First posted 990818
Below are memorable phrases by Vyshinsky, and some directly inspired by him.
Often, his rhetoric would contrast the utter baseness of the defendants with the radiant future of Soviet society.
Much of the following material is from:
which is also available in English translation:
Arkady Vaksberg, Stalin's Prosecutor: The Life of Andrei Vyshinsky (translated by Jan Butler), Grove Weidenfield, New York, 1999.
I relied on the translation only sparingly here, for fear of infringing the copyright. Some of my own translations may be choppy.
|Beshenym sobakam -- sobach'ya smert'!||For mad dogs -- a dog's death!|
--Slogan on wall at Zinoviev show trial
|prezrennye avantyuristy, pytayuschiesya gryaznymi nogami vytoptat' blagouxayushchie cvety v nashem socialisticheskom sadu||contemptible adventurers, trying with muddy feet to trample the sweet-smelling flowers in our socialist garden|
--A. Ya. Vyshinsky at 1936 Zinoviev trial
|lguny i shuty, nichtozhnye pigmei, mos'ki i shavki,
vz"yarivshiesya na slona...
|liars and buffoons, contemptible pygmies, pug dogs and puppies, attempting to mount an elephant...|
utterly base scoundrels...
--A. Ya. Vyshinsky at Zinoviev trial
|Vrag kovaren! Kovarnogo vraga shchadit' nel'zya. Ves' narod podnyalsya na nogi pri pervom soobshchenii ob e^tom koshmarnom zlodejstve. Ves' narod trepeshchet i negoduet. I ya kak predstavitel' gosudarstvennogo obvineniya prisoedinyayu i svoj vozmushchennyj negoduyushchij golos gosudarstvennogo obvinitelya k e^tomy gulu millionov!
Vzbeshivshixsya sobak ya trebuyu rasstrelyat' -- vsex do odnogo!
|The enemy is stealthful. A stealthful enemy must not be spared. The entire nation rose to their feet when first informed of this nightmarish evildoing. The entire nation trembles with indignation. And I, as representative of the state prosecution, unite my own outraged and indignant state prosecutor's voice to this cry of millions!|
I demand that these mad dogs be shot -- each and every one of them!
--A. Ya. Vyshinsky at 1936 Zinoviev trial
terroristicheskie gromily i vyrodki
|dregs of society...|
terrorist thugs and degenerates
|Putem ubijstva izmenikov vela
Shakal'ya zloba, nenavist' gien'ya.
Otpravleny ix chernye dela
Tyazhelym smradom trupnogo gnien'ya ...
Chtoby zmeya ne porazila vnov'
Smertel'nym yadom tajnogo ukusa,
Pust' kirovskaya plamennaya krov'
Ispepelit gadyuch'e serdce trusa.
Pust' sud naroda izvlechit na svet
Vsyu merzost' del predatel'skogo sbroda.
Net opravdan'ya i poshchadi net
Podnyavshim ruku na vozhdej naroda.
|--Aleksei Surkov's poetic rendition of Vyshinsky's speech at Zinoviev trial|
|Skazhite, pozhaluista, kogda vy vozobnovili svoyu antisovetskuyu prestupnuyu deyatel'nost'.
--A. Ya. Vyshinskij
|Kindly tell us when you renewed your anti-Soviet criminal activity|
--A. Ya. Vyshinsky to L. Serebryakov, at Jan 1937 Pyatakov-Radek trial
|My trebuem besposhchadno unichtozhit' gadov i vsex ix oxvost'e.||We demand the vermin and all their followers be mercilessly exterminated|
--some "humanist doctors" at 1937 trial of Radek, Pyatakov
|Ya ne odin ... Pust' zhertvy pogrebeny, no oni stoyat zdes' ryadom so mnoyu, ukazyvaya na e^tu skam'yu podsudimyx, na vas, podsudimye, svoimi strashnymi rukami, istlevshimi v mogilax, kuda vy ix otpravili!...
Ya obvinyayu ne odin! Ya obvinyayu vmeste so vsem nashim narodom, obvinyayu tyagchajshix prestupnikov, dostojnyx odnoj tol'ko mery nakazaniya -- rasstrela, smerti!
|I am not alone... The victims may be buried, but they stand here beside me, pointing at this bench of the defendants, at you, defendants, with their frightful hands, rotted away in the graves where you sent them! ...|
I am not alone in accusing! I accuse together with all our people, I accuse the worst criminals, for whom only one punishment is suitable -- shooting, death!
--A.Ya. Vyshinsky at Jan 1937 Pyatakov-Radek trial
|uchastie v zagovore||participation in a conspiracy|
--A. Ya Vyshinsky at 1938 Bukharin trial
|zlovonnaya kucha chelovecheskix otbrosov...
samye ot"yavlennye, samye otpetye i razlozhivshiesya bes-chestnye e^lementy...
proklyataya pomes' lisicy i svin'i
|a stinking pile of human refuse...|
the most contemptible, the most incorrigible and decayed dishonorable elements...
accursed cross between a fox and a swine
--A.Ya Vyshinsky at 1938 Bukharin trial
Cross between a fox and a swine|
This bizarre insult apparently came from Bukharin himself. An amateur artist, he drew caricatures of government colleagues. He mocked himself in one sketch as "Piggy Foxy" ("Svinaya Lisichka"), with vulpine features and fluffy tail. His sketches, along with some by V. I. Mezhlauk, Ye. M. Yaroslavsky, and others, languished forgotten in KGB archives for many decades. A sampling have recently been published:
Edited by Alexander Vatlin and Larisa Malashenko, Piggy Foxy and the Sword of the Revolution: Bolshevik Self Portraits, Yale University Press (Annals of Communism Series), New Haven & London, 2006; cloth, 206 pp. See especially p. 27.
|Iz Tacita izvestny takie slychai, kak ubijstvo Seyana takim yadom, chto, kazalos', budto Seyan umer ot obyknovennoj bolezni. V e^tom i zaklyuchaetsya iskusstvo prestupleniya. Izvestno, chto Filipp II ves'ma shiroko pol'zovalsya dlya otravleniya yadom, kotoryj nel'zya bylo obnaruzhit' dazhe pri tshchatel'nom issledovanii, yadom, kotoryj byl im nazvan «Requiescat in pace» («Pust' pochiet v mire»). Izvestno chto Ioann Kastil'skij byl otravlen pri pomoshchi otravlennoj obuvi. Izvestno, nakonec, chto papa Kliment II byl ubit pri pomoshchi dyma ot otravlennoj svechi.
|We learn from Tacitus of occasions like the killing of Sejanus with a poison acting with the appearance of an ordinary disease. In that is the art of the crime. We know that Philip II often used a poison, which could not be detected without the most careful investigation, which he called "Requiescat in pace" ("Rest in peace"). It is known that John of Castille was killed by a poisoned shoe. It is known, finally, that Pope Clement II was killed by smoke from a poisoned candle.|
--A.Ya. Vyshinsky at 1938 Bukharin trial, referring to "killer-doctors." (They were accused of helping G. Yagoda poison Menzhinsky [Yagoda's predecessor at the OGPU], Maksim Gorky's son M. Peshkov, Kuibyshev, and Gorky himself)
Reference to Tacitus|
Tacitus's description of the downfall of Sejanus has been lost. Vyshinsky may be thinking of Messalina's plan to poison Emperor Claudius, assuring the throne to her son Nero. (Tacitus, Annals, 12.66 [Book 12, section 66])
|tifoznye vshi||typhus-ridden lice|
--a contemporary Soviet journalist
|Projdet vremya. Mogily nenavistnyx izmennikov zarastut bur'yanom i chertopoloxom, pokrytye vechnym prezreniem sovetskix lyudej, vsego sovetskogo naroda. A nad nami, nad nashej s-chastlivoj stranoj po-prezhnemu yasno i radostno budet sverkat' svoimi svetlymi luchami nashe solnce. My, nash narod, budem po-prezhnemy shagat' po ochishchennoj ot poslednej nechisti i merzosti proshlogo doroge, vo glave s nashim lyubimym vozhdem i uchitelem -- velikim Stalinom -- vpered i vpered, k kommunizmu!||Time will pass. The graves of the odious traitors will be overgrown with weeds, covered with the eternal contempt of Soviet people, of the whole Soviet nation. But over us, over our happy country, our sun will shine with its bright rays as clearly and joyfully as before. We, our nation, will walk as we did before, on a road cleansed of the last impurity and vileness of the past, following our beloved leader and teacher -- the great Stalin -- forward and ever forward, to Communism!|
--A.Ya. Vyshinsky at the 1938 Bukharin trial
|Tovarishchi sud'i, ya ne budu skryvat' ot vas togo isklyuchitel'no trudnogo, nebyvalo tyazhelogo polozheniya, v kotorom naxoditsya v e^tom dele zashchitnik. Ved' zashchitnik, tovarishchi sud'i, prezhde vsego syn svoej rodiny, on takzhe grazhdanin velikogo Sovetskogo Soyuza, i chuvstva velikogo vozmushcheniya, gneva i uzhasa, kotorye oxvatyvayut sejchac vsyu nashu stranu ot mala do velika, chuvstvo, kotoroe tak yarko otobrazil v svoej rechi prokuror, e^ti chuvstva ne mogut byt' chuzhdy i zashchitnikam...
Ya zashchishchayu Knyazeva, nachal'nika dorogi, kotoryj v ogodu yaponskoj razvedke puskal pod otkos poezda s rabochimi i krasnoarmejcami. Ne skroyu, kogda ya chital materialy po delu, kogda perelistyval dokumenty, kogda slushal pokazaniya Knyazeva, mne chudilsya i groxot razrushayushchixsya vagonov i stony umirayushchix i ranenyx krasnoarmejcev... Pripertyj k stene, Knyazev dal soglasie vstupit' v kontrrevolyucionnuyu trockistskuyu organizaciyu. Otkrylas' pervaya stranica otvratitel'nyx deyanij Knyazeva, prodiktovannyx emu trockistskoj terroristicheskoj organizaciej.
|Comrade judges, I will not conceal from you that extraordinarily difficult situation, burdensome without precedent, in which the defender finds himself in this case. For the defender, comrade judges, above all is a son of his motherland, he is likewise a citizen of the great Soviet Union, and the feelings of great indignation, anger, and horror, which now engulf all our people from the humble to the great, feelings that the prosecutor reflected so brilliantly in his speech, those feelings cannot be unknown even to defenders...
I am defending Knyazev, head of the railways, who on behalf of Japanese intelligence allowed a train of workers and Red Army men to fall off an embankment. I will not conceal, that when I read the materials of the case, when I scanned through the documents, when I heard the deposition of Knyazev, I seemed to hear both the roar of the collapsing railroad cars and the groans of dying and wounded Red Army men... Cornered, Knyazev gave his agreement to join a counterrevolutionary Trotskyite organization. The first page was opened of the revolting deeds of Knyazev, dictated to him by a Trotskyite terrorist organization.
|Tovarishchi sud'i, chudovishchna kartina izmeny i predatel'stva, kotoraya razvernulas' pered vami na protyazhenii e^tix neskol'kix dnej. Bezmerna tyazhest' viny sidyashchix na skam'e podsudimyx. Ponyaten gnev narodnyx mass nashego Soyuza. S predel'noj udivitel'nost'yu i yasnost'u vskrylis' zdes, na sude, kak samaya rabota trockistskoj organizacii, tak i metody, kotorye premenyala ona dlya vovlecheniya v svoyu sredu... Krug argumentov, kotorye mozhno predlozhit' vashemu vnimaniyu, krug dovodov, kotorye mogut byt' vydvinuty kak momenty, smyagchayushchie vinu togo ili inogo obvinyaemogo po e^tomu delu, -- chrezvychajno suzhivaetsya.
|Comrade judges, it is a monstrous picture of treason that has unfolded before us over the last several weeks. Immeasurable is the guilt of those sitting on the defendants' bench. Understandable is the anger of the masses of our Union. With striking clarity were revealed here, in court, both the very work of a Trotskyist organization, and the methods which it used to recruit into its midst... The range of arguments, which can be offered to your attention, the range of reasons, which can be advanced as circumstances ameliorating the guilt of this or that defendant -- is extraordinarily narrow.
Gluboko byl prav tov. Vyshinskij... Esli my, zashchitniki v e^tom processe, budem prosit' vas, tovarishchi sud'i, otstupit' v otnoshenii togo ili inogo podsudimogo ot toj vysshej mery nakazaniya, kotoruyu predlagal gosudarstvennyj obvenitel', to ne po osnovaniyam, lezhashchim v xaraktere prestupleniya ili v lichnosti posudimogo, a po osnovaniyam, kotorye vytekayut iz samogo fakta sily, mogushchestva i moshchi Sovetskogo Soyuza.
Comrade Vyshinsky is most profoundly correct... If we, the defense attorneys in this trial, should ask you, comrade judges, to renounce, in relation to this or that defendant, the supreme measure of punishment proposed by the state prosecutor, that would not be based on the nature of the crime or the personality of the defendant, but rather on the very fact of the strength, might, and power of the Soviet Union.
|Prokuror SSSR akademik Vyshinskij||Procurator-general of the USSR, academician Vyshinsky
(a title he assumed in 1938)
|Nado pomnit' ukazanie tov. Stalina, chto byvayut takie periody, takie momenty v zhizni obshchestva i v zhizni nashej, v chastnosti kogda zakony okazyvayutsya ustarevshimi i ix nado otlozhit' v storonu.
|One should remember the instruction of Comrade Stalin, that there are such periods, such times in the life of society and our individual lives, when laws turn out to be obsolete and we have to put them aside.
--A.Ya. Vyshinsky, in 1937
As quoted by A. Vaksberg, p. 105
For example, he intervened to keep on the stage Mikhail Bulgakov's play "Days of the Turbins" (based on his novel "White Guard"), strongly condemned by orthodox critics for showing some "White Guard" characters as sympathetic human beings. Comrade Stalin, quite possibly, had gotten bored with conventional portraits of "White Guards" as pathetic stooges and losers; if so what was so difficult and heroic about defeating them? In later years, however, Bulgakov was increasingly harassed and hemmed in by the orthodox. When he could no longer even earn a living, he dared to write directly to Comrade Stalin, asking to be allowed to emigrate to where he could continue writing plays. Even to think about writing such a letter was enough to send anyone else to the GULag, but Comrade Stalin intervened again on Bulgakov's behalf, to assure him a production job at a leading Moscow theatre. He no longer could write for the public, but he was infinitely better off than 99% of the others who attracted unfavorable notice.
Comrade Stalin apparently recognized, and was not bothered by the fact that the leading, most sympathetic, character in Sholokhov's "Quiet Don" epic had some counterrevolutionary tendencies.
Comrade Stalin had no tolerance for personal attacks, however, eg that by Iosip Mandel'shtam.
Denounce an enemy of the people!
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