The Commissar Vanishes Page One of Five

Isaak Zelensky
    Joined Bolsheviks in 1906 and took active part in October Revolution.  Elected full member of Central Committee, and served as secretary of Moscow Party organization.  Arrested in October 1937 on Stalin's orders as “an enemy of the people.”  Along with 20 other defendants in a show trial on March 1938, including Bukharin, Zelensky was found guilty of “spoiling” 50 truckloads of eggs, and shot.  This haunting image of Zelensky’s defaced photograph comes from a photographic album in possession of artist Rodchenko, who defaced the photo in 1937 in order to avoid arrest and possible imprisonment.

The Conspirators
    Meeting in St. Petersburg in February 1897 with Lenin.  Left standing is Alexander Marchenko.  Along with the others Marchenko was exiled for 3 years in Siberia.  Returning from exile in 1900 he abandoned revolutionary politics.  In 1929 he was arrested, wrongfully accused of being a "wrecker," and executed in 1930.  For 30 years he was air-brushed out of the photo whenever it was reproduced.  In 1958 he was rehabilitated, at which time his presence was allowed to re-appear.

The Commissar Vanishes
    Lenin and Trotsky [center, top of stairs] celebrating second anniversary of the revolution in November 1919.  A heavily retouched version was published in 1967.  Trotsky has been air-brushed out.

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