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John G. Wright

How Lenin’s Death Was Commemorated in Moscow

Stalin Was Silent, But His C.P. Underling Revealed,
by What He Left Unsaid, Stalinist Betrayal of Leninism

(31 January 1942)

From The Militant, Vol 6 No. 5, 31 January 1942, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The eighteenth anniversary of Lenin’s death was commemorated in Moscow at a gathering of the Kremlin bureaucrats. Stalin, the General Secretary of the Party, was present, received a ten minute ovation, but preferred to keep mum. The speech was delivered by an underling, one Scherbakov, secretary of the Moscow Party. What Scherbakov left unsaid in his speech is much more significant than what he did say.

He had nothing whatever to say about the “irrevocable triumph of socialism.” This is the first time under Stalin that a Lenin Memorial has been held without any mention of this ritualistic Stalinist boast.

Equally noteworthy is the absence of all reference to the current foreign policy of the Kremlin. Last November, on the occasion of the twenty-fourth anniversary of the October Revolution, Stalin boasted: “We now have allies forming a united front with us against the German invaders” (Daily Worker, Nov. 16, 1941). Scherbakov did not breathe a word either about the “united front” or Churchill or Roosevelt.

The “Second Front”

Stalin had promised the Soviet masses last November that his foreign policy would assure not only material aid, but also a “second front.” Said Stalin:

“But neither can there be any doubt that the appearance of a second front on the continent of Europe – and it must appear in the nearest future – will render substantially easier the position of the Red Army to the detriment of the German army” – Daily Worker, Nov. 9, 1941.

As is well known, a second front has indeed opened up in the war – not on the continent of Europe but in the Pacific. Japan is threatening the Far Eastern frontiers of the USSR. But Scherbakov had nothing to say about Japan, or material aid, or the “second front” on the European continent.

The only reference to foreign policy in Scherbakov’s speech is in relation to the Stalin-Hitler pact which preceded the invasion. The orator did not dare call it by its name, but spoke instead of the “peace policy”.

“Our country did not want war ... In its foreign policy, the Soviet Government undeviatingly pursued a peace policy, tirelessly exposing the aggressive plots of the Nazi imperialists” – Daily Worker, Jan. 27, 1942.

What the Pact Did

The lie is, as usual, a brazen one. The Kremlin never utilized the Stalin-Hitler pact to expose “the aggressive plots of Nazi imperialists.” Instead, the Stalinists did everything in their power to cover up German imperialism at the expense of the democratic imperialists, just as today they arc pursuing the contrary policy.

It is a noteworthy fact that in the eighth month of the war, and in the midst of victories, the Kremlin still finds itself compelled to crawl out of its skin to justify its past policies. There must be a great deal of resentment on this score among the Soviet masses!

But what is the meaning of Scherbakov’s silence about the Kremlin’s present foreign policy? This silence serves in part to emphasize the explicit statements in the speech which is, in effect, a notice to the Soviet masses that they must defeat the German armies by their own forces alone.

Scherbakov concluded his speech with the following statement:

“And the land of the Soviets possesses sufficient strength and grit to bring on their (i.e., Germany’s) final defeat and score the full victory” – Daily Worker, Jan. 27, 1942.

Effect of the Losses

The terrible losses suffered by the Red Army in the first five months of the war are dismissed as unimportant. “The enemy succeeded in capturing several industrial areas of our country, including Dniepropetrovsk, Krivoi Rog, Kharkov and a part of the Don Basin.” Nevertheless, according to Scherbakov, Soviet war industry has not suffered at all: “The German invaders have not captured any Soviet war industry” (idem).

The USSR, he announced, can and will outproduce Germany which has the industrial facilities of conquered Europe at her disposal:

“We shall have to double and triple our efforts and attain superiority in tanks and aircraft, as well as in the means of combatting them. This task we can and are in duty bound to carry out.”

This perspective, the Soviet masses and the world working class is now being assured, “rests on the realistic appraisal of our forces.”

In the same breath, the Stalinist liar admits that “we are embattled against an enemy who still has more tanks and partly (sic!) more planes than our Army.”

In, peacetime the Stalinists duped the Soviet masses by the lie that socialism could be built in the Soviet Union by the internal forces of the country. Today in time of war, emboldened by victories, they are seeking to lull the masses with the illusion that Germany can be defeated by the internal forces of the USSR alone.

Effects of Stalin’s Alliances

The latest lies of Stalinism serve to expose all their previous lies, especially the fraud and treachery of Stalin’s foreign policy. What good is the alliance with the “democratic” powers if the Soviet Union has no other perspective than that of an isolated struggle against great odds? Why then should the workers suspend the struggle for socialism? Why doesn’t the Kremlin call upon the workers in the occupied countries and above all in Germany to overthrow Hitler and unite with the USSR in establishing the Socialist United States of Europe?

This was Lenin’s program during the last war, before and after the establishment of the first workers’ state in the territories of the former Czarist empire. This is precisely the most important thing left unsaid in Scherbakov’s speech, because Stalin, together with all his Scherbakovs, betrayed Lenin and Leninism many years ago.


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