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Event concerning the rehabilitation of Nikos Zachariadis

On Sunday 2nd of October an event was held in Athens to present the Decision of the Nationwide Conference of the KKE on the History of KKE (1949-1968) which took held on 16 July 2011, and among others took the decision to rehabilitate to the party Nikos Zachariadis, General Secretary of the CC of the KKE (1931-1956). The GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, spoke at the event while some of Nikos Zachariadis’ writings were read out, poems were recited and there was a musical programme with a choir. A delegation of the CC of the KKE headed by A. Papariga together with the son of Nikos Zachariadis placed a wreath on the grave of the popular leader.

“Through the decision of the nationwide conference of the KKE on the essay on the history of the party, the rehabilitation of Nikos Zachariadis to the party- an uncompromising, pioneering and militant popular leader, dedicated to the cause of working class, proletarian internationalism, to the struggle for social liberation”, stressed Aleka Papariga speaking at the event of the CC of the KKE for the rehabilitation of Nikos Zachariadis, at Athens’ First Cemetery. She noted that N. Zachariadis is fully rehabilitated as General Secretary of the KKE.

Nikos Zachariadis was Secretary of the CC of the KKE from 1931 to 1935 and General Secretary of the CC until 1956. The Nationwide Conference of the KKE which was called in the summer of 2011 cancelled all the decisions of the 6th and 7th CC plenary sessions of 1956 and 1957 as well as the reports of the CC of KKE of 1964 and 1967.

The GS of the CC of the KKE noted that “The KKE with his transfer to and burial in Greece, made a first public attempt to rehabilitate Nikos Zachariadis and indeed in a period when the Red Flag of the October Revolution had come down from the Kremlin, and while the counterrevolutionary wave swept away, temporarily of course, the socialist system to which he had devoted his whole life, consciously and staunchly.”

Aleka Papariga noted that the “Essay on the History of the Party which refers to the period 1949-1968 is a fruit of many years of work and based on the systematic study of the archival material. The study of the history of the KKE, she added, its critical and self-critical examination, as well as our persistence in highlighting, with specific evidence and proof, that the historically irreplaceable role of the Communist Party, in the defence of the people’s rights, is a matter which goes beyond the narrow party limits in terms of its significance.”

The GS of the CC of the KKE noted amongst other things that: “It is clear from the essay that the development of the capitalist system, it is confirmed that it is today sinking even deeper into decay, it does not have the same means and recipes, nor the same capabilities it had 30 or 40 years ago to manage poverty and exploitation. It could not control such a deep crisis in the 1930’s. The timeliness and necessity of the struggle for socialism is imperative today, as there is no intermediate political and socio-economic system after capitalism and before socialism.”

Aleka Papariga said in her speech that: “We received real pressure on many occasions from members of the party, communists outside the party, who demanded the quickest possible rehabilitation of Nikos Zachariadis even through a decision of the CC or Congress. We did not give into this pressure, not of course due to any ulterior motive, but because we understood that the question was not a rehabilitation from an unjust accusation, but that the contribution and personality had to be evaluated in its entirety and this could not be done outside of time and space, that is to say the history of the party and movement, the history of the international communist movement itself. And so deep scientific and historical research was required, without which the rehabilitation of Nikos Zachariadis would take on a narrow personal character.

The KKE as every revolutionary communist party is not a party led merely by one leader and it should not be considered as one like this. Its general secretary is not above criticism, nor is there nor has there ever been a general secretary who did not have specific personal responsibilities for mistakes, weaknesses, oversights. But these weaknesses or mistakes must be examined within the framework of the strategy of the party and in addition the strategy of the international revolutionary movement. The history of the party demonstrates that contradictions, delays and mistakes which marked the long altruistic, heroic course of the KKE could not be attributed exclusively to the general secretary, in this instance Nikos Zachariadis, but to the contradictions in the strategy of the international communist movement. In any case Zachariadis himself was accused by the committee of the 6 CPs, of the USSR, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland-their discussion and answers constitute additional proof that he was an unyielding revolutionary, that he vigorously defended his opinion.”

The decision of the Nationwide Conference of the KKE concerning the rehabilitation of N. Zachariadis is the following:



Nikos Zachariadis, the third of four children of the Zachariadis family, was born in Adrianoupolis on the 27th of April 1903. Because his father was constantly on the move, as an employee of the French tobacco monopoly “Regie”, he went to primary school in various cities (Skopje, Nikomedia) and the first year of high school in Adrianoupolis. At a young age he worked in the port of Istanbul and on the ships in the Black sea. In “Panergatiki” in Istanbul (anarcho-syndicalist organization) there was a functioning cell of the Communist International, which he first became a member of and later secretary. In 1922 and 1923 he went as a sailor to the Soviet Union, where he became a member of the Federation of Communist Youth Organizations. In 1923 he also became a member of the CP of Turkey. In 1924 he went to Greece, after graduating from the Communist University of the Toilers of the East. He worked in OKNE (Federation of Communist Youth Organization of Greece) and later as a leading cadre in OKNE Thessalonica and later in the party organization. In 1926 he was imprisoned in Gentikoule, from where he escaped. During this period he became a member of the CC of OKNE and later he went as a cadre of the party organization of Piraeus. In 1927 he became secretary of the party organization of Thessalia. In 1929 he was arrested, escaped again and was smuggled out by the KKE to the Soviet Union, from where he returned to Greece in 1931 in line with the decision of the CI. During his stay in the USSR he became a member of the All-union Communist Party (Bolshevik). Based on his communist party card, which was published by the KKE in 1946, his party life started in 1921.

Nikos Zachariadis, Secretary of the CC of the KKE from 1931-1935 and its General Secretary until 1956, was a leader devoted to the cause of the working class, to proletarian internationalism, and the struggle for social liberation.

He led the party in conditions of tough class struggle, persecutions, executions, activity of domestic and foreign secret services against the KKE, even the infiltration of its party organizations during the period of the Metaxas dictatorship.

He made a significant contribution to the development of the KKE in the period 1931-1936, while he played a leading role in the heroic struggle of the DSE(Democratic Army of Greece, 1946-1949), the climactic manifestation of the class struggle in Greece during the 20th century. He demonstrated unshakeable persistence concerning the need for the existence and reinforcement of the illegal party organizations in the period 1949-1955, in combining illegal with legal activity.

He was characterised by revolutionary vigilance, a quickness to take initiatives, vigour in the defence of his views. He was a people’s leader, with an uncompromising spirit and attitude, combative and pioneering.

Nikos Zachariadis lived as prisoner in the labour camps of the Metaxas dictatorship from 1936 to 1941, when the Greek government handed him over to the German invaders. He was later transferred to the Gestapo in Vienna and from there to the Dachau concentration camp, until May 1945. He was unbroken by this 9-year ordeal.

In judging all the course of the KKE in the period when he was GS of the CC, we assess the weakness of N. Zachariadis to lead the KKE in time to full conclusions in relation to the contradictions of the party’s strategy, with weaknesses in the programmatic elaboration which were a burden to the party during the 1940s. The responsibility of Nikos Zachariadis is located chiefly in his weakness in forming a programme at the 7th Congress (1945), which would incorporate the experience from the objective evaluation of errors (The Agreements of Lebanon, Kazerta and Varkiza). This had as its result contradictions, delays and mistakes in the organization of the struggle of the DSE. Of course the Nationwide Conference takes into account that the strategy of the KKE when N. Zachariadis was the Secretary and General Secretary of the CC reflected the contradictions in the strategy of the international communist movement. At the same time we assess that even if N. Zachariadis saw the necessity to correct the strategy of the KKE and attempted it in 1949 (5th CC’s plenary session) and in 1953 (Draft programme), he did not base it on a correct theoretical foundation, as he supported the necessity for a change in the strategy on the change in the correlation of forces. In addition, despite the fact that he came into conflict on many issues with the leadership of the CP(B)/ CPSU, both he and the CC retreated under its pressures with the result that in 1954 they withdrew the Draft Programme.

The 6th extended plenary session of the CC of the KKE (11-12 March 1956), which the committee of the 6 CPs convened (USSR, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland), came to the following decision concerning Nikos Zachariadis: “… The leadership of the party and above all the General Secretary of the CC of the KKE cde Nikos Zachariadis have made serious political mistakes of a sectarian character. […] For the serious political mistakes which cde Zachariadis has made and the systematic on his part violation of the principles of inner-party democracy, the plenary session judged it necessary to remove Nikos Zachariadis from the position of General Secretary of the CC of the KKE and from the Political Bureau.”

The 7th extended plenary session of the CC of the KKE (18-24 February 1957) decided: “1) Removes N. Zachariadis from the CC of the KKE. 2) Expels him from the party as an anti-party factionalist anti-internationalist hostile element. 3) The plenary session notes that because many actions of N. Zachariadis e.g. the Gousopoulos Affair etc, go beyond the character and framework of the usual mistakes, it considers that the party’s interests dictate that a systematic and further detailed investigation be carried out by the party concerning the whole life and activity of Zachariadis”. The following were put forward as reasons for the above decision: “ the political line which N. Zachariadis elaborated and imposed on the KKE from 1945 was ultra-left, sectarian, adventurist […] led the robust Greek democratic movement to defeat […] With his known position at the 12th plenary session of the CC of the KKE in 1945 concerning the “Greek axes”, he objectively vindicated the intervention of the English imperialists in Greece […] he systematically fostered anti-internationalism and anti-sovietism.[…] he imposed an abnormal inner-party regime on the KKE […] with his criminal stance concerning issues of illegal work […] is chiefly responsible for the blows which the KKE received from the security services.”

The removal of N. Zachariadis and his expulsion were unjust acts. The charge against him, concerning collaboration with the enemy was slanderous, while the accusations concerning the cultivation of a personality cult and the establishment in the KKE of an abnormal inner-party regime were a pretext and smoke screen for the majority of the members of the CC and the KKE to be won over to the right opportunist turn.

Both the committee of the six CPs , as well as the above-mentioned plenary sessions of the CC of the KKE utilised contradictions in the political line of the party when N. Zachariadis was General Secretary, as well as certain mistaken actions of his, such as ill-judged and unjust accusations against cadres of the KKE concerning collaboration with the class enemy.

The above appraisal of N. Zachariadis as GS of the CC of the KKE is arrived at as an element of the evaluation of the maturity and ability of the KKE to lead the class struggle in particularly sharpened circumstances. Nevertheless negative influences from the ideological situation and political choices of the international communist movement are not overlooked.

The 7th plenary session of the CC (9-13 April 1964) approved the report of the committee “concerning the matter of Nikos Zachariadis” according to which many of the actions of N. Zachariadis “provoke very serious questions concerning this person as being a suspicious, hostile and dangerous element for the party and the people’s movement […] they inevitably led to acts which objectively did not cause less damage to the party than the acts of the enemy’s agents.” The findings imputed that Zachariadis had criminal responsibilities.

Three years later, the 11th plenary session of the CC (27-30 June 1967) discussed the new report of the Committee of Party Control (CPC) and concluded: “From the examination of the Zachariadis case it does not emerge that N. Zachariadis was an agent of the enemy”. It is judged to be unacceptable that this report despite cancelling the accusation of his being an agent, nevertheless left the suspicion hanging over him. His unacceptable exile to Sorgout as well as the way he was treated there by the leadership of the CPSU, with the cooperation of the then leadership of the KKE, cannot be justified due to Zachariadis’ mistaken action of calling on the Greek judiciary to put him on trial.

The KKE in essence had rehabilitated Nikos Zachariadis many years ago (the transportation and burial of his remains in Greece, various publications etc). The Nationwide Conference of the KKE cancels all the decisions of the 6th and 7th CC’ s plenary sessions (1956 and 1957) against Nikos Zachariadis, as well as the reports of 1964 and 1967. It decides on his full rehabilitation to the KKE.


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