Stalin to Kaganovich and Molotov

[Pravda's mistakes on the trial of the Zinovievites and Trotskyites]

Written: September 6, 1936 (Sent from Sochi on 6 September at 4:05 a.m. (RGASPI, f. 558, op. II, d. 94, l. 31.))
First Published: The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence (1931-36); R.W. Davies, Annals of Communism series; Yale University Press © 2003. Note that the Russian version is 798 pages, while the English version is 431 pages. Download the scanned PDF.
Source: Kremlin Archives, F. 558, op. II, d. 94, ll. 32-39.
Translated: Steven Shabad
Transcription/Markup: Brian Baggins
Fair Use: Stalin Reference Archive ( 2005. This document has been reproduced in accordance to § 107 of Title 17 in US Copyright Law. Particularly, we wish to convey to readers that the above mentioned book has relevant material on the subject of the Moscow Trials, on pages 324-350. Enclosed is a sample of such material.

[By cipher]

To Kaganovich, Molotov.

Pravda fell flat on its face with its articles about the trial of the Zinovievites and Trotskyites. Pravda failed to produce a single article that provided a Marxist explanation of the process of degradation of these scum, their sociopolitical complexion, and their real platform. It reduced everything to the personal element, to the notion that there are evil people who want to seize power and there are good people who hold power, and fed this paltry mush to the public.

The articles should have said that the struggle against Stalin, Voroshilov, Molotov, Zhdanov, Kosior, and others is a struggle against the Soviets, a struggle against collectivization, against industrialization, a struggle, consequently, to restore capitalism in the towns and villages of the USSR. Because Stalin and the other leaders are not isolated individuals but the personification of all the victories of socialism in the USSR, the personification of collectivization, industrialization, and the blossoming of culture in the USSR, consequently, the personification of the efforts of workers, peasants, and the working intelligentsia for the defeat of capitalism and the triumph of socialism.

They should have said that whoever fights against the party and the government in the USSR stands for the defeat of socialism and the restoration of capitalism.

They should have said that talk that the Zinovievites and Trotskyites have no platform is a fraud on the part of these scum and a self-deception by our comrades. These scum had a platform. The gist of their platform was the defeat of socialism in the USSR and the restoration of capitalism. It wasn't to these scum's advantage to talk openly about such a platform. Hence their claim that they don't have a platform, which our bumblers took at face value.

They should have said, finally, that the degradation of these scum to the level of White Guards and fascists is a logical outgrowth of their moral decline as opposition leaders in the past. As far back as the X party congress, Lenin said that if a faction or factions persist in their errors in their struggle against the party, under the Soviet system they will, without fail, slide down to the level of White Guardism, the defense of capitalism, a struggle against the Soviets, and must, without fail, merge with the enemies of Soviet rule. This proposition by Lenin has now been brilliantly confirmed. But Pravda, unfortunately, failed to make use of it. That is the spirit and direction in which agitation should have been conducted in the press. All this unfortunately has been missed.


Nos. 29 and 30
6 September 1936