To the Editors:
Since last August an international campaign has been conducted to gain signatures on a petition to the Soviet government to exonerate and rehabilitate the victims of the Moscow Trials of the 1930s, who included leaders of the Russian Revolution such as Bukharin, Kamenev, Radek, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and others. This campaign has already obtained the signatures of forty-eight representatives of socialist, labor, and radical parties in the parliaments of Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Peru, and Venezuela. It has also obtained the signatures of leaders in the trade union, cultural, academic, and civil libertarian fields in these and nineteen other countries, including Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
In the United States signatories include such well-known figures as Eqbal Ahmad, Philip Berrigan, Noam Chomsky, Ronnie Gilbert, Conrad Lynn, Harry Magdoff, Norman Mailer, Bertell Ollman, Annette Rubinstein, Grace Paley, Paul Sweezy, Alan Wald, George Wald, and Howard Zinn.
The campaign is being intensified following the speech of Gorbachev on the seventieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution. While it is encouraging that a commission for rehabilitation has been established in the Soviet Union, we cannot rely on it for more than the limited rehabilitation of Moscow Trial defendants which in the past has been selective, partial, and in the form of curt announcements without explanation. Yet the innocence of those exonerated could only imply the innocence of all the others, for the only evidence implicating the other defendants in each case consisted of confessions, now admitted to have been extracted through torture. Moreover, a complete and thorough review was promised in the past by Khrushchev and never carried out.
We of the Moscow Trials Campaign Committee feel that a total, official exoneration of all the Moscow Trial defendants is necessary for the sake of justice and the Soviet Union itself. Moreover, through efforts such as this one, it is possible to build international support for those courageous men and women in Moscow who are speaking out and organizing for the restoration of historical truth.
We urge all those who wish to solidarize themselves with these fighters for justice to obtain copies of the petition and to help publicize this campaign, by writing to:
Moscow Trials Campaign Committee
P.O. Box 318, Gracie Station
New York, NY 10028
Paul N. Siegel
Professor Emeritus, Long Island University
Translator, Notebooks For The Grandchildren
For the Committee
May 12, 1988