The Bourgeois Specialists and the Class Struggle

  • Nicholas Lampert
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)


During the NEP the party leadership adopted a conciliatory line towards the old specialists. With the ‘ left turn’ in early 1928 there was a radical switch in policy. Over the next three years the old specialists bore the brunt of a political campaign directed at the intelligentsia, a section of whom were depicted, alongside the rural and urban petty bourgeoisie, as class enemies and counterrevolutionaries. The image was dramatised and made concrete through a charge of wrecking, and large numbers of suspect specialists were arrested, imprisoned and otherwise harassed by the judicial and security organs.


Trade Union Class Struggle Left Turn Soviet State Party Official 
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  1. 3.
    Pravda (5 July 1928); R. Medvedev (1972), p. 112.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    Stalin, Problems of Leninism (1976), p. 339.Google Scholar
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    On the Promparty affair, see Za (20 October 1930 and following days); also Protsess Prompartii (1931); Medvedev (1972), p. 118f.Google Scholar
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    Kravchenko (1947), p. 86. It is worth noting that Trotsky, in exile, accepted all the charges against the industrial and agricultural specialists implicated in the Promparty affair, which in his view demonstrated the correctness of the left opposition’s criticisms of ‘minimal positions’ in the years 1923–28. ‘The specialists who have been brought to trial have shown what an intense struggle they carried on in the past for minimal programmes for the Five Year plan.’ In the period of the struggle against the left opposition, ‘the central committee was the unconscious political mouthpiece of specialist-wreckers who in turn were hired by foreign imperialists and Russian-emigrant compradores’ (Byulleten Oppozitsii, no. 17–18 (1930), pp. 20–1). He responded in a similar way to the Menshevik trial in March 1931 (barring Ryazanov, who was also implicated), but in 1936 issued a retraction, admitting that ‘during the period of the Menshevik trial, it [the Byulleten] underestimated by far the shamelessness of the Stalin judiciary and because of this took too seriously the admissions of the former Mensheviks’ (Byulleten, no. 21–2 PP. 19–22, 35–6; no. 51 (1936), p. 15). By the same token, Trotsky might have questioned the Promparty charges, but he did not do so.Google Scholar
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© Nicholas Lampert 1979

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  • Nicholas Lampert

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