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John G. Wright

Last of Lenin’s Colleagues Face Doom

(5 March 1938)

Soviet Union Notes, Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 10, 5 March 1938, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

N.I. Bukharin

Born 1888. “One of the leaders and theoreticians of the C.P.S.U., member of the C.E.C. and the Political Committee, editor of Pravda, member of the E.C.C.I.” (Small Soviet Encyclopedia) Son of a school-teacher. Participated as high-school student in 1905 revolution. Entered Bolshevik party in 1906. Member of Moscow Committee, 1908. Arrested several times. Exiled at end of 1910 to Onega, whence he escaped abroad. Became closely connected with Lenin, “who, immediately recognized his great abilities and talent.”

While abroad was arrested by Austrian police as a “spy,” but was set free on intervention of Austrian Socialists. Says the Small Encyclopedia: “this charge was too absurd.” Deported to Switzerland. In 1915 went to Sweden, where the Swedish police arrested him as an “agent of Lenin” for his anti-militarist propaganda, charging him with alleged preparations to “blow up bridges’’ and “throw bombs.” Deported from Sweden. Went to Norway, then Denmark. Finally came illegally to the United States in 1916, where he edited the Novy Mir.

After the February revolution made his way to Moscow through Japan and Siberia.

“All his qualities make Bukharin one of the best beloved personalities of the Russian revolution.” (Small Encyclopedia)

Referred to by Lenin in his Testament as “the most valuable and biggest theoretician of the party,” and the “favorite of the whole party.” 1919–1926: head of the Communist International.

After his capitulation to Stalin, was sent on European tour by Stalin. Delivered speeches in Paris. At approximately the same time, Rakovsky was sent to Japan. These trips will undoubtedly be used in the trial to establish links between the defendants and foreign enemies.

Bukharin was one of the committee of 30 which drafted the Stalin Constitution.

* * *

A.I. Rykov

Born 1881. “One of the most eminent members of the Bolshevik party.” Participant in revolutionary movement since 1900. Arrested in March, 1901. Went to Geneva in 1902, immediately sent back to Russia for underground work. Participated in 1905 revolution, member of Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. 1906: exiled to Siberia, escaped to Moscow. 1907: arrested and exiled to Taganrog. Went abroad, returning to Russia in Summer of 1909. Arrested almost immediately, escaped, arrested (performance repeated many times over). Exiled in Narym when February revolution broke. Member of Presidium of Moscow Soviet shortly after. Member of first Council of People’s Commissars as Commissar of the Interior. February 1918: Lenin’s deputy in Council of People’s Commissars and Council of Labor and Defense. Lenin’s successor as chairman of Council of People’s Commissars. Member of Politburo since 1919. One of most highly honored personages in the Soviet Union.

* * *

C.G. Rakovsky

Born 1873. Old revolutionist. 1889: participated in revolutionary movement in Bulgaria. 1890–1896: participated in labor movement of Switzerland, Germany and France. 1896–1903: worked in Rumania and Russia; collaborated on Lenin’s Iskra (under pen name of Insarov). 1907: arrested by Rumanian government and deported. During Balkan wars and World War arrested on several occasions. 1915: Participated in Zimmerwald Conference. May 1917: freed from prison by Russian soldiers. January–March 1918: headed struggle against counter-revolution in the Ukraine;. 1919: Chairman of Council of People’s Commissars in the Ukraine. 1923: ambassador to England. 1925–1927: ambassador to France. Oppositionist; expelled, exiled, capitulated in 1934. Sent by Stalin to Japan (undoubtedly in preparation for the trial). Appointed head of Gynecological Medical Institute. Arrested after Zinoviev-Kamenev trial.

* * *

H.G. Yagoda

Born 1891. Son of an artisan. Official Stalinist biography states that he was active in the revolutionary movement since his youth. Joined party in 1907. Arrested in Moscow in 1911. and exiled. Drafted into army in 1915; served until 1916. Active participant in October revolution in Petrograd. 1920: appointed to post in Cheka, became head of G.P.U. under Stalin. Organizer of Zinoviev-Kamenev trial.

* * *

C.F. Grinko

Born 1890. Participated in revolutionary movement (with the Social-Revolutionists) at age of 16. Expelled from university in 1913 for participating in student strike. Drafted into the army, where he remained until 1917. Spent 1914–1917 at the front, where he was promoted to rank of officer. After October revolution worked in the Ukraine as member of the Borotbysti (left wing of the Ukrainian S.R.’s), which fused in 1920 with the C.P.S.U.

1919–1926: worked in Ukrainian Soviet government, occupying several important posts (member of All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Military Committee; People’s Commissar of Education; chairman of State Planning Commission; Chairman of Ukrainian Council of People’s Commissars).

1926–1929: vice-chairman of Soviet State Planning Commission, where as chairman of the Central Commission he guided the work on the drafting of the Five-Year Plan.

1929: deputy People’s Commissar of Agriculture.

Rose with Stalin; appointed by latter to Commissariat of Finance, from which post he was removed during the recent purge.

* * *

N.N. Krestinsky

Born 1883: Old Bolshevik. Son of a high-school teacher. In revolutionary movement since 1902; joined party in 1903. Arrested several times and exiled. After February revolution, member of Ural provincial committee and of Ekaterinburg city committee. October 1917: elected Commissar of Justice. August, 1918 to end of 1922: served as People’s Commissar of Finance. 1917–1921: member of Central Committee of party. 1919–1921: secretary of the Central Committee. Member of Central Executive Committee of the Soviets Under Lenin. October 1921: made Soviet Ambassador to Berlin. 1922: participated in Hague Conference. Originally in Opposition. Capitulated to Stalin.

* * *

A.P. Rosengoltz

Born 1889. Old Bolshevik. Party member since 1905. Arrested, in 1907. After February, revolution, member of Presidium of Moscow Soviet. October 1917: member of Revolutionary Military Committee. 1918: member of Council of People’s Commissars. 1918–1921: served on fronts during civil war; also member of Revolutionary Military Committees of 5th, 7th, 8th, 13th. and 15th armies. 1922: member of Collegium of People’s Commissariat of Finance. 1923–1924: placed in charge of Air Force. 1926–1927: attached to embassy in London. At XV congress of party, elected member of Central Committee. This fact alone indicates his hostility to “Trotskyism.” Commissar of Foreign Trade under Stalin.

* * *

F. Khodzhaev

Born 1896. Former president of Uzbekistan, removed June 1937. Listed in Small Encyclopedia, as prominent Communist in Uzbekistan. Participated in national revolutionary movements since 1914. Established contact with Bolsheviks after October revolution, joining party in 1920. 1920–1924: chairman of Council of People’s Nazirs (Commissars), member of C.C. of C.P. of Bokhara. Chairman of People’s Commissars and member of C.C. of Uzbek C.P. since formation of Uzbek Soviet Republic. Staunch Stalin supporter. Honored many times. Decorated with Orders of the Red Banner and the Red Star. One of 30 Commissioners appointed at VII congress of Soviets to draft Stalin constitution.

Pravda of Jan. 31, 1935; carries front-page photo of Presidium of VII All-Union Congress of Soviets. Caption under photo: “Listening to Tukhachevsky’s speech (subject: “Red Army Mighter than Ever Before”). Stalin, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Budenny, Cherviakov (suicide), Goloded (missing:), Mussabekov (shot), and F. Khodhaev (defendant).”

* * *

Akmal Ikramov

Born 1898. Joined C.P.S.U. in February 1918. Carried on party activity until 1922, when he entered Sverdlov Communist Institute. Upon graduation elected secretary of Tashkent party committee. Then made secretary of the C.C. of the Communist party of Uzbekistan. Starting with 1931, third secretary of the Central Asiatic Bureau of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U. At the XV congress (when the Opposition was expelled), was elected candidate to Central Committee. In 1935 elected to C.C. Solid supporter of Stalin throughout. Among those picked to speak on Red Square at Kuibyshev’s funeral (Pravda, Jan. 28, 1935). Member of commission which drafted Stalin constitution.

* * *

V.I. Ivanov

Born 1893. Former chief of lumber industry under Stalin. Party member since 1915. Served in civil war. On southern front, 1920-1921. During same period secretary of Yaroslav district committee of C.P.S.U. 1924–1927: secretary of the Central Committee of Uzbekistan. 1927–1931: secretary of North Caucasian regional committee. Elected candidate to C.C. at XV and XVI Congress. Never a Trotskyite.

* * *

I.A. Zelensky

Born in 1890. Worker-Bolshevik. Former head of Consumers’ Cooperatives under Stalin. Joined party in 1906 in Samara. Arrested in 1908 and exiled to Orenburg; escaped; arrested again and sent back into exile. 1912: arrested and exiled to Narym; escaped in 1913. Caught and escaped again in 1914. Arrested in 1915, escaped, in 1916. After February revolution, organizer of Moscow district committee of the party. Later Chairman of district committee. 1921–1924: secretary of Moscow committee. 1924–1931: secretary of Central Asiatic Bureau of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U. From 1931 on: chairman of Centrosoyuz (Soviet foreign trading organization).

Elected candidate to C.C. at tenth party congress. Member of C.C. from the XI congress. Not an Oppositionist. Elected at XV congress to C.C.

* * *

M. Chernov

Former Commissar of Agriculture. Strong Stalin supporter. Not listed in any Soviet encyclopedia. Elected at VII Soviet Congress (1935) to C.E.C. of the Soviets. 1935: People’s Commissar of Agriculture. Never an Oppositionist.

* * *

Of the doctors listed: Dr. L.V. Levin (head of the Kremlin hospital) signed the statement issued by G.N. Kaminsky, then Commissar of Health, on the death of Ordjonikidze, Commissar of Heavy Industry, who allegedly died at his home on Feb. 18, 1937. Prof. Pletnev was reputed to have refused to sign this statement. Pletnev and Levin were also among the physicians who signed the death certificate of Joffe, Oppositionist and former ambassador to Tokyo, Berlin and Peiping, who committed suicide in 1927.

* * *

This leaves among the political “unknowns” the following: V. Kruchkov (identified as secretary to Gorky), B.B. Sharangovich (former secretary of the White Russian Communist Party), S.A. Bessonov (former secretary to the Soviet Embassy in Berlin), Dr. I.N. Kazakov, P. Zubareiz, V. Maximov. (Note: There was an oppositionist named Bessonov, who capitulated to Stalin. His relation to the accused Bessonov is not known to us.)

Last updated: 23 April 2015