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John G. Wright

Soviet Union Notes

Purge Goes On – New Trial Of Red Army Generals Is in Prospect – Soviet Deputies Begin to Get the Axe

(2 April 1938)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 14, 2 April 1938, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Stalin Intensifies Purge

After each of the previous trials, the blood purge was intensified. The same procedure is being followed as an aftermath of the most recent Moscow frame-up. Reports of executions all over Russia are again appearing in the press.

Several trials are in preparation. The most prominent names mentioned in this connection are: Antonov-Ovseyenko, Rudzutak, Mezhlauk, Bubnov, Krylenko, Kaminsky, Lubimov, Bogomolov, Yurenev, Davtyan, Yakubovich, Karsky, Asmus and Rosenberg.

* * *

Apart from Voroshilov, Budenny is the only well-known army leader who has not yet fallen into disgrace. Bluecher’s name has not appeared in the press in recent weeks. Marshal Yegorov has been arrested, together with the head of his staff, General Zhukov.

So many prominent Red Army men have been seized by the G.P.U. that it is possible another trial involving only the military personnel will be staged. Such a trial – which would doubtless be held behind “closed doors” – would involve: Marshal Yegorov, Zhukov (head of Yegorov’s staff), Gorbachev (member of the Military Council of Defense), Alksnis (head of the Air Force), Orlov (head of the Navy), Generals Dybenko, Belov, Rybalko and others.

* * *

The arrest of Marshal Yegorov is the first indication that Stalin’s purge has already extended into the ranks of the deputies recently elected to the Supreme Council. Yegorov was a full-fledged deputy, and as such “immune” from arrest except by vote of the Presidium, as provided for by the Stalin “Constitution.” (There has been considerable speculation as to the precise functions of the Presidium. Apparently, one of its most important duties is to provide a cover, for Yezhov’s handiwork.) No such vote of the Presidium has been made public, although several deputies have already been arrested.

Sidelights on the Last Frame-Up

In the campaign conducted around previous trials, a prominent part was played by “resolutions” passed at “mass meetings” which were given prominent display. Characteristic of these resolutions in the past has been the invariable pledge: to “make good” the damage done by the wreckers, and to over-fulfill the plan. The tone of the resolutions revolving around ths frame-up of Bukharin-Rykov et al. has been strikingly different. No mention is made of improving the functioning of plants, collective farms, tractor stations, etc. Instead, the resolutions are filled with denunciations of “additional” acts of diversion, wrecking and so on, allegedly perpetrated by the “plotters,” and to which they did not confess but of which they were nevertheless guilty. We cite a few instances from a single issue of Pravda:

“The enemies of the people also sought to wreck the locomotive and freight car repair plant at Tbilissi. They worsened the working conditions of the workers, disrupted the supply of materials to the plant, sought to arouse dissatisfaction among the workers.” (Pravda, March 8)

“The gang of bandits also operated in our factory. The bandits and wreckers caused a tie-up of capital investments, bought equipment for hundreds of thousands of rubles that was absolutely worthless and useless in the plant, hindered the expansion of the plant, sought to liquidate the large nail-works, broke down the boiler-works No. 2, left the factory without fuel and so on.” (Idem. Resolution of the Krasnaya Etna plant at Gorki)

“The Trotskyite-Bukharinite bandits also operated in the Uglich district. They have caused great injury to our socialist economy. The vile enemies liquidated the collective farms Svoboda and Zuevo, deprived the collective farmers of land given them in perpetuity, left the cattle in the collective without feed, ploughed over fields and pasture-lands. In 1930 alone they destroyed 5,470 head of horned cattle, 11,616 pigs and sheep, 612 horses. They also wrecked the trade network, disrupted the building of schools in the village of Platunov, Orzine and elsewhere. It is impossible to enumerate the crimes of these scoundrels.” (Idem. Resolution of a “Meeting of Workers, Collective Farmers, and Employees of the City of Uglich and Uglich District in the Yaroslav Province”)

* * *

As testified to in the trial, Trotsky received a “subsidy” of 250,000 marks from Germany precisely during the years when German marks were so inflated as to be virtually worthless. They were sold in the streets of New York, among other things, at the rate of 100,000 marks for 5 cents. Remember?

Vyshinsky on Zinoviev in 1925

Before he became prosecutor for Stalin, Vyshinsky wrote a book: Sketches in the History of Communism. It contains a chapter on the “Third International” with innumerable servile quotations from Zinoviev, Bukharin and other “spies, moral degenerates, swine, foxes, etc.”

We cite from the book:

“From the very first day of the war, the revolutionary section of the Marxists led by Lenin, Zinoviev and Rosa Luxemburg conducted an energetic campaign against the war, against the conciliationism of the Second International, and exposed all of the treachery of the leaders who had betrayed Marxism.” (Sketches in the History of Communism, Vol. II, p. 336, Moscow 1925)

Last updated: 30 July 2015