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The Zinoviev--Kamenev--Smirnov counter-revolutionary group


Let us come back to the discovery, in 1936, of links between Zinoviev--Kamenev--Smirnov     and Trotsky's  anti-Communist group outside the country.

The trial of the Zinovievites  took place in August 1936. It essentially dealt with elements that had been marginal in the Party for several years. The repression against Trotskyists  and Zinovievites  left the Party structures intact. During the trial, the accused referred to Bukharin.  But the prosecutor felt that there was not sufficient proof implicating Bukharin  and did not pursue investigations in this direction, i.e. towards the leading cadre circles of the Party.

Nevertheless, the radical tendency within the Party leadership published in July 1936 an internal letter that focused on the fact that enemies had penetrated the Party apparatus itself, that they were hiding their real intentions and that their were noisily showing their support for the general line in order to better sabotage. It was very difficult to unmask them, the letter noted.

The July letter also contained this affirmation: `Under present conditions, the inalienable quality of every Bolshevik must be the ability to detect the enemy of the party, however well he may be masked'.


Getty,  op. cit. , p. 123.

This sentence may appear to some as a summary of `Stalinist' paranoia.   They should carefully read the admission of Tokaev,  a member of an anti-Communist organization within the CPSU. Tokaev  described his reaction to Zinoviev  during a Party assembly at the Zhukovsky  Military Academy, where he occupied an important position.

`In this atmosphere, there was only one thing for me to do: go with the tide .... I concentrated on Zinoviev  and Kameniev. I avoided all mention of Bukharin.  But the chairman would not let this pass: did I or did I not approve of the conclusions Vishinsky  had drawn in regard to Bukharin? .... 

`I said that Vishinsky's  decision to investigate the activity of Bukharin,  Rykov,  Tomsky  and Uglanov  had the approval of the people and the Party, and that I `completely agreed' --- that the `peoples of the Soviet Union and our Party had the right to know about the two-faced intrigues of Bukharin  and Rykov .... 

`(F)rom this statement alone my other readers will grasp in what a turgid atmosphere, in what an ultra-conspiratorial manner --- not even knowing one another's characters --- we oppositionists of the U.S.S.R. have to work.'


Tokaev,  op. cit. , pp. 60--61.

It is therefore clear that at the time of the trial of the Trotskyist--Zinovievite   Bloc, Stalin did not support the radical tendency and kept his faith in the head of the NKVD, Yagoda.  The latter was able to orient the trial and significantly restricted the scope of the purge that took place after the discovery of the plot.

However, there was already doubt about Yagoda.  Several people, including Van Heijenoort,  Trotsky's  secretary, and Orlov,  an NKVD turncoat, have since affirmed that Mark Zborowsky,  Sedov's  closest collaborator, worked for the Soviet secret services.


Getty,  op. cit. , pp. 121--122.

Under these conditions, could Yagoda  really have known nothing about the existence of the Trotsky--Zinoviev   bloc until 1936? Or did he hide it? Some within the Party were already asking this question. For this reason, in the beginning of 1936, Yezhov,  a member of the radical tendency, was named Yagoda's  second.

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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995