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Leon Trotsky 19380301 Eight Ministers

Leon Trotsky: Eight Ministers

March 1, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York 1970, p. 189 f.]

Yesterday I stated that there were no fewer than seven former members of the central Soviet government sitting on the defendants' bench. Today after more precise study of the names I see that among the accused, not counting the author of these lines, there are eight former Soviet ministers including the former head of the government, Rykov.

Bukharin, devoid of administrative capacity, never became a staff member of the government, but as a member of the Political Bureau and as the head of the Communist International from the time of Zinoviev's fall into disfavor (1926), he occupied a position considerably higher than that of a minister. All these people, it seems, strived for nothing except the humiliation and the dismemberment of the USSR!

Apart from the other crimes, about which we will speak in the future, the new defendants are also accused of the murder of Kirov. I recall that Kirov, a Leningrad agent of Stalin, was killed on December 1, 1934, by Nikolayev, a young Communist unknown to anyone, apparently on personal grounds, and in any case, as was evident even from the Soviet accounts, with the direct participation of GPU agents. Immediately after the murder of Kirov, 104 "White Guards," who had supposedly come from abroad in order to commit terrorist acts, were shot without trial.

Although the names of the 104 were not published, it is known that among them were Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Polish Oppositionist members of the Communist International. Later the Leningrad "Center" of the Zinoviev group was accused of the murder of Kirov and thirteen men were shot. After this, the "Zinoviev-Trotskyist Center" was accused of the same crime and sixteen people were shot, not counting those shot during the GPU investigation. In January of last year the "Parallel Trotskyist Center" (Radek, Pyatakov, and others) was accused of the murder of Kirov, and thirteen of the accused were shot. Finally, we now learn that the Right Opposition (Rykov, Bukharin) was likewise occupied with plotting the murder of this same Kirov. Thus all the leaders of the Bolshevik Party, people of great political and revolutionary experience, with names known to the whole world, during a number of years constructed "main," "united," and "parallel" terroristic centers and each of these centers plotted the murder of one and the same, secondary Stalinist agent, Kirov, whose name became known only thanks to the trials.

According to the new charges, the terrorist plans of Bukharin and Trotsky began in 1918. In 1921 Trotsky was already secretly plotting with a foreign power (Germany?). The most important of the new defendants were members of the Central Committee of the party and government and daily met the "victims" marked by them. Moreover, Trotsky held in his hands the unlimited means provided by a military apparatus. And the result? The victim of this infernal conspiratorial activity beginning with 1918 proves to be no more than the same Kirov who was killed in turn by the White Guards, Leningrad Zinovievists, the United Center, the Trotskyists, and finally the Bukharinists.

Having cut themselves loose from every responsibility, the totalitarian leaders have cut themselves loose from the elementary laws of common sense. The Moscow trials strike one as elaborate nonsense, as the delirium of a lunatic armed with enormous power. It would be no exaggeration to say that this part of the accusation is saturated with the spirit of totalitarian idiocy. We will show in the future that the accusation is no more meritorious in all its other parts.