Source: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 31 (Whole No. 90), 14 November 1931, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
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Even the bureaucratic shiftings can be of great significance. When Orjonikidze was transferred to the All-Union Council of People’s Economy, Yaroslavsky undoubtedly expected the appointment to the post of chairman of the Central Control Commission; but the appointee was Andreyev, one who Is much younger and who, it would seem, “earned” it incomparably less. There were even whispers in Moscow, half earnest, half serious, that Yaroslavsky was going over to the opposition.
As a matter of fact the leadership of the G.P.U. has been concentrated in recent years in the hands of Yagoda. He seemed to be the natural successor of Menzhinsky. Suddenly Yagoda is demoted to the post of second assistant, and the little known Akulov is advanced to first place.
What is the meaning of this? Yaroslavsky and Yagoda are two figures of the same order, of a similar type, as if created for similar commissions. Closely tied to each other, they were carrying out, through the two organs of apparatus repressions – the C.C.C. and the G.P.U. – Stalin’s most delicate commissions in the field of struggle with his opponents, and even in matters of personal revenge against all who at any time, in any way, brushed against Stalin.
These people, Yaroslavsky and Yagoda, could be assigned any sort of commission, without the risk of meeting with their refusal. Who but Yaroslavsky could be commissioned to bring about the suicide of pure Glazman? Who but Yagoda could have been capable to starve out the innocent Boutov? And what other pair could better carry out “the soviet and party order” – the shooting of Blumkin? One could consider quite probable that the alleged article by Trotsky on the Five Year Plan was suggested third hand to the reactionary press by Yagoda, after which Yaroslavsky, who is connected with him through co-participation, revealed in Pravda Trotsky’s counter revolutionary crusade against the Soviets. We do not affirm that this is precisely how it happened, but every informed apparatus man admits that it might have been so. In the past, there were hundreds of similar feats carried out under the direct instructions of Stalin, or in the hope of his approval.
It would seem: exactly who should be put at the head of the C.C.C. if not the incomparable Yaroslavsky! And who is more qualified than Yagoda at the head of the G.P.U. to execute Stalin’s most “intimate” commissions?
Nevertheless, why was this so picturesque Yaroslavsky pushed aside by the pale, though zealous, figure of Andreyev? And why did Yagoda, who is ready for everything, have to concede his place to Akulov? This is an interesting question. In the impossibility far Stalin to appoint to the most responsible posts the people most necessary to him, is expressed the unvoiced, almost nameless, but insurmountable resistance of the apparatus against the latest results of the Stalinist system. In general and in the main, the Stalinites will accept Stalin and all that is not alien to him. But here we find that even Yaroslavsky and Yagoda cannot swallow everything down. Stalin has to make extraordinary efforts to retain the people most needed by him even in secondary and tertiary roles. Here lies the symptom, one of many symptoms, of the fact that Stalin who was lifted up through the apparatus, is in a constant, voiceless struggle with the apparatus, which somehow feels upon itself the pressure of the Party, The passing by of Yaroslavsky and the demotion of Yagoda is a singular warning to Stalin on the part of the apparatus, one could almost say a secret vote of lack of confidence.
Such symptoms, and even more expressive ones, should be expected in the. future and even in greater numbers. A growing alarm of the apparatus precedes the inevitable awakening of the Party. In the future we should expect more and more “very significant facts”.
Last updated on: 11.2.2013