August 22 (morning session)

The Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre - A gang of Contemptible Terrorists

During the preceding days of the trial these gentlemen tried to strike a "noble" attitude. They, or at all events their leaders, spoke about their terroristic plot with a certain pose; they sought and expected a political evaluation of their crimes, they talked about political struggle, about some kind of political agreements with some kind of alleged political parties. And although they admitted that in reality they had no political platform, that they did not even feel the need to draw up a political platform because, on their own admission, their platform could be written at one sitting, in a couple of hours, nevertheless, they tried to pose as genuine political figures. They do all they can to make it appear that they are standing on some political position, bespattered and battered, perhaps, but political none the less. These efforts are merely a false screen to conceal their political emptiness and lack of principle. And when they spoke about the interests of the working class, about the interests of the people, when they will speak about this, in their speeches in their defence and in their last pleas, they will lie as they have lied hitherto, as they are lying now, for they fought against the only people's policy, against the policy of our country, against our Soviet policy. Liars and clowns, insignificant pigmies, little dogs snarling at an elephant, this is what this gang represents!

But they know how to use guns, and therein lies the danger to society. This makes it necessary to adopt special and most severe measures against them. To chain them is not enough. We must adopt more determined and radical measures against them. Not political figures, but a gang of murderers and criminals, thieves who tried to rob the state, this is what this gang represents!

These gentlemen admitted that they had no program; but they did have some sort of a "program." They had a program both in home and foreign policy. In their home policy their program could be put in one word - to murder. It is true that they prefer to speak not of murder but of terror. But we must call things by their proper names. These gentlemen chose murder as a means of fighting for power. They were compelled to admit this here themselves, cynically and openly.

How did these gentlemen reconcile their alleged Marxism with the preaching of terror and terroristic activity? In no wise! And yet these people called themselves Marxists at one time! Probably the accused Zinoviev still considers himself a Marxist. He said here that Marxism could not be reconciled with terrorism; but Marxism can explain how they came to terrorism.

During this trial I asked the accused Reingold how they reconciled Marxism with the preaching of terror and terroristic activities, and he said: "In 1932, Zinoviev, in Kamenev's apartment, in the presence of a number of members of the united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre, argued in favour of resorting to terror as follows: although terror is incompatible with Marxism, at the present moment these conciderations must be abandoned. There are no other methods available of fighting the leaders of the Party and the government at the present time. Stalin combines in himself all the strength and firmness of the Party leadership. Therefore Stalin must be put out of the way in the first place." Here you have a reply, frankly cynical, insolent, but absolutely logical. Here you have the sum and substance of Zinoviev's new "philosophy of the epoch."

Reingold said: "Kamenev enlarged on this theory and said that the former methods of fighting, namely, attempts to win the masses combinations with the leaders of the Rightists, and banking on economic difficulties, have failed. That is why the only method of struggle available is terrorism, terroristic acts against Stalin and his closest comrades-in-arms, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Orjonikidze, Kossior, Postyshev and Zhdanov,"

This is frank and insolent, but at the same time it is logical from the point of view of the logic of the class struggle, from the point of view of the logic of our enemy who is fighting against the land of socialism.

Without the masses, against the masses, but for power, power at all costs, thirst for personal power - this is the whole ideology of the gang that is now in the dock.

The whole cynical unprincipledness of these people was frankly avowed here by Kamenev. In his explanations before the court he stated how and on what basis this terroristic conspiracy, as he called it, was organized.

Kamenev said: "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."

This statement is remarkable for its lack of principle and for its insolent cynicism: just because "the policy of the Party had been vicorious," they fought against its leaders.

Kamenev said: "Our banking on the possibility of a split in the Party also proved groundless, Two paths remained: either honestly and completely 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."

The accused Kamenev should have been more consistent: if he called the first path the path of honest renunciation of the struggle, then he should have called the second path the path of dishonest struggle with dishonest weapons.

He admitted: "We chose this 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 wich we were once closely associated and from which we were cast aside by the course of historical development."

The accused Zinoviev said: "At the end of 1932 it became evident that our hopes had proved false . . . the fact was that the general line of the Party was winning." "Here," said Zinoviev, "the complete lack of principle and ideals which brought us to the bare and unprincipled struggle for power became strikingly apparent." (Vol. XII, p. 34.)

After this, can we speak with these people in any sort of political language? Have we not the right to say that we can speak with these people in one language only, the language of the Criminal Code, and regard them as common criminals, as incorrigible and hardened murderers.

Such was their "program" in the sphere of home policy, if one may so express it. Formerly, if only out of shame, they gave as grounds for their struggle against the leaders of the Soviet government and the Party, shortcomings, defects and difficulties. Now they have already thrown off this mask. Now they admit that they had become convinced that socialism in our country was victorious. They came to terrorism, to murder, because their position had become hopeless, because they realized that they were isolated from power, from the working class. They came to terrorism because of the complete absence of favourable prospects for them in the fight for power by other methods and by other means.

Kamenev admitted that the organization of terror was the only means by which they hoped to come to power and that it was precisely on this basis of terroristic struggle that negotiations which finally resulted in the union of the Trotskyites and Zinovievites were conducted and successfully concluded. Terrorism was the real basis on which the Trotskyites and Zinovievites united.

Not all of them want to admit that.

Comrades judges, in drawing up your verdict in your council chamber, you will carefully - I have no doupt about that - once again go over not only the material of the court investigation but also the records of the preliminary investigation and you will become convinced of the animal fear with which the accused tried to avoid admitting that terrorism was precisely the basis of their criminal activities.

That is why Smirnov wriggled so much here. He admits that he was a member of the centre, he admits that this centre had adopted a terroristic line of struggle, he admits that he himself received from Trotsky the instructions about this terroristic struggle. But at the same time he tries by every means in his power to prove that he, Smirnov personally, did not adopt terror, did not agree with it, and he even went so far as to say that he had left the Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist centre or bloc. 

I will come back to each one of the accused, including Smirnov, and try as fully, carefully and objectively as possible to analyze the evidence which proves that they committed the gravest crimes against the state. At present I merely wish to emphasize once again that the accused are not political infants, that they are hardened players in the political struggle; they know perfectly well that they must answer not only for recognizing terror "theoretically" - for this alone they should have paid with their heads - but for having translated this "theoretical" program into the language of terroristic practice, into the language of practical, criminal activity.