The Commissar Vanishes Page Two of Five

Enemy of the People
    Above left, participants of the 11th Congress, Moscow, 1922.  Left of Stalin is Grigorii Petrovsky, and Sergo Ordjonikidze.  When this photo was taken Stalin had just been appointed General Secretary.  The retouched photo on the right was published in connection with Stalin's 60th birthday in 1939.  There is no longer room for Petrovsky or Ordjonikidze.  Petrovsky was sacked from the Central Committee in 1928, accused of having connections with "enemies of the people."  Notice how Ordjonikidze has moved closer to the Boss.

Four, Three, Two, One...
    Original photo included from left to right: Anippov, Stalin, Kirov, and Shvernik.  Taken in Leningrad in 1926, celebrating the defeat of Zinoviev's anti-Stalinist opposition.  The photo of three reveals the disappearance of Antipov [the chandelier has also been eliminated].  Antipov had joined the Bolsheviks in 1912, chairman of the Petrograd Cheka in 1918, and later prime minister Molotov's secretary.  Arrested and sent to prison where he was the last Stalinist cadre to be shot in August, 1941.  In the next picture, Shevernik was erased when the photo was used in 1949 for a short biography of Stalin.  Finally, an oil painting by Brodsky based on the original photo. Stalin the executioner alone remains.

Lenin Addresses the Crowds
    Outside the Bolshoi Theater in May, 1920.  On the steps to the right we can see Trotsky, with Kamenev partly obscured behind him.  The falsification of this photograph is probably the first and certainly the most famous example of Stalinist retouching.  The original photograph, achieved icon status, while Lenin was still alive and Trotsky still had power.  After Trotsky's downfall, the photograph was never again shown in its entirety in the USSR.  Even during the Gorbachev period the photo was cropped to eliminate Trotsky and Kamenev.

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