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Bonnard, A. (1954). The Metapsychology of the Russian Trials Confessions—(An Example of the Defence Mechanism of 'Identification with the (Idealized) Aggressor'). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 35:208-213.

(1954). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 35:208-213

The Metapsychology of the Russian Trials Confessions—(An Example of the Defence Mechanism of 'Identification with the (Idealized) Aggressor')

Augusta Bonnard

As you will realize, the subject of this communication was submitted for Congress acceptance before Stalin's death. It was at the time when Slansky and ten others had recently been executed at Prague. Their trial had ended after the familiar but horrible Russian pattern, all of them behaving like automata, and jumping up as one man to beg for the death which they insisted they deserved. Shortly afterwards the trial of the nine doctors was announced, as murderers of their important patients and as traitors to the Cause. We had long since come to know that such an announcement meant the certainty of confession. However, events moved fast. Within a short time from the public announcement that Stalin was actually dead, the world heard the miracle that the doctors had been freed as innocent, and that the means whereby their confessions had been obtained had been declared to be quite un-Russian.

My first impulse was to think that no useful purpose would now be served by seeking to explain a process which overnight had been declared to be a thing of the past. Yet it required but the passing of a few more days for Beria, the Chief of Police, to go to his and Stalin's native State, Georgia, merely to reverse the direction of the tide of slaughter by arresting the inquisitors. Russian trials, therefore, will continue, but if the theoretical formulations are correct, then these new victims will prove less suitable for publicity. Furthermore, the formulations now to be put before you have been validated for the first time in Soviet history by the release of the doctors, thanks only to Stalin's timely death.

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