Western Mail, April 5th, 1933
Reign of Terror in Russia
Mr. Gareth Jones
trial of the British engineers is something more than the symbol of the
collapse of the Five-Year Plan. It is an Indication of the grip
which the O.G.P.U. (the “State Political Department,” i.e., political
police) has over the whole life of the Communist party.
I was in Russia in 1931 a period of toleration had begun. The
O.G.P.U. had had some of its fangs extracted and was under the control of
Akuloff, a moderate man and an economist. The dangerous Yagoda had
been removed. Stalin had preached the doctrine of fair-play to
non-Communists and the whole country breathed a sigh of relief that the
terror was over.
now, in 1933, the terror has returned and in a form multiplied a
hundredfold. Yagoda is back again at his work, slashing out left and right
at all those suspected of opposition to the regime. The drive is now
against all kinds of opposition. Formerly there would have been a
drive against the Right Wing opposition, then against the Trotzkyists,
then against the former bourgeois.
On All Fronts
now the attack is on all fronts-on party members, of whom numbers have
been shot; on the intelligentsia, of whom there are countless
representatives in Solovki; on the peasants for merely having wished to
till their soi1 for themselves, and on the Ukrainian, Georgian, and
Central Asian nationalists who have struggled for the rights of small
countries. More and more power is being put into the bands of the
O.G.P.U. and a small clique dominates the rest of the party, the members
of which, although in their hearts. recognising the colossal failure of
the Five Year Plan policy, do not dare to raise even one small voice in
contradiction to the general line of Stalin.
O.G.P.U.. has become the owner of large plots of land in the great cities.
The finest buildings which have been built in Moscow are those O.G.P.U.
residences and in the South the O.G.P.U. has entrenched itself and has
excellent houses. The shops of the O.Q.P.U. are the best stocked in
all Russia. The wives of O.G.P.U. officials have the best dresses
and the best fur coats. Many of those excellent foreign cars which
are now common in Moscow belong to O.G.P.U. men. They have the
greatest privileges in the Soviet Union.
now the O.G.P.U. has made the greatest mistake of its career and it will
rue the day when it arrested the engineers. Among most experts in
Moscow it is believed that the O.G.P.U. acted on its own and that the
Soviet Foreign Office is furious at this false step, which spoils many of
the plans of its foreign policy.
Stops to Think
the Soviet Foreign Office must curse the clumsiness which has so
embittered their relations with Britain! But still more must they
curse the spoke which it has put in the wheel of American recognition.
A great triumph for Soviet diplomacy was in the offing. The United
States, which had refused to recognise the Soviet Union and which has
never had an Ambassador nor a Consul in Moscow, was seriously considering
taking the step which Britain took in 1924.
Roosevelt was said to be favourable. Business men were booming
recognition with all the arts of American publicity. Then suddenly,
like a bolt from the blue, six British engineers are arrested.
America stops to think, and the Soviet Government is now not so sanguine
about recognition by America.
reason why America wished to recognise the Soviet Union was to extend her
trade in Russia. The arrest of the British engineers, however,
throws a vivid light upon the difficulties which the Soviet Government is
experiencing in meeting payments abroad. Up to now it has met its
obligations with a punctiliousness which commands our respect.
this Metro.Vickers’ case an attempt to avoid payment? That is the
question many observers are asking. For difficulties are crowding
upon the Soviet Commissariats, which are drastically cutting down orders
case of the six British engineers must be seen with the hunger and the
terror of the Russia of 1933 looming behind. For the mistaken policy
which caused this visitation of famine British engineers have to atone in
the cells of the O.G.P.U. headquarters.
from a postcard collected by Gareth
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