The revolutionary changes that took place in the economy of the Soviet Union during the first two decades led, in the mid ‘30s, to the building of the economic foundation of socialism and the elimination of all exploiting classes; these changes were expressed in the new country’s Constitution (1936).
Analyzing the economic, social, class situation in that stage of Soviet Union’s development, Stalin points out the following in relation to the class structure: “The landlord class, as you know, had already been eliminated as a result of the victorious conclusion of the Civil War. As for the other exploiting classes, they have shared the fate of the landlord class. The capitalist class in the sphere of industry has ceased to exist. The kulak class in the sphere of agriculture has ceased to exist. And the merchants and profiteers in the sphere of trade have ceased to exist. Thus all the exploiting classes have now been eliminated.
There remains the working class.
There remains the peasant class.
There remains the intelligentsia.” (I. V. Stalin, “On the Draft Constitution of USSR” contained in “Problems of Leninism”, 1936)
However, besides the remnants of the exploiting classes that still exist, new bourgeois elements emerge inevitably due to the transitional nature of socialism – which is not yet a full grown classless society – and the degeneration of former revolutionaries in the course of the construction of socialism-communism.
The experience drawn from the construction of socialism showed that during the whole course of revolutionary transformations in the economic field – facilitated by the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, constantly strengthened under the leadership of the Bolshevik party – from 1917 up to the mid 1930’s the economy of the Soviet Union progressed towards socialism-communism in the midst of tremendous and unseen difficulties and theintensification of the class struggle. The reason why the class struggle became more intense lies in the desperate resistance put up by the exploiting classes still present from the first until the beginning of the second decade and, afterwards, by their remains together with the degenerated bourgeois elements that gained political representation in the ranks of the Bolshevik party: Bukharin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev et al). Unless the building of socialism stopped, these elements had to be politically and ideologically crushed. Moreover, they had to be totally eliminated when they proceeded to form terrorist organizations with a view to assassinate party and state leaders, when they became agents and spies of imperialism and, first of all, the Nazi Germany. The assassinations of S. M. Kirov, B. P. Mrezhinsky, V. Kuibyshev, A. M. Gorky are well known. (Report of Court proceedings in the case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites””). “TheTrotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist centre, after it had killed Comrade Kirov, did not confine itself to organizing the assassination of Comrade Stalin alone. The terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre simultaneously carried on work to organize assassinations of other leaders of the Party, namely, Comrades Voroshilov, Zhdanov, Kaganovich, Kossior, Orjonikidze and Postyshev” (“Prozessbericht ueber die Strafsache des Trotzkistisch-Sinowjewistischen Terroristischen Zentrums”, p. 181, Moskau 1936).
In a decade so critical for the Soviet Union as the 1930’s, the severe crisis in the capitalist world not only deepened the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat compelling the former to resort to fascism in order to check the revolutionary struggle of the latter; it also deepened the competition among the imperialist powers for new markets and spheres of influence a fact that would inevitably lead to a new imperialist war. But “every time the capitalist contradictions start deepening, bourgeoisie turns her attention to the USSR. Perhaps this or that contradiction of capitalism can be resolved or all of them together at the expense of USSR, the land of the Soviets, the acropolis of revolution whose mere existence revolutionize the working class and the colonies and is an obstacle to re-division of the world” (Stalin)
In imperialist Germany the monopolies help Hitler’s Nazi gang to rise to power and subsequently, the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis is formed on the basis of a tripartite military agreement.
Knowing that the ensuing war was going to be against her, Soviet Union had not only to take advantage of the intra-imperialist competition but, also, to reinforce her defense. This task included the purging the country’s rear of all the terrorist counter-revolutionary groups that had gone too far with their counter-revolutionary action and degenerated into agents and spies of the imperialist and fascist states with the sole aim to undermine Soviet Union’s defense, organizing sabotage, plots, espionage and assassinations. This situation posed a serious danger for the country, especially on the eve of the Second World War, and intensified the internal class struggle. It was in these circumstances, that the revolutionary Moscow Trials against the Bukharinists, Trotskyites and other traitors, agents took place. On the pretext of the revolutionary trials, the world reaction, the Trotskyites, the social-democrats and the various opportunists launched a gigantic campaign of slander against the Soviet Union.
Now, some comments on the trials.
As it is known, the court proceedings of the Moscow Trials – that were trials in open court and not held “in camera” – have been published in three volumes by the People’s Commissariat of Justice of USSR: the first trial (19-24 August 1936): “Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre”, Moscow 1936, the second trial (23-30 January 1937): ”Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre”, Moscow 1937 and the third trial (2-13 March 1938) “Report of Court proceedings in the case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites””
1. Trials of views or of criminal actions? The claim made by various well informed reactionaries that the Moscow Trials were“trials of views” of the defendants, i.e. trials that aim to suppress their political views, is utterly groundless and false; it has an obvious albeit undisclosed objective: to defame and slander the socialism of that period presenting it as “anti-democratic”, and “oppressive”.
The above claim not only is absolutely groundless but it bears no relation whatsoever with the historical truth and this can be easily seen in the verbatim report of the court proceedings which clearly refer to the defendants’ actions and to their ideas. Moreover, and most importantly, it is refuted altogether by the actual conditions prevailing in the Soviet Union at that time: all the books written by the accused former cadres, notwithstanding the false and anti-Marxist views they contained, had been published in the Soviet Union and, many of them, even abroad in various languages by publishers well disposed towards the communist movement. In this respect, the books of the prolific Nikolai Bukharin had a special place. At this point we mention only one which is probably known to many people since its anti-Marxist views were subjected to criticism by Stalin (I. V. Stalin, “The Right Deviation in the CPSU(B)”, 1929, v. 12). We are taking about N. Bukharin’s book “The path to socialism” that was published almost simultaneously in Soviet Union and in Austria (N. Bucharin: “Der Weg zum Sozialismus”, Verlag fur Literatur und Politik, Wien 1925). Bucharin himself in the preface of the German edition confirms the publication of this brochure in other languages: “these reflections justify, I think, the publication of this brochure in other languages” (N. Bukharin: “Der Weg zum Sozialismus”, p.6) All this is familiar to everyone who has even the most elementary knowledge of the foreign literature and the history of the international communist movement
All this is more than enough to rebut the crudest of lies circulated by the reactionaries and the various counter-revolutionaries (the Trotskyites, the old social-democrats and Khrushchevian revisionists) as well as the slanderous fabrications of Trotsky himself.
2. “In camera” or open court trials? When the spokesmen of the reaction, the social-democrats, and all sorts of counter-revolutionaries refer to the revolutionary Moscow trials, they imply that these were held “in camera”, i.e. they were close court trials aiming obviously to slander socialism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat presenting it before the working class and peoples as “undemocratic” and” oppressive”. They conceal the fact that all the trials, except one, were public, open court trials.
They were attended by diplomats from various countries, lawyers, and soviet workers and even Dmitri Volkogonov, this fascist and pathetic mudslinger of Stalin, dares not doubt this (not to pass for totally unreliable): “Foreign journalists and even diplomats were invited to attend” (Dmitri Volkogonov, “Stalin, triumph and tragedy”, p. 299, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1991). In relation to this question, we read in “Rundschau”: “the court room is packed. Foreign and soviet correspondents, members of the diplomatic corps and numerous workers were present at the trial” (“Rundschau” ueber Politik, Wirtschaft und Arbeitbewegung, No 10,3/3/1938, p.17, Basel). Also, the American ambassador in Moscow Joseph E. Davies, himself a layer, attended all the sessions and narrates: “At 12 o’clock noon accompanied by Counselor Henderson I went to this trial. Special arrangements were made for tickets for the Diplomatic Corps to have seats” and “on both sides of the central aisle were rows of seats occupied entirely by different groups of “workers” at each session, with the exception of a few rows in the centre of the hall reserved for correspondents, local and foreign, and for the Diplomatic Corps. The different groups of “workers”, I am advised, were charged with the duty of taking back reports of the trials to their various organizations.” (Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p. 26 and 34)
Davies lists the names of the American correspondents, among the many others, present in the trial: “it was Walter Duranty and Harold Denny from New York Times, Joe Barnew and Joe Phillips from New York Herald Tribune, Charlie Nutter or Nick Massock from Associated Press, Norman Deuel and Henry Schapiro from United Press, Jim Brown from International News and Spencer Williams as a correspondent from Manchester Guardian” from whom “Schapiro was an attorney holding an academic title from the Law School of the Moscow University” (Joseph E. Davies: Mission to Moscow).
Concerning the most slandered Andrei Vyshinsky, the revolutionary prosecutor, the American ambassador notes: “the prosecutor who conducted the case calmly and generally with admirable moderation” while in connection to the defendants’ condition, writes: “there was nothing unusual in the appearance of the accused. They all appeared well nourished and normal physically” (Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p.35).
Concerning the legal side of the trials, we are informed by the leader of the treacherous Austrian social-democracy the following:“the eminent English lawyer D. N. Pritt concluded that, the court proceedings were flawless and the accused were able to freely enter their pleas before the court” (Otto Bauer, Grundsaetzliches zu den Hinrichtungen in Mokau, in “Der Kampf”, 10/1936, p.396).
But despite this and the assurances given by eminent layers such as D. N. Pritt, Pierre Villar, Joseph Davies and others for the contrary, the reactionary D. Volkogonov does not hesitate to claim that “most of the accused could only find words to agree with Vyshinsky” and that “all the accused agreed with the procurator, accepted the monstrous charges in a friendly spirit”. He also talks about “violation of the basic rules of socialist legality” (Dmitri Volkogonov, Stalin, triumph and tragedy, p. 294)
Whoever is interested in the historical truth, he has only to study the full verbatim record of the court proceedings mentioned above and, also, the communist and bourgeois press of that time.
The only trial that was not held in open court – because it was related to Soviet Union’s defense– was the trial of Tukhatchevsky who, thrilled by the military might of Nazi Germany, aimed to stage a military coup in order to overthrow the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the Soviet Union.
In the beginning of 1936, on his way to London to attend the funeral of king George V, stopped at Warsaw and Berlin where he met with Polish and German generals. Returning from London and during a banquet held by the Soviet embassy in Paris, he praised Nazi Germany in public and advised the Romanian minister for foreign affairs Nicola Titulescu to attach his country to “New Germany”:
“Tukhatchevsky who was sitting on the same table with Romanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nicola Titulescu, explained to him: Monsieur le Ministre, it is not fair to connect your career and the fate of your nation with old and “doomed” countries like Great Britain and France. We have to turn our attention to the new Germany. For, at least, certain period of time Germany will take the leadership of the European continent. I am convinced that Hitler will contribute to the salvation of all of us” (Michael Sayers and Albert Kahn: “The Great Conspiracy against Russia”)
These comments by Tukhatchevsky were recorded by another invited Romanian diplomat, Schachanan Esseze, the head of the Press Bureau of the Romanian embassy in Paris. The well known political writer, Genevieve Tabouis recounts later in her book: “My name is Cassandra”:
“I saw Tukhatchevsky for the last time on the day of the funeral of George V. In Soviet embassy banquet, the Russian general appeared very open in his conversations with Politis, Titulescu, Herriot and Boncour…He had just come back from a trip to Germany and he couldn’t stop praising the Nazis. He was sitting on my right, and whenever he referred to an imaginary agreement between Hitler and the other great powers, he repeated: “Madame Tabouis, the Germans now are already invincible”
What urged him to make such enthusiastic statements? Had the German diplomat brainwashed him with an especially cordial reception? That evening I wasn’t the only one who felt worried with his enthusiastic remarks. One of the guests, an important diplomat, after leaving the embassy, whispered in my ear: Well, I can only hope that not all Russians think in this way.” (Michael Sayers – Albert E. Kahn: «Die grosse Verschwoerung», p. 310-311, Verlag Volk und Welt, Berlin (DDR) 1949, US title: “The Great Conspiracy against Russia”).
3. “Extraction” of confessions through “torture” and “pressure” or voluntary admission of the crimes by the accused?
The crux of the slandering campaign launched by the world reaction, the Trotskyites and the social-democrat traitors against the Soviet Union, on the eve of the war, was the lie that the defendant’s confessions resulted from torture and pressure. This was later spread by the Krushchevians’ Goebbelist propaganda against Stalin: “the confessions were acquired through the exercise of physical violence, torture” (N. Khrushchev: “The Secret Report” at the 20th Congress of CPSU). This totally groundless claim is still widely spread nowadays as it is shown by the references made by reactionary “historians” and journalists:“the confessions, the course of the trials, was a result of torture” (Christine Reymann, Berlin).
We have to note, at first, that this argument of the anti-stalinist reaction of all kinds (from fascists to Trotskyites and from old to new Khrushchevian social-democrats) is nothing more a charming fairy tale for children when we are discussing about experienced cadres. In our country, the revolutionary communist Nikos Belogiannis didn’t confess under “the exercise of physical violence, torture” nor in the offer of the local reaction to become a minister and he was executed, choosing to die instead of being humiliated. The same did lots of hundreds of communists.
Isaac Deutscher, with the semblance of seriousness shown by a professional Trotskyite slanderer writes: “the accused hoped that their confessions would save them and their families, offered them a ray of hope if being saved” (Isaac Deutscher, Stalin, a political biography). But being careless, he forgot a “small” detail: every admission of such criminal acts was punishable by death in the Soviet Union at that time, a fact known to everybody and, most and foremost, the accused themselves. How is it, then, possible that there was even a “a ray of hope of being saved”?
The same ridiculous slanders are repeated by Dimitri Volkogonov: “Stalin had defeated Zinoviev and Kamenev by exhaustion and deception. He took Pyatakov and his “partners” by torture” (Dmitri Volkogonov, Stalin, triumph and tragedy, p. 292, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1991). “The investigators had a wide range of means to obtain the desired confession” (ibid, p.294) and for Bukharin he says that “threats were made against his young wife and infant son” (ibid, p.300). This is how low the Khrushchevian social-democrats have descended.
However, Volkogonov and Co. are unfortunate to be refuted, 52 years in advance, by an eye-witness, lawyer and representative of the American imperialism, the then USA ambassador in Moscow, Joseph E. Davies who was attending the court sessions on a daily basis: “there was nothing unusual in the appearance of the accused. They all appeared well nourished and normal physically” (Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p.35).
Concerning the issue of forced confessions, we make some brief but important remarks:
First, none of the accused stated that he was tortured.
Second, the flawless way the Trials were conducted made sure that the accused had the opportunity for a free statement according to the conclusion of the eminent English lawyer D. Pritt but also of others including Joseph E. Davies.
Third, the representative of the American imperialism in Moscow, Davies, did not notice that any of the accused were tortured but on the contrary, as mentioned above, “there was nothing unusual in the appearance of the accused. They all appeared well nourished and normal physically”. Neither did he mention that there was an atmosphere of fear restriction since Vyshinsky“conducted the case calmly and generally with admirable moderation”
Fourth, if the accused had confessed false crimes, i.e. crimes they had not committed, under the “pressure” or “torture” – as the international reaction claims – then, they would have been shot unjustly but surely since these criminal activities were punishable by death in the Soviet Union at that time.
However, for the case of Bukharin, there is fortunately an additional and of the gravest importance, testimony which is almost entirely unknown: whatever Bukharin publically admitted in his trial, were confirmed by the testimony of his close friend and renegade Jules Herbert-Droz; consequently, the conspirator Bukharin deliberately admitted his crimes without any alleged “pressure” or “torture” .
A very close political and personal friend of Bukharin, the Swiss Jules Herbert-Droz, former secretary of Comintern (1921-1928) refers to his last meeting with Bukharin in an interview (30/10/1965) an in a letter to A.G. Loewy (22/11/1965): “I saw Bukharin for the last time at the end of May 1929. He informed me about two things: 1. his companions Rykov, Tomsky and others were planning to form a bloc with the Trotskyites. Tomski had already contacted Kamenev. 2. The opposition was planning to organize individual terrorism against Stalin” (A.G. Loewy: Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht, p. 373, Europa Werlag Vien, 1969) Moreover, Humbert-Droz himself, writes in the second volume of his memoirs:“before my departure (to Latin America) I visited Bukharin for a last time because I didn’t know whether I was going to see him after my return. We had a long and open conversation. He briefed me on his group’s contacts with the group of Zinoviev and Kamenev and coordination of the struggle against Stalin’s authority. Bukharin also told me that they had decided to resort to individual terrorism in order to get rid of Stalin! This was our last conversation. These who, after Lenin’s death, could eliminate Stalin politically, based on Lenin’s testament, tried to eliminate him physically when he firmly held the police-security apparatus of the state”(Karl Hofmeier: “Memoiren eines Schweizer Kommunisten / 1917-1947”, p. 142, rotpunkt verlag Zurich 1978 and “Memoires de Jules Herbert-Droz”, v.2, p. 379-380).
And the communist Karl Hofmeier comments the attitude of the renegade Droz: “until his death, Humbert-Droz remained silent about his Trotskyite-Bukharinist past! That is the disgraceful end of the long-term secretary of the Communist International” (ibid, p.380). Afterwards, Droz became the secretary of the Social-Democratic party of Switzerland, 1946-1959).
More than 35 years after this very important testimony from a very close and personal friend of Bukharin, Herbert-Droz, according to which Bukharin was planning to physically eliminate Stalin, the credibility of the Khrushchevian revisionist slanderers of Stalin and the Goebelist Volkogonov amounts to continue the mud-slinging:“Bukharin was threatened and blackmailed”,
It is obvious from all the above that the accused were compelled to admit their criminal acts not because of “torture and pressure” but because of the legal and political formulation of the indictment by the Procurator and the overwhelming evidence amassed against them.
Moreover, the opinion of foreign diplomats for the Trials and the existence or absence of the Trotskyite-Bukharinite centre and its terrorist activity are of particular importance.
The American ambassador Davies notes: “I have spoken with many, if not all, of the members of the Diplomatic Corps here and, with possibly with one exception, they are all of the opinion that the proceedings established a clearly the existence of a political plot and conspiracy to overthrow the government” (Joseph E. Davies: “Als USA-Botschafter in Moskau”, p. 35, Steinberg Verlag Zuerich 1943, English version: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p. 39).
Somewhere else: “Another diplomat, made a most illuminating statement to me yesterday. In discussing the trial he said that the defendants were undoubtedly guilty; that all of us who attended the trial had practically agreed on that; that the outside world from the press reports, however, seemed to think that trial was a put-up a job (façade, as he called it); that while we knew it was not, it was probably just as well that the outside world should think so” (Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p. 83)
In a letter to Sumner Welles, concerning the Tukhatchevsky trial, he writes: “Conditions here are, as usual, perplexing. The judgment of those who have been here longest is that conditions are very, very serious; the best judgment seems to believe that in all probability there was a definite conspiracy in the making looking to a coup d’ etat by the army – not necessarily anti-Stalin, but anti-political and anti-party, and that Stalin struck with characteristic speed, boldness and strength. A violent “purge” all over the party has been going on. The opinion of the steadiest minds of the Diplomatic Corps is that the government is not in imminent danger and is still strong.” (Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p. 111)
In a letter to his daughter (on the 9th of March 1938) he writes:“The extraordinary testimony of Krestinsky, Bukharin and the rest would indicate that the Kremlin’s fears were well justified. For it now seems that a plot existed in the beginning of November 1936, to project a coup d’etat, with Tukhatchevsky as its head for May of the following year. Apparently it was touch and go at that time whether it actually would be staged.”
In his overall evaluation of the Bukharin trial, he writes to the State Department: “… after daily observation of the witnesses, their manner of testifying, the unconscious corroboration which developed, and other facts in the course of the trial, together with others of which a judicial notice could be taken, it is my opinion so far that as the political defendants are concerned sufficient crimes under Soviet law. Among those charged in the indictment, were established by proof and beyond a reasonable doubt to justify the verdict of guilty of treason and the adjudication of the punishment provided by Soviet criminal statutes. The opinion of those diplomats who attended the trial most regularly was general that the case had established the fact that there was formidable political opposition and an exceedingly serious plot, which explained to the diplomats many of the hitherto unexplained developments of the last six months of the Soviet Union.” Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p. 178-179)
4. The slanderous campaign launched by the world reaction, the Trotskyites and the social-democrats.
The world reaction, the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis in the first place, together with the counter-revolutionary Trotskyites and the support of social-democrats outdid everyone else in vilifying the Soviet Union and Stalin. The leaders of the treacherous social-democracy, in particular, were among the campaign’s main props, widely publicized in the daily press.
Under these circumstances, the international communist and proletarian movement was obliged to respond and one of its leaders, Georgi Dimitrov, addressed the social-democrats with an article: “Support to the terrorists is the same as help to fascism!”, whereby he accurately determine the content of the dispute making clear from the start, that: “it is impossible to read the telegram that the official representatives of the socialist international and the international trade-union federation, De Brouckere, Adler, Citrine and Scheveneis sent so hastily to the soviet government on the occasion of the trial of the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite center without feeling the deepest indignation”; and rightly pointing out that “the trial of the terrorists, the agents of fascism, is an integral part of the international working class anti-fascist struggle” (Georgi Dimitrov: “Gemeine Terroristen in Schutz nehmen, bedeutet dem Fascismus helfen” in ‘RUNDSCHAU” ueber Politik Wirtschaft und Arbeiterbewegung, 5, Jahrgang, No 28, 27/8/1936, p. 1541 Basel).
The counter-revolutionary Trotsky who, from a Menshevic social-democrat, had degenerated to an agent of fascism and a traitor of his country, the Soviet Union, organized a “counter-trial”; he set up the so-called “Dewey Commission” (1937-1938) presided by the most famous ideological spokesman of American imperialism, the ultra-reactionary pragmatist philosopher John Dewey. Unfortunately for him, the outcome was disappointing since none of the evidence presented in the Moscow Trials could be refuted. However, the arrogant collaborator of the Hitlerites assures us that: “I had the opportunity to give an oral and written account before the Investigation Commission on the “Moscow Trials” presided by John Dewey, and not one of these reports was doubted”. So Trotsky gave an account to the Commission set up by himself!
The significance of the “American Commission for the defense of Trotsky” is indicated by the fact that it published a statement signed by 17 personages seven of whom reported that their names were used without their consent, that they didn’t know the content of the statement and nobody asked them. Among those who complained, was Professor Franz Boas, the Professor Goldenweiser from the University of Wisconsin, Professor Lundberg, the writer of the book “The sixty families of America”, Professor Kilpatrick from Columbia University, Professor Leonard von Roscoe from the University of Wisconsin the writer Burton Roscoe and Wood Krutsch” (RUNDSCHAU” ueber Politik Wirtschaft und Arbeiterbewegung, 5, Jahrgang, No 16, 17/3/1938, p. 1541 Basel).
What is of particular and special interest is the content of the agreement between Trotsky and the Nazis. In his meeting with Trotsky on the outskirts of Oslo, in the beginning of December 1935, Pyatakov received first hand information about this agreement and fixed date of the outbreak of the war:
“It was clear to Pyatakov that Trotsky had not invented this information. Trotsky now revealed to Pyatakov that for some time past he had been “conducting rather lengthy negotiations with the Vice-Chairman of the German National Socialist Party—Hess.” As a result of these negotiations with Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Trotsky had entered into an agreement, “an absolutely definite agreement,” with the Government of the Third Reich. The Nazis were ready to help the Trotskyites to come to power in the Soviet Union.
“It goes without saying,” Trotsky told Pyatakov, “that such a favourable attitude is not due to any particular love for the Trotskyites. It simply proceeds from the real interests of the fascists and from what we have promised to do for them if we come to power.”
Concretely, the agreement which Trotsky had entered into with the Nazis consisted of five points. In return for Germany’s assistance in bringing the Trotskyites to power in Russia, Trotsky had agreed:—
(1) to guarantee a generally favourable attitude towards German government and the necessary collaboration with it in the most important questions of international character;
(2) to agree to territorial concessions [the Ukraine];
(3) to permit German industrialists, in the form of concessions (or some other forms), to exploit enterprises in the U.S.S.R. essential as complements to German economy (iron ore, manganese, oil, gold, timber, etc.) ;
(4) to create in the U.S.S.R. favourable conditions for the activities of German private enterprise;
(5) in time of war to develop extensive diversive activities in enterprises of the war industry and at the front. These diversive activities to fee carried on under Trotsky’s instructions, agreed upon with the German General Staff.
…At the end of two hours, Pyatakov left Trotsky in the small house on the outskirts of Oslo and returned to Berlin as he had come—by privately chartered plane, and carrying a Nazi passport” (Michael Sayers and Albert Kahn: “The Great Conspiracy against Russia, p. 104-105)
The existence of the Trotsky-Nazi agreement was also admitted by Bukharin in his confession: “In the summer of 1934 Radek told me that directions had been received from Trotsky, that Trotsky was concluding negotiations with the Germans, that Trotsky had already promised the Germans a number of territorial concessions, including Ukraine. If my memory doesn’t fail me, territorial concessions to Japan were also mentioned. In general, these negotiations Trotsky already behaved not only as a conspirator who hopes to get power by means of an armed coup at some future data but already felt himself the master of Soviet land, which he wants to convert from Soviet to non-Soviet….As I remember Tomsky told me that Karakhan had arrived at an agreement with Germany in more advantageous terms than Trotsky” (Report of Court proceedings in the case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”, p. 430,432, Moscow 1938).
Fortunately, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat managed to defend itself and foiled the plans of the Trotskyite-Bucharinite bloc and the counter-revolutionary Trotsky that included: 1. The undermining of the country’s defense through the action of the terrorist “5th column” 2. The secret agreement with General Staffs of fascist Germany and Japan. 3. The agreement that offered Ukraine and other soviet territory, to the Germans.
Fifteen years after the treacherous agreements of Trotsky with the Nazis, the various Trotskyite factions show their real facee; we only mention the case of Tony Cliff who outrageously defended the Russian fascist traitors Vlasov-Molyskin who joined the Nazis in the war against their country. (Tony Cliff: “State Capitalism in Russia”)
It should be reminded that besides the soviet state, the Republican government of Spain during the civil war also put the Trotskyites conspirators to trial and in particular the cadres of POUM (Partido Obrero Unificacion Marxista) who were Franco’s “fifth column”. The leader of POUM at that time was Andreas Nin, an old friend and associate of Trotsky (RUNDSCHAU” ueber Politik Wirtschaft und Arbeiterbewegung, 5, Jahrgang, No 52, 20/10/1938, p. 1765-1766, No 53, 27/10/1938, p. 1807-1809, No 54, 3/11/1938, Basel). Nevertheless, the Trotskyites “recount” that these trials were also organized by Joseph Stalin.
5. Defense of the Trials from the international communist movement and by hundreds of anti-fascists and communist intellectuals.
The international communist movement in one voice, the Comintern, the communist and workers’ parties individually, including the revolutionary KKE, the anti-fascist and progressive organizations, the revolutionary syndicates and many hundreds of anti-fascist and communist intellectuals from all over the world, defended the revolutionary Moscow Trials of the conspirators, murderers-terrorists, agents and spies of the fascist powers standing by the side of the Stalin’s socialist Soviet Union that was the homeland of all proletarians and the hope for the crushing of fascism.
At this point, let us mention the universally known names of the communist poet Bertolt Brecht and the anti-fascist philosopher Ernst Bloch. Both of them have been chastised by the reaction and all kinds of pseudo-leftists and pseudo-antifascists not only because they defended firmly the revolutionary Moscow Trials but mainly because they never changed their correct antifascist attitude regarding it as the right one also in the post-war years. The attitude of the two German intellectuals represented the attitude of the overwhelming majority of many hundred anti-fascist intellectuals of that critical period, an attitude vindicated by the great historic event of the 20th century: the great peoples’ Anti-fascist Victory on May 1945.
Among the various reactionaries and anti-Stalinists that criticize the two German intellectuals are the revisionists Michael Lowey and Robert Sayre who express their grief because Ernst Bloch“from all of his compromises with the Stalinist version of communism, the worst was, undoubtedly, his attitude towards the Moscow trials”, and that he declared “his faith in the USSR and in its “revolutionary tribunals”. They claim that his article “Jubiläum der Renegaten” would be a dark spot in his political activity” (Michael Lowey and Robert Sayre: “Révolte et mélancolie”). Apparently, in order to remove this alleged “dark spot”, Bloch had to collaborate with Hitler like the counter-revolutionary and traitor of his country, Leon Trotsky. The provocative embellishment of the feudal views of the ultra-reactionary German Romanticism is indicative of the anti-Marxist views of this book.
The great communist poet Bertolt Brecht in an interesting article with the title “For the trials” (1936-1937), expresses himself, from the beginning in the most clear cut way: “concerning the trials: it would be totally erroneous to take a position against the soviet government that conducts them. Because, such a position, by itself, would be very soon transformed to opposition against the Russian proletariat threatened with war by the world’s fascism, opposition against socialism that this proletariat builds. According to the opinion of the most fanatical enemies of the USSR and the soviet government these trials clearly showed the existence of active conspiracies against the regime, demonstrated that the conspirators’ nests had proceeded not only to wrecking activities inside the country but also to negotiations with fascist diplomats regarding their governments’ attitude to a potential governmental change in USSR”. And elsewhere: “The trials is an act of preparation for the war …Initially, Trotsky saw the crushing of the workers state by means of war as a danger – but later it was precisely this possibility that became the prerequisite of his practical activity. Let’s see how: the war breaks out, the superstructure in defense is crushed, the apparatus is alienated from the masses, USSR is forced to concede Ukraine, Eastern Siberia etc, in the interior is forced again to concessions, the return of the capitalist forms, the strengthening of the kulaks (or to tolerate such a strengthening) – yet all these are, at the same time, the conditions of the new era, the return of Trotsky” (Bertolt Brecht: “For philosophy and Marxism”, p. 71 and p. 75, Athens 1977).
The philosopher Ernst Bloch, besides his main activity in philosophy, he used to comment often the political current affairs of that gloomy period; he wrote four articles on the question of Trials: “Kritik einer Prozesskritik” (March 1937), “Jubiläum der Renegaten” (1937), “Feuchtwangers “Moskau 1937” (July 1937), “Bucharin Slusswort” (May 1938).
Talking about the Trials, he correctly lays emphasis on the distinction between a revolutionary and a west-European class court because they have completely different class content; he sees “the hate of the Trotskyites against Stalin”, which becomes an ally of fascism only after Hitler’s rise to power and the united “action of Nazi monster, the Japanese grabbing state and the Trotskyite hate” comprising a unified force that should not be underestimated at all; he underlines that the “final result of the Trotskyite action would not be, of course, the world revolution…but the introduction of capitalism in Russia” and“it can be plainly said: the result will be the entry of German fascism to Moscow. Russia would then become what Rathenau had dreamed: a vast eastern colony, a German India”. Somewhere else he writes that it would be “an unprecedented naiveté to doubt about Trotsky’s plans” and wonders “that it would be indeed incomprehensible if Gestapo and Trotskyism did not meet on the ground of the common hate” against the Soviet Union and Stalin (Ernst Bloch, “Kritik einer Prozesskritik“ in Vomm Hasard zum Katastrophe, Politische Aufsötze aus den Jahren 1934-1939, p. 177-179, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1972).
In his article, Jubiläum der Renegaten, Bloch formulates in the most plain terms the nature of the confrontation and the historical dilemma of that time: FASCISM or SOVIET UNION, HITLER or STALIN pointing, at the same time, to the alternative course of action in the most critical moment of that period: “Monopoly capitalism does not give rise to vacillations, the choice between this and the socialist cause of the people is easy. One could say, today, that the notion according to which the anti-Bolshevik slogans serve the devil is the most evident. An unreasonably inflated criticism of the motherland of the revolution, as even Klopstock and Schiller would be able to believe, does not promote at all the ideal of revolution which is only served by Popular Front. And this does not necessarily demand an absolute devotion to Russia but only the simplest and, one would say, easily accepted: without Russia, there can be no Antifascist Struggle and no Victory”(E. Bloch “Jubiläum der Renegaten” in Politische Messungen, Pestzeit, Vormörtz, p. 233, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1970).
What Hitler and his collaborators, the spies of the treacherous Trotskyite-Bukharinite Bloc, did not accomplish – the destruction of the Stalin’s socialist Soviet Union – was unfortunately accomplished by the international reaction in the beginning of the 1950’s, after the death-murder of Stalin through the treacherous clique of Khrushchev-Brezhnev that played the leading role in the overthrow of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the Soviet Union, the elimination of socialism, the restoration of capitalism and its break up in the time of Gorbachev.
In conclusion, let’s give as an answer, to all those who distort the historical truth, regarding the revolutionary trials, to all kinds of anti-Stalinist slanderers, what the Foreign Affairs Commissar of the USSR Maxim Litvinov told the American ambassador Joseph E. Davies when the latter pointed out that the “purges were bad to the outside reputation of USSR” and “had shaken the confidence of France of England in the strength of USSR vis-à-vis Hitler”; an answer fully confirmed by the course of historic events: “they had to make sure through these purges that there was no treason left which could co-operate with Berlin or Tokyo; that someday the world would understand that what they had done was to protect their government from a menacing treason. In fact, he said that they were doing a while world a service in protecting themselves against the menace of Hitler and Nazi domination, and thereby preserving the Soviet Union strong as bulwark against the Nazi threat. That the world someday would appreciate what a very great man Stalin was” (Joseph E. Davies: “Mission to Moscow”, London 1945, p. 115).
The Political Committee of the “Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55”