A GREAT leader died. On December 1, 1934, Sergei Kirov, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was waylaid in Leningrad and shot dead. On December 21 the Soviet Government announced that the assassin, Nikolaiev, was a member of the so-called “Leningrad Center” of counter-revolutionists, a terrorist group bent on assassinating the highest officials of the Soviet.
Said the official communique:
“The investigation has established that the motive for the killing of Kirov was a plan of this underground anti-Soviet group to disorganize the leadership of the Soviet Government by means of terrorist acts directed against its chief leaders and thereby effect a change in policy along the lines of the so-called Zinoviev-Trotsky platform. . . . There was an additional motive for the killing of Kirov because Kirov had smashed the Leningrad group of former Zinoviev oppositionists both ideologically and politically.”
A few days later, Zinoviev, Kamenev and 17 members of another counter-revolutionary group, the so-called “Moscow Center”, were arrested and brought to trial. At the hearings, Zinoviev, apparently realizing the hopelessness of his situation, declared:
“This outrageous murder threw such an ominous light upon the whole previous anti-Party struggle, that I recognize the Party is absolutely right in speaking of the political responsibility of the former anti-Party Zinoviev group for the murder committed.”
Members of the Moscow Center, in their confessions, explained the nature of the degeneration that led to the murder. Said Yevdokimov:
“We were separated from the actual life of the country and we stewed in our own juice. Our counter-revolutionary connections were strengthened in us. Blinded by the wrath towards the leadership of the Party, we did not see what was occurring in the towns and villages. We did not see the colossal successes of Socialist construction. The tremendous historical processes of our country, influencing the international working-class movement, went by us. We appraised the difficulties arising in the process of growth in the countries as enemies, maliciously rejoicing at failures, and accusing the Party leadership of these failures.
“We did not see what every rank-and-file member saw. We did not notice the growth in the consciousness of strength, of the unity of the Party. We addressed Stalin with malicious counterrevolutionary insinuations. We accused the Party leadership that it did not accept measures to activize the international working-class movement. We slanderously asserted that the Central Committee handicapped the development of this movement.”
Another member of the group, Bashkirov, declared: “Nikolaiev’s shot resulted from the fact that he received his education in counter-revolution in the Trotsky-Zinoviev organization.”
Once more the name of Trotsky cropped up in connection with an attack on the Bolshevik Revolution. Once more Zinoviev (and his old associate, Kamenev) appeared as collaborating with Trotsky. This time it was no mere word barrage. A great hero was destroyed. New Russia was robbed of a talented, courageous and universally beloved working-class builder of the Socialist system. The blow was aimed at the very heart of the Revolution.
“The dregs of the Trotsky-Zinoviev opposition.” . . . This is how the Soviet masses termed the band of plotters. And once more a gigantic surge of hatred rose among the millions of friends of the Soviet Union the world over for this man, Trotsky.
Who is he? What is Trotskyism? What are its social roots? What is the international role of the Trotsky group?
The following is to be a brief answer to these questions:
Next: 1. Trotsky’s Career