On January 15, 1935, Grigory Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev, and 16 others were tried in relation to the murder of Leningrad party boss Sergei Kirov. After they were convicted on the sixteenth, Leon Trotsky weighed in on the absurdity of it all. Yet in those absurd times, just one trial was not enough. One year later, many of the same people, including Zinovyev and Kamenev, were again tried, convicted, and executed for their alleged participation in a massive conspiracy masterminded by Trotsky himself.
“Everything Gradually Becomes Clear” (excerpt)
A letter to American friends, January 26, 1935
After the Moscow group of old Bolsheviks were arrested, the first government announcements and official articles claimed that Zinovyev, Kamenev, and Co. had set “the restoration of the capitalist regime” as their objective, and aimed to cause a foreign “military intervention” (by way of… the Latvian consul!). Of course, not a single person seriously believed that.
And yet Stalin’s lackeys, appearing to us in the guise of Comintern “leaders,” do not tire of repeating that Zinovyev, Kamenev, et al. “themselves admitted to their crimes.” What crimes? Preparing the restoration of capitalism? Preparing a military intervention? Preparing the murders of Kirov and Stalin? No, not quite. Faced with the barrel of a gun, they admitted: 1) that they had been very critical of collectivization methods; 2) that they did not sympathize with Stalin or Kaganovich; 3) and that they had not kept these thoughts and feelings from their closest friends. Just that! All of this was in 1932. For these heinous crimes, the most serious of which was their lack of love for Stalin, they were once excluded from the Party. Afterwards, however, they repented and were reinstituted. So what crime have they committed since repenting? Out of the avalanche of empty words and lackey’s curses we could extract only a single concrete incident: in December 1934, Zinovyev told his friends that the Comintern was managing the single-front policy incorrectly, and that the initiative was being practically handed over to the social democrats.
The sheer fact that this kind of critical review of Stalin and Bela Kun’s most recent policy is being cited in court as a criminal act and officially quoted as evidence of a counter-revolutionary conspiracy shows what unheard-of indignity has been visited upon the Party by the unbridled excesses of the Thermidorean-Bonapartist bureaucracy!
Let us assume that Zinovyev’s criticism is mistaken. Let us even allow the lackeys their right to call any criticism directed against them “criminal.” But then what is the relevance of “restoring capitalism” and “military intervention”? What is the connection between demanding a more revolutionary policy against the bourgeoisie and a plan to restore the bourgeois regime? Where is the common sense in this? It has been completely buried by monstrous eruptions of base vileness!
You can read more about Kirov's assassination and the source of the accusations here and here.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons (artist: Yuri Annenkov)
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