Stalin's Purges, 1935
From History of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): Short Course (Moscow,1948),pp.324-327,329.
In 1936, Stalin began to attack his political opponents in a series of"
purges" aimed at destroying the vestiges of political opposition to him.
What follows is the official explanation from textbooks published before
Stalin's excesses were repudiated by his successors.
The achievements of Socialism in our country were a cause of rejoicing not
only to the Party, and not only to the workers and collective farmers, but
also to our Soviet intelligentsia, and to all honest citizens of the Soviet
But they were no cause of rejoicing to the remnants of the defeated
exploiting classes; on the contrary, they only enraged them the more as time
They infuriated the lickspittles of the defeated classes - the puny remnants
of the following of Bukharin and Trotsky.
These gentry were guided in their evaluation of the achievements of the
workers and collective farmers not by the interests of the people, who
applauded every such achievement, but by the interests of their own wretched
and putrid faction, which had lost all contact with the realities of life.
Since the achievements of Socialism in our country meant the victory of the
policy of the Party and the utter bankruptcy of their own policy, these
gentry, instead of admitting the obvious facts and joining the common cause,
began to revenge themselves on the Party and the people for their own
failure, for their own bankruptcy; they began to resort to foul play and
sabotage against the cause of the workers and collective farmers, to blow up
pits, set fire to factories, and commit acts of wrecking in collective and
state farms, with the object of undoing the achievements of the workers and
collective farmers and evoking popular discontent against the Soviet
Government. And in order, while doing so, to shield their puny group from
exposure and destruction, they simulated loyalty to the Party, fawned upon
it, eulogized it, cringed before it more and more, while in reality
continuing their underhand. subversive activities
against the workers and peasants.
At the Seventeenth Party Congress, Bukharin, Rykov
and Tomsky made repentant speeches, praising the
Party and extolling its achievements to the skies. But the congress detected
a ring of insincerity and duplicity in their speeches; for what the Party
expects from its members is not eulogies and rhapsodies over its
achievements, but conscientious work on the Socialist front. And this was
what the Bukharinites had showed no signs of for a
long time. The Party saw that the hollow speeches of these gentry were in
reality meant for their supporters outside the congress, to serve as a lesson
to them in duplicity, and a call to them not to lay down their arms.
Speeches were also made at the Seventeenth Congress by the Trotskyites,
Zinoviev and Kamenev, who lashed themselves extravagantly for their mistakes,
and eulogized the Party no less extravagantly for its achievements. But the
congress could not help seeing that both their nauseating self-castigation
and their fulsome praise of the party were only meant to hide an uneasy and
unclean conscience. However, the Party did not yet know or suspect that while
these gentry were making their cloying speeches at the congress they were
hatching a villainous plot against the life of S. M. Kirov.
On December 1, 1934, S. M. Kirov was foully murdered in the Smolny, in Leningrad, by a shot from a revolver.
The assassin was caught red-handed and turned out to be a member of a secret
counter-revolutionary group made up of members of an anti-Soviet group of Zinovievites in Leningrad.
S. M. Kirov was loved by the Party and the working class, and his murder
stirred the people profoundly, sending a wave of wrath and deep sorrow through
The investigation established that in 1933 and 1934 an underground
counter-revolutionary terrorist group had been formed in Leningrad consisting
of former members of the Zinoviev opposition and headed by a so-called
"Leningrad Centre." The purpose of this group was to murder leaders
of the Communist Party. S. M. Kirov was chosen as the first victim. The
testimony of the members of this counter-revolutionary group showed that they
were connected with representatives of foreign capitalist states and were
receiving funds from them.
The exposed members of this organization were sentenced by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. to the
supreme penalty - to be shot.
Soon afterwards the existence of an underground counter-revolutionary
organization called the "Moscow Centre" was discovered. The
preliminary investigation and the trial revealed the villainous part played
by Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yevdokimo and other leaders
of this organization in cultivating the terrorist mentality among their
followers, and in plotting the murder of members of the Party Central
Committee and of the Soviet Government.
To such depths of duplicity and villainy had these people sunk that Zinoviev,
who was one of the organizers and instigators of the assassination of S. M.
Kirov, and who had urged the murderer to hasten the crime, wrote an obituary
of Kirov speaking of him in terms of eulogy, and demanded that it be
The Zinovievites simulated remorse in court; but
they persisted in their duplicity even in the dock. They concealed their
connection with Trotsky. They concealed the fact that together with the
Trotskyites they had sold themselves to fascist espionage services. They
concealed their spying and wrecking activities. They concealed from the court
their connections with the Bukharinites, and the
existence of a united Trotsky-Bukharin gang of fascist hirelings.
As it later transpired, the murder of Comrade Kirov was the work of this
united Trotsky-Bukharin gang....
The chief instigator and ringleader of this gang of assassins and spies was
Judas Trotsky. Trotsky's assistants and agents in carrying out his
counter-revolutionary instructions were Zinoviev, Kamenev and their
Trotskyite underlings. They were preparing to bring about the defeat of the
U.S.S.R. in the event of attack by imperialist countries; they had become
defeatists with regard to the workers' and peasants' state; they had become
despicable tools and agents of the German and Japanese fascists.
The main lesson which the Party organizations had to draw from the trials of
the persons implicated in the foul murder of S. M. Kirov was that they must
put an end to their own political blindness and political heedlessness, and
must increase their vigilance and the vigilance of all Party members....
Purging and consolidating its ranks, destroying the enemies of the Party and
relentlessly combating distortions of the Party line, the Bolshevik Party
rallied closer than ever around its Central Committee, under whose leadership
the Party and the Soviet land now passed to a new stage - the completion of
the construction of a classless, Socialist society.
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