Shakhty Trial of 1928

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shakhty Trial of 1928


a trial of anti-Soviet-minded specialists who attempted to wreck the hard coal industry of the Donbas.

The case was initiated by organs of the Unified State Political Directorate (OGPU) in early 1928 and was heard in Moscow between May 18 and July 6 of the same year. Appearing before the Special Presence of the Supreme Court of the USSR were 53 defendants, primarily engineers and technicians. The trial demonstrated that among the old specialists employed by the coal industry were persons associated with the former owners of the mines. The Shakhtintsy, as these persons were called, were guilty of subversive activities, for which they had received remuneration from the former bosses, who had fled abroad.

When the New Economic Policy had been introduced, the former mine owners had assigned their agents the task of regaining what they called “their” enterprises through denationalization or concessions. As the socialist structure of the economy grew stronger, however, these hopes were dashed; the former owners then became the instigators of an active, organized wrecking campaign.

The activities of the Shakhtintsy were directed by the Association of Former Mining Industrialists of Southern Russia, which was headed by B. N. Sokolov in Paris, and the Polish Association of Former Directors and Owners of Mining Enterprises in the Donets Basin, which was headed by Dwórzanczyk. These associations were linked with the governments and intelligence services of capitalist countries, and they established wrecking groups in the Donbas, Kharkov (1923–24), and Moscow (1926). The Shakhtintsy sought to weaken the defenses and economic strength of the USSR and to create favorable conditions for intervention by the imperialist states. Their acts of sabotage included dynamiting and flooding mines and setting fire to power plants.

On July 6, 1928, the Supreme Court of the USSR sentenced five persons—N. N. Gorletskii, N. K. Krzhizhanovskii, V. Ia. Iusevich, S. Z. Budnyi, and N. A. Boiarinov—to be shot; 40 persons were sentenced to imprisonment for one to ten years. Four others received suspended sentences, and four were acquitted.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet government took measures to increase the vigilance of the Soviet people and to create cadres of Soviet specialists devoted to the cause of socialism. (The Central Committee reached its decisions at a united plenum with the Central Control Commission of the ACP[B] that was held in Moscow between Apr. 6 and Apr. 11,1928, and at a plenum held in Moscow from July 4 to 12.) As a result, the effects of the wrecking were remedied at the enterprises.


KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 4. Moscow, 1970. Pages 84–93 and 111–18.
Golinkov, D. “Shakhtinskoe delo.” Chelovek i zakon, 1976, no. 10.
Trifonov, I. Ia. Ocherki istorii klassovoi bor’by v SSSR v gody nepa (1921–1937). Moscow, 1960. Pages 161–62,170, and 175.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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