After the opening of the evening session the President of the Court Comrade Ulrich addresses each of the accused, granting them the floor for their speeches of defence, since they refused counsel of defence. All the accused in turn tell the Court that they will not make their speeches of defence, giving as the reason that they will avail themselves of their right of the last plea. A number of the accused emphasize that they do not regard themselves entitled to defence as they recognize the correctness of the charges made against them.
After a short recess the Court commences the hearing of the last pleas of the accused.
The first to speak is Mrachkovsky.
The accused Mrachkovsky starts his last plea by relating his autobiography. Then he goes to say:
"In 1923 I became a Trotskyite. I took a despicable path, the path of deception of the Party. We must cross out past services; the past does not exist. But the present cannot be crossed out. I am a couter-revolutionary. . . .
"I do not ask for mitigation of my punishment," continues Mrachkovsky. "I do not want that. I want to be believed that during the investigation and in court I told the whole truth. I want to depart from life without carrying any filth with me.
"Why did I take the counter-revolutionary path?" says Mrachkovsky further. "My connection with Trotsky - that is what brought me to this; it is from that time on that I began to deceive the Party, to deceive its leaders. Some may say: 'The Party gave no help; it might have been possible perhaps to wrest the fellow from counter-revolution and save him, but the Party took no measures.' That would not be true. The Party did all it could to tear me away from counter-revolution. The Party helped me and helped me a great deal.
" I think I have said everything," says Mrachkovsky in conclusion. "Let everybody remember that not only a general, not only a prince or nobleman can become a counter revolutionary; workers or those who spring from the working class, like myself, can also become counter-revolutionaries.
"I depart as a traitor to my Party, as a traitor who should be shot. All I ask is that I be believed when I say that during the investigation I spat out all this vomit."
"Who will believe a single word of ours?" asks Evdokimov in opening his last plea. "Who will believe us, who played so detestable a comedy at the fresh grave of Kirov whom we had killed; who will believe us,who only by accident, not through any fault of our own, did not become the assassins of Stalin and other leaders of the people? Who will believe us, who are facing the Coart as a counter-revolutionary gang of bandits, as allies of fascism,of the Gestapo? Did the heart of even a single one of us, who were convicted in the last year's trial of the Zinovievites in Leningrad, shudder at the thought of our accomplices remaining at liberty, knowing as we did, although in prison, that any day, any hour, another dastardly shot may be fired? Not one of us did what he should have done had we been bound by the thinnest of threads to the cause of the revolution.
"The difference between us and the fascists is very much in our disfavour, Fascism openly and frankly inscribed on its banner: 'Death to Communism.' On our lips we had all the time 'Long Live Communism,' whereas by our deeds we were fighting socialism vicorious in the U.S.S.R. In words - 'Long live the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.' In deeds - preparation for the assassination of the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party, one of whom we did kill..In words - 'Down with imperialism,' in deeds - banking on the defeat of the U.S.S.R. in the struggle against international imperialism."
Continuing, the accused Evdokimov says: "Trotsky is not with us here in the dock because he is abroad. He has two perspectives before him: either to disappear immediately and without a trace, as Azef did, not only from the political arena, but from the arena of life in general and go into oblivion, hide behind some false name as Azef did - or else, at some time, face a proletarian court."
"I don't consider it possible to plead for clemency," says Evdokimov in conclusion. "Our crimes against the proletarian state and against the international revolutionary movement are too great to make it possible for us expect clemency."
"The political importance and the past of each of us," says Dreitzer, "were not the same. But, having become assassins, we have all become equals here. I, at any rate, am one of those who have no right to expect nor to ask for mercy."
"Whatever our fate may be," says the accused Reingold in his last plea, "we have been already shot politically. The representative of the State prosecution, speaking with the voice of 170,000,000 Soviet people, demanded that we be shot like mad dogs. I knew where I was going and what I was going for. I and the whole of the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite organization sitting here have been exposed by this trial as the shock troop, as a white-guard, fascist shock troop, of the international counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie.
"The circle has closed. It is over with the political masquerade, it is over with the shams of oppositions, discussions and platforms. Opposition was superseded by conspiracy against the state; discussions and platforms were superseded by bullets and bombs." In conclusion Reingold says:
"Our trial, the trial of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist and fascist organization, will bury the political corpses of Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky, and of his shadow, his loyal armour-bearer, Smirnov, as under a heavy tombstone.
"I fully admitted my guilt. It is not for me to plead for mercy."
"I am guilty of the assassination of Kirov," declares Bakayev. "I took a direct part in the preparation of other terroristic acts against the leaders of the Party and the government. I am prepared to bear full responsibility. We Trotskyites and Zinovievites not only worked for the benefit of the international counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, we also worked hand in hand with the agents of the most bitter enemy of the working class, fascism.
"The facts which were revealed before this Court show to the whole world that the organizer of this unprecedented Trotskyite-Zinovievite counter-revolutionary terrorist bloc, its moving spirit, is Trotsky. I have wagered my head over and over in the interests of Zinoviev and Kamenev. I am heavily oppressed by the thought that I became an obedient tool in the hands of Zinoviev and Kamenev, became an agent of the counter-revolution, that I raised my hand against Stalin."
Bakayev turns to Zinoviev and accuses him of not being frank even at this trial.
Bakayev concludes by stating that he realizes the gravity of his crime and awaits the deserved and just verdict of the proletarian court.
The accused Pickel makes a detailed review of the history of the development of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite opposition which became a gang of counter-revolutionary terrorists. He says that from 1925 onwards, the struggle this opposition waged against the Party and its Central Committee contained all the elements of political banditry. The struggle started with filthy insinuations against the Party leadership and ended with terroristic acts.
"Only one conclusion can be drawn," says Pickel. "We represent a most brutal gang of criminals who are nothing more nor less than a detachment of international fascism. Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev were our banner. To this banner were drawn not only we, the dregs of the land of Soviet, but also spies, and agents of foreign states and those sent here for diversive activities.
"The last eight years of my life have been years of baseness, years of terrible, nightmarish deeds. I must bear my deserved punishment."
With this the evening session closes.