Leon Trotsky

Bessedovsky’s “Revelations”

Written: 21 December 1929
First Published: The Militant, Vol. 3, No. 3, January 18, 1930
Source: Microfilm collection and original bound volumes for The Militant provided by the Holt Labor Library, San Francisco, California.
Transcription\HTML Markup: D. Walters
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You ask me what “value” the abundant “revelations” of Bessedovsky have. I confess that I have not read them, because the first article that came to hand seemed to me vacuous. After your request, I perused a number of the articles. Of course I have no way of verifying all his information, since a series of facts he recounts are entirely unknown to me, even by hearsay. Nevertheless I have run across at least a dozen facts with which I am personally acquainted. The others I can judge only according to knowledge of the circumstances, the persons, etc. Within these rather broad limits, Bessedovsky’s memoirs are impressive for their fantasy, a fantasy of that particular character known among us as “Chlestakov” (from the name of one of Gogol’s heroes, Chlestakov). It is a combined lie, where the element of personal interest joins with an unrestrained imagination lacking any direction. In many instances, Bessedovsky’s inventions have quite defined and despicable aims. He is trying to serve those who would like to muddle the relations between Germany and the USSR and provoke a rupture between Moscow and Paris. At the same time he wants to furnish arguments for the most belligerent elements in Poland and other neighbouring countries. Since despite his rather representative official position he played only a second- or third-rate role, he employs for his concoctions the petty crumbs that reached him from tables where he had no place. But often his fantasy has no aim and rather indicates an imbalanced mind.

Incidentally, I am told that Bessedovsky until recently not only took part in the bureau of the Communist cell at the embassy [in Paris], but that he played one of the leading roles in the commission which purged the cell of ... Oppositionists. As you see, he is a man quite qualified for that! This fact at the same time makes clear the political “evolution” that Bessedovsky has made ... not in twenty-four hours but in a much shorter time.


Communist greetings,
L. Trotsky

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Last updated on: 1.9.2012