Fragments of Truth Under the Rubbish of Slander

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In 1924 Zinoviev put in circulation a charge against Trotsky that by issuing the railway "Order No. 1042" Trotsky almost ruined the transportation system. With this for a canvas, Stalin, Yaroslavsky, and Rudzutak later embroidered various designs. In its day the legend made the rounds of all the publications of the Comintern. Lenin's and Dzerzhinsky's real opinions concerning Order No. 1042 and its import for transportation are quoted in a letter by Trotsky to the Bureau of Party History. But there is a comment of more recent origin. In Yezhegodnik [Yearbook of the Comintern] issued in 1923, that is, on the eve of the campaign against Trotsky, the article entitled "The Transportation System of the RSFSR and Its Reestablishment" states the following:

"At that time the transportation system was already completely disorganized. Not only was there no talk of reestablishing it but matters had reached such a stage that in the Council of Labor and Defense, Professor Lomonosov, a member of the collegium of the People's Commissariat of Transport, made a report to the effect that the transportation system was on the verge of a complete and inevitable breakdown. Comrade Trotsky, on taking charge of transportation, advanced two slogans which proved of decisive significance not only for transportation but for the economy of the country as a whole. … Order No. 1042 is an historical event. According to that order, the locomotive yard should have been restored in five years. Communist propaganda based on that order and communist zeal called forth by it must be regarded as the highest level attained by the enthusiastic readiness of the masses for heroic achievements in labor" (Yezhegodnik, Publishing House of the Comintern, Petrograd-Moscow, 1923, p. 363).

And so on and so forth. As we see, the function of "Order No. 1042" was different at different times.