Since 2020, in IdZ we have been translating and publishing the Notebooks of the Verjneuralsk Trotskyists, both the texts themselves and current articles referring to them. What are we talking about? From a series of notebooks that were found by pure chance in 2018 in Russia, while renovation work was being carried out at the prison in the town of Verjneuralsk, at the foot of the Ural Mountains on the European side of the transcontinental country. These notebooks were a kind of prison newspaper that circulated from hand to hand, written by the Trotskyists who were imprisoned there under the Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union, between the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s. In them there is analysis of the Soviet and international politics of the moment, as well as lively discussions about theory, while they resisted in the last trench inside the prison in the hope of reversing the bureaucratic degeneration of the USSR and saving the Communist International as a revolutionary organization. The period covered by these notebooks precedes by some years the total triumph of Stalinism in the USSR and the bureaucratic counterrevolution that led to the Moscow Trials and to the fact that this entire form of deliberation and resistance in prison practically ended. The pages of these notebooks shed light on very little-known aspects of the clandestine Trotskyist movement in the USSR, of which few materials survive, since what is mainly known is the Newsletter of the Russian Left Opposition, an organ that was published abroad. The Verkhneuralsk Trotskyists became known in the West to a wider audience when they were first brought to literature in Victor Serge’s novel, Midnight of the centurypublished in 1939.

What we publish here are two texts, translated from Russian by Guillermo Iturbide for IdZ in 2023, which are part of the book Notebooks from the Verkhne-Ural political detention center. 1932-1933. Collection of documents(“Notebooks from the Verkhneuralsk political prison, 1932-1933, compilation of documents”), Moscow, Ed. Trovant, 2022. We thank Aleksei Gusev for his kind permission to translate.

Aleksei Gusev – Trotskyists in the USSR. Prologue to the Verjneuralsk Notebooks

Introduction to the notebooks, written by the historian Aleksei Gúsev, director of the research project on these texts and specialist in Soviet Trotskyism.

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Verjneuralsk Notebooks: The Fascist Coup in Germany (1933)

A document published in the notebooks about Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933 and the politics of Stalinism.

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