… Stalin. Comrades! I will not touch upon the organizational aspect of this matter. A lot has been said about this here. It is clear to me that there existed and exists something like an unformed factional group fighting the party. It is clear to me that this group is not limited to Smirnov, Eismont and others, but such comrades as Tomsky and Rykov are also included. This is my belief.
I will also not touch upon individual testimonies of former or current comrades who, in one way or another, sympathize with this unformed group. The analysis of these indications given here by the comrades, I believe to be correct. It is clear to me that the goals of this group are the same as those pursued not so long ago by the right-wing elements of our party. True, Smirnov and others, as can be seen from the testimony, sharpened the question on one person, on Stalin, portraying the matter in such a way that Stalin was to blame for everything, and not the political line of the party. But this is a ruse on their part, it is not sincere. In fact, they are fighting not against Stalin, but against the party, against the party line which they consider disastrous. This is the point, not individual members of the Politburo. Stalin can be “removed” or not “removed”, but you cannot “take away” the party, it will remain under all conditions, just as its political line will remain under all conditions.
I would like to pose another, more important and decisive question. I would like to raise a political question, a question about the substance, about the political content of the platform of this unformed group. I think this question is more important than all other questions. Of course, the members and inspirers of this group “recognize” the general line of the party. Now every dog recognizes the general line of the party, apparently believing that this very line does not bind to anything. Therefore, it is necessary to raise the question of the practical everyday policy of the Party and its Central Committee. And now, if we approach the matter from this side, then it is clear to me that this group has fundamental disagreements with the practical policy of our party.
What do these disagreements boil down to? They boil down to the same thing as the disagreements between the Rights and our Party. These people stand against our policy of industrialization, against our policy of collectivization, against our policy of planting and developing state farms. This is the point, comrades.
… The root is that they do not believe in the correct position of the party on the basic questions of industrialization and collectivization. The root is that they think the party’s policy on industrialization and collectivization has failed. They believe that the party’s policy has not passed the test either in the field of industry or in the field of agriculture. And precisely because they think so, they have returned to their broken positions.
This is the essence of the platform of this new, but essentially old, right-wing grouping.
… Let us now turn to the question of collectivization policy, to the question of agriculture. Is the party’s collectivization policy correct? Has it failed, this very policy, or has it won?
What are the goals of collectivization? What has the Party been and is striving for by pursuing a policy of collectivization? What has she achieved in practice as a result of the work of the last 2 – 3 years?
… Has she passed the exam or failed?
The party has achieved that in the course of some three years it has managed to organize more than 200 thousand collective farms and about 5 thousand state farms of grain and livestock production. The Party has achieved that collective farms now unite over 60% of peasant farms, covering over 70% of all peasant land. The party has achieved that instead of 500 – 600 million poods. marketable grain, procured during the period of predominance of individual peasant farming, she now has the ability to procure 1200 – 1400 million poods. grains. It scarcely needs proof that without this leap forward we would have had a famine in the country, we would not be able to maintain our industry, we would not be able to feed the workers and the Red Army. Finally, the party has achieved that the kulaks as a class have been defeated, although they have not yet been finished off.
These are the results of the collectivization policy.
Where would we be now without collectivization, without these results of the policy of collectivization? What would happen to us if the politics of the right deviators, politics without collectivization, politics without state farms, triumphed? We would be sitting at a broken trough. We would not have had a sufficient amount of grain, there would not have been a sufficient amount of raw materials, industry would have been undermined, the peasantry would continue to be poor, and the kulak would triumph.
… We are told that grain procurements are proceeding this year with great difficulties, that these difficulties are allegedly connected with the existence of collective and state farms. It is, of course, true that grain procurements are proceeding with great difficulties this year. But, firstly, grain procurement took place with the predominance of individual peasant farming with even greater difficulties. Secondly, the difficulties of the current year do not at all stem from the nature of collective farms and state farms. On the contrary, without the collective and state farms we would have had incomparably more serious difficulties. This is evidenced by the fact that the most difficult section of grain procurement this year is the section of an individual peasant farm.
What explains the difficulties of this year in the field of grain procurement? They are explained by two circumstances: a) the penetration of anti-Soviet elements into collective farms and state farms and the organization of recking and sabotage there, and b) the wrong, non-Marxist approach of a significant part of our village communists to collective and state farms.
… Our rural and regional communists idealize collective farms too much. They often think that as long as the collective farm is a socialist form of economy, then everything is given by this, and there can be nothing anti-Soviet or sabotage on the collective farms, and if there are facts of sabotage and anti-Soviet phenomena, then these facts must be ignored, because in relation to collective farms it is possible to act only through persuasion, and methods of coercion against individual collective farms and collective farmers are not applicable. Needless to say, this view of the collective farms has nothing in common with Leninism. Leninists should never idealize collective farms and collective farmers. They must look at things soberly and concretely, without any fetishism in relation to collective farms and collective farmers.
… What is the collective farm peasantry? The collective farm peasantry is an ally of the working class. The overwhelming majority of these peasants are the mainstay of Soviet power in the countryside. But this does not mean that there can be no separate detachments among the collective farmers and collective farms, marching against the Soviet power, supporting the wreckers, supporting the sabotage of grain procurements. It would be stupid if the Communists, proceeding from the fact that collective farms are a socialist form of economy, did not respond to the blow of these individual collective farmers and collective farms with a crushing blow.
These are the circumstances that determined the difficulties of grain procurement this year.
You see that these difficulties do not and cannot follow from the nature of the collective and state farms. You see that these difficulties are explained by the weakness of our rural and regional communists in the difficult conditions of the organizational period in the development of collective and state farms.
But this weakness of the communists is a temporary phenomenon, and it will undoubtedly be eliminated in the near future. I think that sabotage on collective farms and sabotage of grain procurements will ultimately play the same beneficial role in organizing new Bolshevik cadres in collective and state farms, which the “Shakhty process” played 188in the field of industry. The “Shakhty process” served as a turning point in strengthening the revolutionary vigilance of the communists and organizing red specialists in the field of industry. There is no reason to doubt that the phenomena of recking and sabotage on collective and state farms, which have manifested themselves this year, will serve as a turning point in the development of the revolutionary vigilance of our rural and district communists and the organization of new Bolshevik cadres in collective and state farms.
… Molotov…. The collective farms in the countryside won, taking the dominant position in agriculture. But still far from all collective farms we can consider our, Soviet, socialist collective farms. 200,000 collective farms have been created, but we have not already taken possession of all these collective farms in a Bolshevik manner. It is precisely this task, the task of the Bolshevik mastery of collective-farm development, that is now being solved in our struggle for grain, in our struggle for the fulfillment of the grain procurement plan. There can be no doubt that the overwhelming mass of collective farmers stands for the Bolsheviks, for Soviet power, for the collective farms. But the strength of the influence of anti-Soviet elements in the countryside is still so great that in many collective farms they have taken positions that facilitate their kulak-demoralizing anti-Soviet work among the collective farm masses. The lack of a sufficient cadre of persistent Bolshevik workers in the countryside and, above all, in the collective farms themselves, is now reflected at every step. This situation facilitates the direct seizure of leadership in individual collective farms by anti-Soviet elements, which disruptively affects the politically unstable part of collective farmers, not only in these collective farms. But such a situation only raises before the party with all its urgency the question of strengthening work among the collective farm masses, of strengthening the Bolshevik leadership of collective farms, of educating new, significant and truly politically forged leaders – fighters for our Soviet, socialist collective farms.
The sooner and better we understand the meaning of this new task, the faster we will solve it. Not to retreat in the face of difficulties, but to go confidently forward, fulfilling the grain procurement plan and strengthening the leadership of the collective farms in a Bolshevik manner – with this we will solve the most difficult and, at the same time, the most urgent of the immediate tasks of the victorious offensive of socialism.
At the same time, we must not forget that there are now many elements in our party organizations that are in panic before the kulak sabotage of grain procurements in the part of collective farms, which are ready to break the pace of industrialization and almost beg for mercy from the kulaks. The presence of this kind of rotten political sentiment cannot be underestimated now. They make themselves felt not only in the village.
… We have 200 thousand collective farms that have emerged in the last 2 – 3 years. Basically, the Bolshevik leadership of the collective farm movement is certainly assured. However, hundreds and thousands of collective farms do not yet have Bolshevik leaders and are under the direct or indirect influence of kulak and other anti-Soviet elements. Is it not clear that the collective farms, where the leadership fell into the hands of elements hostile to Soviet power, not only cannot grow economically and get stronger politically, but that the presence of such collective farms has a destructive effect on other collective farms, where the level of political leaders, party and non-party, low, where the experience of social socialist work is still lacking. It is not difficult to understand that under these conditions the anti-Soviet forces can find for their work many such gaps and holes in collective farms (as well as in state farms), which cannot be seen from above, but,
… While working on grain procurements in Ukraine, I had to meet more than once in the villages with such leaders who not only did not grow up to Bolshevism, but in fact completely dissolved in the petty-bourgeois element and are trailing behind the kulaks and anti-Soviet elements.
You come, for example, to an area rich in grain, but failing the grain procurement plan and, as a rule, you meet here with the leaders calmly and judiciously outwardly proving that everything is more or less well with them, which could not be otherwise. These people are ready to “regret” the disruption of grain procurements, “admit” their guilt and, in general, engage in “self-criticism” and, portraying themselves as “guides” of the general line, in fact cover up all and any facts of degeneration in the party organization, theft and sabotage of grain procurements on collective farms, indulgence of the kulak and other anti-Soviet bastards on the part of local Soviet and party bodies. In organizations with such leaders, you have to look especially carefully for people
1 * The meeting considered the question of the “Smirnov-Eismont-Tolmachev group.” A verbatim report was sent to the participants in the January joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1933.
188 In May-June 1928 in Moscow, under the chairmanship of A.Ya. Vyshinsky, a trial was held, based on accusations inspired by the party and Soviet leadership against the technical specialists of Donbass. Of the 53 people brought to trial, 5 were shot, the majority received various terms of imprisonment (see: Kislitsyn SA Shakhtinskoe case. Rostov-on-Don, 1993).
“Transcripts from the Soviet Archives”, 14 Volumes, Svitlana M, Erdogan A