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ECO journal (ECOnomics and industrial Engineering)

2018 year, number 6

Staged by Dictatorship. 90 Years Since the Shakhty Trial, 1928

S. A. Krasilnikov1,2
1Institute of History SB RAS
2Novosibirsk State University
Keywords: , , , , « », Legitimacy crisis of the regime, workers’ protest, social mobilization, Shakhty trial, «campaign justice»


Historical conceptualizations of one of the biggest Soviet trials (Shakhty, 1928) transitioned from well founded to fabricated, which demands careful rethinking of its reasons, purposes, means and results. Shakhty trial formally was stacked against specialists-wreckers but in reality it was a way out of deep systemic crisis: legitimacy decline, growth of negativity towards the government institutions, social unrest. Taking the model of conflict mobilization («us - they) as a basis for show trials, Stalin government not only sacrificed interests and status of the engineers, but also pragmatically used disaffection of the working class with the «delay of privileges promised for them. Retargeting remonstrative energy of workers towards spetseyedstvo (bashing non-party engineers) and encouraging public mood of social revenge of «lower classes against intelligentsia, the regime evoked new crisis situations (deformation of social and labor relations, extending repressive measures over management and economy).