Monthly Archives: February 2016

The “Real Stalin” Series. Part Five: Opposition.

Stalin_Image

Opposition

GREAT FREEDOM GIVEN TO THE OPPOSITION

Footnote: The public propaganda of the Opposition exploited every possible kind of political argument against the Soviet regime. The social and economic policies of the Stalin administration were subjected to continuous criticism under such slogans as “incompetence in administration,” “uncontrolled bureaucracy,” “one-man, one-party dictatorship,” “degneration of the old leadership” and so on. No attempt was made to suppress Trotsky’s agitation until it had openly exposed itself as, in fact, anti-Soviet and connected with other anti-Soviet forces. From 1924 until 1927, in the words of Sydney and Beatrice Webb, in Soviet Communism — A New Civilization, “There ensued what must seem surprising to those who believe that the USSR lies groaning under a preemptory dictatorship, namely, three years of incessant public controversy. This took various forms…. There were hot arguments in many of the local soviets, as well as in the local Party organs. There was a vast [Oppositionist] literature of books and pamphlets, not stopped by the censorship, and published, indeed, by the state publishing houses, extending, as is stated by one who has gone through it, to literally thousands of printed pages.” The Webbs add that the issue “was finally and authoritatively settled by the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Party in April 1925;… after these decisions, Trotsky persisted in his agitation, attempting to stir up resistance; and his conduct became plainly factious.”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 204

But during the 1920s the Stalinist leadership had often permitted the publication of statements and articles by various oppositionists within the party, at least until the moment of their defeat and expulsion. Trotsky’s works were published until the mid-1920s, and Bukharin continued to publish, howbeit within controlled parameters, until his arrest in 1937; he was in fact editor of the government newspaper Izvestia until that time. [Stalin had personally nominated Bukharin to the Izvestia position in 1934]
Getty & Naumov. The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 103

…After all, it is interesting that we went on living with the oppositionists and oppositionist factions until the events of the late 1930s…. Without a man like Stalin it would have been very, very difficult, especially during the war. There would no longer have been teamwork. We would have had splits in the party. It would have been nothing but one against another. Then what?
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 258

In the course of some six months the party had been shaken by two major revolts. First, there had been the “waverers,” the faction led by Zinoviev and Kamenev, who had opposed the Bolshevik seizure of power. Then, distinct from this faction, came the left communists, led by Bukharin, who called for a return to the purity of socialist principles. In both cases there had been free debate within the party.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 109

Interest groups in the bureaucracy usually could not oppose the established line, but in cases where there was no firmly fixed policy, debate, negotiation, and lobbying were possible even in the Stalin years.
Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 11

Actually Trotsky wanted to try another test of strength with the Politburo. It seemed to him that the mood in the party had shifted in his favor. Dozens of oppositionists who came to see him at the offices of the Chief Concessions Committee assured him that this was so. Thus Trotsky decided on a renewal of factional political activity, which was conducted on a large scale and attracted more supporters than in the fall of 1926. The opposition groups in the various Soviet cities had their own local leaderships and their own faction discipline, and dues were collected from members. Opposition materials were published secretly on government printing presses, and a small illegal print shop was set up in Moscow for the same purpose. Trotsky knew about, and fully approved of, the use of such prerevolutionary conspiratorial methods. Assessing these events several years later, Trotsky wrote:
“In a very short time it was apparent that as a faction we had undoubtedly gained strength–that is to say, we had grown more united intellectually, and stronger in numbers….”
In this passage Trotsky obviously exaggerates the extent of Opposition influence among rank-and-file party members. He overstates even more the extent to which Stalin had been discredited by the Chinese events. Moreover, most of the illegal meetings and Opposition materials were no secret to Stalin and his immediate circle. He followed the activities of the opposition leaders very closely.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 171

In November 1923 the alarm caused by the crisis led the triumvirs to table a motion in favor of democratic reform in the party. As in the Georgian affair, so now Stalin agreed to make any verbal concession to Trotsky. The motion was carried by the Politburo unanimously. Trotsky had no choice but to vote for it. On November 7 the sixth anniversary of the revolution, Zinoviev officially announced the opening of a public discussion on all issues that troubled the Bolshevik mind. The state of siege in the party, so it might have seemed, was at last being lifted.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 260

If a workers democracy was needed, did that mean that the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries were to be allowed to come back? Most of Stalin’s critics, including Trotsky, agreed that the Mensheviks should remain outlawed.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 261

After the 13th Congress, in 1925, 1926, the 1927, the same freedom existed within the Party. The fight against the opposition was carried out in the committees, Party cells, and meetings of organs and militants of the Party. Leaders of the opposition vehemently urged their partisans to be as active as possible to attack the Central Committee. In so doing, they would underline the strength and influence of the opposition.
I was astonished when, after the 14th congress [December 1925], Stalin and his new majority in the Central Committee did not oppose this freedom…. it would have been simpler to forbid discussions within the Party and to proclaim, by a resolution of the Central Committee’s plenum, that such discussions harmed the Party and turned its efforts away from constructive lines, etc.
… I was able definitely to confirm my theory during a conversation with Stalin and Mekhlis. The latter was holding in his hands the report of the local Party meeting, and he cited violent intervention by opposition elements. He was indignant and said, “Comrade Stalin, don’t you think this goes too far, and the Central Committee is wrong in letting itself be discredited so openly? Wouldn’t it be better to forbid it?” Stalin smiled, “Let them speak! Let them speak! The dangerous enemy is not he who shows his hand. It’s the hidden enemy, whom we don’t know, who is dangerous. We know all the people [in this report] and have files on them….”
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 92

The bans on other political parties remained but, during the period of the New Economic Policy (1921-1928) there was a relatively high level of tolerance for diverse perspectives in Soviet society. Restrictions on the press were relaxed and scores of private printing houses and non-party journals were founded.
In the 1924-25 period nomination rules were relaxed in order to make it easy for candidates not approved by the Communist Party to win elections to the local Soviets. In new electoral instructions issued in early 1925, Party organizations were told to cease to ‘impose their list at election meetings’ and no longer to insist that voters ‘be excluded merely because they have been critical of local Soviet authorities.’ As a result the majority of those elected to the village Soviets in the rural areas of the Ukraine and Russian republic were non-Party. After the 1927 elections about 90 percent of the delegates and 75 percent of the local Soviet chairmen in both Republics were non-Party.
The ban on organized factions in the Party was not rescinded, but a vital internal party life, as well as toleration of widely diverse viewpoints within the Party, continued throughout the period of the New Economic Policy…. While the center-right alliance of those around Stalin and Bukharin had the upper hand in the period after Lenin’s death (they were united on the continuation of the New Economic Policy and a fairly moderate international line), their left opponents continued to occupy leading positions.
Szymanski, Albert. Human Rights in the Soviet Union. London: Zed Books, 1984, p. 211

The workers’ Opposition was not alone in voicing disillusionment. At the 11th Congress, last attended by Lenin, Trotsky saw himself and Lenin attacked by old and intimate friends: Antonov-Ovseenko, who spoke about the party’s surrender to the kulak and foreign capitalism; Ryazanov, who thundered against the prevalent political demoralization and the arbitrary manner in which the Politburo ruled the party; Lozovsky and Skrypnik, the Ukrainian commissar, who protested against the over-centralistic method of government, which, he said, was all too reminiscent of the “one and indivisible” Russia of old; Bubnov, still the Decemist, who spoke about the danger of the party’s “petty bourgeois degeneration”; and Preobrazhensky, one of the leading economic theorists and former secretary of the Central Committee. One day most of the critics would be eminent members of the “Trotskyist’ Opposition; and one-day Trotsky himself would appeal, as Shliapnikov and Kollontai had done, against the Russian Central Committee to the International.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 31

The discussion was at once focused on the statement of the Forty-Six who were now free to expound their views to the rank-and-file. Pyatakov was their most aggressive and effective spokesman; wherever he went he easily obtained large majorities for bluntly worded resolutions.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 116

…curious though the factional fights became, they were still contained within limits. Until the end of 1927, they were still fought out openly before the Central Committee Plenum, the Party Congress or Conference, where the opposition was free to challenge the leadership, issues were settled by votes, and the debates reported. The opposition spokesman were more and more subject to heckling and interruption, but that is true even of parliamentary assemblies; they had increasing difficulty in rallying support inside the party, but even when in 1928-29 the clash between Stalin and the right opposition took place behind closed doors, the opposition could not be suppressed, it had to be defeated. The leaders were not arrested or shot; even Trotsky was banished, not imprisoned or executed, and most of the others, like Zinoviev and Kamenev, were allowed back into the party–even, like Bukharin, to hold official posts.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 182

Comrades, oppositionists can and should be allowed to hold posts. Heads of Central Committee departments can and should be allowed to criticize the Central Committee’s activities.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 6, p. 44

[In a report on the Results of the 13th Congress of the Party on June 17, 1924 Stalin stated] What should our policy be with regard to these oppositionists, or, more precisely, with regard to these former oppositionists? It should be an exceptionally comradely one. Every measure must be taken to help them come over to the basic core of the Party and to work jointly and in harmony with this core.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 6, p. 267

Next question. Why did not the Central Committee publish the opposition’s “platform”? Zinoviev and Trotsky say that it was because the Central Committee and the Party “fear” the truth. Is that true? Of course not. More than that. It is absurd to say that the Party or the Central Committee fear the truth. We have the verbatim reports of the plenums of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission. Those reports have been printed in several thousand copies and distributed among the members of the Party. They contain the speeches of the oppositionists as well as of the representatives of the Party line. They are being read by tens and hundreds of thousands of Party members. If we fear the truth we would not have circulated those documents. The good thing about those documents is precisely that they enable the members of the party to compare the Central Committee’s position with the views of the opposition and to make their decision. Is that fear of the truth?
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 183

Although, in the early years of the regime, its ideological opponents, such fans and socialist revolutionaries, had been put in prison, the game–at least in theory–was not depressed and physically or to put him into their intellectual life, but merely to segregate them from the rest of the population and prevent them from spreading their ideas.
Berger, Joseph. Nothing but the Truth. New York, John Day Co. 1971, p. 60

Since the revolution, and especially during the period of the New Economic Policy the arts and intellectual life had enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy. True, open political opposition was forbidden, and the regime could use the power of the purse to support this or that tendency. But direct political supervision was sporadic, and diverse schools of thought and art could and did contend, even forming separate organizations in literature, for example.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 153

STALIN SAID THE OPPOSITION HAD DESCENDED FAR IN 7 YEARS

With deep disgust, Stalin gave his personal view of the tragic demoralization which had degraded the Opposition from a more or less honest political programme to the gutter tactics of Fascism and primitive murder. “From the political tendency which it showed six or seven years earlier, Trotskyism has become a mad and unprincipled gang of saboteurs, of agents of diversion, of assassins acting on the orders of foreign States.”
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 101

But in the course of the 1920s and particularly in the late 20s and early 30s, when the Trotskyite line had been overwhelmingly defeated inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, they ceased to be a political trend. Those who remained in the Soviet Union pretended in public to accept the line of the Party, but secretly began to work against the Party, against the Revolution. They degenerated into secret agents of capitalism, began to work for the various capitalist Intelligence services, plotted the restoration of capitalism in the USSR and the defeat of the Soviet Union in the course of the aggression which was being prepared by the great capitalist powers, organized the sabotage of Soviet industry and agriculture and the assassination of leading Communists. Trotsky himself, in exile, maintained close contact with the secret groups inside the CPSU, and became the center of a world-wide network of anti-Soviet sabotage and espionage, attempting to organize similar secret groupings inside the Communist Parties and militant labor, progressive, and national liberation organizations all over the world.
Klugmann, James. From Trotsky to Tito. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1951, p. 74

[At the Feb. March 1937 Plenum Stalin stated]…Before, these elements [Trotskyists] argued for their political tendency among the working class, not afraid to show their political orientation among the workers. Seven or eight years ago, Trotskyism was such a political tendency among the Bolsheviks.
Can we say that the Trotskyism of 1936 is the same as before among the working-class? No, we cannot say this. Why? Because today’s Trotskyites are afraid to show their activity to the workers,…they hide their political outlook from the masses, because the people would curse them as traitors. The modern Trotskyites are not propagating their political tendencies openly, they hide their true identity. They try to be more Bolshevik than real, dedicated Bolsheviks–meanwhile, doing their anti-State activity.
If you will recall the trial of Kamenev-Zinoviev in 1936, they had a perfect opportunity to promote their political tendencies… but they refused and kept mum. Now, even the blind can see that they DID HAVE a political program. Then why did they not take the opportunity to espouse their ideas? Because they were afraid to expose their political face, thus trying to save others who were still active, but well hidden. They were afraid to officially state that they wanted to restore capitalism.
Lucas and Ukas. Trans. and Ed. Secret Documents. Toronto, Canada: Northstar Compass, 1996, p. 232

In carrying on a struggle against the Trotskyite agents, our Party comrades did not notice, they overlooked the fact, that present-day Trotskyism is no longer what it was, let us say, seven or eight years ago; that Trotskyism and the Trotskyite have passed through a serious evolution in this period which has utterly changed the face of Trotskyism;… Trotskyism has ceased to be a political trend in the working class, it has changed from a political trend in the working class which it was seven or eight years ago, into a frantic and unprincipled gang of wreckers, diversionists, spies and murderers acting on the instruction of the intelligence services of foreign states.
Stalin, Joseph. Mastering Bolshevism. San Francisco: Proletarian Publishers, 1972, p. 9

“Political figures” hiding their views and their platform not only from the working class but also from the Trotskyite rank and file, and not only from the Trotskyite rank and file, but from the leading group of Trotskyites–such is the face of present-day Trotskyism.
Such is the indisputable result of the evolution of Trotskyism in the past seven or eight years.
Such is the difference between Trotskyism in the past and Trotskyism at the present time.
Stalin, Joseph. Mastering Bolshevism. San Francisco: Proletarian Publishers, 1972, p. 12

The only weapon left to them [the Opposition] [by the early thirties] was terrorism–the assassination of Stalin and his close supporters. There were many psychological reasons against this. Used against the Tsarist regime, it had been condemned by the Bolsheviks as an individual (not a mass) weapon and as wasteful, difficult to control and politically ineffective. Their whole training and tradition were against it. This is perhaps the most important clue to an understanding of their defeat.
Berger, Joseph. Nothing but the Truth. New York, John Day Co. 1971, p. 163

WEAKNESSES OF SOME TOP LEADERS

Zinoviev could make a good speech and talk about world revolution by the hour but when it came to doing anything practical he was hopeless. Another example can be found in Radek–a superb writer and orator but a man who could not be depended upon. Similarly Bukharin was a spinner of wonderful theories but could not analyze a situation coolly and wisely and then act strongly.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 39

If we had not supported Stalin those years, I don’t know what might have happened. But Brezhnev pinned medals on everyone, and persons who cannot be trusted on any account have wormed their way into leading positions. [3-9-86]
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 415

CHUEV: Forty years have passed since World War II. I believe the Brezhnev period slowed us down terribly.
MOLOTOV: He did slow us down, no question about that. Khrushchevism was repeated in the Brezhnev period. This is so. This speaks to the fact that we have many rotten apples within the party itself and much backwardness, ignorance, and undereducation in the country.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 416

Sudoplatov remains a believer in the dream of communism and attributes its fall to the lesser men who followed Stalin.
Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. xiii

PARTY PLAGUED BY FACTIONS WITHIN

At a Politburo meeting Trotsky declared–this was in my presence–that our time was up, that we could no longer retain state power…. It was one of the most critical moments in our history. It was a turning point. We somehow had to make the transition to a new policy, but how were we to do it? We had little economic experience. And the political enemy was within the party. There was not simply one faction, there was Trotskyism, the Workers’ Opposition, Democratic Centralism, and all kinds of national groupings. Stalin played an outstanding role in their defeat.
A dangerous situation was developing in the party. There were two extremes: Trotsky at one end and right-wingers at the other.
Bukharin was promoting a different ideology, one that had nothing to do with looking after the people. He thought that since we had given land to the kulaks, if we now gave land to the middle peasants they too would be revived. But with what could we revive them?
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 126

WOMEN WERE NOT FOUND IN THE OPPOSITION

…it was only natural to expect that there would be some women members of the disloyal Opposition. Why there were not can perhaps be explained by the generalization that women as a sex benefited more than men from the Bolshevik revolution.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 232

OPPOSITION CLAIM THAT A NEW BOURGEOISIE HAD ARISEN IS FALSE

As we have seen, the “joint opposition” platform of 1927 proclaimed the rise of a “new bourgeoisie” in the USSR and, in the succeeding decades, the phrase became general in world anti-Soviet circles. But there was no bourgeoisie in any meaningful sense in the USSR. For there was no economic base for one. What did arise, as does not seem to have been recognized, was a historically new class.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 78

DIFFERENCES WITH THE OPPOSITION IN THE 20’S ARE NOT SMALL

The Opposition. In 1927 took place the massed offensive of the Opposition, all along the line, against the leadership of the Russian Party and of the Communist International….
Of what, exactly, did this Opposition consist? Reference used constantly to be made to it in our part of Europe. It is still quite frequently mentioned, even now. At first sight this Russian phenomenon or, rather, this phenomenon imported from Russia, is quite incomprehensible, except to the initiated. One hears that prominent revolutionaries, militant Socialists of the highest rank, suddenly begin to treat their Party as a foe, and to be treated as foes by it. One sees them suddenly leave the ranks and fight like demons amid torrents of abuse. They are eliminated, excluded, exiled–and all for questions of disagreement on what seem to be negligible shades of difference. One is tempted to conclude that everyone in the land of the New is terribly and fantasticly stubborn.
Not at all. When one goes closely into the matter one sees that what seemed complicated is really quite simple–but that what seemed superficial is really not so at all. It is not a question of shades of meaning, but of the widest possible differences really affecting the whole question of the future.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 157

OPPOSITION SPREADS DOOM AND GLOOM ABOUT THE REVOLUTION’S CHANCES

The Opposition did everything it could to discourage the Revolution and cast over the world (with all the force it could muster) doubt, the specter of ruin, desolation and perdition, and a shadow of decadence and of surrender.
“Shake up our Opposition,” said Stalin, “throw aside its revolutionary phraseology, and you will see that at the bottom of it lies capitulation!”
Trotskyism, which has to some extent spread over the globe, attacking the network of the Communist International, has done everything it could to destroy the work of October. Around Trotsky, all sorts of people from all sides, persons who have been banished, renegades, malcontents, and Anarchists carry on a campaign of systematic detraction and machine-wrecking, a struggle which is exclusively anti-Bolshevik and anti-Soviet, absolutely negative and containing every possible form of treason. All that these turncoats wish to do is to become the grave-diggers of the Russian Revolution.
One is quite justified in considering Trotsky as a counter-revolutionary, although that obviously does not mean that Trotsky harbors all the ideas of middle-class reactionaries against the USSR.
Stalin once said: “The Opposition will end by hurling itself into the arms of the Whites.” Some people were inclined to think that this prophecy went too far and was the result of the fierceness of the struggle. The bloody events of December 1934 have justified it in the most sinister way. Will this be the only justification of it that we shall have?
If the Opposition had won, the Party would have been split in two, and the Revolution would have been in a sorry state. Ordjonikidze wrote: “The triumph of Trotskyism would have meant the ruin of all the constructive plans of the Soviets. The victory of Stalin over Trotsky and over those of the Right is like a fresh success for the October Revolution.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 189-190

MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION ATTACK ONE ANOTHER AS MUCH AS THEY ATTACK STALIN

The opposition groups remained small minorities within the party. Their leaders were motivated mainly by resentment of Stalin’s powering position,… The opposition leaders were, moreover, filled with malice and hatred towards each other. Zinoviev and Kamenev had vied in the virulence of their attacks on Trotsky. Trotsky had never disguised his contempt for his opponents and had been brutally outspoken in attacking them.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 212

The commonest characteristic of these [anti-Soviet] organizations was their disdain or even hatred of each other.

Alexandrov, Victor. The Tukhachevsky Affair. London: Macdonald, 1963, p. 85

MANY IMPORTANT PARTY LEADERS HAD OPPOSED STALIN AND LENIN FOR YEARS

…The alleged members of the Leningrad center were Kotolynov, Rumyantzev, Mendelshtam, Myasnikov, Levshin, Shatsky, Sositzky, and Nikolayev. All these alleged Zinovievists had in fact detested the very name of Zinoviev ever since his declaration of loyalty to Stalin at the 17th Party Congress–but they were all Party members who had taken part in the famous Leningrad Conference of 1926, a Conference unique in Soviet history for having passed a resolution of lack of confidence in the Party Central Committee headed by Stalin.
More surprises were in store for the Party. On December 22nd, 1934 Pravda wrote: “It appears that the assassins, loathsome agents of the class enemy, prostituted scoundrels, declared rogues, cowards and traitors were… the Zinoviev, Kamenev… Bakayev, Kuklin… Evdokimov, Zalutsky… Kotolynov, Rumyantzev… Shatsky, and Tollazov.” THESE WERE ALL VERY IMPORTANT PARTY OFFICERS AND MEN…
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 246

[Footnote]: In 1926 Pyatakov, then on the staff of the Soviet Embassy in Paris, sought to unite the various anti-Stalinist elements expelled from the French Communist Party. In Moscow, Trotsky & Zinoviev were forming the Joint Opposition, and Pyatakov’s task was to create a French counterpart to it. He held meetings with Rosmer, Dunois, Loriot, Souvarine, Monatte, Paz, and others, and initiated the publication of Contre le Courant.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 31

…he [Ivan Smirnov] joined the Trotskyist Opposition as soon as it was formed. He helped to organize it, signed its every declaration, freely voiced extremist views, and was in and out of trouble from as early as 1923. Later he acted as a link between scattered Trotskyist groups and continued openly to support the movement even after Trotsky’s exile. He recanted in the end, though later than others. His apology to Stalin did not save him from arrest. He too confessed at his trial, but with certain important reservations.
Berger, Joseph. Nothing but the Truth. New York, John Day Co. 1971, p. 92

WHAT KINDS OF GROUPS ARE IN THE SUBVERSIVE OPPOSITION

What section of the population in the Soviet Union supported all these groups which based their whole political line on the impossibility of building Socialism in a single country? Obviously, those who did not desire to see Socialism built anywhere–the ex-Tsarist bureaucrat, the bourgeois specialist who hoped for the gradual restoration of capitalism, the urban merchant and shopkeeper, the capitalist peasant, the bourgeois nationalist and the politically degenerate sections of the army. During the years of the open Trotskyist opposition, from 1923 to 1927, those elements lay low and hoped for a Trotskyist victory. They did not mind under what slogans that trickery was achieved. Let the slogans appear to be ever so left, the victory of a group which did not believe in the possibility of realizing Socialism in the Soviet Union meant the victory of the forces of capitalist restoration.
It was when the defeat of Trotsky dashed all their hopes that these counter-revolutionary elements increased their activity enormously. The old bourgeois experts in the mining industry engaged in a course of systematic sabotage which was finally discovered and exposed in the Shakhty trial in 1928. An important group of bourgeois experts and technicians came together in the “Industrial Party,” decided on measures of sabotage and wrecking, established relations with Russian capitalist circles abroad, and prepared for intervention.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 228

After studying archival documents, Broue came to the conclusion that the Trial of Sixteen used certain facts which were actually true. “If we decide to treat the official minutes of the first Moscow trial as a palimpsest, suppressing from them all mention of terrorism,” he writes, “we find the story of a political evolution of political people in a changing but dramatic situation.” The French historian considers the following facts which were mentioned at the trial to be real. After his return from exile Safarov proposed to his comrades in the opposition that they return to a discussion of ways to fight against Stalin (Kamenev’s testimony); in 1931-1932 Zinoviev entered into oppositional contact with Smirnov, Sokolnikov, leaders of the former “Workers Opposition” Shliapnikov and Medvedev and members of the Sten -Lominadze Group (Zinoviev’s testimony); during this period Zinoviev and Kamenev thought that it was possible and necessary “to remove Stalin” (that is, to remove him from the post of general secretary), and also to establish contact with Trotsky (testimony of Zinoviev and Kamenev);…
the anti-Stalinist bloc finally took form in June 1932. After a few months Goltsman passed information to Sedov about the bloc, and then brought back to Moscow Trotsky’s reply about agreeing to collaborate with the bloc.
In relations with Trotsky and Sedov and their co-thinkers in the USSR, the conspiracy was outstandingly maintained. Although the GPU conducted careful surveillance of them, it was unable to uncover any meetings, correspondence or other forms of their contact with Soviet oppositionists. And far from all of the opposition contacts inside the Soviet Union were tracked down. Although there was a series of arrests of participants in illegal opposition groups at the end of 1932 and the beginning of 1933, not a single one of those arrested mentioned negotiations about the creation of a bloc. For this reason several of the participants in these negotiations (Lominadze, Shatskin, Goltsman and others) remained at liberty until 1935-1936. Only after a new wave of arrests following Kirov’s assassination, after interrogations and re-interrogations of dozens of Oppositionists, did Stalin receive information about the 1932 bloc, which served as one of the main reasons for organizing the Great Purge.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 63

STALIN’S OPPONENTS PRACTICED THE VERY SUPPRESSION THEY ACCUSED STALIN OF

On the face of it, the opposition could well have argued that Stalin’s control of, and claim to represent, the Party was based on no higher sanction than success in packing the Party Congresses, that in fact he had no real claim to be regarded as the genuine succession. But the oppositionists themselves had used similar methods in their day, and had never criticized them until a more skilled operator turned the weapon against them.
In 1923, Stalin was already able to attack such arguments from his opponents by pointing out that appeals for democracy came oddly from people like Byeloborodov and Rosengoltz, who had ruled Rostov and the Donetz basin, respectively, in the most authoritarian fashion. Even more to the point, in 1924 Shliapnikov ironically remarked that Trotsky and his followers had all supported the action taken against the Workers’ Opposition at the 10th Party Congress in 1921,so that their claims to stand for Party democracy were hypocritical.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 114

And the Stalinists were able to comment tellingly, as when Mikoyan said, “While Zinoviev is in the majority he is for iron discipline…. When he is in the minority… he is against it.”
When Stalin proceeded to the further step of arresting those responsible for the Trotskyite underground printing press, headed by Mrachkovsky, in 1927, he was again able to refute opposition objections, remarking: “They say that such things are unknown of the Party. This is not true. What about the Myasnikov group? And the Workers’ Truth group? Does not everyone know that comrades Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev themselves supported the arrest of the members of these groups?”
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 115

LEFT AND RIGHT DIFFER ON HOW FAST SOCIALIZATION SHOULD PROCEED

The left Bolsheviks saw the chief danger to socialism in the slow recovery of industry and pressed for rapid industrialization. The right-wing thought the position of socialism to be secure, even if industrialization were to proceed slowly, ‘at a snail’s pace’ as Bukharin put it.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 300

OPPOSITION COMPLAINED THAT THE PARTY WAS NOT HARD ENOUGH

The party had tried to squeeze more out of the workers in factories and mines by rationalizing the process of production. But this was never enough to satisfy the critics on the political left. In their diverse ways the oppositionists,The Democratic Centralists, The Workers’ Opposition, the Left Opposition, the Leningrad Opposition, and the United Opposition,made the Politburo edgy by castigating it for ideological cowardice and betrayal.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 255

BUKHARIN WAS WEAK AND UNBALANCED

Bukharin had a special love of animals. His flat was filled with caged birds, and there were more in his country residence, a simple wooden datcha near Moscow. No greater pleasure could be offered him than the gift of a bird of a species of which he had no specimen. But he was also a sufferer from neurasthenia. His irresolution and infinite softheartedness–he would never have accepted an office in which he must sign death warrants–did not prevent him from suddenly making inflammatory speeches in the party or at meetings of the Politburo and demanding the death penalty. He was obviously weak and unbalanced.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 180

…But both [Bukharin & Zinoviev] were arrogant. Bukharin comported himself with great self-confidence, though he was extremely unstable politically.
…Lenin valued Bukharin, but he placed him last among the three candidates to the Politburo, after me and Kalinin…. I have said that Bukharin was very muddleheaded. Not only Lenin but others too recognized this.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 116

I didn’t take part in the early years, but after 1921, after the transition to the NEP, I sat almost next to Trotsky at the Politburo. I sat next to Lenin, with Trotsky in front of me. Trotsky was the first and constant opponent of Lenin. But he was flexible at that time and worked as part of the team. That’s why Lenin still valued him. But after Lenin, of the four Politburo members only Stalin remained. Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev deviated. And Bukharin, the third candidate to the Politburo, also deviated…. You see, he [Lenin] used to say that Bukharin was a wonderful person, a party favorite, but he was devilishly unstable in politics. In politics! And politics was the most important thing! Struggle was everywhere, relentless struggle. We were pressed first from one side, then from another.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 125

BUKHARIN OPPOSED STALIN’S MAJOR PROGRAMS

Neither of these two leaders [Bukharin and Rykov] could agree with the radical policy which Stalin had introduced in 1928; it was against their whole mentality and temperament…. Moreover, Bukharin was one of those who did not believe in the possibility of establishing a socialist economic system in the Soviet Union with capitalism still ruling in the rest of the world. He was also against accelerated industrialization, and especially against agricultural collectivization and the persecution of the big farmers.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 181

Regardless of his intentions, Bukharin’s platform, like Trotsky’s earlier, would have undermined the construction of socialism. If the NEP had continued for “many decades,” capitalism would have become dominant. Without industrialization the Soviet Union would, as Stalin said and subsequent events demonstrated, have been crushed in war; the continuation of individual farms, with their kulak “nests,” would in time have undermined proletarian rule. When we examine the platforms of Trotsky & Bukharin, the strength of Stalin, with his stubborn practicality and firm socialist perspective, becomes increasingly obvious.
Once again, Stalin, as General Secretary, gave the answer of the majority of the Central Committee to the new opposition:
“Those who support Comrade Bukharin’s group hope to persuade the class enemy that he should voluntarily forgo his interests and voluntarily surrender his grain surplus. They hope that the kulak, who has grown, who is able to avoid giving grain by offering other products in its place and who conceals his grain surplus, they hope that this same kulak will give us his grain surplus voluntarily at our collection prices. Have they lost their senses? Is it not obvious that they do not understand the mechanism of the class struggle, that they do not know what classes mean? Do they know with what derision the kulak’s treat our people and the Soviet Government at village meetings called to assist the grain collections? Have they heard of facts like this, for instance: one of our agitators in Kazakhstan for two hours tried to persuade the holders of grain to surrender that grain for supplying the country. At the end of the talk a kulak stepped forth with his pipe in his mouth and said: “Do us a little dance, young fellow, and I will let you have a couple of poods of grain”…. Try to persuade people like that. Class is class, comrades. You cannot get away from that truth.”
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 63

Stalin and Bukharin differed profoundly over many aspects of socialism. Bukharin wanted to go slowly with the peasants, and delay the ending of the NEP; he was against subordinating the interests of the working-class movements in other countries to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; he also held that the Revolution need not take place everywhere by armed uprising and force…. Stalin believed his socialism should be the pattern for all countries; Bukharin did not. Stalin wanted more and more centralization of power in the USSR “in the name of world Revolution”; but Bukharin’s views were diametrically opposed to his on this point.
Stalin…made it extremely difficult for Buryto to put forward their program; nevertheless they succeeded in publishing its main points: (1) Not to end NEP but to continue it for at least ten years; (2) to limit the compulsory sale of farm produce to the State and allow free market prices; (3) To curtail the State monopoly of trade; (4) While pursuing industrialization, to remember that the Revolution was made for the ordinary man, and that, therefore, far more energy must be given to light industry–socialism is made by happy, well-fed men, not starving beggars; (5) To halt the compulsory collectivization of agriculture and the destruction of kulaks.
Tokaev, Grigori. Comrade X. London: Harvill Press, 1956, p. 86

Stalin and Bukharin clashed every time they met.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 261

BUKHARIN OPPOSED THE IDEA OF SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY

There was therefore formed, under Bukharin’s and Rykov’s leadership, a small opposition group, which became known as the Right-wing Opposition…. The party congress had long-ago raised the formula ‘It is possible to build up Socialism even in a single country’ to a principal of the party which no one must question. Bukharin and Rykov had questioned it; they were therefore undeniably heretics.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 182

STALIN ATTACKS BUKHARIN WITH VICIOUS WORDS

In a letter of June 8, 1929, Voroshilov said to Ordzhonikidze, “At the last of Politburo meeting, a rather nasty affair broke out between Bukharin and me. The Chinese affair was being discussed. Some favored a demonstration of military force on the Manchurian border. Bukharin spoke out sharply against this. In my speech I mentioned that at one time Bukharin had identified the Chinese revolution with ours to such an extent that the ruin of the Chinese revolution was equivalent to our ruin. Bukharin said in reply that we have all said different things at different times, but only you, Voroshilov alone, had advocated support for Feng & Chiang Kai-shek, who are presently slaughtering workers. This unpardonable nonsense [against you] so infuriated me that I lost my self-control and blurted out in Bukharin’s face, ‘you liar, bastard, I’ll punch you in the face,’ and other such nonsense and all in front of a large number of people. Bukharin is trash and is capable of telling the most vile fabrications straight to your face, putting an especially innocent and disgustingly holy expression on his everlasting Jesuitical countenance; this is now clear to me, but still, I did not behave properly.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 149

In a September 16, 1926, letter to Molotov Stalin said, “Bukharin is a swine and perhaps worse than a swine because he considers it beneath his dignity to write even two lines about his impressions of Germany.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 127

In an August 21, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “You’re right when you say that Bukharin is going downhill. It’s sad but a fact. What can you say?–it must be ‘fate.’ It’s strange, though, that he hopes to trick the party with petty, underhanded ‘maneuvers.’ He is a typical representative of the spineless, effete intelligent in politics, leaning in the direction of a Kadet lawyer. The hell with him….”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 168

In an August 23, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “Just as I thought, Bukharin has slid into the swamp of opportunism and must now resort to gossip, forgery, and blackmail: he doesn’t have any other arguments left. Talk of ‘documents’ and ‘land nationalization’ and so forth is the fraud of a petty lawyer who has gone bankrupt in his ‘practice.’ If his disagreements with the present Central committee are explainable in terms of Stalin’s ‘personality,’ then how does one explain his disagreements with the Central Committee when Lenin lived? Lenin’s ‘personality’? But why does he praise Lenin so much now, after his death? Isn’t it for the same reason that all renegades like Trotsky praise Lenin (after his death!)?”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 173

In a letter around September 15, 1930, Stalin said to Molotov, “It is very good that the Politburo has opened fire on Rykov & Co. Although Bukharin, so it seems, is invisible in this matter, he is undoubtedly the key instigator and rabble-rouser against the party. It is quite clear that he would feel better in a Sukhanov-Kondratiev party, where he (Bukharin) would be on the “extreme left,’ than in the Communist Party, where he can only be a rotten defeatist and a pathetic opportunist.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 216

[In a letter to Kaganovich on 30 August 1931 Stalin stated] I read Bukharin’s speech (the transcript). It is an empty, non-Bolshevik speech that is out of touch with real life. At the same time, it is and an inept, amateurish attempt to “outline” a platform for the former rightists against the Central Committee of the All-Union of the Communist Party with regard to a host of economic issues and worker supply. A strange person, this Comrade Bukharin! Why did he have to put on this act?
Shabad, Steven, trans. The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence, 1931-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c2003, p. 69

BUKHARIN IS A SPLITTER

On August 13, 1929, the Politburo passed the following resolution by voice vote. “The two recent letters from Comrade Bukharin of July 22, 1929, addressed to the Central Committee, testify that Comrade Bukharin continues to use the method of struggle with the party and its Central Committee chosen by him of late, making indirect sorties against decisions of the Central Committee…and permitting himself further masked attacks on the party line in speeches and articles…. Furthermore, each time the party catches Comrade Bukharin at this, he squirms out of a direct answer and an admission of his mistakes and in reality covers them up….
Thus, instead of helping to mobilize the broad masses of workers under the Communist banner of the working class, in this speech, Comrade Bukharin completely violates the Marxist method of dialectics; furthermore, he continues to struggle against the party leadership…. he is using any excuse to continue the battle against the party’s policy.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 154-155

BUKHARIN WAS BECOMING A SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT LIKE THOSE IN THE WEST

… Stalin aimed at one-party dictatorship and complete centralization. Bukharin envisaged several parties and even nationalist parties, and stood for the maximum of decentralization. He was also in favor of vesting authority in the various constituent republics and thought that the more important of these should even control their own foreign relations. By 1936, Bukharin was approaching the social democratic standpoint of the left-wing socialists of the West.

Tokaev, Grigori. Comrade X. London: Harvill Press,1956, p. 43

DZERSHINSKY ACCUSES BUKHARIN OF BEING OPPOSED TO THE GPU

[Letter from Bukharin, editor of Pravda, to Dzerzhinsky, December 1924 on the necessity for more liberal policies]

I was not at the last meeting of the executive group. I heard that you, by the way, said there that I and Sokolnikov are “against the GPU” etc.

Koenker and Bachman, Eds. Revelations from the Russian Archives. Washington: Library of Congress, 1997, p. 18

DESPITE HIS OPPOSITION BUKHARIN RETAINED HIGH POSITIONS

[In 1931 Tokaev said] Had they forgotten that, though dropped from the Politburo and the Comintern, Bukharin had still been re-elected to the Central Committee? Had they forgotten that he was Deputy-Commissar of the People for Heavy Industry?
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 149

In the first half of the 1930s neither Bukharin nor Rykov was charged with underground or anti-Soviet activities. References to “Bukharin’s group” would be made again and again at the political trials of 1936 and 1937, which were engineered by Stalin and his close aides. During public court hearings some of the accused would “suddenly” testify that Bukharin and Rykov had played a role in “counter-revolutionary centers” headed by Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Pyatakov.
The political accusations against Bukharin were picked up by the press. There appeared stories against “enemies in the people,” which referred to Bukharin as a “counter-revolutionary figure.” In the meantime, he remained editor-in-chief of Izvestia, and a candidate member of the Central Committee.
Bukharin joined the Bolshevik party in 1906, from 1917 to 1934 he was a member of the party’s Central Committee, and in 1934-1937 was a candidate member of the Central Committee. For 10 years he worked in the Central Committee’s Politburo (in 1919-1923 as an alternate member, and in 1924-1929 as a full member). For years he was the editor of Pravda, and in the last years of his life he was the editor of Izvestia. For a number of years he headed the Executive Committee of the Communist international. He was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
Political Archives of the Soviet Union (Vol. 1, No. 2) Commack, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 1990, p. 148

STALIN AND BUKHARIN WERE CLOSE FRIENDS FOR YEARS

From 1927, at Stalin’s insistence Bukharin lived in the Kremlin, and after the death of Stalin’s wife they even exchanged apartments, because, Stalin explained, he wished to escape the constant reminder of that fateful night. Bukharin, being a sensitive person, cherished his feelings of friendship, decency, and sincerity in their relationship. They always addressed each other in the familiar ‘ty’ form. Stalin always called Bukharin ‘Nikolai’ and Bukharin always addressed the General Secretary by his old revolutionary nickname ‘Koba’. In the period 1924 to 1928 Stalin listened attentively to Bukharin’s views, frequently asserting in public ‘that Lenin rated his theoretical mind highly’ and that the party treasured his native abilities.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 174

STALIN PROTECTED BUKHARIN FROM LEFTIST ATTACKS IN THE 1920’S

From 1925 to 1927 Stalin and Bukharin were the most influential figures in the party. And it was Bukharin who in effect helped Stalin in his conflict with Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev, even though he tried at the same time to remain loyal to them. With their departure from the Politburo, Stalin’s and Bukharin’s influence over current and strategic issues rose noticeably. It had not been long before that Stalin turned angrily on the oppositionists who were attacking Bukharin, with, “So, you want Bukharin’s blood? We won’t give you his blood, and you’d better know it!”
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 179

BUKHARIN CALLS STALIN A GENGHIS KHAN AND CRITICIZES HIM

[Around 1930] Frightening news again from the countryside. Bukharin has called Koba a Genghis Khan.
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 115

Anna…married Bukharin, and they lived in the Kremlin in an apartment that Stalin had abandoned after his wife committed suicide. Bukharin soon admitted to his bride that for the past few years he had considered Stalin a monster bent on destroying the Party of Lenin and ruling through sheer force of terror and personality.
Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 65

He [Stalin] is the new Genghis Khan. He will slaughter us all.–Bukharin, 1928.
Overy, R. J. Russia’s War: Blood Upon the Snow. New York: TV Books, c1997, p. 19

Other things in the “Transcript” [transcript of Bukharin’s conversation with Kamenev on January 20, 1929] also strike me as completely realistic: for example, when Bukharin is quoted as saying, ” What can you do when you are dealing with an opponent like this Genghis Khan?”
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 117

On January 30, 1929, 10 days after the publication of the “Transcript,” Bukharin sent an explanation of his sharp pronouncements about Stalin to the Central Committee. This statement became known as Bukharin’s platform. In it, he assailed the general secretary’s policies as synonymous with a military and feudal exploitation of the peasantry, with the disintegration of the Comintern, and with the installation of bureaucratism in the Party.
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 120

Set off by quotation marks, the phrase “caused the country to argue with the muzhik” was indeed Bukharin’s. So, too, was “had driven the country into a blind alley,” which should also have been put in quotation marks. But these phrases, which dated from 1928, were widely known.
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 259

In 1928 he [Bukharin] said to Kirov, “He [Stalin] will strangle us. He is an unprincipled intriguer who subordinates everything to his appetite for power.
Richardson, Rosamond. Stalin’s Shadow. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994, p. 83

BUKHARIN IS EXPELLED FROM 3 MAJOR POSITIONS IN 1929

[In the Introduction Stephen Cohen states]: In late 1929, the new Stalinist majority stripped him [Bukharin] of all his leadership positions–member of the Politburo, editor of the Party’s newspaper Pravda, and head of the Moscow-based Communist International.
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 16

STALIN REPEATEDLY SHOWED HIS FRIENDSHIP TOWARD BUKHARIN

Yet, simultaneously, Stalin “petted” my husband. In the spring of 1935, at a banquet for graduates of the military academies, he gave this toast: “Let us drink, comrades, to Bukharin, and let bygones be bygones!” The toast was considered a sincere expression of Stalin’s attitude toward Bukharin.
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 64

To take another example, Stalin phoned in the summer of 1934 to congratulate Nikolai on a speech about poetry he had given at the First Congress of Soviet Writers. Stalin was especially pleased by Bukharin’s analysis that the poet Bedny was in danger of falling behind the times. Another time, Stalin phoned in the dead of night, waking us up. When I went to the telephone, I heard three words: “Stalin. Call Nikolai!” Nikolai said to me, ” More trouble again,” and uneasily took the receiver. But there was no trouble. Stalin, not sober,” had called to which us well on our marriage. “Nikolai, I congratulate you! You outspit me this time, too!” Nikolai did not ask about the phrase “this time, too,” but did want to know how he had “outspit” Stalin, who replied, “A good wife, a beautiful wife, a young one… younger than my Nadya!” This is the way he talked, even though by then she was no longer among the living.
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 65

BUKHARIN AND TROTSKY OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM

Once more Bucharin, Trotsky, and others reflected the doubts and fears concerning the new era. Bucharin wanted to dispose of the state monopoly of foreign trade and to allow Western capitalism to satisfy the demand for consumer and industrial goods more freely. Trotsky was in favor of starting an economic drive against the peasants as a means of ending what was called the “scissors crisis” — the widening gap between industrial and agricultural prices.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 149

BUKHARIN, RYKOV, AND TOMSKY WENT TO TROTSKY’S SIDE

The Bolsheviks set a tremendous pace. Soon it proved too much for Rykov, Bucharin, Tomsky, and others, and they passed into Trotsky’s camp. New leaders came up to the side of Stalin, leaders of a new type: Kaganovich, Kubishev, Kirov, all most able organizers and administrators, all passionately convinced that socialism in one country was possible.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 161

The Buryto group was formed because Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky were the only members of the Politburo to vote against Trotsky’s banishment in 1928.
Tokaev, Grigori. Comrade X. London: Harvill Press,1956, p. 85

Trotsky was assisted in his fight against Lenin and the Party by Bukharin. With Preobrazhensky, Serebryakov and Sokolnikov, Bukharin formed a “buffer” group. This group defended and shielded the Trotskyites, the most vicious of all factionalists. Lenin said that Bukharin’s behavior was the “acme of ideological depravity.”
Commission of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. (B.), Ed. History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks): Short Course. Moscow: FLPH, 1939, p. 253

BUKHARIN SWITCHES FROM LEFT TO RIGHT LEADER

Footnote: Bucharin had called himself a “Left Communist”; now, after Trotsky’s debacle, he began to formulate the principles of what was soon to be publicly known as the Right Opposition.
Behind the scenes, Bucharin formulated the real program of the Right Opposition at conspiratorial meetings with Trotsky’s representatives, and with agents of the other underground organizations.
Trotsky at first resented Bucharin’s assumption of leadership of the movement he had initiated; but, after a brief period of rivalry and even feuding, the differences were reconciled. The public and “legal” phase of the Right Opposition lasted until November 1929 when a plenum of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party declared that the propaganda of the views of the Rights was incompatible with membership in the Party. Bucharin, Rykov, and Tomsky were removed from their high official positions.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 207-208

Bukharin was a left-winger during the Brest Peace and afterward turned to the right.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 119

Only one member of the Politburo, Bukharin, openly backed the Georgian and Ukrainian oppositions.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; a Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 255

KAMENEV WAS TOO OFTEN A MENSHEVIK

Kamenev, who in all crises proved himself more a Menshevik and than a Bolshevik,
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 88

Kamenev was a rightist, a typical 100 percent rightist. Sometimes he concealed this, but most of the time he spoke quite openly. And against Lenin, too…. But Lenin never trusted Zinoviev…and he was extremely unsteady. Lenin kept correcting him, putting him in his place….
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 106

STALIN OFTEN OPPOSED KAMENEV IN THE PAST

In the summer of 1915 Comrade Stalin managed to attend a large meeting of exiled Bolsheviks in the village of Monastyrskoye in Turukhansk…. Comrade Stalin at this meeting denounced Kamenev’s despicable conduct at the trial of the Bolshevik Duma group.
Yaroslavsky, Emelian. Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. Moscow: FLPH, 1940, p. 79

ZINOVIEV AND KAMENEV BEGIN LEFT OPPOSITION AGAINST STALIN AFTER TROTSKY’S DEFEAT

Almost immediately after the defeat of the Trotskyist Left Opposition there arose a “new,” or ” Leningrad,” Opposition headed by Zinoviev and Kamenev, about whom I shall speak briefly.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 136

ZINOVIEV AND KAMENEV TRY TO TAKE OVER THE PARTY AFTER SPLIT WITH STALIN

The majority of the Politburo did not support Zinoviev and Kamenev. Nevertheless, they continued to argue their views, mainly in the Leningrad press. The party apparatus of Leningrad and the northern regions was almost entirely handpicked by Zinoviev from among his close supporters; not surprisingly, then, the Leningrad press spoke up strongly in support of his position. All of Stalin’s efforts to penetrate the Leningrad party apparatus with his own supporters were fruitless. The result was a phenomenon quite unusual in Soviet life: an open polemic between two units of the party, the Moscow committee and the Leningrad committee.

The Fourteenth Party Congress was held at the end of December 1925. Before the Congress Stalin proposed a compromise to Zinoviev but on the condition that the Leningrad party organization be under Central Committee control and cease to be under Zinoviev’s personal command. Zinoviev refused. But he did try to obtain guarantees that after the congress no repressive measures would be taken against members of this so-called “New Opposition” as long as they ceased any open oppositional activity. Stalin refused to give any such guarantees. Thus he provoked the New Opposition into presenting its platform directly to the party congress, although it had no chance of success. Zinoviev was a sufficiently experienced apparatchik to understand the situation; yet he demanded the right to present a minority report at the congress. The request was granted….

As was expected, the New Opposition suffered a complete defeat at the congress. The resolution based on Stalin’s report for the Central Committee was adopted by 559 votes to 65. In 1925 the party rejected Zinoviev and Kamenev’s claims to leadership of the Central Committee just as it had rejected similar attempts by Trotsky in 1924.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 151-154

TROTSKY AND ZINOVIEV UNITE AND FORGIVE EACH OTHER

Not surprisingly the unification of these two groups [the Trotskyites and Zinovievites] in the party was accompanied by a mutual pardoning of sins.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 158

In May 1931 Sedov met in Berlin with Ivan N. Smirnov, a Civil War commander, close friend of Trotsky’s, and former leading oppositionist. At the time of the meeting, he headed the important Gorky auto factory. According to Broue, negotiations began in June 1932 among dissidents inside the USSR with the object of forming a bloc. In October, a Soviet official named Holtzman, a former Trotskyist, also conferred with Sedov in Berlin and gave him a secret government memorandum on economic conditions in the USSR. It appeared the next month in Bulletin of the Opposition, an emigre socialist journal.

Holtzman also brought Sedov a proposal from Smirnov. Supposedly Smirnov had broken with Trotsky in the late 1920s, but he now proposed that a united opposition, to include Trotskyites, Zinovievites, and others, be formed inside the Soviet Union. Trotsky was excited by the prospect but cautious about his followers’ participation in the bloc. It could be only a loose coalition, not a merger of groups against Stalin.

Thurston, Robert. Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996, p. 25

KAMENEV PROPOSES STATE CAPITALISM OVER SOCIALISM IN 1925

[In 1925] another debate began to rage round the question of whether the Soviet industrial enterprises should be “rigorously Socialistic” in complexion. Kamenev used the phrase “State Capitalism”, carrying his mischievous argument so far as actually to propose that the workers should be given a share in the profits of State enterprises.
Barmine, Alexandre. Memoirs of a Soviet Diplomat. London: L. Dickson limited,1938, p. 216

ZINOVIEV’S AIDE CAUSES TROUBLE IN THE MILITARY

The most delicate issue of all was the opposition’s behavior in the army. After Frunze’s death, Voroshilov was appointed Commissar of War, as if to crown the revenge of the Tsaritsyn group on Trotsky. But Lashevich, Zinoviev’s friend and supporter, was still Voroshilov’s deputy. Unlike the opposition of 1924, the present opposition, after much hesitation, began to carry the struggle into the armed forces. In July 1926 Stalin exposed before the Central Committee Lashevich’s doings, the semi-secret organization of the sympathizers of the opposition among the military. This was a shattering blow for the opposition. Lashevich was dismissed from his military post and expelled from the Central Committee. Zinoviev, his protector, lost his seat on the Politburo.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 308

ZINOVIEV BECAME THE LEADER OF THE SPLITTERS

In a June 25, 1926, letter to Molotov, Rykov, Bukharin, and other friends, Stalin said, “Before the appearance of the Zinoviev group, those with oppositional tendencies (Trotsky, the workers opposition, and others) behaved more or less loyally and were more or less tolerable; with the appearance of the Zinoviev group, those with oppositional tendencies began to grow arrogant and break the abounds of loyalty; the Zinoviev group became the mentor of everyone in the opposition who was for splitting the party; in effect it has become the leader of the splitting tendencies in the party.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 115

STALIN ATTACKS ZINOVIEV’S WRITING

On July 11, 1927, Stalin sent a letter to Molotov stating, “I received Zinoviev’s article ‘The contours of the Coming War. Are you really going to publish this ignorant piece of trash? I am decidedly against publication.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 143

In a September 9, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “Besides, I resolutely protest against the fact that, despite the Politburo resolution, Zinoviev has become one of the permanent staff members (and directors?) of Pravda. Can’t an end be put to this outrage?”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 178

As to Zinoviev and Kamenev, I [Stalin] despise them for lack of principle in their tactics. I know that they have directed their supporters to dissimulate in order to remain in the Party, and to go for me in the event of international complications. These are the tactics of treachery; we shall have to strike first, before they can carry into effect their plan of treason….”
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 56

SOME POLIBURO MEMBERS WERE KEPT OUT OF THE LOOP

As far as I know, no one has written about this, but in fact each member of the Politburo was backed by his own coterie. Even under Lenin. Lenin suggested convening Politburo meetings without Trotsky. We reached an agreement against Trotsky. And a year or two later we were meeting without Zinoviev and Kamenev. Later without Bukharin, Tomsky, and Rykov. They remained in the Politburo, but we didn’t keep them informed, of course.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 121

KRUPSKAYA EVENTUALLY SUPPORTED THE PARTY LINE AFTER LENIN’S DEATH

These remarks [by Krupskaya] were made from the floor. Krupskaya was becoming Trotsky’s comrade-in-arms; she was switching to Trotskyist rails…. After Lenin’s death she in fact spoke out briefly against him [Bukharin]. But later she began supporting the party line and the trials of the Trotskyists and right-wingers as well. Krupskaya followed Lenin all her life, before and after the Revolution. But she understood nothing about politics. Nothing. In 1925 she became confused and followed Zinoviev. And Zinoviev took an anti-Leninist position.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 131

SOME TROTS STAYED IN HIGH POSITIONS EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE KNOWN AS TROTS

From 1921-23 he [0sinsky] was deputy commissar of agriculture. He supported Trotsky in 1923. He was made Gosplan president in 1925. The 1926-28 he directed the Central Statistical Administration, and in 1929 he was deputy chairman of the Supreme Council on National Economy. The Tenth, and Fourteenth through Seventeenth Congresses made him a candidate Central Committee member. 0sinsky objected violently, at the Eighth Party Congress of March 1919, to the Politburo’s decision-making powers, pointing out that it made the other members of the Central Committee “second-rate.”
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 252

He [Pyatakov] co-authored the Trotsky opposition from 1923-27, was expelled from the Party by the 15th Congress, then readmitted in 1929 as director of the State Bank. From 1930-36 he was Ordjonikidze’s deputy commissar of Heavy Industry.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 251

From 1922-27 he [Drobnis] chaired the RSFSR Small Council for Peoples’ Commissars but was expelled from the CP for Trotskyism by the 15th Party Congress. He recanted and was reinstated in 1929, but was accused of Trotskyist sabotage and executed in 1937.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 253

In September 1930 he [Stalin] wrote to Molotov:
“Careful surveillance needs to be maintained for a while over Pyatakov, that genuinely rightist Trotskyist (a second Sokolnikov) who now represents the most harmful element in the composition of the block of Rykov-Pyatakov”
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 279

SOME ZINOVIEVISTS RECANT

There had been very few capitulations among the deportees. One notorious case was that of Safarov, the former leader of the Komsomol who had signed a formula of recantation and was recalled to Moscow. However, Safarov’s case was exceptional in that he was not a Trotskyist. He had belonged to Zinoviev’s faction but had at first refused to capitulate with his leader, had gone with the Trotskyists into exile, and only then, on second thoughts, capitulated.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 411

KRUPSKAYA WAS A SPLITTER ALSO

In a September 16, 1926, letter to Molotov Stalin said, “Krupskaya is a splitter (see her speech about “ Stockholm’ at the 14th Congress). She has to be beaten, as a splitter, if we want to preserve the unity of the party.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 127

TROTSKY’S SUPPORTERS DO FAKE RECANTATION

Trotsky’s supporters in Russia paid lip service to the victorious majority, and many of them were restored to posts of high importance, but in spirit they remained loyal to their exiled leader and were ready to do his bidding when the occasion should arise.
Duranty, Walter. The Kremlin and the People. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., 1941, p. 73

A large number of Trotskyists were also re-integrated, including Preobrazhensky and Radek.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 135 [p. 116 on the NET]

In September 1928, Kamenev contacted some Trotskyists, asking them to rejoin the Party and to wait `till the crisis matures’.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 135-136 [p. 117 on the NET]

Just as the July 1928 plenum was taking place, about 40 Left Oppositionists, including Kamenev, were readmitted to the party and returned to Moscow.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 198

Trotsky and Rakovsky were unrepentant and unyielding. Zinoviev, Radek, Pyatakov, Sokolnikov, Smilga, and host of others were goaded on ‘to sin in loving virtue’. Throughout 1928 and 1929 there was a steady traffic of ‘repenting’ members of the opposition from their places of exile to Moscow.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 316

In April 1926, Evdokimov the only Zinovievite on the Secretariat, was removed. In July, Zinoviev was expelled from the Politburo, being replaced by the Stalinist Rudzutak; in October, Trotsky and Kamenev were expelled in turn. In October, the opposition submitted. Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, Pyatakov, Sokolnikov, and Evdokimov denounced their own offenses, a most striking precedent for the long series of self-denunciations by the oppositionists.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 11

Pyatakov capitulated as early as February 1928. By mid-1929, Krestinsky, Radek, and most of the other “Trotskyites” had petitioned for readmission to the Party. Of the leaders, Rakovsky alone held out (until 1934).
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 17

…Rakovsky and Sosnovsky, the last leading oppositionists in exile, finally made their peace with the regime, giving the war danger as their main motive…. But now he [Rakovsky] was persuaded. He was welcomed back by Kaganovich in person. It was plain that an air of general reconciliation was prevalent.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 30

[Commentary by David Doyle]
Footnote: All three [Serebryakov, Preobrazhensky, and Krestinsky] were supporters of Trotsky and were expelled from the party in 1927 along with most of Lenin’s former closest collaborators. Serebryakov was exiled to Siberia in 1928, capitulated and returned in 1929. He was tried in January 1937 and disappeared, probably shot. [He was openly sentenced to be shot and never disappeared].
…The three were expelled from the Central Committee in 1921 for their sport of Trotsky. In the early 1920s the Troika sent him [Krestinsky] to Berlin as ambassador. In 1927 he was expelled from the Party, but in 1928 was one of the important Party leaders who recanted, his defection being one of the first signs that Trotsky had finally lost to Stalin.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 243

Paradoxically, Stalin viewed with some uneasiness the rush of the capitulators to Moscow, much though he benefited from it. Many thousands of Trotskyists and Zinovievists were now back in and around the party, forming a distinctive milieu. Stalin did not allow a single one of them to occupy any office of political importance. But the administrators, the economists, and the educationists were assigned to posts on all rungs of the government, where they were bound to exercise an influence. Although Stalin could not doubt their zeal for the left course, especially for industrialization, he knew what value to attach to the recantations he had extracted from them. They remained Oppositionists at heart. They considered themselves the wronged pioneers of the left course. They hated him not merely as their persecutor, but as the man who had robbed them of their ideas.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 82

Professions of repentance came pouring in, and Stalin graciously allowed the repentant “leftists” to return from exile. Pyatakov, Smilga, Rakovsky, Beloborodov, and other notables condemned Trotsky and came back into the Party.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 237

The policy of the Soviet government after the hard fights against the opposition in the end of the 1920-ies giving a new chance to all those opposing the socialist construction was not very successful. All these Trotskyists and others belonging to the political right and the so called left within of the party, which had fought the Soviet government, were allowed to keep or got back their highly positioned posts, which caused considerable damage to the Soviet union during the 1930-ies.
Sousa, Mario. The Class Struggle during the Thirties in the Soviet Union, 2001.

TROTSKYITES ARE READMITTED TO PARTY

January 11, 1929–is unlikely that the Trotskyists will be allowed to return or resume office in the near future, save at the price of complete submission. Some of them, including, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Sokolnikov, and Pyatakov, already have submitted and received responsible positions.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 161

If Lenin had been the Caesar of the Soviet Union, then Stalin was becoming its Augustus, it’s “augmenter,” in every respect. Stalin’s building grew and grew. But he could not be blind to the fact that there were still people who refused to believe in this visible, tangible work, and who had more faith in Trotsky’s theses than in the evidence of their eyes.
Even amongst the very men in whom Stalin was a good friend and whom he called to high positions, there were some who had more faith in Trotsky’s word than Stalin’s work. They hindered this work, resisted it, sabotaged. They were called to account and their guilt was established. Stalin pardoned them and reinstated them in important positions.
What must have been Stalin’s thoughts and feelings when he found out that these, his colleagues and friends, despite the patent success of his work, still remained attached to his enemy Trotsky, were intriguing secretly with him and trying to sabotage his own work, the Stalin State, in order to bring back their old leader to the country?
Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937. New York: The Viking Press, 1937, p. 104-105

Some of the disgraced left-wingers, who had been associated with Trotsky, were also in favor of ‘decisive measures’ in the countryside, and supported Stalin. Repentant declarations were submitted by Pyatakov, Krestinsky, Antonov-Ovseyenko, Radek, Preobrazhensky, and others and they were readmitted to the party. Pyatakov became the head of the State Bank and later deputy Commissar for Heavy Industry.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 164

The real situation was quite different. Even at its height, in the mid-1920s, Trotsky had very few supporters in the party. After his deportation some of them remained loyal, but they amounted to only a few hundred at the most. Some felt that Trotsky had long given up fighting for socialism and was conducting a personal vendetta verging on anti-Sovietism. Others condemned Trotskyism and gave up political life altogether. Those whom Stalin ‘forgave’ and permitted to return to Moscow–including Rakovsky, Preobrazhensky, Muralov, Sosnovsky, Smirnov, Boguslavsky and Radek–were given third-rate jobs in the economy and education ministries, but none of them was allowed back into the political fold.
… But he [Stalin] knew that deep in their hearts they were not reconciled, and that to him was a great danger.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 261

As he moved against the right, Stalin continued to strike at the left. In February 1929 Trotsky, who refused to abjure political activity, was expelled from the Soviet Union.
But meanwhile, the shift leftwards had begun to win over most of the more distinguished Bolsheviks who had followed Trotsky. First Pyatakov and Krestinsky, then even the theorist of the left, Preobrazhensky, and a whole range of others almost as well known, such as Radek, made their peace with Stalin and were readmitted to the party. They felt, and in a sense were justified in feeling, that their view had triumphed over the Bukharinites. Zinoviev and most of his followers were also readmitted to the party. Except for Zinoviev, Kamenev and Sokolnikov they were of little weight. But Pyatakovs & Krestinskys had considerable value in the eyes of the second level of the party.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 151

Metigovsky, the director of the Saratov Raion power plant, is glad that Smirnov [expelled from the Party can 1927 for his ties to Trotsky, reinstated in 1930]….
Siegelbaum and Sokolov. Stalinism As a Way of Life. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, c2000, p. 118

An early Trotskyite, he [Smirnov] was arrested, released in 1929, and made people’s commissar of post and telegraph, but he was rearrested in 1933. In 1936 he was a codefendant in the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial and was shot.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 136

SMIRNOV EXPELLED FROM KEY POSITIONS BUT NOT PARTY

In the end, Smirnov was expelled from the Central Committee and Orgburo but was allowed to remain in the party, with the warning that his continued membership depended on his future behavior.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 101

STALIN SAYS THE LEFT OPPOSITION IS AS RIGHT AS THE RIGHTISTS

During the course of the struggle against Bukharin, Stalin insightfully discussed the difference between “Rights”–Bukharinites–and “Lefts”–Trotskyists–using as an example the building of the great Dnieprostroy dam. He said, “If, for instance, the Rights say, ‘It is a mistake to build Dnieprostroy,’ while the ‘Lefts,’ on the contrary say, ‘What is the good of one Dnieprostroy? Give us a Dnieprostroy every year’ (laughter), it must be admitted that there is some difference between them.” Yet either way they would end up with no Dnieprostroy. “But,” Stalin continued, “if the Trotskyist deviation is a ‘Left’ deviation, does that not mean that the ‘Lefts’ are more Left than the Leninists? No, it does not. Leninism is the most Left (without quotation marks) tendency in the world working-class movement.” In a later succinct comment he noted the basic identity of the right and the “left”: “The ‘lefts’ are in fact Rights who mask their Rightness by Left phrases.”
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 65

Zinoviev was immediately removed from the Politburo [in July 1926].
However, a few weeks later, during a ‘stormy’ session of the Politburo, at which many Central Committee members were present, Stalin…insisted that the opposition was a ‘Social Democratic deviation’,…
Next day the Central Committee voted to remove Trotsky from the Politburo and Kamenev from his candidate membership.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 137

TROTSKY AND ZINOVIEV WERE GIVEN ONE LAST CHANCE TO RECANT IN 1927 BUT WOULD NOT

The Plenum of the Central Committee and at the Control Commission, which met in 1927 before the 15th Congress, made a supreme effort with Trotsky & Zinoviev. It asked Trotsky to renounce his theories on the change of government and his calumnies on the “Thermidorian” character of the central power, and to come into unconditional line with the rest of the Party. Trotsky & Zinoviev rejected the possibility thus offered to them of definitely re-establishing peace within the Party. In consequence, they were excluded from the Central Committee, censured, and warned that if they went on they would be expelled from the Party itself.
Trotsky & Zinoviev (the latter being particularly influential at Leningrad where he was President of the Council of the Soviets) went on with the war. They tried to excite the young Communists against the Party. There were more and more secret meetings, secret printing presses and tracts: they seized meeting-places by force and, on November 7th, 1927, for instance, made demonstrations in the streets. At the 15th Congress, a special report was presented on this intense political conspiracy against the central power. This made it abundantly clear that Trotsky and his followers had decided to create a party with a central committee, district committees, and town committees, a technical apparatus with its own funds and its own Press. And the same thing on the international plan, with the object of supplanting the Third International. Orthodox members of the Central Committee were prevented by force from being present at Trotskyist meetings (this was so, for instance, in the case of Jaroslavski and some others, who were “physically” ejected from a meeting at Moscow).
The 15th Congress attempted to clear up this deplorable and dangerous state of affairs, urged Trotsky to dissolve his organizations and, once more, to renounce his bellicose methods which not only overstepped the bounds of what a militant Bolshevik could be allowed to do, but even those of “Soviet loyalty,” and finally, once for all, to put an end to his systematic hostility towards the points of view of the majority. But the counter-proposals of the Trotskyists, signed by 121 people, so far from being conciliatory, accentuated the attacks and the split. Trotsky and his followers were expelled from the Party. Even this decision left a door open, namely the possibility was considered of their being individually taken back into the Party if they would alter their ideas and would adjust their behavior accordingly. This is a long way from the Trotskyist caricature showing Comrade Jaroslavski, president of the Control Commission, as a fierce, bloodthirsty watchdog held in leash by Stalin.
One might be tempted to say: “Has not the Opposition, in any case, been useful in drawing the special attention of the leaders to weak spots and in putting them on their guard against such & such a danger?”
No. In the first place, in principle, self-criticism was an infinitely more efficacious method than a duel to the death for keeping the leaders on the look out.
Again, it is patent that the curve of the regular and gradual achievements of the Soviet State bear no trace whatever of the intervention of the Opposition. The Opposition lost no opportunity for correction; on the contrary, it put obstacles in the way which had to be steered around; and that is one of the reasons why the great rise of the USSR dates from the moment at which the Opposition was reduced to harmlessness. The present leaders of the USSR deserve to be given credit for the fact that since the October Revolution they have not modified their attitudes and their points of view in any particular, and that everything they have done since Lenin has been done according to Lenin, and not according to modifications and counterfeits of Leninism.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 186-187

One of the reasons for the opposition’s defeat was the GPU’s discovery of the opposition’s illegal printshop. Those working at the shop were arrested, along with Mrachkovsky, who was in charge of it. One of those arrested had in the past been a White Guard officer, although at the time of his arrest he was a secret agent for the GPU, as Menzhinsky himself later admitted. The case of the underground print shop and the “White Guard officer” was used to maximum advantage to discredit Trotsky and the opposition. A joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission at the end of October 1927 passed a resolution expelling Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee while allowing them to remain as party members.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 172

The Central Control Commission warned Trotsky and Zinoviev of the consequences of their tactics. The opposition leaders were playing for time, to allow their ideas to penetrate into the masses. Again they executed a tactical retreat, and signed a paper in which they once more surrendered to the bugaboo of party unity. In a sense, it was a legitimate move. For they now openly aimed not at splitting the party, but at dislocating Stalin in taking over his machine. They retreated in order to consolidate their lines and to resume the offensive in the last assault for the coveted prize of absolutist power.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 266

ALL THE TROTS AND ZINOVIEVITES ARE EXPELLED

On December 27, 1927, the Central Committee declared that the opposition had allied itself with anti-Soviet forces and that those who held its positions would be expelled from the Party. All the Trotskyist and Zinovievite leaders were expelled.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 135 [p. 116 on the NET]

… With the support of other party leaders, Stalin secured Zinoviev’s removal from the Politburo in July 1926, followed by Trotsky’s in the following October. Kamenev was relieved of his duties as a candidate member. A Central Committee plenum recognized that further work by Zinoviev in the Comintern was impossible.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 134

… After several Central Committee and Central Control Commission meetings, Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the Central Committee in October 1927, and from the party in the following month, a move ratified by the 15th Party Congress when it met in December of the same year. Among 25 other active members of the opposition expelled from a party at the same time was Kamenev, although he and Zinoviev would later be reinstated and even make declarations of repentance at the 17th Party Congress.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 136

At the next Congress, two years later (December 1927), Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev were expelled from the party.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 144

Only after many delays could he [Stalin], in November 1932 and January 1933, expel some of the malcontents and pronounce a new excommunication on Zinoviev and Kamenev, who were once again banished from Moscow, this time to Siberia. During this, his second deportation, Zinoviev allegedly stated that the greatest mistake of his life, greater even than his opposition to Lenin during the days of the October Revolution, had been his decision to desert Trotsky and to capitulate to Stalin in 1927. Soon thereafter Preobrazhensky, Smirnov, Mrachkovsky, Muralov, Ter-Vaganyan, and many other capitulators were once again expelled and imprisoned;….
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 172

On 9 November, 1927, he [Stalin] requested the Politburo exclude Trotsky and Zinoviev, “guilty of serious infraction of the statutes,” from the party. On 14 November an extraordinary assembly of the Central Committee and the Central Commission of Control confirmed the decision. In December it was ratified by the Pan-Russian Congress of the Party, which at the same time decided to apply the same measure to the active leaders of the opposition: Kamenev, Radek, Preobrazensky, Rakovsky, Pyatakov, L. Smirnov, Mdivani, Lifschitz, Smilga, Sapronov, Boguslavsky, Sarkiss, Drobnis, and V. Smirnov. The excluded members were dismissed from their posts, and those of them who took part in a demonstration on 7 November were deported to the regions of the Volga or the Ural.
Delbars, Yves. The Real Stalin. London, Allen & Unwin, 1951, p. 152

The 15th Party Congress approved the decision of the joint meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission to expel Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Party and resolved on the expulsion of all active members of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites, such as Radek, Preobrazhensky, Rakovsky, Pyatakov, Serebryakov, I Smirnov, Kamenev, Sarkis, Safarov, Lifshitz, Mdivani, Smilga and the whole “Democratic-Centralism” group (Sapronov, V. Smirnov, Boguslavsky, Drobnis and others).
Commission of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. (B.), Ed. History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks): Short Course. Moscow: FLPH, 1939, p. 289

ZINOVIEV AND KAMENEV RECANT

However, in June 1928, several Zinovievites recanted and were re-integrated, as were their leaders Zinoviev, Kamenev and Evdokimov.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 135 [p. 116 on the NET]

Certain groups of oppositionists signed declarations of obedience to the decisions of the Congress and petitioned to be readmitted to membership. Trotsky himself signed several of these petitions but to no avail. Zinoviev and Kamenev petitioned to be readmitted and abjectly recanted, confessing that their opposition views had been antiparty and anti-Leninist. Their conduct was pitiful.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 219

He [Stalin] had no fear of Zinoviev and Kamenev. Their nerve had failed them at the time of the Great October Revolution. Expelled from the party, they had made abject confessions of error and had been readmitted in June 1928….
This applied with special force to those of the left opposition who, following the change in policy, had accepted his leadership. A number of senior members of this faction applied for readmission to the party. It was usually granted and they received minor posts. The first of these capitulators Boldakov, as they were called, was Pyatakov, whom Lenin in his “Testament” described as “a man of indubitably outstanding will and outstanding capacities.” In July 1929 a group, of whom Radek and Preobrazhensky were most senior, applied for readmission.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 240

It is clear that treatment of the opposition was variable. Zinoviev and Kamenev were in bad odor from 1927 to 1929 but were reinstated during the First Five Year Plan. They were arrested and exiled, however, at the end of 1932. At the beginning of 1934 (the time of the 17th Congress) they were welcomed back. They addressed the congress and their articles appeared in Pravda throughout 1934…. They were rearrested and imprisoned in early 1935 in connection with the assassination of Kirov, but were not charged with capital crimes until 1936. It seems, therefore, that the regime was not following any single consistent policy regarding the opposition. It seems safe to assume that the appearance of oppositionists at the 17th Congress represented the ascendancy of the soft line, whereas the jeers they received showed that all were not satisfied with the arrangement.
Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 19

Zinoviev and Kamenev had recanted publicly in the [1927 15th Party] Congress, severing all connection with the Opposition, and making unconditional submission to the majority. That was the beginning of the double game they were to play, consisting of simultaneously denying their own convictions and plotting secretly against the authorities, which eventually it was to bring them to their deaths.
Barmine, Alexandre. Memoirs of a Soviet Diplomat. London: L. Dickson limited,1938, p. 227

In the same month [May 1933], Zinoviev and Kamenev were brought back from Siberia to make another confession of error. Pravda published a piece by Kamenev, condemning his own mistakes and calling on the oppositionists to cease any resistance.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 30

Again denounced, expelled from the Party, and sent into exile in 1932, Zinoviev and Kamenev were readmitted in 1933 on similar but yet more abject self-abasement. Zinoviev wrote to the Central Committee:
“I ask you to believe that I am speaking the truth and nothing but the truth. I ask you to restore me to the ranks of the Party and to give me an opportunity of working for the common cause. I give my word as a revolutionary that I will be the most devoted member of the Party, and will do all I possibly can at least to some extent to atone for my guilt before the Party and its Central Committee.”
And soon afterward, he was allowed to publish an article in Pravda condemning the opposition and praising Stalin’s victories.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 116

And it must be remembered that Kamenev and Zinoviev had more than once in the past, when in conflict with the Central Committee of the Communist Party, “confessed their errors” and by this means succeeded in maintaining themselves in positions from which they could carry out their factional fight against the Party.
Shepherd, W. G. The Moscow Trial. London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1936, p. 7

In 1930, despite having no higher education he [Zinoviev] was made the Rector of Kazan University, and in December 1931 Deputy Chairman of the State Scientific Council. But he kept alive the memory of his earlier closeness to Lenin, and always believed that sooner or later he would return to the pinnacle of power.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 282

In May 1933 Zinoviev and Kamenev once again capitulated and returned from exile. At their first capitulation, in 1927, they had surrendered to Stalinism, but had not gone, and no one expected them to go, on their knees before Stalin’s person. When this was required of them in 1932 they could not yet bring themselves to do it. This, however, was what they did in 1933:….
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 207

The same month [May 1933], Zinoviev and Kamenev, who had been expelled from the party a second time and deported to Siberia after the Ryutin affair, were allowed to return and purge their guilt by a further confession, calling upon former oppositionists to end their resistance. Rakovsky, the Bulgarian veteran revolutionary, the last of the leading Trotskyites to make his peace, and Sosnovsky, another exile, were welcomed back into the fold.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 299

Bukharin became editor of the government’s newspaper Izvestia in 1934; Zinoviev and Kamenev returned to prominence around the same time.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 285

… The Boss had them brought them back to Moscow. The featherbrained coxcomb Zinoviev was given a job on the magazine Bolshevik,
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 298

These endeavors did not go unrewarded. Kamenev, whom Gorky held in high esteem, was received by Stalin for a private talk in which he acknowledged and renounced his former oppositionism. Subsequently he was appointed to a leading post in the Academia publishing house. In the summer of 1933, he, Zinoviev, and number of other former oppositionists were reinstated as party members, making it possible for them to participate in the coming party congress, which was due to open at the end of January 1934.
Tucker, Robert. Stalin in Power: 1929-1941. New York: Norton, 1990, p. 244

Hence, early in the summer of 1933, when it became certain that the harvest would be good, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and a number of other former members of the Opposition were once again readmitted as members of the Party. They were even permitted to choose their spheres of work, and some of them actually received invitations to the Party Congress (February, 1934).
Nicolaevsky, Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite; “The letter of an Old Bolshevik.” New York: Praeger, 1965, p. 34

Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that in 1934, Stalin suddenly became milder, more affable, more yielding; he took pleasure in the society of writers, artists, and painters, in listening to their conversation and in stimulating them to frank discussion….
This mood soon found its reflection in Stalin’s attitude with respect to the former Oppositionists. Particularly significant in this connection was the reinstatement of Bukharin, who had been in disfavor for some years, as editor of Izvestia. More characteristic still was Stalin’s new attitude toward Kamenev. If I am not mistaken, Kamenev had been expelled from the Party three times and had as many times repented. His last sideslip had occurred in the winter of 1932-33, when he was discovered “reading and not reporting” Riutin’s program, a document Stalin hated with particular force. This time it seemed as though Kamenev was in for serious and protracted struggle. But Gorky, who greatly esteemed Kamenev, succeeded in softening Stalin’s heart. He arranged a meeting between Stalin and Kamenev at which Kamenev is said to have made some decoration of love toward Stalin….
No one knows the details of this meeting, which took place in strictest privacy, but its outcome was received with approval in Party circles. Stalin, as he almost publicly declared, had “come to believe Kamenev.” At the interview Kamenev is said to have spoken quite openly of his entire oppositional activity, explaining why he had formerly opposed Stalin and why he had now ceased his opposition. It was said that Kamenev gave Stalin his “word of honor” not to engage in any more oppositional activity. In return he was given wide powers in the management of the Academia publishing house and was promised important political work in the near future.
Nicolaevsky, Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite; “The letter of an Old Bolshevik.” New York: Praeger, 1965, p. 46

IN MID-20’S THE OPPOSITION SWEARS AN OATH OF ALLEGIANCE

The opposition was taken aback by the initial success of the official policy. Zinoviev, Kamenev, Pyatakov, Sokolnikov, Trotsky, and Evdokimov went so far as to sign a declaration on Oct. 16, 1926, which was in effect a confession of defeat and of support for the official policy.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 223

PUNISHMENT OF THE RIGHT OPPOSITION WAS TOO LIGHT

The members of the Right-wing Opposition, however, were not severely dealt with. Rykov had to resign as head of the Government, but remained People’s Commissar for Posts and Telegraphs. Bukharin, too, was not banished from Moscow. After a time he began to write again in newspapers, and later he became once more editor of Pravda.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 184

RIGHTISTS ARE DEFEATED BUT RETAIN HIGH GOVERNMENT POSITIONS

Among Stalin’s concerns in 1929, the struggle with the Bukharin group figured prominently. In spite of the political defeat of the “rightists” in April 1929 at both the plenum of the Central Committee and the 16th Party Conference, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky preserved some authority in the party-state apparat. All of them remained members of the Politburo. In addition, Rykov occupied the high government posts of chairman of the Council of Commissar’s and chairman of the Labor Defense Council.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 148

Addressing a plenary session of the Moscow Committee of the Communist Party on October 19, 1928, Stalin declared, “The victory of the Right Deviation in our party would mean an enormous strengthening of the capitalist elements in our country. And what will a strengthening of the capitalist elements of our country mean? It will mean a weakening of the proletarian dictatorship and increased chances for the reestablishment of capitalism.”
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 79

Although some of the rightists were expelled from the party and its leaders lost their highest positions, Bukharin and his fellow leaders remained members of the Central Committee. They had, after all, played according to the terms of the unwritten gentleman’s agreement not to carry the struggle outside the nomenklatura.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 60

But you must remember that quite a few right-wingers were operating within the NKVD. Yagoda was a right-winger through and through. Yezhov was different. I knew Yezhov very well, much better than Yagoda…. There was a difference, a political one. As concerns Yagoda, he was hostile to the party’s policies. Yezhov had never been hostile, he just overdid it because Stalin demanded greater repression. That was somewhat different. Yezhov had no ulterior motives. The machinery rolled–stop it where? Sort everything out properly? But the sorting out was often done by rightists or even by Trotskyists. Through them we obtained a lot of incriminating materials.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 263

The Politburo knew about what was out in the open. But it was impossible to know everything as long as no opportunity arose to find out. In order to throw some light on this question, let me ask you: what do you consider Khrushchev to have been back then, a rightist, a leftist, or a Leninist, or what? Khrushchev sat on the Politburo under Stalin through the ’40s and the early ’50s. And Mikoyan, too. We purged and we purged, yet it turns out that rightists still sat in the Politburo! Look how complicated all this is! It is impossible to understand this if you judge only by facts and figures and formal criteria. Impossible. There were such profound changes in the country and in the party too, that even given all the vigilance of Stalin to liberate ourselves of Trotskyists and rightist…. Even in Stalin’s time they served continuously in the Politburo, especially the rightists most adaptable and skilled in time-serving. Our rightists, so flexible, so closely and strongly connected with our own dear peasantry, resembled the muzhik in his ability to adapt himself ideologically to every twist and turn. Determining where Trotskyism begins and especially where rightism begins is a most complex subject, most complex.
In many cases the rightists import themselves no worse than genuine Leninists–but up to a point. Like Khrushchev.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 314

As the Five Year Plan began to unfold, a new opposition group arose within the Party, a “right” opposition led by Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky. Unlike Tomsky all were old Bolsheviks; and all belonged to the Central Committee and held high public office. Rykov was Chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissar’s (the equivalent of “Premier”), Tomsky was chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, Bukharin was editor of Pravda and General Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 61

In 1926 Bukharin became General Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 64

At the time (1928-30), the conflict between Bukharin and the Party majority appeared to be an honest disagreement between leading Party members. Bukharin, although removed from the Politburo, retained his seat on the Central Committee and was appointed to the Presidium of the Commissariat of Heavy Industry. In 1934 he was made editor of Izvestia. Rykov, removed as premier, was appointed Peoples Commissar of Posts and Telegraphs; Tomsky, removed from his post in the trade unions, retained his seat on the Central Committee, as did Rykov. All three signed a declaration admitting the errors of their program;
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 65

[In 1928] Bukharin and Tomsky now offered their resignation from the Politburo. Stalin is reported receiving it ‘with trembling hands’, and they were induced to withdraw.
…At the Central Committee plenum in April 1929 he [Stalin] accused the three men [Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky] of dangerous deviations and lack of party discipline. The Central Committee then, finally, removed Bukharin and Tomsky from their posts–editorship of Pravda and chairmanship of the Comintern in Bukharin’s case, leadership of the trade unions in Tomsky’s. It allowed Rykov to remain as head of the government, and demanded that all three remain on the Politburo, and that the matter not be publicized, though Stalin had spoken of Bukharin’s ‘treacherous behavior’.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 150

[Bukharin]… was dismissed from the office of editor-in-chief of Pravda, lost his party rank, and was expelled from the executive of the Communist International.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 293

… So, for example, he [Stalin] allowed Bukharin to assume the editorship of Izvestia after the party congress, and went on making good use of Radek’s journalistic talents and expertise in German affairs.
Tucker, Robert. Stalin in Power: 1929-1941. New York: Norton, 1990, p. 283

Radek became one of the editors of Izvestia, working under Bukharin. The Boss had made Bukharin chief editor of that newspaper, the second most important in the country, and shortly afterward delegated to him the task of drafting a new constitution.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 299

Yezhov presented the main report against these two [Bukharin and Rykov] who, in 1928-29, had led the Right deviation and opposed Stalin’s radical policies of collectivization and rapid industrialization. Since then, both had held responsible state positions and remained candidate Central Committee members.
Chase, William J., Enemies Within the Gates?, translated by Vadim A. Staklo, New Haven: Yale University Press, c2001, p. 217.

WHEN THE RIGHTISTS WERE REMOVED FROM THE POLITBURO

Bukharin was removed from the Politburo in November 1929; Tomsky, in July 1930; and Rykov, in December 1930.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 150

They [the rightists] recanted their “mistakes” in party forums and with good party discipline affirmed their support for Stalin’s line. Although they were removed from the Politburo, they remained on the central committee and were not expelled from the party.
Getty & Naumov, he Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 42

Therefore, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky declared that “the disagreements between us and the majority of the Central Committee have been eliminated.” But even this statement was called “unsatisfactory.” The November 1929 plenum therefore removed Bukharin from the Politburo and issued a warning to Rykov, Tomsky, and Uglanov.
… After the 16th Party Congress Tomsky was removed from the Politburo, and at the December 1930 plenum of the Central Committee Rykov was likewise removed. In 1931 Rykov was replaced by Molotov as chairman of the Sovnarkom and reassigned to the job of people’s commissar of posts and telegraph. Bukharin was appointed leader of the scientific research planning sector of the Supreme Economic Council, and a few years later also became chief editor of Izvestia. The 16th Party Congress again elected Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky to the Central Committee, but after the Seventeenth Congress all three were reduced to the rank of candidate members of the Central Committee.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 206

Stalin’s success in organizational detail now bore fruit. The Rightists were supported in the Central Committee by a mere handful of members. That body meeting in April 1929, condemned the right wing’s views, removed Bukharin from his editorship of Pravda and chairmanship of the Comintern, and dismissed Tomsky from the trade union leadership.
In April, too, the principles of crash industrialization and of collectivization were adopted at the 16th Party Conference. After their views had been condemned, the Rightists submitted. On Nov. 26, 1929 they published a very general recantation of their views on “a series of political and tactical questions.” Bukharin now lost his Politburo post.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 18

Tomsky was removed from the Politburo in July 1930 and Rykov in December. Henceforth, it was purely Stalinist.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 19

RYKOV HAS WRONG POSITIONS

On September 6, 1929, the Politburo passed a resolution by voice vote. “It is easy to see that in an attempt to find at least some sort of principled reason for his erroneous position, Comrade Rykov has, in the end, lost his way completely….
Turning to questions of principle, not only do Comrade Rykov’s claims have nothing in common with Bolshevism, but they are completely identical to the previous attempts by the Trotskyists to see the Central Control Commission and the Central Committee as in opposition.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 158

In a September 30, 1929, letter to Molotov, Voroshilov, and Ordjonikidze Stalin stated, “Did you read Rykov’s speech? In my opinion, it’s the speech of a nonparty soviet bureaucrat pretending to take the tone of a “loyal’ person, “sympathizing’ with the soviets. But not a single word about the party! Not a single word about the right deviation! Not a single word to say that the party’s achievements, which Rykov underhandedly ascribes now to himself, were attained in struggle with the rightists, including Rykov himself! All our officials who give speeches usually consider it their duty to speak about the rightists and to call for struggle against the rightists. But Rykov, it seems, is free from such an obligation! Why?–I might ask–on what basis? How can you tolerate (meaning cover-up as well) this political hypocrisy? Don’t you understand that in tolerating such hypocrisy, you create the illusion that Rykov has separated from the rightists and you thus mislead the party, because everyone can see that Rykov has never had a thought of leaving the rightists? Shouldn’t you give Rykov an alternative: either disassociate openly and honestly from the rightists and conciliators, or lose the right to speak in the name of the Central Committee and Council of Commissars. I think this should be done because it’s the least the Central committee can demand–less than that and the Central Committee ceases to be itself.
I learned that Rykov is still chairing your meetings on Mondays and Thursdays. Is that true? If it’s true, why are you allowing this comedy to go on? Who is it for and for what reason? Can you put an end to this comedy? Isn’t it time?”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 181

In an October 7, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “I read the Politburo resolution about Rykov. A correct resolution! This resolution is binding on us, of course.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 182

[Concluding speech by Kuibyshev at the joint plenum of the CC & CCC December 19, 1930]
…Can ones say that Comrade Rykov, after deviating from the party, has demonstrated the slightest effort to march in step with those who are leading the party ahead? Can one say that in his struggle with a class-alien ideology, which he [himself] once mistakenly preached, Comrade Rykov has demonstrated so much as an iota of the passion necessary for a leader? No, one cannot say any such thing. For this reason, you’re forced to conclude that it is apparently hopeless at the present time to see in Comrade Rykov a steadfast comrade-in-arms in these battles.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 51

RADEK ATTACKED STALIN A LOT

Karl Radek, a well-known and bitingly sarcastic critic of Stalin in the 1920s.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 3

Blumkin is a typical intellectual anarchist…. After he killed Mirbach he began to regard himself as an historic figure. I don’t know why he had such admiration for Trotsky…. At any rate, so shrewd a scoundrel as Radek could not have found it very difficult to provoke so impetuous a revolutionary fool as Blumkin…. He must have put into his head the idea of some act of terrorism. After Mirbach, Stalin. Not a bad formula….
[That’s Stalin’s Foreign Minister?]
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 246

VICTORY OF THE RIGHT IN THE SU WOULD MEAN A CAPITALIST VICTORY

There cannot be the slightest doubt that the triumph of the Right deviation in our Party would release the forces of capitalism, would undermine the revolutionary position of the proletariat and increase the chances for the restoration of capitalism in our country.

Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 147

RADEK AND OTHERS BREAK WITH TROTSKY IN 1929

In June 1929 Radek was on his way back to Moscow under guard to make his peace with Stalin. His train stopped at a station in Siberia, where by chance a group of oppositionists met and spoke with him. Radek urged them to surrender to the Central Committee. He spoke of the difficult situation in the Soviet Union, the shortage of bread, the discontent of the workers, and the threat of peasant revolts. In this situation, Radek said, the opposition should admit that it had been wrong and rally to the party. “We ourselves have driven ourselves into prison and exile,” he argued, and declared: “I have definitely broken with Trotsky–we are political enemies now.” Smilga, Serebryakov, and Smirnov soon broke with Trotsky as well….

Toward the end of 1929 Rakovsky and his group (Sosnovsky, Muralov, Mdivani, etc.) wrote an “Open Letter to the Central Committee,” which although it contained criticism of Stalin’s policies and demanded the return of Trotsky to the USSR, was very conciliatory in its tone. Soon the majority of this group capitulated fully and returned to Moscow, where many of them were given posts recently held by members of the Bukharinist opposition….

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 178-179

RADEK PRAISES STALIN FOR BEING LENIENT AND NOT TAKING REVENGE

To his former associates in the Opposition Radek offered the following explanation of the praise he had lavished on Stalin: “We should be grateful to Stalin. If we [the Opposition] had lived at the time of the French Revolution, we would long ago have been shorter by a head.”

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 316

ORLOV ATTACKS ALL THE RIGHT-WING OPPOSITION LEADERS

Orlov was an engineer employed at an important technical center in Moscow. As soon as he came home in the evening he began to hold forth on political themes, flaying the leaders of the Right-wing Deviation. Rykov was a hypocrite, Tomsky a conspirator, Zinoviev a swine, Kamenev a cynic, Uglanov a blockhead; as for Bukharin–Orlov got so excited that he banged on the table–he was the protector of kulaks and NEP-men, a fox licking up to Stalin while its tail wagged encouragement to Stalin’s enemies.
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 121

RYKOV HELD MANY HIGH POSITIONS

And now [February 1934] came the crowning stroke. Rykov and Bukharin were known as the “peasants’ advocates” and their Right-wing Deviation had been largely a protest against Stalin’s peasant policy. Now Rykov was made People’s Commissar for Communications.
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 283

Rykov joined the party in 1898. At the 3rd Party Congress, in 1905, he was elected to the Central Committee. He was a member of the Central Committee from 1917 to 1937 (a candidate member from 1934 onward). Between 1924 and 1930 he headed the Soviet government. Earlier he had been deputy chairman of the Sovnarkom for several years. From 1922 to 1930 he was a member of the Central Committee’s Politburo.
Political Archives of the Soviet Union (Vol. 1, No. 2) Commack, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 1990, p. 148

RIGHTISTS MORE DANGEROUS AND SUBTLE THAN THE LEFTS LIKE TROTSKY

The open Right Wing did not challenge the Party to a prolonged discussion in the manner of the Trotskyists. But it had in the State apparatus and the trade unions, and, to a lesser extent, in the Communist Party, a volume of support that was more formidable than that of the Trotsky faction, and did not expose itself in open struggle.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 79

RADEK RECANTS, ACCEPTS STALIN’S PROGRAM AND ADVISES TROTSKY TO DO THE SAME

Radek was dismissed from the party and condemned at the same time as Trotsky. While conversing with him on this theme, he said to me: “For 25 years I had been active in the Labor Movement and then I was condemned to exile by the Proletarian Government. Our inner feelings told us that we were being sent into exile because the party was moving towards the Right. But I took half-a-hundred-weight of books with me–all our Socialist works in fact, beginning with Marx. I said to myself that I should study the whole development of Socialism from the start and think over it. On grounds of principle, are we right or are the others? I asked myself. For three months I studied the writings of Marx and Lenin and Stalin and then I recognized that the plan of campaign that was being initiated by our comrades was a magnificent conception for the development of the New State. It reminded me of the second part of Faust. Whereupon I withdrew my objection to Stalin’s plan out of sheer conviction. I agreed to the new line of action and advised Trotsky to do the same.”
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 368

STALIN WANTS PYATAKOV REMOVED YET HE IS LATER MADE THE HEAD OF INDUSTRY

In an August 24, 1930, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “As for Pyatakov, all indications are that he has remained the same as always, that is, a poor, commissar alongside a specialist (or specialists) who are no better. He is a hostage to his bureaucracy. You really get to know people in practice, in daily work, in “trivial’ matters. And here, in the practical matters of financial (and credit!) management, Pyatakov has shown his true colors as a poor commissar alongside poor specialists. And I have to tell you that this type of Communist economic manager is the most harmful for us at this time.
Conclusion: he must be removed. Someone else must be put in his place.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 204

In a September 1930 letter to Molotov Stalin said, “Pyatakov should be watched closely. He is a genuine rightist Trotskyist (another Sokolnikov), and he now represents the most harmful element in the Rykov-Pyatakov bloc….”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 214

After a period of political disfavor because of his Trotskyist sympathies, Pyatakov, whom Lenin, in his political testament, mentioned with Bukharin as one of the more promising among the younger Party members, has made his peace with the Party authorities and received an appointment as head of the State Bank.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 105

While Zinoviev and Kamenev had continued in effect to oppose the Stalin leadership, and had long since been excluded from decent Party society, Pyatakov had been of the greatest service…and had been admitted by him [Stalin] to his latest Central Committee. He was, in addition, under the apparently powerful protection of Ordjonikidze.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 128

As I was listening to him [Stalin] I couldn’t help thinking of the concern he had shown for Pyatakov during his illness in 1931…. He even sent him honey….
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 249

STALIN ATTACKS RIGHTIST GROUPS

In a letter dated October 23, 1930, Stalin said to Molotov, “I’m sending you two reports from Reznikov on Syrtsov’s and Lominadze’s anti-party (essentially right-deviationist) factional group. It’s unimaginable vileness.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 223

FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES BUKHARIN AND TROTSKY KEEP PREDICTING DEFEAT

And Bukharin said, “Enrich yourselves!” …He was just a windbag. According to him, the people were in a situation in which they could do nothing without cooperatives, without collective farms, without industry. How could collective farms operate without machinery and without tractors? Where were the means to enable us to take the levers in hand and raise up the people? There was no machinery; factories had to be built. For some time they would turn out a small number of machines. Many people would lose faith, nothing would come of it! Bukharin said that in one way, and Trotsky said it in another. As for talks with imperialists, I think it was proven beyond a doubt that these occurred….
Trotsky himself was making speeches saying, “Nothing is working!” I really wondered, how could Lenin endure it?
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 127

…[as post-Lenin changes were instituted] the Trotskyist and Bukharinites lost their heads and started to scream “All is lost” or “Save the ship by sailing it into an enemy port.”
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 236

BUKHARIN, RYKOV, AND TOMSKY RECANT AND ACCEPT THE PARTY LINE

In November 1929 a plenary session of the Central Committee removed Bukharin from the Politburo and issued a sharp warning to Rykov, Tomsky, and others as deviators from and would be diverters of the party line. Perhaps after all they were cowardly,… because they all recanted in most abject terms and signed a declaration acknowledging the correctness of the party line.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 162

In the critical conditions in June 1930, the right-wing leaders might have been expected to offer opposition…. But they declared their fervent support for Stalin and the party line. Rykov and Tomsky both made abject confessions before the full Congress that they had been totally wrong, and they pleaded for the party’s forgiveness. Bukharin was absent from the Congress, but he was to abase himself on a later occasion.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 250

Bukharin was not chosen as a delegate to the 16th party congress. Of course he could have attended the Congress as a member of the Central Committee, but he preferred not to take part in the Congress, especially since he was ill at the time…. All the same, the Congress elected not only Rykov and Tomsky but also Bukharin members of the Central Committee.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 319

The whole speech [ by Stalin] was in this vein, lashing out with devastating criticism against Rykov and Tomsky as well as the chief target [Bukharin]. Bukharin and Rykov were removed from their posts, although they remained members of the Politburo….
In November 1929 the party general line on agriculture was confirmed when Stalin wrote that “the peasants are now joining collective farms not in individual groups, as they used to, but as entire villages, groups of villages, districts, and even regions”. Nevertheless, Bukharin was unwilling to “repent”, as he was being asked to do, and on Nov. 17, 1929 he was removed from the Politburo. A week later, however, tormented by pangs of conscience for their own pusillanimity, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky wrote a brief letter to the Central Committee, in which they condemned their own position: “We regard it as our duty to state that the party and its Central Committee have turned out to be right in this dispute. Our views have turned out to be erroneous. Recognizing our errors, we shall conduct a decisive struggle against all deviations from the party’s general line and above all against the right deviation.”
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 183

… Those who had recanted were usually reinstated in the party fairly quickly, and they were given responsible jobs and began publishing their articles again. For instance, Zinoviev and Kamenev, who had been readmitted into the party in June 1928, openly expressed the hope that ‘the party would again require their experience’ no doubt with top posts in mind. Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky were still being dubbed ‘accomplices of the kulaks’ in the press, and yet at the 16th Congress they were elected onto the Central Committee.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 212

After he [Stalin] had finally removed Trotsky from the Russian scene, he hastened to rout the leaders of the right-wing. Rykov was deposed from the Premiership of the Soviet Government, in which he had succeeded Lenin. Tomsky was ousted from the leadership of the trade unions, on the ground that he had used his influence to turn the unions against industrialization. Bukharin was dismissed from the leadership of the Communist International, where he had replaced Zinoviev, as well as from the Politburo. Before the year 1929 was out, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky repudiated their own views and thus bought a few years of spurious breathing space.
It would be easy for the historian to pass unqualified judgment on Stalin if he could assume that in his fight against Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky he pursued only his private ambition. This was not the case. His personal ends were not the only or the most important stakes in the struggle. In the tense months of 1928 and 1929 the whole fate of Soviet Russia hung in the balance.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 316-317

Nov. 17, 1929 Plenum (On the Bukharin Group)
2. Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky, who have now been forced–after the shameful miscarriage of all their predictions–to admit the party’s unquestionable successes and who hypocritically affirm the ‘retraction of all differences’ in their statement, at the same time refuse to admit the erroneousness of the views set forth in their platforms of January 30 and February 9, 1928, which were condemned by the April Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission as ‘incompatible with the general line of the party.’
McNeal, Robert. Resolutions and Decisions of the CPSU–The Stalin Years: 1929-1953. Vol. 3. Toronto, Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1974, p. 39

In April 1929 the Central Committee removed Bukharin from his posts as editor of Pravda and president of the Comintern and Tomsky from his post as chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions. Bukharin’s supporter Uglanov lost his positions as secretary of the Moscow Committee, secretary of the Central Committee, and candidate member of the Politburo. The November 1929, Bukharin was expelled from the Politburo.
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 223

The April 1929 Joint Plenary Meeting condemned the “Bukharin group’s” views “as incompatible with the party’s general line and mostly coinciding with the right-deviation position.” It dismissed Bukharin and Tomsky from their jobs on the Pravda editorial board, the Communist International, and the AUCCTU, but left them on the Central Committee’s Politburo.
… At the November 1929 Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee “Bukharin’s group” made a statement withdrawing their differences with the party, though not directly admitting their previous views to have been wrong. Despite the statement, the Plenary Meeting decided to drop Bukharin from the Central Committee’s Politburo “as the initiator and leader of the right deviators.”
Political Archives of the Soviet Union (Vol. 1, No. 2) Commack, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 1990, p. 147

Bukharin, after being expelled from the Politburo, fired as chief editor of Pravda and removed as secretary of the Comintern Executive Committee, worked from 1930 to the beginning of 1934 in the Commissariats of Heavy Industry.
Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 328

BUKHARIN AND RYKOV RECANT BUT OTHER RIGHTISTS DO NOT

While Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky had abandoned the opposition and publicly associated themselves with the Stalin policies, other rightist oppositions surfaced between 1929 and 1932.

… repression of these new dissidents was immediate but uneven. Some were expelled from the party, but others were merely censured publicly. Thus A. Smirnov was expelled from the Central Committee but not from the party. Lominadze was expelled from the party for short time, but soon was readmitted and appointed the party secretary in charge of the important Magnitogorsk construction project. Although Bukharin and Rykov were criticized for inspiring and knowing of these opposition platforms, they remained members of the Central Committee.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 19

TOMSKY HAD MANY JOBS BESIDES BEING ON THE POLITBURO

Up to 1930 he [Tomsky] had been a member of the Politburo. He had also been head of the Soviet Trade Unions. Latterly he had been chief of the State publishing system, the OGIZ.

Tokaev, Grigori. Comrade X. London: Harvill Press,1956, p. 62

PEOPLE TAKEN OFF THE POLITBURO STILL RETAINED HIGH POSITIONS

… Since 1930, when the Buryto group (Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky) were relieved of their high posts, he [Rykov] had been People’s Commissar of Communications….

Tokaev, Grigori. Comrade X. London: Harvill Press,1956, p. 63

Although a confidential letter of the Central Committee was circulated in early 1935 to warn against the dangers represented by former oppositionists, their repented leaders continued to hold more or less important posts, including membership in the Central Committee, throughout the “verification” and “exchange” of Party cards.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 73

MAJOR OPPOSITION LEADERS RECANT THEIR FACTIONALISM TO RETAIN SOME PARTY POWER

At the same time Stalin set about discrediting the opposition, alleging with dubious evidence that it was not really left-wing, but a right-wing bourgeois deviation. Then the opposition leaders played into his hands. They organized demonstrations in factories, demanding full party discussion of their proposals. This was a flagrant breach of discipline and an affront to party unity. Appalled by their own temerity and recklessness, the six leaders–Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Pyatakov, Sokolnikov, and Evdokimov –confessed their guilt in a public declaration and swore not to pursue factional activity in the future. They also denounced their own left-wing supporters in the Comintern and the Workers’ Opposition group. Apparently their confession was voluntary and an attempt to salve their consciences. They had sought, they admitted naively, only to retain some influence within the party. Their pusillanimous conduct exposed them and their few supporters to reprisals.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 213

At the same time that Rightists were being defeated, a number of left oppositionists were being readmitted to the party. With Stalin’s shift to the left, Radek, Pyatakov, Smirnov, and other Trotskyists recanted their “errors” of 1927 and announced their solidarity with the new policies of the Stalinist apparatus. In fact, until 1935, it was only necessary for an oppositionist to recant to be readmitted to the party. So, beginning in 1929, the former leftists returned from their exiles and rejoined the party. Trotsky, from his lonely exile in Turkey, reacted bitterly to what he considered desertion by his followers. Of the major figures of the United Opposition, only Trotsky and Rakovsky remained in opposition and continued to denounce the policies of the apparatus.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 18

In mid-1928 Zinoviev, Kamenev, and many of their supporters were readmitted to the party and given posts in the government and economic apparatus.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 176

After renouncing their oppositional views, the majority of them directed whole branches of the national economy, large collectives and important structures in the economy and culture of the nation. On the same days when fear, hatred and despair ate away at their souls, they participated in making important decisions about the structure of investments (like Pyatakov), about the publishing plans of an enormous complex (like Tomsky), or about the most crucial diplomatic actions (like Radek).

Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 80

After another month of haggling, on 13 July, Radek, Preobrazhensky, Smilga, and 400 other deportees finely announced their surrender. The advantages that Stalin derived from this were many. No event since Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s capitulation at the 15th Congress, in December 1927, had done so much to bolster Stalin’s prestige. As he was just engaged in a heavy attack on Bukharin’s faction, the disintegration of the Trotskyist Opposition relieved him of the need to fight on two fronts simultaneously. Trotsky had often said that in the face of an acute “danger from the right” Trotskyists and Stalinists would join hands. Well, they were now doing so, but on Stalin’s own terms–he was winning them over to his side without and even against Trotsky. Many of the capitulators were men of high talent and experience with whom he would fill industrial and administrative posts from which the Bukharinists were being squeezed out. He knew that the capitulators would throw themselves heart and soul into the industrial drive–many of them were to serve under Pyatakov, the arch-capitulator who was the moving spirit of the Commissariat of Heavy Industry. Radek alone was, as a propagandist, worth more to Stalin than hosts of his own scribes.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 74

Many of the former members of the opposition were allowed to take up useful employment. Bukharin, for example, was appointed chief editor of Izvestia, second only to Pravda as the voice of official policy, and was now able to write regular signed and unsigned articles.

Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 303

Immediately before and after the 17th Party Congress of 1934 some leaders of former oppositions were restored to party membership, including Kamenev, Zinoviev, Preobrazhensky, and Uglanov. Bukharin was appointed to the quite important post of chief editor of the newspaper Izvestia.

Shabad, Steven, trans. The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence, 1931-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c2003, p. 237

Expelled from the party with the other Trotskyites in 1927, Pyatakov had discovered that there could be no life for him without it and that, as he told a former colleague in 1928, in order to become one with it he would abandon his own personality and be ready to declare black white, and white black, if the party required it. Breaking with Trotsky and returning to Russia, he had become deputy commissar for heavy industry. According to Ordjonikidze, the commissar, no one contributed more to the creation of Russia’s industrial base as the brains and driving force behind the Five-Year plans. A major critic of Stalin in the 1920s, Pyatakov had since abandoned all opposition and accepted Stalin’s leadership without reservations.

Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 483

In 1933 Bukharin began to participate more actively in Party and public life. He took part in a joint session of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission in January, where the successful completion of the first Five-Year Plan was announced.

Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 279

STALIN REJECTS TURNING PEASANTS AGAINST PROLETARIAT AND FIGHTS TROTSKY INSTEAD

This [Trotsky’s New Course] Stalin dealt with, rejecting the proposal for a class war of the proletariat against the peasantry, and instead, at the Party Congress of December 1923 raising the cry of a fight against “Trotskyism.”
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 150

In any case, it was impossible to accomplish anything without the peasants. But Trotsky did not simply propose to build socialism at the expense of the peasant. The essence of his view is that he did not believe in the possibility of an alliance with the peasantry, a worker-peasant alliance, for the building of socialism. That’s the main thing…. Trotsky did not believe in the possibility of a worker-peasant alliance in order to move forward. But we believed in it.
…Lenin was right. We couldn’t do without the peasant.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 171

Trotsky did not believe the peasantry could follow our lead. That was his most flagrant error.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 375

The revolutions in France in 1848 and 1871 were crushed chiefly because the peasant reserves turned out to be on the side of the bourgeoisie. The October Revolution was victorious because it succeeded in depriving the bourgeoisie of its peasant reserves, because it was able to win over these reserves to the side of the proletariat, because in that revolution the proletariat proved to be the only guiding force for the millions of toiling masses in town and country….
The dictatorship of the proletariat is a class alliance between the proletariat and the toiling masses of the peasantry, for the purpose of overthrowing capital, for bringing about the final victory of socialism, an alliance based on the condition that its leading force is the proletariat.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 41

Where does the danger of the “Left” (Trotskyist) deviation in our Party lie? In the fact that it over-estimates the strength of our enemies, the strength of capitalism; that it can see only the possibility of the restoration of capitalism, but cannot see the possibility of constructing socialism with the resources of our country; that it gives way to despair and is obliged to console itself with nonsensical talk about Thermidorism in our Party. From the words of Lenin “as long as we live in a petty -peasant country there will be a more solid basis in Russia for capitalism than for communism,” the “Left” deviation draws the false conclusion that it is impossible to construct socialism in the USSR at all; that nothing can be done with the peasantry; that the idea of a union between the working-class and the peasantry is antiquated; that unless aid is forthcoming in the shape of the triumph of the revolution in the West, the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR is doomed to failure, or to degeneration, and that unless we adopt the fantastic plan of super-industrialization, even at the cost of a rupture with the peasantry, the cause of socialism in the USSR must be regarded as lost.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 147

STALIN’S PATIENCE WITH TROTSKY WAS TREMENDOUS

Stalin has never been a man to shoot first and argue afterwards. In fact, I venture to assert that at no time in the political history of any country has there been so lengthy a warfare of words, and only words, between leading members of a political party; and I would add that no leader with such power in his hands as that possessed by Stalin, ever showed such patience with an opponent. I write as one who was a witness on the spot, and even a not infrequent participant in the long controversy extending from December 1923 to January 1929 when Trotsky was banished from the Soviet Union.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 153

Trotsky too, was never in doubt: he did not believe it possible to advance to socialism without a European Revolution…. But let it be clearly understood that Trotsky’s position, however it might be decorated with revolutionary phrases, meant a return to capitalism.
Of course Trotsky had others with him besides Zinoviev and Kamenev and Radek. There were Rakovsky, Pyatakov, and a number of other able men. I knew these leaders and many of their supporters personally. I had listened to their arguments in commissions, in conferences, in public and private conversations. I had heard them time and again declare that they were wrong and Stalin right. I had seen Stalin agree to their reinstatement in leading positions, only to witness them renew their attacks on him and his policy. On the Tenth Anniversary of the Revolution I saw and heard Radek, from the balcony of the Bristol hotel, harangue the crowd as it marched to the Red Square. I watched Trotsky attempting the same thing further along Mockavia. And still after four years of public debating nothing more serious had happened to them than their expulsion from the ranks of Bolshevism.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 160

Stalin has been widely attacked by political adversaries, Russian and foreign, as a cruel and heartless man, but in point of fact he was remarkably long-suffering in his treatment of the various oppositions. This statement may sound surprising, but it is true, as the record shows. The Kremlin’s struggle with the Oppositionists began before Lenin’s death, and again and again one or another of the Opposition leaders admitted his faults and beat his breast and cried “Mea maxima culpa,” and the Kremlin forgave him. I say this is all on the record, whatever the Trotskyists may claim. Until the murder of Kirov, which hardened Stalin’s steel into knives for his enemies’ throats.
Duranty, Walter. The Kremlin and the People. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941, p. 116

The reports of the meetings of the Party bear witness to the fact that it acted with a great deal of circumspection and of patience towards Trotsky. In 1923, during Lenin’s illness, Trotsky was again the head of the Political Bureau, the supreme executive organization. The Party endeavored to influence Trotsky by every means in its power, whilst he himself was notoriously striving to turn to his own advantage the discontent which cropped up here and there, to make a group of the discontents and to be their leader. This vague group hostile to the Party refused to criticize Trotskyism and adopted Trotsky’s divergent line.
When, after Lenin’s death, Stalin resumed the struggle, he began, in dealing with Lenin’s old adversary, to employ the pedagogic method instead of taking repressive measures (Jaroslavsky). These attempts at persuasion came to nothing and the question arose as to whether Trotsky could still remain in the leadership of the Party, or even in the Party all.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 178-179

On the evening of December 8, at a meeting of party activists of the Krasnaya Presnya district in Moscow, a letter by Trotsky, addressed to party meetings and entitled “The New Course,” was ready…. According to Trotsky, there were many in the party apparatus who gave a hostile reception to the “new course.” He therefore called for a purge of all bureaucratic elements in the apparatus and their replacement by “fresh” cadres. Above all, Trotsky argued, the leading posts in the party “must be cleared of those who, at the first words of criticism, of objection, or of protest, brandish the thunderbolts of penalties at the critic. The ‘new course’ must begin by making everyone feel that from now on nobody will dare to terrorize the party.” These hints were understood by everyone at the time.
Trotsky’s letter received a hostile reception not only from the triumvirs but from the majority of the party apparatus as well. Nevertheless, it was published in Pravda on Dec. 11 with a number of additions and annotations by Trotsky himself…. In reply to reproaches by some activists Stalin stated:
“They say that the Central Committee should have banned publication of Trotsky’s article. That is wrong, comrades. That would have been a very dangerous step on the part of the Central Committee….
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 123-124

STALIN SUPERIOR TO TROTSKY

Thus the ideological battle opened. Stalin was not only a debater of some power, but as an organizer and tactician he left Trotsky standing.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 158

…when I talked with leading Party members in Russia after Lenin’s death they said to me, “Supposing we had a free election in Russia and the choice were between Stalin and Trotsky, how would any intelligently informed man vote? It is obvious that Stalin would build the Soviet state better, and would not stake everything on foreign revolutions. Furthermore, we can talk with Stalin. He will listen to reason, but if Trotsky once has an idea nothing can sway him.”
…Behind the personal antagonism between Trotsky and Stalin there were many substantial theoretical differences. Trotsky believed that it was impossible to build socialism in Russia without world, or at least European, revolution. Stalin felt that socialism could be built in Russia alone and that dependence on outside help would be fatal.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 25

Certainly this autobiography [of Trotsky] is the work of a great writer and even, perhaps, of a tragic personality. But the self-portrait does not reflect a great statesman. The subject lacks moderation, strength of character, and an eye for reality. Unparalleled arrogance constantly makes him blind to the bounds of possibility, and however much we are attracted by a writer straining after the impossible, his lack of moderation must be prejudicial to our conception of him as a statesman. The castles of Trotsky’s logic seem built in the air instead of on the solid earth of that knowledge of the human soul and of human affairs which alone insures lasting political results. Trotsky’s book is full of hatred, subjective from the first line to the last, passionately unjust. It is always a jumble of truth and fiction, which gives the book charm but betrays a mentality hardly likely to establish him as a politician.
To me one small but illuminating detail makes manifest Stalin’s superiority over Trotsky: Stalin gave instructions that a portrait of Trotsky was to be included in the big official History of the Civil War, edited by Gorky; Trotsky’s book, on the other hand, has only hatred and contempt for Stalin and maliciously perverts his merits.
Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937. New York: The Viking Press, 1937, p. 96

Stalin’s pragmatic approach gave the impression of a sounder man, and in a sense this was a true impression. He was always capable of retreat–from the calling off of the disastrous collectivization wave in March 1930 to the ending of the Berlin Blockade in 1949. Stalin’s skills in Soviet political methods make Trotsky look superficial, and the conclusion seems inevitable that he had far more to him than his rival. A mind may be intelligent, abilities may be brilliant; yet there are other qualities less apparent to the observer, without which such gifts have a certain slightness to them. Trotsky was a polished zircon; Stalin was a rough diamond.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 413

His judgment of men was profound. He early saw through the flamboyance and exhibitionism of Trotsky, who fooled the world, and especially America. The whole ill-bread and insulting attitude of liberals in the U.S. today began with our naive acceptance of Trotsky’s magnificent lying propaganda, which he carried around the world. Against it, Stalin stood like a rock and moved neither right nor left, as he continued to advance toward a real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered.
Statement by W.E.B DuBois regarding COMRADE STALIN on March 16, 1953

In Lenin’s time and under what was called the New Political Economy, the peasants were called upon to make the most of their opportunity and pile up their possessions. “Get rich quick,” was the cry. After this had been enthusiastically responded to and the kulak had extended his holdings at the cost of the poorer peasant, Trotsky challenged Stalin and said: “We have not made a revolution in the towns for the purpose of creating a new kind of capitalist in the country. The Revolution is permanent. Who now holds back is a Thermidorian.” Stalin replied that the ends of the Revolution could not be gained in a moment, that there had to be transitional solutions, that Lenin himself had to allow a temporary return to Free Trade and that Trotsky in his unreasonable hurry was like a foolish gardener who pulls up the root in his anxiety to see the budding plant.
As a matter of fact both men wanted the same thing; but impetuosity and patience, fire and foresight, can never go hand-in-hand with one another.
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 366

Stalin’s capacity to learn was one of the advantages he had over Trotsky. It appears, for example…in the ability he showed, given time, to adsorb and internalize them [the boldness of both Lenin’s reversals of policy in April and July.] These were qualities Lenin could appreciate and use. They were enough to secure Stalin a place in the Council of People’s Commissars….
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 57

Chosen originally because he [Stalin] was thought more stable in judgment than Trotsky, who might, it was felt, precipitate the state into war, Stalin is not universally considered to have justified his leadership by success; first in overcoming the very real difficulties of 1925; then in surmounting the obstacle of the peasant recalcitrance in 1930-1933; and finally in the successive triumphs of the Five-Year Plan. For him to be dismissed from office, or expelled from the Party, as Trotsky and so many others have been, could not be explained to the people. He will therefore remain in his great position of leadership so long as he wishes to do so.
Webb, S. Soviet Communism: A New Civilization. London, NY: Longmans, Green, 1947, p. 340

Stalin was willful, Trotsky was overbearing. Stalin was wily, Trotsky was unambiguous. Yet Stalin’s line of conduct was consistently for the good of the revolution. This Lenin fully realized.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 190

We naturally spoke much of Trotsky. I shall quote two opinions. Elias Sokolovsky unsettled me by declaring that Stalin was a better man than Trotsky. “Stalin is a realist, Trotsky a fanatic. Stalin pursues his intentions until they lead him to the brink of a precipice; then he makes good his retreat. As to Trotsky, he goes on to the bitter end, though the whole world perish. He has too much vanity to take anything into account. I know him well; we are related.”
Ciliga, Ante, The Russian Enigma. London: Ink Links, 1979, p. 196

TROTSKY DROVE ZINOVIEV AND KAMENEV TO STALIN

But one thing is certain — that Trotsky drove Zinoviev and Kamenev onto the side of Stalin by the publication of his book entitled the Lessons of October. When this appeared both men were infuriated by Trotsky’s references to their opposition to the insurrection of 1917.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 159

Immediately after Lenin’s death Trotsky went into clearly defined opposition, at least in articles in the press, to the majority of the Politbureau.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 130

… The idea of a military solution to the internal party conflict occurred to some members of the Trotskyist opposition. Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Stalin had some apprehensions in this regard, which explains the changes made on the Revolutionary Military Council as early as 1924 and the removal of Antonov-Ovseyenko as head of the Political Directorate of the Red Army and his replacement by Bubnov.
It must be said quite emphatically, however, that at the time of the discussion in the party there was never any real threat of a military coup, if only because the Red Army was never just a “docile” instrument in Trotsky’s hands. Trotsky could rely fully on the soldiers of the Red Army when he gave the order to march on Warsaw, but he could not have raised the Red Army against the Central Committee and the Politburo.
Victor Serge, a well-known revolutionary internationalist who had taken part and left-wing movements in many countries, was working in the Soviet Union in the mid-20s. He joined the Trotskyists and… claimed that Trotsky could have easily defeated Stalin in 1924 if he had relied on the army.
But a military ouster of the triumvirate and the party apparatus loyal to it would have been an extremely difficult and uncertain undertaking–an adventure with very little chance of success. If Trotsky refrained from such a step, one can assume that what held him back was not concern over Bonapartism but uncertainty of his control over the Red Army.
The German edition of Serge’s memoirs contains a foreword by the prominent German revolutionary Wollenberg, who went to live in the Soviet Union after the failure of the German revolution…. Wollenberg convincingly disputes the version of events presented by Serge:
“What a colossal mistake in assessing the concrete situation that had arisen in the land of the Soviets within a few months after Lenin’s death! I must add that at the time Lenin died I was still on military duty in Germany. As a specialist in civil war I held a prominent post in the German Communist Party. At that time I thought along more or less the same lines as Serge and as Trotsky apparently thought about all these matters for another decade or more.
But when I moved to Moscow, I saw my error. In Moscow I was forced to realize that the leading figures on the Red Army general staff, such as Tukhachevsky, with whom I became friends, admired Trotsky greatly as the organizer of the Red Army, as a man and a revolutionary, but at the same time they took a critical attitude toward his general political position…. There could be no doubt that the top military command had full confidence in the party leadership…. And in the entire party there was an unquestionable majority in favor of the triumvirate, that is, the leading threesome formed after Lenin’s death: Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Stalin.
If the Soviet constitution could have been changed for a plebiscite to be held, it is impossible to say which of Lenin’s successors would have gathered the most votes. But it can be said for certain that, given the hostility of the peasants and the middle class (which was reappearing in the first half of the 1920s) in relation to Trotsky, who was considered an “enemy of NEP,” the outcome would have been rather unfavorable for him.
It is necessary to state this with full clarity because to this day Trotskyists of all varieties, as well as Soviet experts in West Germany and other countries, continue to spread the tale in speech, in print, on radio and on television that after Lenin’s death Trotsky supposedly missed a “sure bet.”
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 133-135

TROTSKY AND LEFT OPPOSITION ARE SUBVERSIVE

Trotsky, Bukharin, and Zinoviev held that it was impossible to build socialism in “backward Russia.” The Left Opposition wanted to convert the Russian Revolution into a reservoir of “world Revolution,” a world center from which to promote revolutions in other countries. Stripped of its “ultra-revolutionary verbiage,” as both Lenin and Stalin repeatedly pointed out, the Left Opposition really stood for a wild struggle for power, “bohemian anarchism,” and, inside Russia, military dictatorship under War Commissar Trotsky and his associates.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 193-94

By 1923, Trotsky’s underground apparatus was already a potent and far-reaching organization. Special codes, ciphers, and passwords were devised by Trotsky and his adherents for purposes of illegal communication. Secret printing presses were set up throughout the country. Trotskyite cells were established in the Army, the diplomatic corps, and in the Soviet state and party institutions.
Years later, Trotsky revealed that his own son, Sedov, was involved at this time in the Trotskyite conspiracy which was already ceasing to be a mere political opposition within the Bolshevik party and was on the point of merging with the secret war against the Soviet regime.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 196

In the autumn of 1923 Trotsky issued a “Declaration of the 46 Oppositionists,” criticizing the NEP, predicting a great economic crisis, and demanding full freedom for dissenting groups and factions.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 198

What I did not know until much later was that Trotsky’s salvos had been followed by a regular broadside known as the “Statement of the 46,” signed by 46 members of party, most of whom had taken part in former opposition movements.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 213

Stalin, in answer to a delegation’s question in November, 1927, as to the support of the Opposition, said:
“I think that the Opposition chiefly supports itself on non-proletarian circles…. The Opposition is the reflection of this dissatisfaction [of non-proletarian sections].”
I was in Russia in the months of 1927 when the issue was raging in the press and conversation. Seeing something of the former aristocrats, I got the impression of their interest in the conflict. Many of them welcomed the Trotsky Opposition as the hope of destroying the dictatorship.
Baldwin, Roger. Liberty under the Soviets, New York: Vanguard Press, 1928, p. 57

I sincerely believed at the time, and still believe now, that Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, and Bukharin were real enemies of Stalin;…
Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. 54

His [Trotsky] challenge to Stalin kept the Communist movement in turmoil and weakened our position in Western Europe and Germany in the 1930s.
Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. 69

[Footnote 7] He [Kamenev] was twice expelled from the Communist Party but readmitted; then, in 1935, he was again expelled and jailed.
Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. 54

It appears to anyone who casts a summary glance over the salient facts of the Russian revolutionary movement from the end of the 19th-century, that two basic tendencies, namely, the reformist and revolutionary, which had brought about the schism between the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, subsisted up to a certain degree in the very heart of the Bolshevik Party which had come into power. Some of the leaders, Kamenev, Zinoviev and, to a certain degree, Trotsky, were, as we have seen, in certain important connections, hostile to revolutionary methods. They would have liked to have prevented the October Revolution and, once this had been accomplished, to have avoided the dictatorship of proletariat.
In practice they would have preferred a constitutional-democratic regime to a socialist regime. They had no confidence in the strength or the durability of a truly Socialist state in the heart of a capitalist world; they did not believe that the better class peasants could be won over to this cause. In addition, they criticized the principle of State industry which they looked upon as an enterprise of a capitalist order. They were in favor of freedom for splits and groups in the heart of the Party, that is to say, of the heterogeneousness of the Party. These points, upon which Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Trotsky came together repeatedly, constitute the principal characteristics of the most important of the “Oppositions.” It is the return to life of the Menshevik ferment.
So that, during Lenin’s lifetime, the Opposition consisted of those who opposed Lenin’s point of view, since Lenin actually ruled the Party which he “had forged with his own hands for 25 years,” and which was his own creation. But after Lenin’s death it [the Opposition] made, if one may say so, a pretext of Stalin to intensify its offensive and to attack the same theses with the same arguments, pretending all the while to be defending the purity of Leninism.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 163

Whether or to what extent Trotsky should be regarded as the direct sponsor of this coalition [the Forty-Six] is not certain…. Even many years after Trotsky’s death those who had stood close to him claimed that he observed the rules of discipline so strictly that he could not have acted as the sponsor of this particular demonstration of protest. In the light of all that is known about Trotsky’s conduct in such matters, this may be accepted as true. However, it is doubtful that he had, as is also claimed, no foreknowledge of the action of the Forty-Six or that he was surprised by it. Preobrazhensky, Muralov, or Antonov-Ovseenko undoubtedly kept him informed about what they were doing, and would not have done what they were doing without some encouragement from him. And so even if Trotsky was not formally responsible for their action, he must be regarded as its actual prompter.
… As to Trotsky, it [the Central Committee] did not charge him plainly with organizing the faction but held him morally responsible for the offense of which it found the Forty-Six guilty.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 114

Take, for example, the Trotskyite Counter-Revolutionary Fourth International, two- thirds of which is made up of spies and subversive agents.
Stalin, Joseph. Mastering Bolshevism. San Francisco: Proletarian Publishers, 1972, p. 25

TROTSKY OPPOSED STALIN IN THE 1920S FROM WITHIN

Back in Moscow after his trip to Germany, Trotsky launched an all-out campaign against the Soviet leadership…. With the threat of war hanging over Russia in the summer of 1927, Trotsky renewed his attacks on the Soviet government. Trotsky publicly declared: “We must restore the tactics of Clemenseau, who, as is well-known, rose against the French Government at a time when the Germans were 80 kilometers from Paris!”
Stalin denounced Trotsky statement as treasonable.
Once again, a vote was taken on the subject of Trotsky and his Opposition. In a general referendum of all Bolshevik party members the overwhelming majority, by a vote of 740,000 to 4000, repudiated the Trotskyite Opposition and declared themselves in favor of Stalin’s administration.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 203

Speaking as one nomenklatura member to another, he [Trotsky] issued the ultimate threat: if the Stalinists refused to deal with him, he would feel free to agitate for his views among rank-and-file party members.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 63

Trotsky’s adherents met secretly to make a program of their own and start a party within the Party.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 101

STALIN TRIED TO GET ALONG WITH TROTSKY BUT NOT VICE VERSA

The reader of the reports, subsequently published, from Stalin to Lenin and party headquarters will note that Stalin never ventured on any direct attack on Trotsky or criticism of him. Trotsky’s name never appears in Stalin’s reports. Such implicit criticism of Trotsky as it is to be found in the reports can only be read–and that by no means clearly–between the lines, in the form of attacks on certain army commanders and staff officers who had been appointed by Trotsky, and in criticism of their action. Trotsky’s outstanding position at that time may be seen from the simple fact that he imposes no such reserve on himself. In his short telegrams he mentions Stalin by name, attacks him, and criticizes him as a superior may a subordinate.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 90

Stalin had, indeed, made repeated attempts to improve their relations. Observers of the first meeting between the two, at the party congress at Stockholm, said that Stalin, then delegate of the Caucasian organization, did all he could to make up to Trotsky….
Trotsky spoke pretty openly of Stalin as a limited petty bourgeois, showing plainly thta he regarded him as far below himself.
Until sometime after the February-March revolution of 1917 Stalin continued to regard Trotsky without animus. It was, indeed, Stalin who officially moved that Trotsky should be admitted into the party, and into the party leadership. Their enmity began later, and no small part of their enmity was due to the great, the vast difference between them. The continual condescension and the social and intellectual arrogance with which Trotsky treated Stalin was bound before long to produce in the latter… hatred. Stalin’s steadily growing opposition to Trotsky’s military measures, and his hostility to him, at first concealed and then open, during the execution of the tasks entrusted to him, were partly products of that feeling. Trotsky’s whole style and manner, his preference for ex-Tsarist officers or for intellectuals received in society over people like Stalin, his way of letting it be seen that he regarded himself, consciously or subconsciously, as belonging after all to those classes, got on Stalin’s nerves. But Stalin remained long under the influence of the social inhibitions due to his upbringing, and he did not venture on open opposition to Trotsky. It was Trotsky, after all, who after the civil war, when his official duties no longer required that he should come into personal touch with Stalin, broke off all relations with him.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 127-128

The political duel with Trotsky was not started by Stalin, and it was a later invention that those who began the conflict had been induced to do so by Stalin.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 128

Perhaps earlier than most, Stalin spotted Trotsky’s strong and weak sides. Taking Trotsky’s enormous popularity into account, Stalin at first tried to establish if not friendly, then at least stable relations with him. On one occasion, Stalin turned up unannounced at Trotsky’s place in Archangelskoe outside Moscow to congratulate him on his birthday. The meeting was not a warm one. Each sensed the other’s dislike. On another occasion, with Lenin’s assistance, Stalin tried to establish better relations. This emerged in a telegram from Lenin to Trotsky dated October 23, 1918, in which Lenin gave an account of his conversation with Stalin. As a member of the Defense Council, Stalin gave his assessment of the position in Tsaritsyn and expressed the desire to work more closely with the revvoensoviet of the Republic. Lenin added:
“In conveying Stalin’s statements to you, Lev Davidovitch, I request that you think about them and say, first, whether you agree to discuss them personally with Stalin, for which purpose he would come here, and secondly, whether you consider it possible, in certain concrete circumstances, to set aside the existing friction and work together, which Stalin wants so much to do. As for myself, I believe it is necessary to make every effort to work well together with Stalin.”
Nothing came of it, however. Trotsky could not hide his superior attitude.
Stalin even spoke highly of Trotsky’s role in the revolution and Civil War in some of his speeches, but that did not improve Trotsky’s aloof attitude towards him.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 56

Soon after Stalin’s arrival back in Moscow, he wrote a celebrated article in the issue of Pravda of November 6, 1918, celebrating the first anniversary of the seizure of power, in which he warmly praised Trotsky! It contains such phrases as:
‘All the practical work of organizing the insurrection was done under the immediate direction of Trotsky, the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be safely asserted that for the rapid desertion of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and for the clever organization of the Military Revolutionary Committee, the party is above all, and primarily, indebted to Comrade Trotsky.’
It seems that, as with his approach for a reconciliation a little earlier, Stalin was now, whatever his motives, really trying to effect a detente with Trotsky. Plainly, in the years that followed, an alliance with Trotsky might have been a possible maneuver, one of the available political configurations. Trotsky was never to be won over; but for the moment he seems to have been somewhat appeased. He does not appear to have opposed Stalin’s nomination to the Revolutionary Military Soviet.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 83

A few descriptions of scenes in the Politburo give a vivid glimpse of Stalin, the good soul:
“When I attended a session of the Politburo for the first time [writes Bazhanov] the struggle between the triumvirs and Trotsky was in full swing. Trotsky was the first to arrive for the session. The others were late, they were still plotting…. Next entered Zinoviev. He passed by Trotsky; and both behaved as if they had not noticed one another. When Kamenev entered, he greeted Trotsky with a slight nod. At last Stalin came in. he approached the table at which Trotsky was seated, greeted him in a most friendly manner and vigorously shook hands with him across the table.”
During another session, in the summer of 1923, one of the triumvirs proposed that Stalin be brought in as a controller into the Commissariat of War, of which Trotsky was still the head. Trotsky, irritated by the proposal, declared that he was resigning from the office and asked to be relieved from all posts and honors in Russia and allowed to go to Germany, which then seemed to be on the brink of a Communist upheaval, to take part in the revolution there. Zinoviev countered the move by asking the same for himself. Stalin put an end to the scene˜, declaring that ‘the party could not possibly dispense with the services of two such important and beloved leaders’.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 274

He [Stalin] repeatedly stated that the only condition for peace was that Trotsky should stop his attacks. The repeatedly made the gesture that looked like he stretching out of his hand to his opponent.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 278

Lenin appealed to both Trotsky and Stalin to set aside the friction between them and work together. Stalin made an effort and in a number of speeches spoke highly of Trotsky’s role; but Trotsky could not hide his sense of superiority.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 100

TROTSKY MERELY ATTACKED BUT HAD NO PRACTICAL PROGRAM

Among the outstanding political issues of the time, there was no clear Trotskyist policy. In his articles Trotsky merely criticized whatever was the policy of the majority. Such positive proposals as he did make were impracticable.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 132

TROTSKY’S REASONS AND TACTICS FOR OPPOSING STALIN

There is no psychological problem underlying the other trials, against the organization of the Trotskyists and against Bukharin’s Right Opposition group. These trials and the psychology of the defendants offered no difficulty. This does not mean that the course of justice was impeccable. Especially in the trial of the Trotskyists, everything is quite clear; in this trial Trotsky’s ideas and plans found vivid and quite lucid expression. To Trotsky, Stalin was the man who had carried out a counter-revolution; Stalin and his followers were called by Trotsky, by analogy with the French Revolution, ‘Thermidorians’. In his political passion he looked upon Stalin just as in the past revolutionaries had looked upon the Tsar, and accordingly he considered every means of combat permissible. To him it was obvious that Stalin was leading the Soviet Union to disaster; it was bound, he thought, inevitably to be involved in a great war, a war on two fronts, to be waged simultaneously against the Germans and the Japanese. Trotsky was convinced that Stalin would lose that war. From this he drew two conclusions: that the war might bring down Stalin and his regime; and that it was his, Trotsky’s, duty to prevent Russia’s total destruction. He intended to assume power, in order to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat and the achievements of the revolution at least in part of the Soviet Union…. There had been repeated cases in history of revolutionaries coming to terms with the enemies of their country; they regard their own people’s worst evil as its own government, and not the external enemy. Similarly in 1904 the Russian revolutionary parties of all shades of opinion entered into relations with Japan during the war with Russia, in order to obtain from Japan weapons with which to combat Tsarism….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 291

STALIN DID NOT CAUSE TROTSKY’S FALL

The decline and fall of Trotsky, however, are not at all explicable in terms of a selfishly ambitious scheme developed by Stalin to thwart Lenin’s purposes.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 200

In fact, however, Trotsky was alone on the Politburo, and in the decisive slots of the party apparatus he had few supporters. This greatly weakened his position and made it impossible for him to automatically become the party’s new top leader.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 111

HAVING BEEN RUTHLESS TROTSKY DECIDED TO BE SO AGAIN

“We were never concerned,” wrote Trotsky, “with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the “sacredness of human life.’ We were revolutionaries in opposition, and have remained revolutionaries in power. To make the individual sacred we must destroy the social order which crucifies him. And this problem can be solved only by blood and iron.” Under the conditions of the 1930’s the Oppositionists having no other effective weapons at their disposal, concluded that assassination might prove effective.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 267

At the Central Committee’s plenum of November 1927, where Stalin eventually proposed his [Trotsky] expulsion from the party, Trotsky said, inter alia, addressing the Stalin group (I’m giving the gist of his words), “You are a bunch of bureaucrats without talent. If one day the country should be threatened, if war breaks out, you will be totally incapable of organizing the defense of the country and of achieving victory. Then, when the enemy is 100 kilometers from Moscow, we will do what Clemenceau did in his time: we will overthrow this incompetent government. There will be one difference in that whereas Clemenceau was content to take power, we, in addition, will shoot this band of contemptible bureaucrats who have betrayed the Revolution. Yes, we’ll do it. You too, you’d like to shoot us, but you dare not. We dare to do it because it will be an absolutely indispensable condition for winning.”
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 114

SOME TROTS WERE GOOD AND HAD TO BE USED

Trotskyists were good people. It is unfortunate there were differences of opinion. Some corrected themselves, others were for the time being irreplaceable. We had to use everyone. If Trotsky said something good, then Kuibyshev thought Trotsky himself was good. That was his fundamental weakness.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 115

TROTSKYISM IS COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY

The struggle against Trotskyism is the struggle against a muddled, meddling, and cowardly lower middle-class–in a word, counter-revolutionary in the heart of the Party.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 175

Stalin’s contribution [to the attack on Trotsky in late 1924] was a reasoned and destructive attack….
Examining Trotsky’s main heresies, he demonstrated by quotations from Lenin’s writings that Trotsky had been in direct conflict with the master at all stages…. The most damaging part of Stalin’s attack came in quotations from Trotsky’s correspondence in 1913 with Chkhiedze in which Trotsky had written that Lenin was “the professional exploiter of everything that is backward in the Russian workers’ movement.” He had also written that “the whole foundation of Leninism at the present time is built on lying and falsification.” Stalin closed his speech with the statement that “Trotsky has come forward now with the purpose of dethroning Bolshevism and undermining its foundations. The task of the party is to bury Trotskyism as an ideology.”
The speech sent a shock of horror through the party. It seemed impossible that any member, least of all a leading Bolshevik like Trotsky, could have written in such terms of Lenin. But Stalin’s evidence was irrefutable. The charge that Trotsky had been all long a vicious enemy of Lenin and Leninism was accepted as proven.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 203-204

Some Bolsheviks think that Trotskyism is a faction of Communism, which has made mistakes, it is true, which has done many foolish things, which has sometimes even been anti-Soviet, but which is nevertheless a faction of Communism. Hence a certain liberalism in dealing with Trotskyists and people who think like Trotsky. It is scarcely necessary to prove that such a view of Trotskyism is profoundly wrong and pernicious. As a matter-of-fact, Trotskyism has long since ceased to be a fraction of Communism. As a matter-of-fact, Trotskyism is the vanguard of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, which is carrying on the struggle against Communism, against the Soviet government, against the building of socialism in the USSR.
That is why liberalism towards Trotskyism, even when the latter is shattered and concealed, is stupidity bordering on crime, bordering on treason to the working class.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 263

It is sufficient for our purposes merely to indicate the few salient new ideas which gradually crystallized in the course of the polemics between the Stalinist machine and the Opposition and acquired decisive significance insofar as they provided ideological leverage for the initiators of the struggle against Trotskyism. It was around these ideas that the political forces rallied. They were three in number. In time they partly supplemented and partly replaced each other.
The first had to do with industrialization. The triumvirate again by coming out against the program of industrialization proposed by me, and in the interest of polemics branded it super-industrialization. This position was even deepened after the triumvirate fell apart and Stalin established his bloc with Bukharin and the Right Wing. The general trend of the official argument against so-called super-industrialization was that rapid industrialization is possible only at the expense of the peasantry….
At the second stage, in the course of 1924, the struggle was launched against the theory of permanent revolution. The political content of this struggle was reduced to the thesis that we are not interested in international revolution but in our own safety, in order to develop our economy. The bureaucracy feared more and more that it was jeopardizing its position by the risk of involvement implicit in an international revolutionary policy. The campaign against the theory of permanent revolution, devoid in itself of any theoretical value whatsoever, served as an expression of a conservative nationalistic deviation from Bolshevism. Out of this struggle emerged the theory of socialism in a separate country….
The third idea of the bureaucracy in its campaign against Trotskyism had to do with the struggle against leveling, against equality. The theoretical side of this struggle was in the nature of a curiosity. In Marx’s letter concerning the Gotha Program of the German Social Democracy, Stalin found a phrase to the effect that during the first period of socialism inequality will still be preserved, or, as he expressed it, the bourgeois prerogative in the sphere of distribution. Marx did not mean by this the creation of a new inequality but merely a gradual rather than a sudden elimination of the old inequality in the sphere of wages.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 395-396

TROTSKY USES THE ARGUMENT THAT OLD BOLSHEVIKS COULD NOT HAVE CHANGED SIDES

Trotsky used the age-old bourgeois argument: `he is an old revolutionary, how could he have changed sides?’ Khrushchev would take up this slogan in his Secret Report.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 139 [p. 121 on the NET]

YET, MANY OLD BOLSHEVIKS HAD CHANGED EARLIER

However, Kautsky, once hailed as the spiritual child of Marx and Engels, became, after the death of the founders of scientific socialism, the main Marxist renegade. Martov was one of the Marxist pioneers in Russia and participated in the creation of the first revolutionary organizations; nevertheless, he became a Menshevik leader and fought against socialist revolution right from October 1917. And what about the `Old Bolsheviks’ Khrushchev and Mikoyan, who effectively set the Soviet Union on the path of capitalist restoration.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 141 [p. 121 on the NET]

TROTSKY SAYS THE PARTY IS ALWAYS RIGHT AND MUST ALWAYS BE SUPPORTED

Trotsky did take part in the work of the Thirteenth Congress. His appearance on the speaker’s platform was greeted with applause almost as lengthy as it had been at the Twelfth Congress. Trotsky’s speech was conciliatory rather than aggressive. He defended himself and the Opposition as a whole rather weakly. It was in this speech that he uttered his famous remark that “the party is always right,” a statement hardly consistent with his actual activity and with the positions he had previously taken. In particular he said:

“None of us wants to be or can be right against his own party. The party in the last analysis is always right, because the party is the only historical instrument given to the proletariat to resolve its fundamental tasks…. I know that it is impossible to be right against the party. One can be right only with the party and through the party, for history has not created any other way of determining what is right. The English have a saying: My country, right or wrong. With much more historical justification we can say: Right or wrong on any particular, specific question at any particular moment, this is still my party.”

This was empty rhetoric, and Trotsky’s opponents did not consider it satisfactory. Even Krupskaya, who had sent Trotsky a warm letter when he was in Sukhumi a short time before, saying that Lenin had remembered him during the last days of his life, said in her speech at the congress that if the party is always right, Trotsky should not have started the discussion. Zinoviev remarked rather passively that “the party has no need of bitter-sweet compliments.” Stalin rejected Trotsky’s rhetoric even more emphatically. He said that in the given instance Trotsky had once again made an assertion that was incorrect in principle:

“The party often makes mistakes. Lenin taught us to teach the party the art of correct leadership on the basis of its own mistakes. If the party made no mistakes, there would be nothing with which to teach the party. Our task is to catch these errors, reveal their roots, and show the party and the working class how we erred and how we are going to correct these errors in the future. Without this, progress would be impossible for the party. Without this, the forming of party leaders and cadres would be impossible, because they are formed and trained through the struggle against their own errors, by overcoming those errors. I think that a statement like Trotsky’s is somewhat of a compliment with somewhat of an attempt at mockery–an attempt, of course, that failed.”

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 127

TROTSKY WAS UNPOPULAR BUT WAS ALLOWED FREEDOM TO PUBLISH

A heated discussion again erupted in the fall of 1924 in connection with certain questions of party history. Despite the struggle against “Trotskyism” that had been proclaimed, the State Publishing House was issuing the collected works of Trotsky as well as those of Lenin. The volume of Trotsky’s works being prepared for publication in the fall of 1924 contained his writings and speeches of 1917.

The Central Committee voted to withdraw Trotsky’s pamphlet [Lessons of October] from circulation, although publication of his Works continued [17 volumes of Trotsky’s works appeared before publication was discontinued in 1927]. Resolutions against Trotsky and the Left Opposition were adopted by virtually all party organizations. The Leningrad province committee, headed by Zinoviev, proposed that Trotsky be expelled from the party. Many party cells, including cells in the army and navy, urged that Trotsky be removed from his position as commissar of war….

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 131-132

TROTSKY WAS RELIEVED OF MANY POSITIONS BUT REMAINED ON THE POLITBURO

Without waiting for the plenum, Trotsky sent a long statement to the Central Committee asking to be relieved of his duties as commissar of war and chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic….

Trotsky was allowed to remain on the Politburo, however. After a short time he was given new assignments as a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Economic Council, chairman of the scientific and technical division of the Supreme Economic Council, head of the electrical engineering board, and chairman of a Chief Concessions Committee.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 133

TROTSKY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE SU OR WHAT WAS GOING ON

… Trotsky remained in his own mind a revolutionary and not “a counter-revolutionary heading toward fascism,” as Stalin declared. However, because of his inherent dogmatism, his tendentiousness, and his lack of information Trotsky could not understand or properly evaluate the complex processes taking place in the Soviet Union and the world Communist movement in the ’30s. As a result, he was not able to formulate an alternative Marxist program. He was unable even to understand correctly the reasons for his own defeat.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 179

TROTSKY’S ARGUMENT THAT PARTY LEADERS CAN’T BE REMOVED IS FALSE

Now on what basis can we describe the categories of people mentioned by Trotsky as being privileged and irremovable? Let us start with the Communist leadership. It can hardly be pretended that this leadership is irremovable. Indeed in another context, Trotsky will tell you that a considerable number of leaders have been removed–including himself. Nor can it be seriously contended that Trotsky was removed bureaucratically. On the contrary, he was removed for violating Party discipline after debates which lasted from 1923 to 1927, and after the Party had declared against the line taken by him, by 724,000 votes to 4000. But perhaps the present Party officials are irremovable? On the contrary, the present Party officials are elected by secret ballots of the Party members. Do those Party members occupy a privileged position with regard to the workers? On the contrary, at the periodical cleansings of the Party, the non-Party workers are given the fullest opportunity of criticizing Party members and demanding their expulsion from the Party.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 155

TROTSKY OPPOSED THE PARTY FROM LENIN’S DEATH TILL 1927

From 1923 (just prior to the death of Lenin), until his expulsion from the Party in 1927, Trotsky’s struggle against the policy and leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet government was continuous. He not only refused to accept the decisions of the majority of the Party, but worked actively against them.
Shepherd, W. G. The Moscow Trial. London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1936, p. 14

TROTSKY SHOWED NO INTEREST IN TAKING OVER WHEN THE TRIUMVIRS SPLIT

The exchanges between Bukharinists and Zinovievists had gone on for many months now and the conflict between the triumvirs had been simmering for nearly a year. This, it might have seemed, was the realignment for which Trotsky had waited, the opportunity to act. Yet throughout all this time he was aloof, silent about the issues over which the party divided, and as if unaware of them. Thirteen years later, when he stood before the Dewey Commission in Mexico, he confessed that at the 14th Congress he was astonished to see Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Stalin clashing as enemies. “The explosion was absolutely unexpected by me,” he said. “During the congress I waited in uncertainty, because the whole situation changed. It appeared absolutely unclear to me.”
This recollection, so many years after the event, may seem quite incredible; but it is fully borne out by what its author wrote in unpublished diary notes during the congress itself. To the Dewey Commission he explained that he was taken by surprise because, although he was a member of the Politburo, the triumvirs had carefully concealed their dissensions from him and had thrashed out their differences in his absence, within the secret caucus that acted as the real Politburo. The explanation, although true, explains little. For one thing, the crucial controversy over socialism in a single country had already been conducted in public. Trotsky could not have missed its significance if he had followed it. He evidently failed to do so. For another, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Krupskaya, and Sokolnikov had raised the demand for an open debate not within a secret caucus but at the plenary session of the Central Committee, in October. But even if they had not done so, and even if the public controversy over socialism in a single country had given no indication of the new cleavage, it would still be something of a puzzle how an observer as close, as interested, and as acute as Trotsky could have remained unaware of the trend and blind to the many omens. How could he have been deaf to the rumblings that had for months been coming from Leningrad?
His surprise, we must conclude, resulted from a failure of observation, intuition, and analysis. Moreover, it is implausible that Radek, Preobrazhensky, Smirnov, and his other friends should not have noticed what was happening and that none of them tried to bring matters to Trotsky’s attention. Evidently his mind remained closed. He lived as if in another world, wrapped up in himself and his ideas. He was up to his eyes in his scientific and industrial preoccupations and literary work, which protected him to some extent from the frustration to which he was exposed. He shunned inner-party affairs. Full of the sense of his superiority and contempt for his opponents, and disgusted with the polemical methods and tricks, he was not interested in their doings. He submitted to the discipline by which they had shackled him, but he held up his head and ignored them. A few years later his biographer was told in Moscow that he used to appear dutifully at the sessions of the Central Committee, take his seat, open a book–most often a French novel–and become so engrossed as to take no notice of the deliberations.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 248-249

The eyes of the whole assembly [the 14th Congress of 18 December 1925] were now on Trotsky: had the great and eloquent man nothing to say? His lips were sealed. He remained silent even when Andreev asked that new prerogatives be voted for the Central Committee to enable it to deal more effectively with dissenters–to enable it, that is, to break the back of the new Opposition. The latter had been heavily outvoted; but before its close the congress received with uproar and anger reports that in Leningrad turbulent demonstrations against its decisions were in progress:… And to the end not a word escaped from Trotsky’s mouth.
[Footnote]: He [Trotsky] made only one Zwischenruf in the debate. When Zinoviev explained that the year before he had asked for Trotsky’s exclusion from the Politburo because after all the accusations they had hurled at Trotsky, it was incongruous to Re-elect Him to the Politburo, Trotsky Interjected: “Correct!”
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 254

TROTSKY ACTED LIKE HE WAS ON THE MASSES SIDE BUT SIDED WITH THE PARTY LEADERS

The ruling factions played on popular weariness and craving for security and frightened people with the bogy of permanent revolution. Speaking for the record, Trotsky usually dwelt on the antagonism between the ruling group and the rank-and-file. Off the record he admitted that the ideas and slogans of the ruling group met an emotional need in the rank-and-file, that this overlaid their antagonism, and that the Opposition was at variance with the popular temper.
What then was to be done? It is not the business of the Marxist revolutionary, Trotsky reflected, to bow to the reactionary mood of the masses. At times when their class consciousness is dimmed, he must be prepared to become isolated from them.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 309

ON SOME CRUCIAL SOVIET LEADERSHIP ISSUES TROTSKY SIDES WITH STALIN

…how can anyone think or believe that power could pass from the hands of the Russian proletariat into those of the bourgeoisie peacefully, by way of a quiet, imperceptible bureaucratic change? Such a conception of the Thermidor is nothing but reformism. “The means of production,” he went on, “which once prolonged to the capitalists remain in the hands of the Soviet state till this day. The land is nationalized. Social elements that live on the exploitation of labor continue to be debarred from the Soviets and the Army.” The Thermidorian danger was real enough, but the struggle was not yet resolved. And just as Stalin’s left course and attack on the NEP-man and the kulak had not effaced the Thermidorian danger, so his, Trotsky’s, banishment had not obliterated the October Revolution. A sense of proportion was needed in the evaluation of facts and in theorizing. The concept of Soviet state capitalism was meaningless where no capitalists existed; and if those who spoke of it denounced state ownership of industry, they renounced an essential prerequisite of socialism. Nor was the bureaucracy a new exploiting class in any Marxist sense, but a “morbid growth on the body of the working class”–a new exploiting class could not form itself in exercising merely managerial functions, without having any property in the means of production.
The implications of this dispute became apparent when a conflict flared up, in the summer of 1929, between the Soviet Union and China over the possession of the Manchurian Railway. China claimed the railway which the Soviet Government held as a concessionaire. The question arose whose side the Opposition ought to take. The French syndicalists, the Leninbund, and some Belgian Trotskyists held that the Soviet government should give up the railway (which had been built by Russia in the course of the Tsarist expansion to Manchuria); and in Stalin’s refusal to do so they saw evidence of the imperialist character of his policy. To their surprise Trotsky declared that Stalin was right in holding on to the railway and that it was the Opposition’s duty to side with the Soviet Union against China. This was, in the first year of his exile, Trotsky’s first great controversy with his own followers–we shall see him again, in his last year, during the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-40, engaged in another, his last, dispute with his own followers, a dispute again centering on the Opposition’s attitude towards the Soviet Union; and in that dispute he would again adopt essentially the same view as in 1929.
He saw no reason, he argued, why the workers’ state should yield a vital economic and strategic position to Chiang Kai-shek’s Government (which had recognized the Soviet concession in Manchuria). He criticized severely Stalin’s manner of dealing with the Chinese, his disregard of their susceptibilities, and his failure to appeal to the people in Manchuria–a more considerate and thoughtful policy might have averted the conflict. But once the conflict had broken out, he asserted, communists had no choice but to back the Soviet Union. If Stalin gave up the railway to the Kuomintang he would have yielded it not to the Chinese people but to their oppressors. Chiang Kai-shek was not even an independent agent. If he obtained control of the railway, he would not be able to maintain it but would sooner or later lose it to Japan (or else allow American capital to bring the Manchurian economy under its influence). Only the Soviet Union was strong enough to keep this Manchurian position out of Japan’s hands. China’s national rights, invoked by the critics, were, in Trotsky’s view, not relevant to this case, which was an incident in a complex and many -sided contest between the various forces of world imperialism and the workers’ state. He concluded that the time for the Soviet Union to do historic justice and return the Manchurian outpost to China would come when a revolutionary government was established in Peking; and this forecast was to come true after the Chinese revolution. In the meantime, the Soviet government was obliged to act as the trustee of revolutionary China and keep for it the Manchurian assets.
One may imagine the consternation which Trotsky caused among the zealots of the Opposition. They were puzzled by his “inconsistency,” thinking that he was missing a great opportunity to strike at Stalin. He was, indeed, not out to score points; but his behavior was consistent with what he was saying about the Soviet Union as the workers’ state. For that state he felt, as an outcast, the same responsibility that he had felt as a member of the Politburo and of Lenin’s government. He found the displays of self-righteous indignation over Soviet policy, in which some of his pupils indulged, wrong-headed and cheap; and he told them bluntly that he had nothing in common with “Trotskyists” who refused to give the workers’ state unshakable, if critical, allegiance.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 55-57

TROTSKY ATTACKS AND STALIN DEFENDS THE OLD GUARD AGAINST BUREAUCRACY CHARGE

[In Pravda on December 15,1923 Stalin stated] After referring to bureaucracy in the Party apparatus and the danger of degeneration of the old guard i.e., the Leninists, the main core of our party, Trotsky writes:
“The degeneration of the ‘old guard’ has been observed in history more than once….”
It is impossible to understand how opportunists and Mensheviks like Bernstein, Adler, Kautsky, Guesde, and the others, can be put on a par with the Bolshevik old guard, which has always fought, and I hope will continue to fight with honor, against opportunism, the Mensheviks and the Second International…. How is one to interpret these insinuations about opportunism in relation to the old Bolsheviks, who matured in the struggle against opportunism?…
I do not by any means think that the old Bolsheviks are absolutely guaranteed against the danger of degeneration any more than I have grounds for asserting that we are absolutely guaranteed against, say, an earthquake. As a possibility, such a danger can and should be assumed. But does this mean that such a danger is real, that it exists? I think that it does not. Trotsky himself has adduced no evidence to show that the danger of degeneration is a real danger.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 5, p. 393-395

STALIN ATTACKS TROTSKY AT A 1927 JOINT MEETING

…It was significant that Stalin was the only speaker at the 15th Party Congress to receive a standing ovation, both for his report and for the closing speech. He cannot be accused of having ‘stage-managed’ or ‘scripted’ the proceedings; most of the delegates simply saw him as the true emergent leader of the party, an impression strengthened by the unconvincing speeches of the opposition whose nerve had failed….
A combined plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of October 23, 1927 was convened to discuss the agenda of the forthcoming 15th Congress. When the plenum agreed that congress should debate the Trotskyist opposition, shouts came from the floor and notes were handed to the platform to the effect that the Central Committee had concealed Lenin’s testament and not carried out his will. Stalin could no longer remain silent on this matter. His hour-long speech was full of anger and undisguised hatred of Trotsky. Once again he rehearsed all the sins of the rejected leader, going back to 1904. Knowing that Trotsky’s main weapon against him was Lenin’s warning about his personal shortcomings, Stalin countered along the same lines:
“The opposition thinks it can ‘explain’ its defeat on the personal grounds of Stalin’s rudeness, the obduracy of Bukharin and Rykov, and so on. That’s too easy. Its mumbo-jumbo, not an explanation…. In the period between 1904 and the February revolution Trotsky was hobnobbing with the Mensheviks the whole time and carrying on a desperate struggle against Lenin’s party. In that time Trotsky was defeated again and again by Lenin’s party. Why? Perhaps Stalin’s rudeness was to blame? But Stalin was not then Secretary of the Central Committee, he was passing his time in those days far from foreign exile, he was carrying on the struggle in the underground, against tzarism, while the struggle between Trotsky and Lenin was being played out abroad, so what has Trotsky’s rudeness got to do with it?”
Stalin launched his attack under the banner of defending Lenin, whom Trotsky in the early days had called– among other things– ‘Maximilien Lenin’, an allusion to the dictatorial ways of Robespierre. He dealt Trotsky a telling blow by noting that his early pamphlet, ‘Our Political Tasks’, had been dedicated to the Menshevik Axelrod. Triumphantly, and to the accompaniment of the audience’s jeers, Stalin read out the dedication: ‘To my dear teacher, Pavel Borisovich Axelrod’….
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 137

OPPOSITION NEVER HAS ANY SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT

4,000 votes was the most that the Opposition forces polled at any one time in the entire course of their agitation. Despite the party band on “factions” and the official insistence on “revolutionary unity” as the cornerstone of Soviet domestic politics, an astounding measure a freedom of debate, criticism, and assembly was granted to the Trotskyite oppositionists by the Soviet government.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 204

To speak of it, however, as a victory of Stalin over Trotsky is incorrect. They only personified the issues. Both represented policies with wide support. Trotsky’s immense personal popularity– (his picture, with Lenin’s, adorned more office walls at the time of my visit than any other)–gave his policies prestige. But Trotsky’s disruptive tactics finally alienated all but a small support.
Baldwin, Roger. Liberty under the Soviets, New York: Vanguard Press, 1928, p. 58

A combined plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission in October 1923 condemned Trotsky. He was supported by only two out of the 114 participants in the meeting. In effect, even before the meeting, Trotsky was isolated in the struggle for leadership of the party. He had been utterly defeated. He then tried to rely on the army, where he still had considerable authority. With the help of his old ally, Antonov-Ovseyenko who was head of the Political Administration of the Revvoensoviet, he proposed to use the armed forces to demonstrate against the Central Committee’s line. But, with few exceptions, the Communists in the army and navy would not support him, either. The 13th Party Conference of January 1924, which debated the issue, not only condemned Trotsky, it also passed a number of measures in the field of economic policy. As a result, Trotsky admitted that his attacks on the Central Committee, and the discussion he had initiated, were undertaken with the aim of his becoming leader of the party. One cannot help noticing, however, that Trotsky started up every discussion at a time least favorable to himself, and virtually knowing in advance that he would be defeated.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 87

In June 1926 Stalin launched an open offensive against the new grouping. Trotsky & Zinoviev in the Politburo, and Kamenev in its non-voting membership, had no support except for a handful of Central Committee members, and a few thousand individual Communists.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 136

Of course, in the 1930s there still remained oppositional elements in the Soviet Union whose inclinations bore an anti-communist character and who were prepared at the appropriate moment to wage a battle against Stalinism “from the right,” even at the cost of collaborating with fascist interventionists. The continued existence of such elements was clearly seen during the years of World War II.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 143

I did not believe our victory [Victor Serge recollects] and at heart I was even sure that we would be defeated. When I was sent to Moscow with our group’s messages for Trotsky, I told him so. We talked in the spacious office of the Concessions Committee… he was suffering from a fit of malaria; his skin was yellow, his lips were almost livid. I told him that we were extremely weak, that we, in Leningrad, had not rallied more than a few hundred members, that our debates left the mass of workers cold. I felt that he knew all this better than I did.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 310

The opposition represents an insignificant minority in our party…. Whether we will have unity with that insignificant group in the Party known as the opposition, depends on them. We want to work in harmony with the opposition. Last year, at the height of the discussion, we said that joint work with the opposition was necessary. We’ve re-affirm this here today…. The majority wants united activity. Whether the minority sincerely wants it, I do not know. That depends entirely on the comrades of the opposition.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 6, p. 244

TROTSKY TRIED TO TAKE OVER IN 1927

Trotsky was feverishly preparing for the coming showdown. By the end of October, his plans were made. An uprising was to take place on November 7, 1927, the tenth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Trotsky’s most resolute followers, former members of the Red Army Guard, were to head the insurrection. Detachments were posted to take over strategic points throughout the country. The signal for the rising was to be a political demonstration against the Soviet government during the mass workers parade in Moscow on the morning of November 7th.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 205

TROTSKY’S ATTEMPTED TAKEOVER COLLAPSES

…The majority of the Politburo gained the day. Trotsky was expelled from the Politburo and the Central Committee, and deprived of both his offices. His supporters, too, were dismissed from the principal offices in the State…. While Trotsky’s supporters were removed from direct political influence, only those who took active steps against the party were later exiled.
Trotsky, now no longer in the Politburo or the Central Committee, went on with his activities. Now that it was really too late to do anything, he became energetic. He went really to work at building up an illegal organization to overthrow the party and the Government. Suddenly there appeared in Moscow, though in no great numbers, illegal leaflets, addressed not to the mass of the people but as a rule only to party members….
It was November 7, 1927; the Soviet Union was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the victory of Bolshevism in Russia….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 136

No worse day could have been chosen for an appeal to opposition sentiment…. Here there assembled on this day a few supporters of Trotsky, including Karl Radek. From an open window in this corner building, they tried to address the marching columns in support of the Opposition. Trotsky showed himself, but attracted no attention from the crowds. The Opposition had conceived this as an important demonstration, and had hoped for great results from it. The few speakers at the window were noticed, however, only by the State police. The demonstration was a failure.
This attempted demonstration against the Government gave the signal for the penultimate move in the dramatic conflict. A great purge began. Now the party organization had ample evidence that there was a Trotskyist opposition organization within the party. It had proof also of illegal activity on the part of that opposition, aiming at the overthrow of the party majority and even of the Government. Everyone suspected of supporting Trotsky was expelled from the party; very many were exiled.
Trotsky’s banishment was then resolved on in that dramatic atmosphere. He was exiled to Alma Ata, a town in Russian Central Asia,….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 137-138

Trotsky’s insurrection collapsed almost as soon as it started. On the morning of November 7th, as the workers marched through the Moscow streets, Trotskyite propaganda leaflets were showered down on them from high buildings announcing the advent of the “new leadership.” Small bands of Trotskyite’s suddenly appeared in the streets, waving banners and placards. They were swept away by irate workers.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 205

… Having taken his earlier defeat to heart, Trotsky was now convinced that, if necessary, a new party must be created to oppose the official body. To gather recruits for this objective, he distributed his supporters among the local Soviets and factory committees, with instructions to express the Opposition viewpoint wherever possible.
This final maneuver more than anything else goaded Stalin to sudden action. Wordy criticism he would permit, but an Opposition which sought to undermine the very roots of Leninism must be smashed once and for all….
Faced by such a show of force and frightened by the implications contained in Trotsky’s suggestion to set up a new party, Zinoviev and his group again surrendered and again made public and servile apologies to Stalin, who once more forgave them.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 69

Stimulated by the ill-luck which dogged Stalin’s policy in China, the Opposition decided to come into the open for a final attempt to oust the General Secretary. Preparations began for the Congress of 1927.
If he had received a setback in China, Stalin was by no means beaten. This time he decided to destroy the Opposition altogether and to except no more sham capitulations. On November 15, 1927, the Central Committee of the Party decided to expel Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev from its sittings. On December 18th the assembled Congress confirmed the earlier decision and expelled all the leading dissenters of the Party.
For all its bellicose phrases, this was more than the Opposition expected. Expulsion from the party meant the loss of good jobs, the loss of citizen rights, possibly even Siberian exile would follow. Only Trotsky and a few others were sufficiently steadfast to endure this. First Zinoviev and Kamenev, then Rakovsky, Sokolnikov and others, asked forgiveness of Stalin. In the most servile turns, they begged to be allowed to re-enter the fold, forswearing all future connections with Trotsky and the intransigeants.
For the last time, with surprising lack of animosity, Stalin granted their request, allotting them subordinate positions but removing them from leadership of the Moscow and Leningrad Soviets.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 70

The party leadership was rather slow in applying extreme disciplinary measures to the opposition leaders. There were plenty of warnings and resolutions of censure by the leading Party organs, and Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev were gradually stripped of their more important Party and Soviet posts.
On the 10th anniversary of the Revolution, on November 7, 1927, groups of oppositionists organized counter-demonstrations under their own banners and slogans. Although this effort was very unsuccessful because of the small number of the participants, it gave the Party leadership an excuse for proceeding much more vigorously. Trotsky and Zinoviev were promptly expelled from the Party. The Party Congress, meeting at the end of the year, formally expelled all the other oppositionists of any prominence and laid down the rule that adherence to the views of the Trotskyist opposition was inconsistent with membership in the Communist Party.
With expulsion and exile hanging over their heads Zinoviev and Kamenev weakened and left Trotsky alone in the role of a martyr to his principles. Together with most of their associates, they recanted and after a period of probation were readmitted to the Party. Trotsky remained unyielding, and early in 1928 he and a number of his chief associates were banished to various remote parts of the Soviet Union….
Trotsky’s place of banishment was Alma Ata in the eastern part of Russian Turkestan, not far from the Chinese frontier. He was not placed under actual restraint, but was kept under close observation. Notwithstanding this, he and his associates, all of them old revolutionists, well versed in the tricks of eluding guards and spies, kept up a lively clandestine correspondence between themselves and with the remnants of their underground organization throughout the country. Most of this correspondence, to be sure, ultimately fell into the hands of the GPU and the Party authorities.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 74-75

Trotsky’s two chief associates in opposition, Zinoviev and Kamenev of whom the former was for a long time President of the Communist International and the latter Vice Premier and President of the Moscow Soviet, have gone to Canossa, confessed their mistakes, and received minor posts in the Party and Social service.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 104

…At any rate, on November 7th, 1927, [the Tenth] anniversary of the Revolution, they [The Opposition] ventured a direct appeal to the public in Moscow, Leningrad, and other great cities from balconies or improvised platforms in parks and squares. This forlorn hope was an utter failure; the masses refused to be stirred. The Opposition orators were greeted with some booing and cat-calls, and a few rotten apples were thrown, but there was no excitement or disorder. Nevertheless the gesture was flagrant, and by Soviet law tantamount to open rebellion. The Fifteenth Party Congress, which met in December, expelled Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and 75 of their principal adherence from the Communist Party.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 115

TROTSKY WAS NOT DEFEATED BECAUSE STALIN UNDERMINED HIM

Trotsky was not defeated because of Stalin’s growing power. As the Russian historians Valerii Nadtocheev and Dimitri Volkogonov have pointed out, the reverse is true: Stalin gained power because he was able to provide leadership in the Politburo’s effort to neutralize Trotsky.
… (with Zinoviev taking a harder line against Trotsky than Stalin did).
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 23

TROTSKY THINKS HE CAN TAKE OVER

In a June 15, 1926, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “If Trotsky tells Bukharin that he soon hopes to have a majority in the party, that means he hopes to intimidate and blackmail Buharin. How little he knows and how much he underestimates Bukharin! But I think pretty soon the party will punch the mugs of Trotsky and Zinoviev along with Kamenev and turn them into isolated splitters, like Shliapnikov.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 114

In a September 23, 1926, letter to Molotov Stalin said, “If Trotsky ‘is in a rage’ and thinks of ‘openly going for broke,’ that’s all the worse for him. It’s quite possible that he’ll be bounced out of the Politburo now–that depends on his behavior. The issue is as follows: either they must submit to the party, or the party must submit to them. It’s clear that the party will cease to exist as a party if it allows the latter (second) possibility.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 129

OPPOSITION REFUSES TO ACCEPT THE MAJORITY VOTE AND BECOMES A FACTION

One may also assert that certain individual tendencies of mind and of character are apt to identify themselves with certain political tendencies. Narrowness of mind and short-sighted aggressiveness may manifest themselves by prejudice and opposition–intellectual and moral cowardice by lower middle-class opportunism and lapsing towards Reformism and Menshevism.
It is this which gives the Opposition its great importance and its formidable scope, because it is the divergence of tendencies in question which brings about wide divergence in the interpretation of communist doctrine. Divergence from the practical interpretation of the doctrine, that is–to say from Marxism, a different assessment of the “peculiar requirements of the moment,” may have quite unforseen consequences, or may give a different meaning to the whole policy. A mistake about an isolated fact may be corrected like a mistake in an arithmetical sum. But an error in tendency is a general deformation, beginning at the bottom and, increasing by geometrical progression, bringing with it an enormous number of modifications of detail susceptible of changing the whole face of national history–to say nothing of resulting in terrible disaster. It is a modification of the “line” of the great Party which is the motive force of the State.
In its origin, the Opposition is a tendential malady.
But it is a particular kind of tendential malady of the gravest possible kind, whose main symptom is lack of discipline, definite separation and drifting apart from the majority of the leaders. The opposing tendency to that of the majority is no longer a subject for discussion, but an object for war.
It is in this way that the functions of the Opposition differ radically from those of self-criticism. The name of self-criticism is to bring all the tendencies back into a common path. Nothing is more natural than that different tendencies should exist; nothing is more healthy than clear and open discussion on any points at issue. Self-criticism ensures this maximum freedom of expression of opinion, which is the privilege of the Bolshevik Party.
But the Opposition does not follow the lines of self-criticism. It’s essential and most pernicious characteristics are that it forms itself into a separate body, refuses to identify itself with the decision of the majority– the majority vote being the only democratic method and, indeed, the only sensible method of settling a disagreement until the facts can be thoroughly co-ordinated. In this case, something remains over after the vote is taken. The Opposition seizes this something and consolidates around it in a solid body. Instead of accepting the decision more or less openly, it fights it, “The Opposition View” becomes indurated and overgrown, and the State organism is attacked by a parasitic growth in its interior. In this way, the Opposition brings about what is called a split, the prelude to a definite schism. Self-criticism always remains open, but the Opposition closes itself up. The self-critic remains inside the community. With the Opposition, the figure “2” makes its appearance. And so, in this way, we see “liberty of opinion” pathologically creating a group in the bosom of the Party which takes the form of a Party itself and constitutes a permanent conspiracy. When this Opposition group considers itself to be sufficiently strong (and outside the Party it relies, like all oppositions, on the support of the various adversaries of the State policy), it goes to war and tries to seize the reins of power in order to change its heterodoxy into orthodoxy.
Lenin had very explicitly fought this particularism, by which the disease starts, at the Tenth Congress, and he had caused the following resolution to be adopted: “Each organization of the Party must keep a strict watch to insure that the freedom of necessary criticism of the mistakes of the Party, of analyzing the fundamental policy of the Party, of taking notice of all its practical experience, of applying its decisions, of considering the remedies for any errors that may be made, and everything that follows from these things, should not become the prerogatives of certain men or of certain groups collected around a definite platform but should be quite open to all the members of the Party.”
On what questions was the Opposition most active? According to what has just been said, and when it becomes a question of unreasonable persistence, in the Party mechanism, of general tendencies running contrary to those of the majority, and of the consolidating of those tendencies–it is easy to understand that the Opposition showed itself in all the great administrative problems of the USSR and of the Communist International. It always attempted to approach all these problems from an angle different to the one from which the administrative majority envisioned them and approached them.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 160-162

Now according to the party rules adopted at the 10th Congress, with Trotsky’s approval, the actions in which he engaged, in particular consultations with the group of Forty-Six, indisputably constituted “factionalism.” The crime was compounded by the leakage of his two letters–accidental or deliberate, no one could tell–to the public. The Party Conference that convened in January 1924, therefore, was entirely within its rights in condemning Trotsky and “Trotskyism” as a “petty-bourgeois” deviation.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 485

The crisis I referred to occurred in September 1923. An acute economic depression was causing discontent among the workers and peasants, in some cities even giving rise to strikes– a phenomenon as portentous as it is rare in Soviet Russia. And at the same time two secret societies were discovered within the Communist Party, called the “Workers’ Group” and “Workers’ Truth”–the one Menshevik in tendency, and the other Anarcho-syndicalist.
Eastman, Max. Since Lenin Died. Westport, Connecticutt: Hyperion Press. 1973, p. 33

OPPOSITION UNITES AROUND TROTSKY

The whole Opposition gravitated around the personality of Trotsky.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 164

This Opposition, gathered around Trotsky, issued a memorandum of their grievances, a “platform.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 180

In reality, the USSR and the international Communist movement faced multiple threats from multiple enemies and potential enemies. But to those who felt endangered, Trotskyism came to embody those threats; multiple threats emanated from one “enemy” who acted as the agent of all enemies, who used the language and logic of Bolshevism to destroy it. A host of perceived dangers had one name.
Chase, William J., Enemies Within the Gates?, translated by Vadim A. Staklo, New Haven: Yale University Press, c2001, p. 227.

THE OPPOSITION’S FIGURES ARE INACCURATE & ITS PROGRAM IMPRACTICAL

In the first place, many of the precise details (statistics) upon which the Opposition relies in framing its accusations of deviation and its predictions of headlong disaster are indisputably inaccurate, either because the figures given are incorrect, or because they are misleading owing to all the elements of a particular question not having been taken into consideration.
For instance: the so-called increase in industrial and transport shortage in relation to demand (this was the main complaint); the delay in the increase of wages in proportion to the work done; the shortening of the working day; the increase in the difference between the wages of men and women; the lowering of the wages of youths; the increase of unemployment; the amount allocated to the unemployed; etc….
In the second place, many of the charges are brought without a proof, while in other cases they are in direct contradiction to earlier decisions of the Party and to results already achieved. For instance: the disguising of the progress made by the kulaks; the suppression of democracy within the Party; the abandonment of the idea of industrialization (in the shadow of the NEP); the attempt to oppose co-operation in electrification (also in connection with the NEP).
In the third place, a great number of the proposals of the Opposition are quite obviously dangerous, clumsy and likely to produce disastrous results. All this category of definite proposals shows a lack of appreciation of realities, and possesses a character of bluff and demagogism, either because the proposals are bad in themselves, or because they are inopportune and premature.
For instance (apart from the two obvious criticisms of the disadvantages of the NEP, the exploitation of that temporary state of affairs brought about by immediate necessities, and the demand that it should be put an end to immediately): That support should be given to the nationalist deviations to the Right, which might have the affect a breaking up the Soviet Federation. That wholesale prices should be increased (the 15th Congress pointed out the formidable repercussions that would eventually result from such a measure, which the Opposition adopted without considering the mechanism of Socialism as a whole, but solely in order to secure the goodwill and support of the peasants). That restrictions should be placed on production (the closing down of factories and over-organization). That measures, equally demagogic, of mass exemption from contributions of the poor peasants and the withdrawal of State capital from co-operative schemes should be adopted (which would mean the reinforcement of private capital). That a surtax should be levied upon the rich, tantamount to confiscation, and that private capital should be suddenly abolished and the NEP liquidated before it had entirely done its work. That supplementary requisitions of wheat should be made (infallibly provoking the crash of the whole struggling credit policy of the USSR).
It is clearly a great temptation for anyone who wishes to play to the gallery to suggest such measures, but all they could achieve would be a reckless adjustment, on paper only, of problems which in actual practice can only be solved gradually and not without a certain delay.
It is obviously easy to brandish evidence like the kulak danger, the growth of unemployment, the shortage of housing for the workers, and the fatty degeneration of the bureaucracy. It is also easy to say in nearly every case: “Things ought to move more quickly.” But the question is whether it is possible to move more quickly and whether the relative, not actual, slowness of progress is or is not the fault of the Party leadership, and in any case whether this is a sufficient reason to make radical alterations in its whole policy.
Is the Party to be blamed, for instance, because it is unable to procure the vast sums of money necessary for the complete reconstruction of the workers’ dwellings? And in the great major drama of the industrialization of land (which is known to be necessary but which is being retarded both voluntarily and involuntarily), is it not putting the cart before the horse in the most ridiculous way to stifle the co-operative system of commodity distribution, which is actually in existing working order, by potential electrification?… The question at issue is whether one ought to abandon an objective that is half reached for another–a greater one–which is not yet attainable. The alternative one has to decide is: either to do something concrete, or to begin at the end.
It is, in any case, notorious that many of the measures of salvation feverishly put forward by the Opposition are the very ones which the Party itself recommends and applies. In these cases the Opposition is merely discovering America. It is playing the part of the fly on the coach-wheel (and a tsetse fly at that!).
Invest 500 million rubles in industry, enjoins the Opposition. But the curve of investment in industry, continuously mounting, was already 460 million rubles in 1927 when this injunction was launched. Some of the proposals of the Opposition–as, for instance, those relating to a better distribution of agricultural produce, to the assistance of poor presents and small contractors, to the charter of adolescent workers–are copied from resolutions already passed and put into force.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 182-185

BUKHARIN THE RIGHTIST UNITES WITH KAMENEV AND ZINOVIEV THE LEFTISTS

During this struggle, former `Left Opposition’ members made unprincipled alliances with Bukharin in order to overthrow Stalin and the Marxist-Leninist leadership. On July 11, 1928, during the violent debates that took place before the collectivization, Bukharin held a clandestine meeting with Kamenev. He stated that he was ready to `give up Stalin for Kamenev and Zinoviev’, and hoped for `a bloc to remove Stalin’.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 135 [p. 116 on the NET]

OPPOSITION HAS NO MASS SUPPORT BECAUSE IT HAS NO PROGRAM

My old friend Belinsky, the acknowledged leader and thinker of our group in Moscow at this time, summed up the position as follows:… Not one oppositionist group had proved capable of preparing in good time, as an alternative to the party’s general line, a program sufficiently revolutionary to capture the sympathy of the masses….

Tokaev, Grigori. Comrade X. London: Harvill Press,1956, p. 74

OPPOSITIONISTS COMMITTED MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRIMES

These professional wreckers set themselves the task of destroying what the Soviet people were building…. And in strict adherence to Trotsky’s instructions “to strike the most palpable blows at the most sensitive spots”, these ‘heroes’ blow up bridges, cause explosions in factories and gas mines, kill workers, wreck power stations, cause train accidents, destroy horses and kill cattle, sabotage agricultural plans, weaken the defense industry, sabotage the country’s finances and foreign trade, create an artificial shortage of essential supplies, put nails and glass in butter! No crime is too monstrous for this gang.

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 245

UNITED OPPOSITION IS REJECTED BY THE PARTY’S MAJORITY

It is true that in the spring and early summer of 1926 the opposition leaders campaigned quite energetically, using conspiratorial methods for the most part. Representatives of the bloc were sent to dozens of cities to acquaint their supporters with the platform of the opposition, while illegal meetings of Opposition supporters were held in many local areas, with new members being recruited to the opposition faction. One such illegal meeting, at which Lashevich spoke, was held secretly in the woods outside Moscow.

The first open confrontation between the Opposition and majority of the Central Committee took place at a joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission in July 1926. Trotsky spoke for the Opposition bloc. Now the party saw Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev on the same platform but hardly anyone said “Here is our true Central Committee.” The overwhelming majority of the Central Committee condemned the opposition. Zinoviev was removed from the Politburo, on which Trotsky remained as the sole oppositionist.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 163

OPPOSITION LIED WHEN IT SAID IT WOULD END FACTIONALISM

Although the opposition statement of October 16, 1926, spoke of an end to all factional activity, the Opposition was unable to refrain from renewed factionalism….

On June 9, 1927, a gathering to bid farewell to Smilga developed into an Opposition demonstration of sorts…. Stalin and the Politburo judged the demonstration at the Yaroslavl Station to be a factional move and a violation of the promises made in the opposition’s statement of October 16, 1926.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 169-170

It must be admitted, that from the point of view of political morals, the conduct of the majority of the Oppositionists was by no means of high quality…. We are all obliged to lie; it is impossible to manage otherwise. Nevertheless, there are limits that should not be exceeded even in lying. Unfortunately, the Oppositionists, and particularly their leaders, often went beyond these limits.

Nicolaevsky, Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite; “The letter of an Old Bolshevik.” New York: Praeger, 1965, p. 54

In former times we “politicals” [unknown author representing the Old Bolsheviks] used to observe a definite moral code in our relations with the rulers. It was regarded as a crime to petition for clemency. Anyone who did this was finished politically. When we were in jail or in exile, we refrained from giving the authorities any promise not to attempt to escape. We always adhered to this rule, even in instances where to have given such a pledge would have meant alleviation of our lot. We were their prisoners. It was their business to guard us, ours to try to escape….

There is quite a different psychology nowadays. To plead for pardon has become a common phenomenon, on the assumption that since the party in power was “my party,” the rules which applied in the Czarist days are no longer valid. One hears this argument everywhere. At the same time, it is considered quite proper to consistently deceive “my party,”… This has given rise to a special type of morality, which allows one to accept any conditions, to sign any undertakings, with the premeditated intention not to observe them. This morality is particularly widespread among the representatives of the older generation of Party comrades….

This new morality has had a very demoralizing effect inside the ranks of the Oppositionists. The borderline between what is and what is not admissible has become completely obliterated, and many have fallen to downright treachery and disloyalty. At the same time, the new morality has furnished a convincing argument to those opposed to any rapprochement with the former Oppositionists, the argument being that it is impossible to believe them because they recognize in principle the permissibility of telling lies. How is one to determine when they speak the truth and when they lie?

Nicolaevsky, Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite; “The letter of an Old Bolshevik.” New York: Praeger, 1965, p. 55

1927 TROTSKY DEMONSTRATIONS FAILED BADLY

In reply to the decision to expel Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev from the Central Committee, the opposition attempted to organize its own demonstration to mark the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. This proved, however, to be not so much a demonstration of strength as of weakness. There were hardly any workers in this “parallel” demonstration; student youth and office workers from various institutions predominated….

During this demonstration of the opposition leaders gave speeches from the balcony of a house on the corner of Vozdvizhenka and Mokhovaya streets, but compared with the official demonstration of Moscow workers, the Opposition demonstration was a sorry spectacle. It was easily dispersed by the workers vigilante groups and militia units quickly organized for this purpose. The first arrests were made on the streets at that time. Posters with Opposition slogans and portraits of Trotsky were torn out of demonstrators hands and ripped to pieces. Many students were beaten up. The attempt to organize an Opposition demonstration in Leningrad was even less successful. Zinoviev, who obviously had overestimated his influence in that city, came close to being beaten up during the march celebrating the 10th anniversary of the revolution.

On November 14 a plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission expelled Trotsky and Zinoviev from the party….

Yakubovich, an eyewitness to the funeral [of Joffe] describes it in his memoirs:

“… It must have been obvious for those watching this scene that Trotsky’s cause was hopelessly lost. The new generation of Red Army soldiers did not know him, had not taken part in the civil war, were raised in a new spirit. The name of Trotsky meant little or nothing to them. The composition of the funeral demonstration also made one stop and think, for there were no workers in it. The United Opposition had no proletarian support.”

In December 1927 the 15th Congress confirmed the expulsion of Trotsky and Zinoviev and resolved to expel 75 additional members of the opposition, including Kamenev, Pyatakov, Radek, Rakovsky, Smilga, Lashevich, Safarov, and Smirnov.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 173-174

Rykov, chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, even said:

“Despite the situation the opposition has tried to create, there are only a few in prison. I do not think I can give assurances that the prison population won’t have to be increased somewhat in the near future. (Voices from the floor: “Right!”)

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 175

Trotsky gave his last speech as a party figure at the plenum of October 1927. It was confused but passionate…. he provided no convincing arguments or clear socialist ideas. His hatred of the Central Committee and of Stalin were plain to see, but this was not echoed among the participants of the plenum, nor among Communists who would read the speech in the documents of the 15th Congress.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution, Trotsky’s followers decided they would join the celebrations as a procession, forming their own columns and carrying banners with such unexceptional slogans as ‘Down with the kulak, the Nepman, and the bureaucrat!’…. Zinoviev, who had gone to Leningrad for the occasion, and Trotsky, who was touring the streets and squares of Moscow in his car, discovered that they had only minimal support. Perhaps Trotsky was remembering the occasion of the Second Congress of Soviets, 10 years earlier, when he had dismissed the departing figure of Martov with the words: ‘Go to the dustbin of history, where you belong!’ The same words were being cast at him now, as he tried to appeal to the crowds on Revolution Square, making their way into Red Square. Stones were thrown at him and the windows of his car were smashed.

Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 140

The Leningrad demonstration took place in October, 1927. It was repeated shortly afterwards in Moscow on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. There was rough handling of the crowds. Trotsky’s automobile was shot at. Someone with an axe jumped on the step of the car and shattered the windshield. It seemed to Trotsky that a bloody end was being prepared for himself and his sympathizers. It is possible he was right in his judgment at this point. Had he decided to lead a militant party of revolt he would have been beaten just the same…. In December, 1927, at the 15th Congress of the Party, Stalin obtained the exclusion of the whole of the Trotsky faction en bloc,…

Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 103

TROTSKY CONTENDS THE OPPOSITION IS STRONG AND GROWING WHEN IT ISN’T

In 1929 a decision was made to deport Trotsky… A few months later Trotsky continued to assert that the Left Opposition was growing stronger and increasing its numbers. He stated,

“In spite of all the lies of the official press, the Left Opposition is growing and fortifying itself ideologically throughout the world. Progress has been especially great during this past year.”

These were illusions, and they were very soon dispelled.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 177

STALIN SUPPORTS SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY

At the same time it is true to say that had Stalin’s statement [that the SU will lead the road to socialism and not Europe] been broadcast to the world, the whole Socialist and Labor movement would have laughed it out of court. All the “Marxist” schools of Western Socialism, as well as the other schools of Socialist thought, held the view that socialism must come first in the most highly developed capitalist countries; and the majority of them held the view that it would come through parliamentary democracy. The Bolshevik Party was comparatively unknown to the Western Socialists.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 103

When Stalin made his statement concerning socialism in one country it never entered his head that this was a denial of the international significance and character of the Russian Revolution. Nor was he accused of such a denial. it was only later, when Trotsky took his stand on the principal that at least a European revolution must precede the possibility of socialism in Russia that Stalin’s statement was turned into a denial of world revolution.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 103

This was precisely the basis of his disagreement with Trotsky at this time. Trotsky insisted that the revolution must reach to the boundaries of Western Europe or perish, and question of accomplishing this task governed all his views of policy within Russia.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 114

June 17, 1931–the essential feature of Stalinism…is that it frankly aims at the successful establishment of socialism in one country without waiting for world Revolution.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 195

Pravda’s expressions of opinion are carefully prepared and fully authoritative. The earlier editorial for the first time enunciated clearly what has become known as the Stalinist doctrine–that a successful socialist state can be established in the USSR irrespective of what happens abroad, with the important corollary that Soviet example–but not interference in the affairs of other countries–shall be true to the ultimate ideal of universal socialism. In other words, the results in Russia shall count more than propaganda abroad.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 367

Lenin shared the view that a simultaneous Revolution in a number of countries was unlikely.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 113

However, for reasons which have never been altogether cleared up, Trotsky in the early summer of 1926 entered into a bloc with Zinoviev and Kamenev. Common jealousy of Stalin’s predominant position and belief that their combined efforts might shake it probably influenced the formation of this alliance. Then Trotsky, as far back as 1905, had proclaimed his so-called theory of permanent revolution, which fitted in easily with the line of criticism adopted by Zinoviev and Kamenev….
Throughout 1926 and 1927 a furious theoretical controversy between the Stalinite majority and the opposition, headed by Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev raged around the questions whether socialism could be successfully built up in a single country, whether the Soviet economic system could properly be called socialist or state-capitalist, and how far the Russian Revolution was dependent upon the international revolutionary movement for permanent survival. Conflicting texts from Lenin were hurled back and forth; and sometimes different meanings were extracted from the same text. The balance of quotations from Lenin during the period of the War, when he was convinced that the day of general socialist revolution was not far off, would tend to establish a close connection between the success of the Bolshevik Revolution Russia and similar upheavals in other countries. But one of the last things which Lenin wrote, a pamphlet on Cooperation, contains the statement that “we have all the means for the establishment of a socialist society.” (Collected works, Volume 33, page 468)
[The actual quote is as follows:
“Indeed, the power of the state over all large-scale means of production, political power in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured proletarian leadership of the peasantry, etc.–is this not all that is necessary to build a complete socialist society out of co-operatives, out of cooperatives alone, which we formerly ridiculed as huckstering and which from a certain aspect we have the right to treat as such now, under NEP? Is this not all that is necessary to build a complete socialist society? It is still not the building of socialist society, but it is al that is necessary and sufficient for it.”
To further destroy Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution Stalin could also have quoted Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 21, page 342 (August 23, 1915) wherein Lenin states:
“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organizing their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world–the capitalist world–attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states.”
And Stalin could have quoted Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 23. page 79 (written in September 1916) which states:
“Thirdly, the victory of socialism in one country does not at one stroke eliminate all war in general. On the contrary, it presupposes wars. The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in different countries. It cannot be otherwise under commodity production. From this it follows irrefutably that socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will for some time remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois. This is bound to create not only friction, but a direct attempt on the part of the bourgeoisie of other countries to crush the socialist state’s victorious proletariat. In such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war. It would be a war for socialism, for the liberation of other nations from the bourgeoisie. Engels was perfectly right when, in his letter to Kautsky of September 12, 1882 he clearly stated that it was possible for already victorious socialism to wage “defensive wars.” What he had in mind was defense of the victorious proletariat against the bourgeoisie of other countries.
Only after we have overthrown, finally vanquished and expropriated the bourgeoisie of the whole world, and not merely of one country, will wars become impossible.”
This citation was a powerful weapon for the Stalinites in their contention that it was possible to build up socialism in a single country.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 72

On larger issues, too, Stalin proved to be in the right as against Lenin and Trotsky. He did not subscribe to their faith in an impending world revolution, and planned the defense of Russia without reference to any such illusory hopes.
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 63

For five long years Stalin nowhere achieved independence. In the war he was officially Trotsky’s subordinate; in the state he was one among the 19 members of the Central Committee, and one among the five members of the Politburo; in both he was always overshadowed by Lenin and Trotsky. But in one respect he always had a clearer vision than those two leaders. For years both of them believed in the imminence of the world revolution, particularly in Germany. Stalin denied this, and therefore demanded action of Draconian severity in Russia. Long after the triumph of the Bolsheviks, Lenin declared that his own revolution was lost if Russia was to remain the only socialist country. We may call this error heroic.
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 73

Fundamentally Stalin and Trotsky both wanted the same things, namely, to build up the industrial state and to carry on the fight against the rich peasant, the kulak, who had survived in the middle position between the land-owning nobility and the un-liberated peasant. But they wanted these things in different tempos, and the tempo was in each case related to the man’s temperament. Looking back today (1942) on what Stalin later achieved, we are inclined to admit that the spirit of history has vindicated him…. Furthermore, Stalin kept one eye fixed on Asia, the place of his origin, derived thence his standards and his tempo, and did not believe Europeans capable of the social revolution, whereas he already saw this dawning in China.
On this decisive point Stalin proved to be in the right. Trotsky, every inch the western European, had, with all his knowledge of peoples and languages, erred in the matter of Europe’s revolutionary tempo. What he called the permanent, meaning the world, revolution came neither in his day nor in ours, at least not in revolutionary forms; in spite of which Stalin did build up this individual state.
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 93

Stalin who, in contrast to Lenin and Trotsky, never believed the world revolution imminent, really understood the utterly antirevolutionary character of the Germans.
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 124

After the death of Lenin in 1924, a struggle developed among the leaders for the succession…. Stalin apparently, even in those days, was disposed to a program of the development of the communistic idea in Russia as “the first thing to do first,” leaving the world revolution to take care of itself, whereas Trotsky was then and is now the ardent proponent of the idea that the world revolution was foremost.
Davies, Joseph E. Mission to Moscow. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, c1941, p. 34

Stalin gave a severe rebuff to the enemies of the proletarian revolution–Bukharin and Preobrazhensky. These opportunists asserted at the Congress that Russia could not be the first country to achieve a successful Socialist revolution. To this assertion Comrade Stalin replied: “We must abandon the antiquated idea that only Europe can show us the way. There is dogmatic Marxism and creative Marxism. I stand by the latter.” (“Reply to Preobrazhensky on Point 9 of the Resolution on the Political Situation,” Lenin and Stalin, 1917.)
Yaroslavsky, Emelian. Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. Moscow: FLPH, 1940, p. 90

Stalin stated, “There is such a thing as dogmatic Marxism and creative Marxism. I stand on the latter ground.”
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 132

Lenin also made mistakes and admitted to them. At the 18th Congress Stalin declared communism could be built in one country. That conclusion certainly runs counter to Marxism-Leninism. At that time I didn’t agree, but I didn’t speak out.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 284

Stalin whole-heartedly supported Lenin. At the Sixth (illegal) Congress of the Party, in August, 1917, Stalin reported upon the political situation. He strongly opposed the addition to the ninth point of the Resolution on the political situation, of an amendment, inspired by Trotsky and proposed by Preobrazhensky, making the construction of the Socialist State dependent on the outbreak of proletarian revolution in the West (this question of “establishing Socialism in one country only” is one of those around which the Opposition and the majority of the Party have fought one another most bitterly–even until quite recent years).
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 52

…Nevertheless, this discussion seems to us to be strange enough, even for its time. For to what other methods could the Russian Revolution have recourse, since it was evidently incapable of immediately imposing the proletarian Revolution upon the other countries of the world, than to build up socialism to the best of its ability in the only territory occupied by it? What else could it do? Leave the conquered territory to stagnate whilst it devoted itself to the future conquest of the rest of the world?
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 174

Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and those other gentlemen who later became spies and agents of fascism, denied that it was possible to build socialism in our country unless the victory of the socialist revolution was first achieved in other countries, in the capitalist countries. As a matter of fact, these gentlemen wanted to turn our country back to the path of bourgeois development, and they concealed their apostasy by hypocritically talking about the “victory of the revolution” in other countries. This was precisely the point of controversy between our Party and these gentlemen. Our country’s subsequent course of development proved that the Party was right and that Trotsky and Company were wrong. For during this period we succeeded in liquidating our bourgeoisie, in establishing fraternal collaboration with our peasantry, and in building, in the main, a socialist society, notwithstanding the fact that the socialist revolution has not yet been victorious in other countries.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 158

What Stalin told the party was, roughly, this: Of course we are looking forward to international revolution. Of course we have been brought up in the school of Marxism; and we know that contemporary social and political struggles are, by their very nature, international. Of course we still believe the victory of the proletariat in the West to be near; and we are bound in honor to do what we can to speed it up. But–and this was a very big, a highly suggestive ‘but’–do not worry so much about all that international revolution. Even if it were to be delayed indefinitely, even if it were never to occur, we in this country are capable of developing into a full-fledged, classless society. Let us then concentrate on our great constructive task. Those who tell you that this is Utopia, that I’m preaching national narrow-mindedness, are themselves either adventurers or pusillanimous Social Democrats. We, with our much despised muzhiks, have already done more for socialism than the proletariat of all other countries taken together; and, left alone with our muzhiks, we shall do the rest of the job.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 290

(Sinclair’s comments only)
I think it was the part of wisdom for him [Stalin] to withdraw from the effort to make a Bolshevik revolution throughout the rest of the world, according to the formula to which Trotsky is still adhering.
Sinclair and Lyons. Terror in Russia?: Two Views. New York : Rand School Press, 1938, p. 53

… Was it possible or impossible to build Socialism in one country, particularly Russia?
Stalin answered this question by declaring: “Yes, it is possible, and it is not only possible, but necessary and inevitable.”
Zinoviev and Kamenev disputed this answer, and by July of 1926 had openly joined Trotsky in one united opposition bloc against the policy of Stalin and the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
When this opposition to the Central Committee’s policy had been rebuffed and rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Communist Party, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev resorted to secret factional activities on a large scale. For this Zinoviev and others were brought to book by the Party. Following the 1926 July meeting of the Central Committee, Zinoviev was expelled from the Party.
Shepherd, W. G. The Moscow Trial. London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1936, p. 11

The central “ideological” issue between them [Stalin and Trotsky] had been socialism in one country–the question whether the Soviet Union would or could achieve socialism in isolation, on the basis of national self-sufficiency, or whether socialism was conceivable only as an international order of society.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 515

Stalin, while insisting that revolutions were about to break out in Europe, continued to stipulate that the Russian Communist Party should concentrate on building “socialism in one country.” There was no fundamental paradox in Stalin’s change of policy. His controversial commitment to socialism in one country did not imply a basic disregard for the necessity of international revolution. Stalin had never ceased to accept that the USSR would face problems of security until such time as one or more of the globe’s great powers underwent a revolution of the Soviet kind. This did not mean, however, that he was willing to risk direct intervention in Europe; he still feared provoking a crusade against the USSR. But he no longer sought to restrain the communist parties in Germany, France, and Italy which had made no secret of their frustration with the Comintern’s insistence that they should collaborate with social-democratic and labor parties in their countries.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 262

STALIN SELECTED THE BEST PEOPLE FOR THE JOB

Stalin brought to the front such men as Frunze, Voroshilov, Budienny, Timoshenko, and many others,….
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 129

Voroshilov states, “Comrade Stalin was extremely strict on the question of the selection of personnel. Regardless of position, and genuinely being ‘no respecter of persons,’ he swept away in the roughest way all useless experts, commissars, Party and Soviet workers. But at the same time, Stalin, more than anyone, always supported and defended those who, in his opinion, justified the revolutionary confidence in them. Comrade Stalin acted in this way with well-known Red Army commanders who were known to him personally. When one of the true proletarian heroes of the Civil War, afterwards Commander of the 14th Cavalry Division, Comrade Parhomenko, killed in the struggle against the Makhno bandits, was at beginning of 1920, sentenced through a misunderstanding to capital punishment, Comrade Stalin, hearing of it, demanded his immediate, unconditional release. Similar cases could be given in numbers. Comrade Stalin, better than any of the other big leaders, knew how to appreciate deeply workers who had devoted their lives to the proletarian revolution; and the commanders knew this, as everyone else knew it who at any time under his leadership had carried on the struggle for our cause.
Life of Stalin, A Symposium. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1930, p. 82

But, above all, Stalin is a consummate political strategist, with an almost uncanny knack for selecting the right man for the right job. He studies those who work with him until he knows their strong points and weaknesses better than they do themselves. His subordinates respond with a deep loyalty to their chief. During the recent war he seldom made a mistake in appointing leaders, and if unsuspected weaknesses cropped up the man was speedily recalled. His real flair for military strategy aided him in working with the generals and selecting the right man to lead campaigns.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 12

But the degree to which Stalin’s personal sagacity affected Russia’s military success is, after all, not the most important thing. What mattered was that he had the wisdom to pick capable marshals and to give them very great authority, and that he knew how to pool their advice and coordinate it in the mobilization of all the broad political and economic and moral means at his disposal, in order to win victory.
Snow, Edgar. The Pattern of Soviet Power, New York: Random House, 1945, p. 160

At first Tsiurupa was Lenin’s only deputy, the vice-chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars. But he was not a member of the Central Committee. Stalin brought him in later. Krzhizhanovsky was chairman of Gosplan and Lenin’s personal friend…but he was not on the Central Committee. Only Stalin let him into the Central Committee. Take the third figure–Krasin, also an old friend and comrade of Lenin. He played a large part in the 2nd party congress, where Bolshevism was formed. He was the people’s commissar of foreign trade under Lenin. But Lenin didn’t let him, a party worker, into the Central Committee…. Chicherin was Commissar of foreign affairs under Lenin. Lenin quite often praised him as an outstanding figure of Soviet power, and yet he didn’t admit him to the Central Committee. But Stalin let him in. It was a different time. Stalin knew how to choose people; he even advanced those whom Lenin did not allow inside.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 139

Stalin had carried out sweeping purges, especially in the higher commanding echelons, but these had had less effect than is sometimes believed, for he did not hesitate at the same time to elevate younger and talented men;… The speed and determination with which he carried out the transformation of the top command in the midst of the war confirmed his adaptability and willingness to open careers to men of talent. He acted in two directions simultaneously: he introduced into the army absolute obedience to the government and to the Party…and he spared nothing to achieve military preparedness, a higher standard of living for the army, and quick promotions for the best men.
Djilas, Milovan. Conversations with Stalin. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962, p. 49

Shrewd, observant, and honest, he knew the qualities he wanted in his officers. They included modesty, humility, and discipline, which, speaking soon after Lenin’s death, he had impressed on the cadets of the Kremlin Military Academy. But he wanted also manners and breeding.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 423

Thus he [Stalin] went on, day after day, throughout four years of hostilities–a prodigy of patience, tenacity, and vigilance, almost omnipresent, almost omniscient.
…In October Hitler formally opened the battle of Moscow, ‘the greatest offensive ever known’. Leningrad had been cut off and blockaded. Nearly the whole of the Ukraine and the coast of the Azov Sea had been conquered by the Wehrmacht. Budienny’s armies had been routed–the Germans took half a million prisoners on the Dnieper. Stalin dismissed both Voroshilov and Budienny from the command–the men of Tsaritsyn, the ‘NCO’s’, as Trotsky used to call them, were not equal to this motorized warfare. New commanders, Zhukov, Vasilevsky, Rokossovsky, were soon to replace them.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 467

As General Secretary of the Party, he [Stalin] was in a position to pick out men for preferment and service. He proved to be a good judge of character. He knew exactly on what human elements in the Communist Party he could build.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 81

Still again, one must mention his ability to handle men. He is a good political tactician, a party boss and organizer par excellence. Friends told me in Moscow in 1935 that Stalin possessed great magnetism, that you felt his antenna as soon as he entered a room. His personal as well as political intuition is considerable…he chooses men with great perspicacity.
Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 518

Lenin used to say that selection of personnel is one of the cardinal problems in the building of socialism.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 11, p. 61

PERMANENT REVOLUTION THEORY IS BOGUS AND OPPOSED BY STALIN

In what respect does this “theory of the permanent Revolution” differ from the well-known theory of Menshevism which repudiates the concept: dictatorship of a proletariat? In substance there is no difference.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 158

The Russian Mensheviks said: ” Russia is a backward country, and therefore the sole possibility is a bourgeois revolution which will give an impetus to the development of capitalism in Russia.” Trotsky said: “No. A. proletarian revolution is possible, but unless this is speedily followed by a proletarian revolution in Europe, it is doomed to collapse.” The basic agreement in these two standpoints is clear. Russia cannot on the basis of its own resources build up a Socialist order of society.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 46

One of the most remarkable of the Trotskyists myths–which has found ready acceptance among capitalist and Right-Wing Socialist publicists–is that the essence of the controversy between Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party was around the question of whether the world revolution should be abandoned or not–the world revolution being in the estimation of these people a kind of missionary enterprise to which one gives or withholds donations. A reference to the documents of the controversy will show that no such question was ever under discussion. The Russian workers and their Communist Party have always recognized the need for rendering fraternal assistance to the workers of other countries engaged in decisive struggles. It is true that with regard to events in England and China in the years 1927-28, the Trotskyists propounded policies of incredible naivete. Later, they were to propound policies of warlike adventurism, but discussions on international affairs were subordinate to the main controversy, as to the possibility of building Socialism; and even as far as they were concerned, it was two conceptions as to what international policy should be that were in conflict, and not an internationalist conception in conflict with a nationalist conception.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 49

There was no controversy therefore as to whether the Soviet proletariat should aid the revolutionary struggle of the workers in other countries. There was no controversy as to the danger of capitalist restoration arising from a successful intervention. The controversy was: could the Soviet Union, by its own unaided resources, establish a fully Socialist society in its own territory? That was the essence of the dispute between Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party, and from this dispute there arose two different policies within the Soviet Union–a Bolshevik policy of Socialist construction, and a Trotsky policy of surrender and fright in face of the capitalist elements– varied from time to time by the advocacy of adventurist leaps in the dark.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 50

The crucial point of Trotsky’s argument is never proved. It is merely asserted.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 153

Where did Stalin stand in this dramatic controversy? He was unmoved by the exhortations of the left Communists and by their preachings on revolutionary morality. The idea that the Russian revolution should sacrifice itself for the sake of European revolution was completely alien to him, even though Lenin, for all his realism, was chary of dismissing it lightly. To the man who had spent most of his active career in Baku and Tiflis, European revolution was a concept too hazy and remote to influence his thinking on matters which might determine the life and death of the Soviet Republic, that same republic whose still feeble but tangible reality he himself had helped to create…. He voted with Lenin and his tiny fraction for peace.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 186

Stalin was not prominent in the debates which raged for the next two months in the Central Committee, the Government, at the fourth Congress of the Soviets, and at the seventh Congress of the party. (He was, incidentally, rather inconspicuous at any of the great debates, the true trumpets of ideas, which the party periodically indulged during Lenin’s lifetime.) But he said enough at a session of the Central Committee to show which way his mind worked: ‘In accepting the slogan of revolutionary war we play into the hands of imperialism. Trotsky’s attitude is no attitude at all. There is no revolutionary movement in the west, there are no facts [indicating the existence] of a revolutionary movement, there is only a potentiality; and we in our work cannot base ourselves on a mere potentiality….’ Though he voted with Lenin there was a subtle difference in the emphasis of their arguments. Lenin, as usual, kept his eye on the facts and the potentialities of the situation and spoke about the delay in the development of the revolutionary movement in the west. Stalin grasped the facts and dismissed the potentialities–‘there is no revolutionary movement in the west’.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 189

Trotsky was much more clever and had read many more books, but, unlike Stalin, he failed to understand certain simple truths–for example, the fact that once the world revolution had not come, building socialism in Russia was the only possible alternative.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 13

Almost alone, Stalin doubted all this [the necessity of permanent revolution]. He doubted it before the Revolution, and he doubted it more sardonically afterwards. He didn’t know Western Europe as well as the others; his visits, added together, amounted to only a few weeks: but all his hard suspiciousness was at work. He was also, as usual, more harshly realistic than his colleagues. He understood better than they did the power concentrated in the authorities of a highly organized state…. He didn’t believe that the German proletariat would ever fight against that power. He knew Russia as the emigres didn’t: he had no illusions: he knew how backward it was.
Snow, Charles Percy. Variety of Men. New York: Scribner, 1966, p. 252

TROTSKY PROPOUNDS PERMANENT REVOLUTION THEORY

Later there arose another difference in theory. It concerned the question whether Russia could set up a Socialist economic order without waiting for a world revolution. Stalin held that it could; Trotsky denied it,…. He [Trotsky] coined the phrase ‘permanent revolution’. He was unable, however, to show just how the permanent revolution should be carried out. Such men as Bukharin and Rykov vigorously combated Trotsky’s anti-peasant attitude. Later, however, they came over to Trotsky’s idea that it was impossible to introduce Socialism into Russia until the revolution had gained the victory in the greater part of a world, and that the attempt to introduce it prematurely must lead to disaster. This explains the later alliance between Trotsky and the Right-wing opposition, diametrically opposed to it, in the party.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 133

…This idea of revolution in one country, versus Trotsky’s internationalism, advocating revolution of all working classes simultaneously, was the heart of the ideological struggle between Stalin and Trotsky.
Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. 67

The idea that new impulses for revolution would come from the West but not from the Soviet Union was the leitmotif of Trotsky’s advocacy of the Fourth International. Again and again he asserted that, while in the Soviet Union Stalinism continued to play a dual role, at once progressive and retrograde, it exercised internationally only a counter-revolutionary influence. Here his grasp of reality failed him. Stalinism was to go on acting its dual role internationally as well as nationally: it was to stimulate as well as to obstruct the class struggle outside the Soviet Union. In any case, it was not from the West that the revolutionary impulses were to come in the next three or four decades. Thus the major premise on which Trotsky set out to create the Fourth International was unreal.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 212

LENIN AND TROTSKY CLASH OVER THE IDEA OF SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY

The Opposition naturally applied itself first of all to the most important problem of the Russian Revolution: the possibility of building up a Socialist System in a single country.
Lenin had taken up his position with regard to this problem even before the Revolution. At that time he wrote: “The development of Capitalism differs entirely in each country. From which we arrive at the incontestable conclusion that Socialism cannot conquer in every country simultaneously. It will start by conquering one or more countries…and this will not only arouse irritation, but also a direct tendency on the part of the middle classes of other countries to crush the victorious proletariat of the socialist State.”
The victory of the October Revolution brought the victors face-to-face with two tasks: the socialization of the world and the solid construction of Socialism in one place. Which was the one by which to begin or, rather, from what side should this dual task be approached.
Lenin considered that the more important task was clearly that of building up a socialist society where it was possible to build it up, namely, in Russia.
Trotsky was afraid that this would lead the Revolution to a dead end. This advance over a single sector on the whole capitalist front seemed to him to be doomed to failure. He was afraid and the Menshevik in him was resurrected, or, rather, aroused. Under those conditions, he said, the Russian Revolution must be considered as a provisional one only.
It will be recalled that during the Sixth Congress of the Party, in the middle of 1917, Preobrazhensky had attempted to have it laid down that the socialization of Russia should be dependent upon the establishment of Socialism in every other country. And it is because Stalin had risen vigorously against this that no vote was taken upon the amendment, inspired by Trotsky, making the possibility of founding a Socialist society in disaffected tsarist Russia depend upon the success, in the first instance, of the World Revolution.
Karl Radek, whose opinion in the circumstances is all the more interesting because he allied himself–for a time– to Trotsky’s outlook, says in this connection: “Trotsky returned to the point of view of the Second International, which he had himself formulated at the Second Congress of the Russian Party, before the split–namely that the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ should mean the power of an organized proletariat representing the majority of the nation.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 169-170

Trotsky’s point of view did not then coincide with the opinion of Lenin, who in 1915 and 1916 argued that not only could a revolution be made and power taken in one separate capitalist country but that “socialist production could be organized” and proletarian power defended against encroachment by other countries.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 129

REGARDING SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY TROTSKY ALIGNS WITH THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS

So that, unless the proletarian Revolution could command half the votes plus one, there was nothing to be done. For Trotsky, not only the victory of the proletariat in a single country, but even its victory in this single country unsupported by an absolute majority, reduced itself to an “historic episode.” Trotsky, then, became clearly a partisan of this “civilized European Socialism” which the Second International opposed to Leninism. The Social-Democrats placed no confidence in the Revolution. The Social-Democratic leaders thought that socialist-revolution was only possible in a country of highly developed Capitalism, not in Russia, because of lack of a solid foundation of labor.
Trotsky’s general theory consisted in establishing the doctrine that the socialist economic system in process of construction is completely dependent upon the world capitalist system, from whence follows a gradual fatal capitalist degeneration of the Soviet economic system, in the midst of a capitalist world. Radek also said–at that time: “We have no power in the face of World Capitalism.” These, and others, were afraid. One can detect the breath of apprehension, the access of panic which gathered this Opposition group into its eddy.
Lenin never lost sight of the world organization of socialist policy. Lenin never lost sight of anything.
…Dependence on foreign capitalism you say? Comrade Trotsky has said in the course of his speech: “That in reality we find ourselves constantly under the control of world economics.” Is this right, asks Stalin? No. That is the dream of capitalist sharks, but it is not the truth. And Stalin goes on to show that the supposed control is not exercised from the financial point of view, either on the nationalized Soviet banks, or upon industry, or upon foreign commerce, which are also nationalized. Neither is this control exercised from the political point of view. So that it is not exercised in any of the practical meanings of the word “control.” All these people keep parading a bogey of control. On the other hand, “to broaden our relations with the capitalist world does not mean making ourselves dependent upon it.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 171-173

STALIN SAYS THE REVOLUTION CAN BEGIN IN LESS RATHER THAN MORE DEVELOPED NATIONS

Where will the revolution begin? Where, in what country, can the front of capital be pierced first?

Formerly, the reply used to be– where industry is more developed, where the proletariat forms the majority, where culture is more advanced, where there is more democracy.

The Leninist theory of the revolution says: No, not necessarily where industry is most developed, and so forth; it will be broken where the chain of imperialism is weakest, for the proletarian revolution is the result of the breaking of the chain of the imperialist world front at its weakest link. The country which begins the revolution, which makes a breach in the capitalist front, may prove to be less developed in a capitalist sense than others which are more developed but have remained, nevertheless, within the framework of capitalism.

To put it briefly, the chain of the imperialist front should break, as a rule, where the links are most fragile and, in any event, not necessarily where capitalism is most developed, or where there is a certain percentage of proletarians and a certain percentage of peasants, and so on….

Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 283-284

STALIN DENOUNCED FOR RECRUITING

Stalin’s enemies angrily refer to this recruitment [Stalin’s bringing in 200,000 new Party members] as the “mobilization of the mob” into the “Party of yes-men.” In politics, when people in the mass do things of which we disapprove or support someone whom we dislike, they become automatically “the mob,” generally the “hysterical mob.” When the same mass of people do what we approve, we refer to the “voice of the awakened people “or” the dignified expression of democracy at its best.”
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 158

STALIN TRIED FOR YEARS TO WIN OVER TROTSKYISTS RATHER THAN ELIMINATE THEM

He [Stalin] is supposed to be ruthless, but for many years he has been striving to win over competent Trotskyists rather than destroy them, and it is in a way affecting to see how doggedly he is endeavoring to use them for his work.

Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937. New York: The Viking Press, 1937, p. 111

DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM AND THE POLITBURO

The Bolshevik Party is built up on what are called the principles of democratic centralism, whereby authority for direction is vested by the membership and the members voluntarily accept the discipline of their chosen leader to ensure unity in action…. All lower organs of the party carry out the decisions of the higher. The Political Bureau is therefore the most important body, carrying the authority of the Congress, and in short actually leads the Party.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 169

I knew that the Bolsheviks allowed themselves freedom of argument about measures and policies prior to their adoption; it was only when a decision had been reached and a majority vote cast that the rigid discipline of the party compelled the defeated minority to accept that decision without reserve or qualification.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 215

As a first step in this tremendous programme Lenin laid down certain rules which were to govern the internal affairs of the party, the system which he was later to describe as “Democratic Centralism.” In preliminary discussions on policy, complete freedom and expression was to be permitted, but when once a course of action had been decided by a majority every member of the organization must obey that decision without question.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 25

On new issues, and, in fact, in all matters not yet authoritatively decided on, there is, even for the Party member, complete freedom of thought and full liberty of discussion and controversy, private or public, which may continue, as in the series of Trotsky debates in 1925-1927, even for years. But once any issue is authoritatively decided by the Party, in the All-Union Party Congress or its Central Committee, all argument and all public criticism, as well as all opposition, must cease; and the Party decision must be loyally accepted and acted upon without obstruction or resistance, on pain of expulsion; and, if made necessary by action punishable by law, also of prosecution, deportation, or exile.
Webb, S. Soviet Communism: A New Civilization. London, NY: Longmans, Green, 1947, p. 268

STALIN SAYS IRON DISCIPLINE AND UNITY DOES NOT EXCLUDE CRITICISM

Stalin says, it is impossible to win and maintain the dictatorship of proletariat without a party made strong by its cohesion and discipline. But iron discipline cannot be thought out without unity of will and absolutely united action on the part of the members of the party. This does not mean that the possibility of a conflict of opinion within the party is excluded. Discipline, indeed, far from excluding criticism and conflict of opinion, presupposes their existence. But this most certainly does not imply that there should be “blind” discipline. Discipline does not exclude, but presupposes understanding, voluntary submission, for only a conscious discipline can be iron discipline.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 170

Stalin encouraged outspokenness in other ways. In May 1935, as a replacement for the old slogan “Technology Decides Everything,” he offered “Cadres Decide Everything.” In this context, cadres meant almost anyone, for, he continued, this policy “demands that our leaders display the most careful attitude toward our workers, toward the ‘small’ and the ‘big,’ no matter what area they work in.
Thurston, Robert. Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996, p. 187

STALIN’S AIDES ARE NOT YES MEN

Someday it will dawn on the mass of non-Russian people that Stalin’s Lieutenant’s are not political children or yes men, but leaders who are in fundamental accord in principles, outlook, and aims and not a collection of men of dissimilar philosophies and interests.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 213

Stalin has been reproached, by Trotsky and others, with the desire to surround himself with mediocrities. I am certain he would say, “Better a dull man I can trust than a bright man I’m not sure of,”…
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 172

Yet with all the hard work and the sicknesses of impending old age, Stalin was a most considerate boss; according to Rybin, he never raised his voice…. According to the same source, Stalin did not want to be surrounded by yes-men. About those who told him, “Whatever you command will be done,” he said: “I do not need advisers of this kind.” According to Orlov, he liked people to insist on their point of view if they were convinced that they were right.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 150

Stalin did not like people who did not stand up for their convictions with truthful comments and arguments or people who always agreed: ‘As you say, I will do it.’ He always referred to such helpers, saying: ‘Such consultants I do not need or people do not need to consult.’ Having found this out, I often debated and disagreed with him. Stalin always said after the exchange: ‘Fine, I will think about this.’ He never liked it when people ran to him, or if he heard their hesitant steps, with cap in hand. You should always go to him boldly, any time. His office was never closed.
Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 37

Now Second Secretary after Stalin himself, Molotov admired Koba but did not worship him. He often disagreed with, and criticized, Stalin right up until the end.
Montefiore, Sebag. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Knopf, 2004, p. 39

Voroshilov, Mikoyan and a Molotov frequently disagreed with Stalin….
Montefiore, Sebag. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Knopf, 2004, p. 48

STALIN’S ANALYSES ARE BETTER THEN HIS OPPONENTS

On the whole Stalin’s judgments, both at home and abroad, as to which evils were greater and which lesser were vindicated by the course of ends.
The various intra-party oppositionists, both left in right, were almost invariably wrong in their estimates of the changing situation within the USSR and in the outside world. They would not have won the support of a majority of the membership even under a regime permitting complete freedom of speech, press, propaganda, and political action. Many of them were guilty from the outset of gross infractions of party discipline. None of them, however, had any original desire to “restore capitalism” or cooperate with foreign enemies of the Soviet Union. But after 1930, when their failures and frustrations begot irresistible aggression’s against Stalin’s leadership, some of them resorted to sabotage, assassination, and conspiracy with foreign agents in the hope of disrupting the Soviet state and thereby creating an opportunity for their own return to power.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 197

The October Revolution saddled this small organization with a stupendous task, and it is remarkable that Lenin could find even a bare minimum of comrades capable of doing the job at all. That the regime survived owes much to people like Stalin, in whom previously untapped qualities were discovered, most especially an aptitude for exercising power. Stalin’s affinity for authority began with a zest for it. This sounds obvious enough, but there are serious grounds to doubt that many of the leading Bolsheviks, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Bukharin among them, fully shared this quality. Certainly none of them displayed in the five years of Lenin’s rule the capacity for politics and administration that Stalin revealed in this time.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 48

STALIN IS INDISPENSABLE AND HE KNOWS IT

January 18, 1931 — because his legend has grown too great, too real, he has become flesh and bone of the living organism; the horse and writer are transformed into Centaur; he is indispensable and they cannot remove him without a risk they dare not take. That, today, is the last secret of Stalin’s power; should opposition grow strong and noisy, he can meet it in the final instance, as Lenin once met it in the days of Brest-Litovsk, by the threat to retire and leave them to their own devices. Which they cannot bring themselves to accept. And he knows it, as Lenin knew it, and they know it,….
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 166

STALIN’S SUPPORTERS TOOK THE OPPOSITION TOO LIGHTLY

All the hostile elements outside the party, all the old parties, thinking that their opportunity had come [with the Rightist defeat], now took up the struggle again from abroad; and in Russia, especially among the remote national minorities and among the intellectuals, secret groups were formed to work to bring down the regime. It was remarkable thing that in spite of this the Stalinist group did not consider that the defeated opposition in the party–with the exception, perhaps of the open Trotskyists–would attempt a conspiracy. Actually it was precisely in these years that the conspiracy started. There had already been opposition, discussion in the party, personal conflicts, and attempts to bring down one person or another. But Stalin and his supporters had no idea that the opposition now defeated would actually proceed to a new and real struggle and to a conspiracy, an attempt to bring down the regime.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 184

…[Stalin also said]… we Bolsheviks must always keep our powder dry.
Naturally, these survivals cannot but be a favorable ground for a revival of the ideology of the defeated anti-Leninist groups in the minds of individual members of our party. Add to this the not very high theoretical level of the majority of our party members, the inadequate ideological work of the party bodies, and the fact that our party functionaries are overburdened with purely practical work, which deprives them of the opportunity of augmenting their theoretical knowledge, and you will understand the origins of the confusion on a number of questions of Leninism that exists in the minds of individual party members, a confusion which not infrequently penetrates into our press and helps to revive the survivals of the ideology of the defeated anti-Leninist groups.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 131

STALIN LOSES VOTES AT TIMES

In 1932 events seem to be coming to a climax, with Stalin’s most loyal supporters at their wits’ ends. There was a dramatic meeting in the Politburo that must have taken place about the end of 1932. The actual date is not known, but there’s no question that at that meeting Stalin suffered a painful reverse. The most credible account of the meeting is as follows:
The situation at the moment was under discussion. A dramatic speech was made by Voroshilov, who was then Commander-in-Chief in the army…. Voroshilov is said to have given, in the utmost agitation, a report of a disastrous state of feeling in the Army; he is said to have thrown whole packets of soldiers letters on the table and demanded that something should at once be done. Stalin’s proposals– their nature is not known–were rejected,….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 188

In a letter of June 8, 1929, Voroshilov said to Ordzhonikidze, “…But in reality Bukharin begged everyone not to appoint him to the Commissariat of Education and proposed and then insisted on the job as administrator of science and technology. I supported him in that, as did several other people, and because we were a united majority we pushed it through (against Koba).”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 149

In a September 9th 1929 letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “Poliudov absolutely must be removed from the Commissariat of Transport. This is the same nut-case that kept confusing the Central Committee and Transport with new railroad constructions and has nothing communist about him (nothing left). Now he’s sitting at Transport as head of (new) construction. Come on, what kind of builder is he? He’s the reason construction of the new tracks between Siberia and European Russia hasn’t moved an inch forward. Get that anti-party man out of Transport. He’s been systematically violating the Central Committee’s resolutions and also systematically mocking the Politburo.”
[Footnote]: on December 30, 1929, the Orgburo relieved Poliudov of his work in the Commissariat of Transport and confirmed him as a member of the Soviet trade delegation in Berlin. On January 5, 1930, approximately a week later, the Politburo reversed this decision and kept Poliudov at Transport. On March 5, 1930, he was given editorial work in connection with the training of executives and in September, he was appointed director of the Belorussian-Baltic Railway.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 179

In a September 1930 letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “I propose Kaganovich from the Worker-Peasant Inspection as the candidate for head of civil aviation.”
[Footnote] On October 15, 1930, Goltsman was confirmed by the Politburo as head of the Civil Aviation Association.
[Stalin lost out. Some dictator–ED.]
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 208

…Until the spring of 1937 no Central Committee member had ever been arrested; until 1938 no Politburo member had fallen…. In one of the very few glimpses we have of actual discussions in the Politburo, Stalin in 1930 had been outvoted by a Politburo majority that took a more aggressive stance than he did on punishment of oppositionists. It may have been about this time, as Kaganovich later recalled, that younger members of the Central Committee asked Stalin why he was not tougher on the opposition.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 582

Within a few weeks after the 13th Congress Pravda published Stalin’s report…. Stalin’s report also contained an attack on Zinoviev, though without naming him:
“It is often said that we have the dictatorship of the party. I recall that in one of our resolutions, even, it seems, a resolution of the 12th Congress, such an expression was allowed to pass, through an oversight of course. Apparently some comrades think that we have a dictatorship of the party and not of the working class. But that is nonsense, comrades.”
Of course Stalin knew perfectly well that Zinoviev in his political report to the 12th Congress had put forward the concept of the dictatorship of the party and had sought to substantiate it. It was not at all through an oversight that the phrase was included in the unanimously adopted resolution of the Congress.
Zinoviev and Kamenev, reacting quite sharply to Stalin’s thrust, insisted that a conference of the core leadership of the party be convened. The result was a gathering of 25 Central Committee members, including all members of the Politburo. Stalin’s arguments against the “dictatorship of the party” were rejected by a majority vote, and an article by Zinoviev reaffirming the concept was approved for publication in the Aug. 23, 1924 issue of Pravda as a statement by the editors. At this point Stalin demonstratively offered to resign, but the offer was refused.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 144

(R. W. Davies)
In my own work on the early 1930s, it has become increasingly clear that members of the Politburo argued with “Koba” (Stalin), particularly on issues where they had a special competence. In economic affairs, there is strong evidence that opposition developed within the Politburo to the course of collectivization sanctioned by Stalin. At one meeting nearly all of the members may have opposed him.
Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 43

However, there is now abundant evidence that Stalin’s lieutenants represented and spoke for distinct policy alternatives. The policy positions are well documented in studies covering the years 1920-50. The studies frequently portray a Stalin who preferred not to decide important questions unless forced. His role seems to have been that of moderator or referee, choosing from among numerous policy possibilities, although R.W. Davies is right to emphasize the differences in this condition at different periods. Many things went on without him or despite his wishes and plans.
Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 119

But I was glad to learn later, when I read Serebrovsky’s [the Russian mining expert who hired Littlepage] book on the gold industry published in 1936, that Joseph Stalin also evaluated the importance of our prospectors correctly, and was probably undesirous of giving them up at this time. It will be recalled that Stalin said in 1927, according to this book, that prospectors must be retained in the gold industry and would be very useful.
Why, then, were they given up in 1929? I suspect that Stalin couldn’t insist upon his own way in the matter at that time. He was not nearly so strong a figure then as he is now [1937], and was still battling with some of the Communist leaders about certain theories. It seemed logical to give up the prospectors if one also gave up the kulaks and similar groups. I judge from Serebrovsky’s book that Stalin surrendered a point to his Communist opponents in this case.
Littlepage, John D. In Search of Soviet Gold. New York: Harcourt, Brace, c1938, p. 69

…Yezhov was attacked by other Politburo members despite Stalin’s support of him and that Yezhov’s replacement, Beria, was forced upon Stalin (whose candidate was Malenkov),…
Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 5

Yezhov’s primary crime, however, consisted in the fact that he had not informed Stalin of his actions.
In the fall of 1938, when the question arose of removing Yezhov from his position at NKVD, Stalin proposed the candidacy of Malenkov as the new Commissar of Internal Affairs. But the majority of the Politburo recommended Beria for the post.
Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 38

The Russian historian Boris Starkov has recently written that in Politburo meetings during August 1938 Zhdanov and Andreev stressed the poor quality of party cadres promoted during the mass repressions. Soon Kaganovich and Mikoyan joined them “against Yezhov.” Then in the fall, according to Starkov, Stalin proposed replacing Yezhov with Malenkov. But the rest of the Politburo blocked the Gensec and insisted on Beria, though why is not clear.
Thurston, Robert. Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996, p. 131

Stalin treated the ‘Ryutin Platform’ as the worst embodiment of everything hostile to his rule. Over the rest of the decade it was represented again and again as the great focus of opposition plotting and villainy. When Ryutin was rearrested Stalin made a strong personal effort to have him sentenced to death.
This was a crucial moment, the first serious dispute between Stalin and his closest personal clique on the one hand, and those members of the Politburo who had supported him out of conviction but were not ready to agree to intra-party killings. In Ryutin’s case (and in several other lesser instances including that of Stalin’s own personal secretary of Nazaretyan), Kirov, with Ordjonikidze, Kuibyshev, Kossior, Rudzutak and, apparently, Kalinin, formed a solid majority against execution. Ryutin was sentenced only to 10 years imprisonment. Another case, a few months later, involved the Old Bolshevik Smirnov and others who had never been associated with any opposition. Stalin commented: ‘Of course, only enemies could say that to remove Stalin would not affect matters.’ This time, again, his attempt to shoot the offenders was blocked by a Politburo majority.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 162

It [a Soviet article of the Khrushchev.] represents Stalin attempting at this time to purge the Armenian Communist Nazaretyan, but being unable to do so because Ordjonikidze defended him and Stalin knew that ” Kirov & Kuibyshev would also speak out in the Politburo on the same lines.” For the first time, in fact, Stalin was faced with powerful opposition from his own allies.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 25

[In 1931] Koba suggested to the Instantsia that Voroshilov should be given a three months’ leave to rest and “cure his nerves”…. The Instantsia rejected Koba’s suggestion with a majority of one. Kalinin voted with Voroshilov against the proposed leave…. It’s said that Koba was much upset by the vote… but if so he didn’t show it. His self-control is amazing. This, I think, is his strength and the secret of his victories….
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 158

Because there were often police agents among the oppositionists, the Ryutin initiative soon became known to Stalin. The case went first to the party control commission, which referred the case to the Politburo, where Stalin demanded Ryutin’s head. But he was overruled by the majority.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 5. 74

It must be noted that the strength of the ‘call to personality’ by no means indicated that no major differences of opinion existed at the center of Soviet society, or that Stalin had absolute personal power.
Szymanski, Albert. Human Rights in the Soviet Union. London: Zed Books, 1984, p. 255

One of the readers of the Riutin Appeal was Stalin. It aroused him to such fury that the expulsions and Riutin’s arrest could not appease him. He confronted the Politburo with the demand that it sanction Riutin’s execution as a terrorist. Amid silence around the Politburo table, Kirov spoke up saying: “Can’t do that. Riutin is not a lost man but an errant one. Devil only knows who had a hand in this letter. People won’t understand us.” Stalin, perhaps sensing the majority’s opposition to his demand, let the matter rest, and Riutin got off with a 10-year term–for the present.
Tucker, Robert. Stalin in Power: 1929-1941. New York: Norton, 1990, p. 212

However, Stalin realized that the Politburo could easily unite to dismiss him. Rykov, the Rightist Premiere, did not believe in his plans, and now, Kalinin too was wavering. Stalin knew he could be outvoted, even overthrown. The new archives reveal how openly Kalinin argued with Stalin.
[Footnote]: They frequently disagreed with him, certainly on small matters such as a discussion about the Kremlin military school…. Having defeated Bukharin in 1929, Stalin wanted to appoint him Education Commissar but as Voroshilov told Sergo in a letter, “Because we were a united majority, we pushed it through (against Koba).”
Montefiore, Sebag. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Knopf, 2004, p. 55

He [Zinoviev] exaggerated the power of the General Secretary. A simple vote in the Politburo, chaired by Kamenev, could still restrain Stalin;
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 215

There were, it was said, grave dissensions within the Politburo when the penalties to be applied were discussed. Stalin had insisted on the execution of the principal prisoner, Ryutin; the majority of the Politburo were opposed to it, probably considering the charges insufficiently proved, and hesitating to open yet another chapter of bloody repression in the inside history of the Communist Party.
Ciliga, Ante, The Russian Enigma. London: Ink Links, 1979, p. 293

STALIN BEST REPRESENTED THE PARTY LOWER LEVEL LEADERS

Thus the original Bolshevik leaders not only came from the upper social classes, but included people who have long lived abroad….
Stalin was one of the few real men of the people who had succeeded in making their way into the party leadership before the revolution. It was thus no mere coincidence that he was dominated by the same instinct and so became the leader of the tacitly rebellious mass of the subordinate leaders and the representative in the party of their aspirations and aims. It was not surprising, therefore, that although at the beginning of his conflicts with his opponents Stalin was not yet in possession of power, he ended nevertheless with the majority on his side at all the party conferences and congresses.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 202

STEN’S ARTICLE CONTINUES TRADITION OF UNDERMINING PARTY DISCIPLINE

On July 29, 1929, Stalin wrote the following in a letter to Molotov, “I strongly protest publishing Sten’s article in Komsomolskaia Pravda which is similar to Shatskin’s article, several days after the Politburo’s condemnation of Shatskin’s article. This is either stupidity on the part of the editors of Komsomolskaia Pravda or a direct challenge to the Central Committee of the party. To call the subordination of Komsomols (and that means party members is well) to the general party line “careerism,’ as Sten does, means to call for a review of the general party line, for the undermining of the iron discipline of the party, for the turning of the party into a discussion club. That is precisely how any opposition group has begun its anti-party work. Trotsky began his ‘work’ with this. Zinoviev got his start that way. Bukharin has chosen the same path for himself. The Shatskin-Averbakh-Sten-Lominadze group is embarking on his path, demanding (essentially) the freedom to review the general party line, the freedom to weaken party discipline, the freedom to turn the party into a discussion club.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 162

STALIN ADMITS HIS MISTAKES AND SOMETIMES RETREATS

In a September 1, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “From NKVD reports published in the press, it’s obvious that my approach on the Chinese question was unfair. It turns out that I didn’t read the fine print in the coded report. Well, what of it, I am glad I was mistaken and ready to apologize for the undeserved reproach. That, of course, doesn’t mean that Litvinov, Bukharin, and Karakhan have ceased to be opportunists. Not a whit!”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 176

To make so prodigious a change in such a country in so short a time required iron will, unflinching courage, and ruthlessness. Stalin possessed all three of these qualities, but he had learned from Lenin the rarer courage of daring to retreat, and the willingness to admit that he might not always be right. The world has grown accustomed to regard dictators as masters of tide and thunder, who can say, “Do this,” or “Make that,” and their orders must be obeyed. This was never the case in Soviet Russia, where even Lenin was only “first amongst equals,” and despite his moral ascendancy was more than once forced to tell his followers, “All right, this is how I see it, and this is what we must do. If any of you can prove that I am wrong or show me good reason why we shouldn’t do it, I am willing to listen. In the meantime I’m tired, so let me sleep.”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 163

Just as it seemed that the question of a customs union, that is, the Bulgarian-Rumanian agreement, had been settled, old Kolarov, as though recalling something important, began to expound. “I cannot see where Comrade Dimitrov erred, for we previously sent a draft of the treaty with Rumania to the Soviet government and the Soviet government made no comment regarding the customs union except with regard to the definition of the aggressor.”
Stalin turned to Molotov: “Had they sent as a draft of the treaty?”
Molotov, without being confused, but also not without acrimony: “Well, yes.”
Stalin, with angry resignation: “We, too, commit stupidities.”
Djilas, Milovan. Conversations with Stalin. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962, p. 178

Someone mentioned the recent successes of the Chinese communists. But Stalin remained adamant: “Yes, the Chinese comrades have succeeded, but in Greece there is an entirely different situation. The United States is directly engaged there–the strongest state in the world. China is a different case; relations in the Far East are different. True, we, too, can make a mistake! Here, when the war with Japan ended, we invited the Chinese comrades to reach an agreement as to how a modus vivendi with Chang Kai-shek might be found. They agreed with us in word, but in deed they did it their own way when they got home: they mustered their forces and struck. It has been shown that they were right, and not we.
Djilas, Milovan. Conversations with Stalin. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962, p. 182

STALIN: “True, we (Stalin and his associates), too, can make a mistake! Here when the war with Japan ended, we invited the Chinese comrades to reach an agreement as to how a modus vivendi with Chiang Kai-shek might be found. They agreed with us in word, but in deed they did it their own way when they got home: they mustered their forces and struck. It has been shown that they were right, and not we.”
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 97

He [Stalin] always admitted his mistakes, no matter to whom.
Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 107

[In a speech delivered on August 5, 1927 at a joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the CPSU Stalin stated] I have never regarded myself as being infallible, nor do I do so now. I have never concealed either my mistakes or my momentary vacillations. But one must not ignore also that I have never persisted in my mistakes, and that I have never drawn up a platform, or formed a separate group, and so forth, on the basis of my momentary vacillations.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 64

STALIN SAYS HE IS NOT TOLERANT OF MEMBERS WHO HAVE DONE GRIEVOUS ERRORS

In a letter of September 6, 1929, Stalin stated, “You know that I’m not a supporter of the policy of “tolerance’ regarding comrades who have committed grievous errors from the perspective of the party’s interests.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 177

STALIN ATTACKS HIS OWN FOREIGN MINISTER

In an October 7, 1929, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “Things didn’t turn out so badly with England. Henderson was shown up. Rykov, along with Bukharin and Litvinov, was also shown up….”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 182

Litvinov was kept on as ambassador to be United States only because he was known worldwide. He turned out to be very rotten.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 67

THE PRESS IS TOO ALARMIST AND IGNORES THE REASONS FOR PROBLEMS

In a September 13, 1930, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “For God’s sake, stop the presses squawking about “breakdowns right and left,’ “endless failures,’ “disruptions,’ and other such nonsense. This hysterical Trotskyist–right-deviationist tone is not justified by the facts and is unbecoming to Bolsheviks. Economic Life, and, to a certain extent, Izvestia are all being particularly shrill. They screech about the “falling’ in [production] rates or the migration of workers but they don’t explain what’s behind it. Indeed, where did this “sudden” flow of workers to the countryside come from, this “disastrous’ turnover? What can account for it? Perhaps a poor food supply? But were people supplied any better last year compared to this year? Why wasn’t such a turnover, such a flight, observed last year? Isn’t it clear that the workers went to the countryside for the harvest? They want to ensure that the collective farm won’t short them when they distribute the harvest; they want to work for a few months in the collective farm in full view of everyone and thus guarantee their right to a full collective farm share. Why don’t the newspapers write about that, instead of just squeaking in panic?”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 215

Following the Shakhti trial and the detection of some scandals in local Party organizations, the Communist Party Central Committee in 1928 issued an appeal urging the Party and trade union members to subject to merciless criticism abuses in the state administration and management of industry. The result of this was a veritable flood of letters and articles in the press, revealing real or alleged abuses. For a vivid first-hand picture of the defects of the Soviet civil service and the socialist management of industry one has only to turn to the columns of the Soviet press. In some cases, with the Russian tendency toward exaggeration, the criticism was really overdone, and one had the curious spectacle of a press, published under the strictest control of a ruling party, representing some conditions as worse than they actually were.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 399

STALIN HAD FAR MORE SUPPORT THAN TROTSKY

That Stalin had the Party membership solidly behind him in this controversy with Trotsky and his group is shown by a 1927 Party referendum in which the Trotskyist program was defeated by 725,000 votes to 6,000. In view of Trotsky’s contentions, the vote is surprising in showing how tiny the “opposition” forces were in reality. They were but a small–although vehement–faction, disowned by the mass of the Party and fighting for a platform that was obviously impractical and objectively reactionary. To represent the struggle, in 1927 or before, as one between a sinister, maneuvering Stalin and a brilliant, idealistic Trotsky with roughly equal influence within the Party not only smacks more of melodrama than political reality but is a complete misrepresentation. Stalin had the Party membership solidly behind him, and he had it not through maneuvering but because his socialist-construction policies had gained him wide working-class and Party support. In essence, he won because he was right.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 48

By means of machinations, trickery, corruption, or else by secret service and crime, or by introducing spies into lobbies and armed forces into council chambers, or by killing one’s enemies in bed at night (two a time), one might become, and remain, king or emperor, or duce, or chancellor–one might even become Pope. But one could never become Secretary of the Communist Party by any such methods.
A man like Stalin has naturally been violently attacked and has defended himself with equal violence (indeed he has more often than not taken the offensive). Certainly, but all these noisy, re-echoing discussions took place in the full light of day, in the full sight of everyone, every argument advanced in them being exhaustively examined in the most open manner like a great public trial before a jury of the whole nation as compared with palace intrigue.
Actually, in the socialist Organization, each man takes his place naturally according to his own value and strength. He is automatically selected for his position by force of circumstances. His degree of power depends upon how much he understands and upon how far he can carry out the incontestable principles of Marxism. “It was simply,” says Knorin, “by his superiority as a theorist and his superiority as a practical man that Stalin became our leader.” He is leader for the same reason that he is successful: because he is right.
…I once said to Stalin: “Do you know that in France you are looked upon as a tyrant who acts merely according to his fancy, and is a bloody tyrant into the bargain?” He leaned back in his chair and burst out into his hearty working-man’s laugh.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 148-149

Through these acts and his writings, the opposition was thoroughly discredited and, during a vote, received only 6000 votes as against 725,000.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 128 [p. 116 on the NET]

In the party, as constituted at the time of Lenin’s death, Stalin had overwhelming political support for his style and his aims. There is no reason to dispute his subjective honesty when he proclaimed his undying loyalty to Lenin.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 255

STALIN WAS OFTEN MORE LENIENT THAN LENIN, ZINOVIEV, SECRET POLICE HEADS & OTHERS

In the Civil War he had borne heavy responsibilities and had faced dangers in the way that had brought him credit throughout the party. He had dispensed summary justice when necessary and had shown that he could be ruthless, but he had not shown the brutality for which Voroshilov, Budenny, and others were notorious. In his speeches he was moderate and reasonable. He handled criticisms with apparent good humor, and even when attacking the Opposition he was less savage than Lenin or Zinoviev. In Politburo meetings he sought to be agreeable.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 194

New evidence casts doubts on rumors and myths that have become prevalent. Thus the new documents provide no evidence for the existence of a bloc of Stalinist moderates who tried to restrain Stalin’s alleged careful plan for terror.

[Footnote]: This hypothetical bloc, variously said to consist of Ordjonikidze, Postyshev, and others was used to explain the zigs and zags of Stalin’s policy: supposedly he faced resistance from this group and frequently had to back down. But documents suggest that, for example, no one defended Bukharin and Rykov at the February 1937 plenum.

Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 141

But the sequence of events presented in the written evidence is also consistent with a second scenario… in which Yezhov pursued initiatives, prepared dossiers, and pushed certain investigations in order to promote his own agenda. Although that agenda was often the same as Stalin’s, it may not have been identical. We know, for example, that although Stalin agreed to review a manuscript Yezhov was writing on how Opposition inevitably becomes terrorism, he never allowed publication…. Events seemed to show that in the cases of Pyatakov and Bukharin, Yezhov and others were possibly ahead of Stalin in pushing the need for severity.

[Footnote: Starkov writes in this volume that at the time of his fall, “Yezhov’s primary crime, however, consisted in the fact that he had not informed Stalin of his actions.” Stalin’s relationship to Yezhov’s predecessor Yagoda was equally complex. In March 1936, Yagoda proposed to Stalin that all Trotskyist everywhere–even those convicted already–should be re-sentenced to five additional years out of hand and that any of them involved in “terror” should quickly be shot. Stalin referred Yagoda’s plan to Vyshinsky for a legal opinion, which came back positive in six days. Although Yagoda was ready to move immediately, it was nearly two months before Stalin issued an order to this effect.]

Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 59

To be fair, on November 28, 1917 at a meeting of the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom), he [Stalin] did stand alone against the rest, including Lenin, when he voted against handing over leading liberals to revolutionary tribunals as enemies of the people.

Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 30

…Some years later, in the 1930s and in the company of his cronies, hearing of Trotsky’s most recent speech abroad, he [Stalin] snapped: ‘We made two mistakes on that occasion. We should have left him for a time in Alma-Ata, but on no account should we have let him out of the country. And the other one was, how could we have let him take so many documents with him?’

Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 143

I had a surprise telephone call from Yagoda. He demanded the immediate closure of the Narkomindel’s hairdressing saloon and gave us 24 hours in which to do it. He said that he had proof that most important state secrets were being discussed there. He hinted that the staff of the saloon, especially women, were under suspicion and warned that unless we closed the shop within 24 hours they would all be arrested and transported to Siberia, or given “minus six.”

I summoned the assistant manager of the hairdressing saloon…. The entire staff were indignant about the closure….

Yagoda came on the phone again. He informed me that the decision to close the hairdressing saloon had been rescinded. I had a short talk with him. He was obviously embarrassed… one would think that the closure was an important affair of state….

Mossina came to see me. It transpired that Koba had personally ordered Yagoda to leave our hairdressers alone.

Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 46-47

A telephone call from Koba. He asked me whether I had received Mekhlis’s letter. He said: “You will greatly oblige me personally if you get him a visa. You understand that otherwise he will come to a bad end …. I do not want our revolution to devour its own children….”

Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 83

Kamenev was the only one who saw Stalin. He stayed with him for more than an hour…. Stalin later told Mekhlis that Kamenev the only one deserving mercy….

Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 239

At a meeting of the Sovnarkom on 28 November 1917, for instance, he [Lenin] proposed a decree on “the arrest of the most prominent members of the central committee of the party of the enemies of the people [i.e. the Constitutional Democrats], and their trial by Revolutionary tribunal.” The only member of the government to oppose this measure was Stalin,…

Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 166

[Footnote]: In a letter to Lyova (19 November 1937) Trotsky relates that, when the issue came before the Politburo, he was for attacking Kronstadt while Stalin was against it, saying that the rebels, if left to themselves, would surrender within two or three weeks. Curiously, in his public polemics against Stalin (and in his biography of Stalin) Trotsky never mentioned this fact, although he usually made the most of any instance of Stalin’s political “softness” or deviation from Lenin’s line. Is it that Trotsky somehow felt that in this case “softness” might redound to Stalin’s credit?

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 437

The Central Committee met to discuss Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s misdemeanor, and Trotsky demanded their expulsion from the Central Committee. Koba’s proposal was quite different: these two comrades should be required to submit to the will of the Central Committee, but should be kept in it. Trotsky’s proposal prevailed, whereupon Koba announced his own resignation from Worker’s Path.

Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 114

The MGB thought Karpai’s further value to the investigation was nil and recommended she be shot. Stalin thought otherwise.

Naumov and Brent. Stalin’s Last Crime. New York: HarperCollins, c2003, p. 161

STALIN WAS VERY PATIENT, LENIENT, AND TOLERANT OF THE OPPOSITION

The [1927 British] war scare died away, but the ferment continued in the party. Stalin’s patience with the opposition leaders was exhausted. He had always stood against their expulsion, at the 14th Congress in December 1925 he had explained why he had opposed the demand of Zinoviev and Kamenev for the expulsion of Trotsky. Now his view was different. The party would be at risk as long as the oppositionists were active within its ranks. Lenin would never have tolerated them. He had been determined in 1917 and later to smash the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and he had insisted in 1921 on the prohibition of factions within the Bolshevik party. Stalin himself had always shared his view that the party must be completely united. He had hoped that some genuine settlement might be reached. This hope was no longer tenable. The party and regime were facing immense problems and fighting to survive. The opposition exercised a debilitating influence, which was not permissible at this crucial time.

At the Plenum of the Central Committee at the end of July 1927 he moved a resolution for the expulsion of Trotsky and Zinoviev from the committee. He could be sure of a majority in the committee, whereas in the Politburo the right-wing members–Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky, and Kalinin –were said to oppose such drastic action. The central committee approved the resolution, but then it was rescinded. Ordjonikidze, who was now chairman of the Central Control Commission, had mediated with the opposition, who once again had made a declaration of unconditional surrender. Stalin then agreed to the withdrawal of the resolution. It was clear, however, that time was running out for the opposition leaders.

In September 1927, as preparations were getting underway for the Fifteenth Party Congress, the opposition drew up the third statement of their aims and policies. Their chief purpose was to change the party leadership, eliminating the right-wing and Stalin in particular although the statement did not specify names….

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 218

It is further significant that many people who had been close to Lenin were not arrested, though they were out of Stalin’s favor and had been close friends with those already condemned as enemies. These individuals were merely demoted. Stalin did not arrest Podvoisky, Kon, Petrovsky, Stasova, Tskhakaya, Makharadze, or many other once prominent leaders whose names were mentioned in slanderous denunciations and confessions.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 545

… In the fabricated depositions of arrested artists, writers, and film workers there were allegations against hundreds who were not arrested. For example, Boris Pasternak and Yuri Olesha were named as accomplices of Babel and Meyerhold in the so-called diversionary organization of literary people. But Stalin did not order the arrest of Pasternak and 0lesha. Another remarkable writer who was spared arrest was Mikhail Bulgakov, although many denunciations of his “anti-Soviet attitudes” reached the NKVD. Stalin angrily walked out of a performance of Shostakovich’s Lady Mcbeth of the Mtsensk District, and the talented young composer found himself out of favor for a long time. His friendship with Meyerhold and connections with Tukhachevsky were also well known. Every night Shostakovich waited to be arrested; he had a “prison suitcase” packed and ready and could hardly ever sleep. But Stalin did not authorize his arrest, or that of Zoshchenko or Akhmatova. Just as inexplicably Boris Pasternak and Andrei Platonov were allowed to remain free. Nor did Stalin permit the arrest of many leading film directors, although the NKVD prepared more than one case against them.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 546

I have already mentioned the arrest of Kalinin’s wife in 1937 and of Molotov’s after the war. Similarly arrested were two of Mikoyan’s sons, Ordjonikidze’s brother, the wife of Poskrebyshev, Khrushchev’s daughter-in-law, and others….

Kalinin ‘s wife, for example, was released in a few weeks…. The case of Poskrebyshev, Stalin’s personal secretary, is instructive. His wife was the sister of Sedov’s wife, and Sedov was Trotsky’s son . But that did not prevent Poskrebyshev from being one of the people closest to Stalin. Stalin did finally order the arrest of Poskrebyshev’s wife but kept him as his secretary.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 547

It was very hard to guess how Stalin would decide the fate of certain people who had been close to him. Consider, for example, Stalin’s strange behavior toward his old Comrade Kavtaradze, who had done Stalin many favors during the underground years. Kavtaradze had risked his own safety on one occasion to help Stalin hide from detectives in St. Petersburg. In the ’20s Kavtaradze joined the Trotskyist Opposition and left it only when the Opposition leadership called on its supporters to stop oppositional activity. After Kirov’s murder Kavtaradze, exiled to Kazan as an ex-Trotskyist, wrote a letter to Stalin saying that he was not working against the party. Stalin immediately brought Kavtaradze back from exile. Soon many central newspapers carried an article by Kavtaradze recounting an incident of his underground work with Stalin. Stalin liked the article, but Kavtaradze did not write any more on this subject. He did not even rejoin the party and lived by doing very modest editorial work. At the end of 1936 he and his wife were suddenly arrested and after torture were sentenced to be shot. He was accused of planning with Mdivani, to murder Stalin. Soon after sentencing, Mdivani we shot. Kavtaradze, however, was kept in the death cell for a long time. Then he was suddenly taken to Beria’a office, where he met his wife, who had aged beyond recognition. Both were released. First he lived in a hotel; then he got two rooms in a communal apartment and started doing editorial work again. Stalin began to show him various signs of favor, inviting him to dinner and once even paying him a surprise visit along with Beria. (This visit caused great excitement in the communal apartment. One of Kavtaradze’s neighbor’s fainted when, in her words, “the portrait of Comrade Stalin” appeared on the threshold.) When he had Kavtaradze to dinner, Stalin himself would pour the soup, tell jokes, and reminisce. But during one of these dinners Stalin suddenly went up to his guest and said, “And still you wanted to kill me.”

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 548

Critics of the trials repeatedly make the mistake of not applying the historical method to their consideration of them. Thus, to call Radek, Pyatakov, Smirnov, Kamenev, and Zinoviev Old Bolsheviks is as essentially true as to call Mr. J. H. Thomas, Mussolini, and Sir Oswald Mosley Old Socialists. Marx himself would have been the first to recognize that the truth of such descriptions is relative to time.

Little is known generally in this country of the “Opposition” which functioned in the USSR from the days of Stalin’s triumph with his General Line to the period of the Moscow Trials, but an understanding of it is essential to an understanding of the trials. The defeat and exile of Trotsky did not mean the immediate defeat of his policy. Millions of his former supporters, it is true, accepted the Communist Party decisions and transferred their support to Stalin’s policy of obtaining Socialism in one country. On the other hand, a strong body of theorists maintained their ideological opposition to Stalin. Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Radek transferred their allegiance to Stalin, but the former two were numbered among the recalcitrants. They were on several occasions expelled from the Communist Party and several times, after making public penance, were reinstated to high posts. There was, in fact, a strong movement among the Stalinists, led by Kirov in the Politburo and Gorky outside it, for reconciliation with the Opposition. There were Opposition groups in Leningrad and Moscow which were tolerated. Professorial posts were held by theorists who admittedly were opposed to the Stalin Line. But faith to Lenin’s injunction to his comrades against mutual extermination, drastic measures were not used against such “Counter-Revolutionaries.” In the case of Ryutin, for example, who circulated a memorandum imputing slanderous motives to the Stalin General Line, the penalty was administrative exile.

Edelman, Maurice. G.P.U. Justice. London: G. Allen & Unwin, ltd.,1938, p. 212

Stalin’s private secretary Kanner has described this period:

“The leaders of the Opposition made a promise to submit to the decisions of the 15th Party Congress, and to observe the discipline of the statutes of the Party.

‘I don’t believe them,’ said Stalin, ‘but we must make the experiment of readmitting them to the Party. I feel that I am under a personal obligation to do so, and that I am loyal and impartial, even towards my personal enemies.’

Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 64

The Tenth Anniversary of the Bolshevist government was approaching. Stalin displayed extraordinary restraint and prudence.

Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 283

Comrade Lenin saw all things in a different light. You know that in 1921 Lenin proposed that Shlyapnikov be expelled from the Central Committee and from the Party not for organizing an anti-Party printing press, and not for allying himself with bourgeois intellectuals, but merely because, at a meeting of a Party unit, Shlyapnikov dared to criticize the decisions of the Supreme Council of National Economy. If you compare this attitude of Lenin’s with what the party is now doing to the opposition, you will realize what license we have allowed the disorganizers and splitters….

You surely must know that in 1917 just before the October uprising, Lenin several times proposed that Kamenev and Zinoviev be expelled from the Party merely because they had criticized unpublished Party decisions in the semi-socialist, in the semi-bourgeois newspaper Novaya Zhizn. But how many secret decisions of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission are now being published by our opposition in the columns of Maslow’s newspaper in Berlin, which is a bourgeois, anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary newspaper! Yet we tolerate all this, tolerate it without end, and thereby give the splitters in the opposition the opportunity to wreck our Party. Such is the disgrace to which the opposition has brought us! But we cannot tolerate it forever, comrades.

Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 195-196

It is said that such things are unprecedented in the history of our Party. That is not true. What about the Myasnikov group? What about the “Workers’ Truth” group? Who does not know that the members of those groups were arrested with the full consent of Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Kamenev? Why was it permissible three or four years ago to arrest disorganizers who had been expelled from the Party, but is impermissible now, when some of the former members of the Trotskyist opposition go to the length of directly linking up with counter-revolutionaries?

You heard Comrade Menzhinsky’s statement. In that statement it is said that a certain Stepanov (an army-man), a member of the Party, a supporter of the opposition, is in direct contact with counter-revolutionaries, with Novikov, Kostrov, and others, which Stepanov himself does not deny in his depositions. What do you want us to do with this fellow, who is in the opposition to this day? Kiss him, or arrest him? Is it surprising that the OGPU arrests such fellows?

Lenin said that the Party can be completely wrecked if indulgence is shown to disorganizers and splitters. That is quite true. That is precisely why I think that it is high time to stop showing indulgence to the leaders of the opposition and to come to the conclusion that Trotsky and Zinoviev must be expelled from the Central Committee of our Party. That is the elementary conclusion in the elementary, minimum measure that must be taken in order to protect the Party from the disorganizers’ splitting activities.

At the last plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission, held in August this year, some members of the plenum rebuked me for being too mild with Trotsky and Zinoviev, for advising the plenum against the immediate expulsion of Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee. Perhaps I was too kind then and made a mistake in proposing that the milder line be adopted toward Trotsky and Zinoviev. But now comrades, after what we have gone through during these three months, after the opposition has broken the promise to dissolve its faction that it made in its special “declaration” of August 8, thereby deceiving the Party once again, after all this, there can be no more room at all for mildness. We must now step into the front rank with those comrades who are demanding that Trotsky and Zinoviev be expelled from the Central Committee.

In expelling Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee we must submit for the consideration of the 15th Congress all the documents which have accumulated concerning the opposition’s splitting activities, and on the basis of those documents the congress will be able to adopt an appropriate decision.

Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 196-197

[In a speech delivered regarding the party and the opposition at the 16th Moscow Gubernia Party Conference on November 23, 1927 Stalin stated] The entire history of our disagreements during the past two years is a history of the efforts of the Central Committee of our Party to restrain the opposition from taking steps toward a split and to keep the opposition people within the Party.

Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 267

[In a November 19, 1928 speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU Stalin stated] Already in 1924 our Party and the Fifth Congress of the Comintern passed a resolution on Trotskyism defining it as a petty-bourgeois deviation. Nevertheless, Trotsky continued to be a member of our Central Committee and Political Bureau. Is that a fact, or not? It is a fact. Consequently, we “tolerated” Trotsky and the Trotskyists on the Central Committee. Why did we allow them to remain in leading Party bodies? Because at that time the Trotskyists, despite their disagreements with the Party, obeyed the decisions of the Central Committee and remained loyal. When did we begin to apply organizational penalties at all extensively? Only after the Trotskyists had organized themselves into a faction, set up their factional centre, turned their faction into a new party and began to summon people to anti-Soviet demonstrations.

Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 11, p. 298

Trotsky was sent away. Bukharin could also have been.

Those were difficult and complicated times. This only shows Stalin’s patience, that he carried along with Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev up til 1927. Kamenev in those days had organised a parallel rally: ‘Down with the Government, Down with Stalin!’ Then he was dropped from the Politbureau, he was a member of the P.B. until 1927. How forbearing Stalin was! There were times when Kirov and Kamenev wanted to drop Trotsky from the Politbureau and Stalin was defending him.

THUS SPAKE KAGANOVICH by Feliks Chuyev, 1992

STALIN DENOUNCED OPPOSITIONISTS BUT THEY REMAINED IN HIGH POSITIONS

In this dispute [over collectivization], which Stalin won, he denounced Bukharin and Rykov as leaders of a “right deviation.” But even after their political defeat Bukharin and Rykov continued to hold responsible positions and were still members of the party’s Central Committee.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 14

Nevertheless, until the fall of1936 most of the former oppositionists remained free and even held responsible positions in the commissariats, in publishing, and in educational institutions. Bukharin, for example, was editor of Izvestia and was allowed to travel abroad to negotiate purchases from the archives of the German Social Democratic Party for the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute. Pyatakov was exerting himself intensely as first deputy people’s commissar for heavy industry, and articles by Radek appeared almost daily in the central papers and magazines.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 349

But it is perfectly consistent with the fact that there was a widespread plot, the full extent of which was only gradually discovered. The people concerned were old revolutionaries who knew how to build an illegal organization and to conceal its workings from the authorities. They were people who had been in conflict with the Party but had publicly made their peace with it and were given responsible work. Pyatakov became vice-commissar for Heavy Industry; Zinoviev commenced to write articles for the leading Party organ, the Bolshevik (which incidentally bore the stigmata of his previously incorrect political attitude); Bukharin became active on scientific and cultural questions. The Party took their adherence to the Party line at its face value, welcomed them back to the ranks and gave them important and congenial work to do. And therefore when the shooting of Kirov took place and the Party called for increased vigilance it was still far from appreciating the depths of treachery to which the opposition had sunk. It was only prolonged and careful investigation which led step-by-step to an unmasking of the main lines of the conspiracy.

The same applies to Bukharin and Rykov. They were mentioned by defendants in the first trial but denied complicity, and their denial was for the time being believed.

Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 246

Trotsky was sent into exile. At that time [1929], it was unthinkable that anyone should be killed. Several of Stalin’s opponents were given good jobs and were close to the government.

Snow, Charles Percy. Variety of Men. New York: Scribner, 1966, p. 257

Given Bukharin’s continuing access to higher circles through his work on the constitutional commission, his post as Izvestia editor, his Central Committee status, Kremlin apartment and many friends, he may have got wind of the coming trial period

Tucker, Robert. Stalin in Power: 1929-1941. New York: Norton, 1990, p. 361

[In the Introduction Stephen Cohen states]: As readers will learn, he [Bukharin] continued to play significant political roles, especially during a short-lived thaw in Stalin’s policies from 1934 to mid-1936, as editor of the government newspaper Izvestiya, author of sections of a new Soviet constitution, and advocate of pro-Western alliances against the growing threat of Nazi Germany.

Larina, Anna. This I Cannot Forget. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, p. 16

STALIN OFTEN STAYED ALOOF AND LET SUBORDINANTS MAKE KEY DECISIONS

Even in the crucial realm of 1930s foreign policy, recent evidence suggests that Stalin “took only a sporadic interest,” allowed it to drift, and entrusted it to subordinates: “… on the whole, Stalin abstained from direct intervention and contented himself with merely reviewing and approving…. Even the process of review was occasionally delegated to others. The same author speaks of the “ramshackled nature of foreign policy decision-making under Stalin. As Sergo Mikoyan’s valuable insight also suggests, Stalin allowed his lieutenants to work generally unmolested as long as he was kept informed.
Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 120

Stalin took special care to oversee army and air force films. On one occasion the head of the state film committee, Bolshakov, had the film Zhukovsky, about the Russian air pioneer, ready for release by Air Force Day. He could not find Stalin (then in the Caucasus) to get his formal approval. When he asked Molotov & Beria, he was told to make his own decision. He released the film. Stalin, on his return, called a meeting of the Politburo with Bolshakov in attendance. Stalin asked him on what authority he had released Zhukovsky. Bolshakov, white and trembling, said he had consulted and decided.
‘You consulted and decided,’ said Stalin quietly but ominously. ‘You consulted and decided,’ he repeated. He got up, went to the door, opened it, and once again said, ‘You decided.’ He went out and shut the door and there was a tense silence.
After a pause, Stalin opened the door, looked back into the room and said, ‘You decided correctly.’
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 295

STALIN WAS THE MEAN BETWEEN THE TWO EXTREMES

Yet, among the Bolshevik leaders of the ’20s, he was primarily the man of the golden mean. He instinctively abhorred the extreme viewpoints which then competed for the party’s recognition. His peculiar job was to produce the formulas in which the opposed extremes seemed reconciled. To the mass of hesitating members of the party his words sounded like common sense itself. They accepted his leadership in the hope that the party would be reliably steered along the ‘middle-of-the-road’ and that ‘safety first’ would be the guiding principle.
…But he lacked the suavity, the flair for persuasion, and the genuine interest in narrowing gaps between opposed views which make the political peacemaker. His temperament was altogether adverse to compromise; and the conflict between his mind and his temperament underlay much of his behavior. He appeared before the party with formulas, some parts of which he had borrowed from right-wing Bolsheviks and some from left-wing Bolsheviks. But these were strange compromise formulas: their purpose was not to bring the extremes together but to blow them up and to destroy them.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 295-296

STALIN REPLIES TO THOSE WHO CLAIM HE IS NOT DEMOCRATIC ENOUGH

Stalin himself did not hesitate to remind those who called for democracy of their own past.
“In the ranks of the Opposition there are people like Beloborodov whose “democratism” is still remembered by the workers of Rostov; Rosengoltz, whose “democratism” was visited upon our water and rail transport workers; Pyatakov, whose “democratism” made the Donbass region not only yell but scream;… and Byk, whose “democratism” still makes Khorezm scream.”
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 184

STALIN OFFERED MANY INDUCEMENTS TO GET THE OPPOSITION TO RECANT

Stalin therefore re-doubled his efforts to break the spirit of the Opposition. His agents held out every possible hope and temptation to Radek, Preobrazhensky, and their friends, promising rehabilitation, invoking common purposes, and speaking of the great, fruitful, and honorable work they could still perform for the party and for socialism. All these efforts, however, met with a formidable obstacle in the influence which Trotsky exercised from Alma Ata and which had so far prevented the opposition in exile from disintegrating. Stalin was determined to remove this obstacle from his path.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 456

STALIN WAS MORE MODERATE THAN OTHERS IN THE 20’S.

The struggle in the Kremlin now began in earnest. It was a fight not merely for power, but for life. Each of the claimants knew out to make political enemies pay in blood. These were leaders molded by the Civil War and the Red Terror and in Lenin’s academies. They thought of the country as a “fortress under siege,” and in such conditions ruthlessness was a supreme virtue. Trotsky, neatly summing up their common creed, spoke of “priestly –or quackerish–driveling about the sanctity of human life.” So each of them knew what the price of defeat might be. Stalin alone was extremely cautious in calling for blood. He seemed more moderate than the others. His record included no bloody words.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 203

POLITBURO FOLLOWED STALIN BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENT WAS BEST AND MOST CORRECT

Well, the fact was that “nature or fate” had endowed Stalin with such an ability to formulate problems and practical solutions that the majority of the Politburo followed his suggestions rather than anyone else’s.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 255

STALIN WAS A GOOD PLODDING ADMINISTRATOR WHO KEPT AT THE JOB

In addition to such maneuvers, the General Secretary’s principal lieutenants unraveled before the 14th Congress in Dec. 1925 the labyrinthine intrigues in which Zinoviev and Kamenev indulged, even when they outwardly collaborated with Stalin and depended on him to preserve their preeminence in the Party. There was a dramatic tale about Kislovodsk, a watering place where at the end of 1923 Zinoviev and some of his henchmen had taken counsel on how to limit the powers of the Secretariat. They had addressed a demand to Stalin which he answered “in a coarse but friendly” fashion, saying that other members of the Politburo should be introduced into the Secretariat. But the resolution of the conflict, as confirmed by Zinoviev himself, could not but reinforce the impression of a conciliatory and hard-working Stalin versus a scheming but lazy rival. The General Secretary agreed that three oligarchs be introduced into the Organizational Bureau, over which he presided. But what happened? Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Bukharin, who were thus given a chance to influence the composition of the Party apparatus, found all those discussions about who should be secretary in Stavropol, or what should be the qualifications for Party officials at the county level, etc., can be boring and unworthy of their attention. And so they seldom bothered to attend sessions of the Orgbureau.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 255

STALIN SAYS LEADING AND IMPLIMENTING SOCIALISM IS A ROUGH BUSINESS

[At the 14th Congress of the Party in December 1925 Stalin stated] …those people who think that it is possible to build socialism in white gloves are grievously mistaken.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 7, p. 349

STALIN SAYS PARTY WILL NOT TOLERATE STARTING FACTIONS BECAUSE PEOPLE LOSE VOTES

[In a reply to the discussion on the Social-Democratic Deviation on November 3, 1926 Stalin stated] The Party cannot and will not tolerate any longer that every time you find yourselves in the minority you go out into the street, proclaim a crisis in the Party, and set up a commotion in it. That the Party, will not tolerate any longer.
The Party cannot and will not tolerate that you, having lost hope of securing a majority in our Party, rake together and assemble all kinds of disgruntled elements as material for a new party. That the Party cannot and will not tolerate.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 8, p. 367

…the Party must not be split under any circumstances, either before the congress or during the congress. It would be suicidal for the Party to allow out-and-out splitter’s,…to wreck the Party just because only a month remains before the congress.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 195

TROTSKY IS EXILED IN COMFORT

Trotsky was exiled to Alma Ata, capital of the Kazakh Soviet Republic in Siberia, near the border of China. He was given a house for himself, his wife Natalie, and his son, Sedov. Trotsky was treated leniently by the Soviet government, which was as yet unaware of the real scope and significance of his conspiracy. He was permitted to retain some of his personal body guards, including the former Red Army officer Dreitzer. He was allowed to receive and send personal mail, to have his own library, and confidential “archives” and to be visited from time to time by friends and admirers. But Trotsky’s exile by no means put an end to his conspiratorial activities….
Pyatakov, Radek, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and other exiled oppositionists began denouncing Trotsky, proclaiming the “tragic error” of their past opposition and pleading for readmission to the Bolshevik party.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 206

Congress 15 opened on December 2, 1927. The Congress expelled from the party Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Rakovsky, Preobrazhensky, Smirnov, Serebryakov and several hundred lesser oppositionists…. All the leading oppositionists except Trotsky recanted and were readmitted on probation in June 1928 on condition of denouncing Trotskyism and accepting unconditionally party decisions. Trotsky was exiled to Alma Alta.
Here he hunted, fished, lived comfortably,… And carried on an extensive correspondence with little interference. Between April of October by his own account he sent out 800 political letters…and 550 telegrams and received 1000 political letters and 700 telegrams. On December 16, 1928, an agent of the GPU arrived from Moscow with the demand that he cease leadership of the opposition. He refused.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 205

As for his sojourn in Turkey I can only say that two of my friends visited him on the Bosphorus Island and both of them remarked on his robust physical condition. In the spring of 1930 I went to Alma Alta in Central Asia, to which Trotsky had first been exiled. During his stay there Trotsky’s sympathizers in Moscow wailed loudly that is health was being ruined by the extremes of heat and cold. He refers in his autobiography to the prevalence of malaria and leprosy. I saw the house where he lived in Alma Alta, which is far more comfortable and spacious than my own apartment in Moscow; I saw the pleasant villa in the mountains where he spent the summer; and I heard everyone, from the local GPU men to the man in the street, talk warmly of Trotsky’s hunting trips and how hard he worked and how cheerful and friendly he was to one and all.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 229

It was by no means an unpleasing place of exile…. At Alma Ata Trotsky lived as a grand seigneur. His library and his furniture had been dispatched to him, and he sent for countless other things, including elaborate hunting and angling equipment. He was not short of money; the State publishing office had paid him the sums due to him under his contract with it. His works were withdrawn, of course, from circulation, but there had been such sales already and such countless subscriptions paid that his royalties amounted to tens of thousands of gold rubles.
Up to that time Stalin could not be charged with active malevolence. It had been a political struggle. As the years had passed, Stalin’s enmity toward Trotsky had certainly sharpened…; but he had never given full vent…and he did not even when Trotsky did not lie low in Alma Ata. Trotsky appears to have kept up an active correspondence with his secret supporters, and, in spite of the watchfulness of the secret police, he tried to continue building up an illegal party of his own. Now and then well printed leaflets made their appearance in Moscow. In 1929 Stalin moved that Trotsky should be sent into exile abroad.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 139

Trotsky and his family lived in Alma-Ata for a year. He maintained ties with his supporters, legally and illlegally, carrying on a vast correspondence.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 176

While he was in Alma-Ata, Trotsky continued his political activity. Every month he sent hundreds of letters and telegrams to various addresses. His elder son’s notes show that the clandestine correspondence which Trotsky carried on in Alma-Ata between April and October 1928, amounted to some 800 political letters and 550 telegrams from him, and more than 1000 political letters and 700 telegrams received by him. In addition, letters and other items came and went by courier. He was trying to reactivate the opposition.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 143

…A curious incident. It is reported that the Instantia received a request from Trotsky. He asked for permission to buy a shotgun and another hunting rifle, because he intended to go lion-hunting–to hunt the celebrated Semirechensk lions…. His request was granted. Klim is reported to have said: “Let him hunt. Maybe the Semirechensk lions will eat up our Kherson Lev….”
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 83

Here are a few bits of statistical data from my son’s notes: For the period of April to October, 1928, we sent out from Alma-Ata about 800 political letters, among them quite a few large works. The telegrams sent amounted to about 550. We received about 1000 political letters, both long and short, and about 700 telegrams, in most cases from groups of people. All this refers chiefly to the correspondence within the region of exile, but letters from exile filtered out into the country as well. Of the correspondence sent us, we received, in the best months, not more than half. In addition we received about eight or nine secret mails from Moscow, that is, secret material and letters forwarded by special courier. About the same number were sent by us in similar fashion to Moscow. The secret mails kept us informed of everything that was going on there and enabled us, though only after much delay, to respond with our comments on the most important events.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 556

On December 16, a special representative of the GPU, coming from Moscow, in the name of that institution handed me an ultimatum: I must stop directing the opposition; if I did not, measures would be taken “to isolate me from political life.”
I think it necessary to quote the main points of this letter here:
“The work of your political sympathizers throughout the country” (almost word for word) “has lately assumed a definitely counter-revolutionary character; the conditions in which you are placed at Alma-Ata give you full opportunity to direct this work; in view of this, the collegium of the GPU has decided to demand from you a categorical promise to discontinue your activity; failing this, the collegium will be obliged to alter the conditions of your existence to the extent of completely isolating you from political life. In this connection, the question of changing your place of residence will rise.”
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 558

Between April and October [in 1928] we received approximately 1000 political letters and documents and about 700 telegrams. In this same period we sent out 550 telegrams and not fewer than 800 political letters, including a number of substantial works, such as the Criticism of the Draft Program of the Comintern, and others. Without my son I could not have accomplished even 1/2 of the work.
Trotsky, Leon. Leon Sedoff. New York City: Young People’s Socialist League, (Fourth Internationalists), 1938, p. 10

Trotsky, unyielding, was forced to go into (comfortable) exile in Central Asia, and finally, at the beginning of 1929, was expelled from the country; he was allowed to take all his personal effects and papers with him. Throughout the mid-1930s, internal opposition within the Party, even of the most aggressive type, such is that of Trotsky, was treated with relative benevolence.
Szymanski, Albert. Human Rights in the Soviet Union. London: Zed Books, 1984, p. 212

Save for a few hunting trips, Trotsky spent most of his time in Alma-Ata at his desk. Between April and October 1928 he sent his supporters about 550 telegrams and 800 “political letters,” some of them lengthy political tracts. During the same period he received 700 telegrams and 1000 letters from various parts of the Soviet Union, but believed that at least as many more had been confiscated en route.
Andrew and Mitrokhin. The Sword and the Shield (Pt 1). New York: Basic Books, c1999, p. 39

Here [at Alma Ata] Trotsky was to stay. Stalin was eager to keep him as far from Moscow as possible and to reduce him to his own resources…. Stalin appeared to have no further designs on his enemy; and the GPU still treated Trotsky with consideration that would have been unthinkable later. It took care that his enormous library and archives, containing important state and party documents, should reach him–a lorryful of these presently arrived at Alma Ata. Trotsky protested to Kalinin, Ordjonikidze, and Menzhinsky against the conditions in which he was placed, demanding better accommodation, the right to go on hunting trips, and even to have his pet dog sent to him from Moscow. He complained that he was kept at the inn at Gogol Street only to suit the GPU’s convenience and that his punishment was virtual imprisonment. “You could just as well have jailed me in Moscow–there was no need to deport me 4000 versts away.” The protest was effective. Three weeks after his arrival he was given a four-room flat in the center of the town, at 75 Krasin Street– the street was so named after his deceased friend. He was allowed to go on hunting trips. He showered further sarcastic telegrams on Moscow, making demands, some serious, others trivial, and mixing little quarrels with great controversy.
He appeared almost relaxed after so many years of ceaseless toil and tension. Thus, unexpectedly and oddly, there was a quasi-idyllic flavor about the first few months of his stay at Alma Ata. Steppe and mountain, river and lake lured him as never since his childhood. He relished hunting; and in his voluminous correspondence political argument and advice are often interspersed with poetic descriptions of landscape and humorous reports on hunting ventures. He was at first refused permission to go out of Alma Ata. Then he was allowed to go hunting but no further than 25 versts away. He telegraphed to Menzhinsky that he would disregard the restriction because there were no suitable hunting grounds within that distance and he was not going to be bothered with small game–he must be allowed to go at least 70 versts away; and let Moscow inform the local GPU about this so as to avoid trouble. He went; and there was no trouble. Then he protested to the chief of the local GPU against being pursued rudely and conspicuously by sleuths and declared that because of this he would “go on strike” and cease to hunt –unless this form of police supervision was prescribed directly by Moscow, in which case he understood the position of the local GPU and waived his objections. The supervision became milder and less conspicuous.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 397-398

The fees paid to him [Trotsky] by Ryazanov [for articles written] supplied the family’s needs and covered most of Trotsky’s huge correspondence.
…No doubt the censorship and the GPU kept a watchful eye on the correspondence. Most of it was with Rakovsky, who had been deported to Astrakhan, Radek, who was at Tobolsk, Preobrazhensky, exiled to Uralsk, Smilga who was at Narym, Beloborodov, banished as for north as Ust-Kylom in the Komi Republic, Serebryakov, who was at Semi-Palatinsk in Central Asia, Muralov at Tara, Ivan Smirnov at Novo-Bayazet in Armenia, and Mrachkovsky at Voronezh.
[Footnote]: Between April and October 1928 Trotsky mailed 800 political letters, many of essay length, and 550 telegrams; and he received 1000 letters and 700 telegrams, apart from private mail.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 401

TROTSKY WAS DEPORTED RATHER THAN IMPRISONED

On the morning of January 22, 1929, Trotsky was formally deported from Soviet Union.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 209

…On Jan. 18, 1929 he [Stalin] proposed to the Politburo that Trotsky be expelled from Russia. The proposal was passed, against Bukharin’s protests….
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; a Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 316

STALIN OPPOSED EXPELLING TROTSKY FROM THE PARTY

The 14th Congress in December 1925. Zinoviev and Kamenev favored the expulsion of Trotsky from the Party. Stalin opposed them: “Today we cut off one, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third. But, by then, what will be left of the Party?”
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 203

The result [of the Party rejecting Trotsky’s proposals to suppress the kulaks and nepmen] was that the Communist Party Congress in December 1925 rejected Trotsky’s proposals, and he was saved from expulsion from the party only by Stalin itself.
…The party Congress of December 1927 expelled the Trotskyist critics wholesale….
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 153

June 27, 1931–no excuse or evasion of party orders is permitted, and infractions of discipline are punished by a reprimand, or, if repeated, by expulsion from the party. Of this, Stalin himself, only five years ago, speaking in behalf of Trotsky, when Kamenev and Zinoviev urged his expulsion, said: “Expulsion is a final and fatal weapon to be employed only in a hopeless case.”
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 217

Of this, Stalin himself, only five years ago, speaking in behalf of Leon Trotsky, when Kamenev and Zinoviev urged his expulsion, said:
“Expulsion is a final and fatal weapon to be employed only in a hopeless case.”
Duranty, Walter. “Stalinism’s Mark is Party Discipline,” New York Times, June 27, 1931.

Far more damaging were Stalin’s revelations of all the discreditable maneuvers of Zinoviev against Trotsky. Pravda gave details of a secret meeting between Stalin and his two late associates on the Troika, in which Zinoviev had descended so low as to suggest that Trotsky be removed by an assassin in such a way that the deed could be attributed to some counter revolutionary agent. Stalin’s reply was characteristic: he did not deplore the moral aspect of the situation, which probably never occurred to him, but he would not be a party to such bad political tactics. “Why make a martyr out of Trotsky, who will certainly be defeated anyway?” he is alleged to have replied, adding the significant warning: “An amputation policy is full of dangers to the Party, the amputation method is dangerous and infectious; today one is amputated, another tomorrow, a third the day after. What will be left of the Party in the end?”
Stalin had not forgotten the tragic history of the French Revolutionary leaders, who turned from mutual assistance to rend one another in a fight for power, only to elevate Napoleon Bonaparte to an Imperial throne.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 68

The year 1925 represented a new turn in the situation. Trotsky returned from the Caucasus in the spring and filled several minor posts, including that of head of the Concessions Committee. Meanwhile a breach had developed between Stalin and his associates, Zinoviev and Kamenev. The latter desired to apply much more drastic punitive measures against Trotsky, including even his expulsion from the party. Stalin opposed this and carried the majority of the Politburo and the Central Committee with him.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 71

And when defeatists like Kamenev and Zinoviev, after the 14th Party Conference of the CPSU, declared themselves against the possibility of building socialism, Trotsky, sharing their defeatism and skepticism, rushed to form an opportunist alliance with them–the same Zinoviev and Kamenev whom Trotsky had described in his Lessons of October as right-wingers and whose removal from the Party he had been seeking only recently; the same Zinoviev and Kamenev who in turn had been trying their utmost to secure the removal of Trotsky from the Party leadership, if not from the Party itself. In fact it was none other than Stalin (the same Stalin who, according to Trotskyite legend, was afraid of the “brilliance” of Trotsky and was therefore implacably hostile to him, seeking his removal from the Party at any cost) who opposed Zinoviev and Kamenev’s attempts to expel Trotsky from the Party leadership. Here is what Stalin said in this regard:
“We know that the policy of lopping off, the method of blood letting [it was blood letting that Kamenev and Zinoviev were demanding] is dangerous and infectious. Today, you lop off one limb, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third-and what is left of the Party?”
All this, however, does not prevent the Trotskyites and other bourgeois elements from repeating the above-mentioned legend regarding the alleged implacable hostility of Stalin towards the “brilliant” Trotsky.
Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 193

At the Central Committee meeting [January 17-20, 1925] Zinoviev and Kamenev showed eagerness to make the final kill. Supported by others, they demanded the expulsion of Trotsky not only from the committee and the Politburo but from the party itself. This, the final sentence of excommunication, was opposed by Stalin. Reporting later to the 14th Party Congress, he explained that “we, the majority of the Central Committee… did not agree with Comrades Zinoviev and Kamenev because we realized that the policy of cutting off heads is fought with major dangers for the party…. It is a method of blood-letting–and they want blood–dangerous and contagious; today you cutoff one head, tomorrow a second, and then a third: who would remain in the party?” It was a fateful pronouncement.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 204

Permit me now to pass to the history of our internal struggle within the majority of the Central Committee. What did our disaccord start from? It started from the question: “What is to be done with Trotsky?” That was at the end of 1924. The group of Leningrad comrades at first proposed that Trotsky be expelled from the Party. Here I have in mind the period of the discussion in 1924. The Leningrad Gubernia at Party Committee passed a resolution that Trotsky be expelled from the Party. We, i.e., the majority on the Central Committee, did not agree with this, we had some struggle with the Leningrad comrades and persuaded them to delete the point about expulsion from their resolution. Shortly after this, when the plenum of the Central Committee met and the Leningrad comrades, together with Kamenev, demanded Trotsky’s immediate expulsion from the Political Bureau, we also disagreed with this proposal of the opposition, we obtained a majority on the Central Committee and restricted ourselves to removing Trotsky from the post of People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. We disagreed with Zinoviev and Kamenev because we knew that the policy of amputation was fraught with great dangers for the party, that the method of amputation, the method of blood-letting–and they demanded blood–was dangerous, infectious: today you amputate one limb, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third–what will we have left in the Party?
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 7, p. 389

We are against amputation. We are against the policy of amputation. That does not mean that leaders will be permitted with impunity to give themselves airs and ride roughshod over the Party. No, excuse us from that. There will be no obeisances to leaders. We stand for unity, we are against amputation. The policy of amputation is abhorrent to us.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 7, p. 401

A more serious struggle ensued in the Central Committee over the fate of Trotsky, who had already been defeated politically. Zinoviev and Kamenev demanded the expulsion of Trotsky and his closet associates from the party. On this question Stalin opposed his recent allies, and a majority of the Central Committee agreed with Stalin. Trotsky was not expelled; indeed, he remained a member of the central committee and the Politburo. Foreseeing a clash with Zinoviev and Kamenev Stalin wished to neutralize Trotsky and the Trotskyists. He later said:
“We did not agree with comrades Zinoviev and Kamenev because we knew that a policy of cutting off members was fraught with great dangers for the party, that the method of cutting off, the method of bloodletting –and they are asking for blood–is dangerous and contagious. Today one person is cut off, tomorrow another, the next day a third–but what will remain of the party?”
Most party officials were impressed by this point of view.
Zinoviev and Kamenev tried to pressure the Politburo through the leadership of the Komsomol, the majority of which consisted of their supporters. The Komsomol Central Committee passed a surprise resolution demanding the removal of Trotsky from the Politburo. The Politburo gave a speedy reply: 15 members of the Komsomol Central Committee were removed. All these episodes marked the collapse of the triumvirate.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 145

Curiously enough their [Zinoviev and Kamenev] first point of disagreement with the Party Central Committee arose on the question of Trotsky. Zinoviev and Kamenev wanted to expel Trotsky from the Party. When this was rejected they returned to the charge and demanded at least his expulsion from the political leadership of the Party. The Trotskyist legend of the implacable hostility of Stalin to the “brilliant” Trotsky notwithstanding, Zinoviev and Kamenev found no stronger opponent amongst the Party leadership than Stalin. “We knew,” explained Stalin, “that the policy of lopping off might entail grave dangers for the Party. The method of lopping off, the method of blood-letting (it was blood-letting they wanted) is dangerous and infectious. Today, you lop off one limb, tomorrow another. The day after tomorrow a third–and what is left of the Party?”
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 38

Trotsky was enormously popular with us. The campaign directed against him, conducted by Zinoviev, to whom Stalin, with great astuteness, had left all initiative in the business, reserving to himself the role of moderating influence, had resulted in the piling up of a great deal of resentment against both Zinoviev and Kamenev. Both men, realizing what had happened, made a sudden volte-face, and openly joined forces with their adversary of yesterday–Trotsky, the very incarnation of the spirit of opposition, who was developing in secret a scheme for the complete reformation of the regime.
Barmine, Alexandre. Memoirs of a Soviet Diplomat. London: L. Dickson limited, 1938, p. 217

At the 14th Congress [in late 1925], when the Central Committee limited itself to removing Trotsky from the post of Commissar for War, Stalin said:
We did not agree with Zinoviev and Kamenev because we know that a policy of severance is pregnant with dangers for the party, that the severance method, the blood-letting method–and they demanded blood–is dangerous and contagious: today we sever one person, tomorrow someone else, the next a third person–what will be left of the party?
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 61

Sensing the mood of the majority [at the 14th Congress in 1925], and sweeping aside Kamenev’s proposal that the Secretariat be turned simply into a technical organization, he [Stalin] emphasized that he was against ‘expelling’ certain members of the leadership from the Central Committee. He calculated, given the atmosphere, that it was prudent once again to declare that, if the comrades insisted, he ‘was ready to leave his place without a fuss.’ ‘Expulsion means bloodletting,’ he declared to applause, ‘and that is a dangerous and infectious way to proceed. Today one person is expelled, tomorrow another, the next they someone else–who will be left in the party?’ He spoke like a practiced politician, again finding support among the delegates, demonstrating his disinterest and his concern for the party’s future. As he mocked and criticized the opposition, he displayed his ‘magnanimity by the use of such phrases as ‘Well, good luck to them!’ Although he had already decided it was time to part company with Zinoviev and Kamenev, he nevertheless demonstrated that he wanted peace: ‘We are for unity, we are against expulsions. The policy of expulsion is repellent to us. The party wants unity and it will achieve it, with Kamenev and Zinoviev, if that is what they want, and without them, if they do not.’
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 115

In January 1925, Zinoviev and Kamenev urged in the Central Committee that Trotsky be expelled from the Politburo. Stalin made several alternative suggestions, including merely removing Trotsky as War Commissar (from which post he had in fact just offered his resignation). This was carried. As Stalin was to say later:
‘We did not agree with Zinoviev and Kamenev because we knew that a policy of decapitation is pregnant with great dangers for the party; we know that the method of axing and bloodletting–for blood is what they are demanding–is dangerous and infectious. Today you cut off one man, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third… and what shall be left of the party then?’
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 123

Taking note of his [Trotsky] refusal to fall in step, the Plenum voted 102 against 2 (with 10 abstentions) to reprimand him for engaging in “factionalism.” It also “completely approved” the conduct of the Party’s leadership. Kamenev and Zinoviev wanted Trotsky expelled from the party, but Stalin thought this not prudent: on his urging, the motion was rejected….
Pipes, Richard. Russia under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 485

After Trotsky had thus effaced himself, the only bond that kept the triumvirs together snapped. Up to last moment Zinoviev clamored for harsher reprisals against Trotsky, even for his arrest. Stalin countered his demands with a public statement to the effect that it was ‘inconceivable’ that Trotsky should be eliminated from the leadership of the party.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 297

From his [Stalin] position of vantage, he watched his divided opponents, their shy mutual overtures, their jealousies and resentments. He added to the confusion in their ranks by his own vague advances to Trotsky. Agents of the General Secretariat assiduously reminded Trotsky’s followers that Zinoviev, not Stalin, had exhibited the worst virulence in the fight against them. Stalin himself in his book Problems of Leninism, which was published in January 1926, turned all his political zest against Zinoviev and Kamenev, and refrained from making a single unfriendly remark about Trotsky….
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 305

On formal grounds Stalin could not expel Trotsky from the party for his ‘Clemenceau statement’, even though it implied the threat of an overthrow of the Government.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 315

This is, for instance, how he countered Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s demand for reprisals against Trotsky: “We have not agreed with Zinoviev and Kamenev, because we have known that a policy of lopping off [heads] is fraught with great dangers…. The method of chopping off and blood-letting–and they did demand blood–is dangerous and infectious. You chop off one head today, another one tomorrow, still another one the day after–what in the end will be left of the party?” The revolution of the 20th century, he seemed to say, may spurn its children but it need not devour them.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 347

It is amusing that at that time, in the Central Committee, Stalin slowed down the attacks against Trotsky by Zinoviev and Kamenev.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 97

Zinoviev, on the other hand, vociferously urged definitive elimination of Trotsky. During the January 1925 plenum of the Central Committee, Zinoviev and Kamenev proposed exclusion of Trotsky from the Party. Stalin opposed this, playing the role of conciliator. He persuaded the plenum not only to keep Trotsky in the Party, but to keep him in the Central Committee and the Politburo. It’s true that the plenum condemned Trotsky’s interventions and his political views, but the important point was that the moment had arrived to rid the Red Army of him. His replacement had been ready for a long time, in the person of his assistant, Frunze. The latter was not particularly Stalin’s man, but Zinoviev and Kamenev liked him, and in the course of long Troika sessions on the subject Stalin accepted the nomination of Frunze to replace Trotsky as people’s commissar for war and president of the Revolutionary War Council, with Voroshilov as assistant.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 98

And yet they not only did not exclude Trotsky from the party, but they did not even remove him from the Politburo! He remains a member of the ruling committee of seven, who exercise the sovereign power in a party, to whose whole essential nature, purpose, and philosophy he is declared to be opposed. This anomalous situation means, in the first place, that there is not the slightest breath of sincerity in that outrageous indictment of Trotsky. And it means, in the second place, that there is a bitter rivalry between Stalin and Zinoviev for the position of leadership. Zinoviev demanded Trotsky’s exclusion from the Politburo, and he was supported in this by Kamenev. Stalin, for his own reasons, opposed this demand, and Zinoviev, in a huff, declaring that Stalin merely wanted to use Trotsky against him, tendered his own resignation.
Eastman, Max. Since Lenin Died. Westport, Connecticutt: Hyperion Press. 1973, p. 127

In the last week of May 1924 the 13th Congress assembled…. The Congress turned into an orgy of denunciation. Zinoviev fumed and fulminated: “It was now 1000 times more necessary than ever that the party should be monolithic.” Months before he had urged his partners to order Trotsky’s expulsion from the party and even arrest; but Stalin cool-headedly refused to comply and hastened to declare in Pravda that no action was contemplated against Trotsky, and that a party leadership without Trotsky was “unthinkable.”
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 138

At the Politburo [in January 1925] Zinoviev and Kamenev proposed to ask the Central Committee to expel Trotsky from the Politburo and the Central Committee. Once again, to their irritation, Stalin refused to comply; and Zinoviev and Kamenev wondered whether he might not make peace with Trotsky at their expense.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 162

… Once the triumvirs had defeated Trotsky and removed him from the Commissariat of War, the bonds of their solidarity snapped. Molotov related afterwards that the discord began in January 1925 when Kamenev proposed that Stalin should take Trotsky’s place at the Commissariat of War. According to Molotov, Kamenev and Zinoviev hoped in this way to oust Stalin from the General Secretariat. (Much earlier, as early as October 1923, Zinoviev and Kamenev had toyed with this idea and had even sounded Trotsky. He, however, saw no advantage then in joining hands with Zinoviev, whom he regarded as the most vicious of his adversaries). Stalin himself traces the beginning of this conflict to the end of the year 1924, when Zinoviev proposed Trotsky’s expulsion from the party and Stalin replied that he was against “chopping off heads and blood letting.” When Trotsky left the Commissariat, Zinoviev proposed that he should be assigned to a minor job in the management of the leather industry; and Stalin persuaded the Politburo to make a less humiliating appointment. In a pique, Zinoviev appealed to the Leningrad organization, charging Stalin and the other Politburo members with a leaning for Trotsky and with being “semi-Trotskyists” themselves.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 241

Zinoviev and Kamenev moved at a plenary meeting of the Central Committee that Trotsky should be expelled from the Party–only to be opposed by Stalin. To the amazement of his allies, who wanted blood, Stalin persuaded the Central Committee not to expel Trotsky, not even to remove him from the Politburo.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 217

[Stalin stated], “The method of lopping-off, the method of blood-letting (it was blood-letting they wanted) is dangerous and infectious. Today, you lop off one limb; tomorrow another; the day after tomorrow a third–and what is left of the party?”
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 242

[In a November 1925 letter to a comrade Stalin stated] I am emphatically opposed to the policy of kicking out all dissenting comrades. I am opposed to such a policy not because I am sorry for the dissenters, but because such a policy gives rise in the Party to a regime of intimidation, a regime of bullying, which kills the spirit of self-criticism and initiative. It is not good when leaders of the Party are feared but not respected. Party leaders can be real leaders only if they are not merely feared but respected in the Party, when their authority is recognized.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 7, p. 45

[In a letter to the Czechoslovak Commission on March 27, 1925 Stalin stated] Expulsion is not the decisive weapon in the struggle against the Rights. The main thing is to give the Right groups a drubbing, ideologically and morally, in the course of the struggle based on principal and to draw the mass of the Party membership into the struggle.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 7, p. 66

WHY TROTSKY WAS EXPELLED FROM THE PARTY

But there could be no mercy for Trotsky and his followers because they had broken two cardinal rules of Communist discipline.
First, although they had been within their rights in opposing the majority program until the decision was reached, they had committed the unpardonable breach of refusing to bow to that decision when the will of the majority was proclaimed and affirmed by vote.
Second, as if that disobedience were not sufficient, they had committed the flagrant sin of “appealing” against the party line to the popular masses by attempted public demonstrations and by the dissemination of secretly printed documents. This in the circumstances was sheer counter Revolution, and was punished as such.
The clash between Trotsky’s individualism and the rigid discipline of the Communist system could no longer be avoided.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 154

Trotsky, however, maintained his irreconcilable opposition to the Party and was expelled from the Soviet Union.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 135 [p. 116 on the NET]

The opposition presented their statement to the Central Committee with the demand that it be printed and circulated to all delegates to the Congress. Expecting that their demand would be rejected, as indeed it was, they had set up a secret printing press, intending to print the statement for mass circulation. The 0GPU knew in advance about their plans and seized the printing press. All who were directly involved were arrested and at once expelled from the party, but the leaders remained free for the time being. Desperate and frustrated in their efforts to publicize their views, they addressed meetings of workers. The Central Committee, meeting jointly with the Central Control Commission on Oct. 21-23, 1927, again severely reprimanded them, but they remained members and at liberty.
On Nov. 7, 1927, the 10th anniversary of the Revolution, Trotsky and Zinoviev promoted demonstrations in Moscow and Leningrad. The demonstrations were thinly attended and ineffectual, but they were a grave breach of party rules. Again the 0GPU was ready. The police and organized bands of thugs broke up the demonstrations and many were arrested. A week later Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party. The Congress endorsed their expulsion and expelled in addition a further 75 oppositionists of the Trotsky-Zinoviev group, as well as 15 Democratic Centralists. The Congress demonstrated with enthusiasm in support of the party leaders.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 219

A few months later, however, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, there was an opposition attempt to stage counter-demonstrations to the official demonstrations in Moscow and Leningrad–short-lived attempts which were broken up by the workers.
The illegal printing press was discovered, as was also the fact that the opposition had entered into association with elements hostile to the Party, in order to get this press going.
The limit of the Party’s patience had been reached. In spite of warning from the Party, in breach of their most solemn promises, the opposition was seeking to form a new party. They had to be excluded from the Party and their organization broken up.
But before this step was taken there was a Party referendum on the question of the opposition policy– 724,000 members voted for the line of the Party, 4000 members voted for the Trotskyists and 2600 abstained from voting. If the trotskyists had only wanted a democratic expression they had got it with its hobnailed boots on.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 40

In the Party discussion of 1927, only 4000 people could be found to vote for Trotsky, as compared with the 724,000 who voted for the line of the Party. The young administrators drawn from the working class were equally hostile, as Trotsky regretfully admits (The Revolution Betrayed, the page 276).
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 233

[in 1927] the opposition prepared a platform for the next Party Congress. This was forbidden. They then printed it illlegally, and this was represented as a plot–and indeed, it was a genuine underground operation.
The hearings against Trotsky & Zinoviev were resumed, without even a pretense of judicial decency. Trotsky’s defense was met with curses, howls and the hurling of inkpots, books and glasses. Stalin alone spoke in a controlled manner, though in a tone of ‘coarse and cold hatred’.
On Nov. 7, 1927 the 10th anniversary of the Revolution, the opposition made a last effort, joining the official demonstration groups but with their own slogans. They were attacked by police, ‘activists’ and others who had been mobilized especially for this operation. Then Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party, and Kamenev and the others from the Central Committee.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 139

0n Nov. 7, 1927, during the official celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October revolution, Trotsky and Zinoviev led their followers in separate processions through the streets of Moscow and Leningrad. Though the processions were of a peaceful character and the banners and slogans carried by the demonstrators were directed against the ruling group only by implication, the incident brought the struggle to a head. Trotsky and Zinoviev were immediately expelled from the party. On December 15th Congress declared ‘adherence to the opposition and propaganda of its views to be incompatible with membership of the party’…. The Congress demanded from the leaders of the opposition that they renounce and denounce their own views–this was to be the price for their continued membership of the party…. On Dec. 18 the Congress expelled 75 leading members of the opposition, in addition to many others already expelled or imprisoned.
A day later the opposition split. Its Trotskyist section refused to yield to the demands of the Congress. Trotsky was deported to Alma-Ata, Rakovsky to Astrakhan. Zinoviev, Kamenev, and their followers, however, issued a statement in which they renounced their views.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 311

In 1927, the Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc made one last effort. Defeated and isolated in the ruling councils of the Party, they thought to appeal to the “Party masses” and workers. (This was a measure of their lack of contact with reality: the masses were now wholly alienated.) In the autumn came the setting up of an illegal Trotskyite printing press, and illegal demonstrations in Moscow and Leningrad. Mrachkovsky, Preobrazhensky, and Serebryakov accepted responsibility for the print shop. They were all immediately expelled from the party, and Mrachkovsky was arrested…. Opposition demonstrations on Nov. 7 were a fiasco. The only result was that on November 14 Trotsky & Zinoviev were expelled from the Party, and Kamenev, Rakovsky, Smilga, and Evdokimov from the Central Committee. Their followers everywhere were also ejected. Zinoviev and his followers recanted; Trotsky’s, for the moment stood firm. The effective number of Trotskyites and Zinovievites is easy to deduce: 2500 oppositionists recanted after the 1927 Congress, and 1500 were expelled. The leading Trotskyites were sent into exile. In January 1928, Trotsky was deported to Alma-Ata. Rakovsky, Pyatakov, Preobrazhensky, and others of the Left followed him to other places in the Siberian and Asian periphery.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 11

For the moment it looked as if the Opposition would be able to participate in the 15th congress and there make another appeal to the party. The leaders prepared a full and systematic statement of policy, a Platform, such as they had never before been able to present.
…the Platform would then have to be produced and circulated clandestinely or semi-clandestinely. The Opposition resolved to take the risk. To protect itself against reprisals–to “spread the blow” once again–and also to impress the Congress, Trotsky & Zinoviev called on their adherents to sign the Platform en masse. The collection of signatures was to reveal the size of the Opposition’s following; and so the campaign was from the outset a trial of strength in a form the Opposition had not hitherto geared to undertake.
Stalin could not allow this to go on undisturbed. All the night of 12-13 September 1927 the GPU raided the Opposition’s “printing shop,” arrested several man engaged in producing the Platform, and announced with a flourish that it had discovered a conspiracy. The GPU maintained that they had caught the Oppositionists red-handed, working hand in glove with notorious counter-revolutionaries; and that a former officer of Wrangel’s White Guards had set up the Opposition’s printing shop. On the day of the raid Trotsky had left for the Caucasus; but several leaders of the Opposition, Preobrazhensky, Mrachkovsky, and Serebryakov, attempted to come forward with a refutation and declared that they assumed full responsibility for the “printing shop” and the publication of the Platform. All three were immediately expelled from the party and one of them, Mrachkovsky, was imprisoned. ___6 This was the first time that such punishment was inflicted on prominent men of the Opposition.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 356-357

The 15th congress of 1927 was in session for three weeks; and it was wholly preoccupied with the schism. The Opposition had not a single delegate with voting rights. Trotsky did not attend; he had not even asked to be admitted in order to make a personal appeal against his expulsion. Unanimously the congress declared that expression of the Opposition’s views was incompatible with membership in the party.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 385

Within a few days the printing shop was raided by the GPU, and its alleged founder, Mrachkovsky a noted partisan leader of the Civil War, was expelled from the Party and arrested [in 1927].
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 283

In October 1927, that is, two months before the 15th Congress, the Central Committee of the Party announced a general Party discussion, and the fight began. Its result was truly lamentable for the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites: 724,000 Party members voted for the policy of the Central Committee; 4000, or less than 1%, for the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites. The anti-Party bloc was completely routed. The overwhelming majority of the Party members were unanimous in rejecting the platform of the bloc.
Commission of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. (B.), Ed. History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks): Short Course. Moscow: FLPH, 1939, p. 285

[In 1927] The united opposition did not waver. It advanced with a new load of ammunition…. From this it advanced to a new method of warfare. Its speakers would appear at various party meetings and without authority address the audiences. This was met by furious counter-blows. Reprisals, arrests followed. Bands of whistlers were organized to disrupt such gatherings. Strings of automobiles would suddenly appear and blow their sirens.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 258

[In an article entitled “They Have Sunk to the Depths” Stalin stated] The open demonstration of the Trotskyists in the streets on November 7, 1927, was a turning-point, when the Trotskyist organization showed that it was breaking not only with the Party, but also with the Soviet regime.
This demonstration was preceded by a whole series of anti-Party and anti-Soviet acts: the forcible seizure of a government building for a meeting (the Moscow Higher Technical School), the organization of underground printing plants, etc.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 11, p. 327

The Trotskyites, by themselves, were never a big force in our Party. Call to mind the last discussion on Trotskyism in our Party in 1927. This was a genuine party referendum. Out of 854,000 Party members, 730,000 members voted at that time. Among them 724,000 Party members voted for the Bolsheviks, for the Central Committee of the Party, against the Trotskyites, and 4000 Party members, or about one half of 1%, voted for the Trotskyites, while 2600 members of the Party refrained from voting.
Add to this the fact that many out of this number became disillusioned with Trotskyism and left it, and you get a conception of the insignificance of the Trotskyite forces.
Stalin, Joseph. Mastering Bolshevism. San Francisco: Proletarian Publishers, 1972, p. 46

TROTSKY WAS DEPOSED BY THE POLITBURO, NOT STALIN

It had been Zinoviev who originally proposed Stalin as general secretary…. In his memoirs Trotsky describes the circumstances of his deposition as if they were entirely Stalin’s work. That is not true to history. Trotsky was relieved of the supreme command over the Army by a majority decision of the Politbureau…. Bucharin was in the foreground of the public attacks on Trotsky.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 131

Trotsky was now dismissed from the commander-in-chief of the army. He remained a member of the Politburo, and he was also given two departments of State. He became chairman of the Central Concessions Committee. At the time this committee was one of great importance in the eyes of foreigners. It carried on negotiations for the granting of economic concessions to foreign enterprises. Lenin had introduced his policy….
The other post which Trotsky received was that of head of the electro-technical department in the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs…. Neither of his two offices gave him any opportunity of intervening in home policy or influencing it. He ignored both appointments…. As a member of the Politburo he kept his big personal secretariat. But at the sessions of the Politburo, which he regularly attended, he took up a strange attitude. He came in, sat down, and ostentatiously took no part in the discussions. He usually had a book, preferably a French novel, and read it throughout the session. Scarcely ever did he speak a word. Meanwhile he proceeded, rather carelessly, with the building up in some shape of his own organization. It all suggested a great master gathering his assistants round him to listen to him in ecstatic awe. What seemed more serious was his continual association with a number of leading Bolsheviks who were not in the Politburo but were nevertheless holders of influential posts
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 133-34

Stalin took no part in the effort to get rid of Trotsky. The articles and speeches attacking the latter came mainly from Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Bukharin. Trotsky had made preparations for the publication of his collected works–obviously as a fighting move. They were to be issued by the State publishing office…. The collection was not confined to Trotsky’s past articles: each volume, containing a year’s articles, was to have a newly-written introduction. An explosion was produced by the publication of the volume for 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution. In the introduction to that volume Trotsky gave a version of events that differed fundamentally from that of the party leadership. He not only tried to destroy the Lenin legend; he belittled the part played in the Revolution by the Bolshevik party. Needless to say, his own part received special attention. A public campaign against Trotsky began. Bukharin led the agitation in the press. The book was to be had in the shops, and every subscriber had received a copy. The question of his membership in the party was raised. In addition to controverting his argument, his opponents charged him with trying to form a ‘faction’ within the party, an organized group to oppose the majority of the party. He was denounced as a schismatic. In accordance with party practice at the time, the controversy was fought out in full publicity….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 135

And there were several things which barred Trotsky from succeeding Lenin as Party Leader. There was the taint of heresy about him in the eyes of the older Bolsheviks, who could not forget that he had only joined the party in 1917; there were the many enemies whom he had made through his vitriolic pen and through his ruthless administrative measures as Soviet War Lord; there was a widespread feeling that, while Trotsky was an invaluable leader in the active, destructive period of revolution, he was too mercurial and unstable to be a reliable guide in the slower and more prosaic work of economic reconstruction.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 95

Trotsky was kept without a post until May, 1925 when he was tested to see whether he would be content with a much smaller part in the government. The army had been taken from him, how would he like to administer the department of Foreign Concessions? It was found that he had become much humbler. He accepted the chairmanship of the Concessions Board with readiness, and actually he obtained work which suited his abilities more than the control of the fighting forces.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 98

So in the final struggle he [Trotsky] was deprived of power by the vote of the party.
To me, however, there appears to be a deeper historical reason for this. By the year 1927 the Revolution had come to that stage wherein the new state founded by it had to be ruled by a conservative and very careful progressive leader. But Trotsky was a typical revolutionary and his fiery spirit was not what was wanted in the management of the consolidated Bolshevik state. He was declared a dangerous man and was exiled with his friends to Siberia.
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 367

However, more objective sources suggest that Stalin triumphed largely because what almost the entire Party leadership feared above all was the possibility of Trotsky coming to power. Stalin was the only real alternative to Trotsky and his plans for world revolution.
Medvedev, Roy & Zhores. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 269

EARLY ON THE PARTY TRIED NOT TO EXPEL TROTSKY

MOLOTOV: In 1924 discussion against Trotsky was proceeding full tilt. Suddenly a statement bearing all our signatures–Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov, Bukharin, and mine too was published to the effect that we could not conceive of the Politburo without Trotsky! Everyone had signed. It was as if, despite our quarrels with him, he was such a figure that we could not imagine the Politburo without him. It was politics, the times, whatever you will. We were engaged in a very serious ideological struggle yet, at one and the same time, we valued Trotsky so highly!
The time was not yet ripe for an open break. It couldn’t be done. Once the ideological fight was in the open, it was possible to consider how to get rid of Trotsky.
We sent him into exile. And even then we had a lot of trouble with him. While living abroad he actually called for terror…. As long as imperialism’s alive, there will be many such swine.
IVANOVICH, SHOTA: “We shouldn’t have any!”
What do you mean, we shouldn’t have any? It’s absolutely unavoidable, inescapable.
IVANOVICH, SHOTA: “Well then, we’re fighting badly against them.”
That’s true…. We should be considered guilty insofar as we fought badly. You see, we didn’t put an end to all these swine.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 136

SHORT SUMMARY OF EVENTS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER TROTSKY’S EXPULSION

Their were sharp hostilities at the party meetings of April and July, 1926. The Rights, such as the shadow Premier, Rykov, were all for Stalin. The Opposition was branded as “a gang of European adventurers.” In the heat of the debate, Dzerzhinsky, the head of the OGPU, delivered a most passionate speech on the threat to the Party, and died directly afterwards. Zinoviev was suspended from functioning as President of the Third International. In October 1926, Trotsky, at meetings of workers, openly poured his invective on the Government and was forbidden to speak in public. Zinoviev tried to recover his hold over Leningrad, but failed. The Opposition now half recanted to save the unity of the Party, but Trotsky was struck out of the Politburo and Zinoviev out of the Third International. In July, 1927, Trotsky returned to the attack with a violent denunciation of Stalin on the Central Committee of the Party. He was now actively engaged in intensive underground work of the kind which he had conducted against the Tsar. He organized groups of “fives,” with a secret code and local branches. He and Zinoviev were now expelled from the Central Committee. He was allowed to put his case at a plenary meeting, but was boo’ed. In November, at the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Communist Revolution, he got up demonstrations in the streets. He was now formally expelled from the Party, and sent into exile on the Asiatic frontier at Alma Ata, probably in the hope that he would take this, the easiest, way out of Russia, and thus finally discredit himself as having joined the emigration. This he had no intention of doing. Kamenev and Zinoviev recanted humbly again and were exiled to various places. The Opposition carried the war outside Russia, publishing its case in the German Flag of Communism, and appealed to the Third International (the Comintern) for readmission. The Communist leaders still hesitated to go to all lengths, and finally, as Trotsky did not go and was still active, he was taken to the western frontier and pushed over it, still demanding that it should be recorded that he went against his will.
He continued the fight with energy and acrimony from abroad, whether in Turkey, Sweden, or Mexico. He knew all the ruses of conspiracy. It was only like a resumption of the old fight against the Czar from outside. There is no need to doubt that widespread roots of his organization remained in Russia. After all, he had had an outstanding prestige among the elder Bolsheviks.
Pares, Bernard. Russia. Washington, New York: Infantry Journal, Penguin books, 1944, p. 142

That was in January, 1928. Trotsky kept up a large correspondence with his friends and adherents all the year. He still remained the head of the opposition faction in Russia, gave it advice and encouraged its development. Stalin’s answer to that was to withhold all further mail addressed to him. In December an agent of the GPU visited him bearing an ultimatum: either he must stop directing the opposition or measures would be taken to isolate him from political life.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 104

WHEN EXILED TO TURKEY THE GPU TREATED TROTSKY LIKE ROYALTY

The sequel to the disembarkation was almost farcical. From the pier Trotsky and his family were taken straight to the Soviet Consulate in Constantinople. Although he had been branded as a political offender and counter-revolutionary, he was received with the honors due to the leader of October and the creator of the Red Army. A wing of the Consulate was reserved for him. The officials, some of whom had served under him in the civil war, seemed eager to make him feel at home. The GPU men behaved as if they meant to honor the pledge that they would protect his life. They met all his wishes. They went on errands for him. They accompanied Natalya [Trotsky’s wife] and Lyova on trips to the city, while he stayed at the Consulate. They took care to unload and transport his bulky archives brought from Alma-Ata, without even trying to check their contents….
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 5

BUKHARIN DENOUNCES HIS PAST ACTS AND ALL FACTIONS

Bukharin stated at the Central Committee plenum of Jan. 7-12, 1933, “Both our internal and external situation is such that this iron discipline must not under any circumstances be relaxed…. That is why such factions must be hacked off without the slightest mercy, without being in the slightest troubled by any sentimental considerations concerning the past, concerning personal friendships, relationships, concerning respect for person as such, and so forth. These are all totally abstract formulations, which cannot serve the interests of an army that is storming the fortress of the enemy.”
…He continues, “I do not want to hide in the bushes and I shall not. If one were to analyze the source of all those divergent views that have led to serious incidents within the party, and if one were to speak of the degree of guilt, then my guilt before the party, before its leaders, its Central Committee, before the working-class, and before the country–this guilt of mine is heavier than that of any of my former like-minded comrades, for I was to a large extent the ideological purveyor of a host of formulations which gradually gave birth to a definite rightist-opportunistic conception. This responsibility, comrades, I shall not shirk. I shall not shift my responsibility onto someone else,…”
He concludes, “This is how the matter stands: we must march onward, shoulder to shoulder, in battle formation, sweeping aside all vacillations with the utmost Bolshevik ruthlessness, hacking off all factions, which can only serve to reflect vacillations within the country–because our party is one and indivisible….
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 96

STALIN PROCLAIMS VICTORY AT THE 1934 CONGRESS

At this Congress, however, there is nothing to prove and, it seems, no one to fight. Everyone sees that the line of the party has triumphed–Stalin, 1934.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 103

…Indeed, former oppositionists Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky, and others were allowed to speak to the Congress of 1934 in order to demonstrate a new party unity that Stalin proclaimed.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 128

Stalin said in his speech to the 17th Party Congress on Jan. 28, 1934, “At this Congress, however, there is nothing to prove and, it seems, no one to fight. Everyone sees that the line of the party has triumphed.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 130

In consequence the 17th Congress of the Communist Party, held in January 1934 with 2000 delegates representing almost 3 million members and candidates, was an all-round triumph for Stalin. With the exception of Trotsky, impotent in exile, all the old Oppositionists had now returned to the Party fold, and to make the occasion complete, the later Opposition Troika–Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky– ate humble pie once more in the most abject terms. The Congress was informed that the gap between the First and Second Plans had been bridged, and that it was now proposed to make a capital investment of 133 billion rubles–as compared with 60 billion for the First Plan–in the Second Five-Year program. Small wonder that the Moscow press called this the “Congress of Victors” and proudly proclaimed that the Soviet ship of state had come at last to fair water after many perils and storms.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 208

The Congress that took place in February 1934 became known… as the “Congress of Victors”….
He [Stalin] laid special emphasis on the fact that, in the three years or so since the previous congress, industrial output had doubled. New branches of industry had been created: machine-tool construction, automobiles, tractors, chemicals. Engines, aircraft, combines, synthetic rubber, nitrate, artificial fibers were now being manufactured in the USSR. He announced proudly that thousands of new enterprises had been commissioned, including such to gigantic projects as the Dnieper Hydroelectric project, the Magnitogorsk and Kuznets sites, the Urals truck-building plant, the Chelyabinsk tractor plant, the Kramatorsk auto plant and so on. No previous report of his had ever contained so many facts and figures, tables and plans. He had something to tell the Congress.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 193

The 17th Party Congress is known in history as the “Congress of Victors.”
Commission of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. (B.), Ed. History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks): Short Course. Moscow: FLPH, 1939, p. 320

STALIN WAS NOT SIGNIFICANTLY OPPOSED AT THE 17TH PARTY CONGRESS

CHUEV: I have a question about the 17th Party Congress. Is it true that Stalin received fewer votes than Kirov at the elections to the Central Committee?
MOLOTOV: No. How can they say such things?…
…I am sure that at every election to the Central Committee, one our two votes went against Stalin. Enemies were always present…. Kirov was unsuitable as a speaker of the highest rank. He was one of several secretaries, a tremendous speaker at mass meetings, but that’s it. Kirov reported everything to Stalin, in detail. I believe that Kirov acted correctly.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 218

Similarly, the belief that 282 delegates (or sometimes 123 or 125 or 2-4 or 5-6 or 3, depending on the rumor) voted against Stalin at the 17th Party Congress in 1934 has been questioned by recent research. A special investigation by Central Committee staff in 1989 concluded that 166 ballots were indeed missing, but because the numbers of ballots printed and delegates voting are unknown, “it is impossible definitely to confirm” how many, if any, voted against Stalin. A 1960 investigation concluded that 166 delegates simply “did not take part in the voting.”
[Footnote]: The whole story about votes against Stalin comes from a single testimony, that of Verkhovykh in 1960. Other 1934 congress participants have contradicted his claim. Anastas Mikoyan’s “confirmation” of the rigged voting is hardly that; he reports rumors he heard in the 1950s, although he was present at the 1934 Congress.
…Continued release of documents from the 1930s may also weaken the tradition of writing history by anecdote.
Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 141

[Footnote]: The evidence on the number of ballots cast against Stalin in the election of the Central Committee is unsatisfactory. Both Medvedev and Antonov-Ovseenko make reference to the testimony of a supposed member of the election commission of the 17th Party Congress, Verkhovykh. At least it can be confirmed from the published record of the Congress that he was a delegate and hence eligible to serve on this commission. Depending on which account you prefer, he said that there were either 270 or 292 votes against Stalin. But Antonov-Ovseenko elaborates on this report in such a way as to undermine the credibility of whatever source leaked information to the dissident historians.
First, he maintains that Verkhovykh, in oral testimony, recalled that the correct number was not 292, but 289.
Second, and more important, he claims that Verkhovykh refused to give an official inquiry any written statement.
Finally, and most unsettling, Antonov-Ovseenko describes the alleged refusal of another supposed member of the electoral commission in 1934 to acknowledge that there were more than ‘two or three’ votes against Stalin. Apart from these numbers, the trouble with this story is that the person in question, one Napoleon Andriasian, could not have served on the mandate commission of the Congress of 1934 because, according to the record of that event, he was not a delegate.
Another version of Stalin’s alleged troubles with this election maintains that he was elected only because the Central Committee was expanded at the last minute. This must be incorrect, because the size of the Committee was in fact unchanged with respect to full (not candidate) numbers.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 359

EVERYBODY SUPPORTED STALIN AT THE 17TH CONGRESS

The victory of the General Line at the 17th Congress was demonstrated by the return of defeated oppositionists to party life, provided they publicly accepted the Stalin line. Many of them, including Zinoviev, Kamenev, Preobrazhensky, Pyatakov, and Bukharin, addressed the congress itself. Although several of them were greeted with catcalls and interruptions from the floor, the fact that they spoke at the congress at all indicated a relatively “soft” attitude on the part of the regime toward the oppositionists, at least in early 1934.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 17

I can at least answer for myself. I spent two years in the Pioneers, six years in the Komsomol, 16 years in the Party. For 15 years I belonged to the Corps of Officers of the armed forces, for ten of them I was a leading Party member and a senior reader of a Moscow Academy of the highest rank…. The sense of insecurity of the Party man is far greater than that of the non-Party man.

I attended the [1934 17th Party] Congress as a visitor. I recall how Postyshev, the Chairman, called on Bukharin to speak, and how Stalin stared at Bukharin with parted lips as if wondering what he would say….

All the outstanding oppositionists were prevailed upon to attend. Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky, Preobrazhensky, Lominadze, Kamenev–all were there.

Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 231

And in fact all his former opponents spoke [at the 17th Party Congress in February 1934], admitting they had been wrong, praising him enthusiastically, and promising total support for the party line: Zinoviev and Kamenev; Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky; Pyatakov, Radek, Lominadze… Kamenev, in the typical tone of the defeated factions, spoke of the Ryutinites as ‘kulak scum’ who had needed ‘more tangible’ rebuttal than mere ideological argument.

Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 177

Some of the erstwhile oppositionists were elected to the leading organs [at the 17th Party Congress]: Pyatakov, full member; Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky, alternates in the Central Committee. The Congress laughed with, as much as at, Radek, currently an authoritative journalistic spokesman on foreign affairs, when he recounted that he had been cured of Trotskyism.

Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 374

BUKHARIN MAKES A COMPLETE CAPITULATION AT THE 17TH PARTY CONGRESS

In January 1934 the 17th Party Congress was held in Moscow. There Bukharin finally capitulated completely to Stalin. His lengthy speech included the following statements:

“It is clear that the “Rights,” of whom I was one, had a different political line, a line opposed to the all-out socialist offensive, opposed to the attack by storm on the capitalist elements that our party was beginning. It is clear that this line proposed a different pace of development, that it was in fact opposed to accelerated industrialization, that it was opposed to…the liquidation of the kulaks as a class, that it was opposed to the reorganization of small peasant agriculture…that it was opposed to the entire new stage of a broad socialist offensive, completely failing to understand the historical necessity of that offensive and drawing political conclusions that could not have been interpreted in any way other than as anti-Leninist…. It is clear, further, that the victory of this deviation inevitably would have unleashed a third force and that it would have weakened the position of the working-class…. It would have led to intervention before we were ready…and, consequently, to the restoration of capitalism as the combined result of the aggravated domestic and international situation, with the forces of the proletariat weakened and the unleashing of anti-proletarian, counter-revolutionary forces…. It is clear, further, that Comrade Stalin was completely right when he brilliantly applied Marxist-Leninist dialectics to thoroughly smash a whole series of theoretical postulates advanced by the right deviation and formulated mostly by myself.”

This capitulation did not go unnoticed. Although Bukharin was chosen at the Congress only as a candidate member of the Central Committee, this demotion was accompanied by a return to active political and journalistic activity. In February 1934 Bukharin was appointed editor-in-chief of Izvestia, the second most important Soviet newspaper.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 320

AT THE 17TH PARTY CONGRESS OPPOSITION LEADERS ADMIT THEIR ERRORS

Still worse blows to the opposition were dealt by Zinoviev, a man who had been twice or thrice already in exile and who had recently dubbed Stalin “a traitor to the cause of Lenin.” Here was Zinoviev whose slavish conduct later enabled the Stalinists to catch hundreds, if not thousands, of brave oppositionists, the Zinoviev of whom since then no normal anti-Stalinist can think without scorn and loathing. Why, it was only two months earlier that, shaking his clenched fists before his face, he had preached to others on the vital need to struggle with courage against Stalin, Molotov, and Kirov, and here he was, a pitiable sight, all fear and trembling, doing his very utmost to please the master. “Comrades,” he said, “if I have decided to mount the tribune of the 17th Congress of the Party–this world tribune in the truest sense, the tribune of the world proletariat–and it the Comrades had allowed me to do so, I trust it is because I have ended completely, utterly, with the anti-Party period of my life, the period of my alienation from the Party in which I spent many years. I have, as I trust and believe, understood to the full and to the utmost the tremendous errors I have made. I actually had the arrogance to try to foist my own particular view of Leninism on the Party, my own particular understanding of what I call the philosophy of the period…. However, I now see that this was a chain of errors, and that had the Party not shown due resistance to these errors, we would have brought the country to the very edge of catastrophe and destruction…” This renegade then proceeded to glorify his enemy Stalin…. Comrades, what countless attacks on Comrade Stalin were made by myself and by other former oppositionists! Comrades, I have understood that this was all the most profound of errors.
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 232

Still worse was the capitulation of Kamenev, one of Lenin’s closest associates, a member of the Politburo and second only to Zinoviev as the leader of the opposition. “While Comrade Stalin,” declared Kamenev “the most deserving of Lenin’s pupils, took over his work, and with set teeth, rejecting all hesitation, bore aloft the banner wrenched by death from Lenin’s hands, the group to which I belonged immediately gave in, was shaken in its fate, and thereafter stubbornly and insistently tried to force its own erroneous views on the Party. We then started on a course which was bound to bring us to counter-revolution…. But the Orthodox intolerance and the perspicacious sense of ideals of Comrade Stalin saved both Party and country. From this tribune I wish to declare that I consider the Kamenev who from 1925 to 1933 struggled against the Party and the Party leadership to be a political corpse, and that I wish to go forward without dragging its old hide behind me.
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 233

Yet another opposition leader, Preobrazhensky, the principal theoretician of the Trotskyists, who in 1927 had organized an anti-Stalin demonstration in Moscow and shouted such slogans as “long-live Trotsky, down was Stalin!,” made literally the following Declaration from the tribune: “Now that I have sufficiently recognized all my errors, I tell myself: Vote with Comrade Stalin and you will not be wrong!”
And Rykov, who had succeeded Lenin as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, and who in 1928, together with Bukharin and Tomsky, had headed the Right-wing Deviation, the one of all the inner -Party deviations which was the most dangerous to Stalin, Rykov mounted the tribune and said: “The rout of the Right-wing Deviation, which was headed by myself and Bukharin, was absolutely essential for the Leninist-Stalinist rallying of the Party…. The rout of the Right-wing Deviation, achieved by Comrade Stalin, constitutes a part of the great deed that brought us to those triumphs of which their organizer, the leader of our Party, Comrade Stalin, has given us a survey…. After the death of Lenin, Comrade Stalin, immediately and without any delay, stood out as the leader, as an organizer of enormous power…”
Even Bukharin, the most consistent and stubborn of the oppositionists, actually went so far as to call a toast in honor of the “Glorious Field-Marshal of the forces of the proletariat, the finest among the finest, Comrade Stalin.”
There was only one of the principal leaders of the Right-wing Deviation– Smirnov, an old Bolshevik–who had stood up to the preliminary processing. He alone continued to charge Stalin, Kirov, and Molotov with the creation of a “barrack regime, worse than the regime of Nicholas the First.” He alone remained true to the end and not only did not capitulate at the Congress of the Reactionaries, but even refused to be present,…
The considerable “Army” of rank and file Party members who disagreed with Stalin suddenly found itself abandoned by its officers; worse than this, the officers had crossed over to the other side. Declarations of loyalty to Stalin became the order of the day.
…By the summer of 1934,… my friends brought messages from our comrades in Leningrad, the center of the strongest underground movement, urging us to continue the struggle. Our Moscow comrades, however, were pessimistic and inclined to panic; they wished all branches to dissolve it once and wait for “better times.”
Tokaev, Grigori. Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955, p. 234-235

By now the old men of the opposition had long been not only defeated but spiritually broken. Even the indomitable Rakovsky, former Ukrainian Premier and Ambassador in London and Paris, who had held out in exile and prison longer than the others, surrendered and returned to Moscow in 1934. Like all the other penitents he, too, signed a statement containing as much flattery of Stalin as self-accusation. The gist of all such statements was that Stalin’s conduct of policy was the only correct one, and that any of the courses advocated by the oppositions would inevitably have brought disaster. The ‘capitulators’ did not admit yet that they had striven towards a restoration of capitalism. Nor were admissions to that effect demanded from them. The gravamen of their self-accusations was that their policies, if adopted, would have, against their best intentions, exposed the country to the danger of capitalist restoration.
…Their recantations were therefore neither wholly sincere nor wholly insincere. On returning from the places of their exile they cultivated their old political friendships and contacts, but carefully refrained from any political action against Stalin. Almost till the middle of the 30s nearly all of them kept in touch with the members of his new Politburo. Some of the penitents, Bukharin, Rykov, Pyatakov, Radek, and others, were either Stalin’s personal advisers or members of the Government.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 351

[At the 17th Party Congress in January 1934] former oppositionists were allowed to speak: Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky, Preobrazhensky, Pyatakov, Radek, and Lominadze.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 31

According to an extract from Mikoyan’s diary published in 1987, Kirov met “only with hostility and vengefulness toward the whole Congress and of course toward Kirov himself.”
…Among figures from the past allowed to speak and express their complete conversion to Stalinist orthodoxy were Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky, Preobrazhensky, Pyatakov, Radek, and Lominadze. Some were even allowed to become members (Pyatakov) or alternates (Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky) of the Central Committee. Kamenev’s recantation set the tone for all:
“I want to say from this tribune that I consider the Kamenev who fought the party between 1925 and 1933 to be dead and I don’t want to go on dragging that old corpse after me….”
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 301

BALLOT WERE NOT DELIBERATELY LOST IN THE 1934 CONGRESS VOTING

Although one of the 1960 special commissions charged with investigating the Kirov assassination looked into the archives, it concluded that 166 delegates simply “did not take part in the voting.” In 1989, there was another investigation into the 1934 voting that found that other surviving members of the ballot counting commission had contradicted Verkhovykh’s [a ballot counting official who said in 1960 that 125 or 123 delegates voted against Stalin. He said that the embarrassing ballots were destroyed, and that the other members of the ballot commission knew of the destruction and falsification of the results] story even back in 1960. They would have known of such a ballot discrepancy, and it was presumably safe for them to reveal the story in the first heyday of anti-Stalinism, but none of the other participants would confirm it. The 1989 investigation concluded that 166 ballots were indeed missing, but because the number of original paper ballots is unknown, “it is impossible definitely to confirm” how many may have voted against Stalin. The evidence is still inconclusive;…
Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 46

STALIN COMPLIMENTED BY OTHERS AT THE 1934 CONGRESS

What did these former members of the Politburo and pupils of Lenin say at the congress [of 1934]?
Bukharin, the party’s ex-favorite and theorist:
“By his brilliant application of Marx-Lenin dialectics, Stalin was entirely correct when he smashed a whole series of theoretical premises of the right deviation which had been formulated above all by myself…. It is the duty of every party member to rally around Comrade Stalin as the personal embodiment of the mind and will of the party, as its leader, it’s theoretical and practical leader.”
Zinoviev, having been defeated again and again, was now once more a party member:
“We now know that in the struggle which Comrade Stalin conducted on an exclusively high level of principle, on an exclusively high theoretical level, we know that in that struggle there was not the least hint of anything personal.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 197

OLD OPPOSITIONISTS PUT ON THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE AT THE 17TH PARTY CONGRESS

[At the 17th Party Congress in January 1934] a Central Committee was elected, consisting almost solely of Stalinist veterans of the intra-Party struggle, but including Pyatakov among its full members and Sokolnikov, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky among its candidates.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 33

STALIN CRITICIZES HIMSELF AND HIS ALLIES FOR PUTTING TOO MUCH TRUST IN RECANTATIONS

After he then told about testimony recently received from Pyatakov, Radek and Sosnovsky, Stalin declared: “Believe after this in people’s sincerity!…. We came to the conclusion: you cannot take a single former oppositionist at his word…. And the events of the last two years have shown this clearly, because it has been shown in deed that sincerity is a relative concept. And when it comes to trusting former oppositionists, then we have shown them so much trust…. We should be punished for the maximum trust for the unbounded trust, that we offered them.”
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 102

MEDVEDEV SAYS BAZHANOV LIED ABOUT STALIN CHEATING IN THE CONGRESS VOTING

Bazhanov’s new book is rich in invented material of this kind. To give one further example, he maintains that after each Party Congress Stalin’s aid, Tovstukha, carefully examined all the ballot papers used for the secret ballot elections to the Central Committee. Tovstukha could identify those who struck out Stalin’s name from their handwriting and was then able to compile lists of Stalin’s enemies who would have to be destroyed when the proper time came. But in this instance Bazhanov shows complete ignorance of the voting procedure at Party congresses. Those who struck out a name on the ballot paper were not obliged (as Bazhanov states) to write down the name of some other candidate. Therefore a handwriting expert would have no way of knowing who threw which paper into the voting urn. Sitting in his office, Tovstukha was not in a position to draw up lists of all those who spoke against Stalin at Party meetings during the years of struggle with the Opposition.
Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 35

TROTSKYITE EASTMAN UNDERMINED TROTSKY

The battle over the construction of the Dnieper station played a far less important role in Trotsky’s political destiny, however, than did the Eastman affair. The Eastman affair grew out of a book published in the West by Max Eastman, an American Communist and journalist. Eastman had traveled to Russia numerous times, knew Russian, was married to a Russian woman, and was thus able to gather a great deal of material about the struggle within the Soviet political leadership during the last months of Lenin’s life and following his death. Eastman met several times with Trotsky and was his ardent supporter. In Eastman’s betrayal, Trotsky was one of the few true leaders of the Russian Revolution, who, after its culmination, fell victim to the scheming of unprincipled Kremlin intriguers.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 69

After the appearance of Eastman’s book, Trotsky found himself in a difficult situation. Almost immediately the heads of several Western Communist parties addressed inquiries to him, asking whether the facts reported by Eastman about Trotsky’s persecution corresponded with reality. Submitting to party discipline (because the facts cited by Eastman were considered secret), Trotsky was forced to answer that Eastman was lying. But this meant that Trotsky himself was now lying, because much of what Eastman wrote was the truth. Initially, wishing to extract himself from an unpleasant situation with the least damage, Trotsky tried to simply offer several general rebuttals. Stalin, who had a vested interest in this incident, however, decided to publicize it as widely as possible and to exploit it vigorously to discredit Trotsky. On June 17, 1925, Stalin sent the following lengthy memorandum:
“TO ALL MEMBERS AND CANDIDATES OF THE POLITBURO AND PRESIDIUM OF THE CENTRAL CONTROL COMMISSION
On May 8th of this year, the Politburo received a statement from Comrade Trotsky addressed to ‘Comrade Verney at the periodical Sunday Worker in reply to Eric Verney’s inquiry about a book by Eastman, Since Lenin Died. Published and widely quoted in the bourgeois press, Since Lenin Died depicts Comrade Trotsky as a ‘victim of intrigue,’ and readers of the book are given to understand that Trotsky regards [bourgeois] democracy and free trade in a favorable light. In view of this presentation, Verney asked Comrade Trotsky to provide an explanation that would be published in the Sunday Worker.
Comrade Trotsky’s statement, as is known, was printed in Pravda, on May 9, 1925.
I personally paid no attention to Comrade Trotsky’s statement at the time because I had no notion of the nature of Eastman’s book.
On May 9, 1925, Comrade Trotsky received an inquiry from the Central Committee of the British Communist Party signed by Comrade Inkpin in connection with Eastman’s book. Inkpin asked Comrade Trotsky to make a statement concerning Eastman book, because “the enemies of the Communist International in our country exploit your position in relation to the Russian Communist party’.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 70

Here is the full text of the letter from Inkpin:
May 9, 1925. To Comrade Trotsky.
“Dear Comrade Trotsky! The Central Committee of the British party has assigned me to send you the attached copy of the book by Max Eastman, Since Lenin Died, and the issues of the New Leader, Lansbury’s Weekly, and the Labor Magazine containing reviews of the book. These reviews will show you how enemies of the Communist International in our country exploit your position in relation to the Russian Communist Party.
Our Central Committee considers that it would be very useful if you would write and send an answer to these reviewers. Such an article would be of good service to the Communist movement in our country, and we for our part would do everything possible to give it the widest publicity. With Communist greetings, General Secretary Inkpin.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 71

Comrade Trotsky wrote the following letter in reply to Inkpin’s letter:
“Dear Comrade Inkpin: Your letter of May 9 was evidently written before my answer to the inquiry from the Sunday Worker was received in London.
My brochure: “Where Is England Headed?” will be, I hope, a sufficient reply to all the attempts of the Fabian pacifists, the parliamentary careerists, the Philistines, and McDonalds to use various events in our party as proof of the advantage of reformism over communism and of democracy over the dictatorship of the proletariat.
As soon as my brochure is received by the Central Committee of our party, I will not delay in sending you the manuscript.
With Communist greetings, L. Trotsky. May 21, 1925.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 71

At the same time, Comrade Trotsky’s sent to the Politburo in care of Comrade Stalin a letter dated May 19, 1925, wherein Comrade Trotsky, without providing a direct reply to the questions raised by Comrade Inkpin, attempts to get by with a reference to his brochure ‘Where Is England Headed?’ which has no relationship to Comrade Inkpin’s inquiry.
Here is the text of Comrade Trotsky’s letter:
“To Comrade Stalin. Dear Comrade! In order to avoid any misunderstandings whatsoever, I consider it necessary to provide you with the following information regarding the English book by Max Eastman, (I have just received this book and have managed to leaf through it quickly).”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 71

“In a private conversation, I told you that for half a year I have not received any Comintern documents. In particular, I have no idea whatsoever what the ‘inquiry’ Treint raised about me involves. To this day I do not know why Rosmer and Monatte were expelled from the party, I do not know what their disagreements are with the party, and I do not know what they are publishing or even whether they are publishing anything at all.”
With Communist greetings. L. Trotsky, Moscow, May 19, 1925.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 73

“I became acquainted with Eastman as an American Communist at one of the first international congresses of the Comintern.
Three or four years ago, Eastman asked for my assistance in writing my biography. I refused, suggesting that he do some other work of more general interest. Eastman replied in a letter in which he argued that the American worker would become interested in communism not in response to the expounding of theory or history but in response to a biographical story; he and other American writers wanted to fashion a weapon of Communist propaganda out of the biographies of several Russian revolutionaries. Eastman asked me to give him the necessary facts and subsequently to review the manuscript. I replied that in view of his explanation I did not feel I could refuse to tell him the necessary facts, but I definitely refused to read the manuscript and thus accept direct or indirect responsibility for the biography.
Subsequently I gave Eastman information relating to the first 22 years of my life, before I arrived in London in 1902. I know that he visited my relatives and schoolmates and collected information about that same era. These materials are what gave him, apparently, the opportunity to write the book Lev Trotsky: Portrait of a Youth, the announcement of which is printed on the cover of the book Since Stalin Died.
The last time I saw Eastman must and been more than a year and a half ago; I lost track of him altogether after that. I had no notion of his intention to write a book devoted to the discussion in our party. And even he, of course, did not have this intention during that period when he met with me to collect facts about my youth.
It goes without saying that he could not have received any party documents from me or through me. Eastman, however, did speak and write Russian well, had many friends in our party, was married to a Russian Communist, as I was recently told, and consequently had free access to all our party literature, including, evidently, those documents that were sent to local organizations, distributed to members of the 13th Party Congress, etc. I have not verified whether he has cited these documents accurately or from rumor.
The press of the British Mensheviks is trying to use Eastman’s book against communism (the secretary of the British Communist Party sent me, along with Eastman’s book, three issues of Menshevik-type publications that included articles about that book). Meanwhile, my telegram was supposed to appear in the Sunday Worker (there is mention of this in the Daily Herald). I think that my pamphlet ‘Where Is England Headed?’ will be quite timely under these circumstances and will dispel many illusions and much gossip spread by the Menshevik and bourgeois press. I intend to do an appropriate supplement for the English edition.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 72

“Only after this letter from Comrade Trotsky and only because Comrade Trotsky stubbornly refused to reply directly to Comrade Inkpin’s questions about the Eastman book did it become clear to me [Stalin] that I had to familiarize myself immediately with the contents of that book.
Acquaintance with Eastman’s book convinced me that this book was not written naively, that its purpose is to discredit the government of the USSR and the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party, and that for these purposes Eastman indulges in a whole range of slanders and distortions, referring to Trotsky’s authority and to his ‘friendship’ with Trotsky and to some secret documents that have not yet been published. I was particularly surprised by Eastman’s statements concerning his ‘chats’ with Comrade Trotsky about Lenin’s so-called testament and about the ‘main figures in the Central Committee,’ and also by his statement that the authenticity of [his text of] Lenin’s so-called testament was confirmed by’ three responsible Communists in Russia,’ whom ‘I [that is, Eastman) interviewed separately and who had all recently read the letter and committed its most vital phrases to memory.
For me it became clear that, given everything I had just related, it would be not only intolerable but outright criminal to hush up the question of Comrade Trotsky’s relationship with Eastman and his book Since Lenin Died.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 73

“In view of that, after discussing the matter with the secretaries of the Central Committee, I ordered Eastman’s book translated into Russian and sent the translation to Politburo members and candidates for their review.
I was also moved to act because, meanwhile, all and sundry bourgeois and social democratic parties have already begun to use the Eastman book in the foreign press against the Russian Communist Party and Soviet rule: they take advantage of the fact that in their campaign against the leaders of the Soviet government they can now rely on the ‘testimonies’ of the ‘Communist’ Eastman, a ‘friend’ of Comrade Trotsky who has ‘chats’ with him, to the effect that Russia is ruled by an irresponsible bunch of usurpers and deceivers.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Eastman’s book is libelous, that it will prove enormously profitable to the world counterrevolution (and has already done so!), and that it will cause serious damage to the entire world revolutionary movement.
That is why I think that Comrade Trotsky, on whom Eastman occasionally claims to rely in his book when speaking against the leaders of the Russian Communist Party and the Soviet revolutionary authority, cannot pass over Eastman’s book in silence.
I’m now thinking at present of proposing to Comrade Trotsky that he substantively respond in the press to the fundamental issues covered in Eastman’s book, which are the fundamental questions of our disputes as well. Let the party and the International judge who is right and whose political position is correct, the position of the Central Committee or the position of Comrade Trotsky.
But certain minimum obligations rest on party members; a member of the Central Committee and Politburo, such as Comrade Trotsky is at this moment, has a certain minimum moral duty that Comrade Trotsky cannot and should not refuse. This minimum requires that Comrade Trotsky speak out in the press unequivocally against the crude distortions of facts that are known to everyone, distortions permitted in Eastman’s book for the purpose of discrediting the Russian Communist party. Obviously the silence of Comrade Trotsky in this case may be construed only as a confirmation or an excuse for these distortions.
I think that Comrade Trotsky should rebut at least the following distortions:
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 74

1) In the section, ‘Attacking the Old Guard,’ Eastman’s little book says that ‘Trotsky’s letter [the reference is to an appeal to the local committees in 1923 in connection with the Politburo’s resolution on internal party democracy–Stalin] and some supplementary articles in pamphlet form were practically suppressed by the Politburo’ [53].
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 74

Further, in chapter 9 of Eastman’s book, it says that ‘Trotsky’s book [the reference is to volume three of Trotsky’s works and Lessons of October–Stalin] was practically suppressed by the Politburo until they [that is, the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party–Stalin] were sure of the success of their maneuver’ [80-81].
Finally, chapter 14 of Eastman’s book says that ‘Trotsky’s true texts do not appear in public to refute their [that is, the Central Committee’s–Stalin] statements. These texts are read privately, conscientiously, by those minds who have the courage and penetration to resist the universal official hysteria stimulated and supported by the State’ [125]. I think that Comrade Trotsky should refute these statements by Eastman as malicious slander against the party and the Soviet government. Comrade Trotsky cannot help but know that neither during the party discussions of 1923 or 1924, nor at any time whatsoever, did the Central Committee obstruct the printing of Comrade Trotsky’s articles and books in any way.
In particular, Comrade Trotsky must recall that during the 1923 discussion he himself refused in his well-known statement in the press to reply to the arguments of representatives of the party majority. He must also remember the following statement ‘From the editors’ of Pravda, the central party organ:
‘From the editors. In reply to the question posed by a number of comrades concerning why Comrade Trotsky is not responding to the criticism of Trotskyism, the editors of Pravda report that so far neither Comrade Trotsky nor his close supporters have submitted any articles in response to the criticism of Trotskyism’ (see Pravda, December 13, 1924).
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 75

2) The second chapter of Eastman’s book speaks of the Russian Communist Party leaders as ‘suppressing the writings of Lenin himself,’ [20] and in chapter 9 it says that they, that is, the party leaders, ‘clapped the censorship on his [that is, Lenin’s–Stalin] own last words to his party’ [92].
I think that Comrade Trotsky should also refute these statements by Eastman as a lie and as libel against the leaders of the party, the Central Committee, and its Politburo. Trotsky knows quite as well as do all other members of the Central Committee that Eastman’s reports do not correspond with reality to the slightest degree.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 75

3) In the second chapter of his book, Eastman states that ‘all those present at the meeting, including the secretaries, were not only against the policies proposed by Lenin, but they were against the publication of the article’ [25] [the reference is to Lenin’s article ‘How We Should Reorganize Rabkrin–Stalin].
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 75

I think that Comrade Trotsky should also refute this statement by Eastman as an obvious slander. He cannot help but recall, first, that Lenin’s plan as set forth in his article was not discussed substantively at this time; second, that the Politburo was convened in connection with the statements in Lenin’s article about the possible schism in the Central Committee–statements that could have provoked misunderstanding in the party organizations. Comrade Trotsky could not help but know that the Politburo then decided to send to party organizations, in addition to Lenin’s printed article, a special letter from the Orgburo and the Politburo of the Central Committee stating that the article should not provide grounds for any perception of a schism in the Central Committee. Comrade Trotsky must know that the decision to publish Lenin’s article immediately, and to send a letter from the members of the Orgburo and Politburo about the absence of a schism within the Central Committee, was passed unanimously; any notion that the Politburo’s decision on the publication of Lenin’s article was passed under pressure from Comrade Trotsky is a ridiculous absurdity.
Here is the text of the letter:
Letter to the Provincial and Regional Committees.
Dear Comrades, Pravda No. 16 of January 25 carries Lenin’s article ‘How We Should Reorganize Rabkrin.’ One part of this article speaks about the role of the Central Committee of our party in the need to take organizational measures that will eliminate the prospect of, or make as difficult as possible, a schism in the Central Committee if mutual relations between the proletariat and the peasantry become complicated in connection with the changes ensuing from NEP. Some comrades have directed the Politburo’s attention to the fact that the comrades in the provinces may view this article by Comrade Lenin as an indication of a recent internal schism within the Central Committee that has prompted Comrade Lenin to advance the organizational proposals outlined in this article. In order to eliminate the possibility of such conclusions–which do not at all correspond with the real state of affairs–the Politburo and the Orgburo consider it necessary to notify the provincial committees of the circumstances surrounding the writing of Comrade Lenin’s article.
The return of Comrade Lenin to highly pressured work after his illness led to exhaustion. The doctors pronounced it necessary to prescribe for Comrade Lenin a certain period of absolute rest without even reading newspapers (since for Comrade Lenin reading newspapers is, of course, not entertainment or a means of relaxation but an occasion for intense contemplation of all the current political issues). It goes without saying that Comrade Lenin does not take part in the Politburo sessions, and he is not even sent–again, in strict accordance with his doctors’ advice–the transcripts of the sessions of the Politburo and the Orgburo. The doctors believe, however, that because complete mental inactivity is intolerable for him, Comrade Lenin should be allowed to keep something like a journal, in which he notes his thoughts on various issues; when authorized by Comrade Lenin himself, moreover, a portion of this journal may appear in the press. These external conditions underlying the writing of ‘How We Should Reorganize Rabkrin’ demonstrate that the proposals contained in this article are suggested not by any complications inside the Central Committee but by Comrade Lenin’s general views on the difficulties that will face the party in the coming historical epoch.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 76

In this strictly informational letter we will not consider the possible long-range dangers that Comrade Lenin appropriately raised in his article. The members of the Politburo and Orgburo, however, wish to state with complete unanimity, in order to avoid any possible misunderstandings, that in the work of the Central Committee there are absolutely no circumstances that would provide any basis whatsoever for fears of a ‘schism.’
This explanation is provided in the form of a strictly secret letter, rather than being published in the press, to avoid giving enemies the opportunity to cause confusion and agitation through false reports about the state of Comrade Lenin’s health. The Central Committee has no doubt that if anyone in the provinces has drawn the alarming conclusions noted in the beginning of this letter from the article by Comrade Lenin, the provincial committees will not delay in correctly orienting the party organizations.
Available Members of the Politburo and Orgburo of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party:
Andreev, Molotov, Bukharin, Rykov, Dzerzhinsky, Stalin, Kalinin, Tomsky, Kamenev, Trotsky, Kuibyshev, Moscow, January 27, 1923.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 77

4) Chapter 3 of Eastman’s book talks about Lenin’s ‘Testament.’
“One of the most solemn and carefully weighed utterances that ever came from Lenin’s pen was suppressed–in the interests of ‘Leninism’–by that triumvirate of ‘old Bolsheviks,’ Stalin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev…. They decided that it might be read and explained privately to the delegates–kept within the bureaucracy, that is to say,–but not put before the party for discussion, as Lenin directed’ [28-29].’
I think that Comrade Trotsky should also refute this statement by Eastman as a malicious slander. First of all, he cannot help but know that Lenin’s ‘testament’ was sent to the Central Committee for the exclusive use to the Party Congress; second, that neither Lenin nor Comrade Krupskaya ‘demanded’ or in any way proposed to make the ‘testament’ a subject of ‘discussion before the entire Party’; third, that the ‘testament’ was read to all the delegations to the Congress without exception, that is, to all the members of the Congress without exception; fourth, that when the Congress presidium asked the Congress as a whole whether the ‘testament’ was known to all the members of the Congress and whether any discussion of it was required, the presidium received the reply that the ‘testament’ was known to all and that there was no need to discuss it; fifth, that neither Trotsky nor any other member of the Congress made any protest about possible irregularities at the Congress; sixth, that by virtue of this, to speak of suppressing the ‘testament’ means to slander maliciously the Central Committee and the 13th Party Congress.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 78

5) The second chapter of Eastman’s book says that the ‘article [the reference is to Lenin’s article on the nationalities question–Stalin] which Lenin considered of ‘leading importance,’ and which he designed to have read at a party convention, but which constituted a direct attack upon the authority of Stalin, and a corresponding endorsement of the authority of Trotsky, was not read at the party convention, the triumvirate deciding that it was for the welfare of the party to suppress it [23].
I think that Comrade Trotsky should also refute this statement by Eastman as clearly libelous. He must know, first, that Lenin’s article was read by all members of the Congress without exception, as stated at a full meeting of the Congress; second, that none other than Comrade Stalin himself proposed the publication of Lenin’s article, having stated on April 16, 1923, in a document known to all members of the Central Committee, that ‘Comrade Lenin’s article ought to be published in the press’; third, that Lenin’s article on the nationalities issue was not published in the press only because the Central Committee could not fail to take into consideration that Lenin’s sister, Maria, who had Lenin’s article in her possession, did not consider it possible to publish it in the press. Comrade Fotieva, Lenin’s personal secretary, states this in a special document dated April 19, 1923, in reply to Stalin’s proposal to print the article: ‘Maria [Lenin’s sister–Stalin] has made a statement,’ writes Comrade Fotieva, ‘to the effect that since there was no direct order from Lenin to publish this article, it cannot be printed, and she considers it possible only to have the members of the Congress familiarize themselves with it….’ and, in fact, Comrade Fotieva adds that ‘Vladimir Ilyich did not consider this article to be finished and prepared for the press’; fourth, that Eastman’s statement that the Congress was not informed of Lenin’s article therefore slanders the party.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 78

6] In the second chapter of his book, Eastman, among other things, writes the following about Lenin’s ‘testament’: ‘There is no mystery about my possession of this and the foregoing information; it is all contained in official documents stolen by the counter-revolutionists and published in Russian, at Berlin, in the Socialist Herald’ [26].
Here Eastman once again distorts the truth. Not Lenin’s ‘testament’ but a malicious distortion of it was published in The Socialist Herald.
I think that Comrade Trotsky should make a declaration about this distortion.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 79

7) In the second chapter of Eastman’s book, Comrade Kuibyshev is incorrectly portrayed as an opponent of Lenin’s plan set out in the article about the Worker-Peasant Inspection: ‘The degree to which the policies outlined by Lenin have been followed may be inferred from the fact that Kuibyshev…is now the People’s Commissioner of Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection, and the head of the Central Control Committee of the party’ [25].
In other words, it seems that when the Central Committee and the Party Congress appointed Kuibyshev commissar of Worker-Peasant Inspection and chairman of the Central Control Commission, they intended not to implement Lenin’s plan but to sabotage it and cause it to fail.
I think that Comrade Trotsky should also make a declaration against this libelous statement about the party, for he must know that, first, Lenin’s Plan, developed in the article about the Worker-Peasant Inspection, was passed by the 12th Party Congress; second, Comrade Kuibyshev was and remains a supporter and promoter of this plan; third, Comrade Kuibyshev was elected chairman of the Central Control Commission at the 12th Congress (re-elected at the 13th Congress) in the presence of Comrade Trotsky and without any objections on the part of Comrade Trotsky or other members of the Congress; fourth, Comrade Kuibyshev was appointed head of Worker-Peasant Inspection at the Central Committee plenum of April 26, 1923, in the presence of Comrade Trotsky and without any objections on his part.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 79

8) Eastman states in the first chapter of his book: ‘When Lenin fell sick and was compelled to withdraw from the Government, he turned again to Trotsky and asked him to take his place as President of the Soviet of People’s Commissars and of the Council of Labor and Defense’ [16].
Eastman repeats the same thing in the second chapter of his book: ‘He [that is, Comrade Trotsky–Stalin] declined Lenin’s proposal that he should become head of the Soviet Government, and thus of the revolutionary movement of the world’ [18].
I do not think that this statement by Eastman, which, by the way, does not correspond at all to reality, could harm the Soviet government in any way. Nevertheless, because of Eastman’s crude distortion of the facts on a matter concerning Comrade Trotsky, Comrade Trotsky ought to speak out against this undeniable distortion as well. Comrade Trotsky must know that Lenin proposed to him, not the post of chairman of the Council of Commissars and the Labour Defense Council, but the post of one of the four deputies of the chairman of the Council of Commissars and Labour Defense Council, having in mind already two deputies of his own who had been previously appointed, Comrades Rykov and Tsiurupa, and intending to nominate a third deputy of his own, Comrade Kamenev. Here is the corresponding document signed by Lenin:
To the Secretary of the Central Committee, Comrade Stalin. Since Comrade Rykov was given a vacation before the return of Tsiurupa (he is expected to arrive on September 20), and the doctors are promising me (of course, only in the event that nothing bad happens) a return to work (at first very limited) by October 1, I think that it is impossible to burden Comrade Tsiurupa with all the ongoing work, and I propose appointing two more deputies (deputy to the chairman of the Council of Commissars and deputy to the chairman of the Labour Defense Council), that is, Comrades Trotsky and Kamenev. Distribute the work between them with my clearance and, of course, with the Politburo as the highest authority. September 11, 1922. Vladimir Ulianov (Lenin).
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 80

Comrade Trotsky must be aware that there were no other offers then or now from Comrade Lenin regarding his appointment to the leadership of the Council of Commissars or the Labour Defense Council. Comrade Trotsky thus turned down, not the post of chairman of the Council of Commissars or the Labour Defense Council, but the post of one of the four deputies of the chairman. Comrade Trotsky must be aware that the Politburo voted on Lenin’s proposal as follows: those in favor of Lenin’s proposal were Stalin, Rykov, Kalinin; those who abstained were Tomsky, Kamenev; and Comrade Trotsky ‘categorically refused’; (Zinoviev was absent). Comrade Trotsky must be aware that the Politburo passed the following resolution on this matter: ‘The Central Committee Politburo with regret notes the categorical refusal of Comrade Trotsky and proposes to Comrade Kamenev that he assume the fulfillment of the duties of deputy until the return of Comrade Tsiurupa.’

The distortions condoned by Eastman, as you can see, are glaring. These are in my opinion, the eight indisputable points, Eastman’s crudest distortions that Comrade Trotsky is obliged to refute if he does not wish to justify through his silence Eastman’s slanderous and objectively counter-revolutionary attacks against the party and the Soviet government.
In connection with this, I submit the following proposal to the Politburo:
PROPOSE TO COMRADE TROTSKY THAT HE DISASSOCIATE HIMSELF DECISIVELY FROM EASTMAN AND MAKE A STATEMENT FOR THE PRESS WITH A CATEGORICAL REBUTTAL OF AT LEAST THOSE DISTORTIONS THAT WERE OUTLINED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED EIGHT POINTS.
As for the general political profile of Mr. Eastman, who still calls himself a Communist, it hardly differs in any way from the profile of other enemies of the RCP [Russian Communist party] and the Soviet government. In his book he characterizes the RCP Congress as nothing but a ‘ruthless’ and ‘callous bureaucracy,’ the Central Committee of the party as a ‘band of deceivers’ and “usurpers,’ the Lenin levy (in which 200,000 proletarians joined the party) as a bureaucratic maneuver by the Central Committee against the opposition, and the Red Army as a conglomerate ‘broken into separate pieces’ and ‘lacking defense capability,’ and these facts clearly tell us that in his attacks against the Russian proletariat and its government, against the party of this proletariat and its Central Committee, Eastman has outdone run-of-the-mill counter-revolutionaries and the well-known charlatans of White Guardism. No one, except the charlatans of the counter-revolution, has ever spoken of the RCP and the Soviet government in such language as the ‘friend’ of Comrade Trotsky, the ‘Communist’ Eastman, permits himself. There is no question that the American Communist Party and the Third International will properly evaluate these outstanding exploits of Mr. Eastman.”
Stated by Stalin on June 17, 1925.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 81

The following day, June 18, the Politburo affirmed Stalin’s proposal about Trotsky’s statement of rebuttal in the press. Trotsky himself promised that within three days he would submit the text of his statement. On June 22, Trotsky in fact sent Stalin material entitled “On Eastman’s Book ‘Since Lenin Died’.” Without citing any accusations, Stalin replied with a brief note:
“If you are interested in my opinion, I personally consider the draft completely unsatisfactory. To do not understand how you could submit such a draft regarding the counter-revolutionary book by Eastman, filled with lies and slander against the party, after you accepted a moral obligation at the Politburo session of June 18 to disassociate yourself resolutely from Eastman and to rebut categorically the factual distortions.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 82

In an appeal to the Politburo, Trotsky tried to defend himself, attempting to prove that Stalin’s accusations were nonsense. After meeting the usual rebuff, however, he began to revise the text of his statement for the press. Oversight of his revision was assumed by Bukharin, Zinoviev, Rykov, and Stalin. They demanded from Trotsky harsher accusations against Eastman and a categorical denial of the facts cited in Eastman’s book. Trotsky conceded to all demands. The final text of his statement, which had satisfied the censors from the “seven,” was ready by July 1, 1925.
Now Stalin and his supporters decided to take the affair outside the framework of the Politburo by first briefing a broad circle of Party functionaries about it and then publicizing it generally. In early July, Central Committee members Kaganovich, Chubar, and Petrovsky submitted a statement that contained a request that “all members of the Central Committee be sent all materials on the publication of Eastman’s book” and that members of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party be briefed. On 7 July 1925 after a poll of Politburo members, this request was fulfilled. The materials on the Eastman affair were typeset, published in the form of a small book (containing Stalin’s letter, the Politburo’s resolutions, Trotsky’s correspondence with Stalin and with other members of the Politburo, and drafts of Trotsky’s statement), and sent to Central Committee members. But Stalin had further plans to publish, both in the West and later in the USSR, the following documents: Trotsky’s statement, a letter specially prepared by Krupskaya, in which she, as Lenin’s widow, refutes Eastman, and the letter from Stalin himself that demonstrates his role in the struggle for Party interests. But these plans, to which Stalin repeatedly referred in his letters to Molotov, were never fully realized.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 82

Soon after the materials on the affair were sent to Central Committee members, Trotsky had occasion to take the offensive. On 16 July 1925 the French Communist newspaper, L’Humanite, published the original version of Trotsky’s statement. On 27 July, Trotsky addressed a letter to Bukharin, who at that time was acting as chairman of the Comintern’s Executive Committee. Trotsky expressed his puzzlement and protest over the French publication and demanded that the circumstances of the leak be investigated, hinting that publication had deliberately been arranged even after he, Trotsky, had made all the necessary concessions and had demonstrated his readiness to co-operate with the Politburo majority in defending the party’s interests. That day, after a poll of Politburo members, the following resolution was passed:
a) To request L’Humanite to publish [a notice] that the text of Comrade Trotsky’s letter regarding Eastman’s book that appeared in L’Humanite is incomplete and distorted.
b) To request L’Humanite to publish the full (final) text of Comrade Trotsky’s letter about Eastman’s book.
Bukharin, in turn, ordered an investigation into the circumstances of the incident and informed Trotsky of this decision.
Soon it became clear that the original version of Trotsky’s article had been given to L’Humanite by Manuilskii, a member of the Comintern’s Executive Committee presidium, during his trip to France. The documents that remain do not enable us to determine the real circumstances behind Manuilskii’s initiative. Nevertheless, as can be seen from the published letters, Stalin was involved in this conflict, and he was even forced to deny categorically that Manuilskii had acted in concert with him.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 83

As the letters testify, Stalin was also unable to get the “seven” to agree to publish his own letter. The affair ended in a compromise. Only Trotsky’s and Krupskaya’s statements were published, first abroad, then in the USSR (in the journal Bolshevik, 1925, No. 16). As for the documents on the Eastman affair, it was decided that only a relatively small group of party officials should see them. After attaining the approval of the “seven,’ on 27 August 1925 the Politburo decided to turn over all materials on the Eastman book to the Comintern’s Executive Committee so it could “brief the central committees of the most important Communist parties.’ The Politburo also sent the documents, along with Eastman’s book itself, to all the party’s provincial committees and to members and candidate members of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission; these items were given the status of a restricted distribution letter. At Trotsky’s insistence, the correspondence concerning the L’Humanite incident was included in the package of documents sent to the Comintern’s Executive Committee.
The publication and dissemination of documents on the Eastman affair had highly unfortunate consequences for Trotsky. Once again, to the mass of party bureaucrats at various levels, he appeared humbled and defeated, hanging his head before Stalin. The rank-and-file party members, especially his supporters, were shocked at Trotsky’s recantation in Bolshevik. By declaring Eastman a slanderer, Trotsky seemed to be withdrawing from further struggle, disallowing his former accusations against the party leadership. Furthermore, by denying many well-known facts, Trotsky looked like a liar. “It’s terrible, simply terrible! It’s incomprehensible why Lev Davidovitch [Trotsky] would do that. Surely he has put his head on the block with such a letter. He has made himself despicable….” [Stated by Valentinov (Volsky) in The New Economic Policy and the party crisis after Lenin’s death, Moscow, 1991, page 295]. Trotsky himself was loath to recall this episode of his political biography.
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 84

In an August 1925 letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “Kamenev and Zinoviev want to establish the preconditions for making Trotsky’s removal from the Central Committee necessary, but they will not succeed in this because they don’t have supporting facts. In his answer to Eastman’s book Trotsky determined his fate, that is, he saved himself.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 94

TROTSKY ATTACKS OTHER COMMENTS BY EASTMAN

In a 1925 letter regarding Lenin’s testament Trotsky said, “Eastman’s assertions that the Central Committee confiscated or in some way held up my pamphlets in 1923 or 1924 or at any other time are false and based on fantastical rumors.
Also completely incorrect is Eastman’s assertion that Lenin offered me the post of chairman of the Council of Commissars or of the Labor Defense Council. I learned of this for the first time from Eastman’s pamphlet.
No doubt a more attentive reading of the book would uncover a number of other inaccuracies and errors, but there’s hardly any need to do this. Using Eastman’s information and citing his conclusions, the bourgeois and especially the Menshevik press have tried in every way to emphasize his “closeness’ to me as the author of my biography and his “friendship” with me, clearly trying by this indirect means to give his conclusions a weight they do not and could not have on their own. It is therefore necessary to dwell on this matter. Perhaps the best way of showing the real nature of my relationship with Eastman is to quote a business letter I wrote before there was any talk of his book Since Lenin Died.
During my stay in Sukhumi, I received from a party Comrade who is involved in publishing my works in Moscow a manuscript by Eastman entitled Lev Trotsky: Portrait of a Youth. From my associate’s accompanying letter, I learned that the author had submitted this manuscript to the State Publishing House so they can consider publishing a Russian edition…. I replied to this letter on April 3, 1925, even before becoming acquainted with Eastman’s manuscript, I am in complete agreement with you that it would be absolutely inappropriate to publish it. Thank you for sending the manuscript, but I have no stomach for reading it. I’m quite willing to believe that it is unappetizing, especially to our Russian Communist state…. I responded to Eastman’s repeated requests for help with the following words: I’m willing to help by providing you with accurate information, but I cannot agree to read your manuscript…. Ask him not to publish the book as a personal favor. I’m not close enough to him to make that request.
…the tone of my letter leaves no room for doubt that my relationship to Eastman differs in no way from my relationship to very many Communists or “sympathetic foreigners’ who turn to me for help in trying…to learn about the October Revolution, our party, and the Soviet state–certainly no closer.
With vulgar self-assurance, Eastman waxes ironic about my “quixotic’ attitude to my closest comrades on the Central Committee, since according to him I referred to them in friendly fashion [even] during the “fierce discussion.’ Eastman, evidently, feels called upon to correct my “mistake” and gives a description of the leaders of our party that is impossible to describe as anything other than slander.
We saw earlier how rotten is the foundation on which Eastman has constructed his edifice. With a scandalous disregard for facts and for proportion, he uses individual aspects of the intra-party discussion in order to blacken our party’s name and destroy confidence in it. It seems to me, however, that any really serious and thoughtful reader does not even need to verify Eastman’s citations and his “documents’–something, in any event, that not everyone can do. It is sufficient to ask oneself this simple question: if the malicious evaluation of the leaders of our party given by Eastman is true even in part, then how could such a party have gone through long years of underground struggle, carried out a great revolution, led masses many millions strong, and aided in the formation of revolutionary parties in other countries? Not one honorable worker will believe the picture given by Eastman. It contains its own internal contradiction. It makes no difference what Eastman’s own intentions are. His book can be of service only to the most malicious enemies of communism and the revolution, and is therefore, objectively speaking, a tool of counter-revolution.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 246-47

During 1925 Trotsky held himself aloof from party politics. He did not speak at the 14th Party Congress and watched with apparent contempt the efforts of Zinoviev and Kamenev to oppose Stalin. The savaging he had suffered in the previous year had hurt him deeply and he had retreated behind a wall of silence. His one public statement, made in September 1925, was mendacious. In a book entitled Since Lenin Died, the American writer Max Eastman, who was a close friend of Trotsky’s, published some extracts from Lenin’s “Testament” and an account of the struggles within the party since Lenin’s death. He had obtained this information from well-informed foreign communists, from party members close to Trotsky, and possibly from Krupskaya or even from Trotsky himself. In an article Trotsky denounced the book and its inside information as false. It was “a slander, to suggest that documents had been concealed from the Central Committee, and “a malicious invention, to allege that Lenin’s “Testament” had been violated.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 212

Now about Lenin’s “will.” The oppositionists shouted here–you heard them–that the Central Committee of the Party “concealed Lenin’s will.” We have discussed this question several times at the plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission, you know that it has been proved again that nobody has concealed anything, that Lenin’s “will” was addressed to the 13th Party Congress, that this “will” was read out at the congress, that the congress unanimously decided not to publish it because, among other things, Lenin himself did not want it to be published and did not ask that it should be published. The opposition knows all this just as well as we do. Nevertheless, it has the audacity to declare that the Central Committee is “concealing” the “will.”
The question of Lenin’s “will” was brought up, if I am not mistaken, as far back as 1924. There is a certain Eastman, a former American Communist who was later expelled from the Party. This gentleman, who mixed with the Trotskyists in Moscow, picked up some rumors and gossip about Lenin’s “will,” went abroad and published a book entitled After Lenin’s Death, in which he did his best to blacken the Party, the Central Committee and the Soviet regime, and the gist of which was that the Central Committee of our Party was “concealing Lenin’s “will.” In view of the fact that this Eastman had at one time been connected with Trotsky, we, the members of the Political Bureau, called upon Trotsky to disassociate himself from Eastman who, clutching at Trotsky and referring to the opposition, had made Trotsky responsible for the slanderous statements against our Party about the “will.” Since the question was so obvious, Trotsky did, indeed, publicly disassociate himself from Eastman in a statement he made in the press. It was published in September 1925 in Bolshevik, No. 16.
Permit me to read the passage in Trotsky’s article in which he deals with the question of whether the Party and its Central Committee was concealing Lenin’s “will” or not. I quote Trotsky’s article:
“In several parts of his book Eastman says that the Central Committee ‘concealed’ from the Party a number of exceptionally important documents written by Lenin in the last period of his life (it is a matter of letters on the national question, the so-called ‘will,’ and others); there can be no other name for this than slander against the Central Committee
of our Party. From what Eastman says it may be inferred that Lenin intended those letters, which bore the character of advice on internal organization, for the press. In point of fact, that is absolutely untrue…. Lenin did not leave any ‘will,’ and the very character of his attitude towards the Party, as well as the character of the Party itself, precluded the possibility of such a ‘will.’ What is usually referred to as a ‘will’ in the emigre and foreign bourgeois and Menshevik press is one of Lenin’s letters containing advice on organizational matters. The 13th Congress of the Party paid the closest attention to that letter, as to all of the others, and drew from it conclusions appropriate to the conditions and circumstances of the time. All talk about concealing or violating a ‘will’ is a malicious invention and is entirely directed against Lenin’s real will, and against the interests of the Party he created.”
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 178-179

KRUPSKAYA ATTACKS EASTMAN

EXCERPT FROM KRUPSKAIA’S LETTER
(translated by the U.S. editor from Bolshevik)
1925, no. 16:71-73 July 1, 1925

The magazine Bolshevik published a letter on July 1, 1925, written by Krupskaya in which she says, “Mr. Eastman writes all sorts of unbelievable nonsense about these letters (calling them a “testament’). Mr. Eastman has no understanding of the spirit of our party….
Lenin’s letters on intra-party relations (the “testament’) were also written for a Party Congress. He knew that the party would understand the motives that dictated this letter. Such a letter could only be addressed to people who would undoubtedly put the interest of the cause first. The letter contained, among other things, personal descriptions of the highest party comrades. There’s no lack of faith expressed in the letters toward these comrades, with whom Lenin worked for many years. On the contrary, there’s much that is flattering–Eastman forgets to mention this. The letters had the aim of helping the other comrades get to work moving in the proper direction, and for that reason, they mention not only virtues but also defects (including Trotsky’s), since it is necessary to take into account these defects when organizing the work of the party collective in the best possible way.
As Lenin wished, all members of the Congress familiarized themselves with the letters. It is incorrect to call them a “testament,’ since Lenin’s Testament in the real sense of the word is incomparably wider….
The enemies of the Russian Communist party are trying to use the “testament’ in order to discredit the present leaders of the party and to discredit the party itself. Mr. Eastman is energetically working to achieve the same purpose: he slanders the Central Committee by shouting that the “testament’ has been suppressed. In this way he tries to inflame an unhealthy curiosity, thus distorting the real meaning of the letter.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 248

RYUTIN IS COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY SCUM

In a September 13, 1930, letter to Molotov Stalin stated, “With regard to Riutin… This counter-revolutionary scum should be completely disarmed….”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 215

The document’s (Ryutin Platform) call to “Stalin’s dictatorship” was taken as a call for armed revolt.
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 53

Another anti-Stalin group that arose inside the party in the early 30s was the Ryutin group…. This group drafted a lengthy document, known to history as the “Ryutin Platform.”
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 296

The unpublished memoirs of Alikhanova, who knew Ryutin well, mention that he asserted more than once, among his closest co-thinkers, that the assassination of Stalin was not only possible but actually the only way to get rid of him. The Ryutin group, however, did not make any preparations or attempts to carry out such an assassination.
When Stalin found out about the group through the GPU or his own private informers, he struck quickly…. Stalin insisted on the arrest of the group’s members and demanded that its leaders be shot. The majority of the Politburo, however, did not agree with Stalin. An unwritten law still existed at the time–that excessively severe measures should not be taken against Party activists. The decision was made to expel the “Ryutinites” from the Party, and to exile most of them to remote areas.
Ryutin himself was expelled and arrested first. On Oct. 11, 1932, Pravda published a decree of the Central Control Commission on the expulsion of 20 persons from the party “as degenerate elements who have become enemies of communism and of Soviet power, as traitors to the party and working-class, who tried to form an underground bourgeois-kulak organization under a fake ‘Marxist Leninist’ banner for the purpose of restoring capitalism in general and kulakdom in particular in the USSR.”
… They were all banished from Moscow. Sten, Petrovsky, Uglanov, and Ravich-Cherkassky were expelled from the party for one year. They were given the right “after a year, depending on their conduct, to raise the question of a review of the present decree.”
Many of these people soon “recanted,” were reinstated in the party, and returned to Moscow.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 297

Ryutin also called for a “struggle for the destruction of Stalin’s dictatorship,” which would “give birth to new leaders and heroes.” These words could be taken as advocating terrorism, because there was no sign of an open, organized movement against the government. Stalin could well have interpreted these words as a personal threat.
Thurston, Robert. Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996, p. 17

In 1930 Stalin’s protege, Syrtsov, newly promoted to candidate membership of the Politburo, had to be expelled from his post (though not from the party) for an ‘unprincipled left-right bloc’ with the Georgian Old Bolshevik Lominadze and others: they had complained about the ‘feudal’ approach to the peasantry, and described the new industrial showcases as eyewash.
A far more significant case, especially as regards Stalin himself, came from a lower-level group. Ryutin, who had formerly been a party secretary in Moscow, was in trouble in 1930 for a memorandum arguing that Bukharin had been right as to policy, and Trotsky as to the intolerable regime within the party. He called for the suspension of collectivization, and a return to a rational industrial policy; and he censured Bukharin and his colleagues for their capitulation. Ryutin was arrested, but released for want of any evidence of criminal intent, and even readmitted to the party with a warning. But in 1932 he and a small group issued an ‘Appeal’ to all members of the party, attacking the destruction of the countryside, the collapse of genuine planning, the lawlessness in both the party and the country is a whole, the crushing of opinion, the ruin of the arts, the transformation of the press into ‘a monstrous factory of lies’; it called for the removal of Stalin and his clique as soon as possible, adding that they would not go voluntarily so they would have to be forcibly ejected. (Ryutin is now held up in the Soviet Union as a model of resistance to Stalin, as against the submission of Bukharin and the others.)
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 161

In 1989, it [the Ryutin platform] seems to have been rediscovered, and a summary was printed; it consisted of 13 chapters, four of them attacking Stalin. It is believed to have run to 200 pages, and according to reports later reaching the West the key sentence was “The Right wing has proved correct in the economic field, and Trotsky in his criticism of the regime in the Party.” It censored Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky for their capitulation. It proposed an economic retreat, the reduction of investment in industry, and the liberation of the peasants by freedom to quit the kolkhozes. As a first step in the restoration of democracy in the Party, it urged the immediate readmission of all those expelled, including Trotsky.
It was even more notable for its severe condemnation of Stalin personally. Its 50 pages devoted to this theme called forcefully for his removal from the leadership. It describes Stalin as “the evil genius of the Russian Revolution, who, motivated by a personal desire for power and revenge, brought the Revolution to the verge of ruin….
Ryutin was expelled from the party in September 1930, and arrested six weeks later. However, on January 17, 1931 the 0GPU Collegium acquitted him of criminal intent, and he was released and later restored to Party membership, with a warning.
… Above all, it stated, “Stalin and his clique will not and cannot voluntarily give up their positions, so they must be removed by force.” It added that this should be done “as soon as possible.”
Stalin interpreted the Appeal as a call for his assassination. In the Bukharin-Rykov Trial in 1938, it was to be spoken of at length as “registering the transition to the tactics of over throwing the Soviet power by force; the essential points of the Ryutin platform were a palace coup, terrorism….
On September 23rd, 1932, Ryutin was again expelled the Party and arrested…. it [the 0GPU] referred the question to the Politburo. There Kirov is said to have spoken “with particular force against recourse to the death penalty. Moreover, he succeeded in winning over the Politburo in this view.” Another account says that in addition to Kirov, Ordjonikidze, Kuibyshev, Kossior, Kalinin, and Rudzutak spoke against Stalin, who was only supported by Kaganovich. Even Molotov and Andreyev seemed to have wavered.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 23-24

A joint session of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission took place from September 28, to October 2, 1932. (Zinoviev, Kamenev, and others had already been called before the Presidium of the Control Commission; Zinoviev and Kamenev had expressed regret, but Uglanov is reported “accusing his accusers.”) The Ryutin group were now expelled from the Party “as degenerates who have become enemies of Communism and the Soviet regime, as traitors to the Party and to the working-class, who, under the flag of a spurious ‘Marxism-Leninism,’ have attempted to create a bourgeois-kulak organization for the restoration of capitalism and particularly kulakdom in the USSR.” Ryutin was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, and 29 others to lesser terms.
The plenum passed another resolution “immediately expelling from the Party all who knew of the existence of this counter-revolutionary group, and in particular had read the counter-revolutionary documents and not informed the Central Control Commission and the Central Committee of the All Union Communist Party (Bolshevik), as concealed enemies of the Party and the working-class.” It was signed “Stalin.” Zinoviev and Kamenev, thus again expelled from the Party, were deported to the Urals. Soon afterward, Ivan Smirnov, who on his readmission to the Party had become head of the Gorky Automobile Works, was rearrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail, going to the “isolator” at Suzdal. Smilga received five years, and with Mrachkovsky was sent to Verkhne-Uralsk.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 26

INTERVIEWER: I understand that “The Letter of an Old Bolshevik” contains the first account of the so-called Riutin platform. Did you learn about this from Bukharin?
NICOLAEVSKY: I had, of course, known about the platform of Riutin, whom I had met personally in 1918 in Irkutsk, when he was still a Menshevik. I knew that in 1928 he was one of the pillars of the right-wing opposition in the Moscow Committee, which Stalin broke up, and that after he was removed from his post as editor of Krasnaya Zvezda he wrote a long program, the bulk of which dealt with an analysis of the role of Stalin in the life of the Communist Party.
Nicolaevsky, Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite; “The letter of an Old Bolshevik.” New York: Praeger, 1965, p. 11

ZINOVIEV AND KAMENEV EXPELLED AGAIN FOR ACCEPTING THE RYUTIN PLATFORM

By that time [the period when collectivization succeeded in 1932–1933], Zinoviev and Kamenev had started up once again their struggle against the Party line, in particular by supporting the counter-revolutionary program put forward by Riutin in 1931–1932. They were expelled a second time from the Party and exiled to Siberia.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 136 [p. 117 on the NET]

In 1932 Zinoviev and Kamenev were once again expelled from the party for “contacts with the Ryutin group.” They were arrested…. After one more recantation, however, they were freed and readmitted to the party. At the Seventeenth Party Congress (in 1934) they gave speeches confessing their sins.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 179

Following Ryutin’s arrest in September 1932 one of the top bodies of the party, the Control Commission, expelled 20 other members for belonging to a “counter-revolutionary group” led by him. Among those ousted were the former Politburo members and oppositionists Zinoviev and Kamenev, who reportedly had received copies of one of Ryutin’s works but had not informed the authorities.
Thurston, Robert. Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996, p. 17

…During one of Yagoda’s routine visits to Stalin, the master said: ‘Keep an eye on Kamenev. I think he’s tied up with Ryutin. Kamenev is not one to give in so easily. I’ve known him for more than 20 years. He’s an enemy.’ Yagoda did as he was told. Kamenev was arrested in 1934, tried in 1935 and given five years. He was tried again in the same year and this time given 10 years. At the end of 1936, a full stop was put to his case, forever.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 61

In 1932 Zinoviev, Kamenev, and many others were once again expelled from the party and exiled to Siberia. “The greatest political mistake of my life was that I deserted Trotsky in 1927,” Zinoviev now said…. A few months later, however, in May 1933, Zinoviev and Kamenev were, after a new recantation, allowed to return from exile.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 350

Zinoviev and Kamenev were also acquainted with the documents, but neither of them informed the GPU or the Central Committee. They had therefore failed in their duty as Party members to notify the Party and the GPU immediately of oppositional activity….
On September 15, 1932, the “counterrevolutionary” group was arrested by the GPU. Zinoviev and Kamenev were summoned by the Party Control Commission. They were charged with knowing about the group and failing to report it. The commission reminded Kamenev of his conversation with Bukharin and of his alliance with the Trotskyists. The October leaders were expelled from the Party and banished –Kamenev to Minusinsk, Zinoviev to Kustanai. Bukharin was not yet touched.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 274

STALIN DID NOT DEMAND THE DEATH OF RYUTIN

The Politburo Commission’s examination of the Ryutin group did not find any evidence that Stalin demanded their execution in 1932, or that Kirov opposed it.
Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 44

On 30 September, Riutin was arrested. It is possible that Stalin, supported by Kaganovich, demanded the death penalty for Riutin but the execution of a comrade–a fellow “sword-bearer”–was a dangerous step, resisted by Sergo and Kirov. There is no evidence that it was ever formally discussed– Kirov did not attend Politburo sessions in late September and October. Besides, Stalin would not have proposed such a measure without first canvassing Sergo and Kirov, just as he had in the case of Tukhachevsky in 1930. He probably never proposed it specifically. On 11 October, Riutin was sentenced to 10 years in the camps.
Montefiore, Sebag. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Knopf, 2004, p. 92

The second case of repression of an unrepentant ‘rightist’ centered on one of Bukharin’s erstwhile supporters in the Moscow party organization, Ryutin. Apparently he had some links to the Syrtsov group, because in October 1930 he was expelled from the party along with two minor figures associated with Syrtsov. Once out of the party Ryutin enjoyed no immunity to police action and was exiled to some remote place. Here he had the contumacy to write and smuggle out a ‘platform’, which circulated secretly in the party in Moscow and other cities. Supposedly this was a long document, sharply critical of Stalin as an individual. The boss, must have found it highly objectionable, for it was suppressed so thoroughly that no copy reached the West at the time, nor has it turned up in any post-Stalin scholarship, dissident or official. When the identity of the author was discovered, Ryutin was sent to jail–one of the ‘isolators’ in which troublesome Trotskyists resided. According to a leading Emigre Menshevik Kremlinologist of the 1930s, Boris Nicolaevsky, Stalin asked the Politburo to authorize Ryutin’s execution, arguing that the illegal platform was tantamount to a call for the assassination of Stalin. Perhaps. Nicolaevsky later said that his information came largely from Bukharin, who saw Nicolaevsky in the course of a visit to Western Europe in 1936. But Nicolaevsky admitted that he mixed in material from other sources, and one wonders how well-informed Bukharin was on such sensitive details as conversations in the Politburo, from which he had been expelled in 1929.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 145

KEY MEMBERS SUPPORTED THE RYUTIN PLATFORM

Smirnov had been proposed as the leading Secretary of the Party in 1922, just before the job went to Stalin. After being exiled with the other Trotskyites in 1927, he had recanted but, during the Ryutin period, had spoken approvingly of the proposals to remove Stalin and had been in jail ever since.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 84

He [Rykov] went on to describe the supposed Rightist underground which arose after 1930. He then came to the Ryutin platform–which, he said, he, Tomsky, Bukharin, Schmidt, and Uglanov had been responsible for. Ryutin had merely fronted for them, and Yagoda’s protection had saved the main culprits.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 354

INTERVIEWER: Didn’t Stalin know of Bukharin’s ideas? If so, why didn’t he take measures against him?
NICOLAEVSKY: Bukharin was not physically molested at this time [circa 1936]. He was only worked over, so to speak, in the press and at all sorts of meetings. The Communist Academy was even forced to conduct a special discussion devoted to unmasking his deviation, … He was, for example, accused of being in favor of war. But no action was taken against him.
Nicolaevsky, Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite; “The letter of an Old Bolshevik.” New York : Praeger, 1965, p. 19

A Trotskyist who was in jail then maintains that Ryutin and some associates were tried and imprisoned at this time, but official publications show that they were merely reprimanded by the Central Committee, not expelled from the party. Smirnov, the only one who had been on the Central Committee, was removed from it and threatened with expulsion from the party if he did not mend his ways. The same resolution was also relatively mild in merely reprimanding Rykov and Tomsky, who supposedly had been in touch with this group. Once again, the majority in the Politburo and Central Committee seems to have opposed harsh sanctions.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York : New York University Press, 1988, p. 146

RYUTIN ACTUALLY WROTE WORDS OF SUPPORT FOR STALIN

A warm spell. The trial of the young Party members who had supported Ryutin ended with light sentences. Ryutin himself wrote to his wife from prison in November 1933 that “only in the USSR, under the leadership of a great genius like our beloved Stalin, have such unprecedented successes in socialist construction been achieved.”
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 298

The “Real Stalin” Series. Part Four: Lenin’s “Testament.”

Lenin’s Testament

lenin-vs-stalin_403779

TROTSKY OPPOSED BOLSHEVIKS

Trotsky’s experience in the Russian working-class movement prior to 1917 was essentially the experience of an emigre. From the outset of his acquaintance with Lenin he became an opponent of the Bolsheviks in general and of Lenin in particular. At first he was definitely on the side of the Mensheviks. Then he broke with them to take up a position between the two contending forces, calling for unity where unity was impossible, while reserving for Lenin and the Bolsheviks the most bitter of his polemics. On the wave of the revolution of 1917 he capitulated to Lenin as the master Revolutionary, in the hope that in due time the Master’s mantle would fall upon him.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 67

Yet it had occurred to me that Trotsky, who was essentially an intellectual aristocrat, not to say an intellectual snob, was somewhat out of place in the Bolshevik milieu.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 199

In point of fact, I was resisting art as I had resisted revolution earlier in life, and later, Marxism; as I had resisted, for several years, Lenin and his methods.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 148

LENIN CHOSE STALIN TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

I well remember that in one of my conversations with Lenin in 1921 he referred to Stalin as “our Nutcracker” and explained that if the “political bureau were faced with a problem which needed a lot of sorting out Stalin was given the job.”
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 72

…wherever the situation seemed most hopeless, wherever incompetence and disloyalty were weakening the cause, on no matter what front and under any conditions, there Stalin was sent, with the results we have seen outlined above.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin, Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 50

…Taking advantage of the traditional hatred felt in the province for everything Russian, the social revolutionaries and their Mensheviks allies were agitating for secession from the USSR and the setting up of an independent state of Georgia.
As usual the task of cleaning up other peoples failures descended on Stalin. Taking Ordjonikidze with him, he hurried to Tiflis to settle the problem once and for all.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 59

Voroshilov states, “During 1918-1920, Comrade Stalin was probably the only person whom the Central Committee dispatched from one fighting front to another, choosing always those places most fraught with danger for the revolution. Where it was comparatively quiet, and everything going smoothly, where we had successes, Stalin was not to be found. But where for various reasons the Red Army was cracking up, where the counterrevolutionary forces through their successes were menacing the very existence of the Soviet Government, where confusion and panic might any moment develop into helplessness, catastrophe, there Stalin made his appearance. He took no sleep at night, he organized, he took the leadership into his own strong hands, he relentlessly broke through difficulties, and turned the corner, saved the situation.”
Life of Stalin, A Symposium. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1930, p. 49

In 1919 Stalin, then Commissar of Nationalities, was also made Commissar of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate, an organization created by Lenin to have teams of workers and peasants inspect government functioning in order to check corruption and bureaucracy. This method of mass democratic control embodied the essence of Lenin’s concept of how a proletarian state should function. The fact that he appointed Stalin as its director shows his faith in him–as he testified in 1922 when Stalin’s control of two commissariats was questioned.
“We are [Lenin wrote] solving these problems, and we must have a man to whom any representative of the nationalities may come and discuss matters at length. Where are we to find such a man? I think that even Preobrazhensky could not name anybody else but Comrade Stalin.
This is true of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Directorate. The work is gigantic. But to handle the work of investigation properly, we must have a man of authority in charge, otherwise we shall be submerged in petty intrigues.”
That the Inspectorate could ever have worked, given the state of the inherited bureaucratic apparatus, is doubtful, and the degree of Stalin’s responsibility for its failures is not clear. But Lenin’s open attack, regardless of his motive, could not but serve to undermine Stalin’s authority as General Secretary and hence disrupt the Party.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 49-50

Lenin made no bones about his support of Stalin in that ministry of the ministries, when, replying to the objections of oppositionists, he said:
“Now about the Workers’-Peasants’ Inspection. It’s a gigantic undertaking…. It is necessary to have at the head of it a man of authority, otherwise we shall sink in a morass, drown in petty intrigues. I think that even Preobrazhensky could not name any other candidature than that of Comrade Stalin.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 346

… But while Trotsky won fame by his speeches, Stalin was sent to one critical front after another as the representative of the Central Committee, and was determining policy by short and concise telegrams to Lenin.
Pritt, Denis Nowell. The Moscow Trial was Fair. London: ” Russia To-day,” 1937, p. 10

Stalin was directly involved in all of the major events of this time. He was already influential and indispensable to Lenin. He had signed the statement warning the right-wing members, who were agitating for coalition, and he had rejected the Menshevik proposal that Lenin and Trotsky should be excluded from a coalition government. He was to support Lenin strongly during the party crisis over the peace treaty with Germany. At the same time he was demonstrating his capacity for handling numerous responsibilities.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 102

“Lenin could not get along without Stalin even for a single day,” Pestkovsky wrote. “Probably for that reason our office in the Smolny was under the wing of Lenin. In the course of the day he would call Stalin out an endless number of times, or would appear in our office and lead him away. Most of the day Stalin spent with Lenin.”
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 105

The same Pestkovsky refers to close collaboration between Lenin and Stalin. “Lenin could not get along without Stalin even for a single day. Probably for that reason our office in the Smolny was ‘under the wing” of Lenin. In the course of the day, he would call Stalin out an endless number of times, or would appear in our office and lead him away. Most of the day Stalin spent with Lenin. What they did there, I don’t know, but on one occasion, upon entering Lenin’s office, I discovered an interesting picture. On the wall hung a large map of Russia. Before it stood two chairs. And on them stood Ilyich and Stalin, moving their fingers over the northern part, I think across Finland.
…At that period, Lenin had great need of Stalin. There can be no doubt about that. Zinoviev and Kamenev had been waging a struggle against Lenin;… He [Stalin], therefore, played the role of chief-of-staff or of a clerk on responsible missions under Lenin.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 247

Trotsky made speeches [in the spring and summer of 1919] which were so violent one could see he was frightened. Defeat, capture and death began to menace the Soviet leaders. Lenin however, kept calm. He did not indulge in the histrionics of Trotsky but instead called Stalin to the rescue, to put things right at the chief point of danger– Petrograd.
What he had accomplished at Tsaritsyn and Viatka he was asked to repeat at Kronstadt and Petrograd.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 59

Stalin was a first-rate administrator, the only one Lenin could rely on. His judgment had been proved by now [1917]…he was a useful man to have beside one in a tight corner. Of Lenin’s colleagues he had emerged as the only man, Trotsky excepted, fit for the highest places.
Snow, Charles Percy. Variety of Men. New York: Scribner, 1966, p. 249

While Lenin remained in Moscow to hold all the strings in his hand and Trotsky rose to new heights as commissar of war, the other Soviet leaders were sent on special missions to one crisis spot after another as need arose. Lenin showed the same confidence in Stalin as a troubleshooter as he had in 1917, choosing him to deal with some of the most critical situations. Nor was his confidence misplaced. In the chaotic conditions that were general in 1918-19 Stalin did not lose his nerve but showed he could exercise leadership and get things done, however rough his methods, including summary execution without trial.
Stalin’s first assignment was to the key position of Tsaritsyn, on the Volga (later renamed Stalingrad, and now Volgograd), with the responsibility of making sure that the food supplies to Moscow and Petrograd were not cut off. Twenty-four hours after his arrival on June 6, he reported that he had dealt with a “bacchanalia of profiteering” by fixing food prices and introducing rationing. On July 7, the day after the attempted Socialist Revolutionary coup he reassured Lenin:
“Everything will be done to prevent possible surprises here. Rest assured that our hand will not tremble. I’m chasing up and bawling out whoever requires it. We shall spare no one, neither ourselves nor others. But we’ll send you the food.”
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 98

STALIN PROPOSED TROTSKY BE ADMITTED TO THE PARTY

At the sixth Congress of the Bolshevik party, it was here on Stalin’s proposal, obviously with the approval of Lenin, that Leon Trotsky was admitted to the party.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 101

When Stalin proposed that Trotsky and his colleagues be admitted to the party he was little concerned about the personal relations between Trotsky and himself.
Here was the issue which was to form the great divide in the Bolshevik ranks. Could Russia advance to socialism without a revolution in the West?
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 102

From 1898, when Trotsky was 19, to 1917, he had hardly been in Russia; and until, on Stalin’s proposal, he and his group were accepted into the Bolshevik party in July, 1917, he had fought the Bolsheviks with voice and pen.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 124

And while Stalin was only the executor of the union [with the left wing–the Internationalists], it is one of the many ironies of the revolution that under his guidance Trotsky was admitted into the Bolshevist sanctum, and elected for the first time a member of the new Central Committee, where he stayed until Stalin, in a different role, expelled him.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 130

TROTSKY JOINED PARTY WITH ULTERIOR MOTIVES

When he joined the Bolshevik party he did not regard it as a collective body which would have any power over him. On the contrary Trotsky regarded his joining as a means of acquiring power over the party and becoming second in command to Lenin.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 101

Characteristically Trotsky made a spectacular entry into the Bolshevik Party. He brought with him into the Party his entire motley following of dissident leftists.
First as Foreign Commissar and then as War Commissar, Trotsky was the chief spokesman of the so-called Left Opposition within the Bolshevik Party.
Footnote: Following his removal from the post of Foreign Commissar, Trotsky publicly admitted the error of his opposition to Lenin at Brest-Litovsk and again offered unreserved co-operation with Lenin.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 191

In August 1917 Trotsky made a sensational political somersault. After 14 years of opposition to Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Trotsky applied for membership in the Bolshevik Party.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 190

I had been told, for instance, that Trotsky as a former Menshevik did in a sense represent a kind of minority section in the Bolshevik party, which he had joined only in 1917,…
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 213

TROTSKY’S HUGE EGO AND NOT A TEAM PLAYER

The disagreement [between Trotsky and the Bolsheviks] was fundamental and was never eliminated. It was now to appear again in quarrels with Stalin concerning the Red Army. The fact is, he [Trotsky] never really accepted the principal governing the relationship of Lenin’s party with the masses because he was incapable of believing in the creative power of the proletariat. He was an egotist, with all the over-confidence of the egotist. He was of the stuff of which dictators are made, and his conception of leadership had as its premise the recognition of his abilities plus a proletariat which would do as he ordered. They had to be organized. He would organize them as part of a machine under the control of a staff drawn from the middle classes–the intelligentsia and the Army officers, with himself at the head. He was efficient. He admired efficiency. But he could never surrender himself to the idea of integrating himself with the proletariat, or believe that the qualities he saw in the middle-classes were latent in the proletariat also and that the revolutionary struggle would bring the working-classes into the ranks of leadership. They could be educated in the long run, he thought, but not in the short. His intellectual snobbery ruined him as a revolutionary.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 125

In his memoirs British agent Bruce Lockhart writes, “we had not handled Trotsky wisely. At the time of the first Revolution he was in exile in America. He was then neither a Menshevik nor a Bolshevik. He was what Lenin called a Trotskyist — that is to say, an individualist and an opportunist. A revolutionary with the temperament of an artist and physical courage, he had never been and never could be a good party man.”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 190

Before the Revolution the Bolshevik and Menshevik wings of the Russian social democracy were in perpetual conflict. The head of the former was Lenin, the highest authority among the latter was held by Plekhanov. Trotsky could recognize no other authority than his own. His temperament and his whole nature drove him to radicalism.
It is remarkable that everything in Trotsky’s character and career that helped him forward also contributed to his fall. Why? Because everything promoted his radical defect, his vanity.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 119

It was entirely intelligible that the young Trotsky should join the revolutionaries…. Very soon, however, he lost the vivid concrete love and compassion for the individual human being. More and more he saw only the masses in whose name and for whose benefit he pursued his social and political ideas. The sense of being an intellectual revolutionary leader lifted Trotsky in his own estimation above the masses. He felt his superiority to all whom he met; he never felt close to the masses, whether Russian or Jewish, but enthroned himself, quite unconsciously, in Olympian aloofness above real life, above the masses. He remained essentially an aristocrat.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 121

Trotsky’s habit of always taking up a standpoint of his own and his clearly paraded sense of his own superiority were bound, when Lenin died, to lead to trouble. His first personal conflict then came in the Politbureau, and it was with Zinoviev.
Kamenev was entirely loyal to Zinoviev, and in politics almost servile.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 129

Perusal of those articles which have survived from Stalin’s writings in Turukhansk shows that their author’s distaste for the methods and the personality of Trotsky was not dimmed since their last clash. In one of these he suggests with some truth that as a result of the years spent in pretending to stand above the Party squabbles, Trotsky had become congenitally incapable of sharing anyone else’s position but must at all costs differentiate himself from all other groups. In view of the fact that Trotsky had adopted such a pointless stand on the war question, this suggestion is perhaps the most charitable of all.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 36

Two more completely contrasting personalities cannot be imagined. Trotsky, the revolutionary per excellence, brilliant as an orator and the ablest polemical writer of his time, but deficient in constructive ability and congenitally incapable of working in harmony with others.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 62

One further point in Stalin’s favor was the personal relations existing between Trotsky and the other leading figures. For this Trotsky had only himself to blame. Arrogant, cynical, contemptuous of mediocrity, his whole career had been dotted with violent outbursts directed against innumerable lesser personages.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 63

Both temperamental and political factors were involved in Trotsky’s fall. Throughout his long revolutionary career, up to 1917, Trotsky was a man of such strong individuality that he could never remain long within the ranks of an organized political party or group. He had to be leader or nothing. He came into frequent and bitter clashes with Lenin, whom, as late as 1913, he called “that professional exploiter of every backwardness in the Russian labor movement,” adding: “the whole edifice of Leninism at the present time is based on lies and falsifications, and contains within itself the poisonous beginning of its own disintegration.”
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 94

In this process, the factor of purely individual interest plays a much less important role than we ourselves might be tempted to believe. Animosity between individuals, though it may often have resulted from Opposition, has never in any circumstances been the cause of it. And it is only in the case of Trotsky that we have to take into account a certain amount of strictly personal element, namely Trotsky’s opinion of his own importance, which he possesses in a very high degree. His very self-willed nature, his intolerance of any form of criticism (“He never forgets an attack on his ambition,” said Lenin) and his disappointment at not being put at the head of affairs without any associates, have a great deal to do with his hostility. Ideology is the arsenal in which this hostility naturally equips itself with a perfect armament.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 159

…he [Trotsky] finds the support and complicity of a motley collection of enemies of the Soviet regime, and even without referring to his present political activities, one cannot blind one’s eyes to the dagger-thrusts which have been aimed by him and his followers at the USSR and at the Communist International. They really constituted an attempt to assassinate them, an effort to destroy them.
Need one repeat that the personal factor undoubtedly very largely influenced Trotsky’s attitude? Even during Lenin’s lifetime, his incompatibility with all the other leaders became apparent. “It is very difficult to work with this comrade,” grumbled Zinoviev, who, however, was more than once to be found in his camp. Trotsky was much too much of a Trotskyist!
Up to what point was it Trotsky’s despotic character, his rancor at being supplanted, at being neglected among the others instead of shining alone, his “Bonapartism,” that induced him to break with the Party and to construct for himself a sort of patchwork imitation Leninism, and to start a political war with the more or less implicitly expressed object of the formation of a new Party, namely a Fourth International? It is very difficult to say. One cannot, however, avoid remarking that Trotsky led an intensive Opposition against the Party in 1921 and again in 1923 and that, in the interval, in the year 1922, in a speech before the Fourth Congress, he defended all the points of view of the majority on the thorny question of the NEP in a very concise manner. This did not prevent the Trotskyist Opposition, brandishing the theory of permanent Revolution, from endeavoring to show, on the morrow of the Congress, that the Revolution had come to a standstill and that the NEP was a capitalist degeneration, a kind of Thermidor. These contradictory attitudes which followed one another at such a short interval of time seem to show the intervention of some artificial factor of an exclusively personal nature.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 165

Nor was Trotsky’s personality an asset. He was widely disliked for arrogance and lack of tact: as he himself admitted, he had a reputation for “unsociability, individualism, aristocratism. Even his admiring biographer concedes he “could rarely withstand the temptation to remind others of their errors and to insist on his superiority and insight. Scorning the collegiate style of Lenin and the other Bolshevik leaders, he demanded, as commander of the country’s armed forces, unquestioned obedience to himself, giving rise to talk of “Bonapartist” ambitions. Thus in November 1920 angered by reports of insubordination among Red Army troops facing Wrangel, he issued an order that contained the following passage: “I, your Red leader, appointed by the government and invested with the confidence of the people, demand complete faith in myself.” All attempts to question his orders were to be dealt with by summary execution. His high-handed administrative style attracted the attention of the Central Committee, which in July 1919 subjected him to severe criticism. His ill-considered attempt to militarize labor in 1920, not only cast doubts on his judgment, but reinforced suspicions of Bonapartism. In March 1922 he addressed a long statement to the Politburo, urging that the party withdraw from direct involvement in managing the economy. The Politburo rejected his proposals and Lenin, as was his wont with Trotsky’s epistles, scribbled on it, “Into the Archive,” but his opponents used it as evidence that Trotsky wanted to “liquidate the leading role of the Party.”
Refusing to involve himself in the routine of day-to-day politics, frequently absent from cabinet meetings and other administrative deliberations, Trotsky assumed the post of a statesman above the fray. “For Trotsky, the main things were the slogan, the speaker’s platform, the striking gesture, but not routine work. His administrative talents were, indeed, of a low order. The hoard of documents in the Trotsky archive at Harvard University, with numerous communications to Lenin, indicate a congenital incapacity for formulating succinct, practical solutions: as a rule, Lenin neither commented nor acted on them.
For all these reasons, when in 1922 Lenin made arrangements to distribute his responsibilities, he passed over Trotsky. He was much concerned that his successors govern in a collegial manner: Trotsky, never a “team player,” simply did not fit. We have the testimony of Lenin’s sister, Maria Ulianova who was with him during the last period of his life, that while Lenin valued Trotsky’s talents and industry, and for their sake kept his feelings to himself, “he did not feel sympathy for Trotsky”: Trotsky “had too many qualities that made it extraordinarily difficult to work collectively with him.” Stalin suited Lenin’s needs better. Hence, Lenin assigned to Stalin ever greater responsibilities, with the result that as he faded from the scene, Stalin assumed the role of his surrogate, and thus in fact, if not in name, became his heir.
[Footnote]: According to her [Lenin’s sister] Trotsky, in contrast to Lenin, could not control his temper, and at one meeting of the Politburo called her brother a “hooligan.” Lenin turned white as chalk but made no reply:…
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 459-460

“But how about Trotsky [Budu said]? He never was corrupt, was he? He always led an orderly private life with his wife, Natalie Sedov.”
He [Stalin] looked me straight in the eyes and said, “With Trotsky it’s different. He’s not corrupt, that’s true. But he carries within himself another danger that a popular revolution can’t tolerate: He’s an individualist to his fingertips, a hater of the masses, a revolutionary Narcissus. Read his books. He writes about us, about men, as ‘those tailless, evil, cruel monkeys called men.’ He hated us and he despised us because he thought himself the most intelligent and the most brilliant of us all for the sole reason that he knew how to wield his hand and his tongue cleverly. What was he doing in a revolutionary party? He represented only that dying civilization which we are charged with replacing by another, a more fruitful one.”
If humanity ever reaches the stage of humanism, it will only get there through a civilization of the masses. Either that, or it will arrive nowhere! It will be destroyed en route!”
Svanidze, Budu. My Uncle, Joseph Stalin. New York: Putnam, c1953, p. 130-131

There was little of that subtlety in Trotsky, who could rarely withstand the temptation to remind others of their errors and to insist on his superiority and foresight.
His very foresight, no less real because of its ostentatiousness, was offensive…. He was the born troublemaker.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 34

Trotsky was full of his own personality…. My father [Beria] found him [Trotsky] extremely arrogant. In that respect the contrast with Stalin was striking. “In Trotsky’s company one felt like an insignificant worm. Stalin, on the contrary, knew how to listen to someone and make him feel he was important.” That was his strength.
Beria, Sergo. Beria, My Father: Inside Stalin’s Kremlin. London: Duckworth, 2001, p. 290

Yet Trotsky lacked Stalin’s day-to-day accessibility. He had the kind of hauteur which peeved dozens of potential supporters. He was also devoid of Stalin’s tactical cunning and pugnacity, and there was a suspicion among Trotsky’s followers that their idol’s illnesses at crucial junctures of factional struggle had a psychosomatic dimension.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 227

STALIN AND LENIN OPPOSE TROTSKY

In the final analysis the whole dispute, from the first clash at the formation of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party to the purge of the Red Army in 1938, resolve’s itself into a prolonged struggle between revolution and counter-revolution, although it is not thought of in those terms until the final stages. At the outset Lenin and Stalin stood together against Trotsky and his colleagues on the question of which class was to lead the Revolution. After the conquest of power Lenin and Stalin stood firmly for the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty: Trotsky vacillated between “No War and No Peace” and a revolutionary war, when the Soviet Government had no arms with which to fight. Stalin demanded that the Red Army be led by leaders who were Bolsheviks: Trotsky handed over the army staff positions to recruited officers of the Czarist Army. Trotsky proposed the militarization of Labor, with the Trade Unions as compulsory State institutions: Lenin and Stalin stood firmly for the Trade Unions as voluntary organizations and against Labor militarization. Lenin and Stalin declared that Socialism can be built-in one country: Trotsky insisted that the Russian Revolution must fail unless it was immediately supported by a pan-European revolution.
It is impossible to view these issues in sequence without observing that Trotsky’s practical proposals were disastrous and his opinions defeatist.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 156

Trotsky was always in opposition. He would demand this or the other measure at a time when the rest of the party leaders thought that it would be dangerous. The Trotskyist theory at time may, however, be defined fairly clearly. Trotsky’s fundamental contention was that there was an unbridgeable conflict of interest between the industrial workers and the peasantry. He regarded Communism as the representative of the interests only of the industrial workers. He wanted a dictatorship of the proletariat that was directed also against the peasantry. In this he was diametrically opposed to the views of Lenin, and therefore also of Stalin; for Lenin saw the basis of the regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat in a political and social alliance between the working-class and the peasantry–under the lead, of course, of the workers.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 132

Stalin set the issue “Leninism vs. Trotskyism.”
Stalin wrote, “Lenin speaks of the alliance of the proletariat and the toiling strata of the peasantry as the foundation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Trotsky we find the “hostile collision” of the “proletarian Vanguard” with “the broad masses of the peasantry.”
Lenin speaks of the leadership of the toiling and exploited masses by the proletariat. In Trotsky we find “contradictions in the situation of the workers’ government in a backward country with an overwhelming majority of peasants.”
According to Lenin, the Revolution draws its forces chiefly from among the workers and peasants of Russia itself. According to Trotsky, the necessary forces can be found only “on the arena of the world proletarian Revolution.”
But what is to happen if the world Revolution is fated to arrive with some delay? Is there any ray of hope for our Revolution? Trotsky does not admit any ray of hope, for “the contradictions in the situation of the workers’ government…can be solved only…on the arena of the world Revolution.” According to this there is but one prospect for our Revolution: to vegetate in its own contradictions and decay to its roots while waiting for the world Revolution.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 157

From the welter of words, two main divisions crystallized; on one side Lenin and Plekhanov, on the other Martov, Axelrod, and the 24 year old Trotsky.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 19

The Jews, I think, are the most active people. You see, Lenin assembled the Politburo: he was a Russian himself, Stalin was a Georgian, and there were three Jews–Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev. Furthermore, Trotsky was a continual opponent of Lenin on all major issues both before and after the Revolution. Still, Lenin included him in the Politburo.
Already in 1921 it had become impossible to work with Trotsky.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 126

Trotsky was a crook, a 100 percent crook,…
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 377

There was never, at any time, any difference of opinion between Lenin and Stalin.
On the other hand, they both had bitter opponents in the Party itself, especially Trotsky, an obstinate and verbose Menshevik, who considered that the inflexibility of the Bolsheviks afflicted the Party with sterility.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 30

Lenin added: “Trotsky and his like are worst than all the liquidators who express their thoughts openly–for Trotsky & Co. deceive the workers, conceal the malady, and make its discovery and cure impossible. All those who support the Trotsky group are supporting the policy of lies and deception towards the workers, the policy which consists in masking the policy of liquidation.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 45

Lenin wanted to be certain of having a majority. He saw Trotsky as the only possible threat to his preponderance. At the end of 1920, during the debate on the trade unions, he endeavored to enfeeble Trotsky and reduce his influence. He went so far as to place Trotsky in a ridiculous position on the transportation problem. It was urgently necessary to put the ruined railroads back into working order. Lenin knew perfectly well that Trotsky had no aptitude for this task and had no appropriate talent to accomplish it. Nevertheless Trotsky was appointed people’s commissar for transport. He brought to the task his enthusiasm, his zeal, his eloquence, and his leadership methods, but the only result was confusion. Trotsky, conscious of his failure, resigned from the job.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 26

STALIN’S STYLE OF LEADING DIFFERS FROM LENIN’S

His [Stalin] method of working is somewhat different from Lenin’s. Lenin usually presented his “theses” for discussion by the Political Bureau, committee, or commission. He would supplement his written document with a speech amplifying the ideas contained in it, after which every member would be invited to make his critical observations, to amend or provide an alternative. Lenin would consult specialists on particular aspects of a problem, and no one ever went to such lengths to talk matters over with the workers individually and collectively.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 172

Stalin on the other hand rarely presents theses and resolutions first. He will introduce a “problem” or a “subject” requiring a decision in terms of policy. The members of the Political Bureau, the Central Committee, or the commission of which he may be the chairman, are invited to say what they think about the problem and its solution. People known to be specially informed on the topic are invited to contribute to discussion, whether they are members of the committee are not. Out of the fruits of such collective discussion, either he himself will formulate the decision or resolution, or someone specially fitted will prepare the draft.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 172

Stalin holds the view that decisions made by one person are nearly always one-sided. He does not believe in “intuition’s.” He regards the Bolshevik Central Committee as the collective wisdom of the Party, containing the best managers of industry, military leaders, agitators, propagandists, organizers, the men and women best acquainted with the factories, mills, mines, farms, and different nationalities comprising the life of the Soviet Union. And the Political Bureau of this Central committee he regards as its best and most competent part. If its members are otherwise they will not hold their positions for long. Hence he believes in everyone having freedom to correct the mistakes of individuals, and in there being less chance of a collective decision proving lop-sided than an individual one. But once a decision is arrived at he likes to see it carried out with military precision and loyalty. Throughout his career his victories have been triumphs of team-work and of his native capacity to lead the team by securing a common understanding of the task in hand.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 172

Suppose today Stalin outlines a policy which he thinks should be adopted. Others criticize it, not to weaken it, but to fill in possible holes. Stalin answers. Some amendments are accepted; the majority fail. The final decision is reached only when everyone is convinced that no improvement is possible. Such is the real government of Soviet Russia.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 103

Stalin was less sure of himself than Lenin. Instead of saying, “I am right unless you can prove me wrong,” he would ask the advice of others and gradually form a composite opinion and decision. Once that opinion was formed, however, he was much more rigid than Lenin about subsequent misgivings or opposition.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 164

He [Stalin] loved to hear the other members of the leadership expounding their views, while he would wait until the end before giving his own, which would usually clinch the matter.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 220

Bazhanov goes on to describe Stalin’s behavior at meetings of the Politburo and the Central Committee. Stalin never presided at these:
“He smoked his pipe and spoke very little. Every now and then he would start walking up and down the conference room regardless of the fact that we were in session. Sometimes he would stop right in front of a speaker, watching his expression and listing to his argument while still puffing away at his pipe….
He had the good sense never to say anything before everyone else had his argument fully developed. He would sit there, watching the way the discussion was going. Whenever everyone had spoken, he would say: “Well, comrades, I think the solution to this problem is such and such”–and he would then repeat the conclusions toward which the majority had been drifting.”
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 180

That’s how it is with Stalin, in terms of actual power, but according to all accounts he is far from domineering in dealing with his colleagues. Lenin, we are told, took a different attitude. He used to say: “Here is what I think our policy should be. If anyone has suggestions to offer or can make any improvements, I am willing to listen. Otherwise, let us consider my plan adopted.”
Stalin is more inclined to begin, if the subject matter discussion concerns foreign affairs: “I should like to hear from Molotov.” Then, he might continue, “Now, what does Voroshilov think on the military aspects of the subject,” and later he would ask Kaganovich about the matter in relation to industry and transportation.
Gradually he would get a compromise opinion from the Politburo, probably “leading” the discussion along the lines he desires, but not appearing to lay down the law, until the final conclusion is reached. Thus, superficially at least, he seems to act as a chairman of a board, or arbiter, rather than as the boss.
Duranty, Walter. Stalin & Co. New York: W. Sloane Associates, 1949, p. 90

As a rule, he was businesslike and calm; everybody was permitted to state his opinion. He addressed everyone in the same stern and formal manner. He had the knack of listening to people attentively, but only if they spoke to the point, if they knew what they were saying. Taciturn himself, he did not like talkative people and often interrupted those who spoke volubly with a curt “make it snappy” or “speak more clearly.” He opened conferences without introductory words. He spoke quietly, freely, never departing from the substance of the matter. He was laconic and formulated his thoughts clearly.
Zhukov, Georgi. Reminiscences and Reflections Vol. 1. Moscow: Progress Pub., c1985, p. 364

According to Bazhanov, who served for several years as a junior secretary in the Political Bureau, Stalin at the meetings of this high tribunal maintains his usual reserve. He seldom generalizes. He sees only concrete problems and seeks practical solutions. He attacks few questions and rarely makes mistakes.
“At the meetings of the Political Bureau,” he writes in his revelations, “I always had the impression that Stalin was much more inclined to follow events than to direct them. During discussions he would keep silent and listen attentively. He never would give his opinion until the debate was over and then would propose in a few words, as if it were his own idea, the solution on which the majority of his assistants had already agreed. For that reason his opinion was ordinarily adopted.
Stalin is not imaginative, but he is steadfast. He is not brilliant, but he knows his limitations. He is not universal; he is single-tracked. These properties may be defects, but in Stalin’s position they are sources of strength. He is a “big business man,” a type new in Russian political life. He is the carrier of that modern “ism” which has invaded the Old World–Americanism.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 337-338

TROTSKY HAD A HUGE EGO

Here is how war commissar Trotsky, addressing one of his spectacular mass rallies in Moscow, was described by the famous American foreign correspondent, Isaac Marcosson:
“Trotsky made his appearance in what actors call a good entrance…after a delay, and at the right psychological moment, he emerged from the wings and walked with quick steps to the little pulpit….
He inundated his hearers with a Niagara of speech, the like of which I have never heard. Vanity and arrogance stood out pre-eminently.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 186

Trotsky left nothing to chance. He was fond of quoting the words of the French Anarchist, Proudhon: “Destiny — I laugh at; and as for men, they are too ignorant, too enslaved for me to feel annoyed at them.”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 212

Trotsky lacked much of the quality of the true statesman and leader. His brilliant gifts were marred, as his works continually show, by an extraordinary vanity. He was almost pathologically egocentric. He always played the strong, self-confident man; yet many of his actions showed that he was tortured by inhibitions, often, behind the mask of superiority, anything but sure of himself, and, in fact, that he was far from being the strong personality he tried to appear in public.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 118

The combination, so often found, of great gifts and unbounded vanity gave Trotsky from the outset a revolutionary career whose tragic end might be foreseen. For Trotsky was never ready to learn, wanted always to teach, could never endure the second-place but must always have the first.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 119

Thus there was much in Trotsky’s existence that flattered his almost morbid vanity and gave support to his self-insurance.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 123

When people say that Trotsky had an attractive personality, they are speaking mainly of his public persona, his appearance before great meetings, his writings, his dignity. But even so, he repelled many who felt him to be full of vanity, on the one hand, and irresponsible, on the other, in the sense that he tended to make a bright or “brilliant” formulation and press it to the end regardless of the danger.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 413

Trotsky was above politics, but he was imperious, flushed with an exaggerated sense of his importance, and flaunted his ego in a manner that made people think of Napoleon’s in embryo.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 164

TROTSKY ATTACKED LENIN

In a pamphlet entitled Our Political Tasks, published in 1904, Trotsky accused Lenin of trying to impose a “barracks-room regime” on the Russian radicals. In language startlingly similar to that which he was later to use in his attacks on Stalin, the young Trotsky denounced Lenin as “the leader of the reactionary wing of our party.”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 188

Abroad again, after the defeat of the 1905 Revolution, Trotsky set up his own political headquarters in Vienna, attacking Lenin as “a candidate for the post of dictator,” launched a propaganda campaign to build his own movement….
“The whole construction of Leninism,” wrote Trotsky in a confidential letter to the Russian Menshevik leader Tscheidze, on February 23, 1913, “is at present built up on lies and contains the poisonous germ of its own disintegration.” Trotsky went on to tell his Menshevik associate that, in his opinion Lenin was nothing more than “a professional exploiter of every backwardness in the Russian workers movement.”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 189

He [Trotsky] had passed the earlier 13 or 14 years in factional struggle against Lenin, assailing him with ferocious personal insults, as “slovenly attorney,” as “hideous caricature of Robespierre, malicious and morally repulsive,” as “exploiter of Russian backwardness,” “demoralizer of the Russian working-class,” etc., insults compared with which Lenin’s rejoinders were restrained, almost mild.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 249

Stalin had some cause to regard Trotsky’s elevation as a grievance, especially considering that this man had for a decade been one of Lenin’s most vociferous factional opponents.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 36

LENIN PREACHED DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM

Loose talk, endless debate, public discussion, and voting on goals and tactics, perpetual compromise in the Democratic tradition among factions within and with critics outside, constant efforts to win more converts by opportunistic popular appeals — all these things, held Lenin, would be fatal to the enterprise…. What was needed was a centralized, regimented conspiracy of those who would give all their time to the crusade and would be supported and financed by party funds…. Elected delegates of local groups would then meet in Congress and decide by discussion what the party line should be. But even then, once a decision should be voted, all members must carry it out at any cost and regardless of their personal views. This principle of organization came to be known later as “Democratic centralism.”
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 36

… but, according to party rules, largely formulated by Lenin, and supported previously by Trotsky as well as Stalin, once the majority has ruled everyone in the Party is obligated loyally to support the decision. This is called “democratic centralism.” Not to do so is considered treason. Yet Trotsky and his supporters refused to abide by their own rules. They built up a secret organization with a secret printing press.
… Stalin explained his position on democratic centralism when I talked to him in 1926. I asked him “In Russia, according to the Communist Party Constitution, when the party has decided a question by what we call a Party caucus the minority is not permitted to agitate against the majority. We all know that majorities are sometimes wrong and that minorities are sometimes morally right. How can a wrong majority decision ever be righted?”
“We are a war party of several million people,” Stalin answered. “A fighting party must execute its decisions, not degenerate into a discussion club. At the time of a conference and before an election to a conference there is complete freedom of opinion. But once a decision has been reached it is no longer a question of a majority or minority but rather of getting everyone to work to execute the decision, not begin anew the debate.
“Russians love to discuss things, and private discussions go on continuously on every issue, but after a decision is made no one is allowed by any act to oppose it.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 26

The achievement and maintenance of the dictatorship of the proletariat are impossible without a Party strong and its cohesion and iron discipline. But iron discipline in the Party is impossible without unity of will and without absolute and complete unity of action on the part of all members of the Party. This does not mean of course that the possibility of a conflict of opinion within the Party is thus excluded. On the contrary, iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes criticism and conflicts of opinion within the Party. Least of all does it mean that the discipline must be “blind” discipline. On the contrary, iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes conscious and voluntary submission, for only conscious discipline can be truly iron discipline. But after a discussion has been closed, after criticism has run its course and a decision has been made, unity of will and unity of action of all Party members become indispensable conditions without which Party unity and iron discipline in the Party are inconceivable. [Lenin called this democratic centralism]
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 247

Lenin’s authoritarian bent underlies his distrust of spontaneity and lays stress on a rigid centralization which he called democratic but which, having arrived at its conclusions, would then broke no discussion.
Richardson, Rosamond. Stalin’s Shadow. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994, p. 62

TROTSKY’S EGO CAUSED HIM TO OPPOSE DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM

Trotsky apparently opposed “centralism” then, as he was to do a quarter of a century later, less out of attachment to Democratic methods than out of opposition to dictation by anyone but itself. For the next fourteen years he fought Lenin. But also quarreled intermittently with the Menshevik leaders. He was detested by Plekhanov, although at times they made common cause against Lenin.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 48

By comparison with what he had said about Stalin, his [Lenin] characterization of Trotsky was more critical, in spite of the tribute to his greater talents. Lenin recalled a recent instance of Trotsky’s ‘struggle against the Central Committee’, in which Trotsky displayed ‘too far-reaching a self-confidence and a disposition to be too much attracted by the purely administrative side of affairs ‘. If the party were to choose between the ‘two most able men’ on the basis of these remarks only, the odds might have been slightly in Stalin’s favor. Not only were Trotsky’s shortcomings stressed with the greater emphasis; Lenin also hinted at Trotsky’s inclination to oppose himself to the Central Committee, a grave fault in the leader of a party which was bred in discipline, team-work, and was suspicious of ‘individualism’.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 248

TROTSKY DENOUNCED LENIN FOR BEING A REACTIONARY DICTATOR

Trotsky in turn denounced Lenin as the “head of the reactionary wing of our party” and a “dull caricature of the tragic intransigence of Jacobinism.” He further observed that Lenin’s conception of centralism would lead to a situation in which “the organization of the party takes the place of the party itself, the Central Committee takes the place of the organization, and finally the dictator takes a place of the Central Committee.” The Bolsheviks under “Maximilien Lenin,” he contended, were aiming at “a dictatorship over the proletariat.”
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 49

Trotsky condemned Lenin for “sectarian spirit, individualism of the intellectual, and ideological fetishism.”
Trotsky in turn wrote to Chkheidze that Lenin was a master at “petty squabbling” and that Leninism “flourishes on the dung-heap of sectarianism” and is “founded on lies and falsifications and carries within itself the poison germ of it’s own decomposition.” (Souvarine pp. 131 — 32)
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 51

[In a speech on the Trotskyist Opposition delivered at a joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of the CPSU on October 23, 1927 Stalin quoted Trotsky’s letter to Chkheidze in 1913 denouncing Lenin and said] Is it surprising, then, that Trotsky, who wrote in such an ill-mannered way about the great Lenin, whose shoelaces he
was not worthy of tying should now hurl abuse at one of Lenin’s numerous pupils–Comrade Stalin?
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 178

STALIN FOLLOWED LENIN LOYALLY

I know — and this isn’t guess or historical reconstruction — I know that Stalin’s mainspring was and is devotion to Lenin. He thought, and doubtless correctly, that Lenin was one of the great ones, the inspired teachers of humanity… Who come once in a 1000 years…..
He knew deep down in his heart that Lenin was always Lenin and what Lenin did was right. I don’t care what Trotsky has said or Trotsky’s friends, like Max Eastman and meanor folk who don’t write so well as Max Eastman and haven’t half his brains. I say that Stalin today, and always since Lenin died, has never made a decision nor even approached a decision without first asking himself, “what would Lenin have done in this case?”
Duranty, Walter. The Kremlin and the People. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., 1941, p. 34

That death should take Lenin at such a time is doubly tragic. He was prevented from reaping the fruits of his life’s work, and out of the many party leaders he had so carefully trained, only one remained unshakably a Leninist.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 61

Stalin was always a consistent Bolshevik and was one of Lenin’s most trusted lieutenants in guiding the party work inside Russia….
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 90

Stalin…accepted Lenin’s views as soon is he read them and supported Lenin staunchly thereafter.
Strong, Anna Louise. The Stalin Era. New York: Mainstream, 1956, p. 15

Stalin’s enemies have vainly tried to create the story of a clash between Lenin and Stalin. In actual fact, Stalin happened to be a blind follower of Lenin and has remained such….
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 54

What is the most prominent of Lenin’s traits that you can recall?
His purposefulness and his ability to fight for his cause. You see, almost everyone in the Politburo was against him–Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin. In the Politburo, Lenin was supported only by Stalin and me.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 130

Unlike most of the Bolshevik leaders, Stalin never raised his voice in opposition to Lenin on any point at any time. It was impossible, therefore, for him to forgive Trotsky’s continuous criticism, which was further damned by his natural exasperation against this laborer who had been hired at the 11th hour…. Raymond Robbins once told me that he knew Stalin in the first winter of 1917-1918. “He sat outside the door of Lenin’s office like a sentry,” said Robbins, “watching everyone who went in and out, no less faithful than a sentry and, as far as we then knew, not much more important.” In March 1922 Stalin received the reward of his faithful watching. He was made General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party….
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 181

…But remember that even Dzerzhinsky voted for Trotsky.
Gorky also made mistakes. He came out against the October Revolution. In the last analysis no one understood Leninism better than Stalin.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 132

Then take Trotsky. At first Lenin was favorably disposed toward him. Take Zinoviev, Bukharin, Kamenev–they were closest to Lenin. Temporarily, at a certain stage, they supported him, but they lacked consistency, so to speak, sufficient revolutionary character.
With Marx, only Engels remained faithful.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 137

Of all the members of the Politburo who worked under Lenin, Stalin alone remained. All the others went into opposition at one time or another: Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov Tomsky, Bukharin…. Of course, for Stalin it was an unbearable situation–how to suffer criticism from all quarters, not to mention dissatisfaction, grumbling, and distrust. He needed nerves of steel to withstand it. Stalin too valued Bukharin highly. Yes he did! Bukharin was highly educated and cultured. But what can you do?!
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 262

…Among Lenin’s closest friends, in the end not one of those around him remained sufficiently loyal to Lenin and the party except Stalin. And Lenin had criticized Stalin.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 310

During the critical period just before and after the Revolution, Stalin sat outside the door of Lenin’s office like a faithful watchdog. He always followed Lenin’s lead without cavil or disagreement, but Trotsky was often quick to criticize or challenge.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 105

It was in 1929 that I first interviewed Stalin. I was required to submit to him a copy of the dispatch I was going to send to the New York Times. In it I had used the conventional phrase that Stalin was the “inheritor of Lenin’s mantle.” He scratched out those words and replaced them with “Lenin’s most faithful disciple and the prolonger of his work.” He also told me later that in any critical moment he tried to think what Lenin would’ve done in the circumstances, and to guide his own actions thereby. Stalin is a great man now as the world reckons greatness, but Lenin was different–Stalin knows it–one of the very rare and greatest men. Stalin always regarded his leader with deep, almost dog-like devotion, and never on any occasion challenged Lenin’s views or failed to support him wholly.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 171

Lenin was away–on orders of the Central Committee–from July to October. In the meantime, the Party was run by the Central Committee and other top committees, whose minutes show that Stalin was one of the five or six top leaders. Lenin was, of course, in touch by mail with the committee. But the minutes also show that he was not regarded as a “boss” or an oracle but as “Comrade Lenin” (Ilyich), the most respected member of a collective whose affairs were conducted democratically, usually with considerable debate. In these debates Stalin again seems to have been generally on Lenin’s side. For instance, when Lenin in September and October was urging the necessity of insurrection and some members, notably Zinoviev and Kamenev, disagreed, Stalin moved that Lenin’s letters be distributed to the leading Party organizations. And when Lenin returned, Stalin supported his position.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 31

Lenin returned from Switzerland via Germany. France had refused to let him through by another route. (One knows the story of the “sealed wagon” and all the rest of that lying legend.). He arrived at Petrograd on April 3rd, 1917.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 49

Indeed, at that time, “Lenin never let a day pass without seeing Stalin,” writes Piestoffski. “That is no doubt why our office at Smolny was next door to Lenin’s office. All day long Lenin would either speak to Stalin on the telephone or would come into our office and take him away with him. In this way Stalin spent the greater part of the day with Lenin. I witnessed a very interesting scene one day when I went to see Lenin. A large-scale map of Russia was hanging on the wall. Before it were two chairs on which Lenin and Stalin stood and followed a line to the north with their fingers.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 60

From the very first moment that the Soviets came into power, Stalin had been Lenin’s understudy, and he continued to understudy him when he was no longer there.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 147

Stalin too, placed himself beneath the banner of Leninism, in the campaign which followed, to defend passionately the unity of the Party which was imperiled by the rebellion of the minority. To safeguard the unity of the Party became his great concern, as it had been Lenin’s, as it had been Lenin’s and Stalin’s together, for, as we have already seen, these two never disagreed with one another on questions of either doctrine or tactics.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 164

… Finally Lenin’s demands were approved. Bukharin voted against them. Trotsky, unable to accept that his negotiations had failed or to realize the gravity of the situation, abstained. Stalin supported Lenin, and it is unlikely that he ever forgot the vulnerability of the party and of the nation or the conflict within the Central Committee during these fateful days.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 108

As a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee Stalin took part in all the meetings of that body at which the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty and Russia’s withdrawal from the imperialist war were discussed. The minutes of the Central Committee meetings show clearly that Stalin almost always supported Lenin’s position, although in the early stages of the discussion Lenin was in the minority….
In all the voting on this question in the Central Committee Stalin supported Lenin’s motions. The intensity of the dispute is seen in the fact that the motion for immediate conclusion of a peace with Germany was adopted on Feb. 18, 1918, by a majority of only one vote. Those voting for were Lenin, Smilga, Stalin, Sverdlov, Sokolnikov, Trotsky, and Zinoviev. Opposed were Uritsky, Joffe, Lomov, Bukharin, Krestinsky, and Dzerzhinsky.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 51

Stalin apparently did not keep a diary and he was careful about what he wrote down. Many documents were destroyed on his orders, as on occasion were reports that his instructions to the NKVD had been carried out. On the other hand, many documents remained in Stalin’s private archive. For instance, there is a copy of a paper, dated 1923 and headed ‘Biographical Details on Stalin’, located in the Commissariat of Nationalities. Its author and purpose are not indicated, but it seems likely that it was prepared under Stalin’s guidance.
The file gives a detailed account of Stalin’s ‘revolutionary services’ before October:
“During the October days, Stalin was one of a team of 5 (a collective) whose task was to give political leadership in the uprising…. Like his pre-revolutionary work, Stalin’s present revolutionary work is of enormous importance. Distinguished by his tireless energy, his exceptional and outstanding mind and his implacable will, Comrade Stalin is one of the main, unseen, truly steel springs of the revolution, which with invincible force are turning the Russian revolution into a worldwide October. An old follower of Lenin’s, better than anyone else he has absorbed Lenin’s methods and ideas on practical activity.
Thanks to this, he is at present brilliantly deputizing for Lenin in the sphere not only of party activity, but also of state construction.”
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 512

…Stalin’s promotion was due to the dissidence of so many members of the Center Committee. True, this time the dissidents did not leave the party, were not expelled, and even regained, later, their influence in the inner councils of Bolshevism. But they remained in reserve for the time being. This is not to say that Stalin was completely immune from the doubts and vacillations of the more moderate leaders; he had had his moment of hesitation on the eve of the October rising. But he was essentially Lenin’s satellite. He moved invariably within Lenin’s orbit. Every now and then his own judgment and political instinct tempted him to stray; and on a few important occasions his judgment was sounder than Lenin’s. But at least in the first years after the Revolution, the master’s pull on him was strong enough to keep him steadily within the prescribed orbit.
It was by Lenin’s side that Stalin spent the night from Oct. 27 to 28 at Petersburg military headquarters, watching the measures taken to repel General Krasnov’s march on the capital. He was by Lenin’s side a few days later, when Lenin told the Commander-in-Chief, General Dukhonin, to offer an armistice to the German Command and to order the cease-fire, and when, after General Dukhonin’s refusal, Lenin dismissed him and appointed Krylenko Commander-in-Chief. This was the beginning of Stalin’s military activity which was to grow in scope and importance with the progress of the civil war.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 180-181

“We are going to have not half a revolution but a whole revolution.” Lenin’s policy was not without danger to those who espoused it. The odium of a German invasion of the country might fall upon them. It seems safer to seem to uphold Kerensky. Kamenev, Zinoviev, Tomsky, Dzerzhinsky were all at first opposed to Lenin’s policy. Almost his sole supporter of any note was Stalin.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 34

[Duranty says that Stalin made him change a phrase in their interview, “inheritor of the mantle of Lenin,” to “faithful servant of Lenin.” A dictator Stalin certainly is, but not a flaming egotist.
Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 530

Stalin was the only one of the exiles to agree with his leader [Lenin}.
Delbars, Yves. The Real Stalin. London, Allen & Unwin, 1951, p. 70

He [Lenin] was, therefore, obliged to seek allies. Zinoviev and Kamenev followed him, but Sverdlov, the man who knew most about the Party organizations, was dead, and the insignificant Kalinin was inclined to support Trotsky. The only useful ally to whom Lenin could turn was Stalin, with his numerous connections with all levels of the Party.
Delbars, Yves. The Real Stalin. London, Allen & Unwin, 1951, p. 117

The two of them conversed endlessly. Stalin fitted Lenin’s bill as a quintessential Bolshevik. He was tough and uncomplaining…. He appeared to conform to a working-class stereotype. He was also a committed revolutionary and a Bolshevik factional loyalist. Stalin was obviously bright and Lenin, who was engaged in controversy with Zhordania and other Mensheviks on the national question, encouraged Stalin to take time out from his duties to write up a lengthy piece on the subject.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 89

Stalin bequeathed a consolidated system of rule to his successors. Personally he had remained devoted to Lenin and his rule had conserved and reinforced the Leninist regime.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 599

LENIN NOT AN ABSOLUTE DICTATOR

Lenin is not an absolute dictator, because he must get the agreement of the Communist Party to his policy. Generally he does get it, but the limitation still remains.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 42

January 16, 1923–Lenin has often been called the “red dictator.” This designation is wrong; Lenin never had the right to dictate, although in practice his opinion generally carried the day.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 101

Lenin was far from being a dictator in his Party. Besides, a revolutionary party would not brook any dictatorship over itself!
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 137

LENIN IS ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT RUSSIA

Lenin is always right about Russia, because he knows and others only think.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 92

November 16, 1923–…Lenin, who possesses to the supreme degree the twofold quality of seeing clear to a heart of a problem and finding the formula that will reconcile its solution with the Marxist principles.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 112

Bolitho possessed to a remarkable degree the same quality which proved the key to Lenin’s success, namely, the gift of making a quick and accurate summary of facts and drawing therefrom the right, logical, and inevitable conclusions.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 95

The fact that his [Lenin] plan had achieved success in Russia, where capitalism was only in a rudimentary stage of development, is somewhat against the Marxian law and was due to an extraordinary convergence of circumstances, the most important of which was that there had been a leader capable of understanding the situation and utilizing it.
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 363

LENIN LEADS BY BRAIN AND WILL

November 15, 1922–The power of brain and will. By that power Lenin rules. By it alone. For he lacks Trotsky’s eloquence and magnetism, Radek’s persuasiveness, and Zinoviev’s grim enthusiasm. And, unlike western demagogues, he never seeks to flatter an audience or appeal to their preferences and emotions. His authority is based on the more solid foundation of greater brain power–better judgment, deeper reasoning, truer analysis of facts.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 97

The secret of Lenin’s authority, which did in fact amount to dictatorship, was that long experience had proved him right far oftener than his colleagues. It is said that once, at the beginning of the Revolution, Lenin, faced by general opposition, wrapped his head in his cloak, saying: “All right! Argue it out for yourselves; but when you’re reached the conclusion that my plan is the only possible one wake me up and say so. I’m going to sleep.” An hour or two later they woke him up and said: “we don’t like your plan much more than we did, but we agree that it’s the only way. You’re right.” As the event proved, Lenin was right in this case, and scores of others like it gave him such ascendancy that by 1919 or 1920 his opinions were hardly questioned.
But it was supremacy of brain, not of position….
Trotsky is a great executive, but his brain cannot compare with Lenin’s in analytical power.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 102

Now Lenin is portrayed as a monster, evil, and so forth. This is because he was like a rock, armed with knowledge, science, and a colossal mind…. He had a vision. Perhaps he didn’t see everything, but he saw the main thing.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 137

Of the men who have lived on earth, Lenin was one of the greatest.
It is a strange and paradoxical thing that the Bolsheviks, who had one of the greatest individual leaders of all time, profess to decry the importance of individual leadership.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 19

LENIN GOT PEOPLE TO WORK BY PERSUASION, NOT FORCE

Peter the Great made them work, too, but by brute force and Lenin by the force of personality. “That force,” said Osinsky, “came from two qualities–first, the capacity to understand the real meaning of events; second, the ability to explain things to others.”
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 145

The Bolsheviks can organize much, but is not their propaganda which draws these hundreds of thousands to Lenin’s feet.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 223

To use an un-Bolshevik metaphor, Lenin had realized, and taught to his followers, that the Russian masses were a bank upon which any check could be drawn, provided that they were told what the money was for and that it was being spent for their benefit. As Lenin said and repeated, the masses would do anything, suffer anything, and shrink from nothing, if they were rightly appealed to.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 139

LENIN LIVED SIMPLY

Semashko gives his explanation of this power. He writes: “Lenin is really one with the people at heart. He has always lived in extreme simplicity–one small room, an iron bed, and a work table. This simplicity is innate in him, not a demagogic trick or bourgeois hypocrisy. Later, as master of Russia, he was always annoyed by pomp and ceremony.”
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 146

This simplicity and modesty of Lenin’s, which struck me the moment I met him, his desire to pass unnoticed, or any rate not to emphasize his superiority, was one of his strongest points as the new chief of the new masses, the great, simple, and profound masses of humanity….”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 35

STALIN CALLS HIMSELF LENIN’S DISCIPLE

“Lenin,” Stalin told me, “differed from the rest of us by his clear Marxist brain and his unfaltering will. Lenin from the outset favored a hard boiled policy and even then was picking men who could stick it out and endure.” To the Stalin of today Lenin is so far above him that, when I wrote he was Lenin’s “successor,” he made me change it to Lenin’s “disciple.” It was not modestly but a statement of fact. Stalin is a great man now as the world reckons greatness, but Lenin was different–he knows it–one of the very rare and greatest men.
So Stalin set himself to follow Lenin’s star, from which he never waived in the worst uglyness of defeat or in the darker days when Lenin had a bare handful of followers in Switzerland….
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 169

Stalin forced the transformation of Russia in exactly the same way as Peter the Great had done. When I therefore asked him whether he did not feel himself to be the successor of the latter, he denied it peremptorily:
“These historic parallels are always dangerous. But, if you insist on it, I can only say the following: Peter–he purposely omitted “the Great’–only brought one stone to the temple; Lenin built it. But I am only Lenin’s disciple, and my only desire is to be known as his worthy successor.”
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 123

Stalin has written a great number of important books. Several of them have a classic value in Marxist literature. But if one asks him what he is, he replies: “I am only a disciple of Lenin, and my whole ambition is to be a faithful disciple.” It is curious to observe how, in many of the accounts of work accomplished under his direction, Stalin systematically gives credit for all the progress made to Lenin, whereas the credit has been in very large measure his own,…
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 280

When the Kerensky revolution took place, in March 1917, Stalin was liberated. Though most of the other political prisoners were welcomed with public demonstrations on their return home, Stalin came back to Petrograd alone and practically unnoticed. He immediately became an editorial writer on the Pravda. The first articles which he published were moderate and conciliatory. But two months later, when Lenin came to Petrograd and immediately put an end to liberalist and moderate socialist tendencies in the ranks of the Bolshevik Party, Stalin took Lenin’s side and was a passionate follower of his to the end. I once asked him if he did not look upon himself as a sort of follower of Peter the Great. He brusquely pooh-poohed the suggestion and answered: “I am a disciple of Lenin. And my only wish is to be a worthy follower of his. Historical parallels such as that you have mentioned are always somewhat risky, but if you insist upon suggesting this parallel with Peter the Great, then I should say that Peter brought only a brick to the building of the temple but Lenin constructed the edifice himself. I am only his disciple.”
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 357

That Stalin has the disciple of Lenin rather than of Marx we can tell by his writings. It is even possible that he loved Lenin. In any case today, when his power far exceeds any that Lenin ever had, Stalin feels that he is the second of a line. When I spoke to him of the succession of Peter the Great, he answered simply: “I am a disciple of Lenin. My only wish is to become a worthy one. If a comparison must be found, the only man to compare with Lenin is Peter the Great. But I, for my part, am merely Lenin’s disciple.”
Since I have no doubt of the truth of this confession, I can only explain this unusual modesty in a dictator, this voluntary retreat to the second place, by a personal veneration which seems otherwise alien to Stalin’s nature and is unique in his life.
Ludwig, Emil. Three portraits: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. New York Toronto: Longmans, Green and Company, c1940, p. 97

[In a May 13, 1933 talk with Colonel Robins the following dialogue occurred]
ROBINS: I consider it a great honour to have an opportunity of paying you a visit.
STALIN: There is nothing particular in that. You are exaggerating.
ROBINS: What is most interesting to me is that throughout Russia I have found the names Lenin-Stalin, Lenin-Stalin, Lenin-Stalin, linked together.
STALIN: That, too, is an exaggeration. How can I be compared to Lenin?
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 13, p. 267

LENIN AND STALIN WERE SHOW NO MERCY REALISTS

Stalin is no less of a Marxist than Lenin who never allowed his Marxism to blind him to the needs of expediency. When Lenin brought in NEP, he jettisoned Marxist principles more thoroughly than Stalin ever did, and when Lenin began a fight, whether the weapons were words or bullets, he showed no mercy to his opponents.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 274

STALIN MEETS LENIN AND TROTSKY FOR FIRST TIME

Thus, in Tammerfors Stalin first spoke to Lenin personally. He also saw there for the first time his later mortal enemy, Trotsky.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 27

STALIN CONSIDERED LENIN TO BE THE GREATEST AND USED THE WORD LENINISM

The term ‘Leninism’ was invented by the enemies of the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks, the real Russian Social Democrats, who regarded themselves as the true inheritors of Marx’s ideology; by their use of the term ‘Leninism’ they wished to place on record that Lenin was not a follower of Marx at all, but a heretic who had elaborated a doctrine of his own that was a deviation from Karl Marx….
For Stalin, Lenin towered above everyone else. He regarded him as the greatest figure not only of his own time but of all time. In the attitude of the others to Lenin, Stalin saw nothing but almost unendurable presumption. He was quite certain that none of them could take over Lenin’s heritage, ‘Lenin’s cause’, or even think of doing so. He certainly regarded the people around Lenin as unworthy of that great man. He himself stood on the fringe of that circle, with a firm belief that he alone had fully realized ”Lenin’s personality and his overwhelming historical importance….
But on April 3, 1920, Stalin published in Pravda an article on Lenin’s birthday. The very title of the article was a program: ‘LENIN– the organizer and leader of the All-Russian Communist Party.’ In this short article Stalin described Lenin’s theoretical controversy with the Mensheviks, and gave a clear account of the difference between the two tendencies in Russian socialism. But the main feature of the article is that it represented Lenin as the sole creator of the Bolshevik doctrine, and the organizer of the party, to whom alone belonged the absolute leadership of the party. Clearly ‘Leninism’ existed already for Stalin.
Immediately after Lenin’s death, Stalin went to work to create the Lenin legend, and the word ‘Leninism’ reappeared; this time, however, as an official party term. It was followed before long by the publication of Stalin’s book the Foundations of Leninism. This book is of such great historical importance that it calls for consideration. According to Stalin, Leninism is the direct and only true continuation of Marxism, the theory, strategy, and tactic, created by Lenin, of socialism in the age of imperialism. For the age of imperialism is that of the dying capitalist society, and will be ended by the social revolution. While Marxism held good for the labor movement in the pre-revolutionary, that is to say in the time of the development of the labor movement and the ripening and coming to fruition of the social revolution, Leninism is the doctrine of the theory and tactic of the proletarian revolution itself. According to Lenin, therefore–as interpreted by Stalin–we are living in the age of the world-wide social revolution.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 111-113

STALIN INTERPRETS LENIN ON DESTROYING THE STATE

Lenin adds, according to Stalin: “The proletarian Revolution is impossible without the destruction by force of the machinery of the bourgeois state and its replacement by new machinery.”
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 114

ONLY STALIN WROTE THEORETICAL WRITINGS CONTINUING LENIN

The question arises, why was it that Stalin, and he alone, published what at that time was the only book on the theory of Leninism? At that time all party members, especially the leaders, were free to write, and within the party there was complete freedom of expression of opinion. At that time Stalin was not accounted a theorist; after Lenin’s death Bucharin was regarded as the best theorist in the Politburo. The explanation is that probably none of the leading Bolsheviks would so have demeaned himself as to write a whole book simply as a commentator on Lenin. Each of them regarded himself as an authority on theory and as part of the body of intellectuals who had created the Bolshevik Party and laid the intellectual foundations of the revolution. They regarded themselves as original thinkers, quite competent to formulate their own theories, proceeding straight from Marxism, and not as mere loud-speakers for Lenin….
…He [Stalin] was much closer to the mass of the people than his opponents were….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 116

TROTSKY WON’T ADMIT MISTAKES

His lack of self-criticism prevented Trotsky from ever remedying his defects. Typical of this was the following little-known incident. A conference took place in 1921 in the Kremlin Palace between the foremost leaders of the Communist International. At that time this ‘Third International’ was not merely the instrument of Russian policy. The subject under discussion was whether a rising should be started in Germany. The majority of those present were in favor of the idea. Lenin came to the meeting, and in a lengthy speech opposed the suggested rising. A rising was actually started in central Germany, ending in a disastrous defeat for Communism. Subsequently another discussion took place in that hall. Trotsky had not been present at the first discussion, but had set down his opinion in writing. Some Russian leaders who had voted in favor of the rising admitted their mistake. This time Trotsky was present, and he made a speech attacking those who had been in favor of the rising. In astonishment his hearers pointed out that he himself had supported the proposal. He denied this, and was reminded that he had actually set down his opinion in writing. His letter was produced. Meanwhile the discussion continued. Trotsky read the letter, said not a word, and went away, with the document in his pocket.
Such was the man who set out to fight his historic duel with Stalin.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 126

COMMUNISTS LED A VERY RIGOROUS, SPARTAN LIFE

…another division faded within the official class, the division between party members and the so-called nonparty, which until lately and been sharply defined; it had existed since the revolution. The Communists had been morally and in power and prestige far above their nonparty colleagues; but they had also been subject to a far more rigid discipline. The party had interfered extensively even in their private life. They had been materially at a disadvantage as compared with the others. A Communist had had to take a sort of vow of poverty, and there was a ‘party maximum’. An engineer, for instance, who did not belong to the party could keep the whole of his income and spend it as he liked. Not so the Communist. Not only had he a party tax to pay, but his income was limited. He was paid his salary in full, like the nonparty man, but he had to hand over to the party whatever he earned above the party maximum. Even what he had left he could not spend as he liked; he must not live in ‘bourgeois’ style, but was restricted to a Spartan existence.
Periodical ‘purges’ took place, and every Communist had to face them. The whole of the workers, whether party members are not, could take part, and everyone was free to criticize. Then it would be found that one of the Communists had too many suits, another had a carpet in his dwelling, a third fed too well, and the wife of the fourth wore some simple article of jewelry. All these things were ‘unproletarian’, and might bring a Communist into serious trouble.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 213

STALIN AGREES WITH LENIN THAT THE STATE MUST USE FORCE

Stalin has never denied his belief in the ruthless use of force. He openly agreed not only with Lenin’s view that the State exists always in order to enable one class to dominate another, but also with Lenin’s opinion that dictatorship is a use of force unrestricted by any law.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 235

Without their resolve to take extreme measures, neither Lenin nor Stalin can be understood. No, without their resolve we might not be alive today, much less trying to understand.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 278

STALIN BELIEVED IN A CENTRALIZED STATE

Stalin made an end of all that [local soviets setting up their own administrative organization without consulting the centre]. He declared his belief in the centralized State, and on one occasion actually said: ‘Only a centralized State can get anything done.’
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 276

Though the charges of Russian nationalism have since been laid against Stalin more than once, he was not, either then or even in later days, prompted by any of the ordinary emotions and prejudices that go with nationalism. What he represented was merely the principal of centralization, common to all modern revolutions.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 240

STALIN CONTENDS NATIONS CAN PASS CAPITALISM AND GO STRAIGHT TO SOCIALISM

In 1926, however, Stalin put forward his own theories about Asia. He held that there was no need for all countries still in the pre-capitalist era to pass through the capitalist stage. Since the dictatorship of the proletariat ruled in the Soviet Union, those peoples could evade that stage with Russian help and proceed directly to socialism.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 282

STALIN AND LENIN SHARE SAME KEY BELIEFS

Stalin shares Lenin’s conviction that the world will not permit the Soviet Union to develop in peace, because the mere example of that development would be bound to bring capitalism to its end….
He also shares Lenin’s belief in the irreconcilable differences in the imperialist world, ‘which guarantee the safety of the Soviet and the victory of the world revolution’….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 320

It is the general fashion among Stalin’s official biographers to give him little credit for original thinking, probably because their subject himself invariably insists: “I am only the interpreter of Leninism.” “I followed the directives laid down first by Comrade Lenin.” On the rare occasions when we can test the reactions of the two men to the same set of circumstances before they have had time to compare conclusions, it invariably turns out that Stalin was not behind his leader in thinking out a line for himself; his policy subsequently proved on every occasion to be confirmed by the decision of Lenin.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 36

STALIN PERMANENTLY FOLLOWED LENIN FROM THEIR FIRST MEETING

While serving this particular sentence, Stalin took one of the most important steps of his life. Eagerly devouring the smuggled copies of the party organ Iskra (The Spark), which arrived by devious means, Stalin found himself increasingly impressed by those articles which carried the initials of Lenin. Hesitating no longer he wrote a letter to Lenin in London. In December 1903 after a lapse of almost six months, he received a reply which, in his own words, “contained an amazingly clear explanation of the tactics of our Party and a brilliant analysis of our future tasks.” From that day he became Lenin’s man and never for an instant deviated from his allegiance.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 19

Stalin made it clear to me that at his first meeting with the Master–at Tammerfors, Finland, in 1905–he decided to hitch is wagon to Lenin’s star. “Lenin,” he told me, “differed from the rest of us by his clear Marxist brain and his unfaltering will. From the outset he favored a strong policy and even then was picking men who could stick it out and endure.”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 171

Kaganovich says, “The most remarkable and most characteristic feature of all Stalin’s political activities is that he never drifted apart from Lenin and never swerved to the Right or to the Left.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 46

Between 1901 and 1917, right from the beginning of the Bolshevik Party until the October Revolution, Stalin was a major supporter of Lenin’s line. No other Bolshevik leader could claim as constant or diverse activity as Stalin. He had followed Lenin right from the beginning, at the time when Lenin only had a small number of adherents among the socialist intellectuals. Unlike most of the other Bolshevik leaders, Stalin was constantly in contact with Russian reality and with activists within Russia. He knew these militants, having met them in open and clandestine struggles, in prisons and in Siberia. Stalin was very competent, having led armed struggle in the Caucasus as well as clandestine struggles; he had led union struggles and edited legal and illegal newspapers; he had led the legal and parliamentary struggle and knew the national minorities as well as the Russian people.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 25 [pp. 15-16 on the NET]

LENIN HONORS STALIN WITH PROMOTIONS BEFORE WWI

1912 opened in a more hopeful key, each month producing further proof that the long period of ebb was drawing to a close. For Stalin personally, 1912 also brought a most welcome decision. In February of that year Lenin proposed to the Bolshevik leaders in session abroad, that they recognize the devotion and achievements of Stalin by co-opting him onto the Central Committee. The news of his election reached Stalin a month later and stimulated him to even greater effort….
Further honors were conferred upon Stalin here in Cracow; Lenin agreed that events were moving so rapidly that the emigre Central Committee might find itself acting as a break upon the initiative of the Party if it retained in its own hands the entire direction of policy. To avoid this possibility it was decided to delegate the immediate tactical direction of the struggle within Russia to an “executive bureau,” of which the principal figures were Stalin and his countryman, Sergo Ordjonikidze. Except for major strategical decisions, Lenin voluntarily handed over control of the Party’s work within Russia to the “wonderful Georgian.” With what impressive results was soon to be made clear.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 33

LENIN MADE NO EFFORT TO KEEP GROUPS FROM SPLITTING OFF

Again and again groups which could not agree split off of the others. Lenin made no effort to detain them; he distinguished sharply between those allies with whom cooperation was possible for a longer or shorter period, and the smaller group which would stick through everything.
Strong, Anna Louise. This Soviet World. New York, N. Y: H. Holt and company, c1936, p. 25

LENIN AND STALIN DID NOT RELY ON STIRRING ORATORY FOR SUPPORT

A communist who allowed himself to become as ignorant of world affairs as is the average American politician would be “cleaned out” of the party,….
The emotional vagueness which is a feature of all capitalist political platforms, and which is indeed desired in order to win wide support without being too definite, is the exact opposite of communist statements….
This [Marxism] is no dogma to be learned once for all; it is a developing body of thought, constantly applied to and affected by new conditions. By the very theory of dialectics, these forces are changing. The speeches of Lenin and Stalin and other party leaders never deal in stirring oratory or spell-binding generalities but in close and careful analysis. Stalin would no more attempt to sway a communist Congress by “force of personality” expressed in brilliant oratory and colorful phrasing, than Edison would have expected to convince a group of American engineers of the reliability of some new formula by emotional words. One such attempt would ruin either an Edison or Stalin.
Strong, Anna Louise. This Soviet World. New York, N. Y: H. Holt and company, c1936, p. 29-30

Lenin did not at all conform to the accepted idea of an orator. He was just a man speaking. Except at certain periods (notably the days of October) when it was important that the direct and immediate impulses of the people should be aroused, and when it was necessary at all costs to make an impression on the mighty surging tide of humanity, Lenin made hardly any gestures at all when he spoke. At congresses, people commented on his quietness and even on the “dryness” of his delivery. He merely endeavored to persuade his listeners, to convey his convictions from within, not from without, by the weight of their contents, as it were, and not by the gesticulations of the container. The oratorical gestures which are sometimes seen in representations of him are not quite correct, and he may be said never to have moved so much as in his statues.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 38

The simple and efficient method of delivery which Lenin employed was also that which Stalin had instinctively adopted and which he was destined never to abandon (he has even accentuated it).
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 39

STALIN HELD LENIN IN THE HIGHEST REGARD

When I compared him with the other leaders of our party, it always seemed to me that he was head and shoulders above his colleagues–Plekhanov, Martov, Axelrod and the others; that, compared with them, Lenin was not just one of the leaders, but a leader of the highest rank, a mountain eagle, who knew no fear in the struggle,…. This simple and bold letter strengthened my opinion that Lenin was the mountain eagle of our Party. I cannot forgive myself for having, from the habit of an old underground worker, consigned this letter of Lenin’s, like many other letters, to the flames.
Yaroslavsky, Emelian. Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. Moscow: FLPH, 1940, p. 30

LENIN COMPLIMENTS AND CARES FOR STALIN

In a letter to Gorky, Lenin referred affectionately to Stalin and to this work: “A wonderful Georgian here,” he said….
Yaroslavsky, Emelian. Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. Moscow: FLPH, 1940, p. 75

First, it should not be forgotten that even before the Revolution Lenin praised Stalin for his work on the national question and called him “the wonderful Georgian.”
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 198

After completing his work on the national question, Comrade Stalin returned to St. Petersburg. Not having heard anything from him for some time, Lenin, in a letter dated March 8, 1913, inquired: “That is there no news of Vasily (Stalin–E.Y.)? What is wrong with him? We are worried.” Two days later, he again writes: “Take good care of him” (Stalin), “he is very sick.”
Yaroslavsky, Emelian. Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. Moscow: FLPH, 1940, p. 76

LENIN WAS MORE SEVERE AND LESS LENIENT THAN STALIN

CHUEV: Who was more severe, Lenin or Stalin?
MOLOTOV: Lenin, of course. He was severe. In some cases he was harsher than Stalin. Read his messages to Dzerzhinsky. He often resorted to extreme measures when necessary. He ordered the suppression of the Tambov uprising, that everything be burned to the ground. I was present at the discussion. He would not have tolerated any opposition, even had it appeared. I recall how he reproached Stalin for his softness and liberalism. “What kind of a dictatorship do we have? We have a milk-and-honey power, and not a dictatorship!”

CHUEV: Where is it written that he reproached Stalin?
MOLOTOV: It was in a small circle among us.
Here is a telegram from Lenin to a provincial food commissar in his native Simbirsk in 1919: “The starving workers of Petrograd and Moscow are complaining about your inefficient management…. I demand from you maximum energy, a no-holds-barred attitude to the job, and thorough assistance to the starving workers. If you fail, I will be forced to arrest the entire staff of your institutions and to bring them to trial…. You must immediately load and send off two trains of 30 cars each. Send a telegram when this is complete. If it is confirmed that, by four clock, you did not send the grain and made the peasants wait until morning, you will be shot. Sovnarkom Chairman, Lenin.”
I remember another case. Lenin had received a letter from a poor peasant of Rostov province saying that things were bad with them, that no one paid any attention to them, the poor peasants, that there was no help for them and that, on the contrary, they were oppressed. Lenin proposed the formation of a group of “Sverdlovers [adults from Sverdlov University]….” Lenin directed this group to go to the place in question and, if the report was confirmed, to shoot guilty parties right then and there and to rectify the situation.
What could be more concrete? Shoot on the spot and that’s that! Such things happened. It was outside the law, but we had to do it…. Lenin was a strong character. If necessary, he seized people by the scruff of their necks.

CHUEV: They say that Lenin had nothing to do with the execution of the tsar’s family in 1918, that it was a decision of the local authorities following Kolchak’s attack…. But some people say it was revenge for Lenin’s brother.
MOLOTOV: They make Lenin out to be a crank. They are small-fry philistines who think this. Don’t be naive.
I think that, without Lenin, no one would have dared to make such a decision. Lenin was implacable when the Revolution, Soviet power, and communism were at stake. Indeed, had we implemented democratic solutions to all problems, this would surely have damaged the state and the party. Issues would have dragged on for too long and nothing good would have come of this sort of formal democracy. Lenin often resolved critical problems by himself, on his own authority.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 107-109

I understand the feelings of those who wrote about rural life. They took pity on the muzhik. But what could you do? Sacrifices were unavoidable. Some argue that Lenin would have never pursued that kind of policy. But in matters like that Lenin was more severe than Stalin. Many suggest that Lenin would have reexamined his stand on the proletarian dictatorship, that he wasn’t a dogmatist, and so on. But this is said by people who very much would have liked him to revise his views!
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 251

Of course Lenin displayed more flexibility in certain cases. Stalin was less tolerant. But, on the other hand, Lenin demanded that Zinoviev and Kamenev be expelled from the party in the days of the October Revolution, and Stalin defended them. It could go either way depending on the case. But it cannot be said that Lenin was soft. He didn’t spend his time wiping children’s snotty noses. Lenin should not be portrayed like that.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 270

Lenin started the concentration camps, established the Cheka. Stalin just continued them.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 411

… Moreover, it was he [Lenin] who fostered the terror, forced labor camps, suppression of all opposition, monolithic organization of party and state, and other aspects of the Soviet system, which are anathema to Western liberal opinion and which are popularly attributed to Stalin.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. xii

A friend of mine met Molotov before his death and he told Molotov, “You know, it’s a pity that Lenin died so early. If he had lived longer, everything would have been normal.” But Molotov said, “Why do you say that?” My friend said, “Because Stalin was a bloodsucker and Lenin was a noble person.” Molotov smiled, and then he said, “Compared to Lenin, Stalin was a mere lamb.”
Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 45

…there has grown up in the United States a curious and inaccurate distinction between Lenin and Stalin. Lenin has been presented as a kind-hearted idealist–almost a democrat in our sense–whereas Stalin has been pictured as a ruthless Asiatic dictator…. But Lenin’s actions and speeches against the opposition of the kulaks, the clergy, the bourgeois, landlords, and generals were just as harsh as anything we know of Stalin. Both men were agreed in showing no mercy to their enemies, but Lenin’s enemies, for the most part, were outsiders, the foes of the Revolution. Against them he showed no mercy. By the time Stalin came to power non-Party opposition in the USSR had been thoroughly defeated.
…That, in short, was the difference–a difference of time and a personality. In Lenin’s day the prime struggle was against the anti-Bolshevik elements in Russia and outside Russia, the counterrevolution of Denikin, Kolchak, and Yudenich, supported by the invasion, or intervention, of French, British, Czechs, Japanese, and Americans. In addition, Lenin’s personal authority was so great that he had no real or prolonged difficulty with opponents inside the Communist Party. Stalin’s situation was otherwise. Since, by 1924, when Lenin died, internal and external non-communist enemies had been defeated, Stalin’s conflict was within the Party.
Duranty, Walter. Stalin & Co. New York: W. Sloane Associates, 1949, p. 20

[In a speech delivered to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Presidium of the Central Control Commission of the CPSU in early 1929 Stalin stated] It is said that Lenin would certainly have acted more mildly than the Central Committee is now acting towards Tomsky and Bukharin. That is absolutely untrue. The situation now is that two members of the Political Bureau systematically violate Central Committee decisions, stubbornly refuse to remain in posts assigned to them by the Party, yet, instead of punishing them, the Central Committee of the Party has for two months already been trying to persuade them to remain in their posts. And–just recall–how did Lenin act in such cases? You surely remember that just for one small error committed by Tomsky, Comrade Lenin packed him off to Turkestan.
TOMSKY: With Zinoviev’s benevolent assistance, and partly yours.
STALIN: If what you mean to say is that Lenin could be persuaded to do anything of which he was not himself convinced, that can only arouse laughter…. Recall another fact, for example, the case of Shlyapnikov, whose expulsion from the Central Committee Lenin recommended because he had criticized some draft decision of the Supreme Council of National Economy in the Party unit of that body.
Who can deny that Bukharin’s and Tomsky’s present crimes in grossly violating Central Committee decisions and openly creating a new opportunist platform against the Party are far graver than were the offenses of Tomsky and Shlyapnikov in the cases mentioned? Yet, not only is the Central Committee not demanding that either of them should be excluded from the Central Committee or be assigned to somewhere in Turkestan, but it is confining itself to attempts to persuade them to remain in their posts, while at the same time, of course, exposing their non-Party, and at times downright anti-Party, line. What greater mildness do you want?
Would it not be truer to say that we, the Central Committee majority, are treating the Bukharinites too liberally and tolerably, and that we are thereby, perhaps, involuntarily encouraging their factional anti-party “work”?
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 11, p. 338-340

MOLOTOV SAYS KOLLONTAI IS NOT A REAL REVOLUTIONARY

What did you think of the film about Kollontai –“The Ambassador of the Soviet Union”?
Kollontai won the war? That’s naive…. I knew her well. We had rather good relations, but she was not a true revolutionary. She came from the margin. But an honest person. A beautiful woman…. Lenin really took her down a peg. Read his speech at the 10th Party Congress, where he speaks against the workers’ opposition. An opposition of Shliapnikov and Kollontai, as Lenin derided it, embraced “class-welded followers.”
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 111

LENIN SUPERIOR TO STALIN BUT NOT IN PRACTICAL POLITICS

Of course, Lenin was superior to Stalin. I always thought so. He was superior in the theoretical sense, superior in his personal qualities. But no one could surpass Stalin as a practical worker.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 112

Sometimes Stalin would insist that the unity of the party was the supreme good and that for its sake even principles had to be sacrificed. At other times he would argue that if necessary to uphold principals a split should not be avoided. He would resort now to this, now to that argument, depending on which happened to suit him at a given moment. In disputes his was always the voice of reason, striving to reconcile lofty standards with expediency, a model of moderation and a threat to no one. He had no enemies, except possibly Trotsky, and even him he sought to befriend until rebuffed:…
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 466

And Koba after all is a realist. One must give him credit for that….
Litvinov, Maksim Maksimovich. Notes for a Journal. New York: Morrow, 1955, p. 34

The outstanding talent of Stalin is his ability to tell the executive, the experts, the groups what is next to be done and how to set about it. He has been stronger than Lenin but he has added nothing to Leninism except tactics; add of course will, vigilance, and judgment of character. He is a general of the economic and political revolution.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 140

Historians have long been aware of the disagreement between Lenin and Stalin over the first constitution of the USSR, but the dispute needs to be freshly examined because recent events have made it possible for us to assess the details more objectively. Most previous accounts of this conflict have questioned Stalin’s skepticism about the durability of a “union” based on the “solidarity of the workers” (i.e. Party discipline), and various authors have argued that his insistence on the need for tough central power to hold the entire structure together was wrong. Today, a decade after the surprisingly rapid collapse ofthe Soviet Union, it can be argued that Lenin was the one who was politically shortsighted when he proposed a less restrictive first constitution for the Soviet Union.
Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 263

Analyzing the events of the pre-war period today, it does seem clear that the strictly centralized economy, which played such a crucial role in the rapid industrialization of the country, would never have been possible if Lenin’s model for the Union had been adopted. Lenin even went so far as to oppose a centrally directed general transport system. And if instead of the USSR with its “autonomous” and “Union” republics (the latter distinguished by a formal right to secede), an extended Russian Federation had been established as originally envisaged by Stalin, this certainly would have led to an even more rapid economic, political, and ethnic integration of the country. Along with an accelerated process of Russification, there could have been the genuine birth of a “Soviet people” that paid much less heed to ethnicity, rather like the experience of the United States.
Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 268

LENIN WANTED SILENCE DURING MEETINGS AND NO SMOKING

…Lenin disliked conversations during meetings…. But Lenin very much disliked it when people whispered during the sessions. He could not stand smoking at all. He himself didn’t smoke. He was annoyed by whispering, all kinds of talking….
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 124

LEADERS CAN’T BE RUDE OR ABUSE SUBORDINATES

…Rudeness cannot be justified. It cannot be turned into a special issue, but it also cannot be justified. If you get to the top, you must behave properly. You must be patient. Otherwise, what kind of a leader are you? That’s an elementary obligation. As for a subordinate, if you abuse him, it’s no life: its prison. It’s already hard enough for him without that….
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 124

This attention to us [some generals] touched us deeply. I have already mentioned how Stalin could be very irascible and abrasive; but even more striking was this concern for his subordinates at such a grave time.
Vasilevskii, Aleksandr M. A Lifelong Cause. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1981, p. 118

Throughout my entire work with Stalin, especially during the Great Patriotic War, I had invariably felt his attention. I would even say excessive concern, that I seemingly did not merit .
Vasilevskii, Aleksandr M. A Lifelong Cause. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1981, p. 285

MOLOTOV SAYS TROTSKY ADMITS HE WAS NO BOLSHEVIK & PREDICTED THE PARTY’S DEFEAT

Trotsky put it more slyly, more cautiously. His purport was: our time is up. I have always opposed you Bolsheviks but joined you, changed to the Bolshevik party before the Revolution. But nothing came of it. The international proletariat did not support us. This means you have failed, you have no future!
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 127

BOLSHEVIKS HAD NO THEORETICIANS AFTER LENIN

Generally speaking, we had few theoreticians. Genuine Bolshevik theoreticians were not easy to find.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 228

LENIN ERRED ON THE PAY STRUCTURE OF SOCIALIST SOCIETY

…under socialism, Lenin said, no official will be paid a higher wage than the average worker’s. None of the officials, including the general secretary of the party and the chairman of the council of ministers, should receive compensation higher than that of the average worker. This principle was practiced by the Paris Commune.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 380

Lenin declared in 1918 that we could pay the top bourgeois specialists more than others. …but we could tolerate it as a temporary expedient.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 399

THE TRANQUIL LIFE IS NOT FOR REAL REVOLUTIONARIES

“Go your own way!”–if that’s the policy we are going to follow regarding Poland, then we are in for trouble at home.
We are all interconnected….
In fact, an ever more ferocious and perilous struggle is unfolding…. I am against the tranquil life! If I craved a tranquil life, it would mean I have been “philistinized.” [11-9-81]
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 402

We need to strengthen the party line to prevent philistines from getting the upper hand. Yes, more than a few who desire a restful life will be found out there.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 412

It was Stalin, they declare, who built the Soviet Union into a superpower. It was Stalin who industrialized a peasant country, took it from wooden ploughs to atomic weapons, thrust it into the 20th-century, and made the West tremble at the might of Russia. Above all, it was Stalin who won the war, destroyed Hitler, beat the Germans. As they talk of Stalin, his admirers romanticize the exploits of their own youth, when, with Stalin at the helm, they were building a Brave New World. And now, amid the disarray of Gorbachev’s perestroika, they long nostalgically for the order and discipline imposed by the strong boss in the Kremlin. Those were times, they assert, when factories worked–and so did workers–unlike today!
Smith, Hedrick. The New Russians (Pt. 1). New York: Random House, 1990. p. 132

TROTSKY AND BUKHARIN HAD MULTIPLE WIVES

She [Granny] had marvelous stories to tell about the Kremlin in those days, about Trotsky’s “wives” and Bukharin’s “wives” and about Clara Zetkin,… She was a walking chronicle of her age.
Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Twenty Letters to a Friend. New York: Harper & Row, 1967, p. 228

BOLSHEVIKS REGARDED THE PARTY AS THE GUARDIAN OF THE PROLETARIAN STATE

The fact of the matter was that Lenin and his associates regarded the Communist Party as the tutor or guardian of the infant proletarian state which was not yet adult or experienced enough to govern itself and order its own ways.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 93

LENIN WOULD HAVE ACTED AS STALIN DID

In such policies, Stalin was trying to strike a balance between mass participation and firm leadership, which would provide guidance and structure for such participation…. Lenin, confronting the problems that the Party faced in these years, could hardly have acted differently than Stalin did.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 78

STALIN DESCRIBES HIS FIRST ENCOUNTERS WITH LENIN

The meeting between Lenin and Stalin, in Stalin’s own words:
“I first made Lenin’s acquaintance in 1903. I did not meet him then, but we corresponded. I have retained an unforgettable memory of that first epistolary meeting. I was an exile in Siberia at the time. In studying Lenin’s Revolutionary activities from the end of the last century, and particularly after the appearance of Iskra (The Spark), in 1901, I arrived at the conviction that in Lenin we possessed no ordinary man. To my mind he was not just a mere Party leader, but a real creator, for he alone understood the nature and urgent needs of our Party. When I compared the other leaders with Lenin, they always seemed to be a head shorter than he. Beside them, Lenin was not a person of the same order of things, but a commander of a superior type, a mountain eagle, a fearless fighter leading the Party forward through the hitherto unexplored paths of the Russian revolutionary movement. This impression anchored itself so firmly in the depths of my mind that I felt compelled to write about him to a close friend of mine who happened to be away from Russia at the time, and to ask him for his opinion of him. Sometime later I received an enthusiastic reply from my friend, addressed to Siberia, and at the same time I received a simple but profound letter from Lenin. I understood that my friend had shown him my letter. Lenin’s letter was relatively short, but he criticized incisively and intrepidly the practical work of our Party, and disclosed with remarkable clarity and precision the whole future plan of action of the Party.
I met him for the first time in December 1905, at the Bolshevik Conference of Tammerfors (in Finland). I was expecting to see, in the eagle of our Party, a great man not great only in the political sense, but physically great also, for in my imagination I pictured Lenin as a giant, fascinating, and symbolic. What was my surprise then, to see before me a man of less than middle height, in no way distinguishable from ordinary human beings!
A great man is supposed to arrive late at meetings, so that the assembly may anxiously await his arrival. The appearance of a great man is always heralded by remarks such as: Sh!… Silence!… Here he comes! But I found that Lenin had arrived long before the others, and I saw him in a corner engaged in the most ordinary conversation with one of the least important of the delegates. He was quite clearly not behaving according to the accepted rules.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 30

LENIN COMPLIMENTS STALIN’S WRITINGS

Lenin put the greatest value on Stalin’s writings. In 1911 he expressed himself as follows: “Kobi’s articles deserve the closest attention. It is difficult to imagine a better refutation of the opinions and hopes of our pacifiers and our conciliators.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 45

SOME PEOPLE WANT TO DISTORT THE ROLE OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT

A large number of people did not wish to push things further than the overthrow of the historic muck-heap surmounted by a hedged-in crown, further than by replacing the hereditary dictatorship of Peter the Great’s descendants by a middle-class government professing to be democratic, to which would be returned in rotation two or three Parties all equally democratic in word and anti-democratic in deed; with a President instead of an Emperor, an armchair instead of a throne. No difference except the erasure of a few coats of arms, slight alterations in the flag and the postage-stamps, and, at the beginnings of almanacks and directories, a change in the personnel charged with keeping the people in subjection. And the dictatorship of proletariat and, in consequence, social justice sinking head first into this republican mixture. And the system of endemic warfare and the exploitation of man by man remaining intact. A fresh lie, in fact, a fresh political crime against the people.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 50

LENIN AND STALIN BEGAN TO CREATE A STATE WITHIN A STATE

Lenin brought into existence what one might call duality of power: a Socialist State within the State. Side-by-side with the official Government, he created another Government, fully constituted, having its form in the Petrograd Soviet, functioning and consolidating itself, quite ready to become the only one. And the mass of workers openly began to prefer this Government to the official Government beside it.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 51

LENIN REMAINED IMPASSIVE WHEN FACING THOSE STALIN CALLED THE HYSTERICS

…against those whom Stalin called “the hysterics,” that is to say the revolutionary-Socialists and the Anarchists (Spiridovna threatening Lenin with the revolver at a meeting; Lenin remaining quite impassive, apparently almost amused….
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 56

TROTSKY WAS AN ANTI-BOLSHEVIK MENSHEVIK AT HEART

Whatever may have been the various causes which incited it, the great reason for Trotsky’s schism is chiefly his conception of political principles. Even if the incidental cause is vanity, the fundamental cause is ideological. It is based upon a fundamental divergence of tendencies between his own and Lenin’s principles of Bolshevism. It reveals a different political temperament, a different set of values and different methods. And it is as a result of the intensive and bitter development of these fundamental differences and of their exploitation that Trotsky gradually took an opposition stand against the whole of the official Bolshevik policy.
Menshevik to start with, Trotsky always remained a Menshevik. He may have become anti-Bolshevik because he was a Trotskyist, but he certainly did so because he was an old Menshevik. Let us put it, if you wish, that the Trotskyist aroused the old Menshevik in him. Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 166

TROTSKY WAS TOO INDECISIVE, IMPRACTICAL, AND VACILLATING TO LEAD

…But, above all, the two people [Lenin and Trotsky] are not on the same scale, and in any case, one cannot reasonably put any other personality on a parallel with the gigantic figure of Lenin.
But Trotsky’s very qualities had serious counterparts which easily changed them into defects. His critical sense, hypertrophied but without any broadness (Lenin’s, like Stalin’s, was encyclopedic), rivetted his attention upon details, prevented him from visualizing situations as a whole and made him pessimistic.
Besides, he had too much imagination. He had an uncontrolled imagination. And this imagination, jostling against its own self, would lose its balance, and cease to be able to distinguish the possible from the impossible (which, in any case, is not the function of the imagination). Lenin used to say that Trotsky was perfectly capable of producing nine good solutions and a Tenth disastrous one. The men who worked with Trotsky will tell you that, every morning when they awoke, they murmured, as they opened their eyes and stretched themselves: “I wonder what Trotsky is going to invent today.”
He saw all the alternatives too clearly, so that all sorts of doubts would assail him. The thesis and the antithesis haunted him at the same time. “Trotsky is a human shuttle cock,” said Lenin. So he would hesitate and vacillate. He was unable to make a decision. He was afraid, and consequently always instinctively opposed the actual work in hand.
Again, he was too fond of talking. He would become intoxicated by the sound of his own voice. “Even when speaking confidentially to a single person, he becomes declamatory,” said one of his former companions. To sum up, Trotsky possessed the eminent qualities of an advocate, of a debater, of an art critic, and of a journalist–but not that of a statesman having to break new ground. He lacked the exclusive and absolute sense of reality and of life. He lacked the great straightforward ruthlessness of the man of action. He did not possess really strong Marxist convictions. He was afraid. He had always been afraid. It was out of fear that he remained a Menshevik, and it is equally out of fear that he has become unbalanced and is sometimes seized with frantic attacks of extremeness. One cannot understand Trotsky unless one can discern his weakness through his fits of violence.
In a general survey Manuilsky has given us an even broader view of the matter: “The almost uninterrupted succession of Oppositions was the expression of the retirement of the feebler elements of the Party from Bolshevik positions.” All Opposition is a confession of retrogression, discouragement, incipient paralysis, and sleeping sickness.
It was the same abroad: “During the period of the actual and relative stabilization of Capitalism, Socialists began to waiver and to leave the ranks of the Communist International.” It is hard work having to keep on marching forward, constantly bearing that manner. After a certain time one’s feet grow tired, one’s fingers lose their grip–unless one has a vocation for it.
It is because of the platitude, the bustling pettiness and the impotence of Menshevism, because of what Stalin has called “the dissolute character of the Mensheviks in the matter of organization, “that Trotsky was beaten. If Trotsky had been right he would have won. In the same way as the Bolsheviks who, at the dawn of the New Era, opposed the Mensheviks in the heart of the Social-Democratic Party and forced a separation, would themselves have been beaten–if they had been wrong.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 167-169

Trotsky appears to me as the type of the pure revolutionary: of great service in the emotional stress of war, but of no further use when all that is needed is calm, steady, systematic work instead of exultation. As soon as the heroic period of the revolution was past, his vision of men and affairs became distorted and he began to see all things in a false light. Obstinately, long after Lenin had adapted his views to the facts, Trotsky clung to the principles which had been proved during the heroic, emotional, but which were bound to go awry the moment they had to serve everyday needs. As his book shows, Trotsky knows how to carry away crowds in moments of great excitement. Certainly when feelings ran high he was able to let loose a mighty flood of enthusiasm, but what he could not do was to “canalize” the flood and turn it to account in the building up of a great state.
This Stalin can do.
Trotsky is the born writer. His affectionate descriptions of literary activities make good reading, and I take him at his word when he says: “A well-written book, in which one finds new thoughts, and a good pen, with which one can communicate one’s own thoughts to others, have always been and still are for me the most precious and intimate products of civilization.” Trotsky’s tragedy is that he was not content with being a great writer. This insatiability turned him into a contentious doctrinaire who, by the mischief he made, and meant to make, caused innumerable people to forget his merits.
I know this type of writer and revolutionary well, even if only in miniature. Certain leaders of the German revolution, the Kurt Eisner’s and Gustav Landauers, had much in common with Trotsky, although, of course, on a smaller scale. Their rigid adherence to a dogma, their inability to adapt themselves to changed circumstances, in short, their lack of practical political psychology, made these theorists and doctrinaires fitted for political action for a short time only. For the greater period of their lives they were good writers, but no politicians. They did not find the way to the heart of the people. They did not know enough of popular and mass psychology. They felt a kinship for the masses which the masses did not feel for them.
While the great conflict between Trotsky and Stalin rests on differences of opinion on all-important points, these differences arise from a more fundamental divergence. It was the natures of the two men which led them to opposite conceptions in regard to the most important questions of the Russian Revolution, to the nationality problem, the peasant problem, and to the question whether it was possible to establish socialism in any one country. Stalin held the opinion that complete and practical socialism could be established without a world revolution, and, moreover, that by the protection of the national interests of the various Soviet peoples, it could be established in one separate country; he believed that the Russian peasant had the possibility of socialism within him. Trotsky disputed that. He declared world revolution to be a necessary condition for the establishment of socialism; he adhered rigidly to the Marxist doctrine of absolute internationalism; he advocated the tactics of the permanent revolution and demonstrated with a great show of logic the correctness of the Marxist position that the establishment of socialism in any one country was impossible….
Before the end of 1935 at the latest, the whole world recognized that socialism had been established in one country and that, what was more, the military resources had been created for the defense of this new structure against any conceivable foe.
What could Trotsky do? He could keep quiet. He could admit himself beaten and say he had been wrong. He could reconcile himself with Stalin.
He found it impossible. He could not conquer himself. The man who had seen so much that others had not seen, now failed to see what every child saw. Food was being produced at a great pace; the machines were functioning; raw materials were being reclaimed as never before; the country was electrified and motorized. Trotsky would not admit it. He said that the very fact that all this had been accomplished so quickly, and the feverish tempo of the construction, must result in fragility. The Soviet Union, the ” Stalin State,” as he called it, must sooner or later fall to pieces of its own accord, and it was bound to collapse in any case as soon as the Fascist powers attacked it. And Trotsky launched forth into extravagant outbursts of hatred against the man in whose name the construction had become a fact.
Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937. New York: The Viking Press, 1937, p. 97-101

During the crisis [Brest Litovsk] the ‘deserter and strike-breaker’ of October, Zinoviev, rallied to his [Lenin] side; and Lenin was as quick in forgetting an old grievance as he had been ruthless in voicing it. On the other hand, Trotsky suffered a temporary eclipse. He had laid bare an important weakness of his–a certain lack of plain realism, a propensity to verbal solutions and theatrical gestures in a situation which brooked neither. His eclipse was not serious. His moral authority was still second only to Lenin’s.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 192

(by Joseph Hansen)
Even Deutscher viewed Trotsky’s engagement in building a world party of socialist revolution as a “foible.”
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. v

He [Trotsky] was, as I have hinted, an intellectual’s politician not a politician’s. He was arrogant, he was a wonderful phrase-maker, he was good at points of dramatic action. But, as with Churchill (there are some resemblances), his judgment, over most of his career, tended to be brilliantly wrong. In politics, particularly in the life-and-death politics of revolution, you can’t afford to be brilliantly wrong.
…He was a brave and dashing extemporizer: but when it came to steady administrative policies, he could suddenly swing into a bureaucratic rigidity stiffer than any of the others’.
Above all, he [Trotsky] hadn’ the animal instinct that a politician needs. When Lenin died, he was convalescing in the Crimea. He didn’t return to Moscow. He did not obey one of the oldest of political rules: never be too proud to be present. In a time of crisis, the first essential is to be on the spot, in physical presence, in the flesh.
Snow, Charles Percy. Variety of Men. New York: Scribner, 1966, p. 255

STALIN CONTINUED THE IDEAS OF LENIN AND PROTECTED THEM

“The proletariat must have a clear objective (a programme) and a definite line of action (tactics),” said Stalin, who always acts according to his words.
Since those days, Stalin has watched more jealously than ever over the unimpaired greatness of Leninism, which he had saved from intrigue at a moment when the great experiment of liberty, which had never ceased to make progress, had nevertheless not yet reached its full maturity; at a period at which the Soviet Revolutionaries and the proletariat were eagerly yet slowly giving life to the monumental new organism by a self-sacrifice comparable to a transfusion of blood.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 191

SOCIALISM FAVORS MAXIMUM OF GOOD OVER MINIMUM OF EFFORT

Besides, the whole of Socialism itself tends strictly towards “Maximum of good with minimum of effort.”
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 225

CHURCHILL BLASTS TROTSKY AND HIS IMMENSE EGO

It is probable that Trotsky never comprehended the Marxian creed: but of its drill-book he was the incomparable master. He possessed in his nature all the qualities requisite for the art of civic destruction–the organizing command of a Carnot, the cold detached intelligence of Machiavelli, the mob oratory of a Cleon, the ferocity of Jack the Ripper, the toughness of Titus Oates. No trace of compassion, no sense of human kinship, no apprehension of the spiritual, weakened his high and tireless capacity for action. Like the cancer bacillus he grew, he fed, he tortured, he slew in fulfillment of his nature. He found a wife who shared the Communist faith. She worked and plotted at his side. She shared his first exile to Siberia in the days of the Czar. She bore him children. She aided his escape. He deserted her. He found another kindred mind in a girl of good family who had been expelled from a school at Kharkov for persuading the pupils to refuse to attend prayers and to read Communist literature instead of the Bible. By her he had another family. As one of his biographers (Max Eastman) put it: “If you have a perfectly legal mind, she is not Trotsky’s wife, for Trotsky never divorced Alexandra Sokolovski who still uses the name of Bronstein.” Of his mother he writes in cold and chilling terms. His father–old Bronstein–died of typhus in 1920 at the age of 83. The triumphs of his [Trotsky’s father] son brought no comfort to this honest hard-working and believing Jew. Persecuted by the Reds because he was a bourgeoisie; by the Whites because he was Trotsky’s father, and deserted by his son, he was left to sink or swim in the Russian deluge, and swam on steadfastly to the end. What else was there for him to do?

… All the collectivism in the world could not rid him [Trotsky] of an egoism which amounted to a disease, and to a fatal disease. He must not only ruin the State, he must rule the ruins thereafter. Every system of government of which he was not the head or almost the head was odious to him. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat to him meant that he was to be obeyed without question. He was to do the dictating on behalf of the proletariat. “The toiling masses,” the “Councils of Workmen, Peasants and Soldiers,” the gospel and revelation of Karl Marx, the Federal Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, etc., to him were all spelt in one word: Trotsky.

Churchill, Winston. Great Contemporaries. New York: Putnam, 1937, p. 170

The Army must be remade; victory must be won; and Trotsky must do it and Trotsky must profit from it…. He used his exceptional prowess to the full. The officers and soldiers of the new model army were fed, clothed and treated better than anyone else in Russia. Officers of the old Czarist regime were wheedled back in thousands. “To the devil with politics–let us save Russia.” The salute was reintroduced. The badges of rank and privilege were restored. The authority of commanders was reestablished. The higher command found themselves treated by this Communist upstart with a deference they had never experienced from the Ministers of the Czar.

Churchill, Winston. Great Contemporaries. New York: Putnam, 1937, p. 171

REVOLUTIONARY INTELLECTUALS OFTEN PUT THEIR EGOS ABOVE THE CAUSE

…But the revolutionary intellectuals, time and again in moments of crisis, have shown their tendency to put personal prestige before everything else, and to fight to the bitter end against political opponents, even if this sacrifices the very principles that they were verbally accepting.

Pritt, Denis Nowell. The Moscow Trial was Fair. London: ” Russia To-day,” 1937, p. 10

It a surely of such men that Mao was thinking when he wrote: “All wisdom comes from the masses. I’ve always said that intellectuals are the most lacking in intellect. The intellectuals cock their tails in the air, and they think, ‘If I don’t rank No. 1 in all the world, then I’m at least No. 2.’”

Spence, Jonathan D. Mao Zedong. New York: Viking, 1999, p. 159

TROTSKY DENOUNCES LENINISM

That Trotsky launched vicious attacks against Leninism and Lenin is not an ‘invention’ of Stalin’s, as the Trotskyites usually assert, can be seen from the following extracts from a letter of Trotsky’s to Chkiedze written in 1913:

“The entire edifice of Leninism is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay.”

Further on in the same letter Trotsky describes Lenin as: “a professional exploiter of every kind of backwardness in the Russian working-class movement.”

Here, straight from the horse’s mouth, you have in unadulterated form the true regard that Trotskyism has for Leninism….

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 82

LENIN OPPOSES TROTSKY ON MAJOR ISSUES

Proceeding from the theory of ‘permanent revolution’ Trotskyism cannot but attack Leninism. Leninism says that the proletariat in a single country can build socialism, whereas Trotskyism says that it cannot. Leninism holds that the peasantry is a reliable and firm ally of the proletariat, while Trotskyism says it is not. Leninism says that under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the working-class it is possible to mobilize the poor and middle peasantry in the task of building socialism, whereas according to Trotskyism this is an impossibility.

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 150

TROTSKYISM HAS NEVER SUCCEEDED IN LEADING ANY NATION

Trotskyites have never ever made a successful revolution nor will they ever be able to make a revolution unless and until they shed their Trotskyism…

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 335

TROTSKY WAS A PROLIFIC WRITER ALWAYS READY TO LIE ABOUT OPPONENTS

Trotsky was a fierce hater and a prolific writer, a polemicist rather than a historian, who was always ready to distort and invent evidence against his enemy.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. xii

STALIN WAS DEFINITELY NOT THE GREY BLUR IN SOVIET HISTORY TROTSKY SAID HE WAS

Far from being a “grey blur,” he was gaining the respect and confidence of members, as was shown at the Seventh Party Conference in late April 1917, when he received the third highest number of votes after Lenin and Zinoviev in the secret ballot for the Central Committee.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 92

Trotsky, in one of his articles, wrote about Stalin’s lack of creative input from 1900 to 1910. This assertion is unjust. Stalin was not only an activist; he also aspired to the role of theoretician, at least on the Transcaucasian level. From 1900 to 1910 he wrote quite a few articles and pamphlets,… But it is incorrect to speak of a complete absence of creative output on Stalin’s part.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 30

Much has since been written in order to belittle or to exaggerate Koba’s role in those days [imprisonment in the early 1900s]. This suggests that at the age of 22 he was already some sort of ‘grey eminence’ in the underground of his native province. He was certainly not the undistinguished member of the rank-and-file, the nonentity, described by Trotsky.

Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 50

When the Seventh Party Conference assembled toward the end of April 1917, the membership was approaching 80,000…. Stalin was elected to the Central Committee and his current stature in the Party was attested to by the fact that in the secret balloting he received 97 of the 109 delegate votes. Only Lenin with 104 and Zinoviev with 101 were ahead. The barely known Caucasian of 1912, the man whom five weeks earlier it had been proposed should be kept out of the Party councils because of his bad temper and manners, was now freely acknowledged by his fellow Bolsheviks to be the leading “practitioner” in

the Party. In the turbulent months ahead Stalin remained at the center, one of the principal leaders of the Party, though only a secondary figure of the Revolution.

Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 141

But those who concluded that he was a ‘grey blank’ simply demonstrated their ignorance of central party life.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 132

True, he was not a gray blur or a mediocrity or the “creature of the party bureaucracy” claimed by Trotsky in later years.

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 9

TROTSKY SAYS LENIN LIKED STALIN’S FIRMNESS & CHARACTER NOT HIS CREATIVITY & IDEAS

As Trotsky wrote later:

“…What Lenin valued in Stalin was his character, firmness, tenacity, insistence, and partly also his craftiness. He valued these as indispensable qualities in a fight. Independent ideas, political initiative, or creative imagination he did not expect or demand of Stalin.”

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 64

Undoubtedly he [Lenin] valued certain of Stalin’s traits very highly, his firmness of character, his persistence, even his ruthlessness and conniving, attributes indispensable in struggle and consequently at Party Headquarters.

Trotsky , Leon , Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 373

LENIN WAS VERY WORRIED ABOUT STALIN’S HEALTH

Lenin’s attitude toward Stalin was so benevolent in the years 1918-1921 that he personally concerned himself with finding a quiet apartment for him in the Kremlin. He reprimanded Ordjonikidze for disturbing Stalin while the latter was on vacation in the Northern Caucasus. Lenin asked for a doctor to be found to treat Stalin and asked that he’d be sent the doctor’s conclusions about Stalin’s health.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 67

LENIN WAS HARSH IN DEBATES WITH OPPONENTS

This is what Yakubovich says about him [Lenin] in his memoirs;

“Lenin was harsh in his polemics with ideological opponents; he never liked to use a conciliatory tone or to gloss over conflicts; he made a definite point of any disagreements he had with other party figures.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 137

STALIN WAS THOROUGHLY ANTI-CAPITALIST

I am profoundly convinced that Stalin never sought to restore capitalism.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 599

LENIN WAS AN EXCELLENT DEBATER

While his [Lenin] speeches were swift and fluent and crowded with facts, they were generally as unpicturesque and unromantic as his platform appearance. They demanded sustained thought and were just the opposite of Kerensky’s. Kerensky was a romantic figure, an eloquent orator, with all those arts and passions which should have swayed, one would think, “the ignorant and illiterate Russians.” But they were not swayed by him. Here is another Russian anomaly. The masses listened to the flashing sentences and magnificent periods of this brilliant platform orator. Then they turned around and gave their allegiance to Lenin, the scholar, the man of logic, of measured thought and academic utterance.
Lenin is a master of dialectics and polemics, aggravatingly self-possessed in debate. And in debate he is at his best. Olgin [a publicist who left Russia for the U.S. in 1914 and wrote a number of articles and books about the USSR] says: “Lenin does not reply to an opponent. He vivisects him. He is as keen as the edge of a razor. His mind works with amazing acuteness. He notices every flaw in the line of argument. He disagrees with, and he draws the most absurd conclusions from, premises unacceptable to him. At the same time he is derisive. He ridicules his opponent. He castigates him. He makes you feel that his victim is an ignoramus, a fool, a presumptuous nonentity. You are swept by the power of his logic. You are overwhelmed by his intellectual passion.”
Lenin aimed primarily at the intellect, not at the emotions.
Williams, Albert R. Through the Russian Revolution. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967, p. 32

LENIN TRANSLATES ENGLISH INTO RUSSIAN

When Lenin stepped down, Podvoisky announced, “An American comrade to address you.” The crowd pricked up its years and I climbed upon the big car.
“Oh, good. You speak in English,” said Lenin. “Allow me to be your interpreter.”
“No, I shall speak in Russian,” I answered, prompted by some reckless impulse.
… I wanted to tell them that if a great crisis came I should myself be glad to enlist in the ranks of the Red Army. I paused, fumbling for a word. Lenin looked up and asked, “What word do you want?” “Enlist,” I answered. “V stupit.” He prompted.
Williams, Albert R. Through the Russian Revolution. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967, p. 34

LENIN WAS FIERCE TOWARD HIS ENEMIES IN DEBATE AND ARGUMENTS

Lenin is sincere even with his avowed enemies. An Englishman, commenting on his extraordinary frankness, says his attitude was like this: “Personally, I have nothing against you. Politically, however, you are my enemy and I must use every weapon I can think of for your destruction. Your government does the same against me. Now let us see how far we can go along together.”
Williams, Albert R. Through the Russian Revolution. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967, p. 41

LENIN SHOWERS OPPONENTS WITH INVECTIVE AND INSULTING LABELS

As is well known, Lenin generously showered his opponents in debate with insulting invective and spiteful labels.
Berezhkov, Valentin. At Stalin’s Side. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Pub. Group, c1994, p. 344

TROTSKY USES LEFTIST RHETORIC BUT IS ACTUALLY DEFEATIST AND PESSIMISTIC

The bold revolutionary, who always liked to pose as being more resolute than anyone else, is clearly exaggerating the difficulties.
This was always a characteristic of Trotsky. While he seldom missed an opportunity of adopting a revolutionary pose, of “being more revolutionary than anyone else,” very often the pose concealed the profoundest pessimism; concealed the fact that the poseur had no faith in the Russian masses and was preparing to surrender to capitalism.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 45

LENIN IS CLOSEST TO STALIN AND FAVORS HIM OVER TROTSKY

The log of Lenin’s activities during this time (May 25-Oct. 2, 1922) indicates Stalin to have been the most frequent visitor to Gorky, meeting with Lenin 12 times; according to Bukharin, Stalin was the only member of the Central Committee whom Lenin asked to see during the most serious stages of his illness. According to Maria Ulianova, these were very affectionate encounters: “Lenin met [Stalin] in a friendly manner, he joked, laughed, asked that I entertain him, offer him wine, and so on. During this and further visits, they also discussed Trotsky in my presence, and it was apparent that here Lenin sided with Stalin against Trotsky.” Lenin also frequently communicated with Stalin in writing. His archive contains many notes to Stalin requesting his advice on every conceivable issue, including questions of foreign policy. Worried lest Stalin overwork himself, he asked that the Politburo instruct him to take two days’ rest in the country every week. After learning from Lunacharsky that Stalin lived in shabby quarters, he saw to it that something better was found for him. There is no record of similar intimacy between Lenin and any other member of the Politburo.
After obtaining Lenin’s consent and then settling matters among themselves, the triumvirate [Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev] would present to the Politburo and the Sovnarkom resolutions that these bodies approved as a matter of course. Trotsky either voted with the majority or abstained. By virtue of their collaboration in a Politburo that at the time had only seven members (in addition to them and the absent Lenin, Trotsky, Tomsky, and Bukharin), the troika could have its way on all issues and isolate Trotsky, who had not a single supporter in that body.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 464-466

Until the end of 1922, Stalin’s relations with Lenin were extremely close. From the end of May until the beginning of October in that year, Stalin visited Lenin at Gorky 12 times, more often than any other person. As Lenin’s sister Maria wrote to the Presidium of the Combined Plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of July 1926:
“Lenin valued Stalin very highly…. Lenin used to call him out and would give him the most intimate instructions, instructions of the sort one can only give to someone one particularly trusts, someone one knows as a sincere revolutionary, as a close comrade…. In fact, during the entire time of his illness, as long as he had the possibility of seeing his comrades, he most frequently invited Comrade Stalin, and during the most difficult moments of his illness Stalin was the only member of the Central Committee he invited.”
This letter was written to bolster Stalin in the savage internecine struggle going on in the leadership, but it nevertheless reflects the reality.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 268

STALIN MERELY FOLLOWED LENIN

All efforts to whiten Lenin and make a saint of him are useless: 50 years of history tell a different story. Stalin did not discover or devise anything new.
Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Only One Year. New York: Harper & Row, 1969, p. 182

Anyone who wished to attack the status quo would have serious difficulty demonstrating that either the leadership personnel or the policies were not those established by Lenin, the barely surviving founder whose image was increasingly revered. Had not Lenin, while still alive, participated in the election of the present Central Committee, Politburo, Secretariat? Had he not inaugurated the New Economic Policy? Had he not established a correspondingly moderate foreign policy, which favored cooperation with reformist socialists in the West and with nationalist revolutionaries in semi-colonial countries, such as China? And had he not shaped the domestic political order, whatever he might say about its ‘bureaucratiism’? Most particularly, had he not banned ‘factions’ within the Communist Party?
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 82

LENIN’S SHUT HIMSELF IN LIBRARY TO WRITE MATERIALISM AND EMPIRIO-CRITICISM

For a time Lenin detached himself from day-to-day politics and, to the grave embarrassment of his pupils, shut himself up in the Paris libraries in order to produce his philosophical magnum opus, Materialism and Empirio-criticism, in which he flayed the neo-Kantians, the God-seekers, and all the other questioners of Marxist philosophy.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 106

CLASSICS WERE NOT MEANT TO KNOW ALL & PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO ALL LATER PROBLEMS

[Report to the 18th Congress on March 10, 1939]
We cannot expect the Marxian classics, separated as they were from our day by a period of 45 or 55 years, to have foreseen each and every zigzag of history in the distant future in every separate country. It would be ridiculous to expect that the Marxian classics should have elaborated for our benefit ready-made solutions for each and every theoretical problem that might arise in any particular country 50 or 100 years afterwards, so that we, the descendants of the Marxian classics, might calmly doze at the fireside and munch ready-made solutions.
Franklin, Bruce, Ed. The Essential Stalin; Major Theoretical Writings. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, p. 383

TROTSKY SAYS HE CAME FROM THE UPPER CLASS

This, however, scarcely affected my own position. As the son of a prosperous landowner, I’ve belonged to the privileged class rather than to the oppressed.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 86

TROTSKY WAS A FANATICAL DOGMATIST WHO REFUSED TO RECANT WHEN WRONG

Another of Trotsky’s weak points was his lack of substance as a theoretician and thinker. He was more of a fanatical believer. First he believed in Marxism, then in its interpretation by Lenin. His faith was profound and unshakable. He never manifested doubt or hesitation as to the dogma. He was unable to capitulate except in the face of his Party, which he believed to be the perfect instrument of universal revolution. He never recanted his ideas and believed in them fanatically to the end of his days.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 117

He [Trotsky] rejected Kamenev’s promptings with scorn and contempt. He declared that he would do nothing to “ease” his own re-entry into the party and that he would not beg his persecutors to recall him to Moscow. It was up to them to do so if they wished, but even then he would not cease to attack them and the capitulators as well.
This was Trotsky’s reply not only to Kamenev’s suggestions, but also to Stalin’s vague and allusive blandishments. Conciliation between them was out of the question. He responded far more favorably to Bukharin’s appeal [to unite against Stalin].
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 447

TROTSKY NEVER UNDERSTOOD PEOPLE

Another Trotsky trait that always surprised me: his astonishing naivete and incomprehension of people. One would think that he’d spent his entire life dwelling on abstractions without ever seeing living people as they really are. In particular he never understood anything of Stalin, although he wrote a long book about him.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 122

HOW ARE STALIN AND TROTSKY DIFFERENT

Trotsky detested Stalin so heartily that he studiously insulted him in public; for instance, in committee meetings he would ostentatiously pick up a newspaper and begin to read to himself whenever Stalin made a speech.
The difference in their characters was, of course, profound. Stalin, a passionate politician, above all a creature of committees; Trotsky, a lone wolf, a violent individualist, who for 20 years could not bear to shackles himself with allegiance to either the Bolshevik or Menshevik divisions in the party. Stalin, patient as an icon; Trotsky, vivacious as a satyr. Stalin, immobile, silent, cautious; Trotsky, a lively, frank, and inveterate conversationalist. Stalin, a bomb-thrower, literally; Trotsky, horrified by sporadic violence. Stalin, a hard-headed practical wire puller, unyieldingly jealous of his career; Trotsky, lover of the abstract, impulsive, vain. Stalin, a supreme organizer; Trotsky, a bad politician, incapable of compromise, very hard to work with. Observe their smiles. Stalin’s smiles like a tiger who is just swallowed the canary. Trotsky smiles brightly and spontaneously like a child. Observe their escapes from Siberia, Stalin went about it soberly, efficiently, with methodical coldness; Trotsky–puff!–has disappeared into clear air; he escapes like Ariel.
Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 525

TROTSKY IS DECEPTIVE, CUNNING, NON-BOLSHEVIK, DIVISIVE AND INDIVIDUALISTIC

The triumvirs were anxious to bring the contest to a speedy conclusion. They replied to Trotsky’s letter [a December 8th open letter to party meetings in which he made clear his position] with a deafening barrage of counter-accusations. It was, they said, disloyal on Trotsky’s part to vote with the whole of the Politburo for the New Course and then to cast aspersion upon the Politburo’s intentions. It was criminal to incite the young against the Old Guard, the repository of revolutionary virtue and tradition. It was wicked of him to try to turn the mass of the party against the machine, for every good old Bolshevik was aware how much importance the party had always attached to its machine and with how much care and devotion it had surrounded it. He equivocated over the ban on factions: he knew that the ban was essential to the party’s unity and did not dare to demand plainly that it be revoked; but he sought to sap it surreptitiously. He played falsely when he described the party regime as bureaucratic; and he played with fire when he aroused an exaggerated and dangerous appetite for democracy in the masses. He pretended to speak for the workers, but played up to the students and the intelligentsia, that is to the petty bourgeois gallery. He spoke about the rights and responsibility of the rank-and-file only to cover up his own irresponsibility, and frustrated dictatorial ambition. His hatred of the party machine, his contumelious attitude towards the Old Guard, his reckless individualism, his disrespect for Bolshevik tradition, yes, and his notorious “underestimation” of the peasantry–all this clearly indicated that at heart he had remained something of a stranger in the party, an alien to Leninism, an unreformed semi-Menshevik.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 125

LUDWIG COMPARES STALIN TO TROTSKY

I never saw Lenin. But I met Trotsky a few years ago on Princes Island, near Stamboul, and I can compare Stalin with him, for it is only recently that I have been conversing with Stalin in the Kremlin…. Except for their energy, they have not a single characteristic in common. Trotsky’s head is remarkable for the brow and the eyes, whereas in the case of Stalin these two are insignificant. This does not mean, however, that Stalin is not a thinker and an observer…. The only thing common to Trotsky and Stalin in their physical appearance is the delicate hands, which seem to be a general characteristic of dictators.
The peculiarities of character which one finds in each of these two are in keeping with the contrast in their physical appearance. As the leading disciples of Lenin, they showed the mini-sidedness of their teacher. Trotsky has the same kind of elan as Lenin, Stalin the same kind of perseverance. Trotsky works from above through speeches and the arousing of mass emotion, whereas Stalin works from below by developing the individual. Trotsky is an enthusiast, Stalin a politician. Trotsky is the strategist, Stalin the tactician. Trotsky inspires the masses, Stalin organizes them. Trotsky is frank and expansive and talkative, Stalin reserved and silent. Trotsky is pleasantly witty, Stalin destructively humorous. In Trotsky everything is quick and brilliant. The Word is his weapon. It is with that that he destroys his opponent. He can speak it and write it in several languages. Over against this brilliant and alert and versatile Trotsky, everything in Stalin is slow and ponderous. He annihilates his opponent with the weight of his carefully gathered material. Trotsky is a prophet, Stalin a father. We might compare Trotsky to a high-powered motor-car that can take all gradients on first speed and will win in almost any speed test. And we may compare Stalin to those tractors that he has introduced into Russia and that turn up the earth in their slow plodding movement, preparing it for the seeds of the new State, silently and inexorably breaking through the hardest soil.
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 358-359

TROTSKY LIED ABOUT STALIN AND UNJUSTLY ACCUSED HIM

Nevertheless, in composing the portrait [of Stalin], he [Trotsky] uses abundantly far too often the material of inference, guess, and hearsay. He picks up any piece of gossip or rumor if only it shows a trait of cruelty or suggests treachery in the young Djugachvili. He gives credence to Stalin’s schoolmates and later enemies who in reminiscences about their childhood, written in exile thirty or more years after the events, say that the boy Soso “had only a sarcastic sneer for the joys and sorrows of his fellows”: that “compassion for people or for animals was foreign to him”; or that from “his youth the carrying out of vengeful plots became for him the goal that dominated all his efforts.”…
There is no need to go into many examples of this approach. The most striking is, of course, Trotsky’s suggestion, mentioned earlier, that Stalin had poisoned Lenin….
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 452

Yet he never states whether he himself had conceived the suspicion or conviction of Stalin’s guilt already in 1924 or whether he formed it only during the purges, after Yagoda and the Kremlin doctors had been charged with using poison in their murderous intrigues. If he had felt this conviction or suspicion in 1924, why did he never voice it before 1939? Why did he, even after Lenin’s death, describe Stalin as a “brave and sincere revolutionary” to none other than Max Eastman?… Thus he still treats the Stalin of 1924 as a basically honest though short-sighted man, who would have hardly been capable of poisoning Lenin. Such inconsistencies suggest that in charging Stalin with this particular crime, Trotsky is projecting the experience of the great purges back to 1923-24.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 454

Trotsky’s Stalin is implausible to the extent to which he presents the character as being essentially the same in 1936-38 as in 1924, and even in 1904. The monster does not form, grow, and emerge–he is there almost fully-fledged from the outset. Any better qualities and emotions, such as intellectual ambition and a degree of sympathy with the oppressed, without which no young man would ever join a persecuted revolutionary party, are almost totally absent. Stalin’s rise within the party is not due to merit or achievement; and so his career becomes very nearly inexplicable. His election to Lenin’s Politburo, his presence in the Bolshevik inner cabinet, and his appointment to the post of the General Secretary appear quite fortuitous…. Yet even from Trotsky’s disclosures it is evident that Stalin did not at all come to the fore in this way: that he had been, next to Lenin and Trotsky, the most influential man in the party’s inner councils at least since 1918; and that it was not for nothing that Lenin in his will described Stalin as one of the “two most able men of the Central Committee.”
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 455

Trotsky would have us believe that even before Lenin’s first stroke, Stalin had been maneuvering to isolate and replace the grandmaster of Bolshevism. It is a fascinating theory, but there is not a shred of evidence to support it. At the time Lenin was stricken, there was animus between him and Stalin, but of a transitory character.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 201

STALIN SAYS MARX DID NOT TOTALLY DISCOUNT HEROES MAKING HISTORY

…The extreme simplicity which is his distinguishing characteristic would be a matter of course in a man of intelligence if he ran no risk of megalomania. For the cult carried on about him is as ridiculous as that in Rome and Berlin. Hence, when I asked him why he tolerated the busts and photographs in all the shop windows in contradiction to the Marxian theory that the masses, not individuals, make history, he replied:…
“You are mistaken! Your own theory, namely that individuals make history, stands in Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy. Yet not in the way the imagination conceives, but according to the circumstances into which those men are born. Great men are only valuable in proportion to their grasp of circumstances; otherwise they become Don Quixotes. For that matter, Marx does not contrast men and circumstances; he never denied the role of the hero. So far as I can judge, men certainly make history.”
Ludwig, Emil. Three portraits: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. New York Toronto: Longmans, Green and Company, c1940, p. 117-118

STALIN DISPENSED JUSTICE FAR MORE FAIRLY THAN TROTSKY

In Tsaritsyn he dealt cruelly with some of the military specialists: many were dismissed, some imprisoned and then shot. About the same time Trotsky was using similar measures against Bolsheviks at another segment of the front. A local commissar was executed, as were 26 men who had deserted, and he accompanied the executions with an order that in case of mass desertion or unauthorized withdrawals it would be the commissar who would be shot first. What could impress itself on the mind of some of the more primitive Communists was that Stalin was shooting “gentleman” for treason, while Trotsky was killing honest Communists for such a relative trifle as disobeying orders.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 173

LENIN FIGHTS TO CHANGE THE PARTY’S NAME TO COMMUNIST PARTY

All, with the exception of Lenin, decided to retain the title of the Social-Democratic Bolshevik Party. It was more than a year before Lenin’s “professional revolutionaries” consented to describe themselves as Communists.
Delbars, Yves. The Real Stalin. London, Allen & Unwin, 1951, p. 79

STALIN DID NOT BLINDLY FOLLOW LENIN

Yet again Dzhughashvili had spoken confidently for Bolshevism without automatically consenting to everything advocated by Lenin. He acknowledged him as his faction’s leader. But his obedience was not blind: Dzhughashvili thought his direct daily experience of the Russian Empire kept him in closer touch with revolutionary possibilities than the emigres.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 63

On 7 November 1939 Stalin said: “The slogan of “the United States of Europe” was mistaken. Lenin caught himself in time and struck that slogan.
Dimitrov, Georgi, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 1933-1949. Ed. Ivo Banac. New Haven: Yale University Press, c2003, p. 121

STALIN AND LENIN AGREE ON ALMOST EVERY ISSUE

The reason why Lenin chose Stalin was less administrative than political. He wanted one of his allies in a post crucial to the maintenance of his policies.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 190

The matters dividing them[Lenin and Stalin] were not of primary importance despite what was said by Lenin at the time (and despite what has been written by historians ever after). Stalin and Lenin agreed about basic politics. Neither questioned the desirability of the one-party state, its ideological monopoly or its right to use dictatorial and terrorist methods. They concurred on the provisional need for the NEP. They had also reached an implicit agreement that Stalin had an important job in the central party apparatus to block the advance of the Trotskyists and tighten the whole administrative order. Lenin had trusted him with such tasks. Stalin had also been the comrade in whom he had confided when he wanted to commit suicide. Whenever toughness was needed, Lenin had turned to him. Not once had there been a question of basic principle dividing them, and they had worked well together since the trade union dispute. Lenin had been behaving bizarrely in the summer of 1922 before he fell out with Stalin. But it was Stalin who had to deal with him. His difficulties with Lenin would have tested the patience of a saint….
Their quarrels about Georgia and about the state monopoly of foreign trade touched matters of secondary importance.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 195

LENIN COMPLIMENTS STALIN AS A SPLENDID GEORGIAN

We have a splendid Georgian staying with us here who is writing a long article for Prosveshcheniye [Enlightenment], after garnering all the Austrian and other material. We will bear down on it.” The reference was to Stalin. Gorky, long connected with the party, knew all its leading cadres well. But Stalin evidently was utterly unknown to him, since Lenin had to resort to such an impersonal, although flattering expression as “a splendid Georgian.” This is, by the way, the only occasion when Lenin characterized a prominent Russian revolutionist by the token of his nationality.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 154

TROTSKY SAYS STALIN IS HIS ENEMY

Stalin is my enemy.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 372

TESTAMENT DOES NOT DENOUNCE STALIN ON IDEOLOGY

It was at this period, however, that Lenin drafted his famous “Testament,” which undoubtedly reflects his forebodings with regard to Stalin’s brusqueness but says not one word in criticism of his policy…. Nor did Stalin challenge him on his return to activity in the latter part of the year. On the contrary, it appeared they were in complete accord….
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 146

There is no criticism in a [A OR THE] document–Lenin’s testament–of Stalin’s policy, but only this delineation of personal qualities,
That Stalin deeply felt Lenin’s personal criticism is certain. For more than 20 years Lenin had been his teacher and he a faithful disciple. But he could “take it.” He has many of the qualities of the master. He is no yes-man. He has deep convictions, tremendous will-power and determination, and–could Lenin have lived long enough to see it–a patience which at times seems inexhaustible.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 151

…although subsequent events proved that he [Lenin] had over-estimated Trotsky and underestimated his “wonderful Georgian.”
When he [Stalin] read it [Lenin’s Testament] to the 13th Congress of the Party and commented, “Yes, I [Stalin] am rude to those who would destroy Lenin’s party, etc..,” he shifted the issue from one of good manners to the larger battle — ground of the principles, aims and role of the Party as the leader of the Revolution.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 154

There began already at that time, though not openly, the struggle between Trotsky and Zinoviev for the succession to Lenin. But there was discussion also as to what was going on at Lenin’s house at Gorky, in other words about Stalin. Thus it was almost a sensation when Kamenev brought the news that Lenin had broken with Stalin, and had written to Stalin dismissing him. Before long, however, the sensation shrank to its true proportions. It turned out that the actual personal difference had nothing to do with politics: Lenin had charged Stalin with rudeness and tactlessness toward his wife Krupskaya. It is easy to imagine that. It appears that Stalin never had any great opinion of Lenin’s wife.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 106

Lenin’s “testament” is, of course, favorable for the most part to Stalin; compared with the assessments given the others, the one of Stalin was the most positive…. But Lenin had for the entire preceding period given many descriptions of Trotsky, and they were entirely negative….
Stalin was, of course, distinguished by rudeness. He was a very blunt person. But if not for his harshness I don’t know how much good would have been accomplished. I think harshness was necessary, otherwise there would have been even greater vacillation and irresolution.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 213

This addendum to Lenin’s testament was read after his death to a plenary meeting of the Central Committee.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 108

Khrushchev’s treatment of the relations between Stalin and Lenin concentrates on Lenin’s growing apprehension of Stalin’s bureaucratic methods in 1923. He omits Lenin’s earlier admiration for Stalin and his forwarding of Stalin’s career in the Party dating back at least to 1912. Nor does he note that Lenin’s later attacks on Stalin were made when Lenin was ill and cut off from Party activity, and that even then, in his “testament,” he considered Stalin to be one of the outstanding Party leaders, his faults not those of “non-Bolshevism”–as with Trotsky–but of an over-bureaucratic method of work and personal “rudeness.” The fact that people who had “worked with Lenin” were executed means little unless we know who the people were and why they were executed. The fact that people worked with Lenin does not mean they were pro-socialist, as witness Kamenev & Zinoviev, both of whom Lenin condemned in his “testament.”
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 124

[In the Testament] neither his [Stalin] orthodoxy as a party man nor his loyalty to Lenin were called to question.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 90

Another strange thing: of all those mentioned in the letter Stalin appears in the most favorable light. He is the one Lenin accuses of rudeness and intolerance, but that was never regarded as a fault in the proletarian party.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 208
++146

TROTSKY DENIES THERE IS A TESTAMENT

Footnote: Trotsky himself at first admitted that Lenin had left no Testament or Will. In a letter to the New York Daily Worker on August 8, 1925, Trotsky wrote: “As for the “will’, Lenin never left one, and the very nature of his relations with the Party as well as the nature of the Party itself made such a “will’ absolutely impossible.
“In the guise of a “will’ the emigre and foreign bourgeois and Menshevik press have all along been quoting one of Lenin’s letters (completely mutilated) which contains a number of advices on questions of organization.
“All talk about a secreted or infringed “will’ is so much mischievous invention directed against the real will of Lenin and of the interests of the Party created by him.”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 200

…[at the October 1927 combined meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission] he [Stalin] exploited the fact that, at the Politburo’s (and above all his own) insistence, Bolshevik of September 1925 had published a statement by Trotsky concerning the Testament. Giving into pressure from Stalin on that occasion, Trotsky had written:
“Since becoming ill, Vladimir Ilyich had frequently written proposals, letters, etc. to the party’s leading bodies and its congresses. All these letters etc. were naturally always delivered to their intended destinations, and were brought to the attention of the delegates to the 12th and 13th Congresses and always, naturally, had the appropriate influence on party decisions…. Vladimir Ilyich left no testament, and the very nature of his relations with the party, as well as the nature of the party itself, exclude the possibility of any such testament, so that any talk about concealing or not carrying out a testament is a malicious invention and is aimed in fact entirely against Vladimir Ilyich’s intention.”
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 138

Citing the article in Bolshevik Stalin went straight for his target:
“That was written by Trotsky and by no one else. What basis can Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev now have for wagging their tongues and claiming that the party and its Central Committee are ‘concealing’ Lenin’s testament?…
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 139

It was only after they have been beaten, in the spring 1926, that Zinoviev and Kamenev at last threw in their lot with Trotsky. Meanwhile, Trotsky, too, had further weakened his position by renouncing his supporters abroad, who had published Lenin’s testament. He even went so far– and all in the name of discipline–as to describe the document as apocryphal. The union of the two oppositions represented therefore little more than the joint wreckage of their former separate selves.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 307

It was ironically enough Trotsky who had publicly denied the existence of Lenin’s Testament.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 115

The will afforded little political or moral advantage to Trotsky. It was his moment to strike at Stalin but either he was paralyzed by Lenin’s words or he simply lacked the pluck. The will was waste paper as far as he was concerned, and he did not object to the proposal that its existence should be hidden from the Party as a whole and from the Russian people. When its contents were divulged onl hearsay by the emigre Press in Paris and Berlin Trotsky authoritatively denied that there had been such a document. In his autobiography Trotsky now gives his version of the will. The essence of it according to Trotsky was that Stalin be removed in order to avoid a split in the party. If so, why did he not press for it?
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 92

TROTSKY HAD TIME TO GET TO LENIN’S FUNERAL

When Lenin died, Trotsky was in Tiflis. He was at once informed by wire from Stalin. He had a week to get back to Moscow for the funeral and was not too ill to do so. Instead he went to Sukhumi on the Black Sea coast. His absence at the last rites was the first of a long series of political blunders.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 199

Whatever may have been his reasons, Trotsky’s failure to pay his last tribute to the dead leader horrified the people of Moscow as a want of respect and good taste. It was, moreover a political error of the first magnitude and dealt a fatal blow to Trotsky’s prestige…. To this day I cannot imagine why he did not come.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 225

Such a combination of personal callousness and political insensitiveness does more to explain Trotsky’s downfall than a hundred books by Stalin’s warmest supporters. From that time onwards, although he had many devoted adherents in the Party, he had irretrievably “lost face” with the mass of the Russian people.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 228

It is clear from his own account that it was not the state of his health which prevented Trotsky from taking part in Lenin’s funeral.
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 229

One only of the highest party leaders was not there–Trotsky, President of the War Council and Minister of War. He was in the Caucasus.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 97

The body was laid in state in the Kremlin, while members of the Bolshevik Central Committee took turns to watch over the remains of the revered leader…. among the symbolic figures standing silently by the bier, Stalin was prominent, but Trotsky was never seen. In his later efforts to justify this amazing stupidity, Trotsky took refuge behind the fact that he was ill at the time and only received the news of Lenin’s death while traveling to the Caucasian Riviera for a holiday, a fact which would certainly not have prevented Stalin from taking his place by the body.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 61

The absence of Trotsky was the absorbing question in that week of strain and sorrow to everyone in Moscow, whether Russian or foreign. It was a period of intense popular emotion and we all knew that to 9/10’s of the Russian masses Trotsky was second only to Lenin in popular esteem. He was said to be sick and traveling to a cure in the Caucasus, but nothing could condone his absence save the fact that he was so near death that it would have been fatal for him to make the return journey, which was not the case. Whatever may have been his reasons, Trotsky’s failure to pay his last tribute to the dead leader horrified the people of Moscow as a want of respect and good taste. It was, moreover, a political error of the first magnitude and dealt a fatal blow to Trotsky’s prestige, which his adversaries were quick to see and turn to good account. To this day I cannot imagine why he did not come. The night after the funeral I discussed the problem with my friend Rollin, the only French correspondent in Moscow at that time….
Rollin agreed with me that Trotsky’s absence was inexplicable. “From all I can learn,” he said, “Trotsky is not even dangerously ill, although I won’t accept the view that his illness is wholly, or mainly, diplomatic.” He paused and rubbed his high, broad forehead. “Yes,” he said, “it’s extraordinary–worse than any surrender. How pleased Stalin must be!”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 99

Rollin continues, “As a matter of personal respect to Lenin, Trotsky should have risen from his death-bed to be present; it was his duty and obligation, and there isn’t a man or woman in the whole country who doesn’t think so. It is a blunder that will cost him dearly. Think too of what he missed; if he had come to Moscow, he couldn’t have failed to be the central figure in the funeral ceremonies. No one would have dared to interfere with him; he would have stolen the show, as you say in America, whether Stalin and the others liked it or not. But he did not come. Henceforth, I tell you, my money is on Stalin.”
“So his mine,” I said, “but it was already.”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 100

Trotsky’s own explanation in his autobiography of his absence from Lenin’s funeral is thin and unconvincing, and does small credit either to his heart or head. He declares that a coded message from Stalin announcing Lenin’s death was delivered to him in his private car at the station in Tiflis on January 21st, that is to say a few hours after Lenin died. He continues, “I got the Kremlin on the direct wire. In answer to my inquiry I was told: ‘The funeral will be on Saturday; you cannot get back in time and so we advise you to continue your treatment.’ Accordingly, I had no choice. As a matter of fact, the funeral did not take place until Sunday and I could easily have reached Moscow by then. Incredible as it may appear, I was even deceived about the date of the funeral.”
This final accusation was as unjust as it was ungenerous. Lenin died on the afternoon of Monday, January 21st, and his funeral was originally set for Saturday, the 26, but the number of people who wished to see him was so great–thousands came from places more distant than Tiflis–that it was postponed 24 hours. The journey from Moscow to Tiflis by ordinary express takes three days and three nights–allow four or even five days and nights in 1924 in winter-time. Trotsky’s private car was in the station when he received the news on Monday night. Tiflis is one of the biggest railroad depots in south Russia and there is not the slightest doubt that the Red war-lord, whose authority was still unquestioned, could have ordered a special chain and been back in Moscow within 72 hours. Trotsky’s account continues theatrically, “The Tiflis comrades came to demand that I should write on Lenin’s death at once. But I knew only one urgent desire–and that was to be alone. I could not stretch my hand to lift the pen.” He then adds that he wrote a “few handwritten pages.” Strangest of all, there is no word in Trotsky’s recital of any surmise on his part, much less compunction, as to what people in Moscow might feel about his failure to return immediately. Any thought of the duty he owed to his dead comrade seems to have been as remote from his mind as perception of the political effects of his absence. Instead he writes of spending those days before the funeral lying on a balcony in the sun at Sukhumi, a twenty-four hour train journey from Tiflis which apparently caused him no physical distress–facing the glittering sea and the huge palms–and of his own “sensation of running a temperature” with which mingled, he says, thoughts of Lenin’s death. To make the picture complete Trotsky quotes a passage from his wife’s diary: “We arrived quite broken down; it was the first time we had seen Sukhumi. The mimosa were in full bloom, magnificent palms, camellias. In the dining room of the rest-house there were two portraits on the wall, one–draped in black–of Vladimir Ilich, the other of L. D. (Trotsky). We felt like taking the latter one down but thought it would be too demonstrative.” Later Madame Trotsky wrote: “Our friends were expecting L. D. to come to Moscow and thought he would cut short his trip in order to return, since no one imagined that Stalin’s telegram had cut off his return.” (This refers to the [alleged] message from the Kremlin saying that the funeral would be on Saturday and that Trotsky could not get back in time.) “I remember my son’s letter received at Sukhumi. He was terribly shocked by Lenin’s death and, though suffering from a cold with a temperature of 104, he went in his not very warm coat to the Hall of Columns to pay his last respects and waited, waited, and waited with impatience for our arrival. One could feel in his letter his bitter bewilderment and diffident reproach.” On these extracts from his wife’s diary Trotsky makes no comment at all.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 100

Such a combination of personal callousness and political insensitiveness does more to explain Trotsky’s downfall than 100 books by Stalin’s warmest supporters…. From that time onwards, although he had many devoted adherents in the Party, he had irretrievably “lost face” with the mass of the Russian people. His adversaries in Russia have not failed to question the genuineness of his illness at that time; they have claimed that it was sickness of spirit rather than sickness of body, that Trotsky had made an ambitious bid for Lenin’s succession and when he failed his wounded egotism turned on itself like a scorpion and poisoned him…. It is clear from his own account that it was not the state of his health which prevented him from taking part in Lenin’s funeral.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 102

The most decisive of such shifts in personnel was the replacement of Slansky, Trotsky’s right-hand man in the Commissariat of War, by Frunze, who later succeeded Trotsky as Commissar of War. This and other similar changes were approved by the Thirteenth Party Congress, in May, 1924, which Trotsky inexplicably failed to attend–a political blunder scarcely less disastrous than his failure to attend Lenin’s funeral.
The truth of the matter was that Trotsky was prostrate and broken, not by defeat at the Conference or, as he himself suggests, by illness, but by the sickening realization of what his absence from the funeral had done to him and his career…. I have already suggested that the cause of his illness was psychological as well as physical. In what torment he must have writhed when letter after letter, friend after friend, told him, albeit unwillingly, the plain and sorry truth. At first, I have been informed, he refused to believe that his tremendous popularity had not only faded but was changed in no small degree to resentment. Gradually, despite himself, he was forced to understand that this was the case, and, worse still, that he had missed the heaven-sent opportunity of confirming in the mind of the masses the position that he claimed of Lenin’s right hand and destined successor.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 108

On the day of Lenin’s death, Trotsky arrived in Tiflis en route to the resort city of Sukhumi. He learned of it the next day from a coded telegram signed by Stalin. In response to a cable query, Stalin advised him that the funeral would take place on Saturday (Jan. 26) and added that since there was not enough time for him to return for the funeral, the Politburo thought it best that he proceed to Sukhumi as planned. As it turned out, the funeral took place on Sunday. Trotsky subsequently accused Stalin of deliberately misinforming him in order to have him miss the funeral. The charge does not stand up to scrutiny. Lenin died on Monday and Trotsky had the information on Tuesday morning. It had taken him three days to travel from Moscow to Tiflis. Had he immediately turned around, he could have reached Moscow by Friday at the latest, in good time to attend the funeral even if it had been on Saturday. Instead, for reasons he never satisfactorily explained, he followed Stalin’s advice and went on to Sukhumi. There he basked in the Black Sea sun while Lenin’s body lay in state in wintry Moscow attended by the Old Guard. His absence caused widespread surprise and dismay.
[Footnote]: The decision to postpone Lenin’s funeral to Sunday was announced only on Friday, Jan. 25, so that it is by no means apparent that in cabling on Jan. 22 that it would take place on Saturday, Stalin was deliberately deceiving him, as Trotsky later claimed. Deutscher, in a not uncharacteristic instance of carelessness favorable to his hero, claims that Stalin advised Trotsky the funeral would be “the next day”. Stalin’s second cable stated that the funeral would be on Saturday, i.e., not the “next” day but in four days.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 487

In any case, his [Trotsky] subsequent explanation that he was misled by Stalin as to the date of the funeral and that he could not possibly make it back to Moscow on time does not hold water….
[Footnote]: He [Trotsky] alleges being told on January 22 that it would be on January 26 (and not, as Deutscher states, on the next day), while it actually took place on January 27. Even so, only three days by regular train separated Tiflis from Moscow.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 235

At 6:50 p.m. on Monday 21 January 1924, Lenin died.
Stalin notified all regional and republican Party committees of Lenin’s death, and called for immediate steps to maintain order and prevent panic. Among his numerous other chores, Stalin sent a coded cable to Tiflis: “Tell Comrade Trotsky that on 21 January at 6:50 p.m. Comrade Lenin died suddenly. Death was caused by paralysis of the respiratory center. Funeral Saturday 26 January 1924.”
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 435-436

There is no persuasive evidence that Stalin was busy plotting to keep Trotsky, away from the funeral. In his autobiography, Trotsky says that he wired ‘the Kremlin’ and that ‘the conspirators’ falsely told him that the funeral would be on the 26th, which would not permit Trotsky to return in time from his sick-leave in Georgia. No substantiating documents have turned up in Trotsky’s archive, although one might expect that he would have taken some pains to preserve such a communication. Even if true, the report does not mention Stalin by name, and tends to inculcate other comrades. Stalin’s office was not in the Kremlin at this time, and if Trotsky had contacted Lenin’s office, the office of the Sovnarkom, which was in the Kremlin, he would not have been dealing with Stalin. In any case, it was a remarkable political error on Trotsky’s part not to make every effort to get the date of the funeral changed or to attempt to get back to Moscow. After all, the narkom of the armed forces could commandeer special trains or even aircraft.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 86

STALIN VOLUNTEERS TO RESIGN AFTER LENIN’S CRITICISM

So young Joseph — Soso, they called him….
Lenin criticized Stalin. Stalin told this himself three years ago in open Congress of the Communist Party, and said quietly: “I told you then and I repeated now, that I am ready to retire if you wish.”
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 168

When Stalin came to speak [before the Central Committee in October 1927] he declared that he had twice offered his resignation as General Secretary, but that the Party had rejected it on both occasions.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 96

When Lenin’s testament became public property through having been spread furtively by word-of-mouth, Stalin submitted his resignation,…
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 95

For nearly a year while he lived Lenin did nothing with his statement and it was only after his death that it was presented to the Party. When it was presented, Stalin offered his resignation but the Party, including Trotsky, would not accept it.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 25

Stalin consequently offered to resign but the Central Committee refused to accept his resignation.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 49

It must have come as a relief for him [Stalin] when it was decided that the Congress would be bypassed and the notes would not be published. Nevertheless, when the newly elected Central Committee met, he offered his resignation. He was probably confident that those he had carefully selected for election would not accept it. In any event the committee, including Trotsky, voted unanimously not to accept his resignation.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 197

Right from the first session of the Central Committee, after the 13th Congress, I asked to be released from the obligations of the General Secretaryship. The Congress itself examined the question. Each delegation examined the question, and every delegation, including Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev, voted unanimously in favor of Stalin remaining at his post. What could I do then? Abandon my post? Such a thing is not in my character…. At the end of one year I again asked to be set free and I was again forced to remain at my post. What could I do then?
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 244

[In 1927 Stalin stated], I asked the first plenary session of the Central Committee right after the Thirteenth Congress to relieve me of my duties as secretary-general. The congress discussed the question. Each delegation discussed the question. And unanimously they all, including Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev, made it binding upon Stalin to remain in his post. What could I do? Run away from the post? This is not in my character. I never ran away from any post and I have no right to run away. That would be desertion. I do not regard myself as a free man, and I obey party orders. A year later I again submitted my resignation, but again I was bound to remain. What could I do?
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 281

It is said that in that “will” Comrade Lenin suggested to the congress that in view of Stalin’s “rudeness” it should consider the question of putting another comrade in Stalin’s place as General Secretary. That is quite true. Yes, comrades, I am rude to those who grossly and perfidiously wreck and split the Party. I have never concealed this and do not conceal it now. Perhaps some mildness is needed in the treatment of splitters, but I am a bad hand at that. At the very first meeting of the plenum of the Central Committee after the 13th Congress I asked the plenum of the Central Committee to release me from my duties as General Secretary. The congress itself discussed this question. It was discussed by each delegation separately, and all the delegations unanimously, including Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev, obliged Stalin to remain at his post.
What could I do? Desert my post? That is not in my nature; I have never deserted any post, and I have no right to do so, for that would be desertion. As I have already said before, I am not a free agent, and when the Party imposes an obligation upon me, I must obey.
A year later I again put in a request to the plenum to release me, but I was again obliged to remain at my post.
What else could I do?
As regards publishing the “will,” the congress decided not to publish it, since it was addressed to the congress and was not intended for publication….
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 180-181

After the congress [May 1924], when the leading bodies of the party were being constituted, Stalin, referring to Lenin’s testament, demonstratively declined to accept the post of general secretary. But Zinoviev and Kamenev, and after them the majority of the central committee members, persuaded him to withdraw his resignation….
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 85

The United Opposition suffered total organizational and ideological defeat at the 15th Party Congress. At the very first Central Committee plenum after that Congress, Stalin offered to resign as general secretary…. Addressing the Central Committee, he said:
“I think that until recently there were circumstances that put the party in the position of needing me in this post as a person who was fairly rough in his dealings, to constitute a certain antidote to the opposition…. Now the opposition has not only been smashed; it has been expelled from the party. And still we have the recommendation of Lenin, which in my opinion ought to be put into effect. Therefore I ask the plenum to relieve me of the post of general secretary. I assure you, comrades, that from this the party only stands to gain.”
At Stalin’s insistence this proposal was put to a vote. His resignation was rejected virtually unanimously (with one abstention).
The noisy battle with the United Left Opposition had barely died down when a fight began with the so-called right deviation.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 183

When Stalin heard about Lenin’s letter, he announced his resignation. Had it been accepted, things might well have been different. He had made the right decision, as any Bolshevik in his position ought to have done, but it was not a determined act. As a matter of fact, he twice offered his resignation in the 1920s. The second time, after the 15th Congress in December 1927, he behaved more categorically. The Trotskyite-Zinovievite Opposition had been defeated and the Congress noted this formally. At the first plenum after the congress, Stalin submitted a request to the Central Committee:
“I think recent circumstances have forced the party to have me in this post, as someone severe enough to provide the antidote to the opposition. Now the opposition has been defeated and expelled from the party. We have Lenin’s instructions moreover and I think it is now time to carry them out. I therefore request the plenum to release me from the post of General Secretary. I assure you, comrades, the party can only gain from this.”
By this time, however, his authority had risen and he was seen in the party as the man who had fought for its unity and who had come out against various factionalists. His resignation was again rejected.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 93

Lenin’s Letter disappeared from the party’s view for decades. It was not published in Leninskii sbornik (‘Lenin Miscellany’), despite Stalin’s promise to do so. To be sure, the Letter did surface a few times in the 1920s in connection with the internal party struggle. It was even published in Bulletin No. 30 of the 15th Party Congress (printrun 10,000), stamped ‘for party members only’, and was distributed to provincial committees, Communist factions of the trade unions central committee, and part of it was printed in Pravda on November 2, 1927.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 96

The Committee decided that the Testament should not be read to the Congress (nor be published), and it was merely read to closed meetings of delegations from each province, with the comments of the Committee to the effect that Lenin had been ill and Stalin had proved satisfactory. Stalin submitted his resignation as General Secretary, which was unanimously rejected.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 111

The 13th Congress of the Party took place in June, 1924 and shortly afterwards at a plenary session of the Central Committee; Stalin begged to be relieved of his duties. Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev and all the delegates of the local parties asked him to remain. Thus he remained by the will of the Party. Next year Stalin repeated this gesture, knowing full well that he would not be taken at his word.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 93

On the basis of Lenin’s testament he [Stalin] handed in his resignation but was again elected as head of the Party….
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 365

At the first Central Committee plenum after the 15th Congress, evidently in order to free his hands for the next stage of the struggle, Stalin unexpectedly asked to be relieved of his duties in the Party leadership:
“I believe that until recently there were conditions confronting the party which made it necessary for me to be in this post [i.e., that of general secretary]–a man who tended to be rather blunt as a kind of anecdote to the Opposition. But now these conditions have disappeared…. Now the Opposition has not only been defeated but also expelled from the Party. And we do have the instructions of Lenin, which in my view must be put into effect. Therefore I ask the Plenum to relieve me of the post of general secretary, I assure you, comrades, the Party will only gain.”
At Stalin’s insistence this proposal was put to a vote, and it was rejected unanimously (with one abstention).
Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 59

At the First Central Committee Plenum after the 15th Congress Stalin offered to resign as general secretary. Addressing the joint meeting, he said:
“I think that until recently there were circumstances that put the party in the position of needing me in this post as a person who was fairly rough in his dealings, to constitute a certain antidote to the opposition…. Now the opposition has not only been smashed, it has been expelled from the party. And still we have the recommendation of Lenin, which in my opinion ought to be put into effect. Therefore I ask the Plenum to relieve me of the post of general secretary. I assure you, comrades, that from this the party only stands to gain.”
Stalin insisted that his proposal should be put to the Plenum. As he well knew it would be, his resignation was rejected by a vote that was unanimous except for one abstention. At a single blow, Stalin had buried Lenin’s Testament and secured an overwhelming vote of confidence to justify any measures he might now take.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 205

Following the 1924 13th Congress, Stalin offered his resignation to the Central Committee. But it was almost a foregone conclusion that it would be rejected. For Zinoviev and Kamenev, Stalin was still an indispensable ally: Who would keep Trotsky and the Oppositionists in check? Trotsky did not want Stalin out since the job might go to a follower of Zinoviev-Kamenev. Other members kept their peace. And so Stalin was confirmed.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; the Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 239

[At the 13th Congress in May 1924] Stalin nonchalantly offered to resign his post in conformity with the testament.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 237

His health, too, was poor. Feeling humiliated, Stalin followed his usual course: he requested release from his duties. In a letter to the Central Committee on 19 Aug 1924 he pleaded that “honorable and sincere” work with Zinoviev and Kamenev was no longer possible. What he needed, he claimed, was a period of convalescence. But he also asked the Central committee to remove his name from the Politburo, Orgbureau, and Secretariat:…
“When the time [of convalescence] is at an end, I ask to be assigned either Turukhansk or Yakutsk Province or somewhere abroad in some unobtrusive posting….
He would be going back to Turukhansk as an ordinary provincial militant and not as the Central Committee leader he had been in 1913. Stalin was requesting a more severe demotion than even the Testament had specified.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 223-224

After all that had taken place during the preceding months, the Testament could not have been a surprise to Stalin. Nevertheless he took it as a cruel blow.
Trotsky, Leon. Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 375

TROTSKY COULD NOT FACE HIS DROP IN POPULARITY FOLLOWING LENIN’S FUNERAL

The truth of the matter was that Trotsky was prostrate and broken, not by “the smashing defeat” or even, as he himself suggests, by illness, but by the sickening realization of what his absence from Lenin’s funeral had done to him and his career. They say that Hell is paved with good intentions, but the white-hot plowshares of opportunities missed and advantages lost make cruel treading for ambitious feet. Trotsky lay on his balcony in Sukhumi facing the sun and the sea…reading letters or receiving friends. Little comfort either brought him and no good medicine for distress of soul. I have already suggested that the cause of his illness was psychological as well as physical. In what torment Trotsky must have writhed when letter after letter, friend after friend, told him, albeit unwittingly, the plain and sorry truth. At first, I have been informed, he refused to believe that his tremendous popularity had not only faded but was changed in no small degree to resentment….
Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 231-232

LENIN HATED POMP BUT AFTER HIS DEATH BECAME A CENTER OF SHOW

After his death Lenin, who had hated and ridiculed all ceremony, all pomp, all showmanship, , himself became the center of a display of Byzantinism.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 98

WHAT DOES THE TESTAMENT SAY

In the last few weeks of 1922, Lenin completed the letter to the party which is now generally known as the “Testament of Lenin.” The name conveys a wrong impression, it was in no sense a Will, for Lenin never regarded his position as something to be bequeathed to another, he knew that he occupied the President’s chair because of his abilities alone; it was his dearest wish that his successor should do likewise.
How wrong he was, how tragically optimistic, can be clearly seen from the fate of the Testament itself. The party leaders, each one of whom knew its contents, first decided not to publish it while its author was alive and later postponed publication indefinitely. Trotsky, who was later to make much of the “Testament,” concurred in this decision which was broken finally by accident. A copy had been received by a visitor to the USSR, the American left-wing journalist, Max Eastman, who promptly gave it worldwide publicity in the Press of the United States. Sad reflection that the last words of so great a leader should reach the Russian people from a back-stage newspapers scoop in New York.
In the testament, Lenin gave a brief characterization of the leading figures of the Party. Trotsky, brilliant but too diverse in his interests; Zinoviev and Kamenev, indecisive and untrustworthy in a crisis; Bukharin, clever but not a confirmed Marxist; Stalin also received his share of criticism as being “too rude” to fill the office of General Secretary to everybody’s satisfaction. In spite of this, Lenin’s rebuke to Stalin is the least severe of all; the faults of the others lay in fundamental weaknesses, Stalin was simply too brusque to smooth over the trivial personal frictions of his subordinates.
Stalin himself as always regarded Lenin’s reference to him as more of a compliment than otherwise. In an address to a later congress he repeated the words, adding: “Yes, comrades, I am rude to those who seek to weaken the Party by their activities and I shall continue to be rude to such people.”
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 60

I am rude towards those who traitorously break their word, who split and destroy the Party. I have never concealed it and I do not conceal it now.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 244

[In 1927 Stalin stated], “Yes, comrades, I am rude towards those who rudely and treacherously wreck and split our party,” Stalin continued. “I did not and do not conceal it.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 281

When Comrade Molotov sent me that article (I was away at the time), I sent back a blunt and sharp criticism. Yes, comrades, I am straight-forward and blunt; that’s true, I don’t deny it.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 7, p. 385

Krupskaya handed Stalin a sealed envelope which bore the inscription in her husband’s writing “To be opened after my death.” Stalin guessed the envelope contained important instructions and called a meeting of the Politburo. He took advantage of Zinoviev’s suggestion that the letter should be opened immediately. This was done.
Lenin’s notes were not flattering to the majority of the Soviet leaders. Mekhlis, who was present and saw the Testament, has recorded the following:
“Zinoviev and Kamenev were described as ‘hole and corner politicians,’ Bukharin was ‘scholastic, not a Marxist, weak in dialectic, bookish and lacking in realism but sympathetic,’ Pyatakov was ‘a good administrator, but, like Bukharin, not fit for political leadership.’ Trotsky was ‘not a Bolshevik but this fact must not be held against him, just as one must not blame Zinoviev and Kamenev for their attitude in October, 1917.’ As for Stalin, the Old Man found no political fault in him. But–and his judgment must have been to some extent inspired by his retort to Krupskaya–‘he is inordinately coarse and brutal, and also capable of taking advantage of his power to settle personal disputes.’
Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 56

Zinoviev, who felt himself especially maligned, declared: “These notes have no political value. They must be put in the archives. That’s all they’re fit for.”
Because Lenin had criticized almost every single member of the Politburo, they all supported the suggestion.
Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 57

In his [Lenin] testament he made no choice of a successor but instead offended each of the leaders in turn.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 88

“Friendship,” he [Stalin] said, “counts for nothing when the Party and its interests are at stake. I am extremely fond of Sylvester, and I am ready to offer him my personal apologies. But whenever he adopts an attitude that is contrary to the interests of the Party I shall oppose him with the same violence, the same energy. The absolute refusal to compromise is the most effective weapon in the revolutionary conflict. People may say that I’m rude and offensive; it’s all one to me. I shall continue to fight all those who threaten to destroy the Party.”
Delbars, Yves. The Real Stalin. London, Allen & Unwin, 1951, p. 36

His Testament, written several days later, was patently an effort to offer his own frank opinion of the various candidates rather than to dictate his decision.
Trotsky, Leon. Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 357

TROTSKY REFUTES THE TESTAMENT

APPENDIX

Trotsky’s Letter
(Translated by the U.S. Editor from Bolshevik)
1925, no. 16:67-70

In a 1925 letter regarding Lenin’s testament Trotsky said, “Eastman proceeds to conclusions that are completely and utterly directed against our party and capable, if taken on faith, of discrediting the party and Soviet power.
…Where Eastman got his ridiculous information is completely unknown, but its absurdity strikes one immediately…. By the way, Eastman seems not to realize that his description of the Red Army also nourishes the completely rotten Menshevik legend about Bonapartism, praetorianism, and so on, for it is clear that an Army capable of “falling to pieces’ because of a change in individual leadership would not be a Communist or a proletarian army, but rather a Bonapartist and praetorian one.
Clearly erroneous and false assertions can be found in this book in no small number. We will discuss only the most important.
In several places in his book, Eastman says that the Central Committee “hid’ from the party a number of highly important documents that Lenin wrote in the last period of his life (letters on the national question, the so-called testament, and so forth); this cannot be termed anything other than a slander of the Central Committee of our party.
…After the onset of his illness, Vladimir Ilich turned more than once to the leading institutions of the party as well as to the Party Congress with proposals, letters, and so on. It goes without saying that all these letters and proposals came to the attention of the addressees and to the knowledge of the delegates of the 13th Party Congress…. Vladimir ilich did not leave any “testament,’ and the character of his relation to the party, not to mention the character of the party itself, excludes the possibility of such a “testament….’ The 13th Congress gave this letter, like all the others, it’s close attention and drew the conclusions appropriate to the circumstances of the moment. Any talk of a hidden or violated “testament’ is a spiteful invention aimed against the real will of Vladimir ilich and the interest of the party he created.
Just as false is Eastman’s assertion that the Central Committee wanted to keep under wraps (that is, not publish) Lenin’s article about the Worker-Peasant Inspection…. Since Comrade Kuibyshev also signed this letter…another of Eastman’s false assertions is also refuted: the allegation that Comrade Kuibyshev was appointed to head the Worker-Peasant Inspection as an “opponent’ of Lenin’s organizational plan.”
Naumov, Lih, and Khlevniuk, Eds. Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1995, p. 244

STALIN REPLIES TO THE TESTAMENT

Stalin knew that Lenin’s last words against him were being repeated throughout the country. Instead of repressing them, he was clever enough to repeat them with his own coloring. He said to the Congress:
“Yes, comrades, it is true that I am a gruff sort of fellow. I do not deny it….
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 99

But in 1927 the question [of the last testament] was raised in the Central Committee. It had to be admitted that such a document really existed. In a speech at a joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission, after reading aloud a section of Lenin’s “Letter to the Congress,” Stalin stated: “Yes, I am rude, comrades, toward those who are rudely and treacherously trying to destroy the party. I have not and I do not hide this.”
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 86

Stalin stated, “It is said that in his testament Lenin suggested that, in view of Stalin’s ‘rudeness’, the Congress should consider replacing him as General Secretary with someone else. That is absolutely true. Yes, comrades, I am rude towards those who rudely and treacherously destroy and split the party. I have never hidden this, nor do I now. Maybe a certain gentleness is required towards the splitters. But it is not in me to be like that. At the very first session of the Central Committee plenum following the 13th Congress, I asked the plenum to release me from the duties of General Secretary. The congress itself had debated this question. All the delegates including Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev, unanimously obliged Stalin to remain at his post. What was I supposed to do? Run away from the job? That is not in my nature. I have never run away from a job, nor did I have the right to do so, as it would have amounted to desertion. A year later, I again asked the plenum to release me, and again I was compelled to remain at my post. What more could I do?
It is significant that the Testament contains not one word, not a hint about Stalin’s mistakes. It speaks only of Stalin’s rudeness. But rudeness is not, nor can it be, a shortcoming of Stalin’s political line or his positions.”
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 139

Now the oppositionists– too late for it to do them any good–brought up Lenin’s complaint that Stalin was too rude. Stalin with his overwhelming majority was now in a position to shrug off the accusation. Yes, he admitted, Lenin had indeed said this. And he read out the passage from the Testament about his rudeness, and other faults. He emphasized that the decision not to publish it had been unanimous, and on the essentials said, ‘Yes, comrades, I am rude towards those who rudely and treacherously break their word, who split and destroy the party.’
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 138

He [Stalin] had a violent argument with the founder of the Caucasian Social Democracy. His expulsion was demanded. Koba defended himself:
“Friendship counts for nothing when the Party and its interests are at stake,” he declared. “I am ready to offer my personal apologies, but whenever he adopts an attitude contrary to the interests of the Party I shall oppose him with the same violence and the same energy. The absolute refusal to compromise is the most effective weapon in revolutionary conflict. People may say I’m rude and offensive but that is nothing to me. I shall continue to fight all those who threaten to destroy the Party.”
Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 22

Obviously, talk about the Party concealing these documents is infamous slander. Among these documents are letters from Lenin urging the necessity of expelling Zinoviev and Kamenev from the Party. The Bolshevik Party, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, have never feared the truth. The strength of the Bolshevik Party lies precisely in the fact that it does not fear the truth and looks the truth straight in the face.
The opposition is trying to use Lenin’s “will” as a trump card; but it is enough to read this “will” to see that it is not a trump card for them at all. On the contrary, Lenin’s “will” is fatal to the present leaders of the opposition.
Indeed, it is a fact that in his “will” Lenin accuses Trotsky of being guilty of “non-Bolshevism” and, as regards the mistake Kamenev and Zinoviev made during October, he says that that mistake was not “accidental.” What does that mean? It means that Trotsky, who suffers from “non-Bolshevism,” and Kamenev and Zinoviev, whose mistakes are not “accidental” and can and certainly will be repeated, cannot be politically trusted.
It is characteristic that there is not a word, not a hint in the “will” about Stalin having made mistakes. It refers only to Stalin’s rudeness. But rudeness is not and cannot be counted as a defect in Stalin’s political line or position.
Here is the relevant passage in the “will”:
“I shall not go on to characterize the personal qualities of the other members of the Central Committee. I shall merely remind you that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, not accidental, but that they can be blamed for it personally as little as Trotsky can be blamed for his non-Bolshevism.”
Clear, one would think.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 182

STALIN VOLUNTEERED TO RESIGN SEVERAL TIMES

They [Lenin and Stalin] were very close in Lenin’s final days. Probably it was only Stalin’s apartment that Lenin visited. Several times Stalin sought to resign from the post of general secretary, but each time his request was denied by the Central Committee of the party. The struggle raged, and it was necessary that Stalin remain in that position.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 116

CHUEV: Avtorkhanov writes that after the 19th Congress, at the Presidium of the Central Committee, Stalin asked to be relieved of the responsibilities of General Secretary….
MOLOTOV: Correct. That did occur.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 234

[In a footnote] After the 19th party congress in October, 1952, he twice informed the Central Committee that he wished to retire. It was probably because he was ill. In any case the fact that he wanted to retire is known to everyone who belonged to the Central Committee at that time.
Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Twenty Letters to a Friend. New York: Harper & Row, 1967, p. 206

…Lenin added, “He [Stalin] is too avid for power and his ambition is dangerous.” Stalin repeated this himself in open Congress of the Communist Party, and said quietly: “I told you then I repeat it now, that I am ready to retire if you wish it.”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 170

“A year later [1925] I [Stalin] again put in a request to the plenum to release me, but I was again obliged to remain at my post.”
Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 616

At the meeting of a group of party leaders in the Caucasus Zinoviev spoke of the need to guard against the Secretariat becoming too powerful. When Stalin learned of this speech he at once offered to resign. The offer was refused, for they could not manage without him.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 185

…Stalin’s criticism of Kamenev [at the central Committee plenum of January 1924] was condemned at a Politburo meeting as uncomradely and inaccurate about Kamenev’s true position. Stalin at once offered to resign. This was the second time he had done so as General Secretary, though it would not be the last. Again his offer was turned down, and by none other than Kamenev, supported by Zinoviev.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 106

Stalin reminded them that he had put in his resignation, and that all the delegates, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev among them, had voted for him to remain as General Secretary. It was not in his character, he added, to abandon his post, so he had continued to serve.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 138

The [Nineteenth Party] Congress was more interesting on other grounds. Stalin made a short speech, later saying proudly that he was still up to the job. At the plenum of the new Central Committee which followed, he offered his resignation as General Secretary, saying he was too old and tired to hold both that post and chairmanship of the Council of Ministers. This… was rejected in a spate of fulsome appeals to stay on.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 307

According to his former interpreter, Pavlov, elected a member of the Central Committee at the Nineteenth Congress, my father at the end of 1952 had twice asked the new membership of the Committee to sanction his retirement. Every member, as one, said that it was impossible.
Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Only One Year. New York: Harper & Row, 1969, p. 393

[From Serge In Portrait of Stalin]: There was the man of steel, as he had called himself,…face to face with that corpse [his wife’s body]. It was about that time that he rose one day at the Politburo to tender his resignation to his colleagues. ‘Maybe I have, indeed, become an obstacle to the party’s unity. If so, comrades, I’m ready to efface myself….’ The members of the Politburo–the body had already been purged of its right-wing– glanced at one another in embarrassment…. Nobody stirred…. At last Molotov said: ‘Stop it, stop it. You have the party’s confidence….’ The incident was closed.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 334

When the Supreme Soviet met for the first time after the war, Stalin decided to teach Molotov and his followers a lesson. He submitted his own resignation and that of his entire Commissariat, to prove his power and popularity. He was certain he would be returned to office by an overwhelming majority vote, and he was not mistaken.
Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 168

It is a well-known fact, that Stalin had many times (starting with the 1920s) raised the question of resignation from the heavy workload of his responsibilities in the party and government. His requests were always not accepted and he was urged unanimously by all to stay in his position as head of the party and his post as the leader of the Soviet Union.
Lucas and Ukas. Trans. and Ed. Secret Documents. Toronto, Canada: Northstar Compass, 1996, p. 7

Moreover, at the first organizational plenum of the Central Committee following the 19th Party Congress, Stalin unexpectedly asked to be relieved of his duties, pleading his advancing years. But the plenum…refused to accept Stalin’s resignation…. Members of the Central Committee seated in the first rows fell on their knees, imploring Stalin to remain at his post. Stalin agreed to do so, at the same time expressing his dissatisfaction with certain members of the old Politburo. But it was not Malenkov or Beria but Stalin himself who drew up the slate for election to the Central Committee Presidium, and it contained the names of almost all the members of the former Politburo (including those who had just been the objects of his critical remarks) along with a number of others who until then had not been influential in the Party in any way.
Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 157

Zinoviev called an informal meeting of a number of colleagues on holiday, in the conspiratorial setting of a cave near the Caucasian spa of Kislovodsk, and secured agreement to a plan to curb Stalin’s powers.
When the letter setting out their proposals reached Stalin, he reacted by going to Kislovodsk in person and proposing that Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Bukharin as members of the Politburo should be given seats on the Orgburo and see the “Stalin machine” from the inside. At the same time, he offered to resign: “If the comrades were to persist in their plan, I was prepared to clear out without any fuss and without any discussion, be it open or secret.” Zinoviev, however, took advantage of Stalin’s offer to attend Orgburo meetings only once or twice, while Trotsky and Bukharin failed to put in an appearance at all. As to his offer of resignation, Stalin well knew that, if he did reside, it would leave the way clear for Trotsky to claim the succession to Lenin, a prospect that was quite enough to stop Zinoviev and company from pressing their differences with him further.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 128

[In 1952] Stalin unexpectedly asked the Plenum to accept his resignation as general secretary, citing his age and the disloyalty of Molotov, Mikoyan, and several others. Whether this was meant to be taken seriously or not, the Plenum refused and begged him to stay. Having agreed, he then produced a paper out of his pocket and read out a list of the new members he proposed for the new Presidium, which was accepted without comment. The list included 10 of the 11 members of the existing Politburo, but an even larger number of younger and less well-known figures.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 964

On 15 March, 1946, at the time of the first meeting of the Supreme Council after the war, a sensational item of news was broadcast throughout the world. Stalin had presented his resignation, and that of his entire ministry. But a few hours later he was restored to office; and the brief excitement of the foreign commentators abated.
Delbars, Yves. The Real Stalin. London, Allen & Unwin, 1951, p. 400

Just occasionally he allowed his resentment to show. In November 1919 he tried to resign his job as Chairman of the Revolutionary-Military Council of the Southern Front. Lenin, alarmed, rushed to get a Politburo decision to implore him to reconsider. Stalin was too useful to be discarded.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 174

On 27 Dec 1926 he [Stalin] wrote to Sovnarkom Chairman Rykov saying: “I ask you to release me from the post of Central Committee General Secretary. I affirm that I can no longer work at this post, that I’m in no condition to work any longer at this post.” He made a similar attempt at resignation on 19 Dec 1927.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 247

According to Kaganovich, he [Stalin] also expressed a wish to retire. Molotov was his intended replacement; “Let Vyacheslav do the work.” This caused consternation: Kaganovich did not like the prospect of yielding to Molotov.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 573

STALIN–“Comrade Molotov–the most dedicated to our cause. He should give his life for the cause of the party.”
MOLOTOV–Coming to the speaker’s tribune completely admits his mistakes before the Central Committee, but he stated that he is and will always be a faithful disciple of Stalin.
STALIN–(interrupting Molotov). This is nonsense. I have no students at all. We are all students of the great Lenin.
VOICE FROM THE FLOOR–We need to elect Comrade Stalin as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
STALIN–No! I am asking that you relieve me of the two posts!
Speech by Stalin at the Plenum of the Central Committee, CPSU, October 16, 1952.

WHY STALIN AND KRUPSKAYA ARGUED AND LENIN’S HEALTH CARE

MOLOTOV: …My attitude toward Krupskaya was more or less positive in our personal relations. But Stalin regarded her unfavorably.
CHUEV: He had reasons. She made a poor showing at the 14th Party Congress.
MOLOTOV: Very bad. She turned out to be a bad communist. She didn’t know what the devil she was doing.
CHUEV: Anyway, what caused the conflict between Stalin and Krupskaya?
MOLOTOV: Krupskaya acted badly after Lenin’s death. She supported Zinoviev and obviously was confused by Zinoviev’s line.
Doctors forbade visits to Lenin during his illness, once his condition grew worse. But Krupskaya allowed them. And this brought on the conflict between Krupskaya and Stalin. Stalin supported the Central Committee’s decision not to let any visitors see Lenin. Stalin was right in this case.
What Lenin wrote about Stalin’s rudeness was not without Krupskaya’s influence. She disliked Stalin because he had treated her quite tactlessly. Stalin implemented the decision of the secretariat and did not permit Zinoviev and Kamenev to visit Lenin once this was prohibited by the doctors. Zinoviev and Kamenev complained to Krupskaya. Outraged, she told off Stalin. He responded, “Lenin should not have visitors.” Krupskaya responded by saying, “But Lenin himself wants it!” Stalin then replied: “If the Central Committee says so, we might not let you see him either.”
Stalin was irritated: “Why should I get up on my hind legs for her? To sleep with Lenin does not necessarily mean to understand Leninism!”
Stalin told me something like this: “Just because she uses the same bathroom as Lenin, do I have to appreciate and respect her as if she were Lenin?”
He was too coarse and rude.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 132

Krupskaya had a big grudge against Stalin. But he had a grudge against her, too, because Lenin’s signature to his testament was supposedly affixed under Krupskaya’s influence. Or so Stalin believed.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 135

On December 18, 1922, the Central Committee made Stalin responsible for his medical supervision.
On Dec. 22, Stalin learned that Lenin had just written to Trotsky congratulating him on their victory over the trade monopoly. Stalin telephoned Lenin’s wife, Krupskaya, and abused her in terms both vulgar and violent for having let Lenin write in his state of health…. Stalin had threatened to take her before the Party Control Commission, and she said she had no doubt that if it came to that she would be unanimously supported there,…
Lenin had another stroke that very day (Dec. 22), but over the next two days recovered enough to refuse treatment unless he was allowed to dictate some notes. The Politburo granted this, and the next few days were spent in writing what came to be called his Testament.
In this well-known document, suppressed for 33 years,…
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 99

He [Lenin] now learned of Stalin’s violent attack on Krupskaya, and he wrote Stalin as follows (with copies to Kamenev and Zinoviev):
‘Very respectable comrade Stalin,
You allowed yourself to be so ill-mannered as to call my wife on the telephone and to abuse her. She has agreed to forget what you said. Nevertheless she has told Zinoviev and Kamenev about the incident. I have no intention of forgetting what has been done against me, and it goes without saying that what was done against my wife I also consider to have been directed against myself. Consequently, I must ask you to consider whether you would be inclined to withdraw what you said and to apologize, or whether you prefer to break off relations between us.
Respectfully yours, Lenin
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 103

One of Lenin’s secretaries, Maria Volodicheva, gave Stalin the letter personally. He remained calm and said slowly, ‘It is not Lenin speaking, it is his illness. I’m not a doctor. I’m a politician. I’m Stalin. If my wife, a member of the party, acted wrongly and they punished her, I would not assume the right to interfere in the matter. But Krupskaya is a party member. If Lenin insists I am ready to apologize to Krupskaya for rudeness.’ Volodicheva returned with the oral apology.
Stalin immediately wrote a reply (which, like some of the rest of the information about the episode, has only just been published in the Soviet Union). In effect, he brazened it out. He said he had spoken to Krupskaya ‘approximately as follows, “The doctors forbid giving Lenin political information, believing this regime the best way of treating him, but you Nadezhda Konstantinovna, it seems, have broken this regime. Do not play with Ilyich’s health,”‘ and so on. This could not, he said, be regarded as rude, impermissible, or directed ‘against’ Lenin. He had done his duty, though there seemed to have been a misunderstanding. If ‘to preserve “relationships” I have to “withdraw” the words mentioned above, I can withdraw them, but I cannot understand in this business, where my “guilt” is, and what exactly is wanted of me.’
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 103

The ambiguity of the situation was further increased by the fact that the man chosen to make sure the doctors’ orders were scrupulously carried out was none other than Stalin. The actual orders were given by the doctors, but in close consultation with the supervisor [Stalin] appointed by the Central Committee. Stalin was officially instructed to keep himself informed of everything that happened at Lenin’s bedside. He applied himself zealously to the task.
Lewin, Moshe. Lenin’s Last Struggle. New York: Pantheon Books. C1968, p. 70

Lenin’s sister Maria described that occasion in her notes: “Stalin called her [Krupskaya] on the phone and, apparently counting on it not getting to Lenin, started telling her, in a pretty sharp way, that she shouldn’t talk business with Lenin, or he’d drag her before the Party’s Control Commission. Krupskaya was terribly upset by the conversation; she was quite beside herself, sobbing and rolling on the floor and so on.”
Lenin was up in arms when he heard about this incident. Ignoring Krupskaya’s entreaties, apparently that day he dictated a letter which indicated exactly what he thought about Stalin. The letter, which opens with an uncomradely formal address, was marked “Top secret” and “Personal,” but copies were sent to Kamenev and Zinoviev.
Respected Comrade Stalin,
You had the gall to call my wife to the telephone and abuse her. Although she agreed to forget what was said, she nevertheless told Zinoviev and Kamenev…. I have no intention of forgetting what has been done against me, as it goes without saying that what was done against my wife was done against me. Therefore I must ask you to consider whether you are prepared to take back what you said and apologize, or whether you would rather break off relations between us.
With respect,
Lenin

[Stalin replied]
Five weeks ago I had a conversation with Comrade Nadejda Konstantinova, whom I regard not only as your wife but as my old Party comrade, and I said roughly the following to her (on the telephone): “the doctors have forbidden [us] to give Ilich political information, as they regard this as the most important way of curing him. It turns out, Krupskaya, that you are not observing this regimen. We must not play with Ilich’s life,” and so on. I do not regard anything I said as crude or impermissible, or aimed against you, for I had no other purpose than your earliest recovery. Moreover, I regarded it as my duty to see that the regimen was observed. My conversation with Krupskaya confirmed that my suspicions were groundless, nor could they be otherwise. Still, if you think that to maintain our “relations” I should take my words back, then I can take them back, though I refuse to understand what the problem was, where my fault lay and what it is people want of me.”
Stalin
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 422-423

A recent discovery has produced a note from Stalin to Lenin in which he wrote: “If you consider that I must take back my words, I can take them back, but I fail to understand what the issue is, where my guilt is.”
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 123

To the Joint Plenum of the CC and CCC
From: Maria Ulyanova
No. 1
The oppositional minority in the CC in the recent period has carried out a systematic attack on Comrade Stalin not even stopping at affirming as though there had been a rupture between Lenin and Stalin in the last months of the life of V.I. With the objective of re-establishing the truth I consider it my obligation to inform comrades briefly about the relations of Lenin towards Stalin in the period of the illness of V.I. (I am not here concerned with the period prior to his illness about which I have wide-ranging evidences of the most touching relations between V.I. and Stalin of which CC members know no less than I) when I was continually present with him and fulfilled a number of charges.
Vladimir Ilyich really appreciated Stalin. For example, in the spring of 1922 when V. Ilyich had his first attack, and also at the time of his second attack in December 1922, he invited Stalin and addressed him with the most intimate tasks. The type of tasks with which one can address a person on whom one has total faith, whom you know as a dedicated revolutionist, and as a intimate comrade. Moreover Ilyich insisted, that he wanted to talk only with Stalin and nobody else. In general, in the entire period of his illness, till he had the opportunity to associate with his comrades, he invited comrade Stalin the maximum. And during the most serious period of the illness, he invited not a single member of the Politbureau except Stalin.
There was an incident between Lenin and Stalin which comrade Zinoviev mentions in his speech and which took place not long before Ilyich lost his power of speech (March, 1923) but it was completely personal and had nothing to do with politics. Comrade Zinoviev knew this very well and to quote it was absolutely unnecessary. This incident took place because on the demand of the doctors the Central Committee gave Stalin the charge of keeping a watch so that no political news reached Lenin during this period of serious illness. This was done so as not to upset him and so that his condition did not deteriorate, he (Stalin) even scolded his family for conveying this type of information. Ilyich, who accidentally came to know about this and who was also always worried about such a strong regime of protection, in turn scolded Stalin. Stalin apologized and with this the incident was settled. What is there to be said during this period, as I had indicated, if Lenin had not been so seriously ill then he would have reacted to the incident differently. There are documents regarding this incident and on the first demand from the Central Committee I can present them.
This way, I affirm that all the talk of the opposition about Lenin’s relation towards Stalin does not correspond to reality. These relations were most intimate and friendly and remained so.

No. 2.
M.I. Ulyanova on Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s relation towards J. Stalin:
In my application to the Central Committee plenum I wrote that V. Ilyich appreciated Stalin. This is of course right. Stalin is a major worker and a good organiser. But it is also without doubt, that in this application, I did not say the whole truth about Lenin’s attitude towards Stalin. The aim of the application, which was written at the request of Bukharin and Stalin, was to refer to Ilyich’s relation towards him. This would have guarded him a little from the opposition attack. This speculation was based on the last letter by V. Ilyich to Stalin where the question of breaking this relationship was posed. The immediate reason for this was personal V. Ilyich’s outrage that Stalin allowed himself to be rude towards Nadezhda Konstantinovna. At that time it seemed to me that this very personal matter was used by Zinoviev, Kamenev and others for political objectives and the purpose of factionalism. Further weighing this fact with other statements of V. Ilyich, his political testament and also Stalin’s behaviour after Lenin’s death, his “political’ line, I all the more started explaining to myself the real relation Lenin had with Stalin towards the end of his life. Even if briefly I think that it is my duty to talk about it.
V. Ilyich had a lot of control. He was very good in concealing. For whatever reasons whenever he thought it necessary he would not reveal his relations to other people .
He controlled himself even more in his relations towards the comrades with whom he worked. For him work was the first priority. He subjugated the personal in the interests of work. Never did the personal protrude or prevail.
A distinct example of this type of relation was the incident with Trotsky. In one Politbureau meeting Trotsky called Ilyich “a hooligan’. V. Ilyich turned as pale as chalk, but he controlled himself. “It seems some people are losing their nerves’. He said something like this in reply to Trotsky’s rudeness. This is what the comrades told me while retelling the incident. He never had any sympathy for Trotsky. This person had so many characteristics which made it extremely difficult to work with him in a collective fashion. But he was a great worker and a talented person and I repeat for V. Ilyich work was the first priority and that is why he tried to retain him for the job and tried to work with him jointly in the future .
In the summer of 1922, during the first illness of V. Ilyich, when I was staying with him constantly almost without absences, I was able to closely observe his relation with the comrades with whom he worked closely and with the members of the Politbureau.
By this time I have heard something about V. Ilyich’s dissatisfaction with Stalin. I was told that when V. Ilyich came to know about Martov’s illness, he requested Stalin to send him some money. In reply Stalin told him “I should spend money on the enemy of the workers! Find yourself another secretary for this’. V. Ilyich was very disappointed and angry with Stalin .
In the winter of 20-21, 21-22 V. Ilyich was feeling sick. He had headaches and was unable to work Lenin was deeply disturbed. I exactly do not know when, but somehow during this period V. Ilyich told Stalin that he would probably be stricken with paralysis and made Stalin promise that in this event he would help V. Ilyich to obtain potassium cyanide. Stalin promised. Why did he appeal to Stalin with this request? Because he knew him to be an extremely strong man devoid of any sentimentality. V. Ilyich had nobody else but Stalin to approach with this type of request.
In May 1922 after his first attack he appealed to Stalin with the same request. V. Ilyich had then decided that everything was finished for him and demanded that Stalin should be brought to him immediately. This request was so insistent that nobody could gainsay it. Stalin was with V. Ilyich within 5 minutes and not more. When Stalin came out he told Bukharin and me that V. Ilyich had asked him to obtain poison. The time had come to fulfil his earlier promise. Stalin promised. V. Ilyich and Stalin kissed each other and Stalin left the room.
But later on after discussing the matter together we decided that V. Ilyich’s spirits should be raised. Stalin returned to Lenin and told him that after talking it over with the doctors he was convinced that everything was not yet lost and therefore the time for fulfilling his promise had not come. V. Ilyich noticeably cheered up and agreed. He said to Stalin, “you are being cunning?’ In reply Stalin said “when did you ever know me to be cunning?’ They parted and did not see each other till V. Ilyich’s condition improved. He was not allowed to meet his comrades.
During this period Stalin was a more frequent visitor in comparison to others. He was the first to come to V. Ilyich. Ilyich met him amicably, joked, laughed and demanded that I should treat Stalin with wine and so on. In this and in other meetings they discussed Trotsky and from their talk in front of me it was clear that here Ilyich was with Stalin against Trotsky .
V. Ilyich was most annoyed with Stalin regarding the national, Caucasus question. This is known from his correspondence with Trotsky regarding this matter. It is clear that V. Ilyich was completely outraged with Stalin, Ordjonikidze and Dzerzhinsky. During the period of his further illness, this question would strongly torture him.
To this the other conflict was also added, and which was brought about by V. Ilyich’s letter to Stalin on 5.3.23 and which I am going to quote below. It was like this. The doctors insisted that V. Ilyich should not be informed anything about work. The maximum fear was of Nadezhda Konstantinovna discussing anything with V. Ilyich. She was so used to discussing everything with him that sometimes completely unintentionally and unwillingly she might blurt things out. The Politbureau gave Stalin the charge of keeping watch so that the doctors’ instructions were maintained. It seems, one day coming to know about certain conversations between N.K. and V.I., Stalin called her to the telephone and spoke to her quite sharply thinking this would not reach V. Ilyich. He warned her that she should not discuss work with V.I. or this may drag her to the Central Control Commission of the party. This discussion deeply disturbed N.K. She completely lost control of herself she sobbed and rolled on the floor. After a few days she told V.I. about this incident and added that they had already reconciled. Before this it seems Stalin had actually called her to smooth over the negative reaction his threat and warning had created upon her. She told Kamenev and Zinoviev that Stalin had shouted at her on the phone and it seems she mentioned the Caucasus matter.
Next morning Stalin invited me to V. Ilyich’s office. He looked upset and offended. He told me “I did not sleep the whole night. Who does Ilyich think I am, how he regards me, as towards a traitor, I love him with all my heart. Please, somehow tell him this.’ I felt sorry for Stalin. It seemed to me that he was sincerely distressed. Ilyich called me for something and in between I told him that the comrades were sending him regards “Ah’ objected V.I. “And Stalin has requested me to tell you, that he loves you’. Ilyich frowned and kept quiet. “Then what’ I asked “should I convey your greetings to him?’ “Convey them’ answered Ilyich quite coldly. But I continued “Volodia he is still the intelligent Stalin’. “He is absolutely not intelligent’ frowning Ilyich answered resolutely.
I did not continue the discussion and after a few days. V.I. came to know that Stalin had been rude with N. K. and Kamenev and Zinoviev knew about it. In the morning very distressed Lenin asked for the stenographer to be sent to him. Before this he asked whether N.K. had already left for Narkompros (People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment ed. R.D.) to which he received a positive answer. When Volodicheva came V.I. dictated the following letter to Stalin:
“Absolutely secret. Personal. Respected Comrade Stalin! You were rude enough to call my wife to the telephone and insult her. Even though she has expressed to you her willingness to forget the incident, but even then this fact came to be known through her by Zinoviev and Kamenev. I am not ready to forget so easily what has been done against me and what is done against my wife I consider as having been done against me. Therefore I ask you to inform me whether you are ready to take back what you said and apologise or whether you prefer to break off our relationship. With respect Lenin. Written by M.V. 5/III-23’.
V.I. asked Volodicheva to send it to Stalin without telling N.K. and to put a copy of the letter in a sealed envelope and give it to me.
After returning home and seeing V.I. distressed N.K. understood that something had happened. She requested Volidicheva not to send the letter. She would personally talk to Stalin and ask him to apologize. That is what N.K. is saying now, but I feel that she did not see this letter and it was sent to Stalin as V.I. had wanted. The reply of Stalin was not handed over immediately and then it was decided probably by the doctors and N.K. not to give it to V.I. as his condition had worsened. And so V.I. did not come to know about the reply of Stalin in which he apologised.
But howsoever irritated Lenin was with Stalin there is one thing I can say with complete conviction, his words that Stalin was “not at all intelligent’ were said without any irritation. This was his opinion about him decided and complex and which he told me. This opinion did not refute the fact that V.I. valued Stalin as a practical worker. He considered it absolutely essential that there should be some initial control over his ways and peculiarities, on the force of which V.I. considered that Stalin should be removed from the post of general secretary. He spoke about this very decisively in his political will, in his description of a group of comrades which he gave before his death. But these documents never reached the party. But about this some other time.

Appendix
Letter of Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 7th March, 1923.
To Comrade. Lenin from Stalin
Personal
Comrade Lenin!
Five weeks ago I had a discussion with Nadezhda Konstantinovna whom I consider not only your wife, but also my senior party comrade. I told her on the telephone something very close to the following :
“The doctors have forbidden any political information to be given to Ilyich. They consider this routine the most effective method to cure him, whereas you Nadezhda Konstantinovna are violating this routine. To play with the life of Ilyich is not allowed’.
I do not think that these words can be seen as anything rude or impermissible directed “against’ you nor I did I proceed from any other purposes other than your quick recovery. Moreover, I think it my duty to see that this routine is maintained. My explanation to Nadezhda Konstantinovna confirms that there was nothing except a simple misunderstanding.
If you think that to maintain the “relationship’ I must “take back’ the above-mentioned words, then I can take them back but I do not understand where is my “fault’ and what exactly is wanted from me.
I. Stalin.

[Lenin’s letter and Stalin’s answer were kept in an official envelope in the department of administrative matters of Sovnarkom on which it was written “Letter from Lenin dated 5/III-23 (2 copies) and reply from Stalin not read by Lenin. Single copy’. Stalin’s reply was written on 7th March immediately after receiving Lenin’s letter from M.A. Volodicheva editor].
M.I. Ulyanova to the Presidium of the Joint Plenum of the CC and CCC of the RCP(b), 26th July, 1926

LENIN CRITICIZED ZINOVIEV AND BUKHARIN IN THE END

Zinoviev deviated from Lenin after 1925. Krupskaya also moved away from Lenin, but in truth she didn’t meddle in big politics.
So Lenin lived in such circumstances. And he was, after all, a man who could cut right through any obstacle. How irreconcilable he was with the right and the left! Bukharin and Zinoviev were closest to him, but he criticized them too, especially in the end.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 146

LENIN REALIZED STALIN AND TROTSKY WERE THE TWO MAIN LEADERS

CHUEV: Lenin attributed such dreadful qualities to everyone, without exception!
MOLOTOV: Certainly. But he gave very accurate descriptions. He could not come to run-of-the-mill conclusions. It was not without reason that Lenin distinguished Stalin and Trotsky as leaders, as the two who stood apart from the rest, as the most talented.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 148

MOLOTOV AGREES WITH LENIN’S TESTAMENT ON STALIN

I think Lenin was right in his evaluation of Stalin. I said it myself right after Lenin’s death, at the Politburo. I think Stalin remembered it because after Lenin’s death we got together at Zinoviev’s in the Kremlin, about five of us, including Stalin and me, and talked about the “testament.” Isaid I considered all of Lenin’s evaluation of Stalin to have been right. Stalin, of course, didn’t like this. Despite this we remained close for many years. I think he appreciated me because I spoke out about certain matters in a way others hypocritically avoided, and he saw that I addressed the matter of the “testament” forthrightly.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 212

THE TESTAMENT WAS NOT KEPT HIDDEN BY STALIN

During the 1927 conflicts, Trotsky brought up documents written by Lenin in his final illness which show that Lenin was attempting to oust Stalin as General Secretary of the Party. The most famous of these, Lenin’s so-called “Testament,” had been made known to delegates for the Thirteenth Congress of the Party in 1924….
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 49

Recalling the July-August 1927 plenum [at the October 1927 combined meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission], Stalin regretted having dissuaded the comrades from expelling Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee immediately. ‘Maybe I was being too kind and made a mistake…’
As for dealing with Lenin’s ‘Letter to the Congress’, Stalin gave his own interpretation:
“It has been shown time and again, and no one is trying to hide anything, that Lenin’s Testament was addressed to the 13th Party Congress, that it was read out at the congress, that the Congress agreed unanimously not to publish it because, by the way, Lenin himself did not want or ask for it to be published.”
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 138

His handling of the plenum [the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission in October 1927] was a masterpiece of persuasion. He reminded the Opposition that previously he had rejected calls for the expulsion of Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee. “Perhaps,” he suggested, “I overdid the “kindness’ and made a mistake.”
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 249

The evening before the congress, on May 21, 1924, there was an extraordinary plenum of the Central Committee, called to hear Lenin’s Testament.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 75

… it is important to note that the Central Committee did not support Stalin’s battle to have the full correspondence openly published surrounding the “Lenin Testament.”
Lucas and Ukas. Trans. and Ed. Secret Documents. Toronto, Canada: Northstar Compass, 1996, p. 3

Stalin took up the challenge of the Lenin testament a month later, at the climax of the series of inquisitorial sessions. “The oppositionists have cried here that the Central Committee is ‘concealing’ the testament of Lenin. You know that this question has been discussed a number of times at our joint sessions. Again and again it has been proved that no one hides anything, that the testament of Lenin was addressed to the Thirteenth Congress, that it, the testament, was made public there, that the congress unanimously decided not to publish it. One of the reasons for this decision, among others, was that Lenin himself did not wish or demand it. And nevertheless the opposition has the audacity to declare that the Central Committee is ‘concealing’ the testament…. It is said that Lenin proposed the removal of Stalin. Yes, that it is altogether true.” And Stalin then proceeded to read the uncomplimentary part of Lenin’s last message relating to him!
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 280

LENIN’S ILLNESS WAS AFFECTING HIS MENTAL BALANCE

This and other incidents suggested that Lenin’s illness was affecting him mentally. He had become increasingly capricious and flew into rages over minor matters.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 168

STALIN IS DEEPLY HURT BY LENIN’S CRITICISM AT THE END

Stalin must have felt surprised and hurt by Lenin’s behavior during the last months. As yet he knew nothing of the Testament which was still held secret, but he had been made aware of Lenin’s personal hostility. He had served Lenin and the Bolshevik cause loyally for 20 years; he had worked closely with him as a member of the Central Committee for 10 years. On occasions he had expressed disagreement, and during the Civil War when they had been under unbearable pressures, he had shown bad temper, as had Trotsky and others. Lenin had uttered no recriminations. Their relationship had always been based on trust and devotion to the cause and he had never conspired to displace him or to undermine his authority. The reward for this loyalty was a vicious campaign to destroy his position in the party. Stalin can only have seen it as a terrible betrayal. Certainly he did not respond then or later with hostility or resentment. In fact his attitude towards Lenin was accurately expressed in his lecture to the Kremlin Military Academy on Jan. 28, 1924. Although carefully contrived to show him as the natural successor, this speech had laid stress on the qualities of the great leader, “the mountain eagle.” The Lenin who had turned on him had been an ill and dying man. Nevertheless, Stalin had a tenacious memory, and this betrayal by his old leader probably contributed to the cancerous growth of suspicion and distrust of others, which was to contort his outlook in the years to come.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 191

KRUPSKAYA BRINGS FORTH THE TESTAMENT AT THE LAST MINUTE TO DAMAGE STALIN

Stalin’s majority support in the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission and his control of the party apparatus made his position seem unchallengeable. But five days before the 13th Party Congress was to open, something happened which suddenly threatened his career. Krupskaya sent to Kamenev notes which Lenin had dictated between December 23rd, 1922, and January 23rd, 1923, with a covering letter explaining that she had suppressed the two notes, known as the “Testament,” because Lenin had expressed the “definite wish” that these notes should be submitted to the next Party Congress after his death…. Her reasons for holding them secret for so long were not stated, but in bringing them forward at this time she was clearly seeking to damage Stalin politically.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 195

ZINOVIEV & KAMENEV WANT TESTAMENT IGNORED SO STALIN IS IN POWER AGAINST TROTSKY

Zinoviev and Kamenev were both concerned to keep Stalin in office. He was their indispensable ally against Trotsky and the oppositionists. Zinoviev declared that, while they had all sworn to carry out Lenin’s wishes to the letter, they knew that his fears about their General Secretary had been baseless.

Trotsky recalled that during the discussion Stalin referred to the Lenin who had dictated these notes as “a sick man surrounded by womenfolk,” a barbed reference to Krupskaya, but he did not take an active part. Trotsky himself did not contribute to the discussion. Finally by 30 votes to 10 it was decided that the notes should not be published, but that their content should be conveyed to selected delegates to whom it should be explained that Lenin had been seriously ill at the time and misinformed by those around him.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 196

Kamenev opened the seance and read Lenin’s letter. There was silence. Stalin’s face was somber and strained. Following a scenario prepared in advance, Zinoviev took the floor right away: “Comrades, you all know that Lenin’s posthumous wishes, each word of Ilyich, is law for us. We have sworn more than once to accomplish what Lenin passed on to us. And you know perfectly well that we will do so. But we are happy to note that on one point it seems that Lenin’s fears were not justified. You have all witnessed our joint work during these past months and, just like me, you have been able to see with satisfaction that that which Ilyich feared has not happened. I speak of our general secretary and the dangers of scission within the Central Committee.” (I’ve given the sense of his presentation.)

…Everyone kept quiet. Zinoviev proposed that Stalin be re-elected general secretary. Trotsky kept silent also, but he showed his extreme disgust with the comedy by a vivid mimicry.

Kamenev, for his part, urged members to keep Stalin in the general secretaryship. Stalin continued to gaze out of the window, teeth clenched and features drawn. His career was at stake.

Because there was silence, Kamenev proposed to settle the matter by vote. Who favored leaving Stalin in as general secretary? Who was against? And who abstained? I looked down the rows, counting the votes and giving the totals to Kamenev. The majority voted in favor of Stalin, while the small Trotsky group voted against. There were some abstentions. I was busy counting the votes and didn’t notice who abstained, which I much regret.

In addition to leaving Stalin as general secretary, the plenum decided not to read Lenin’s Testament to the congress and not to distribute his text to the delegates. Instead, the heads of delegations were to convey it to their own delegates.

Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 76

The Central Committee and senior delegates met on 22 May 1924 to acquaint themselves with Lenin’s will which had hitherto been in Krupskaya’s keeping. The reading of the will had the effect of a bolt from the blue. Those present listened in utter perplexity to the passage in which Lenin castigated Stalin’s rudeness and disloyalty and urged the party to remove him from the General Secretariat. Stalin seemed crushed. Once again his fortunes trembled in the balance. Amid all the worshipping of Lenin’s memory, amid the endless genuflexions and vows to “hold Lenin’s words sacred,” it seemed inconceivable that the party should disregard Lenin’s advice.

But once again Stalin was saved by the truthfulness of his future victims. Zinoviev and Kamenev, who held his fate in their hands, rushed to his rescue. They implored their comrades to leave him in his post. They used all their zeal and histrionic talents to persuade them that whatever Lenin held Stalin guilty of, the offense was not grave and that Stalin had made ample amends. Lenin’s word was sacred, Zinoviev exclaimed, but Lenin himself, if he could have witnessed, as they all had, Stalin’s sincere efforts to mend his ways, would not have urged the party to remove him….

All eyes were now fixed on Trotsky: would he rise, expose the farce, and demand that Lenin’s will be respected? He did not utter a word. He conveyed his contempt and disgust at the spectacle only through expressive grimaces and shoulder shrugging. He could not bring himself to speak out on a matter in which his own standing was so obviously involved. It was resolved to disregard Lenin’s advice on Stalin.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 137

The 13th Party Congress had arrived. Lenin’s “Letter to the Congress” was to be read there. On the eve of the Congress Krupskaya solemnly presented the Central Committee with certain sealed packets.

…Yaroslavsky recalled that “when these few pages written by Lenin were read to the members of the Central Committee the reaction was one of incomprehension and alarm.” It was true. The members of the Central Committee could not understand what Lenin wanted. Why was he abusing all the leaders, without suggesting any replacement? Why should Stalin be driven out of the Secretariat if all he could be reproached with was rudeness? Besides, they all knew that it was Lenin, not Stalin himself, who had “concentrated power” in the Gensek’s hands. It was all rather embarrassing because it seemed that the only reason for these attacks was that Lenin’s wife had been offended. That Stalin was terrified of this letter, that he was saved by Kamenev, and so on, is mere legend. Kamenev spoke for everyone when he said that “our dear Lenin’s sickness prevented him at times from being fair. And since Stalin has already confessed to the character faults noted by Lenin and will, of course, correct them, we should begin by accepting the possibility of leaving Stalin in the post of Secretary-General.” And so, out of concern for Lenin’s reputation, it was resolved that these “sickbed documents” should not be reproduced. They would be read to each delegation separately.

Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 216

BUKHARIN WAS PUT ON THE POLITBURO TO FILL LENIN’S VACANCY

Bukharin was elected to the Politburo to fill the vacancy left by Lenin.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 201

BUKHARIN GIVES THE MEMORIAL SPEECH ON LENIN’S DEATH

It is true that at the end of January 1929 Bukharin was asked to give the speech at the memorial meeting marking the fifth anniversary of Lenin’s death.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 200

SICK LENIN IS KEPT AWAY FROM EVERYONE

The Chronicle of his [Lenin] activities indicates that during 1923 he saw neither Trotsky, nor Stalin; not Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, or Rykov. All were kept away on his [Lenin] explicit orders.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 475

BUDU SAYS LENIN’S BODY IN THE TOMB IS A FAKE

The talk continued. It was a lengthy conference, during which it was easy to see that my uncle attached great importance to the preservation of Lenin’s body.
Finally he said, “If it turns out to be absolutely impossible to preserve the body, we’ll have to substitute something for it. We will have to replace it by an artificial figure. It will have to be made of some special material, something stable, solid, and lifelike. It must be perfectly done.”
And this, in the end, was what was done. I learned afterward that the embalmed body of Lenin had been replaced by an artificial statute, made at Kazan by a group of sculptors selected by Beria. They produced a faithful reproduction of the body, which was then cremated. The ashes were placed in an urn, which was submerged in the Volga, near Ulyanovsk, formerly Simbirsk, where Lenin-Ulianov was born in 1870.
Thus the pilgrims who wait patiently at the mausoleum of Lenin to file by what they believe to be the body of the saint of Russian Communism are not gazing at Lenin’s body, but merely at a replica of it.
Svanidze, Budu. My Uncle, Joseph Stalin. New York: Putnam, c1953, p. 189

THE TESTAMENT IS CRITICAL OF TROTSKY AND TROTSKY FAILED LENIN

On the whole, the reservations made [in the Testament] about Trotsky must seem more serious when it comes to politics proper, and his “ability” to be an administrative executant rather more than a potential leader in his own right. It is only fair to add that it was to Trotsky that Lenin turned for support in his last attempts to influence policy; but Trotsky failed to carry out Lenin’s wishes.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 4

… Indeed, in his “Testament” Lenin chose to remind the party of Trotsky’s non-Bolshevik past, even though his tone was not accusatory. There may have been political intimacy between them, but not close friendship. Trotsky’s wife, Natalya Sedova, did not visit Krupskaya, and Trotsky, unlike Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, and Stalin, did not visit Lenin at home. Nor was he drawn to his sick leader’s bedside, where the others were frequently to be found.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York : Free Press, 1994, p. 256

That paragraph [comparing Stalin with Trotsky in Lenin’s testament] is probably a genuine excerpt from Lenin’s letter. But there is another sentence which is admittedly an authentic postscript and which Stalin himself has quoted. It runs thus: “Stalin is too crude, and although this failing does not count for very much amongst us as Communists it will not be borne with in the business office of the General Secretary. Therefore I would suggest that we find a way to remove him from this position. These apparent trivialities can sometimes be of decisive significance.”
To this double-sided criticism I must add by way of comment a very important statement which I have on the authority of Radek. He said: “After Lenin’s death we, nineteen men of the Executive Committee, sat together and anxiously awaited the advice which our leader would give us from the tomb. Lenin’s widow had brought us the letter. Stalin read it aloud to us. As he did so, nobody made a sound. When it came to speak of Trotsky, the letter said: ‘His un-Bolshevik past is not an accident.’ All at once Trotsky interrupted the reading and asked: ‘What was that?’ The sentence was repeated. These were the only words that were spoken during that solemn hour.” It must have been a terrible moment for Trotsky. His heart must have stood still when he heard these six words, words which really decided his career. Lenin had not concealed his misgivings in regard to those two men whom he singled out as the most capable followers.
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe . London : I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 364

TESTAMENT HITS TROTSKY MUCH HARDER THAN STALIN

“Comrades Trotsky and Stalin are the two most able men in the present Central Committee,” read Kamenev. “Their rivalry might quite innocently lead to a split. Comrade Trotsky is perhaps the most talented of the leaders but he is too conceited. And then he is not a Bolshevik.”
This last statement proved fatal to Trotsky’s chances. Stalin got a punch on the nose, nothing more, but Trotsky got his in the solar plexus.
According to Maxim Gorky, Lenin thought highly of Trotsky’s organizing abilities. “And yet,” said he, “he isn’t one of us. With us but not of us. He is ambitious. There is something of Lassalle in him, something which isn’t good.”
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 91

In short, Trotsky emerges from the considerations of the “Testament” in a somewhat diminished position, mainly because he is not placed above Stalin and because his former non-Bolshevism, even though it cannot be held against him personally, is nonetheless mentioned.
… Trotsky’s non-Bolshevism had already gone against him in a number of disputes in which Lenin had had to exert his own prestige to defend him.
Lewin, Moshe. Lenin’s Last Struggle. New York: Pantheon Books. C1968, p. 82-83

TROTSKY DOES NOT DENY THERE IS A TESTAMENT

It must have been then that he [Lenin] formulated mentally the document that later became known as his “Will.”
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 478

This is the substance of the “Will.”
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 480

Like Moses on Mount Nebo, he viewed the promised land of the world proletariat from afar and during intervals of improvement between the recurrent attacks dictated his last commandments–his Testament, which he completed on January 4, 1923;…
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 355

It was in line with the train of thought Lenin expressed explicitly in his Testament.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 365

BAZHANOV SAYS TROTSKY ERRS SAYING LENIN WAS ALIVE WHEN TESTAMENT WAS READ

In his book on Stalin, written in the last years of his life, Trotsky said, after describing the plenum at which the Testament was read, “Actually, the Testament not only failed to terminate the internal struggle, which was what Lenin wanted, but, on the contrary intensified it to a feverish pitch. Stalin could no longer doubt that Lenin’s return to activity would mean the political death of the General Secretary.”
One can deduce from these lines that Lenin was still alive when his Testament was divulged. Since it was made public at the plenum which preceded the congress, Trotsky meant the plenum of the Central Committee of April 15, 1923, and the 12th Congress of 17-25 April 1923. But it is a gross error. The Testament was read to the Central Committee plenum of 21 May 1924 (the 13th Congress was May 22-31, 1924), which was four months after Lenin’s death. It is easy to demonstrate that it was Trotsky, not I, who was in error. In the same passage of his book, Trotsky quotes me as a witness to the plenum: “Bazhanov, another former secretary of Stalin’s, described the seance of the Central Committee at which Kamenev read the Testament. ‘Terrible embarrassment paralyzed all those present. Stalin, sitting on the steps of the rostrum, felt small and miserable. I studied him closely…etc.’” From these texts, one could only conclude that we were both at the same plenum. Although I was at the 1924 plenum, it was impossible for me to have been at the 1923 one, since I was not yet Politburo secretary. Consequently it is beyond doubt that the Testament was divulged at the May 21, 1924 plenum, after Lenin’s death, and that Trotsky was mistaken.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 77

STALIN REFUSED TO GIVE LENIN POISON

On March 17, 1923, the day Semashko and the doctors signed the bulletin, ratified by the Central Committee and describing Lenin’s condition as ‘good’, Stalin, as General Secretary, wrote a note to the Politburo in which he reported that Lenin was urgently requesting a lethal dose of potassium cyanide. Krupskaya was ‘stubbornly insisting that Lenin’s request should not be refused’. She had even ‘tried to give it to him herself, but had lost her nerve’, and that was why she had asked for Stalin’s help. Stalin concluded by saying that although he believed giving Lenin cyanide would be ‘a humane mission’, he himself would be unable to carry it out.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Autopsy for an Empire. New York: Free Press, c1998, p. 66

Maria wrote in her memoir of Lenin’s last six months that:
“In the winner of 1920-21 or 21-22 Ilich was very, very bad. Headaches and an inability to work troubled him deeply. I don’t remember exactly when, but at some time during that period, Ilich told Stalin that he would very likely end up being paralyzed, and he got Stalin’s word that in that event he would help him get hold of some potassium cyanide. Stalin promised….”

She returns to this topic elsewhere:
“Lenin made the same request to Stalin in May 1922, after his first stroke. Lenin had decided that he was finished and asked for Stalin to come to him for the shortest possible time. He was so insistent that it was decided he should be indulged. Stalin stayed for literally no more than five minutes. And when he came out, he told me and Bukharin that Lenin had asked him to get some poison, as the time to fulfil his earlier promise had arrived. Stalin had promised, they had embraced, and Stalin had left. But then, after discussing it together, we decided we must give Lenin courage, so Stalin went back to Lenin again and told him that, having talked to the doctors, he was convinced that all was not yet lost…. Lenin was visibly cheered and agreed.
Maria’s memoirs, although they are not always accurate, are nevertheless clear that the thought of suicide was in Lenin’s mind from the moment the illness struck him.
The archives, however, hold a more reliable document–a “strictly secret” letter from Stalin to the Politburo, dated 21 March 1923:
“On Saturday 17 March in the strictest secrecy Comrade Krupskaya told me of ‘Vladimir Ilyich’s request to Stalin,’ namely that I, Stalin, should take the responsibility for finding and administering to Lenin a dose of potassium cyanide. In our conversation Krupskaya said, among other things, that ‘Vladimir Ilyich is suffering unbelievably,’ that ‘to go on living is unthinkable,’ and she stubbornly insisted that I ‘not refuse Ilyich’s request,’ in view of Krupskaya’s insistence and also because Ilyich was demanding my agreement (Lenin twice called Krupskaya to go to him during my conversation with her in his study, where we were talking, and emotionally asked for ‘Stalin’s agreement,’ causing us to break off our conversation twice), I felt it impossible to refuse him, and declared: ‘I would like Vladimir Ilyich to be reassured and to believe that when it is necessary I will fulfil his demand without hesitation.’ Ilyich was indeed reassured.
I must, however, state that I do not have the strength to carry out Ilyich’s request and I have to decline this mission, however humane and necessary it might be, and I therefore report this to the members of the Politburo.

The reactions of the Politburo were summed up in an informal resolution: “I have read it. I propose that Stalin’s ‘indecisiveness is correct. There should be an exchange of opinion strictly among Politburo members. Without (administrative) secretaries. Signed Tomsky, Zinoviev, Molotov, Bukharin, Trotsky, Kamenev.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 425-426

Stalin received a request which he immediately reported in writing to members of the Politburo. On March 17 Krupskaya, “in the strictest secrecy…communicated to me Lenin’s request to obtain and pass on to him a quantity of potassium cyanide…. Krupskaya said that Lenin’s suffering was beyond belief…. I must declare that I lack the strength to carry out the request and I am compelled to refuse this mission…and hereby inform the Orgbureau accordingly.” The unfortunate Leader [Lenin] was by now scarcely able to think at all. Krupskaya herself was trying to carry out his former wish and spare him from further suffering. In fact, Stalin informed his friends in the triumvirate, Zinoviev and Kamenev, that “Krupskaya said…she had ‘tried to give him cyanide’ but ‘couldn’t go through with it,’ and so was ‘asking for Stalin’s support.’” But Stalin was a connoisseur of character. He knew then his partners would subsequently accuse him. No, Lenin must oblige by dying unaided. The members of the Politburo naturally approved his decision. So now his hands were clean.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 202

Here naturally arises the question: how and why did Lenin, who at the time was extremely suspicious of Stalin, turn to him with such a request [for poison], which on the face of it, presupposed the highest degree of personal confidence?
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 377

SOON AFTER LENIN DIED STALIN ORDERED ALL OF HIS WRITINGS COMBINED IN ONE INSTITUTE

Soon after Lenin died a year later, Stalin had the Marx-Engels Institute re-named the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute. He insured, by means of a special Central Committee decision, that all materials, documents, and letters, including those of a personal nature, would be deposited in this new center for the “research of Lenin’s heritage.” A Lenin archive of 4500 documents was created, as Tikhomirnov informed Stalin in early 1933. It would soon grow to 26,000. On Stalin’s orders all Lenin material that had belonged to Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev and other leading figures was transferred to it, and expeditions by Ganetsky, Adoratsky, and Tikhomirnov scoured Vienna, Warsaw, Cracow, Zurich, Brussels, and Paris in search of more Leniniana.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 274

STALIN WANTED TO BE LET OUT OF WATCHING LENIN’S HEALTH BUT THEY SAID NO

After the unforgettable telephone conversation, Stalin bothered her no more; he simply ignored her. Evidently now certain that Lenin would not recover, he was finding his responsibilities onerous. On 1 February 1923 he read a statement to the Politburo, asking to be relieved of having ‘to observe that the regime established by the physicians for Comrade Stalin is carried out.’ The response was a unanimous ‘no.’
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 421

On December 24, 1922, a committee of the Politburo composed of Stalin, Kamenev, and Bukharin held a conference with the doctors. It was decided that “Vladimir Ilyich has the right to dictate every day for 5 or 10 minutes, but this cannot have the character of correspondence and Vladimir Ilyich may not expect to receive any answers. He is forbidden [political] visitors. Friends or those around him may not inform him about political affairs.” Stalin was delegated the Politburo’s liaison man with the doctors, in effect Lenin’s guardian.

When these details were finely published in Russia in 1963, it was, of course, the intention of Khrushchev’s regime, which authorized the release, to cast unfavorable light on Stalin. Yet as in the case of many such revelations, the story reflects more discredit on his [Stalin] colleagues than on him. He had not sought this assignment and, as a matter of fact, tried on at least one occasion to lay it down. It was bound to increase Lenin’s already increasing dislike and suspicion of Stalin, would almost inevitably embroil Stalin with Lenin’s family. And if Lenin had a spell of recovery, Stalin would feel his wrath.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 216

But it must have been clear that the old man [Lenin] was up to something, getting his wife and secretaries to smuggle him “forbidden” Party materials and news, dictating to them not only lofty historical reflections, as would behoove a dying leader, but scandalous subversive pieces designed to throw the Party into disarray. Stalin kept calling the poor women, asking who it was that was telling Vladimir Ilyich these things, reminding them that they were subject to Party discipline and had better watch their step. After one such call, on December 23, Krupskaya appealed to her friends Kamenev and Zinoviev to protect her from ” invectives and threats.” But when they mildly remonstrated with Stalin he declared that he would resign his charge–let somebody else deal with the impossible invalid, his busybody wife, his hysterical old-maid sister, and those gossipy secretaries–but he was prevailed upon to stay on as Lenin’s guardian.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 218

KRUPSKAYA OBJECTED TO CC VOTING TO SUPPRESS THE TESTAMENT & TROTSKY WAS SILENT

Against Krupskaya’s protest the Central Committee voted by an overwhelming majority for the suppression of the will. To the end Trotsky, as though numb and frozen with detestation kept his silence.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 138

EVIDENCE SHOWS TROTSKY LIES WHEN HE SAYS STALIN POISONED LENIN

Trotsky would later speak of “Stalin’s poison.” But this is irrelevant. Professor V. Shklovsky, son of the imminent physician M. Shklovsky, found in his father’s records the testimony [originally meant to be destroyed] of V. Osipov, one of the senior doctors attending Lenin, and a speech therapist S. Dobrogayev. We read in particular that “the final diagnosis dismisses the stories of the syphilitic character of Lenin’s disease, or of arsenic poisoning. It was atherosclerosis, mainly affecting the cerebral blood vessels. The calcium deposit was so thick that during dissection the tweezers made a noise as if they were rapping on stone. Lenin’s parents also died of this disease.” But the story that Lenin had been poisoned would never die.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 213

This delusion has been utilized by various writers, Trotsky the most eminent, who have argued that Stalin murdered Lenin. Lenin was not in such bad shape, they maintain, so is it not strange that he died so suddenly? In the nature of things Stalin’s innocence cannot be proven, and in history, unlike some judicial systems, it cannot be presumed. But it strains the imagination to believe that the official account of Lenin’s arterial sclerosis was fabricated. Furthermore, the general impression of Stalin’s tactics in this whole period, roughly 1922-28, is that he considered time to be on his side and was remarkably patient in waiting to see whether events would unfold to his advantage. It is unlikely that in early 1924 he feared that Lenin might revive and cause trouble.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 85

LENIN DID NOT REPRIMAND STALIN EVEN WHEN HIS METHODS WERE ROUGH

Most of all, Lenin was inhibited by a complex of his own in dealing with Stalin. Stalin’s brutality and occasional insolence were undoubtedly distasteful to him, but did his qualms spring from his own background as a bourgeois and intelligent? Stalin’s behavior was perhaps the kind of proletarian forthrightness that was now so badly needed and that must not be curbed, lest the Communists share the fate of the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. He never had occasion to admonish Stalin, as he did another front commander, “I am afraid you are mistaken in not applying utmost severity, but if you are absolutely certain that your forces are inadequate for a savage and ruthless repression, then wire all the details without any delay.” For all the ample provocations there is no record of Lenin so much as reprimanding Stalin for the tone, if not the substance, of his messages.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 183

“What Stalin Means to Me.” A Video From the Stalin Society (UK).

“What Stalin Means to Me.”  A superb video from our comrades and friends of the Stalin Society (UK).

“What Stalin Means to Me.”

Untitled

“Stalin, to me, stands as a man of diligence and determination.  His life-long commitment to Marxism-Leninism, to socialism, and to the struggle for true women’s emancipation, especially, provides unwavering inspiration to me.  And his achievement in implementing socialism is a daily affirmation that the struggle to overthrow capitalism is very possible.  Not only is it possible, Stalin assures us, it is inevitable.”

The Real Stalin Series. Part Three: The Time of NEP.

The Time of NEP

stalin1917

TROTSKY TRIED TO SUCCEED LENIN AND FAILED BADLY

Immediately after Lenin’s death, Trotsky made his open bid for power. At the Party Congress in May 1924 Trotsky demanded that he, and not Stalin, be recognized as Lenin’s successor. Against the advice of his own allies, he forced the question to a vote. The 748 Bolshevik delegates at the Congress voted unanimously to maintain Stalin as general secretary, and in condemnation of Trotsky’s struggle for personal power. So obvious was the popular repudiation of Trotsky that even Bucharin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev were compelled to side publicly with the majority and vote against him. Trotsky furiously assailed them for “betraying” him. But a few months later Trotsky and Zinoviev again joined forces and formed a “New Opposition.”
An actual secret Trotskyite army was in process of formation on Soviet soil.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 199

Trotsky was in the Politburo, but in fact everyone had united around Stalin, including the right-wing–Bukharin and Rykov. We called ourselves “the majority” against Trotsky. He surely sensed, of course, this collusion against him. He had his supporters and we had ours. But he did not have many in the Politburo or in the Central Committee, only two or three. There was Shliapnikov from the Workers Opposition and Krestinsky from the Democratic Centralists.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 143

…The official history of the Communist Party suggests that Trotsky was emboldened by Lenin’s illness to make a deliberate bid for power as Lenin’s successor. This may be an exaggeration, although Trotsky must have known that Lenin was doomed, but it is significant that he mobilized a powerful group of critics to sign a document called the “Declaration of the Forty-six.” The declaration was a blow to the Central Committee, but Trotsky was rash enough to pursue his advantage by a letter which not only carried the attack further but established himself as leader of what was described by the Central Committee as an Opposition bloc. The word “opposition” or “factionalism” produced a reaction. The Central Committee retorted fiercely that Trotsky was not a Bolshevik at heart and never had been, that he and his “Forty-six” were voicing Menshevik heresies as they had done before, and that most of them had already been castigated by Lenin for subversive or mistaken ideas.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 105

ZINOVIEV AND LENIN PROPOSE STALIN FOR GENERAL SEC.

He [Zinoviev] accordingly proposed Stalin for the post of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the party. Lenin agreed, and Stalin was appointed.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 91

Indeed, it had been Zinoviev who, after the Civil War, had proposed Stalin as General Secretary of the party.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 144

On Lenin’s motion, the Plenum of the Central Committee, on April 3, 1922, elected Stalin, Lenin’s faithful disciple and associate, General Secretary of the Central Committee, a post at which he has remained ever since.
Alexandrov, G. F. Joseph Stalin; a Short Biography. Moscow: FLPH, 1947, p. 74

But Lenin, after all, at the 10th Congress had prohibited factionalism.
And we voted with that note on Stalin in brackets. He became general secretary…. Lenin…made Stalin general secretary. Lenin was, of course, making preparations, for he sensed his ill health. Did he perhaps see in Stalin his successor? I think one can allow for that.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 105

CHUEV: At the office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, I was told that Lenin did not nominate Stalin to the post of general secretary. Rather, Kamenev did, and Lenin approved it….
MOLOTOV: Well, well. I know for sure that Lenin nominated him.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 166

In this connection it is interesting to note that the Congress ratified Lenin’s appointment a few weeks earlier of Stalin as General Secretary of the Party. This was a key position of authority and influence, and it is most significant that Lenin awarded it to Stalin, leader of the “underground” laborers in Russia’s vineyards during the pre-war period of repression, rather than to the more spectacular Trotsky or any of the Marxian purists among the “Western” exiles.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 70

When in 1923 I learned that Lenin could not long survive and began to wonder about his successor, I remembered a conversation in my office in Moscow two years before. A Russian friend had said to me, “Stalin has been appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party.”
“What does that mean?” I replied.
“It means,” said the Russian impressively, “that he now becomes next to Lenin, because Lenin has given into his hands the manipulation of the Communist Party, which is the most important thing in Russia.”
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 165

On April 3, 1922, the plenum elected Stalin general secretary….
A Biographical Chronicle of Lenin’s life and work, published in recent years, gives the following account of April 3, 1922, based on materials from Party archives.
“…The plenum makes the decision to establish the position of general secretary with two Central Committee secretaries. Stalin is assigned to be general secretary; Molotov and Kuibyshev are the secretaries.”
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 67-68

[Footnote]: Trotsky and Medvedev attempt to absolve Lenin of responsibility for Stalin’s appointment as General Secretary, but there is persuasive evidence that Lenin had entrusted Stalin with party affairs during Lenin’s leave of absence and that he proposed him as General Secretary.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 344

STALIN DID NOT PACK PARTY WITH HIS SUPPORTERS

It has often been stated, especially by Stalin’s opponents, that he busied himself at this time giving posts to his supporters throughout the party organization. This, of course, was not so. Stalin had spent most of the early years of the revolution at the fronts, and as yet had never come forward as a leader in any ideological current within Bolshevism: where could he have found all these personal supporters?….
Certainly no such army of supporters of Stalin had existed. On the other hand, he was the creator of the bureaucratic machinery of the party, and on the whole the members of the bureaucracy were loyal to its creator and controller. Only on the whole, for the later conflicts showed that very many of the party officials whose names he had put forward were opponents of his.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 95-96

…As General Secretary of the Party Central Committee, he [Stalin] held a strategically dominating position in matters of organization; and his opponents, especially the Trotskyists, charge that he used to the fullest extent the opportunities which this post afforded of packing the provincial and city Party committees with his own partisans. The Stalinites retort that these are slanderous accusations, put into circulation by disgruntled people who failed to capture control of the Party for their own ends. They point to the unanimous votes registered at Party Conferences and Congresses as proof that Stalin’s policies command the approbation of the solid masses of the Party members.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 91

ZINOVIEV BACKED UP STALIN FOR GEN. SEC.

The most powerful man in the party was then Zinoviev, and he was in favor of Stalin; it was he who had proposed him for the party secretaryship. So Stalin remained secretary.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 109

Perhaps they signified their real thoughts when they unanimously confirmed the election to the important post of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, of Joseph Stalin, friend and close confidant of the absent president.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 59

When, at the April 1922 Plenum of the Central Committee, Kamenev proposed acceptance of Zinoviev’s idea of making Stalin general secretary of the Central Committee, Lenin–although he knew Stalin all too well–had no objection.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 27

MEMBERS VOTED FOR STALIN BECAUSE THEY WANT HIM, NOT OUT OF FEAR

RUDZUTAK: Comrades, can one utter a greater slander against the members of the Central Committee, against the Old Bolsheviks, the majority of whom served years at hard labor? These, the finest people of the party, did not fear many years in prison and in exile, and now these revolutionaries, who devoted themselves to the victory of the revolution, these old revolutionary warriors, according to Smirnov, are afraid to vote against Comrade Stalin. Can be that they vote for Stalin from a fear for authority while, behind his back, they prepare–if anything comes up–to change the leadership? You are slandering the members of the party, you’re slandering the members of the Central Committee, and you are also slandering Comrade Stalin. We, as members of the Central Committee, vote for Stalin because he is ours….”
RUDZUTAK: “You won’t find a single instance where Stalin was not in the front rank during periods of the most active, most fierce battle for socialism and against the class enemy. You won’t find a single instance where Comrade Stalin has hesitated or retreated. That is why we are with him. Yes, he vigorously chops off that which is rotten, he chops off that which is slated for destruction. If he didn’t do this, he would not be a Leninist. He would not be a Communist fighter. In this lies his chief and finest and fundamental merit and quality as a leader-fighter who leads our party.”
Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 93

PREOBRAZHENSKY WANTS STALIN DISMISSED AS GEN. SEC. BECAUSE HE HAS TOO MANY JOBS

Preobrazhensky was later among the opposition, a Trotskyist. He proposed that Stalin be dismissed from the position of general secretary on the grounds that he held too many offices. At the time Lenin strongly defended Stalin….”
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 113

At the Eighth Congress Stalin was re-elected to the Central Committee. Although the Central Committee was not very large then, a decision was made to establish a smaller direct body within it–a Political Bureau (Politburo), which would decide important political issues on a day-to-day basis. The first Politburo consisted of Lenin, Kamenev, Krestinsky, Stalin, and Trotsky. The candidate members were Bukharin, Kalinin, and Zinoviev. An Organizational Bureau (Orgburo) was also established for the first time to direct the ongoing organizational work of the party. It consisted of five members: Beloborodov, Krestinsky, Serebryakov, Stalin, and Stasova. A few days later a decree of the Central Executive Committee appointed Stalin peoples commissar of state control.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 59

At the 11th Party Congress Preobrazhensky proposed that Stalin’s powers be somewhat curtailed. He said in his speech:
“Take Comrade Stalin, for example, a member of the Politburo who is, at the same time, peoples commissar of two commissariats. Is it conceivable that a person could be responsible for the work of two commissariats, and in addition work in the Politburo, the Orgburo, and a dozen Central Committee subcommissions?”
Lenin answered Preobrazhensky as follows:
“Preobrazhensky comes along and airily says that Stalin is involved in two different commissariats. Who among us has not sinned in this way? Which of us has not taken on several responsibilities at once? And how could we do otherwise? What can we do now to maintain the existing situation in the Commissariat of Nationalities, in order to sort out all the Turkestan, Caucasian, and other questions? After all, these are political questions! And these questions have to be answered. They are questions such as European states have occupied themselves with for hundreds of years, and only an insignificant portion of such problems have been solved in the democratic republics. We are working to resolve them and we need a man to whom representatives of any of our different nations can go and discuss their difficulties in full detail. Where are we to find such a person? I think that even Preobrazhensky would be unable to name another candidate besides Comrade Stalin.
The same thing applies to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection. This is a vast business; but to be able to handle investigations we must have someone in charge who has authority. Otherwise we’ll get bogged down in petty intrigues.”
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 66

At the end of March 1919 Yelena Stasova was elected as chief secretary for the Central Committee. She encountered difficulties, and in November of the same year a Central Committee plenum elected Krestinsky to be second secretary of the Central Committee. In April 1920 a Secretariat consisting of three people–Krestinsky, Preobrazhensky, and Serebryakov–was elected. The leading figure in the Secretariat became Krestinsky, who also belonged to the Orgburo & Politburo. However, during the “trade union discussion,” all the Central Committee secretaries supported Trotsky’s or Bukharin’s platform and none of them were re-elected at the Central Committee plenum following the Tenth Party Congress. Instead Molotov, Yaroslavski, and Mikhailov were elected to the Secretariat. They were all members of the Orgburo as well.
Lenin, however, was displeased with the work of these party centers, accusing them of inadmissible red tape, delay, and bureaucratism. It was assumed, therefore, that the election of Stalin, whose organizational abilities and abrupt manner were well known in party circles, would bring order into the working bodies of the Central Committee.
The situation changed as Lenin’s illness grew worse, removing him more and more often from the administration of the country and direction of the party. Stalin was not only general secretary; he belonged to the Orgburo, the Politburo, and the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee, as well as heading two commissariats. Stalin had become a key figure in the party apparatus.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 69

On May 8, 18-23, 1919 he [Stalin] attended the 8th Congress of the party was elected to the two new bodies–the Politburo (henceforth the central organ of power) and the Orgburo, which at this time was supposed to be a subcommittee of the Central Committee concerned with party organization. When it was suggested (at the 11th Party Congress in 1922) that no one could carry out all Stalin’s party responsibilities and at the same time administer two People’s Commissariats, Lenin replied that no one could name another suitable candidate for the high political responsibilities of the Nationalities Commissariat ‘other than Comrade Stalin’ and, ‘the same applied to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate. A gigantic job…you have to have at the head of it a man with authority.’ This shows how Lenin now judged Stalin, and the extent to which the latter’s reputation had grown, regardless of particular errors and insubordinations.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 91

When at the Eleventh Party Congress Preobrazhensky listed all of Stalin’s duties and questioned whether it was possible for one man to handle this vast amount of work on the Politburo, the Orgburo, two commissariats, and a dozen subcommittees of the Central Committee, Lenin immediately spoke up in Stalin’s defense, calling him irreplaceable as commissar of nationalities and adding: “The same thing applies to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate. This is a vast business; but to be able to handle investigations we must have at the head of it a man who enjoys high prestige.”…
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 162

At the 11th Congress in 1922 one prominent Bolshevik, Preobrazhensky, would note with astonishment the vast authority which Lenin had concentrated in Koba’s hands. “Take Stalin, for instance…. Is it conceivable that one man can take responsibility for the work of two commissariats, while simultaneously working in the Politburo, the Orgbureau, and a dozen commissions?” But Lenin would not surrender his favorite: “We need a man whom any representative of any national group can approach, a man to whom he can speak in detail. Where can we find such a man? I don’t think Comrade Preobrazhensky could name
any candidate other than Comrade Stalin….
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 163

The conventional image of Stalin’s ascent to supreme power does not convince. He did not really spend most of his time in offices in the Civil War period and consolidate his position as the pre-eminent bureaucrat of the Soviet state. Certainly he held membership in the Party Central Committee; he was also People’s Commissar for Nationalities’ Affairs. In neither role were his responsibilities restricted to mere administration. As the complications of public affairs increased, he was given further high postings. He chaired the commission drafting the RSFSR Constitution. He became the leading political commissar on a succession of military fronts in 1918-19. He was regularly involved in decisions on relations with Britain, Germany, Turkey, and other powers; and he dealt with plans for the establishment of new Soviet republics in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He conducted the inquiry into the Red Army’s collapse at Perm. When the Party Central Committee set up its own inner subcommittees in 1919, he was chosen for both the Political Bureau (Politburo) and the Organizational Bureau (or Orgburo). He was asked to head the Workers’ and Peasants’ inspectorate at its creation in February 1920.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 173

LENIN WAS CLOSE TO STALIN AND MADE HIM HIGHER THAN BUKHARIN

Lenin’s relations with Stalin were close, but they were mainly businesslike. He elevated Stalin far higher than Bukharin! And he didn’t simply elevate him but made him his mainstay in the Central Committee. He trusted him.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 116

To this day I recall the first party congress in Petrograd in April, after the February Revolution, when Rykov expressed his rightist sentiments. Kamenev, too, showed this true colors. Zinoviev was still considered to be close to Lenin. Before the elections of members to the Central Committee, Lenin spoke for Stalin’s candidacy. He said Stalin had to be in the Central Committee without fail. He spoke up for Stalin in particular, saying he was such a fine party member, such a commanding figure, and you could assign him any task. He was the most trustworthy in adhering to the party line. That’s the sort of speech it was.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 137

STALIN MOST QUALIFIED SUCCESSOR TO LENIN

Stalin had reasons for thinking himself Lenin’s most loyal disciple and natural heir, in spite of that “testament.” He had been a Bolshevik 20 years, a member of Lenin’s central committees for 10 years, and had served directly under Lenin for six stormy years of revolution. He could easily consider that last conflict as a misunderstanding due to Lenin’s illness, which could have been cleared up if Lenin had recovered. All the other leaders had had worse clashes. Trotsky had opposed Lenin for years and only joined him at the moment of revolution. Zinoviev and Kamenev had been traitors in the very hour of the uprising, opposing it and giving its details in an opposition newspaper. Lenin had forgiven them all. Compared with their sins against Lenin, Stalin’s may well have seemed to him trivial.
Strong, Anna Louise. The Stalin Era. New York: Mainstream, 1956, p. 18

Stalin, whose personality is without any Napoleonic trait, was nevertheless the man who closed the revolutionary epoch and directed the rebuilding of the country. His enemies accuse him of having betrayed the revolution, which is definitely unjust.
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 49

…Stalin achieved colossal results [at the 14th Party Congress]. If not for him, the cadres would not have pulled together. The Bolshevik cadres would not simply obey orders at the wave of a wand. They had to be convinced. The same applied to the old Bolsheviks. Habitually they deferred to no authority or command. They regarded themselves as the equal of an ideological leader…. In 1924 discussion against Trotsky was proceeding full tilt.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 135

Stalin used to say that if Lenin were alive today, surely he would speak differently–there is no doubt about that. He would surely think up something that has not yet occurred to us. But the fact that Stalin was his successor was very fortunate. Very fortunate indeed.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 155

After Lenin, Stalin was the strongest politician. Lenin considered him the most reliable, the one whom you could count upon.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 156

You can’t compare me with him [Stalin]. After Lenin, no one person, not me, or Kalinin, or Dzerzhinsky, or anyone else could manage to do even a tenth of what Stalin accomplished. That’s a fact. I criticize Stalin on certain questions of a quite significant theoretical character, but as a political leader he fulfilled a role which no one else could undertake.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 181

Stalin! The more they assail him, the higher he rises. A struggle is going on. They fail to see the greatness in Stalin. After Lenin there was no more persevering, more talented, greater man than Stalin! After the death of Lenin, no one understood the situation better than Stalin…. Stalin fulfilled his role, an exceptionally important, very difficult role.
Let us assume he made mistakes. But name someone who made fewer mistakes. Of all the people involved in historic events, who held the most correct position? Given all the shortcomings of the leadership of that time, he alone coped with the task then confronting the country….
Despite Stalin’s mistakes, I see in him a great, an indispensable man! In his time there was no equal!
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 183

However, if we wish to determine what Stalin really meant in the history of Communism, then he must for the present be regarded as being, next to Lenin, the most grandiose figure. He did not substantially develop the ideas of Communism, but he championed them and brought them to realization in a society and a state. He did not construct an ideal society…but he transformed backward Russia into an industrial power….
Viewed from the standpoint of success and political adroitness, Stalin is hardly surpassed by any statesman of his time.
Djilas, Milovan. Conversations with Stalin. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962, p. 190

Stalin–“rude,”–sometimes bureaucratic and limited as a Marxist theorist–had a realistic plan for the construction of socialism, and he approached the task with determination, courage, and skill. For all his faults he was the best of the Party leaders available. And this was the opinion of the majority of the Party. Stalin’s report and reply to the discussion at the Thirteenth Congress in 1924 show that he had the Party’s confidence.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 52

Certainly before 1921 he showed no pretension to the leadership, and was content to serve. He was proud, sensitive, but not personally ambitious. After removal of Lenin he, like many others, must have wondered about the future of the party. Of the most prominent members Trotsky, towards whom he felt strong antipathy, would endanger unity and the others were not remotely of his caliber. Thus it would seem that during 1922 or 1923 Stalin began to consider seriously that in the interests of the party and communist Russia he would have to take over the leadership, and once having reached this decision he pursued his goal quietly and implacably.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 194

He [Stalin] cast himself in the role of leader because none of the other party leaders was remotely capable of assuming it, and because he had developed a burning sense of his mission to lead Russia.
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 222

At every stage of his career he had grown in stature, showing the confidence and ability to meet greater challenges. He possessed a natural authority, an inner strength and courage. He was not overwhelmed by the responsibilities that now lay upon him as sole ruler over a nation of 200 million people, and at a time when its survival was threatened. He did not play safe, evading dangers which might lead to destruction; on the contrary, although cautious by nature, he pursued his objectives with an implacable single-mindedness, undeterred by risk….
Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 235

My father said that an attentive reading of Lenin’s “Political Testament” shows that he saw nobody but Stalin as fit to succeed him.
Beria, Sergo. Beria, My Father: Inside Stalin’s Kremlin. London: Duckworth, 2001, p. 136

Stalin did not rise to supreme power exclusively by means of the levers of bureaucratic manipulation. Certainly he had an advantage inasmuch as he could replace local party secretaries with persons of his choosing. It is also true that the regime in the party allowed him to control debates in the Central Committee and at Party Congresses. But such assets would have been useless to him if he had not been able to convince the Central Committee and the Party Congress that he was a suitable politician for them to follow. Not only as an administrator but also as a leader,in thought and action,he seemed to fit these requirements better than anyone else.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 246

STALIN WORKED HIS WAY TO THE TOP BY EARNING IT

CHUEV: And how did Stalin rise so high?
MOLOTOV: Thank God. It was the whole story of his life, the Revolution, the Civil War…. Of course, he deserved it….
How did he work his way up? Look, he wrote a very good book on the national question…. He edited the first issue of Pravda.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 165

Stalin will be rehabilitated, needless to say.
Stalin had an astounding capacity for work…. I know this for a fact.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 179

Stalin’s usual routine is to work hard for about a week or longer, then go to the dacha for two or three days to rest. He has few relaxations, but he likes opera and ballet, and attends the Bolshoi Theatre often; sometimes a movie catches his fancy, and he saw Chapayev, a film of the civil wars, four times. He reads a great deal, and plays chess occasionally. He smokes incessantly, and always a pipe; the gossip in Moscow is that he likes Edgeworth tobacco, but is a little hesitant to smoke publicly this non-Soviet product. At dinner he keeps his pipe lit next to his plate, puffs between courses….
Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 532

STALIN WAS THE BEST MAN TO REPLACE LENIN

CHUEV: They say that Stalin replaced the Central Committee with a bureaucratic apparatus, and that after Lenin’s death he won power with the help of this apparatus.
MOLOTOV: But who could have led better?
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 166

Whoever will read this book, will think that I am a die-hard Stalinist. I do not absolve Stalin of everything, but I know his character and I also know the circumstances and the bunch of opportunists that were surrounding him in the Politburo. History now has shown us the conditions under which Stalin had to work, think, and lead our country then, during the hectic events, enemies internally and externally doing everything possible to steer the country away from the socialist path…. Could Stalin have known everything that was going on inside the country?
Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 107

LENIN CHOSE STALIN TO LEAD THE BATTLE AGAINST FACTIONS

…Under Lenin there were so many disagreements, so many opposition groups of every conceivable stripe. Lenin regarded this as very dangerous and demanded resolute struggle against it. But he could not take the lead in the struggle against the opposition or against disagreements. Someone had to remain untainted by all repression. So Stalin took the lead, assuming the burden of responsibility in surmounting the vast majority of these difficulties. In my opinion he generally coped with this responsibility correctly. All of us supported him in this. I was one of his chief supporters. I have no regrets over it.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 259

STALIN WAS NOT GRASPING FOR POWER BUT WAS GIVEN IT BY LENIN

Although it a usually assumed that Stalin was covertly grasping at positions of power and influence, the fact is that he was promoted mainly on the initiative of Lenin. Once appointed to his various offices he was prompt to exercise the authority necessary to carry out the work.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. 162

It was at Lenin’s suggestion that Stalin was named commissar of nationalities and commissar of state control, and later commissar of the Workers’ and Peasants Inspection (or Rabkrin, to use the Soviet acronym).

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 63

Stalin, in truth, did not look to be a formidable competitor for power. He had no gift of speech as Trotsky had. He was not an imposing figure. He wore an old khaki tunic with a button missing. He never went to the cleaners. His black hair was uncouth; his thick mustache dropped. He did not have his own automobile as Trotsky had. He was still smart at raiding banks and confiscating money for the Party, but money did not find its way into his pocket. He never showed off in any way. His face was a mask; it looked stupid and narrow-minded but benevolent.

Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 42

After the conquest of power, Stalin began to feel more sure of himself, remaining, however, a figure of the second rank. I soon noticed that Lenin was “advancing” Stalin, valuing in him his firmness, grit, stubbornness, and to a certain extent his slyness, as attributes necessary in the struggle.

Trotsky , Leon , Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 243

LENIN PROPOSED THAT STALIN BE TRANSFERRED FROM GEN. SEC. NOT REMOVED

Lenin proposed in his letter that Stalin be removed from his post as general secretary but did not question the possibility and necessity of keeping Stalin in the leadership. That is why the word “transfer” was used, rather than “remove”. Lenin did not propose any specific person to replace Stalin as general secretary.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 82

TROTSKY REFUSES TO TAKE A LEADING ROLE WHILE LENIN IS INCAPACITATED

The 12th Party Congress was to be held at the end of April 1923. Lenin was recovering with difficulty from the effects of his third stroke, and it was obvious that he would not be able to take part in the work of the congress. The question arose as to who would give the report in the name of the Central Committee. The most authoritative figure in the Central Committee was still Trotsky. Therefore, it was completely natural that at a meeting of the Politburo Stalin proposed that Trotsky prepare the report. Stalin was supported by Kalinin, Rykov, and even Kamenev. But Trotsky again declined, falling into confused rationalizations to the effect that “the party will be ill at ease if any one of us should attempt, as it were personally, to take the place of the sick Lenin.” Trotsky proposed instead that the Congress proceed without a main political report. This was an absurd proposal, and was, of course, voted down. At one of the next meetings of the Politburo a decision was made– to assign Zinoviev, who had just returned from vacation, to prepare the political report….

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 113

If Trotsky was so sure that he was Lenin’s desired successor; if Trotsky saw that Lenin was not simply ill but paralyzed and unable to speak and write; if Trotsky also saw that Zinoviev and Stalin aspired to Lenin’s place in the party and considered this dangerous to the party; then it is quite impossible to consider his conduct in March and April 1923 correct for a political person.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 115

In the struggle within the Politburo in the spring of 1923 (a struggle imperceptible to the outside observer) Trotsky displayed complete passivity and in so doing condemned himself to defeat.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 116

And when the last crisis came, when Lenin fell sick and was compelled to withdrawal from the Government, he turned again to Trotsky and asked him to take his place as President of the Soviet of People’s Commissars and of the Council of Labor and Defense. And, moreover, when Trotsky declined, Lenin did not turn to any other strong man; he passed over the heads of those who might conceivably imagine themselves to be rivals of Trotsky, and divided the position among three men who are obviously not leaders [Rykov, Tzuryupov, and Kamenev].

Eastman, Max. Since Lenin Died. Westport, Connecticutt: Hyperion Press. 1973, p. 16

The next Party Congress,the 12th,was scheduled for April 1923. The Politburo aimed to show that the regime could function effectively in Lenin’s absence. Trotsky was offered the honor of delivering the political report on behalf of the Central Committee, but refused.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 212

[Nevertheless Zinoviev was foolhardy enough to insist on taking Lenin’s place at the Twelfth Congress and assumed the role of Lenin’s successor by delivering the Political Report at its opening session. During the preparations for the Congress, with Lenin ill and unable to attend,] the most ticklish question was who should deliver this keynote address, which since the founding of the Party had always been Lenin’s prerogative. When the subject was broached in the Politburo, Stalin was the first to say, “The Political Report will of course be made by Comrade Trotsky.”

I did not want that, since it seemed to me equivalent to announcing my candidacy for the role of Lenin’s successor at a time when Lenin was fighting a grave illness. I replied approximately as follows: “This is an interim. Let us hope that Lenin will soon get well. In the meantime the report should be made, in keeping with his office, by the General Secretary….

I continued to insist on Stalin making the report.

“Under no circumstances,” he replied with demonstrative modesty. “The Party will not understand it. The report must be made by the most popular member of the Central Committee.

Trotsky , Leon , Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 366

STALIN EFFECTIVELY ROSE IN THE PARTY

In six years (from 1923 to 1929) Stalin outmaneuvered a series of opponents; first, in alliance with all the rest of his colleagues, he opposed and demoted Trotsky. Then, in alliance with the Bukharin-Rykov ‘Right’ he defeated the Zinoviev-Kamenev ‘Left’ bloc, and then a new alliance between these and the Trotskyites. And finally he and his own following attacked their heretofore allies, the ‘Rightists’.

Bukharin was later to criticize Stalin as a master of ‘dosing’–of getting his way in gradual doses. That this was supposed to be a damaging point is a measure of Bukharin’s (and others’) comparative incompetence.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 131

TROTSKY REFUSES TO TAKE LEADING POSITIONS OFFERED BY LENIN AND STALIN

On Sept. 11, 1922, Lenin addressed to Stalin a note for the Politburo in which he suggested that in view of Rykov’s imminent departure for a vacation and Tsiurupa’s inability to handle the whole load by himself, two new deputy chairman be appointed, one to help oversee the Council of People’s Commissars, the other, the Council of Labor and Defense: both were to work under close supervision of the Politburo and himself. For the posts he suggested Trotsky and Kamenev. A great deal has been made by Trotsky’s friends and enemies alike of this bid: some of the former went so far as to claim that Lenin chose him as his successor. (Max Eastman, for example, wrote not long afterward that Lenin had asked Trotsky to “become the head of the Soviet government, and thus of the revolutionary movement of the world.”) The reality was more prosaic. According to Lenin’s sister, the offer was made for “diplomatic reasons,” that is, to smooth Trotsky’s ruffled feathers; in fact, it was because it was so insignificant that Trotsky would have none of it. When the Politburo voted on Lenin’s motion, Stalin and Rykov wrote down “Yes,” Kamenev and Tomsky abstained, Kalinin stated “No objections,” while Trotsky wrote “Categorically refuse.” Trotsky explained to Stalin why he could not accept the offer. He had previously criticized the institution of zamy on grounds of substance. Now he raised additional objections on grounds of procedure: the offer had not been discussed either at the Politburo or at the Plenum, and, in any event, he was about to leave on a four-week vacation. But his true reason very likely was the demeaning nature of the proposal: he was to be one of four deputies–one of them not even a Politburo member–without clearly defined responsibilities: a meaningless “deputy as such.” Acceptance would have humiliated him; refusal, however, handed his enemies deadly ammunition. For it was quite unprecedented for a high Soviet official “categorically” to refuse an assignment.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 466

As reward for Trotsky’s collaboration, Stalin in January 1923 once again offered him the post of a zam in charge of either the VSNKh or the Gosplan. Trotsky again refused.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 470

On his [Trotsky] new platform he acquired some support, especially from the so-called “Group of Forty-Six,” members who shared his views and sent a letter to this effect to the Central Committee. The directing organs of the party, however, had a ready answer: the letter constituted a “platform” that could lead to the creation of an illegal faction. In a lengthy rebuttal, it took Trotsky to task [by stating],
“Two or three years ago, when Comrade Trotsky began his “economic” pronouncements against the majority of the Central Committee, Lenin himself explained to him dozens of times that economic questions belong to a category that precludes quick successes, that requires years and years of patient and persistent work to achieve serious results…. To secure correct leadership of the country’s economic life from a single center and to introduce into it the maximum of planning, the Central Committee in the summer of 1923 reorganized the Council of Labor and Defense, introducing into it personally a number of the leading economic workers of the republic. In that number, the Central Committee elected also Comrade Trotsky. But Comrade Trotsky did not consider making an appearance at meetings of the Council of Labor and Defense, just as for many years he had failed to attend meetings of the Sovnarkom and rejected the proposal of Comrade Lenin to be one of the deputies of the Sovnarkom Chairman…. At the basis of Comrade Trotsky’s discontent, of his whole irritation, of all his assaults over the years against the Central Committee, of his decision to rock the party, lies the circumstance that Comrade Trotsky wants the Central Committee to have him and Comrade Kolegaev take charge of our economic life. Comrade Lenin had long fought against such an appointment, and we believe he was entirely correct…. Comrade Trotsky is a member of the Sovnarkom and of the reorganized Council of Labor and Defense. He has been offered by Comrade Lenin the post of deputy of Sovnarkom chairman. Had he wanted, in all these positions Comrade Trotsky could have demonstrated to the entire party in fact, indeed, that he can be entrusted with that de facto unlimited authority in the field of economic and military affairs for which he strives. But Comrade Trotsky preferred a different method of action, one which, in our opinion, is incompatible with the duties of a party member. He has attended not a single meeting of the Sovnarkom either under Comrade Lenin or after Comrade Lenin’s retirement from work. He has attended not a single meeting of the Council of Labor and Defense, whether old or reorganized. He has not moved once either in the Sovnarkom, or in the Council of Labor and Defense, or in the Gosplan any proposals concerning economic, financial, budgetary, and so forth, questions. He has categorically refused to be Comrade Lenin’s deputy: this he apparently considers below his dignity. He acts according to the formula “All or Nothing.” In fact, Comrade Trotsky has assumed toward the party the attitude that it either must grant him dictatorial powers in the economic and military spheres, or else he will, in effect, refuse to work in the economic realm, reserving himself only the right to engage in systematic disorganization of the Central Committee in its difficult day-to-day work.”
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 484

After the seizure of power, I tried to stay out of the government, and offered to undertake the direction of the press.
…One thing coincided with the other, and this only added to my desire to retire behind the scenes for a while. Lenin would not hear of it, however. He insisted that I take over the commissariat of the interior, saying that the most important task at the moment was to fight off a counter-revolution. I objected, and brought up, among other arguments, the question of nationality. Was it worthwhile to put into our enemies hands such an additional weapon as my Jewish origin?
Lenin almost lost his temper. “We are having a great international revolution. Of what importance are such trifles?”
If, in 1917 and later, I occasionally pointed to my Jewish origin as an argument against some appointment, it was simply because of political considerations.
… I, likewise with reluctance, consented. And thus, at the instigation of Sverdlov, I came to head the Soviet diplomacy for a quarter of a year.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 340-341

When I was declining the commissariat of home affairs on the second day after the revolution, I brought up, among other things, the question of race [Jewish].
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 360

Stalin suggested that Trotsky should present the main report at the 12th Congress but Trotsky sensibly refused, rightly believing that this would be taken as an assumption of Lenin’s mantle.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 106

There was, however, no intrigue to get the post [General Secretary of the CPSU]. Trotsky did not want it.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 78

Later all on, judging from some accidental and quite erroneous indications, he [Lenin] concluded I was being too dilatory in the matter of an armed uprising, and this suspicion was reflected in several of his letters during October…. The next day, at the meeting of the Central Committee of the party, he proposed that I be elected chairman of the Soviet of People’s Commissaries. I sprang to my feet, protesting–the proposal seemed to me so unexpected and inappropriate. “Why not?” Lenin insisted. “You were at the head of the Petrograd Soviet that seized the power.” I moved to reject his proposal, without debating it. The motion was carried.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 339

I felt the mechanics of power as an inescapable burden, rather than as a spiritual satisfaction.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 582

[In the reply of the Politburo to Trotsky’s letter of October 1923 to the Central Committee is the following:]
“Trotsky is a member of the Soviet of People’s Commissars, a member of the Soviet of Labor and Defense; Lenin offered him the post of vice-president of the Soviet of People’s Commissars. In all these positions Trotsky might, if he wished to, demonstrate in action, working before the eyes of the whole party, that the party might trust him with those practically unlimited powers in the sphere of industry and military affairs towards which he strives. But Trotsky preferred another method of action…. He never attended a meeting of the Soviet of People’s Commissars, neither under Lenin, nor after his withdrawal. He never attended a meeting of the Soviet of Labor and Defense, neither before nor after its reorganization….
Trotsky categorically declined the position of substitute for Lenin. That evidently he considers beneath his dignity. He conducts himself according to the formula, ‘All or nothing.’”
Eastman, Max. Since Lenin Died. Westport, Connecticutt: Hyperion Press. 1973, p. 144-145

Stalin was perfectly well aware that relations between Lenin and Trotsky had recently become increasingly close. He had not been much concerned about this during 1922, for the two leaders, while never in conflict on points of principle [That is false–Ed], had perpetually engaged in skirmishes on current questions. This did not prevent Lenin from suggesting to Trotsky that he should become his deputy, but Trotsky had refused, and on this occasion Stalin had succeeded, not without a certain malicious satisfaction, in getting the Politburo to censure Trotsky for failure of duty.
Lewin, Moshe. Lenin’s Last Struggle. New York: Pantheon Books. C1968, p. 71

When Trotsky heard that, despite the considerable administrative load he was already bearing, the Politburo wanted to put him in charge of the state treasury under the Finance Commissariat, he refused, sending a written explanation. Lenin reacted with a note to the Politburo: “Trotsky’s letter is unclear. If he is refusing, a decision of the Politburo is required. I am for not accepting his resignation.
Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 257

Throughout the summer of 1922 the disagreements in the Politburo over domestic issues dragged on inconclusively. The dissension between Lenin and Trotsky persisted. On 11 September from his retreat in Gorky, outside Moscow, Lenin made contact with Stalin and asked him to place before the Politburo once again and with the utmost urgency a motion proposing Trotsky’s appointment as deputy Premier. Stalin communicated the motion by telephone to those members and alternate members of the Politburo who were present in Moscow. He himself and Rykov voted for the appointment; Kalinin declared that he had no objections, while Tomsky and Kamenev abstained. No one voted against. Trotsky once again refused the post. Since Lenin had insisted that the appointment was urgent because Rykov was about to take leave, Trotsky replied that he, too, was on the point of taking his holiday and that his hands were, anyhow, full of work for the forthcoming congress of the International. These were irrelevant excuses, because Lenin had not intended the appointment to be only a stopgap for the holiday season. Without waiting for the Politburo’s decision, Trotsky left Moscow. On 14 September the Politburo met and Stalin put before it a resolution which was highly damaging to Trotsky; it censured him in effect for dereliction of duty. The circumstances of the case indicate that Lenin must have prompted Stalin to frame this resolution or that Stalin at least had his consent for it.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 65

Now as before the economic administration bungled and muddled. Nothing had been done to make Gosplan the guiding center of the economy. The Politburo set up a number of committees to investigate symptoms of the crisis instead of going to its root. Trotsky himself had been invited to serve on a committee which was to inquire into prices; but he refused to do so. He had no wish, he declared, to participate in an activity designed to dodge issues and to postpone decisions.
…Other collisions developed when the triumvirs proposed changes in the Military Revolutionary Council over which Trotsky presided. Zinoviev was bent on introducing into that Council either Stalin himself or at least Voroshilov and Lashevich…. Trotsky, hurt and indignant, declared that he was resigning in protest from every office he held, the Commissariat of War, the Military Revolutionary Council, the Politburo, and the Central Committee. He asked to be sent abroad “as a soldier of the revolution” to help the German Communist party to prepare its revolution.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 111

In the summer of 1922, when he [Trotsky] refused to accept the office of Vice-Premiere under Lenin and, incurring the Politburo’s censure, went on leave, he devoted the better part of his holiday to literary criticism.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 164

Still defeated the Left Opposition, not just because his policies proved to be more attractive for the broad masses of the population or for a considerable section of the Party cadres, but to a very large extent because of the plain fact that in the first, decisive stages of the struggle for power, Trotsky simply opted out.
Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 46

Searching for an ally, Lenin turned to Trotsky. Twice in the course of 1922 he had urged Trotsky to accept the post of a deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, and twice Trotsky had refused, failing to see the opportunity Lenin was offering him to establish his political position as first among his deputies.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992, p. 119

Trotsky was already War Minister, and Lenin and the Central Committee had tried several times to make him also a deputy chairman of the Council of Commissars. Trotsky always refused out of pride since there were already several deputy chairmen.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 226

The reply of the Political Bureau, led by Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev, was that Trotsky could have had, as a member of the government, and in the capacity of vice-premier which Lenin had offered him, every opportunity “if you wished to, to demonstrate in action that the party might trust him with those practically unlimited powers in the sphere of industry and military affairs toward which he strives. But Trotsky preferred another method of action…. He never attended a meeting of the council of people’s commissars, either under Lenin or after his withdrawal. He never attended a meeting of the council of labor and defense, either before or after its reorganization….
The Politburo said, “Trotsky categorically declined the position of substitute for Lenin. That evidently he considers beneath his dignity. He conducts himself according to the formula: ‘All or nothing.’”
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 229

[At the 13th Conference of the Party in January 1924 Stalin stated] Let me recall two facts so that you may be able to judge for yourselves. First, the incident which occurred at the September plenum of the Central Committee when, in reply to the remark by Central Committee member Komarov that Central Committee members cannot refuse to carry out Central Committee decisions, Trotsky jumped up and left the meeting. You will recall that the Central Committee plenum sent a “delegation” to Trotsky with the request that he return to the meeting. You will recall that Trotsky refused to comply with this request of the plenum, thereby demonstrating that he had not the slightest respect for this Central Committee.
There is also the other fact, that Trotsky definitely refuses to work in the central Soviet bodies, in the Council of Labor and Defense and the Council of People’s Commissars, despite the twice-adopted Central Committee decision that he at last take up his duties in the Soviet bodies. You know that Trotsky has not as much as moved a finger to carry out this Central Committee decision.
Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 6, p. 39

The same day that Lenin sent Stalin the demand for an apology, 5 March 1923, he also sent Trotsky a note asking him to take over the ‘Georgian affair’, providing him with the dictations of 30-1 December on the problem of minority nationalism. Trotsky declined this commission, thus missing a fine opportunity to deal Stalin a serious blow. His excuse was illness, and it is true that he intermittently ran a debilitating fever during most of the 1920s. But he was not too ill to report to the Congress of April 1923 on a different topic, and he at least could have read the dictations to the Congress, thus presenting himself as a close ally of Lenin. One explanation of Trotsky’s self-defeating decision might be the excessive self-confidence that Lenin had noted in his dictation. Trotsky perhaps could not conceive that he would have to exert himself to be recognized as the principal successor to Lenin. Another explanation might be that Trotsky was not interested in belaboring Russian chauvinism and defending minority nationalism….
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 78

Trotsky’s rejection of Lenin’s request [to take over the Georgian affair] was at least as serious an example of disloyalty to the founder as Stalin’s insults to Krupskaia, but the latest decline in Lenin’s health closed that issue.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 78

[Footnote]: In his response to Lenin’s repeated offer [of being a deputy chairman of sovnarkom] Trotsky said that he would accept the job if the Central Committee ordered him to, but that this would be ‘profoundly irrational’ and contrary to his administrative ‘plans and intentions’. This brusqueness was far from the impression of friendly relations that he described in his book My Life. This memoir was even more inaccurate in stating that Lenin had not previously offered him the position.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 345

LENIN CHOSE STALIN AS GEN. SEC.

At this stage his power was already formidable. Still more was to accrue to him from his appointment, on April 3, 1922, to the post of General Secretary of the Central Committee. The 11th Congress of the party had just elected a new and enlarged Central Committee and again modified the statutes. The leading bodies of the party were now top-heavy; and a new office, that of the General Secretary, was created, which was to co-ordinate the work of their many growing and overlapping branches. It was on that occasion, Trotsky alleges, that Lenin aired, in the inner circle of his associates, his misgivings about Stalin’s candidature: ‘This cook can only serve peppery dishes.’ But his doubts were, at any rate, not grave; and he himself in the end sponsored the candidature of the ‘cook’. Molotov and Kuibyshev were appointed Stalin’s assistants, the former having already been one of the secretaries of the party.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 232

Stalin did not make himself general secretary. Lenin did. Lenin had been his mentor, protector, and constant model.
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 162

In regard to Stalin three facts can hardly be controverted. First, in January, 1912, at the Prague Conference of the Communist Party, Lenin proposed the election of Stalin to the Central Committee of the Party and placed him at the head of the “Russian Bureau” in charge of all Communist activities on Russian soil. Second, when the Politburo was first formed by Lenin in May, 1917, Stalin was chosen by Lenin to be a member and has been reelected to it at every Party Congress since. Third, when Lenin felt death’s hand upon his shoulder early in 1922, he named Stalin General Secretary of the Communist Party, which he knew and all the Communists knew was the key position in the Party, as Stalin later proved by using it to make himself Lenin’s successor.
Duranty, Walter. Stalin & Co. New York: W. Sloane Associates, 1949, p. 66

A ‘party school’ had been held by Lenin in 1911 at Longjumeau outside Paris, and Dzhughashvili was one of the individuals he had wanted to have with him. ‘People like him’, he [Lenin] said to the Georgian Menshevik Uratadze, ‘are exactly what I need.’
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 82

Lenin and his entourage therefore decided to reinforce the Secretariat in two ways–by establishing the office of General Secretary, with the other two members acting as his assistants rather than equal colleagues, and by selecting for the position of General Secretary the man most capable of strong-arm work, Joseph Stalin.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 351

STALIN & TROTSKY EACH TRY TO GET THE OTHER TO GIVE THE KEY SPEECH WHEN LENIN LEFT

At the session of the Politburo which discussed new arrangements for the Congress [the 12th Party Congress], the first Congress in the whole history of the party that was not to be guided by Lenin, Stalin proposed that, in place of Lenin, Trotsky should address the Congress on behalf of the Central Committee, as its chief rapporteur…. Trotsky refused to act in Lenin’s customary role, lest people should think that he was advancing his claim to the leadership even before Lenin was dead. His apprehension was certainly genuine. But then he went on to propose that Stalin, as General Secretary, should ex officio act in place of Lenin. The latter, too, was cautious enough to refuse. In the end Zinoviev accepted the risky honor.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 253

It was the early weeks of 1923, and the 12th Congress was drawing near. There remained little hope that Lenin could take part in it. The question of who was to make the principal political report arose. At the meeting of the Politburo, Stalin said, “Trotsky, of course.” He was instantly supported by Kalinin, Rykov, and, obviously against his will, by Kamenev. I objected.
Stalin knew that a storm was menacing him from Lenin’s direction, and tried in every way to ingratiate himself with me. He kept repeating that the political report should be made by the most influential and popular member of the Central Committee after Lenin: i.e., Trotsky, and that the party expected it and would not understand anything else.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 489

The 12th Party Congress was from 17 to 23 April 1923. A major problem arose: Who would present the congress with the Central Committee’s political report, the most important political document of the year? This task had always been Lenin’s. Whoever did it would be considered by the Party to be Lenin’s successor.
At the Politburo meeting Stalin proposed that Trotsky present the report….
With astonishing naivete, Trotsky refused. He didn’t want the Party to think he was usurping the place of a sick Lenin. In his turn, he proposed that Stalin give the report as general secretary of the Central Committee. I can just imagine Zinoviev’s emotions at that moment. But Stalin also refused. He understood perfectly well that the Party would not understand and wouldn’t accept him, for nobody then considered him as one of the top Party bosses. In the end, with Kamenev’s help, Zinoviev was tasked with presenting the report. He was president of the Comintern, and if anyone should temporarily replace the ill Lenin, it was he. Zinoviev gave the political report to the congress in April.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 30

SOLKOLNIKOV WAS THE ONLY 1926 SPEAKER TO URGE REMOVAL OF STALIN AS GEN. SEC.

I often went to visit Sokolnikov, who had been a lawyer…. After the 13th Party Congress in May 1924, he was named candidate member of the Politburo. At the 1926 congress he took the side of Zinoviev and Kamenev and was the only platform speaker to urge removal of Stalin from the general secretaryship. That cost him his job as peoples’ commissar and his place on the Politburo.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 86

STALIN REFUSES TO ACCEPT TROTSKY’S RESIGNATION AS WAR COMMISSAR

The triumvirs could not let him go…. Zinoviev replied that he himself, the President of the Communist International, would go to Germany “as a soldier of the revolution” instead of Trotsky. Then Stalin intervened, and with a display of bonhomie and common sense said that the Politburo could not possibly dispense with the services of either of its two most eminent and well-beloved members. Nor could it except Trotsky’s resignation from the Commissariat of War and the Central Committee, which would create a scandal of the first magnitude. As for himself, he, Stalin, would be content to remain excluded from the Military Revolutionary Committee if this could restore harmony. The Politburo accepted Stalin’s “solution”; and Trotsky, feeling the grotesqueness of the situation, left the hall in the middle of the meeting “banging the door behind him.”
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 112

TROTSKY WAS FAR TOO UNPOPULAR WITH THE PEASANTS TO TAKE OVER AFTER LENIN

In his preface to the German edition of Serge’s memoirs, Erich Wollenberg [a German revolutionary Communist who moved to the Soviet Union in the early 1920s after the final defeat of insurrection in Germany] rather persuasively disputes Serge’s version of the facts.
“… Within the Party itself there was unquestionably a majority supporting the troika: i.e. the ruling triumvirate composed of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Stalin. They were regarded in precisely that order of importance, with Stalin in last place.
If there had been some way of changing the Soviet Constitution and carrying out an election, who among Lenin’s followers would have received the most votes? Although the result would be impossible to predict, we can be sure about one thing: in view of the hostility of the peasantry and of the middle-class which in the early 1920s had come to regard Trotsky as an opponent of NEP, an overwhelming majority of those voting in the election would have been against Trotsky.
It is necessary to stress this point unequivocally, since to this day Trotskyists of all kinds, and even experts on Soviet affairs in the Federal Republic and other countries, express the view in conversation, in print, and on television that Trotsky actually had a “real chance” after Lenin’s death.
Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 53

STALIN WORKED VERY HARD IN THE EARLY YEARS TO BUILD THE PARTY

During the years of reaction he [Stalin] was not one of the tens of thousands who deserted the Party, but one of the very few hundreds who, despite everything, remained loyal to it.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 113

Toward the end of February 1917, Stalin, who had returned from abroad, made his home with the same deputies: “He played the leading role in the life of our [Duma] faction and of the newspaper Pravda,” relates Samoilov, “and he attended not only all the conferences, which we arranged in our apartment, but not infrequently, with great risk to himself, visited also the sessions of the Social-Democratic faction, where, upholding our position in arguments against the Mensheviks and on various other questions, he rendered us great service.”
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 159

EFFORTS TO PROVE STALIN WAS NOT LEGALLY THE GENERAL SECRETARY ARE BASELESS

One particular point concerning the reconstituted party regime has remained an enigma. Announcements of postcongress plenums in 1922 and after said not only that Stalin was elected a Central Committee secretary, but also that the new Central Committee confirmed him as general secretary. This time there was no reference to such confirmation. From the omission a veteran observer of Soviet politics has inferred that the new Central Committee deprived Stalin of the position of general secretary and all the associated “additional rights” that set him apart from the other Central Committee secretaries. A large interpretation of the history of the Soviet regime in the ensuing years flowed from the hypothesized grave setback of Stalin’s fortunes.
The inference, however, was unfounded. First, general secretary was a special title accorded Stalin as the senior Central Committee secretary, not, technically speaking, an office. The office was that of secretary, as indicated by the fact that both before and after 1934 Stalin signed party decrees “Secretary of the Central Committee.” Secondly, Soviet official sources testify that Stalin did not cease to be general secretary in February 1934 even though the announcement concerning the postcongress plenum made no mention of his having been confirmed as such. Thirdly, the symbolic evidence cited above and the signs of Stalin’s heavy influence in the reshaping of the party regime contradict the notion that his power was reduced by the new Central Committee whose very composition testified to this power.
Tucker, Robert. Stalin in Power: 1929-1941. New York: Norton, 1990, p. 263

TROTSKY TRIES TO MILITARIZE THE TRADE UNIONS

When Stalin requisitioned the grain of the south to feed the hungry population of the north, he had regard neither for the open market of capitalism nor for the principle of the future exchange of goods in communist society. He was doing what any State power would have had to do if it intended to survive, whether that State were a slave, feudal, capitalist, or socialist. The economics of War Communism were the economics of survival, and that they took on extreme forms of centralization of authority, applied measures of confiscation right and left, requisitioned without regard for the economic niceties of the market, is incidental.
At this period Stalin and Trotsky again found themselves in opposite camps. Flushed with enthusiasm for the growing discipline of the Red Army, Trotsky initiated the transformation of its regiments into military Labor Battalions. Again showing his characteristic lack of confidence in the workers, he proposed to militarize labor in industry and make the Trade Unions into governmental institutions which would effect the necessary discipline. He opposed the election of trade union officials and favored their appointment by the Government….
Lenin and Stalin together fought Trotsky’s proposal. They insisted that the Trade Unions be voluntary and democratic, elect their officials, adopt methods of comradely persuasion and eschew the dictatorial practices of the military-minded.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 140

This instance [causing a huge eventual loss by refusing to sign the Brest-Litovsk Treaty] is enough to show the Trotsky had no comprehension of political realities. This was made clear again on later occasions. To quote only one instance, after the end of the Civil War Trotsky hit upon the idea of assisting the needed economic reconstruction by not demobilizing the Red Army but converting it into a labor force. He wanted to organize forced labor under military discipline on an altogether unprecedented scale. And this in a country already full of revolutionary anarchy! In his articles he declared that it was a bourgeois prejudice that regarded forced labor as economically inferior to free labor. If Trotsky’s idea had been carried out, in all probability the Bolshevik regime would have been brought down….
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 125

Stalin’s position on this question of labor armies is of importance in a study of his character because it destroys the popular conception of him as a ruthless Dictator and demonstrates that, provided such a course is not detrimental to the well-being of the Soviet state, he is always prepared to deal with a problem from a humanitarian standpoint.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 53

In 1920 a controversy on the trade union question arose in the party. It arose because Trotsky and his followers had proposed that the policy of the period of War Communism be continued in every sphere of economic and Party work, and that the “screw be put on tighter.”
Yaroslavsky, Emelian. Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. Moscow: FLPH, 1940, p. 115

PARTY OUTLAWS FACTIONS AND DEMOTES TROTSKYISTS

At the Tenth Bolshevik Party Congress, in March 1921, the Central Committee headed by Lenin passed a resolution outlawing all “factions” in the party as a menace to the unity of the revolutionary leadership. From now on all party leaders would have to submit to the majority decisions and the majority rule, on penalty of expulsion from the party. The Central Committee specifically warned “Comrade Trotsky” against his “factional activities,” and stated that “enemies of the state,” taking advantage of the confusion caused by his disruptive activities were penetrating the party and calling themselves “Trotskyites.” A number of important Trotskyites and other Left Oppositionists were demoted. Trotsky’s chief military aide, Muralov, was removed as Commander of the strategic Moscow Military Garrison and replaced by the old Bolshevik, Voroshilov.
The following year, in March 1922, Joseph Stalin was elected general secretary of party….
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 196

There was also sharp divergence amongst the delegates to the Tenth Party Congress about the powers and functions of labor unions in the Soviet State. Feelings ran so high and differences of opinions were so violent on both these important questions (the NEP and labor unions) that Lenin was led to make an impassioned plea for Party Unity, which he described as the cardinal and all-essential factor for this and every subsequent Congress to remember and reserve.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 70

The Tenth Congress further authorized the Central Committee, as supreme permanent organism of the Party, to apply appropriate penalties to all Communists–including members of the Committee itself–guilty of violating party discipline, and especially of creating intra-party factions.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 70

This incident so alarmed Lenin that he caused the 10th Congress of the CPSU to pass a special resolution against the formation of separate blocks, groups, and factions within the Party. Lenin was of the view that party members were entitled to differ with each other and to resolve their differences by discussion. But once a decision had been arrived at after a thorough discussion, and criticism had been exhausted, unity of will and action of the Party members were necessary, for without this unity a proletarian Party and proletarian discipline were inconceivable. This Trotsky could never understand. Whenever he found himself in a minority he rushed ahead to form a faction within the Party–thus jeopardizing the Party and the Soviet Republic.
Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 103

When Trotsky asks about the rights of factions, it is not the right of Communist Party members to express their opinion within the Party that he is concerned with. That is not and never has been challenged. What Trotsky means by factions is not minority opinion on one or another issue within the Party, but the right of a group to establish its own leadership, its own connections, its own press within the Party–in short, its right to establish a party within the Party with a view to splitting the Party. That will never be tolerated.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 187

A Party conference, the first organized by him [Stalin], was held in January 1924. It was unsparing in its condemnation of Trotsky and the opposition, and it decided that the secret resolution [Lenin’s resolution] “on expulsion from the Party for factional activity” should be made public for the first time.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 212

LENIN SHUT DOWN FACTIONALISM AND HAD MAJOR PURGE

The controversies engendered by the adoption of the NEP caused Congress X (March, 1921) to order the dissolution of all factional groups and the expulsion from membership, on the order of the Central Committee, of all deemed guilty of reviving factionalism, infringing the rules of discipline, or violating Congress decisions. During 1921 some 170,000 members, about 25% of the total, were expelled in a mass purge which continued throughout 1922. So drastic was this cleansing that Congress XII (April, 1923) was attended by only 408 delegates representing 386,000 members, as compared with 694 and 732,000 in March, 1921. The Congress rejected proposals by Krassin and Radek for large scale concessions to foreign capital, by Bukharin and Sokolnikov for abandoning the State monopoly of foreign trade, and by Trotsky for reversing Lenin’s policy of conciliating the peasantry. In the autumn of 1923 Trotsky issued a “Declaration of the 46 Oppositionists,” criticizing the NEP, predicting a grave economic crisis and demanding full freedom for dissenting groups and factions. Immediately after Congress XI (March, 1922) the Plenum of the Central Committee, on Lenin’s motion, had chosen Stalin as General Secretary of the Committee.
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 198

The 1921 Purge was so severe that the party membership was reduced from 732,000 (at the time of the Tenth Congress in March, 1921) to 532,000 at the Eleventh Congress in March, 1922.
Duranty, Walter. Story of Soviet Russia. Philadelphia, N. Y.: JB Lippincott Co. 1944, p. 71

In March 1921 there was a serious mutiny of sailors of the Kronstadt naval base near Petrograd, previously noted for their ardent radicalism. This was not the doing of the Bolshevik dissenters, but at the party congress of March 1921 Lenin used it as an example of what dissent could lead to thanks to the machinations of the Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries, and imperialists. The Congress passed a resolution forbidding intra-party factions, with a secret article that permitted the Central Committee to discipline, even to expel from the party (that is, remove from political life), any factionalists, including Central Committee members. Those who wish to portray Lenin as a pluralist at heart have observed that this was an exceptional measure during a crisis at the end of a devastating civil war and that it was not intended to be a permanent feature of Bolshevism. But Lenin never suggested in the two years following this resolution that he thought it might be rescinded, even though the crisis had passed.
McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 83

LENIN OPPOSED WORKERS’ OPPOSITION AND ANARCHO-SYNDICALISTS

The main fight, however, was not between Lenin and Trotsky. Both made common cause against the Workers’ Opposition and the group of Democratic Centralists, for it was from that side that the authority of party and Government was most directly threatened. The seriousness of the threat was matched by the unusual bitterness of Lenin’s attacks on the ‘Anarcho-Syndicalists’, as he labeled his opponents, describing even their views, let alone their deeds, as ‘a direct political danger to the very existence of the proletarian dictatorship’. This was the motive for the ban on oppositional groups inside the party. What seemed so dangerous to Lenin in the Workers’ Opposition was not so much its specific views on the trade unions, as the underlying desire to assign to the party a more modest role than it had come to play. Lenin made a half-hearted attempt to soften the rigor of the ban: members of party were to be enabled to air differences of opinion in a special Discussion Bulletin; and some of the chief spokesmen of the Opposition were re-elected to the Central Committee. But he himself undid the effect of his liberal gestures when he persuaded the Congress to state that ‘the propaganda of [Anarcho-Syndicalist] ideas is incompatible with membership of the Russian Communist Party’. The congress empowered the Central Committee to expel from the party leaders elected by the Congress, thereby cracking a whip over the spokesmen of the Workers’ Opposition who had just been re-elected. The three able, educated, and independent secretaries of the party, Krestinsky, Serebryakov, and Preobrazhensky, who showed a leaning or a leniency towards the Opposition, were removed from office and replaced by ‘reliable’ people like Molotov and Yaroslavski. The new secretaries were Stalin’s close associates. Trotsky voted for the ban, without suspecting that one day the ban would become a death-trap for his own opposition.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 223

TROTSKY OPPOSED DIRECT WORKERS CONTROL OF FACTORIES

Contrary to a myth of vulgar Trotskyism, he [Trotsky] did not advocate any “direct workers’ control over industry,” that is management by factory committees or works’ councils. This form of management had failed in Russia shortly after the revolution, and Trotsky had ever since been a most determined advocate of one-man management and central control, arguing that management by factory committees would become possible only if and when the mass of producers became well-educated and imbued with a strong sense of social responsibility. He had also been absolutely opposed to the “anarcho-syndicalist” schemes of the Workers’ Opposition for the transfer of industrial management to trade unions or “producers associations.” He did not significantly alter these views when he found himself in Opposition and exile.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 101

WHAT IS NEP

This strategy governing the in NEP consisted of maintaining the “dictatorship of the proletariat” by the state retaining its hold on key positions such as the banks, Railway’s, telegraphs, Postal Services, large industrial enterprises, and foreign trade, and re-establishing private ownership in small-scale industry, with free market conditions for the exchange of commodities, industrial and agricultural. The peasants were released from requisitioning raids, and were free to sell any surplus production over an above the tax in kind which they had to deliver to the state.
The NEP therefore consisted of a mixture of socialist and capitalist economy. It has been described as “the return to capitalism” and as “state capitalism.” Neither description is wholly true.
But while the surging movement of Revolution indeed swept across Europe, nowhere, except for a short period in Hungary, had it reached its November 7.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 143

Stalin regarded the NEP as a “breathing space” in which the Revolution retreated to “prepared positions” in order to regroup the Bolshevik divisions before storming new heights.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 156

Lenin called for national unity to meet the “incredible difficulties” of reorganizing economic and social life. He announced the New Economic Policy abolishing the rigid so-called “War Communism” and restoring a measure of private trade and capitalism in Russia and opening the way for the beginning of reconstruction. “We take one step backward,” said Lenin, “in order at a later date to take two steps forward!”
When Lenin announced the “temporary retreat” of the New Economic Policy, Trotsky exclaimed: “the cuckoo has cuckooed the end of the Soviet government!”
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 194

The rest of the New Economic Policy–restoration of money wages with different rates according to capacity and performance; extra pay for overtime, and, in some branches, the re-appearance of the piece work system; revival of payments for rent, railroad, and street car travel, and the replacement of the food requisitions by a graduated tax in kind–consisted of little more than normal measures of peace time reconstruction.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 8

October 22, 1921–“The real meaning of the New Economic Policy is that we have met a great defeat in our plans and that we’re now making a strategic retreat,” said Lenin in one of the frankest admissions of the failure of his policies ever made by leader of a great nation.
“We were wrong, and so we have begun to retreat. Before we are utterly smashed, let us retrace our steps and begin to build on a new foundation.”
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 82

Lenin thus admits that his change of economic front is due to recognition of the fact that communism is at present inadequate to supply the peasants on the one hand with manufactured goods and the urban workers on the other with food.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 83

To Lenin the New Economic Policy was a delicate adjustment between the forces of communism and individualism, adopted, perhaps like the Brest-Litovsk peace three years before, unwillingly, but as “the breathing space” he knew was necessary for existence.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 152

In regard to the peasants, socialism allows them to profit by their own individual effort as long as the preparation and sale of their products do not involve the hired labor, or, as Russians call it, the exploitation, of others.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 227

Lenin, ever clear-sighted, scorned to escape from an error by cloaking it with another greater one and bluntly told the Central Committee: “We have made the mistake of thinking we could pass straight to Socialism [Read Communism] without transition.” Looking round him, Stalin also insisted that the situation was so serious that no amount of surface adjustment could make any difference, something entirely new must be evolved, and soon.
The situation which forced the Bolsheviks to the NEP is easier to understand in its present perspective than it was to those earnest defenders of theory who so hotly opposed it in 1921.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 57

Though it was forced temporarily to descend to the elementary capitalism of the early 19th-century, Bolshevism survived and gained a much needed respite during which a start could be made to rehabilitate the shattered economic structure of Russia.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 56

The very visible and noisy revival of private trade which characterized the first years of the new economic policy and which caused some hasty and superficial observers to announce that Russia was returning to capitalism has proved hollow and illusory. Freedom of private trade still exists theoretically in Russia; but this freedom is of rather an academic character when the private trader can obtain neither an adequate supply of goods, which are practically all manufactured in state factories, nor store buildings, which are leased first of all to co-operatives, nor transportation facilities.
It is pretty obvious from these facts and figures that, far from returning to private capitalism, the Soviet Government is steadily and rapidly socializing the field where private capital apparently had gained something of a foothold after the introduction of the New Economic Policy.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 140-141

In a series of speeches he said we must either follow this course or perish…. We either pass to the NEP or perish. That is how he put the question.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 125

And so it went. Courageously and wonderfully! Or take the NEP, for example. After all, it was the Mensheviks who demanded freedom of trade, to allow opportunities to sell, and so forth. So in 1921 Lenin took this Menshevik program and started implementing it, but under control of the workers’ state. It was a measure forced on us by circumstances, but a necessary one.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 150

Further. The Mensheviks were continually talking about the kinds of trading relations we ought to have. Lenin criticized them: “You are counter-revolutionaries, scum, enemies of the working class.” But then he introduced the NEP in 1921. This time he had “stolen” from the Mensheviks.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 151

Had we not concluded the Brest peace at that point, the Soviet government would have collapsed…. But as regards NEP, according to Lenin, it was our strategic retreat from socialism…. the NEP saved us from ruin…. At the 11th Congress Lenin summed up the results of the new policy and said that if we had not abandoned our earlier policies and had not restored public confidence, Soviet power would not have survived. That was essentially his analysis of the NEP one year after it was launched.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 247

…State enterprises were placed upon a commercial footing. Salaries were graded according to qualifications and the kind of work done. And, as the State found that it had more enterprises on its hands than it could manage itself (since it had seized them all), it hired a certain number of them out to private individuals.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 122

Private capital began to make its appearance and developed in the home trade. It represented 30 percent of the whole amount in circulation in the home trade. Foreign trade, which remained a State monopoly, represented, in comparison with pre-war figures, 1/4 as regards imports and one-twentieth as regards exports.

American technicians, engineers, and administrators Lenin particularly held in high esteem. He wanted 5000 of them, he wanted them at once, and was ready to pay them the highest salaries. He was constantly assailed for having a peculiar leaning toward America. Indeed, his enemies cynically referred to him as “the agent of the Wall Street bankers,” and in the heat of debate the extreme Left hurled this charge in his face.
As a matter of fact, American capitalism was to him not less evil than the capitalism of any other country. But America was so far away. It did not offer a direct threat to the life of Soviet Russia. And it did offer the goods and experts that Soviet Russia needed. “Why is it not then to the mutual interest of the two countries to make a special agreement?” asked Lenin.
But is it possible for a communistic state to deal with a capitalistic state? Can the two forms live side-by-side? These questions were put to Lenin by Naudeau.
“Why not?” said Lenin. “We want technicians, scientists and the various products of industry, and it is clear that we by ourselves are incapable of developing the immense resources of this country. Under the circumstances, though it may be unpleasant for us, we must admit that our principles, which hold in Russia, must, beyond our frontiers, give place to political agreements. We very sincerely propose to pay interest on our foreign loans, and in default of cash we will pay them in grain, oil, and all sorts of all materials in which we are rich.
“We have decided to grant concessions of forests and mines to citizens of the Entente powers, always on the condition that the essential principles of the Russian Soviets are to be respected. Furthermore, we will even consent–not cheerfully, it is true, but with resignation–to the cession of some territory of the old Empire of Russia to certain Entente powers. We know that the English, Japanese, and American capitalists very much desire such concessions.
“We have granted to an international association the construction of the Veliky Severny Put, The Great Northern Line. Have you heard of it? It is about 3000 versts of railroad, starting at Soroka, near the Gulf of Onega, and running by way of Kotlas across the Ural mountains to the Obi River. Immense virgin forests with 8 million hectares of land and all kinds of unexplored mines will fall within the domain of the constructing company.
“This state property is ceded for a certain time, probably 80 years, and with the right of redemption. We exact nothing drastic of the association. We ask only the observance of the laws passed by the Soviet, like the eight-hour day and the control of the workers organizations. It is true that this is far from Communism. It does not at all correspond to our ideal, and we must say that this question has raised some very lively controversies in Soviet journals. But we have decided to accept that which the epoch of transition renders necessary.”
Williams, Albert R. Through the Russian Revolution. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967, p. 48

The system of War Communism was scrapped and replaced by the so-called New Economic Policy. The NEP, as that policy came to be known, established a mixed economy. Large-scale industry and transport remained state-owned. Private enterprise was allowed in small and medium-sized industry and in trade. Foreign concerns were invited to restart business in Russia, even in large-scale industry. The requisitioning of food in the country-side was stopped; it was replaced by ordinary agricultural taxation, first in kind and then in money. Later on, the ruble was stabilized. The prime purpose of these sweeping reforms was to re-equip industry almost from scratch, to renew the exchange of manufactures for food and raw materials, in a word, to re-establish a functioning economy with the help of private capital. The state reserved for itself, apart from the ownership of large-scale industry, the over-all economic control.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 221

Of all the ironies and contradictions of this time (1921-28) the most striking was as follows. Under the Tsars, the peasants of Great Russia had lived for centuries under communal land tenure. At last, following the example of Western Europe, they had awakened to its many deficiencies–such as the division of the village holdings into innumerable separate strips–and following the lead given by the legislation of Stolypin they had been dividing up the holding into compact individual farms. Now they were doing this again in place after place of themselves, and all that they asked of the government was to confirm what they had done: the Communist Government was asked for a title deed. And in 1922 the Communist Government, in shaping its new land law, did indeed base it in the main on individual farming!
… More than this, as the peasants were listened to in this period, they had an actual opportunity of putting forward their own program, and it was in every way the reverse of Communism: a free market, no tax on thrift, restoration of the ballot, abolition of the practice of sending down from the Communist Party a list of the persons to be elected, and lastly the equalization of the individual peasant’s vote with that of the town worker: at present, in the government of the State, it only counted for 1/5.
Pares, Bernard. Russia. Washington, New York: Infantry Journal, Penguin books, 1944, p. 132

First Lenin introduced the “New Economic Policy” which legalized money again and allowed shops to open, invited foreign capital, made possible commercial concessions to foreign companies. Making war on Capitalism they invited the co-operation of capitalists.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 68

The New Economic Policy was a complete reversal of the course of the dictatorship…. The government retained its hold upon the basic resources and industries, the transport system, and monopoly of foreign trade. The socialist agricultural sector was restricted to the cooperative system and the moribund state and collective farms.
Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 363

NEP HAD TO GO

The nepmen, as they were called, showed amazing ingenuity in evading government control and taxation alike.
By 1925, however, NEP had served its purpose.
It had become apparent to the Bolshevik leaders that if they really intended to form a socialist state, something must be done to check capital accumulation by Nepmen, no less than the steady growth of a prosperous peasant class, the kulaks, or labor-employing farmers.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 9

Both sides [the two sides in the Party] were agreed that the kulaks required extermination as a class, and only quarreled about the right method and right moment.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 10

By the autumn of 1929 the real issue was clearly defined — collectivization must fail or the kulak must go — no middle measures were conceivable.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 11

CHUEV: Lenin had proposed the continuation of the NEP for a longer period of time. Did he not say that the NEP was to be pursued seriously and for a long time?
MOLOTOV: No. Lenin planned the NEP as a temporary retreat. Only one year later, in 1922 in a speech he said it was time to end the NEP. He said we have been retreating for a whole year. On the party’s behalf we can now say, “That’s enough…” The period of the NEP had ended, or was coming to an end.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 130

I have already mentioned that the exceptional measures against the kulaks in 1928 meant the de facto end of NEP in the countryside….
But by this time Stalin had no intention of continuing NEP….the Party had rejected the proposal of the Left Opposition (in 1926-1927) that private businessmen be taxed an additional 200 million rubles. The Party had argued with good reason that such tax measures would amount to the expropriation of private capital and signify the abandonment of NEP. In the early 30s, however, Stalin himself began a policy of increased taxation of private businessmen, forcing them in fact to close down their businesses. It is true that Stalin did not call for the arrest and deportation of former Nepman and their families. Instead, an unannounced decision was made to confiscate a goodly part of their wealth.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 289

The NEP was producing tiresome results. The various State enterprises were being frequently hindered, spoiled, and cleverly exploited by private commercial concerns. As a general rule, the products of socialized industry were not reaching the consumer direct, but were falling into the hands of middle-men who passed them on at prices sometimes a hundred percent higher than those they paid. A large amount of commercial capital was becoming available as a result of speculation, and of undercutting of nationalized industries by private initiative, which was freer and cleverer than the State-controlled concerns, and less troubled by questions of public welfare. The importance of money in social life grew, and its effects were demoralizing. Gambling-houses and brothels made their appearance in the cities. Communists, dependent on very mediocre salaries, often found themselves at a disadvantage compared to the specialists, the tradesmen, and the “Capitalists” who were appearing as a new element in the common-weal. The unemployed were as badly off in Russia as they were in Berlin; the workers, unable to pay the comparatively high rents now demanded for the fine flats they had occupied during the Revolution, were, little by little, drifting back to the slums, and many a dwelling that had been handsome and clean a few years previously, was now poverty-stricken and dilapidated.
Barmine, Alexandre. Memoirs of a Soviet Diplomat. London: L. Dickson limited,1938, p. 218

It was this that brought this long period (1921-28) to an end. One can imagine the effect of all this compromise on such ardent doctrinaires. What a position for a government– to hold the power on condition that you let the greater part of the population do the opposite to what you wished! Meanwhile the compromise was having an enervating influence on the governing Party itself. Over and over again, there were purges to get rid of the lukewarm, and yet the rot gained ground: it was particularly felt where it was most dangerous, in the Komsomol. One is bound to feel the most respect for those who stood firmest for consistency. The Party itself, and therefore the Government, was soon split endwise. There were several groups; but the main distinction was between a right wing which said, give the country what it evidently wants and a left wing which said, practice what you preach.
Pares, Bernard. Russia. Washington, New York: Infantry Journal, Penguin books, 1944, p. 133

Later when he was thinking over his disagreements with Stalin, Bukharin would recall an “economic” discussion they had back in 1925. In the course of the discussion Stalin had said that if they gambled on NEP for long it would beget capitalism.
Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin. New York: Doubleday, c1996, p. 231

BOLSHEVIKS KNOW PEASANTS ARE MORE BOURGEOIS THAN SOCIALIST

As the Bolsheviks well know, the peasants are individualists, not socialists; or, to put it differently, potential bourgeois rather than class-conscious proletariat.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 95

Lenin, who knew well how utterly the individualistic land-grabbing of the peasants and the un-disciplined desire of the soldiers differed from the Bolshevik aim of Marxist collectivism….
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 270

…But as soon as the October Revolution triumphed Lenin proclaimed the decree on land–the peasants mandate on land was to be implemented! Yes, the socialist revolutionary land program was to be implemented: take the land, immediately! He had utilized the peasants and explained: we’re not in agreement in a number of respects, but as the peasants have drawn up the policy, let them become convinced by experience in implementing it that not everything is right with it, and they will begin to see things our way. But we must begin implementation of the decree; begin smashing the landlords to confiscate their land. In this struggle the peasants will find the right path.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 150

There is a certain article of mine, “Lenin in the years of the Revolution.” I published it…after Lenin’s death. In it I showed that Lenin had “stolen” the program of the Socialist-Revolutionaries….
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 151

We are told that our peasantry, by its very position, is not socialistic, and, therefore, is incapable of socialist development. It is true, of course, that the peasantry, by its very position, is not socialistic. But this does not prove that the peasant farms cannot develop along socialist lines, if it can be shown that the country follows the town, and that socialist industry is predominant in the town. The peasants, by their position, were not socialistic at the time of the October Revolution and they did not by any means want the establishment of socialism in our country. Their main striving then was for the overthrow of the power of the landlords and the cessation of the war, the establishment of peace. Nevertheless, they followed the lead of the socialist proletariat. Why did they do this? Because there was no other way of ending the imperialist war, no other way of bringing peace to Russia than by overthrowing the bourgeoisie, and by establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat…. And so the peasants, at that time, in spite of their being non-socialistic, followed the lead of the socialist proletariat.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 166

Here was a country…where the working-class with its revolutionary traditions was a tiny island in the midst of a sea of illiterate peasantry.
Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 11

… Russia is suited to large-scale farming and the mass production of wheat.
The chief difficulty, if it could be overcome, solved both an economic and a political problem. That difficulty was the petty ownership of land. Nominally, the peasants were, for the most part, in possession of the land. They believed they were the owners of it. The peasants, in addition to their many religious and pagan superstitions, have also an economic one: it is that God made the land for the peasant. Their avidity for ownership in land is inborn. When the first revolution took place it interested them chiefly as an opportunity to snatch all the land they could from the sequestered landowners. When the Whites marched North, all they asked for their support was legal title to the new lands [which the Whites refused–Ed.]. The Reds when they won the Civil War could not expropriate the peasants though private ownership of land was a contravention of their dogma. They were forced to accept the status quo and wait their opportunity for the socialization of property in agricultural land.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 112

The chief agrarian problem for the Bolsheviks can be briefly stated. In 1917 they were carried to power on the crest of the agrarian revolution. In this revolution the peasants seized the land and divided it up among themselves, thereby achieving their sole objective. This seizure and division of the land was the starting point for a new system of social differentiation. Feudalism had been definitely destroyed. But it had been destroyed by a revolution which laid the foundation for a capitalist class system. While the agrarian revolution had thus been the condition for the victory of the Bolsheviks its result represented a permanent menace to their very existence and all their aims. For them it was a question of life or death to overcome the “natural” capitalist tendencies of the peasantry. They did this by something like a “permanent revolution” in the countryside.
In addition, the Bolsheviks had to impose on the peasants special sacrifices in connection with the industrialization of the USSR. The peasants had to make a double sacrifice: they had not only to sacrifice immediate consumption in order to make possible the mechanization of agriculture, but they had also to give up their products with little or nothing in return in order to supply food to the town workers during the period of the building up of the capital goods industries. As a result, the Bolsheviks had constantly to coerce the peasants into growing and delivering up large quantities of grain, cattle, etc. at prices which they naturally regarded as inadequate.
Socialist Clarity Group. The U. S. S. R., Its Significance for the West. London: V. Gollancz, 1942, p. 34

WHEN CAPITALISM IS ALLOWED STATE RETAINS CONTROL

Lenin says, “where we have admitted capitalism we remain its master. There are mixed companies, half state and half foreign or native capitalists, but the state retains control of them and after using them to acquire commercial knowledge can dissolve them when it will. Thus there is no danger in this close association with the capitalist enemy.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 99

There has been considerable debate over whether the USSR today can correctly be called a socialist state, and its critics have pointed to such apparently unsocialist factors as high salaries and other privileges for a section of the professional class, the use of the profit motive to increase production, the use of economic incentives such as bonuses, and the large area of private farming still in existence. These factors must, however, be seen within an overall framework of state ownership of the means of production, distribution, communication, and finance, the dominance of collective and state farms, the existence of a mass-democratic system, which–bourgeois critics to the contrary–is much more extensive than capitalist “democracy” and ensures a primary working-class control over the economy…. The answer to those who deny the USSR socialist status is that they do not recognize socialism when they see it.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 135

How is business to be done with Russia? Just as the Government either owns or controls everything else in Russia, so also it regulates all trade. The Government has a monopoly on its foreign trade. You can’t sell directly to or buy from Mr. John Petrov or Mr. Peter Ivanov of Russia, but you must of necessity deal with the Government. They hand out this right or privilege and it is called a concession. There are two kinds, either a trading concession or a manufacturing concession. By the first you are granted the right to deal in certain goods, like the buying and selling of wheat or textiles. By the second you are granted the right to come into the country and operate a plant to produce certain things, like a mine to get out the coal in a certain region or a plant to make tractors.
We met with the Chief Concessions Committee in Moscow, which has the granting of these concessions. So I had an opportunity to find out how one would proceed. That there may be no mistake, I quote from my notes taken at this meeting. My question: “What procedure does a foreign firm follow to secure a concession or trading privilege? Answer by Comrade Kasandroff, First Assistant of said Committee: The concessionaire points out where and what he wants to receive and the scope of the undertaking. Then the Government decides: Does the country need that thing? If it is devised to serve the internal trade, may there not be an overproduction? If it is concerning raw material for export, they determine the minimum amount that should be produced for export. They take into consideration everything that is necessary to have the planned concession fit into the Gos Plan. And if everything looks advisable you get the concession.
Dykstra, Gerald. A Belated Rebuttal on Russia. Allegan, Mich.: The Allegan Press, 1928, p. 135

Once having secured the grant, the details are set out in a contract. The provisions vary with each individual case, but there are certain provisions that go in all trade agreements. They gave us copies of the usual form of concession contract and a few of the things therein stated I want to mention, to give you an idea as to how the whole thing operates. “Section 6–For the concession grant the Concessionaire pays to the Government a royalty fixed in the agreement. Section 8–The Government guarantees to the Concessionaire that all properties included in the concession enterprise will not be subject to confiscation or requisition; likewise, the concession agreement may not be changed or canceled by the Government alone. The Government guarantees to the Concessionaire the right to freely take out of the country net profits. Section 9–After the expiration of the term of the agreement, the buildings, structures, and equipment of the concession enterprise passes to the Government.”
Dykstra, Gerald. A Belated Rebuttal on Russia. Allegan, Mich.: The Allegan Press, 1928, p. 139

And so they grant concessions to German and American firms to come into Russia and set up industries for them. By the concession program we go in and set up, for example, a typewriting plant. We pay them a royalty for the privilege and it is so arranged that after a period of years we turn over to the government our plant. Because they don’t want private ownership of the agencies of production to exist any longer than is necessary to get the thing established, after that the Government is to take it over. In the meantime, we have been selling our machines to the internal trade, and in accordance with the concessions contract are privileged to leave the country with our profits. And you remember also that the concession contract guarantees you against confiscation of your property during the time of operation.
Dykstra, Gerald. A Belated Rebuttal on Russia. Allegan, Mich.: The Allegan Press, 1928, p. 144

Now, you say, this is rather a wild scheme. Perhaps you think no one would take up with such a rainbow proposition. Well, they have and they aren’t sorry either. Already there are in the United States four such trading organizations, the largest, the Amtorg Trading Corp. It exports to Russia agricultural implements, machinery of all kinds, hardware and tractors. It imports fur, veneer wood, caviar, skins, and flax.
Then there is the Harriman concession to run for 20 years, covering rich magnesium fields in the Georgian Soviet Republic. Under the contract Harriman & Co. gets the exclusive right for a term of 20 years to explore and exploit certain deposits of magnesium and export the same.
One of the most interesting concessions is the pencil concession of Hammer’s. This man knew how to make pencils‚ and he went to Russia and built a plant. He uses their raw products and turns out pencils cheaper than they could because he has the system. This he is to do for the next ten years, paying them a royalty and planning to give them his plant when the time expires.
Dykstra, Gerald. A Belated Rebuttal on Russia. Allegan, Mich.: The Allegan Press, 1928, p. 147

SOVIET PEOPLE MUCH BETTER OFF BY 1923

September 7, 1923–The essential fact is that everyone is so infinitely better off than during the “black years” of 1920 and 1921 that present conditions seen paradise by comparison.
This fact naturally influences the political situation. Taking five great sections of the Russian people — the peasants, industrial workers, state officials and employees, artists and professional men, and business people, large and small–there’s none not feeling that Russia has emerged from night into day.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 106

STALIN UNDERSTANDS NEED TO LEAVE WAR COMMUNISM

Stalin shows all of Lenin’s frankness in admitting party weaknesses. The communists must get away from the system of militant communism (that of the 1918–1921period), he tells them, and make the party more democratic by increasing the knowledge and activities of the inferior groups. Communists must not be content to let bureaucracy do their work for them, but must investigate things themselves and try to help the government machine. The workers’ groups must keep up their connection with the peasants and vice versa; all must collaborate toward the common end.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 114

TROTSKY OPPOSED THE NEP

Trotsky, one may assume, never believed that the communist lion could lie down peacefully in Russia with the capitalist lamb. Lenin’s opportunism decided that they must, and while he lived they did.
From the summer of 1924 to December 1925, Trotsky conducted a vigorous campaign for the suppression of the “kulak,” that is, the capitalist influence in the villages–to correspond with a campaign begun before Lenin’s death,in the winter of 1923, against “Nepman” elements in the towns.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 152

BUKHARIN WELCOMED NEP FROM THE START

Both Rykov and Bukharin had enthusiastically welcomed Lenin’s policy of 1922 in favor of the peasants. It may be suspected that Bukharin would have been glad to see Russia slowly develop in this way into a bourgeois democracy. At the time of the New Economic Policy he had not only welcomed that policy in a series of articles, but written again and again of the ‘strong and capable farmer’ as the destined guarantor of Russia’s economic progress. In one of his articles which later was brought up against him, he had advised the farmers, in those very words, to ‘Enrich yourselves!’
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 180

The social struggle to come was reflected inside the Party. Bukharin, at the time Stalin’s main ally in the leadership, stressed the importance of advancing socialism using market relations. In 1925, he called on peasants to `enrich themselves’, and admitted that `we shall move forward at a snail’s pace’. Stalin, in a June 2, 1925 letter to him, wrote: `the slogan enrich yourself is not ours, it is wrong …. Our slogan is socialist accumulation’.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 55 [p. 49 on the NET]

There was disagreement on which way to go. Bukharin and Rykov, based on their practical experiences, believed Lenin’s NEP should be pursued. In April 1925, at a meeting of Moscow militants, Bukharin made his famous declaration according to which “collectivization is not the high road leading to socialism.” He said that the economy of the peasants should be developed, even proposing that the peasants should be told to enrich themselves.
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 119

There was therefore a peculiar realism and consistency in Bukharin’s conclusion that the party must allow the wealthy farmer to grow wealthier. The purpose of NEP, he argued, was to use private enterprise in Russia’s reconstruction; but private enterprise could not be expected to play its part unless it obtained its rewards. The overriding interest of socialism lay in increasing national wealth; and that interest would not be harmed if groups and individuals grew wealthier together with the nation–on the contrary, by filling their own coffers they would enrich society as a whole. This was the reasoning which induced Bukharin to address to the peasants his famous appeal: “Enrich yourselves!”
What Bukharin overlooked was that the wealthy peasant sought to enrich himself at the expense of other classes: he paid low wages to the laborers, squeezed the poor farmers, bought up the land, and tried to charge them and the urban workers higher prices for food. He dodged taxation and sought to pass its burden on to the poor. He strove to accumulate capital at the expense of the state and thereby slowed down accumulation within the socialist sector of the economy.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 233

But Bukharin’s slogan [Enrich Yourselves] was obviously a revelation of his deep-seated right-wing deviation, and he was not alone. A whole school around him was trying to substitute state capitalism for socialism, to perpetuate the NEP and worse.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 250

Lenin had branded Bukharin as a champion of the profiteers, Nepmen, and kulaks.
Commission of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. (B.), Ed. History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks): Short Course. Moscow: FLPH, 1939, p. 262

MOST RUSSIAN PEASANTS BY NATURE OPPOSE PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF LAND

Owing to this historical development it has always been the deepest conviction of the Russian peasant that private ownership of land is a sin. ‘The earth belongs to the dear God, and to take possession of it is a grave sin.’
…There were individual peasants who wanted to become independent. But in not a few cases they were murdered by their fellow-villagers; for the peasants regarded private ownership as a betrayal of their primeval community, based purely on custom, the mir.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 192

The hatred felt for the kulak was the factor in the rural community not only linking the middle layers of the village, but also the poorest layers and the day-laborers, the immediate victims of the kulak. The latter farmed the land of the poorest and took the day-laborers into his service. The anti-kulak feelings of the latter element weighed heavily in the issue of the struggle between kulaks and bureaucracy, especially in those regions where community life was little developed and where kulak capitalism had made great strides and as a result the resistance to the bureaucratic collectivization was particularly bitter (the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus and Siberia).
Ciliga, Ante, The Russian Enigma. London: Ink Links, 1979, p. 101

NEP MEN ONLY WANT QUICK PROFITS

In the midst of this economic chaos, Stalin was quick to point out that the backbone of a strong industrial state was still lacking. Heavy industry, which had suffered most during the years of upheaval, was still in a parlous condition. Since it would be necessary to expend large sums over a period of years before profits began to be made, the Nepmen made no effort to improve the situation but concentrated on a system of “quick returns.”
Cole, David. . Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 75

Nepmen made fortunes while manufacturing little.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 256

UNDERGROUND FINANCED BY NEP MEN

Underground organizations, liberally supplied with funds by their wealthy Nepmen sympathizers, endeavored to spread confusion by acts of sabotage and machine wrecking.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 78

STALIN ONLY OPPOSED NEPMEN AS A CLASS, NOT INDIVIDUALLY

In justice to Stalin it must be recognized that his appeal was directed against the kulaks, not as individuals but as “a class whose interests were inimical to those of the proletariat.” To break the political and economic power of the “agrarian capitalist” was all that was required. That a movement of much greater magnitude developed was not his fault.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 82

PEOPLE’S CONDITIONS IMPROVED GREATLY SINCE THE REVOLUTION

From Sobinka and Shachti and from the factories which I have visited in such cities as Moscow, Leningrad, Kharkov, and Nizhni Novgorod I gained two outstanding impressions: that the Russian workers, as a general rule, live under harder and more primitive conditions than those which prevail in America and Western Europe, and that there has been a distinct improvement in their lot, materially and morally, since the Revolution. This improvement finds expression in three fields: wages, hours, and conditions of labor.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 168

STRIKES DO OCCUR ESPECIALLY AGAINST PRIVATE EMPLOYERS

Such strikes as to take place are not organized, concerted movements, but flare-ups of indignation over some local grievance, usually involving a small number of workers and quickly settled through the mediation of the trade union. These observations apply to strikes in the state factories. The trade unions have no scruples about calling strikes against private employers, and such strikes usually turn out in favor of the workers.
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 176

The right to strike exists in law, but it is considerably limited in practice by provisions for arbitration–binding on the employer only…. Strikes in private industry are, of course, more frequent and easier than in State industry.
…Criticism of the management of the union, of industry, and of government policies affecting unions is free and vigorous, though in times past it has sometimes met with expulsion or attentions from the GPU.
Baldwin, Roger. Liberty Under the Soviets, New York: Vanguard Press, 1928, p. 167

STALIN SYMPATHIZED WITH THE PEASANTS AFTER LENIN’S DEATH

Besides this central issue there were a host of others scarcely less important. Stalin had long been concerned regarding the attitude of the peasants. He reported, “Our agents in the villages were killed and their houses set on fire by the peasants…in some places, especially in the border regions we had to fight the activities of organized bands; and we had to suppress a real peasant uprising in Georgia.” Stalin therefore urged, in 1925, an easier peasant policy, declaring that it was absolutely necessary to win the sympathies of the middle class of peasants.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 26

It is no less clear that it will be possible to solve the cardinal questions of the revolution only in alliance with the peasantry against the Tsarist power and the liberal bourgeoisie.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 35

MANY TURNED IN THEIR PARTY CARDS WHEN LENIN SET UP NEP

Many followed Lenin until the New Economic Policy, but when we made this transition a lot of people were displeased and could no longer be relied on. They used to say, “Communism is due tomorrow, but we have switched to capitalism and private enterprises!” They were disillusioned and were giving back their party cards; they turned to drink…. but Lenin was always an optimist.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 122

WHEN NEP FORMED LENIN’S 3 SECRETARIES WERE ALL TROTS WHO WERE LATER EXPELLED

…It was the beginning of the NEP. Lenin’s secretariat was formed–three secretaries, and all three were Trotskyists! Devil take it, all three–Krestinsky, Serebryakov, and Preobrazhensky. They formed a tight ring around Lenin. All of them were kicked out at the 11th congress.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 148

NEP COULD NOT BE AVOIDED

They had to do without everything and to realize that the Soviet State had to construct its economic system with its own resources.
And for that they had also in the immediate present, when War Communism was out of date, to consider a new transitory economic position, at the same time that the political and social struggle in the West, and in the rest of the world, was to take the equally transitory form of immediate war aims on a partial united front.
It was in these conditions that the Soviet state judged that it would be able to do quietly what it had not been willing to do at any price two years previously, and passed from the methods of War Communism to those of the market; and the New Economic Policy was created (the NEP).
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 121

The next year, 1922, was a good one for Russian peasants: the crops were abundant and the taxes reasonable.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 388

RELATIVE POWER OF PRIVATE OWNERS AND THE STATE UNDER NEP

In the struggle which was brewing, “the proletarian power had on its side the most highly developed productive forces of the country. In short, it appeared in the market as a landowner, as a purchaser and as a vendor with much more power than its competitors, because it had the additional advantage of possessing political power” (and particularly fiscal power, which assured it of a financial weapon and allowed it to make certain supplementary profits on private enterprise). “The middle classes had on their side past experience and relations with foreign capital.” (Report at the Fourth Congress, 1922.)
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 123

In 1936 Stalin stated, Our industry presented an unenviable picture at that time (1924), particularly heavy industry. True, it was being gradually restored, but it had not yet raised its output to anywhere near the pre-war level. It was based on the old, backward and poorly equipped technique. Of course, it was developing in the direction of socialism. The proportion of the socialist sector of our industry at that time represented about 80 per cent of the whole, but the capitalist sector still controlled no less than 20 percent of industry.
Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 211

THOSE OPPOSING NEP ARE THE OPPORTUNISTS

In 1921, those who deserved to be called opportunists, in the bad sense of the word, were, among the socialist ranks, not those who approved of the NEP, but those who opposed it. Because the latter would have sacrificed the future to the present, whereas the correct meaning of the word opportunism should be to sacrifice the present to the future. The opportunism of Lenin and of Stalin–and of all great strategists–is a step backward in order to take two steps forward. For stupid or frightened people, and also for wavering Socialists who, unconsciously are not, are seeking some sort of loophole, it is two paces back in order to take one pace forward.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 127

LENIN COMPROMISED IN AREAS OTHER THAN THE NEP

The fact remains that the same man [Lenin] who, from 1903 to 1912, had done everything with the forceful obstinacy, which “went beyond” so many of his companions, to divide the Revolutionary Party in two, even though it was being hunted and its ranks decimated by Tsarism–and who acted thus precisely because the party needed its whole strength–has admitted, when this Party was victorious, that he compromised on a great number of points with middle-class methods. If you think that this is contradictory, you are mistaken–for the man in command of the situation was just as right in one case as in the other.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 128

ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENTS IN THE 20’S

Nineteen twenty-seven is an important date because it marks a definite stage in development. It was at this date that the USSR reached the level of pre-war Tsarist economy. The figures of 1927 are in nearly every case higher than those of 1913, in only a few rare instances falling below them.
In general agricultural production the pre-war level was passed by one billion rubles, or about 8%. In industry it was passed by 200 million rubles, representing an increase of 12 percent.
The railways, the length of whose permanent ways, in 1913, on the territory now administered by the USSR, was about 36,500 miles, had increased to about 48,200 miles. For the whole of the former territory of Russia the mean increase in the workers wages was 16.9% over pre-war figures. (Figures arrived at by taking purchasing-power into account)
Educational development had reached sensational proportions. Let us quote a few salient facts. In 1925 there were, in the primary Soviet schools, 2,250,000 more pupils than there had been in the Russian schools in 1913, and there were double as many as there had been in the technical schools. Twice as much money was being spent per head on education, and there were ten times as many scientific institutions.
The national revenue was 22,500,000,000 rubles. As for mechanical energy, the USSR ranked immediately after the United States of America, Canada, England, Germany, and France.
As regards socialization proper. In industrial production, 77 percent of the activity was collectivist, 14 percent private enterprise, and the remainder co-operative. In agricultural production, socialist 2.7%, private 93.3%. In commerce, socialist 81.9%, private 18.1%.
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 155

Preparations for the 14th Party Congress (as distinct from the 14th Conference) took place against a background of the first successes in economic and cultural construction. In 1925, gross output of agricultural production was 112 percent of pre-war levels. This was remarkable. The NEP was beginning to bear fruit. Industrial production, which for five years had lain in total ruin, reached three-quarters of its pre-war level. The first new plants had made their appearance, most notably the power stations. And all this when the best foreign economists had predicted that pre-war levels would not be achieved for 15 to 20 years.
Substantial results had also been accomplished in the battle against illiteracy. A network of schools have been established, notably in the national republics. Major steps have been taken to create a system of higher education and a series of important measures were adopted to speed up cultural and educational work. The All-Russian Academy of Sciences was transformed into its All-Union equivalent. By this time works of world repute had been produced by the historians Pokrovsky and Vernadsky, the geneticist Vavilov, the agrobiologist Vilyams, the chemist Zelinsky, the geologists Fersman and Gubkin, the physicist Ioffe, and many other pioneers of Soviet science.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 111

Stalin gives the following remarkable figures of the growth of industry [in his Political Report to the 16th Party Congress]:
“In 1926-27, we had in the whole of industry, both large and small scale, reckoning also flour milling, a gross output of 8641 million pre-war rubles, i.e., 102.5 percent of the pre-war level. The following year we had 122 percent. In 1928-29 we had 142.5 percent and in the current year (1930) (estimated) not less than 180 percent of the pre-war level.”
During the same period the freight carried on the railroads increased by 66 percent. Railway construction increased considerably, likewise bridge construction. The whole commercial turnover doubled. Foreign trade, exports and imports, which in 1927-28 was only 47.9% of the pre-war total, increased to about 80%. The average yearly increase in the national income during the first three years of the Five-year Plan amounted to 15 percent.
These are all figures quoted by Stalin himself and there is no reason to think them materially inaccurate. Foreign observers of the immense activity might have been tempted to estimate the actual success in more rosy terms. Stalin is a stickler for facts, and window-dressing is not a feature of his political life.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 132

STALIN SAYS RESTORATION OF CAPITALISM IS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF SMALL PRODUCTION

Do the conditions exist in our Soviet country that make the restoration of capitalism possible? Yes, they do exist. That may appear strange, but it is a fact. We have overthrown capitalism, we have established the dictatorship of the proletariat, we are intensely developing our socialist industry and are closely linking it up with peasant economy; but we have not yet torn out the roots of capitalism.

Where are these roots implanted? They are implanted in the system of commodity production, in small production in the towns, and particularly in the villages. As Lenin said, the strength of capitalism lies “in the strength of small production, for unfortunately, small production still survives in a very, very large degree, and small production gives birth to capitalism and to the bourgeoisie, constantly, daily, hourly, spontaneously and on a mass scale.” Hence, since small production is a mass phenomenon, and even a predominant feature of our country, and since it gives birth to capitalism and to a bourgeoisie constantly and on a mass scale, particularly under the conditions of NEP, it is obvious that the conditions do exist which make the restoration of capitalism possible.

Stalin, Joseph. Stalin’s Kampf. New York: Howell, Soskin & Company, c1940, p. 145

OPPOSITION EXAGGERATED THE POWER OF THE CAPITALISTS UNDER NEP

The opposition accused the majority of a “kulak deviation” and called for more pressure to be applied to the capitalist elements in city and country, in contradiction to the basic principles of NEP. With obviously demagogic ends in mind, the opposition greatly exaggerated the development of private capital in the USSR. Volsky, a former Menshevik and functionary of the Supreme Economic Council, who later emigrated from the Soviet Union, tells in his memoirs about the “opposition’s anti-NEP way of thinking.” This was expressed “with particular force in its constant outcries about the domination of private merchant capital. The opposition gave fantastic, inordinately exaggerated figures on the strength and accumulation of this type of private capital. It pointed to the fact that the overwhelming majority (70-80%) of all commercial operations were private but left unmentioned the fact that most of these businesses were tiny, operated by single merchant or tradesman, who did not own a store but hawked merchandise from a table or stand or simply carried it around with him. If these peddlers had not existed, there would have been nothing. A total absence of trade would have prevailed, especially in the rural areas. The opposition kept insisting on the need to subordinate the economy to direction by a plan, “to gather all enterprises into a single system, subjecting them to a single powerful planning center.” [No source given] What this meant concretely they did not explain. The peasant and peasant agriculture were outside the range of vision of the opposition. In contrast, it spoke a great deal about the “dictatorship of industry” and called for rapid and powerful industrialization, although the country did not have the wherewithal to do that…. All of Lenin’s exhortations in his last articles, in particular his warnings against “rushing ahead too rashly and quickly,” his appeals for “better fewer, but better”… were completely disregarded by the opposition.”

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 130

In the heat of polemics the opposition leaders greatly exaggerated the shortcomings that really existed, thus causing party cadres to protest. Something that existed as a tendency or trend was portrayed as an already completed process.

Also untrue was the opposition’s assertion that the private sector was accumulating at a faster rate than the public sector. In general, the opposition, for obviously demagogic reasons, exaggerated the extent and danger of capitalist development in the Soviet Union….

It is true that the Soviet state was obtaining increased quantities of raw materials and exportable products from the rural areas, but that was beneficial not only to the well-to-do sections in the countryside but to the society as a whole.

Another untrue Opposition claim was that representatives of the bourgeois and non-Communist intelligentsia, who had been drawn into the work of Soviet economic management as specialists, controlled industry and finance to a greater degree than the Bolshevik Party.

…Needless to say, no such process was underway in 1926. The upper strata of Nepman bourgeoisie were not growing together with the top echelons of the party and government. The danger of a transfer of power to the bourgeoisie or kulaks was insignificant.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 164-166

LENIN SUPPORTS CAPITALIST INVESTMENT AND CONCESSIONS

Trade negotiations between the two countries [ Russia and Germany] got underway in early 1921, following Lenin’s invitation to foreign firms to invest in Russia. In May, German industrial executives presented Krasin with a proposal calling for large-scale investments to help rebuild the Soviet economy in exchange for control over some of its key sectors.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 424

Lenin believed that the reconstruction of the Soviet economy required massive engagement of Western capital and know-how, and these he could obtain most readily from Germany.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 426

This aid was given in spite of the Soviet government’s policy, which put all sorts of obstacles in the way of the capitalist firms and ended the concessions as soon as Soviet specialists had assimilated Western technology. The capitalist firms were always in a weak position; they had never before encountered a partner as powerful as a government, and they were thirsty for profits. Along with the Comintern and pro-Communist organizations, these firms played the role of organizers of public opinion in favor of the Soviet Union. When Standard Oil decided to build an oil refinery in Batum, a top public relations expert was sent to persuade public opinion that a socialist country was a state like any other. Without knowing a word of Russian, this representative of Rockefeller’s knew everything after several days: The Russians (he always talked about the Russians, not the Soviets) are OK! That’s why the United States ought to recognize the Soviet Union and extend credit to it.
… He [Armand Hammer] brought with him a freightcar full of drugs and medicines as a gift to the Soviet government. He met with Lenin, who was drawn to the enterprising young American. Lenin advised him to assume management of Alapaevsky Asbestos Mines on a concessionary basis, and he personally organized the immediate formation of this concession, which ordinarily would have taken months. Hammer did not limit himself to the first million he earned from the asbestos concession…. He took out a concession on the production of pencils and pens. In 1926 his factory produced 100 million pencils and made enormous profits, which he used to buy Russian works of art. Unlike all the other concessionaires, Hammer was able to convert his revenues to dollars. His example was infectious. He served as an intermediary in the conclusion of an agreement between the Soviet government and Henry Ford, an ardent enemy of the Communists. The American Consolidated Company (50% of the capital was Hammer’s; the other 50% was the Soviet government’s) conducted the affairs of “three dozen American firms” trading with the Soviet Union. The phenomenal successes of Armand Hammer, who made millions in the Soviet Union, could not fail to entice other capitalists.
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 214

And the regime was currently paying a lot in hard currency to entice foreign capitalists, managers, and engineers to come to Russia and work on industrial projects–some of them undoubtedly to replace Russian managers and engineers….
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 337

THREE KINDS OF PEASANTS

[Footnote]: The peasantry was divided into these three groups by the following rule of thumb method: ‘Strong’ farmers who hired labor were classed as kulaks. Those who had their small holdings but also hired themselves as laborers were regarded as poor peasants (byedniaks). The middle peasant (serednyak) was the self-supporting smallholder, who neither employed laborers nor hired his labor to others.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 301

The cleavages in the peasantry were less marked but no less real. The muzhiks had benefited from the agrarian upheavals and from NEP in unequal degrees. The middle layer of the peasantry was strengthened. There were many more small-holders now, more seredniaks, who lived on the yield of their land, without having to work on the land of wealthier farmers and without employing labor on their own farms. Of every 10 presents three or four belonged to this category. One or perhaps two were kulaks employing hired labor, enlarging their farms, and trading with the town. Five out of the 10 were poor peasants, bednyaks, who had carved out for themselves a few acres from the landlords’ estates but only rarely possessed a horse or farm tools. They hired the horse and the tools from the kulak, from whom they also bought seed or food and borrowed money. To pay the debt, the bednyak worked on the kulak’s field or let out to him part of his own tiny plot.
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 225

LENIN KNOWS HE NEEDS PEASANT SUPPORT BUT HE CAN ALSO TAKE BACK THE LAND

Lenin was calm because he alone knew that without the support of the peasantry he could not retain power, and that as long as he had power, he could easily take back what he had given and what he had promised.
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 44

Straight off, the government confirmed the wholesale confiscation of squires’ land by the peasants and authorized their village committees to divide up the estates. The peasants’ settlement was of their own making; they had never supported state ownership and a general redistribution: their traditional view, which had a good foundation in history, was that the squires, originally put over them as officials, should be driven out and that each estate should revert to the neighboring village community. This they had proceeded to carry out, sometimes setting fire to the manor to remove any inducement to the squire to return. This was the “Black Partition” of which they had always dreamed. Having taken the land, the peasants squatted on it, and this was sure to complicate any later government plan of universal distribution.
Pares, Bernard. Russia. Washington, New York: Infantry Journal, Penguin books, 1944, p. 109

The peasants form 85 percent of the Russian population and they had become the owners of the land. That was the greatest achievement of the Revolution. Through the increase in the population and for other reasons, agricultural produce increased from 10 to 25 millions within 10 years. But the export of grain, which was the leading feature of Russian international commerce before the war, now dwindled to relatively small proportions because the peasant decided to use the grain for himself and his family. He was now feeding much better than under the old regime, when the export was artificially increased by keeping the peasant on small rations. In the year 1927 it was necessary actually to import grain into Russia.
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 365

PEASANTS ARE THE BULK OF THE POPULATION

The main object of this all-out offensive [the industrialization during the First 5 Yr. Plan]–and its main victim–was the peasantry, that is, the overwhelming majority of the population.
Nekrich and Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, c1986, p. 232

Socialist revolution made its first, immense conquests not in the advanced West but in the backward East, in countries, where not the industrial workers but the peasants predominated. Its immediate task was not to establish socialism but to initiate “primitive socialist accumulation.”
Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 514

TROTSKY DENIES DISCOUNTING THE PEASANTRY’ KEY ROLE

Later, in 1923, a stupid legend was invented to the effect that I “underestimated” the peasantry. As a matter of fact, from 1918 to 1921, I had to deal with the problems of rural life more closely and directly than anyone else, because the army was being raised chiefly from among the peasants, and carried on its work in constant touch with peasant life.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 436

BAZHANOV SAYS MARX ERRED IN DOWNPLAYING THE PEASANT ROLE IN REVOLUTION

Marx had absolutely not foreseen social revolution in Russia, where 85 percent of the population consisted of peasants and small landowners, and labor constituted just over 1%. (The official history of the Soviet Communist Party, volume four, page 8, 1970, gave the 1921 Russian population as 134,200,000, of which industrial workers were only 1,400,000.)
Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 84

POPULATION OF THE SU INCREASED GREATLY BETWEEN 1918 AND 1922

[In 1940 we can say] the Soviets have survived 22 terrible years. Despite civil wars, despite two major famines, the population has increased by 23 million people since 1918, and is increasing now at the rate of almost 3 million per year. In a generation, in other words, the Soviet Union, in its present borders, will contain 200 million people.
Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 562

LENIN ATTACKED STALIN ON THE GEORGIAN NATIONALITIES ISSUE BUT STALIN WAS RIGHT

Another reason for Lenin’s dissatisfaction with Stalin was Stalin’s handling of a nationalist movement in his native Georgia led by an old Party member, Mdivani. Stalin felt that Mdivani’s group had bourgeois nationalist tendencies. He handled them, as one of them complained, “with the heavy club of the Center’s authority.” Lenin argued that in matters involving the national question one should always tread carefully, avoiding the “Russian frame of mind,” and: “In this case it is better to overdo rather than underdo the concessions and leniency towards the national minorities.” He sent a note to Mdivani and others: “I am following your case with all my heart. I am indignant over Ordjonikidze’s rudeness and the connivance of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky. I am preparing for you notes and a speech.” He asked Trotsky to intervene and take matters out of Stalin’s hands: “It is my earnest request that you should undertake the defense of the Georgian case in the Party [Central Committee]. This case is now under ‘persecution’ by Stalin and Dzerzhinsky, and I cannot rely on their impartiality.”
In December 1926, under attack by Trotsky, Stalin admitted that Lenin had “rebuked me for conducting too severe an organizational policy towards the Georgian semi-nationalists, semi-Communists of the type of Mdivani.” But he [Stalin] stuck to his original position:
“Subsequent events showed that the “deviationists” were a degenerating faction of the most arrant opportunism. Let Trotsky prove that this is not so. Lenin was not aware of these facts, and could not be aware of them, because he was ill in bed and had no opportunity to follow events.”
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 50

Looking back on events at the time and their subsequent history it appears that Stalin was right and Lenin wrong on these matters, including that of the Mdivani group. They were apparently a bourgeois nationalist faction in the Communist Party of Georgia; in 1928 Mdivani was expelled. Furthermore, even if Lenin had been right, his actions cannot be condoned. If he was in disagreement with Stalin, he should have taken the matter up officially with the Central Committee or Politburo and not attempted to undermine the position of the Party Secretary. He seems to have become convinced that Stalin’s method of work would harm the Party; but he was also disturbed by Trotsky’s “excessive self-assurance” and “non-Bolshevism,” both of which he noted in his testament.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 52

In February 1923, too, Lenin went still more deeply into the Georgian affair. The Politburo had meanwhile, without his knowledge, again condemned the Georgian Communists and acquitted Ordjonikidze and Stalin. Lenin’s secretary Fotieva let Lenin know of this debate and he asked for the papers. Stalin said he could not have them without the Politburo’s permission and this would be taxing Lenin with ‘day-to-day details’. Lenin was angry and insisted on having them. Stalin therefore asked without success to be relieved of the supervision of the invalid.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 102

TROTSKY REFUSES TO HELP LENIN CRITICIZE STALIN ON THE GEORGIAN QUESTION

I have discussed above the extremely harsh statements and letters in which Lenin condemned Stalin’s position on the national question in general and, more specifically, in regard to Georgia. Lenin wanted to raise these questions at the 12th Party Congress, but, fearing that he would not be able to take part in the congress, asked Trotsky in writing to take on this task. Lenin sent his request to Trotsky through Fotieva, one of his secretaries in Gorky.

Trotsky admits, and most historians agree with him, that had he fulfilled Lenin’s request and spoken at the congress on the national question, making public all of Lenin’s documents and letters, including those which Lenin had planned to give him through Fotieva, then any discussion on this question would have ended in Stalin’s political defeat, and Stalin’s election as general secretary would have become very difficult. Nevertheless, Trotsky refused to fulfill Lenin’s request, leaving the Georgian delegation without any support. Lenin’s last written document concerned solidarity with this delegation.

Trotsky called Lenin’s secretariat and refused to fulfill Lenin’s request, pleading illness.

Trotsky voluntarily let pass an important and, as later became evident, the most realistic chance to weaken Stalin’s position and that of the triumph over it as a whole. Of course, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Stalin were satisfied.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 113-114

When on 5 March 1923 Lenin asked him [Trotsky] to “take on the defense of the Georgian affair at the Central Committee,” since he could not rely on the impartiality of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky, Trotsky refused on the grounds of ill health. Perhaps he wanted to avoid worsening his relations with Stalin, or already regarded Lenin’s wishes as whims. In either case, he would not carry out the last wish of his leader.

Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 256

STALIN INTERVENED TO PREVENT LENIN FROM GIVING GEORGIA TO THE TURKS

[Footnote on page 307]: “Take little Georgia,” said my father. “In 1919 Lenin agreed to let Kemal Ataturk have Turkestan, with Georgia as a bonus. Just think! The Caucasians had fought for thousands of years to win their independence and now, with a stroke of the pen, history was to be altered. Heaven be praised, Stalin intervened to dissuade Lenin and that was a good deed.”
Beria, Sergo. Beria, My Father: Inside Stalin’s Kremlin. London: Duckworth, 2001, p. 14

TIKHON IS INNOCENT

April 9, 1923–the trial of the patriarch Tikhon. Regarding the first charge, it is true that he authorized the Archbishop of Tobolsk to administer the last sacrament to the czar; that is all.
Regarding the second, he did, with the approval of the Soviet authorities, send a delegate to Karlovitz, but with no instructions to vote for the anti-Soviet resolutions. Indeed, he publicly disavowed them on learning that he had done so.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 64

On the other hand, some of his [Tikhon] proclamations, especially in the early years of the revolution, were more or less directly critical of the Bolshevik regime,….
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 65

TIKHON IS SUBVERSIVE

The All Russian Church Council defrocked patriarch Tikhon today.
The resolution reads: “inasmuch as the Soviet government is the only one in the whole world fighting capitalism, which is one of the seven deadly sins, therefore its struggle is a sacred struggle. The council condemns the counter revolutionary acts of Tikhon and his adherents, lifts the band of ex-communication he laid on the Soviet government, and brands him as a traitor to the church and to Russia.
Duranty, Walter. Duranty Reports Russia. New York: The Viking Press, 1934, p. 67

TIKHON AND CHURCH ACCEPTED SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

After the issue in 1922 of the famous manifesto of the Patriarch Tikhon there was a diminution of the struggle. In that manifesto the first post-revolution Patriarch recognized the regime, was reconciled with it, and ordered the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church to include the Government in their prayers, as they had included the Tsar and the royal family in the past. Needless to say, the clergy of all confessions were disfranchised. The law separating Church and State, and the exclusion of the Church from public life, remained in force; but on the whole the Church was left in peace from 1922 to 1928.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 168

The Real Stalin Series. Part Two: Civil War.

By Dennis “Klo” McKinsey.

lR8u3

DEPRESSING MILITARY STATUS OF WWI

It was attacked by the armies of all the capitalist world. Moscow and Leningrad and the central part of Russia were separated by attacking armies from their chief food and fuel bases for two and a half years. The granary of the Ukraine, the coal of the Donetz, the oil of Baku, the mines of the Urals, the cotton of Turkestan were in enemy hands. At the height of the foreign intervention Soviet Russia was invaded by armies of 14 countries.
Strong, Anna L. The Soviets Expected It. New York, New York: The Dial press, 1941, p. 65

The factories were empty, the land unplowed, transport at a standstill. It seemed impossible that such a country could survive the fierce onslaught of an enemy with large, well-equipped armies, vast financial reserves, ample food, and other supplies.
Besieged on all sides by foreign invaders, imperiled by endless conspiracies at home, the Red Army retreated slowly across the countryside, fighting grimly as it went. The territory controlled by Moscow dwindled to 1/16 of Russia’s total area. It was a Soviet Island in an anti-Soviet sea.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 81

By the end of May 1918 only 1/6 of Russian territory was still under Bolshevik rule.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 46

WILSON BORROWED FROM BOLSHEVIKS

Such a peace they described as a “peace without annexations and without indemnities,” a phrase later made famous by President Woodrow Wilson, who borrowed it from the Bolsheviks.
Strong, Anna L. The Soviets Expected It. New York, New York: The Dial press, 1941, p. 142

STALIN AND TROTSKY CLASH EARLY ON OVER USING CZARIST GENERALS

But to staff a proletarian class war army with officers drawn from its class enemies without first ensuring their political reliability, was to ask for trouble of a most fatal kind. This Trotsky did not see.
The results were to lead, among other things, to Trotsky’s first big conflict with Stalin. It arose from Stalin’s appointment as Commissar in charge of securing food supplies from the south of Russia.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 125

Cautious as ever, Stalin had refrained from commenting on the recruitment of Czarist specialists until he had had time to test the scheme in operation. Two factors convinced him that the small gains in loyal servants did not compensate for the risk of treachery….
Due to the influence of Trotsky and his associates in the War Commissariat, Stalin’s attack upon the military specialists had been ignored. At Trotsky’s recommendation the supreme command of the Red Army was given to the 28 year old ex-lieutenant of the Guards, Mikhail Tukhachevsky.
Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 104

Nosovich’s treachery, and that of a number of other former tsarist officers, reinforced Stalin’s suspicions of the military experts which he had made no effort to hide.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 40

“Now I understand,” General Chtchadenko said, “how Comrade Stalin succeeded in solving our troubles at Tsaritsyn.
The telephone rang again.
“Who’s bothering us now?” Stalin asked. “Some idiot from the Commissariat, I suppose! Nadia, run upstairs and find out what it’s about.”
As she started up the stairs, Mdvani asked, “Are you going to stay in Moscow for a while, Koba, or are you going to keep on being Lenin’s traveling salesman?”
“I don’t know yet,” said my Uncle Joe. “I don’t ask anything better than to stay in Moscow, but the Old Man [Lenin] doesn’t seem to want me here. That’s Trotsky’s influence. He [Trotsky] hopes that I’ll break my neck in Tsaritsyn some day or that the Whites will capture me and hang me in the public square.”
Nadejda came hurrying down the stairs.
“They need you right away at Lenin’s, Sosso! Trotsky wants Voroshilov and Minin court-marshaled for insubordination to his orders; and he has named Sytin commander-in-chief on the southern front, and you are to take orders from him.”
Stalin’s face flushed scarlet.
“The S.O.B.!” he exploded. “Sytin! One of the Czar’s generals–and one of the shiftiest of them, too! I’m not taking any orders from him! I’m going to tell the Old Man [Lenin] what I think about that!”
How right my uncle’s instinct was history was to demonstrate later, when Sytin was discovered to be linked with the White Russian General Denikin.
Svanidze, Budu. My Uncle, Joseph Stalin. New York: Putnam, c1953, p. 45

To appease Trotsky Lenin had decided that Stalin be sent to the Eastern front to inquire into the question of drunkenness in the army. Kolchak’s army had invaded European Russia and taken Perm. The Third Army had fled in confusion, losing 18,000 men and a vast number of guns, especially machine guns, abandoning stores, ammunition, and transport. Trotsky’s pet ex-officers had deserted en mass to the side where their true sympathies lay.
And so, although going ostensibly to close up vodka shops and patch up discipline, Stalin was in reality setting off to perform the same service to the Soviet as when he went to Tsaritsyn the year before.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 55

Stalin: Trotsky held to old officers, specialists, who often turned traitor.
We, on the contrary, selected people= loyal to the Revolution, people connected with the masses, by and large, noncommissioned officers from the lower ranks, although we were clearly aware of the enormous value of honest specialists.
Lenin had the impression at first that I did not give a damn for specialists. He called me in to see him in Moscow. Trotsky and Pyatakov tried to prove that and interceded for two specialists who had been fired by me. At that very moment, a report came in from the front that one of them had turned traitor and the other had deserted. Lenin, after reading the telegram, exposed Trotsky and Pyatakov and acknowledged the correctness of our actions.
Dimitrov, Georgi, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 1933-1949. Ed. Ivo Banac. New Haven: Yale University Press, c2003, p. 132

STALIN TAKES OVER MILITARY LEADERSHIP

By May 1918 the Soviet government was surrounded within a sixth of the territory of the country. But eight armies were defending the encircled Republic. They were not well equipped armies….
When Stalin was appointed to his new post he had no intention, nor had the government, that he should interfere with military affairs.
He had none of Trotsky’s inhibitions concerning the workers, and rejected outright Trotsky’s ideas about the Army.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 126

But, using a plan of attack drawn up by Stalin as a member of the Revolutionary Military Committee, the Red Army initiated a sudden counter-offensive [against Denikin’s sweep toward Moscow].
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 91

Voroshilov states, “The position became more and more strained. Comrade Stalin exercised enormous energy, and in the shortest possible time developed out of extraordinary plenipotentiary for food supplies, into the actual leader of all the Red forces in the Tsaritsyn front.
Life of Stalin, A Symposium. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1930, p. 53

Voroshilov states, “And only Stalin, with his magnificent organizational capacities was able, having had no previous military training (Comrade Stalin had never served in any army!) so well to understand special military questions in the then extremely difficult circumstances.
Life of Stalin, A Symposium. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1930, p. 59

STALIN TOOK OVER GENERALSHIP WITH GOOD REASON

To suggest that he now began to interfere with military affairs because he disliked Trotsky is absurd.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 127

On arrival at Tsaritsyn Stalin found a very perilous military situation. The armies of the counter-revolution were investing [infesting] Tsaritsyn; and at the same time the city had become a place of refuge for counter-revolutionary elements. Large numbers of enemies of the Bolshevik Revolution had fled thither–officers of the Imperial army, high officials, and wealthy merchants. The enemy was not only beleaguering the city but within it as well, preparing to strike. Stalin, special plenipotentiary of the party, saw that his real task, the safeguarding of food supplies, could not be achieved unless the military problem was first solved. He assumed full powers for this purpose on his own responsibility. Strictly, in doing this he was incurring the guilt of what amounted to a punishable unauthorized initiative. He appropriated the supreme military authority, without any express instructions to do so from the center.
Within the city he set up a terrorist police organization which ruthlessly pursued the enemies of Bolshevism. Anyone who might be dangerous, anyone who might be open to suspicion, was eliminated. Stalin reported over the head of the local authorities, and over the head of the appointed Peoples Commissar, Trotsky, direct to the party executive and to Lenin. Formally he was infringing the laws of subordination in force even in the Red Army. He intervened also with iron resolution in matters of army personnel, with an energetic purge at the local headquarters. The enemies within the city were destroyed, the staffs of the Red troops subjected to a new and sharp discipline. The military plans came under his influence. And Tsaritsyn was saved. The first round of the civil war was won.
This brought Stalin’s first conflict with Trotsky.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 69

When he was sent to Tsaritsyn to carry out a commission quite un-connected with the military command, he seized the opportunity for a relentless initiative.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 85

Trotsky whole behavior showed that he regarded himself as above Stalin. And he made no secret of his displeasure…. Stalin made no attempt at self-defense, bowing before the storm of indignation of the supreme commander of the red army. Stalin maintained throughout a conciliatory attitude. The cause, he considered, mattered more than any personal issue.
Trotsky demanded Stalin’s recall, and protested against Stalin’s interference in military matters. Lenin, as usual, tried to smooth away the trouble. He acknowledged the reports and proposals of both parties, and then did nothing. He simply kept silent. It is stated that Stalin was nevertheless recalled at Trotsky’s instance; but not until he had done his job. In any case, Stalin had shown his military capacity. From then on he held a new post until the end of the Civil War: he was the party’s special plenipotentiary at the fronts.
One thing was clear: Stalin’s activity at Tsaritsyn had brought military success.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 70

In the summer of 1918 Stalin saved Russia and the Revolution.
British and French troops, united with White Russians, had made common cause with Muscovite counterrevolutionaries in order to destroy the Bolsheviks for all time. The stricken land lay in ruins: no railways, no weapons, and above all not enough bread–for the wheat belts of the Ukraine and Siberia had been cut off by the enemy. The only available wheat came from the Volga and Northern Caucasus, but had to be shipped on this river by way of the town of Tsaritsyn. In that district the small peasants were oppressed by the Kulaks and wheat speculators. Everything depended on the possibility of having Red troops–consisting mostly of badly armed workers with a cap on their head and a gun–transport the wheat into the country’s interior. The fate of the Revolution literally hung for several weeks on the defense of this town.
Stalin, arriving there with a few thousand workers, mistrusted the old Czarist officers who were playing a double game or at least under suspicion. But Trotsky, as Minister of War, opposed Stalin’s strategy and cabled other orders. Stalin threw them into the wastepaper basket or wrote on the top: “To be laid aside.” He saved the town, reconstructed this part of the disrupted army, and hindered the enemy from joining his allies in the Urals and on the Volga….
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1942, p. 63

Voroshilov states, “The chief work given to Stalin was the organization of food supplies to the northern provinces, and he was possessed of unlimited powers for the carrying out of his task….
Life of Stalin, A Symposium. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1930, p. 55

On May 29, 1918, in connection with the increasingly grave food situation in Moscow and the central provinces of Russia, the Sovnarkom appointed Stalin general director for food supplies in the south of Russia and granted him extraordinary powers. In this capacity, on June 4 Stalin left for Tsaritsyn. There he found confusion and chaos not only in food and military matters but in transport, finance, and so on. Utilizing the authority granted him, Stalin took full power in the entire Tsaritsyn Region.
There is no doubt that he did significant work in restoring order and supplying food to the industrial centers of Russia….
Gradually Stalin assumed all the main military functions in the Northern Caucasus. He wrote to Lenin:
There’s a lot of grain in the south. In order to get it, we must have a smoothly functioning apparatus that will not encounter any obstacles from trains, army commanders, etc.. Also the military men have to help the food-supply people. The food question naturally gets intertwined with the military question. For the good of the cause I need military powers. I already wrote about this but received no answer. Very well, in that case I myself, without formalities, will remove those commanders and commissars who are ruining the cause. The interests of the cause prompt me to do this and the absence of any papers from Trotsky will not stop me.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 56

In 1919 Stalin was sent as a special plenipotentiary to the key Volga city of Tsaritsyn. His mission was simply to assure the delivery of food supplies from this entire region. What he found was a disastrous military situation, with the city not only surrounded by the White Army but heavily infiltrated by counter-revolutionary forces. He saw that the food supply could not be safeguarded unless the military and political situations were dealt with. He instituted an uncompromising purge of counter-revolutionary elements within both the officer corps and the political infrastructure, took personal command of the military forces over the heads of both the local authorities and Trotsky, and then proceeded to save the city, the region, and the food supply. Trotsky, furious, demanded his recall. As for the citizens of Tsaritsyn, their opinion became known six years later, when they renamed their city Stalingrad.
After this episode, rather than being recalled, Stalin was dispatched far and wide to every major front in the Civil War. In each and every place, he was able to win the immediate respect of the revolutionary people and to lead the way to military victory, even in the most desperate circumstances. Certain qualities emerged more and more clearly, acknowledged by both friends and enemies. These were his enormous practicality and efficiency, his worker-peasant outlook, and the unswerving way he proceeded to the heart of every problem. By the end of the war, Stalin was widely recognized as a man who knew how to run things, equality sorely lacking among most of the aristocratic intellectuals who then saw themselves as great proletarian leaders.
Franklin, Bruce, Ed. The Essential Stalin; Major Theoretical Writings. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, p. 12

It was apart from Lenin, at the front in the Civil War, that Stalin first distinguished himself in a remarkable way.
Stalin saved Tsaritsyn and the wheat. The defense of Tsaritsyn against the Whites has been called in an exaggerated way the “Red Verdun.” It was Stalin who organized it, and for that reason the city bears today the name of Stalingrad.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 43

STALIN ALSO SETS UP CHEKA CONTROL

With him, Kaganovich, and others whom he knew to be reliable Bolsheviks, Stalin established a cheka or committee to deal with counter-Revolution in the rear…. Nosovitch, the chief of military direction appointed by Trotsky, went over to the enemy.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 128

KILLING BOLSHEVIKS ACTIVATED THE CHEKA AND TERROR

The social Revolutionaries turned again to terrorism. Two Bolshevik leaders, Uritsky and Volodarsky, were assassinated, and Dora Kaplan attempted the assassination of Lenin. He was severely wounded, and undoubtedly the event shortened his life by years.
In the days immediately following the attempt on Lenin thousands were shot for merely looking bourgeois.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 129

The masses, enraged that the dark forces of reaction had struck down the man who stood as the symbol of all their liberties and aspirations, struck back at the bourgeoisie and at the monarchists with the Red Terror.
Many of the bourgeoisie had to pay with their lives for the assassinations of the commissars and the attempt upon Lenin. So fierce was the wrath of the people that hundreds more would have perished had not Lenin pleaded with the people to restrain their fury. Through all the furor it is safe to say that he was the calmest man in Russia.
Williams, Albert R. Through the Russian Revolution. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967, p. 37

[In 1918] the demise of the Soviet regime seemed imminent, especially as it appeared that open season had been declared on its commissars. In Petrograd, the SR, Kanegisser shot and killed Uritsky; in July, commissar of the Latvian Riflemen, Nakhimson, was killed; food commissar of the Turkestan Republic, Pershin, died at the hands of insurgents in Tashkent; in May 1918, Podtelkov and Krivoshlykov, well known Bolsheviks of the Don Region, were hanged on a Cossack gallows; Lieutenant-General Alexander Taube, who had gone over to the Bolsheviks from the tsarist army to become commander of the Siberian headquarters, fell into White hands and was tortured. But the worst blow fell in Moscow, when, after speaking in front of the Mikhelson factory workers, Lenin were shot by the SR Fannie Kaplan.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 38

But already in July the left Social Revolutionaries provoked the first real outburst of Bolshevik terror. In an attempt to disrupt the peace and to force the Bolsheviks back into war against Germany, the left Social Revolutionary Jacob Blumkin assassinated the German Ambassador Count von Mirbach. A series of insurrections staged by the same party broke out in various places including Moscow, to which the Government transferred its seat after the conclusion of peace. On August 30 Lenin was wounded and two other Bolshevik leaders, Uritsky and Volodarsky, were assassinated by Social Revolutionaries. Trotsky narrowly escaped an attempt on his life. The Bolsheviks officially retorted with mass reprisals; and their self defense was at least as savage as the onslaught to which they had been subjected.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 191

When Bolshevik leader Uritsky was assassinated in St. Petersburg, and Fanny Kaplan wounded Lenin, in an effort to assassinate him, a system of hostages was introduced, mass executions of innocent “class enemies” took place as reprisals and a “red terror” regime began.
Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 49

Yet we did not interfere with public expression of dissident views, although the Mensheviks deliberately sabotaged vital defense activity through their hold on the railway unions, and others elsewhere–until the assassination of Volodarsky and Uritsky and the murderous attempt on the life of Lenin, August 30, 1918. It was in those tragic days that something snapped in the heart of the revolution. It began to lose its “kindness” and forbearance. The sword of the Party received its final tempering. Resolution increased and, where necessary, ruthlessness, too.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 338

Having deprived the parties and the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries of the Right and Center of Soviet legality in June, 1918, after their direct participation in the Civil War against the Soviet government had been established not only through acts of individual terror, but sabotage, diversion, conspiracy and other overt acts of war, the Bolsheviks were compelled to add the Left Social Revolutionaries to the proscription list after the latter attempted their treacherous coup d’etat in July.
Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 338

STALIN AND TROTSKY CLASH OVER MILITARY TACTICS

Should Kolchak be pursued and his forces completely smashed, or should all attention be diverted to defeat Denikin? Trotsky, who in his memoirs fully admits his blunder, decided on leaving Kolchak to concentrate on Denikin. Stalin was emphatically opposed to this plan, and the central committee supported him in his contention that such a decision would leave Kolchak time to recuperate…. The Red Army, he urged, must advance and “liquidate” him and his Army. It did advance, and Kolchak and his Army were liquidated.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 131

Stalin now urged Lenin to remove Trotsky from his position as War Commissar. [Stalin wanted Trotsky out. Trotsky resigned. Lenin and the Central Committee refused his resignation. Stalin agreed and backed down]. But one thing is certain — by this time Stalin had become convinced that Trotsky was a danger to the Revolution.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 132

Trotsky was given a new post which suited to his organizational and oratorical talents. He was made War Commissar…. Trotsky repeatedly opposed the military decisions of the Bolshevik Central Committee and flagrantly exceeded his authority. In several cases, only the direct intervention of the Central Committee prevented Trotsky from executing leading Bolshevik military representatives at the front who objected to his autocratic conduct.
In the summer of 1919 Trotsky, stating that Kolchak was no longer in menace in the East, proposed shifting the forces of the Red Army into the campaign against Denikin in the South. This, Stalin pointed out, would have given Kolchak a much needed breathing spell and the opportunity to reorganize and re-equip his Army and launch a fresh offensive. “The Urals with their works,” declared Stalin as military representative of the Central Committee, “with their network of railways, should not be left in Kolchak hands, because he could there easily collect the big farmers around him and advance to the Volga.” Trotsky’s plan was rejected by the Central Committee, and he took no further part in the campaign in the East, which led to the final defeat of Kolchak’s forces.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 191

In the fall of 1919 Trotsky drew up a plan for a campaign against Denikin. This plan called for a march through the Don Steppes, an almost roadless region filled with bands of counter revolutionary Cossacks. Stalin, who had been sent to the Southern Front by the Central Committee, rejected Trotsky’s plan and proposed instead that the Red Army advance across the Donetz Basin with its dense railroad network, coal supplies, and sympathetic working-class population. Stalin’s plan was accepted by the Central Committee. Trotsky was removed from the Southern Front, ordered not to interfere in with operations in the South, and “advised” not to cross the line of demarcation of the Southern Front. Denikin was defeated according to Stalin’s plan.
Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 191

Trotsky was trying to form a regular army. That required men of experience; so he enrolled officers of the old Imperial army. But they were unreliable. So were the army commanders who had risen from obscurity. Some of these proved traitors, some changed sides, among these latter the commander in the Caucasus…. The military specialists were also unreliable. At that time the whole Soviet State was decentralized. “All power to the local soviets”, ran the slogan.
Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 68

Quoting Nosovich Voroshilov states, “When Trotsky, worried because of the destruction of the command administrations formed by him, with such difficulty, sent a telegram concerning the necessity of leaving the staff, and the war commissariat on the previous footing and giving them a chance to work, Stalin wrote a categorical, most significant inscription on the telegram: ‘To be ignored’!”
Life of Stalin, A Symposium. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1930, p. 58

The same message in which he [Stalin] asked for military powers gave the first hint of his conflict with Trotsky. It contained the following remark: ‘If only our war “specialists” (the shoemakers!) had not slept and been idle, the [military] line would not have been cut; and if the line is restored this will be so not because of the military but in spite of them.’ This was the point over which the famous Tsaritsyn dispute started.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 197

The food transports from the northern Caucasus arrived in Moscow as Stalin had promised. Thus the Council of People’s Commissars had reason to be grateful to its envoy at Tsaritsyn. Stalin, having failed to receive an answer to his first and somewhat timid request for special military powers, insistently repeated his demand in a cable to Lenin dated July 10, 1918. The message, which was first published only in 1947, contained a violent attack on Trotsky, an attack which by implication was also a remonstrance with Lenin. If Trotsky continued to send his men to the northern Caucasus and the Don without the knowledge of the people on the spot, Stalin stated, then ‘within a month everything will go to pieces in the northern Caucasus and we shall irretrievably lose that land…. Rub this in to Trotsky…. For the good of the cause military plenary powers are indispensable to me here. I have written about this but received no reply. All right, then. In that case I alone shall, without any formalities, dismiss those commanders and commissars who ruin the job…. The lack of a paper mandate from Trotsky will, of course, not stop me.’
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 202

By the end of the summer of 1918 the danger that threatened Moscow from the east had been removed. As long as it existed the General Staff attached only secondary importance to the southern front. But in October the Czechs had been thrown back to the Urals, and Trotsky could turn his whole attention to the south, brooking no interference with his battle orders. The southern front was now too small for both antagonists. One of them had to go, and it was Stalin. Lenin did his best to sweeten the pill. He sent the President of the Republic Sverdlov to bring Stalin back to Moscow in a special train with all the necessary honors. The episode was characteristic of Lenin’s handling of the man: he had a shrewd eye for his weaknesses and was very careful not to offend needlessly his touchiness and amour propre. Trotsky’s manner was the exact opposite. The underrated his opponent, made no allowance for his ambition, and offended him at almost every step. This flowed from his natural manner rather than from deliberate intention. On its way to Moscow the train that carried Sverdlov and Stalin met Trotsky’s train which was bound for Tsaritsyn. Prepared by Sverdlov’s diplomatic labors, the meeting between the antagonists took place in Trotsky’s carriage. According to Trotsky’s version, Stalin somewhat meekly asked him not to treat the ‘Tsaritsyn boys’ too severely. Trotsky’s answer was sharp and haughty: ‘The fine boys will ruin the revolution which cannot wait for them to grow up.’ Subsequently Voroshilov was transferred from Tsaritsyn to the Ukraine.
Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 205

Then Trotsky, in his capacity as War Minister, launched his first serious attack against his enemy Stalin, by ordering the Tsaritsyn comma­nders to obey only the orders of their Superior Sytin, but Stalin refused to accept Trotsky’s order. He left for Moscow to talk over matters with Lenin and six days later returned to Tsaritsyn and, backed by Voroshilov, took over again. The Whites once more managed to encircle the town but the so-called “Steel Division” succeeded in saving Tsaritsyn. Trotsky again, stung by his enemy’s tremendous success, induced Lenin to recall his “Miraculous Georgian” to Moscow, but Stalin stalled, and eventually established his claim to the victory.
Fishman and Hutton. The Private Life of Josif Stalin. London: W. H. Allen, 1962, p. 49

The rising importance and prestige of Stalin may be understood by the fact that before accepting the invitation of the revolutionary council to go to the Southern Front he stipulated that Trotsky should not be allowed to interfere in any way with the campaign there. He also obtained permission to retire the officers of Trotsky’s choice and replace them with men of his own choosing. This was the first great rebuff to Trotsky in the revolution and he received it at the hands of Stalin.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 63

The Soviet gave Stalin carte blanche. Trotsky’s plan of campaign was shelved. Stalin took matters into his own hands, being nevertheless careful to keep in personal touch with Lenin by telegraph, informing him of his proposed changes and his plan of action. He poured scorn on Trotsky’s pet idea of an attack over the Steppes, calling it stupidity and obstinacy… “what does this cockerel know of strategy?” An advance through Cossack country could have but one effect, that of rousing the whole Cossack population to fury.
The new plan of campaign was for an advance through the center toward Little Russia with Kharkov as an objective, thence to threaten Rostov on the Don. “Here,” he wrote Lenin, “we would find ourselves among a friendly and not a hostile population which must facilitate our advance. We should find ourselves in possession of an important railway artery and cut the line Voronezh– Rostov which has been vital for Denikin’s supplies. We outflank the Cossacks and threaten them from the rear. If we are successful in our advance Denikin will most probably wish to reinforce his center with Cossacks which they will not want to do, and we could count on that breeding trouble among the Whites. Then we should get supplies of coal (from the Donetz Basin) and Denikin would be deprived of coal.”
Stalin urged Lenin to approve this plan of attack as the only one promising success, declaring that his presence on the Southern front would be a waste of time, “futile, criminal, useless” if the plan were over-ridden, and that he would in that case rather go to the devil than remain there.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 64

On this Voroshilov comments: “The road from Tsaritsyn to Novorossisk might have turned out to be much longer because it went through an environment of class enemies. On the other hand the way from Tula to Novorossisk might prove much shorter because it went through working-class Kharkov and the mining region of the Donetz Basin. In Stalin’s estimation of the correct line of attack can be seen his chief quality as a proletarian revolutionary, the real strategist of the Civil War.”
Lenin signed the order for the cancellation of Trotsky’s instructions and the Central Soviet advised Stalin to go ahead. His judgment was at once confirmed by success.
Graham, Stephen. Stalin. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970, p. 65

LENIN MISTAKENLY ADVOCATES ATTACK TOWARD WARSAW

Indeed, the whole conception of advancing on Warsaw was an error. For this Lenin was primarily responsible, and time and again he referred to it publicly as his mistake.
Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 135

Lenin had demanded the disastrous Warsaw campaign. Stalin has been blamed for not abandoning Lemberg, but the real mistake was Lenin’s insistence on pushing the Polish invaders back as far as Warsaw.
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The Readers’ Press, Inc., c1946, p. 23

Lenin was carried away by the vision of the Red Army in Warsaw and of a communist Poland giving its full support to the revolutionary movement. He felt acutely the isolation of Russia, which with all its internal problems was bearing the socialist banner alone. This vision was shared by many within the party and gave rise to a wave of enthusiasm, as members rallied to the cry “Onwards to Warsaw!” But there were realists, Stalin foremost among them, who saw the dangers of this policy. In June 1920 he wrote that “the rear of the Polish forces is homogeneous and nationally united. Its dominant mood is ‘the feeling for their native land.’… The class conflicts have not reached the strength needed to break through the sense of national unity.” It was a clear warning against accepting Lenin’s facile belief