REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS

REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS

THE CASE OF THE

TROTSKYITE-ZINOVIEVITE TERRORIST CENTRE  

 

ugust 20 (morning session)

EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED KAMENEV

The morning session of August 20 commences with the examination of the accused L. B. Kamenev.

Kamenev states: "The terrorist cospiracy was organized and guided by myself, Zinoviev and Trotsky. I became convinced that the policy of the Party, the policy of its leadership, had been victorious in the only sense in which the political victory in the land of socialism is possible, that this policy was recognized by the masses of the toilers. Our banking on the possibility of a split in the Party also proved groundless. We counted on the Rightist group of Rykov, Bukharin and Tomsky. The removal of this group from the leadership and the fact that it had become discredited in the eyes of the toiling masses deprived us of this trump card as well. It was no use counting on any kind of serious internal difficulties to secure the overthrow of the leadership which had guided the country through extremely difficult stages, through industrialization and collectivization. Two paths remained: either honestly and copletely to put a stop to the struggle against the Party, or to continue this struggle, but without any hope of obtaining any mass support whatsoever, without a political platform, without a banner, that is to say, by means of individual terror. We chose the second path. In this we were guided by our boundless hatred of the leaders of the Party and the country, and by a thirst for power with which we were once so closely associated and from which we were cast aside by the course of historical development."

Replying to Comrade Vyshinsky, the accused Kamenev relates to the Court how the Zinovievites entered into a bloc  with the Trotskyites for the purpose of organizing a terroristic struggle against the Party and the Soviet state. "We carried on negotiations about the bloc  with Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan, not as with men who independently issued political instructions," says Kamenev. "They were of value to us as men who precisely repeated the instructions of Trotsky. Knowing Smirnov and Mrachkovsky as active Trotskyites , knowing that Smirnov had been abroad and had established contact with Trotsky there, we were absolutely sure that the instructions concerning terrorism conveyed by Smirnov and Mrachkovsky,and supported by them, were the exact instructions of Trotsky. It was on this basis, and because Trotsky's instructions on terror coincided with our own inclinations, that we concluded what is here called a 'bloc,'  and what should be called a narrow terrorist conspiracy. This conspiracy took shape in 1932 as an organizational union wich had no platform at all, and which set itself the aim of seizing power by disorganizing the government by terroristic means, by eliminating and assassinating Stalin, as the leader of the Party and the country, as well as his nearest comrades-in-arms."

The accused Kamenev fully confirms the leading part played by I. N. Smirnov in the Trotskyite part of the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre, and concerning Smirnov's denials he says: "It is ridiculous wriggling, which only creates a comical impression."

Kamenev then goes on to tell the Court about the practical activities of the counter-revolutionary terrorists. He says:

"In the summer of 1932 a meeting of our Zinovievite centre was held in our villa in Ilyinskoye. I myself, Zinoviev, Evdokimov, Bakayev, Kuklin and Karev were present. At this meeting Zinoviev reported that the union with the Trotskyites, who had received Trotsky's personal instructions to commit terroristic acts, was an accomplished fact. At this very meeting Bakayev was instructed to carry out a terroristic act in Moscow, and Karev in Leningrad. The exile of myself and Zinoviev somewhat held up the execution of our terroristic plans. When we returned to Moscow, we made no changes whatever in the basis of our bloc.  On the contrary, we proceeded to press forward the terroristic conspiracy. This pressing forward was caused by two circumstances: first the collapse of the policy of double-dealing pursued by Zinoviev, who was removed from the editorial board of the Bolshevik.  This made us fear that information about our connection with Trotsky might have reached the Party leadership. Secondly, the Trotskyites energetically insisted on expediting the terroristic activities, having received instructions to this effect from Trotsky. Organizationally, this found expression in the decision that was adopted to hasten the assassination of Stalin and the assassination of Kirov."

Continuing, the accused Kamenev testifies: "In June 1934 I myself went to Leningrad where I instructed the active Zinovievite Yakovlev to prepare an attempt on the life of Kirov parallel with the Nikolayev-Kotolynov group. In the beginning of November1934 I learned from Bakayev's report all the details of the preparations that were being made by the Nikolayev group to assassinate Kirov."

Vyshinsky:  Was Kirov's assassination directly the work of your hands?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Kamenev gives the following testimony on the composition of the terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre:

"The centre of the conspiracy consisted of the following persons: myself, Zinoviev, Evdokimov, Bakayev and Kuklin, on behalf of the Zinovievites; Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan on behalf of the Trotskyites. Among the leaders of the conspiracy another person may be named who in point of fact was one of the leaders, but who, in view of the special plans we made in regard to him, was not drawn into the practical work. I refer to Sokolnikov.

Vyshinsky:  Who was a member of the centre, but whose part was kept a strict secret?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Continuing, Kamenev says: "Knowing that we might be dicovered, we designated a small group to continue our terroristic activities. For this purpose we designated Sokolnikov. It seemed to us that on the side of the Trotskyites this role could be successfully performed by Serebryakov and Radek. Asked about this, Mrachkovsky said: Yes, in our opinion Serebryakov and Radek could act as substitutes if, contrary to our expectations, our leading group should be discovered."

Kamenev goes on to say that the Zinovievites carried on negotiations and established contact with other counter-revolutionary groups as well.

"In 1932," he says, "I personally conducted negotiations with the so-called 'Leftist' group of Lominadre and Shatsky. In this group I found enemies of the Party leadership quite prepared to resort to the most determined measures of struggle against it. At the same time, I myself and Zinoviev maintained constant contact with the former 'Workers' Opposition' group of shlyapnikov and Medvedyev. In 1932, 1933 and 1934 I personally maintained relations with Tomsky and Bukharin and sounded their political sentiments. They sympathized with us. When I asked Tomsky about Rykov's frame of mind, he replied: 'Rykov thinks the same as I do.' In reply to my qestion as to what Bukharin thought, he said: 'Bukharin thinks the same as I do, but is pursuing somewhat different tactics: he does not agree with the line of the Party, but is pursuing tactics of persistently enrooting himself in the Party and winning the personal confidence of leadership.' "

In examining the accused Kamenev the Court deals in detail with the double-dealing to which the conspirators resorted in addition to terrorism in their fight against the Party.

Vyshinsky:  What appraisal should be given of the articles and statements you wrote in 1933, in which you expressed loyalty to the Party? Deception?

Kamenev:  No, worse than deception.

Vyshinsky:  Perfidy?

Kamenev:  Worse.

Vyshinsky:  Worse than deception, worse than perfidy - find the word. Treason?

Kamenev:  You have found it.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Zinoviev, do you confirm this?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Treason, perfidy, double-dealing?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Proceeding to explain the motives of his conduct, the accused Kamenev declares:

"I can admit only one thing: that having set ourselves the monstrously criminal aim of disorganizing the government of the land of socialism, we resorted to methods of struggle which in our opinion suited this aim and which are as low and as vile as the aim which we set before ourselves."

in the further process of the examination the accused Kamenev still more clearly and definitely speaks of that which guided the Zinovievites in their activities.

Vyshinsky:  Consequently, your struggle against the leaders of the Party and the government was guided by motives of a personal base character - by the thirst for personal power?

Kamenev:  Yes, by the thirst for power of our group.

Vyshinsky:  Don't you think that this has nothing in common with social ideals?

Kamenev:  It has as much in common as revolution has with counter-revolution.

Vyshinsky:  That is, you are on the side of counter-revolution?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky: Consequently, you clearly perceive that you are flighting against socialism?

Kamenev:  We clearly perseive that we are fighting against the leaders of the Party and of the government who are leading the country to socialism.

Vyshinsky:  Thereby you are fighting socialism as well, aren't you?

Kamenev:  You are drawing the conclusion of an historian and prosecutor.

At the end of the examination of the accused Kamenev, ComradeVyshinsky reminds him that in his testimony on August 10 he stated that the conspirators intended, after seizing power, to appoint Bakayev chief of the O.G.P.U. and so cover up the traces of their crimes.

Kamenev asserts that the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre had in this connection not the intention of physically exterminating those who directly committed terroristic acts, but of diverting the investigation of terroristic acts into false channels.

The accused Reingold categorically asserts that the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre intended to wipe out their gunmen terrorists in order to shield the Trotskyite-Zinovievite leaders and cover up the traces of the crimes. Indignat at Kamenev's statement, Reingold says: "Let Kamenev not pretend that he is such an innocent creature. He is a hardened politician who would force his way to power over mountains of corpses. Would he hesitate to kill off one or two terrorists? No one will believe him!"

 

 
EXAMINATION OF THE WITNESS YAKOVLEV

The Court then proceeds to examine the witness Yakovlev, summoned at the request of the State Prosecutor.

Comrade Vyshinsky asks Yakovlev to tell about Kamenev's connections with him, Yakovlev, in the terroristic activities pursued by Kamenev.

Yakovlev testifies that Karev, who worked with him in the counter-revolutionary group at the Academy of Sciences, had informed him of the following: In the autumn of 1932 the Zinovievites organized abloc  with the Trotskyites. A united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre was set up. The principal method of fighting against the Party and the Soviet government adopted by this centre was terrorism, which it was decided to direct against the leaders of the Party and the government, in the first place against Stalin and Kirov.

Continuing, Yakovlev says: "This was confirmed by Kamenev himself in conversation with me in 1934. In this connection Kamenev commissioned me to organize a terrorist group at the Academy of Sciences. I accepted this commission. At the same time Kamenev informed me that instructions to prepare terroristic acts had been given also to other groups. In Moscow, preparations were being made for an attempt on the life of Stalin, and in Leningrad it was proposed to commit a terroristic act against Kirov, this mission being entrusted to the Rumyantsev-Kotolynov group."

Vyshinsky:  In his testimony the accused Kamenev mentioned Yakovlev (turning to Kamenev). Is this the Yakovlev in question?

Kamenev:  Yes, it is.

Vyshinsky:  And did you meet him?

Kamenev:  I did.

Vyshinsky:  Did you entrust him with the task of preparing a terroristic act parallel with that of the Rumyantsev-Kotolynov group? Do you confirm this?

Kamenev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  And you, Yakovlev, do you confirm this?

Yakovlev:  Yes.

After several questions have been put to Kamenev by Ter-Vaganyan and Smirnov which elicited the fact that Kamenev had repeated conversations about terrorism with Ter-Vaganyan in 1932, the Court proceeds to examine the accused Zinoviev.

 

 
EXAMINATION OF ACCUSED ZINOVIEV

Zinoviev begins his testimony by relating the history of the restoration of the united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre in 1932. He emphasizes that there never were any material differences between the Trotskyites and the Zinovievites.

"Our differences with Trotsky after the Fifteenth Congress," says Zinoviev, "when Trotsky used the world 'treachery' in relation to me and Kamenev, were really slight zig-zags, petty disagreements. We committed no treachery whatever against Trotsky at that time, but committed one more act of treachery against the Bolshevik Party to which we belonged."

But it was precisely at that moment, says Zinoviev, continuing his testimony, that we were completely adopting, as our main line,double-dealing to which we had already resorted previously, which we had practised in 1926 and in 1927. In 1928, however, after the Fifteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U., we could not take a single step, we could not utter a single word without betraying the Party in one way or another, without resorting to double-dealing in one way or another. "From 1928 to 1932," Zinoviev says further, "there was not for one moment any real difference between ourselves and the Trotskyites. And so the logic of things carried us to terrorism.

"We banked on a growth of difficulties. We hoped that they would grow to such an extent that we and the Rightists and the Trotskyites, and the smaller groups associated with them, could come out openly. We dreamt of coming out in a united front. At that time we thought that the Rightists had most chances of success,that their prognoses were more likely to come true, and that their names would have particular power of attraction. At that time we attempted to place particular emphasis on our closeness to them."

Continuing, Zinoviev says: "At the same time certain underground groups of the Right as well as of the so-called 'Left' trend, sought contact with me and Kamenev. Approaches were made by the remnants of the 'Workers' Opposition': by shlyapnikov and Medvedyev. Approaches came from the groups of the so-called 'Leftists': that is, Lominadze, Shatskin, Sten and others. Approaches also came from the so-called 'individuals,' to whose numbers belonged Smilga, and to a certain extent, Sokolnikov."

Zinoviev further says: "In the second half of 1932 we relized that our banking on a growth of difficulties in the country had failed. We began to realize that the Party and its Central Committee would overcome these difficulties. But both in the first and in the second half of 1932 we were filled with hatred towards the Central Committee of the Party and towards Stalin."

Continuing, Zinoviev says: "We were convinced that the leadership must be superseded at all costs, that it must be superseded by us, along with Trotsky. In this situation I had meetings with Smirnov who has accused me here of frequently telling untruths. Yes, I often told untruths. I started doing that from the moment I began flighting the Bolshevik Party. In so far as Smirnov took the road of fighting the Party, he too is telling untruths. But it seems, the difference between him and myself is that I have decided firmly and irrevocably to tell at this last moment the truth, whereas, he it seems has adopted a different decision.

Vyshinsky:  Are you telling the whole truth now?

Zinoviev:  Now I am telling the whole truth to the end.

Vyshinsky:  Remember that on January 15-16, 1935, at the sessions of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court, you also asserted that you were telling the whole truth.

Zinoviev:  Yes. On January 15-16 I did not tell the whole truth.

Vyshinsky:  You did not tell the truth, but you maintained that you were telling the truth.

Continuing his testimony, Zinoviev relates that during his conversations with Smirnov in 1931 he conferred with him with regard to an understanding on uniting the Trotskyites and the Zinovievites on the basis of terrorism and that this was done on Trotsky's instruction. "I. N. Smirnov entirely agreed with this instruction, and carried it out wholeheartedly and with conviction, "testifies Zinoviev. "I spoke a great deal with Smirnov about choosing people for terroristic activities and also designated the persons against whom the weapon of terrorism was to be directed. The name of Stalin was mentioned in the first place, followed by those of Kirov, Voroshilov and other leaders of the Party and the government. For the purpose of executing these plans, a Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist centre was formed, the leading part in which was played by myself-Zinoviev,and by Smirnov on behalf of the Trotskyites."

Vyshinsky:  Thus, summing up your testimony, we may draw the conclusion that in the organization of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist bloc  and centre, the decisive part was played, on the one hand, by you, as the leader of the Zinovievites, and, on the other, by Trotsky through his representatives?

Zinoviev:  That is correct.

Vyshinsky:  At that time Trotsky's principal representative and even deputy in the U.S.S.R. was I. N. Smirnov?

Zinoviev:  That is correct.

Vyshinsky:  Was the recognition of the necessity of terrorism the decisive condition for uniting the Trotskyites and Zinovievites?

Zinoviev:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Did you and Smirnov designate the persons against whom terror was to be directed in the first instance? Is it true that these persons were Comrade Stalin, Comrade Kirov and Comrade Voroshilov?

Zinoviev:  That was the central question.

Continuing his testimony Zinoviev states, in reply to a question by Comrade Vyshinsky as to what practical steps were taken in preparation for the assassination of the leaders of the Party and the government, that in the autumn of 1932 a conference was held in Ilyinskoye attended by himself, Kamenev, Evdokimov, Bakayev and Karev. At this conference Bakayev was entrusted with the practical direction of matters connected with terrorism.

Continuing, Zinoviev says: "When Kamenev and I went into exile after the Ryutin affair fell through, we left Evdokimov, Bakayev and Smirnov in charge of terroristic activities. We placed special hopes on Smirnov." "At the same time," says Zinoviev, "I conducted negotiations with Tomsky, whom I informed about our bloc  with the Trotskyites. Tomsky expressed complete solidarity with us. After our return from exile the first steps we took were directed toward liquidating, if one may so express it, the breakdown of our terroristic activities, the fiasco of the conspirators, and toward restoring confidence in order to be able to continue our terroristic activities later on. We continued our tactics, which represented a combination of ever subtler forms of perfidious doubledealing with the preparation of the conspiracy."

"After the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov," says Zinoviev, "our perfidy went to such lengths that I sent an obituary about Kirov to Pravda , That obituary was not published. As far as I remember, Kamenev, and I think Evdokimov also, wrote obituaries on Kirov. At all events, Kamenev knew that I would send in my obituary.

Vyshinsky:  Then you did that by preliminary arrangement?

Zinoviev:  As far as I remember, I told Kamenev that I was sending in an obituary. He, I think, said that he would either send one himself or that the office at which he was working would send a collective obituary which he would sign.

Vyshinsky:  Don't you recall this, accused Kamenev?

Kamenev:  I do not remember. And I did not know that Zinoviev intended to send in an obituary. I knew that after the events of December I, and after the arrest of Bakayev and Endokimov, Zinoviev came to me and showed me the draft of a letter addressed to Yagoda, General Commissar of State Security, in which he stated that he was disturbed by these arrests and asked to be summoned in order to establish the fact that he, Zinoviev, had nothing to do with this murder.

Vyshinsky:  Was that the case, accused Zinoviev?

Zinoviev:  Yes, it was.

Kamenev:  Then I said that he should not do that because I thought that after all we had done we ought to keep some composure.

Vyshinsky:  Did you succeed in keeping your composure?

Kamenev:  Yes, I wrote no such letter.

After that, Zinoviev states, he sent Bakayev in 1934 to Leningrad to investigate the progress reached in the preparations for the assassination of Kirov. Zinoviev says: "I sent Bakayev to Leningrad as one who enjoyed our confidence, who knew very well the personnel of the terrorists, in order to check up on the people, the situation, the degree of preparedness, etc. On his return fromLeningrad Bakayev reported that everything was in order."

Vyshinsky:  Were you sure that everything was going on well?

Zinoviev:  I considered that all the work had been done.

Vyshinsky:  Did you hasten, did you expedite the assassination of Kirov? Were there times when you expressed dissatisfaction with a certain measure of slowness on the part of your terrorists?

Zinoviev:  Yes, I expressed some dissatisfaction.

Vyshinsky:  Can we say that you were not only the organizer and inspirer of the assassination of Kirov, but also the organizer of the more expeditious realization of this event?

Zinoviev:  There was a time when I tried to expedite it.

Continuing his testimony, Zinoviev speaks of his meetings with M. Lurye (Emel) who had brought Trotsky's terrorist instructions. "I knew," Zinoviev says, "that M. Lurye was a Trotskyite, and not a Trotskyite only, for when he spoke one could even hear the language of a fascist."

Vyshinsky;  In what did his fascism show itself?

Zinoviev:  His fascism showed itself when he said that in a situation like the present we must resort to the use of every possible means.

From a reply to a question put by Comrade Vyshinsky to M. Lurye it becomes clear that Zinoviev met M. Lurye three times after the latter's arrival from Berlin. At one meeting between M. Lurye and Zinoviev, at the latter's apartment, the conversation between the two was frank. They discussed the terrorist instructions of Trotsky which M. Lurye had reseived in Berlin through Ruth Fischer and Maslov, and which he then conveyed to Zinoviev through Herzberg.

M. Lurye says: "I asked Zinoviev whether he was informed about the case of Nathan Lurye. Zinoviev replied in the affirmative."

Further, M. Lurye told Zinoviev that Nathan Lurye was connected with a certain Franz Weitz. When Zinoviev asked who Franz Weitz was, M. Lurye informed him that Franz Weitz was a man particularly trusted by Himmler, the present chief of the Gestapo. "I again asked him," continues M. Lurye, "whether he was posted on this group. Zinoviev replied in the affirmative. To my perplexed question as to whether it was permissible for Marxists to practise individual terror and maintain contact with fascist groups, followed the reply. 'You are an historian, aren't you, Moissel Ilyich,' and he drew the parallel of Bismarck and Lassalle, adding: 'why cannot we today utilize Himmler?' "

After Lurye's replies Zinoviev asserts that this sentence was uttered by Lurye himself. He admits however that Lurye actually visited him in his apartment and discussed terrorism with him.

Replying to a question put to him by Comrade Ulrich, President of the Court, about the part he, Zinoviev, played in preparing a terroristic act against Comrade Stalin, Zinoviev says that he took part in this affair and that he knew of two attempts on the life of Comrade Stalin in which Reingold, Dreitzer and Pickel had taken part. Zinoviev also confirms that he rekommended his private secretary, Bogdan, to Bakayev, the leader of the terrorist groups, as the one to assassinate Comrade Stalin.

Vyshinsky:  Did you recommend Bogdan to Bakayev for the purpose of carrying out the assassination of Comrade Stalin? Do you confirm that?

Zinoviev:  I do.

 

 
EXAMINATION OF THE WITNESS SAFONOVA

The court then proceeds to examine the witness Safonova, whose case has been set aside for separate trial and who was summoned at the request of the State Prosecutor.

Safanova testifies that she was a member of the Trotskyite centre and took an active part in the work of that centre.She goes on to say that in 1931 I. N. Smirnov informed the centre of the Trotskyite organization, in the persons of Ter-Vaganyan, Mrachkovsky and herself, that he had received in Berlin, through Sedov, instructions to adopt terroristic methods of struggle. I. N. Smirnov, in conveying these instructions, emphasized that they came from Trotsky. Safonova further testifies: "At that same meeting Smirnov informed us that the centre had decided to adopt terrorism, and in the first place to commit a terroristic act against Stalin. In 1932 Smirnov reseived from Trotsky directions brought by Gaven. These directions were a direct confirmation of Trotsky's instruction on terrorism previously received by Smirnov through Sedov. Smirnov also informed us about these directions. These directions were not only a confirmation of those conveyed through Sedov, but were at the same time instructions on the necessity of hastening the terroristic act against Stalin."

Safonova cites another fact illustrating I. N. Smirnov's attitude towards terrorism. "One day," she says, "Mrachkovsky, on returning from an official visit to Stalin, related his conversation with Stalin. I myself and I. N. Smirnov were present. In relating his conversation with Stalin, Mrachkovsky linked up his story with the prospect of our further struggle and declared that the only way out was to assassinate Stalin. I. N. Smirnov strongly backed Mrachkovsky's conclusion.

"Before my departure for the Amur-Baikal railway construction job in December 1932," says Safonova, continuing her evidence, "I had a conversation with Smirnov about the further work of our organization in connection with the decision on terrorism which had been adopted. I. N. Smirnov categorically confirmed that Stalin must be assassinated, that Stalin would be assassinated."

Smirnov denies that he had passed on to Ter-Vaganyan, Mrachkovsky and Safonova Trotsky's instruction to adopt terrorism. He also denies that, when Mrachkovsky returned after his talk with Stalin, he spoke of the necessity of assassinating Stalin. However, replies to questions put by Comrade Vyshinsky to Ter-Vaganyan, Safonova and Mrachkovsky establish that this actually did take place.

In view of the fact that Safonova's evidence completely exposed Smirnov, Comrade Vyshinsky makes clear the relations between Smirnov and Safonova.

Vyshinsky:  What were your relations with Safonova?

Smirnov:  Good.

Vyshinsky:  And more?

Smirnov:  We were intimately related.

Vyshinsky:  You were husband and wife?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  No personal grudges between you?

Smirnov :  No.

The evidence of the accused and of witnesses utterly exposes Smirnov as one of the principal leaders of terrorism against the leaders of the Party and the Soviet government, which Smirnov pursued on the direct instructions of Trotsky.

This concludes the morning session.

REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS