From 2 to 19 December 1927, the 15th congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) was held in Moscow. The delegates, consisting of 1669 people, made a number of crucial decisions concerning the further development of the country. Thus, directives were drawn up on the first five-year plan for the development of the national economy. In addition, delegates decided on collectivization in the countryside. At the congress was finally crushed by the so-called. “Left Opposition” (another name is “Trotsky-Zinoviev anti-party bloc”), which included various groups based on supporters of Lev Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev.
1. "Exclusive" forum
The oppositionists were accused of trying to create something like a special party. In the Political Report of the Central Committee, Secretary General Joseph Stalin described the situation as follows: “You ask what, after all, are the differences between the party and the opposition, on what issues do these differences lie? For all questions, comrades. (Voices: “That's right!”) Recently, I read the statement of one non-party worker in Moscow who is joining or has already joined the party. Here is how he formulates the question of disagreements between the party and the opposition: “We used to look for differences between the party and the opposition. And now you will not find in what she agrees with the party. (Laughter, applause.) Opposition against the party on all issues, therefore, if I were a supporter of the opposition, I would not have joined the party. ” (Laughter, applause). This is what workers sometimes are able to express accurately and briefly at the same time. I think that this is the most accurate and correct description of the attitude of the opposition to the party, to its ideology, to its program, to its tactics. It is precisely because the opposition disagrees with the party on all issues, that is why the opposition is a group with its own ideology, with its program, with its tactics, with its organizational principles. All that is necessary for the new party, all this is in the opposition. All that is missing is “little things”; there is not enough strength for that. (Laughter. Applause.) "
Organizational measures were taken directly at the congress - delegates excluded from the CPSU (b) participants of the left opposition (75 "Trotskyites-Zinovievtsi"), putting a bold line under the many years of intra-party struggle, which sharply spread on different sides of the leading representatives of the "Leninist Guard". So what happened, why the opposition had to apply such drastic measures? To answer this question you need to refer to the beginning of the conflict.
2. In the struggle for the inheritance of Ilyich
The factional struggle in the party flared constantly, but in 1923, the situation became sharply aggravated. And here, Vladimir Lenin's illness affected the hopes of the leaders, to whom a hypothetical opportunity to take his place of the “leader of the world proletariat” opened up. The Left itself started the battle - actually the supporters of L. Trotsky and the so-called. “Democratic centralists” (Andrei Bubnov, and others), advocating the freedom of all groups and factions. They tried to stun the party masses with the “letter 46”, in which they attacked the “conservative bureaucracy” of the leadership.
At that time, the party and the country were led by a triumvirate consisting of the chairman of the Leningrad executive committee and the executive committee of the Comintern G. Zinoviev, the chairman of the Moscow executive committee L. Kamenev and the general secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Soviet Union (B) J. Stalin.
Trotsky readily supported the opposition in his article "The New Deal". After all, in fact, we are talking about shifting the party elite under the leadership of the “demon of the revolution” itself. The left quickly gained popularity among young people (especially students), skillfully using its inherent non-conformism, multiplied by the unheard of fever of the revolutionary years. However, they considered the army to be their main support, which, strictly speaking, was headed by the Commissariat of Defense and the pre-Revolutionary Military Council Trotsky. However, the Trotskyists occupied many leading posts in the Red Army - as its Political Directorate was headed by Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, who issued a special circular in which the party army organizations were ordered to support the "new course" of their idol. The commander of the Moscow Military District, Nikolai Muralov, went even further, expressly proposing the use of Red Army units to dislodge the party leadership. At the same time, the Trotskyists tried to win over some "neutral" commanders - for example, the commander of the Western Front, Mikhail Tukhachevsky. In general, the smell was already a military conspiracy, which was threatened by the “inner-party discussion”.
Under these conditions, the party leadership launched a personnel counterattack, removing a number of leading Trotskyists from their posts (in particular, the same Antonov-Ovseenko). But the most interesting thing happened in the region, as they would say now, PR and anti-PR. The quarreling leaders decided to find out which of them is “more mother stories valuable. " Well, of course, they turned to the history of the October Revolution (by the way, the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks was then called that, officially). Trotsky was remembered that he had become a Bolshevik several months before October, before often speaking in favor of compromising with the Mensheviks. Of course, Trotsky did not remain in debt and slashed the truth about the way Zinoviev and Kamenev behaved, who issued (in print) to the Provisional Government as much as the plan of an armed uprising.
For the broad party masses, poorly informed in history, these revelations caused something like a shock. They were already beginning to get used to the deification of their leaders, and suddenly they began to spread such terrible things about themselves.
Of course, their authority was significantly undermined.
3. Secretary General collects frames
In the most advantageous position here was Stalin, who almost did not take part in the war of compromising materials. And he did it right, because he could have something to remember. For example, about how in March 1917 of the year he spoke from “defensive” positions, recognizing the possibility of conditional support for the Provisional Government. However, this did not happen: “Stalin avoided serious blows to his authority. The combination of hardness and moderation he showed during the discussion only strengthened his prestige. ” (Yury Emelyanov "Trotsky. Myths and Personality")
So, the future leader of the USSR, and yet the General Secretary, still retained his prestige. And he did not fail to use it in political struggle, relying on the party apparatus. He paid special attention to working with the secretaries of provincial and district party organizations. Actually, the composition of delegations to the CPSU (b) congresses depended on them, which is why the painstaking work with local functionaries provided the Stalinist majority in the future, who managed to defeat left oppositionists.
Stalin collected cadres, "sharpening" them under the inner-party struggle. At the same time, he and his entourage acted according to the principle “in war as in war.” Well, and the war requires intelligence and counterintelligence, all important information was communicated (from top to bottom, and bottom to top) in the context of the strictest secrecy.
This was followed by a special body - the Secret Department of the Central Committee. But the regional bodies, which Stalin wanted to liken to the Center, also had their secret departments.
The middle of the 20-ies became a real "golden age" of the party nomenclature. In 1923 — 1927, the numerical composition of the republican Central Committee, regional committees, city committees and district committees doubled. Trotskyists and other leftist-wing oppositionists were placed in a reliable barrier, however, the strengthening of the party apparatus was accompanied by its merging with state structures. And this strengthened the bureaucracy, weakened political work in favor of purely directive leadership. And I must say that Stalin quite early noticed the abnormality of the situation. Already in June 1924 of the year, in the course of secretaries of county committees of the CPSU (b), he abruptly attacked the thesis of the "dictatorship of the party", then adopted by all the leaders. The Secretary General claimed that there was not a party dictatorship in the country, but the dictatorship of the working class. And in December 1925 of the year in the political report of the XIV Congress, Stalin emphasized that the party “is not identical with the state”, and “The Politburo is the highest body not of the state, but of the party”. These were the first, cautious steps towards the weakening of the partocracy. Well, after the defeat of the "Left" they attempted to reform the party. In December 1927 of the year, at the plenum of the Central Committee, held after the XV Congress, he proposed liquidating the post of general secretary. Iosif Vissarionovich said the following: “If Lenin came to the need to put forward the question of establishing the institution of the Secretary General, I believe that he was guided by the special conditions that we had after the Tenth Congress, when a more or less strong and organized opposition was created within the party. But now these conditions are no longer in the party, for the opposition is utterly broken. Therefore, it would be possible to abolish this institution ... ”
At the same time, Stalin offered himself to the position of chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, clearly indicating where the center of political power should be. However, the participants in the plenum refused to support Joseph Vissarionovich.
4. How Trotsky himself has become too smart
Zinoviev and Kamenev, with their denial of “national limitation”, were much closer to Trotsky than Stalin and Pravda’s editor Nikolai Bukharin, who recognized the possibility of building socialism in one single country. And, nevertheless, Lev Davidovich at first abstained from an alliance with this binary. He hoped that both groups would weaken each other, and he, at the right moment, would act as an arbitrator.
Perhaps Trotsky would have gone into an alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev right away, but he had been in pain with the creepy “counter” earlier with them. In the 1924 year, Zinoviev even proposed to arrest Trotsky, and the requirement to exclude the “demon of the revolution” from the party was almost constant.
Stalin, on the other hand, considered it necessary to maintain the image of a party liberal, opposing repressive measures against Trotsky, whom he hated.
And the latter, of course, could not ignore this circumstance, drawing from it incorrect conclusions about the more gentle general secretary. It is curious that in the Trotsky faction there were even supporters of an alliance with Joseph Vissarionovich - in particular, this view was held by Karl Radek. (In the future, he will repent of his Trotskyism and become the head of the Central Committee’s Foreign Relations Bureau, which was something like party intelligence. It was in that capacity that Radek made great efforts to get closer to Germany in the 1930s.)
Trotsky greatly miscalculated - without his support, Zinoviev and Kamenev were in a very difficult position and could not withstand the organizational pressure of Stalin. At the XIV Congress of the CPSU (b), held in 1925, all delegations, except the Leningrad proper, came out against them. As a result, the leaders of the "new opposition" lost their leading positions. And here Trotsky realized that he could not become an arbiter. He went on a rapprochement with Zinoviev and Kamenev, which ended with the creation of a powerful left-wing coalition. She proposed her own program of super-industrialization of the country, involving the implementation of the "big leap". It is believed that it was this program that Stalin realized, whose disagreements with the opposition allegedly concerned exclusively the question of power. However, to reduce everything to the struggle for power is not worth it, the differences were precisely substantial.
The left opposition was, above all, against the "national limitation", the country's withdrawal into "isolation." According to the left oppositionists, the USSR had to fully support the revolutionary movement in other countries, but at the same time integrate into the world (capitalist) economy system. Thus, the Trotskyist plan for industrialization provided for long-term imports of Western equipment (up to 50% of all capacities), for which it was intended to actively use Western loans. It is clear that this would make the USSR dependent on the leading Western powers. At the same time, the support of the revolutionary movement would be used by the same West to put pressure on the national elites of the third world countries and their own "reactionary nationalist elements." But Stalin's industrialization, on the contrary, was accompanied by a constant and steady reduction in imports of Western technology - with the active use of highly paid labor by foreign specialists. That is, the difference is quite obvious, therefore, Stalin and his “left” opponents cannot be put on the same footing in any way.
It turns out that the left opposition, in spite of all its r-revolutionary phraseology, worked for the bourgeois West? Yes, that's exactly what happens if you compare many, by the way, fairly well-known facts.
(At one time, the author of these lines had to write about the connections of the “demon of revolution” with Western democracies) For example, the most interesting observation made by the historian Nikolai Starikov: “The opposition to the Stalinist course at different times composed different programs. Only one thing united them: accept such a program and the party will very quickly have nothing left of the country. In words it sounds beautiful, like the famous “83's platform” ... We compare the dates, when did the Trotskyists write this platform? It turns out in May 1927. And on May 27 of the year 1927, the United Kingdom broke off diplomatic relations with the USSR! Do you believe in such accidents? For our research, the very fact of such a quick break in relations is important: in February, 1924 was recognized, in May 1927 was no longer wanted to know. Why? Because Stalin’s victory over Trotsky was already becoming obvious, and the United Kingdom was not ashamed to clearly demonstrate its position. The hint is very transparent: the Stalinist course will finally prevail - the consequences will be sad for the Soviet country. ” ("Who made Hitler attack Stalin?")
The united left opposition launched a decisive attack. Meanwhile, time was already lost forever. Stalin established lasting control over party structures. And the ubiquitous Agitprop was brainwashed by the party (and non-party) "mass." However, this “mass” itself over the years of the NEP got rid of revolutionary fever and was already focused on peaceful construction.
5. Failed revolution
Having suffered a defeat in the party elections, the Trotskyists and other left-wing opposition members certainly did not reconcile. They began to prepare for mass actions, for which they formed parallel party committees, created secret printing presses and developed a plan of demonstrations dedicated to the 10 anniversary of the October Revolution. Trotsky had at his disposal a group of young activists who were ready to take control of the street. He also had a “spare armored train”, a group of personally loyal military men. One of them, the division commander Dmitry Schmidt, shortly before the November events openly threatened General Secretary Stalin with physical violence.
Of course, Stalin also prepared for the decisive battle for power. And he also made a bet on the street and the army (special services played their part, but they didn’t push themselves too much.) Young Stalinist students were organized into shock brigades led by the Technical Secretary of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee George Malenkov ( he received this position without having any revolutionary merit - Stalin was pushing new people to power.) These mobile units crashed into a crowd of Trotsky's supporters, who came out for a festive demonstration, and thereby upset the ranks of the "left".
At the same time, the commander of the Moscow Military District, a non-partisan military expert Boris Shaposhnikov, brought armored cars to the streets of the capital, thus blocking a possible attempt by Trotsky military troops.
On the day of November 7, Trotsky traveled by car through the capital and addressed the demonstrators. He tried to speak in front of the demonstrators from the balcony of the National Hotel, but he was given a very brutal obstruction. A carefully planned seizure of power was foiled.
The further fate of the left opposition was predetermined. After losing the election and election campaign, she expected a devastating party congress.