assasination of Kirov

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Assassination of Comrade S. M. Kirov

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)

II. The United Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre and the Assassination of Comrade S. M. Kirov

It was already established in the case of Nikolayev, Rumyantsev, Kotolynov and others shot by sentence of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. on the charge of murdering Comrade S. M. Kirov on December 1, that direct connections existed between the group of Zinovievites in Leningrad who committed the murder, and the accused Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bakayev, already convicted in the case of the so-called "Moscow centre."

At the present time, the investigating authorities are in possession of facts establishing beyond doubt that the murder of S. M. Kirov was kommitted in accordance with the decision of the united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre.

This was admitted at the preliminary investigation by the majority of active members of various terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite groups, including the accused Zinoviev, Kamenev, Evdokimov, Bakayev, Mrachkovsky and others.

The accused Evdokimov fully confirmed this by declaring at the examination on Aug. 10 of this year the following:

". . . . At the trial of the Kirov murder case, I - Evdokimov, with Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bakayev, Gertik and others, deceived the Government authorities and the Court by concealing that the murder of Kirov was prepared and carried out by us, the members of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc.

"The murder of Kirov was committed by the Leningrad terrorist centre on the direct instructions of the united centreof the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. (Vol. XXXVI, p. 6.)

". . . In 1934, Zinoviev, acting in the name of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite organization, gave Bakayev direct instructions to organize the murder of Kirov.

In addition to Zinoviev those taking part in the decision to murder Kirov, included Kamenev, myse.T - Evdokimov, Bakayev, and also representatives of the Trotskyites in the persons of Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan. In order to prepare the murder, Bakayev went to Leningrad in the autumn of 1934 and there established contact with the active members of our organization: Kotolynov, Levin, Rumyantsev, Mandelstamm and Myasnikov, who formed the so-called Leningrad terrorist centre.The Leningrad centre had an active group of terrorists, directly engaged in preparations for the murder of Kirov." (Vol. XXXVI, p. 6.)

After obdurate denials, the accused Zinoviev, convicted by the testimony of a number of other accused, had to admit that as far back as 1932 the united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre had decided to organize terroristic acts against Comrade Stalin in Moscow and against Comrade Kirov in Leningrad.

"In the autumn of 1932," stated the accused Zinoviev, "in my villa at Ilyinskoye, in the presence of Kamenev, Bakayev, Evdokimov and Karev, I instructed Bakayev to prepare a terroristic act against Stalin, and Karev to prepare a terroristic act against Kirov." (Vol. XII p. 36.)

The accused Zinoviev testified:

"In 1934, I do not remember the exact month, in the middle of the year, Evdokimov informed me of one of Gertik's trips to Leningrad during which Gertik established contact with Kotolynov. As a result of this meeting Kotolynov told Gertik that he was taking a direct part in the preparations for the assassination of Kirov." (Vol. XII, pp. 37, 38.)

This was also testified by the accused Kamenev, who confirmed the fact that a conference had taken place in Ilyinskoye at which it was decided to commit terroristic acts against Comrades Stalin and Kirov. The accused Kamenev testified:

"I must admit that before the conference in Ilyinskoye, Zinoviev informed me of the proposed decisions of the centre of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc to organize terroristic acts against Stalin and Kirov, declaring that the representatives of the Trotskyites in the centre of the bloc, Smirnov, Mrachkovsky and Ter-Vaganyan, emphatically insisted on this decision, that they had direct instructions on this matter from Trotsky, and that they demanded that a start be made in putting these measures into practice in pursuance of those principles which formed the basis of the bloc." (Vol. XV, pp. 15, 16.)

To this the accused Kamenev added:

"I joined in this decision being in full agreement with it." (Vol. XV, p. 16.)

As the investigation has established, the practical fulfilment of the plan to organize the murder of Comrade Kirov was assigned by the united centre to I. P. Bakayev, a member of that centre.

Direct evidence on this is given by the accused Zinoviev, who admitted that it was precisely Bakayev who had been instructed by Zinoviev, in the name of the united centre, to organize the terroristic acts against Comrade Stalin in Moscow and against Comrade Kirov in Leningrad. (Vol. XII, p. 36.)

Detailed evidence on the role played by Zinoviev, Bakayev and the whole of the united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre in the murder of Comrade S. M. Kirov was given by the accused Reingold, who stated the following:

"I learned personally from Zinoviev that the assassination of Kirov in Leningrad was prepared on his direct instructions and on the instructions of the centre of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. During this conversation with Zinoviev, which took place in his apartment in August 1934, he, as I have already stated reproached the Moscow action group for being slow and not sufficiently active.

"In giving the reasons for the necessity of committing a terroristic act against Kirov, Zinoviev said that Kirov must be physically destroyed as Stalin's closest assistant. He also added: 'It is not enough to fell the oak; all the young oaks growing around it must be felled too.' Another argument Zinoviev used in support of the necessity of murdering Kirov was that Kirov was the leader of the Leningrad organization and was personally responsible for the rout of the opposition in Leningrad.

"As I have already stated, the Leningrad fighting organization was under the direct leadership of Bakayev. Organizational connection with this organization was also maintained by Faivilovich." (Vol. XXVII, p. 70.)

After persistent denials of his participation in the organization of the assassination of Comrade Kirov, the accused Bakayev, under the weight of evidence brought against him, testified:

"I admit that Zinoviev personally instructed me to organize the assassination of Stalin in Moscow, and Karev to organize the assassination of Kirov in Leningrad. For this purpose I instructed Karev to estabish contact in Leningrad with Vladimir Levin and Anishev, members of the organization, while Zinoviev instructed me to put Karev in touch also with Rumyantsev in Leningrad." (Vol. I, p. 89.)

Evidence on the role played by Bakayev as one of the principal organizers of the assassination of Comrade Kirov was also given by N. A. Karev, who is under arrest in connection with another case. At the examination held on July 5, 1936, N. A. Karev stated:

"Zinoviev said that Bakayev had been charged with the preparation of terroristic acts against Stalin and Kirov and that for this purpose he was to utilize his connections with the Zinovievite groups in Leningrad and Moscow."

To this Karev added:

"In conversation with Bakayev, I learned that the latter intended to utilize the Zinovievite groups of Ramyantsev and Kotolynov in Leningrad with which he, Bakayev, had contact, for the organization of a terroristic act against Kirov." (Vol. III, p. 11.)

This was also fully confirmed during the investigation by the accused Evdokimov, who stated the following:

"I learned from Bakayev that in the autumn of 1934, he, Bakayev, together with one Trotskyite terrorist, whose name I do not know, went to Leningrad to establish contact with the Leningrad terrorist centre and to organize the assassination of Kirov.

"While in Leningrad, Bakayev and the above-mentioned Trotskyite terrorist met Nikolayev and arranged with him that he would assassinate Kirov." (Vol. XXXVI, pp. 7, 8.)

And further:

"Bakayev stated that the terrorists had expressed confidence in the the success of the terroristic act; they considered themselves to be safe. The reason for this was that all of them, including such active Zinovievites as Rumyantsev, Levin, Myasnikov, Mandelstamm and others, enjoyed the confidence of a number of leading Party workers and officials of Soviet organizations in Leningrad. This ensured them every possibility of pursuing their preparations for a terroristic act against Kirov without the least fear of being discovered." (Vol. XXXVI, p. 9.)

The investigation has established that after the united Zinovievite-Trotskyite centre had adopted the decision to assassinate Comrade S. M. Kirov, Kamenev made a special journey to Leningrad in June 1934 for checking up on the progress of the work of organizing the terroristic act against Comrade Kirov.

Zinoviev also pressed forward in every way the assassination of Comrade Kirov and, as testified by N. M. Matorin, formerly Zinoviev's private secretary, who is now under arrest in connection with another case, Zinoviev reproached the members of the terrorist group for being slow and irresolute.

Matorin testified:

"Zinoviev told me that the preparations for the terroristic act must be pressed forward to the utmost and that Kirov must be killed by the winter. Zinoviev reproached me for not displaying sufficient determination and energy. He said that with regard to terroristic methods of struggle prejudices must be dopped." (Vol. XIV, pp. 63, 64.)