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Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives
Transcripts of the meetings of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) ‐VKP (b) ‐ March 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. 655‐692
Archive: RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 163. D. 681. L. 1‐96 (uncorrected transcript); D. 682. L. 1‐118 (transcript with copyright correction); L. 119‐127 (proofproof proofs of GE Zinovievʹs speech); L. 129‐140 (verbatim report).
March 18, 1926
Comrade Rykov presides * (* The question was stenographed at the suggestion of Comrade Evdokimov (document note)).
Evdokimov. Is this a resolution of the Leningrad Provincial Committee or just the Bureau?
Voroshilov. This is the fourth paragraph of the resolution of the plenum of the provincial committee on February 22 2 .
Rykov. The question was raised by virtue of the resolution of the plenum of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee. Who wants the word?
Stalin * . (* Hereinafter, in copies of the transcript, uncorrected and with the copyright correction, there are notes by the stenographer: “Speeches are almost inaudible”). [ ... He protested, suggested that this question be postponed for a week and a half or a week.] About a week and a half ago, when the Leningraders demanded that the Central Committee approve the nomination of Comrade Komarov for the post of chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, Comrade Zinoviev called me, suggesting that this a question of 10 days when the extended Executive Committee will disperse 3...
He said that by that time he would submit a letter of resignation, about resignation from the post of the Pre‐Soviet of Leningrad, and the matter would be resolved in this way in a form more favorable to Comrade Zinoviev. I agreed with this and having talked with the secretaries of the Central Committee, asked the Leningraders to temporarily postpone the question of what they reluctantly agreed with. But now this term has already ended. The Leningradians have been waiting for a response from the Central Committee for about a month.
Zinoviev. Comrade Stalin did not accurately convey the conversation. On one of the ʺpleasantʺ days during the Executive Committee of the Comintern, I resolutely came to the conclusion that I could not work as chairman of the Comintern. The Bureau of the CPSU (b), I [said this] made this application 4, and here on the same day ... * (* There is litter stenographer:. ʺI cannot hear”) I said Comrade Stalin, that withdrawal. (the appointment was in St. Petersburg) at the height of the Comintern testifies to me that I cannot work as chairman of the Comintern either. I also made the argument on this score that, if necessary, they could have discussed with me first.
Stalin. [He asked, while the extended plenum of the Executive Committee did not disperse, not to do it. I spoke with ... and Molotov, they agreed to postpone it. As for the essence of the matter, you need to do this operation. Clearly, comrade. Zinoviev did not get into the committee.] My conversation with Comrade Zinoviev took place over the telephone, it is not recorded anywhere. But this does not mean that Comrade Zinoviev will be able to refute the facts. I assert that he asked to postpone the question until the end of the extended plenum, so as not to compromise it in the eyes of the members of the plenum. Otherwise, why did we postpone the question then? I affirm that he then announced his desire to resign. It is possible that in demanding deposition, he pursued a different purpose. Now I can see what his goal was: he wanted to use this incident for todayʹs transcript. As for the essence of the matter, it boils down to approving or rejecting the decision of the plenum of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee to remove comrade Zinoviev and replace him with comrade Komarov.
Kamenev. I do not know of these negotiations and believe that the matter must be resolved on the merits, independently of the negotiations of the members of the Central Committee. [And I think that ] Now the removal of Comrade. Zinoviev from the Leningrad Soviet takes on a political character, no one can doubt this. You have confirmed the main complication and you are keeping him in the post of chairman of the Comintern, and at the same time [this is inevitable, this is a resolution of the Congress ] you tell every party member that he was mistaken on the basic question of interpreting Leninism. This is a difficult and complicated situation, to keep at the head of the Comintern [ man ] a comrade, about whom it is necessary to simultaneously inform each member of the Party that he is mistaken in the fundamental questions of Leninism. This is a difficult position. [Now I will dwell on something else.] Comrade. Zinoviev has held the post of chairman of the Leningrad Soviet until now, not because he correctly solved the issues of sewage, but because the Leningrad Soviet is such an organization headed by a political person. [What will this withdrawal revive or not?] Well, the removal of Comrade Zinoviev from this political post will weaken or exacerbate the difficult situation in the Party? Undoubtedly, it will further exacerbate [the gap between the political post, which is entrusted to Comrade. Zinoviev]. Every comrade, every worker, every Leningrad citizen will be faced with the following: they are kept at the head of the Executive Committee and are not allowed to stand at the head of the Leningrad organization. If this was done for business reasons, if it were possible to convince someone that there are purely business considerations, outside politics, outside the congress, discussion, then it would have to be done before the congress. [The matter is hushed up, smoothed over, but ...] To do this now means to aggravate difficulties both from the point of view of the internal party situation and from the point of view of the political situation within the country and in the Comintern. [No need to rush.] Why do this now?
Voroshilov. I think Comrade Kamenev was a little late with his proposal. After all, the question of the mistakes of Comrade. Zinoviev has not been understood since today ‐ he gained very, very wide popularity at the XIV Party Congress 5 . The arena from which everything was disclosed was opened not only for our party, but for the whole world. Your speech, comrade Zinoviev, with a co‐report at the party congress, was literally interested in the whole world, not only the communist one, and now to say that the act of removing you from the post of chairman of the Leningrad Council will bring something new is to break into an open door. Everything that could and should have been done has been done. The Leningrad organization is currently in a very ambiguous position with the existing relations that have been created. Comrade Zinoviev was not taken to the provincial committee6 , com. Zinoviev remains a political figure who heads the Leningrad organization, as comrade. Kamenev. How can you combine things that are completely incompatible? If Comrade. Zinoviev is a really political figure for Leningrad, then it was necessary to hold him in the provincial committee, but it was impossible to hold him in the province committee after what happened, if you follow the democratic principles in our party, begin to implement them, and not forget about [what we they themselves spoke of the democratic principles of our Partyʹs practice] them, not to neglect the will of the entire Leningrad organization. It seems to me that the proposal that is being submitted must be accepted, especially since it will be the implementation of those proposals that long ago [outlined]I suggested. People who do not work, who lead the organization only for ʺpoliticsʺ, which, by the way, in the present conditions they cannot implement, should be removed. You should not create exaggerated posts that, apart from harm, can do nothing.
Evdokimov. I will not talk about the mistakes of Comrade Zinoviev, those mistakes which the congress, by its resolution, comrade. Zinoviev ascribes those attributed to him and to the entire opposition as a whole after the congress. There is not enough time for this now. I want to talk about how the withdrawal of Comrade Zinoviev on the position of the Leningrad organization. Removing Comrade Zinoviev from Leningrad in any situation would be a big blow to Leningrad as a major political and industrial center. In this situation, the force of this blow is aggravated many times over. We, Leningraders, are considered and criticized as separatists, self‐styled, etc. I will not say how fair these accusations are in general.
But I believe that in this case, defending the interests of the Leningrad organization, the interests of Leningrad, we are defending the vital interests of the party. Any blow to Leningrad is a blow to the whole party. Of course, this can be said about any organization, and everyone understands that the strengthening or weakening of such organizations as the Leningrad one is of particular interest to the entire party as a whole. Recently, owing to ʺorganizational conclusionsʺ from the postcongress discussion [to a certain extent ], one‐sided discussion, Leningrad was hit so many times, and these blows were of such a number and such degree that it is possible to speak of the defeat of the entire organization. Almost the entire asset that has developed over the past several years has been removed.
Voroshilov. [And your organization filmed five times . ] In other organizations, the asset changed five times over a number of years.
Evdokimov. The size of this withdrawal is characterized at least by the fact that until the last days there are up to 1200 unemployed communards on the district committeesʹ register, not counting those sent to the labor exchange. The best part of the Komsomol asset has been removed. A number of the most responsible professional workers have been removed, and a number of the best party military workers have been removed. The best female workers have been removed, business executives of the same scale as Comrade Balls 7 .
Dzerzhinsky. [And who replaced him? Markitakhin, I know.] He was replaced by a worker of no less scale ‐ Markitakhin.
Evdokimov. How could this affect the mood of the organization? By your position, you must be familiar with the position of people in the organization. I am familiar at least for such facts as the last day of the worker passed with us 8; it took place in the face of tremendous passivity on the part of the working women, with small meetings. It is here, in Leningrad, where female workers have always shown tremendous activity, where there was a huge attendance of public meetings! Now the attendance of public meetings among the party activists has dropped, the party education cannot be established, the mood among the lower ranks of the party is depressed, the mood among the workers is also unimportant. Despite the campaign that was developed in the press against the so‐called opposition in general and against Comrade Zinoviev in particular, I dare to assure you that Zinovievʹs authority neither among the Leningrad party masses, nor among the non‐party workers of Leningrad has not been shaken in the slightest degree. Yes. You can check it in any way. And with this state of affairs in the largest proletarian organization, the removal of Comrade. Zinoviev, will this aggravate the negative sentiments that exist? This is the question to be asked. Of course, it will. There is no need for it, there is no need for it. They say that practical work suffers. After all, you can get out of this situation in this way. Without raising the question of the chairman, raise the question of the deputy chairman and appoint comrade Komarov as deputy chairman. Withdrawal at the moment comrade. Zinoviev, will this serve to strengthen the authority of the Central Committee? No, it wonʹt! They say that Comrade Zinoviev was not elected to the province committee. What to tell us about why and how they were not chosen in the sponge. Still, you know how the district conferences were held, how the gubernia conference was held After all, you can get out of this situation in this way. Without raising the question of the chairman, raise the question of the deputy chairman and appoint comrade Komarov as deputy chairman. Withdrawal of comrade Zinoviev at the moment , will this serve to strengthen the authority of the Central Committee? No, it wonʹt! Yet we know that it was much easier to pass it than not to. Great efforts were made to this.
Dzerzhinsky. [Iʹm not involved in this.] I didnʹt notice.
Evdokimov. So, there is not even the slightest need to cite documents that would indicate that it is necessary to hurry to remove Comrade Zinoviev. I said when I asked Comrade. Rykov to shorthand this question, which I consider very important, I will add; what I consider important and having not only enormous importance as a general party question, but a general political, not only our internal, but international issue. I cannot say all that I wanted to say on this issue, so I reserve the right to enter on the subject with a special written application to the address of all the members of the CC and CCC 10. What else to add to what I said?
Voice. Come up with.
Evdokimov. There is nothing to invent here. I am quite understandably worried, comrades, when I speak. A person of temperament, I must say, I do not always maintain the proper clarity of thought and composure when required.
Stalin. It is dangerous to health.
Evdokimov. To improve my health, you gave me leave 11 . I hope that I will really improve my health. In conclusion, I add once again: the removal of Comrade. Zinoviev from the Leningrad organization, from work in Leningrad, will be a new additional blow to Leningrad, which will have a very, very negative meaning, which will be negatively assessed not only by the entire party mass, with few exceptions, but also by all non‐party workers and women workers of Leningrad. When you make a decision on this issue, I think this fact should be the main one, based on which it is necessary to make this or that decision on this issue.
Molotov. The discussion that was at the congress cannot be erased by any speeches of people who are worried or not worried, who have improved their health during the last three months of rest, or are thinking of improving it.
Evdokimov. This is not argumentation. If we begin to defecate in wit, so can I.
(The presiding judge stops Comrade Evdokimov.)
Evdokimov. I apologize for ʺdefecating.ʺ
Molotov.I say, this discussion cannot be deleted, and to say that after this discussion everything should remain in the same places, that everything should remain as before ‐ this is still to demand the impossible. Comrade Kamenev says that the replacement of Comrade Zinoviev in the Leningrad Soviet has political significance. Of course, it has political significance. But does this mean that replacing Zinoviev as chairman of the Leningrad Soviet is a political change for which the party is not prepared or which it considers an unsuitable change under the given conditions? There are enough facts to judge this. Based on the facts that we have about Leningrad; one can judge this. This question did not raise any doubts at any party meeting, at least judging by the district party conferences of all regions and the general provincial conference of Leningrad. And therefore, to say that the nomination of a new chairman of the Leningrad Soviet is a political fact that would now be unacceptable to the Leningrad working masses or the party as a whole is to say completely unconvincing things. Comrade Evdokimov tries to argue that this is a ʺblow to Leningrad.ʺ I think that this is also wrong. If we consider that a blow to Leningrad is the replacement of Zinoviev as chairman of the council,[nomination of a new chairman] then in general it must be considered that the opinion of the Leningrad organization, which is now expressed in a huge number of meetings, in the work of all district conferences and the provincial conference itself, does not matter to us. And this would be a real blow in the opinion of the overwhelming majority of organizations, against those sentiments that are clearly expressed by the Leningrad organization. Comrade Evdokimovʹs claims to express here the opinion of Leningrad, and at the same time to oppose Leningrad to the Central Committee, to oppose the interests of Leningrad to the interests of the Party and the interests of the Central Committee, is a harmful claim, and, moreover, completely unfounded. Comrade Evdokimov has no authority to speak on behalf of Leningrad.
Evdokimov. Did I really say that I speak on behalf of Leningrad?
Molotov. You said that “we, Leningraders”, that “we” have defended and will defend Leningrad. It turns out that there are people sitting here who are far from the interests of Leningrad, who do not understand the interests of Leningrad. Meanwhile, we perfectly understand the real interests of Leningrad, and we think that they do not contradict the interests of the Party and the interests of the Central Committee of the Party. To say now that only the former group of the Leningrad organization are the “defenders” of Leningrad, or that only Comrade Zinoviev can “defend” Leningrad, it means [to develop] repeat the very things that some tried to spread in the party circles in the postCongress discussion [ individual comrades] Leningrad 12... But this did not receive sympathy from the Leningrad organization, or even from any significant part of the organization.
We must nevertheless reckon with the facts: there were regional party conferences, which were convened on the basis of complete democracy [as it can be], after a very long discussion of all the main issues of interest to the party, and after many comrades from the former opposition tried to continue the discussion at party meetings [and enterprises] of Leningrad, but to no avail. We now have the voice of the regional party conferences, we have the voice of the provincial party conference, and there are decisions of the provincial committee of the new convocation. Is it possible after all this to be recognized as expedient or consistent with party experience so that a comrade who was not elected to the gubernia committee, and whose name was not named by a single comrade in the gubernia committee [and not at a regional party conference and at a provincial party conference], it would be advisable and possible to keep the post of chairman of the Leningrad Soviet? It seems to me that this is completely inappropriate and that it clearly contradicts [the facts] the will of the vast majority of the Leningrad organization. Comrade Zinoviev was not included in the Leningrad Provincial Committee, and none of the members of the Provincial Party Conference proposed Comrade Zinoviev to be a member of the Provincial Committee. After that, say that it is necessary to leave Comrade. Zinoviev as chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, in my opinion, is unfounded. Comrade Zinoviev remains chairman of the Comintern and a member of the Politburo [his authority is not lost.] This requires tremendous strength. And what position do we have with regard to the Leningrad Soviet at the present time? In fact, we have such a situation that the actual chairman of the Leningrad Soviet and before [this time] the last party events was Comrade. Komarov, who was aware of Soviet work, who actually supervised this work. Comrade Komarov has been a member of the Central Committee for at least three convocations; he is a Leningrad worker. He is a prominent worker in Leningrad, who really knows practical work and enjoys great prestige in the Leningrad organization. It seems to me that now the only correct conclusion will be [such a conclusion that instead of having a sign, it is necessary to put up] to approve this comrade [so that he would openly work as] the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet [work under the name that he fully deserves], i.e., to name the actual chairman of the council by his real name. If Comrade. Komarov, not being listed as the chairman of the Leningrad Council, actually performed this work, especially the work of the chairman of the Leningrad Executive Committee, but now, it seems to me, the time is when it is necessary to formalize this provision, which is exactly what the Leningrad Gubernia Committee unanimously proposes. It is wrong to speak in such a way as Comrade Evdokimov that as a result of the political campaign that took place after the congress in Leningrad, the Leningrad organization is exhausted, that the Leningrad proletariat is [discouraged] in a passive state, and so on. [Demoralization in the Leningrad organization remained enormous.] Demoralization in the Leningrad organization was introduced. The responsibility for this lies with the Leningrad opposition. [Not talking] The mere fact that the organization was forced to change the composition of the lower‐level elected party organs, to reelect the bureau of collectives, this, of course, introduced a tremendous shock to the organization. At the same time, this has brought forward a new cadre of workers who still need to learn how to work, who need to be guided in all their work. But to say that this latter demoralized the organization is absolutely wrong. The demoralization introduced by the opposition is already underway. To say that the mood of the Leningrad workers is passive, that they have a negative attitude to all the latest events in the Leningrad organization, is not at all to reflect what actually exists. There is every reason to expect that the Leningrad organization will now increase the pace of all its work. Everything speaks for the fact that the decision of the provincial party conference and the provincial committee of the Central Committee should not be broken or redone [this is a decision of individual comrades. I think that]. With this decision, you need to agree to [and the need to approve it].
Rykov * . (* There is a note from the stenographer: ʺComrade Rykov was almost not heard.ʺ) ... At the suggestion of Comrade. Evdokimovʹs debate in the Politburo about the chairman of the Leningrad Council is being stenographed. Comrade Evdokimov, obviously, proceeds from the premise that our debate should be known to a wider circle of party members than the composition of the Politburo.
Statement by Comrade Evdokimov about his vacation can be interpreted by the party in such a way that we are letting him go on purpose [since he didn’t say anything about this, he just said that he was going on vacation to get medical treatment] in order to get rid of him. He stressed that we gave him a vacation again. Statement by Comrade Evdokimov was recorded, it is necessary that my words were also recorded. I definitely declare that Comrade Evdokimov goes on vacation against our wishes and our insistence. I recently spoke with Comrade Kosior, and Kosior complained to me that it is very difficult for the Secretariat to cope with the work. Outwardly, a somewhat strange situation really turns out: while Evdokimov was not in the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the party 13, then he could work in the Leningrad organization, but now he cannot work anywhere. The position of the Secretariat, thanks to the departure of Comrade Evdokimov [ maybe he is necessary ], puts the work of the Secretariat in unusually difficult conditions. We are comrade Evdokimov was included in the Central Committee Secretariat in order for him to work there. We insisted in every possible way that it work. The situation, thanks to his leave, creates an unusually difficult one. In any case, the party should know that he is leaving against our wishes [and demands. This should be perfectly clear].
Second question. I was recently in Leningrad at a meeting of the Leningrad Council. A faction was appointed there to discuss the question of the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet. By telegram from here, this [history] meeting was postponed. Several comrades from the council came up to me and pointed out the incorrectness of the situation when Zinoviev was not a member of the provincial committee and nevertheless remained the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet. In Leningrad, a large political campaign was carried out, in which all the members of the Leningrad organization were involved, without exception, it was not our fault. As a result of this campaign, the Leningrad organization unanimously sided with the majority of the Fourteenth Congress and condemned the behavior of the Leningrad opposition. This situation has its own logic.
Comrade Zinoviev said that he would not resign. This means that contrary to the opinion of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee and the faction of the Leningrad Soviet, he wants us to leave him chairman of the Leningrad Soviet by a resolution of the Politburo. Can this be done now? You canʹt. It was necessary to think about this earlier, comrade. Evdokimov. Now you speak here at the meeting and say: “You have weakened the organization” [because it did not agree with the majority of the congress] ... * (* There is a note from the stenographer: “not heard.”) How did you weaken it? After all, the main thing that happened in the Leningrad organization is that it sided with the XIV Congress, with the overwhelming majority of the party. This is not a weakening, but a strengthening of both the Leningrad organization and the party as a whole.
[This] Your demand is a desire to continue [the line that was before] the struggle. [This cannot be done now under any circumstances. It was a one‐sided discussion on the part of the Leningrad leaders for years, not months. Evdokimov and Zinoviev do not consider the discussion. The discussion was prepared against the XIV Congress. After that, no one shut your mouth, so ...] Comrade Evdokimov said that there was a one‐sided discussion in Leningrad. If we can talk about a one‐sided discussion, then only in the sense that we did not discuss one‐sided against you, but quite the opposite. Both before the XIV Congress and during the XIV Congress, you led a discussion against the majority of the party, not only without giving the floor to the supporters of the majority. but sometimes they carried out their work against the party majority, in secret from it.
After the congress, we discussed together with you in front of the entire Leningrad Party mass. Every Leningrad worker, of course, had the opportunity to familiarize himself with Comrade Evdokimovʹs worldview. For this, [an infinitely long] much longer time was given and. understandably, there is more opportunity than for acquainting the Leningrad workers with our point of view. [In any case, in order not to understand from the transcript that there was a onesided discussion on our part, I am talking about this fact:] So, there was a ʺone‐sided discussionʺ on your part before the congress and during the congress, and after the congress we discussed with you. We won only because of the correctness of our position, and the Leningrad workers were wholly on the side of the Fourteenth Congress. Is it possible now to accept Comrade Zinovievʹs proposal, contrary to the opinion of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee and the faction of the Leningrad Soviet, which stayed with us and spoke out against Comrade Zinoviev? The Politburo has no way of doing this now [ for business reasons. The last plenum of the Comintern proved that Comrade. Zinoviev must now concentrate much more attention on the work of the Comintern ]. In addition, business considerations require that Comrade. Zinoviev concentrated his work in the Comintern.
The last plenum of the Comintern showed that if there are three or four such workers as Comrade Zinoviev, this will not be enough for the Comintern. [There is no need to talk about this now, because three or four workers, such as Zinoviev, are not enough now for the Comintern, and then they are unlikely to cope with the work of the Comintern .]
The leadership by the Comintern of the grown Communist Parties now requires much more strength and attention than it used to be: otherwise, the communist movement will encounter difficulties that, with more careful leadership, can be avoided.
In order to have less difficulties in the field of the international communist movement, comrade. Zinoviev to concentrate all his attention on the work of the Comintern.
Zinoviev. I want to say a couple of words on the issue of the leave of comrade. Evdokimova. There has been very little suitable approach to this issue here. Whatʹs the matter, comrades? Comrade Evdokimov showed me the doctorsʹ certificate and showed it to you all. The leave was given on the basis of the testimony of doctors, who, unfortunately, do not leave even half a percent in doubt that Comrade. Evdokimov cannot work at the moment. [He made comradely here] How can you make such statements here on this score, unfriendly, to say the least. He received leave [on all grounds of the party charter], how all sick comrades get. There is a definite conclusion of the doctors that he cannot work perfectly at this moment. What is the point in the fact that if a member of the Central Committee makes such a statement as he did [not accept such a statement], to remind him of his health? Has this [possibly] ever happened to us?
Now I turn to the question of the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet. Here Comrade Rykov spoke of ʺZinovievʹs proposal.ʺ There is no such proposal, here the same speaker said that Comrade Zinoviev “wants to be left behind,” wants the Politburo to appoint him Chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, contrary to the decision of the Leningrad Provincial
Committee. After all, I know very well that it was the majority of the Politburo who prepared my dismissal. It scarcely needs proof here that it is not a question of fighting for a post or the like. All this, I hope, understands. What does Zinoviev “want”? He only wants political clarity. If you send several thousand St. Petersburg communal workers to the labor exchange, work yourself and remove Zinoviev. Comrade Molotov said that the entire organization agreed with the removal of
Zinoviev. But he also said that all the collective bureaus in St. Petersburg had been removed. If all collectives were forced to ʺchangeʺ the collective bureaus ‐ what does this mean? There are about 800 or even 1000 collectives in Leningrad, in each collective of the Bureau there are 5‐7 people, multiply all this, you will see how many
[new] workers [were brought into the Leningrad organization ] had to be ʺchangedʺ and how many were removed. Add a few hundred dismissed workers of a larger scale who have passed through the Central Committee, remember the numbers that Comrade Evdokimov, then you will get [violation of the party] idea of the ʺdemocracyʺ that Voroshilov mentioned. We all sinned against internal party democracy, and our excuse was that the economic, general political and international situation for a long time forced us to maintain [almost] military discipline in the party, sometimes forced us to overdo it. But we were already during the discussion in 1923.14They said, referring to a well‐known passage from the speech of V <Ladimir> I <Lich> at the 10th Congress, that in another year or two economic upsurge and we would get more support and initiative from the workers and would be able to improve in practice the internal party democracy, we would put things in motion. This rise has now come. If the Central Committee considers the recent events in Leningrad as an example of a ʺdemocraticʺ regime, it seems to me that this would be a gross mistake. I recently sent you a small piece of paper, I think you have already received it. A member of the Central Control Commission, Comrade Peterson, a worker at the Leningrad factory, a comrade whom almost all the female section of the Leningrad proletariat knows. This comrade is elected a member of the Central Control Commission at the XIV Congress. After that, just because she shared the views of the Leningrad delegation at the XIV Congress, she was dismissed from her job and sent to the labor exchange. What it is, comrades? We never had such things in the Bolshevik Party, never had anything like it!
About the discussion and my ʺmistakesʺ. Everyone knows how they were explained during the ʺstudyʺ of the decisions of the congress. There is a resolution of the XIV Congress, in which there is not even a hundredth part of what was later ʺexplainedʺ about it when the resolutions of the XIV Congress were ʺworked outʺ. Everyone knows that the ʺstudyʺ of the decisions of the XIV Congress is carried out not so much according to the resolutions of the XIV Congress, as according to a cheat sheet distributed secretly at the XIV Congress itself, a cheat sheet that was delivered to me from the provinces and which I officially handed over to the Central Committee. The discussion was not onesided, says Comrade. Rykov! But, comrades, you all know that we were forbidden to speak [at the Leningrad conference].
Voroshilov. All spoke, only members of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission were prohibited.
Zinoviev. In other words, to our most qualified comrades. I will remind you of the St. Petersburg worker comrade. Kostritsky.
Uglanov. His letter is sent to factories.
Zinoviev. I donʹt know, but I know that he has already been removed from party work for two years. An example of the last days: take the Priboi publishing house 15 ‐ a small publishing house, and in this one cell there are 19 people. removed from party work. And what is ʺSurfʺ in St. Petersburg ‐ a grain of sand! You can judge from this the size of the defeat. Have we ever applied such measures [to restore] discipline in the Party? If my ʺmistakesʺ that are outlined here in [this lousy]illegal cheat sheet, are correctly stated, if you really believe in them, then, of course, I have to work at some other job, and not at general political. The fact of the matter is that hardly anyone seriously believes the instructions that are in this cheat sheet. You put the question this way: did you ʺhitʺ the sponge or did not hit the sponge. Everyone understands the price of this argument.
Molotov. You have a very good attitude to the party.
Zinoviev. I treat the party no worse than you. I repeat that I ʺdid not hitʺ the sponge, so what? It happened (not so long ago) that Comrade. Rykov, for example, did not get into the Central Committee of the party under Ilyich 16 . There are no irreplaceable ones, but political clarity must be created. And if a member of the Central Control Commission, elected at the XIV Congress, Comrade Peterson, is sent to the labor exchange, then this is unacceptable.
Stalin *. (* Initially, the phrase was attributed to M.F.Shkiryatov.) It seems that she is no longer a member of the Central Control Commission 17 .
Zinoviev. As far as I know, the people elected at the XIV Party Congress cannot be re‐elected by anyone. That the party is ʺpreparedʺ for the removal of Zinoviev, as comrade Molotov, this, of course, is known [Comrade Molotov, formally prepared]. In some layers, it is prepared by your efforts.
Stalin. Comrade Evdokimov portrays the matter in such a way that not by a sponge, but by the Politburo, Comrade. Zinoviev from the post of chairman of the council [which does not correspond to the interests of the Leningrad industry, the Leningrad organization ] . This is not true. This is not true. This is a falsification of what is taking place now in Leningrad. [The falsification is complete . ] Voting at the Leningrad conference, which did not elect Comrade. Zinoviev in the provincial committee, in the absence of a protest against such a vote, [not available in the Leningrad archive, what does this mean, anything? Does it matter?] is a fact. This fact prejudges the removal of Comrade Zinoviev from the post of chairman of the Leningrad Soviet. Does not Comrade Evdokimov, that this had already predetermined the question of removing comrade. Zinoviev from the post of chairman of the council of Leningrad? And the second fact is the direct vote of the Leningrad Provincial Committee to remove Comrade. Zinoviev and replace him with a metalworker, comrade. Komarov, against which there are no protests either. You cannot dodge these facts. What about comrade Zinoviev cannot understand that these two votes are decisive? And what about the opinion of the lower ranks of the party, who voted against the opposition, for the decisions of the XIV Congress? Can we go against these facts? No, we cannot. Formally, the question is not about removing Comrade Zinoviev from his post, but about canceling or approving the decision of the Leningrad organization. Should we cancel the vote of the Leningrad organization or should we not? I think that we must approve the decision of the Leningrad organization. [This is the question. And no matter how much Comrade. Zinoviev, all the same he will not prove and will not show, there will not be a single person ... ] Finally, Comrade. Zinoviev must understand that after all that has happened, he cannot remain chairman of the council. If we now imposed comrade. Zinoviev to Leningraders, his position there would be unbearable.
They depict here the decision of the Leningrad organization to remove Comrade. Zinoviev as a blow to Leningrad. Comrade Evdokimov managed to portray the case just like that. One out of two. Either the Leningrad organization itself strikes itself a blow, which is absurd, or Comrade. Evdokimov is more of a Leningrad than the Leningrad organization, which is also absurd. Comrade Evdokimov [you] forgets that now he has less right to talk about the Leningrad organization than the Leningrad organization itself, admit that Comrade Evdokimov.
Evdokimov. I admit.
Stalin. We have two main votes of the Leningrad organization, which express the opinion and interests of the Leningrad organization. To portray oneself as a representative of the Leningrad organization, regardless of these facts, is too risky a thing, Comrade Evdokimov. If Leningrad organization freed from opposition mistakes, if she was able to [make out] to dissociate himself from Comrade errors. Zinoviev and [Evdokimov] others, then this is not a blow to the Leningrad organization, but a blow to those who want to strike a blow at our party. What do you think, can our party lead, having in the rear the Leningrad organization, which [is going to strike, cannot? We had two leading centers.] In the face of its top, did it strike the party blow after blow? What was the question? Besides, we actually had two Central Committees in the Party, two centers. One Central Committee, which was called Moscow, the other in [Petersburg] Leningrad. Can a party in power [for a month, two or three] lead the country, the economy, the proletariat, having two centers? No, he cannot. Ultimately, the organizational basis of the discussion [boiled down to this at the congress, can we have two centers in the party or should there be one center.
And Priboy, I read the Priboi edition, from which directives were given on an all‐Russian scale, leading anthologies were written, which were published besides the Central Committee, without the Central Committee. It was a new center. You had one main center, the organ of Leningradskaya Pravda, which was a wing of the congress, you know that well. And you think that the Party can tolerate having such an organization as the Leningrad one in its rear. Either the Soviet government or the party ... (inaudible) or one center. If we talk about the blow that came from the Leningrad organization against the party, from which the congress liberated the party and without which we could not lead the country. They could not lead, having the Leningrad organization in their rear. Either they must surrender, or they must bring the Leningrad organization into line with the decisions of the party. This is how they achieved the blow that Comrade Evdokimov. He says that this blow is assuming a different form, that it is directed against the party, the blow was deflected by the congress, now we have a party center, both the party and the proletariat will benefit from this. Now turning the wheel back and returning to the position where there are two centers is to kill the party. A blow to the industry . ] was to destroy the two‐center in the party, to create one center, to create a united front with Leningrad. This was done mainly at the XIV Congress. Take your old Surf, for example. It was an all‐Union organization, not a Leningrad one, which published leading textbooks and political textbooks for the entire Union, in parallel with the publishing house of the Central Committee. And what about Leningradskaya Pravda? Didnʹt it claim to be the de facto central organ of the party? In short, you were building a new Central Committee in Leningrad in parallel with the existing Central Committee of the Party. You have been pursuing a double center. You and now stand on the point of view of a two‐center, proposing to impose Comrade. Zinoviev to Leningrad. Well, but the party wants to have one center, the center that was elected at the XIV Congress. And Leningrad also wants now to have one center at the head of the party, and not two centers. That is why the removal of the so‐called. Zinoviev is not striking a blow to Leningrad, but to the pernicious double‐center and its supporters. Now turn the wheel back and return to the position where [there are] there were two centers, which means ruining the party.
They say that Comrade Zinoviev is a blow to the Leningrad industry. [In the picture of the case it appears] It turns out that only Evdokimov and Zinoviev can defend the industry of Leningrad.
Evdokimov. I did not say that.
Stalin. You said that while Zinoviev was there, industry was secured, and now it is not known what will happen. [I donʹt understand that . ] This is fundamentally wrong.
Evdokimov. I did not say that.
Stalin. If you [in this form did not speak ] refuse now, then very many of your circle are talking about it. This, I repeat, is fundamentally wrong. [I think that you do not have any opportunity to support Leningrad industry, against the will of the Central Committee. Everything that you do is done with the permission of the Central Committee according to its directives, and no one thinks that Leningrad industry will be placed in worse conditions. On the contrary, I think she will be in better conditions. Our business is improving, and it will continue to improve, this improvement should extend to Leningrad industry.]
Leningrad industry was supported not because Zinoviev liked it, but because the Central Committee considered it necessary to support it. The Central Committee will continue to support it, for this is required by the interests of the Party and the proletariat. And the sooner we get out of the difficulties from which we are already getting out, the more thoroughly the support of Leningrad industry should be, anyway, Comrade will be there. Zinoviev, or not.
Finally, the last question about the Comintern. Kamenev said that Zinoviev [hinted, but hinted not so clearly ‐ how] he could not lead the Comintern without having a majority in the [ party] of the Central Committee. [I do not think that it is impossible for such a person to lead the Comintern who does not agree with us.] This is not true, in my opinion. He can lead if he is loyal to the Central Committee of the CPSU (b). We have a precedent. Remember well III Congress 18 . The Central Committee was then against Zinoviev. If I am not mistaken, then Lenin blocked with Trotsky on the question of the ultra‐Lefts and the Central Committee supported this bloc against Zinoviev. Zinoviev remained in the minority [at the III Congress] in the Central Committee. Of course, after the III Congress there was the V Congress, but it does not follow from this that the III Congress should be forgotten. Zinoviev was then in the minority. However, no one raised the question of removing him from the Comintern. Moreover, I do not know of a single party in the Comintern that would raise the question of removing Zinoviev. [He was not in the majority, but he was the chairman of the Comintern. So, my proposal is not to object to the decision of the plenum of the provincial committee to remove comrade. Zinoviev from the post of chairman of the Leningrad Soviet and on the appointment of Comrade Komarov.] Therefore, Comrade Zinoviev can remain chairman of the ECCI, and he can continue this business with loyalty to the Central Committee. The chairmanship in Leningrad is another matter, the organization of which, the regional committee of which spoke in favor of replacing Zinoviev with Komarov.
Evdokimov. I would like to say a few words in connection with my vacation. I understand the difficulty of the situation in which the Secretariat finds itself, for I have spoken with comrades on this issue. I said that the situation is being created very difficult, that Kosior is overloaded. In my opinion, this situation cannot last. By the way, when I returned, I was talking to Comrade. Molotov, and he asked me a question: why such questions? What practical suggestions do you have? I said: there is only one practical proposal: at the next plenum of the Central Committee, elect another Central Committee secretary instead of me. And where are you going? ‐ asks Molotov. And after my vacation I will go to any job, go to a cooperative or trade union job. We had such a conversation. I said that I myself understand the difficulty of the situation in which the Secretariat finds itself. But I see no other way out19 .
Rudzutak *. (* In the transcript with the authorʹs corrections on the text of speeches YE Rudzutak litter: ʺSuch nonsense, I never told ya Rudzutak.ʺ And followed by handwritten text of the statement.) Since there was raised the issue of easing [or introducing confusion into the ranks of] Leningrad organization in connection with the removal of Comrade. Zinoviev, we must first of all decide the question of whether the weakening of the Leningrad organization is the elimination of preCongress and post‐Congress sentiments in it, the elimination of the opposition to the Leningrad organization of the Central Committee. I think that the elimination of these phenomena will undoubtedly lead to the strengthening of the Leningrad organization. [We have the opinion of the Leningrad organization. This suggests that the pre‐Congress and post‐Congress sentiments that were in the Leningrad organization are being eliminated. This testifies towards the Leningrad organization, and therefore I think that further work should proceed along this line.] If Comrade. Evdokimov, that in the Leningrad organization there is a lowered activity, apathy, this, undoubtedly, is the result of the work of the opposition, and all measures aimed at the soonest elimination of pre‐Congress moods lead to the strengthening of the Leningrad organization. [As for leaving Comrade Zinoviev as chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, it seems to me that Comrade Voroshilov pointed out correctly. I think that the Leningrad organization has said its word here and that any elimination of their pre‐Congress sentiments is a strengthening, not a weakening of the organization. And from this point of view, there is no reason to cancel the decision of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee.] Regarding fears that this would weaken the authority of Comrade. Zinoviev, ‐ Comrade is right. Voroshilov that this authority was most of all undermined by the discussion at the congress. In order to establish a normal situation in the work of the Leningrad organization and to strengthen it, there is no reason to cancel the decision of the Leningrad organization on the question of the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet.
Solts. I absolutely do not understand why this question is posed. What does it mean to strike at the Leningrad organization? Comrade Rudzutak said quite rightly. Of course, [to a certain extent ] when the Leningrad organization drew [these] its organizational conclusions, it was painfully experienced to some extent, because all the governing bodies of the Leningrad organization were re‐elected on the basis of clarifying the issues dealt with at the congress. [It is somewhat painful, maybe they are put on, but it can be survived.] Moreover, there were, perhaps, hobbies. Comrade Zinoviev pointed to a member of the Central Control Commission, Comrade. Peterson, who was sent to the labor exchange, that this is wrong, that this should be changed. This is true, but, in any case, this does not apply to Comrade. Zinoviev.
Stalin. It is necessary [before] to ask the Leningrad Province Committee what he will say.
Solts. This is the case of the Central Control Commission, and we decided to interrogate the Leningrad organization how such a misunderstanding happened 20 . Hobbies are being made at the same time, perhaps, but what does this have to do with the question of Comrade Zinoviev? On the contrary, Comrade Zinoviev is not an ordinary worker. Why was Zinoviev not elected as a member of the provincial committee? It’s clear why. Because Zinoviev, being elected, should be the leader there, and not just a member of the provincial committee. And after the whole organization spoke out against the line that Zinoviev supported, it is strange for him to be [one of the 50 members of the provincial committee] the head. I think the situation is the same in the Leningrad Soviet. If he remains on the council, he needs to be a leader there, but in the position that has turned out, can he be a leader there? No. Why is there a false position? Comrade Zinoviev cannot occupy a false position in that organization which now entirely adheres to a different point of view. It really comes down to just that there will be a firm, a formal post. Here is the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, and the entire council with the provincial committee has a different point of view. Therefore, for business reasons, this is not necessary. Why raise the question again, really in order to have an extra document, to once again emphasize the issues that have already been resolved? I think that this question did not need to be raised and there is nothing to analyze.
Kamenev. Stalin said that formally the question stands in such a way that we must reverse the decision of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee. I agree that this is how the question stands formally, but this is only formally, because no party charter rejects the case when the Central Committee finds this or that decision of the provincial committee inappropriate and enters into relations with one or another organization. Why issue such an ultimatum that we must violate the opinion of the Leningrad organization and cancel its decisions? There are other ways. The Central Committee can judge whether this decision is rational or expedient. The Central Committee has never refused this. And nobody understands democracy in such a way that since there is a decision of the provincial committee, nothing can be done. Comrade Molotov [ , we need to understand democracy in a different way] says that this violates the principles of democracy. A strange understanding of democracy! So, if we want to discuss the matter on the merits, then we can tell the spokesman, even the Leningrad one, that the opinion of the Central Committee is this and that. Sponge can take note of this, can enter into negotiations. So, Comrade is right. Stalin, that formally the question is so, but in essence it is not so.
Molotov. And the resolution of the conference that Zinoviev was not elected.
Kamenev. So, in essence, I took the floor in order to dwell on the words of Voroshilov, Molotov and Rykov, because I think that here you only need to speak directly, that you need to make ends meet or you shouldnʹt say at all.
Voroshilov believes that the removal of Zinoviev is one of the inevitable organizational conclusions from the discussion, and therefore, they say, there is nothing to talk about.
Voroshilov. I said this before the discussion.
Kamenev. Here is a transcript, the transcript says: Voroshilov considers organizational conclusions inevitably connected with the discussion; and there is nothing to talk. He does not allow [himself the possibility of such a conclusion] thoughts that regardless of how the discussion ended, it is possible to dispute the organizational conclusions that were made not by the congress, but by the collegium of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee. The Central Committee may, without violating the decisions of the congress, challenge such organizational conclusions. I believe that these organizational conclusions are disastrous. In order to draw such a conclusion, additional data are still required, additional data are needed to say: since the person remained in the minority at the congress, he must be removed from his post. What, canʹt he work? All this requires proof, and you donʹt have it. Voroshilov says that the Leningrad organization is in an ambiguous position. Yes, thatʹs right. [We] You have put in an ambiguous position not only the Leningrad organization, but also the Comintern. You forget about it. Of course, if Zinovievʹs resignation was accepted at the first meeting of the plenum of the Central Committee 21 and they said that he really could not remain the Chairman of the Comintern, then there would be no ambiguous position either in the Comintern or in Leningrad. This was not done. And now the situation is so ambiguous that Comrade. Zinoviev may remain Chairman of the Comintern, but he cannot remain the leader of the Leningrad organization. We still have to make ends meet. They say that Zinoviev was not elected to the provincial committee, but why was he elected Chairman of the Comintern? The whole Party and the Comintern are in an ambiguous position. After all, now every member of the Party and member of the Comintern can say that at the head of the Comintern there is a man who departed from Leninism and sunk to Sukhanov. How can you cover such a statement? Nothing. General Secretary of the CPSU (b) proved that Zinoviev retreated from Leninism and slipped to Sukhanov22 . And this man is left as Chairman of the Comintern. Understand that only by deviating from simple political sincerity can one prove the absolute intolerance of Comrade. Zinoviev remained chairman of the Leningrad Soviet for at least one day. After all, even earlier, even under Lenin, there were differences. It was such a case that with most Zinovev dispersed on CC III Congress 23 . It was a discrepancy on a particular specific issue. But Lenin took a different point of view regarding the organizational conclusions. He never took such a point of view as to prove, after a divergence, in brochures, speeches, resolutions, etc., that
Zinoviev had abandoned the line of Leninism and slipped into Sukhanov.
Lenin did not draw the organizational conclusions that you are making now. Under Lenin, such organizational conclusions regarding Leningrad and Zinoviev would not have been possible. Thatʹs the whole difference. So, the reminder of the discrepancies at the III Congress sounds unfounded in your lips. People continued to work in their posts without any ʺorganizational conclusions.ʺ Then there was no such theory that in order to correct certain mistakes, a comrade should be discredited. I studied Lenin very carefully and nowhere did I find this theory of discrediting.
Stalin. He says it is necessary to exclude such individuals.
Kamenev. In each specific case, he proposed certain specific measures. And now the theory is put forward that whoever made a mistake must be discredited in order to correct the mistake. This has not happened before. It is very surprising that this policy is literally processed and a theory is formed. I believe that Lenin never went to this theory of discrediting.
Voroshilov. And after Lenin, one must think whether you are the creator of this theory?
Kamenev. If, comrade Voroshilov, we did this together in the case of Comrade Trotsky, this does not mean that we will always follow you when you continue this policy. If you think that because we beat Trotsky together, that therefore we are deprived of the right and opportunity to defend ourselves, [when this theory passes to another , ] if you think so, you are deeply mistaken. You wonʹt shut our mouths, we will speak.
Kuibyshev. This is not convincing.
Kamenev *. (* Both copies of the transcript contain the note of the stenographer: ʺComrades Trotsky and Kamenev spoke at the same time.ʺ) I know, Comrade. Kuibyshev, that your beliefs are not in your head.
Finally, the third conclusion of Comrade. Voroshilov: people who do not work should be removed. This is an absolutely correct conclusion. But here the question must be whether they do not work because they really stopped being able to work, or because they cannot work at all. This is exactly how the question should be put in relation to Comrade. Zinoviev. [ Should I shoot Zinoviev? ] What, it may or may not work?
If not, where is it proven?
Voroshilov. And where is it proven that he worked?
Kamenev. Zinoviev, apart from his official reports, did nothing. And this each of us can do. Why, then, each of us cannot be the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, everyone can do this, everyone can make such a report? Then I must say that Zinoviev should have been removed three years ago.
Voroshilov. I spoke about this before, though not three years ago.
Kamenev. They are filming not because Zinoviev is not efficient, but because this is an organizational conclusion from the discussion. This is what needs to be said directly. Molotov says that this is the opinion of the Leningrad organization. Well, you know, Comrade Molotov says that this opinion was made on the basis of the absolute most democratic foundations, but you forgot to add at the same time: on the basis of democracy and additionally some administrative measures and on a scale unheard of in party practice until then. [Or] One of two things is needed: either to stand [on the Stalinist theory , ] on the Stalinist point of view or [not]talk about democracy. The Leningrad organization is a rebel who must be brought to its knees, Stalin says. So, you say it. But why cite speeches about the fact that complete democracy was carried out and that Zinoviev is overthrowing the Leningrad proletariat? Nobody will believe it. Absolute democracy in Leningrad is to make people laugh. Better, comrade. Molotov, [take a stand] stop talking about democracy and stand up to the end with the point of view that Stalin developed. Stalinʹs point of view is quite logical. He definitely says: Leningrad wanted to strike us from the rear, we will strike it ourselves. This statement is logical. We will strike a blow and then one can judge whether this blow can be justified by political considerations and the interests of the party or not. After all, your theory is that since Trotsky and I did this, we must do the same in this case.
[Voroshilov . Minin, Safarov, etc. spoke.]
Kamenev. But the question about Comrade Trotsky today is a special item on the agenda, isnʹt it, Comrade Trotsky (24) ?
Trotsky. I accept it.
Kamenev. Therefore, I believe that if you do not speak here cute phrases about democracy, about freedom of discussion, but say what we have, then we must say: since Leningrad must be conquered, then not for business reasons, but for other reasons, for reasons, violating all logic, Zinoviev must be removed. But I repeat, every member of the Leningrad Council and every member of the Comintern can ask you: ʺHow then do you leave the chairman of the Comintern a person who is not suitable for the work of chairman of the Leningrad Council?ʺ
Zinoviev. Comrade Stalin spoke very [lightly] here ... * (* There is a note from the stenographer: “I canʹt hear it.”) About what an awkward position I would find myself in if I didnʹt resign myself. It is clear that he is full of the best feelings for me and, as the secretary of our party, he always protects the interests of every member of the party and must take care of me too. [as a party member.] Itʹs very touching of him. Imagine, it also occurred to me more than once: to resign. I consulted my friends about this. The same happened with the Leningrad Gubernia Committee, when it was deprived of fire and water, the newspaper was taken away, and several dozen of its members were dispersed. Sponge also first thought about resignation. But nevertheless, they came to a different conclusion, decided that no, it was not necessary to resign, let them make ʺorganizational conclusions.ʺ Let them shoot openly. This will be a good lesson for the [others] party. So, this also applies to me.
About two centers and one‐centeredness. It goes without saying that this is the ABC of [communism] of Bolshevism * (* The correction was introduced by the editor in a copy of the copyrighted transcript.) : One center is needed. Right. But you have no right to say that Leningrad was ʺin the rearʺ of the party. You are now trying to create a situation in which not a single delegate at any of the congresses will dare to say the word ʺnoʺ, he will always say ʺyes.ʺ The defeat of the Leningrad organization leads to this. Since when did Leningrad come to the rear of the party? Was it at the [XII] XIII Party Congress? No, as if it werenʹt. How the case went after [XII] XIII Congress? Everyone knows that it would take us too far. Leningrad was not ʺin the rearʺ of the party, but of some of your mistakes — that is true. But to say that he was in the rear of the party cannot be said. Let me tell you, it is not a secret that Leningrad remains against your mistakes even now.
Molotov. Are you speaking on behalf of the Leningrad organization?
Zinoviev. No, not on behalf of the [ Leningrad workers ] of the current Leningrad organization, but I know the mood of the Leningrad workers, I know the attitude of the Leningrad workers to the main problems, and I think that if the questions come up again, the Leningrad communists will have the same opinion as they had and have now. Because the one‐sided ʺdiscussionʺ took place in an environment that made it impossible for them to say what they were thinking. [ Regarding the ʺrearʺ. Nothing has been proven that Leningrad was in the ʺrearʺ.] It is said that Priboy was a new Central Committee, published anthologies, etc. First, as far as I know, all anthologies were approved by the Central Committee; secondly, that we should create a situation in which it would be impossible to publish a book without the permission of the Central Committee and from this to conclude that we have two centers ‐ I do not understand such a formulation of the question. Employees of all editions were approved by the Central Committee, including the Priboi. In Leningrad there were no less skilled workers than Broido, and on the basis of the general decisions of the Central Committee, they could figure out whether it was necessary to print this or that book. It seems to me that the example given here in this part was completely unfortunate. According to the charter, each sponge may have its own organ, each sponge may have its own organ.
Stalin. But this body opposed itself to the [body] of the Central Committee.
Zinoviev. I don’t think so. When the Central Committee announced a discussion before the congress [we wrote letters] and invited: please, guys, speak up 25 (laughter), Leningradskaya Pravda had the right to take advantage of this proposal of the Central Committee. Yes, comrades, “speaking out” is called when people really say exactly what they think, and not just “do it”. It was before the congress, [public opinion was being prepared before the congress] when the Central Committee called for free expression. As you know, the organ was taken away from the provincial committee during the 26... This is an unheard‐of thing. If I were to offer you, Comrade. Uglanov, imagine for a minute that if your entire Bureau of Collectives were “changed”, your newspaper was closed, all the leaders were removed, and in this position they would tell you: win Moscow.
Uglanov. I don’t know, I’ve never been in this position.
Zinoviev. I think you would hardly have won. It would be difficult. Yes, one‐of‐a‐kind is necessary. But it does not follow from this that the big proletarian center could not make its own proposal to the party before the congress, not even a proposal that would not please the majority of the Central Committee. Before the congress he had every right to do this; after the congress it was a completely different matter. Submission to the decisions of the congress was fully ensured. This was correct before the Congress.
I would like to say two more words about the ʺprecedentʺ with the Third Congress of the Comintern. This is not devoid of relevance. Comrade Stalin here said that no foreign party demands the removal of Zinoviev from the Comintern. With proper ʺpreparationʺ, some parties may, perhaps, demand this, Comrade Stalin. And I know that such ʺpreparationʺ is underway. It is impossible, says Stalin, to proceed from one Fifth Congress 27 , but one must recall the Third Congress. Right.
This is what I did at the plenum of the ECCI. [At the III Congress it was clear that it was a question of power, when it was necessary to conquer the workers. Further, it is not true that it is me.] The Third Congress was of tremendous importance. I do not remember whether Comrade Stalin participated directly then, or whether he was not then in
Stalin * . (* There is no replica in the uncorrected transcript; it was entered by I.V. Stalin during editing.) I was on vacation then.
Zinoviev. There were no ʺfearsʺ then, there were no such fears that I would defend the ultra‐left. [You point out that] The dispute then remained in a tight circle and was not moved outside this circle. There was not a single Politburo resolution on this score. You know that Vladimir Ilyich himself wrote a year later about Levi, 28 that he was wrong in this respect, that he later admitted his mistake. I did not remain in any minority at this third congress.
Regarding the question of Comrade Trotsky, I think he has the right to raise this question. Yes, we, together with the majority of the Politburo [did not understand that it was time to move to the implementation of internal party democracy and, in particular,] overdid it in relation to Comrade Trotsky. I took an extreme position in this regard. I spoke about this at the XIV Congress. That all comrades from the former groupings should be given the opportunity to work (of course, under the control of the Central Committee, this must be admitted, I admitted this, and I admit it, and I admitted it at the Congress and is ready to admit it, anywhere. You must understand that new times have come, that the moment has come when we give (and should give) more rights to the workers and peasants, more democracy to the Soviets and unions, and, therefore, it is impossible not to change the regime in relation to our own party. This time has come. The more the Politburo will drag out practical conclusions of this, the worse.
Voice. Since when did it come?
Zinoviev. It came from the beginning of our economic upsurge, when the situation in this respect was determined. By the Fourteenth Party Congress, instead of realizing this, you yourself tried to create a culminating point in relation to the clampdown. This culmination was expressed in the defeat of Peter: the sooner it is fixed, the better it will be.
Stalin *. (* In the transcript with the authorʹs revision, the text of the speech was subjected by I.V. Stalin to significant semantic and stylistic corrections and in this form was published in the verbatim record. An uncorrected copy of the transcript of his speech, see Appendix 3.)I took the floor because with the statements of Comrade. Zinoviev and Kamenev cannot agree. Comrade Kamenev says that I am posing the question formally, while the Politburo must decide the question on its merits, from the point of view of expediency. T. Kamenev is wrong. I pose the question not only formally, but also on the merits. I have already said why it is inappropriate to leave Zinoviev as the pre‐council in Leningrad, having declared that the system of two centers in the party, pursued by the opposition, is disastrous. Everyone understands that if Comrade Zinoviev will remain at the head of the council, he will again try to turn the entire Leningrad organization or part of it into a ram for a strike against the Central Committee. Why did I talk about two centers? Because there was a two‐center and it was carried out by Zinoviev and Kamenev. There were two centers, two press organs, two organizations ‐ the Leningrad and the Central Committee, and the sharpest clash of these two competing centers was formally expressed at the congress. The Leningrad organization then found itself in the rear of the majority, thanks to the opposition of Kamenev and Zinoviev. I affirm that such a situation in our party in power can create a mortal danger. A party which, by the grace of the former leaders of the Leningrad organization, has such a serious 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.
Kamenev. With my withdrawal, I will have to change the argument.
Stalin. Why? The question of your withdrawal can only be resolved by the Moscow organization. Leave Comrade Zinoviev there, at the head of the Leningrad organization, this means either splitting the Leningrad organization and rebuilding part of it against the Central Committee, or throwing the entire organization into confusion, gradually turning it against the Party and the Central Committee. Now neither the Leningrad Communards nor the Party will agree to this. And that you opposed the Leningrad organization of the Party and its Central Committee, this is indicated by the co‐report at the XIV Congress, your anti‐Party declarations at the Congress. As a matter of fact, you were heading towards a split, for the two‐center is preparation for a split. We now want to protect ourselves from such dangers. We want to affirm the unity of the center in the Party, this organizational basis of Bolshevism. Together with the Leningrad Communards, we want to secure the Party against the danger of a split.
Now about Leninʹs organizational method. Kamenev asserts that Lenin never proposed drastic measures in the party. Kamenev is wrong, comrades. Speaking of the past, let me remind you that in the October days, in the period of the mistakes of Kamenev and Zinoviev, Lenin proposed seven times to expel both of these comrades from the Party. Who stood against it then? I, Sverdlov, I think, Trotsky and some others. We several times then made a decision to the Central Committee that Comrade Lenin should not insist on his demand for expulsion. Some documents in this regard have been preserved in the party. There is even a special appeal to Leninʹs Bolshevik Party in this respect 29 . So, Lenin sometimes acted much sharper and more decisively.
Voice. And the exclusion of Shlyapnikov 30 , and the question of Tomsk 31 ?
Stalin. About democracy comrade Kamenev and Zinoviev. He, this democracy, is such that it is worth laughing at him. How did our first serious confrontation begin? From the fact that the Leningrad Gubernia Committee, based on Zinovievʹs report, passed a decision on the need to expel Trotsky from the party, and we went against such a decision and achieved that the exclusion clause was deleted from the resolution. Try to refute this fact. In retaliation for this, Zinoviev then began to write articles on the ʺhalf‐Trotskyismʺ of the majority of the Central Committee. This is called the ʺsoftʺ method and democratism com.
Kamenev and Zinoviev!
Zinovievʹs statement that we allegedly did not have freedom of discussion is completely wrong. The history of our party does not know such a discussion that took place before the XIV Congress and at the Congress. Maybe the discussion was not as sharp as it was, for example, on the issue of the Brest Peace 32when the party faced the direct danger of a split. But the history of our party does not know such a full discussion as was at the XIV Congress. Take the minutes of the congress, containing 1000 pages, of which more than half are devoted to discussion. They say that after the congress the discussion was far from complete. Itʹs right. It couldnʹt be otherwise. Our party is not a discussion club. The members of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission, who are called upon to carry out the decisions of the congress, must not be allowed to open a discussion against the decisions of the congress the day after the closing of the congress. It would not be a militant party of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but a discussion club of empty talkers.
The most ridiculous thing about the democracy of Kamenev and Zinoviev is the fact that they still cannot understand the truly democratic background of the turn of the Leningrad organization towards the decisions of the 14th Congress, towards the Central Committee. They do not understand why it was so easy to raise the Leningrad organization against the old opposition elite. You think, apparently, that the Leningrad Communards turned so easily against the opposition, thanks only to the speeches of Kalinin and Molotov, Tomsky and Voroshilov .... (Comrade Zinovievʹs remark is not heard.) I ask you to refrain from hints, for all these comrades have done colossal work in Leningrad. Why was it possible to isolate the opposition so easily in Leningrad? But because our congress campaign coincided with the pressure of democracy in the lower ranks of Leningrad, which was gradually accumulating and which finally broke through in the form of re‐election of collective bureaus. The congress campaign of our Central Committee members in Leningrad was an appeal to the party masses. Over 70 thousand party members were set in motion during the congress campaign. The party masses understood the matter in such a way that it means that they, the party collectives, can express their opinion, say their weighty word. And the first thing they said was to get rid of the old secretaries and organizers, forbidding collectives to gather and playing the role of ʺpartyʺ district police. That is where the basis of the genuine democracy of the successful congress campaign in Leningrad lies. Our ʺdemocratsʺ cannot or do not want to understand this, comrades. Zinoviev and Kamenev.
As for the Third Congress of the Comintern, I was then on vacation, but I know about the disagreements between Lenin and Zinoviev at the
Third Congress from Leninʹs words and from data from the Central Committee archive. Zinoviev cannot deny that these differences were that they were of cardinal significance, that Zinoviev remained in the Central Committee at that time in a minority, that, despite this, he retained the post of chairman of the Comintern.
As for the fact that someone is allegedly carrying out work in the Comintern against Zinoviev, then Zinoviev is bringing down from a sore head to a healthy one. It is proved on the basis of the documents that the next employee and agent Zinoviev t. Highlander conducted illegal work in the Comintern against the Communist Party and in favor of the opposition immediately after the closing of the XIV Congress 34 . A special commission from Pyatnitsky, Lozovsky and Manuilsky established this fact. If we adopted a soft resolution on this matter and spared Zinoviev, then this speaks in favor of the Central Committee of the All‐Union Communist Party, and not in favor of
Kalinin. Could you close the list of speakers?
Rykov. The Politburo can do whatever it wants. Enrolled: Zhukov, Trotsky, Molotov. They are also recording: Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin.
May I close the list of speakers? (Accepted.) [Maybe revise the agenda and postpone some issues?
(Agenda items are being revised, a number of issues are postponed .) ]
Zhukov. Of course, you can say whatever you want, the Politburo has the right to decide anything in party practice. If the Politburo proposes a decision of the Leningrad Gubernia Committee to change, or rather orders to change this decision, then we will, of course, do it. We have this issue and on the Bureau of the Provincial Committee and the North‐West Bureau 35 was decided, and the Secretariat, and everywhere it was decided unanimously in all three instances of the same. And before these instances, at the regional party conferences, at the collectives and at the gubernial party conference, there was not a single vote where this candidate was nominated.
Why did this happen? Kamenev is amazed here and says that Zinoviev has become unfit for work in Leningrad. This is not the question. This happened for the simple reason that they spoke about during the discussion, they spoke here too, and which, it seems to me, is not worth dwelling on. As for the passions that were portrayed here, that if Zinoviev is removed, then everything will perish, so this is nonsense. None of this will happen. Of course, there are difficulties, of course, this is a great difficulty. But what is to be done? If this was done, it was necessary to think about it not now, but earlier. It was necessary not to arrange the opposition, it was necessary not to do the things that the opposition did, especially towards the end of the discussion.
We had such a situation that if a party comrade wanted to speak not only at the factory meeting, but in the collective bureau, he was physically beaten [and beaten in the face]. Thatʹs what it came down to. If in this way you want to further define inner‐party democracy, this can be done, but this method is unlikely to go far. And there were many such cases. That is why in Leningrad this issue was decided so unanimously. I cannot say what happened in the last faction of the Leningrad Soviet, because I was absent at that time, but before that instance there was not a voice, not a single sound. Of course, if you order to override, we can and must override, but it seems to me that it will hardly be expedient.
As for the two centers and two directions, this is indisputable. Who can deny? Not a single St. Petersburg communard can deny that serious attempts, expressed in a number of specific measures, were made to establish a center in St. Petersburg.
As for Zinovievʹs statement that, excuse me, the St. Petersburg organization does not say that ‐ I doubt it very much, I doubt it very much. Of course, no one can be a prophet, we do not believe in prophecy, but I doubt that the St. Petersburg organization, after all that it has experienced now, would agree to such a thing. I donʹt think there is even the slightest reason. It is unlikely that in the St. Petersburg organization there will be an idea that Safarov should be their leader when he was doing such things. We lived in such a situation: any St. Petersburg communard, regardless of party experience and position, who had been in the party for at least ten years, had no right to say a single word against the opposition. Such a party member was not allowed to speak, even when he tried to speak out against Safarov at a closed meeting of the collective bureau.
And so, it turned out that with all the most energetic pressure from the leading opposition group, despite all their speeches at party meetings ‐ and I spoke at very many meetings after the congress and I know about it ‐ with the most desperate pressure and pressure, they could not do anything to do, they did not receive a single vote, not a single candidate, either at the regional party conferences or at the gubernial party conferences. Comrade Evdokimov said here: we know how to carry out democracy. I have no doubt that you know you have a lot of experience, especially the 22nd Gubernia Conference 36 proved this to us.
I must declare that the will of the St. Petersburg organization has already been revealed; it will be difficult to reconsider this decision. This business will be very difficult for any St. Petersburg organization. Because now go to the lower ranks, to the collectives of the Leningrad organization, to any party member and prove to him the opposite, to prove what is impossible to prove, to prove in the name of various considerations, it seems to me that such things should not be done. I must say: this is not our expression that 90% of the St. Petersburg communards will name and call the previous situation the state of feudal estates. There is a feudal prince, he does what he wants. If you want to continue like this, continue. This is the opinion of the St. Petersburg communards. We, of course, do not join this, but this is what the St. Petersburg Communards say. When making a decision, one must reckon with the organization. The organization decided in all instances,
Trotsky * . (* In the transcript with the authorʹs revision, the text of Leonid Trotskyʹs speech is given in two copies (the first version is with the authorʹs revision, the second is a reprint with a new revision).) I would prefer to talk about these issues without a transcript, because , even with the most conscientious desire to be clear, comrades may have legitimate suspicions that you are speaking specifically for the transcript. [This is] And we are examining a question about which it is better to speak within the Central Committee, because then you will express yourself more freely. But there is nothing to do. However, before moving on to the question under discussion , I want to dwell on one [small] side question, [small, of course, relatively, this question] raised by comrade. Stalin: although this question has little to do with the matter, in itself it is of great importance for the history of the party. It seems to me Comrade Zinoviev is wrong when he says about the Third Congress of the Comintern that at that time the disagreements were of a limited nature, touching only on a specific question. No, the question of tactics then stood in full. At that time there was a danger that the policy of the Comintern would follow the line of the March events in Germany, 37 that is, * (* In the uncorrected transcript there is a note: “Inaudible.”) along the line of attempts to artificially create a revolutionary situation and ʺelectrifyʺ the proletariat, as one of the German comrades put it. This mood was then dominant at the
Congress, and Vladimir Ilyich came to the conclusion that, acting in this way, the International would surely break its own skull [it was].I wrote to Comrade Radek a letter about my impressions of the March events, which Vladimir Ilyich did not know about. In view of the delicate situation, not knowing the opinion of Vladimir Ilyich and knowing that Zinoviev, Bukharin and Radek were in general for the German Left, I, of course, did not speak openly, but wrote a letter (in the form of theses) to Comrade Radek, so that he gave his thoughts. With comrade We did not agree with Radek. Vladimir Ilyich found out about this, summoned me, and he characterized the situation in the Comintern as such, which is associated with the greatest dangers. In assessing the situation and tasks, we had complete solidarity.
After this meeting, Vladimir Ilyich summoned Comrade. Kamenev to ensure a majority in the Politburo. There were 5 people in the Politburo at that time, [and Comrade Kamenev supported this group] with comrade. There were three of us by Kamenev, hence the majority. And in our delegation, on the one hand, there were comrades. Zinoviev, Bukharin and Radek, on the other hand, ‐ Vladimir Ilyich, myself, and
Comrade Kamenev, and we had formal meetings in groupings. Vladimir Ilyich said then: ʺWe are creating a new faction.ʺ In further negotiations on the text of the resolution, I was a representative of the faction of Vladimir Ilyich, Radek was a representative of the faction of Comrade Zinoviev.
Zinoviev. Now things have changed.
Trotsky. Yes, it has changed. Moreover, Comrade Zinoviev [very] rather decisively then comrade Radek is that he ʺbetrayedʺ his faction in these negotiations; seemed to have made too great concessions. The struggle was great on the front of all the parties of the Comintern, and Vladimir Ilyich conferred with me about what to do if the Congress spoke out against us: will we obey the Congress, whose decisions could be disastrous, or will we not obey? An echo of this meeting can be found in the transcript of my speech. I said then ‐ by agreement with Ilyich ‐ that if you, the Congress, make a decision against us, then I think that you will leave us a certain framework so that we can defend our point of view in the future. The meaning of this warning was clear enough. However, I must say that relations within our delegation were maintained at that time, thanks to the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich, completely comradely. Still, it should be noted that Comrade Zinoviev already at that time showed a certain disloyalty to me at this congress. He portrayed the matter in such a way that I represent a separate position from Vladimir Ilyich. At the same time, rumors were spread about Trotskyʹs ʺMenshevismʺ. Vladimir Ilyich then summoned me to his place and talked to me about this in the sense of how best for us to demonstrate our solidarity with him. In the minutes one can find the corresponding statements of Lenin. This is how it was. As far as the party history and the name of Vladimir Ilyich have been touched upon here, I would like to more accurately illuminate the whole matter and my participation in it.
Now for todayʹs question. I think that given the current situation in Leningrad, the removal of Comrade Zinoviev is an inevitable conclusion ‐ not in the sense of the policy of ʺorganizational conclusionsʺ, which I do not sympathize with, but simply because of the specific situation. After the gubernia conference and the election of a new gubernia committee, the removal of Comrade Zinoviev from the council is inevitable, not in the least, in essence, without changing the situation in one direction or the other. The question now, comrades, is not at all that. I must say that I have already said to the Politburo, when the question of Leningrad was considered in past times 38... Comrade Zinoviev is now saying that we (in Leningrad) were ʺoverdoing itʺ in some ways. I am forced to repeat once again that the negative features of our party regime, the regime that has been established over the past two or three years, that these features in Leningrad manifested themselves more sharply than anywhere else. I once expressed myself at a private meeting of the Politburo, I remember, in the fall of 1923, in such a way that the Petersburg organization was “mutilated”. This expression of mine was later repeated a lot against me. I think that the party regime, which is based on an excess of bureaucracy, in Leningrad had to inevitably receive a particularly sharp expression, in view of the high activity and intelligence of the Leningrad proletariat. The hardware results that can be achieved in remote corners by relatively ʺnormalʺ means, in St. Petersburg require special funds. This is not only the individual fault of Comrade. Zinoviev, but also the ʺfaultʺ of the situation in which the regime was applied. That is why I have always said that the Leningrad regime was only the harshest expression of the general party regime. The struggle against this Leningrad regime, which is difficult for the party members, was waged not because the mass of members of the Leningrad organization said aloud that they did not want this regime, but because Comrade Zinoviev, disagreements with the majority of the Central Committee appeared. Here is the crux of the question. You canʹt close your eyes to this. You canʹt close your eyes to this. This considerable circumstance testifies to the fact that[that there is some wrongness in Leningrad, because if there is a certain pressure, but all] how difficult it is for the mass of party members to influence the party regime. Everyone is now talking about the extreme pressure that reigned in Leningrad, but I ask: why did the mass of the Party, at least in Leningrad, not speak about this, were silent, tolerated? And the ʺstatementsʺ started only when sharp disagreements arose at the top [this is a known incorrectness]. This must be answered. That I cannot be a defender of the regime that was in Leningrad ‐ this, I think, is completely clear to everyone without further words. But at the plenum during the XIV Congress, I warned against the measures that were taken to accelerate the overthrow of this regime. I talked about the danger of knocking out a wedge with a wedge. Comrade Stalin was absolutely right in that part of his speech when he said that victory over the Leningrad opposition was ensured not only by pressure from the central apparatus, but also thanks to the desire of the Leningrad party members to free themselves from the excessive clamping of the local apparatus. Right! But what if it turns out that they fell out of the fire and into the fire? Does the current regime in Moscow allow one to think that the new regime in Leningrad will be ʺsofterʺ? And so,depressed mood ] a very difficult condition in the Leningrad party organization. I have spoken about this, and those who say in the Moscow districts that I do not speak out on sensitive issues of party life, they are lying to the Moscow organization. I have never hidden my views. But I remain with my views within the Central Committee, [I spoke about mine ] since it is a matter of differences with the majority of the Central Committee. I considered it and I do not have the right to do my fundamental differences outside the Politburo. This is not ʺhidingʺ their views from the party, but the observance of collegial discipline. If the Politburo says that I should go to the districts and talk about it there, I will, of course, do it, but this means a discussion, and I think that the discussion will be useful only in one case out of a hundred. Therefore, I repeat: those are lying, they are deceiving the Party, who tell it that I do not speak out, that I “hide” my views. There is not a single significant issue on which I would not express myself in the Politburo.
I absolutely cannot accept the theory of “compromising the leaders,” which Comrade Stalin formulated and now again supports. Under Vladimir Ilyich, this theory did not exist and there was no need for it. That Lenin sometimes proposed decisive and harsh measures, even against members of the Central Committee, is correct, but he proposed them within a narrow circle of comrades and in 9 cases out of 10 in order to achieve a certain ʺpressureʺ on the one against whom these measures were directed. Vladimir Ilyich did his best to avoid compromising. But then she was not so dangerous, because then there was Lenin. He could believe that if he temporarily removed one or the other from work, then there would be no great danger ‐ such a right was given to him by history. He had such a consciousness of himself and the same consciousness we had in relation to him that the party, if one or the other is removed, since there is Lenin, will not shake. I think that none of us who have remained have such a right now, and we cannot think so of ourselves. The development of the theory and especially the practice of compromising now, without Lenin, is downright disastrous. After all, this is a matter of mutual compromise and self‐compromise. He who does not see this is blind. In any case, if we assume that the members of the Central Committee have such a ʺrightʺ to compromise, there is such a share, then I personally have never used this share and am never going to use it. In a case that is completely wrong, absolutely falsely contacted me in the case of Eastmanʹs book he is blind. I also did not carry out this theory of compromise, on the contrary, I supported the reputation of the members of the Politburo. Comrade Zinoviev, in the midst of your struggle against me, when a young communist, who considered himself in solidarity with me, allowed himself to call you by your first name, and even a diminutive name in conversation with me, I abruptly stopped him.
[ Kamenev. You talked a lot about this * (* In the uncorrected transcript the remark was attributed to LB Kamenev. In the copy with the copyright correction there is Kamenevʹs note: ʺI did not say that. LKʺ)]
Zinoviev. This has already been discussed in the literature *. (* There is no replica in the uncorrected transcript. In the copy with the copyright correction, it was entered by G.E. Zinoviev.)
Trotsky. I didn’t take any steps to get it told, but it was. I protected the reputation of the leading comrades not out of any special cleanliness, not according to any moral rules, but for political and very real reasons. I proceeded from the premise that the party can be supported by the mutual trust of its members and trust in the leadership.
It is impossible, of course, to do without refuting certain mistakes of the leading comrades, but it is unacceptable to complicate the issue with side points, to involve extraneous circumstances, personal insinuations, etc. with the aim of compromising. It is impossible to violate the proportions in the struggle, pursuing the task of compromising. This inevitably leads to humiliation and narrowing of the ideological elite. And what does this narrowing mean? It means the inevitable strengthening of hardware methods. Why? Because the lack of the power of persuasion has to be compensated for by coercion. If we agreed within the Politburo, at least through some internal ʺfightʺ based on a conscientious attitude towards each other, then in most cases we could ideologically defend our decisions before the party. If we go further along the line of this mutual compromise, then, undoubtedly, it will be necessary to strengthen the clamping methods. The ever‐greater weakening of the ideological authority of the leading group will inevitably have to be compensated for by the apparatus method, which within certain limits can replace ideological influence, but only within certain limits. Itʹs funny when they attribute to me childish thoughts about the uselessness or unimportance of the apparatus, discipline, etc. and, I dare to think, I learned a thing or two from Vladimir Ilyich. [We agreed there, agreed on all issues. We inevitably solved all this without ideological narrowing.] I understand the significance of a powerful centralized apparatus just as well as others. But I also understand that the apparatus is not omnipotent. And when the apparatus begins to replace ideological authorities, to destroy authorities, to create authorities, it is thereby going towards the greatest dangers. That is why I cannot accept the theory of compromise; I strongly reject it. What do you need now? It is necessary to create conditions for collective work in the Politburo, for real collective work, i.e., when you come to the Politburo, you do not come across a ready‐made decision and do not think about [what you will say and what it will be said] how to present this or that business proposal, and whether it will be carried behind your back in all districts. [I am approaching to the point, for example, on the question of Japan. This question came to my mind, the question of the war came to me. I thought that if I introduce this question, I will bring it in boldly and it will not be interpreted in any other way. I would calmly introduce this question in order to find out in which direction and how they react, how they sympathize or not.] Well, what is better, a fresh example, take at least my todayʹs proposals concerning China and Japan 40... This is a very serious question, and to a certain extent the fate of our revolution is connected with it. While working through the material we have on this matter, I thought not only about the question of substance, but also about how I would bring this question, whether I would come across a ready‐made solution, whether there would be complications instead of benefits, whether my initiative would be interpreted according to ‐other. And now, instead of calmly introducing this question on the merits, I introduced it ʺin the directionʺ in order to probe whether it is possible to take the second step. I have never had this kind of fear before, but now, when the system of compromise is used, I have these fears, because every time you risk drowning the question. I think this is deeply abnormal, and I think it would be better [that these fears should not exist] for the party if we eliminate it. [I think there was not a single question in the Politburo that could be informed. If anyone wants to inform the decision, let him write a note. But if you have to argue not only depending on what you want to say on this issue, but if it is interpreted as a step and you do not know how your yesterdayʹs conversation will be interpreted and so on. and when all is skewed, I believe ‐ this is a bad way]. When pieces of our debate are sent through the apparatus to the districts, then this is not information, but disinformation, for with such a transfer the matter inevitably gets distorted, and you are deprived of the opportunity even to correct and clarify. I think that we should draw the main conclusion from the party upheavals of these last years of the policy of compromise and say: this is not the right way. It seems to me that it is possible and should, through efforts of goodwill, to restore in the Politburo the possibility of truly conscientious, collective work without repression, without compromise. This will have a beneficial effect on the entire party regime.
Molotov *. (* The text of VM Molotovʹs speech in the transcript with copyright revision was significantly revised stylistically, it was not possible to fully restore it.) Comrade. Kamenev said [about the formal decision, if he made a decision to the sponges, he was generally right, this formal fact must be reckoned with] that formally the decision of the gubernia committee was correct, but the Leningrad gubernia committee could be persuaded of the need to change this decision. I think we must reckon not only with [the Leningrad Gubernia Committee itself] the decision of the Leningrad Gubernia Party Committee, but also with the decision of the Party conference. And this solution already exists.
[ Voice. Has anyone consulted?]
Molotov. [There were, were present,] A number of members of the Central Committee were in Leningrad, and they observed what was the attitude there towards [Leningrad] the issue that we are discussing not only at the provincial conference, but in all collectives. [What we understand well,] We, who traveled to Leningrad, reported this in a written report. Of course, if it were necessary, you can convince with a sponge. The Leningrad Province Committee is located near Moscow. But the fact is that the Party conference [reflected] expressed itself on the merits of this issue and made its decision on the question of the composition of the provincial committee unanimously. [The committee was formed later, no one suggested changing,] When he was elected as a provincial committee, no one proposed the introduction of Comrades. Zinoviev and Evdokimov did not. Nobody! It goes without saying that this is a reflection of the opinion of the [rather] broad party [groups] of the masses. We can say that not everyone in Leningrad thinks that there are those who think that the withdrawal was wrong. Probably, there are such comrades, I have no doubt about it, but, on the other hand, we must reckon with the main results of the reporting campaign on the congress, and it lasted for a month. [A proposal was made to seriously discuss at a number of collectives, the discussion continued not at one meeting, but at several meetings.] The members of the Central Committee sent to explain the decisions of the congress [actively participated] played an important role in it, but it must be borne in mind that the opposition also actively participated in this campaign. It is wrong to say that there was a one‐sided discussion in Leningrad. Safarov, Glebov‐Avilov, Minin and others, all prominent opposition workers, performed at [some] collectives. In a number of cases, they managed to keep the mood for some time, especially in such collectives whereby a number of organizational measures the workers were protected from access to the enterprises of those who could defend the congress line. We know this especially on the example of the Putilov plant. [But the fact is that what happened in the Leningrad organization is in no way, it cannot be named with any party position, it was the stripping of collective bureaus, it was not a disagreement, it was re‐election.] But we also know the results of the reporting campaign. What happened in the Leningrad organization can in no way be called the defeat of the collectives, it was the re‐election of the collective bureaus, which was done at the request of the overwhelming majority of these collectives. Not always unanimously, but in most cases the overwhelming majority of the collectives spoke in favor of the congress line, and after that they changed the composition of the collectiveʹs bureau, especially getting rid of those who had tried to impose a different point of view, the point of view of the opposition. I note that only in those cases when a clear majority in favor of the congress was envisaged in the collective, the party masses, without any pressure from above, changed the composition of the collective bureau and elected people who were more faithful to stick to the general party line. [This was the opinion of the party masses.]To say that after the congress the bureaus of collectives were dispersed in the Leningrad organization, it means completely distorting the picture, portraying things differently from what they really were. Comrade Zinoviev said: [a lot] we know how [the Leningraders carried their line, how it was unanimously adopted, in particular, in the composition of the provincial committee and the district committee] the decisions of district and provincial conferences are unanimously adopted. This is also a bad attempt to portray the matter in such a way that even in the very organization on behalf of which they are trying to appeal here, on behalf of which they tried to defend their position, that [there can be no conflict of opinions,]and here there is not and has not been a really correct discussion of the basic questions of party policy. This reflects the bleak views of the party. In fact, just on the example of the discussion of the results of the XIV Congress, we have a careful discussion of the main issues of our policy among the party masses and a very active participation of the masses in this discussion. [Precisely] The Party masses [and many of the Party] throughout the organization gathered in collectives in a more normal manner than was usually the case before the Party Congress. [Who can defend the fact that the Leningrad organization came to the party congress with a unanimous delegation, that this took place without real pressure and without an explicit regime, which was the opposition to the Leningrad organization, no one can believe this. After the congress period, of course, the regime also changed, and the fact that we, the members of the Central Committee who worked in Leningrad during this period, resolutely advocated a change in the regime, resolutely supported the opinion, began to work not in the party active, but in the party masses. It was a reflection of the views of the party masses.] And yet who can defend that the appearance at the party congress of the Leningrad delegation, consisting exclusively of oppositionists, that this could have happened without increased pressure and without creating a regime in the organization, which, having been opened, hit the opposition itself in the Leningrad organization. After the congress, one of the most important tasks in the Leningrad organization was to change this unacceptable internal party situation. We, the members of the Central Committee who worked in Leningrad during this period, strongly supported the need for this change. We began our work is not so, as we have suggested the former leaders of Leningrad, not with party activists and the party from the masses wanting to immediately approach the genuine sentiments of organization 41... And the results of our work, we think, reflect the opinion of the party masses much more than they did before the party congress.
I do not want to say that in our party regime, in the party as a whole, or in the Leningrad organization, everything is now all right. This I do not assert and cannot assert. It was not for nothing that we accepted, and not on the initiative of Comrade. Zinoviev, before the congress, an appeal to the party on the implementation of internal party democracy 42 . Comrade Zinoviev, although he was on the editorial commission on this appeal of the Central Committee, inserted only a few words into it. It is clear that this appeal was adopted in order to correct the regime, soften and improve the methods of leadership. In many cases, the pressure on the party line oversteps normal boundaries, and corrections are needed here. But it is one thing when the freedom of all groups, everyone, even former groups and movements, etc. is being defended. This proposal was not accepted at the party congress. And another is a proposal [for the change ] aimed at improving the regime, for a more consistent implementation of inner‐party democracy, the latter is a necessary measure.
Stalin. So that the party does not turn into a discussion club.
Molotov. This is what I am approaching. Take the line led by Comrade Zinoviev before the Congress and now. Now he repents, he says today: I repent, I made mistakes against democracy, but we know that during the year before the party congress many had to fight against the excessive suppression of Zinovievʹs policies. This also affected the question of Comrade. Trotsky. Everyone knew that. Despite the fact that the economic turnaround has not been outlined since the XIV Congress, Comrade. Zinoviev, only finding himself in the minority, started talking about democracy. [I believe that what we did against Trotsky was necessary, I believe that my articles, perhaps weak, were nevertheless caused by a certain necessity.] I think, if we talk about the party regime, then not Comrade. Zinoviev to talk about it. With regard to the party regime, he was the most extreme, the most tight‐lipped, and from January 1925 the Central Committee had to stop exactly Comrade Zinoviev on this part. Comrade Until recently, Zinoviev understood less than others the need for intraparty democracy and most of all argued the need for one hundred percent ʺmonolithismʺ [which was recommended by Comrade Lenin and which was developed by Comrade. Zinoviev] whose meaning is in the interpretation of Comrade. Zinoviev is famous.
Now about Comrade Trotsky. If Comrade Trotsky is trying to prove that he is pursuing an absolutely correct line, that he is not hiding any of his views, that he says what he thinks, then, I must confess, I have doubts on this score. Nowhere about the XIV Congress of Comrade Trotsky did not speak. Meanwhile, no one forbade him to defend the decisions of the XIV Congress. Comrade Trotsky, in many of his political speeches, never tried to do this.
Trotsky. And what about textile workers?
Voice. You have very little there about the XIV Congress.
Molotov. You have topics like ʺEurope and Americaʺ, maybe some of your favorite topics, but not about the XIV Congress [its directives ] and not about general party decisions. Speaking of speeches, we must strive to make all members of the Central Committee feel responsible for the implementation of the decisions of the Fourteenth Congress and for the decisions of the Central Committee. [They believe that they have the right to talk about anything, that they are free in their choice of topic, this is not the case . ] Our party is so strong that it is striving for unity of action, unity of speech on basic questions.
I will end with a question, why did Evdokimov, Zinoviev and Kamenev need the transcript of this meeting? How can this be explained? I did not expect that Comrade Zinoviev will insist that the session be recorded in shorthand. This comrade. Zinoviev apparently wants to emphasize that he continues to occupy a special line in our Party. There is a decision of the congress ‐ this is one thing, but some have a special line, and they are trying to inflate it [individual facts, individual mistakes of the party, individual examples]emphasize in front of the whole party. To this end, they turn to fierce criticism of the party regime, and again conduct polemics with congress decisions. What is it for? This is an open continuation of the erroneous position taken at the XIV Congress. It would be much better if, in spite of the disagreements that existed before the Fourteenth Congress and at the Congress itself, you were to achieve unity in the actions of the entire Central Committee.
Zinoviev * . (* The uncorrected transcript contains the note of the stenographer: ʺSpeech is almost inaudible.ʺ) As for Comrade Molotovʹs last words about the need for more united joint work, everyone understands that this depends on the majority of the Politburo. We agree to this. About the III Congress; here the III Congress is remembered. If the comrades wish, you can install the picture with documents in hand. At our conferences with Comrade Lenin, they spoke of the ʺfactionsʺ, of course, only in jest.
Trotsky. Right*. (* In the transcript with the authorʹs revision, L.D.Trotskyʹs remark was inscribed by G.E.Zinoviev.)
Zinoviev. Then, when some of the Germans, led by Comrade.
Thalheimer, talked about the ʺelectrification of mindsʺ, it goes without saying that Bukharin and I were against this. They argued about the tactics of ʺopen writing,ʺ a line that had just been outlined at that time. I did have some erroneous doubts about the open letters. They argued about the March uprising. Argued over Levy, who was expelled by the left 43 . They argued about Clara Zetkin, who left the Central Committee with Levy. And, in the end, at the congress, they spoke with a general opinion. [This may, of course, be related to the part that was agreed upon and which allowed our common decision . ]
All this was under Lenin. And he knew how to get his comrades to convince. He did not create a ʺtheoryʺ of compromising comrades who were mistaken in anything (even when there really was a mistake). And he knew how to admit his own mistakes: an example is the Levy case, about which we also argued with V.I. during the III Congress.
Comrade Stalin raised here the question of [the controversy over] our October mistake. He knows perfectly well what he is doing. It is absolutely true that Vladimir Ilyich proposed very sharp measures against me, Rykov, Kamenev, and others.
Stalin. As regards Rykov [and others], he did not propose an exception.
There is nothing to entangle Rykov here. This was before the uprising.
Zinoviev. [I admit it. Quite right. ] Rykov and I then made the same mistake. Everyone knows that. I talked about this in print in detail in my article ʺBolshevism or Trotskyismʺ 44 and in a number of other, earlier speeches. I believe that if our differences continued along this line, we, of course, could not be in the same party. But they did not last, they were episodic, for a couple of weeks. And Vladimir Ilyich then in a very short time [spoke to me, he] stated that the discrepancy was episodic. He called me and asked: do you see that you were wrong? I see! ‐ The end? The end! Hereʹs how it went. As you know, Vladimir Ilyich wrote in the press two years later that one should not return to this mistake, for it was corrected.
On Leninʹs initiative, a couple of weeks after October 25, 1917, I was appointed to the post of chairman of the St. Petersburg Council of 45 ‐ the post from which you are removing me today.
On Leninʹs initiative, I was elected chairman of the Comintern. For 6 years after this mistake of mine, as well as for 14 years before that, we worked with V.I. hand in hand without a single discrepancy. That is why Lenin wrote that there is no need to return to this mistake.
Trotsky. He said something else, he said that there was no need to remind of Trotskyʹs past Bolshevism.
Zinoviev. Right. In addition, in his will, he said that it was necessary to consider measures to replace comrade Stalin in the post of general secretary, and he motivated not only by the rudeness of comrade Stalin, but by the fact that he (Stalin) would not always be able to correctly use the enormous power concentrated in the hands of the secretary general 46 . But it is absolutely true that I and others thought about Comrade Stalin that this was not so. And at the Thirteenth Congress, in comradely conversations and in delegations, we fought against this opinion. It is very possible that we made a mistake exactly where it was necessary to do otherwise.
Molotov. There was no one to fight, by the way.
Zinoviev. So, if you remember what Vladimir Ilyich proposed against us, then we must admit that he refused this, and after a short time, when the mistake was acknowledged by us (which was stated by me dozens of times in the press), Vladimir Ilyich considered this mistake exhausted and took the initiative to place us in the most responsible positions. Meanwhile, as his proposed decision regarding the removal of Comrade. He never took Stalin back. [Anyway, it exists. If we talk about this story, then we must remember this too .]
Finally, about the history of our quarrels. Comrade Stalin said that our disagreements began with the question of Trotsky. There is very great interest in this in the party, and I would like to say what the reasons really were and what the dimensions of this disagreement were. In January 1925, before the decision was made regarding Comrade Trotsky, 47The preliminary meeting of the Central Committee members‐Leninists adopted a decision that is well known to the participants in this preliminary meeting. The decision was made as a result of an exchange of opinions: comrade. Trotsky should not be removed from the Politburo at once; the congress should be committed to this, as Stalin said. It was decided not to elect Trotsky to the Central Committee in the future, i.e., XIV Congress. Moreover, I and others, we demanded immediate removal from the Politburo, because we believed that having told the country and the party what we said about Trotsky, he should not be left in the Politburo. The decision not to elect Trotsky to the Central Committee was taken by a majority, with two abstaining, all the rest were in favor (45 people). It was decided at the congress itself to lead the matter towards the non‐election of Trotsky to the Central Committee. It was in January 1925, but not only that, a couple of days before the opening of the XIV Congress at private meetings, about which they spoke at the congress itself, when certain attempts were made to dissuade us from openly speaking at the 14 at least to the removal of Trotsky from the Politburo. Comrade Stalin two days before the opening of the XIV Congress. So, we had common mistakes here. Of course, there was particular fervor especially on my part, which I admit. I thought that since we said that Comrade Trotsky could lead the party away from Bolshevism — and we thought it necessary to say this to the whole country and the party — then we should not leave the Politburo. But in order for our genuine differences with Stalin and others to be precisely on this point, the one who knows our relationship will confirm that this is not so.48 ‐ Stalin says. But he knows that we are together with him, i.e., Comrade Stalin, they took a secret decisioninstruction that if some part of the provincial committees spoke in favor of harsher measures against Trotsky, it would be good.
Trotsky. Kremnitsky demanded an expulsion from Chita.
Kosior. There was another one.
Trotsky. Was Kubyak the same? * (* In the copyright transcript, the text of the remark was probably included by the editor.)
Kosior. Kubyak was.
Zinoviev. So thatʹs how it was.
A few more words about the Comintern. It said that ʺmy agents,ʺ as comrade. Stalin, they were doing some unacceptable work, and he, Stalin, acted gently towards them. I declare that this is a completely incorrect statement. If there are any ʺagentsʺ who have done any work, you need to find them and draw all the conclusions. As for Comrade. Guralsky, then in the special commission, which was appointed not by me, but by the majority, it was not established in a single word that these were my “agents”. In general, they only established that Comrade. this one strove to prevent foreign parties from passing resolutions in the West, which the Central Committee also recognized as necessary. Therefore, it seems to me that this very statement of Stalin confirms only what I said about ʺworkingʺ against me in the Comintern, and clearly shows the situation in which work in the Comintern has to be conducted.
Why, says Stalin, was it so ʺeasyʺ to achieve ʺsuccessʺ in St. Petersburg? Because the speech of the majority of the Central Committee coincided with an impulse towards democracy. Is this “impulse” really only in Leningrad, and in Moscow, for example, not? Comrade Zhukov is now the only real Leningrader here, because we [are fake]ʺFormerʺ Leningraders, since we live here under the command of Comrade. Uglanova. What does Zhukov say? Zhukov says that the “scrapping” of the Leningrad organization was a difficult thing, of course. If you like the ʺraidʺ more than the defeat, I can agree with this. When Stalin says “okolotokh”, then everything would be fine if there were 10, 100, 500, 1000 of these “okolotokh” people. And you have a lot of ʺnearʺ ones. How so? 7000 filmed! All bureaus of collectives in an organization of 90 thousand people were dismantled.
Molotov. The vast majority of them refused, as is well known. Zinoviev. So, there are too many of these ʺokolotokhʺ. And if you find the ʺpush for democracyʺ to be a good thing, canʹt you say the same to other organizations? You are referring to the letter from the Central Committee, to the appeal before the party congress about the need for democracy. I was also for this letter. But if, two weeks after this letter, the Leningrad organization is taken away from the Leningrad
organization for expressing a different opinion and they are looting or ʺscammingʺ it, [if you will], then it is clear that the effect of this letter [on which it was expected, it ] is destroyed, [or at least eliminated] is neutralized.
Now there is no joke around [this] question of democracy in the party. It is necessary to understand that something really needs to be done in this respect. That it is really necessary [to introduce new content] to bring democracy to the party, to stop clamping down. In 1926, when both along the Soviet and professional lines we are pursuing democracy, expanding the rights of peasants, etc., it is necessary to do this also in relation to the [Leningrad organization] of the party.
As for the statement about the need for collective work, I fully subscribe to this. But I repeat that this matter depends on the majority of the Politburo, on the majority of the Central Committee. Each of us will work wherever the Central Committee puts him. Each of us uses to defend his views within the Party everything that is permitted to him by the Rules of our Party, decisions of Party congresses and decisions of the last congress.
Kamenev. Here Comrade. Trotsky made a speech about how good it would be to develop a collective opinion in the Politburo. I think that each of us will join this opinion that it would really be good to develop a collective opinion at the Politburo. But I ask why Stalin now, when working out a collective opinion, found it possible to recall that Ilyich proposed to exclude such and such persons? Why did he do it?
Stalin. Because you began to remember the old.
Kamenev. We said that after the Third Congress Ilyich did not propose to expel anyone. This was actually the case. You are now proposing something quite different; you are proposing a method from which we deliberately refrained at the Congress. When I said at the congress the phrase that Stalin could not unite the Bolshevik headquarters around his name, and when the congress loudly protested against this and gave Stalin an ovation, I could cut this ovation if I said that I was only repeating Ilyich’s words and nothing else.
Stalin. Why didnʹt you say?
Kamenev. Because I donʹt want to resort to such methods. I think about the interests of the party. Comrade Stalin proposes, considers it necessary to repeat in the transcript that Ilyich proposed to expel us. He does this to put pressure on the consciousness of the party. I am ready to remember everything, because you remember what has long been covered by Vladimir Ilyich himself. This proposal was made before the October uprising, and during the uprising no one other than Ilyich appointed me Chairman of the Second Congress of Soviets, which was conducting the uprising. And then he himself, despite the fact that I was in prison at that time in Finland 49 , was not at the 7th Party Congress 50and was not introduced to the Central Committee, he himself introduced me to the Central Committee, and during all subsequent elections to the Central Committee and the Bureau of the Bureau, he himself always exhibited me and opposed everyone who, referring to old mistakes, tried to oppose me. Finally, before his death, Vladimir Ilyich himself entrusted me with editing his works and his archive 51 . I value this as the highest confidence of my great teacher, and I see in this that Ilyich believed that I made up for my mistakes with my work. This consciousness cannot be wrested from me by any attacks of Stalin.
What are the conclusions from this? Ilyich never created or set the task of discrediting this or that worker. He was ready to destroy this or that worker politically at the moment, but no one would ever say this about Ilyich so that Ilyich would ever set the task of discrediting certain groups of workers and go systematically towards this goal. Our disagreements did not come from Trotsky, but from the speech of Comrade. Stalin in the newspaper Pravda against me and Zinoviev in August 1924 52, and did it not meet with resistance from those who stood close to the leadership, and was it not the beginning of work on the deliberately set task of discrediting a number of comrades, and then was this task not carried out for a year and a half with great efforts? It was all like that. After this, it cannot be said that we were moving towards disagreements on the question of Trotsky. The case began when Stalin published [that Kamenev was not engaged in theoretical work, and Zinoviev wanted the dictatorship of the party.] In the newspapers a direct attack on Zinoviev and Kamenev, regardless of any disagreements with Trotsky. All this was a definite political goal, which was brought to the end and with great success at the congress.
On the question of behavior in connection with Trotsky, a lot of wrong has also been said. When it was necessary to draw conclusions from the discussion, did you say: no; we are resolutely against any organizational conclusions. No, then you said that we would not elect Trotsky to the Central Committee at the next congress. And we said ... *. (* The uncorrected transcript contains a note from the stenographer: ʺVoroshilov says something, but you canʹt hear it.ʺ) Everyone here wants to rehabilitate himself *. (* The uncorrected transcript contains the note of the stenographer: ʺRykov ‐ not heard.ʺ) You and Bukharin were against it. It should be noted that Rykov abstained on this question.
Iʹm asking about the political meaning of this. Was it really so that the whole history of the XIV Congress can be explained by this?
Voroshilov. Who are you counting on? On people who have not been for a year and a half at those squabbles and fights that we had? Those who were, openly laugh in your eyes. Do you think these are naive people? In vain.
Kamenev. I hope Comrade Voroshilov, what can you tell us how it all happened. But it was so, in my opinion, that you all said and declared that you would be against Trotsky being a member of the Central Committee, while we said that until the Congress, Trotsky could not be a member of the Politburo. We immediately removed him from the post of Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council 53 . [You] We were then engaged in polemics with Trotsky not along the Soviet line, but along the party line, and you drew conclusions from the party dispute along the Soviet line, towards his removal from the Soviet post. We thought it was wrong. Maybe we were wrong. [I said that ]We underestimated the mood of the party, but it is downright untrue to portray the matter in such a way that some wanted to keep Trotsky and others did not. There was nothing of the kind.
Molotov. [It was] It has been proven time and again that this will affect the entire party regime.
Kamenev. I saw how this affected the party regime and how it was reflected in Leningrad. So, in the event of disagreements, Trotsky was not at all the point. You know this very well.
Stalin. [Maybe in the ʺcave is it?] Maybe you will remember ʺCave?ʺ 54
Kamenev. I have not been in the cave and I cannot say anything about it. Our first disagreement did not begin with Trotsky. You came up with an article against me and Zinoviev because of Trotsky?
Kamenev. Thatʹs it. Therefore, I think that we can now follow two paths, we can proceed to further complicate the internal party situation, and I admit that on this path logic is on Voroshilovʹs side. Voroshilov is the most logical person among us, and at the same time he embraces all the problems. He says: there was a discussion, organizational conclusions must be made, everyone must be removed. Right. But it seems to me that you yourself cannot do this and do not want to do this, since you are leaving Zinoviev in the Comintern. Then do not complicate matters and do not refer to democracy when you decide to remove Zinoviev from his post. The Leningrad organization, of course, will willingly obey the Central Committee if the Central Committee says that it is not necessary to do this now out of the interests of the party, out of the interests of unity, out of the interests of eliminating squabbles. What do you think you canʹt get through? You yourself do not believe this.
Stalin * . (* In the transcript with the authorʹs revision, the text of Stalinʹs speech was subjected to significant semantic and stylistic revisions and, as such, was published in the verbatim report. An uncorrected copy of the transcript of his speech, see Appendix 4.) I will start with where I ended. Kamenev. If the Central Committee had been convinced that Comrade Zinoviev was ready to lay down arms, ready to submit to the Party, the question would not have taken on such an acute form. The fact of the matter is that we have no confidence in this, there are no grounds for this confidence. On the contrary, everyone sees that you are holding a stone in your bosom and accumulating live ammunition in order to then shoot at the party, and some of you say that ʺin two months everything will changeʺ, others say that ʺwe will see.ʺ
Voroshilov. 14 1 / 2‐ way exit.
Stalin. And still others are trying to restore the double‐center in the party before our very eyes. You yourself are to blame for the fact that the Party does not have the same trust in you.
For the first time I hear that Lenin entrusted Comrade Kamenev with the publication of his works without the knowledge and consent of the Party, as Kamenev assures us of this. This is the first time I hear that Lenin ʺappointedʺ Zinoviev as chairman of the Leningrad Soviet without the consent of the party. Donʹt you think that Lenin handed out life positions? Donʹt you think that Lenin did not take into account the opinion of the Party?
About the mistakes of Kamenev and Zinoviev in October, Kamenev is offended that I remembered these mistakes. I remembered them because Kamenev had incorrectly characterized Leninʹs organizational method.
Kamenev. Why didnʹt they talk about it for 8 years?
Stalin. Because there was no need for it, and now it has appeared.
Kamenev. Did you remember this at the III Congress?
Stalin. Now not the third congress. I take facts. And the facts show that Lenin demanded the expulsion of Kamenev and Zinoviev. Why is it possible to speak about Bukharinʹs mistake during the Brest period everywhere and everywhere, but it is impossible to talk about the mistakes of Kamenev and Zinoviev in the Party? Where does this privilege come from? Do we have the right to falsify the history of the party? Of course, we donʹt. But does it not follow from this that we must teach the Party, in no case hiding from the Party the mistakes of these or those leaders? So, whatʹs the deal?
They remembered about Leninʹs letter. So, letʹs remember.
It is known to the Thirteenth Congress 55 . What does it say?
About Bolshevism and Trotskyʹs mistakes.
Voroshilov. Which were no coincidence.
Stalin. About the mistakes of Bukharin and Pyatakov, about the mistakes of Zinoviev and Kamenev in October, which are also called not accidental, and then, about Stalinʹs rudeness, and it is recommended, if possible, to find another secretary, since rudeness is not a good quality. I am the only one there whose mistakes are not mentioned in the letter by a single word. This is the content of the letter. And that I am not a soft and rude person, you all know that. Twice I asked the Central Committee plenum to release me from the duties of Secretary of the Central Committee but each time turned down the request 56. It is not my fault here if the Central Committee does not find it necessary to replace me with someone else. What can be added to these facts by com. Zinoviev and Kamenev?
On the theory of compromise. There is no theory of compromise and has never happened in our party. Trotsky and Kamenev are wrong in speaking of such a theory. Compromising certain leaders is not a theory, but an inevitable result of the internal party struggle. When the opposition is waging a struggle against the Central Committee, this cannot but result in a certain compromise of the Central Committee. And vice versa, when the Central Committee is fighting the opposition, this also cannot fail to result in a certain compromise of the leaders of the opposition. Most of all, those who are defeated as a result of the internal party struggle are compromised. This is the law of struggle to which we are all subject. Think back to the recent past. Is the theory of the ʺdegenerationʺ of the leaders of our party a compromise of the Central Committee or not? Who was the first to raise the question of the degeneration of the leaders of our Party? Comrade Trotsky. Who was the first to talk about this? Comrade Trotsky.
Trotsky. You read, Comrade Stalin, what I actually wrote, you distorted me so much that you yourself have already believed it.
Stalin. How can I distort when everyone read your article in Pravda in 1923 about the rebirth of our leaders, which draws an analogy with the German opportunists 57?
Trotsky. This letter was specially printed to be used as a pretext for an attack against me. After all, the letter was sent to the editorial office 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 on the question of compromising the Central Committee was taken by none other than Comrade Trotsky.
Trotsky. This is not so, because at that time there was already a ʺtroikaʺ 58 and the theory of Trotskyʹs depopulation in the country. Comrade Rykov told his friends and acquaintances about this, told that now it was necessary to depopulate Trotsky. Iʹm telling the truth, comrade. Rykov?
Rykov. I do not remember.
Stalin. I ask, comrade Trotsky, donʹt get excited, Iʹm only talking about facts. We read your article. You say that you sent the article to Pravda, but at the same time you sent it to the districts. After all, you wrote it, and not someone else. The workers knew about this, and the Central Committee could not put itself in an awkward position by not publishing an article so that you could not later say that your mouth was closed. And then you sent an article to Pravda, demanding that it be published. How could you not print it under such conditions? And all this is explained by the fact that Trotsky was then waging a struggle against the Central Committee. The article on degeneration was a weapon in the struggle against the Central Committee. But from this article came a certain compromise of the Central Committee on the part of Trotsky. This is the law of the internal party struggle.
Iʹm not even talking about Zinoviev and Kamenev, who later took up the theory of the Central Committeeʹs degeneration and supplemented it with the Leningrad theory of Thermidor, 59 which could not but lead to a certain compromise of the Central Committee.
These are the facts.
Therefore, the attempts of some comrades to portray themselves as clean are in vain. You canʹt get away from facts.
Comrade Zinoviev spoke here about the appeal of the plenum of the Central Committee before the XIV Congress about internal party democracy as a trifling piece of paper. How to combine such a trick with Zinovievʹs ʺdemocracyʺ? If the plenum of the Central Committee addresses all organizations before the congress with a demand that internal party democracy be carried out, and if this appeal meets with general sympathy in the party, then how can such a party document be called an empty piece of paper? What exactly do the comrades want, and what kind of democracy are they trying to achieve? If they want complete democracy, then there is hardly any need to prove that complete democracy is impossible under a dictatorship. If they want to turn the party into a discussion club, then we cannot agree to this, for our party is a militant party of the revolutionary struggle and socialist construction, and not a circle of discussionists. If they talk about bureaucratic vestiges or outgrowths in the party, then they are and will still be, for the party is often infected by the state apparatus by narrowly administrative methods. This must be fought, and we will fight tirelessly by expanding and introducing intra‐party democracy. But it must be remembered that this expansion cannot be unlimited, that it will and must have a certain framework necessary to ensure the unity of the Party and its proletarian discipline. Without this, the existence of a centralized party is unthinkable. that it will and must have a certain framework necessary to ensure the unity of the Party and its proletarian discipline. Without this, the existence of a centralized party is unthinkable. that it will and must have a certain framework necessary to ensure the unity of the Party and its proletarian discipline. Without this, the existence of a centralized party is unthinkable.
Voice. Democracy is transitional, there are several stages.
Stalin. As for the present regime, what exactly does Comrade Trotsky demand? For everyone to perform as they please.
Stalin. To give everyone the right to speak and defend their point of view at any time?
Stalin. After all, we do not even know the position of Comrade Trotsky, what does he stand for, for the decisions of the XIV Congress or against them?
Trotsky * . (* In the transcript with the copyright correction, the text of Leonid Trotskyʹs speech is given in two copies (the first version is copyrighted, the second is a reprint, in which new revision).) Iʹll give you an example, if I may interrupt, to clarify what kind of democracy we are talking about. At one working cell in Moscow, the secretary of the cell said something like that Trotsky sells his articles and signatures to the bourgeoisie, reads reports for money, though, they say, he has a big family, he doesnʹt read to the workers, makes money, takes 60 percent in his favor ., secondly, says the same secretary, Jews are raging in the Politburo ... And now a group of Bolshevik workers of this cell consulted on how to submit an application on this matter, but, on reflection, was afraid, decided that it was impossible to submit, ‐ “we”, they say they are family people, they will throw us out into the street. This fact means something. I spoke about this with Bukharin at the Politburo: what to do? Maybe this is an exaggeration? I myself am ready to believe that this is an exaggeration, and suggested Bukharin to go with me to the cell, to conduct an investigation. But the question is: is it possible that the party worker is afraid to inform the party about how the secretary of his cell launches propaganda about the sale of the signature of the bourgeoisie and about the Jewish dominance? I asked Comrade Bukharin and myself: how is this possible? Unfortunately, we all have to tell ourselves that this is possible. The Bolshevik workers tried to file a complaint about the secretaryʹs Black Hundred agitation ‐ they tried, but they got scared. Such a fact was previously impossible, but now it has become possible. Another fact: the Komsomol member wrote a letter on this topic and walks with his head down, believing that he could be thrown out of the party for this. This is a fact, comrades, and party democracy is a regime in which such facts are impossible.
Uglanov. Is it really impossible to inform the Party committee of this, whatever it is, Comrade Trotsky?
Trotsky. Yes, this is not the point, but the fact that the party workers are afraid that they will be kicked out of the factory.
Uglanov. Do you really think that there is no anti‐Semitism in collectives?
Trotsky. You do not understand me: not manifestations of antiSemitism are terrible, but that a Bolshevik may be afraid to tell his PC about them.
Stalin. It is possible that there were such cases. These are exceptions. [There is not only anti‐Semitism, but they will also say that the Politburo sells signatures to the bourgeoisie.] I will not say that such things cannot occur in the party.
Molotov. We have the means to fight this.
Stalin. Yes, such cases [exist, we must fight] are possible. The proletariat [not so cultured] is not cultured enough, we attract people to the party indiscriminately, and there can always be people who can do such an outrage *. (* There is a note from the stenographer: “Inaudible.”) [I must say, since we are in power, since we are ruling the country, since our responsible workers from day to day ... (inaudible),since we will always have the strongest vestiges of bureaucracy within the party and a strong need to fight, but we cannot turn the party into a discussion club, we are surrounded by enemies and we cannot completely dissolve the reins, we cannot go for it. As for the party democracy within the limits, the frameworks outlined by the party and against those decisions ‐ no one objects, I do not know a single person who would consider it impossible to do so within the framework outlined by the Central Committee at the XIV Congress. Itʹs a difficult matter, we canʹt get over it right away.] This must be checked. For such cases, there is a purge, CKK.
Now about the collegial work of the Politburo. Collegial work is a good thing if it is done. [There are party decisions, they must be carried out. There are decisions in the Politburo, there is a struggle over the decisions of the Politburo, after these decisions have been made. There are also attempts to bombard these decisions, to discredit them. Tell me: there are no such facts.] But how to carry out collegial work? It can only be carried out on the basis of decisions of the party and its organs. Willingness to comply with party decisions is the basis of collegial work. But if party decisions are under fire, how can collegiality be established? Here is at least todayʹs fact. Why was transcribing required today? For collegiality?
Kamenev *. (* In the transcript with the authorʹs revision, the replica was originally attributed to L.D.Trotsky, the correction was introduced by I.V. Stalin.) The questions that you raise, these questions are transcribed. Stenography was introduced when you wanted to remove me from the service station.
Stalin. Not I, but the Central Committee removed you 61 . Transcription is carried out in two years, the Politburo 62 , [with a special approach, which aims to accumulate the material against the CC, it is felt. Here it is difficult to collectively lead so that the minority obey the majority, when this subordination is not there, and there is no unconditional implementation, there are attempts to accumulate material in order to sharpen it on the basis of the material. Who is fired upon? Nobody. Democracy is very difficult here] The stenography is carried out at someoneʹs request. Today you demanded stenography not for collegiality, but for struggle. This is how the question of collegial work in the Politburo stands. The Politburo is not to blame if you seek and create material for the struggle.
Rykov. The proposal of the Leningrad Provincial Committee on the candidacy of Comrade Komarov for the chairperson of the Leningrad Council is being voted on. A proposal has been made ‐ not to object to the proposal of the Leningrad Provincial Committee. Who is behind this proposal?
Kamenev. I ask you to raise the question that the letters, those supposedly ʺsevenʺ letters from Comrade Lenin, about which Comrade. Stalin, about our expulsion were transferred to the Lenin Institute for publication in the corresponding volume of Leninʹs works.
Stalin. [Available] Only one letter has survived, the rest [I tore up], unfortunately, destroyed.
Rykov. Comrade Tovstukha says that there is one letter that is in the Lenin Institute.
Kamenev. Then I ask you to order that it be published in the corresponding volume of Leninʹs works.
Stalin. [I believe that there is no need for publication.] I did not demand it and do not demand it.
Voice. Before deciding, you need to familiarize yourself with the content.
Rykov. You need to read it.
Kamenev. I donʹt mind if anyone knows you can read it.
Extract from minutes No. 16 of the Politburo meeting dated March 18, 1926.