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George Solomon

 

Consider another testimonial work. The career of its author, George Solomon,  is even more interesting. Solomon  was a Bolshevik Party cadre, named in July 1919 assistant to the People's Commissar for Commerce and Industry. He was an intimate friend of Krassin,  an old Bolshevik, who was simultaneously Commissar of Railroads and Communications and Commissar of Commerce and Industry. In short, we have two members of the `old guard of the heroic times' so dear to Henri Bernard  of the Belgian Military Academy.

In December 1919, Solomon  returned from Stockholm to Petrograd, where he hurried to see his friend Krassin  and ask him about the political situation. According to Solomon,  the response was:

`You want a résumé of the situation? ... it is ... the immediate installation of socialism ... an imposed utopia, including the most extreme of stupidities. They have all become crazy, Lenin  included! ... forgotten the laws of natural evolution, forgotten our warnings about the danger of trying the socialist experience under the actual conditions .... As for Lenin  ... he suffers from permanent delirium .... in fact we are living under a completely autocratic régime.'

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George Solomon,  Parmi les maîtres rouges, Série Anticommuniste du Centre International de Lutte Active Contre le Communisme (Paris: Éditions Spes, 1930), p. 19.

This analysis in no way differs from that of the Mensheviks: Russia is not ready for socialism, and those who want to introduce it will have to use autocratic methods.

In the beginning of 1918, Solomon  and Krassin  were together in Stockholm. The Germans had started up the offensive and had occupied Ukraine. Anti-Bolshevik insurrections were more and more frequent. It was not at all clear who was going to rule Russia, the Bolsheviks or the Mensheviks and their industrialist friends. Solomon  summarized his conversations with Krassin. 

`We had understood that the new régime had introduced a series of absurd measures, by destroying the technical forces, by demoralizing the technical experts and by substituting worker committees for them .... we understood that the line of annihilating the bourgeoisie was no less absurd .... This bourgeoisie was destined to still bring us many positive elements .... this class ... needed to fill its historic and civilizing rôle.'

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Ibid. , p 36.

Solomon  and Krassin  appeared to hesitate as to whether they should join the `real' Marxists,  the Mensheviks, with whom they shared concern for the bourgeoisie, which was to bring progress. What could be done without it? Surely not develop the country with `factories run by committees of ignorant workers'?

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Ibid. , p. 19.

But Bolshevik power stabilized:

`(A) gradual change ... took place in our assessment of the situation. We asked ourselves if we had the right to remain aloof .... Should we not, in the interests of the people that we wanted to serve, give the Soviets our support and our experience, in order to bring to this task some sane elements? Would we not have a better chance to fight against this policy of general destruction that marked the Bolsheviks' activity We could also oppose the total destruction of the bourgeoisie .... We thought that the restoration of normal diplomatic relations with the West ... would necessarily force our leaders to fall in line with other nations and ... that the tendency towards immediate and direct communism would start to shrink and ultimately disappear forever ....

`Given these new thoughts, we decided, Krassin  and myself, to join the Soviets.'

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Ibid. , pp. 36--37.

So, according to Solomon,  he and Krassin  formulated a secret program that they followed by reaching the post of Minister and vice-Minister under Lenin:  they opposed all measures of the dictatorship of the proletariat, they protected as much as they could the bourgeoisie and they intended to create links with the imperialist world, all to `progressively and completely erase' the Communist line of the Party! Good Bolshevik, Comrade Solomon. 

On August 1, 1923, during a visit to Belgium, he joined the other side. His testimony appeared in 1930, published by the Belgo-French `International Centre for the Active Struggle Against Communism' (CILACC). Solomon  the old Bolshevik now had set ideas:

`(T)he Moscow government (is) formed of a small group of men who, with the help of the G.P.U., inflicts slavery and terror on our great and admirable country ....'

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Ibid. , p. 348.

`Already the Soviet despots see themselves as surrounded everywhere by anger, the great collective anger. Seized by crazed terror .... They become more and more vicious, shedding rivers of human blood.'

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Ibid. , p. 351.

These are the same terms used by the Mensheviks a few years earlier. They would soon be taken up by Trotsky  and, fifty years later, the Belgian Army's chief ideologue would say things no better. It is important to note that the terms `crazed terror', `slavery' and `rivers of blood' were used by the `old Bolshevik' Solomon  to describe the situation in the Soviet Union under Lenin  and during the liberal period of 1924--1929, before collectivization. All the slanders of `terrorist and bloodthirsty régime', hurled by the bourgeoisie against the Soviet régime under Stalin, were hurled, word for word, against Lenin's  Soviet Union.

Solomon  presented an interesting case of an `old Bolshevik' who was fundamentally opposed to Lenin's  project, but who chose to disrupt and `distort' it from the inside. Already in 1918, some Bolsheviks had, in front of Lenin,  accused Solomon  of being a bourgeois, a speculator and a German spy. Solomon  denied everything in a self-righteous manner. But it is interesting to note that as soon as he left the Soviet Union, he publicly declared himself to be an avowed anti-Communist.



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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995