Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich on changing Ukrainian SSR leadership (excerpt)

August 11, 1932

… 3) The main issue is now Ukraine. Matters in Ukraine are currently extremely bad.  Bad from the standpoint of the Party line.  They say that in two oblasts of Ukraine (Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk, I believe), nearly 50 raion Party committees have spoken out against the grain procurement plan as unrealistic.  They say the matter is no better in other raion committees.  What does this look like?  This is not a Party, but a parliament, a caricature of a parliament.  Instead of directing the raions, Kosior is always waffling between CC AUCP directives and the demands of raion committees, and he’s waffled himself to the end.  Lenin was right when he said that a person who lacks the courage to go against the flow at the right moment cannot be a real Bolshevik leader.  Bad from the standpoint of the Soviet line.  Chubar is no leader.  Bad from the standpoint of the GPU. [Stanislaw] Redens is incapable of leading the battle with counterrevolution in such a large and unique republic as Ukraine.

If we do not correct the situation in Ukraine immediately, we will lose Ukraine.

Also keep in mind that within the Ukrainian Communist Party (500,000 members, ha, ha) there is no lack (yes, no lack!) of rotten elements, active and latent petlurites and direct agents of Pilsudski.  As soon as things get worse, these elements won’t hesitate to open a front within (and outside) the Party, against the Party.   Worst of all, the Ukrainian leadership does not see these dangers.

Things should not continue this way any longer.

It is necessary:

  1. to remove Kosior from Ukraine and replace him with you [Kaganovich]; you will retain the post of secretary of the CC AUCP(b);
  2. after this, transfer Balitsky to Ukraine as chairman of the Ukrainian GPU (or PP [authorized representative] to Ukraine, as it seems the GPU chairman position in Ukraine does not exist) and he will remain deputy chairman of the [All-Union] OGPU; make Redens a deputy to Balitsky in Ukraine;*
  3. in a few months replace Chubar with another comrade, say, Hrynko or anybody else, and appoint Chubar to be Molotov’s deputy in Moscow (Kosior can be made one of the secretaries of the CC AUCP(b));**
  4. Set yourself the goal of turning Ukraine into a fortress of the USSR, a real model republic, within the shortest possible time.  Don’t spare money for this purpose.

Without these and similar measures (economic and political strengthening of Ukraine starting with the raions along the border, etc.), I repeat once again: we will lose Ukraine.

What do you think on this matter?

This requires attention as soon as possible, immediately after [your] arrival in Moscow.


J. Stalin


Р. S. I have spoken to Menzhinsky about Balitsky and Redens. He agrees and fully supports the changes.***

RGASPI, fond 81, list 3, file 99, sheets 146-151;

Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 pp.273-274.

* Vsevold Balitsky (1892-1937) was dispatched to the Ukrainian SSR by CC AUCP(b) Politburo resolution “On a Special OGPU Commissioner for Ukraine” from November 24, 1932. Balitsky was the deputy head of the OGPU joint state political administration, SNK USSR (1931-1934). He headed the GPU political police in Ukraine (1933-1937) and was a member of the Central Oversight Commission of the All-Union Party. Stanislaw Redens (1892-1938) was a member of the Central Committee of the All-Union party (1927-1934) and the head of the Ukrainian SSR republican GPU (1931-1933). He was replaced by Balitsky as head of the Ukrainian GPU in February 1933.

** Hryhori Hrynko (1890-1938) was the SNK USSR Peoples’ Commissar for Finance (1930-1937).

*** Vyacheslav Menzhinsky (1874-1934) was the head of the SNK USSR OGPU (1926-1934)


Ruslan Pyrih, ed, pp. 47-49