August 20 (evening session)


A great part of the evening session is taken up by the examination of the accused I. N. Smirnov.

I. N. Smirnov was one of the leaders of the Trotskyite organization since its formation, the closest friend of Trotsky and the actual organizer and leader of the underground Troskyite counter-revolutionary activities in the U.S.S.R., who maintained personal connections with Trotsky and the Trotskyite organizations abroad.

Smirnov, Trotsky's deputy in the U.S.S.R., as the accused have defined him, and the leader of the Trotskyite centre, denies his own direct part in the terroristic activities and only partly admits his crimes.

In May 1931 Smirnov went abroad on an official business trip. In Berlin he met Sedov, Trotsky's son and agent. Smirnov claims that this was an "accidental" meeting. During his "accidental" meeting, Smirnov hastened to make arrangements with Sedov about their next meeting which took place in Smirnov's lodgings. Sedov told Smirnov that it was necessary to change the old methods of struggle against the Party, and that the time had arrived to adopt terroristic methods of struggle. Smirnov tries to make it appear that this was Sedov's own opinion with which he, Smirnov, allegedly did not agree. Nevertheless, Smirnov right there promised Sedov to establish communications with him, and to establish "informational" communications with Trotsky. Smirnov received from Sedov two addresses for correspondence and agreed with him upon a password for sending agents. On his return to Moscow, Smirnov immediately informed his associates of his conversation with Sedov regarding terrorism.

Vyshinsky:  Although you were not in agreement with Sedov, you nevertheless thought it necessary to inform your underground organication about this terroristic line?

Smirnov:  Yes, I did not anticipate that they would take this information as Trotsky's directions.

This assertion, however, is refuted by the testimony of the accused Mrachkovsky, whom Smirnov had informed that in Berlin he had established contact, through Sedov,with Trotsky from whom the directions on terrorism had originated.

Vyshinsky:  When Smirnov told you about his conversation with Sedov, you understood the contents of the conversation to be not mere information but instructions?

Mrachkovsky:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  What did those instructions say?

Mrachkovsky:  They said that the instructions which had existed up to that time, that is up to 1931, had become obsolete. Trotsky proposed that another method, a sharper method, be adopted.

Vyshinsky:  Who proposed, Sedov or Trotsky?

Mrachkovsky:  Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  Did Smirnov speak about Trotsky?

Mrachkovsky:  Yes, he spoke about Trotsky, since Sedov was no authority either for him or for us.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Smirnov, is it true that Sedov was not an authority for you?

Smirnov:  No, Sedov was not an authority for me.

The accused Smirnov tries at first to assert that in 1931 and in 1932 Trotsky was no authority for him either. However he immediately admits that in 1932 he received through Yuri Gaven instructions from Trotsky urging the adoption of terrorism against the leaders of the Party and the government; he accepted these instructions for the purpose of carrying them out, and communicated them to the centre.

Vyshinsky:  Was the centre organized on the basis of terrorism?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Were you a member of that centre?

Smirnov:  Yes, I was.

Vyshinsky:  Consequently, those instructions were meant for you too?

Smirnov:  Yes, they were communicated to me.

Vyshinsky:  They were not only communicated through you, but were also instructions for you?

Smirnov:  They were forwarded as instructions.

Vyshinsky:  Did you accept them?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  How can you maintain, then that Trotsky, from whom these instructions orginated, was not an authority for you?

Smirnov tries to reduce his own part to that of merely communicating Trotsky's instructions to the centre; he tries to evade responsibility for the work of the centre.

Smirnov:  I listened to those instructions and communicated them to the centre. The centre accepted them, but I did not take part in its work.

Vyshinsky:  So when did you leave the centre?

Smirnov:  I did not intend to resign; there was nothing to resign from.

Vyshinsky:  Did the centre exist?

Smirnov:  What sort of a centre. . . .

Vyshinsky:  Mrachkovsky, did the centre exist?

Mrachkovsky:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Zinoviev, did the centre exist?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Evdokimov, did the centre exist?

Evdokimov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Bakayev, did the centre exist?

Bakayev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  How, then, Smirnov, can you take the liberty to maintain that no centre existed?

Smirnov once again refers to the absence of meetings of the centre, but the testimony of Zinoviev,Ter-Vaganyan and Mrachkovsky again proves him to be lying. In reply to questions put to him by the State Prosecutor, Zinoviev confirms the fact that he was in continuous communication with Smirnov. Ter-Vaganyan confirms the role Smirnov played as the leader of the Trotskyite part of the bloc,  who worked to organize, consolidate and unite the two parts of the bloc.  Mrachkovsky says: "Smirnov is trying to pass as a simple village postman, but we regarded Smirnov as Trotsky's deputy."

In connection with Smirnov's testimony, the accused Olberg informs the Court of his repeated meetings with Sedov, Trotsky's son, in Berlin, in 1931. At one of these meetings, in November-December 1931, Sedov informed Olberg of his meeting with I. N. Smirnov. Sedov spoke with great respect of Smirnov, as the leader of the Trotskyite organization in the U.S.S.R. He said that he, Sedov, had communicated to Smirnov Trotsky's instruktions on the necessity to embark upon terroristic activities. Olberg further states that he and the other Trotskyites abroad and in the Soviet Union regarded Sedov solely as a vehicle for transmitting the will, the tasks and the policy of Trotsky.

The further examination of Smirnov confirms that the accused received and passed on additional instrutions from Trotsky on terrorism.

Vyshinsky:  It can be considered as established that in 1932 you received fresh instructions from Trotsky through Gaven?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Did these instructions contain direct reference to the necessity of embarking on a terroristic struggle against the leadership of the Party?

Smirnov:  Quite true.

Vyshinsky:  In the first place, against whom?

Smirnov:  No names were mentioned there.

Vyshinsky:  But you understood that the terroristic strugglewas to begin first against Comrade Stalin?

Smirnov:  Yes, I understood it to mean that.

Vyshinsky:  And that is what you communicated to your colleagues?

Smirnov:  Yes.

The accused persists in his evasions and tries to deny the part he played as the leader of the Trotskyite oganization. The Court investigation deals in detail with this question. The examination of the accused elicits the fact that it was on the direct instructions of Smirnov that Ter-Vaganyan negotiated with the Zinovievites about the bloc.  It becomes clear that Mrachkovsky trained terrorist groups on the direct instructions of Smirnov. It is confirmed that neither Ter-Vaganyan nor Mrachkovsky gave any instructions to Smirnov, but themselves received instructions from him. And finally, the fact is elicited that direct communication with Trotsky was maintained personally by Smirnov right up to his arrest. Under the weight of all these irrefutable facts Smirnov at last admits that it was he and no one else who was the head of the Trotskyite organization.

But the accused makes this confession only after the prosecution has exposed him by absolutely incontrovertible facts.

Desiring to cover up the traces of his activities in organizing the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc,  Smirnov tries to invent a new version saying that the bloc  was organized without his direct participation. From the testimony of the accused it appears however that the formation of the bloc  was the result of direct negotiations between Smirnov and Zinoviev, Kamenev and Ter-Vaganyan, Evdokimov and Mrachkovsky, and that these negotiations for the organization of the bloc  were conducted on the basis of the first instructions on terror received by Smirnov from Trotsky through Sedov in 1931.

The State Prosecutor then inquires into Smirnov's contact with Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  Did you have direct communication with Trotsky?

Smirnov:  I had two addresses.

Vyshinsky:  I ask you, was there any communication?

Smirnov:  I had two addresses. . . .

Vyshinsky:  Answer, was there any communication?

Smirnov:  If having addresses is called communication. . . .

Vyshinsky:  What do you call it?

Smirnov:  I said that I received two addresses.

Vyshinsky:  Did yuo maintain communication with Trotsky?

Smirnov:  I had two addresses.

Vyshinsky:  Did you maintain personal communication?

Smirnov:  There was no personal communication.

Vyshinsky;  Was there communication by mail Trotsky?

Smirnov:  There was communication by mail with Trotsky's son.

Vyshinsky:  Was the letter you received through Gaven sent by Sedov or by Trotsky?

Smirnov:  Gaven brought a letter from Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  That is what I am asking you. Did you have any communication with Trotsky - yes or no?

Smirnov:  I say that I wrote a letter to Trotsky and received a reply from him.

Vyshinsky:  Is that communication or not?

Smirnov:  It is.

Vyshinsky:  So there was communication?

Smirnov:  There was.

Other irrefutable facts are also established. Ter-Vaganyan, Mrachkovsky, Zinoviev and Evdokimov tell about conversations which Smirnov carried on in 1931 concerning the tasks he assigned at that time for the training of terrorists.

Vyshinsky:  Did you give instructions to the group?

Smirnov:  No, I did not.

Vyshinsky  (to Mrachkovsky): Mrachkovsky, did Smirnov give you such instructions?

Mrachkovsky:  Yes. Instructions were given in the beginning of 1931 on his return from abroad.

Vyshinsky:  What did he say to you?

Mrachkovsky:  That it was necessary to begin the selection of people whom we knew well, that a serious task was put before us, that the people to be selected must be resolute. He said this in his apartment.

Smirnov:  Was it at my apartment? where is my apartment?

Mrachkovsky:  This was in 1931 on the Pressnya.

Vyshinsky:  Did he visit you on the Pressnya?

Smirnov:  Not on the Pressnya itself but in that district.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Zinoviev, you said that Smirnov discussed terrorism with you more than once, discussed the necessity to expedite terroristic acts?

Zinoviev:  Correct.

Vyshinsky;  So what Mrachkovsky says about the terrorist group is true?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Smirnov, do you think that Ter-Vaganyan,Mrachkovsky and Evdokimov are telling untruths?

Smirnov:  (Does not answer.)

Vyshinsky:  What then do you admit?

Smirnov:  I admit that I belonged to the underground Trotskyite organization, joined the bloc,  joined the centre of this bloc,  met Sedov in Berlin in 1931, listened to his opinion on terrorism and passed this opinion on to Moscow. I admit that I received Trotsky's instructions on terrorism from Gaven and, although not in agreement with them, I communicated them to the Zinovievites through Ter-Vaganyan.

Vyshinsky:  And, while not in agreement, you remained a member of thebloc  and worked in thebloc? 

Smirnov:  I did not resign officially from the bloc,  but actually I did no work.

Vyshinsky:  So when you communicated the instructions, you were doing no work?

Smirnov:  (Does not answer.)

Vyshinsky:  What do you think, when an organizer communicates instructions, is that work?

Smirnov:  Of course.

Vyshinsky:  You participated in the bloc? 

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky;  And you admit that the bloc  stood on the position of terrorism?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  You also admit that it stood on this position in connection with instructions received from Trotsky?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  And it was you who received these instructions?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Consequently, it was you who got the bloc  to adopt the position of terrorism?

Smirnov:  I passed on the instructions on terrorism.

Vyshinsky:  If you confirm that, after the receipt of Trotsky's instructions, the position of the bloc  was that of terrorism, then it should be said that the bloc  took up the position of terrorism after you received the instructions from Trotsky and passed them on to the members of the bloc? 

Smirno:  I received these instruktions, communicated them to the Trotskyites and Zinovievites, and they formed the centre. While not in agreement, I did not resign from the bloc  officially, but actually I was not a member of the bloc 

Vyshinsky:  Ter-Vaganyan, did Smirnov leave the bloc? 

Ter-Vaganyan:  No.

Vyshinsky:  Mrachkovsky, did Smirnov leave the bloc? 

Mrachkovsky:  No.

Vyshinsky:  Dreitzer, did you know that Smirnov had left the bloc? 

Dreitzer:  If giving instructions to organize terrorist groups is leaving the bloc,  then yes.

Vyshinsky:  Evdokimov, did you hear of Smirnov leaving the bloc? 

Evdokimov:  No, the very opposite; he remained a member of the centre and did active work in it.

Vyshinsky:  Did he share the terroristic views?

Evdokimov:  Yes, he shared them.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Kamenev, what do you know about Smirnov's leaving the bloc? 

Kamenev:  I confirm that Smirnov was a member of the bloc  all the time.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Smirnov, that closes the circle.