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The Militant, 6 July 1946

New Purge Is Stalin’s Answer to Economic Crisis in Soviet Union

Trials Strike at Almost Every Branch of Industry

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 27, 6 July 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The sinister news that has periodically shocked the world working class once again comes from Moscow: Another purge is on. Like its predecessors, the new purge strikes at virtually every sphere of Soviet life.

The very first Moscow report: discloses that involved are branches of industry from the still-devastated areas in the Ukraine, through Leningrad to the distant Urals and beyond. Everywhere, government and factory officials are being dismissed, indicted for trial, fined and jailed.

Simultaneously, Stalin has finally released the long-suppressed news that savage purges were likewise employed in wartime: Two autonomous Soviet Republics – the Crimean and Chechen-Ingush – had been “liquidated.” Other Republics dissolved during the war were the German Volga, Kalmyk and Karachayev, making a total of five. In violation of Stalin’s own constitution, which prohibits such action, millions of Soviet citizens were torn in wartime from their homes and thrown into slave-labor camps to die slow deaths. There was no pretext of any trials.

The “peacetime” purge comeson the heels of new military regulations which surpass in harshness even the wartime code. This code, as last week’s Militant reported, establishes special officers’ courts for the wholesale elimination of oppositional elements in the armed forces.

Hollow Boasts

These developments prove how hollow were the boasts that the Kremlin’s regime had been greatly strengthened by the victorious end of the war. Stalin’s rule remains the regime of crisis it has been from its inception. To survive, Stalin is compelled to resort to the same bestial methods of rule – terror and repression – by which he has maintained himself up to now.

The pattern, too, remains essentially the same. The only change is in the wording of the charges against the scapegoats. During the monstrous 1936–38 blood baths, in which all of Lenin’s co-workers were slaughtered, the main charge was “sabotage” – in the interests of a foreign capitalist power. The formula for the 1946 purge is “embezzlement.” No mention has yet been made of agents of foreign powers, or of “Trotskyists,” etc. Not yet, that is.

The “various responsible persons” in government bureaus and plants are as yet indicted only on the following counts: falsifying production figures, illegal distribution of bonuses, mismanagement of industry, shipment of sub-standard products, all sorts of embezzlement of funds and supplies.

Branches Involved

The following branches of industry are already reported involved: the Russian Diesel Plant; Schekin Coal Trust; Dniepropetrovsk Metallurgical Equipment Plant; Katek Automobile Works; Novosibirsk Meat and Dairy Produce Ministry; Ministry of Aviation; Ministry of Agricultural Machinery.

The sweeping nature of the purge is strikingly exemplified by the fact that it has already reached the Council of Ministers appointed amid great fanfare early this year. Thus, the Minister of Agricultural Machinery, B.L. Vannikov, has already been “dismissed” from his job.

This latest purge, carefully prepared for months behind the scenes, will in all likelihood surpass the blood-baths of the past in which millions were involved.

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Last updated on 26 June 2021