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   To Stalin Top Secret Summaries Of The most important testimonies Of Those arrested 1937‐ 1938

A summary of the most important testimonies of the arrested members of the anti‐Soviet organization at plant No. 21 for March 25, 1938

Archive: AP RF. F. 3. Op. 24. D. 406. L. 64‐79

March 26, 1938

SECRETARY of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) comrade STALIN

I am sending you a summary of the most important testimonies of the arrested members of the anti‐Soviet sabotage organization at Plant No. 21 in Gorky for March 25, 1938.

Peopleʹs Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR Peopleʹs Commissar for State Security (EZHOV)

Top secret

For the 5th DEPARTMENT

1. E. I. MIROSHNIKOV former director of plant number 21, member of the CPSU (b) since 1919. Interrogated by ROGACHEV, PAVLOV.

He testified that in June 1935 he was recruited by the former secretary of the Gorky regional committee PRAMNEK into the anti‐Soviet organization of the right. On behalf of PRAMNEK MIROSHNIKOV, I contacted the former head of the GUAP KOROLEV and his deputy MARGOLIN. From KOROLEV and MARGOLIN they were given the task to delay the transition of the plant to the production of I‐16 M‐25 aircraft (before that the plant produced I‐16 M‐22 aircraft). For this, MIROSHNIKOV, MARGOLIN and KOROLEV decided the following:

1.                   MARGOLIN, who was then the head of the GUAP and director of the 39th pilot plant, delays the transfer of the drawings to the plant number 21. When it will not be possible to pull further with the drawings, MARGOLIN does not transfer all the drawings to the plant number 21, but will keep several drawings for such details, no which will not allow the plane to be released. When it will not be possible to delay these drawings, MARGOLIN will agree with the members of the organization at the Air Force Research Institute so that the latter delay state tests. This plan was subsequently carried out and delayed the release of aircraft.

2.                   MIROSHNIKOV had to organize sabotage in the production of parts, which would make the plane dangerous in flight and would cause a negative attitude towards it from the flight crew.

To implement these tasks, it was decided that MIROSHNIKOV would recruit accomplices at the plant among the engineering and technical personnel. MIROSHNIKOV informed PRAMNEK of the assignments he had received. Then he, together with PRAMNEK, developed an additional method of subversive work.

MIROSHNIKOV will practice the method of ʺwork in progressʺ, that is, the production of individual aircraft units, but not complex. This will make it possible to organize socialist competition among the shops as a cover, to develop the Stakhanov movement, and at the same time, due to the incompleteness of parts and assemblies, it will not be possible to produce aircraft.

To this end, MIROSHNIKOV delayed the production of oil tanks and oil and gas systems, which led to the fact that by the end of 1936 the plant was jammed with unfinished aircraft, the aircraft did not surrender to the army at all.

To carry out these sabotage acts, MIROSHNIKOV recruited:

1.                   LYAKHOVSKY Kirill Semenovich, deputy director of the plant, former director of plant No. 18.

2.                   USPASSKY Pavel Pavlovich, technical director, in the past a saboteur, was involved in the case of the Industrial Party, a monarchist.

3.                   ABRAMOV Viktor Ivanovich, head of the assembly shop, a former saboteur, convicted by the NKVD and accepted by MIROSHNIKOV at the plant before serving his sentence.

4.                   NOSOV Nikolai Prokofievich, head of production preparation, a former pest, convicted.

5.                   LOPATINA Ivan Mikhailovich, head of workshop No. 30 (main metalworking workshop).

USPASSKY MIROSHNIKOVS was entrusted with the recruitment of old specialists, former pests, ʺformer peopleʺ. ABRAMOV ‐ recruitment among former officers, former rightists and other anti‐Soviet workers at the plant.

The first act of sabotage, which was carried out by USPASSKY, was that the structure of the I‐16 M‐22 gas tank attachment was left on the plane. USPASSKY knew that the additional speed of the I‐16 M‐25 is 100 km higher and should have caused excessive dynamic loads during flight. He deliberately left the old scheme, which, during operation, led to displacement of gas tanks, a rupture of the gas supply and fires in the air.

USPASSKY, with his knowledge, organized an incorrect soldering of the gas regulation cable. Instead of braiding it and then soldering it, it was soldered end to end, that is, both parts of the cable end to end. In flight, this cable was broken, and the engine remained on the gas that remained at the time of the break. With the dependence of the controllability of the aircraft on the operating mode of the engine, this led to accidents and disasters.

Aircraft tanks require special tank material. It was supplied by plant No. 95. According to the directive of the SUAI, the plant stopped producing such material. MIROSHNIKOV and LOPATIN took advantage of this and for sabotage purposes began to produce tanks of duralumin, which could not stand in flight and was torn.

In addition, the very processing of materials on the bottom ridge was also incorrect: the thickness instead of 0.8 mm was brought to 0.4 mm, which reduced the strength of the tank.

In addition, a member of the LOPATIN organization organized the wrecking riveting of the tanks, which caused a leak.

Experimental welded tanks prepared now for replacing riveted ones according to the testimony of MIROSHNIKOV are also wickedly welded by the TsAGI method ʺend‐to‐endʺ and will also leak in flight, cause fires and disasters.

USPASSKIM developed a wrecking method of wing production. Incorrect and even [1] tension of the brace bands at the consoles created uneven resistance of the plane to dynamic loads during flight, which led to wing deformation and catastrophes.

MIROSHNIKOV was associated with members of the organization in the field of:

1.  BUROV ‐ Chairman of the OIC.

2.  PUGACHEVSKY ‐ the former first secretary of the city committee.

3.  BERDICHEVSKAYA ‐ head. industrial department of the regional committee (arrested).

4.  BELOV ‐ early. GorGRES (arrested).

In addition, he names a number of members of the organization at the plant recruited by USPASSKY and ABRAMOV.

In 1936, MARGOLIN demanded from MIROSHNIKOV for German intelligence information about the defects of the I‐16 M‐25 aircraft, which were the result of sabotage activities. MARGOLIN told MIROSHNIKOV that he contacted the German intelligence service on the direct orders of Pyatakov, while still the chairman of the aluminum trust during his trip to Berlin with Pyatakov. This information MIROSHNIKOV sent through ABRAMOV MARGOLINA.

Even before that, MIROSHNIKOV had learned about MARGOLINʹs connection with the Germans from ABRAMOV.

PRAMNEK         received               the          same      information        from MIROSHNIKOV. PRAMNEK MIROSHNIKOVU           said        that        the organization was connected with foreign states and was preparing the defeat of the USSR in a future war.

2. ABRAMOV, chief technologist and deputy chief engineer of the plant, born in 1897, during the civil war was in the service of the whites in the naval port of Tsaritsyn and Sevastopol. In 1931 he was tried as a member           of            a counter‐revolutionary    sabotage

organization. Interrogated: KOGAN.

Previously confessed to participating in an anti‐Soviet organization, he gave additional testimony about the sabotage work he carried out.

Since the beginning of 1937, the sabotage of riveted tanks consisted in a violation of production technology and boiled down to the following:

1.                   According to the technology, the duralumin, which runs on the bottom of the tanks, is heat treated to produce a punch (to give the metal a curved shape with a bent end).

After heat treatment, work with duralumin is allowed for 3 hours. In fact, the work lasted from 7 to 10 hours.

This led to the fact that the duralumin became hard, hair cracks appeared in it, which increased during the operation of the aircraft and led to cracks, as a result of which a leak appeared.

2.                   An incorrectly sharpened drill was used for holes for rivets, which resulted in a rough, damaged surface in the material. The hole was not cleaned after drilling, and chips remained in it. A rivet was inserted into this hole, which did not adjoin its entire area to the walls of the holes. Thus, during operation, loosening of the rivet seam occurred, which caused the tank to leak.

3.                   ALTYNOV, ex. from the director of the plant for labor. Born in 1903, Trotskyist since 1923, ex. head of the political department of the state farm in 1933‐1935, formerly. member of the CPSU (b) from 1919 to 1938. Interrogated by: GUZIK.

He gave initial testimony about his affiliation with the Pravotrotskyist organization at plant No. 21, in which he was involved by the former director of the plant MIROSHNIKOV.

Arrived at factory number 21 in 1936 at the invitation of

MIROSHNIKOV, whom he had known since 1926 from his studies. Having received an assignment from MIROSHNIKOV for sabotage in his area of work, ALTYNOV reduced prices and increased production rates at the decisive areas of the plant: in workshop No. 30 (copperduralumin), which produced gas tanks, fenders, fuselages, hoods, etc., and in workshop No. 21 (welding production).

ALTYNOV involved in this work the head of TNB LUTSIN (arrested).

As a result of the introduction of new norms and rates, it turned out that a worker making gas tanks earned 300‐350 rubles a month, while a worker engaged in the manufacture of stamping parts earned 850‐900 rubles a month.

The production rates for the main types of production were sharply increased due to the decrease in the rates for other less important jobs. ALTYNOV recruited into the organization the head of the planning and production department YASTREBOV (not arrested), who confused the planning and made eyewash about the work of the plant.

According to the data of the planning and production department, which MIROSHNIKOV presented to the government, it is clear that the plant allegedly exceeded the program of 1937. This eyewash was carried out by including in the 1937 plan fulfillment figures two hundred machines manufactured in 1936 and which were included earlier in the 1936 report.

4.                   USPASSKY ‐ former chief engineer, born in 1890, graduated from the Technological Institute in 1914, a former officer, served in the White Army. In 1931 he was sentenced to 5 years in a concentration camp as a member of the contractor in a sabotage organization and was released ahead of schedule. Interrogated: BRENER

He gave additional testimony that he was a French and German spy.

USPASSKY was recruited in 1937 by the French aircraft industrialist POTEZ and passed on data on the plantʹs output capacity and the technological process of manufacturing I‐16 aircraft.

USPASSKY was connected with the German intelligence service through the test pilot of Plant No. 21, the German SWORD, who died in 1936.

5.                   LOPATIN I.M., born in 1902, ex. early workshop number 30 (copperduralumin), engineer. Interrogated: CURVE.

He confessed that he was recruited by the director of the plant MIROSHNIKOV into an anti‐Soviet organization of the right, carried out sabotage work in the production of the main I‐16 units, gas tanks and wings.

The sabotage of gas tanks was as follows:

The main conditions for the production of high‐quality gas tanks are as follows:

1)                   the design of the tank must be rigid, considering all the conditions of the tank on the aircraft;

2)                   the material going to the tanks must be of high quality and meet all the technical conditions of the duralumin under the “tank” brand;

3)                   the technology for the production of the tank must fully guarantee a tight seam, and this requires correct drilling of holes for the rivet, deburring after drilling, careful adjustment of individual parts of the tank (obchayka), bottom, partition (during assembly); with manual riveting, this work must be trusted by highly skilled riveters.

For sabotage purposes, the following tank production technology was installed:

1)                   unskilled workers were put on the riveting of the tanks; in addition, the time norms that were given to the worker for the manufacture of the tank in 1937 were reduced by 30%, which created a large race in work, and the rivet was put on a poor quality;

2)                   pneumodrills, as a rule, were not checked and were allowed to work in a faulty condition, which, when drilling, gave incorrect round holes or elliptical holes;

3)                   deburring and fitting of tank parts during assembly were not included in the LOPATIN technology. No one demanded these

operations from the foremen and the workers, and thus it was legalized in the shop that it was not necessary to do this deburring and fitting of parts during assembly;

4)                   for the production of tanks, the material was not used for tank, but duralumin of the 1st grade, and sometimes duralumin of the 2nd grade, which did not correspond to the technological conditions;

5)                   despite the fact that the plant received a special installation for mechanical hydraulic riveting, which was supposed to ensure good quality of tank riveting, this installation was not even installed for sabotage purposes;

6)                   the check of the finished tank had to be carried out by the workshop and the control department, with air pressure, every 5th or 10th tank had to be tested on a vibration machine. Testing on a vibrating machine makes it possible to check the quality of the tank completely. These tests were not carried out, which made it possible to freely release a poorquality tank.

All this led to the fact that after a short period of operation, gas tanks leaked, failed, and required replacement.

6. NOSOV ‐ room. chief engineer of the plant, born in 1883, technical. has no education, in 1931 he was sentenced to 5 years in a concentration camp for sabotage, was released early. Interrogated: IVKER.

He testified that he had been recruited into an anti‐Soviet organization at plant number 21 in 1936 by a former chief engineer of USPASSKY.

NOSOV received an assignment from USPASSKY to disrupt the release of benign parts for the I‐16 M‐25 aircraft.

MIROSHNIKOV, USPASSKY, NOSOV thwarted the organization of the technological process for the manufacture of individual parts, for the welding of units and assemblies.

NOSOV disrupted the mechanization of the production of individual quickly wearing parts and assemblies, which made it difficult to interchange them.

NOSOV shows that the manufacture of cups for manual control rods was carried out in a handicraft way without a sequence of separate operations, without the necessary templates, without special tools and without operational control. In this way, the manufacture of conditioned cups and the weakening of their walls were disrupted.

This situation has taken place until now on a number of similar parts, when a worker makes a part at his own discretion, measuring critical dimensions with a simple and often incorrect meter, as was the case with cups, when the inner and outer depth of the cup body to the beginning of the cone was measured in this way.

As a result, the cups of manual control rods burst in the air during aircraft operation in parts, the aircraft lost control.

7. SHATALOV ‐ head of the serial design department, engineer, nonpartisan. Interrogated: VUL.

He testified that he was recruited into a sabotage organization by the technical director of USPASSKY in January 1936.

On behalf of USPASSKY, he carried out the following acts of sabotage:

1)                   developed a wrecking design of the control handle, making it deliberately fragile in the lower unit. In addition, it was made welded in this unit, instead of making it solid‐milled. Subsequently, the handles in flight under heavy load broke, which led to disasters;

2)                   in the design of the center section, he deliberately made the bracket of the 4th rib, which perceives the forces of the side strut of the chassis, to be weak. This led to landing accidents. Only in November 1937, out of fear of exposure, was a one‐piece rib developed and introduced;

3)                   at the suggestion of ABRAMOV, changed the drawings ‐ the way of fastening the wing instead of riveting the rivets, which contributed to the accident rate of the already wickedly feasible wing.

Knowing that the design of the tanks with ridges (notches) on the bottom not only does not strengthen the tank, but on the contrary contributes to the breaking of metal, he retained this design. Knew the material used was not suitable for tanks;

4)                   the design of the forward‐opening hinged canopy of the front cockpit is made in such a way that the pilot cannot throw himself out if necessary. In addition, when flying with an open lantern, the latter involuntarily closed; despite the fact that this caused a number of accidents in the units, by order of ABRAMOV, he detained a new design of a lantern with a fixed visor.

8. EFREMOV ‐ ex. deputy head of the assembly shop; ex. white lieutenant officer, non‐partisan, technician by training. Interrogated:


He gave initial testimony that in 1934 he was recruited into an antiSoviet organization by the chief technologist ABRAMOV, who was at that time the head of the assembly shop, and on his instructions, he carried out sabotage work in the assembly shop.

EFREMOV testified that he knew about the deliberately unusable parts and units of the aircraft, which he produced in order to discredit the I16.

EFREMOV carried out sabotage the assembly and production of aircraft, creating anonymity in this matter (there were no personally responsible persons for this aircraft and individual parts).

9. ZASUKHIN ‐ ex. chief mechanic, born in 1883, father ‐ a former merchant, mechanical engineer, in 1930 was sentenced to 10 years in a concentration camp as a member of a wrecking organization and was released ahead of schedule. Interrogated: MISLAVSKY.

He testified that he was a member of the anti‐Soviet organization of the right at plant No. 21, to which he was recruited by the chief engineer

USPASSKIM; conducted sabotage work.

By the beginning of the war, ZASUKHIN was preparing to set fire to the assembly shop (No. 40) in order to stop the plant for a long time. This fire was supposed to destroy the aircraft in the assembly.

To carry out this act of sabotage ZASUKHIN recruited the head. electrical facilities ‐ KOLYSHKINA (arrested).

ZASUKHIN hoped to set the fire on by artificially creating a short circuit in the shop wiring.

At the same time ZASUKHIN was preparing an explosion at the plantʹs oxygen station by increasing the percentage of acetylene in oxygen.

To carry out this act of sabotage, ZASUKHIN recruited master BUKIN.

ZASUKHIN carried out sabotage work in the field of basic equipment (machine tools, units), violated the system of preventive maintenance of equipment, thereby putting the machines out of action.

This created a limit in the machine tool industry for processing the main parts of the I‐16 aircraft.

10.                MOROV N.Ye., born in 1890, ex. early department of capital construction. Interrogated: KARPENKO.

He gave initial testimony that in 1935 he was recruited by the chief mechanic of the plant No. 21 ZASUKHIN and the director of the plant MIROSHNIKOV into the anti‐Soviet organization of the right. On their instructions, he carried out sabotage work in construction and repairs.

11.                ALKSNIS YA.I . ‐ ex. Chief of the Red Army Air Force. Interrogated: IVKER, LENEV.

He showed that the leakage of gas tanks on the I‐16 aircraft manufactured by the plant No. 21 was one of the most serious and frequently recurring defects.

While in Czechoslovakia in August 1936 on a return visit, ALKSNIS at the Shmolik plant and in combat units found out that the Czechs have on all aircraft tanks not made of duralumin, but made of electron, that these tanks are welded, suspended (fastened on tapes) and lighter than duralumin.

According to the Minister of Aviation of the ChSR, engineers and commanders of combat units, they did not have any cases of leaks in gas tanks.

At the same time, it was agreed with FIFROM and the director of the Shmolik plant that we would send qualified welders from the USSR (aircraft industry) who would learn how to make electronic welded tanks. At the same time, the Czechs promised to send several specialists to the USSR who would supply the production of these tanks.

In the same year, the Defense Commission decided to send our specialists to Czechoslovakia and send drawings by the GUAP.

TUPOLEV opposed this event, but nevertheless, in 1937 people were sent to ChSR and studied the whole process.

Upon their return to the USSR, it turned out that the drawings were not sent by GUAP (TUPOLEV), but they, our representatives, brought the entire specification of the electron used by the Czechs.

TUPOLEV categorically objected to the manufacture of electronic tanks, motivating the absence of an electron. Subsequently, TUPOLEV agreed to subscribe the required amount of electron from Germany, and if the Germans did not sell us, then to receive it through the Czechs. However, until now nothing has been done.

ALKSNIS shows that the transition to welded duralumin tanks at our factories does not exclude the acquisition of welded electronic tanks, because they are lighter. The objection that we do not have the production of sheet electron is not a motive, since we can supply the production of sheet electron and master welding. The electron can be used, probably, not only on tanks, but also on other units of the I‐16 aircraft in order to gain weight.

Head of the Secretariat of the NKVD of the USSR, Senior Major of State Security (SHAPIRO)