θεοῖς σωτῆρσιν ἔθυον καὶ ἀναθήματα ἀνέθηκα

θεοῖς σωτῆρσιν ἔθυον καὶ ἀναθήματα ἀνέθηκα
θεοῖς σωτῆρσιν ἔθυον καὶ ἀναθήματα ἀνέθηκα

NOT IN THIS "NEW GREECE" - ΟΧΙ ΣΕ ΑΥΤΗΝ ΤΗΝ "ΝΕΑ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ"

NOT IN THIS "NEW GREECE"  - ΟΧΙ ΣΕ ΑΥΤΗΝ ΤΗΝ "ΝΕΑ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ"
NOT IN THIS "NEW GREECE" - ΟΧΙ ΣΕ ΑΥΤΗΝ ΤΗΝ "ΝΕΑ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ"

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Record of the Red Terror. By S. MELGUNOFF

ΕΣΩΤΕΡΙΚΟ ΔΩΜΑΤΙΟΥ ΣΕ ΣΤΡΑΤΟΠΕΔΟ ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑΣ (ΓΚΟΥΛΑΓΚ)


The Record of the Red Terror
By S. MELGUNOFF
A Prominent Russian Historian.


Editor of the Golos Minuvshago (Voice of the Past).
Author of The Red Terror in Russia



KRASNYI TERROR" (the Red Ter­ror) is an official title which has been used more than once by the Communist regime in Russia even in its administrative documents. The declaration of the Red Terror, appearing at that time or at other times during the past decade, was an indication of the ruthless and law­less methods used by the Bolshevist power to settle its accounts with its political ene­mies; it meant, to quote the words of an official document of 1918, "the annihila­tion of the idealists and leaders of the ene­mies of the proletariat." As a principle, the question was somewhat wider in scope. "We are not making war on individuals," wrote Latsis, one of the chief practical cre­ators of this Red Terror; "we are ex­terminating the bourgeoisie, as a class."
The ideologists or theoreticians of Communism, however, showed no logic or con­sistency in justifying the resolution to adopt the system of governmental terrorism. More than once the Communist lead­ers tried subsequently to depict the Red Terror as an inevitable consequence of the excitement of the popular masses due to the attacks made upon the representatives of the Soviet power by the so-called "coun­ter-revolutionaries," the sabotage of the in­telligentsia in the first year following the seizure of power by the Bolsheviki and the armed struggle carried on against them. The Soviet power was forced to resort to the Terror, as it claimed, by pressure of the workers. This was asserted by Dzerzhinsky, the real leader of the Red Terror, in 1922, in a letter handed to the Soviet of People's Commissaries, and which read as follows: "Assuming that the age-old ha­tred of the revolutionary proletariat for their former masters would involuntarily degenerate into a series of unsystematic, bloody episodes * * * I endeavored to carry through a systematization of the punitive apparatus of the revolutionary power." Thus the official Terror was nothing but "the rea­soned and deliberate policy of the chasten­ing hand of the revolutionary proletariat." "Our Terror was necessary," said Kamenev, repeating this same argument. "The Terror was forced on us by the Entente," said Lenin, alluding to "intervention" in
the period of civil war, thus further widen­ing the question, at the seventh meeting of the Soviets in 1919.
The facts, however, always speak for themselves. The plan of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission, to create the Red Terror was drawn up by Dzerzhinsky on the basis given by Lenin personally (his own letter, handwritten, has been pre­served) on Dec. 7, 1917, that is, before the calling and the dismissal of the Constituent Assembly, when no attacks on the life of the representatives of the Soviet power had yet been made, and when the civil war, in the precise sense of the word, had not yet begun. In February and March, 1918, the Red Terror, officially not declared as such, actually was in operation on the territory covered by the Soviet power. We have the full right to make this assertion, for even in Izvestiya, the official organ of the Gov­ernment (numbers 27, 30), reports of the Cheka (Extraordinary Commission) were published at that time regarding fugitives to the south, who had been caught, arrested and shot on the spot for their intention to join the counter-revolutionary forces, and for "counter-revolutionary agitation." [In my book, The Red Terror in Russia (Dent, London), the facts are presented and dis­cussed, and official documents are cited, irrefutably confirming this statement].
There is no possibility of drawing up even approximate statistics of the execu­tions by shooting in the first months of the Extraordinary Commission's activity and that of its organs. The Government found itself still in a chaotic condition. All Rus­sia was still in the throes of revolution; besides the official organs of the Govern­ment there arose everywhere all kinds of self-elected "revolutionary committees," whose activities were legalized by the Central Government. Moreover, the Govern­ment sometimes directly incited the popula­tion to take the law into its own hands. For instance, Krylenko himself, the Com­mander-in-Chief of the army, one of the leaders subsequently of the administration of Soviet justice and the guardian "of revo­lutionary law" in the Soviet State, on Jan. 22, 1918, declared: "I recommend to the peasants of the Mogilev Guberniya [Admin istrative Department] to take the law into their own hands." I am able categorically to refute the assertion of the official his­torian of the Cheka, Latsis (in his work, Two Years of Struggle on the Inner Front), that in the first six months of existence of the Extraordinary Commission only twenty-two men were shot. How far that is from the truth may be seen from the fact that while I was in Moscow, with op­portunities to obtain only occasional data appearing in print, I had to enter in my card record of bloody statistics some 884 execu­tions by shooting. Latsis intended the esti­mate of twenty executions to show the Government's humanity. "And this," he wrote, "would have continued had it not been for the great wave of conspiracy and unheard of terrorism launched by the counter-revo­lutionary bourgeoisie." But we must keep in view the fact that the first individual terroristic attack on the representatives of the Soviet Government occurred on Aug. 17, 1918, when Uritsky, Chairman of the Petrograd Extraordinary Commission, was killed by the Socialist, Kanegiser. On Aug. 28 followed the celebrated attack on Lenin, made by the Socialist-Revolutionary Kaplan.

Declaration op "Red Terror"


The terroristic acts of August, 1918, called forth from the Bolshevist authorities an official declaration of the so-called Red Terror, which spread all over Russia like a great wave. Wholesale arrests were made of the most diverse classes of the population. Thousands of those arrested were declared hostages and shot. (Statis­tics are given in my book, already cited). The character of the Terror in the days of September is revealed with remarkable clearness by the official statements of at least provincial Extraordinary Commissions, which are marked by their frankness of expression: "For the head and life of one of our leaders, we must cut off the heads of hundreds of the bourgeoisie and their adherents" (City of Torzhok). Such statements could be cited by tens and hun­dreds. The declarations of the press were even more bloodthirsty; the lives of thou­sands of hostages, "tens of thousands of these parasites," were demanded.
The Central Government, as a matter of fact, directed the whole movement. In the name of the "working class," the Mos­cow War Commissary, for example, de­clared (Sept. 3) that "for every drop of Proletariat blood * * * there will be shed a stream of the blood of those who * * * op­pose the Soviets and the proletarian leaders." He spoke of the pitiless mass Terror. Even the Ail-Russian Central Executive Committee at its sitting of Sept. 2 gave "a solemn warning to all slavish followers of the Russian and allied bourgeoisie to the effect that for 'every attack on the active leaders of the Soviet Government all coun­ter-revolutionaries will be held responsi­ble.'" The People's Commissary for the Interior, Petrovsky, sent at one time to all Soviets a telegraphic order "concerning hostages." "Laxness and softness must be immediately brought to an end," he wrote, declaring that "mass execution by shooting should be inexorably dealt out" to these hostages. And the All-Russian Cheka Daily, an organ which was to work out methods of struggle for the Extraordinary Commissions, in its first issue said: "Let us abandon all long, fruitless and futile speeches about the Red Terror. The time has come, not by words but by deeds, to carry on the most pitiless, sternly organ­ized mass terror." Taking into account all such official declarations, it becomes abso­lutely impossible to agree with the Soviet publicist Radek, who wrote in Izvestiya on Sept. 6 that the measures taken by the Government prevented a "mass pogrom of the bourgeoisie." It is necessary to come to exactly the opposite conclusion.




FELIX EDMUNDOVICH DZERZHINSKY Chairman of the Soviet Supreme Economic Council at his death on July 20, 1926, but bet­ter known as the head of the Cheka during the greater part oft the Soviet regime




Pitiless "Settlement op Accounts"


The whole country was covered with a network of "Extraordinary Commissions for the Battle Against Counter-Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation," as they were officially designated. There was no city, no volost (administrative division of the uyezd, or county) in which there did not appear a branch of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission, which became the nerve centre of the Government. The official or­gan of the Central Committee of the Com­munist Party in Moscow, Pravda, wrote on Oct. 18 that the battle-cry, "The whole power to the Soviets," will be transformed now into "The whole power to the Extraor­dinary Commissions."
The Cheka was declared to be the organ which stood, as it were, "on guard" over the Revolution. It was not an organ of justice, but an organ functioning outside the courts —an organ for the "pitiless settlement of accounts with our enemies." It was to be guided not by the "dead code" of law but only by its "revolutionary experience" and by its "revolutionary conscience." In such a situation everything depended on the personnel of the Extraordinary Com­mission. The punitive apparatus "of the revolutionary power," wrote Dzerzhinsky in the statement quoted, "must represent a crystal-clear organization of people's revo­lutionary judges and prosecutors, invested with extraordinary power." "The collaborators of the Cheka," declared the head of that organization, "were chosen carefully from, the members of the party and con­sisted of individuals devoted to the cause and of an unimpeachable record in the past, for only by acquiring employes of such pre­dominatingly high grade was the Cheka in a position to fulfill the duties * * * imposed upon it." But here inevitably came into play the law of social psychology, or, rather, social pathology. Mass "Jacobin" fanati­cism at least was necessary for the realiza­tion on a wide scale of the right of the revolution to execute its enemies. Every sane psychology was undermined in the bloody atmosphere surrounding the Cheka. The Cheka was bound inevitably to attract to itself all insane and sadistic elements of the community. Only a madman could eulogize the Cheka in verse and find no greater "joy" or better music than "the crackling of broken lives and bones," as was done by one of the Cheka officials in Tiflis (Georgia) in a collection of verse called The Smiles of the Cheka*


Even Latsis had to admit the need of constantly changing the personnel of the Cheka, for "no matter how honest a man may be * * * the work of the Cheka, carried on under conditions inevitably acting on the nervous system and blunting the esthetic sensibilities, makes itself felt," "works degeneratively on many young Com­munists of weak character." Inevitably the activity of the Cheka was bound, on the other hand, to attract all outcast elements, drawn by greed and the possibility of wielding power. The penetration into the Cheka of this jailbird material of "criminal" ele­ments even Krylenko had to admit. At first the conscience of individual Communist workers, not yet accustomed to horrors, was overcome by the Cheka's activity. No won­der that one of the old Bolsheviki, Olyminsky, openly came out on Feb. 3, 1919, with a protest against the drastic acts of the Cheka. He wrote: "We may all have dif­ferent opinions about the Red Terror, but what is going on now in the province is not at all a Red Terror, but a capital crime."
I will not dwell on the picture of the ex­cesses of the Terror, which fill the recordof Russian life at that time. He who wishesto find confirmation in concrete facts mayturn to my book, where hundreds of these facts are given, taken from the most varied sources. Life brought up again before us Russians well-known scenes of the history of the French Revolution of the eighteenth century in the period of the JacobinTerror. We encounter here recorded factsof wholesale drownings on ships, of medieval torture-chambers of the most cynical forms, of wholesale shooting, compared with which the bloody battles recorded byhistory grow pale; of the erotic orgies of local kinglets, small despots, who, supported by their "revolutionary conscience," set themselves up as supreme rulers over the lives and destinies of those arrested andheld as hostages. For in the name of ­attaining revolutionary aims and "their own desires," everything was permitted, as the Krasnyi Mech, the organ of the Ukrainian Extraordinary Commission, declared, repeating Lenin's words.







M. MENZHINSKY Head of the G. P. U., the Political Department of the Soviet Government



Abusers op the Terror The Central Power was essentially powerless to oppose those who may be called the abusers of the Terror. It could not find other agents. Though in individual instances it strove to control such abusers, as a matter of fact in the great majority of cases it was forced to cover these agents with the cloak of its own authority, to pro­tect and justify the activity of the Chekisti (members of the Cheka). "We must all bo agents of the Cheka," declared Bukharin. "The Cheka is the beauty and pride of the Communist Party," said Zinoviev. "The Extraordinary Commission is the best that the Soviet organ can give us," wrote Lat-sis, the Cheka historian, and one of its most zealous leaders as the Chairman of the Central Commission in the Ukraine. While some of the Bolshevist members raised their voice in indignant protest against what was being done under the banner of the "revolutionary conscience," against the transformation of provincial branches into bandit and marauding or­ganizations, according to the expression of the first Bolshevist Commissar of Justice, other authoritative voices spoke in defense of the Cheka. In the same Cheka Weekly, already cited, there was published an at­tack on the charges brought by "soft-bodied," "weak-nerved" intelligentsia, by certain strong-nerved authorities, such as one of the most prominent Chekisti, Peters, Who said: "There is nothing to faint over. * * New people are not used to judicial wisdom.



* * * It is absurd to limit by a judicial framework the activity of the Cheka." In No. 5 of the Weekly in reply to the accusations, there even appeared an ar­ticle which embodied an original argument in defense of the penetration into the Cheka of criminal elements: "It means that we are strong, for rogues are a practical peo­ple who do not go together with the weak." The penetration of these elements into the Cheka organization tended to demoral­ize the Cheka organization all the more, because of the fact that in every respect it transformed itself into a specially privi­leged institution, not only in the fullness of its power but also in the conditions of material existence in which the rank and file of the Chekisti found themselves. It was a kind of government within a gov­ernment. Requisitions, goods and food products went for the needs of the Chekisti. In the days of famine which the population lived through, from 1918 to 1920, the Che­kisti had special rations. Service in the Cheka was often a way of getting rich; it meant the possibility of living well and on a large scale, as the commissions engaged not only in the struggle against counter­revolution, but also against speculation. Hence those innumerable abusers of power above referred to. Wholesale search and arrest furnished the Cheka agents a means of providing themselves with what they needed. Plunder, forgery, bribery mark the history of an institution which was to "stand on guard over the revolution," and to draw to itself Communists devoted to the cause. It is clear that a former circus clown, a former keeper of a house of ill-fame, former criminals with a definitely criminal record who penetrated into the Cheka remained under the Communist toga what they were in reality.


Cheka Cynicism—Terrorism


All the background of the Red Terror was bound to exercise a degenerative influ­ence on the active workers of the Cheka. The destruction of the enemy leads to a view of the utter worthlessness of human life in the eyes of those who conduct such a policy. Death seems too common; it is too easy to pronounce death sentences. Be­fore me lie original protocols of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission. In reading them one is always surprised by the extreme simplicity of the forms of the "Legal Proceedings." The "revolutionary conscience" allows, for instance, at one ses­sion, consideration of fifty-nine cases, and in twenty-five cases the decree of execution by shooting. In the protocols are contained death sentences over the signature of Latsis himself, without even the date being given when they were issued. It is unnecessary in order to learn the actual activity of the Extraordinary Commission to penetrate into far-off provincial regions, where vari­ous forms of abuse of power could be met with especially often, where the Cheka could absorb more easily elements which we call criminal, for even in the centre of events, when the names of those executed were published in the General Assembly, one is surprised by the ignoring of ques­tions which the human conscience and morale ask those who put into practice the right of the revolution to commit murder. The last names only were published with unusual carelessness; people were shot "by mistake," people of the same name were shot, people without names were shot, with a brief comment: "Counter-revolutionary by conviction," "a counter-revolutionary hard to catch," and so on, or simply, under the circumstances of the Red Terror such and such a number were shot. "We do not need evidence or cross-examinations or sus­picion to justify shooting. We find it use­ful, and we shoot," declared with great cynicism one of the active Chekisti (in Kungur).
The aim of the Cheka was not only to destroy the enemy but also to intimidate him; in the words of Latsis, to kill in him every desire to "sabotage" the Government. Aiming to affect the soul, a whole system of terrorization was built up, going as far as wholesale arrests of hundreds and thou­sands, night trials, terrible conditions of prison life, a room with cork (soundproof) walls, feigned shootings and shootings "for every case." It was most likely with the aim of, intimidation that in that official or­gan of the Extraordinary Commission, al­ready more than once referred to, there was printed that significant appeal to ob­tain evidence by torture. This really his­torical document, under the title "Why Do You Take Mild Measures!" written by the representative of one of the provincial com­missions, was published in connection with the well-known case of the British Consul Lockhardt. "Tell us," said the article, "why you did not subject this man Lockhardt to the most refined tortures in order to obtain information. Tell us why, instead of sub­jecting him to such tortures as would send a cold chill over the counter-revolutionaries at the mere recital of it, you allowed him to leave the Cheka. Enough of sentimental-ism! Catch a dangerous scoundrel. Get all the information you can from him and send him to the heavenly kingdom." Is it neces­sary to point out how such appeals from the Centre must have spurred on the Cheka agents to action?
Formally, and more demagogically, the Red Terror, created by the Communist power in the name of the proletariat, was aimed at the so-called bourgeois classes. Actually its chief characteristic was terrori­zation and the physical extermination of all opposers of the Soviet power, regardless of the property class to which they be­longed. The principle, "Poison for the bourgeoisie, comradely exhortation for workmen and peasant," was only the expression of a demagogic principle. Only with a demagogic object did the "prole­tarian origin" sometimes admit extenuating circumstances. Kautsky called the Terror "fraternal murder, committed exclusively, because of the will to power," and he was more than right. Owing to the manner in which the executions were published by the Bolsheviki, it is almost impossible to deter­mine the social position of those executed. But it is characteristic that occasional data show a minimum percentage of bourgeoisie.



Intelligentsia and Peasants Victims


My card-record of 1918-1919 showed the largest percentage to be of the intelligent­sia—that is, "the servants of the bour­geoisie," to use the terminology of the Bol­shevist classification—and of the peasants, representing the petit bourgeois interests. If we take the later data of the year 1923), we find more than 40 per cent, of the workman-peasant group. Wholesale shoot­ings carried out by the Cheka by all possible punitive expeditions, as a matter of fact, affected the masses, viz., the work­men and peasants. We might note the de­crees of wholesale murder of "well-to-do" peasants. When, during the repression of the peasant disorders in the villages (espe­cially in the Tambov gubemiya, in the year 1921), the Bolsheviki shot "every eleventh" and even "every fourth," as the official document in question states, it is hardly necessary to take into account the qualifi­cation of "well-to-do." The "pitiless pun­ishment" at the order of Trotsky of the Astrakhan workmen in March, 1919, marked a hecatomb of the proletariat in the real sense of the word.






M. KRYLENKO
Head of the Soviet Law Department (Attorney General)


Such was the Red Terror in its first period, within which we include the years 1918-1921. This was a time when an active civil war was going on, but after the Soviet •power in one way. or another issued victorious—in the South after the fall of the rule of General Denikin, in the Crimea after the evacuation of General Wrangel, in Siberia after the regime of Admiral Kolchak, in the North everywhere—the same picture may be observed; the act of ven­geance on the defeated enemy is carried out, the annihilation of the future enemy, the enemy in spe. Not caught with guns in their hands, but remaining on the territory which had fallen under the Soviet's con­trol, those who participated in the civil war (especially the officers) were subjected to wholesale destruction. Tens of thousands were arrested after the issue of orders de­claring the indispensability of registration and tens of thousands were shot. A bloody butchery, in the literal sense of the word. It is enough to refer to at least the official publications, keeping in view that they always understated. For example, in the "News of the Provisional Revkom (Revolu­tionary Commission) of Sebastopol," on Nov. 28, 1920, the estimate of 1,634 execu­tions was published, and two days later an­other of 1,202. In the little town of Kertch the local Izvestiya gives an estimate of 800. The Odessa Cheka itself fixes the figure of shootings in 1920-21 at 1,418 men.
In the Crimea, where Bela Kun held sway, the number of those shot in that liquidation of 1920-21 was estimated at more than 100,000. Wholesale shootings became so serious that they even called forth an in­vestigation by Moscow, undertaken mostly, it is true, to influence public opinion.
Continued After Death Penalty Abolished
The Red Terror in this period of liquida­tion was carried on despite the official ad­mission that open civil war had virtually ceased and that the "revolutionary prole­tariat" was able to "lay aside the weapon of terror," to which "the Government of Workmen and Peasants had been obliged to resort." Thus read the declaration of the All-Russian Cheka over the signature of Dzerzhinsky, published on Jan. 20, 1920, in the Izvestiya, and ordering all organs of the Cheka to discontinue the application of the most extreme forms of punishment. It was impossible, however, to attribute any great significance to this decree of the Cheka, confirmed somewhat later by a de­cree of the Soviet of People's Commissaries and the V. Ts. I. K. (the Central Executive Committee), for a whole year before that it had also been solemnly proclaimed that "the proletariat * * * turns away from the weapon of Terrorism, making law and justice its weapons." An indisputable fact: the night before the issue of the decree abolishing the death penalty in the Cheka sentences became a "night of blood," in the words of one of the horrifying inscriptions traced on the walls of the cell of the condemned men in the Cheka prison in Moscow.
And in Moscow and Petrograd and everywhere in the province there occurred intensive shootings in those days of the for­mal abolition of the death penalty. Within a month there was introduced by a secret circular a formal reservation destroying the intention of the Cheka's previous pro­hibition of independent shootings. "In view of the discontinuance of the death penalty," the Cheka circular sent to the lo­cal Cheka organizations read, "it is ordered to send all persons now subject to the ex­treme penalty to the zone of military oper­ations as a place to which the decree of discontinuance of the death penalty does not extend."
The shootings continued. In May, in connection with the Polish-Russian war, the death penalty was officially revived all over Russia. To what extent it was openly ap­plied in the so-called revolutionary military tribunals, organically. linked with the Cheka, even official figures published in the Soviet newspapers show. For instance, in J.uly-August there was published in the Izvestiya the figure of 1,183 deaths; in August-September, 1,206. The shootings were carried out on every pretext, as is seen in the published reports; for counter­revolution, for rebellion, for having arms, even for disorderly conduct in a state of drunkenness.


"Quiet Terror" Under G. P. U.


The picture did not change essentially in the period following. For tactical reasons in 1922 the name of the Cheka was changed to the Government Political Office. But the substance and form of the Cheka or­ganization, and even its personnel activi­ties remained unchanged. And the G. P. U. as it was now called, bore the same reputa­tion as the Cheka.
The new period of the Red Terror was called the period of the "Quiet Terror," for throughout the country under the weight of the Terror all vestiges of political life dis­appeared. The people, psychologically de­pressed and physically exhausted, showed no political activity. And nevertheless, as of old, the prisons were filled with political prisoners. Wholesale arrests and whole­sale deportations, decreed by the courts and by the orders of the Administration, to re­mote, forgotten, depopulated and climati­cally most undesirable places in Siberia, Turkestan and the Solovets Islands took place daily. The power of the G. P. U. extends as before to the lives of those ar­rested, and when the G. P. U. considers it useful, it arbitrarily finishes off its victim (the Cheka's right of shooting in special circumstances was again revived in 1924). Universal espionage, penetrating into pri­vate homes, into individual apartments, into individual families, tracks down the appear­ance of an anti-Soviet spirit among the various classes of the population. The forms in which the Quiet Terror were car­ried out were marked by more "revolution­ary justice" than the bloodthirsty orgies of the period of military Communism and civil war. This "revolutionary justice" is expressed therein, that the unlimited func­tions of the former Cheka are limited, and certain of them are given over to the courts. "Inevitably," wrote Lenin, the infallible Communist authority, in 1918, "in the meas­ure that the original aim of the (Bolshevist) power becomes not military repression, but government, the typical manifestation of repression and condemnation will be not shooting down on the spot, but the trial in court." But the court should not in any way be different "from such an organ as the Cheka," declares Krylenko in his book Court and Laiv in S. S. S, R. (Soviet Rus­sia), published in 1927. Krylenko again refers to the testament of Lenin, recalls the words uttered by him in the first period of the New Economic Policy: "The revo­lutionary courts must decree execution by shooting when it is proved that the accused is a Menshevik." Fully forty-three articles of the Criminal Code give the revolutionary courts the possibility to sentence the accused to death in the So­viet Republic. Is not this the Red Terror? That is the revolutionary court. But the Red Terror, also, in the sense in which it is depicted by the Communist idealists, may always rise in its turn, for none except the "hysterical woman-intellectuals doubt its necessity," said Vladimir Ilyitch (Lenin) on March 6, 1922. "If it becomes necessary we will bring it forth again." It became necessary in the Summer months of 1927, when under the circumstances of tho Red Terror there began on all sides in Russia arrests of hostages and shootings on a wholesale scale.

The "Terror" Passing


It is incontestable that the breaking out every now and then of flashes of the "hyster­ical Terror" (an expression of one of the notorious leaders of the Cheka—Peters) does not have at the present time and can­not have the character of that really me­dieval nightmare, which it was in the first years following the seizure of the Govern­ment by the Bolsheviki. The Governmental Terror has been so habitual a phenomenon that people have become accustomed to it and it has ceased to frighten. The psy­chical depression of the terrorized popula­tion is gradually passing; the people are awakening to revolutionary activity and protest against the despotic group of politi­cal leaders standing at the head of the Government. The Governmental Terror is giving birth to the Terror of the discon­tented aimed at the agents of the Govern­ment and the representatives of the G. P. U. A new generation is appearing on the scene of history. It is alien to the moods and reasoning in the atmosphere of which the Red Terror was born and existed. The unity of the Communist Party itself 'is broken—a unity absolutely essential for the deliberate realization of that Jacobin pol­icy which the Communist power has sought to follow for the last ten years. Naturally, the question is asked: How many victims of the Red Terror may be estimated during the last ten years? Unfortunately there is no answer to this question, and even history will scarcely be able to answer it. There was too much disorder in the application of the Red Terror in the period of the civil war in Russia. No one can ever calculate the number of shootings of "hostages" in the Autumn months of 1918 or during the period above referred to as that of the liquidation of the civil war. Space prevents me from dwelling On this question of statistics. Latsis, in his statis­tics for the second half of 1918, estimated 4,500 executions by shooting. My card-index for that period has 5,000 cards. Moreover, I deliberately left out of account evidence concerning the shootings that oc­curred during the punitive expeditions. Of course, I was able only to enter far fewer cases than those known to the central or­gans of the Cheka, It is possible cate­gorically to assert that the secret shootings were recorded in infinitely lesser number than the actual occurrences. But the really horrible aspects of the days of the Red Ter­ror have never yet appeared in print. The commission investigating in the period of the Government of General Denikin the activity of the Bolsheviki in South Russia estimated the number of victims of the Red Terror in 1918-1919 at 1,700,000 persons— an estimate based only on the territory won back from the Bolsheviki by Denikin's forces. It could not extend its inquiry to the centre of Russia, to the north, to the vast zone of the Volga, to the western part of Russia, or finally to Siberia. Statistical data always depend on the method applied to the statistics. The death sentences of the Cheka, of course, could not have reached the figure given (1,700,000), but if we take the wholesale executions, the shootings "on the spot," the shootings on the punitive expeditions, I think that the estimates of the Denikin Commission cannot be very far from the truth. At all events, not by thou­sands, but by tens of thousands of shoot­ings, must we speak of the death sentences of the Cheka or the G. P. U. And by hun­dreds of thousands, if not more, must we speak when the Red Terror is discussed in its full significance.
Paris, France.



A croud mostly of workers listening to a speech in the Red Square, Moscow, in the Spring of 1927. The young man wearing the lapti (sandals) and the wrappings, something like puttees, around his legs, is a peasant type