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The accused in the trials of 1936-1938, guilty?

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Post 06 Apr 2020, 00:44
Excuse my english:

I find it VERY difficult to believe that the "fathers of the revolution" (speaking about those closest to Lenin at the moment of seizing power) were guilty of the accusations (some of which sound ridiculous) made in the trials: Of planning to kill Stalin, of having killed Kirov, of planning a coup to overthrow socialism or even the USSR itself. I find it absolutely inconceivable. Why would they want that? It's evident that Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin and the rest were oppositionists to the policies of Stalin, and had they been in power, they would have sought to build socialism with their own personal policies. But, to claim that they formed part of a conspiracy to get rid of socialism is barbaric. Unless i'm mistaken and they were really guilty, of course.

The immense majority of authors (not just those of the west) declare that the accusations made in the trials and all the evidence presented to support them were inventions, falsifications, etc. and to tell the truth i find a lot of sense in that, not per se, but because the contrary, that they were guilty of those things, goes against common sense. Robert Conquest spreads the pathetic theory that "Stalin was a bloody dictator that wanted to consolidate his dictatorship". Obviously this is not true. I believe much more the thesis of James Harris or Ian Grey, which claim that Stalin was paranoic about possible invations from other countries, or dissidence within society and the party. Moved by that fear, he carried out the purges. But like Robert Conquest, both James Harris and Ian Grey defend that the charges, in its great majority, were inventions. Personally, i'm very aware about the existence of oppositionists groups inside the USSR. But i belive that Stalin, in his paranoia, exaggerated without limits the degree of threat or power of said organizations, which led him to kill thousands and thousands of innocents, falsifying evidence or forcing conffessions to incriminate others, etc. I'm in favor of the purges, they served to unify the country and Party, one of the reasons the USSR won WWII. But i still want to know if the accused were actually guilty of something, or not.

So, is there evidence to prove that the evidence presented in the trials was real? Do you consider the accused guilty, or innocent? Why?
Post 06 Apr 2020, 14:18
The soviet government definitely committed a lot mistakes during its early years. I honestly can't blame the paranoia that existed within soviet society too much because capitalist forces from all over the world really did throw everything but the kitchen sink in order to destroy the world's first worker's state ever since its inception. The fact that many were falsely accused is self evident in the wave of rehabilitations that took place after 1953. My girlfriend's ancestors were repressed in the thirties and forties for having had relatives who were white guards during the Russian civil war, only to be rehabilitated in the fifties.

Bukharin is the one I probably most sympathise with, as he seems from what little I've read to have been a decent guy. His charges were fabricated. Zinoviev and Kamenev on the other hand seemed to be double-dealing two-timers, whose charges although trumped-up, probably don't deserve to be cried over.

EDIT: El Kaiser, please, from now on start threads in the appropriate forums. This topic doesn’t have anything to do with communist literature, and should have been posted in The Dustbin of History sub-forum.
Post 05 Jul 2020, 21:32
On the matter of the two historians mentioned , here are excerpts from a couple articles I have found online .
When Stalin’s private papers were released in 2000, historians initially expected to see a gap between them and Stalin’s public self-presentation as a loyal follower of Lenin and defender of the Revolution. But it wasn’t there. In public and in private, Stalin was committed to building socialism, not to building a personal dictatorship for its own sake. So what was the motivation behind the Terror? The answers required a lot more digging, but it gradually became clearer that the violence of the late 1930s was driven by fear. Most Bolsheviks, Stalin among them, believed that the revolutions of 1789, 1848 and 1871 had failed because their leaders hadn’t adequately anticipated the ferocity of the counter-revolutionary reaction from the establishment. They were determined not to make the same mistake.

So they created elaborate systems for gathering information on external and internal threats to their revolution. But those systems were far from perfect. They painted threats in far darker colours than was warranted. For example, the Bolsheviks spent much of the 1920s and 1930s anticipating invasion from coalitions of hostile capitalist states — coalitions that did not exist. Other perceived threats were also exaggerated beyond all proportion: scheming factions, disloyal officials, wreckers, saboteurs.
In his classic work author Ian Grey paints a proactive picture. Leaving behind sections on Stalin’s crimes he instead focuses on the man himself (a daring proposition when writing about revolutionary figures). Clearly sympathetic to Stalin, and even at times hostile to Trotsky and other leading members of the Left Opposition, Ian does this in an attempt to set the record straight; that comrade Stalin was, above all, human and not some inhuman monster...While critical he is not hostile. While friendly he is not an ally... And though one can obviously find a much better biography of Stalin if one is interested in something nothing more than a flattery, for those of us interested in truly fair and balanced conclusions may look no further. I think that if one wants an uncritical appraisal of the trials held at the time , from an outside observer no less , I would recommend " Mission to Moscow " ; which illustrates the favorable impression that even an U.S. ambassador had at the time .
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