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RUSSIA: Revelations

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In Moscow last week the Red Army celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Four revelations accompanied the celebration. Defense Commissar, “Big Klim”Voroshilov, was responsible for the first two:

Revelation No. 1: Very simply Klim mentioned the hitherto unknown fact that Admiral Vladimir Orlov, who recently “disappeared” from his post as Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy, and Admiral A. K. Sivkov, who “disappeared” from command of the Baltic Fleet, “have been wiped off the face of the earth as fascist bandits, traitors and spies.”

Revelation No. 2: Much more pretentiously Klim announced that the Soviet Union is today prepared to wage not only gas warfare but also germ warfare “upon the soil” of any nation which uses such weapons against Russia first.

Revelation No. 3 was deduced from the official Soviet newspapers’ omission last week to explain the sensational absence from the Red Army celebration of three prominent Red Generals, one of them Marshal Alexander Yegorov who in May 1937 became First Vice-Commissar of Defense in succession to famed Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky who was executed as a “traitor” (TIME, June 21). The inference was that Yegorov and friends had “disappeared,” would soon be liquidated like Admirals Orlov and Sivkov.

Revelation No. 4 came directly from the Secret Political Police. They announced they were putting on trial this week 21 Communists, most of whom have held official positions close to Joseph Stalin, big shots of Stalin’s own party and inner clique. In equivalent U. S. terms. Defendant Rykov would be Jack Garner; Defendant Grinko—Secretary Morgenthau; Defendant Yagoda—Attorney General Cummings; Defendant Chernov— Secretary Wallace; Defendant Khodjaiev —Governor Lehman; Defendant Rakovsky—Ambassador Bullitt; Defendant Bukharin—Hugh Johnson; Defendant Levin —Dr. Alexis Carrel. “Terrific!” was Walter Duranty’s adjective after studying the official charges against the 21. Correspondent Joseph Barnes remarked that “some of the crimes alleged read like a Biblical denunciation of Lucifer.”

The defendants were charged with having poisoned Communists Gorky in 1936, Kuibishev in 1935 and Menzhinsky in 1934—all of whom were always understood to have died natural deaths. The 21 defendants were also charged with having worked for Exile Trotsky right up to the time of their arrests. They were accused of attempting to deliver various parts of the Soviet Union to foreign states. In this no Russian helped them, said the indictment, for they relied “exclusively upon the armed forces of foreign aggressors to accomplish their aim.”

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