Riutin, Martimian Nikitich

(1890–1937)
   A minor party functionary, Riutin drafted a “platform” in 1932 that called for the removal of party leader Joseph Stalin to halt the political violence in the countryside. Riutin also claimed that Stalin had served as an informer for the tsarist police. After Riutin’s arrest, Stalin called for his execution for terrorism, a demand that was rejected by the rest of the leadership and the OGPU. Riutin was sentenced to a term of 10 years in a prison camp but was shot in 1937 after Nikolai Yezhov took control of the security service.
   Some scholars believe that the Riutin platform spurred Stalin’s decision to purge the Soviet party and society. Evidence that a significant portion of the Communist Party had rejected his leadership could only have intensified the Soviet leader’s paranoia. Other scholars believe that Riutin’s manuscript, which challenged the moral authority of the Stalinist leadership, was a cause of the terror. The party leadership and the OGPU’s rejection of his demand that Riutin be shot probably also increased Stalin’s determination to make the police a sharper sword for repression. All the members of Riutin’s circle were shot, as were hundreds of people convicted of being part of his cabal.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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