26 NOVEMBER 1937, Page 2

* * * * The Soviet Elections The political trials

and executions which have ravaged the U.S.S.R. in recent months have been an unhappy augury for the rapidly approaching elections. Now religious leaders have been added to the list of politicians and administrators charged with treason, sabotage, and Trotskyism. Following the arrest of five bishops and an archbishop of the Orthodox Church, Isvestia has opened an attack on sectarian ministers in various parts of the U.S.S.R. The charges vary from " plotting with Germany and Japan " to " organising an electoral boycott," while the Society of Jesus is accused of sending emissaries from Rome to plot the murder of Soviet leaders. Whether the charges are true or not, in such con- ditions the holding of genuinely free elections is impossible, and indeed there will be no opposition candidates to vote for. Under the constitution, any recognised association of workers may nominate a candidate ; but in fact only one candidate has been nominated in each constituency. Thus the elector will be offered no choice ; the Communist Press asserts that this proves the complete unanimity of the electorate. In fact, it reduces the Soviet elections, of which much had been hoped, to the same level as elections in other totalitarian States.

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