So disappointing for Trotsky was the result of the struggle for "Lenin's legacy" that lasted more than five years, which began between him, Joseph Stalin and Grigory Zinoviev, during the life of Vladimir Lenin. Trotsky and Zinoviev, who considered Stalin mediocre, initially clashed primarily with each other. And when they became convinced that they underestimated the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B.) And entered into a political union, he was already firmly holding in his hands all the threads of power.
To beg. 1927, Stalin established tight control over the main levers of power in the Bolshevik Party and in government structures. In 1926, the leaders of the anti-Stalinist alliance, Lev Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, lost seats in the Politburo of the Central Committee, where Stalinist nominees Vyacheslav Molotov, Klim Voroshilov, Jan Rudzutak, Mikhail Kalinin and Valerian Kuibyshev settled.
The leaders of the Trotsky-Zinoviev opposition did not accept the defeat and still hoped for a rematch. And the very defeat of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev from the point of view of ordinary communists did not yet look complete and final, since the opposition leaders who were expelled from the Politburo were part of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b).
It is also important that at that time not all the Communists could understand the disputes of the party leaders. Passed in the middle. 1927 of the year, the All-Union Party Census revealed that 63% of the Communists had a lower education, and 26% were self-taught. At the same time, persons with higher education numbered only 0,8%. The average level of cadets of provincial and district sovparts schools was such that schools, before moving on to the implementation of the main program, often had to begin with Russian language and arithmetic classes.
Checks constantly revealed facts of blatant illiteracy. For example, some communists considered the ex-chief of the Moscow security department, Sergei Zubatov, a revolutionary who attempted to attack Alexander II, Stepan Khalturin as the head of the Comintern, and his fellow Vladimir Lenin, Yakov Sverdlov, as a teacher of the Sverdlovsk courses. In the Vladimir party organization, one of the communists counted five internationals. Not all members of the CPSU (b) knew even when the February and October revolutions occurred!
At the same time, even among ordinary communists, there were enough of those who sincerely wished to understand the essence of the discussions, which had been tearing apart the “leaders” of the party for years. For example, Rodionov from the Tver province (party card No. 0201235) directly wrote: “Those opposition materials published by the Central Committee are too insufficient for an ordinary party member to understand and clearly draw themselves to the conclusion about the mistake of the opposition. The Central Committee writes that the opposition to the last ECCI (meeting of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. —O.N.) has released a large “party” of all theses, proposals and other lies and slander against the Central Committee and the party. The ordinary mass of party members knows only those extracts that are printed in the reports of comrades who are speaking about the results of the work of the plenum (comrade Bukharin). By declaring themselves, of course, a supporter of the Central Committee and condemning the attacks of the opposition, the idea still creeps in that we condemn the opposition because it is condemned by the Central Committee. ”
Not one Rodionov did not understand that such a state of affairs was in the hands of Stalin. At the same time, any attempts by Trotsky and Zinoviev to convey their views to the mass party audience were invariably interpreted by the general secretary as a violation of party discipline, which threatened organizational consequences.
A serious threat to the leaders of the Trotsky-Zinoviev opposition hung in August 1927. Then the demand for the withdrawal of Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee was formulated in an 17 statement by members of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission (CTC), and then filed a plenary session. Apparently, this action was inspired by Stalin. However, having seen that the expulsion of Zinoviev and Trotsky still does not find the unconditional support of the majority of the participants in the plenum, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B.) Played the role of a peacemaker. In the end, after a heated discussion, Trotsky and Zinoviev were left in the Central Committee. For this, the opposition leaders had to sign a statement in which they declared their refusal to conduct factional activities. Formally, they had the right during the pre-Congress discussion to defend their views in the party cell and on the pages of the “discussion leaf” that was published during the pre-Congress period.
Why Trotsky was unconvincing
The upcoming events clearly demonstrated that such “inner-party democracy” already seemed excessive to Stalin. And if the supporters of Trotsky and Zinoviev had the right to speak only in their party cells, then their “ideological vacillation” was exposed everywhere. In the pre-Congress period, the Stalinist propaganda machine began to work with tripled energy. Opposition was branded in all meetings and in newspapers.
An important stage in the liquidation of the opposition was the Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the CPSU (b), which took place in late October. “Perhaps I then retooled and made a mistake,” Stalin said meaningfully, recalling the unrealized opportunity in August to exclude Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee. These words were hardly sincere. About the kindness of the Secretary General did not indicate that September 27 Trotsky was expelled from the Executive Committee of the Comintern.
The October plenum was preceded by the following events. A group of oppositionists attempted to set up an illegal publication of their own literature. OGPU introduced its employee into the environment of the “underground workers”. Historian Georgy Chernyavsky writes: “Stroilov, an agent of the special services, offered services to the opposition members to get paper and technical materials for publishing. Negotiations have not gone beyond probing. But this was enough for the chairman of the OGPU Menzhinsky. He notified of the disclosure of plans for subversive print propaganda of the "Trotskyists." In addition, Stroilov was declared a former Wrangel officer ... ”
The provocation was aimed at finding a reason to exclude the oppositionists from the ranks of the CPSU (b). They were accused of creating a single anti-Soviet front "from Trotsky to Chamberlain" and began to be vilified in the press and at meetings. In turn, opposition leaders accused the Stalinist majority of provocation. Passions ran high to the limit.
The lack of emotion was not observed at the plenum. The historian Dmitry Volkogonov in the book “Triumph and Tragedy” described Trotsky’s speech as the last in his life at the Bolshevik forums: “The speech was chaotic, unconvincing ... Trotsky, having bent over the podium, quickly read the paper ... He was badly listened to and interrupted exclamations: “slander”, “lie”, “talker” ... There were no convincing arguments in his speech ”.
Volkogonov did not deem it necessary to inform the readers that Trotsky’s speech was immediately removed from the transcript of the plenum, and for many years it remained inaccessible to historians. The cited “slander”, “lie”, “talker” remarks suggest that Volkogonov saw the recording of Trotsky’s speech, recorded by stenographers. And it is difficult to draw such conclusions without reading the text. All the more surprising is the fact that, when giving his comments, Volkogonov did not ask himself an absolutely obvious question: why was the speech of the best tribune of the Bolshevik party at such a momentous moment for him to be unconvincing?
To imagine the situation in which Trotsky spoke, let us give the final fragment of his speech. Responding to the allegations that “the opposition is in connection with the Wrangel officer,” he said: “Only to a question posed on the edge of the vol. Zinoviev, Smilgoy and Peterson, who is this Wrangel officer, was he arrested — comrade Menzhinsky said that the Wrangel officer is an agent of the GPU. (VOICES: This is not the order of the day. Enough.) The party was deceived. (Shouts: Enough.) In order to intimidate ... (Shouts: Pretty chatter.) I suggest the Plenum put a question on the order of the day ... (VOICE OF PLACE: You can ask, but not offer) ... about how the Politburo, along with the Presidium TsKK, deceived the party. (Noise, chairman's call. Voices: this is impudence! Libel! Insolent! Lies. Down with him!) Whether there is a lie or not, can only be verified after the Plenum examines the issue with the documents in hand. (Noise. The chairman’s call.) (VOICE: do not slander!) ... that we have before us an attempt in the spirit of Kerensky and Pereverzev. (Chairman's call. Strong noise.) It was an attempt to deceive the party from beginning to end. (LOMOV: insolent! Down with Clemenceau and clemenists. Get him out of this rostrum! Down with this rostrum.) (Continuous noise and the chairman call.) (Kaganovich: Menshevik, counterrevolutionary!) (Voices: remove him from the party! Crawler!) ( The chairman’s call.) (Starlings: Down with the slanderers!) ”.
On this transcript breaks off. The roar in the hall during Trotsky's short speech stood constantly. And if Trotsky was expelled from the party by some supporters of Stalin at the previous plenum, now they were ready to tear him to pieces. From a statement from 24 of October submitted by Trotsky to the Secretariat of the Central Committee, we learn that during his speech they tried to pull him off the podium, Nikolai Shvernik threw a weighty book “Control figures of the national economy of the USSR on 1927 / 1928” into it, and Nikolai Kubyak ran a glass .
Trotsky was interrupted ten times by Nikolai Skrypnik, five times by Klim Voroshilov, four times by Ivan Skvortsov-Stepanov, three times by Grigory Petrovsky and Vlas Chubar, two times by Georgy Lomov and Peter Talberg, and each time by Philip Goloschekin, Emelyan Yaroslavsky and Joseph Unshlicht. And this is only the most vociferous, whose cries caught stenographers. Subsequently, Trotsky compared what happened at the plenum with the events of October 1917: “When I read the declaration in 1927 on behalf of the left opposition at a meeting of the Central Committee, I was answered by the cries, threats and curses that I had heard when the Bolshevik declaration opened on the opening day of the Kerensky Pre-Parliament . I remember Voroshilov shouting: "He keeps himself, as in the Pre-Parliament!" This is much more accurate than the author of the exclamation expected. ”
The comparison made by Trotsky may not seem to all quite convincing. In any case, Volkogonov's accusations against a person who tried to speak in such conditions look strange.
At the entire populous plenum, there was only one person who, not being an oppositionist, sincerely indignant at what was happening. He was Gregory Shklovsky. Here is a fragment of his speech: “Comrades, I cannot for a minute forget the testament of Vladimir Ilyich, where he foresaw all this. His letter states quite clearly that elements for a split can be members of the Central Committee, such as Stalin and Trotsky. And now it is played out in front of us with extreme precision, and the game is silent. (VOICE: No, it is not silent.) You know further that Vladimir Ilyich said directly: a split in the party is the death of Soviet power. I recall this to the Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission at the last, perhaps a minute. Comrades, come to your senses! .. The top is infected to the extreme with group struggle ... I have no words to express my outrage at how preparations are now being made for the party congress. The parties are not even aware of the theses of the Central Committee, and elections at the conference are already running everywhere. (Loud noise ...) Exceptions are increasingly becoming just the threshold of arrests. These measures unheard of aggravate the inner-party situation. They are directly directed against the unity of the party. The exclusion of hundreds of Bolshevik-Leninists from the party (noise) just before the congress is the direct preparation of a split, there is its partial realization. ”
Shklovsky was not allowed to finish quickly speaking to the growing roar of the hall. He was not allowed to announce the statement of the old Bolsheviks, supporters of unity and, having driven from the podium, called him "Christos" and "Baptist". Shklovsky soon paid for his performance. In November, all oppositionists, members and candidates for members of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission were expelled from these leading bodies of the party. Together with them, they excluded Shklovsky, who did not share the views of the opposition and spoke only for reconciliation. However, Stalin did not stop it anymore ...
On November 7, the opposition, many of whom were active participants in the revolution and the Civil War, attempted to hold a demonstration under their own slogans and with portraits of the leaders of the opposition. These attempts were quickly and firmly stopped. A week later, Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party.
The fate of the remaining oppositionists in December 1927 of the year was to be decided by the 15th Congress of the CPSU (b). The composition of its delegates, as well as their overall belligerent attitude, did not promise anything good for the opposition. So it turned out.
One of the first to the podium allowed Stalingrad metalworker Pankratov. Under the enthusiastic roar of the audience, he took a steel broom out of the case and declared loudly: “Metalworkers of Stalingrad hope that the 15th party congress will sweep away the opposition with this tough broom (applause)”.
The “broom theme” was so fond of the comrades who listened to Pankratov, that it sounded more than once at the congress. Against this background, Lazar Kaganovich, refuting the opposition’s assertions that the workers didn’t understand the discussions, triumphantly said: “These are intellectual, philistine arguments, they are not worth anything. They do not take into account the fact that the workers have their own class criterion, there is a proletarian class flair with which they catch, where the proletarian class line is really being waged. ”
The 15th VKP (b) expelled about a hundred of the most well-known oppositionists from the ranks of the party, while the rank-and-file Trotskyists and Zinovievists took up the field. The most active part in the fight against the opposition took OGPU.
In January, 1928, a non-party Trotsky, was sent to Alma-Ata. However, far from Moscow, he did not break, proving that, having visited the heights of power, he remained a revolutionary. Unlike former colleagues of the united Trotsky-Zinoviev opposition of Kamenev and Zinoviev, who wrote penitential statements and “disarmed before the party”, the former Commissar of Defense did not intend to stop the fight against Stalin.
For a year, Trotsky was under the watchful eye of the OGPU. 10 February 1929 of the year on the decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) on the steamship Ilyich of one of the leaders of the October Revolution was sent to Turkey - a country where in November 1920 had left the Red Army defeated troops of Baron Peter Wrangel ...