“I do what I want”
In the previous part of the story about the controversial figure of the director of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, it was a question of abuse and outright theft, which the general and the laureate of the State Prize in his fiefdom bred.
As it turned out, the first signals about Zaltsman’s inappropriate behavior, bordering on bestiality, began to arrive back in 1942. Prosecutor Viktor Bochkov, on the basis of checking the activities of Tankograd, established that the main reason for the chronic malnutrition of the plant workers and their families was the theft of food by the managers. On June 28, 1942, the prosecutor reported to Molotov, the curator of the tank topic at the State Defense Committee, the following:
“The investigation carried out by the USSR Prosecutor’s Office established: in the first half of 1942, employees of the URS of the Kirovsky plant in Chelyabinsk squandered the standardized food stocks: meat and fish – 75133 kg, fats – 13824 kg, cereals – 3007 kg, sugar – 2098 kg, cheese – 1539 kg, etc. Illegal consumption of these products was carried out for special supplies (special rations) and food for the command staff of the plant, without cutting coupons from food cards. According to arbitrary norms approved by the former director of the plant, comrade Zaltsman, several hundred people of the command staff of the plant received 15 kg of meat, 4 kg of butter, 5 kg of fish and caviar, 20 pcs. eggs and other products. “
Further, Viktor Bochkov continues directly about Isaac Zaltsman:
“At the beginning of 1942, Comrade Zaltsman moved from the Kirov plant to Nizhniy Tagil to the position of director of the plant number 183, and by his order, 9529 rubles worth of products were loaded into the car (at the expense of the Kirov plant). Among the products were: 50 kg of cereals, 25 kg of sugar, 100 kg of wheat flour, 20 liters of alcohol, meat products – 155 kg, 50 kg of butter, 40 kg of vermicelli, etc. taken 320 liters of rectified alcohol, which was transferred through the URS to the director’s canteen of the plant for drinking and delivered to the apartments of individual workers of the plant. “
As we know, these reports did not lead to anything: in mid-1942, Zaltsman was promoted to people’s commissar of the tank industry, and all investigations by the prosecutor’s office were stopped.
A little later, Zaltsman asked Vyacheslav Malyshev to rebuild two summer cottages for the plant’s managers. The director was allocated a limit of 200,000 rubles, but the “tank king” spent 531,480 rubles, which he withdrawn from funds for the construction of housing for workers. In general, the very fact of using at the height of the war even 200 thousand rubles, authorized by Malshev, for the openly lordly needs of the leaders causes outrage. And then there is the almost threefold excess of the limit due to the housing of workers. Zaltsman, in particular, with this money completely furnished the dachas, one of which he kept for himself, and the second he presented to the first secretary of the Chelyabinsk regional committee NS Patolichev. In addition to the fact that the director of the plant maintained a staff of servants at his dacha, he often spent a lot on banquets – eyewitnesses say about 10-20 thousand rubles at a time. Regulars of stormy gatherings at Zaltsman’s dacha were the mentioned Patolichev, as well as Major General Yakov Rapopport, the head of Chelyabmetallurgstroy.
Another important drawback of Isaac Zaltsman as a leader was his intolerance to other opinions – this was the reason for the departure of talented managers and engineers from tank building. So, the chief designer of the tank design bureau Boris Evgrafovich Arkhangelsky moved to another plant. After the war, he became the chief designer of the Lipetsk Tractor Plant, was awarded the Stalin Prize for the development of the design of the Kirovets D-35 tractor, which turned out to be so successful that its main components were produced in the USSR until 1973. He also expelled the deputy chief engineer from the plant. Nikolai Nikolaevich Perovsky, an old resident of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, who later became Deputy Minister and laureate of the Stalin Prize. The future director of the Kharkov Tractor and Gorky Automobile Plants, Deputy Minister of the Automotive Industry of the USSR, laureate of the Stalin Prize, Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Pavel Yakovlevich Lisnyak was also forced to leave ChTZ, being in the position of head of the blacksmith shop. These people and dozens of others gradually formed an anti-Salzman lobby in the highest echelons of power, which had a great influence on the outcome of the “Salzman case”.
Why didn’t Isaac Zaltzman stop in time? After all, literally everyone in Chelyabinsk knew about the general’s boorish antics, corruption at the plant and outright theft. In an interview, the disgraced People’s Commissar said the following in this regard:
“A commission came to Chelyabinsk, started collecting dirt on me and announced that I was expelled from the party and arrested. It was 1949. Then, when in Leningrad, on the monument to the defenders of the city, the names of the Heroes of Socialist Labor were embossed in gold letters, and among them was my name. Do not be ashamed! “
By the way, no one arrested Zaltsman, it was part of the myth that he diligently created in the 70-80s. But the commission that came to hunt for the “tank king” really was, and as a result, on September 6, 1949, the bureau of the Party Control Commission under the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) made a decision under the title “On the unworthy behavior of Isaak Moiseevich Zaltsman (member of the CPSU (b ) since 1928, party card number 3010124) “. It was formulated as follows:
“The check established that IM Zaltsman, being the director of the Kirovsky plant (Chelyabinsk), despite repeated warnings from the party bodies in connection with the facts of his intolerant, mocking attitude towards subordinate workers, continued to behave unworthy of the Soviet leader,” he admitted rudely insulting, degrading the dignity of Soviet people treatment of subordinates, as well as in the apparatus of plant management and enterprises, surrounded himself with people who did not deserve political and business confidence, and when they were exposed, he defended these worthless people. … at the expense of the plant, I spent significant sums on the purchase of valuable gifts for some of the former Leningrad leaders. For unworthy behavior to exclude IM Zaltsman from the ranks of the CPSU (b). “
It should be understood here that the possible involvement of Zaltsman in the “Leningrad case” and the “case of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee” automatically led to criminal prosecution. Even a simple incrimination of corruption and theft at the Chelyabinsk Kirov plant would lead to a guaranteed prison term. And here even the awards were not withdrawn from Zaltsman. One of the versions of such a humane attitude towards the “tank king” was the recognition of his organizational merits during the Great Patriotic War by Joseph Stalin himself.
All because of overwork
On October 22, 1949, a non-partisan and dismissed from all posts, Zaltsman was accepted as a senior technologist and deputy head of the mechanical department of plant No. 480 of the Ministry of Transport Engineering in the city of Murom. We must pay tribute, the strong-willed former director did not lose heart and launched a whole campaign to restore his good name. First of all, it was necessary to reinstate in the party, and in 1951 Salzman submitted the first corresponding request. He was refused.
The second petition was submitted by the former People’s Commissar being in the status of a senior foreman of the mechanical section of the shop of plant No. 201 in Orel. By the way, in both messages, Zaltsman admits his mistakes and asks “to find an opportunity to mitigate the measure of party penalties.” Such persistence is understandable – non-party workers actually did not have any opportunity to move up the career ladder.
However, the party leadership was adamant. Zaltsman had a chance with the death of Stalin, and he did not fail to take advantage of it – on April 13, Zaltsman wrote to the chairman of the Party Control Committee under the Central Committee of the CPSU, Shkiryatov:
“Without removing or mitigating any grave mistakes I have made: rudeness, wrong style of plant management, protection of guilty cadres, participation in sending gifts as an unacceptable violation of state discipline, I ask you once again to take into account that I have been consciously life was devoted to the cause of the great party of Lenin – Stalin. In the difficult years of our Motherland’s life, the collective of the plant where I worked with honor coped with the tasks entrusted to it by the party and the government. Over the past 4 years, I have been thinking day and night, checking my life path. The son of a tailor, I owe my whole life, knowledge, experience to my native party and Soviet power. Raised by the Komsomol and the party, I am guilty for having made grave mistakes, but with all my soul, with all my thoughts, I was always devoted to the cause of the party of Lenin and Stalin. I ask the Central Committee to bring me back to life, to trust me to be a member of the great party of Lenin and Stalin. I will justify this trust. “
And again, all Zaltsman’s efforts were in vain. And in 1954 Shkiryatov himself dies, who was one of the initiators of the “Zaltsman case”.
Now I had to write to Shkiryatov’s successor – Pavel Komarov, who in April 1955 read from the former People’s Commissar, we quote the original:
“During the war years, while working as the director of the Chelyabinsk Kirovsky plant, I committed a number of rudeness towards some of the plant’s executives. Being guilty before the party for the committed behavior unworthy of a communist, I tried during these 6 years to correct the mistakes made to the end. I had rudeness in relation to some of the leaders of the plant in conditions when I did not sleep for weeks and did not leave the plant. With all my heart, wanting to gain minutes to complete the tasks of the party and government, being overworked, I showed irascibility and unacceptable rudeness. Unfortunately, sometimes I did not give a proper assessment of these mistakes, and no one corrected me in time … I understand that I am entirely to blame for the mistakes I made, I only regret that in those years I was not strictly warned in time and was not called to order. I am sure that then there would have been no need to apply the highest party punishment to me. I ask the CPC to take into account that during my 21 years in the party, I did not have any party penalties … I ask the CPC to trust me and reinstate me in the ranks of the CPSU. I will justify the confidence of the party. “
This time Zaltsman was reinstated in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, but the former “tank king” was not completely satisfied with the results. The party card indicated a break in party experience from September 1949 to April 1955 – this seriously tarnished the reputation of the newly gaining weight Isaac Zaltsman (he again became the director of the plant).
He managed to achieve the issuance of a “clean” ticket only in February 1981, when the secretariat of the XXVI Congress of the CPSU made a decision regarding the disgraced People’s Commissar.
In 1988, Isaac Zalzman celebrated 60 years of “uninterrupted” membership in the Communist Party and died peacefully at the age of 82.