Written: 31 March 1935.
Published: New Militant [New York], Vol. I No. 20, 4 May 1935, p. 3.
Originally Published: Bulletin of the Opposition (Bolshevik-Leninist) in Russian.
Transcribed & marked up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.
On January 18, 1935, I wrote on the question of the Zinoviev affair:
“It would be criminal light-mindedness to think that Stalin has renounced his attempts to frame us up in some new ‘affair’ cooked up by the G.P.U. or its foreign agents. Stalin has no other method of struggle against us.”
To be sure, the threat of such a new amalgam is hanging over the heads of our friends in the U.S.S.R. Its preparation is filthy and abominable. But that indeed does not hinder it from opening the road to bloody repressions against the Bolsheviks and their relations.
On March 20, Pravda published reports on the expulsion from Leningrad of old nobles, big industrialists, landed proprietors, judges and czarist police officers, in all 1,074 individuals. The report added: “Part of the exiled are indicted ... for activity against the State in the interest of foreign nations.”
We completely omit here the question of how, 18 years after October, there could be found in Leningrad more than one thousand dangerous representatives of old Czarist Russia. Does this mean that the G.P.U., while hunting down and exterminating the Leninists had not noticed the class enemies? Or does it mean that the thousand mentioned above did not previously represent any danger and had raised their heads only now after the Stalinist regime has led to terrorist acts inside the party and to bloody mass repressions against the party youth. In either case the official information leaves no doubt as to the personalities against whom the Leningrad purging was directed: all the 1,074 individuals belonged unmistakably to strata of the former ruling classes and the Czarist bureaucracy.
But five days later, in Pravda of March 25, we already find a new version; on the question of the arrests and deportations, it says the following, word for word:
“The foul dregs of the Trotskyists, the Zinovievists, the old princes, counts, gendarmes, all this refuse, which acted in concert in an attempt to undermine the foundations of our state.”
Thus, among the 1,074 people exiled and indicted, and at their head were to be found “Trotskyists and Zinovievists” who acted “in concert” with the former ministers and Czarist police officers. But why then were the group of Trotskyists and Zinovievists completely omitted from the official report of March 20, which gave a precise enumeration of all those expelled and indicted? It is absolutely clear: the laboratory of amalgams had discovered this belatedly and it carried a “correction” to the official information several days later: the former police agents, they aver, acted in concert with the Trotskyists and Zinovievists, which they had forgotten, God knows why, five days earlier.
Besides this unexpected “correction,” they carry another not unimportant qualification, concerning the scope of the crime. The March 20 report says that the nobles and the police officers acted in the “interest (?) of foreign nations.” The vagueness of this, formula is self-understood. March 25th Pravda, referring to the Trotskyists and the nobles who “acted in concert,” uses a much more exact formula: they worked, it states, “according to the instructions of foreign information bureaus.” Thus, in the span of five days, these miserable falsifiers permit us to see with the naked eye the beginning and the end of the new intrigue, which assuredly is not the last.
Only consummate idiots could think that Pravda has merely shown an excess of polemical zeal against the “Trotskyists,” by adding lies and calumnies which are superfluous in the account. No, Pravda is not l’Humanité. Behind Pravda is the G.P.U. The editors of the Pravda do not write whatever comes into their head: they act on instructions from specific institutions. The March 25th article is direct evidence that in five days it was decided to prepare new bloody repressions against the oppositionists and since there was no convenient terrorist act at hand, Pravda was instructed to link this newest extermination of Bolsheviks to the measures taken against the old proprietors, nobles and police officers.
We speak of new repressions: have they already taken place or do they merely threaten? We do not know that. It is highly possible that the cowardly article in the March 25 Pravda might be, after a fashion, an anonymous obituary for Leninists who have already been shot: it is also possible, that this is only a preparation for bloody repressions. In any case, it is clear that Stalin is repairing the setback of the Leningrad G.P.U.: the amalgam with the Lettish consul missed fire – so he substitutes for it an amalgam with nobles and police officers. The technique is different, the aim the same.
The next days and weeks may bring us concrete information of those against whom the Stalinist frame-up was directed this time. But, if the number of new victims is to be reduced to a minimum, it is necessary to begin a campaign to expose a new amalgam and its authors.
March 31, 1935
Quoted from the Opposition Bulletin (Bolshevik-Leninists).
Last updated on: 28 July 2015