MOSCOW -- A plot to murder Josef Stalin and the highest officials of the Soviet regime was admitted today by one of the 21 defendants at Moscow's spectacular mass trial on charges of treason, sabotage and murder.
Prokopl Zubarev, who was assistant commissar of agriculture and an alleged czarist secret agent, testified that he had organized a terroristic group within the commissariat of agriculture to kill Stalin, Lazar Kaganovich, commissar of communications; Klementil Vorisholov, commissar of war, and Viacheslav Molotov, president of the Soviet of people's commissars, a position corresponding to that of premier.
"We planned to kill Molotov first," Zubarev testified calmly.
"To kill Molotov first?" asked Andrew Vishinsky, the prosecutor.
"Yes, because as head of the government, he was the most accessible," the witness replied.
Zubarev testified he first began to contact, one of the chief defendants, Alexei Rykov, who was a member of the first cabinet of the Soviet Union, in 1930 at Sverdlosk, where Zubarev was a party worker.
Zubarev asserted he and Rykov plotted wrecking, the creation of discontent by interference with food supplies, and the consolidation of all hostile organizations to overthrow Soviet power.
Vishinsky turned to Rykov.
"Do you confess this?"
"Yes, substantially, but not to its conclusion."
"Never mind the conclusion. Let us have the facts."
"We did agree to practice sabotage," Bykov admitted.
Prior to Zubarev's testimony, Nikolai Bukharin, who once was so high in the party that he was called "heir apparent" to Lenin, asked the court:
"May I say a few preliminary words about the theoretical aspect of our opposition?"
Marshal Vassily Ulrich, president of the military tribunal of the Supreme Court, which is trying the case, laughed and said:
Zubarev, during his testimony, asserted he had been instructed by Vladimir I. Ivanov, former commissar for forestry, to give secret information on agriculture, particularly about supplies and storage, on behalf of Germany.
Ivanov testified earlier and gave specific details of charges that the defendants had plotted with Great Britain to overthrow the government.