The Zinoviev Trial

By D. N. Pritt K.C., M.P.
London: Gollancz, 1936

Grigory Zinoviev

The trial of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yefdokimov, Bakaief, and twelve other persons accused of participation in terrorist conspiracies against the Government of the Soviet Union, which was held in Moscow in the latter part of August 1936, resulting in all the accused being sentenced to death and executed, has given rise to a good deal of criticism in Great Britain. Some of this criticism was frankly unscrupulous, and a great deal of it was based on unjustified assumptions that the Soviet authorities had been guilty of any and every abuse; but much of it was made in good faith. It seems clear, too, that some criticisms were unfortunately brought about in whole or in part by inaccuracies in or misunderstanding of the reports which reached this country. Indeed, the more I study the whole of the available material, with the advantage both of my professional training and of having been present at the hearing, and compare it with the very condensed reports which were all that was before most of the critics when they wrote at any rate their earlier criticisms, the more forgiving I feel even towards some of the critics whose conclusions have to my mind been most unsound. The criticism comes, of course, by no means solely from those observers of whom it is right to say that all they have ever either reported or prophesied about the Soviet Union has been wrong; the critics include both newspapers and individuals of very high reputation for fairness. Continue reading