Why was Sergey Korolev (Сергей Королев) Arrested? (1938)


(Research and Translation by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Author’s Note: Despite the Cold War being over for at least 26 years, it is extraordinary how Western academic discourse has not been able to shrug-off US-generated ‘disinformation’ about the Soviet Union, and directly access reliable Russian-language texts as a means to ‘correct’ the bizarre lies and improbable myths. Probably about a year ago, I attended a ‘Cosmonaut’ exhibition held at London’s Science Museum. Despite the esteemed reputation of this fine British institution, the narrative it pursued was the usual ‘illogical’ plurality that the Soviet Union was both extraordinarily ‘advanced’, whilst simultaneously being ‘backward’ and ‘despotic’. Sergey Korolev was treated as a genius who produced his best work after being arrested by Joseph Stalin, imprisoned on trumped-up charges, tortured and finally released. In fact, none of this is recorded as true within Soviet-era records. It was the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police) which moved against Korolev, with Stalin being informed at the end of the evidence gathering process. Korolev was not sentenced to death (as incorrectly stated by the English language Wiki-page dealing with his biography). Korolev was sentenced to 10 years hard labour, (which transpired to mean being well-cared for within a technological, working environment). Korolev was not tortured, and did not confess any crimes during his imprisonment. The only time that Joseph Stalin had any direct involvement with Korolev, is when he personally ordered Korolev’s release in 1944 (after just 6 years of imprisonment). During his imprisonment, Korolev carried-out vitally important scientific work for the Soviet State – hardly the behaviour or actions of a man supposedly betrayed by the State that he served. From my own research, Sergey Korolev was a potential target of Nazi German and Trotskyite agents operating in the USSR during the latter part of the 1930’s. The Soviet Authorities devised a plan to remove Sergey Korolev from public view until the threat of fascism was removed – by 1944 – that situation had arrived as the forces of Nazi Germany were being driven back to Berlin. Sergey Korolev was a staunch supporter of the Soviet System, and he used his genius to beat the US during the early Space Race. ACW (10.12.2017)

In the quite frankly ‘illogical’ world of US Cold War hysteria, paranoia, disinformation and plain bad Western academia, the Soviet Union is depicted as an armed Concentration Camp bristling with a disaffected population seeking ‘defection’ to the ‘capitalist’ (free) West at the earliest opportunity. This almost comical misrepresentation of world history is not so funny, when it is considered that the warmongers in Washington were seriously prepared to put the lives of tens of millions of people at risk around the world, simply in the maintenance and pursuance of this myth. The Soviet Union was a vast improvement upon the backward and corrupt feudal system it had replaced in 1917, but its success irritated the US ideologues due to its complete rejection of predatory capitalism. This meant that the dominant US corporate families (such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford and the Rothschild, etc) spread throughout the capitalist world (together with the Catholic and Protestant Churches) had no direct say (or influence) over a large swathe of humanity. (The Jewish Rockerfeller and Carnegie families, amongst others, funded ‘eugenic’ programmes in the US prior to the outbreak of WWII). This general rightwing capitalist approach to the expansion of markets and generating of profit, led directly to an expressed antipathy toward the ‘Socialist’ USSR, which intended to inspire and support a world-wide Revolution, and the usurption of the capitalist system. In-short, the Soviet System protected millions of people from the ruthless expansion of a free market economy, and got in the way of the extension of predatory capitalism into Russia (at least until the end of 1991).

The rise of Leon Trotsky complicated matters between 1929 and his death in 1940. Whilst receiving financial support from leading American Zionists, Trotsky embarked upon the mission of developing a capitalist-friendly ‘pseudo-Socialist’ movement, which whilst appearing to support ‘Revolution’ in the name of the workers, actively strove to co-operate with the Bourgeois State and wed his movement to an alliance with world fascism. Trotsky, acting in concordance with the Roman Catholic Church, openly opposed the existence of the Soviet Union, and supported any and all rightwing movements around the world. This reached a peak in the mid to late 1930’s, where Trotsky and his supporters opposed the democratically elected ‘Socialist’ Republican government, and supported the fascist General Franco (the British Trotskyite George Orwell heeded this call and even travelled to Spain to join a Trotskyite militia). In 1938, Trotsky openly called for his followers to fully support Nazi Germany and its preparation for an attack on the USSR. Trotsky also called for the population of the Soviet Union to murder Joseph Stalin, and where possible, carry-out acts of sabotage and terrorism against the Soviet State. Although never ‘popular’ in the USSR, nevertheless, Trotsky did have a minority of followers in influential places, who were able to put into practice his call for illegal activities. The point of this sabotage was to weaken the Soviet State from within, and make it easier for the military forces of Nazi Germany to destroy the Red Army in open combat. By sabotaging the development of military equipment and technology, the Red Army would have its fighting efficiency drastically reduced.

This is the historical background to the time period within which Sergey Korolev (1907-1966) – the eventual father of the Soviet Space Programme – was arrested in 1938, and imprisoned within the Soviet Union. As usual, most Western narratives (including the English-language Wikipedia) are deficient or misleading when dealing with this episode. Korolev was not ‘tortured’ whilst in custody awaiting trial, or whilst in prison. In fact, he was treated very well, and was allowed to continue his scientific work whilst within a secure environment. The fact that he continued to develop scientific innovations whilst ‘detained’, is hardly the activities of a man under duress, and has led some to speculate that the Soviet State took him into protective custody to continue his crucial scientific work (concocting a ‘criminal’ cover story in the process). It could be that Nazi German and Trotskyite spies were conspiring to kill Sergey Korolev, and so it was in his best interests that he ‘disappear’ from public view for a time.

During the Spring of 1937. Reactive Scientific Research Institute No. 3 (RNII-3 – Scientific Research Institute for Jet Propulsion, later – NII-3) – came under intense governmental scrutiny. This was because of the action taken by the Head of Division Andreya Kostikov (Андрея Костикова) who wrote to Nikolayu Yezhovu (Николаю Ежову) of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B), stating that funds had been embezzled and new technology sabotaged by the Institute’s Director Ivana Kleymenova (Ивана Клейменова), the Deputy Director Georgiya Langemaka (Георгия Лангемака), and leading engineers Valentina Glushko (Валентина Глушко) and Sergey Korolev (Сергея Королева). Initially, the charges were aimed primarily at Kleymenova and Langemaka, with the two engineers accused of incompetence and mediocrity rather than collusion. Indeed, during the nights of the 2nd and 3rd of November, 1937, Kleymenova and Langemaka were arrested, and under interrogation, both admitted to ‘wrecking activities’. In the general narrative, it is believed that at this time, Kleymenova and Langemaka also implicated Glushko and Korolev (as well as others), but a close examination of the historical facts (within Russian language sources) indicates that at least in the case of Sergey Korolev, this assumption is incorrect. As matters transpired, once the NKVD had gathered and verified all the evidence pertaining to this case, acting in accordance with Soviet Law (which specified the ‘Death Sentence’ for this type of ‘political’ crime), Kleymenova and Langemaka were executed (by being ‘shot’). Although all the engineers were also ‘recorded’ as participating in ‘wrecking activities’, no further action was taken against them at the time. This suggests that Kleymenova and Langemaka, as corrupting influences, were removed so that Sergey Korolev (one of the USSR’s most prolific rocket experts), could do the progressive work that his bosses had prevented him from developing.

However, not long after these events, engineer Valentina Glushko was arrested and admitted to ‘wrecking activities’ alongside Nikolayem Il’inym (Николаем Ильиным) – the former Head of the Gas Dynamic Laboratory – but records show that no mention was made (either by Glushko or the NKVD) of Sergey Korolev.  It was surprising, therefore, that the NKVD arrested Sergey Korolev on the 27th of June, 1938 (as he was being released from hospital). Writing in the Russian-language book entitled ‘Father’ (Отец),  Natalia Korolev (Натальи Королевой) confirms that her father’s arrest had nothing to do with Glushko (or his bosses Kleymenova and Langemaka). Although Western narratives continuously assert that Sergey Korolev was arrested on ‘false charges’, this interpretation is incorrect – as Soviet-era records clearly show that Sergey Korolev was arrested with ‘no charges’ being levelled at him. It is interesting to note in passing, that in the opinion of Yaroslav Golovanov (Ярослава Голованова), in his book entitled ‘Korolev: Myths and Facts’ (Королев: факты и мифы), that Sergey Korolev had made an enemy of Kostikov – by standing in the way of him becoming the Director of Reactive Scientific Research Institute No. 3. Kostikov had been behind a number of reports implying that engineers had been involved in sabotage activates – but there is nothing in writing directly linking Kostilov to Korolev. Even so, biographer Georgiy Vetrov (Георгий Ветров), in his book entitled ‘SP Korolev and Cosmonautics’ (С.П. Королев и космонавтика), states that Korolev was ambitious to be in-charge of his own Institute – and was actively competing with Kostilov to influence the direction of jet engine design.

An intriguing clue as to the genius of Sergey Korolev is given by fellow employee Georgiy Vetro Leonid Dushkin (Георгий Ветро Леонид Душкин), who stated in an interview published in the Russian-language magazine entitled ‘Wings of the Motherland’ (Крылья родины), that one of the reasons for Korolev’s arrest, was that he had developed his own cruise missile device, as well as a rocket-propelled aeroplane. The engine did not use oxygen, but rather nitric acid (a development which Glushko knew about, but did not report). Again, it is assumed that whatever else was happening at Reactive Scientific Research Institute No. 3, it was a personal grudge held by Kostilov that led to Korolev being arrested. Yes, Korolev had broken protocols by acting without permission or direction, but on the other hand, he had demonstrated advanced ‘Socialist’ thinking in the service of the Soviet Union. This explains why the Soviet Authorities arrested Korolev without any ‘charge’ being given. He was removed from the obstructing influence of Kostilov, and within a highly disciplined and controlled technological environment, he was allowed to safely pursue his own developmental direction.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2017.

Russian Language Source:


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