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The trials and struggle against revisionism and enemy infiltration

On December 1, 1934, Kirov,  number two in the Party, was assassinated in his office in the Party Headquarters in Leningrad. The assassin, Nikolayev,  had entered simply by showing his Party card. He had been expelled from the Party, but had kept his card.

The counter-revolutionaries in the prisons and in the camps started up their typical slanderous campaign:

`It was Stalin who killed Kirov'!  This `interpretation' of Kirov's  murder was spread in the West by the dissident Orlov  in 1953. At the time, Orlov  was in Spain! In a book that he published after he left for the West in 1938, Orlov  wrote about hearsay that he picked up during his brief stays in Moscow. But it was only fifteen years later, during the Cold War, that the dissident Orlov  would have sufficient insight to make his sensational revelation.

Tokaev,  a member of a clandestine anti-Communist organization, wrote that Kirov  was killed by an opposition group and that he, Tokaev,  had carefully followed the preparations for the assassination. Liuskov,  a member of the NKVD who fled to Japan, confirmed that Stalin had nothing to do with this assassination.


Ibid. , p. 207.

Kirov's  assassination took place just as the Party leadership thought that the most difficult struggles were behind them and that Party unity had been re-established. Stalin's first reaction was disorganized and reflected panic. The leadership thought that the assassination of the number two man in the Party meant the beginning of a coup d'état. A new decree was immediately published, calling for the use of summary procedures for the arrest and execution of terrorists. This draconian measure was the result of the feeling of mortal danger for the socialist régime.

At first, the Party looked for the guilty within traditional enemy circles, the Whites. A few of them were executed.

Then, the police found Nikolayev's journal. In it, there was no reference to an opposition movement that had prepared the attack. The inquiry finally concluded that Zinoviev's  group had `influenced' Nikolayev  and his friends, but found no evidence of direct implication of Zinoviev,  who was sent back to internal exile.

The Party's reaction showed great disarray. The thesis by which Stalin `prepared' the attack to implement his `diabolical plan' to exterminate the opposition is not verified by the facts.

next up previous contents index
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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995