Letter from F. Kotelnikov to the Rostokinsky District Committee of the VKP about the role of the ECCI party committee in the struggle against “politically suspicious individuals, provocateurs, spies.”
13. X. 39.
TO THE ROSTOKINSKY DISTRICT COMMITTEE OF THE VKP(b)
You asked me about the role of the Part[y] Bureau and previously the party committee in helping the Comintern Executive Committee leadership to verify the workers of the ECCI apparatus and to purge [it] of politically suspicious individuals, double-dealers, [political] degenerates, provocateurs, spies and saboteurs. I briefly informed you about what we had done in this area. You asked me to give [you] a written [report], which I am doing.
First of all, I have to note that I have worked without interruption as a leader of the party organization – deputy Secretary after 1934 and Secretary after May 1935 -- until now. Therefore, I am responsible for the situation in the organization, its purging of enemies of the people, of agents of Trotskyist-Zinovievite and Bukharinist bandits and saboteurs, and you have the right to ask what I, the Party Committee and the Party Bureau have done in this area. Before answering your question, it is necessary to remind [you] that the workers of the Comintern apparatus were, at some point, selected by the now-exposed worst enemies of the people -- Zinoviev, Trotsky, Bukharin, Pyatnitsky, Knorin and many other enemies. The assassination by the ignoble scum of society of Sergei Mironovich Kirov [who was] beloved by the people, [and] the appeal by our Leninist-Stalinist CC VKP(b) [and] the leader of our Party, com. Stalin to raise revolutionary vigilance, to examine our ranks and to purge them of double-dealers, shook us out of our philistine lethargy, from our blind trust and showed [us] what had to be done. There was a lot to be seriously done in our organization. Enemies, who had been working for years, cleverly disguised themselves and played a double game, occupied the most responsible positions, protected the conspirators and supported each other. Under these conditions, work was extremely difficult, but we did not lose our heads when faced with these challenges. Guided by Stalin’s compass, raising our revolutionary vigilance and relentlessness toward the enemies of the people, working energetically to verify our organization and the workers of its apparatus, we exposed many enemies of the people in the ECCI apparatus. I do not mean to claim that we managed to expose everybody and that we made no mistakes. We did make mistakes and we were far from exposing everybody. Many [people] were arrested with party cards in their pockets. However, it would not be an exaggeration to say that great cleansing work has been done. Who conducted it? The members of our organization who remained faithful to the end to the cause of our party, to com. Stalin, led by the party committee – Kotelnikov, Blagoeva, Reshetov,[ii] Krylova, Miller, with the assistance of cc. Dimitrov and Manuilsky.
In order to be specific, let us look at the facts which prove that we conducted serious work to purge our party organization and the ECCI apparatus of many enemies of the people.
1. MAGYAR – an experienced double-dealer and a vicious enemy of the people was exposed by us and arrested by the NKVD organs. See my reports on the party organization of the for[mer] Eastern Secretariat of December 1934 and of the general party meeting of 28/XII-34 (there is a verbatim report), where Magyar was exposed and expelled from the party. Based on my report, the district party committee confirmed his expulsion, and he was arrested while leaving [the building].
2. SINANI[iii] – (Saklava) a White guard officer, an organizer of terrorist groups composed of White officers [who sought] to murder the leaders of the party and the government. We exposed him and he was arrested by NKVD organs in 1935 before the VII [Comintern] Congress. See the materials of the party committee and the general party meeting. This enemy had been decorated with a medal and, according to the position which he then occ[upied], he would have been placed near the Presidium at the VII Congress. However, he was exposed before he could realize his foul plans.
3. Fritz-David – (he was not a VKP(b) member). A base agent of the bandits Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, whose bloody hands were stretching toward the heart and the brain of the party, the working class, toward the Central Committee of our party and its leader, com. Stalin. He worked in the ECCI apparatus, preparing himself and waiting for the moment to carry out his bloody, ignoble plan.
On 9/VII-1935, on the eve of the VII Congress, I interrogated this bandit for more than two hours, and everything was documented. It was revealed then that this active Menshevik was arrested in 1919 by the ChK [Cheka] and in 1926, he left for Germany in order to infiltrate the Communist party and from there to begin his career. He succeeded in this. The stenographic reports were sent to the Secretariat and to the NKVD. Thus we helped the NKVD organs to expose him.
4. HEINRICH (SUSSKIND) (a non-VKP(b) member) – by a resolution of the Party committee of 11/I-35, [we] exposed him as a double-dealer and secured his expulsion from the ranks of the fraternal Communist Party of Germany, his removal from the apparatus and later, his arrest by NKVD organs.
5. During the verification and exchange of the party documents, with our active participation [the following] were purged from the party and later arrested (as can be seen from the documents): Mironov, Kuchumov,[iv] Bran-Lota, Racyborski,[v] Liao,[vi] Kim-Semen,[vii] LiWon Sju,[viii] Badulesko, Berger.[ix]
6. During the same period in 1935 and in 1936, the Party committee examined several cases of for[mer] members of fraternal communist parties as they were exposed and thus we helped the NKVD organs to purge them from the apparatus, and they were arrested: Ander, Zaurland, Schroeder,[x] Marta-Moritz, Licht, Yugenfeld,[xi] Veil, Kalzan. (The materials can be seen here and in the NKVD.) This is still not a complete list.
7. All the work of the party committee and the party organization to verify its ranks and purge them of enemies of the people during the verification and exchange of the party documents did not suffice to expose many double-dealers, provocateurs and subversives who still remained in the ranks of our party organization even after the verification and exchange of the party documents.
Beginning in spring 1937 and in 1938, the party committee and the party organization began to actively verify their ranks and purge them of enemies of the people. We failed to expose many who had been arrested with party cards. Here are some results of the purging of the party organization in this period:
a) former party members arrested by the NKVD whose cases were not reviewed by the party committee – 24.
b) Arrested after their expulsion from the party ranks – 28.
c) Arrested after incurring party penalties and [our] giving of materials to NKVD organs – 27.
1. On direct orders from com. Dimitrov and c. Manuilsky, it became a routine in the apparatus of the Comintern Executive Committee that the Party Committee reviewed personal cases of the for[mer] members of the International Control Commission and representatives of some Communist parties.
We dealt with the cases of the for[mer] mem[bers] of the ICC – Walecki, Grzegorzewski, Iskrov. They were expelled from the party and later arrested. We gave our recommendations to the ECCI leadership and the NKVD regarding the former ICC members--Angaretis and Anvelt--[and] about their removal from their jobs. They were arrested.
We dealt with the cases of the for[mer] representatives of the Communist parties – Saln, Krumin, Stein – and expelled them from the party. They were later arrested.
On c. Dimitrov’s direct orders, we reviewed the cases of the for[mer] KIM Secretar[ies] Yanitsky and Massie.[xii] [We] gave our materials to the leadership of the ECCI and the NKVD, they were removed from [their] jobs, and Yanitsky was later arrested.
We based our decisions on the facts and we realized the tremendous responsibility. We did not try to protect ourselves, but at the same time we did not always recognize and expose the double-dealers.
In this document I am not dwelling on the work of the Party committee (now the Party bureau) in that period, on how we helped the ECCI leadership in selecting workers for the ECCI apparatus, on verifying and removing certain workers for political reasons or their performance. I suppose that what is shown here is sufficient to say that we did not stand on the sidelines during this most important political undertaking.
SECRETARY OF THE PARTY BUREAU OF THE PARTY ORGANIZATION OF THE ECCI APPARATUS: F. Kotelnikov (Kotelnikov).
RGASPI, f. 546, op. 1, d. 434, ll. 38-42.
Original in Russian. Typewritten.
[i] Agafia Mefodievna Perutskaia. Born in 1899, a member of the RKP(b) from 1922. In 1938-1939, she was deputy head of the Cadres Department of the Rostokinsky District VKP committee in Moscow, and the head of the of the Organizational and Instructional Department in that same committee. From late November 1939 to December 1941, she was the head of the agitprop department of the Rostokinsky District VKP committee. After March 1938, the ECCI party organization was part of the Rostokinsky District VKP organization and was subordinate to the Rostokinsky District party committee
[ii] Mikhail Andreevich Reshetov. Born in 1905, a member of the VKP from 1931. In 1932-1934, he was the facilities manager of the ECCI. In 1934-1939, he was a driver at the ECCI’s motor-transport depot. In 1939-1941, he was the head of the Cadres Department of the ECCI’s motor-transport depot.
[iii] Correct name -- Georgy Borisovich Sinani (Skalov).
[iv] Vladimir Nikolaevich Kuchumov. Born in 1900, a member of the RKP(b) from 1919. He worked in the ECCI apparatus between 1928 and January 1936 as head of the Far Eastern Section of the Eastern Secretariat of the ECCI, editor of the Kommunistichesky Internatsional magazine, and deputy head of the Latin American Secretariat.
[v] Jozef Racyborski (real name – Lipski) (1900-1937). A member of the CPP. In 1934-1935, he worked as an analyst in the ECCI apparatus. Between 1936 and 1937, he was a secretary of the editorial board of the Trybuna Radziecka in Moscow. He was arrested and, on 13 December 1937, sentenced to be shot.
[vi] Liao (Liau) Han Sin. Born in 1895, a member of the CPCh from June 1922; from 1923 to 1928, a member of the CPG; between 1924 and 1927 a member of the Kuomintang party; after 1929 a member of the VKP. Between 1932 and 1935, he worked in the ECCI’s Eastern Secretariat and was a Secretary of the Chinese delegation in the ECCI. In 1935-1938, he was an editor for the Foreign Workers’ Publishing House in the USSR. He was arrested on 27 February 1938. In May, he was sentenced by the Special Council of the NKVD to eight years in prison. Upon finishing his term, he was again arrested on 30 June 1948 and accused of espionage. Released on 26 April 1949. On 5 September 1951, he left for China.
[vii] Semyon Kim. Born in 1907, a member of the VKP between 1931 and 1935. No other information is available.
[viii] Li Won-Sju Born in 1904. A member of the VKP from 1929 to January 1936. After 1933, he was a translator in the Korean section of the Foreign Workers’ Publishing House in the USSR.
[ix] Iosif Berger (alias Barzilay). Born in 1904, a member of the CP of Palestine and Secretary of its CC between 1922 and 1931. Between 1931 and 1932, he was member of the CPG; a member of the VKP from 1932. In 1931-1932, he was a member of the Secretariat of the Anti-imperialist League in Berlin. Between 1932 and 1933, he was the deputy head of the Middle Eastern Section of the Eastern Secretariat of the ECCI. In 1933, he was expelled from the VKP as the one “not yet tested by the party and who have not proved his loyalty to the party.” In 1935, he was arrested and spent 21 years in prison. Upon his release in 1956, he left for Poland.
[x] Louise Schroeder (real name – Gertrud Pfister). Born in 1908, a member of the CPG from 1927. In August 1935, she moved to the USSR. Between 15 November 1935 and 15 October 1936, she worked as a typist in the Translations Department of the ECCI. In 1936, she received a party reprimand for lack of vigilance. On 6 April 1955, she left for permanent residence in the German Democratic Republic.
[xi] Refers to Betty Schenfeld.
[xii] Alexander Massie (1905-1947). A member of the CP of Great Britain from 1922, member of the CC of the YCL of Great Britain in 1926-1940. Between 1928 and 1938, he was a member of the EC KIM and between October 1935 and April 1938, a member of the EC KIM’s Secretariat.