Books > Old Books > I Was Stalin's Agent (1940)


Page 250

VII
WHY STALIN SHOT HIS GENERALS

Shortly before, I happened to be in the Special Section, in the office of Karnieliev, who was in charge of the passes permitting government officials to enter the enclosure around Lenin's Tomb (the reviewing stand).
" I'm having a hell of a time," he said to me. "For fourteen days we have been doing nothing in the Special Section but taking precautions for May Day."
I did not receive my own pass until the evening of April 13, when it was delivered by a courier from the Ogpu.
May Day morning was brilliantly sunny. I started early for the Red Square, and was stopped at least ten times by patrols who examined not only my ticket but my papers. I reached Lenin's Tomb at fifteen minutes before ten o'clock, the opening hour of the celebration.
Already the reviewing stand was almost packed. The entire personnel of several sections of the Ogpu had been mobilized there in civilian clothes as "observers" of the parade. They had been there occupying every alternate row, since six o'clock in the morning. Behind and in front of each row of officials and guests, there was a row of secret agents! Such were the precautions taken at this time to ensure the safety of Stalin.
A few moments after I arrived, an acquaintance nudged me and whispered: " Here comes Tukhachevsky ! "
The marshal was walking across the square. He was alone. His hands were in his pockets. Who could guess the thoughts of this man who took care almost to saunter in the May Day sunshine, knowing he was doomed? He paused for a moment, glanced round the Red Square, massed with humanity and adorned with banners, and then proceeded to the space in

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