From New International, Vol. 5 No. 5, May 1939, pp. 143–144.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
ALL CITIZENS OF THE Soviet Union are today studying, as is their duty, the Stalinist History of the CPSU, the unique codification of lies and frame-ups. Among the students are of course to be found thousands of thinking representatives of the youth who are trained in handling facts and checking history by documents. Many of them doubtless ask those official leaders whom they have least cause to fear: “But why do we find that the assertions in this ‘history’ are refuted at every step by the newspapers and periodicals of the corresponding period?” The instructor, a finger upon his lips, replies significantly: “One must learn to work in the Stalinist manner.” This means, one must learn how to lie expediently, or at least wink one’s eyes at the totalitarian lie.
We are struck with a peculiar kind of astonishment by the revelations of Vyshinsky and other Stalinist overlords on the subject of illegal persecutions, fake investigations, forced confessions, etc. The Soviet press, especially Pravda, Stalin’s own and almost-chaste daughter, waxes indignant. It is an unheard-of thing, that in our Fatherland, secretaries, investigating magistrates, prosecutors and judges should be guided by base personal considerations in persecuting honest citizens, placing false accusations against them or extorting false testimony from them! And all this on the road from socialism to communism! Incredible!
“Let us work in the Stalinist manner,” chants daily the almost-virginal Pravda, and after her the rest of the press. “Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed!” echo all the local big and little satraps. And following in Stalin’s footsteps they promptly liquidate anyone who dares criticize them or crosses their path or simply casts upon them the reproachful glance of an honest man. The measures of the Kremlin clique inevitably become the measures of local cliques. “We too must work in the Stalinist manner,” say in self-justification all the petty cheats who encounter the same sort of difficulties as their sublime patron.
And this is where Vyshinsky comes into his own. In his sternest circular letter he explains: “Thou shalt not poach upon the prerogative of Stalin. The right of political frame-ups is his monopolistic privilege, for he is the Leader and Father of the Peoples.” The circular letter is very eloquent but can hardly prove effective. The Bonapartist regime, perhaps the most Bonpartist of all Bonapartist regimes in history, requires a numerically large hierarchy of swindlers and frame-up artists. The legal sphere, the military and historical “sciences”, the sphere of statistics, all spheres which bear directly or indirectly upon the interests of the ruling oligarchy – and which one does not? – each one needs its own Yagoda, its own Yezhov, its own Vyshinsky, its own Beria, and a whole detachment of storm troopers at their disposal. In the nature of things, honest and devoted people are to be found everywhere, in science, in technology, in economic institutions, in the army and even within the bureaucratic apparatus. But they are the ones who are dangerous. It is against them that it is necessary to select specialized slickers, 100% Stalinists, a hierarchy of flotsam and jetsam. These people are strung together with lies, frame-ups and deceit. They have no ideal higher than their own personal interests. How can one expect and demand of people for whom the frame-up serves as a legal and technical aid in their official capacity that they should not apply the frame-up for their personal aims? That would be against all laws of nature.
It is here that one of the tiny “lapses” of the Bonapartist system reveals itself. State power has been centralized but frame-ups have been decentralized. Yet the decentralization of frame-ups carries with it the greatest dangers. The petty provincial secretary or prosecutor demonstrates by his mode of action that he has completely penetrated into Stalin’s state secrets and knows how “enemies of the people” are manufactured and how confessions are extorted. The democratization of the frame-up signifies the direct exposure of Stalin. “Oho, so that’s how it’s done!” finally guesses the least discerning average citizen.
It goes without saying that Vyshinsky-Krechinsky is splendid when he comes to the fore as the standard-bearer of state morals. Who else is qualified if not he? Nevertheless his efforts are in vain. Bonapartism is a regime personalized through and through. All functionaries strive to have haircuts like Stalin and “to work like Stalin”. That is why frame-ups have become the all-permeating element of official life. In the end, his own frame-up will choke Stalin.
Last updated on 2.4.2013