Tactics That May Effect All Europe
From Our Russian Correspondent
Never in the whole 18 years of communist rule in Russia has the network of intrigue, plot and counter-plot been so entangled as now. A big game is being played by Stalin and the men behind the Red Army, and its outcome may be the decisive factor not only of the fate of Russia but of Europe as well.
It is beyond doubt now that after the arrest of Yagoda, former chief of the OGPU (secret police), a complete overhaul of that body has followed. The organisation itself has not yet been disbanded— those in power prefer to use less spectacular methods: they have arrested, and continue to arrest, all the leading officials of the OGPU both in the capital and in the pro vinces. It is said that altogether 300 Ogpu agents have been arrested, many of them executed without any trial. A number of women are among those imprisoned, while some preferred to commit suicide rather than face the Lubianka tortures.
Among the tatter are the wives of Yagoda and Postyshev, the powerful ruler and oppressor of the Ukraine, who was recently degraded to the obscure post of secretary of the Kuybyshev regional Soviet.
Money Crimes The official reasons given for all these arrests are not so much plotting and trotskyism as graft, abuse of power for personal enrichment and other criminal acts.
It is curious that some Soviet writers are being denounced for the same abuses. About a year ago the left-wing press of this country published laudatory reviews of the Soviet symposium on the construction of the White Sea canal. This enterprise which, according to the author of Red Gaols, was sheer bluff devoid of any practical results but executed at the cost of 300,000 human lives, was published by order of Yagoda, a number of Soviet writers representing this work as a heroic achievement of the Russian people.
Now these same writers are being accused of having participated in "a literary racket" which had cost large sums of money for the enrichment of Yagoda and his brother-in-law Auerbach.
An Unpublished Book
Another book prepared by the same " literary racketeers " never saw light owing to Yagoda's arrest.
It is the description of the famous Rolshevo reformatory, another institution patronised by the OGPU which trained criminal children and turned them into fullgrown chekists.
The good friend of Soviet Russia, Sir Bernard Pares who in his Moscow admits a Critic declared that " no institution.impressed me more than Bolshevo " must congratulate himself to be safely out of Russia where he might easily have joined other admirers of Yagoda's colony.
Among the rumours explaining the Moscow events it is stated that two men are hacking the Army officially led by Voroshilov.
The " Iron Marshal," a former workman uncultured though able,: has not the brains to carry on a complicated intrigue against the OGPU with its ramifications and secret records which may stigmatise any Soviet citizen, against the Trotskyist opposition still alive in the U.S.S.R.; and chiefly against Stalin himself.
Of the two men said to be backing Voroshilov one is his friend Akulov, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party.
Helped to Defeat Trotsky
A man of about 54. Akulov, belongs to the old bourgeo:sie and has received a good education. He prefers to pull the wires rather than act directly in his own name. At the time of the Stalin-Trotsky conflict he took the side of the former and contributed much to the defeat of Trotsky.
It was Akulov who smashed up the " right" opposition of Bukharin and Rykov and also brought to trial the Trotskyists with Zinoviev and Kamenev at their head.
Kirov was his creature, as is also Molotoy. Whenever Stalin wished to muzzle the all-powerful OGPU the job was entrusted to Akulov. Together with Kirov he schemed to end the autonomy of the chekist " state within the State," the plan was drafted and Kirov presented it to Stalin as his own idea. It is believed that this reorganisation of the OGPU cost Kirov his life but Akulov survived to complete the destruction of Yagoda.
The successor of Kirov—Thdanov is another close friend of Akulov.
The other man behind Voroshilov is Gamarnik, the black-bearded, sinister Jew, who occupies the post of head of the political department of the Red Army, otherwise the Army-Cheka.
He is said to support the Army's struggle against the OGPU, and if this rumour is true we would be witnessing the conflict between two secret police organisations fighting for supremacy.
The role of Stalin in the bitter struggle going on in Moscow is obscure: as a rule the cunning and unscruplous Georgian takes the side of the stronger in order to betray everybody at the opportune moment and reassert his power over