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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 number 21 for March 27, 1938

Archive: AP RF. F. 3. Op. 24. D. 406. L. 102‐121

March 29, 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 organization at Plant No. 21 for March 27, 1938.

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

Top secret

For the 5th DEPARTMENT

1. EI MIROSHNIKOV, former director of plant No. 21. Interrogated by


He additionally testified that in February 1936 KOVALEV and MARGOLIN instructed MIROSHNIKOV to produce an aircraft with poor‐quality parts. MARGOLIN suggested ʺnot to waste your time on trifles,ʺ but to outline the main critical units of the aircraft and periodically make one or another of them wreckingly on one or two series. This method is convenient in that it makes it possible to attribute the disadvantages to poor mastering of the new aircraft in flight, referring to the fact that in other parts these units on the same aircraft are benign. On this basis, you can start up disputes and for a long time the defects are not eliminated. ʺ

MARGOLIN pointed out that it is necessary to harm in the area of aircraft control, gas systems (tanks), wings, gas supply.

The sabotage must be carried out in such a way that its results affect only after a certain period of operation, so that this defect is not revealed during the tests, otherwise it cannot be passed into the series.

MIROSHNIKOV later learned from MARGOLIN that this building came from the Germans: that the Germans subsequently demanded information on how many aircraft were produced separately with various defects and what is the actual service life of the aircraft with one or another defect. This information was transmitted several times by MIROSHNIKOV MARGOLIN personally and through a member of the organization ABRAMOV.

MIROSHNIKOV proceeded to give detailed evidence of how and through whom sabotage was organized in the design, production, testing and operation of the I‐16 aircraft.

According to his testimony, a Pravotrotskyist organization existed in the aviation industry, which, on the instructions of the Germans, delayed its development and mastering in the production of new aircraft and engines; as a result of the activities of this organization, several large factories were frozen and virtually inactive for a number of years, producing single aircraft: plant No. Voronezh, which was built in 1932; plant No. 124 in Kazan, built in 1933‐34; No. 125 in Irkutsk was completed in 1933‐34; and No. 126 in Komsomolsk, which also gave virtually nothing to aviation until the last year.

Of the participants in the organization in industry, MIROSHNIKOV knows: KOROLEV, MARGOLIN, MARYAMOV, POBEREZHSKY (all arrested), Olga MITKEVICH.

2.             PP           USPASSKY, former         chief      engineer               of            the          aircraft plant. Interrogated: LISTENGURT, KROVOY, BRENER.

USPASSKY additionally showed that in order to reduce the flight and combat qualities of the I‐16 aircraft, sabotage was carried out in the following directions:

1.                   To increase the accident rate of the aircraft, a member of the SHATALOV organization (head of the serial design department), on the instructions of USPASSKY, developed and put into production a version of a new gas tube that lowers its quality. This was achieved by introducing a so‐called compensator (annular bend of the tube) before connecting it to the pressure gauge.

As a result, due to the large size of the compensator, when the aircraft vibrated, the tube often broke, which led to accidents.

2.                   The instructions of the Peopleʹs Commissar and the Main Directorate for the manufacture of sealed tanks covered with a special casing to prevent fuel from spilling out in the event of a bullet in the tank were not followed.

Due to this, aircraft in a combat situation suffered accidents and disasters due to tank shots.

3.                   On the instructions of USPASSKOGO SHATALOV, with the aim of delaying the release of the improved chassis, he disrupted the development of working drawings and their timely submission to plant No. 119.

4.                   On instructions from USPASSKOGO SHATALOV, he introduced a number of structural changes into the aircraft wing, which led to a significant weakening of the wing. In particular, when copying the working drawings of the wing, a deviation from the original drawings of the designer POLIKARPOV was deliberately made, which consists in the fact that the rivets that fasten the duralumin wing skin to the reinforced ribs were replaced with rivets. At high flight speeds, this led to the separation of the upper duralumin sheathing from the ribs, causing accidents and forced landings.

5.                   On the instructions of USPASSKY, a member of the organization LOPATIN (head of workshop No. 30) sabotagely organized the wrong heat treatment of the aluminum alloy, which led to the breakage of the wing console in the air and the destruction of the entire wing; due to the destruction of the duralumin nozzles of the wing spar, the aircraft suffered accidents.

USPASSKY testified that in 1936 he was recruited by an agent of the German intelligence SWORD Ferdinand Ferdinandovich, from whom he received an espionage and sabotage mission. SWORD F. arrived from Germany to the USSR as a political emigrant, was the commander of an air squadron in Lyubertsy, and after demobilization, at the end of

1935, ALKSNISOM was sent to plant number 21 as a test pilot.

3. VI ABRAMOV, former chief technologist of aircraft plant No. 21. Interrogated by: KOGAN.

ABRAMOV additionally testified that from the end of 1935 he was associated with the German intelligence agent SWORD Ferdinand Ferdinandovich (died), who worked as a test pilot at the aircraft factory number 21. ABRAMOV contacted the SWORD on a direct assignment from MIROSHNIKOV.

ABRAMOV gave the SWORD information about prototypes being developed at Plant No. 21 and about the proposed weapons on the fighters.

The SWORD arrived from Germany in 1924 as a political emigrant. In the Soviet Union, he graduated from an aviation school and until 1935 was in the Red Army in command positions up to squadron commander.

Complementing his testimony about sabotage to reduce the fighting qualities of the I‐16 M‐35 fighter, ABRAMOV testified about the sabotage carried out on the wing, which consisted in the following:

1.  The head of the design department SHATALOV, when making copies from the reference drawings, replaced the rivets fastening the duralumin sheathing to the reinforced ribs with rivets. Another member of the organization, b. the head of the 30th workshop LOPATIN, in turn, used poor‐quality pistons, flaring them by a faulty instructor. The flared part of the piston quickly broke.

2.  The spar tip was cut not longitudinally, but across the fibers.

3.  Defective wings were installed on the aircraft.

ABRAMOV, together with members of the organization SHATALOV and BELOUSOV, developed a wrecking instruction, according to which it was allowed to use the retractable liners of the center section cup to adjust the aircraft. As a result, the overtightening of the brace bands was obtained in the wing and the wing was quickly deformed in flight.

These acts of sabotage led to destruction in the air and imminent disaster.

4.  LOPATIN Ivan Mikhailovich, the former head of workshop No. 30 (copper‐duralumin). Interrogated: AGAS and LOS.

During the last interrogation, LOPATIN testified that he was recruited by the plant director MIROSHNIKOV into an anti‐Soviet organization of the right and was carrying out sabotage work in the production of gas tanks.

LOPATIN additionally showed that, on special instructions from MIROSHNIKOV, he was carrying out sabotage work in the production of one of the main I‐16 units ‐ wings.

The sabotage of wing production was as follows:

1.                   To give the wings rigidity, special steel braces are placed in the wing, which, crossing, connect the reinforced ribs and spars, thus preventing the wing from deforming.

The supply of brace bands must be carried out to a certain degree of tension, which is determined by a special device ‐ a tensiometer (a device for determining the degree of tension).

For sabotage purposes, at the direction of LOPATIN, the brace tape was stretched ʺby eyeʺ. This led to misalignment of the wing in the air, which in turn reduced the aircraftʹs speed and maneuverability. The plane fell to the right or left plane.

Tensiometers were deliberately not purchased, and one copy available at the plant was sold. Only in June 1937, after a series of accidents, by a special decision of the commission headed by POLIKARPOV, tensiometers were purchased.

2.                   Pistons for attaching the front duralumin sheathing to the reinforced ribs were to be of high‐quality grade 6140.

For sabotage purposes, by direct order of LOPATIN, ordinary shoe caps were placed; these caps were put without any test. The flaring of the piston itself in production was done with bad loose pistons, which resulted in cracks.

Placing low‐quality pistons, LOPATIN and MIROSHNIKOV hoped that due to incorrect tension of the brace tape, the wing would deform in flight due to poor quality of the piston, it would break, and this would lead to the breakdown of entire sections of the front duralumin plating and would inevitably cause an immediate forced landing even in enemy territory , and often the death of the pilot.

3.                   The destructive work was carried out by LOPATIN in the field of ensuring the interchangeability of spare wings of an Air Force unit. The wings were produced without conductors, templates and countertemplates; therefore, they were not standard and could not be interchangeable. Changing the wings, even in the factory, required a large fit, but in parts it was even more difficult.

According to LOPATINʹs testimony, the following contributed to his wrecking work:

Despite the fact that there was a control apparatus in the shop, which was directly subordinate only to the head of the technical control department, and the latter directly to the director of the plant, this apparatus was put in such payment conditions under which he was not interested in work.

Wage control workers were equated to foremen. However, the tariff system developed by a member of the organization pom. director for labor ALTYNOV, was such that the control workers actually received significantly less pay than the foremen, since they did not receive bonuses. This amounted to a difference of 300‐360 rubles per month.

In this regard, the workers of the control were not interested in work, they spent the whole day playing with them, and in the evening they stayed overtime for 2‐3 hours and accepted all the work casually, hastily. This wrecking system of payment for technical control workers led to the fact that the highly qualified staff did not want to remain in the quality control department, but left for production, and low‐skilled and unauthorized workers remained in the technical control, who did not provide technical control by their qualifications.

5. ALTYNOV Petr Lukich, former deputy. director of the aircraft plant number 21 for labor. Interrogated by: GUZIK.

ALTYNOV gave additional testimony about the sabotage work carried out by him.

In March 1937, ALTYNOV, fulfilling the task of MIROSHNIKOV on overstating production rates and lowering prices for workers employed in the main sections of the plant, recruited M.N. Lutsin, head of the labor organization department. (arrested as a member of a Latvian antiSoviet organization) and his deputy, who at the same time served as head of the tariff regulation bureau NELZINA (not arrested).

ALTYNOV instructed LUTSIN and NELZIN to revise production rates and prices in accordance with the instructions of MIROSHNIKOV.

As a result of the wrecking work of ALTYNOV, LUNIN and NELZIN for the riveters of gas tanks, the production rate was increased by 30%, and the prices were reduced by 7‐10%. For workers engaged in welding work, the production rate was increased by 15‐90%, and the prices were also reduced by 7‐10%. keeping the old rates. At the same time, the production rates for workers manufacturing small duralumin parts were increased by 12‐15% while maintaining the old, not reduced prices. Thus, workers who perform the most critical parts, on which the quality of the aircraft depends, earned 300‐350, while workers employed in less important areas of production earned from 600 rubles. and higher.

In July 1937, by order of the Peopleʹs Commissariat of the Defense Industry, a premium system was established for quality in especially important areas of the plant (gas tanks, welding work). ALTYNOV, in order to disrupt this order, together with LUTSIN, worked out a provision according to which bonuses were established not for quality, but for fulfilling the norms, and since the production rates in these areas were overestimated, the bulk of workers did not receive bonuses.

In order to increase production defects, ALTYNOV forbade to acquaint the workers of the plant with the order of the Peopleʹs Commissariat of the Defense Industry, establishing the material responsibility of workers for marriage by deducting the amount of the cost of spoiled material from wages. As a result, scrap continues to increase at the plant and the most valuable metals, like duralumin and chromiummolybdenum, are scrapped in large quantities.

6. EFREMOV Alexander Petrovich, former deputy. the head of the welding shop of aircraft plant No. 21. Interrogated by: COURT.

In addition, he showed that the existing counter‐revolutionary organization at the plant is connected through the GUAP with the German General Staff, on whose instructions sabotage work was carried out in the construction of the I‐16 aircraft.

The following was done:

As the head of the external inspection of the plant, in the 1st quarter of 1936 he was sent for military tests of the I‐16 in Zhitomir. During the tests, large defects were found on the aircraft:

1.                   The 4th rib of the center section was deformed due to insufficient strength under lateral forces on the chassis, rivets were cut off and the rib broke off, which led to an accident.

2.                   At high speeds, when exiting a dive, due to the absence of a longitudinal fastening of the gasoline tank, it shifted, the gasoline line was cut off and a fire broke out on the plane.

3.                   The end frame of the fuselage No. 11, carrying a crutch, due to insufficient fastening with the skin of the fuselage broke off by riveting during landing.

MIROSHNIKOV urgently summoned EFREMOV and said that he was recalling him, as a former white officer who ʺfailed to protect the interests of the plantʺ.

Soon he was processed and recruited by ABRAMOV and received from him the task of accepting components and individual parts of the aircraft that were not completed and did not pass the technical control department into the assembly shop from other workshops and put them into assembly. Specifically: to accept the center sections docked with the fuselages into the shop, even if they are not accepted by the control department. Accept the wings from the duralumin workshop and hand them over for covering with canvas, not paying attention to the fact that they dock with the center section.

These tasks were carried out by him until the day of his arrest.

7. ZASUKHIN Dmitry Nikolaevich, former heads. the mechanic of the aircraft plant №21. Interrogated: LISTENGURT, MISLAVSKY.

ZASUKHIN additionally testified that he was in charge of subversive work in the main equipment of the plant in order to disrupt the implementation of the production program for the production of aircraft.

ZASUKHIN received the task of organizing sabotage work from USPASSKY (chief engineer of the plant, arrested).

DROUGHT and the members of the organization recruited by him carried out the following acts of sabotage:

In 1937, on the instructions of ZASUKHIN, a member of the ASTAKHOV organization (an equipment inspector was arrested) did not commission about 60 turning, milling and planing machines out of 200 received by the plant. This was achieved by delayed assembly and installation of machine tools. In addition, ZASUKHIN personally delayed the production of drawings for the starting switches for these machines. The delay in the start‐up of the machine tools caused a decrease in production capacity and production output in machine shops (Nos. 25 and 110) and in the center section (No. 21).

ZASUKHIN, having agreed with ASTAKHOV, introduced at the plant a system for allowing the start‐up of machine tools with unfinished repairs and unrepaired defects. The machines were depersonalized, no one was responsible for them, since they were considered in the socalled ʺtemporary operationʺ and due to this they quickly fell out of order.

ZASUKHIN and ASTAKHOV stopped instructing shop mechanics, foremen and workers of production shops on the operation and maintenance of machine tools. This led to an increase in accidents, deterioration in the quality and accuracy of manufactured parts.

The head of the repair shop, a member of the organization BERESTOV (arrested) on the instructions of ZASUKHIN disrupted the schedule of preventive maintenance of equipment (machines, hammers, presses), extending the operating time of machines and assemblies without the necessary repairs, which led to an increase in accidents and rapid wear of the plant equipment. The designers of the preventive maintenance bureau were transferred by BERESTOV to less important work, which led to the disruption of the production of spare parts necessary for repair.

The number of accidents ASTAKHOV was hiding with the knowledge of ZASUKHIN. The causes of the accident were not investigated. The equipment inspector POLYUKHOV was involved in this sabotage work by ZASUKHIN and ASTAKHOV (not arrested).

In November 1936, BERESTOV and ASTAKHOV dismissed the foreman of the repair brigade S. Bokov, who tried to fight against sabotage and insisted on the correct organization of equipment repair. In place of BOKOV, the pests BERESTOV and ASTAKHOV appointed L.

On the instructions of ZASUKHIN, given to ASTAKHOV, the master of the TRIFONS assembly team involved in the organization (not arrested) wreckingly mounted the devices for gluing the fuselage shells (loosening the locks for lifting the blank, incorrectly fastened the steel cables). As a result, during 1936‐37. the devices were systematically out of order, which disrupted the implementation of the program by the woodworking shop.

In 1937 ASTAKHOV disabled the Butler planer in shop No. 60 by deliberately loosening the rocker bolt, which led to the breakdown of the machine.

In July 1937, on the instructions of ZASUKHIN ASTAKHOV, he put out of action a highly deficient machine called ʺguillotine shearsʺ, on which duralumin sheets are cut.

A metal object was placed under the moving part of the guillotine, as a result of which the shaft was bent. The shutdown of the scissors caused a delay in the manufacture of duralumin parts for aircraft.

The head of the electrical department, recruited by ZASUKHIN, KOLYSHKIN (arrested), led to an emergency condition of the underground electrical wiring in the mechanical and tool shops by disrupting the repair of underground junction boxes.

In the center section and machine shops, deliberately poor‐quality junction boxes were installed, which led to frequent short circuits and interruptions in the operation of workshop machine tools.

KOLYSHKIN disrupted preventive maintenance of all electrical equipment. He entrusted repairs to low‐skilled shop mechanics, did not supervise them. As a result, in 1936‐37. up to 30 electric motors were rendered unusable, the accident rate of motors increased, which led to frequent stops of machine tools.

8. BAZHANOV, former head of the RKKA Air Force Research Institute. Interrogated: ROGACHEV, VUL.

A harmful decrease in the fighting qualities of the I‐16 was carried out in the following directions:


a)                   the installed Shkas machine guns are spaced from the fuselage to the middle of the wings, which is why bullets are concentrated only at a distance of 400 meters. When fighting in the air at a shorter distance, the target is hit not by one powerful, but by two sheaves of bullets, but 2.5‐4 meters apart from each other, i.e. unable to focus on the vital spots of the target.

b)                  The installation of large‐caliber weapons 12.7 m / m and 20 m / m on the I‐16 was made without taking into account the analysis of how the combat properties of the aircraft will change in connection with the deterioration of flight and maneuverability as a result of an increase in load.

c)                   For ʺShkasʺ, 12.7 m / m and 20 m / m cannons, special bullets and shells were not produced in time, effective enough to destroy a modern aircraft (incendiary and explosive). Therefore, the installation of new weapons was not very effective.

The effectiveness of his fire was systematically reduced by ALKSNIS,

SAKRIER and LAVROV, with the direct support of Tukhachevsky.

By plane:

A number of major manufacturing defects that were identified by pilots and test engineers in units and which BAZHANOV hid on the instructions of ALKSNIS, with the exception of those due to which it was possible to suspend combat training, which artificially delayed the development of the aircraft.

a)                   Harmful decrease in the strength of the handle used by the pilot to control the aircraft. Damage to the handle cannot be established by external inspection, and its breakage in flight led to a disaster;

b)                  violation of the strength of the wing by improper adjustment of the straps of the braces inside it, which violated the rigidity of the wing, and by using unsuitable pistons to fasten the skin to the wing ribs, as a result of which the skin lagged behind and came off in flight. Consequently, it deprived the wing of its strength inside and outside;

c)                   installation of tanks that have leaks due to unsuitable production. Poor‐quality installation of the tanks themselves, as a result of which they were displaced from their place in flight, which led to breakdown of gasoline lines with subsequent fires;

d)                  the chassis system has hard shock absorption, compounded by the small diameter of the wheels. Therefore, the chassis very quickly loosened in the main units, as a result of which the chassis often failed. In addition, the landing gear was attached to the fourth rib of the wing, causing frequent breakdowns and the need for lengthy repairs.

3. Deterioration of the aircraftʹs flight qualities, which was carried out in the following ways:

a)                   under the guise of improvement, the aircraft was supplied with various new units, weapons and parts. All this caused an increase in weight, the plane took off worse, landed at high speed (120‐130 K [1] ). The turn radius in flight became larger, i.e. to fight in the air on it became worse. At the same time, it was not analyzed in advance how this or that increase in load will affect the aircraft and whether it is worth implementing it, taking into account the losses in flight properties, and whether it is possible to increase the load without reducing these properties;

b)                  despite the increase in the weight of the aircraft, contrary to the existing government requirements, nothing was done to reduce the landing speed (no flaps were made) of the I‐16. Therefore, it has grown lately, creating preconditions for an increase in accidents and reducing the possibility of flights from medium‐sized airfields;

c)                   they tried to keep the quality of the brakes unsatisfactory, which made it even more difficult to land at an increased speed, since the plane rolls on the ground for a long time (400‐600 meters). This limits the possibility of landing at field aerodromes and increases the risk of an accident (collision on the ground).

4.                   Deterioration of the pilotʹs view by installing a canopy, which does not close well and opens in flight, distorts the visibility of the target and makes it difficult for the pilot to use the parachute.

5.                   Harmful delay in the modification of critical parts, the preservation of which in mass production caused accidents:

a)                   maintaining the ability of the aircraft to unfold at the end of the run, which led to the failure of the landing gear and wings;

b)                  installation of gas lines so that they are frayed by partitions through which they pass, resulting in fires;

c)                   cracks and breakdowns of engine hoods, which caused numerous downtimes for repairs;

d)                  wrecking delay in the installation of the retractable ski chassis. The use of the existing one causes a decrease in speed by 15‐20%, and their incorrect operation leads to disasters (cases in the Air Force Research Institute and in units).

6. ʺModificationʺ of the I‐16 was carried out randomly, without analysis, what and how should be improved, first of all, what should be developed, what should be preserved. Therefore, the speed of the aircraft did not increase, and the maneuverability deteriorated with the deterioration of takeoff and landing data and attempts to ʺattachʺ weapons to it, without evaluating its suitability and readiness. As a result, there was no standard by which the series were built.

All these defects were known to BAZHANOV from test pilots and employees of the research institute. For sabotage purposes, in collusion with the former head of the UMTS BAZENKOVIM and on behalf of ALCSNIS, he hid them.

BAZHANOV knew that subversive work was being carried out at the plant to reduce the quality of this aircraft, but, according to him, he had no connection with the members of the organization at the plant.

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