The Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre Killed Comrade Kirov

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The Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre Killed Comrade Kirov

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Report of Court Proceedings
The Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre
Heard Before the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R.
August 19-24, 1936 (Moscow)

The Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre Killed Comrade Kirov
Above I asked: Was there an organization? Was there a Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist centre? I answer: Yes, there was. It arose in 1932. it consisted of Kamenev, Zinoviev, Evdokimov, Bakayev, Smirnov, Ter-Vaganyan and Mrachkovsky.
This centre existed, and, what is most importaut, it was formed on the direct instructions of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. It was formed on the direct instructions of Trotsky to adopt terror as the sole method of fighting against the leaders of the land of Soviets. It was formed on the basis of profound and strict secrecy. Yesterday we were able to observe one of the representatives of this Trotsky-Zinoviev-Kamenev school of conspiracy in the person of the accused Holtzman. In the dock we have another conspirator in the person of Smirnov. The centre existed and funktioned: it not only resorted to methods of downright perfidy, deceit and treachery but, as has now been definitely established, it organized and established secret communications with the German fascists, with whom it mated the German Trotskyites, using them in the fight against our leaders, using their connections with the German Gestapo in the persons of Tukalevsky, P. Olberg and their like.
I take it as absolutely proven by the personal evidence of literally all the accused, including that of Smirnov on this point, that this centre was organized on a terroristic basis, that the centre resorted to terroristic methods, not shrinking from the most sordid and cynical methods in its struggle. I take it as absolutely proven that this centre prepared a number of terroristic attempts in the Ukraine, in Moscow and in Leningrad. Finally, this centre prepared and committed the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov in Leningrad.
As I have already said, the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov was part of the conspirators' general plan to murder the leaders of the Soviet state and the C.P.S.U. Incidentally, this has been established by the evidence of Evdokimov. I ask the Court to take note of Evdokimov's testimony of August 10, when he said that the murder of Kirov was committed on the direct instructions of the united centre of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc, when he said that in 1934 Zinoviev gave him direct instructions to this effect. Bakayev also corroborated this. The decision to organize the murder of Kirov was adopted by Zinoviev, Kamenev, Evdokimov and Bakayev, and by Trotsky's representatives, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan.

Evdokimov's evidence, to which I now refer, reads as follows: "For the purpose of preparing for the murder, Bakayev was sent to Leningrad at the beginning of November 1934, that is to say, some days before Nikolayev killed Kirov in the Smolny, in the city of Leningrad - to check up on the preparations for this murder. Bakayev personally met Nikolayev and on returning to Moscow informed Evdokimov, Zinoviev and Kamenev of this. The latter noted with satisfaction the successful progress of the preparations for this foul crime and began to wait for the shot. Bakayev warned Nikolayev and his accomplices that they must wait for Zinoviev's signal, that they must fire simultaneously with the shots to be fired in Moscow and Kiev."

All this has now been proved by the trial. Let the accused challenge this in their defence speeches if they dare.

After prolonged denials during the preliminary investigation Zinoviev gave the evidence which I have already mentioned. A characteristic detail. As far back as the autumn of 1932, in Zinoviev's and Kamenev's summer villa (they jointly occupied a summer villa which, incidentally, Kamenev once called the source of his misfortunes) Bakayev was instructed to prepare a terroristic act against Comrade Stalin, and Karev was instructed to prepare one against Comrade Kirov. But then the situation changed, for Karev was arrested and Kamenev and Zinoviev found themselves in exile.

Then came 1933, the year of revival of terroristic sentiments, the year of resumption of activities by the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre. And now, Bakayev is given instructions; and thorough preparations for the murder of Comrade Kirov are begun.

Kamenev says: "I did not know these preparations proceeded in practice because it was not I, but Zinoviev who exercised practical direction in the organization of this terroristic act." Accused Kamenev, did you know that Bakayev went to Leningrad to check up on the progress of these preparations? Yes, you knew. Did you know that Bakayev, after having checked up and found that everything was going on successfully, arrived in Moscow and reported to you the progress of these preparations? you knew. How, after this, can you presume to say that you took no practical part in the murder of Kirov? Your attempt to throw all the blame on Zinoviev will not hold water.

Kamenev says "it was decided" to kill, and adds "I agreed to this decision." Is this not taking practical steps?

At the preliminary investigation Bakayev persistently denied that he had played any part in the preparations for the murder of Kirov; but he was exposed by Karev, who reminded him of a number of facts. And only then, after that, did Bakayev confess.That is why, in view of Bakayev's full confession, I refrained from examining Karev in Court.

It was the hand of Nikolayev, of Kotolynov, of his group that murdered Sergei Mironovich Kirov. But who else took part in this murder? I asked Zinoviev: When was the united centre organized? Zinoviev replied: In the summer of 1932. During what period of time did it function? Zinoviev: Practically up to 1934. . . .

I would like to deal with this question in greater detail. In 1932-33 Kamenev and Zinoviev were in exile; but the centre functioned. It is known that in 1934 Smirnov, too, was not at liberty; he was arrested in January 1933; but the centre functioned. And Zinoviev confirms that the centre functioned. I draw the conclusion that if the centre functioned it was because of the well-organized technique of communication which enabled even those who were not at liberty, Smirnov, for example, to take part in guiding the work of this centre.

I know that in his defence Smirnov will argue that he had left the centre. Smirnov will say: "I did not do anything, I was in prison." A naive assertion! Smirnov was in prison from January 1, 1933, but we know that while in prison Smirnov organized contacts with his Trotskyites, for a code was discovered by means of which Smirnov, while in prison, communicated with his companions outside. This proves that communication existed andSmirnov cannot deny this.

But even this does not settle the question because, after all, what is important for us is that Smirnov, like Zinoviev and Kamenev, is responsible for all the centre's activities and for the activities of the whole of the terrorist group which was organized, built up and functioned under his leadership when they were still at liberty. Smirnov, Zinoviev and Kamenev were the organizers of the centre; they directed the activities of their terrorists, of all these Pickels, the Dreitzers and the rest. And they must bear full responsibility for this, irrespective of whether any one of them was at liberty at the time or not. This is elementary, and I do not think it is necessary to deal with it in detail. As the leaders, they must answer for the whole of the criminal activities of the organization which they led and of all those groups which sprang up the soil they plowed.

What did the activities of the centre consist of? Zinoviev said: "Their principal activities consisted in the preparations of terroristic acts against the leaders of the Party and the Government." I asked: against whom? Zinoviev answered: against the leaders. I asked: that is to say, against Stalin, Voroshilov and Kaganovich? Was it your centre that organized the murder of Kirov? Was the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov organized by your centre, or by some other organization?

Zinoviev: Yes, by our centre.

I asked: Did this centre comprise you, Kamenev, Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan?

Zinoviev: Yes.

To my question: So you organized the murder of Kirov?

Zinoviev replied: Yes.

And so it is Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smirnov, Mrachkovsky, Ter-Vaganyan and all the rest who must answer for this crime.

The most persistent in his denials is Smirnov. He pleaded guilty only to being the leader of the Trotskyite underground counter-revolutionary centre. True, he said this in a somewhat jocular way. Turning to Ter-Vaganyan, Mrachkovsky and Dreitzer, he said to them: "You want a leader? Well, take me." But you accused Smirnov, were the leader. Smirnov was the leader of the Trotskyite underground organization. It was no accident that Zinoviev and Kamenev regarded him as Trotsky's representative, as Trotsky's deputy, as the actual leader of the whole of the Trotskyite underground organization. And finally he himself confessed to this.

I do not know what Smirnov is going to say in his last plea; but I think that on the basis of the material of the preliminary investigation and of the material of the court investigation I have every ground for declaring the following: 1) the accused Smirnov has confessed that for a number of years he was the actual leader of the Trotskyite underground organization; 2) he has confessed that he was Trotsky's representative and deputy in the U.S.S.R.; 3) he has confessed that he was in Berlin in 1931 and there met Sedov; and 4) he has confessed that Sedov informed him of the terroristic tasks and gave the terroristic directions.

It is true that Smirnov denies that these were Trotsky's directions. He says that this was Sedov's "personal opinion." Nevertheless, on returning to the U.S.S.R., he considered it necessary to communicate Sedov's "personal opinion" to his companions in the unerground organization. . . .

We asked him: Where is the logic of this? If this was Sedov's personal opinion, and moreover, an opinion with which Smirnov, as he asserted, did not agree, why communicate it to the other members of the underground organization? Communicate it and not say that he did not agree with it? All his companions in the counter-revolutionary underground organization declare that he did not even hint at his disagreement with this line. Uner these circumstances, what can we regard as established? Was there a meeting with Sedov in 1931? There was. Is Sedov - the son of L. Trotsky - his closest and first assistant in all his political activities? He is. During this meeting, did Sedov talk to Smirnov? He did. Smirnov admits this. Did they talk about terror? Yes, they talked about terror. Smirnov admits this too. The question as to how Smirnov understood Sedov is after all a matter of complete indifference to the prosecution. If Smirnov understood his conversation with Sedov not as an instruction, then there was no need for him to communicate it to his colleagues in his underground group. If he communicated this conversation and did not say that he disagreed with it, it means that it was an instruction, and it could not be otherwise.

Smirnov says that he did not agree with this instruction. But if he did not agree with it he, as a sufficiently experienced underground worker, factionalist and counter-revolutionary, should have understood that it was his duty to break with this group,to leave this group. Otherwise he would not be a man engaged in politics, let alone a leader of an underground organization. Yet Smirnov was not merely a rank-and-file member of the Trotskyite group. Smirnov is not Holtzman. Holtzman is a poor edition of Smirnov; but Smirnov is not Holtzman. Smirnov is Smirnov. He is the leader. How can the leader remain a member of an underground group when he disagrees with the main line of this group? And the main line of this group was trrorism. And if he says that in 1931 hi did not accept, what Sedov said as an instruction, but took it merely as Sedov's personal opinion, in 1932, however, he received direct instructions from Trotsky through Yuri Gaven. At that time he could no longer say that this was somebody's "personal opinion," for even if it really was a "personal" position, it was the position of Trotsky!

From Sedov's personal position a straight path leads to Trotsky's position. There are no personal position! There is the Trotskyite decision, Trotsky's line of terrorism. You, Smirnov, received it in 1931 and in 1932. You also received the instructions from Dreitzer, not personally, but I am deeply convinced that you knew about it notwithstanding the fact that you were in a house of detention for political offenders.

In 1932 you received Trotsky's instruction through Gaven. Trotsky plainly said: Terror; put Stalin out of the way; kill Voroshilov; kill the leaders of the Party and the government. You, Smirnov, received this instruction. You say: I received it, but did not accept it. If you did not accept it, and if you preserved a sense of political honesty to any degree, after having heard in 1932 Trotsky's instruction sent to you through Gaven, you could not but break with the Trotskyite organization. You understand this, and that is why you say - I broke, I left. But whom did you tell that you had left? You told no one. Mrachkovsky did not know about it, Ter-Vaganyan did not know about it and even Safonova did not know about it. You did not tell anyone! No one knew!

Consequently, we have no right whatever to believe these assertions of yours. We can assert that in 1932 you received instructions on terrorism from Trotsky and you accepted them. You would not be the Smirnov you are if you remained in the Trotskyite group while disagreeing with the fundamental line of this group, while disagreeing with the line of the man who was such an authority for you as was Trotsky. We know that in your defence speech you will curse Trotsky. But no one will believe you, because in this Court you have not said, and you do not want to say, even two words of truth about your work in the terrorist centre. Even yesterday you wanted to conceal the role played by Putna. You wanted to save some reserves, who, perhaps, would not be entirely exposed. You wanted to save reserves for Trotsky, for your accursed Trotskyite underground organization!

I think that all the circumstances I have mentioned permit us to establish the following in regard to Smirnov.

First. Smirnov was a member of the united centre of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist organization. This centre was organized with his participation. Consequently, he is one of the most important organizers of the centre.

Second. He organized this centre on the basis of Trotsky's instructions which he received in 1931. He gave this centre its terroristic character and the terroristic direction of its activities.

Third. In 1932, Smirnov received a second instruction from Trotsky. This is indisputably established. All Smirnov's attempts to prove that, having received this instruction, he did not agree with it, although he remained in the ranks of the Trotskyite underground organization, are too transparent.

Comrades judges, there is one other very important circumstance. The question can be put in this way: All right, terroristic basis, disposition towards terrorism, talk about terror being the sole means - but what about the organization of practical measures for the purpose of getting together terrorist groups, for the purpose of putting terrorism into practice?

Ter-Vaganyan said that work was carried on to get together terrorist groups, but that this was preparatory work which did not go beyond the limits of preparations. But was that really the case?

Of course not. The Zinovievites followed the Trotskyites, and Smirnov in particular, who persuasively and fervently insisted on the earliest application of terror, and not terror in general, but terror against Comrades Stalin, Kirov, Voroshilov,and other of our leaders. It was Comrade Stalin and Comrade Kirov who had smashed this dishonest opposition. It is quite understandable, therefore, that Smirnov, this consistent, fully convinced and irreconcilable Trotskyite, should concentrate all his organizing abilities on preparing the assassination first of all of the leaders of the Central Committee of our Party, the leaders of our country. Smirnov kept urging Zinoviev: Let us hurry up and commit a terroristic act, let us hurry up and kill Stalin, Kirov and Voroshilov. And Zinoviev, hurrying at the heels of the Trotskyites is full of excitement and agitation fearing lest he lag behind. . . .

Smirnov urged Zinoviev to hurry up with the murder. He was in no hurry about a platform. He said: It could be drawn' up at one sitting.What did they want a platform for when they had what in their opinion was a surer means - assassination!Smirnov drew up and placed in the hands of his agents a concrete plan for the organization of terroristic acts. The murder of Comrade Kirov was carried out in fulfilment of this plan, for which Zinoviev as well as Kamenev, Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan must bear full responsibility before the land of Soviets, before the Soviet people, before the Soviet proletarian Court.