H I S T O R Y O F  T H E C O M M U N I S T   P A R T Y

O F  T H E

S O V I E T  U N I O N

(B O L S H E V I K S)

C H A P T E R   E L E V E N


    The achievements of Socialism in our country were a cause of rejoicing not only to the Party, and not only to the workers and collective farmers, but also to our Soviet intelligentsia, and to all honest citizens of the Soviet Union.

    But they were no cause of rejoicing to the remnants of the defeated exploiting classes; on the contrary, they only enraged them the more as time went on.

    They infuriated the lickspittles of the defeated classes -- the puny remnants of the following of Bukharin and Trotsky.

    These gentry were guided in their evaluation of the achievements of the workers and collective farmers not by the interests of the people, who applauded every such achievement, but by the interests of their own wretched and putrid faction, which had lost all contact with the realities of life. Since the achievements of Socialism in our country meant the victory of the policy of the Party and the utter bankruptcy of their own policy, these gentry, instead of admitting the obvious facts and joining the common cause, began to revenge themselves on the Party and the people for their own failure, for their own bankruptcy; they began to resort to foul play and sabotage against the cause of the workers and collective farmers, to blow up pits, set fire to factories, and commit acts of wrecking in collective and state farms, with the object of undoing the achievements of the workers and collective farmers and evoking popular discontent against the Soviet Government. And in order, while doing so, to shield their puny group from exposure and destruction, they simulated loyalty to the Party, fawned upon it, eulogized it, cringed before it more and more, while in reality continuing their underhand, subversive activities against the workers and peasants.

    At the Seventeenth Party Congress, Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky made repentant speeches, praising the Party and extolling its achievements to the skies. But the congress detected a ring of insincerity and duplicity in their speeches; for what the Party expects from its members is not eulogies and rhapsodies over its achievements, but conscientious work on the Socialist front. And this was what the Bukharinites had showed no signs of for a long time. The Party saw that the hollow speeches of these gentry were in reality meant for their supporters outside the congress, to serve as a lesson to them in duplicity, and a call to them not to lay down their arms.

    Speeches were also made at the Seventeenth Congress by the Trotskyites Zinoviev and Kamenev, who lashed themselves extravagantly for their mistakes, and eulogized the Party no less extravagantly for its achievements. But the congress could not help seeing that both their nauseating self-castigation and their fulsome praise of the Party were only meant to hide an uneasy and unclean conscience. However, the Party did not yet know or suspect that while these gentry were making their cloying speeches at the congress they were hatching a villainous plot against the life of S. M. Kirov.

    On December 1, 1934, S. M. Kirov was foully murdered in the Smolny, in Leningrad, by a shot from a revolver.

    The assassin was caught red-handed and turned out to be a member of a secret counter-revolutionary group made up of members of an anti-Soviet group of Zinovievites in Leningrad.

    S. M. Kirov was loved by the Party and the working class, and his murder stirred the people profoundly, sending a wave of wrath and deep sorrow through the country.

    The investigation established that in 1933 and 1934 an underground counter-revolutionary terrorist group had been formed in Leningrad consisting of former members of the Zinoviev opposition and headed by a so-called "Leningrad Centre." The purpose of this group was to murder leaders of the Communist Party. S. M. Kirov was chosen as the first victim. The testimony of the members of this counter-revolutionary group showed that they were connected with representatives of foreign capitalist states and were receiving funds from them.

    The exposed members of this organization were sentenced by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. to the supreme penalty -- to be shot.

    Soon afterwards the existence of an underground counter-revolutionary organization called the "Moscow Centre" was discovered. The preliminary investigation and the trial revealed the villainous part played by Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yevdokimov and other leaders of this organization in cultivating the terrorist mentality among their followers, and in plotting the murder of members of the Party Central Committee and of the Soviet Government.

    To such depths of duplicity and villainy had these people sunk that Zinoviev, who was one of the organizers and instigators of the assassination of S. M. Kirov, and who had urged the murderer to hasten the crime, wrote an obituary of Kirov speaking of him in terms of eulogy, and demanded that it be published.

    The Zinovievites simulated remorse in court; but they persisted in their duplicity even in the dock. They concealed their connection with Trotsky. They concealed the fact that together with the Trotskyites they had sold themselves to fascist espionage services. They concealed their spying and wrecking activities. They concealed from the court their connections with the Bukharinites, and the existence of a united Trotsky-Bukharin gang of fascist hirelings.

    As it later transpired, the murder of Comrade Kirov was the work of this united Trotsky-Bukharin gang.

    Even then, in 1935, it had become clear that the Zinoviev group was a camouflaged Whiteguard organization whose members fully deserved to be treated as Whiteguards.

    A year later it became known that the actual, real and direct organizers of the murder of Kirov were Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and their accomplices, and that they had also made preparations for the assassination of other members of the Central Committee. Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bakayev, Yevdokimov, Pikel, I. N. Smirnov, Mrachkovsky, Ter-Vaganyan, Reingold and others were committed for trial. Confronted by direct evidence, they had to admit publicly, in open court, that they had not only organized the assassination of Kirov, but had been planning to murder all the other leaders of the Party and the Government. Later investigation established the fact that these villains had been engaged in espionage and in organizing acts of diversion. The full extent of the monstrous moral and political depravity of these men, their despicable villainy and treachery, concealed by hypocritical professions of loyalty to the Party, were revealed at a trial in Moscow, 1936.

    The chief instigator and ringleader of this gang of assassins and spies was Judas Trotsky. Trotsky's assistants and agents in carrying out his counter-revolutionary instructions were Zinoviev, Kamenev and their Trotskyite underlings. They were preparing to bring about the defeat of the U.S.S.R. in the event of attack by imperialist countries; they had become defeatists with regard to the workers' and peasants' state; they had become despicable tools and agents of the German and Japanese fascists.

    The main lesson which the Party organizations had to draw from the trials of the persons implicated in the foul murder of S. M. Kirov was that they must put an end to their own political blindness and political heedlessness, and must increase their vigilance and the vigilance of all Party members.

    In a circular letter to Party organizations on the subject of the foul murder of S. M. Kirov, the Central Committee of the Party stated:

    "a) We must put an end to the opportunist complacency engendered by the enormous assumption that as we grow stronger the enemy will become tamer and more inoffensive. This assumption is an utter fallacy. It is a recrudescence of the Right deviation, which assured all and sundry that our enemies would little by little creep into Socialism and in the end become real Socialists. The Bolsheviks have no business to rest on their laurels; they have no business to sleep at their posts. What we need is not complacency, but vigilance, real Bolshevik revolutionary vigilance. It should be remembered that the more hopeless the position of the enemies, the more eagerly will they dutch at 'extreme measures' as the only recourse of the doomed in their struggle against the Soviet power. We must remember this, and be vigilant.
    "b) We must properly organize the teaching of the history of the Party to Party members, the study of all and sundry anti-Party groups in the history of our Party, their methods of combating the Party line, their tactics and -- still more the tactics and methods of our Party in combating anti-Party groups, the tactics and methods which have enabled our Party to vanquish and demolish these groups. Party members should not only know how the Party combated and vanquished the Constitutional-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Anarchists, but also how it combated and vanquished the Trotskyites, the 'Democratic-Centralists,' the 'Workers' Opposition,' the Zinovievites, the Right deviators, the Right-Leftist freaks and the like. It should never be forgotten that a knowledge and understanding of the history of our Party is a most important and essential means of fully ensuring the revolutionary vigilance of the Party members."

    Of enormous importance in this period was the purge of the Party ranks from adventitious and alien elements, begun in 1933, and especially the careful verification of the records of Party members and the exchange of old Party cards for new ones undertaken after the foul murder of S. M. Kirov.

    Prior to the verification of the records of Party members, irresponsibility and negligence in the handling of Party cards had prevailed in many Party organizations. In a number of the organizations utterly intolerable chaos in the registration of Communists was revealed, a state of affairs which enemies had been turning to their nefarious ends, using the possession of a Party card as a screen for espionage, wrecking, etc. Many leaders of Party organizations had entrusted the enrolment of new members and the issuance of Party cards to persons in minor positions, and often even to Party members of untested reliability.

    In a circular letter to all organizations dated May 13, 1935, on the subject of the registration, safekeeping and issuance of Party cards, the Central Committee instructed all organizations to make a careful verification of the records of Party members and "to establish Bolshevik order in our own Party home."

    The verification of the records of Party members was of great political value. In connection with the report of Comrade Yezhov, Secretary of the Central Committee, on the results of the verification of the records of Party members, a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Party adopted a resolution on December 25, 1935, declaring that this verification was an organizational and political measure of enormous importance in strengthening the ranks of the C.P.S.U.(B.)

    After the verification of the records of Party members and the exchange of Party cards, the admission of new members into the Party was resumed. In this connection the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) demanded that new members should not be admitted into the Party wholesale, but on the basis of a strictly individual enrolment of "people really advanced and really devoted to the cause of the working class, the finest people of our country, drawn above all from among the workers, and also from among peasants and active intelligentsia, who had been tried and tested in various sectors of the struggle for Socialism."

    In resuming the admission of new members to the Party, the Central Committee instructed Party organizations to bear in mind that hostile elements would persist in their attempts to worm their way into the ranks of the C.P.S.U.(B.). Consequently:

    "It is the task of every Party organization to increase Bolshevik vigilance to the utmost, to hold aloft the banner of the Leninist Party, and to safeguard the ranks of the Party from the penetration of alien, hostile and adventitious elements." (Resolution of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.[B.], September 29, 1936, published in Pravda No. 270, 1936.)

    Purging and consolidating its ranks, destroying the enemies of the Party and relentlessly combating distortions of the Party line, the Bolshevik Party rallied closer than ever around its Central Committee under whose leadership the Party and the Soviet land now passed to a new stage -- the completion of the construction of a classless, Socialist society.