Discriptions of Bucharin in Great Soviet Encyclopedia

by Ludwik Kowalski

What follows is an excerpt (Section 4.7.3) from my book ("Hell on Earth: Brutality and Violence Under The Stalinist Regime" Wasteland Press, Shelbyville, 2008, ISBN 978-1-60047-232-9). This paperback book is is avaiable at www.amazon.com

It is interesting how Bukharin was described in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. The second edition (1951) does not have an item devoted to him. That is an illustration of Soviet censorship. According to the first edition, however (Volume 8, 1927), he was "an outstanding theoretician of communism, an economist and a sociologist." But Volume 33 of the first edition (printed in 1938) tells us that Bukharin, together with Trotsky and Zinoviev, were Gestapo agents hired to spy on the Soviet Union. He is also said to have organized attempts to kill Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov. Other accusations, added in Volume 49 (page 419), were assassinations of S.M. Kirov, W.R. Meazhinsky, W.W. Kujbyshev and Maxim Gorky. Why would Bukharin want to kill the great Russian writer Gorky? Didn't Stalin know that many Russians would ask this question? Yes, he anticipated this. And he knew what to do with those who dared to ask.

Addressing Stalin by his nickname, the last letter of Bukharin was a single question: "Koba, why do you want me to die?" This question can probably be answered as follows. Stalin was certain about his ways of building a new social system. But many old revolutionaries did not always agree with him. Instead of discussing the issues, Stalin decided to eliminate potential opponents, especially those who were more educated than himself. Anticipating more criticism he decided to broaden the elimination process. To do this he had to use an efficient killing machine and select its workers. The machine already existed, having been created by Lenin. Stalin, however, started using it against potential rivals within the party. Trotsky, Rykov, Zinoviev, Pietakov, Kaminev and Bukharin were the most prominent victims.