Trotsky's widow broadcasts to the Russian workers, 1956: "New Regime of Lies—But Stalin's Old Methods"

Submitted by dalcassian on 8 August, 2014 - 11:51 Author: Natalia Ivanovna Sedova (widow of Leon Trotsky)

This is Natalia Ivanovna Sedova, widow of Leon Davidovich Trotsky, speaking from Mexico City. I am addressing myself to the workers and peasants and, in the first place, to the young people in Soviet Russia. The present rulers, Khrushchev, Bulganin, Mikoyan and others, having inherited the Stalinist dictatorship, are conducting an intensive propaganda campaign so as to distract from themselves the powerful wave of dissatisfaction and hatred for the thieves of the victories of 'the proletarian revolution, a wave "which grew in your hearts.

They are the same men who supported Stalin in all his bloody massacres, the aim of which was to frighten you with terror and thus to retain power in the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy. The very method of the campaign through which these men hope to absolve themselves of responsibility for their heinous crimes bears witness to the fact that the ruling clique is Stalin's faithful successor.

Stalin always followed the "scapegoat" method for failures of plans and orders arbitrarily enforced from above. Local bureaucrats tagged the blame on helpless workers and peasants and the GPU (secret police) did the rest.

Stalin himself did not spare even his most devoted servants, especially if they betrayed any trace of indecision or doubts. Stalin forced them to confess uncommitted crimes and heaped on them the blame for the decay and corruption of the regime. This method was already devised during the period of the old struggle against the Left Opposition headed by Leon Trotsky, and this method subsequently became the chief characteristic of the Stalinist system.

What then is the present campaign if not a continuation of the same method, but with one serious difference - today's scapegoats are really guilty of crimes of which they are accused. Beria was first. Then three years passed - three long years - before the present bosses dared to expose the criminal in the corpse of their leader. Now they declare to the entire world that in the process of building up the "cult of personality" Stalin lost his mental balance. His ailment, it appears, consisted in lacking complete confidence in the Molotovs, Khrushchevs, Kaganoviches and their like who were nonetheless completely devoted to him.


Just try and think: Who are these direct heirs of the unbalanced Stalin who declared themselves collective leaders of Soviet Russia? They admit, they admit to the entire world, that for many decades hot one among: them, among the collective leaders, dared - for fear for his own life - to come out with a proposal for, steps which would have saved the lives of millions of workers and peasants who were Vanished to concentration camps.

These are the nonentities who dare to demand from Russian workers and peasants unimaginable sacrifices in the struggle for a great cause. How long will they hold on under the pressure of great events? All their lives they showed no interest in improving the lot of the toilers; they were interested only in holding on to power and to all the privileges that go with power. Besides, the training they received from Stalin makes the realization of a collective leadership unlikely even in the imperfect form they have in mind. How can they trust each other knowing full well that while Stalin was alive each one among them would have been happy to sacrifice all and everything just to hold on to his own power and position? Events unfold slowly but it is unlikely that this leadership will last long. I realize with bitterness that many of my listeners were brought up completely in a Stalinist spirit. Young people were taught history which was thoroughly permeated with lies. Even those grains of truth which the rulers were forced to admit now make impossible the use of old history textbooks. Yet the new textbooks which are now being prepared, will they be more truthful than the old ones? The rulers of Russia are in a dilemma: which lies to admit and which lies to retain intact? WHAT THEY WONT TELL How can Khrushchev admit that the campaign of annihilation of the Stalinist leadership in the Ukraine, including Kossior, Antonov-Ovseyenko and others - a campaign which Khrushchev himself conducted while Stalin was alive - was based on lies? How can Voroshilov, this venerable chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, dare to admit openly that while signing the death sentences of the Red Army commanders Tukhachevsky, Yegorov, Gamarnik and others, he knew full well that all this was nothing but lies and frame-up? And the statesman Molotov - will he tell of the beautiful friendship with Hitler and Ribbentrop which culminated in Stalin's signing of the Hitler pact and which gave a green light to a world war? The murder of-Kirov in 1934 gave impetus to an unequaled campaign of executions and slander directed against entire strata of the Russian population. Will the leaders of the present regime tell us who is guilty of this crime? Will they admit that behind this bloody affair and all its consequences stood the sinister figure of the "father of the peoples" who organized Kirov's murder? Should they admit this fact, then the entire campaign of slander which was directed at that time against Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and hundreds of others will fall to pieces and the entire affair will reappear as it was In reality, as a nightmare and a frame up.


The government leaders are in a dilemma. Where should they stop? They have already begun to put the brakes on further unmasking of lies.

The reason for this is clear: their own power is based on this truly monstrous tissues of lies - of lies of the bureaucracy against Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and hundreds of other members of the Opposition. They dare not continue repeating the lies nor denounce them.

Here they try to divide the Stalinist period into two periods: the first period during which they enthusiastically elevated Stalin to the dictator's throne, and the second period when Stalin elevated himself to the status of a deity and' thrust on his followers the "cult of personality." The world press is full of quotations from the old speeches of Khrushchev, Mikoyan and others. It is impossible to repeat these speeches without revulsion. Besides, I am sure that you in Soviet Russia are familiar with these quotations even better than the world press.

No, the crimes began not from the moment the leader became mentally unbalanced. The so-called "cult of personality" was a natural consequence of the entire period after the death of Lenin and the banishment of Trotsky.


Everything you were taught about Trotsky since that time is vile slander.

Those who participated in the revolution and went through its first heroic stages could not believe those lies. But serious changes in the balance of social power will be required before you, young people, will be able to uncover historical truth.

In his testament Lenin warned the party as follows: "I propose to the comrades that they find a way to remove Stalin from that position and appoint to it another man... more patient, more loyal, more polite and more attentive to comrades, less capricious, etc." These lines were written on the 25th of December 1922. Further, on the 4th of January 1923 Lenin condemned Stalin's position on the Georgian problem and entrusted Trotsky with launching a fight against it. And in a third document Lenin declared that he breaks off all personal and comradely relations with Stalin. While Lenin was still alive Stalin concentrated in his hands tremendous power by placing his men in important posts. Lenin's testament was not carried out and its publication was forbidden.

Lenin and Trotsky not only recognized collective leadership within the party but also acted in complete accordance with this principle. Td them collective leadership meant not only discussion in upper party echelons where decisions were made by a majority of votes after a broad exchange of views. They could not envisage collective leadership without an active, democratic party organization, from top to bottom.


And not just in peacetime, either. Animated discussions sharply expressing different views existed even in the most critical periods. It was the suppression of party democracy, and the subjugation of the weakened party to the Stalinist sham of a monolithic party organization which tolerated no disagreements, which resulted in the destruction of the party as a Bolshevik party and in the establishment of a dictatorship on the summit, that is, in the "cult of personality." Leon Davidovich [Trotsky] understood that by continuing the exposure of the counterrevolutionary regime he was undoubtedly risking his own life. Yet this consideration did not prevent him from merciless criticism [of the regime]. Day after day, until the last hour of his life, he continued to appeal to revolutionary workers of the world to rise against these oppressors.

The plan for the industrialization of the country was worked out by Trotsky.

However, at that time Stalin and his clique put their stakes on the peasants and fought this plan. Only" after Trotsky was exiled to Alma-Ata and after the opposition was suppressed was Stalin forced to begin the industrialization of the country. He did it in his own manner, with unheard-of cruelty and at the cost of tremendous sacrifices on the part of the population.

Trotsky sharply condemned this method, as well as the forced collectivization of the peasants which was accompanied by savage repressions, mass deportations and arrests, and which resulted in the general famine in the Ukraine during which millions of peasants died. Trotsky also fought against the system of slave labor in the concentration camps.

His unmasking and condemnation of all these evil-doings of Stalin, and finally his eloquent response to the sham Moscow Trials, enraged the Stalinist clique, which decided to get rid of Trotsky. This was done by the dictator's henchmen on the 20th of August 1940. It is unlikely that the news of the famous commission which investigated the Moscow- Trials, the chairman of which was the noted American philosopher John Dewey, has reached you. This commission, which heard the testimony of Trotsky and others, which carefully examined all the accusations, arrived at the conclusion that Trotsky and his son, Leon Lvovich Sedov, who were accused during these trials, were innocent. The press throughout the world closely followed, the work and the verdict of the commission.

From my distant exile where I have already spent so many years I find it difficult to estimate the number of people in Russia who would believe the accusations against Trotsky and others. Abroad no one believes any longer in the vile slander that Trotsky allegedly was linked with fascists, foreign powers, espionage and the like.


Russia's present rulers look into the future with some confidence. They know that during the reign of the Leader all the heroic figures of the proletarian revolution were done away with. They believe that nowhere in the world are there any forces that, might threaten them. Among themselves they have signed a temporary truce under the guise of collective" leadership, since the only danger they see is discord among themselves. But they are wrong. Even a weak blow to the myth which they themselves created, even a partial unmasking of the falsehood of the regime on which their rule is based, cannot but sow doubts and discord among the new, growing generation. Idealism was always the characteristic and the strength of youth. I am convinced that the doubts will crush the hard convictions and that youth will not abandon Its search for truth until it will find all the truth. Woe then unto the false leaders! Lately the press throughout the world has been busy with the so-called anti-Stalinist speech of Khrushchev, which he made at a closed meeting before the end of the 20th Congress. Foreign delegates were not permitted to attend and the speech itself was not published in Soviet Russia and hence you are not familiar with it.

In his speech, which lasted for a few hours, Khrushchev continued the downgrading of Stalin. It was a terrible and at the same time a pitiful speech. The enumeration of crimes could not fail to shaken the listeners, and later also readers.

How could this happen? How could one reach such a monstrous downfall? "Cult of personality" they say... Yet an individual is linked to the environment which supports him. And the environment, devoid of lofty ideological motivations, was unable to say no to the master in the Kremlin, to criticize the totalitarian regime of decay and falsehood in front of the Leader. Stalinist bureaucrats are now forced to rid themselves at least of part of the load by passive admissions, and out of fear of the masses, by the slogan "back to Lenin." Stalin also claimed verbally Lenin's mantle, but in his actions he contradicted Lenin.

In the end no admissions and promises can save the decayed Stalinist oligarchy.

The task of overthrowing Stalinism is the task of the Russian workers and peasants.

I send you my greetings and fiery confidence in your victory.

Labor Action, 30 July 1956

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