter-revolutionary organization of the Rights, and then, consequently, of the "bloc of Rights and Trotskyites."

About 1923 I wrote a so-called memorandum, which was to be handed to the Central Committee; however, I did not submit it and it passed into circulation among the circles of this school among whom certain views became current which subsequently grew, blossomed and bore correspondingly poisonous fruit. In this memorandum I said that in the leadership of the Party one crisis would give place...

VYSHINSKY: What you wrote in it is not of the slightest interest to us now.

Bukharin: In 1928, when elements of a crisis appeared in the country in the relations between the proletariat and the peasantry, and the Party leadership, headed by Stalin, mapped out a course of overcoming the difficulties and of an offensive against the kulaks, the opposition began to take shape-at first only as an opposition. One of the episodes was that in that year I went to G. G. Yagoda, then head of the O.G.P.U., to get tendentiously picked data; lie gave me suitably picked data, which I then used to form my counter-revolutionary ideology and corresponding actions based on this ideology.

VYSHINSKY: When did your counter-revolutionary Right organization take shape?

Bukharin: My rapprochement with Tomsky and Rykov dates approximately to 1928-29 - then contacts and sounding out the then members of the Central Committee, illegal conferences which were illegal in respect of the Central Committee; consequently, the organization overstepped the bounds of Soviet state legality, and it was on this basis that there quickly arose a peculiar organization of the leadership of the Right organization, which may be depicted as a hierarchy, approximately like this: the trio - Rykov, Tomsky and myself, who were members of the Political Bureau at that time, opposition members of the Central Committee who by virtue of their views had already developed into a counter-revolutionary grouping; then various groupings, the chief component parts of which should be listed as follows: Bukharin and his notorious school in the first place, Tomsky and his trade union cadres in the second place, Rykov and his secretaries and people of the Soviet apparatus in the third place, Uglanov with Moscow district officials and a group in the Industrial Academy in the fourth place. In this manner the upper clique of this counter-revolutionary organization was formed.

VYSHINSKY: And where did Yagoda come in?

Bukharin: Yagoda stood aside.

VYSHINSKY: Was he connected with you?

Bukharin: Yes, he was.

VYSHINSKY: He helped you to pick tendentious data?

Bukharin: Quite right.

VYSHINSKY: So, he was a participant...

Bukharin: I am speaking now about the hierarchy of the leadership, and therefore as far as Yagoda...

VYSHINSKY: I simply did not want the accused Yagoda to be slighted.

Bukharin: Here began the quest for blocs. Firstly, my meeting with Kamenev at his apartment. Secondly, a meeting with Pyatakov in the hospital, at which Kamenev was present. Thirdly, a meeting with Kamenev at Schmidt's country house.

I forgot to say that in 1928 on the basis of and in connection with a statement made by representatives of a whole group in the Central Committee, at that time an opposition group, but who were already swinging. to counter-revolutionary views, and on the basis of a corresponding plan, I drew up the so-called platform of 1928.

I am mentioning it not because it was widely circulated and not because its ideas, as you know, formed the basis of all practical steps at that time and it became the principle underlying the ideology, but because at the second sounding out of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite circles, namely at the meeting with Kamenev and Pyatakov, I showed the economic section of this platform to the persons referred to.

I do not know whether you are interested in a detailed...

THE PRESIDENT: I think these episodes could be related more briefly.

Bukharin: Very well. The meeting with Kamenev at his apartment. Here there were extremely slanderous conversations about the leadership of the Party, the Party regime, the organization of hunger, civil war in the country, scurrilous attacks on the Party leadership, and so on and so forth.

The meeting in the hospital. I repeat that inasmuch as the economic platform met with some disparagement, no agreement was reached on this occasion, but we sounded and tested each other, and an attempt at an agreement was made.

Thirdly, and lastly, the meeting at the country house of Vasily Schmidt, who was not there himself and at which myself, my secretary Tseitlin, Kamenev and Tomsky were present. On this occasion the conversation was comparatively short and consisted in a discussion of the tactics which we opposition members of the Central Committee should pursue at the forthcoming Plenum of the Central Committee. Kamenev's position was that of urging us on to taking action, but we were also waiting for an opportunity. So that I regard all these three attempts as quests for criminal connections and a criminal bloc against the Party leadership and the Party with those circles which were grouped around Kamenev and Zinoviev on the one hand, and the Trotskyite Pyatakov on the other.

The next stage in the development of the counterrevolutionary organization of the Rights began in 1930-31. At that time there was a great sharpening of the class struggle, of kulak sabotage, kulak resistance to the policy of the Party, etc.

I consider this stage the transition to "double entry bookkeeping" all along the line. The trio became an illegal centre and therefore, whereas this trio had previously been at the head of the opposition circles, now it became the centre of an illegal counterrevolutionary organization. And inasmuch as they, I repeat, were illegal in relation to the Party, they became thereby illegal in relation to the Soviet authorities.

Close to this illegal centre was Yenukidze, who had contact with this centre through Tomsky. Uglanov, whose influence in the Party organization was quite considerable because only a short time back he had been leading the Moscow Party organization, was also close to the centre at that time.

Around this time, approximately towards the end of 1931, the members of the so-called school were transferred to work outside of Moscow - to Voronezh, Samara, Leningrad, Novoslbirsk - and this transfer was utilized for counter-revolutionary purposes even then.

VYSHINSKY: How was it utilized?

Bukharin: It was utilized In the sense that we members of this illegal trio, members of the Right centre, myself among them, gave these demoralized people a direct charge, a direct commission, primarily about recruiting people. As regards Yagoda, if my memory does riot fail me, according. to A. I. Rykov he at that time demanded a special status for himself, insisting on it particularly just then.

VYSHINSKY: A special status in what sense?

Bukharin: A special status within the Right organization in the sense of specially secretive forms of concealment, which is quite understandable in view of the position he held in the official, Soviet hierarchy.

VYSHINSKY: He got this status?

Bukharin: He got this status. About the autumn of 1932 the next stage in the development of the Right organization began, namely the transition to tactics of a forcible overthrow of Soviet power.

VYSHINSKY: What year do you date it from?

Bukharin: I date it approximately from the summer of 1932. But, in general, Citizen State Prosecutor, I must say that it should be borne in mind that all this division into periods Is of an arbitrary character, because, for example, if I take the fact of Yakovenko's having been sent with my permission and the permission of the Right centre, I have referred to facts concerning which you have questioned me and concerning which I gave you an affirmative reply. They relate to an earlier period. From this I only draw the conclusion that if dates do not coincide, this can in no wise rye to disprove the criminal nature of one or another act, because there ryas no clear line of demarcation here. Furthermore, in some cases, as in the case of Yakovenko, there was such a hectic situation that it gave rise to a corresponding criminal reaction on our part.

Proceeding to the tactics of forcible overthrow in general, I make note of the time when the so-called Ryutin platform was formulated. Much has been said here about the Ryutin platform, and perhaps there is no need to dwell upon it. It was called the Ryutin platform for reasons of secrecy, as an insurance against exposure; it was called the Ryutin platform in order to conceal the Right centre and its top leadership. Furthermore, I must say in addition: I think that the Ryutin platform - that is why I permit myself to hold your attention for a few minutes longer - the Ryutin platform, as far as I. can remember during the trial, the platform of the Right counterrevolutionary organization, was perhaps already actually a common platform of the other groupings, including the Kamenev-Zinoviev and Trotskyite groupings.

It was just at this very moment that the situation became such that Trotsky had to throw off his Leftist uniform. Whets It came to exact formulations of what had to be done after all, his Right platform came into evidence at once, that is, he had to speak of decollectivization, etc.

VYSHINSKY: That is, you equipped Trotskyism ideologically too?

Bukharin: Quite true. Here the correlation of forces was such that Trotsky insisted on more drastic methods of struggle and we to a certain extent armed him ideologically. (To Vyshinsky.) Is that all I need say about the Ryutin platform?

VYSHINSKY: That is your affair.

Bukharin: No, I am asking if it interests you or not.

VYSHINSKY: I am interested in your crimes.

Bukharin: Very well, but these crimes are so numerous, Citizen Procurator, that it is necessary to pick out the most important.

VYSHINSKY: I am interested in all of them-not in a selection, but from beginning to end.

THE PRESIDENT: So far you are still beating about the bush, you are saying nothing about your crimes.

Bukharin: So you do not consider an illegal organization a crime, nor do you consider the Ryutin platform a crime?

VYSHINSKY: That is not the question, but you are told you are beating about the bush.

THE PRESIDENT: Accused Bukharin, I request you not to engage in cross-talk, but to speak if you want to speak.

Bukharin: I will speak.

THE PRESIDENT: According to procedure, the session should close in fifteen minutes. I ask you to wind up your thoughts or to finish.

VYSHINSKY: You mentioned Yagoda. I would like to question Yagoda. Accused Yagoda, please tell us if you demanded Of the bloc that you should be put in a specially secret position.

Yagoda: Yes, there was such a demand on my part.

VYSHINSKY: Do you remember under what circumstances this took place and with whom you spoke about it?

Yagoda: I spoke with Rykov.

VYSHINSKY: Accused Rykov, do you confirm this?

Rykov: I confirm it, I have already spoken about this in my preliminary testimony.

VYSHINSKY: Continue.

Bukharin: The Ryutin platform registered the transition to the tactics of overthrowing the Soviet power by force.

In this connection, I think I should dwell on the conference of 1932. Those people who had been sent to various places outside Moscow, consisting for the most part of "young people," returned from their localities and on the initiative of Slepkov and with my sanction called a conference at the end of the summer of 1932, at which reports from the localities were made.


Bukharin: Illegal. The conference was illegal, the work was illegal, the reports were illegal and the reports were about illegal work.

VYSHINSKY: The conference was counter-revolutionary, the reports were counter-revolutionary, and the reports were about counter-revolutionary work.

Bukharin: Yes, the whole thing was counter-revolutionary. Incidentally, one of the points on the agenda of this conference was the question of the Ryutin platform, and the conference approved this Ryutin platform. After this there was a conference of the "trio," plus Uglanov. I was not present at this conference because I was on my vacation, but when I returned from my vacation I fully agreed with this platform and I bear full responsibility for it. The Ryutin platform was approved on behalf of the Right centre. The essential points of the Ryutin platform were: a "palace coup," terrorism, steering a course for a direct alliance with the Trotskyites. Around this time the idea of a "palace coup" was maturing in the Right circles, and not only in the upper circles, but also, as far as I remember, among a section of those working outside of Moscow. At first this idea came from Tomsky, who was in contact with Yenukidze. This thought occurred to Tomsky in connection with the possibilities of using the official position of Yenukidze, who had charge of the Kremlin guard at that time. Here we have the logic of the struggle and the disappearance of avenues for legal work, the development of this idea, the consolidation of the ties between Tomsky and Yenukidze, and between Rykov and Yagoda. Tomsky said that Yenukidze agreed to take an active part in this coup. Tomsky also said that Yenukidze had enlisted Peterson. And here, speaking ironically, from an academic formulation of the question, the question matured into a practical formulation, because elements of the organization of this coup were present.

Consequently, it was already then that the plan was being made and the organizational forces picked to carry it out, that is to say, the recruiting of people for a "palace coup." This was when the political bloc with Kamenev and Zinoviev originated. In this period we had meetings also with Syrtsov and Lominadze.

I must say, only I ask the Court not to understand it as a desire to mitigate the charges against me, that the political tendencies in this group were not entirely undifferentiated, that the Rights were not united with the Trotskyites: the Trotskyites counted on terrorism while the Rights put their hopes in an insurrectionary movement. The Rights urged the organization on to mass action.

I think this is no mitigation, but in this case I am telling you what took place and what was known from the reports which were given then. We counted on enlisting the masses.

I had talks with Pyatakov, Tomsky and Rykov. Rykov had talks with Kamenev, and Zinoviev with Pyatakov.

In the summer of 1932 I had a second conversation with Pyatakov in the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry. At that time this was a very simple matter for me, since I was working under Pyatakov. At that time he was my boss. I had to go into his private office on business, and I could do so without arousing suspicion. Neither did the fact that I would sit in his private office for so long arouse any suspicion. There was no telling what business had to be transacted.

VYSHINSKY: You made use of all the legal opportunities for illegal conversations.

Bukharin: I utilized legal opportunities for anti-Soviet, illegal purposes. In this talk, which took place in the summer of 1932, Pyatakov told me of his meeting with Sedov concerning Trotsky's policy of terrorism. At that time Pyatakov and I considered that these were not our ideas, but we decided that we would find a common language very soon and that our differences in the struggle against Soviet power would be overcome. Tomsky and Rykov, I may be mistaken, spoke with Kamenev and Sokolnikov. I remember that at that time Tomsky particularly insisted on a coup d'état and a concentration of all forces, while the members of the Right centre orientated themselves on an insurrectionary movement.

By the end of 1932-the Ryutin platform dates to the autumn or the end of the summer of 1932, the conference dates...

THE PRESIDENT: The session is drawing to a close, conclude.

Bukharin: Then I will merely conclude the thought that the counter-revolutionary bloc of Rights, Trotskyites and Kamenev-Zinovievites was formed at the end of 1932.

THE PRESIDENT: The Court is adjourned until March 7, 11 a.m.

Army Military Jurist
President of the Military Collegium of
the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R.
Military Jurist First Rank