The question of the scale of repression first appeared in public in the USSR at the beginning of 1938. On January 19, Pravda No. 19 published an informational announcement about the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee and the resolution “On mistakes of party organizations when excluding communists from the party, formal bureaucratic attitude to appeals excluded from the CPSU (B) and measures to eliminate these shortcomings”. It was then recognized that the repressions of 1937 of the year, with their forced necessity, were in general partly excessive. Since the spring of 1956 after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, the topic of repression has become unhealthy, and since then interest in it has subsided, then deliberately bloated. At the same time, an objective view makes its way with difficulty.
The author’s long-standing article by Professor Alexander Scherba “Prologue of Great Terror.” Repression in the military industry in the 20-e years. " It was mainly about the defense industry of Leningrad, but not only.
Four years have passed, and attempts to whitewash pre-revolutionary Russia and, as a result, denigrating the Soviet are being made more and more actively.
Wretched Tsarist Legacy
Doubt was already caused by the first thesis of Professor Scherba that military production in Russia "due to its strategic importance" allegedly "was always under scrutiny and control by state authorities." From the context it followed that the author had in mind the authoritative institutions of the Russian Empire. He wrote about them already at the beginning of the article that “they invariably sought to ensure the stability of the release of weapons by a variety of measures”.
Was it really so?
Real история military construction in Tsarist Russia in the 18th – 19th and early 20th centuries shows that the periods when it went with the attentive attitude of the state were not long and it was not they who set the trends in Tsarist Russia. Yes, Peter the Great laid the foundation of the Russian military machine so strong that it lasted for decades. The second such period was under Catherine the Great in the best years of Rumyantsev, Potemkin and Suvorov. But Russia, Alexander I, did not fail militarily, primarily due to the efforts of the reformer of Russian artillery, Count Arakcheev, an active figure and, presumably, this is why they were slandered.
Even without deeply studying the history of the military industry in the "first Nikolaev" Russia, which collapsed in the Crimean War, it suffices to recall Leskovsky Levsha’s alarm, who, when he died, begged him to inform the sovereign that the guns were being cleaned with brick and this could not be a mark of shooting.
Particularly vivid disregard for the production side of military problems manifested itself at the beginning of the twentieth century. Firstly, the autocracy did not take up any of the technical challenges of the time - neither the impending transformation of the armed struggle into a war of motors, nor the role of radio communications (Popov’s discoveries led us to the leaders, but the authorities here too had surrendered everything beforehand), nor the significance of massive rifle fire ( machine guns, machine guns) ... Domestic work on tanks и aviation. The famous heavy bomber "Ilya Muromets" during the First World War became outdated. And tsarist Russia didn’t have fighters of its own design at all, nor any significant aviation industry.
Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, the neglect of R & D (in particular in the production of effective projectiles for naval artillery) and the interests of military production doomed Tsarist Russia to Tsushima’s disgrace, despite the fact that Russian sailors showed courage and valor.
With the beginning of the First World War, a new shameful detail emerged: Russia simply lacked rifles. On the eve of the war, the government order for rifles for our largest weapons factory - Tula - was as follows: in January 1914 - five pieces, in February - as many, in March - six, in April - again five, in May, June, July - one by one (!). This is simply not believed, but the source of information is quite authoritative, it is the tsarist, and subsequently the Soviet, General Vladimir G. Fedorov, a member of the weapons department of the Artillery Committee. In his memoirs, he wrote: “A few days before the declaration of war, the largest plant produces one training rifle per month! That was how the War Department prepared for an armed conflict. ” And Fedorov in 1914 had to go to negotiate the supply of rifles to Japan - to the recent former enemy, and now a fragile ally.
The relation with the Germans in artillery, machine guns and other types of weapons was depressing for us. The thesis of the supposedly exemplary attitude of the tsarist authorities to military production does not stand the test of facts.
And many were against
After the Civil War, the entire economy of the country was in a deplorable state. And although since December 1922, the Russian state received the name Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it’s only possible to talk about the life of the first half of 20’s as the Soviet half. In the collection of documents "Stalin and Lubyanka. 1922 – 1936 ”a letter was published to Dzerzhinsky of the All-Ukrainian GPU Vasily Mantsev about the situation in his department by the summer of 1922. The Chekists were in poverty, starving, committing suicide, not being able to feed their families, leaving the party - the percentage of communists in the GPU decreased from 60 to 15. Dozens were convicted of raids and robberies, employees of the GPU wrote to Mantsev that they were forced into prostitution, and the only reason was hunger and poverty. Such were the starting conditions of the new system after the devastating Civil War - even in such a delicate area as state security. And they were created not by the Bolsheviks, but by the royal power, which for two centuries had neglected the urgent problems of Russia's development, including in the military-technical respect.
At the same time, a significant part of defense production specialists was even more hostile to the new regime than the old officers. This was explained by the fact that the work of military engineers was always well paid, and they were not happy with the establishment of Soviet power. Accordingly, deliberate sabotage and sabotage became one of the features of economic and industrial life in the USSR from the 20-s and almost before the start of the war, when they were eliminated as meaningful events not only through repression and purges, but also through the fostering of a new - Soviet scientific and technical intelligentsia.
For an objective understanding of the 20 – 30's situation, I refer the reader to the mentioned collection of documents. There is curious information there, for example, about the Donugol case, about Shakhtinsky and other similar ones dating back to the period that Professor Shcherba analyzes.
In the military production of Leningrad and in the defense industry in general, 20 and 30 had to be fought not with pests invented by the OGPU-NKVD, but with the very real subversive work of the old specialists — either purely ideological enemies of the Soviet state, or malignant inhabitants, or paid agents West. However, there were often combinations of these three motifs.
Nevertheless, the repressions were not so significant as to leave the military factories without competent and experienced specialists. Of course, for those times, the loss of any qualified employee could not affect normal operation, however, no enterprise in the USSR — both defense and general industrial — after the arrest of certain specialists did not stop. Often, the opposite happened - work for obvious reasons improved. In addition, part of the arrests was actually of a warning nature, and such “prevention” gave the result. One of the leaders of the actually existing Industrial Party, Professor Ramzin, after condemnation, developed his famous direct-flow boiler, became an order bearer, director of the Thermal Engineering Institute.
Professor Shcherba writes about those years as if everything had already been established in the country, while malicious chekists and party organs, wishing to curry favor, invented mythical conspiracies. A modern reader, especially a young one, can decide that the power in 30-ies was thinking only about one thing - how could it be more sensitive to weaken the defense industry, expelling experienced old specialists from it.
Alas, the repressions were forced, they were caused not by a passion for punitive measures, but by the deaf hostility to socialism of part of the old technical intelligentsia, especially those of its representatives who were under the old regime not only engineers at their enterprises, but also their shareholders and shareholders. There were other incidental factors, but among them there was no maliciousness of the Stalinist leadership. But, speaking of repressions, including in the defense sphere, we must not forget about Trotskyism as a factor not antistalinist, but antisocial, antistate.
Despite the sabotage, the objective and subjective difficulties, military production in the USSR was constantly developing and improving. For the first time since the days of Peter and Catherine, the highest state power directly and with interest led all sides of military production. Including, therefore, the new government could not manage objectively without those or other repressions if it was interested in a solid military rear. The old, not wanting to go to the grave, continually dragged the country back. I had to defend myself.
Repression in military production - a fact. But were they massive and disastrous for the Soviet military production?
Professor Scherba refers to many regulatory documents of the Soviet era, but very stingy in the factual side of things. He argues that in the 20-ies "dismissal from military enterprises of specialists who had once received an education and who had worked hard during the" damned tsarism "became widespread."
Kohl already a historian makes such a statement, then we can expect that next will follow the numbers, percentages, names. However, just with the facts, everything is very modest. And if something is concretized, it looks unconvincing. Let's say a conflict is described with the director of the Red Pilot plant N. A. Afanasyev who was dismissed from the leadership in the middle of the 20s. The plant itself, as of 1925, is certified by Professor Scherba as “a large and modern enterprise of the military industry”. But at that time not a single aviation enterprise of the USSR could be certified in such a flattering manner, since the first major successes of Soviet aircraft building were achieved later.
Or the decision of the People's Commissariat of Labor of the USSR 7 of April 1930 of the year No. 11 / 8 “On temporary secondment of engineers from civilian industry and state institutions to the military industry enterprises” is reported, and the appearance of such a document is explained by repressions. But first, the need for such a measure is evident because of the objective expansion of defense technical work. Secondly, the author of the article himself reports that “110 people were subject to secondment to the military enterprises of Leningrad”. Even if we accept that all of them were going to replace the repressed (which, of course, is not the case), the number does not look impressive considering the scale of the Leningrad defense industry in 1930.
Moreover, I venture to say that even at the end of the 30-s repressions in the defense industry did not have catastrophic consequences for the defense. For various reasons, several hundreds of thousands of specialists turned out to be in detention at the time, and they worked in the system of the Special Technical Bureau of the NKVD and almost all were later released.
On the one hand, the fact that repressions in the defense industry did not have a particularly significant influence is confirmed by the history of pre-war R & D, and on the other hand, by the level and volume of defense production, which reflected the first strike of the Germans and the subsequent turn in the war. The call of the German minds and technology, the Soviet Union took. As a result, he won this war and not at all thanks to the notorious "sharashkas".
For example, it was only after the arrest of the chief engineer of the GUAP NKTP USSR Tupolev (it is significant that his first deputy for the Arkhangelsky design bureau was at large and took part in meetings with Stalin) we began to work hastily on modern combat aircraft. Then separate KB Tupolev, Petlyakov, Myasishchev, Sukhoi were formed, quickly picked up the pace of the Ermolaev, Ilyushin, Yakovlev, Lavochkin, Mikoyan and Gurevich design bats ... We won on their planes.
How to drive empty
The problem of sabotage and sabotage was, unfortunately, significant even before the war itself. Extracting from the note of the NKVD Beria from 17 in January 1941 to Stalin, Molotov and Kaganovich: “At construction No. 56 in the western regions of Ukraine, not a single task of the government and the NKPS was executed ... Ignoring the instructions of the NKPS, I sprayed the construction and ... did not ensure the completion in time of the most crucial construction sites. Meanwhile, Skripkin repeatedly informed NKPS about the successful course of construction ... In the mobilization reserve of roads, instead of the cars required by the 1940 30 plan, there are only 700 18. The plan for locating the stock of wagons on the roads is drawn up in such a way that the concentration areas of empty spaces do not coincide with the areas of mass military loading ... "
But the results of the inspection of non-profit organizations of the USSR in the Air Force of the Moscow Military District in March 1941 are three months before the war. Under the noses of the “victim of Beria”, commander of the Air Force of the Moscow Military District, General Pumpur, and two other “victims,” Generals Smushkevich and Rychagov, 23 percent of pilots did not sit at the helm of combat aircraft. In the 24 Air Defense Division, not a single alarm was announced with the departure of fighters. Almost all parts of the MVO Air Force were incompetent, the machine guns were not shot, the bomb racks were not adjusted, and the alert alert was not tested.
March 3, 1941 was removed by the people's commissar of ammunition Sergeyev (in 1942 he was shot). And on November 11, 1940, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks considered the results of a check of his People’s Commissar by a joint commission of the National Control Committee and the NKVD of 55 people. Only a part of the autopsy: “For nine months of 1940, the NKB missed out on the Red Army and the Naval the fleet "4,2 million sets of land artillery shots, 3 million mines, 2 million air bombs and 205 thousand naval artillery shots." With an unfinished technical process, the NKB began mass production of iron sleeves instead of brass, as a result of which one million 117 thousand iron sleeves went into marriage ... The military themselves had to open all this and much more, but the Chekists and civilian state inspectors revealed. But under Sergeyev, the NKB received 963 incoming letters daily and sent 1400. With a shortage of engineers, the People’s Commissariat for the seven months of 800 dismissed 1940 graduates from factories. Among the workers of the People’s Commissariat there were 1226 former tsarist officers, 14 immigrants from the nobility, landowners and kulaks, 70 previously convicted, 31 expelled from the CPSU (b), 17 having relatives abroad, 28 relatives of the repressed, etc. Moreover, in 69 “ in the order of staff reduction ”1940 engineering and technical workers and 166 members of the CPSU (b) were dismissed from the central apparatus.
This was the case a year before the war in one of the industrial defense commissariats. The establishment of order in the NCU immediately affected the security of the troops, although the results of sabotage and sabotage, of course, hiccupped.
Only the outbreak of the war, in which the work of the rear was ensured by the old, even before the revolutionary training specialists, quickly and finally eliminated the wrecking as a feature of the country's economic and social life. In the conditions of the enemy invasion, even internally disloyal old specialists imbued with patriotic feelings and honestly worked with everyone in the name of the future Victory.
Front and rear do not bleed
It would be interesting to have an objective study of the scale of repression in guiding the military economy in 1941 – 1945. I would like to know how much was removed from work, put on trial, sent to a conclusion or even shot by defense industry specialists at the level of shop managers, senior specialists, factory directors, heads of glavkov, people's commissars, their deputies, etc. I think an objective researcher struck by a small, both absolute and especially relative number of somehow repressed commanders of the military economy. Personally, I do not know any of the people who have been shot by the People's Commissar, except the aforementioned Sergeyev, who himself has predetermined his fate.
Regarding the army generals, we have such statistics today - three reputable reference books have been published: “Commanders”, “Komkory” and “Comdivas”. They contain detailed biographies of the commanders of all types of armies of the Red Army, corps and divisions from 22 June 1941 of the year to 9 of May 1945.
Eight strictly decorated thick books give us a completely adequate generalized portrait of the highest generals of the wartime, and I must say, the typical commanders, commander and divisional commander of the Red Army look decent. Even in their surprisingly very small part, which was at various times under the tribunal, most of those who were at fault were able to withstand the test. Many not only regained their shoulder straps, but were even enhanced. Some people, after a criminal record, which is usually from a general who continued to fight with a decrease of one or two stages, were removed after a certain period of time and honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Under the real terms of the military leaders were units.
And if the level of military repression was extremely low even at the front, it was hardly serious for the leaders of military production. Stalin and Beria often threatened, but only in the case of malicious mischief punished the guilty in reality, giving it to the tribunal. And the objective - a complete roll call, as well as a generalized digital analysis could confirm this fact.
It is necessary to prepare, following the example of the “general’s” reference book for the Red Army, the same major biographical summary of the top leaders of the military economy - from the level of at least deputy directors, chief technologists, chief engineers of defense plants and above.