Leon Trotsky: I Stake My Life! ()
Throughout the history of the Soviet Union (–), there were periods where Soviet .. Leon Trotsky wanted Patriarch Tikhon to be killed, but Lenin forbade it for fear it . of America and western Europe severed their relations with Moscow. called for the banishment of the very concept of God from the Soviet Union. The ideology of Stalin was Marxism-Leninism, i.e. scientific Socialism, did people know the difference between God and Joseph Stalin? Views · What was the relationship between Albert Einstein and Leon Trotsky like?. A detailed biography of Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronshtein) that includes includes He now says there is no Tsar anymore, no church, no God. To stop this happening Stalin established a close political relationship with Gregory .
Leon Trotsky wanted Patriarch Tikhon to be killed, but Lenin forbade it for fear it would produce another Patriarch Hermogenes a Patriarch who was killed by the Poles when they occupied Moscow in In there was a famine in Russia. Factory and office workers in proposed that the church's wealth be used for hunger relief. These proposals were supported by some clergymen.
But many other priests led by Tikhon opposed giving any part of the valuables to help the hungry. Tikhon threatened repressions against those clergymen and laymen who wanted to give away church riches. Under the decree, part of the gold and silver articles were to be confiscated from the property placed at the disposal of believers by the state free of charge. Articles made of precious metals were to be taken away with caution and the clergymen were to be informed in advance of the procedure and dates for the confiscation.
It was stipulated that the process of expropriation should not hinder public worship or hurt the interests of believers. Lenin wrote that their enemies had foolishly afforded them a great opportunity by this action, since he believed that the peasant masses would not support the church's hold on its valuables in light of the famine and that the resistance that the church offered could be met with retaliation against the clergy.
Archbishop Andronik of Permwho worked as a missionary in Japan, who was shot after being forced to dig his own grave. In the first five years after the Bolshevik revolution, an English journalist estimated that 28 bishops and 1, priests were executed.
The church closings ended for a period and abuses were investigated. The Soviet leadership debated how best to combat religion. The positions ranged from the 'rightist' belief that religion would die on its own naturally with increasing education and the 'leftist' belief that religion needed to be attacked strongly.
Lenin called the struggle to disseminate atheism 'the cause of our state'. Anti-religious education began in secondary schools in The state changed its position on the renovationists and began to increasingly see them as an independent threat in the late s due to their great success in attracting people to religion.
This attitude of loyalty, however, provoked more divisions in the church itself: The Komsomol and later LMG would try to implement the 10th Congress resolution by various attacks, parades, theatrical performances, journals, brochures and films.
The Komsomol would hold crude blasphemous 'Komsomol Christmases' and 'Komsomol Easters' headed by hooligans dressed as orthodox clergy. The propaganda campaign, however, was a failure and many people remained with their religious convictions. The church held its own public events with some success, and well competed with the anti-religious propaganda during these years.
USSR anti-religious campaign — The Orthodox church suffered terribly in the s, and many of its members were killed or sent to labor camps. Between andthe number of Orthodox churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29, to fewer than The watershed year waswhen Soviet policy put much new legislation in place that formed the basis for the harsh anti-religious persecution in the s.
Anti-religious education was introduced beginning in the first-grade in and anti-religious work was intensified throughout the education system. At the same time, in order to remove the church's intellectuals and support official propaganda that only backward people believed in God,  the government conducted a massive purge of Christian intellectuals, most of whom died in the camps or in prison.
This caused many religious tracts to be circulated as illegal literature or samizdat. The League of the Militant Godless, under Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, was the main instrument of the anti-religious campaign and it was given special powers that allowed it to dictate to public institutions throughout the country what they needed to do for the campaign.
The clergy were attacked as foreign spies and trials of bishops were conducted with their clergy as well as lay adherents who were reported as 'subversive terroristic gangs' that had been unmasked. The debate between the 'rightist' and 'leftist' sides of how to best combat religion found some conclusion in and afterwards, when the state officially condemned extremes on both sides.
Marxist leaders who took either position on this issue would find themselves attacked by a paranoid Stalin who did not tolerate other authorities to speak as authorities on public policy. Of these, overwere shot. A decline in enthusiasm in the campaign occurred in the late s. Official Soviet figures reported that up to one third of urban and two thirds of rural population still held religious beliefs by However, the anti-religious campaign of the past decade and the terror tactics of the militantly atheist regime, had effectively eliminated all public expressions of religion and communal gatherings of believers outside of the walls of the few churches that still held services.
Anti-religious work in these territories was lax in comparison with the rest of the country, which as a whole experienced a decline in persecution after the annexations. The regular seven-day work week was brought back in Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in Juneand many churches were re-opened under the German occupation.
Stalin ended the anti-religious campaign in order to rally the country and prevent a large base of Nazi support which existed in some areas in the early stages of the invasion. In Septemberthree months after the Nazi attack, the last antireligious periodicals were shut down, officially because of a paper shortage.
Ukrainian Banderist nationalist partisans killed a number of clergy under the occupation who retained loyalty to the Patriarch.
The Germans, while allowing the reopening of churches and religious life in the occupied region, did not allow for seminaries to reopen due to the occupation objective of eliminating education for the Slavic peoples, which would be reduced to no more than the first two primary school grades.
They received permission to convene a council on September 8,that elected Sergius Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The official legislation was never withdrawn, however, which is suggestive that the authorities did not consider that this tolerance would become permanent.
The Moscow Theological Academy Seminarywhich had been closed sincewas re-opened. Many surviving clergy could return from camps or prisons, although a significant number especially those who did not recognize Sergii's loyalty pledge remained and were not allowed to return unless they renounced their position. Some clergy that had not recognized the pledge, such as Bishop Afanasii Sakharovrecognized the validity of the new election and even encouraged those in the underground church to do so as well, but were not allowed to return from exile despite this.
Even after the rapprochement, there was still use of terror tactics in some cases. After the Red Army recaptured occupied territories, many clergy in these territories were arrested and sent to prisons or camps for very long terms, allegedly for collaboration with the Germans, but effectively for their rebuilding of religious life underneath the occupation.
This was because under the occupation he had been a zealous pastor and had done very successful missionary work. In reference to missionary work in the occupied territory near Leningrad he wrote 'We opened and re-consecrated closed churches, carried out mass baptisms. It's hard to imagine how, after years of Soviet domination, people hungered after the Word of God. We married and buried people; we had literally no time for sleep.
I think that if such a mission were sent today  to the Urals, Siberia or even the Ukraine, we'd see the same result. He used the opportunity of the occupation to very actively revive church life and suffered threats from the Nazis for remaining loyal to the Patriarch in Moscow.
After the Nazis retreated, he was sentenced to eleven years of hard labor in Eastern Siberia for reviving church life. He was released in He was consecrated a bishop in just before the invasion, and he suffered some pressure from the occupying forces to break relations with the Patriarch in Moscow, but he resisted. After the Germans retreated he was arrested and imprisoned for twelve years in the Kolyma campsfrom which experience he never physically recovered and lost all of his hair.
These mass arrests were echoed in territories that were not even occupied by the Germans. For example, in April there was a wave of arrests in Moscow of clergy that belonged to Bishop Afanasii's group that had returned to the official church; they were sentenced to long terms of hard labor.
Many laity were arrested and imprisoned as well including the religious philosopher SI Fudel; most of them had already been in prison and few of them would see freedom until after Stalin died. The spiritual father of the group, Fr Seraphim Batiukovhad died inbut his body was dug up and disposed of elsewhere in order to prevent pilgrimages to his grave by people who believed him to be a saint. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Between and the official organization of the church was greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were occasionally arrested and exiled.
The number of open churches reached 25, By about 22, Russian Orthodox churches had become active. But inNikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12, churches. Byfewer than 7, churches remained active[ citation needed ]. As the Red Army progressively began to push the German soldiers out of Russia and victory became more certain, anti-religious propaganda began to resurrect.
I would need more time than the prosecutor for a concrete analysis of the trials, because it is more difficult to disentangle than to entangle. This work I will accomplish in the press and before the future commission. My task today is to unmask the fundamental, original viciousness of the Moscow trials, to show the motive forces of the frame-up, its true political aims, the psychology of its participants and of its victims.
How to explain this crying discrepancy? For, after the execution of the 16 we were told that the depositions of Zinoviev, Kamenev and the others were voluntary, sincere, and corresponded to the facts. Moreover, Zinoviev and Kamenev demanded the death penalty for themselves!
Why then did they not say a word about the most important thing: Could they themselves, the leaders of the so-called centre, not have known what was known by the accused in the last trial, people of a secondary category? The enigma is easily explained: The most feeble part of the trial of the 16 is the accusation against old Bolsheviks of an alliance with the secret police of Hitler, the Gestapo.
Neither Zinoviev, nor Kamenev, nor Smirnov, nor in general any one of the accused with political names, confessed to this liaison; they stopped short before this extreme self-abasement! It follows that I, through obscure, unknown intermediaries, such as Olberg, Berman, Fritz David and others, had entered into an alliance with the Gestapo for such grand purposes as the obtaining of a Honduran passport for Olberg.
The whole thing was too foolish. No one wanted to believe it. The whole trial was discredited. It was necessary to correct the gross error of the stage-managers at all costs.
It was necessary to fill up the hole. Yagoda was replaced by Yezhov. A new trial was placed on the order of the day. Stalin decided to answer his critics in this way: Very well, I will show you that the purpose of his alliance with Hitler was to provoke war and partition out the world.
Stalin banishes Trotsky
In the principal roles of the principal presentation he could place only secondary actors! It is not superfluous to note that Stalin attached much value to Piatakov and Radek as collaborators. The version about my meetings with the rotten trash of the Gestapo through unknown occasional intermediaries was dropped.
The matter was suddenly raised to the heights of the world stage! With the aid of a gigantic elevator the plot ascends during a period of five months from the dirty police dregs to the heights on which are decided the destinies of nations. Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smirnov, Mrachkovsky, went to their graves without knowing of these grandiose schemes, alliances, and perspectives. Such is the fundamental falsehood of the last amalgam! It is difficult to imagine a mere stupid and deceitful explanation!
I really did not have confidence in Zinoviev and Kamenev after their capitulation, and I have had no connection with them since But I had still less confidence in Radek and Piatakov! Already in Radek delivered into the hands of the GPU the oppositionist Blumkin, who was shot silently and without trial. Here is what I wrote then in the Bulletin of the Russian Opposition which appears abroad: But it would be criminal to hide the truth out of sentimental considerations Radek and Piatakov themselves regarded Zinoviev and Kamenev as their superiors, and in this self-appreciation they were not mistaken.
But more than that. Such is the primary falsehood of the last trial. It appears by itself in broad daylight. We know its source. We see the strings off-stage. We see the brutal hand which pulls them. Radek and Piatakov confessed to frightful crimes. But their crimes, from the point of view of the accused and not of the accusers, do not make sense. With the aid of terror, sabotage and alliance with the imperialists, they would have liked to re-establish capitalism in the Soviet Union. Throughout their entire lives they struggled against capitalism.
Perhaps they were guided by personal motives: Under any other regime Piatakov and Radek could not hope to occupy higher positions than those which they occupied before their arrest. Perhaps they were so stupidly sacrificing themselves out of friendship for me? By their actions, speeches, and articles during the last eight years, Radek and Piatakov demonstrated that they were my bitter enemies.
But is it possible that the oppositionists, after all the revolutionary experience in Russia, could not have foreseen that this would only serve as a pretext for the extermination of the best fighters? No, they knew that, they foresaw it, they stated it hundreds of times.
Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union
No, terror was not necessary for us. On the other hand it was absolutely necessary for the ruling clique. On the 4th of Marcheight years ago, I wrote: He absolutely must connect the opposition with attempts at assassination, the preparation of armed insurrection, etc. Bonapartism has never existed in history without police fabrications of plots! The Opposition would have to be composed of cretins to think that an alliance with Hitler or the Mikado, both of whom are doomed to defeat in the next war, that such an absurd, inconceivable, senseless alliance could yield to revolutionary Marxists anything but disgrace and ruin.
On the other hand, such an alliance — of the Trotskyists with Hitler — was most necessary for Stalin. According to the official versionthe Trotskyists had been organising the most monstrous plot since However, all of them, as if by command, spoke and wrote in one way but acted in another.
In spite of the hundreds of persons implicated in the plot, over a period of five years, not a trace of it was revealed: Then a new miracle came to pass. Yesterday they dreamed only of killing Stalin. Today they all sing hymns of praise to him. You lie about the human soul in general. The miracle consists not only in the simultaneity and the universality of the confessions.
The miracle, above all, is that, according to the general confessions, the conspirators did something which was fatal precisely to their own political interests, but extremely useful to the leading clique. Once more the conspirators before the tribunal said just what the most servile agents of Stalin would have said. Normal people, following the dictates of their own will, would never have been able to conduct themselves as Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Piatakov and the others did.
Devotion to their ideas, political dignity, and the simple instinct of self-preservation would force them to struggle for themselves, for their personalities, for their interests, for their lives.
The only reasonable and fitting question is this: Who led these people into a state in which all Human reflexes are destroyed, and how did he do it?
There is a very simple principle in jurisprudence, which holds the key to many secrets: The entire conduct of the accused has been dictated from beginning to end, not by their own ideas and interests, but by the interests of the ruling clique.
And the pseudo-plot, and the confessions, the theatrical judgment and the entirely real executions, all were arranged by one and the same hand. The hand of Stalin! In the trials there did not figure fighters, nor conspirators, but puppets in the hands of the GPU. They played assigned roles. The aim of the disgraceful performance: The accusation is a premeditated frame-up. The prosecutor Vyshinsky knows this very well.
That is why he did not address a single concrete question to the accused, which would have embarrassed them considerably. The names, documents, dates, places, means of transportation, circumstances of the meetings — around these decisive facts Vyshinsky has placed a cloak of shame, or to be more exact, a shameless cloak. Vyshinsky dealt with the accused, not in the language of the jurist, but in the conventional language of the past-master of frame-up, in the jargon of the thief.
But I do not intend to limit myself to these negative proofs. Vyshinsky has not demonstrated and cannot demonstrate that the subjective confessions were genuine, that is to say, in harmony with the objective facts. I undertake a much more difficult task: Of what do my proofs consist?
I will give you a couple of examples. I should need at least an hour to lay before you the two principal episodes: I have at my disposal a complete arsenal of proofs that Holtzman did not come to see me in Copenhagen, and that Piatakov did not come to see me in Oslo.
Now I mention only the simplest proofs, all that the limitations of time permit. Unlike the other defendants, Holtzman indicated the date: November 23—25, the secret is simple: Holtzman came to visit me through my son, Leon Sedov, whom he, Holtzman, had met in the Hotel Bristol. When he came to Copenhagen, Holtzman actually met Sedov in the lobby of this hotel.
From there they both came to see me. We sigh in relief: The sad part of it, however, dear listeners, is that my son was not in Copenhagen, neither in November nor at any other time in his life. I beg you to keep this well in mind! In Novembermy son was in Berlin, that is, in Germany and not in Denmark, and made vain efforts to leave in order to meet me and his mother in Copenhagen: Our daily telephonic communications with my son from Copenhagen to Berlin can be established by the telephone office in Copenhagen.Leon Trotsky - Soviet Politician - Minin Bio - BIO
Dozens of witnesses, who at that time surrounded my wife and myself in Copenhagen, knew that we awaited our son impatiently, but in vain. Thanks precisely to these incessant efforts and obstacles, the fact that the meeting never materialised remains in the memories of dozens of people. They all live abroad and have already given their written depositions.
I should hope so! Because they are indulgent only with the GPU! I will meet them half way. I have still more immediate, still more direct, and still more indisputable proofs. Actually, our meeting with our son took place after we left Denmark, in France, en route to Turkey. That meeting was made possible only thanks to the personal intervention of the French Premier, at that time, M. Fortunately they have not succeeded.
The two telegrams were luckily found some weeks ago in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Russian revolution of was marked by two revolutions: Before the February Russian revolution, Lenin had formulated a slogan calling for the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry", but after the February revolution through his April Theses, Lenin instead called for "all power to the Soviets".
Lenin nevertheless continued to emphasise as did Trotsky also the classical Marxist position that the peasantry formed a basis for the development of capitalism, not socialism. Once the February Russian revolution had broken out, Trotsky admitted the importance of a Bolshevik organisation and joined the Bolsheviks in July Despite the fact that many like Stalin saw Trotsky's role in the October Russian revolution as central, Trotsky says that without Lenin and the Bolshevik Party the October revolution of would not have taken place.
As a result, since Trotskyism as a political theory is fully committed to a Leninist style of democratic centralist party organisation, which Trotskyists argue must not be confused with the party organisation as it later developed under Stalin.
Trotsky had previously suggested that Lenin's method of organisation would lead to a dictatorship, but it is important to emphasise that after orthodox Trotskyists argue that the loss of democracy in the Soviet Union was caused by the failure of the revolution to successfully spread internationally and the consequent wars, isolation and imperialist intervention, not the Bolshevik style of organisation.
Lenin's outlook had always been that the Russian revolution would need to stimulate a Socialist revolution in Western Europe in order that this European socialist society would then come to the aid of the Russian revolution and enable Russia to advance towards socialism.
We have stressed in a good many written works, in all our public utterances, and in all our statements in the press that [ First, if it is given timely support by a socialist revolution in one or several advanced countries.
Trotsky's permanent revolution had foreseen that the working class would not stop at the bourgeois democratic stage of the revolution, but proceed towards a workers' state as happened in The Polish Trotskyist Isaac Deutscher maintains that in Lenin changed his attitude to Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution and after the October revolution it was adopted by the Bolsheviks.
Leon Trotsky - Wikiquote
Trotskyism meant the idea that the Russian proletariat might win the power in advance of the Western proletariat, and that in that case it could not confine itself within the limits of a democratic dictatorship but would be compelled to undertake the initial socialist measures. It is not surprising, then, that the April theses of Lenin were condemned as Trotskyist. Before his death inwhile describing Trotsky as "distinguished not only by his exceptional abilities—personally he is, to be sure, the most able man in the present Central Committee" and also maintaining that "his non-Bolshevik past should not be held against him", Lenin criticized him for "showing excessive preoccupation with the purely administrative side of the work" and also requested that Stalin be removed from his position of General Secretary, but his notes remained suppressed until In this pamphlet, Bukharin explains and embraces Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution, writing: The grand total of relationships which have arisen in Europe leads to this inevitable conclusion.
Thus, the permanent revolution in Russia is passing into the European proletarian revolution". Yet it is common knowledge, Trotsky argues, that three years later in "Bukharin was the chief and indeed the sole theoretician of the entire campaign against 'Trotskyism', summed up in the struggle against the theory of the permanent revolution".