August 20 (morning session)


The morning session of August 20 commences with the examination of the accused L. B. Kamenev.

Kamenev states: "The terrorist cospiracy was organized and guided by myself, Zinoviev and Trotsky. I became convinced that the policy of the Party, the policy of its leadership, had been victorious in the only sense in which the political victory in the land of socialism is possible, that this policy was recognized by the masses of the toilers. Our banking on the possibility of a split in the Party also proved groundless. We counted on the Rightist group of Rykov, Bukharin and Tomsky. The removal of this group from the leadership and the fact that it had become discredited in the eyes of the toiling masses deprived us of this trump card as well. It was no use counting on any kind of serious internal difficulties to secure the overthrow of the leadership which had guided the country through extremely difficult stages, through industrialization and collectivization. Two paths remained: either honestly and copletely to put a stop to the struggle against the Party, or to continue this struggle, but without any hope of obtaining any mass support whatsoever, without a political platform, without a banner, that is to say, by means of individual terror. We chose the second path. In this we were guided by our boundless hatred of the leaders of the Party and the country, and by a thirst for power with which we were once so closely associated and from which we were cast aside by the course of historical development."

Replying to Comrade Vyshinsky, the accused Kamenev relates to the Court how the Zinovievites entered into a bloc  with the Trotskyites for the purpose of organizing a terroristic struggle against the Party and the Soviet state. "We carried on negotiations about the bloc  with Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan, not as with men who independently issued political instructions," says Kamenev. "They were of value to us as men who precisely repeated the instructions of Trotsky. Knowing Smirnov and Mrachkovsky as active Trotskyites , knowing that Smirnov had been abroad and had established contact with Trotsky there, we were absolutely sure that the instructions concerning terrorism conveyed by Smirnov and Mrachkovsky,and supported by them, were the exact instructions of Trotsky. It was on this basis, and because Trotsky's instructions on terror coincided with our own inclinations, that we concluded what is here called a 'bloc,'  and what should be called a narrow terrorist conspiracy. This conspiracy took shape in 1932 as an organizational union wich had no platform at all, and which set itself the aim of seizing power by disorganizing the government by terroristic means, by eliminating and assassinating Stalin, as the leader of the Party and the country, as well as his nearest comrades-in-arms."

The accused Kamenev fully confirms the leading part played by I. N. Smirnov in the Trotskyite part of the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre, and concerning Smirnov's denials he says: "It is ridiculous wriggling, which only creates a comical impression."

Kamenev then goes on to tell the Court about the practical activities of the counter-revolutionary terrorists. He says:

"In the summer of 1932 a meeting of our Zinovievite centre was held in our villa in Ilyinskoye. I myself, Zinoviev, Evdokimov, Bakayev, Kuklin and Karev were present. At this meeting Zinoviev reported that the union with the Trotskyites, who had received Trotsky's personal instructions to commit terroristic acts, was an accomplished fact. At this very meeting Bakayev was instructed to carry out a terroristic act in Moscow, and Karev in Leningrad. The exile of myself and Zinoviev somewhat held up the execution of our terroristic plans. When we returned to Moscow, we made no changes whatever in the basis of our bloc.  On the contrary, we proceeded to press forward the terroristic conspiracy. This pressing forward was caused by two circumstances: first the collapse of the policy of double-dealing pursued by Zinoviev, who was removed from the editorial board of the Bolshevik.  This made us fear that information about our connection with Trotsky might have reached the Party leadership. Secondly, the Trotskyites energetically insisted on expediting the terroristic activities, having received instructions to this effect from Trotsky. Organizationally, this found expression in the decision that was adopted to hasten the assassination of Stalin and the assassination of Kirov."

Continuing, the accused Kamenev testifies: "In June 1934 I myself went to Leningrad where I instructed the active Zinovievite Yakovlev to prepare an attempt on the life of Kirov parallel with the Nikolayev-Kotolynov group. In the beginning of November1934 I learned from Bakayev's report all the details of the preparations that were being made by the Nikolayev group to assassinate Kirov."

Vyshinsky:  Was Kirov's assassination directly the work of your hands?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Kamenev gives the following testimony on the composition of the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre:

"The centre of the conspiracy consisted of the following persons: myself, Zinoviev, Evdokimov, Bakayev and Kuklin, on behalf of the Zinovievites; Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan on behalf of the Trotskyites. Among the leaders of the conspiracy another person may be named who in point of fact was one of the leaders, but who, in view of the special plans we made in regard to him, was not drawn into the practical work. I refer to Sokolnikov.

Vyshinsky:  Who was a member of the centre, but whose part was kept a strict secret?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Continuing, Kamenev says: "Knowing that we might be dicovered, we designated a small group to continue our terroristic activities. For this purpose we designated Sokolnikov. It seemed to us that on the side of the Trotskyites this role could be successfully performed by Serebryakov and Radek. Asked about this, Mrachkovsky said: Yes, in our opinion Serebryakov and Radek could act as substitutes if, contrary to our expectations, our leading group should be discovered."

Kamenev goes on to say that the Zinovievites carried on negotiations and established contact with other counter-revolutionary groups as well.

"In 1932," he says, "I personally conducted negotiations with the so-called 'Leftist' group of Lominadre and Shatsky. In this group I found enemies of the Party leadership quite prepared to resort to the most determined measures of struggle against it. At the same time, I myself and Zinoviev maintained constant contact with the former 'Workers' Opposition' group of shlyapnikov and Medvedyev. In 1932, 1933 and 1934 I personally maintained relations with Tomsky and Bukharin and sounded their political sentiments. They sympathized with us. When I asked Tomsky about Rykov's frame of mind, he replied: 'Rykov thinks the same as I do.' In reply to my qestion as to what Bukharin thought, he said: 'Bukharin thinks the same as I do, but is pursuing somewhat different tactics: he does not agree with the line of the Party, but is pursuing tactics of persistently enrooting himself in the Party and winning the personal confidence of leadership.' "

In examining the accused Kamenev the Court deals in detail with the double-dealing to which the conspirators resorted in addition to terrorism in their fight against the Party.

Vyshinsky:  What appraisal should be given of the articles and statements you wrote in 1933, in which you expressed loyalty to the Party? Deception?

Kamenev:  No, worse than deception.

Vyshinsky:  Perfidy?

Kamenev:  Worse.

Vyshinsky:  Worse than deception, worse than perfidy - find the word. Treason?

Kamenev:  You have found it.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Zinoviev, do you confirm this?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Treason, perfidy, double-dealing?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Proceeding to explain the motives of his conduct, the accused Kamenev declares:

"I can admit only one thing: that having set ourselves the monstrously criminal aim of disorganizing the government of the land of socialism, we resorted to methods of struggle which in our opinion suited this aim and which are as low and as vile as the aim which we set before ourselves."

in the further process of the examination the accused Kamenev still more clearly and definitely speaks of that which guided the Zinovievites in their activities.

Vyshinsky:  Consequently, your struggle against the leaders of the Party and the government was guided by motives of a personal base character - by the thirst for personal power?

Kamenev:  Yes, by the thirst for power of our group.

Vyshinsky:  Don't you think that this has nothing in common with social ideals?

Kamenev:  It has as much in common as revolution has with counter-revolution.

Vyshinsky:  That is, you are on the side of counter-revolution?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky: Consequently, you clearly perceive that you are flighting against socialism?

Kamenev:  We clearly perseive that we are fighting against the leaders of the Party and of the government who are leading the country to socialism.

Vyshinsky:  Thereby you are fighting socialism as well, aren't you?

Kamenev:  You are drawing the conclusion of an historian and prosecutor.

At the end of the examination of the accused Kamenev, ComradeVyshinsky reminds him that in his testimony on August 10 he stated that the conspirators intended, after seizing power, to appoint Bakayev chief of the O.G.P.U. and so cover up the traces of their crimes.

Kamenev asserts that the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre had in this connection not the intention of physically exterminating those who directly committed terroristic acts, but of diverting the investigation of terroristic acts into false channels.

The accused Reingold categorically asserts that the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre intended to wipe out their gunmen terrorists in order to shield the Trotskyite-Zinovievite leaders and cover up the traces of the crimes. Indignat at Kamenev's statement, Reingold says: "Let Kamenev not pretend that he is such an innocent creature. He is a hardened politician who would force his way to power over mountains of corpses. Would he hesitate to kill off one or two terrorists? No one will believe him!"