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WHO'S WHO IN SOVIET RUSSIA
BY WILLIAM HENRY CHAMBERLIN
THERE is something very conservative attacks of the Allies and the Whites, about the composition of the Russian Trotzky's part in the military victory revolutionary government. Under the of the Revolution can scarcely be overCommunist dictatorship there are no estimated. Almost legendary anecdotes cabinet crises. The same Commissars have grown up about his reckless perhold their posts year in and year out; sonal bravery and superhuman energy, the same men are to be seen presiding at about his spectacular trips in special Party and Soviet Congresses. One can trains from one front to another, often undertake to sketch the leading person under fire. alities of the Soviet régime without As the civil war came to an end and fearing that the outcome of an unfavor- the Soviet Government turned to the able election will banish them to pri- work of peace-time reconstruction, it vate life and bring a new set of figures became more and more clear that the on the political stage. There may be War Commissariat scarcely afforded a minor changes and reshufflings now and sufficient outlet for Trotzky's aboundthen; but on the whole one can foreseeing energy. Dzerzhinsky, the other pretty accurately who will be directing outstanding man of action among the the various Russian governmental de revolutionary leaders, delegated much partments for years to come. For only of his work as head of the secret police old revolutionists are eligible for the to subordinates and threw himself into highest administrative posts in Russia; reconstruction activity, first as head and the strenuous experiences of the of the transportation system, later as last seven years have pretty well sifted chief of the state industries. But Trotout the old revolutionists with practical zky remained in glittering isolation in ability from those who are only capable his post as War Commissar in a counof agitation and propaganda.
try where economic hardships made Leon Trotzky is unquestionably the war, except in elementary self-defense, outstanding individual figure in Rus- an almost impossible contingency. In sian public life to-day. No one can rival the spring of 1923 rumors were circuhim in personal magnetism, in wide- lated to the effect that Trotzky was spread popular reputation, in capacity destined for an extremely important for inspiring prolonged ovations. That post in the field of economic adminisTrotzky to-day is not a member of the tration. But time passed; the rumors inmost Communist ruling group is only were not realized in fact. a sign that personal distinction does not Last winter, in December and Janunecessarily involve political success. ary, Trotzky for the first time came Trotzky owes his fame chiefly to his openly into sharp conflict with the achievements in the civil war. Organ- other leading members of the Commuizer of the Red Army that successfully nist Party Central Committee, such as defended the Soviet power against the Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and
Bukharin. The Party had just passed under the disadvantage of having jointhrough a period of intense internal dis- ed the Communist Party only in 1917, cussion about the problem of making while his leading opponents can all the Party organization more demo- boast themselves old Bolsheviki' of at cratic. The Central Committee unan- least twenty years' standing. Then, imously adopted a resolution pre deservedly or not, Trotzky has the repscribing certain democratic reforms in utation of being somewhat mercurial the constitution and management of and quick to fly off at a tangent on any the Party. Almost immediately after new idea. The seasoned old Commuthe publication of this resolution Trot- nists generally prefer to follow leaders zky published an open letter to the whom they regard as possessing more Moscow Party organizations expressing solid, if less brilliant attainments. doubt whether the present personnel of At the same time, despite his setback the Party officialdom would carry out last winter, Trotzky is distinctly a the resolution which had been adopted. figure to be reckoned with in Russian This was the signal for a bitter struggle political life. He has accepted his tembetween Trotzky's partisans and those porary defeat gracefully, professing enof the Central Committee majority. tire loyalty to the Party and thereby The issue of this struggle showed that depriving his opponents of an excuse in Russia, as elsewhere, personal ova- for accusing him of factionalism or tions do not necessarily connote the breach of Party discipline. At the same ability to secure votes at the decisive time, in the course of his recent speech time and place. Trotzky's point of view before the Party Congress, he nowhere was solemnly condemned both at the conceded that he had been wrong in the Communist Party Conference in Janu- controversy last winter. For the time ary and at the recent Party Congress being the leadership of the Communist late in May.
Party seems securely lodged in the The defeat of Trotzky in the Party hands of his opponents. But a political controversy can largely be explained by or economic crisis sufficiently signifihis failure to win over the ten or fifteen cant to change the mood of the Party thousand prerevolutionary Communist might conceivably bring Trotzky to the Party members who control the machin- fore as a successor to Lenin. ery and dominate the conventions and conferences of the Party. There were In a room in the huge building of the several reasons for this failure. Per. Communist Party Tseka, or Central haps because he had occupied such a Committee, a tall dark man paces up commanding position in the early years and down incessantly, like a caged lion, of the Revolution, Trotzky has never occasionally pausing to jot down a note troubled to build up any kind of per- or send off a message. This man is the sonal political machine within the Georgian Djugashvili, more generally Party. He can go to a factory and carry known by his appropriate Russian revthousands of workers off their feet with olutionary pseudonym of Stalin — a fiery oration. But he would not be steel. Stalin is Secretary of the Russian as likely as his Party opponents to Communist Party and, although he know personally the little group of lead- occupies no official position, he holds ing Communists in the factory who in his hands more of the threads of wield a decisive voice when it comes to the Russian revolutionary government electing delegates to a Party Congress than any other individual. or Conference. Then Trotzky labors Stalin has always been a power be. hind the throne in the Russian Com- Russian Bolshevist Revolution, with munist Party. In prerevolutionary its emphasis on iron discipline and days, when most of the Party leaders strict subordination of the individual were abroad in exile, Stalin superin- to the Party organization. Just for this tended the work of the Party in Russia. reason he will be a power in the RusFollowing the Revolution he held the sian Communist Party as long as it rerelatively inconspicuous post of Com- tains anything like its present form. missar for Nationalities until the adoption of the federal constitution brought One of the cleverest cartoons recentabout the abolition of this Commissa- ly published in the Moscow newspapers riat as superfluous. But as Party Secre- showed a thickset man making an imtary - the secretary in Russian politi- passioned oration, while in the backcal organizations has wide executive ground Foreign Commissar Chicherin powers — he was in a position to know appeared in an attitude of extreme anxthe most intimate secrets of the Rus- iety, wiping beads of perspiration from sian state organism and to exert a pow- his forehead. The caption under the erful influence upon the currents of cartoon read: ‘Comrade Zinoviev political power.
Makes a Speech.' Because of his pro'Lenin trusts Stalin; Stalin trusts no pensity for breathing fire and slaughter one,' was a current saying two years ago, against the capitalist world in his and it adequately expressed the impres- speeches Zinoviev is something of an sion created by this silent and potent enfant terrible in the eyes of the Soviet Caucasian, who has exploited his per- diplomacy. Perhaps with a view to sonality most eifectively by consistent- quieting the apprehensions of the Forly suppressing all visible manifestations eign Office, Zinoviev has recently made of it. It was inevitable that Stalin, a point of emphasizing in his speeches staunchest upholder of Party ortho that he is speaking only on behalf of the doxy and the principles of 'Leninism,' Communist International, of which he should have come into conflict with is President, and not of the Soviet Trotzky when the latter published his Government. open letter with its spirit of criticism That Zinoviev is a powerful figure in and innovation; and the conflict derived the councils of the Communist Party added piquancy because of the striking- can scarcely be doubted. He delivered ly contrasted personalities of the two the leading reports at the two most imopponents.
portant Congresses that have taken Trotzky is a man of fire; Stalin is a place in Russia recently, the Commuman of ice. Trotzky is a frequent speak- nist Party Congress late in May and er and prolific writer; Stalin constantly the Congress of the Communist Interholds himself behind a veil of reserve, national in June and July. His control only expressing himself on occasions of of the deliberations of the latter body the first importance. Trotzky, himself has developed almost to perfection; and a former journalist, has often chosen anyone with an eye for the technique of the press, even the foreign 'bourgeois' political steam-rollering must have adpress, as a medium for declarations; mired the skill with which Zinoviev Stalin has the reputation of never hav- prepared and steered the proceedings of ing granted an interview to anyone on the Congress, isolating and suppressing, any subject. If Trotzky is a figure who with an unerring eye, every deviation, might fit into any great revolution, either to the 'right' or to the 'left’ of Stalin is a symbol and product of the the programme which he advocated.
At first sight Zinoviev's eminence in has taken on his shoulders an increasing the Party is a little difficult to under- share of the general administrative stand. He has neither the personal work of the Soviet Government. Folmagnetism of Trotzky nor the stubborn lowing Lenin's death he became chairstrength of Stalin. His name is not man of the Sto, or Council of Labor and associated with any of the great mili- Defense, a sort of inner cabinet which tary achievements of the Revolution, occupies itself with the consideration of and he has taken little part in the ad economic affairs. During Rykov's abminstrative work of the reconstruction sence last spring, due to ill health, period. But he possesses a certain fac- Kamenev acted as Premier. ulty for appealing to the Communist Kamenev conveys the impression of rank-and-file, for exciting and exploit being a conciliatory, cautious, discreet ing to the utmost degree the mass emo- personality. He showed conspicuous tions of class consciousness, fanaticism, success in handling the relations behatred of the bourgeoisie, of the Men- tween the Soviet Government and the sheviki, of the intelligentsia, of any American Relief Administration during group that he denounces as hostile or the period of the famine, when the tense lukewarm to the Party and the Revolu- situation and the psychology produced tion. Add to this a considerable skill in in Russia by years of blockade and isoCommunist political manipulation and lation made coöperation between the the prestige which he derives from his Soviet Government and representayears of prerevolutionary close associa- tives of a foreign relief organization, tion with Lenin, and one gets an idea of that was regarded as distinctly conservthe secret of Zinoviev's steady rise to ative in its political tendencies, more his present position of commanding difficult than it might have been under leadership of the Party.
more normal conditions. He probably
owes his rise to power in large measure Leo Kamenev, third member of the to the reputation which he enjoys as a Communist Party triumvirate of lead- level-headed man who can be relied on ers that also includes Stalin and Zino- to look the facts of Russian reconstrucviev, is a brother-in-law of Trotzky. tion squarely in the face and not fly off This circumstance, however, has not on any eccentric economic tangents. the slightest political significance, and Kamenev was quite as active as his two In the stormy early days of the Revoassociates in rebutting Trotzky's argu lution a foreigner had business of a ments during the period of the Party sufficiently pressing nature to warrant controversy.
an interview with the head of the A stout man of medium height, with Chekha, or secret police. Ushered into a spectacles and a pointed professorial room he found himself face to face with beard of moderate dimensions, Kame- a tall fair man, with furrowed countenev suggests a savant, rather than a nance and deep-set blueeyes, sitting on a revolutionary leader, when one sees him chair, his feet thrust into slippers. Within presiding over a formal meeting of the easy reach stood a machine-gun. After Moscow Soviet, of which he is President. the effect of this somewhat startling Kamenev now has little to do with the introduction had worn off Dzerzhinsky local affairs of the Moscow municipal- explained the reason for his attire, reity. In his capacity as one of Russia's marking with a half-apologetic smile: three Vice-Premiers — the other two “You see, I never stir out of the office. were Rykov and Tsurupa — Kamenev I sleep here.'
Felix Dzerzhinsky suffered perhaps Dzerzhinsky's merciless, devoted, drivmore than any other prominent Bolshe- ing leadership the worst of the transvist leader for his activities in the days portation difficulties were surmounted before the Revolution. He went through and a regular flow of food from the the horrors of penal servitude in Siberia. ports to the famine area was assured. Liberated by the overthrow of the Tsar- Since Lenin's death Dzerzhinsky has ist régime, this Polish revolutionist re- occupied another difficult and responsiturned to become one of the great ac- ble post as head of the Supreme Ecotive figures of the Soviet régime. By nomic Council, the body which manorganizing the Chekha, or Extraordi- ages the Russian state industries. Here nary Commission, the famous espio- he has been at work for the last few nage organ of the Revolution, he made a months, hacking away at graft and contribution to the victory of the Com- bureaucracy on the part of managemunists in the civil war scarcely second ment and at low productivity on the to that of Trotzky. The Chekha dis- part of labor, shouldering the Herculean covered and broke up plot after plot task of putting the Russian industries organized by the Allied Powers and the on their feet without the help of foreign Whites; it preserved order mercilessly capital. in the large centres and safeguarded the Dzerzhinsky never takes any part in rear and the lines of communication Party controversies. He is absolutely while the Red Army was defeating absorbed in his work and has no time Kolchak and Denikin, Yudenitch and for politics. No one is more universally Wrangel.
respected by his Party associates; and After the civil war was over Russia even the non-Communists, who look on was faced with another great crisis in him with horror as head of the dreaded the winter of 1921-1922. A huge famine Chekha, concede his dauntless, fanatiwas raging in the Volga region; Ameri- cal singleness of character and purpose. can Relief Administration food-supplies were arriving at the ports; but the Rus- Shortly after Lenin's death, before sian railroad system, crippled beyond the name of his successor had been animagination as a result of years of war nounced, the writer was discussing the and blockade, was broken down and als requisite qualifications of the future most hopelessly clogged up. It seemed Premier with a member of the Commuas if millions of lives might be lost be- nist Party Central Committee. cause of defective transport. In this ‘A Russian Premier first of all has to emergency Dzerzhinsky was thrown in- be a Christian,' said this Communist to the breach and nominated as Com- with a smile. Of course this statement missar for Transport. He immediately should not be taken literally, for no made a trip to the most congested traf- Communist Party member is permitted fic points, living in a box car and study- to profess any form of religion. But ing the situation on the ground. He religion and race in Eastern Europe are introduced the principle of strictest carelessly interchangeable terms, and accountability for all railroad officials. what the Communist meant was that Any branch manager who promised the head of the Soviet State, out of defmore cars for food transportation than erence to the susceptibilities of the he actually delivered was to be handed vast masses of illiterate peasants, must over to a revolutionary tribunal, and, if be of Slavic Russian origin. the offense involved flagrant neglect of It is to his origin, perhaps, that Alexduty, was to be shot. As a result of ei Ivanovitch Rykov owes his eleva