Marx-Engels | Lenin | Stalin | Home Page
Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives
Comrade Stalinʹs report, March 3, 1937 Evening session.
Source: Questions of history, 1995, No. 3, pp. 3‐15
Andreev (presiding). The meeting opens. Comrade Stalin has the floor for his report [JV Stalinʹs speech is published according to the verbatim report (Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, f. 3, No. 9457, pp. 3‐10).].
Comrades! From the reports and debates on them, heard at the plenum, it is clear that we are dealing here with the following three main facts.
First, the sabotage and wrecking and espionage work of agents of foreign states, among whom the Trotskyists played a rather active role, touched to one degree or another all or almost all of our organizations, both economic and administrative and party.
Secondly, agents of foreign states, including Trotskyists, infiltrated not only grassroots organizations, but also some important positions.
Thirdly, some of our leading comrades, both in the center and in the field, not only failed to discern the real face of these pests, saboteurs, spies and murderers, but turned out to be so careless, complacent and naive that they themselves often contributed to the advancement of the agents. foreign states for certain positions of responsibility. These are three indisputable facts that naturally follow from the reports and the debate on them.
How can we explain that our leading comrades, who have rich experience in fighting all kinds of anti‐party and anti‐Soviet trends, turned out in this case to be so naive and blind that they did not manage to discern the real face of the enemies of the people, did not manage to recognize wolves in sheepʹs clothing, did not manage them a mask? Can it be argued that the wrecking and sabotage and espionage work of agents of foreign states operating on the territory of the USSR can be something unexpected and unprecedented for us? No, you canʹt say that. This is evidenced by acts of sabotage in various sectors of the national economy over the past 10 years, starting from the Shakhty period, recorded in official documents.
Can it be argued that lately we have not had any warning signals and warning indications about the sabotage, espionage or terrorist activities of the Trotskyite‐Zinoviev agents of fascism? No, you canʹt say that. There were such signals, and the Bolsheviks have no right to forget about them.
The villainous murder of Comrade Kirov was the first serious warning that the enemies of the people will double‐deal and, by double‐dealing, will disguise themselves as a Bolshevik, as a party member, in order to gain confidence and open access to our organizations.
The trial of the ʺLeningrad Centerʺ, as well as the trial of ʺZinovievKamenevʺ, provided new justification for the lessons arising from the fact of the villainous murder of Comrade Kirov.
The trial of the ʺZinoviev‐Trotskyist blocʺ expanded the lessons of the previous trials, showing firsthand that the Zinovievites and Trotskyists unite around themselves all hostile bourgeois elements, that they have turned into spy and sabotage and terrorist agents of the German police secret police, that double‐dealing and camouflage are the only means of the Zinovievites and Trotskyists for penetration into our organizations, that vigilance and political perspicacity are the most reliable means for preventing such penetration, for eliminating the Zinoviev‐Trotskyist gang.
The Central Committee of the CPSU (b) in its closed letter dated January 18, 1935 about the villainous murder of comrade Kirov, strongly warned the party organizations against political complacency and philistine rotozy. The closed letter says: “We must put an end to the opportunist complacency that stems from the erroneous assumption that as our forces grow, the enemy seems to become more and more tame and harmless. This assumption is fundamentally wrong. It is a burp of the Right deviation, which assures everyone and everything that enemies will slowly creep into socialism, that they will eventually become real socialists. It is not the business of the Bolsheviks to rest on their laurels and act out. We do not need complacency, but vigilance, real Bolshevik revolutionary vigilance. It must be remembered that the more hopeless the position of the enemies, the more willingly they will seize on extreme means as the only means of the doomed in their struggle against Soviet power. We must remember this and be vigilant.
In his closed letter dated July 29, 1936 regarding the espionage and terrorist activities of the Trotskyite‐Zinoviev bloc of the Central Committee of the All‐Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, he again called on the party organizations to be extremely vigilant, to the ability to recognize enemies of the people, no matter how well they were disguised. The closed letter says: “Now that it has been proved that the Trotskyite‐Zinoviev fiends unite in the struggle against Soviet power all the most embittered and sworn enemies of the working people of our country ‐ spies, provocateurs, saboteurs, White Guards, kulaks, etc., when between these elements, on the one hand, and the Trotskyists and Zinovievites, on the other hand, have erased every edge ‐ all our Party organizations, all Party members must understand that the vigilance of the Communists is necessary in any sector and in any situation.
So, there were signals and warnings. What did these signals and warnings call for? They called for eliminating the weakness of the partyʹs organizational work and turning the party into an impregnable fortress where no double‐dealing could penetrate. They called for an end to the underestimation of party‐political work and a decisive turn towards strengthening such work in every possible way, towards strengthening political vigilance.
And what? The facts have shown that signals and warnings were perceived by our comrades more than poorly. The well‐known facts from the field of the campaign for the verification and exchange of party documents speak volumes about this. How can you explain that these warnings and signals did not have the proper effect? How can we explain that our party comrades, despite their experience of fighting anti‐Soviet elements, despite a whole series of warning signals and warning instructions, turned out to be politically short‐sighted in the face of the sabotage and espionage and sabotage work of the enemies of the people?
Perhaps our party comrades have become worse than they were before, have become less conscious and disciplined? No, of course not! Maybe they began to be reborn? Again, no! This assumption is devoid of any foundation. So, whatʹs the deal? Where does such rotozy, carelessness, complacency, blindness come from?
The fact is that our Party comrades, carried away by economic campaigns and colossal successes on the front of economic development, have simply forgotten about some very important facts about which the Bolsheviks have no right to forget. They forgot about one basic fact from the field of the USSRʹs international position and did not notice two very important facts directly related to the current saboteurs, spies, wreckers and murderers, hiding behind a party card and disguising themselves as a Bolshevik.
What are these facts that have been forgotten or which our party comrades have simply not noticed?
They have forgotten that Soviet power won only in one‐sixth of the world, that five‐sixths of the world are the possessions of the capitalist states. They forgot that the Soviet Union was surrounded by capitalism. It is customary in our country to chat about capitalist encirclement, but they do not want to ponder what kind of thing it is ‐ capitalist encirclement. Capitalist encirclement is not an empty phrase, it is a very real and unpleasant phenomenon. Capitalist encirclement means that there is one country, the Soviet Union, which has established a socialist order in itself, and there are, in addition, many countries ‐ bourgeois countries that continue to lead a capitalist way of life and which surround the Soviet Union, waiting for an opportunity to to attack it, smash it, or at least undermine its power and weaken it.
This basic fact was forgotten by our comrades. But it is he who defines the basis of the relationship between the capitalist environment and the Soviet Union.
Take, for example, bourgeois states. Naïve people may think that there are exceptionally good relations between them as between states of the same type. But only naïve people can think so. In fact, the relationship between them is more than far from good‐neighborly relations. It is proved as two times two is four that the bourgeois states send their spies, saboteurs, provocateurs, and sometimes murderers to the rear of each other, give them the task of infiltrating the institutions and enterprises of these states, creating their own network there and ʺif necessaryʺ blowing them up rears to weaken them and undermine their power. This is the case at the present time. This has been the case in the past. Take, for example, the states in Europe during the time of Napoleon I. France was then swarmed with spies and saboteurs from the camp of the Russians, Germans, Austrians, and British. Conversely, England, The German states, Austria, Russia then had in their rear no less number of spies and saboteurs from the French camp. Agents of England twice attempted on Napoleonʹs life and several times roused the Vendée peasants in France against Napoleonʹs government. And what was the Napoleonic government like? A bourgeois government that strangled the French revolution and preserved only those results of the revolution that were beneficial to the big bourgeoisie. Needless to say, the Napoleonic government did not remain in debt to its neighbors and also took its sabotage measures. This was the case in the past, 130 years ago. This is the situation now, 130 years after Napoleon I. Now France and England are teeming with German spies and saboteurs and, conversely, in Germany, in turn, the Anglo‐French spies and saboteurs are active. America is teeming with Japanese spies and saboteurs, and Japan with American ones. This is the law of relationships between bourgeois states.
The question arises, why should the bourgeois states treat the Soviet socialist state more gently and more neighborly than to the same type of bourgeois states? Why should they send fewer spies, provocateurs saboteurs and murderers to the rear of the Soviet Union than they send them to the rear of their kindred bourgeois states? Where did you get this from? Wouldnʹt it be more correct, from the point of view of Marxism, to assume that bourgeois states should send twice and three times more wreckers, spies, saboteurs and murderers to the rear of the Soviet Union than to the rear of any bourgeois state? Is it not clear that as long as there is a capitalist encirclement, there will be wreckers, spies, saboteurs and murderers sent to our rear by agents of foreign states?
All this was forgotten by our party comrades, and, having forgotten about it, they were taken by surprise. That is why the espionage and sabotage work of the Trotskyist agents of the Japanese‐German police secret police came as a complete surprise to some of our comrades.
Further. Fighting against Trotskyist agents, our party comrades did not notice, overlooked that the present Trotskyism is no longer what it was, say, 7‐8 years ago, that Trotskyism and Trotskyists have undergone a serious evolution during this time that radically changed the face of Trotskyism that in view of this the fight against Trotskyism, the methods of fighting it must be radically changed. Our party comrades did not notice that Trotskyism ceased to be a political trend in the working class, that from a political trend in the working class, as it was 7‐8 years ago, Trotskyism turned into a rabid and unprincipled gang of saboteurs, wreckers, spies and murderers, acting on assignments by intelligence agencies of foreign states.
What is the political trend in the working class? A political trend in the working class is a group or party that has its own definite political physiognomy, platform, program that does not and cannot hide its views from the working class, but, on the contrary, propagates its views openly and honestly, in front of the worker, a class that is not afraid to show its political face to the working class, is not afraid to demonstrate its real goals and objectives to the working class, but on the contrary, goes with an open visor to the working class in order to convince it of the correctness of its views. Trotskyism in the past, 7‐8 years ago, was one of such political trends in the working class, it is true, anti‐Leninist and therefore deeply mistaken, but still a political trend.
Can we say that todayʹs Trotskyism, Trotskyism, say, 1936, is a political trend in the working class? No, you canʹt say that. Why? Because modern Trotskyists are afraid to show the working class their real faces, they are afraid to reveal their real goals and objectives to them, they diligently hide their political faces from the working class, fearing that if the working class finds out about their real intentions, it will curse them as alien people and drive them away from him. This, in fact, explains that the main method of Trotskyist work is now not open and honest propaganda of their views in the working class, but disguise of their views, servile and sycophantic praise of the views of their opponents, pharisaic and false trampling of their own views in the mud.
At the trial of 1936, if you remember, Kamenev and Zinoviev strongly denied that they had any political platform. They had full opportunity to deploy their political platform at the trial. However, they did not, stating that they had no political platform. There can be no doubt that both of them lied in denying that they had a platform. Now even the blind can see that they had their own political platform. But why did they deny that they had any political platform? Because they were afraid to reveal their true political face, they were afraid to demonstrate their real platform for the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, fearing that such a platform would arouse disgust in the working class.
At the trial in 1937, Pyatakov, Radek and Sokolnikov took a different path. They did not deny that the Trotskyists and Zinovievites had a political platform. They admitted that they had a certain political platform, admitted and expanded it in their testimony. But it was deployed not to call on the working class, to call on the people to support the Trotskyist platform, but in order to curse and brand it as an anti‐popular and anti‐proletarian platform. The restoration of capitalism, the elimination of collective and state farms, the restoration of the system of exploitation, an alliance with the fascist forces of Germany and Japan to approach the war with the Soviet Union, the struggle for war and against the policy of peace, the territorial dismemberment of the Soviet Union with the return of Ukraine to the Germans, and Primorye to the Japanese,
It is clear that the Trotskyists could not help hiding such a platform from the people, from the working class. And they hid it not only from the working class, but also from the Trotskyist masses, and not only from the Trotskyist masses, but even from the leading Trotskyist elite, which consisted of a small handful of people of 30‐40 people. When Radek and Pyatakov demanded from Trotsky permission to convene a small conference of Trotskyists of 30‐40 people to inform them about the nature of this platform, Trotsky forbade them to do so, saying that it was inappropriate to talk about the real nature of the platform even to a small handful of Trotskyists, since such an ʺoperationʺ can cause a split.
ʺPolitical figuresʺ who hide their views, their platform not only from the working class, but also from the Trotskyist masses, and not only from the Trotskyist masses, but also from the leading leadership of the Trotskyists — such is the physiognomy of modern Trotskyism. But it follows from this that modern Trotskyism can no longer be called a political trend in the working class.
Modern Trotskyism is not a political trend in the working class, but an unprincipled gang of saboteurs, wreckers, intelligence agents, spies, murderers, a gang of sworn enemies of the working class who are employed by the intelligence agencies of foreign states. This is the indisputable result of the evolution of Trotskyism over the past 7‐8 years. This is the difference between Trotskyism in the past and Trotskyism in the present.
The mistake of our party comrades is that they did not notice this profound difference between Trotskyism in the past and Trotskyism in the present. They did not notice that the Trotskyists had long ceased to be ideological people, that the Trotskyists had long since turned into robbers from the high road, capable of any filth, capable of anything nasty, including espionage and outright betrayal of their homeland, just to spoil the Soviet state and Soviet power ... They did not notice this and were therefore unable to reorganize in time in order to wage the struggle against the Trotskyists in a new way, more decisively. That is why the abominations of the Trotskyists in recent years have come as a complete surprise to some of our party comrades.
Farther. Finally, our party comrades did not notice that between the current wreckers and saboteurs, among whom Trotskyist agents of fascism play a rather active role, on the one hand, and wreckers and saboteurs of the Shakhty period, on the other hand, there is a significant difference.
First of all. Shakhty and industrial party members were openly alien to us. They were mostly former owners of enterprises, former managers under the old owners, former partners of old joint‐stock companies, or simply old bourgeois specialists who were openly hostile to us politically. None of our people doubted the authenticity of the political face of these gentlemen. And the Shakhty residents themselves did not hide their hostility towards the Soviet system. The same cannot be said about todayʹs wreckers and saboteurs, about the Trotskyists. The current wreckers and saboteurs, the Trotskyists, are for the most part party people, with a party card in their pocket, so they are not formally strangers. If the old pests went against our people, then the new pests, on the contrary, fawn on our people, praise our people, and grovel in front of them in order to to get into trust. The difference, as you can see, is significant.
Secondly. The strength of the Shakhty and industrial party members consisted in the fact that they possessed, to a greater or lesser extent, the necessary technical knowledge, while our people, who did not have such knowledge, were forced to learn from them. This circumstance gave the pests of the Shakhty period a great advantage, gave them the opportunity to harm freely and without hindrance, gave them the opportunity to deceive our people technically. Not so with the current pests, with the Trotskyists. Todayʹs pests have no technical advantage over our people. On the contrary, our people are technically better prepared than todayʹs wreckers than the Trotskyists. During the period from the Shakhty period to the present day, tens of thousands of real technically savvy Bolshevik cadres have grown up in our country.
What, then, is the strength of the modern wreckers, the
Trotskyists? Their strength lies in the party card, in the possession of the party card. Their strength lies in the fact that their party card gives them political confidence and gives them access to all our institutions and organizations. Their advantage lies in the fact that, having party cards and pretending to be friends of the Soviet regime, they deceived our people politically, abused their trust, harmed on the sly and revealed our state secrets to the enemies of the Soviet Union. ʺAdvantageʺ ‐ dubious in its political and moral value, but still ʺadvantageʺ. This ʺadvantageʺ explains, in fact, the fact that the
Trotskyist wreckers, as people with a party membership card, have access to all places in our institutions and organizations, turned out to be a direct find for the intelligence agencies of foreign states. The mistake of some of our party comrades is that they did not notice, did not understand all this difference between the old and new wreckers, between the Shakhty people and the Trotskyites, and, not noticing this, did not manage to reorganize in time in order to fight against new wreckers.
These are the basic facts from the area of our international and domestic situation, which have been forgotten or which many of our party comrades have not noticed. That is why our people were caught by surprise by the events of recent years in terms of sabotage and sabotage. One may ask: but why did our people not notice all this, why did they forget about all this? Where did all this forgetfulness, blindness, carelessness, complacency come from? Is this not an organic flaw in the work of our people? No, this is not an organic vice. This is a temporary phenomenon that can be quickly eliminated with some effort on the part of our people. What is the matter then?
The fact is that in recent years our Party comrades have been completely absorbed in economic work, they have been extremely carried away by economic successes and, being carried away by all this business, they forgot about everything else, abandoned everything else. The fact is that being carried away by economic successes, they began to see in this matter the beginning and end of everything, and in such matters as the international situation of the Soviet Union, the capitalist encirclement, the strengthening of the political work of the party, the fight against sabotage, etc. they did not simply pay attention, believing that all these issues are secondary or even tertiary matters.
Successes and achievements are, of course, a great thing. Our successes in the field of socialist construction are indeed enormous. But successes, like everything else in the world, have their shadow sides. For people who are not very sophisticated in politics, great successes and great achievements often give rise to carelessness, complacency, complacency, excessive self‐confidence, conceit, and bragging. You cannot deny that lately there have been a lot of boasters among us. It is not surprising that in this environment of great and serious successes in the field of socialist construction, moods of boastfulness, moods of ceremonial manifestations of our successes are created, moods of underestimation of the forces of our enemies, moods of overestimating their strengths are created, and as a result of all this, political blindness appears. Here I must say a few words about the dangers.
We know the dangers associated with difficulties from experience. For several years now we have been fighting against such dangers and, I must say, not without success. The dangers associated with difficulties, in unstable people, often give rise to moods of despondency, disbelief in their strengths, moods of pessimism. And, conversely, where it is a question of overcoming the dangers arising from difficulties, people become tempered in this struggle and come out of the struggle as truly steadfast Bolsheviks. This is the nature of the dangers associated with difficulties. These are the results of overcoming difficulties.
But there are dangers of another kind, dangers associated with success, dangers associated with achievement. Yes, yes, comrades, the dangers associated with successes, with achievements. These dangers lie in the fact that for people who are not very sophisticated in politics and who have not seen a lot, the atmosphere of success ‐ success after success, achievement after achievement, over fulfillment of plans after over fulfillment ‐ generates a mood of carelessness and complacency, creates an atmosphere of ceremonial celebrations and mutual greetings. killing the sense of proportion and dulling political instincts, demagnetizes people and pushes them to rest on their laurels.
It is not surprising that in this stupefying atmosphere of arrogance and self‐righteousness, the atmosphere of ceremonial demonstrations and noisy self‐praise, people forget about some essential facts that are of paramount importance for the fate of our country, people begin to ignore such unpleasant facts as the capitalist environment, new forms of sabotage, danger, associated with our successes, etc. ʺʺ Capitalist encirclement? Yes, this is nonsense! What significance can any capitalist encirclement have if we fulfill and overfulfill our economic plans? New forms of sabotage, the fight against Trotskyism? All this is nonsense! What value can all these little things have when we fulfill and overfulfill our economic plans? Party charter, election of party organizations, accountability of party leaders to the party masses? Is there a need for all this? Is it worth bothering with these trifles at all if our economy is growing, and the material situation of the workers and peasants is improving more and more? Itʹs all nonsense! We are overfulfilling our plans, our party is not bad, the Central Committee of the party is not bad either, why the hell do we need more? Strange people are sitting there, in Moscow, in the Central Committee of the party: they invent some questions, talk about some kind of sabotage, they themselves do not sleep, they do not allow others to sleep ...ʺʺ
Here is a clear example of how easily and ʺsimplyʺ some of our inexperienced comrades become infected with political blindness as a result of their dizzying enthusiasm for economic successes. These are the dangers associated with success, with achievement. These are the reasons why our party comrades, carried away by economic successes, forgot about the facts of an international and domestic nature, which are of significant importance for the Soviet Union, and did not notice a whole series of dangers surrounding our country. These are the roots of our carelessness, forgetfulness, complacency, political blindness. Such are the roots of the shortcomings of our economic and Party work.
How to eliminate these shortcomings in our work? What needs to be done for this?
It is necessary to carry out the following activities.
1) It is necessary, first of all, to turn the attention of our party comrades, who are bogged down in ʺcurrent issuesʺ along the line of this or that department, towards major political issues of an international and domestic nature.
2) It is necessary to raise the political work of our Party to the proper level, placing at the forefront the task of political education and the Bolshevik training of Party, Soviet and economic cadres.
3) It is necessary to explain to our party comrades that economic successes, the significance of which is undeniably very great and which we will continue to achieve, day after day, year after year, nevertheless do not exhaust the entire work of our socialist construction. Explain that the shadow sides associated with economic successes and expressed in complacency, carelessness, in the dulling of political instincts can be eliminated only if economic successes are combined with the successes of party building and the extensive political work of our party. Explain that the economic successes themselves, their strength and duration entirely depend on the successes of party organizational and party‐political work, that without this condition, economic successes can be built on sand.
4) It must be remembered and never forgotten that the capitalist encirclement is the basic fact that determines the international position of the Soviet Union. Remember and never forget that while there is a capitalist encirclement, there will be saboteurs, saboteurs, spies, terrorists sent to the rear of the Soviet Union by the intelligence agencies of foreign states, remember this and wage a fight with those comrades who underestimate the significance of the fact of the capitalist encirclement, who underestimate the power and significance of sabotage. Explain to our party comrades that no economic successes, no matter how great, can nullify the fact of the capitalist encirclement and the results arising from this fact. To take the necessary measures so that our comrades, Party and non‐Party Bolsheviks,
5) It is necessary to explain to our party comrades that the Trotskyists, who represent active elements of the wrecking and sabotage and espionage work of foreign intelligence agencies, have long ceased to be a political trend in the working class, that they have long ceased to serve any idea compatible with the interests of the working class that they have turned into an unprincipled gang of pests, saboteurs, spies, murderers, hired by foreign intelligence agencies. Explain that in the fight against modern Trotskyism what is needed now are not old methods, not methods of discussion, but new methods, methods of uprooting and routing.
6) It is necessary to explain to our party comrades the difference between modern pests and pests of the Shakhty period, to explain that if the pests of the Shakhty period deceived our people in technology, using their technical backwardness, then modern pests with a party card deceive our people on political trust in them as to party members, using the political carelessness of our people.
It is necessary to supplement the old slogan about mastering technology, corresponding to the period of Shakhty times, with a new slogan about the political education of cadres, about mastering Bolshevism and the elimination of our political credulity, a slogan that is fully consistent with the current period we are going through.
It may be asked: was it not possible ten years ago, during the Shakhty era, to issue both slogans at once — the first slogan about mastering technology, and the second slogan about the political education of cadres? No, it was impossible. This is not how things are done in our Bolshevik Party. At the turning points of the revolutionary movement, one basic slogan is always put forward as the key one, in order to grab onto it and pull the whole chain through it. Lenin taught us this: find the main link in the chain of our work, grab it and pull it out in order to pull the entire chain through it and go forward. The history of the revolutionary movement shows that these tactics are the only correct tactics. During the Shakhty period, the weakness of our people consisted in their technical backwardness. Not political and technical issues were then a weak point for us. As for our political attitudes towards the pests of that time, they were completely clear as the attitude of the Bolsheviks towards politically alien people. We eliminated this technical weakness of ours by issuing the slogan of mastering technology and educating tens and hundreds of thousands of technically savvy Bolshevik cadres in the past period.
It is a different matter now, when we already have technically savvy Bolshevik cadres and when the role of saboteurs is played not by openly alien people who, moreover, have no technical advantages in comparison with our people, but people who have a party card and enjoy all the rights of party members ... Now the weakness of our people is not technical backwardness, but political carelessness, blind trust in people who accidentally received a party card, the lack of verification of people not by their political declarations, but by the results of their work. Now the key issue for us is not the elimination of the technical backwardness of our cadres, for it has already been largely eliminated, but the elimination of political carelessness and political credulity towards saboteurs who accidentally got their party membership card.
This is the fundamental difference between the key issue in the struggle for cadres during the Shakhty era and the key issue of the present period. That is why we could not and should not have issued both slogans at once, ten years ago ‐ the slogan about mastering technology and the slogan about the political education of cadres. That is why the old slogan about mastering technology must now be supplemented with a new slogan about mastering Bolshevism, about the political education of cadres and the elimination of our political carelessness.
7) It is necessary to smash and throw away the rotten theory that with each advance we make the class struggle in our country should as if more and more fade away, that as we succeed, the class enemy seems to become more and more tame. This is not only a rotten theory, but also a dangerous theory, for it lulls our people, leads them into a trap, and gives the class enemy the opportunity to recover to fight the Soviet regime.
On the contrary, the more we move forward, the more successes we have, the more the remnants of the defeated exploiting classes will become embittered, the sooner they will go to more acute forms of struggle, the more they will be nasty to the Soviet state, the more they will grab onto the most desperate means of struggle as the last means of the doomed.
It must be borne in mind that the remnants of the broken classes in the USSR are not alone. They have direct support from our enemies outside the USSR. It would be a mistake to think that the sphere of the class struggle is limited to the borders of the USSR. If one end of the class struggle has its effect within the framework of the USSR, then its other end extends into the borders of the bourgeois states around us. The remnants of the broken classes cannot but know about this. And precisely because they know about it, they will try to continue their desperate forays. This is what history teaches us. This is how Leninism teaches us. You need to remember all this and be on the lookout.
8) It is necessary to smash and discard another rotten theory, which says that someone who does not always harm and who at least sometimes shows success in his work cannot be a pest. This strange theory exposes the naivete of its authors. No pest will harm all the time if he does not want to be exposed in the shortest possible time. On the contrary, a real pest must show success in his work from time to time, for this is the only way to preserve him as a pest, gain confidence and continue his wrecking work. I think that this question is clear and does not need further clarification.
9) It is necessary to smash and discard the third rotten theory, which says that the systematic implementation of economic plans supposedly nullifies wrecking and the results of wrecking. Such a theory can pursue only one goal: to tickle the departmental pride of our workers, to calm them down and weaken their fight against sabotage. What does “systematic fulfillment of our economic plans” mean?
Firstly, it has been proved that all our economic plans are understated, because they do not take into account the huge reserves and opportunities hidden in the depths of our national economy.
Second, the total fulfillment of the economic plans for the Peopleʹs Commissariats as a whole does not mean that plans are being fulfilled in some very important sectors. On the contrary, the facts show that a number of Peopleʹs Commissariats, which have fulfilled and even overfulfilled the annual economic plans, systematically fail to fulfill plans for some very important branches of the national economy.
Thirdly, there can be no doubt that if the pests had not been exposed and thrown out, the situation with the implementation of economic plans would have been much worse, which should be remembered by the short‐sighted authors of the theory under consideration.
Fourthly, saboteurs usually time their main sabotage work not to the period of peacetime, but to the period of the eve of the war or the war itself. Let us assume that we would lull ourselves to sleep with the rotten theory of the ʺsystematic fulfillment of economic plansʺ and would not touch the pests. Do the authors of this rotten theory imagine what colossal harm the wreckers would inflict on our state in the event of a war if they were allowed to remain in the bowels of our national economy under the shadow of the rotten theory of the ʺsystematic implementation of economic plansʺ? Is it not clear that the theory of the ʺsystematic fulfillment of economic plansʺ is a theory beneficial to pests?
10) It is necessary to smash and throw away the fourth rotten theory, which says that the Stakhanov movement is supposedly the main means of eliminating sabotage. This theory was invented in order to ward off pests under the guise of chatter about the Stakhanovites and the Stakhanov movement.
In his report, Comrade Molotov demonstrated a number of facts showing how Trotskyist and non‐Trotskyist wreckers in Kuzbass and Donbass, abusing the trust of our politically careless comrades, systematically led the Stakhanovites by the nose, put a spoke in their wheels, and artificially created a number of obstacles to their successful work and finally achieved what upset their work. What can only the Stakhanovists do if the sabotage of capital construction, say, in the Donbass, has led to a gap between the preparatory work for coal mining, which lags behind the pace, and all other work? Is it not clear that the Stakhanov movement itself needs real help from our side against all and all the machinations of saboteurs in order to move the cause forward and fulfill its great mission? Isnʹt it clear that the struggle against sabotage, the struggle for the elimination of sabotage, the curbing of sabotage is a necessary condition for the Stakhanov movement to develop to its full extent? I think that this question is also clear and does not need further clarification.
11) It is necessary to smash and discard the fifth rotten theory, which says that the Trotskyist wreckers allegedly have no more reserves, that they are supposedly getting their last cadres. This is not true, comrades. Such a theory could only be invented by naive people. The Trotskyist wreckers have their reserves. They consist primarily of the remnants of the defeated exploiting classes in the USSR. They consist of a number of groups and organizations outside the USSR that are hostile to the Soviet Union.
Take, for example, the Trotskyist counter‐revolutionary IV International, two‐thirds of whom are spies and saboteurs. Why is this not a reserve? Is it not clear that this espionage international will provide cadres for the Trotskyistsʹ espionage and sabotage work? Or take, for example, the group of rogues Sheflo in Norway, which sheltered the spy Trotsky and helped him to mischief the Soviet Union. Why is this group not a reserve? Who can deny that this counterrevolutionary group will continue to provide services to Trotskyist spies and wreckers?
Or take, for example, another group of the same rogue as Sheflo ‐ the Souvarine group in France. Why are they not a reserve? Is it possible to deny that this group of rogues will also help the Trotskyists in their espionage and sabotage work against the Soviet Union? And all these gentlemen from Germany, all sorts of Ruth Fischers, Maslovs, Urbans, who sold their soul and body to the Nazis ‐ why are they not a reserve for Trotskyist espionage and sabotage work?
Or, for example, the well‐known horde of American writers headed by the famous swindler Eastman, all these robbers of the pen who live by slandering the working class of the USSR ‐ why are they not a reserve for Trotskyism?
No, we must throw away the rotten theory that the Trotskyists are supposedly recruiting the last cadres.
12) Finally, it is necessary to smash and discard another rotten theory, which says that since we Bolsheviks are many, but there are few pests, since we Bolsheviks are supported by tens of millions of people, and Trotskyist pests are supported by only a few and tens , then we, the Bolsheviks, could not pay attention to some handful of pests.
This is not true, comrades. This more than strange theory was invented in order to console some of our leading comrades who have failed at work due to their inability to deal with sabotage, and to lull their vigilance, to let them sleep peacefully.
That the Trotskyist wreckers are supported by a few, and the Bolsheviks by tens of millions of people, is, of course, true. But it does not at all follow from this that wreckers cannot do the most serious harm to our cause. It doesnʹt take a lot of people to do something wrong and harm. To build Dneprostroy, tens of thousands of workers must be put into operation. And in order to blow it up, it may take several dozen people, no more. To win a battle in a war, it may take several Red Army corps. And in order to ruin this gain at the front, a few spies somewhere in the army headquarters or even in the division headquarters are enough for this, who can steal an operational plan and transfer it to the enemy. To build a great railway bridge it takes thousands of people. But to blow it up, only a few people are enough. There are tens and hundreds of such examples.
Consequently, one must not console oneself with the fact that there are many of us, and there are few of them, the Trotskyist wreckers. We must ensure that they, the Trotskyist wreckers, are not at all in our ranks.
That is how matters stand with the question of how to eliminate the shortcomings of our work, which are common to all our organizations, both economic and Soviet, as well as administrative and party organizations. These are the measures needed to remedy these shortcomings.
As for the specially party organizations and shortcomings in their work, the measures to eliminate these shortcomings are described in sufficient detail in the draft resolution submitted at your discretion. I think, therefore, that there is no need to dwell on this aspect of the matter here. I would only like to say a few words about the political training and improvement of our party cadres.
I think that if we could, if we could manage our party cadres, from top to bottom, to prepare ideologically and temper them politically in such a way that they could freely orient themselves in the domestic and international situation, if we were able to make them quite mature Leninists, Marxists who are able to solve the questions of the countryʹs leadership without serious mistakes, we would have solved ninetenths of all our tasks.
What is the situation with the leading personnel of our Party? In the composition of our party, if we bear in mind its leading strata, there are about 3‐4 thousand top leaders. This, I would say, is the generals of our party. Next come 30‐40 thousand middle managers. This is our party officers. Then there are about 100‐150 thousand of the lowest party commanding staff. This is, so to speak, our party non‐commissioned officers. Raising the ideological level and political tempering of these command cadres, infusing these cadres with fresh forces awaiting their nomination, and thus expanding the composition of the leading cadres — that is the task.
What is required for this? First of all, it is necessary to propose to our party leaders, from secretaries of cells to secretaries of regional and republic party organizations, to select, within a certain period, two people, two party workers, capable of being their real deputies. They may say: where to get them, two deputies for each, we do not have such people, we do not have appropriate workers. This is not true, comrades. We have tens of thousands of talented people. You just need to know them and put them forward in time so that they do not stop in their old place and do not start to rot. Seek and find.
Further. For party training and retraining of cell secretaries, it is necessary to create four‐month ʺParty coursesʺ in each regional center. Secretaries of all primary party organizations (cells) should be sent to these courses, and then, after completing the courses and returning to their place, their deputies and the most capable members of the primary party organizations.
Farther. For the political retraining of the first secretaries of regional organizations, it is necessary to create in the USSR, say, in 10 most important centers, eight‐month ʺLenin Coursesʺ. The first secretaries of district and district party organizations should be sent to these courses, and then, after completing the courses and returning to their place, their deputies and the most capable members of the district and district organizations.
Farther. For the ideological retraining and political improvement of the secretaries of city organizations, it is necessary to create under the Central Committee of the All‐Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) sixmonth ʺCourses on the history and politics of the party.ʺ The first or second secretaries of city organizations should be sent to these courses, and then, after completing the course and returning to the place, the most capable members of city organizations.
Finally, it is necessary to create under the Central Committee of the AllUnion Communist Party of Bolsheviks a six‐month ʺConference on Domestic and International Politics.ʺ It is necessary to send here the first secretaries of regional and regional organizations and central committees of national communist parties. These comrades must give not one, but several shifts that can replace the leaders of the Central Committee of our Party. This is necessary and must be done.
I am finishing, comrades. Thus, we outlined the main shortcomings of our work, both those that are common to all our organizations ‐ economic, administrative, party, and those that are peculiar only to especially party organizations, shortcomings used by the enemies of the working class for their wrecking and sabotage and espionage and terrorist work. We have outlined, further, the main measures necessary to eliminate these shortcomings and neutralize the wrecking and sabotage and espionage and terrorist attacks of Trotskyist‐fascist agents of foreign intelligence agencies. The question is, can we carry out all these measures, do we have all the necessary opportunities for this?
Of course, we can. We can, since we have at our disposal all the funds necessary to carry out these activities. What do we lack?
There is only one thing missing: the willingness to liquidate oneʹs own carelessness, oneʹs own complacency, oneʹs own political myopia. This is the catch. But really we will not be able to get rid of this ridiculous and idiotic disease, we who overthrew capitalism, built mainly socialism and raised the great banner of world communism?
We have no reason to doubt that we will undoubtedly deal with her, if, of course, we want to. We will deal not simply, but in a Bolshevik way, for real. And when we deal with this idiotic disease, we can say with complete confidence that we are not afraid of any enemies, neither internal nor external, we are not afraid of their forays, for we will break them in the future just as we break them in the present, as they were broken in the past. (Applause.).
Andreev. There is a proposal to announce a break for 10 minutes. No objections?
Transcripts from the Soviet Archives, Svitlana M, Erdogan A