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Leon Trotsky 19380304 The Third Moscow Trial

Leon Trotsky: The Third Moscow Trial

March 4, 1938

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p 763 f.]

The present trial is built around a method that consists of increasing the sensational character of the preceding trials. This crude method of functioning carries the accusations to complete absurdity in all directions. It asserts that the Bolshevik Old Guard was entirely at the service of foreign governments. The heads of the government (Rykov) and of the Communist International (Zinoviev, Bukharin) were fascists. In 1921, I, a member of the Political Bureau and head of the Red Army, had become an agent of Germany, which at the time was on the road to complete collapse. Who will believe it?

On the subject of the anti-Soviet declarations of Butenko in Rome in the middle of last January, Litvinov stated: Either it is a fraud, or these declarations were extorted from Butenko through torture. With infinitely more truth one can say: On the defendants' bench are the wretched shadows of Old Bolsheviks. All of their confessions were dragged from them by the methods of the Inquisition.

The alleged international combinations of alleged conspirators are adapted retroactively to the present international conjuncture. I and my alleged agents would have to have been conspiring as far back as 1921 with Germany, Japan, Poland, and England. France, which until 1934 was considered the principal enemy of the USSR, is not on this list; nor is the United States. The Kremlin spares its "friends." One can say with certainty that England was added at the last moment, in accord with Chamberlain's new orientation. The grossness of the falsification, so characteristic of a totalitarian regime, leaps to the eye!

One of the most important tasks of this trial is to justify, after the fact, the execution of nine generals, which shocked world public opinion last June. The absolutely false testimony of Krestinsky, Rosengolts, and others about my liaisons with Marshal Tukhachevsky only reveal in the clearest way the criminal character of the decapitation of the Red Army.

The French Surète Nationale know perfectly well that I could not have met with Krestinsky in Italy in October 1933. On October 9, with the knowledge of the French police, and in ill health, I left Saint-Palais, near Royan, where I had been since July 25. My destination was Bagnères-de-Bigorre, where I stayed until November 1, the date that I moved to Barbizon. Irrefutable proof of these facts can be found in New York, in the possession of Dr. John Dewey's commission.

The choice of such an unfortunate date can most probably be explained by this fact: in October 1933, Krestinsky was actually at Merano, and since the movements of an ambassador are watched closely by the police of the countries involved, the GPU had to adapt my calendar to Krestinsky's. It is exactly the same problem as Pyatakov's famous flight from Berlin to Oslo in December 1935.

The staging of endlessly repeated judicial falsifications reveals the extent of the resistance that the totalitarian dictatorship faces even in the ranks of the bureaucracy itself. Stalin's regime has become the principal threat to the USSR, in the economic, moral, and military domains.