Document 39

N. Prokofiev's "political biography."



To the archive, the personal file of Prokofiev



Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Comintern,

comrade Manuilsky,

Head of the Cadres Department of the Comintern,

com. Belov,

Secretary of the ECCI Party committee,

com. Kotelnikov


            In response to com[rade] Manuilsky's request, I write the following information about my political biography.

            In 1924-25, I was at an oblast [party] meeting in Leningrad where the enemies of the people Glebov-Avilov [and] Rumiantsev tried to insinuate a Trotskyist-Zinovievite position into the meeting, in particular concerning the issue of the middle peasant [seredniak] [and] of the necessity of introducing standing delegates into meetings of seredniak youth.  We, the Pskov delegation, and I in particular, were actively opposed to this effort.  At the time of the XIV Party Congress [1925], I was the secretary of the Komsomol committee for Ostrovskii uezd in Leningrad oblast.  Since only at the party congress did the position of the opposition become known, I actively mobilized the organization in the fight against the opposition [and] for the party line.  In the Ostrovskii organization at that time, three oppositionists (Magdariev, Koshin, Sokolov) had been sent [to do] Komsomol work.  They were all expelled from the organization as people who, already at that time, were actively undermining the work of the Komsomol.  In Leningrad in 1926, at a meeting of Komosomol activists from the Narva and Vyborg districts, along with com. Sobolev, I came out against the openly hostile efforts of Rumiantsev, Tolmazov and Surovag.  In the Vyborg raion, it came to physical clashes with the oppositionists in which I participated.

            For my part, I actively participated in the struggle against the Rights.  In that period [1928-1929], I was the secretary of the Komsomol of the Velikolutsky OC [oblast committee].  The Komsomol organization in this region, which I headed, was the first organization in Leningrad oblast to turn out for the introduction of collectivization. 

            In 1930, when I was the secretary of the Komsomol of the Volodarskii RK [raion comittee] in Leningrad, on my initiative we broke up (without the NKVD's intervention) an illegal meeting of young Zinovievite oppositionists who were meeting in the cemetary of the Alexander Nevsky monastery in connection with [to comemmorate] the anniversary of the death of the Trotskyist Kankin (the former secretary of the Komsomol collective of "Krasnyi Putilov" [factory]).

            Also in 1930, I addressed the oblast party conference (S. M. Kirov gave the introductory remarks), at which I clearly depicted the hypocrisy (of the repentance) of the Zinovievites [and] stated that this serpent [zmeya] was again creeping into the party's ranks and carrying a grudge against the party.

            In 1930, I happened to participate in the struggle with the former secretary of the Komsomol of the Leningrad OC, R. Vladimirov.  In the fall of that year, Vladimirov began spreading the Trotskyist-Bukharinist theory about the futility and hopelessness of the Komsomol.  In this struggle against Vladimirov, I gave active support to the Komsomol CC, in particular to com. Kosarev.[i]  Not working in the Komsomol at that time, my service was that the Volodarsky raion [party committee] turned out in support of the CC's crushing defeat of the "Vladimirovshchina."  After that, when the foul murder of com. Kirov had been committed, com. Kosarev, together with com. Ezhov, on the instructions of the CC VKP(b), went to Leningrad to purge it of hostile party elements.  I went personally to com. Kosarev and pointed out to him that Vladimirov (who at that time was the second secretary of the raion party committee in Moskovskii raion) was a former Trotskyist.  As a result of com. Kosarev's investigation, Vladimirov was removed from the party.  In the summer of 1937, fearing exposure, Vladimirov shot himself.

            In 1931, at com. Kosarev's suggestion and in accordance with the decision of the Orgburo CC VKP(b), I was sent to work in the EC KIM.

            Spring 1932, I was abroad with the leaders of the VEB.[ii]  My activity focused primarily on the struggle against the Neumann-Remel group, that is against Mueller, Hiller, Walter and others.  In this struggle, I relied on the advice of com. Dimitrov (who was in Berlin at that time and with whom I had several meetings) and com[rades] Sher and Thaelmann with whom I also met.  For my active struggle against this group, Neumann and Mueller, with Knorin's help, wanted to remove me, but they did not succeed in doing so since at the XII ECCI Plenum they were smashed politically and the Comintern's and Thaelmann's line triumphed.

            In 1932, while working in Berlin, twice I had to deal with the situation in the Spanish union [i.e. Komsomol].  As a result, the Trotskyist Vega (the former secetary of the CC of the Spanish KSM [Komsomol]) and his followers were thrown out of the leadership.

            In 1933, I raised the question of the mistaken [political] line of the Polish [youth] union in its struggle with the Trotskyists (several districts in Warsaw and Lodz had fallen into the Trotskyists' hands).  As a result, there was a change in the union's line, [and] Stefak-Rudy was removed from the leadership.  He has now been expelled from the party's ranks.  I struggled for the Comintern's line on the Bulgarian question [and], on my initiative, acting in concert with the Foreign Bureau of the CPB[ulgaria], Rumenov, Tsetkov (arrested), [and] Popov (arrested) were dismissed from work in the KIM apparatus.

            On my initiative, special tasks were enacted for purging the leaderships of the [youth] unions of Trotskyist elements within the Komsomols of Greece, Czechoslovakia [and] Austria.  On my initiative, the question of replacing and expelling San Fuentos, the secretary of the Chilean [youth] union, was put forward [as was the case of] Forslued [who worked for] the Agitprop [department] the CC of the Canadian Komsomol and [was] the second secretary of the Swedish [youth] union.

            On my initiative, during the last two years [1936-37], the following people were purged for not inspiring political confidence:

            Polit[ical] workers [in the EC KIM apparatus]:

            Gaft, Chevalier, Douglas, Viktorovich, Panteleev, Fritz Balder, Arno, Landver (arrested), Inka (deported from the Soviet Union), Dolly Verner, Nowak, Vera Nowak, Tsetkov, Rumenov, Gary Wilde (arrested), Kocheryants, Vintsel, Steiger Karl (reportedly arrested), Karl Mueller, Baum, Verbenov, Petrova, Yonkers, Darnitskaya, Bergman, Shtorm, Maisky.

            Technical Workers:

            Laasko Sali, Rozenberg, Fainshtein, Zvonkin, Marto, Ketner L., Donets, Kalinin, Rokovitz, Klinger, Hennesey, Furboten.

            If I noticed someone doing something hostile to the party, I immediately notified the leaders of the Comintern and the NKVD.  Among such people were the following:

            1.  Wasilowski--former editor of the newspaper "Za industrializatsiu."  I sent material on him to the NKVD and the CC VKP(b).  At the last CC VKLSM [Komsomol] plenum, com. Tal told me that this helped him to unmask Wasilowski as an enemy.

            2.  Gonchev (Alexandrov), Bulgarian.  I sent materials about him to the NKVD and the Cadres Department--he has been arrested.

            3.  Tsetkov (Bulgraia).  I sent materials about him to the NKVD and the Cadres Department--he has been arrested.

            4.  Khitarov (former General Secretary of the KIM), second secretary of the Cheliabinsk Obkom [oblast committee] VKP(b).  I personally collected compromising materials about him and sent [them] to com. Dimitrov, to the NKVD, and to com. Kosarev.  Since the material was very serious, com. Kosarev sent it to com. Andreev--rumor has it that Khitarov has been arrested.

            5.  Krajewski (information reached me that he had close ties to Walter (CC [Communications Department]).  I sent this material to com. Manuilsky and the NKVD.

            6.  Tsoi-Shenu.  I personally collected materials about him on the basis of which he was expelled from the party.  I sent those materials to the NKVD and com. Lanfang (KRO) [counter-revolutionary department of NKVD?] told me that these materials helped them to identify Tsoi-Shenu as an enemy.

            7.  Baronchini.  I sent to the NKVD materials about his ties to Trotskyists (in Odessa, in Nikolaev) and about his being in a fascist organization and having behaved treacherously during his arrest in Italy.

            8.  Khodorova--a former KIM worker, she was sent to the Executive Committee by Molchanov[iii] (NKVD) personally.  I personally removed her from work and sent materials on her to the NKVD--she has been arrested.

            9.  Krumin--I informed com. Moskvin and Kotelnikov and the NKVD about his close and very suspicious ties to Rudzutak.[iv]

            10.  Nazarov--the former head of the Org[anizational] Department in the CC VLKSM, recently he was the secretary of the Saratov Kraikom [district committee] of the Komsomol.  In spring 1936, I placed before the CC VLKSM (com. Kosarev) and the NKVD the question of his being a former Trotskyist who is actively, illegally struggling against the party--now Nazarov has been unmasked.

            11.  Davidovich--the former secretary of one of the Komsomol dist[rict] com[mittees] in Moscow.  I placed before com. Kosarev and the MC [Moscow Committee] of the Komsomol the question of her participation in factionalist groups in the Polish party and her suspicious entry into the country ([through] West[ern] Belorussia).  She has been arrested.

            12.  Poliakov--the former secretary of the Kiev Dist[rict] Com[mittee] of the Komsomol.  I placed before the CC and the MC of the Komsomol the question of his suspicious ties to Ozrin.  Unmasked.

            13.  Frumkin--twice I placed before the NKVD the question about him, giving specific facts.  On the basis of the materials gathered by me and forwarded by our party com[mittee] and party organization, to which he belonged, Frumkin was expelled from the VKP(b).

            14.  Asmarova--a worker in the CC VKP(b).  While on vacation in Sochi, I accidently learned about her longstanding ties to Alikhanov [and] brought this to the attention of the NKVD.

            15.  Shubin.  In 1936, his non-party attitude towards com. Stalin became known to me.  I immediately brought this to the attention of com. Manuilsky.

            16.  Mira Poliakova--a former KIM worker, of late she [has been] working in the organs of the People's Commissariat of Defense.  I brought [the fact] that she was connected with Abramov, Kurella, Saltanov and Antipov to the attention of the leaders of this organization.

            17.  Alekseev--a former KIM worker, he now works in the same place as Poliakova.  I raised the question of his ties to Saltanov, Ptukhoi, Yerofitsky and Khapchenko with the leaders of this organization.

            18.  Dvorina--a former KIM worker.  I placed before the Kiev dist[rict] com[mittee] of the party the question of her close ties to enemies of the people Listovsky, Demchug and others.

            19.  Buyanov--a former KIM worker.  I raised the question of his close ties to Saltanov and his Trotskyist past with the organs of the NKVD.

            20.  Saltanov--when the suicide of a chauffeur in Saltanov's apartment became known to me and Krasnov,[v] it was decided [to ask] com Kosarev to investigate this fact, since we then suspected [that] Saltanov has homosexual traits [u Saltanova elementy muzhelozhstva].

            21.  Kharchenko.  I learned that Kharchenko personally had at his disposal large sums of foreign currency.  Krasnov and I then placed this question before Chemodanov so that the issue would be brought to Kosarev's attention.

            22.  Lukianov.  At the opening of the X Congress of the VLKSM, I learned by chance that Vasiliev had held a meeting in [his] apartment regarding factional organizational issues.  Lukianov, Saltanov, Cherna [and] Vasiliev [attended].  I immediately communicated this fact to com. Kosarev.

            23.  Listovsky--the former secretary of the Far Eastern District Committee [Kraikom] of the Komsomol.  Being the envoy to the Komsomol's Far Eastern conference [and] being acquainted with the state of affairs in the organization, even before the opening of the conference, I sent an encoded telegram to com. Kosarev about removing Listovsky from the leadership.  But the answer was such that this issue was not decided locally.  After the X Congress, in the Bureau of the CC, where Listovsky presented his report on the FEC [Far Eastern Committee] of the Komsomol, I came out with a harsh criticism of the the organization's condition.  Listovsky was freed from work in the FEC, but remained the secretary of the Northern Caucasus district committee of the Komsomol.

            24.  Regarding Finnish cadres.  I sent to com[rades] Dimitrov [and] Moskvin a reporting memo on the beginnings of decomposition [o nalichii razlozheniia] among the Finnish party cadres.  Com. Dimitrov approved of my raising this issue, saying this is a very important political issue.  A special commission was created to investigate the materials that I had collected.  As a result, a group of people were released from work and received party reprimands.

            25.  Regarding Polish cadres.  Upon receiving permission from com. Manuilsky, [and] making good use of Poles working in the KIM, I collected compromising materials on a series of leaders of the Polish party, among them Lenski, Brankovsky [Bronkowski], Bielewski, and sent these materials to comrades Dimitrov, Manuilsky, Moskvin and to the NKVD.

            26.  Regarding Austrian cadres.  In connection with the unmasking of the Trotskyist group in the the Austrian Komsomol, I collected, in addition [to those on] the youth, materials [which] demanded the investigation of specific party workers, in particular Konrad.  All these materials I sent to c[omardes] Dimitrov, Manuilsky and to the NKVD.

            In addition to the abovementioned facts, which describe my specific activity in unmasking enemies, it was [is] possible [for me] to cite another ten families, on the whole foreigners, who provoke doubts or suspicions.  Materials on these [families] were forwarded to the organs of the NKVD.


                                                                                    (N. Prokofiev)

                                                                                    N. Prokofiev

19 December 1937


RGASPI, f. 495, op. 10a, d. 395, ll. 31-38.

Original in Russian.  Typewritten with signature and handwritten notations.



[i]Aleksandr Vasilevich Kosarev (1903-1939).  He joined the Komsomol in 1918 and became a  party member in 1919.  He served in the Red Army.  In 1921, he was the secretary of the Bauman district Komsomol committee in Moscow; from 1924 to 1926, the secretary of the Penza provincial Komsomol committee.  In 1926, he was the secretary of the Moscow-Narva district Komsomol committee in Leningrad.  In 1927, he became the Secretary of the CC of the All-Union Komsomol, and in 1929 its Secretary-General.  In 1930-34, he was a candidate member of the Orgburo of the VKP CC; in 1934, he became a full member of the Orgburo.  From 1930, a candidate member of CC.  In 1938, he was elected to the Supreme Soviet.

[ii]As in the text, but it appears to be a mistake.  He is probably referring to the West European Bureau (Zapadnoevropeiskoe biuro--ZEB) since he mentions meeting Dimitrov in Berlin.  At that time, Dimitrov headed the ZEB and lived in Berlin.

[iii]Georgi Aleksandrovich Molchanov (??-1937).  A long-time worker in the security organs, in 1935-1937, Molchanov was the head of the Secret Political Department of the GUGB, NKVD USSR.  In that capacity, he played a central role in the interrogation of defendants in the August 1936 and January 1937 show trials.  In 1935, he was elected to the All-Union Central Executive Committee.  In very late 1936 or January 1937, he was appointed to head the Belorussian NKVD.  In February 1937, he was arrested and later shot.

[iv]Jan Ernestovich Rudzutak (1887-1938).  A Bolshevik Party member from 1905, he was active in trade union and economic affairs from 1917-1922.  He was a CC member from 1920 to 1937.  In 1923-24, he was a CC Secretary and candidate member of the Politburo and Orgburo.  In 1926 to 1932, he was a member of the Politburo and from 1934, a candidate member of that body.  From 1924 to 1930, he was the People's Commissar for Means of Communications.  From 1927 to 1937, he was the deputy chairman of the Sovnarkom and Council of Labor and Defense.  Arrested in 1937, he died in prison on 29 July 1938.

[v]Emil Vladimirovich Krasnov. Born in 1906, he joined the VKP in 1925. Between 1 December 1930 and 16 November 1937, he worked in the EC KIM apparatus as head of the Press Department, head of the Central European Secretariat, and head of the Propaganda Department. He was elected member of the EC KIM’s Presidium.  On 17 September 1937, he was expelled from the VKP for “failing to expose the enemy of the party and the people, Frumkin.” He was repressed.