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Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives
An uncorrected transcript of I.V. Stalin at a meeting of the Politburo. March 18, 1926
Archive source: Transcripts of the meetings of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) ‐VKP (b) 1923‐1938. Moscow.
ROSSPEN. 2007. Volume 1 1923‐1926. P. 710‐711
Archive: RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 163.D. 681.L. 50‐55. Script. Typescript.
Rykov. Comrade Stalin has the floor.
Stalin. Maybe allow me to continue to adhere to the regulations?
Stalin. I took the floor because with the statement of Comrade. Zinoviev, I cannot agree. Comrade Kamenev says that formally the question stands in such a way that the Politburo must either cancel the decision ... (inaudible), but how expedient is the removal of Comrade. Zinoviev. I say that it is impossible to formally direct the decision of the plenum of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee, it would be inappropriate. What is the inexpediency, error of this proposal in order to correct the decision? The fact that if Comrade. Zinoviev will remain at the head of the Soviet; he can once again turn the entire Leningrad organization into a battering ram for a strike against the Central Committee. Why am I talking about two centers? There were two centers, two press organs, two organizations: the Leningrad and the Central Committee, and the sharpest clash between these two centers was formally expressed at the congress. The Leningrad organization found itself in the rear of the majority. I affirm that this situation in our party, which is in power, cannot continue for any length of time. A party which, by the mercy of the leaders of the Leningrad organization, has in its rear such an organization, a quarrelsome organization as the Leningrad organization, cannot govern the country and the proletariat. From this point of view, I am considering the question of the advisability of removing Comrade. Zinoviev. I suppose...
Kamenev. Then you will have to change the argument.
Stalin. Why this question is actually a foregone conclusion, leave Comrade. Zinoviev at the head of the Leningrad organization ‐ this means either splitting the Leningrad organization and rebuilding a part against the Central Committee or throwing the entire organization into confusion. You led it against the party, against the congress — that is a fact. What is a co‐report, what is your special resolution, which you passed, if not the usual ones, which were put forward when they were in the same party with the Mensheviks? You went for a split. Or did you not understand this? You are not always aware of what you are doing. That this double center has become more acute and it has become clear to everyone.
Voroshilov. When did it start?
Stalin. It began a year and a half ago, there is nothing to say about it. That such a situation cannot be tolerated, that the Leningrad workers understand this ‐ it is also clear that they have turned sharply against the leaders, this is also not an accidental fact. That is why my opinion on the advisability of removing Comrade. Zinoviev. By this we will protect the Party from any attempts in the future.
About Leninʹs methods. Lenin never proposed drastic measures. No, comrades, I must say everything. In the October days, at the time of the mistakes of Kamenev and Zinoviev, Lenin proposed seven times to expel one or the other from the Party who opposed this? In the Central Committee, I remember the mood of the Central Committee when we sent our decision to Lenin so that he would not insist on it, that he would not turn to the Party, because he wanted to turn to the Party. There is a letter about this to the Bolshevik Party about their expulsion. Comrades Trotsky and Dzerzhinsky and I insisted against this, and the majority of the Central Committee did not allow this to be carried out. Here is the opinion of Comrade. Lenin, when he took mistakes seriously, when he walked more decisively than we are doing now.
Voice. And the exclusion of Shlyapnikov, and the question of Tomsk?
Stalin. Democracy comrade Kamenev and Zinoviev. Our quarrels began when Zinoviev struck on the question of Trotsky. It is clear. We have a resolution of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee to exclude Comrade Trotsky from the Party, isnʹt that a fact? We argued with him. We have this resolution; I can deliver it now if you like. And another resolution to have this item turned off, and it turned off. Clause on the application of the 7th clause of the resolution of the X Congress on exclusion. And it turns out that the majority of the Central Committee, those people who retained the majority, spoke on the contrary, did not allow the suppression to be carried out to the end.
About the discussion. I have never seen such a discussion that took place before the congress and at the congress in the history of the party. Perhaps it will be possible, although there was no discussion in such a detailed form, it was about the Brest‐Litovsk peace with Bukharin, but then the party faced a split. I donʹt know a big discussion, take a larger discussion * (* So in the document.) . Take the minutes, a thousand pages, half of it, more than half devoted to discussion. You read, you know well, but after the congress, of course, there was no such case that the members of the Central Committee, the Central Control Commission after the decision of the congress opposed it, they must carry out the decision of the congress, if this does not happen, then it will not be a party, but a mess. You can always speak out, defend the decisions of the congress, always, no one closed his mouth. You must put the party in order, you must support it.
About the fact that the bureau of the collective was dispersed, this is the most interesting and, I would say, the most dangerous in the view of comrade. Zinoviev and Kamenev. They do not understand what happened, do not understand the separation that has taken place, do not understand why it was easy to raise the Leningrad organization against the old elite. Do you think thanks to the speeches of Kalinin and Molotov only? Nothing of the kind ... * (* There is a note from the stenographer: ʺZinovievʹs remarks are not heard.ʺ)
Stalin. I ask for hints to refrain, and both have done a great job. But because our congress campaign coincided with the onslaught of democracy, sudden democracy that manifested itself there. It has been refracted so that, thank God, we can speak, we can re‐elect. How was it before? They held themselves like a near‐sub * (* So in the document. Correctly ʺ near‐sub .ʺ), did not allow to gather, dispersed already assembled meetings. It is a fact. Only because our congress campaign on the decisions of the congress coincided with this understanding of the minimum of democracy that was hidden there, led to this. This you did not understand, and therefore everything goes like this. And the fact that after this impulse people dared to remove those who oppressed, this is called work. Nothing like this. This is the first exercise of the rights of democracy. And as for the Comintern and other things and the third congress, I was not here.
I told from the words of Ilyich. I was on vacation.
... and however, the question regarding Comrade. did not put it, because one is not always necessarily connected with the other. As for the fact that not a single party is raising this question, I said that. When they insisted on a discussion, we told them what you want? Do you want a change? No, they say. As for the work ... then you did the work, acted somewhat gently, maybe you went too far, had every right to do it ...
They were going to lead an illegal party in sections against our party and against our party ... You can get whatever work you want, and the people around you and the Central Committee of the party will carry out the decisions of the congress.