The fifth interregional conference on the topic "Russian security agencies - 100 years in the system of statehood development" was held in Yekaterinburg, dedicated to the centenary of the OGPU Cheka. Historians, archivists and intelligence officers discussed the events of those years; in the footsteps of open archival data, many scientific works appeared.
Thus, the head of the Archives Administration of the Sverdlovsk Region, Alexander Kapustin, in his speech put a new problem before the national historiography. Based on the facts and figures known today - he designated it as "the theme of political repression in the mass consciousness." Do I have to say how relevant this is for Yekaterinburg, where the leadership of the Yeltsin Center talks about “rehabilitating the Vlasovites” (that is, as if they were “innocently repressed”), and mayor Yevgeny Roizman talks about “thousands of people killed a day” 1937-1938
Remarkably, at the conference, the authorities of the Sverdlovsk UFSB stated that the creation of a complex of guilt and repentance in Russian society was carried out by foreign special services.
On the eve.RU presents to the readers excerpts from the report of Alexander Kapustin.
I would like you to regard this report as an attempt to pose a problem, but not to finally solve it. It will be necessary to solve it all together in the professional community. Each new mode creates a profitable for him historyoften mythologized. And in this story the enemy is mean and cunning, and the ruling leader is wise and fair. The reality is changing, the myth is changing, but the picture that has already formed in the public consciousness influences social life, shifting accents, making it difficult to perceive reality, after all, society is aware of the need for an impartial view of the past. Cold-blooded, not politicized to study it.
This especially applies to events that radically changed fate: such events include wars, revolutions, the birth and destruction of empires, other state formations, one of such events was the repression of the pre-war period, their culmination - the 1937-1938 period. Thousands of books and articles are dedicated.
Unfortunately, most of them suffer from bias, excessive emotionality, political determination and the lack of analysis of the prerequisites, the course and consequences of these repressions. And this is understandable, the children and grandchildren of the GULAG survivors who were shot and killed, the children of the organizers and participants of the repressions, the scammers, and those who wanted to shoot at rallies like mad dogs are not interested in objective research, disclosing the causes and details of the tragic events that occurred. The former perceive it as an insult to their feelings, the memory of innocent victims, the latter are simply afraid and do not want to delve into history.
The very phrase "victims of political repression" was formed by 1958, to the beginning of large-scale rehabilitation. The first partial rehabilitation was carried out at the suggestion of Beria in 1938-1940. There was also the rehabilitation of 1940-1941, when most of the military were rehabilitated. Rehabilitation 1958-60's. It took place in the light of the attitudes and assessments of the 20th Congress of the CPSU and was selective: the party nomenklatura was rehabilitated in the first place, while workers and collective farmers were somehow forgotten and they were not discussed. And despite the fact that it was in 60-s. final reports were prepared by the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs on the number of convicted bodies of the Cheka, the OGPU, the NKVD for 1921-1953, it was then that the first stable, often mythologized ideas about the causes and course of repression were formed.
First of all, it is the demonization of Stalin, the second is the overestimation of the number of repressed dozens of times, and the third is the glorification of the repressed leaders, representatives of the so-called elite of the old Bolshevik guards, later embodied in the form of "innocent victims". And the fourth is an explanation of 1941’s defeat by the consequences of political repression. It seemed that over the years that have passed since the 20th Congress, 40 should have figured out, to reveal the true causes, nature and consequences of the repressions. And although it was proved that most of the statements of Khrushchev in his report were false, these myths continued to repeat.
And what's more, add new stories to them. In 1988, the third and last wave of rehabilitation began, which, under the conditions of 90's, turned into a solid one and took place under the conditions of lawlessness. In short - then all together. I myself was a member of the commission for rehabilitation. At the same time, the criminal 58 article was merged into one basket, and the administrative one - dispossession of kulaks, reprisals. They also added the Civil War, losses from collectivization, and so on. In the book "Stalin's repressions", Dmitry Lyskov wrote that during the 15 months of work, the rehabilitation commission reviewed 1 million 17 criminal cases for 1 million 586 thousand 104 people. The rate of review of cases is truly fantastic - 67 thousand per month. The scale of rehabilitation makes one doubt whether a court session was held on these cases at all? And if these questions were considered on an administrative basis, what kind of revival of respect for the norms of the law can we talk about? I must say that the past rehabilitation, unfortunately, for 10-15 years has stopped any attempts at serious research on the problem of repression.
And the following cliches are firmly rooted in the mass consciousness: the causes of repression are Stalin's struggle for power, his maniacal character and suspicion, cruelty. The mass nature of the repression, if briefly: "half the country sat, half the country was guarded." On the innocence of all repressed: "repression was illegal," "during the repression, a large and better part of the leaders, the military and the intelligentsia, was destroyed." And the last thing: "the repressions weakened the country and led it to defeat in 1941."
As a result, the most important questions turned out to be extremely confusing: firstly, who, how many, and why were repressed? After all, we all know that they [repressions] occurred during a time of economic recovery, in peace, not war. When there is growing dissatisfaction of citizens with the regime and system - under the conditions of the adoption of the 1936 constitution and the holding of the first in the history of the USSR general, equal, secret and direct elections. With the guarantees guaranteed not only by the constitution, but also by the development of production, guarantees for labor, education, medicine, and social protection - all for free. Where did discontent come from? Third, why did Stalin, who defeated all his political opponents by 1936, surrounded by universal adoration, suddenly decided to carry out mass repressions, why did he need it? Who thought about this? And fourth, what did the country lose and what did the country gain by 1941?
Thus, the events of 80-year-old for many people continue to be a mystery, and we still live in myths and legends born by the 20th CPSU Congress. In recent years - 10 years - a significant number of works created on a sound documentary basis have appeared: Yuri Zhukov, Dmitry Lyskov, Leonid Naumov, Leonid Tumshes, Alexander Popchinsky, Yury Emelyanov, Alexander Putyatin and many others - have presented convincing evidence that refutes the common idea on 1937 d. Their research contains information about the events of the 30-s, based on numerous archival data, while a number of historians, politicians and publicists continue to adhere to the point of view of 60- 70: Nikolai Timashov, Naum Yasny, Henri Berkson, Stephen Wheatcroft, Roy Medvedev, Olga Shatunovskaya calculate the number of victims by seven-digit numbers. The record was set by the Nobel laureate Solzhenitsyn, who determined the number of victims from 66 to 100 million people - this is from the “Article and speech” published in Paris in 1989.
About the continuing confusion in the minds says the answer schoolgirl from Kamyshlov - I regularly, almost every month, meet with schoolchildren, and in Kamyshlov led me classes 10-11, specialized history classes. And when it came to this, I asked: "And how many repressed were we?" The girl (11 class!) Declares to me - 300 million people! Sweet girl, with a population of 240 million, where else did you take 60 million? Conceive something necessary! It's time to name the real number, although it has already been named, I repeat once again: in the 60-s. they were preparing it for Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, but he kept silent about her.
Over 1931-1938 4 million 835 thousand 937 people were arrested. Of these, 2 million 944 thousand 879 people were convicted, that is, more than 1 million were released. To the highest measure out of this number of convicts (from 2 million 944 thousand 879 people) sentenced 745 thousand 220 people. This includes peak years - 1937-1938. If we take all the data before 1953, we will get convicted 4 million 60 thousand 315 people - of them 799 thousand 455 people were sentenced to the highest degree. Yes, indeed, 1937-1938 - terrible years, because arrests and executions in two years had more than all the others from 1921 to 1953, but, nevertheless, the number of people shot - 19,6% of the convicts, and the number convicts in general - 1,7% of the population. And where is the mass repression? And where is the "whole country sitting"? Slightly more than 1,5%. You can blame the NKVD organs for anything cruelty, but you cannot blame them for not having scrupulous counting in their office. It counted everything. These numbers can be trusted.
I want to say that this is a terrible figure, but it is not 100 million or 300 million. In the end, you need to know your story for what it is. Thus, there is a need to continue research, and first of all it is necessary to carefully study the 20-30. It was during these years that the preconditions formed and the reasons that led the country to the arrests of 1936-1938 appeared.
Once again, carefully, without political bias, sympathies and antipathies, consider the development of the economy of the USSR in the period of the New Economic Policy, its achievements and negative aspects. On the one hand: an increase in production volumes - by 1927 by 20% in comparison with 1917. This is a plus. On the other hand, there are various kinds of social problems and contradictions that threaten not only the future of the NEP, but also the very existence of the USSR. This is precisely the root of the abolition of the NEP, and not that the “evil Stalin” was suddenly tired of this whole thing, and [the authorities of the USSR] decided to cover the matter, as we have written in textbooks. I myself studied according to these textbooks and know perfectly well what I am talking about. So, in 1926, the commodity grain (commodity grain - which can be sold, including abroad, receiving currency) the country produced two times less than in 1913. What good will you feed the cities and army with? Nothing.
There have been major changes in the social image of the village, as a result of which the percentage of peasants negatively related to the current government has increased. The consequence of the revolution and the Civil War was the archaization of the village, with a sharp drop in labor productivity, the revival of the rural community as an organ of peasant self-government, which significantly reduced the influence of official authorities on the peasantry. In industry, slow growth has been accompanied by rising unemployment, which has already been estimated in millions of people. Already in the second half of 20's. The youth was acutely faced with the problem of their real prospects, social advancement. The result - the social dissatisfaction of society grew. The country still remained backward in most branches of the national economy, the society of universal happiness, which the Bolsheviks promised, acquired the outlines of a freak society, where speculators and corrupt officials thrive. Bottom line: the emergence of red banditry.
Schoolchildren now do not know what it is. And many adults do not know. This is when the people who fought in the Civil War, who made the revolution, who won, suddenly saw how the NEPman bourgeoisie was developing. And what feeling did they have? Hatred. They were formed in the communist cells, which simply created a mob. And it was difficult for them to explain that the country is building a legal state, that only one instance can sentence a person to death - the court, and not you, even those who are all worth it. And this was, and our well-known writer Arkady Gaidar was one of such “honored” ones - it was he himself who shot five gangsters himself, although he had no right to do so. Do you know what they did to him? They made a decision to shoot. The court sentenced: conditionally shoot. Man was given a chance to improve. He understood, but he was one of the few who understood. And the most part continued to operate in the old way, only one tool could stop them. Bullet.
More and more people expressed, especially working youth, about a big leap forward. That is, the absolute majority of party members, working youth was ready to storm the new fortresses and to return the revolutionary romance.
And who are the communists 1930's? The party was not homogeneous in its composition, the difference in the level of education, culture, life experience was sometimes amazing. Of great importance was the party experience, especially since pre-revolutionary times. It turned out that those who had this pre-revolutionary experience, despite their abilities, despite their abilities, took leadership positions. At congresses of the party 80-90% of delegates - it was just the "old guard", which had underground experience.
More than 50% of party members, as they wrote in the questionnaires, had a lower, home or prison education. They were young, up to 25 years, and most of them joined the party when there was no political competition or danger. This is not the "old guard", which, knowing that, being communists, puts its life at mortal risk. These have no risk. They quickly occupied leading positions, but were not ready to manage plants, factories, cities, and districts, either by educational level or by character. But I didn’t have to speak about serious acquaintance with the fundamentals of Marxism, Leninism.
Artyom Vesely in the novel "Russia, washed with blood" wrote: "Everything was simple: the Red Army is the defender of the working people, our enemies are the kulaks, the landowners, the capitalists. Ruthlessly, the duty, the red sacred banner, long live, who have questions, comrades? " That's the whole ideology. Youthful idealism and impetuousness, ruthlessness to enemies, brought up in the Civil War, utopianism - these are the characteristic features of the communist 1930's. Remarkable shots for the capture of any fortresses, including the destruction of any enemy. This was demonstrated at the end of 1930.
Party discussions. Opposition
The study of this issue is very important for understanding the causes and course of repression. The presence of real opposition and the struggle within the party is the most important reason for the purges of the party and the repressions that followed. Trotsky, Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Tomsky, Raskolnikov, Radek, Antonov, Pyatakov, Ovseenko, Rakovsky and others were a minority in the party, but, nevertheless, were the spiritual fathers of the majority of opposition movements. It was the abundance of factions, groups and opinions that split the party, disorienting not only the party mass, but the whole country, because everyone was watching this discussion. And if to take into account the goals and methods of achievement pursued by them, then, indeed, for the development of the country they represented a real danger.
Degradation of the ruling elite
It is well reflected in the reports of the Cheka of the OGPU in letters from citizens, which are illustrated by the censorship authorities. Most of those who came to power in 1917 were convinced of their right to remain forever at the head of the country. Most of them - the so-called "old guard" - in the words of Mayakovsky, made themselves cozy nests by that time, considering the districts and cities, factories and factories as their patrimonies. A dominant in society 20-30's. legal nihilism helped to reveal permissiveness, rudeness, bribery, embezzlement and other not the best traits of man. Zoshchenko, Mayakovsky, Ilf and Petrov wrote their works from life, not with a finger, like Solzhenitsyn, sucked the facts, but from what they saw in reality in life. And really in life it all happened. And in large quantities.
What was the command structure on the experience of hostilities? You will see that it was a civil war, and that was all. There was nowhere else to gain experience, and the situation changed dramatically even by the end of the 20s. And we are still stuck there. By education - most of the commanders had primary and secondary education. Academic education had units. By ideology and political orientation - who was the creator of the Red Army then considered? Trotsky. Sorry, most of them were appointed to their posts and brought up by this very comrade. They were devoted to him. Group The army was not united. I mean the commanders. These were groups of pioneer boys, these were groups of Chapayevites, these were groups of Kotovtsy, the commanding staff was split. They dragged their own, and sharply and sharply competed with others.
Could such a composition make a single fist in the outbreak of the war? No, I could not. On moral and domestic sustainability. That drunkenness is the scourge of the army, we know. But this is especially characteristic manifested precisely in the 20 and in the early 30-s. I will not cover this topic, but it is. By the way, a significant number of commanders dismissed from the army, who were then suddenly declared "politically repressed", were dismissed for drunkenness and debauchery. The bottom line: the combat readiness of the army was low. And it must be admitted.
Results of exercises 1935-1936. showed the actual lack of readiness of the army for war. And the Finnish 1939 experience showed this. Look at the act of accepting the people's commissariat of defense - from Voroshilov to Tymoshenko, and you will see visually how weak the army was. For the unsatisfactory combat readiness of the army, responsibility was borne not only by Stalin, of course, by him, but first of all by the marshals, division commander - just those who were arrested, and now we are declaring them "innocent victims." It is a fact.
At the conference in Yekaterinburg, Alexander Kapustin, Head of the Archives Administration of the Sverdlovsk Region, posed a new problem for Russian historiography. Based on the facts and figures known today - he designated it as "the theme of political repression in the mass consciousness." On the eve of .RU, the second part of the report by Alexander Kapustin and the answers to questions from the audience are presented to readers
The presence of layers hostile to Soviet power in the village, among the intelligentsia, especially the "former", whose position was below the garbage, excuse me for this word, they were not considered to be people. Revolution, civil war, persecution of the church, collectivization, dispossession of kulaks led to the formation of significant groups of the population, dissatisfied with the Soviet government in general and the ruling regime in particular. And given the political, military and life experience of many of them, it became clear that these people were not going to sit with folded arms.
Already in 1922-1923. In the OGPU, there was evidence of upcoming group meetings and certain conversations concerning dissatisfaction with the ruling regime and its overthrow. Kronstadt, Tambov, Ishim uprising, the uprising on the Don, which took place after the Civil War - this is only the most well-known part of open and violent actions against the government. And how many local foci of resistance? Who studied them?
By the way, these layers were an excellent base - I mean not only the military, I mean the intelligentsia - for the intelligence work of Western intelligence services. The concession policy of the Soviet authorities in 1920, attracting foreign specialists to work in industry in 1930, freedom of movement throughout the country represented a wide field of activity for the special services of Germany, Poland, Great Britain, the USA, Japan and other countries. Only the results of the counterintelligence activity of our countryman, Nikolai Ivanovich Kuznetsov, in Sverdlovsk and Moscow show how freely they felt, excitedly working with technical and creative intelligentsia, bureaucracy and command personnel. They recruited and recruited, and the secrets flowed and flowed. This is also a fact.
Thus, the situation in the country was complex and controversial. On the one hand, the policy pursued by the government towards accelerated industrialization and collectivization with well-understood goals and objectives, and on the other, an increasingly inhibited inhibition of this process by entire groups and segments of the population. And if we take into account the fact that since 1927, the threat of a new war against the USSR has become a reality and has increased throughout this year, all these years, it didn’t represent labor power. It was necessary to tighten these same nuts.
Continuing to move, having the state that we had, was not just problematic, it was sometimes impossible. If we deal with these moments, we will understand a lot of what happened. And finally, how did the country survive the repression? How did they influence the development of the country?
Until now, this topic remains outside the framework of the interest of researchers, it seems obvious that until we make a comparative assessment of the state of the country before and after, do not evaluate the nature and results of the activities of the new and old elites, we will not be able to give the answer and the scientific assessment of the repression of 20-30's.
True, the country has very little time for a new run. In 1941, the war began. And from the war - which the country entered split, fragmented by ideological and for a number of other reasons - the country emerged different. She came out single, but this is another storyline. Already another story. Therefore, apparently, there is a need to continue the calm research process in this direction, drawing attention to the aspects that I have just said.
Attempted adoption of the Constitution 1936 g. Became a catalyst for repression?
The adoption of the Constitution was quite a long process, there are also a large number of myths on this topic. But the Constitution really was unique for that time. She envisaged equal direct elections. Moreover, in the party nomenclature it was ordered to prepare for itself a replacement: two or three people, from whom it was necessary to raise successors. Stalin said this: we are already at the age, after some time we will leave, and who will replace us? And they understood it as a signal. From the power to go alone no one wanted. And the elections, which could take place and took place in the end, could give very different results. When they were held in 1937, relevant events were already unleashed, arrests, etc., a wave of hysteria arose about this. All this should be studied very carefully.
How to use the topic of repression in politics?
I would call it just a problem statement. Despite the fact that many years have passed from those events, we still do not know much. Many myths about that time, of course, are used in politics. If you take not so many historians as politicians, they are divided into two camps with diametrically different ideas: some consider Stalin to be a monster and a murderer, others consider Stalin an effective manager. They are divided according to who sets what tasks to them. But the very fact of political repression was not only 1937, it was a process that began in the 1920. and 1937 did not end, it lasted until 1953, and maybe later, it is a process, and how it should be studied. We pay attention - stuck in - I pay attention to this word, precisely to 1937, - it is understandable why most of the shootings were arrested there and the overwhelming majority of it was then - but that's not all.
By the way a politician uses this information, one can say about his goals. If a person sets himself the task of proving the need for state power, he starts talking very well about Comrade Stalin. If he sets himself tasks somewhat different - and liberalism in Russia has destroyed more than one dynasty and statehood, then there will be a lot and long talk about liberal values, about the need for universal freedom, irresponsibility and so on. Although I am not a politician, it is difficult for me to judge this. I am a historian, and my task is to show the facts that exist and which should be analyzed, they should be supplemented, they should be checked, correlated with other facts. Then, maybe, in some time we will find the truth.
But while this part of the story is being politicized by different forces, that's when we move away from it - although it would seem that more than one generation has passed - then maybe we will be able to sit down and talk. This all reminds me of a recent argument with our Polish friends. They make a claim to us that we have ruined the entire Polish elite - “they have ruined in the camps”, naturally. When you start to look, who was imprisoned there? If you call the prostitutes the elite of Polish society - they know better. If you can call thieves, murderers and rapists the elite of society - they know better.
Let's see. We know how much, but still still did not know who and for what. Here it is necessary to understand, to understand calmly, scrupulously. Will we do this? I mean not power, I mean the relatives of those people - this is a big question. But this must be done, and, sooner or later, we will come to this with you. Because these events will be used for political purposes for a very long time.