The Commissar Vanishes Page Three of Five

Long-term Friendships
    This group shot, taken at the 14th Party Conference in April, 1925 is a classic example of Stalinist photographic manipulation.  Only one of Stalin's comrades in this picture would die from natural causes.  The same photograph published in 2 biographies of Stalin that appeared in 1939 and 1949, has been retouched and rearranged to reduce the group to four, 60% of those present were erased from history.

Old Bolsheviks
    Delegates to the 8th Congress in March 1919.  Out of the 20 delegates identified, eleven were killed by Stalin and three more committed suicide in protest against his policies.  The most famous retouched version showed only Lenin, Stalin, and Kalinin.  Occasionally Kalinin was made to disappear, falsely suggesting Stalin's extreme closeness to Lenin.  Finally, when reproduced in the massive "First Cavalry" album in 1938, even Lenin has gone!

Attack on the Working Class
    Milkhail Tomsky [back row, left] and President Kalinin [seated second from left] in Leningrad with unidentified Party functionaries in 1927.  Tomsky had boldly criticized Trotsky, but in 1929 criticized Stalin's disastrous program of collectivization.  He was accused of "right deviationism" and removed from the Politburo.  Then, attacked by Vishinsky, Stalin's chief prosecutor at the show trials, Tomsky committed suicide.  Kalinin avoided becoming a victim of the purge, but Stalin arrested his wife in 1938.  She spent 8 years in a Gulag.  The photo at the left is a vicious attack in pen and ink on Tomsky and another unidentified comrade.

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