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Transcript of the court session of the Special Judicial Presence of the Supreme Court of the USSR in the case of M.N. Tukhachevsky, I.E. Yakir, I.P. Uborevich, A.I.Kork, R.P. Eideman, B.M. Feldman, V. Primakov .M. and Putny V.K. June 11, 1937

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VERBATIM REPORT

COURT PROCEEDINGS OF THE SPECIAL JUDICIAL SESSION OF

THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNION OF THE SSR of June 11, 1937

in the case of M.N. Tukhachevsky, I.E. Yakir, I.P. Uborevich, A.I.Kork, R.P. Eideman, B.M. Feldman, V.M. Primakov and V.K. Putna on charges of crimes under Articles 581b, 583 and 5811 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR

Moscow 1937

[Pagination as in printed original. Note that there is no page 159due to original typists’ error. – GF]

CONTENTS

Examination of the Accused I.E.Yakir

Examination of the Accused M.N. Tukhachevsky

Examination of the Accused I.P. Uborevich

Examination of the Accused A.I. Kork

Examination of the Accused R.P. Eideman

Examination of the Accused V.K. Putna

Examination of the Accused V.M. Primakov

Examination of the Accused B.M. Feldman

Last Words of the Accused Y.E.Yakir

Last Words of the Accused M.N. Tukhachevsky

Last Words of the Accused I.P. Uborevich

Last Words of the Accused A.I. Kork

Last Words of the Accused R.P. Eideman

Last Words of the Accused V.K. Putna

Last Words of the Accused V.M. Primakov

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VERBATIM

REPORT

OF THE COURT PROCEEDINGS OF THE SPECIAL JUDICIAL

SESSION

OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNION OF THE SSR

June 11, 1937

The President of the Court, Army Jurist, Comrade V.V. ULRIKH:

I declare the Special Judicial Session of the Supreme Court of the USSR open.

The case is being heard on charges of treason, espionage and preparation of terrorist acts, brought against M.N. Tukhachevsky, I.E.Yakir, I.P. Uborevich, A.I. Kork, R.P. Eideman, V.M. Primakov, B.M. Feldman and V.K. Putna.

Comrade Commandant, are the accused present?

Court commandant: All of them are present and under guard.

The President: Accused Tukhachevsky, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Tukhachevsky: Yes, I have.

The President: Accused Yakir, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Yakir: Yes.

The President: Accused Uborevich, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Uborevich: Yes, I got it.

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The President: Accused Kork, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Kork: I got it.

The President: Accused Eideman, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Eideman: Yes, I have.

The President: Accused Primakov, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Primakov: Yes, I have.

The President: Accused Feldman, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Feldman: Yes, I have.

The President: Accused Putna, have you received a copy of the indictment?

Putna: Yes, I have.

The President: I announce the composition of the Court in this case:

President: The Chairman of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR – Army Jurist Comrade V.V. Ulrikh;

Members of the court: Deputy Commissar of Defense of the USSR, Commander of the 2nd rank 1 – Comrade Y.I. Alksnis; Commander of the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army, Marshal of the Soviet Union – Comrade V.K. Blyukher; Commander of the Moscow Military District, Marshal of the Soviet Union Comrade S.M. Budyonny; Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army, Commander of the 1st rank – Comrade B.M. Shaposhnikov; Commander of the

Byelorussian Military District, Commander of the 1st rank – Comrade I.P. Belov;

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Commander of the Leningrad Military District, Commander of the 2nd rank – Comrade P.E. Dybenko; Commander of the North Caucasus Military District, Commander of the 2nd rank – Comrade N.D. Kashirin and Commander of the 6th Cossack Cavalry Corps named after Comrade Stalin, Divisional commander?2 – Comrade, E.I. Goryachev; Secretary – Comrade I.M. Zaryanov. Are there any objections to the composition of the court?

The Accused: None.

The President: Do the accused have any intention to call witnesses or request any new documents? No.

Comrade Secretary, read the indictment.

(The secretary reads the indictment).

The President: Accused Tukhachevsky, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Tukhachevsky: Yes.

The President: Accused Kork, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Kork: Yes.

The President: Accused Yakir, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Yakir: I plead guilty.

The President: Accused Uborevich, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Uborevich: I do.

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The President: Accused Putna, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Putna: Yes, I do.

The President: Accused Eideman, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Eideman: Yes, I do.

The President: Accused Primakov, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Primakov: Yes.

The President: Accused Feldman, do you plead guilty to the charges brought against you?

Feldman: I plead guilty.

The President: We proceed to the interrogation of the accused.

Accused Yakir, do you confirm the confessions that you gave at the preliminary investigation in May of this year, as well as the statement that you addressed to the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs, Comrade Yezhov?

Yakir: Yes, I confirm them.

The President: I have one question for you. Tell the court, when you joined the anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization, what goals did this organization set, what was the work of this anti-Soviet organization and what was your personal participation in it?

Yakir: If you permit me, I will say a few words as an introduction to the answer of your question.

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For many years, I was an honest, devoted and selfless soldier of the country, the army and the party. However, at the same time a wormhole of rotten conciliatory liberalism was part of my life. Even in past years 1923 and 1927, when I stood on the correct Leninist positions, I both fought the opposition and, as a rule, I pitied them at the same time. I pitied them and maintained ties, in cluding personal ties, with them, and, what’s more, I helped and supported a very large number of Trotskyites. This relates to contacts with counterrevolutionary people such as Golubenko, Lifshits and Loginov, as well as with a group of military Trotskyites like Primakov, the hidden Trotskyite Kuzmichev, khotnikov and a number of other Trotskyites whom I supported and for whom I put in a good word; saying that the man was correcting himself, repented when in fact, these Trotskyites continued their work with my support.

However, I repeat, this was not yet the period when I embarked on the path of betrayal, on the path of struggle against the country and the party. In the years 1931-1932 I was seriously influenced by the results of collective farm construction. The large number of materials, letters and village representatives who came from the village to the barracks had an influence on me, and here my serious political vacillations began.

My drawing closer to and the improvement of my personal relations with Uborevich and Tukhachevsky dates back to this time.

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I personally also had contacts with them earlier, for a very long time. The rapprochement between me and them began immediately after 1932. It began with the fact that I, as a person who did not have a special military education, was told to “devote more study to military matters.” I considered Tukhachevsky and Uborevich to be great authorities in military matters, and based on this we began to become closer. By this time, my conversations with Gamarnik had begun, who, having come to the Political Administration of the Red Army, worked honestly and conscientiously. However, by this period, around the end of 1932-1933, he, in conversations with me, began to express a whole series of critical, and their anti-Soviet views. My drawing closer to Tukhachevsky and Uborevich first led to an unprincipled grouping directed against the leadership of the Red Army and to criticism of the existing disorder in the department of the General Staff, then it went from this to anti-Soviet conversations, to exchanging information about anti-Soviet sentiments, about, allegedly, existing the difficulties concerning collectivization, primarily in countryside, etc. At the same time, I had a number of similar conversations with Golubenko and Lifshits, to whom I did not give any positive answer, but to whom I listened silently, and made it clear that I knew and sympathize with the counter-revolutionary work being carried on by them and other Trotskyites.

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In this way I approached the moment when after a very serious illness of the liver in 1934, Tukhachevsky first, more or less definitively, told me the current weakness of our abilities and the unity of the fascist activities of Germany and Japan with Poland, were leading to a situation when we needed to destroy the existing or der, and he told me then and there that he had contact with Trot sky and with the German General Staff. In either my first talk with Tukhachevsky or the second, but in one of those talks Tukhachevsky, without going into details, told me that Trotsky had set forth as essential the assignment of strengthening the work of the counter-revolutionary and anti-Soviet elements in the army, and that he, Tukhachevsky, took upon himself the assignment of organ izing and uniting these anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary elements.

Further, Tukhachevsky laid out for me Trotsky’s directive, agreed upon with the German General Staff and detailed to some extent by himself personally. This directive came down to the following. The first point of the program laid ut by Trotsky was a coup d’état, prepared by the “Muscovites”, the participants in the counterrevolutionary anti-Soviet Right-Trotskyite organization, who had succeeded in feeling out and entering into contact with a number of Kremlin-based Chekists and with the immediate mili tary guard of the Kremlin in the person of the chief of the Kremlin military guard, Yegorov, and a certain group of command and cadet staff of this school.

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I must add that, when speaking of the coup, Tukhachevsky subse quently informed me that similar preparations should be carried out on the ground so that it would be possible to simultaneously seize a number of very important points on the periphery. The second paragraph of the program was as follows: if the first option did not succeed, it was necessary to prepare the defeat of the Red Army. In exchanging opinions with Tukhachevsky and Ub orevich, we very often focused on the issue of such an order, that regardless of our wrecking, hostile, counterrevolutionary anti Soviet work, it seemed to us that the strength available in the first echelon at the western theater, was insufficient in the first place, and that this in itself determined very great difficulties in the event of a collision with the Polish-German side. We did not have com plete and sufficient knowledge of the entry into the anti-Soviet bloc of a new, very large and rapidly forged force, such as fascist Germany. But since it was not enough, Tukhachevsky, therefore, at first vaguely, then more specifically set before me and Uborevich, and, apparently, before the other participants of the conspiracy in Leningrad, the assignment of thinking through a defeatist plan such that would facilitate the invasion of our country by Polish German fascist forces.

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I forgot to say that during the first or second conversation with Tukhachevsky, in response to his proposal of my entry into the center, or the leadership of the conspiracies, I gave him my consent.

The President: In what year and month did this conversation with Tukhachevsky take place?

Yakir: The first conversation took place in the fall of 1934, but I cannot say whether it was before my illness in the summer of 1934 or after, i.e. in the fall of that year.

The President: In general, in the second half of the year?

Yakir: Yes. The second conversation with Tukhachevsky took place in the spring of 1935. We took upon ourselves the preparations for the defeat of the Red Army, and, as I said, it was thought out on the ground, and Tukhachevsky turned my attention to the Letichev fortified area. Afterwards I reported to him that it was correct that one of the main points in facilitating the invasion of the Polish-German forces and the defeat of the Red Army in the Ukrainian theater was the most important and responsible section between the Dniester and Shepetovka. To do this, we must bring the Letichev fortified area into a not fully combat-ready state, because the terrain of south western Ukraine is the most favorable and accessible for the ac tions of the Polish-German forces. The third moment of preparation for the defeat of the Red Army,

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Tukhachevsky pointed out to me, was a question about organizing wrecking both in combat training and in the material and technical armament of the Red Army. Moreover, both at that time and a little later Tukhachevsky said that the main work on the organization of wrecking in the central material and armament departments of the Red Army would be carried out by people in the conspiracy from the central apparatus, who later became known to me: Yefimov, and a number of others that I named during the preliminary investigation. On the ground, Tukhachevsky suggested to consider this question, though with some now quite obvious and ridiculous consideration of the order, that in general this business should be conducted in such a way that in case of serious conversations with the Germans, it would be possible to have our own significant strength. I must state that our position as troop commanders and the complete trust we enjoyed both from above, from the party leadership, government and army; and from below, from our commanders, helped us to complete our assignment in full, with out any serious violation of the combat effectiveness of the military units, by a number of special orders, i.e. it was not necessary to make one or another division non-combat capable (which could have a negative effect on the preservation of our forces in the future) – when it was possible, without any difficulty, to give the commander’s order by telegraph to move not in the necessary direction, but the opposite, entailing

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a difficult position of military unity. In accordance with Tukhachevsky’s instructions and plan, wrecking work was carried out, in particular, in the Letichev fortified area (especially on its right flank), where I withheld a number of pieces of equipment through Sablin, Zhukov and Zinovievite mili tary engineers.

A number of firing positions were set so low and improperly set that their field of fire was limited. They were not of full value until significant earthworks were carried out. This was done by the Zinovievites a little earlier before the receipt of my directive.

Secondly, I was aware of and knew that Lifshits and his organization, and, on the other hand, Appoga and his military associates worked out a plan for organizing a number of traffic jams at nodal and large stations, which were supposed to delay the forces concentrating towards the border at a time when confused by our orders, the border units would face a significantly difficult situation under pressure from the Polish forces. This assignment was out lined by us and the people of the Trotskyite organization among Lifshits’ men and among Appoga’s military associates were pre pared for this.

The next assignment Tukhachevsky told me about was that he would maintain direct relations with Trotsky and the German General Staff. With the first, through Piatakov, and with

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the second through Putna, as well as through personal contacts, when he would be abroad. He would keep in touch with the German General Staff directly through Colonel, later General, Koestring, the German military attaché in Moscow, and use a number of his trips abroad and meetings at diplomatic receptions.

Subsequently, Tukhachevsky at various times told me that he had received from Trotsky a number of clarifications to his directives and his agreement regarding the activities outlined by our anti Soviet organization.

These are the main points of the program that were set before us less specifically at the first meeting and more specifically at the meetings of us three: Tukhachevsky, Yakir and Uborevich, and which were consistently and gradually concretized and formed into a big plan of a coup.

Tukhachevsky always told us from the words of Kork and the “Muscovites” (once he mentioned the name Yenukidze on this sub ject), that measures for organizing the coup were also developing successfully.

I must state directly that we (Tukhachevsky, Yakir and Uborevich) never had a collective discussion with Gamarnik about the plans for our conspiracy. I had conversations with Gamarnik separately. I knew about the plan of defeat of the Red Army in the Far East (the second part of the general plan of defeat), but not in detail. At various times

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Gamarnik informed me about the work conducted by the members of the conspiracy in the Far East. This work was a number of sabotage activities carried out by Sangursky, Aronshtam, Lapin and a number of other people, against fortified areas under construction, against the food and the supply of forces in wartime, about contacts with the Japanese, and the systematic work to discredit the authority of Blyukher, which all these people carried out with Gamarnik’s support.

Despite the fact that Tukhachevsky repeatedly spoke to me about the necessity of the very greatest secrecy (Trotsky repeatedly told him this, saying that the military conspiracy and its participants must not in any way be connected with other circles and other lines of work), contact, though episodic and non-specific, took place all the same along through mutual information. In particular, Tukhachevsky told me twice that he had received information from Piatakov and spoke about his talks with the Rights, with Yenukidze, and about one talk with Bukharin. I also had contact with Golubenko and Lifshits, who told me about the existence and work of the Ukrainian Trotskyite organization.

I would like to add a few words concerning the implementation of the instructions of the head of our organization, Tukhachevsky, regarding the gathering of all anti-Soviet groups and elements that could be useful in case of need.

Tukhachevsky drew our attention, mine and Uborevich’s, to the fact that we should be seriously taking an interest in the nationalists

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