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RUSSIA: Coward Scum!

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“It is against English Capitalism that the fatal blow must be struck! . . . Five per cent of Englishmen are the biggest property owners. They oppress not only the remaining population but also thousands of peoples of other nationalities— Indians, Persians, Chinese, etc.! Each English capitalist forces about 100 English workers and several hundred workers in England’s colonies and the oppressed countries to drudge for him. . . . These enslaved people must unite! Yes, we must array ourselves against the English bourgeoisie. We must seize the English Imperialist by the throat and trample him underfoot!”

In the years when Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev were the Bolshevik Big Three, speeches like the above by tousle-haired, barrel-chested Grigory Zinoviev thoroughly alarmed Englishmen from dukes to grocers. After them was the chairman of the Third International, Moscow’s still extant organization for promoting the World Revolution of the World Proletariat. In those days Promoter Zinoviev had plenty of money. He poured millions into the treasuries of English trade unions. Probably he did not write the notorious Zinoviev Letter, purporting to “instruct” Laborite (i.e. Socialist) officials of James Ramsay MacDonald’s first Cabinet (TIME, Dec. 1. 1924). But on the mere suspicion that the letter might be genuine, British voters turned Scot MacDonald out in a landslide general election and the name of Zinoviev still stinks in England. It now also stinks in Russia, and in Moscow last week the Zinoviev stench was terrific.

Twice has Comrade Zinoviev organized opposition to Comrade Stalin’s policies within the Party (TIME. Oct. 24, 1932). Twice has Stalin permitted him abjectly to repent and eat crow. Last week he was turning obscurely as a minor cog in the Party bureaucracy when abruptly the Dictator chose to flaunt again and pillory the name ZINOVIEV.

Some sort of name simply had to be produced in the third week of capriciously shooting batches of Russians in oriental vengeance for the murder of Josef Stalin’s “Dear Friend Sergei” Kirov (TIME. Dec. 10). With the Russian people clamoring to know why a Communist shot a Communist, they were put off by this resolution of the Moscow Party bureau: “The abominable cunning agents of the class enemies, the coward scum of the former Zinoviev anti-Party group, have torn Comrade Kirov from our ranks. We will stamp out every one of the vile counter-revolutionary followers of the anti-Party.”

Editorials in the 100% official Press were extremely guarded, but Pravda admitted that dissident elements now exist “within the party.” Conviction grew that the Kirov assassination was indeed a major inside job, the only kind of job that could conceivably get the Dictator himself. On the growing hypothesis that steel-nerved Stalin for once has been badly scared, his executions of “pure terror” and continued arrests were understandable last week. Down in Kiev, ancient, church-jammed Mother Town of All The Russias, star chamber trials continued under famed Judge Ulrich. Meanwhile Comrade Nicolaev, the assassin of “Dear Friend Sergei,” remained alive awaiting trial.

For six days the Government concealed the fact that Comrade Zinoviev was arrested last week, along with Comrade Lev Kamenev, onetime Soviet Ambassador to Italy, Comrade G. E. Yevdokimov. one-time Red Boss of Leningrad, and 13 others. All had been members of the Left Opposition which fought Stalin in 1926-27. A notable heckler then was Comrade Yevdokimov, who openly sassed Stalin at a Party Meeting of 1927.

“Tell Stalin to refrain from criticizing my speech,” sassed Yevdokimov.

“What are you stuffing in my mouth?” roared Stalin.

“You stuffed it in your own mouth yourself!” shrieked Yevdokimov.

Last week high Soviet officials recalled that no rebellious Old Bolshevik, not even, Trotsky, has ever been punished by execution. They supposed that exile to Siberia or beyond awaits Yevdokimov, Kamenev and Zinoviev. But Pravda accused the 15 of dreaming of posts in “an imaginary Zinoviev-Kamenev Cabinet,” said that the ringleaders had always “revealed their true faces as petty bankrupt politicians, capitulators and deserters.”

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