Leon Trotsky

Spain, Stalin and Yezhov

Written: 4 March 1939.
Originally Published: Russian Bulletin of the Opposition, Nos. 75—76.
Source: Socialist Appeal [New York], April 24, 1939.
Translated: Socialist Appeal.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Martin Falgren & D Walters.
Public Domain: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive 2008. This work is completely free to copy and distribute.

Yezhov, the former head of the GPU, fell into disgrace for a number of reasons. But undoubtedly connected with his fall are the Spanish events. The rout of the armies of the republican government, which was brought about with the direct and most active participation of the GPU, represents a very great danger for both the GPU and its masters in the Kremlin.

Innumerable crimes committed on the Iberian Peninsula by the international scoundrels in Stalin’s employ must now inevitably come out into the open. Scores, hundreds, and thousands of witnesses, victims, and participants are now departing and fleeing from Spain to all parts of the world. They will carry with them everywhere their testimony concerning the crimes of the GPU in Spain. Truth will become accessible to broad circles of the population in all countries.

If the republicans had been victorious, many would have been inclined to condone Stalin’s crimes: “Conquerors are not brought to judgment.” But it has now become perfectly clear that the infamous murders of revolutionists only served to facilitate Franco’s victory. The blinders will fall from the eyes of many a blinded man.

In pursuance of his traditional method, Stalin has tried by a timely removal of Yezhov to say: “Yezhov is guilty of all this – not I.” But after all this, who will believe this cowardly cunning which begins to look more and more like stupidity? For the crimes in Spain, Stalin himself is personally answerable to the world working class—both for the perfidious policy of the Comintern and for the murderous policy of the GPU.

Almost in every country in the world there are people who have passed in one way or another through the hands of the GPU. After the massacre of Spain, the number of such individuals has enormously increased. When forced to free their victims from the clutching claws, the agents of the GPU usually say: “Remember we have far—reaching hands.” The fear of this threat seals many a lip.

We must now do all in our power to make the terrified ones speak up. Our comrades in all countries must explain to all former victims and semi—victims of the GPU that it is their direct duty to tell everything they know. Their relatives in the USSR will not suffer if the revelations assume a mass character. The organizations of the Fourth International can and must give these revelations a mass character. At present, this is an extremely urgent task in the struggle against the international Stalinist Mafia.


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Last updated on: 3 December 2015