The Red Book

On the Moscow Trials


Besides the sixteen who were shot, mention is made in the case of a large number of people accused of being terrorists or of taking part in terrorist activity. None of them, for reasons unknown and in complete contradiction with the rules of justice, was called to trial either as a defendant or as a witness. (We are not speaking of Safonova or Yakovlev who acted as Vyshinsky’s right-hand men at the trial.) The indictment states that the cases of 1) Gaven, 2) Gertik, 3) Karev, 4) Konstant, 5) Matorin, 6) P. Olberg, 7) Radin, 8) Safonova, 9) Faivilovich, 10) Schmidt, 11) Esterman, 12) Kuzmichev, – “have been set aside.” Why? For purely arbitrary reasons. Gaven, for example, whom we will later discuss more fully, is mentioned several times as a courier of terrorist instructions from Trotsky to Smirnov, – and is absent from the trial. Gertik, Faivilovich, Karev, and Radin “organized” Kirov’s assassination; Schmidt, Esterman, Kuzmichev “organized” Voroshilov’s assassination, etc. But regarding these twelve persons, at least the indictment mentions that their cases have been set aside. There are other people of whom nothing is said. Here is the list: [32]

1. Anishev, sentenced to six years in prison in the first Zinoviev trial;
2. Arkus, old party member, a leading finance worker;
3. Bogdan, old party member, former secretary of Zinoviev (committed suicide);
4. Bukharin, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, former member of the Politburo, former leader of the Comintern, editor of Izvestia;
5. Dreitzer, sister of the one who was shot;
6. Eismont, old party member, already arrested in 1932;
7. Fedotov;
8. Friedland, young Soviet theoretician;
9. Friedman;
10. Furtyshev, old party member;
11. Gaevsky, old communist, hero of the Civil War;
12. Grunstein, old Bolshevik, former political convict, occupied an important position in military affairs;
13. Hertzberg, old party member, sentenced in the first Zinoviev trial;
14. Kuklin, one of the oldest worker-Bolsheviks, one of the leaders of the Leningrad party organization, former member of the Central Committee, sentenced to 10 years in prison in the first Zinoviev trial;
15. Kunt;
16. Lipshitz P.;
17. Lominadze, former secretary of the Communist Youth International, one of the leaders of the youth movement, former member of the Central Committee (committed suicide);
18. Medvedev, old Bolshevik, leader of the former Workers Opposition;
19. Mukhin;
20. Okudzhava, one of the oldest Bolsheviks, leader of the Party in the Caucasus;
21. Piatokov, old Bolshevik, member of the Central Committee, Deputy People’s Commissar of Heavy Industry;
22. Putna, great military figure, until most recently military attache in London;
23. Radek, former member of the Central Committee, famous journalist;
24. Riutin, former member of the Central Committee and leader of the Moscow party organization;
25. Rykov, member of the Central Committee, former Chairman of the Soviet of People’s Commissars, only recently removed as People’s Commissar of Post and Telegraph;
26. Serebriakov, one of the oldest worker-Bolsheviks, former secretary of the Central Committee;
27. Sharov, old worker-Bolshevik, Zinovievist, sentenced to eight years in prison in the first Zinoviev trial;
28. Shatskin, one of the leaders of the Lominadze group, old member of the party, former leader of the Communist Youth International;
29. Shliapnikov, old Bolshevik, former member of the Central Committee, leader of the former Workers Opposition;
30. Shtykgold, old party member, former secretary of Skliansky, Trotksy’s deputy during the Civil War;
31. Slepkov, young theoretician from the right-wing of the “Bukharin school,” journalist;
32. Smilga, I.I., former member of the Central Committee, one of the leaders of the October insurrection, occupied leading positions in military and economic affairs;
33. Sokolnikov, old Bolshevik, a former military leader, former People’s Commissar of Finance, former member of the Central Committee ;
34. Sten, one of the leaders of Lominadze group (“leftists”), old party member, former member of the Central Control Commission;
35. Tomsky, former leader of the trade unions, former member of the Central Committee and the Politburo (committed suicide);
36. Uglanov, former secretary of the Central Committee and the Moscow Committee; one of the leaders of the Right Opposition;
37. Yakovlev;
38. Yatsek, old party member;
39. Yelin;
40. Yudin;
41. Zaidel.

All these men are accused of either active terrorist activity, – the overwhelming majority, – or of having shown sympathy for terrorism and maintaining connections with the terrorists!

One must add to this list[33] those who were sentenced at the same time as Zinoviev, in January 1935, and who are not on the preceding lists: 1) Sakhov, 2) Gorshenin, 3) Tsarkov, 4) Fedorov, 5) Hessen, 6) Tarasov, 7) Perimov, 8) Bashkirov, 9) Bravo, (the majority of these are old Bolsheviks). One must also count the 78 old Bolshevik-Zinovievists (Zalutsky, Vardin and others) interned in a concentration camp in connection with the first Zinoviev trial. One must also add the principal accused of this trial, Trotsky, and also Sedov. We thus obtain a list of 142 people. Each of them is accused of the blackest of crimes. With but a few exceptions, this list is composed of the most famous representatives of Bolshevism.

If anyone were to compose a list of the 20-25 most prominent representatives of Bolshevism, those who played the greatest role in the history of the party and the revolution, we could easily recommend that he take as a base this list plus the old Bolsheviks executed following the Moscow trial. This list would contain six former members of the Politburo and leaders of the party: Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov, Tomsky and Trotsky. In Lenin’s Politburo there were five from this list, plus Lenin and Stalin. Of the members of Lenin’s Politburo only Stalin remains today. The others have either been shot or accused of terrorism (Tomsky committed suicide).

In Lenin’s Testament, six men are mentioned: Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, and Piatakov, these last two as “the most outstanding of the youth.” Two of the revolutionaries mentioned by Lenin in his Testament were shot by Stalin; Trotsky is, as it were, sentenced to death in absentia; Piatakov is in prison on the charge of terrorism. Bukharin has been pardoned – but for how long, we don’t know. Once again, Stalin alone remains. Among those shot and those who were mentioned in the trial as having participated in terrorism, there are 19 former members of the Central Committee: Bukharin, Evdokimov, Fedorov, Kamenev, Kuklin, Lominadze, Piatakov, Radek, Riutin, Rykov, Serebriakov, Shliapnikov, Smilga, Smirnov, Sokolnikov, Tomsky, Trotsky, Uglanov, Zinoviev (Bukharin and Rykov are still members of the Central Committee!), and three former members of the Central Control Commission: Bakaev, Gaven, Sten. The whole flower of the Bolshevik Party, all the leaders of the October Revolution, prove to be “mad dogs,” “bandits,” and “agents of the Gestapo.” If we add to the 142 whom we counted above, the 16 shot, then the 102 shot in connection with Kirov’s assassination, the so-called White Guards, the 14 shot in the Nikolaev affair, the 12 GPU men who were sentenced (there are the real guilty ones!), we obtain a total of 286 people of the greatest diversity and who often had nothing in common. With the exception of Nikolaev, some of his friends and several members of the Leningrad GPU, none had the slightest connection with Kirov’s assassination. They are nonetheless accused by Stalin of having had a hand in this assassination and we don’t know how many more times Stalin will drag out Kirov’s corpse, nor how many people he will accuse of being responsible for this assassination or of having participated in it. And how many men have been shot “in secret,” without anyone knowing anything about it? How many tens of thousands have been deported or interned in a concentration camp?

* * *

We have already said that the composition of the accused was arbitrary, not only because we are dealing with an amalgam, but also because Stalin could not break all the intended defendants. The list of the accused has certainly changed more than once and was not in its final form until the very day the prosecutor signed the indictment. The fact that Stalin chose the sixteen defendants from a much more extensive list, flows not only from our general considerations, but can also be demonstrated almost mathematically.

The dossier of each defendant carries a number (these numbers are indicated in parentheses in the quotes from the depositions). If we arrange the defendants in alphabetical order, we obtain the following table[34].

Bakaev   1
Berman-Yurin   4
David, Fritz   8
Dreitzer 10
Zinoviev 12
Kamenev 15
Mrachkovsky 18
Olberg, V. 21
Pikel 25
Reingold 27
Smirnov, I.N. 29

The numbers of the dossiers of these eleven defendants are strictly in alphabetical order (Russian). Since Holtzman’s testimony is not quoted at all during the trial, the number of his dossier remains unknown to us. The other defendants have the following numbers [35]:

Lurie, M. 32
Lurie, N. 33
Evdokimov 36
Ter-Vaganian 38

Using these tables we see that a whole series of numbers is missing, i.e. along with the numbers, the prisoners are missing to whom the given cases correspond. For a total of 19 people (plus dossier No.31, of which we spoke in the note), there are 38 numbers. To whom, therefore, do the other 18 correspond? It seems very likely to us that with a few exceptions, such as Safanova, whom the GPU is perhaps saving for a future trial, these “absent” defendants are those whom Stalin could not succeed in breaking and whom he most likely shot without trial.


[32] We do not include here the persons who, according to the court information, are abroad: Weiz, Slomovitz, etc. (L.S.)

[33] In this list, it would also be possible to include Ruth Fischer and Maslow. (L.S.)

[34] (For this demonstration to retain its value, we have preserved the Russian alphabetical order.) A dossier No.31 also appears in the case, in which Reingold, Pikel, Safonova, and Dreitzer’s depositions were collected. It seems this is a unique case. There is also another group of dossiers carrying numbers: 3–Karev, 14–Matorin, 24–Olberg, P. They are not in alphabetical order, probably because each of them refers especially to one of the defendants: Karev to Bakaev, Matorin to Zinoviev and Kamenev, and Olberg to his brother. This is probably why their numbers follow the numbers of the defendants to whom they are linked. (L.S.)

[35] The fact that Evdotimov and Ter-Vaganian come only at the end seems to be explained by the fact that in the early stages Stalin did not intend to bring them to trial. Le us point out also that Evdokimov’s confessions date only from August 10, that is, a few days before the publication of the indictment and those of Ter-Vaganian only from August 14, that is, the very day the prosecutor signed the indictment. Having obtained these confessions, the prosecutor hurried to draw up the indictment and to sign it. It was also probable that the two Luries were not originally intended to be included in the trial and that they were added only later.

Last updated on: 13.2.2005