Distorting Soviet History – The Case of Soviet Physicist Matvei Bronstein (1906-1938)

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Soviet Physicist Matvei Bronstein

In 1953, the US Government executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for being Members of the Communist Party of the USA (a legal entity then as now), and by extension, because they were thought to be spies working for the Soviet Union. The then President of the United States offered the Rosenberg’s a deal whereby if they renounced their Communist beliefs, and ‘admitted’ their guilt – their respective Death Sentences (via the electric chair) would be commuted to ‘life imprisonment’ – both steadfastly refused, and they died within minutes of one another on June 19th, 1953. The mainstream media of the democratic West remained ‘silent’, and was generally supportive of a US that had just suffered numerous military defeats at the hands of Communist China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as it expelled the US-led Western forces from North Korea. Of course, Socialists had been attacked, maimed and killed in the US before, but following the crushing Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during WWII, the US Government, controlled as it is by the demands of big business, had developed a hysteria and paranoia against the Communist Bloc, the like of which could easily be described as a ‘group psychosis’. The capitalists that run America feared their own working class, and were afraid that it would rise-up and sweep away their corruption and class privilege. As a means to counter any working class grassroots movement that looked toward the Soviet Union for inspiration and perhaps material support, the US Government initiated a Cold War ‘disinformation’ campaign designed to turn the Western working class firmly away from any association with the USSR. The basic premise was a simple sleight of hand and inversion of thought; as the Soviet Union viewed itself as the ‘Socialist’ conquering force over Nazi German fascism, the US ideologues generated the lie that there was no difference between the brutal Soviet Union (an ally of the US during WWII), and the maniacal Nazi Germany. Ironically, the country that the US had dropped two atomic bombs upon at the end of WWII – fascist Japan – was quickly ‘rehabilitated’ and suddenly packaged to the world as America’s new best friend.

This all has to be mentioned, because another key aspect of Soviet misrepresentation is to mis-report segments of Soviet history with no historical context whatsoever – as if the Soviet Union was so corrupt that it possessed the ability to exist outside of space and time! Much of how the Soviet Union is interpreted prior to WWII, actually emerged as part of a continuously unfolding anti-Soviet Cold War rhetoric, manufactured after WWII. The false impression is that the post-WWII attitude of the US toward the USSR was exactly the same pre-WWII attitude of the US toward the USSR – an illusion that only holds true if the entirety of the WWII collaboration between the US and USSR is completely omitted from the historical record. Another important issue is the embracing by the West of Leon Trotsky and his peculiar form of collaboration with capitalism which he termed ‘Socialism’ (but never ‘Communism’) following his expulsion from the USSR in 1929. Trotsky sought to destroy the Soviet Union and instigate a system of bourgeois-left leaning capitalism in its place. Western Governments liked this form of ‘Trotskyite’ deception, and encouraged its presence throughout (and within) the Union and Labour Movements of the West. Trotskyism is essentially an anti-Marxist-Leninism ideology, and was viewed by the Western Governments as a preferred alternative for the workers to follow – due to its anti-Soviet underpinnings. From 1929 until his death in 1940, Leon Trotsky received all kinds of support from Western Governments in a bid to undermine the Soviet Union. This included the establishing of ‘cells’ within the Soviet Union linked not only to the Western Democracies, but also with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Trotskyism was (and still is) a counter-revolutionary and anti-workers’ movement, that permeates the Labour Movement, and which psychologically and physically leads workers away from Socialist Revolution, and toward a continued collaboration with capitalism and its oppressive forces throughout society. Trotskyism destroys Labour Movements from within, and is designed to completely disempower the working class on every front.

In 1938, at a Conference representing his ‘Socialist’ ideology, Trotsky called for the victory of the forces of World Fascism over not only the Soviet Union, but also over the Western Democracies as well! In his deluded thinking, this victory of Adolf Hitler would be good for the well-being and freedom of the International Working Class! In the case of Matvei Bronstein – a Soviet physicist specialising in quantum mechanics and nuclear power – he became embroiled with a Trotskyite group operating in the USSR that had direct links to Nazi Germany. As usual, the English wikipedia page is inaccurate and missing vital information, but steadfastly supports the US anti-Soviet position. The Russian language wikipedia page has more official information, but still omits ‘what’ Matvei Bronstein had been found guilty of. The English wikipedia page portrays Bronstein ‘ahistorically’ as a lovable ‘genius’ who spent his spare-time writing children’s books. The implication is that his execution was unjust and an act of barbarism. The Russian Language wikipage – although lacking a crucial piece of information – does provide the following ‘historical’ details:

‘Arrested on August 6, 1937 in Kiev, in his parents’ house, and transported to Leningrad. Included in the firing list “Leningrad region” on February 3, 1938, approved by the signatures of Stalin, Voroshilov, Molotov, Kaganovich.
February 18, 1938 sentenced by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR under the chairmanship of Corveneurist Matulevich to be shot under Article 58-8-11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR – was shot on the same day. Presumably buried in the Levashovskaya wasteland, where L. Chukovskaya in the 1990’s installed a monument. He was rehabilitated posthumously by order No. 44-028 603/56 of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR of May 9, 1957.’

Bronstein was ‘rehabilitated posthumously’ by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev who was himself a Trotskyite. What surprised me was that Bronstein’s Death Sentence was tested and approved by ‘four’ different Soviet legal departments – Stalin’s signature being added last. I had to look in other Russian language sources to discover exactly ‘why’ this action was taken against Bronstein by the Soviet State. Six months had elapsed since his arrest and trial, and every indication is that this was a thorough investigation. Bronstein, of course, experienced every assistance and freedom the Soviet State could give prior to his arrest, and it was known that he had contact with Niel Bohr – the Danish physicist – who is often portrayed in Western literature as opposing Nazism, but Denmark as a nation openly collaborated with Nazi Germany and did not resist the Nazi invasion of 1940 etc, but this association is not the reason Bronstein was arrested. Interestingly, the English wikipedia (designed in the US) omits all details of the trial, whereas the Russian (modern) wikipedia text omits the following (crucial) line of information which explains ‘why’ Bronstein was arrested, tried and executed:

‘Active participation in a counter-revolutionary, fascist-terrorist organization.’

(активное участие в контрреволюционной фашистской террористической организации)

Another Russian language text adds even more information:

‘According to the indictment of January 24, 1938, as part of his “practical anti-Soviet work” the scientist “prepared terrorist acts” and carried-out harmful activities “in the field of subsoil and water resources exploration.”‘

‘Согласно обвинительному заключению от 24 января 1938 года, в своей «практической антисоветской работе» ученый «готовил террористические акты» и вредил «в области разведки недр и водного хозяйства». ‘

Writing in the UK in 2017, I can say that I was not present during these times, and have no way of knowing whether Bronstein was ‘guilty’ or not. Furthermore, like Karl Marx, I disagree with the judicial Death Sentence, whilst equally recognising that the working class has a right to defend itself. The British BBC correspondent Alexander Werth (who was of Russian parentage), spent many years in the USSR, and dedicated much of his later years to providing good quality, first-hand accounts of life in the Soviet Union. Obviously, almost by default, his work continuously counters the false US anti-Soviet propaganda – proving it wrong at every turn. Even Americans living in the USSR in the 1940’s and 1950’s stated that there was no ‘great purge’, and neither were millions of people sent to gulags. Instead, it was admitted that there was perhaps around 10,000 people arrested throughout the USSR in the late 1930’s, with only a small percentage receiving the Death Sentence for spying or collaborating with Nazi Germany, etc. From what I am told by Russian colleagues, it is suspected that Bronstein was preparing to hand-over his work on nuclear studies to a ‘fascist’ enemy – thought to be Nazi Germany.

From the viewpoint of US anti-Soviet propaganda – which a priori assumes the utter corruption of the Soviet State at every turn – why was it considered necessary to ‘omit’ Bronstein’s criminal charge from Western narratives about his life? The English-language wikipedia is a good barometer of US political opinion, as its pages are ‘edited’ to keep this often inaccurate encyclopaedia very much representative of America’s anti-Socialist position. This bias can be seen in the racist attitude employed by wikipedia toward Communist China and North Korea, and its continuous censoring of any critique of the Zionist State of modern Israel. It is interesting that the wikipedia editors chose not to include Bronstein’s criminal charge in their general anti-Soviet narrative.Why would they fail to include a charge, if they thought the charge itself was unjust? Surely the inclusion of such a charge would work in favour of their anti-Soviet cause? The only viable reason I can see for omitting Bronstein’s criminal charge, is that the US Establishment does not want the general reader to know about it. If this is the case, then why would the US Establishment not want the general reader to know ‘exactly’ what Bronstein was charged with? Could it be that Bronstein’s charge can be easily proven to be ‘true’ by accessing other historical records? Or could it include the fact that US espionage was behind Bronstein’s collaboration with fascism? Whatever the reasons may be, it is obvious that in the case of Bronstein, the US Establishment does not want his charge to be widely known.

Finally, whilst at Leningrad University (from 1923-1929), Matvei Bronstein made friends with three other people who would go on to become well-known Soviet scientists. One of these was named ‘Georgiy Gamov’. Despite having a privileged lifestyle and career as a Soviet physicist, Gamov sought to ‘defect’ to the capitalist West at his earliest convenience. This he did (with his wife) in 1933 – after two years of continuous effort. He then ingratiated himself with the Western (capitalist) Establishment, immediately sharing all his previously confidential Soviet science with the enemies of Socialism. His work, which involved Cosmology, quantum tunneling and molecular genetics, was then integrated into the capitalist ‘scientific’ narrative, giving the false impression that ‘greed’ had triumphed over egalitarianism. It is interesting, from a historical point of view, that Bronstein was associated with Gamov. Two of Bronstein’s other friends at the time were Dmitri Ivanenko and Lev Landau, both of whom went on to have glittering scientific careers in the USSR, and remain loyal to the Socialist cause.

English Language Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matvei_Petrovich_Bronstein

Russian Language Reference:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Бронштейн,_Матвей_Петрович

http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/rinagit/post298964829

http://polit.ru/news/2016/12/02/bronshtein/

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