Aug 30, 2021
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Lenin’s security letter did not save him from being shot

Lenin’s security letter did not save him from being shot

Pavel Malyantovich, the last Minister of Justice of the Provisional Government, together with other “temporary” ones, was captured by the Bolsheviks on the night of the historic assault on the Winter Palace.

It would seem that he should have been executed for the fact that it was he who ordered the arrest of Lenin. But by order of the leader, after a few hours, Malyantovich was released. Many did not understand why …


Case No. 14625 in a brown cardboard cover begins with a certificate from the assistant to the head of the 13th department of the 4th department of the Main Directorate of State Security Ivanov, where Malyantovich is called the “anti-Soviet elite”. On this certificate obliquely with a blue pencil on November 1, 1937, the People’s Commissar Yezhov wrote boldly: “Arrest!”

On the cover of the investigation file, in the upper right corner, it is inscribed: “Keep forever.” And today, decades later, all the pages are intact, even the ink has not faded. But here is what is revealed: in the decision of the investigator with a request to extend the term of P.N. Malyantovich in custody dated December 1938, it is said that he was interrogated 35 times. And in the case only two protocols are filed. Where are the others?

Composing for Malyantovich participation in mythical conspiracies, the investigator could well begin with the well-known order for the arrest of Lenin. After all, it was as easy as shelling pears to take the issue of the Izvestia newspaper dated October 20, 1917 and, having crossed out a small note published at the bottom of the last column on page 5, present it to Maliantovich.

“Minister of Justice P.N. Malyantovich, the note says, ordered the prosecutor of the court chamber to issue an immediate order for the arrest of Lenin. The prosecutor of the court chamber, pursuant to this order, appealed to the Commander-in-Chief of the Petrograd Military District with a request to order his subordinate officials to assist the civil authorities in the execution of the arrest. “

But the file contains neither a copy of the warrant for the arrest of Lenin, nor the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief (that is, Kerensky). On this topic, it seems, is a taboo, and it does not appear in the aforementioned certificate of the NKVD officer Ivanov. Why?


This is what Kirill Georgievich Malyantovich recalled: “Before the revolution, several assistants worked in my grandfather’s legal office. Fate decreed that among them were Alexander Kerensky and Andrei Vyshinsky: the first was a socialist-revolutionary (Socialist-Revolutionary), the second was a Menshevik. When Kerensky headed the Provisional Government, knowing Pavel Nikolaevich’s impeccable moral reputation, he literally persuaded him to take the post of Minister of Justice. And when October happened and the members of the Provisional Government were escorted to the Peter and Paul Fortress, Pavel Nikolaevich was released on Lenin’s personal order. Moreover, the leader gave him a letter of protection, which instructed him not to touch him in any case. “

But the Malantovichs were nevertheless taken to the NKVD in 1930. But thanks to Lenin’s letter of protection and the intercession of friends – prominent Bolsheviks, the case was eventually dropped.

When in 1937 Malyantovich was repressed again, his second wife Anzhelika Pavlovna rushed for help to Vyshinsky, a student of Pavel Nikolaevich, the then Prosecutor General of the USSR. He once carried an umbrella and a purse behind her. Now, according to Kirill Georgievich, Vyshinsky stamped his feet and shouted that the enemies of the people must be destroyed. Following his grandfather, six more people from the Malyantovich family were arrested, all of them died in the camps. The grandson of the lawyer, who passed the front, was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree and many medals, including “For Courage”, was arrested in 1951 and spent five years in Stalin’s camps …

So, in November 1937, Malyantovich was thrown into a cell on the Lubyanka, and the paper seized during a search, signed by Lenin, was delivered to the General Directorate of State Security. Not because of Malyantovich’s references to the leader’s security certificate, 33 protocols of his interrogations, including his own testimony, were withdrawn from the case ?!


Who was Pavel Nikolaevich? Like any Russian intellectual of those times, he was “carried away by ideas.” During his student years, he spent three months in prison for “revolutionary propaganda and malicious intent against the sovereign.” He was expelled from Moscow University, he completed his education as an external student in Tartu.

Becoming first an assistant attorney at law – his patron was the famous Plevako – and then a lawyer, Malyantovich quickly gained fame in Russia by participating in high-profile political trials. At the request of Gorky, he defended the Sormovo workers, among whom was Pyotr Zalomov, the prototype of Pyotr Vlasov, the hero of the story “Mother”; members of the Bolshevik faction of the Duma, participants in the uprising on the cruisers Azov and Ochakov, Nikolai Schmidt, a revolutionary manufacturer who, together with the workers, participated in the uprising in Krasnaya Presnya.

Particularly interesting is the case of 100 thousand rubles bequeathed in 1906 by the industrialist Savva Morozov to the Bolsheviks. Malyantovich not only brilliantly won this case, but also at the risk of his career – the secret police tried to find out what would happen to the money – received the entire amount by a power of attorney issued by the Central Committee of the party, and handed it over to the Bolshevik Krasin. 11 years later, when issuing a security certificate to Malyantovich, Lenin remembered this as well.

The meeting of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR took place on January 21, 1940. Pavel Nikolaevich Malyantovich was shot several hours after the trial …

Gennady Charodeev.


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