Tom Stamm Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

T. Stamm

The Archbishop Benjamin Again

(August 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 39, 12 August 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

About a month ago the Militant printed an account of a meeting held in New York by the local F.S.U. The feature attraction was a eulogy of the Soviet regime by – Archbishop Benjamin, a self-confessed, unabashed Wrangelite priest. At that time the exact nature of the services His Eminence had rendered the White Guard troops of General Baron Peter Wrangel was unknown to us. Nor did the meager notices of the meeting in the Daily Worker enlighten us in this respect.

Some idea of his faithful devotion to the Soviet cause in the dark days of the Civil War may be gleaned from a brief passage in a recent history of the counter-revolution and intervention, The White Armies of Russia by George Stewart, the MacMillan Company, 1933. In the spring of 1920 the White Guard forces in the south of Russia were bottled up in the Crimea. The Red Army was pressing them hard, threatening to drive them into the Black Sea. Wrangel was defending the mountain passes into the Crimea.

Stewart records: “The Red Army attacked in the Perekop area on March 31 and were repulsed. After bloody fighting, the Crimean passes were taken and fortified by the Whites. During the operation before the Djimbuluk Station, Wrangel walked along the skirmish lines encouraging the men while Bishop Benjamin” – he has been promoted since – by the F.S.U. – “ who was with him, blessed them with his cross before General Auguladze led them in the storming of the Red positions.” (Page 363)

Times have changed. The Soviet is now a power. But the venerable ecclesiastic still believes in the futile magic of his cross. The difference is that he now sells blessings to the Stalinists. And the Stalinists who invented the dirty story of the Wrangel officer in the pay of the Left Opposition are not above anointing their bankruptcy with holy oil compounded of the blood of the Red Army.

Tom Stamm Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 25 October 2015