August 23 (morning session)
During the morning session of August 23 the last pleas of the accused
"I together with Zinoviev and Trotsky," declares Kamenev, "was the
organizer and leader of a terrorist plot which planned and prepared a
number of terroristic attempts on the lives of the leaders of the
government and the Party of our country, and which carried out the
assassination of Kirov.
"For ten years, if not more," continues Kamenev, "I waged a struggle
against the Party, against the government of the land of Soviets, and
against Stalin personally. In this struggle, it seems to me, I utilized
every weapon in the political arsenal known to me - open political
discussion, attempts to penetrate into factories and works, illegal
leaflets, secret printing presses, deception of the Party, the
organization of street demonstrations, conspiracy and, finally,
"I once studied the history of the political movements and I cannot
remember any form of political struggle that we did not use during the
past ten years. The proletarian revolution allowed us a period of time
for our political struggle which no other revolution gave its enemies.
The bourgeois revolution of the 18th century gave its enemies weeks and
days, and then destroyed them. The proletarian revolution gave us ten
years in which to reform and to realize that we were in error. But we
did not do that. Three times was I reinstated in the Party. Iwas
recalled from exile merely on the strength of my personal statement.
After all the mistakes I had committed I was entrusted with responsible
missions and posts. This is the third time I am facing a proletarian
court on the charge of terroristic intentions, designs and actions.
"Twice my life was spared. But there is a limit to everything, there
is a limit to the magnanimity of the proletariat, and that limit we have
reached. I ask myself," says Kamenev further, "is it an accident that
alongside of myself, Zinoviev, Evdokimov, Bakayev and Mrachkovsky are
sitting emissaries of foreign secret-police departments, people with
false passports, with dubious biographies and undoubted connections with
the Gestapo. No! it is not an accident. We are sitting here side by side
with the agents of foreign secret-police departments because our weapons
were the same, because our arms became intertwined before our fate
became intertwined here in this dock.
"Thus," says Kamenev in conclusion, "we served fascism, thus we
organized counter-revolution against socialism, prepared, paved the way
for the interventionists. Such was the path we took, and such was the
pit contemptible treachery and all that is loathsome into which we have
* * *
"I want to say once again," says the accused Zinoviev at the outset
of his last plea, "that I admit that I am fully and courpletely guilty I
am guilty of having been an organizer of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc second only to Trotsky, the
bloc which set itself the
aim of assassinating Stalin, Voroshilov and a number of other leaders of
the Party and the government. I plead guilty to having been the
principal organizer of the assassination of Kirov.
"The Party," continues Zinoviev, "saw where we were going and warned
us. In one of his speeches Stalin pointed out that tendencies may arise
among the opposition to impose its will upon the Party by violence. At
one of the conferences held before the XIV Congress of the Party,
Dzerzhinski called us Kronstadtists. Stalin, Voroshilov, Orjonikidze,
Dzerzhinski and Mikoyan did all they could to persuade us, to save us.
Scores of times they said to us: you may do enormous harm to the Party
and the Soviet government, and you yourselves will perish in doing so.
But we did not heed these warnings. We entered into an alliance with
Trotsky. We filled the place of the Mensheviks,
Socialist-Revolutionaries and whiteguards who could not come out openly
in our country. We took the place of the terrorism of the
Socialist-Revolutionaries. Not the pre-revolutionary terrorism which was
directed against the autocracy, but the Right Socialist Revolutionaries'
terrorism of the period of the Civil War, when the S-R's shot at Lenin.
"My defective Bolshevism became transformed into anti-Bolshevism, and
through Trotskyism I arrived at fascism. Trotskyism is a variety of
fascism, and Zinovievism is a variety of Trotskyism.
"Believe me, citizens judges, if I say that Isuffered the greatest
punishment, greater than anything that awaits me, when I heard the
testimony of Nathan Lurye and the testimony of Olberg. I felt and
understood that my name will be associated with the names of those who
stood beside me. On my right hand Olberg, on my left - Nathan Lurye. . .
." * * *
In his last plea Smirnov deals in detail with the history of his
struggle against the Party leadership after he was forgiven by the Party
and reinstated into its ranks in 1929.
"I returned to the Party," says Smirnov, "in 1929-30, and the Party
did all it could to help me get on the right track. But I was unable to
justify its confidence."
Continuing, Smirnov says that in 1931 he resumed the fight against
the Party leadership.
"This was the mistake I made, which later grew into a crime. It
induced me to resume contact with Trotsky, it induced me to seek
connections with the Zinovievite group, it brought me into a bloc
with the group of Zinovievites, into receiving instructions on terrorism
from Trotsky through Gaven in November 1932, it brought me to terrorism.
I communicated Trotsky's instructions on terrorism to the bloc
to which I belonged as a member of the centre. The bloc accepted
these instructions and began to act."
Then Smirnov continues, just as during the preliminary investigation
and the trial, to deny responsibility for the crimes committed by the
Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist centre after his arrest.
Further, Smirnov appeals to all his adherents resolutely to break
with the past, to fight against Trotskyism and Trotsky. He declares:
"There is no other path for our country but the one it is now treading,
and there is not, nor can there be, any other leadership than that which
history has given us. Trotsky, who sends direction and instructions on
terrorism, and regards our state as a fascist state, is an enemy; he is
on the other side of the barricade; he must be fought."
* * *
"My entire political outlook," says Olberg, "took shape under the
influence of Trotsky and Trotskyism. Following Trotsky, I shrank neither
from terrorism nor from agreements with the fascists. The aims of the
Trotskyite counter-revolutionary organization and the hopelessness of
these aims became particularly clear to me at this trial during which I
saw, quite distinctly, how pitiful were the leaders of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite
counter-revolution who led us, the young ones, along the path of
terroristic struggle, and how great was the power of the Soviet state. .
. I ask the Supreme Court to give me the opportunity of trying at least
to some extent to atone for my monstrous crimes." * * *
"In my last plea," says Berman-Yurin, "I do not want to defend myself
by any arguments. There are no such arguments. I repented, but too late.
Yesterday, in his speech for the prosecution, the citizen State
Prosecutor drew the complete picture of my crimes. And the proletarian
state will deal with me as I deserve. It is too late for contrition."
* * *
"Here," says Holtzman, "in the dock beside me, is a gang of
murderers, not only murderers, but fascist murderers. I do not ask for
mercy." * * *
"My crime is clear, it has been proved," says N. Lurye. "I do not
know what I might still say in my defence. In my last plea I can only
express regret for what I have done . . . but my regret comes too late."
* * *
In his last plea M Lurye says:
"I did not conceal anything, I cannot be reproached for that. The
State Prosecutor demanded that I be sternly punished. But can my crime
be compared with the crime of my chief?"
M. Lurye pleads mitigating circumstances. * * *
With this the morning session closes.