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Transcripts from the Soviet Archives VOLUME I 1903-1926
An uncorrected transcript of I.V. Stalin at a meeting of the Politburo. March 18, 1926
A 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. 712‐713
Archive: RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 163. D. 681. L. 87‐91. Script. Typescript.
Stalin. I will begin with where Comrade Kamenev ended. If any of the members of the Central Committee had the confidence that Comrade Zinoviev wanted to lay down arms against the Central Committee, we would not have spoken about this. But until now we do not see this, on the contrary, we see that you are doubly preparing, everyone can see it. Precisely because you hold a stone in your bosom and accumulate war shells in order to then shoot at the party, one of you says that in two months everything will change, the other says that ʺwe will see.ʺ
Voroshilov. 14 1 / 2‐ side exit.
Stalin. That is why the question arose about Comrade Zinoviev. With this mood of yours, there is an attempt to return to the doublecenter again.
About the uprising. Kamenev remembered this, remembered that Lenin ... (inaudible) and scolded me as a traitor. Yes, why not say that, itʹs a strange thing.
Kamenev. Why didnʹt they talk about it for 8 years?
Stalin. Since you remembered, I think we can talk about it.
Kamenev. At the Third Congress you remembered this.
Stalin. Now not the third congress. I take facts. Why is it possible to talk about Bukharinʹs mistake anywhere and everywhere, while the mistakes of Kamenev and Zinoviev cannot be talked about in the Party? Since when? Why is this? We must talk about this; we must write about it and teach the Party. We must say that there were mistakes. How we legalized the mistakes of Comrade Bukharin, why can Bukharinʹs mistakes be carried around and criticized, while Zinovievʹs and Kamenevʹs mistakes cannot be spoken about? You can and should speak.
They remembered the will here. Itʹs like weʹre hiding it. What does it say? That one should not poke Comrade Trotsky in the nose of his mistakes, mistakes that ...
Voroshilov. Which were no coincidence.
Stalin. Much has been said about the mistakes of Bukharin and Pyatakov, but not a single word has been said about fundamental mistakes ... (inaudible) that I am not fit and could abuse my power. After that, I twice demanded resignation, please let go ... what was said then, we repeated it at the congress. What did I say? I have passed my will for sure. They talked about mistakes, but not a word was said about my fundamental mistakes. They only said that I am a person ... (inaudible) and said that to find an equal person ... Find and put. I do not mind.
On the theory of compromise. Comrade Trotsky spoke about this, said that this was my theory. I did not say a word about this theory. It turns out that I am a supporter of the theory of compromise. This is not true. I believe that since disagreements begin in the party, since there is a struggle, then the defeated one will certainly be compromised. It is impossible without it. Show me at least one stage of the internal party struggle, so that one part of the leaders would not be compromised. You canʹt do without it. Whoever lost is compromised. And to portray it so that I am the author of this theory is wrong. The very law of the struggle within the party is such that the one who is defeated is compromised. What is this theory of the rebirth of leaders? Who spoke about this?
Trotsky. You read it, Comrade Stalin, you distorted me so much that you yourself have already believed it.
Stalin. How can I distort when I myself read that our leaders can be reborn, and an analogy with the German leaders was given? Trotsky. This was printed on purpose to be used as a pretext to attack me. After all, this was sent to the editorial board of Pravda, why did no one ask me if it was possible to understand my words this way? Why wasnʹt I called and asked?
Stalin. I do not accuse you; I only note the fact that the first serious step in our party after Ilyich on the question of compromising was taken by Comrade Trotsky.
Trotsky. This is not so, because at that time there was already a theory of Trotskyʹs depopulation in the country. Comrade Rykov told all his friends and acquaintances about this, told that now it was necessary to depopulate Trotsky. Am I telling the truth, Comrade Rykov?
Rykov. I do not remember.
Stalin. I ask you not to get excited, I am only talking about the facts of the past. We have read this article. You say that you sent her to Pravda, but at the same time you sent her to the districts. The workers knew about this, and the Central Committee could not put itself in the stupidest position, so that later they would say that the Central Committee was holding its mouth and preventing Trotskyʹs appeal from being published, which had already been read out in three districts. We had no protests from Trotsky, on the contrary, Trotsky sent this article for publication. What was it? Trotsky fought, and this was one of the ways of waging this struggle, one of the ways was this article. I do not blame Comrade. Trotsky. This is the law of struggle, but let him not blame us, because we could have done it too. Do not pretend, comrades, people who are clean. We all did this, we all had to do this, because we had an internal party struggle. Any struggle leads to exposure, exposure inevitably leads to compromise. Comrade Zinoviev spoke here about the appeal of the plenum on internal party democracy. If the plenum of the Central Committee on all organizations before the congress makes a demand that internal party democracy be carried out, that is quite
... (inaudible). Strange affair.
You think there will be a full guarantee when we are in power. I say, write it down, there is no full guarantee. And when will it not be? While our economy is developing, while we are right. Because the party that rules, it has to rely on that mass of institutions ... (inaudible). About 500 thousand active workers tried to simplify our state apparatus, to create democracy, sometimes they became bureaucratic, we must not forget, the bureaucracy that hangs over our party. These are the reasons that make us cling not to complete democracy, not to complete democracy. If you think for a complete democracy, be open about it. Complete democracy is nothing.
Voice. Democracy is transitional, there are several stages.
Stalin. As for the current regime, what Comrade Trotsky demands for speakers to speak, this is what you want. No?. To give everyone the right to speak and defend their point of view at any time, you demand this. No?.