The Red Book

On the Moscow Trials


Stalin not only shoots Bolsheviks, – he even manages to summon them from the dead. It is not necessary here to remind ourselves about Kirov’s corpse. But, in this case, his is not the only corpse.

An old member of the party, Bogdan, worked for many years as Zinoviev’s secretary. A few years ago Bogdan was expelled from the party. He then could not stand up to Stalin’s persecution and insults and committed suicide. [68] This suicide had a rather powerful impact in the party at that time. There was talk of the blind alley into which Stalin drove those who allowed themselves even once to have their own opinion. But evidently that is exactly why Stalin decided to bring Bogdan’s corpse to trial. He had to “take revenge” on Zinoviev and the others for the fact that they probably had allowed themselves in their own circles to talk about Bogdan as a victim of the Stalinist regime. For this reason it was announced at the trial that: “Bogdan’s suicide amounted to an assassination decided on by the terrorist center ... Bakaev persuaded Bogdan to carry out an attack on Stalin or to commit suicide. Bogdan committed suicide and left behind, as he had been directed, a note describing himself as the victim of a party purge.” (Pikel’s testimony).

Here, lying passes into a kind of senseless delirium. Let us admit that Bogdan really had to try to assassinate Stalin and that this attempt, as they tell us during the trial, did not succeed. But why would it have been necessary to insist that he commit suicide? As a punishment for the failure of his attempt? Were there other “attempts,” then, which did succeed? Not a single one! Why didn’t the others kill themselves? Where and when have there ever been unhappy terrorists who killed themselves on an order received from above? Bogdan even “left a note describing himself as the victim of a party purge.”

Evidently this “victim of Zinoviev” lied before his death ... only to make things unpleasant for Stalin. Around this fact which is “simple” in its tragedy – the suicide of a persecuted member of the party – Stalin weaves a whole web of some kind of pathological and delirious lies. At times it seems that you’re reading The Possessed [69] ...

The history of this case is as follows. Reingold testifies that “the Trotskyist-Zinovievist Center, after it had come to power, planned to annihilate all of its own members who had taken a direct and immediate part in terrorism.” This testimony is the product of Stalin’s “own” creativity! Whoever knows the “beloved leader” even a little bit could not doubt it. These methods, to shoot his own agents who are now dangerous because they know too much, are his methods, the methods of a man stopping at nothing, without scruple in his choice of methods and capable of anything. That’s how he proceeded at the trial of the 14 (Nikolaev and the others), where there were GPU agents among those shot. That’s the way he proceeded during the present trial. Psychologically Stalin betrays himself here. He attributes his own baseness to his victims.

We know how far Zinoviev and Kamenev were from power. But, we are told, they not only dreamed of power, not only divided portfolios among themselves, above all, of course, the portfolio of the GPU, but they even thought of shooting their own supporters who knew too much! What foresight! You might think that Zinoviev and Kamenev had no other worries. What’s more, they even went so far as to divulge their plans in advance, as if to warn their supporters of what awaited them in case they were successful. Undoubtedly, the (Stalinist) GPU had the special task of keeping the terrorists alive who had carried out assassinations, so that they and all their comrades could be shot by the (Zinovievist) GPU, once Zinoviev had taken power!

Even model defendants like Zinoviev and Kamenev didn’t agree to lake this nightmare upon themselves. “It’s out of Jules Verne,” said Zinoviev, “these are tales from the Arabian Nights.” The clown of a prosecutor interrupts him with artificial pathos: “And the assassination of Bogdan, Zinoviev’s secretary, what is that?! A fairy tale?”

Why is Bogdan mentioned here? The “plan” for exterminating their own supporters was to have been carried out by Zinoviev and Kamenev after taking power, by means of the GPU, which was to be headed by Bakaev. Or had Zinoviev and Kamenev already taken power? And had Bakaev already taken over the GPU?

It makes your hair stand on end to read this Stalinist edition of The Possessed. How far the degeneration of the Russian Revolution must have gone, for Stalin to be able to circulate this shameless monstosity ... as Soviet justice.


[68] A few years earlier, under analogous circumstances, L. Trotsky’s secretary, M.S. Glazman, committed suicide. This exceedingly pure and dedicated revolutionary shot himself after his expulsion from the party. (L.S.)

[69] The Possessed: Dostoevsky’s novel about revolutionary terrorist circles in Tsarist Russia.

Last updated on: 13.2.2005