By pretending loss or uncertainty of memory about some alleged major event (or about an alleged event very close to himself), a defendant could convey--particularly in view of the high Bolshevik valuation of memory-- that it had not occurred:
VISHENSKY: . . . Accused Rykov . . . when did your underground . . . activities . . . begin?
RYKOV: Essentially, they began in 1928.
VISHINSKY: Did they assume shape in 1928?
RYKOV: Perhaps; it is difficult to remember.1
Rykov discussed Bukharin's apprehension that "Napoleonism" would develop from the alleged intention of the Tukhachevsky group to "open the front" to the Germans in case of war:
VISHENSKY: And whom did you suspect of this Napoleonism?
RYKOV: I do not remember. The question was discussed in general terms. The leader of the military group was Tukhachevsky. I cannot say whether his name was mentioned or not.2
Rykov also told about the information he had received about Karakhan's negotiations with the German government:
RYKOV: Tomsky informed us that the Germans had told Karakhan that . . . [they] insisted on the national republics being given the right of secession. We . . . understood . . . it as meaning the dismemberment of the USSR.
VISHINSKY: That is to say, as meaning the surrender of Byelorussia?
RYKOV: And thereupon, as far as I remember (and one must not and cannot forget such things), we accepted it in this general form.3
Bukharin repeatedly insisted, against the objections of Vishinsky and the President, that he wanted to speak in detail about the ideological development of the oppositions. In doing so he said:
"I think that the Ryutin platform . . . as far as I can remember during the trial, the platform of the Right . . . organization, was perhaps already [in 1932] actually a common platform of the other groupings, including the Kamenev- Zinoviev and Trotskyite groupings."4