The hostility of the West and its willingness to interfere in the internal affairs of the country should have demonstrated the first major case "On the economic counter-revolution in the Donbass". In the spring of 1928, the Soviet press reported that a "large sabotage organization" had been exposed in the Shakhtin district of Donbass. In the dock of the “Shakhtyn case” that took place from May 18 to July 5, 1928, there were 53 people (including several German citizens) who worked in coal-mining enterprises. Most of them represented the old technical intelligentsia. Engineers were accused of conspiracy inspired from abroad.
The state prosecution was supported by N. V. Krylenko, who singled out "three forms of sabotage": the incorrect formulation of the operation of mines, the deterioration of machinery and equipment, the wrong choice of place for new coal developments, as a result of which the cost of coal was allegedly high, and the quality low. Shakhtyntsam was charged not only with “sabotage” activities, but also with the creation of an underground organization that maintained contacts with “Moscow pests” and with foreign anti-Soviet centers. The defendants were accused of having to deliberately disrupt the production process, arrange explosions and fires in factories, power plants and mines, spoil ventilation systems in mines, spend money on unnecessary equipment, worsen the living conditions of workers in every possible way.
The objective conditions of the first years of industrialization of the USSR, such as the use of labor by unskilled and illiterate workers, the lack of technical education among a number of managers, etc., really led to major accidents, equipment damage, explosions. However, a deliberate, deliberate wrecking policy allegedly pursued by bourgeois experts, united in a certain criminal group, could not be considered. Nevertheless, the sentence of the Special Presence of the Supreme Court of the USSR under the chairmanship of A. Ya. Vyshinsky was harsh: 11 people were sentenced to capital punishment, the remaining defendants received various terms of imprisonment. Only a few people, including German citizens, were pardoned. With six convicts sentenced to death, the Presidium of the CEC of the USSR replaced the execution by 10 years in prison with strict isolation, followed by a 5-year defeat and confiscation of all property. However, 5 people: engineers N. N. Gorletsky, N. K. Krzhizhanovsky, A. Ya. Yusevich, N. A. Boyarinov and employee S. 3. Budny - on July 9, 1928 were shot.
In the first indicative process of the Stalin era, only 10 out of 53 defendants fully admitted to all the charges against them. Five people partially admitted. The rest defended their innocence and rejected all charges.
The trial of Shakhtyntsi did not have time to end, as at the July plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) in 1928, Stalin put forward his notorious thesis that "as we move forward, the resistance of capitalist elements will increase, the class struggle will escalate. "
Based on the official installations, a campaign was launched aimed at searching for “harm-lei”. The next "powerful wrecking organization", opened by the OGPU, was the "Industrial Party" ("Prompartiya"). According to the indictment, this organization was established in the late 20s. representatives of the old technical intelligentsia. In total, there were allegedly more than 2 thousand engineers. The aim of the "Industrial Party" was declared preparation by economic sabotage of the ground for the coup planned for 1930 or 1931, which the Anglo-French military "intervention" in the field of planning was supposed to support, according to the prosecution, specialists (and among the accused were those who worked on the "starting" version of the five-year plan defended those ideas that would slow down the pace of economic development, create imbalances leading to an economic crisis.
The process of the Industrial Party took place from November 25 to December 7, 1930. Eight people were brought before the court, including Professor MVTU LK Ramzin, who was the director of the Thermal Engineering Institute; responsible officials of the State Planning Board and the Supreme Council of National Economy I. I. Ikonnikov, V. A. Larichev, N. F. Charnoveki, S. V. Kupriyanov and others. During the trial, the defendants admitted that if they came to power they intended to form a counter-revolutionary government, where P. I. Palchinsky (shot in 1929), former industrialist P. P. Ryabushinsky (died in France in July 1924) and the minister of foreign affairs — the well-known historian — was to become Prime Minister. E.V. Tarle.
Despite the improbability of this performance, the defendants admitted all the charges against them. 5 of them were sentenced to death. However, the Presidium of the CEC of the USSR replaced this measure of punishment with 10 years imprisonment and 5 years of defeat in rights.
Only a few months have passed since the end of the case of the Industrial Party, as another public process began in Moscow. This time on the dock: there were 14 people from the "Union Bureau of the Central Committee of the Mensheviks." From March 1 to March 9, 1931, they listened to a set of the same charges: from the collapse of the Soviet economy to the establishment of communication with the governments of the imperialist powers. Among those who passed through this process were V.Groman, a member of the Presidium of the State Planning Committee, V.Groman, a well-known economist and journalist N. N. Sukhanov, a member of the Board of the USSR State Bank V.V. Sher and other specialists. All of them pleaded guilty and received from 3 to 10 years in prison.
Accused in public proceedings 1928-1931 represented only the tip of the impressive pyramid of the many hundreds arrested in those years in sabotage cases. Only in 1931, at an extrajudicial procedure, at the Special Conference of the OGPU and its collegium, cases involving almost 2.5 thousand people were considered: professors, engineers, economists, agronomists and civil servants. “Wrecking” has been found on a large scale in forestry, microbiology, mining, land reclamation, etc.
The Menshevik newspaper "Socialist Bulletin", published in Berlin, noted in the spring of 1931 that the mass arrests of engineers were carried out in order to spur on labor productivity with the help of terror. According to emigrants, out of 35 thousand engineers then in the country, 7 thousand were imprisoned. In prisons where they were kept, special "technical bureaus" were created.
Under the cover of public trials of the late 20s - early 30s. Attempts were made to write off the economic difficulties of the USSR, disproportions and failures to the account of "bourgeois mischief" and thereby divert criticism from the leadership of the party and states.