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The Riutin affair


During 1928--1930, Bukharin  was bitterly criticized for his social-democratic ideas, particularly for his opposition to the collectivization, his policy of `social peace' with the kulaks and his attempt to slow down the industrialization efforts.

Pushing even further than Bukharin,  Mikhail Riutin  formed an openly counter-revolutionary group in 1931--1932. Riutin,  a former substitute member of the Central Committee, was Party Secretary for a Moscow district until 1932. He was surrounded by several well-known young Bukharinists,  including Slepkov,  Maretsky  and Petrovsky. 


Stephen F. Cohen.  Bukharin  and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888--1938 (New York: Vintage Books, 1975), p. 343.

In 1931, Riutin  wrote up a 200-page document, a real program for the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. Here are a few passages:

`Already in 1924--1925, Stalin was planning to organize his `Eighteenth Brumaire'. Just as Louis Bonaparte  swore in front of the house his faithfulness to the constitution, while at the same time preparing his proclamation as emperor .... Stalin was preparing his `bloodless' Eighteenth Brumaire by amputating one group after another .... Those who do not know how to think in a Marxist  manner think that the elimination of Stalin would at the same time mean the reversal of Soviet power .... The dictatorship of the proletariat will inevitably perish because of Stalin and his clique. By eliminating Stalin, we will have many chances to save it.

`What should be done?

`The Party.

`1. Liquidate the dictatorship by Stalin and his clique.

`2. Replace the entire leadership of the Party apparatus.

`3. Immediately convoke an extraordinary congress of the Party.

`The Soviets.

`1. New elections excluding nomination.

`2. Replacing the judicial machine and introduction of a rigorous legality.

`3. Replacement and purge of the Ogpu apparatus.


`1. Dissolution of all kolkhozes created by force.

`2. Liquidation of all unprofitable sovkhozes.

`3. Immediate halt to the pillage of the peasants.

`4. Rules allowing the exploitation of land by private owners and the return of land to these owners for an extended period.'


Nouvelles de Moscou 21, 27 May 1990.

Riutin's  `communist' program in no way differed from that of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie: liquidate the Party leadership, dismantle the state security apparatus and re-establish private farms and the kulaks. All counter-revolutionaries, from Khrushchev  to Gorbachev  and Yeltsin,  would adhere to this program. But in 1931, Riutin,  like Trotsky,  was forced to hide this program in `leftist' rhetoric: he wanted the restoration of capitalism, you see, to save the dictatorship of the proletariat and to stop the counter-revolution, i.e. the `Eighteenth Brumaire' or the `Thermidor'.

During his 1938 trial, Bukharin  stated that the young Bukharinists,  with the accord and initiative of Slepkov,  organized a conference at the end of the summer of 1932 in which Riutin's  platform was approved.

`I fully agreed with this platform and I bear full responsibility for it.'


People's Commissariat of Justice of the U.S.S.R. Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet ``Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites''  (Moscow, 1938), p. 390.

next up previous contents index
Next: Bukharin's revisionism Up: The trial of Previous: The February 1937

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995