25 NOVEMBER 1955, Page 7

EVERY TIME I hear of political murders in Russia I

recall Yeats's bitter lines about those who sought to bring the world under a rule yet were 'but weasels fighting in a hole.' Of the two main figures in the latest batch of executions, one, Rukhadze, was imprisoned by Beria in 1953 for having in Stalin's time arrested the other, Rapava. on false charges of bourgeois nationalism. Rapava was denounced as a Beria agent later in the same year. It is not at all clear to me why, two years later, they are suddenly bracketed together and accused not only of being Beria supporters but also of various political frame-ups back in the 1930s. The one sure thing is that this police trial, like those of Ryumin and Abakumov last year, is a sign of the vicious struggle among the party leaders, now manoeuvring for position for next year's Party Congress.