Lenin orders the massacre of sex workers, 1918

Kaganovich, 1934

Lenin's letter to G. F. Fyodorov ordering "mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, former officers and the like." in Nizhni, where the Czech white forces were amassing. Kaganovich implemented the terror although while there is some evidence of a sex industry operating in Nizhni (see comments) actual executions during the terror are estimated to be in the low hundreds and predominately men.

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 9, 2018

August 9, 1918

Comrade Fyodorov,

It is obvious that a whiteguard insurrection is being prepared in Nizhni. You must strain every effort, appoint three men with dictatorial powers (yourself, Markin and one other), organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, former officers and the like.

Not a minute of delay.

I can’t understand how Romanov could leave at a time like this!

I do not know the bearer. His name is Alexei Nikolayevich Bobrov. He says he worked in Vyborgskaya Storona District in Petrograd (from 1916).... Previously worked in Nizhni in 1905.

Judging by his credentials, he can be trusted. Check up on this and set him to work.

Peters, Chairman of the Extraordinary Commission, says that they also have reliable people in Nizhni.

You must act with all energy. Mass searches. Execution for concealing arms. Mass deportation of Mensheviks and unreliables. Change the guards at warehouses, put in reliable people.

They say Raskolnikov and Danishevsky are on their way to see you from Kazan.

Read this letter to the friends and reply by telegraph or telephone.

Yours,
Lenin

Reproduced from https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/09gff.htm

Published: First published, but not in full, in 1938 in Bolshevik No. 2. Sent to Nizhni-Novgorod. Printed in full from a photo-copy of the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, page 349.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Comments

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on February 10, 2018

Well, the text itself refers to prostitutes so the title reflects that better, no? Through generally, I agree that sex workers should be used over prostitutes.

jura

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jura on February 10, 2018

Yeah, I didn't mean it is a correction. I just think that a title stating that Lenin ordered a massacre of workers in 1918 is clearer in terms of where the regime was headed.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 10, 2018

Kaganovich and Trotsky implemented the orders.

Ratkovskij's book on red terror in 1918 mentions (pp. 142–3) that for the month August the cheka in Nizhny Novgorod (Governorate/province), headed by Martin Latsis, executed 101 people, of whom 76 for political motives (whiteguard affairs) and 25 for various criminal offenses (speculators, etc.). Mind you, comparatively speaking, capital punishment was used most often in Nizhny Novgorod. The percentage of executions for criminal offenses here is somewhat below the national average, so I don't think Lenin's "order" to shoot prostitutes (how would he know about them?) was implemented. He often used hyperbolic expressions, but nevertheless it is true that he advocated terror.

Ратьковский И. С. Красный террор и деятельность ВЧК в 1918 году.— СПб.: Изд-во С.-Петерб. ун-та, 2006

radicalgraffiti

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 10, 2018

i'm not sure on what basis you are assuming the couldn't have been included in the political category? they often gave misleading labels to people they wanted to execute

Serge Forward

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on February 10, 2018

76 for political motives (whiteguard affairs)

Also Noa mistakenly assumes that "political motives" were automatically counter-revolutionary.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 10, 2018

According to Latsis, until August 30, 1918, in the course of the month 25 people were shot on whiteguard affairs. Another 10 people were shot by the Czechoslovak Front's Cheka and 41 people after August 30, 1918. The final figures are the same 76 political shootings per month in the Nizhny Novgorod province.

btw, Dzerzhinsky recalled that cheka in its publications often exaggerated the number of their executions in order to frighten the enemy. The above figures (of 101), although comparatively high, seem realistic though.

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on February 10, 2018

Jura

Yeah, I didn't mean it is a correction. I just think that a title stating that Lenin ordered a massacre of workers in 1918 is clearer in terms of where the regime was headed.

Ah, yes, that actually makes sense. Shit, I guess I am just so used to people pointing out any language as "problematic" that that's what I thought you meant. My bad.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 10, 2018

Lenin

You must strain every effort, appoint three men with dictatorial powers (yourself, Markin and one other), organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, former officers and the like.

There might be a translation error. In Russian:
Lenin

Надо напрячь все силы, составить тройку диктаторов (Вас, Маркина и др.), навести тотчас массовый террор, расстрелять и вывезти сотни проституток, спаивающих солдат, бывших офицеров и т. п.

Perhaps the ambiguity lies in the word "спаивающих", does it mean: "making drunk, or "being drunk"?

The sentence is ambiguous, as mentioned (here) by (soviet dissident) Venedikt Yerofeyev in 1986:

Не совсем понятно, кого же убивать. Проституток, спаивающих солдат и бывших офицеров? Или проституток, спаивающих солдат, а уже от ... будьте образцово — беспощадны».

I can't translate the last part of his sentence very good though:

"It is not clear who to kill. Prostitutes, drunken soldiers and former officers? Or prostitutes, drunken soldiers, and already from ... be exemplary - ruthless."

So if I understand this, the alternative reading is that Lenin is not saying that the prostitutes "are making drunkards of the soldiers", but he is listing unreliable people: prostitutes, drunken solders, and former officers.

So this would be the proper translation:
Lenin

organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes, drunk soldiers, former officers and the like.

And because Lenin put the word "deport" right before prostitutes, and it is hastily written, I would even go further and refer the "shoot" only to the drunken soldiers and former officers:

Lenin

organise immediately mass terror, deport the prostitutes and shoot the drunk soldiers, former officers and the like, who together number in the hundreds.

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 10, 2018

Good suggestion, jura, now amended. I wasn't really aware of it because in UK English it does not seem to be problematic to refer to sex workers who specifically sell sex as "prostitutes", however in American English apparently it is, so happy to amend on either basis.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 10, 2018

Seriously, the sentence is a mistranslation.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

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Submitted by Battlescarred on February 10, 2018

Oh yes, Noa, Lenin did nothing wrong.

Craftwork

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Craftwork on February 10, 2018

Noa Rodman

So this would be the proper translation:
Lenin

organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes, drunk soldiers, former officers and the like.

And because Lenin put the word "deport" right before prostitutes, and it is hastily written, I would even go further and refer the "shoot" only to the drunken soldiers and former officers:

Lenin

organise immediately mass terror, deport the prostitutes and shoot the drunk soldiers, former officers and the like, who together number in the hundreds.

Ah, that makes it alright then...

radicalgraffiti

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 10, 2018

if it was actually mistranslated and should have been "organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes, drunk soldiers, former officers and the like." then it still appears that he's ordering shootings and deportations against all those listed. i'm not really familiar with Russian grammar, but it seems odd to me that the proximity of "prostitutes" to "deport" means that applies to them but the distance of "drunk soldiers" and "former solders" to "shoot" means that applies to them

jura

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jura on February 11, 2018

Based on my very limited Russian, the sentence seems to say "...mass terror: shoot and deport hundreds of prostitutes, soliders (who are drinking themselves silly), former officers and similar".

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 11, 2018

Oh yes, Noa, Lenin did nothing wrong.

Ah, that makes it alright then...

Snark, I see.
radicalgrafitti

then it still appears that he's ordering shootings and deportations against all those listed.

Yes, but you can't execute and remove someone at the same time.

but it seems odd to me that the proximity of "prostitutes" to "deport" means that applies to them but the distance of "drunk soldiers" and "former solders" to "shoot" means that applies to them

That is admittedly just my added charitable reading of it.

Some even go so far as to doubt if Lenin meant literally "prostitutes", and not just in general wavering, opportunist elements (who whore themselves out to any side).
jura

Based on my very limited Russian, the sentence seems to say "...mass terror: shoot and deport hundreds of prostitutes, soliders (who are drinking themselves silly), former officers and similar".

Yes. "Shoot and deport" is a way of saying "repress" in ruthless fashion any suspect elements, which was an openly proclaimed policy with the civil war (quelle surprise).

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 11, 2018

That makes it all right then, doesn't it?
The leading Chekist Martin Latzis wrote in Izvestia on February 8th 1920 that the complete figure of those shot by the Cheka in 1918 was 6,185. However, this figure did not include the thousands executed in the same year in north east Russia in the Perm government, the 2,000 oficers shot at Kiev, the 400 navy officers shot at Odessa before the arrival of the Austrian army, the execution of officers at Sebatapol, the 1,342 people shot in January-February 1918 at Armavir.. For 1919 Latzis gave the figure of 3,456 shot by the Cheka in 1919. Of these 2,500 were not shot for "bourgeoisism" or for "counter-revolutiion, but for for common crimes, 632 for robbery, 217 for speculation and 1,204 for "criminal acts". It appears then that the Cheka directed its terror not just against the class enemy and counter-revolutionaries, but against the population in general. It should be noted that the first ever victims of the Cheka executions approved by the Cheka's College, was carried out on February 26, 1918, against two bandits - the self-styled Prince Eboli (Makovsky, Dolmatov) and his girlfriend Britt, who robbed the officers of the Cheka. This was followed by the shooting of the anarchists V. Smirnov and I. Zanoz, members of Petrograd Anarchist Communist Federation, for "banditry" two days later on the 28th February, well before the attacks on anarchist centres in major cities on April 12th 1918 onwards.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 11, 2018

The Cheka arrested 900 striking workers at the famed Putilov factory on 16th March 1919. 200 were shot without any pretence at a trial within the next few days.
At Astrakhan, on 10th March 1918 an assembly of striking workers were attacked with machine guns and hand grenades by Bolshevik troops with an estimated 2,000 victims. Hundreds of strikers and Red Army soldiers of the 45th Infantry regiment who had joined them were drowned by the hundreds in the Volga with stones around their necks. Between 2,000 and 4,000 were shot or drowned betwen March and April1919, including several local leaders o the MetatWorkers Union.. In addition, the repression also claimed the lives of some 600 to 1,000 of the bourgeoisie. The massacre was authorised by the Bolshevik leader Konstantin Mekhonoshin and by the head of the local Cheka. Trotsky telegraphed his approval. Bolshevik leaders justified the killings by saying they were putting down a White Guard uprising. Kirov, in particular, said that is was a White Guard conspiracy funded by the British and that all means necessary to destroy it were necessary. Shliapnikov, who had recently been in Astrakhan,,disapproved of the massacre, to his credit. AN investigator appointed by the Metal Workers Union, Babitsyn, came to the conclusion that the majority of workers at Astrakhan had suppported Sovoet poweer, with the exception of a few anarchists, but were incensed by pay delays, reduced rations, and the arrogant and threatening attitude of local Bolshevik officials,

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 11, 2018

That makes it all right then, doesn't it?

There are different ways to criticise the Bolsheviks, as even Kautsky pointed out. The claim that they carried out a massacre of sex workers, or that Lenin's letter singled them, has no ground. It's a popular quote (mostly for rightwing anti-communists) so I think it's important to set the record straight, for the sake of your own credibility as anarchist critics of the Bolsheviks.

Thanks for copying a list of red terror outrages. For the sake of balance, I refer to the historian Ratkovskij (no bolshevik friend), who take it upon himself to compose a chronicle of White Terror massacres: Илья Ратьковский - Хроника белого террора в России. Репрессии и самосуды (1917–1920 гг.).

And further, as a general point, let me quote Lincoln Steffens (who asked Lenin about the terror):

The horrors of a revolution are never singular; they are the ever-recurring symptoms and signs of the natural phenomenon they accompany always. This one can see by observing that they occur regularly in all revolutions, some of them in all social crises. There are killings and terrors, loot and destruction, in a war or a strike. The side or the leaders blamed for them do not always wish for and command them. They also deplore them. When I asked Lenin officially about the terror, he whirled on me fiercely.

"Who wants to ask us about our killings?" he demanded.

"Paris," I said, meaning, as he well understood, the Peace Conference.

"Do you mean to tell me that those men who have just generaled the slaughter of seventeen millions of men in a purposeless war are concerned over the few thousands that have been killed in a revolution which has a conscious aim to get out of the necessity of war and – and armed peace?"

He stood a moment facing me with his blazing eyes, then quieting down, he said:

"But never mind, do not deny the terror. Don't minimize any of the evils of a revolution. They occur. They must be counted upon. If we have to have a revolution, we have to pay the price of it."

That is the point. The evils of revolution happen in a revolution. They have to be studied, therefore; not merely shied at, but examined and then, perhaps, when they are understood scientifically, they can be avoided or used.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 11, 2018

The White Terror outrages do not in the least justify the Red Terror outrages, in particular as they were directed against the working class and the peasantry. I didn't "copy" the list by the way, a snarky way of trying to devalue what I wrote. Oh I see, these massacres have to be examined "scientifically", whatever the fuck that means.Pay the price of a revolution? Yes, when that revolution turns into its antithesis, counter-revolution, directed by the Bolsheviks, summed up by Trotsky in his telegram to the Astrakhan Bolsheviks in their crimes against the working class:"Execute mercilessly".

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 11, 2018

"The horrors of a revolution are never singular; they are the ever-recurring symptoms and signs of the natural phenomenon they accompany always. This one can see by observing that they occur regularly in all revolutions, some of them in all social crises. There are killings and terrors, loot and destruction, in a war or a strike. The side or the leaders blamed for them do not always wish for and command them. They also deplore them". Except that Lenin and his associates specifically commanded the Terror, it wasn't a case of unfortunate happenstance as Lincoln Steffens, at the time an apologist for the Bolsheviks, states. After his attempted assasination Lenin issued the order "“It is necessary – secretly and urgently to prepare the terror”.And just before the attempted assasination he had sent the famous Hanging Order:
“(Send this to Penza – to Comrades Kuraev, Bosh, Minkin and other Penza communists.)

Comrades! The revolt by the five kulak volosts [regions] must be suppressed without mercy. The interest of the entire revolution demands this, because we have now before us our final decisive battle with the kulaks.
We need to set an example. You need to hang – hang without fail, and do it so that the public sees – at least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and the bloodsuckers. Publish their names. Take away all of their grain. Execute the hostages – in accordance with yesterday’s telegram.
This needs to be accomplished in such a way that people for hundreds of miles around will see, tremble, know and scream out: let’s choke and strangle those blood-sucking kulaks. Telegraph us acknowledging receipt and execution of this.
Lenin
P.S. Use your toughest people for this.”
So a quota system was assigned to punish people for their class background, whatever their personal views and innocence.A disastrous policy that fueled the later crimes of Stalin.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 11, 2018

Oh I see, these massacres have to be examined "scientifically", whatever the fuck that means.

For example Kautsky's 1919: Terrorism and Communism: A Contribution to the Natural History of Revolution, to which Trotsky famously wrote a reply (which also discussed terror in historical contexts).

I didn't "copy" the list by the way, a snarky way of trying to devalue what I wrote

Some passages struck me as familiar (perhaps seen it in Ellen's Shlyapnikov book).

Except that Lenin and his associates specifically commanded the Terror,

Yes, that's generally know to be the case (Trotsky's book was translated in English). However, if the "disastrous policy" is to be documented, a certain care is required, so as not to mix the real and fictional.

Serge Forward

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on February 11, 2018

Noa, I think I preferred it when you were talking about men's waistlines rather than your current Leninist horseshit.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 11, 2018

I'm not the one who thought it was necessary to post a letter from Lenin in the libcom library with such a provocative title.

But now that we're speaking of terror outrages, based on wiki, it seems the Red Terror in Spain made more victims than the Russian one. Probably killed some nuns as well, alongside those thousands of clergymen. Perhaps Battlescared cares to comment on those outrages? Durruti himself being a murder.

Seeing the famed anarchist Durruti execute a young Falangist soldier, who had been conscripted against his will, never stopped weighing on her conscience. What Weil objected to was the relentless pleasure in murder that occurred on all sides. Killing "Fascists" and seeing them as beasts made the Republicans, in Weil's view, no better than the enemy; they too were excluding "a category of human beings from among those whose lives have worth."

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 11, 2018

Noa Rodman

But now that we're speaking of terror outrages, based on wiki, it seems the Red Terror in Spain made more victims than the Russian one. Probably killed some nuns as well, alongside those thousands of clergymen. Perhaps Battlescared cares to comment on those outrages? Durruti himself being a murder.

Seeing the famed anarchist Durruti execute a young Falangist soldier, who had been conscripted against his will, never stopped weighing on her conscience. What Weil objected to was the relentless pleasure in murder that occurred on all sides. Killing "Fascists" and seeing them as beasts made the Republicans, in Weil's view, no better than the enemy; they too were excluding "a category of human beings from among those whose lives have worth."

Noa I'm quite disappointed with your terrible logic here.

In general terms with the Spanish Red Terror, the role of the anarchist organisations in this is in no way comparable with the Bolshevik Red Terror, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the Bolshevik terror was specifically ordered by the leadership of the Communist Party.

In terms of the Spanish red terror, this was primarily orchestrated either by the Spanish Communist Party, or revolutionary workers and peasants taking revenge on class enemies: not acting on the orders of the CNT or FAI.

With Durruti, again that's ridiculous comparison. It may be sad that he executed a conscripted fascist soldier, but that is not comparable to the actions of, say, Lenin and Trotsky, who ordered others to massacre striking workers.

Durruti never "murdered", or ordered the murders of striking workers.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 11, 2018

The Cheka arrested 900 striking workers at the famed Putilov factory on 16th March 1919. 200 were shot without any pretence at a trial within the next few days.
At Astrakhan, on 10th March 1918 an assembly of striking workers were attacked with machine guns and hand grenades by Bolshevik troops with an estimated 2,000 victims. Hundreds of strikers and Red Army soldiers of the 45th Infantry regiment who had joined them were drowned by the hundreds in the Volga with stones around their necks. Between 2,000 and 4,000 were shot or drowned betwen March and April1919, including several local leaders o the MetatWorkers Union.. In addition, the repression also claimed the lives of some 600 to 1,000 of the bourgeoisie. The massacre was authorised by the Bolshevik leader Konstantin Mekhonoshin and by the head of the local Cheka. Trotsky telegraphed his approval. Bolshevik leaders justified the killings by saying they were putting down a White Guard uprising. Kirov, in particular, said that is was a White Guard conspiracy funded by the British and that all means necessary to destroy it were necessary. Shliapnikov, who had recently been in Astrakhan,,disapproved of the massacre, to his credit. AN investigator appointed by the Metal Workers Union, Babitsyn, came to the conclusion that the majority of workers at Astrakhan had suppported Sovoet poweer, with the exception of a few anarchists, but were incensed by pay delays, reduced rations, and the arrogant and threatening attitude of local Bolshevik officials,

Where can I read more about this? All I find is this excerpt on Wikipedia with citations only for "The Black Book of Communism."

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 11, 2018

Putilov and Astrakhan are both covered by Brovkin's 'Behind the Front Lines of the Civil War' published 2015. I haven't read the book, I just found it on google books:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=A7p9BgAAQBAJ&pg=PT84&lpg=PT84&dq=putilov+1919&source=bl&ots=2tkayoLGNb&sig=SwYa3XYhuSDL-tEbGacBMs4iBIg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCxr-z6J7ZAhVE_qQKHTnnAy0Q6AEISzAL#v=onepage&q=putilov%201919&f=false

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=A7p9BgAAQBAJ&pg=PT84&lpg=PT84&dq=putilov+1919&source=bl&ots=2tkayoLGNb&sig=SwYa3XYhuSDL-tEbGacBMs4iBIg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCxr-z6J7ZAhVE_qQKHTnnAy0Q6AEISzAL#v=onepage&q=astrakhan&f=false

There are a few historians (Lynne Viola, Jeffrey Rossman, Brovkin, William Rosenburg) who have been doing mostly social history between about 1917 and 1935, based on primary sources from the declassified Russian archives (lots of checka/NKVD reports etc.).

Red Marriott

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on February 11, 2018

Noa

There are different ways to criticise the Bolsheviks, as even Kautsky pointed out. The claim that they carried out a massacre of sex workers, or that Lenin's letter singled them, has no ground. It's a popular quote (mostly for rightwing anti-communists) so I think it's important to set the record straight, for the sake of your own credibility as anarchist critics of the Bolsheviks.

Nothing you’ve posted here has “set the record straight” or proven “no grounds”. Disputing one interpretation and offering another is not disproving. It’s true that Lenin often used “prostitutes” as a term of abuse for those he characterised as opportunist political opponents but in examples I’ve seen he always named the individuals or groups he meant – while this reads like a straightforward order to kill and deport; and if your convoluted interpretation that he didn’t literally mean prostitutes to be shot was true it would be incredibly careless to convey life & death orders by telegram in such an unclear ambiguous way – when even defenders like you have to split hairs over the order of words to claim your preferred meaning. But whatever else the order shows, it makes clear who was in control and whose ‘order’ was being imposed – ie, the new Bolshevik party state making top-down decisions imposed over the whole society including the working class and poor peasantry.

The following has about as much credibility and hard evidence as your preferred interpretation;

Vladimir Lenin, the Russian revolutionary and architect of the Soviet Union, died from syphilis caught from a Parisian prostitute and not from a stroke as has always been believed, new research has claimed. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6406447/Vladimir-Lenin-died-from-syphilis-new-research-claims.html

But, by the same burden of proof employed by Noa, it could be used to explain why Lenin so resented prostitutes.

According to another source the Nizni repression was led by Kaganovich to establish an overall tightening of Bolshevik political dominance in the region – which became the model for a wider nationwide dominance and gave good practice for later Stalinist methods;

“In May 1918 [Kaganovich] was sent by the Central Committee to Nizhny Novrogod, where he quickly established himself as head of the Bolshevik party organization. Nizhny was a frontline town, threatened directly by the advance of the Czechoslovak Legion, which in August 1918 overran Kazan. In 1918-19 the province experienced dozens of peasant risings, while, at the nearby giant Sormovo engineering complex, Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries led a number of major strikes against the Soviet authorities.
In August 1918 Lenin ordered the authorities in Nizhny Novgorod to immediately institute a “mass terror” to extinguish the threat of counterrevolution. Kaganovich as party boss, then just twenty-four years of age, oversaw this policy, which included the execution of bourgeois “hostages”. In this campaign he was assisted by the leadership of the Eastern Military Front, headed by Trotsky. Drawing on this experience, Kaganovich elaborated organizational proposals to dramatically tighten up political control in Nizhny and to galvanize the local party organization to ensure its survival.
... In 1919 Kaganovich advanced sweeping measures for the militarization of the Bolshevik party organization at the national level.
... Kaganovich’s experiences in Nizhny helped to shape his political development. ... In 1919 Kaganovich became the most vocal and articulate advocate of centralization in party and state management. ... The ideas which he advocated in 1918-19 were to become the prevailing orthodoxy of the Bolshevik party after Lenin’s death.” (P. 22 - The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence, 1931-36; Ed. R.W. Davies & co)

Kaganovich had a long career, aiding Stalin’s rise to power and enthusiastically implementing his Purges & Terror. He died at age 97 as the last surviving veteran Stalinist.

jef costello

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on February 11, 2018

Noa Rodman

And you are lynching blacks

or as you may prefer it using a tu quoque argument.
The only way white massacres justify this is if it prevents further white massacres. After taking power in a dictatorial way then treating disagreement as counter-revolutionary I don't think Lenin gets the benefit of the doubt.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 11, 2018

Steven

Noa I'm quite disappointed with your terrible logic here.

Steven, I said the amounts of victims, which you haven't bothered to address.

Firstly, the Bolshevik terror was specifically ordered by the leadership of the Communist Party.

As a general policy of course, but local commanders could do their own thing.

or revolutionary workers and peasants taking revenge on class enemies: not acting on the orders of the CNT or FAI.

In charge of the frontline milita and reargurad checas (yes, derived from the Russian) was the CNT-FAI Defence Committee headed by Eduardo Val Bescós and ran a daily basis by Amor Nuno Perez (mentioned in The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, 2012, Paul Preston). I can't immediately find specific written orders for executions, if they were ever written down. Preston also mentions that many militias were launched by people who previously had not been members of the CNT-FAI, but they just faked membership card. These spontaneously started various outrages, mostly vying for local power, not really inspired revolutionaries.

Quite similar to the Russian events actually, since many places at first almost had no bolshevik members (as Biggart tells for the city of Astrakhan, see below), so to fix this, what happens immediately after/during the revolution is a huge influx of people into the party. If those new people (who are workers and peasants) abuse their power etc. then the Bolsheviks are blamed. (If the Bolsheviks then decide to purge the local party, you can accuse them of stifling democracy).

Pennoid

Where can I read more about this?

The most damning acount seems to be Sillin 1922 (an SR). For context see John Biggart, "The Astrakhan Rebellion: An Episode in the Career of Sergey Mironovich Kirov".

Steven

but that is not comparable to the actions of, say, Lenin and Trotsky, who ordered others to massacre striking workers.

"Striking workers" makes it sound like just a modern wage dispute between workers and boss. At the time it was more about rationing supplies, and a strike during the civil war near the frontline did pose the immediate political question of power.

In case of peasants, in Spain there were outrages committed against petty-owners of land, so there are similarities with suppression of Russian peasants.

Red Marriott

and if your convoluted interpretation that he didn’t literally mean prostitutes to be shot was true it would be incredibly careless to convey life & death orders by telegram in such an unclear ambiguous way – when even defenders like you have to split hairs over the order of words to claim your preferred meaning.

Luckily the letter further specifies:

Lenin

You must act with all energy. Mass searches. Execution for concealing arms. Mass deportation of Mensheviks and unreliables. Change the guards at warehouses, put in reliable people.

.
Jef Costello

The only way white massacres justify this is if it prevents further white massacres.

I didn't bring up the White massacre to justify, but only to drop my reference to the book on White Terror (for those interested), since it is relatively little investigated.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 12, 2018

Telegram from Lenin to Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the 5th Army Smirnov:

"I was told about the obvious sabotage among the railwaymen ... I am told that the workers of Izhevsk are also participating in this. I am surprised at your conciliationism and the fact that you did not massacre saboteurs "
January 29th, 1920

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 12, 2018

Lenin to Stalin February 16th 1920:
Threaten with being shot that slut, who, who, managing the connection, does not know how to give you a good amplification and to get the telephone communication with me completely in order ..."
Referring to telephone worker

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 12, 2018

"неряхе" means as the official translation put it 'incompetent person'.

https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%80%D1%8F%D1%85%D0%B0

"careless, unscrupulous, untidy person"

I think you must have used google translate.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 12, 2018

Found a bit more in this biography of Kaganovich, although it explicitly states that there is very little documentation of the 'terror'.

For contemporary public record of Bolshevik treatment of sex workers, I was only able to find this 1921 speech by Kollontai. She talks about prostitutes as labour deserters on the basis that sex work isn't wage labour but instead parasitical - which is used to justify round ups and forced labour. There's the implication that if someone is doing a full time job as well as prostitution then they wouldn't be put into a labour camp, and some discussion of raising wages at the end to undermine the material causes of it, but it's a clear categorisation of sex workers as degenerates undermining the revolution through unproductive labour and disease.

Kollontai

We have so far passed no statutes recognising prostitution as a harmful social phenomenon. When the old tsarist laws were revoked by the Council of People’s Commissars, all the statutes concerning prostitution were abolished. But no new measures based on the interests of the work collective were introduced. Thus the politics of the Soviet authorities towards prostitutes and prostitution has been characterised by diversity and contradictions. In some areas the police still help to round up prostitutes just as in the old days. In other places, brothels exist quite openly. (The Interdepartmental Commission on the Struggle against Prostitution has data on this.) And there are yet other areas where prostitutes are considered criminals and thrown into forced labour camps. The different attitudes of the local authorities thus highlight the absence of a clearly worded statute. Our vague attitude to this complex social phenomenon is responsible, for a number of distortions of and diversions from the principles underlying our legislation and morality.

[...]

And what, after all, is the professional prostitute? She is a person whose energy is not used for the collective; a person who lives off others, by taking from the rations of others. Can this sort of thing be allowed in a workers’ republic? No, it cannot. It cannot be allowed, because it reduces the reserves of energy and the number of working hands that are creating the national wealth and the general welfare, from the point of view of the national economy the professional prostitute is a labour deserter. For this reason we must ruthlessly oppose prostitution. In the interests of the economy we must start an immediate fight to reduce the number of prostitutes and eliminate prostitution in all its forms.

It is time we understood that the existence of prostitution contradicts the basic principles of a workers’ republic which fights all forms of unearned wages. In the three years of the revolution our ideas on this subject have changed greatly. A new philosophy, which has little m common with the old ideas, is in the making. Three years ago we regarded a merchant as a completely respectable person. Provided his accounts were in order and he did not cheat or dupe his customer too obviously, he was rewarded with the title of “merchant of the first guild”, “respected citizen”, etc.

Since the revolution attitudes, to trade and merchants have changed radically. We now call the “honest merchant” a speculator, and instead of awarding him honorary tides we drag him before a special committee and put him in a forced labour camp. Why do we do this?’ Because we know that we can only build a new communist economy if all adult citizens are involved in productive labour. The person who does not work and who lives off someone else or on an unearned wage harms the collective and the republic. We, therefore, hunt down the speculators, the traders and the hoarders who all live off unearned income. We must fight prostitution as another form of labour desertion.

We do not, therefore, condemn prostitution and fight against it as a special category but as an aspect of labour desertion. To us in the workers’ republic it is not important whether a woman sells herself to one man or to many, whether she is classed as a professional prostitute selling her favours to a succession of clients or as a wife selling herself to her husband. All women who avoid work and do not take part in production or in caring for children are liable, on the same basis as prostitutes, to be forced to work. We cannot make a difference between a prostitute and a lawful wife kept by her husband, whoever her husband is – even if he is a “commissar”. It is failure to take part in productive work that is the common thread connecting all labour deserters. The workers’ collective condemns the prostitute not because she gives her body to many men but because, like the legal wife who stays at home, she does no useful work for the society.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1921/prostitution.htm

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 12, 2018

The word can also be translated as slovenly, and as slut in its original sense of slovenly, untidy woman but I see your point. However this does not detract from the general threatening nature of the telegram, so that a telephone worker who sets up a call with bad reception is issued with a death threat. Lenin as a mentor of Stalin in this regard.

Reddebrek

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Reddebrek on February 13, 2018

Noa Rodman

There are different ways to criticise the Bolsheviks, as even Kautsky pointed out. The claim that they carried out a massacre of sex workers, or that Lenin's letter singled them, has no ground. It's a popular quote (mostly for rightwing anti-communists) so I think it's important to set the record straight, for the sake of your own credibility as anarchist critics of the Bolsheviks.

?????

Buddy this telegram is hosted on the Marxists Internet Archive and is taken from Lenin's Collected works. Which was translated into English by Progress Publishers, a publishing firm set up by the Soviet Union and affiliated with the old CPGB.

Pretty sure this isn't some anarchist plot.

Also if you're really sure your translation is more faithful then this one, perhaps you'd be better served getting in touch with the publisher https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/contact-us

I mean its a long shot given the years and the changes in personnel over there, but its the only way I can see for you to prove your credibility, otherwise your just speculating in a way that conveniently tallies with your own views.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 13, 2018

In an incident reminiscent of the fake "Doctors' Plot" of 1952-3 under Stalin, I. I. Khodovsky,a member of the Political Department of the Southern Front contacted Lenin on November 20th to tell him that doctors were being too lenient with sick and wounded Red Army soldiers at the Moscow military hospital and dismissing them from service without good reason. In response Lenin sent a telegram the ollowing day to the Bolshevik high up Ephraim Sklyansky saying "organize secret surveillance and surveillance of the behavior of these doctors in order to expose them, collecting witnesses and documents, and then bringing them to justice.", This resulted in the hospital surgeon A. Borovsky being convicted of sabotage by the Revolutionary Tribunal and sent to the front.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 13, 2018

A Russian speaker on twitter helped with the 'mistranslation' theory:

twitter person

as a Russian i must say this 'mistranslation' theory is ridiculous - you can't say "спаивающих" and mean that the person B is inebriating him/herself, it's always reliant on person A, so you can't say "sex workers, inebriating the soldiers" etc., Lenin's intent is obvious

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 13, 2018

Noa, normally I find your contributions very helpful, however when you are trying to adjust "translations" to appear more favourable to Soviet leaders than official translations paid for by the Soviet Union, then I think maybe it's worth stopping and thinking for a moment that maybe the actual problem is just that some Soviet leaders said was pretty fucked up…

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 13, 2018

The career of the leader of the Astrakhan Cheka, Georgi Atarbekov, responsible for much of the killing in Astrakhan, puts a spotlight on the corruption and degeneracy of the Bolsheviks. An Armenian , born Gevork Atarbekian, he joined the Bolsheviks in 1908. In October 1917 he was a Chekist in Sukhumi and organised mass shootings. On October 31st, 1918 alone he issued 47 death sentences against "counterrevolutionaries". He poorly defended Maikop from the Whites and then blamed the populations of Armavir, Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk, Essentuki for allegedly arranging a counter-revolutionary plot. He was responsible for the killing by sabres and daggers of 106 hostages at Pyatigorsk in November 1918 in which he personally took part. Some of those who survived the sabring were buried alive. At Armavir during the retreat o the red army he had shot many people in the Cheka cellar. He also at Armavir had machingunned, a trainload Georgian officers, doctors and nurses returning from the front despite the train having a pass issued by the Soviet government. He killed his own secretary in his office.
At Astrakhan, as already noted Atarbekov was involved in the killing of 4,000 people. some of these were people he called 'dubious Communists'.Shortly after Atarbekov's arrival in Astrakhan the political commissar of the intelligence department of the front staff Karl Grasis (himself a Chekist and responsible for mass shotings in his time) complained to the Cheka leader Feliks Dzerzhinsky about the treatment of the Kalmyk and Kirghiz population by Atarbekov and others, which led to discontent ."generated by the unheard-of violence and mockery of the commissars." Atarbekov manufactured more and more imaginary conspiracies including accusing the Astrakhan fishermen of espionage and declaring them guilty of the defeat of the Bolshevik Volga-Caspian flotilla near Fort Alexandrovsky, until following complaints by the Bolshevik Aristov, on September 4th 1919 of the same year Atarbekov was escorted to Moscow under an escort. His case was considered for a long time. A special commission of the Central Committee established "the criminality of Atarbekov and others For the final verdict, the material of the investigation was transferred to the Central Committee of the Communist Party However his patrons, Kirov, Kamo, Ordzhonikidze and Stalin, saved him from punishment ( despite a special division of the Cheka finding oot that he established "the most ugly expenditure of the people's money", the embezzlement and appropriation of confiscated valuables, including diamonds, platinum and gold. He was actually promoted.by Lenin as head of the Special Front Division in the operation against the white General Mamontov. He and Kamo were involved in a despicable incident when Moscow youth recruited to the Red Army were involved in a staged operation as a test by Kamo and Atarbekov where fake White Guards captured them, and they were interrogated and sentenced to death at the orders of Atarbekov in a White general's uniform (obviously the sentences were not carried out). Lenin was not pleased when he heard about this. Atarbekov executed Red army soldiers for losing battles or refusing to fight. as a result there were three attempts on his life by Red soldiers and sailors.
Between August 1920 and February 1921 3000 people were executed at Ekaterinodar prison and on the Kuban river in which Atarbekov played a leading role..He carried out other mass shootings in Stavropol, Mineralnye Vody, Cherkessk, and Vladikavkaz. In 1921 he was involved in the suppression o the Dashnak (Armenian left nationalists) revolt and in subsequent mass shootings..Stalin appointed him and others like the vicious Lavrenti Beria to replace the local Georgian Communist leadership.. However now Atarbekov and Solomon Mogilevsky became involved in power struggles with Beria and began to investigate the latter;'s dubious past. they now seem to have allied themselves with Trotsky. In March 1925 they boarded a plane at Tbilisi to meet Trotsky, who was convalescing at Sukhumi, On taking off the plane caught fire and they were killed. Some historians have alleged that Beria was involved in sabotaging the plane. Trotsky gave a funeral speech at Sukhumi, saying “It is the biggest blow since the death of Ilyich, which has struck the toiling masses of the Soviet Union and our Communist Party,”

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 13, 2018

A myth developed during the Gorbachev period that Kirov was somehow a "liberal" Bolshevik
opponent of Stalin. As the above proves, and as well as a scrutiny of his speeches, there was little difference between his policies and those of Stalin.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 13, 2018

I thought Noas translation was meant to explain that shoot and deport applies equally to all the following objects of the sentence (drunken soldiers, prostitutes, former officers).

This does fit in with the general strategy of terror employed by the bolsheviks, as with many other 'despotisms of liberty' in the old sense. The merits of it could be debated extensively, but in this case were any prostitutes killed extrajudicially? What was the context for this telegram? Why did these people need to be killed? We're they organizing with whites or fraternizing with them? Disrupting the war effort?

It seems unclear from this document alone to get a full picture.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 13, 2018

Need to be killed should be in quotations I.e. why would they need to be killed from the perspective of Lenin et. Al.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 14, 2018

Pennoid

I thought Noas translation was meant to explain that shoot and deport applies equally to all the following objects of the sentence (drunken soldiers, prostitutes, former officers).

This does fit in with the general strategy of terror employed by the bolsheviks, as with many other 'despotisms of liberty' in the old sense. The merits of it could be debated extensively, but in this case were any prostitutes killed extrajudicially? What was the context for this telegram? Why did these people need to be killed? We're they organizing with whites or fraternizing with them? Disrupting the war effort?

It seems unclear from this document alone to get a full picture.

"In the middle of 1918 he was sent to Nizhny Novgorod, which in connection with the advancement of parts of the Czechoslovak corps turned into a frontline city. Being chairman of the Nizhny Novgorod Provincial Committee of the RCP (B.) And the Gubernia Executive Committee (May 1918 - August 1919), he enforced the instructions of VI Lenin with the help of mass terror, including shootings of hostages from among "class alien elements". " ARTicle on Kaganovich at
http://www.krugosvet.ru/enc/istoriya/KAGANOVICH_LAZAR_MOISEEVICH.html

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 14, 2018

Google books has this biography of Kaganovich which includes background on Nizhnyi.

Short version: there were mass strikes and peasant risings in the region, low Bolshevik party membership, and no enthusiasm for joining the Red Army. This eventually resulted in the expulsion of the Left SRs from the Nizhnyi soviet, which resulted in even more peasant risings and industrial unrest. Shortly afterwards, Kaganovich was elected local party chairman - this all in the spring. By the summer there was a Czech detachment not far from the city, and it's at this point the order for 'Red Terror' was sent by Lenin.

Auld-bod

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Auld-bod on February 14, 2018

This letter from Lenin endorses my belief that during a war all sorts of extreme actions can appear ‘necessary’.

If Lenin believed mass terror was essential to maintain order and win the war, why should sex workers be exempted? Terrorise them like all the other uncontrollables! Logically, if drunkenness in the army was a problem, why not order the liquidation of the liquor trade? Ha, ha!

Wherever large numbers of men are congregated, separated from partners and family, a lively sex trade will exist and intoxicants will be consumed. Lenin was in practice a puritanical thug and murderer.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 14, 2018

Or Lenin was in the position with other bolsheviks of commanding an army that needed to keep the whites out in order to secure power and stave off any much more thorough going and systematic destruction of workers and poor peasants (not to mention ethnic minorities) with the whites.

I mean that's one interpretation. Again, mass terror involves stringing up abusive and exploitative landlords in order to show that their power was socially broken and their interference would not be tolerated. It also includes what Sherman carried out against the slave power in the u.s. south; a destruction of property and the ability for the aristocrats to even socially function.

There is no evidence that Lenin ordered specifically the systematic execution of sex workers. The most you have here is that someone was commanded to terrorize the recalcitrant population into support for war or at least neutrality. That may have meant extrajudicial killings in places, no doubt it did. But it also meant many other means of terror.

I think there are intertwining questions that have to be unravelled; in two broad categories - What was the reason for terror from the view of the bolsheviks and how did it unfold in practice; and what happened in this particular case?

I may have missed it, but most here seem content to find whatever shred of a source confirms their favorable interpretation that Lenin ordered the execution of sex workers. What is explicitly written is that he ordered the terrorizing of sex workers, drunken soldiers, and former officers; the methods to include shooting and deportation (no doubt among others).

And then you corroborate the evidence in the telegram with confirmation from secondary sources that Kagonovich did indeed engage in Terror in his career.

But that is not enough to show that Lenin explicitly ordered the murder of sex workers and that it was carried out in this case or in others.

All of this is to say, the threshold hasn't been met. You have a case, but you're shooting yourself in the foot by offering a coarse translation, and then backing it up weakly with references to irrelevant sources.

You also fail to present a narrative that explains lenin's drive to execute sex workers; outside typical caricatures of him as a"murderous thug". You want to prove he is a murderous thug; find the evidence and present it. But that means reading the bolsheviks own explanations, in part to help understand motivations. You can assert your conclusion all day with weak evidence attached but you'll fail to convince any but the already converted.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 14, 2018

Pennoid

All of this is to say, the threshold hasn't been met. You have a case, but you're shooting yourself in the foot by offering a coarse translation, and then backing it up weakly with references to irrelevant sources.

The translation was by a lifelong member of the CPGB, commissioned by the USSR itself. This doesn't make it immune from errors, but it's as sympathetic a translator as you could possible fine. It's very likely he thought that 'the terrorizing of sex workers, drunken soldiers, and former officers' was completely justified, so didn't feel the need to dumb down the memo.

Pennoid

What is explicitly written is that he ordered the terrorizing of sex workers, drunken soldiers, and former officers; the methods to include shooting and deportation (no doubt among others).

So he ordered the shooting and deportation of civilians, specifically mentioning sex workers as among those to be shot and deported (and that there were hundreds of them).

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 14, 2018

Like I said there are two things here; problems with terror in general and the potential problems with it's implementation here.

My aim is not to be facetious but do people generally subscribe to Kautsky's criticism of revolutionary terror? I'm curious about it critiques of it, maybe we can start a separate thread.

The other side which has not been exhausted is whether in this context or others Lenin's aim was to explicitly kill sex workers en masse, or whether this was a hastily written telegram that was meant to convey the need to terrorize all elements vacillating between sympathies for reds vs. whites, while detailing some of those categories.

I agree that taken on it's own it stands to mean kill sex workers. I'm not disputing that that's an interpretation. But it falls or stands on more than this evidence alone whether or not that was the intent. Let alone the outcome.

If we really care about understanding the failures of the bolsheviks their merits and drawbacks, the failures of terror, the traps set by an ideology which treats sex workers in the same camp as their exploiters, then we should try to actually understand that, and not look for sloppy confirmation of our preconceived ideas that Lenin was merely a 'murderous thug' etc.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 14, 2018

But he was a murderous thug full stop. Sorry. Sickened by your apologism for the Bolsheviks.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 14, 2018

My guess (since I'm not a Russian) that the translation of the word "спаивающих" could be incorrect was hardly my main point.

I give the commentary by (soviet dissident) Venedikt Yerofeyev again (but this time I found it in full) on Lenin's sentence:

Не совсем понятно, кого же убивать. Проституток, спаивающих солдат и бывших офицеров? Или проституток, спаивающих солдат, а уже отдельно - бывших офицеров? И кого стрелять, а кого вывозить? или вывозить уже после расстрела? И что значит «и т. п.»?
.
It is not clear who to kill. Prostitutes, making drunk soldiers and former officers? Or prostitutes, making drunk soldiers, and already separately - former officers? And who to shoot, and whom to deport? or deport already after execution? And what does "and so on" mean?

The ambiguity of the sentence as a whole is there for Yerofeyev.

Further, I found some other kind of proof for my charitable reading (that based on the proximity of the word "deport" to "prostitutes", the word "shoot" did not refer to them). Namely, some Russian (anti-communist) texts which refer to this notorious sentence (without fully quoting it), in order to portray it in the unambiguously worst way, reversed the order of the verbs, so it becomes: deport and shoot them.

Mike Harman

So he ordered the shooting and deportation of civilians, specifically mentioning sex workers as among those to be shot and deported (and that there were hundreds of them).

Even if the order related only to them (and not also others, like former officers "and so on"), then the problem for Lenin seems to be clearly that the prostitutes (all of them? talk about collective punishment) make everyone drunk. Now, I know the laws against alcohol were very strict in some places and times, but surely punishment was visited also upon those who commit the crime of drinking, not just those who provided the beverages (as if prostitutes were sellers of booz?). The order wouldn't seem only monstrous, but absurd.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 14, 2018

Steven

when you are trying to adjust "translations" to appear more favourable to Soviet leaders than official translations paid for by the Soviet Union,

#translationgoals

Anyway, while I appreciate the potential opportunity for serious discussion on terrorism, Mike should get back to our IdPol discussion (on the Rectwald thread), wherre this Lenin stuff was first brought up, and where he apparently maintains that sex workers are an identity.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 14, 2018

Pennoid

My aim is not to be facetious but do people generally subscribe to Kautsky's criticism of revolutionary terror? I'm curious about it critiques of it, maybe we can start a separate thread.

I'd agree with Steven's comment from earlier. There are plenty of examples (from Haiti to Nat Turner to Spain '36) where people in the context of insurrections have carried out killings of class enemies (although Haiti also involved lots of Toussaint Louverture hunting down maroons and presiding over labour discipline of only-just-freed slaves on the plantations, who certainly were not class enemies - Haiti really prefigured a lot of later revolutions in a lot of different ways).

You don't have to think those are a great idea to recognise that it would happen and not completely write off an entire revolutionary movement on that basis Not averse to that photo of Mussolini's corpse hanging upside down in 1945 after he was shot by Italian partisans either.

This is very, very different to directing an army or secret police force to carry out such a 'revolutionary terror' in advance though. And in this case not against 'class enemies' but in fact simply disloyal workers who didn't want to fight at the front, were Left SR aligned etc. - the Whites/Czechs might have been not far from Nizhnyi but they were not the target of the terror, it was a disciplinary action.

Noa Rodman

Now, I know the laws against alcohol were very strict in some places and times, but surely punishment was visited also upon those who commit the crime of drinking, not just those who provided the beverages (as if prostitutes were sellers of booz?).

Those supposed to be doing the drinking were soldiers weren't they? So not 'civilians'. The other group mention in the letter is 'Mensheviks' which is a political designation, not a job (unless they were party officials).

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 14, 2018

mike harman

Those supposed to be doing the drinking were soldiers weren't they? So not 'civilians'. The other group mention in the letter is 'Mensheviks' which is a political designation, not a job (unless they were party officials).

Let's assume Lenin didn't call for the shooting of hundreds of prostitutes just for the fun of it.

Evidently the problem was that prostitutes made the soldiers (and also perhaps former officers and the like) drunk. Soldiers need to stay sober, if they are drunk perhaps they will go rape and pillage. Okay, do you know any precedent, from all times and places, where punishment for drunkenness was given not to the persons drinking, but only to those they drank with (or bought liquor from, as if prostitutes were liquor-sellers)?

Serge Forward

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on February 14, 2018

.

.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 14, 2018

I'm not clear, are you asking me what my views are on enforcing prohibition of alcohol with extra-judicial killings?

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 14, 2018

Are you aware of anyone enforcing prohibition of alcohol with extra-judicial killings, not even on those actually consuming the alcohol, but on those merely being in the company of those drinking? If not, then Lenin would be unique in that regard, since apparently the crime for which Lenin ordered the repression of prostitutes is not the fact that they were prostitutes, but that they were able to make everyone drunk.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 14, 2018

He's essentially ordering the terror on the basis that soldiers were deserting the Red Army, and that the entire area was deemed unreliable due to low Bolshevik party membership, strike action and peasant uprisings.

So it's more equivalent to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1399983.stm except behind the lines, and with the additional complication of workers and peasants insurrections.

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 15, 2018

Not positing an opinion as to whether or not a massacre of sex workers took place on Lenin's orders but somewhat bemused that of all places I never really expected a dogged defense of Lenin on Libcom. Not to express any particular nuance here but there were a fuckton of massacres at that time, what with it being a civil war and everything. In addition, being an anarchist, I would have been one of the first up against the wall, since I'm not inclined to have too many touchy feely opinions about Lenin.

However, this particular thread has been one of the high spots of an especially crap week, given I have never seen so many tankie heads exploding on social media. It has been very entertaining.

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 15, 2018

Owning the Marxists by...being incredibly wrong about something

Serge Forward

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on February 15, 2018

Big No No

Owning the Leninist apologists

Fixed that for you.

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 15, 2018

Serge Forward

Big No No

Owning the Leninist apologists by... being incredibly wrong about something

Fixed that for you.

Ah yes, much better

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 15, 2018


Exactly.

Craftwork

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Craftwork on February 15, 2018

Big No No

Owning the Marxists by...being incredibly wrong about something

Trotskyism is a form of leftism, not Marxism.

The profusion of Trotskyist sects in existence today is witness to the mass of contradictions which make up the elements of Trotskyism, and objectively these groupings represent the left wing of the bourgeoisie’s political apparatus. They stand, not for the emancipation of the proletariat, but for a state capitalist order in which they will be the new bosses. Objectively they function as the left wing of the social democratic or Stalinist parties, providing these parties with cover from attacks by revolutionary political positions and most importantly giving them credibility in the eyes of the working class. By sticking slavishly to the formula that the proletariat has only a crisis of leadership they fail to recognise the real conditions for the revival of the revolutionary party. These lie in the objective need to struggle of the mass of the proletariat and the party’s own programmatic clarity. Unable to perceive these basic conditions, the Trotskyists cannot escape from their historical cul-de-sac without retracing the road back to the revolutionary lessons of the proletariat has taken. In doing this they would, of course, cease to be Trotskyists since they would not only have to abandon their fundamental confusions but would also have to recognise the bourgeois, anti-revolutionary nature of Trotskyism itself.

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2000-10-01/trotsky-and-the-internationalist-communist-left

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 15, 2018

Craftwork

Trotskyism is a form of leftism, not Marxism.

1. Horseshit
2. Irrelevant

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 15, 2018

Mike,

I don't see the moral difference other than some virtuous spontaneity, in the Nat Turner rebellions murder of women and children. Ostensibly, the bolsheviks tight control of terror helped them reign in wonton violence; hold would-be pogromists accountable, and Target their efforts. Why is spontaneity assumed to be a virtue?

It reads as though Lenin's main crime wasn't (potentially) ordering the killing of civillians (the condition which you impose being spontaneity which merits sympathy) but being Lenin or a Bolshevik while doing it.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 15, 2018

Pennoid

Mike,
I don't see the moral difference other than some virtuous spontaneity, in the Nat Turner rebellions murder of women and children. Ostensibly, the bolsheviks tight control of terror helped them reign in wonton violence; hold would-be pogromists accountable, and Target their efforts. Why is spontaneity assumed to be a virtue?

Nat Turner's rebellion was plotted for six months according to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, organised with a core of six people, then recruiting the eventual 50 or 60 who took party during the rebellion itself. It was not 'spontaneous' but meticulously executed.

They went from plantation to plantation, killing every white person they could and recruiting slaves along the way (grabbing food and weapons etc. too) at each one. It was a scorched earth policy with the intention to either take the entire area, or get to the Dismal Swamp maroon community if they couldn't.

This is not a moral difference of spontaneity, entirely your own invention that doesn't relate remotely to what I said or the actual history of that rebellion, but the difference between an insurrection against the ruling class, and the ruling class crushing a (potential) insurrection (or just perceived indiscipline) of workers, using a standing army and secret police.

Reddebrek

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Reddebrek on February 15, 2018

Big No No

Been watching Noa doing god's work in this thread, but this post is getting around and I feel like this summary of all the utter nonsense in this article needs to be in this comment section: Did Lenin Order A "Massacre of Sex Workers"? (Spoiler Warning: Probably Not)

Yeah, whoever wrote that is talking complete nonsense.

"what is an almost openly fraudulent claim made by libcom"

This is not a claim fraudulent or otherwise, its rehosting a translated telegram from the website Marxists Internet Archive (MIA), they typed it up from Lenin's Collected Works, a collection that was published by Progress Publishers, a publishing firm funded by the Soviet Union and part of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) its employees including this telegrams translator Andrew Rothstein were loyal party members. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Rothstein

You can tell all this because beneath the text of the telegram is a full reference with a link to the same telegram hosted on the Marxists Internet Archive. So if this is a forgery the fault lies with the defunct CPGB, since they were the ones who produced it.

But of course if Progress Publishers, Rothstein or even the MIA were blamed for this the argument would quickly fall apart. No one would buy the line if they were named.

"Now, there's one fatal flaw with all of this: no such massacre ever happened. There is absolutely no proof, no sources whatsoever that show that sex workers were massacred on Lenin's orders. "

??? yeah did the fellow not even read the title?

"But let's put that aside. After all, if Lenin wanted sex workers to be shot and deported, it wouldn't matter all that much that his officers never came around to acting on this order, right? "

Oh apparently they did, so the "fatal flaw" can be put aside? Ok sure,.

Oh and for the list of sources, and claims of being "anomalous", according to Kollontai the Bolshevik party often treated sex workers as labour deserters, which often meant they were sent to labour camps.

http://libcom.org/library/alexandra-kollontai-prostitutes-forced-labour-camps-1921

Since the revolution attitudes, to trade and merchants have changed radically. We now call the “honest merchant” a speculator, and instead of awarding him honorary tides we drag him before a special committee and put him in a forced labour camp. Why do we do this?’ Because we know that we can only build a new communist economy if all adult citizens are involved in productive labour. The person who does not work and who lives off someone else or on an unearned wage harms the collective and the republic. We, therefore, hunt down the speculators, the traders and the hoarders who all live off unearned income. We must fight prostitution as another form of labour desertion.

And in his interview with Clara Zetkin he ridiculed the idea of organising sex workers.

http://libcom.org/library/clara-zetkin-interviews-lenin-womens-question

To understand this is one thing, but it is quite another thing how shall I put it? To organize the prostitutes as a special revolutionary guild contingent and publish a trade union paper for them. Are there really no industrial working women left in Germany who need organizing, who need a newspaper, who should be enlisted in your struggle? This is a morbid deviation. It strongly reminds me of the literary vogue which made a sweet madonna out of every prostitute. Its origin was sound too: social sympathy, and indignation against the moral hypocrisy of the honorable bourgeoisie. But the healthy principle underwent bourgeois corrosion and degenerated. The question of prostitution will confront us even in our country with many a difficult problem. Return the prostitute to productive work, find her a place in the social economy that is the thing to do. But the present state of our economy and all the other circumstances make it a difficult and complicated matter. Here you have an aspect of the woman problem which faces us in all its magnitude, after the proletariat has come to power, and demands a practical solution. It will still require a great deal of effort here in Soviet Russia. But to return to your special problem in Germany. Under no circumstances should the Party look calmly upon such improper acts of its members. It causes confusion and splits our forces. Now what have you done to stop it?”

Seems like the Redditor(?) is deliberately cherry picking.

Craftwork

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Craftwork on February 15, 2018

Big No No

Craftwork

Trotskyism is a form of leftism, not Marxism.

1. Horseshit
2. Irrelevant

These are also accurate descriptions of Trotskyism.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 15, 2018

FWIW, the Black Book of Communism guy (S. Courtois) in French put the sentence like this (I'm guessing he just translated it from English):

introduire sur le champ la terreur de masse, fusiller ou déporter les centaines de prostituées qui font boire les soldats, tous les ex-officiers, etc.

i.e. he made a slight variation:

shoot or deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, all the former officers and the like.

So that appears like the sentence makes a list of persons (which includes prostitutes, former officers and various unspecified others).

Uncreative

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on February 15, 2018

Noa Rodman

FWIW, the Black Book of Communism guy (S. Courtois) in French put the sentence like this (I'm guessing he just translated it from English):

introduire sur le champ la terreur de masse, fusiller ou déporter les centaines de prostituées qui font boire les soldats, tous les ex-officiers, etc.

i.e. he made a slight variation:

shoot or deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, all the former officers and the like.

So that appears like the sentence makes a list of persons (which includes prostitutes, former officers and various unspecified others).

Man, if only someone from the USSR, like an official translator or something, had produced a translation of the sentence at some point. Then we wouldn't have to go scrabbling round for translations, because we would have the official translation, which would have been rigorously checked for accuracy before being published and quickly corrected if by any chance an error sneaked through. If only we had that. If only.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 15, 2018

Again, I'm having trouble; the problem is not that Lenin ordered sex workers killed but that he did it through the vehicle of a "state"?

What do you mean by ruling class? Was Lenin a capitalist? We're the bolsheviks mostly capitalists and aristocrats? Was their program oriented toward those interests?

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 15, 2018

Oh I don't know Pennoid, let's ask the man himself:

Lenin

Nor is that all. Look at the factional attacks in which this pamphlet abounds. In the very first thesis we find a threatening “gesture” at “certain workers in the trade union movement” who are thrown “back to trade-unionism, pure and simple, which the Party repudiated in principle long ago “ (evidently the Party is represented by only one member of the Central Committee’s nineteen). Thesis 8 grandiloquently condemns “the craft conservatism prevalent among the top trade union functionaries” (note the truly bureaucratic concentration of attention on the “top”!). Thesis 11 opens with the astonishingly tactful, conclusive and business-like (what is the most polite word for it?) “hint” that the “majority of the trade unionists . . . give only formal, that is, verbal, recognition” to the resolutions of the Party’s Ninth Congress.

We find that we have some very authoritative judges before us who say the majority (!) of the trade unionists give only verbal recognition to the Party’s decisions.

Thesis 12 reads:

“. . . many trade unionists take an ever more aggressive and uncompromising stand against the prospect of’coalescence’. . . . Among them we find Comrades Tomsky and Lozovsky.

“What is more, many trade unionists, balking at the new tasks, and methods, tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit of corporative exclusiveness and hostility for the new men who are being drawn into the given branch of the economy, thereby actually fostering the survivals of craft-unionism among the organised workers.”

Let the reader go over these arguments carefully and ponder them. They simply abound in “gems”. Firstly, the pronouncement must be assessed from the standpoint of factionalism! Imagine what Trotsky would have said, and how he would have said it, if Tomsky had published a platform accusing Trotsky and “many” military workers of cultivating the spirit of bureaucracy, fostering the survivals of savagery, etc. What is the “role” of Bukharin, Preobrazhensky, Serebryakov and the others who fail to see—positively fail to note, utterly fail to note—the aggressiveness and factionalism of all this, and refuse to see how much more factional it is than the pronouncement of the Petrograd comrades?

Secondly, take a closer look at the approach to the subject: many trade unionists “tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit”. . . . This is an out-and-out bureaucratic approach. The whole point, you see, is not the level of development and living conditions of the masses in their millions, but the “spirit” which Tomsky and Lozovsky tend to cultivate “in their midst”.

Thirdly, Comrade Trotsky has unwittingly revealed the essence of the whole controversy which he and the Bukharin and Co. “buffer” have been evading and camouflaging with such care.

What is the point at issue? Is it the fact that many trade unionists are balking at the new tasks and methods and tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit of hostility for the new officials?

Or is it that the masses of organised workers are legitimately protesting and inevitably showing readiness to throw out the new officials who refuse to rectify the useless and harmful excesses of bureaucracy?

Is it that someone has refused to understand the “new tasks and methods”?

Or is it that someone is making a clumsy attempt to cover up his defence of certain useless and harmful excesses of bureaucracy with a lot of talk about new tasks and methods?

It is this essence of the dispute that the reader should bear in mind.

..

Let us go deeper into the question. Let us see what the present trade unions are, as an “apparatus” of industrial management. We have seen from the incomplete returns that about 900 workers—trade union members and delegates—are engaged in industrial management. If you multiply this number by 10 or even by 100—if it helps to clarify your fundamental mistake let us assume this incredible speed of “advance” in the immediate future—you still have an insignificant proportion of those directly engaged in management, as compared with the mass of six million trade union members.

...
class economic struggle but the non-class “economic struggle”, which means combating bureaucratic distortions of the Soviet apparatus, safeguarding the working people’s material and spiritual interests in ways and means inaccessible to this apparatus, etc. This is a struggle they will unfortunately have to face for many more years to come).

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/jan/25.htm

Or..

Lenin

We must reduce our state apparatus to the utmost degree of economy. We must banish from it all traces of extravagance, of which so much has been left over from tsarist Russia, from its bureaucratic capitalist state machine.

https://libcom.org/library/better-fewer-better

Or...

Lenin

The state capitalism, which is one of the principal aspects of the New Economic Policy, is, under Soviet power, a form of capitalism that is deliberately permitted and restricted by the working class. Our state capitalism differs essentially from the state capitalism in countries that have bourgeois governments in that the state with us is represented not by the bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat, who has succeeded in winning the full confidence of the peasantry.
Unfortunately, the introduction of state capitalism with us is not proceeding as quickly as we would like it. For example, so far we have not had a single important concession, and without foreign capital to help develop our economy, the latter’s quick rehabilitation is inconceivable.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/nov/14b.htm

Or...

Lenin

State capitalism would be a step forward as compared with the present state of affairs in our Soviet Republic. If in approximately six months’ time state capitalism became established in our Republic, this would be a great success and a sure guarantee that within a year socialism will have gained a permanently firm hold and will have become invincible in this country.

I can imagine with what noble indignation some people will recoil from these words. . . . What! The transition to state capitalism in the Soviet Socialist Republic would be a step forward? . . . Isn’t this the betrayal of socialism?

We must deal with this point in greater detail.

Firstly, we must examine the nature of the transition from capitalism to socialism that gives us the right and the grounds to call our country a Socialist Republic of Soviets.

Secondly, we must expose the error of those who fail to see the petty-bourgeois economic conditions and the petty-bourgeois element as the principal enemy of socialism in our country.

Thirdly, we must fully understand the economic implications of the distinction between the Soviet state and the bourgeois state.

Let us examine these three points.

No one, I think, in studying the question of the economic system of Russia, has denied its transitional character. Nor, I think, has any Communist denied that the term Soviet Socialist Republic implies the determination of the Soviet power to achieve the transition to socialism, and not that the existing economic system is recognised as a socialist order.

But what does the word “transition” mean? Does it not mean, as applied to an economy, that the present system contains elements, particles, fragments of both capitalism and socialism? Everyone will admit that it does. But not all who admit this take the trouble to consider what elements actually constitute the various socio-economic structures that exist in Russia at the present time. And this is the crux of the question.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/apr/21.htm

Quite clear he saw himself at the head of a state, that had only had cosmetic change from the Tsarist one, which had mixtures of 'capitalism' and 'socialism', and as part of a bureaucratic class that rank and file workers had legitimate reasons to assert themselves against.

Not exactly in Lenin's favour, but at least he had some semblance of an ability to self-reflect, something Leninists appear unable to grasp.

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 15, 2018

1. The post doesn't argue that the document isn't real but that it was misinterpreted. It also explainshow it was misinterpreted.
2. I guess Kollontai is eelevant for some reason?
3. Lenin doesn't argue against organizing sex workers but that industrial workers are more important. Say what you will of this position, it doesn't contradict claims made in the post.

Seems like the libcomer (?) is uh, not reading the things hep comments on.

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 15, 2018

Craftwork

Big No No

Craftwork

Trotskyism is a form of leftism, not Marxism.

1. Horseshit
2. Irrelevant

These are also accurate descriptions of Trotskyism.

"I know you are but what am I" is uh... sadly, not the least intelligent argument I've heard from you lot.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 16, 2018

Big No No

1. The post doesn't argue that the document isn't real but that it was misinterpreted. It also explainshow it was misinterpreted.

the only people missinterprting it are those deffending lenin

Big No No

2. I guess Kollontai is eelevant for some reason?

what is eelevent?

Big No No

3. Lenin doesn't argue against organizing sex workers but that industrial workers are more important. Say what you will of this position, it doesn't contradict claims made in the post.

Seems like the libcomer (?) is uh, not reading the things hep comments on.

so sex workers should somehow organise industrial workers? this is bull shit, he was clearly objecting the organisation of sex workers at all, the fact that he framed it as priorities doesn't changes a thing

Red Marriott

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on February 16, 2018

pennoid

What do you mean by ruling class? Was Lenin a capitalist? We're the bolsheviks mostly capitalists and aristocrats? Was their program oriented toward those interests?

It seems we have to teach leninism to the leninists... A ruling class doesn't have to be typically capitalist, as every good marxist is supposed to know;
Marx & Engels

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. ...
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

Lenin

According to Marx, the state is an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it is the creation of “order”, which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between classes. ...
The supersession of the bourgeois state by the proletarian state is impossible without a violent revolution. The abolition of the proletarian state, i.e., of the state in general, is impossible except through the process of “withering away".
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch01.htm

jef costello

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on February 16, 2018

Noa Rodman

introduire sur le champ la terreur de masse, fusiller ou déporter les centaines de prostituées qui font boire les soldats, tous les ex-officiers.

I am not sure if this source is any good, but you should have a full stop after officers. If the French is translated from the English then it makes little difference, but the French is very clear, shoot or deport the ex-officers and the prostitutes (who get the men drunk/make the men drink)

Isn't this just a pointless argument? The official translation is clear, google translating Russian isn't going to help that much. So unless a native Russian speaker can help then perhaps give it a rest. Either way, Lenin is at the very least ordering the deportation of sex-workers.But then I supppose if the argument can be dragged out over whether he was actually just deporting them then it can be further dragged out by arguing what deportation meant. One clear conclusion, this will not advance class politics.

How about this? Leninists, do you agree with shooting sex-workers? Do you agree with deporting them to Siberia? Do you agree with deporting them to some other place, perhaps a nice Dacha in Sochi, Lenin could have meant that, surely?

The only important thing, aside from which picture you want on your badge, is whether you actually think doing such things was right. So, cards on the table, is it ok to shoot sex-workers? Stop equivocating and nitpicking over precisely what he said, or what else might have been happening. Is it ok to shoot sex-workers to institute revolutionary terror or not?

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 16, 2018

jef costello

So, cards on the table, is it ok to shoot sex-workers? Stop equivocating and nitpicking over precisely what he said, or what else might have been happening. Is it ok to shoot sex-workers to institute revolutionary terror or not?

lol, who's equivocating? Isn't it clear the only reason we're having this discussion is because the answer is an obvious no?

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 16, 2018

Then why are Leninists getting their panties in such a bunch over this then? No one is nit picking about the translation of mass terror. Shoot, shoot and deport, whatever he had in mind wasn't a tea party. I hate to break it to you mate but your guy wasn't a teddy bear.

Man, fandoms are annoying. It must be very strange to feel so strongly about your heroes that you cannot even countenance the idea that someone did something shitty 100 years ago, during a brutal civil war. It's almost like you've made him into a saint.

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 16, 2018

Just to clarify, if I were a ML I might have looked at that document and thought shit, that's fucked up but we don't know if these orders were carried out. Maybe Lenin was having a bad day and people say all kinds of shit when they're under pressure. Anyway, a lot of atrocities were going down at the time, it was a fucking awful period and people were fighting to keep the revolution. Social opinions were different back then, unfortunately. We just have to make sure that previous mistakes are not repeated going forward.

What I wouldn't do is throw a tantrum about defaming my beloved revolutionary sainted leader and spend a week arguing about it. But there again, I'm not a ML and I'm also a very busy person with no time for that sort of shit.

adri

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on February 16, 2018

Pennoid

Or Lenin was in the position with other bolsheviks of commanding an army that needed to keep the whites out in order to secure power and stave off any much more thorough going and systematic destruction of workers and poor peasants (not to mention ethnic minorities) with the whites.

Would you invoke that response for their suppression of anti-tsarist-bolshevik uprisings?

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 16, 2018

Fleur

Then why are Leninists getting their panties in such a bunch over this then?

"Getting their panties in a bunch", what a wonderful, progressive way to voice your disagreement. I bet you feel very macho right now.

To get back to the subject, the reason why this is hotly debated is because this is the latest in a string of slander meant to discredit the October Revolution and, by proxy, Bolshevism itself. If you want to argue for Bolshevism, it makes since to argue against attempts to argue that it leads to anti-worker atrocities, such as the one falsely attributed to Lenin in this article and all over libcom.

I love that you said "look, this doesn't matter, just say whether or not you are against killing sex workers", and now that you got your answer, you've circled back to making arguments that have already been answered here. I gave you my answer: yes, of course attacking sex workers is wrong. I've also answered the rest of your drivel. I understand you're embarrassed at your rhetorical tricks not bearing fruit, but that doesn't mean you get to waste my time any more than you already have.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 16, 2018

Red and Mike;

Right, ok so a few things to clarify:

1. The nature of the state determines who is able to govern *through* that state. E.g. the proletarian state isn't merely one where any proletarian party has won power. That much is clear from looking at history. And similarly with bourgeois parties/politics.

2. The form of the state is often, however, transformed via parties representing particular class interests. I.e., aims to transform the nature of the state in order that a particular class can govern. These are functional and practical aims with regards to the nature of production and decision making.

3. Therefore, the class interest of the proletariat, for a democratic (thoroughly, e.g. in commune sense) form of government, is the same as that interest in the class to govern itself, repress it's enemies, and see the state (in general an apparatus of class rule) abolished.

4. Notice that there is a distinction between ruling *party* and ruling *class*. The state isn't a hammer anybody can just go and pick up and use differently. It's form is connected to the regime of production very closely.

5. Hence, the transition from Russia's traditionalist peasant economy to one of capitalism, was seen by *virtually all* socialists at the time, as being necessary; iirc the Mensheviks felt that the capitalists and their parties had to enact it; the Bolsheviks felt that a working class party could unite the general population behind a demand for democracy and the sovereignty of the people now; and socialism thereafter. In either case there was an understanding that there was not going to be an immediate leap into communism (War Communism ferver among some parties notwithstanding). This is true in Lenin and in Marx and Engels. Thus Lenin's discussion of 'state-capitalism' and the NEP are both strategic methods for transitioning to socialism; e.g. peaceably enticing the peasant to give up his land, and petty proprietor interests, etc., unlike Stalin's nightmares of forced collectivization.

So we come to the point; did Lenin and the Bolsheviks constitute a ruling *class*? or Merely a ruling party? As Mike points out, it makes a difference who does the massacring. To this we could draw a parallel I'm sure I'll get plenty of flak for relying on; did the Republican Unionists represent a ruling class, or ruling party in the Civil War? Given that it was a civil war, it's hard to see they were the ruling class; they were literally fighting for a claim to be even the ruling *party* of the whole territory. Similarly so in the case of the Bolsheviks.

What's more, even having won both their civil wars, the bourgeois republicans and the bolsheviks were faced with the task of laying the basis for their class state (in the one case bourgeois and in the other proletarian).

The bolsheviks failed, plainly, where the Republicans succeeded. But I don't think we can chalk this failure simplistically up to Lenin's mad ego, or his shoddy ideology. That's pretty damn reductive. Lenin wasn't a dictator. He was constantly opposed and engaged in debate and discussion in a party that, even after some heavy war, tolerated dispute and factions.

Nor can we lazily describe the Bolsheviks and their tenuous grasp on authority as constituting a new ruling class by 1918 (less than a year into the civil war and after the October Revolution).

What's more, Lenin was a staunch critic of the bureaucracy as it was emerging and in his death. The source you quote explicitly bemoans the muddled headed thinking of comrades that leads to a defense of bureaucracy. The bureaucratic aspects of government make it unwieldy for the proletariat to utilize the state. But at the same time, insurrectionist terrorism by peasants, the need to feed the cities and the collapse of the economy were like an acid on democracy and a catalyst on the growth of bureaucracy. These are Lenin's positions; that the Soviet government was constructed on a compromise between two classes (peasants and workers) which made it vulnerable to splitting, as well as encouraged the proliferation of bureaucracy. This is what would lead to the stalinist degeneration of the revolution and the ultimate failure of the Bolsheviks; not mere ideology on the part of a single person (talk about big-man history!) but the material fact of the social division of labor in Russia, it's lack of development, and the many failed strategies for dealing with it in conjunction with the world working class movement.

To sum, the question isn't merely "a ruling class member ordering the deaths of workers."

a) Because people have adduced sufficient doubt that this is what the original message said (see Noa and others' multiple posts).
b) Because it does not fit in with any other pattern or policy in the war, to massacre specifically sex workers
c) Because no narrative purpose for this order (as interpreted in the OP, rather than the *multiple other translations and translators which support an alternative interpretation) has been presented.
d) No evidence has been presented that a massacre took place (though Noa presented the execution statistics).
e) It isn't clear that the Bolsheviks yet constituted a "ruling class" though they were clearly the ruling party.

Notice, when Noa presented the initial alternative interpretation the response by one poster was:

i'm not sure on what basis you are assuming the couldn't have been included in the political category? they often gave misleading labels to people they wanted to execute

This is poor history and poor logic. We don't look back at events and documents and then speculate about what we would *like* to say or what *could* be said. Or at least we shouldn't. The aim should be to look for what the evidence supports.

Red Marriott

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on February 16, 2018

[Edit; posted before I saw his post above.]
Pennoid is right that people from any side of an argument can sometimes leap on facts to one-sidely use to prove what they want. But his premise here is wrong and typically leninist;

I think there are intertwining questions that have to be unravelled; in two broad categories - What was the reason for terror from the view of the bolsheviks and how did it unfold in practice; and what happened in this particular case?

...insofar as his question doesn’t even question the legitimacy of the Bolshviks to monopolise such commands and decisions making processes – he reduces the question to whether their decisions were justified. He asks if they were in the interests of the exploited but not the more important question – if the state monopoly on decision making was? Why did the ‘Soviet Power’ state not consult with the local Soviet on such questions? Cos it wasn’t dominated by Bolsheviks, presumably and the area was considered ‘unreliable’, ie, not submissive.

Nor does the bureaucratic record of events like this tell the whole story; eg, if one assessed the Makhnovists only from Trotsky’s military writings during the civil war (published in several volumes as ‘How the Revolution Armed’) one would dismiss them only as counter-revolutionary kulak bandits; which is no more than lies & smears of non-Bolshevik revolutionaries. So when Bolsheviks talked of kulaks, bandits, counter-revolutionaries these were sometimes dismissive labels attached to all those – regardless of actual class or politics – who opposed the new Bolshevik regime. Ie, a coded shorthand reference implying ‘if not actually, as bad as kulaks’... As they were ordering terror some may also have phrased being mindful of how such messages/orders would look to later historians.

Noa

Red Marriott wrote:
and if your convoluted interpretation that he didn’t literally mean prostitutes to be shot was true it would be incredibly careless to convey life & death orders by telegram in such an unclear ambiguous way – when even defenders like you have to split hairs over the order of words to claim your preferred meaning.

Luckily the letter further specifies:
Lenin wrote:
You must act with all energy. Mass searches. Execution for concealing arms. Mass deportation of Mensheviks and unreliables. Change the guards at warehouses, put in reliable people.

Nah, that reads like a separate additional order of who to target rather than clarification of the earlier paragraph targeting prostitutes.

Though we don’t know exactly what happened on the ground in this case, we do know that terror was sanctioned and we know it was generally applied brutally to all opposition to the new regime. We know that some Bolsheviks were unhappy about it but that roving bands of Cheka thugs were unleashed with great autonomy to crush all opposition. We know that messages sent by Lenin on the same day & in the same week called for hangings etc; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin%27s_Hanging_Order
We know there were local strikes, unrest in the region about grain requisition among peasants and Left SRs and that the Bolsheviks were politically weak, didn’t control the local Soviet etc., we also know how they generally responded at the time to resistance to their dominance. Whether prostitutes actually died as a result of the order is not the most important point – though the general Cheka methods of the time suggest they may’ve done, easily caught up in the blunt terror unleashed after the assassination attempt on Lenin.

More important is that the whole scenario is indicative of the growth of state power and its repression, used against all opposition, from right to left. Big No No claims;

it makes since to argue against attempts to argue that it [Bolshevism] leads to anti-worker atrocities

...and Pennoid wants events put in context – here’s some; Miasnikov, a veteran working class Party member, was the first notable Bolshevik to suffer Lenin’s repression – denounced & jailed in 1922. Miasnikov had written in 1921 to Lenin;

Reminding Lenin of his revolutionary credentials, he wrote: "You say that I want freedom of the press for the bourgeoisie. On the contrary, I want freedom of the press for myself, a proletarian, a member of the party for fifteen years," and not abroad but inside Russia, facing danger and arrest. Miasnikov told of his experience in tsarist prisons, his hunger strikes, beatings, and escapes. Surely he had earned a little freedom of the press, "within the party at least. Or is it that I must take my leave as soon as I disagree with you in the evaluation of social forces?" If so, this is a crude way of settling differences. You say, Miasnikov went on, that the jaws of the bourgeoisie must be cracked.
"The trouble is that, while you raise your hand against the capitalist, you deal a blow to the worker. You know very well that for such words as I am now uttering hundreds, perhaps thousands, of workers are languishing in prison. That I myself remain at liberty is only because I am a veteran Communist, have suffered for my beliefs, and am known among the mass of workers. Were it not for this, were I just an ordinary mechanic from the same factory, where would I be now? In a Cheka prison or, more likely, made to 'escape,' just as I made Mikhail Romanov 'escape.' [Miasnikov was apparently involved in the murder of the Tsar] Once more I say: You raise your hand against the bourgeoisie, but it is I who am spitting blood, and it is we, the workers, whose jaws are being cracked."

Miasnikov’s public criticisms of Party repression were discussed at the 11th Congress;

Miasnikov found no defenders at the congress. But one delegate, V. V. Kosior, argued that Lenin had taken the wrong approach to the question of dissent. If someone, said Koisior, had the courage to point out deficiencies in party work, he was marked down as an oppositionist, relieved of authority, placed under surveillance, and-a reference to Miasnikov-even expelled from the party. The party, Kosior, warned, was alienating itself from the workers. https://libcom.org/book/export/html/1200

As a result of decisions at the Congress Miasnikov was expelled from the Party, jailed, then released and put under continuous surveillance. He was eventually driven into exile abroad. All this for simply publicly voicing opposition to the growth of elite rule by the Party and repression of the working class. This was the work of the Cheka, the same Cheka employed in the same period at Nizhny; repression at least as much against the working class and poor peasantry as against any bourgeois/White threat.

“Workers also condemned the bloody terror perpetrated in their name. ‘Enough blood! Down with Terror!’ proclaimed the All-Ukrainian Trade Union Council in September [1918]. ‘Red is the colour of truth and justice,’ declared the railway workers of Kozlov. ‘But under the Bolsheviks it has become the colour of blood’. (Figes- A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution – centenary edition)

But poetic justice meant that most of the old Bolshevik guard who then wholeheartedly supported and implemented the Party repression mechanism against political opponents and the working class had by the early 1940s perished themselves as victims of Stalin’s refinement of that same mechanism. The supposed absolute disconnect between the origins of Cheka repression in the Lenin era and later Stalinist terror is a necessary Trotskyist myth but not a convincing one.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 16, 2018

Fleur, from the start Noa and I have not once claimed that Lenin is infallible. In fact that first thing Noa did is exactly what you say; point out that it isn't necessarily clear that the above interpretation is the final or best one, nor is it clear that the order was carried out in the fashion the above interpretation implies, nor that it was general policy. Further, we've conceded that yes the Bolsheviks (like the anarchists in Spain, or the Republicans in France etc.) engaged in terror to repress their enemies, and yes this led to catastrophe at times. Even more, Noa pointed out the Lenin was prone to hyperbole or dramatic statements!

Notice these are distinct claims from those being leveled by some here that Lenin is a murderous thug, or that Lenin's personal disposition is to blame for any real or potential atrocities, or that the presence of terror, at all, is enough to determine that yes a massacre happened of sex workers in this case, and yes it was awful.

In place of a counter argument to Noa, most here have resorted to name calling and belittling, which honestly just betrays their own insecurity in their argument. I'm not a 'Leninist' in any way. I think the political program thrust onto the Marxist movement as a result of the progressive degeneration of the Bolshevik party through the Civil War and popularized through the Comintern has had a destructive effect on the marxist and thereby workers' movement. I think it's given us Trotskyism and the 53 other varieties of left sects. But anarchists too play their role in this. None of us are above it.

Lenin may have intended to kill sex workers, and the order may have been carried out. Why not evaluate the extant arguments and evidence, and keep up the search for more, rather than dismiss what doesn't fit into a simplistic narrative suitable for your current political purposes (e.g. patting your friends on the back, justifying your ideology). Noa offered several sources for the alternative interpretation and none were treated with a thorough going rejection.

I'm sorry zugzwang, what exactly are you referring to?

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 16, 2018

I'm finding some Leninists defence of Lenin here pretty hilarious. "Okay well he may have ordered sex workers to be killed (or deported), but there is no evidence those orders were followed".

Because that doesn't really count as a defence of the order-giver. If anything it counts as a defence of those who were receiving his orders: rank-and-file communists. (Many of whom would have subsequently been executed for disloyalty or "sabotage" or being "counterrevolutionary".)

It's weird, I mean I have never heard an anarchist try to defend Bakunin's anti-Semitism. All I have heard people say about that is, yes, he was anti-Semitic, and that was appalling and wrong – not try to desperately did round for excuses, and claim that his anti-Semitism was translated badly, or that when he said "Jews" he didn't mean Jews but sometimes meant other people he just called "Jews"… But some other stuff Bakunin said and did was good. But that doesn't mean you can't criticise bad stuff.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 16, 2018

Red,
I'm sympathetic with Myasnakov. I'm sympathetic with the position (as I laid out) that the terror utilized in the process of *civil war* degenerated the party and the soviet state, developed the bureaucracy and destroyed democracy. But Lenin, and others, offered explanations and reasons for their actions that require interrogation.

With regard grain requisitions, that seems an altogether separate issue that no party in power could avoid; The whites, the anarchists, the bolsheviks, the mensheviks, etc. all would need to feed the cities somehow; and when a class based on the private property in the means of production feel they can't get a good price for their product (the peasants) they hoard, or don't work. So what does a good democrat do? It's not an easy question.

Nevertheless it is a different question to that of terrorizing pro-white forces, or using legal/extralegal methods to prosecute insurrectionist elements (anarchists, sr's, etc.) trying to take down the Bolshevik government. All of this is open for debate and discussion. Again, I've never said everything that Lenin, et. al. did was justified.

The conditions that saw the Bolsheviks rise to the position of social authority are completely within the realm of debate. I don't know if carrying it out here is ideal because it will take us down another track. But my position doesn't require supporting the Bolshevik claim to authority.

If we want to understand the terror in general and in particular, then we have to study the people who implemented it. That's what the quoted text is referring to. Of course we have to study the contextual events, as we both agree, and try and find info out about those it was conducted against.

So I think we agree on a great deal, that's getting lost in the details or in the traditional grooves of team-taking. Happy to keep up the discussion. Maybe we can start a separate thread for the discussion of terror in general (or the Red Terror and it's effects on the Soviet Regime) and then keep this to presentations of sources with respect to this specific order and events?

Uncreative

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on February 16, 2018

Pennoid

Noa offered several sources for the alternative interpretation and none were treated with a thorough going rejection.

We could compare Noas "sources" (a "guess" by a non-Russian speaker supplemented by ru.wiktionary) to some sort of, i dont know, official translation of what Lenin wrote, perhaps? One that was intended for wide scale publication and dissemination? Maybe we could even tilt the scales a little in Lenins favour, and find a translation done by a political sympathiser of his? I'm sure that would get to the bottom of this translation problem.

Hey, maybe theres one up on marxists.org, has anyone checked?

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 16, 2018

Steven, my reasoning is this;

1. There are credible claims that it is a mistranslation. If they are true, it would undo the whole controversy.

2. If the translation is roughly correct, it is indeed an indictment on Lenin that his aim was to execute sex workers. However as many have suggested, he was prone to hyperbole. Thus, what actually happened matters because it helps determine if sex workers were executed (important) and helps us determine if it was indeed typical hyperbole (e.g. the officers read this and said "Well we're not going to execute sex workers, we get it, we need to handle the situation.") This is what I mean when I say that figuring out if it happened can help us understand partly the intent behind the telegram.

There's not really a question that Lenin and the Bolsheviks in general had an outdated view of sex workers. (See the Kollontai post Mike shared where she argues against Bolsheviks who feel sex work require special criminalization and she moderates to a position of 'labor desertion in general' as their offense). I certainly wouldn't contend otherwise. I think Kollontai offers some interesting insights on the questions of class and gender, but there are components that seem to fail. That's history.

It's funny that people are claiming that this is silly and annoying that it's inspiring discussion and debate. I have to assume that was the purpose.

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 16, 2018

Uncreative,

see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venedikt_Yerofeyev

A soviet dissident who collected quotes from Lenin that were particularly nasty and meant to wash away they idolatry of Lenin (at least as I understand from the Wiki summary); which Noa quoted above.

That seems like a pretty credible source, a life-long Russian language speaker, a soviet dissident, with little sympathy for portraying Lenin in a positive light, pointing out the ambiguity in the telegram. It is what it is. Ambiguous.

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on February 16, 2018

Big No No

"Getting their panties in a bunch", what a wonderful, progressive way to voice your disagreement. I bet you feel very macho right now.

This is a hilarious comment for those of us who knows Fleur. But in any case, why not deal with the substance of her argument rather than, in typical masculine style, dismissing something a woman said.*

*Granted, you're somewhat excused since you wouldn't know anything about Fleur.

Uncreative

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on February 16, 2018

Pennoid

Uncreative,

see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venedikt_Yerofeyev

A soviet dissident who collected quotes from Lenin that were particularly nasty and meant to wash away they idolatry of Lenin (at least as I understand from the Wiki summary); which Noa quoted above.

That seems like a pretty credible source, a life-long Russian language speaker, a soviet dissident, with little sympathy for portraying Lenin in a positive light, pointing out the ambiguity in the telegram. It is what it is. Ambiguous.

Can you imagine the translators thoughts?

"Hmm, this is an ambiguous sentence by Lenin, my hero. Its either him saying to shoot a load of sex workers, or it isn't. Well, I'll probably go with it being about shooting sex workers, and carry on with my translation job. I'm sure the party will be pleased, and that no-one between me writing it and it being published will question or object to this, and it will never be corrected or even footnoted as being ambiguous, or anything."

EDIT: Is this the first time anyone has read this particular translation of Lenin? Or have Leninists been reading it and sending corrections in to the publishers to no avail for the past however many years since publication?

Auld-bod

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Auld-bod on February 16, 2018

Noa’s post (Feb 11 13:33) quotes Lincoln Steffens’ conversation with Lenin regarding terror. Lenin demands, “who asks about our killings?’ Steffens replies, “Paris” Lenin retorts - "Do you mean to tell me that those men who have just generated the slaughter of seventeen millions of men in a purposeless war are concerned over the few thousands that have been killed in a revolution which has a conscious aim to get out of the necessity of war and – and armed peace?”

Lenin is correct to questions their hypocrisy, and without meaning to, identifies himself in the same league of self-justification. All tyrants believe they have the right to crush all opposition – the end justifying any means.

Where anarchists differ is that they recognise a direct relationship between ends and means. In a revolutionary war bad things will happen, the important thing is they must not generate institutions of terror, as these will never just ‘wither away’. Lenin and the Bolsheviks consciously set up these institutions, which eventually devoured most of its creators and in the long term helped set back the world revolution. In the end, Lenin’s revolution was just as ‘purposeless’ as the imperialist war he held in contempt.

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 16, 2018

Uncreative

Pennoid

Noa offered several sources for the alternative interpretation and none were treated with a thorough going rejection.

We could compare Noas "sources" (a "guess" by a non-Russian speaker supplemented by ru.wiktionary) to some sort of, i dont know, official translation of what Lenin wrote, perhaps? One that was intended for wide scale publication and dissemination? Maybe we could even tilt the scales a little in Lenins favour, and find a translation done by a political sympathiser of his? I'm sure that would get to the bottom of this translation problem.

Hey, maybe theres one up on marxists.org, has anyone checked?

Uncreative, Reddebrek spoke about this translation in detail above. This translation is from Marxists.org, and was written by Leninists, and funded by the Soviet Union.

We have also checked and confirmed the translation with a native Russian speaker: whose comment on the unambiguous nature of the text was pasted above by Mike Harman.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 16, 2018

There are 2 English books which altered the official translation (which gives the impression that Lenin speaks only of prostitutes), into one where the sentence turns into a list of prostitutes, former officers and the like:

shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, as well as former officers, etc.

^The Russian Civil War, Evan Mawdsley

He ordered "shooting and deportation of prostitutes who made soldiers drunk,of former officers, and the like".

^p. 156 Terrorism: From Robespierre to the Weather Underground, Albert Parry

--
A couple of quotes that terror wasn't just ordered from the top-down:

On 26 June, he [Lenin] had written bluntly to Petrograd:

'Comrade Zinoviev. Only today we have heard in the Central Committee that the workers in Petrograd wanted to respond to the murder of Volodarski [by an SR] with mass terror and that you (not you personally but the Central Committee and City Committee leaders in Petrograd) restrained them. I assertively protest! We are compromising ourselves: we threaten mass terror even in the resolutions of he Soviet of Deputies, yet when it comes to action we obstruct the revolutionary initiative of the masses, a quite correct one. This is im-poss-ible! The terrorists will consider us old women. This is wartime above all. We must encourage the energy and mass character of the terror against the counterrevolutionaries, and particularly in Petrograd, the example of which is decisive.

or:

In January and February 1918, radicalized sailors in the Baltic and Black Sea fleets had murdered their officers by the hundreds.

^Russia in Flames: War, Revolution, Civil War, 1914 - 1921, Laura Engelstein

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 16, 2018

Big No No

I regret to inform you that I'm not feeling especially macho at the moment. I'm wearing a rather pretty floral blouse, which really makes the lavender and i
pink streaks in my hair pop. I am in fact looking like I conform very much to girly gender stereotypes, although I do step out of the binary from time to time.

I didn't particularly realize that expression would be a problem, for which I apologize. How about briefs in a bundle? Any better?

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 16, 2018

Noa Rodman

There are 2 English books which altered the official translation (which gives the impression that Lenin speaks only of prostitutes), into one where the sentence turns into a list of prostitutes, former officers and the like

Another thing I don't really get is thinking that saying that he ordered sex workers and other people killed makes it better. I mean would Hitler ordering the killings of Jews and criminals be okay, because he is not just ordering the killing of Jews?

Really you guys are clutching at straws

Uncreative

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on February 16, 2018

Steven.

Uncreative

Pennoid

Noa offered several sources for the alternative interpretation and none were treated with a thorough going rejection.

We could compare Noas "sources" (a "guess" by a non-Russian speaker supplemented by ru.wiktionary) to some sort of, i dont know, official translation of what Lenin wrote, perhaps? One that was intended for wide scale publication and dissemination? Maybe we could even tilt the scales a little in Lenins favour, and find a translation done by a political sympathiser of his? I'm sure that would get to the bottom of this translation problem.

Hey, maybe theres one up on marxists.org, has anyone checked?

Uncreative, Reddebrek spoke about this translation in detail above. This translation is from Marxists.org, and was written by Leninists, and funded by the Soviet Union.

We have also checked and confirmed the translation with a native Russian speaker: whose comment on the unambiguous nature of the text was pasted above by Mike Harman.

Sure, I know all that, hence my somewhat insincere post. Probably not helpful, sorry.

adri

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on February 16, 2018

Pennoid

I'm sorry zugzwang, what exactly are you referring to?

Well you never responded in the last thread. Were bolshevik leaders right for suppressing the kronstadt revolt? The kronstadters were not for the restoration of a monarchy; only against the policies of the bolsheviks. A lot of workers and peasants resented the bolshevik government just as much as they did the tsar. If you view the bolshevik government as the flawless "workers' government" then you can easily dismiss any opposition or discontent as counter-revolutionary. Also it's very strange to me that an anarchist (according to your profile) defends Lenin and other bolsheviks, or is interested in securing power in the first place.

Noa Rodman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 16, 2018

Steven

that saying that he ordered sex workers and other people killed makes it better.

In the sentence Lenin calls to "organise immediately mass terror", then adds the specification what mass terror entails: shooting/deporting hundreds of unreliable people, which can include, just as a random example, also apparently prostitutes.

It would be a strange kind of mass terror which targeted only prostitutes.

And later in the letter Lenin does further specify mass terror, e.g. that mensheviks and other unreliables should be "merely" deported, whereas the graver crime of concealing arms should be punished by execution. So I think the punishment for prostitutes could not be shooting, since even Mensheviks and other unreliables were spared such punishment.

Of course deportation wasn't a light punishment either.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 16, 2018

Noa Rodman

Steven

that saying that he ordered sex workers and other people killed makes it better.

In the sentence Lenin calls to "organise immediately mass terror", then adds the specification what mass terror entails: shooting/deporting hundreds of unreliable people, which can include, just as a random example, also apparently prostitutes.

It would be a strange kind of mass terror which targeted only prostitutes.

And later in the letter Lenin does further specify mass terror, e.g. that mensheviks and other unreliables should be "merely" deported, whereas the graver crime of concealing arms should be punished by execution. So I think the punishment for prostitutes could not be shooting, since even Mensheviks and other unreliables were spared such punishment.

Of course deportation wasn't a light punishment either.

lenin

It is obvious that a whiteguard insurrection is being prepared in Nizhni. You must strain every effort, appoint three men with dictatorial powers (yourself, Markin and one other), organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, former officers and the like.

it looks like lenin ins ordering this because he considers "prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers" to be part of the preparation for " a whiteguard insurrection", at the vary least he must have thought they were making it easier for white guards to act. Unless of cause he is lying about the white guard insurrection and its just and excuse to impose bolshivik control

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 16, 2018

Steven,
I mean, if there were fascist whites amassing in the city and our only line of defense was being sabotaged by workers, sex or otherwise, it's a tough call that has to be made, as with strikes that incur the use of scabs. It's not ideal, it's often tragic, and the potential to excess is almost guaranteed, but someone has to get the mobilization in order to effect a defense.

This does appear to be qualitatively distinct in that sense, that it was a situation of more immediate danger than Kronstadt when it was purely a working class protest against Bolshevik power. In the context of combating the enemy it does seem like more drastic measures may be needed.

Uncreative,

That's a nice idea, but it doesn't get us any closer to the truth. I don't speak/read Russian, so I'm left to derive my understanding from those that do. It's not uncommon for translations to result in changed meaning. In one language, certain verbs may take the infinitive and gerund without a change in meaning while sometimes they change the meaning drastically.

Translators are fallible. There are debates about translations in historical literature all the time.

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 16, 2018

Khawaga

why not deal with the substance of her argument rather than, in typical masculine style, dismissing something a woman said.*

I... did? Like, there's two more paragraphs after the part you're reacting to. Could it be that, in typical libcom style, you didn't really read what you were reacting to?

You people are severely reaching at this point.

Battlescarred

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 16, 2018

Bolshevik fanboy admin: abuse deleted
I'm severely retching at this point.

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on February 16, 2018

Big No No

I... did? Like, there's two more paragraphs after the part you're reacting to. Could it be that, in typical libcom style, you didn't really read what you were reacting to?

You people are severely reaching at this point.

Nowhere in those two paragraphs did I see anything that recognized what Fleur wrote, but, like a Leninist automaton, repeating yet another "but, but, but...". Nothing saying, sure we should try to avoid mistakes like this from the past. But if you think dealing with argument is just repeating what you've written before ad nauseam, then sure, I guess I didn't read your post.

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 16, 2018

Big No No :

TBH, you didn't really respond to me because all I actually did was call you a fanboy and somewhat suggest that you ought to maybe get a life. Honestly, I wasn't being that deep. You really should try reading the subtext before you go off on one about defending the October Revolution.

I had decided that the Rick and Morty fandom is the most annoying fandom out there but these Leninists are equally weird and obsessive.

Mike Harman

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on February 16, 2018

Noa Rodman

There are 2 English books which altered the official translation (which gives the impression that Lenin speaks only of prostitutes), into one where the sentence turns into a list of prostitutes, former officers and the like:

shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, as well as former officers, etc.

^The Russian Civil War, Evan Mawdsley

He ordered "shooting and deportation of prostitutes who made soldiers drunk,of former officers, and the like".

^p. 156 Terrorism: From Robespierre to the Weather Underground, Albert Parry

Thanks for digging out the alternative translation, shows that even when translated differently the substance remains the same.

Noa Rodman

On 26 June, he [Lenin] had written bluntly to Petrograd:

'Comrade Zinoviev. Only today we have heard in the Central Committee that the workers in Petrograd wanted to respond to the murder of Volodarski [by an SR]

This is online at Marxists.org from the same collection: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/jun/26gyz.htm

However this makes the terror look like retribution as opposed to anything to do with preventing a Czech assault on Nizhni. Not on this thread, but very much on twitter you have people saying the targets of the terror were 'whites/Czechs', whereas here he's talking about disciplining 'unreliable' people.
Other telegrams related to the 'Hanging order' Red posted:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/10vvk.htm
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/12vvk.htm
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/14aym.htm

If you read through the 1918 telegrams, there's plenty more where he's talking about taking the harshest measures against people he merely considered 'unreliable' as opposed to Tsarist.

Like this one on Astrakhan: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/21agec.htm

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 16, 2018

Khawaga

Nowhere in those two paragraphs did I see anything that recognized what Fleur wrote

Fleur

TBH, you didn't really respond to me because all I actually did was call you a fanboy

Priceless.

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on February 17, 2018

Eh, so I read more into Fleur's post than she intended, so what? The author is, after all, dead, and if meaning was inherently given by the written word, what's the point of poetry, literature, and, apropos this thread, squabbling over the minutiae of what Lenin may or may not have meant with his words.

Priceless.

Big No No

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Big No No on February 17, 2018

We are now using death of the author to try and take the sting out of our own self-owns.

This site is the gift that keeps on giving.

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 17, 2018

Khawaga

Yeah, I was more or less playing with Leninbro but I would've thought something like gee, let's not do that thing in any future revolution was more a reasonable response than foot stamping about it. The chatter, indignation and conspiracy theorizing online has been entertaining to watch though.

Honestly, if Leninists think that a missive from Lenin (which has been published and available for years) is sufficient to undermine their ideology, then they must have even less faith in it than I do.

Fleur

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on February 17, 2018

DP

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on February 17, 2018

Fleur

let's not do that thing in any future revolution was more a reasonable response than foot stamping about it

So, I guess I didn't misinterpret Fleur. After all, it was a simple point that I thought anyone would pick up on, well, but for Big No No.

We are now using death of the author to try and take the sting out of our own self-owns.

Eh, it was a recognition that, gasp, I may misinterpret what I read, and being the filthy academic that I am, I made a simple observation. Lighten the fuck up.

DevastateTheAvenues

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by DevastateTheAvenues on February 18, 2018

Big No No's argument is such a bare fig leaf that I can't even wrap my head around why so many Leninists are rallying around it.

Red Marriot already pointed out early on in the thread that whenever Lenin used "prostitutes" as a term of abuse for political opponents it was preceded by an explicit antecedent, so it was clear who Lenin was referring to. However, a plain reading of the letter shows that "prostitutes" there doesn't refer to anything else, and so it seems to be highly implausible to say it means anything other than that. Every quote of Lenin provided by Big No No supports this; it seems they have been hoist by their own petard, or perhaps I should say "self-owned".

I am half-expecting Leninists to take up the position that "prostitutes" here refers to "former officers and the like", but fortunately the alternative English translations offered by Noa Rodman make it clear that Lenin meant these to be distinct groups.

Pennoid can at least bite the bullet and is prepared to accept that the terror Lenin wanted really did apply to sex workers, as well as others. Leninists (not to say that Pennoid is one) should strive to be at least as consistent if they are going to have a politics that actually engages with the world today, rather than just base their beliefs around one man's century-old moral fits and failures.

I think it is consistent, if objectionable, for Leninists to say that the urgency of a possible insurrection would justify for them the shootings and deportations of sex workers. However, I think Leninists should then demonstrate that such an urgent situation did exist in Nizhny and that such repressive measures would have prevented an uprising, because it otherwise looks like Lenin was jumping the gun. The only information on it that I can immediately find comes from the infamous Black Book of Communism, which says that there was no uprising in Nizhny, but I would be hesitant to accept that without some other corroboration.

However, when the Leninists quickly point out that it is not clear whether the terror Lenin ordered was carried out, I think they let on more than they mean to. It suggests to me that Lenin unilaterally ordered terror in situations which even Leninists today would balk at. This should be a lot for Leninists to chew on; they should ask themselves if the organizational politics they get from Lenin facilitate such a thing and why such terror was acceptable to Lenin in the first place, then ask if that's something that agrees with both them and the proletarian interest.

However, I think that if they do so critically and honestly, then they will either turn away from Leninism or accept that, whatever it is, Leninism is not a proletarian politics. I want to say beforehand that proletarian class rule will certainly have to make despotic inroads against all previous social relations and that the proletarian interest does exist beyond the transient interests of any single proletarian. However, it is of utmost importance that proletarian class rule is understood as the rule of the class, and not merely of a certain section of it or a clique, to be used as a means to abolish the proletariat itself. On this, Leninism clearly fails.

Even in the above letter, the failures of Leninism are demonstrated in microcosm. Rather than proletarian class rule, Lenin and the Leninists substitute the dictatorial rule of a few Bolshevik representatives against the proletariat. While this is not to equate Marxism with communism and the proletarian interest, Hal Draper convincingly argues here that the conception of the dictatorship of the proletariat as the dictatorship of a revolutionary clique, as adopted by Leninism, was exactly the view opposed by Marx and Engels. Their conception of the dictatorship of the proletariat was always as proletarian class rule. Furthermore, this would not be a permanent state of affairs, but merely the means by which the proletariat could seize power so as to abolish all the social relations that kept them proletarians, and therefore abolish themselves as a class. The history, of course, demonstrates the bitter fruits of Leninist rule; proletarians remained proletarians in the Soviet Union, as they have everywhere else. Leninism is, then, at least not authentically Marxist, and it is hard-pressed to make the case that its politics of a revolutionary clique can ever become a proletarian class rule to abolish the proletariat.

The above isn't meant to be a response to Pennoid, but I would like to do that. If the military situation of the communist movement was dire (momentarily putting aside any skepticism regarding whether the communist movement can or should have something like a "military situation" in a future revolution), then I suppose I would have to say that proletarian class rule can probably justifiably be used against proletarians.

I think revolutionaries must necessarily accept such a possibility. If we do not make the absurd step of equating the proletarian interest with the transient interests of any particular proletarian, because we understand the interests of the proletariat as a class is immanent to its role in capitalism rather than the expression of any subjective beliefs, then we'll inevitably run into situations where individual people who are proletarians are opposed to the class interest. My problem is with "someone" deciding when and in what cases to order the terror; I don't want to leave it up to a bunch of cliquish revolutionary sophisticates to decide when to deploy the People's Stick. But I admit that I can't give a good method for how that can be decided.

While I don't want to fetishize democracy, having already said that the proletarian interest is beyond any subjective beliefs of individual proletarians and therefore also beyond democracy, democratic tools at least provide a way to direct political will in organizations of conscious communists. But, if the internal democracy of organizations is what matters, then even Leninists can be "democratic", even if only within their own clique and in an authoritarian manner even then. Yet, I am skeptical of the value in engaging in democracy among those who are not conscious communists, because strict adherence to democratic forms could paralyze our own autonomy and initiative. That is, we become too concerned that people ought decide things democratically to act in their own liberation and in doing so restrain ourselves from taking the necessary actions to liberate ourselves. I am thinking mostly of Guegoire and Perlman's critique of the worker-student action committees and general assembles in France during May '68, but this can be applied even more recently to, say, the Occupy movement and its general assemblies.

To go back to my earlier skepticism, this might well mean that having something like a "military situation" is the death knell for communism at that time. More specifically, that a situation in which using proletarian class rule to advance communism means directing its power against other proletarians who are merely not reliable in the defense, rather than active counter-revolutionaries, might well mean that communism is not in the cards. This is not because it will leave some indelible moral stain or something, but because it would mean that the work of abolishing capitalist social relations has been suspended until the military situation has been resolved. The problem may well be obviated during a genuinely revolutionary situation, as nearly everyone will be consciously revolutionary (though perhaps not as communists). We are not there yet, so I cannot say.

As an aside, I have to say that I find the Twitter Leninists' obsession with owns to be distasteful, but appropriate. They are, after all, just a clique, so they act as one, each one issuing endless denunciations so as to gain favor from their set. It's just that they make the unfortunate step of elevating this to political practice.

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 18, 2018

Great post

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 19, 2018

Further on this, a German speaker has a German translation of this (http://ciml.250x.com/archive/lenin/german/lenin_gesammelte_werke/lw35_279.pdf) which they have translated for us into English as follows:

TO THE DEPUTY SOVIET OF NISHNI-NOVGOROD
9. VIII. 1918
In Nishni, obviously, a White Guard rebellion is being prepared. All forces must be strained, a triumvirate of dictators has to be established, the mass terror has to be introduced immediately, the hundreds of prostitutes who make the soldiers drunk, the former officers, etc. are to be shot or transported out of the city. One should not hesitate for a moment. One must proceed with all energy: house searches on a large scale. For possession of weapons shooting. Mass expulsion of Mensheviks and unreliable persons.

so this pretty much confirms the English language translation, and our interpretation of this which is that he is clearly ordering that prostitutes and others should be shot or deported.

Furthermore, as others on here have commented, the claim by that on Reddit that Lenin may be using the term "prostitute" to refer to political opponents is just absolute nonsense. Whenever he has used that kind of language he is very clear what he is talking about, saying things like that members of certain Soviets have "prostituted themselves" to capitalist interests. That is clearly not the case here.

jolasmo

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jolasmo on February 20, 2018

Big No No

Been watching Noa doing god's work in this thread, but this post is getting around and I feel like this summary of all the utter nonsense in this article needs to be in this comment section: Did Lenin Order A "Massacre of Sex Workers"? (Spoiler Warning: Probably Not)

It didn't happen

Now, there's one fatal flaw with all of this: no such massacre ever happened. There is absolutely no proof, no sources whatsoever that show that sex workers were massacred on Lenin's orders.

And if it did happen, it wasn't that bad

because Lenin put the word "deport" right before prostitutes, and it is hastily written, I would even go further and refer the "shoot" only to the drunken soldiers and former officers:

And if it was, that's not a big deal

obviously Lenin's language here is bigoted towards sex workers, and he deserves criticism for it. As I've noted, there are issues with Lenin's attitude to women and to sex work. But this is not the same as wanting to commit, as some have already termed it, a "sex worker purge".

And if it is, it's not his fault

and it is hastily written

And if it was, he didn't mean it

I'm not sure whether "prostitutes" should be taken literally, it seems he had a little habit of using the word as an insult towards his political opponents.

And if he did... they deserved it

I think it was a legitimate opposition to prostitution that he held

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 20, 2018

Devestate, that was one of the more useful and thoughtful posts here, thanks.

There's no denying that this presents us with a list of difficult questions (as does every past revolution we're meant to understand or study in order not to repeat their errors).

I think that what you get at (the fact that the proletarian interest is outside any individual or subjective interest) is a key fact that explains what exactly is at stake; and what can go wrong. While it is true that the general class interest in a proletarian state can be known (observed, understood) apart from any particular 'standpoint epistemology', that *ambition* has to "grip the masses" to have any meaningful effect. This requires organizational and societal democracy.

So the general fact of revolutionary terror, and its particular forms, has to be taken into account. A note, too, is that 'revolutionary terror' here sounds like some innovative or special historical circumstance; but it would be worth it to ask how it differs from total war (in the prosecution of a civil war), and why in particular cases. I'm not well read on the theory but I know some literature exists (even aside from Kautsky v. Trotsky).

I also think you're correct to analyze this in terms of one moment in the progressive degeneration of the Bolshevik party and the nature of it's rule.

The bolsheviks seized power with broad working class support and a working class program that sought to inaugurate a 'democratic dictatorship of the the people' (e.g. workers and peasants). The thinking (iirc) was that the proletariat would *lead* the peasantry through something like a managed capitalism toward the development of communism.

They soon lost a great deal of worker and peasant-political support with Brest-Litovsk, and they focused on holding onto political power in the interest of preserving their gains, against all threats (assassination attempts from socialists, whites, etc.) There's no doubt this had real costs both in simple human terms, but also in the long term degeneration of the internal democracy of the party (and across society) and the development of Stalin's rule. I don't think this means we collapse Stalin's policies into those of the Bolsheviks through the Civil War simplistically though.

This document could prompt a fascinating case study in terror, and a means for a discussion about the nature of power, dictatorial rule, proletarian power, the conditions of sex workers in Russia at the time; ideas about the role of sex work in the economy in general etc. etc. So I hope you go through with writing something up or researching it more, we'd likely all benefit.

Steven in the book provided I can't find any source info; e.g. it's translation date, translator, publisher, and so on. Any idea where I can find that?

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 20, 2018

Pennoid

Steven in the book provided I can't find any source info; e.g. it's translation date, translator, publisher, and so on. Any idea where I can find that?

it's from Lenin's works, German Edition Book 35, Page 325, published by Dietz Verlag Berlin 1978 – they were the official publishers of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (i.e. the ruling Communist Party of East Germany). So not exactly an anarchist plot…

Pennoid

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Pennoid on February 20, 2018

Thanks.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on February 27, 2018

A relevant article: http://ruskline.ru/analitika/2009/10/19/kto_organizoval_nizhegorodskij_rasstrel_1918_goda/

google translation:

Who organized the Nizhny Novgorod shooting of 1918?
Stanislav Smirnov, 19.10.2009

As it was already reported, the prosecutor's office of the Nizhny Novgorod region rehabilitated on June 24, 2009, 39 Nizhny Novgorod citizens out of 41 [this number was also given by Ratkovskij, see my Feb. 10 posts], who were shot by provincial Cheka in response to Lenin's wounded by a single terrorist in Petrograd on August 30, 1918. The rehabilitation of two more did not take place due to the lack of personal data in the archive. The political decision to mass shoot was taken by the Nizhny Novgorod military committee, a narrow emergency body with unlimited powers created at the request of Lenin, in view of the threat to Nizhny Novgorod after the capture of General V.O. Kappel of Kazan on August 7.

The telegram of Lenin on August 9 to the provincial soviet committee Fyodorov went around, it seems, in all the monographs and articles on the theme of the Red Terror: "The Whiteguard uprising is clearly being prepared in Nizhny Novgorod, it is necessary to strain all forces, make up a "triumvirate" of dictators, and organise immediately mass terror ..."

The dictators gathered the next day. The composition of the military revolutionary committee included G. Fedorov, Y. Vorobyev, S. Akimov, B. Kraevsky, I. Kogan, I. Shelekhes (V.F. Arzhanova, Ph.D., "Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee in 1918. "// Notes of regional studies, 1977). Formally, Fedorov became the chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee, although, perhaps, he was only a nominal figure, and the leadership in the Revolutionary Military Council belonged to Lazar Kaganovich, who arrived in Nizhny on the instructions of Sverdlov in May 1918 (as the historian writes, to stir up the class struggle in the village) and in July he took the post of chairman of the Provincial Committee of the RCP (b).

All the rest of August in Nizhny Novgorod there were general searches and arrests on the basis of belonging to the bourgeoisie, the officers, the clergy, the opposition parties. The searches were accompanied by a shameless robbery: they selected not only everything that remotely resembled army ammunition, but also gold and silver things and coins. As the official report of the Nizhny Novgorod gub-cheka notes for September 1918, which is now kept in the regional archive, only in September, Cheka produced 900 arrests in 1469 searches. Some of the detainees were held in the provincial prison, but they could not contain all, and then the concentration camp in the Krestovozdvizhensky monastery was hastily equipped. Periodically, executions were carried out. So, on August 15, Nizhny Novgorod chekists shot five people, including the former head of the provincial gendarmerie I.P. Mazurin, who was in prison since February 1917. Immediately after the news of the terrorist attacks in Moscow and Petrograd, the shootings became avalanche-like.

From the minutes of the meeting of the Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee of August 31, 1918: "Present: G.Fedorov, S.Akimov, I.Vorobiev, I.Kogan, I.Shelekhes. Chairman - Fedorov, secretary - Shelekhes. Listeners: 1. Comrade Fedorov announced the news about the attempted assassination of Comrade Lenin and the murder of Comrade Uritsky. Seeing in these two acts an open campaign against the leaders of the proletariat, Comrade Fedorov proposes that this campaign be countered with mass terror against the bourgeoisie and its henchmen. To order the commission to fight ruthlessly shoot everyone who explicitly or secretly supports the counter-revolution. "

The next night, a large group of hostages - according to one data, 17, on the other 41 - was brought by boat to Mochalny Island - near the left bank of the Volga, opposite the present Chkalovsky Staircase. After the execution the bodies were buried in a common grave or they were thrown into the Volga. Everything was done in great haste. Without the slightest delay. The next morning the fresh issue of the Bolshevik mouthpiece of the newspaper Raboche-Peasantskiy Nizhny Novgorod leaflet published a list of victims of the Nizhny Novgorod shooting, accompanied by the words "yesterday they were shot" and hysterical threats against the bourgeoisie, promising to kill hundreds of people for the head of every communist. At the beginning of the list was Archimandrite Augusta (Pyatnitsky), an abbot of Nizhny Novgorod Kazan Church and prominent public figure and philanthropist, Archpriest N.V. Orlovsky, General M.Chernov - Chairman of the Commission for the Construction of the Nizhny Novgorod Explosives Plant, a large group of senior and junior army officers, police and gendarmerie officers, public figures. There were several randomly tucked citizens of low rank on the list.

This was only the beginning of the Great Terror of 1918. We have only fragmentary information and figures. In Pavlovsky district in September, 24 prominent residents (factory owners, public figures, head of the Old Believer community Andrei Alekseevich Antipov, one policeman and one gendarme) were shot. Rastyapinskaya Cheka reported the execution of 4, Ardatovskaya - also 4, among them the priest of the church with Dubovka about. Aleksey Levashov, Arzamasskaya - 38. In September-December, shootings were carried out in the villages of Linevo, Emangashi, Vasil'sursk, where the abbot of the Family Church of Fr. John Flerov was executed, now glorified in the face of the holy martyrs. Like the martyrs of Nizhny Novgorod, Fr. Stefan Nemkov (Deyanovo village, now Pilninsky district) and Fr. Mikhail Voskresensky (with the Bortsurmani of the same district) he is still awaiting official legal rehabilitation, which for some reason is not thought of in the commission for the canonization of the Nizhny Novgorod diocese.

So, who was the organizer of the "Nizhny Novgorod shooting"? We will name by name.

Fedorov Grigory Fedorovich (1891 - 1936), Bolshevik, chairman of the Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee in August-September 1918, one of the organizers of the Red Terror in the province. Worker-metallurgist. Member of the RSDLP (b) since 1907. Since 1912 member of the Petersburg Committee of the Bolshevik Party. Member of the February 1917 coup, a member of the executive committee of the Petrograd Soviet and the Military Revolutionary Committee. From the end of 1917 - deputy. People's Commissar of Labor of the RSFSR. In July 1918 he was elected before. Nizhny Novgorod gubernia executive committee. Later on the party, prof. and Soviet work. Member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. In 1927 he was expelled from the CPSU (B.) For his support of Trotsky. Arrested in 1934, shot.

KAGANOVICH Lazar Moiseevich (1893 - 1991), a Bolshevik, a prominent figure in the CPSU. From June 1918 to September 1919 before. Nizhny Novgorod Gubernia Committee of the RCP (b). He was recalled to the Southern Front with Y. Z. Vorobyev, after the occupation of Voronezh by the Red Army before. Voronezh Military Revolutionary Committee. Later he was elected secretary and member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee. In Nizhny Novgorod province there were also two brothers K. - Moses Moiseyevich in 1918-1922 was before. Arzamas VRK and in 1923-27 - before. The Nizhnybbsovnarkhoz; Julius Moiseyevich in 1937-1938. was one secretary of the regional committee of the CPSU (b).

AKIMOV Sergey Alexandrovich (1879 - 1947), the Bolshevik. From Orel Bay. In 1900 he entered the Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod railway, from 1901 the accountant of the commodity station Nizhny Novgorod. Since 1903 member of the RSDLP (b). In 1905 he led the Kanavinskaya fighting squad, for organizing (together with SA Levit) an armed insurrection in Kanavin on December 12-14 was sentenced to 4 years of hard labor. In 1917 the railway commissar in Nizhny Novgorod. In August-September 1918 he was a member of the Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee. Later the household. work in Nizhny Novgorod, Siberia, the D. East. About the period 1937-1947 biographers do not report.

VOROBYEV (KAC) Yakov Zinovievich (1885 - 1919), the organizer of the Red Terror in the Nizhny Novgorod Province. From the family of a paramedic, by profession, a dentist. Since 1902, an anarchist, a participant in expropriations in various cities of the empire. Repeatedly arrested, cited. Since 1916 in N. Novgorod. For the roar. propaganda imprisoned, released in February 1917, elected secretary of the Kanavinsky and District Committees of the RSDLP (b). In October 1917 a member of the Revolutionary Military Council, the Kanavin Red Guards. Since March 1918 before. the Nizhny Novgorod guboe. In August-October 1918 a member of the emergency organ - VRK. He headed repression against the population of the province. The initiator of the creation of the first concentration camp in the Krestovozdvizhensky monastery. In September, he was appointed before. The Voronezh Cheka; in the way captured Cossacks and executed.

KOGAN Ilya Lazarevich (1885 - 1937), the Bolshevik. Member of the RSDLP from 1904. In the First World War, a serviceman of the 5th Army of the South-Western Front. Since 1917 in N. Novgorod. In 1918 the provincial military commissioner, a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee, one of the organizers of the Red Terror. Since 1935 the divisional commissar, military commissar of the air defense station in Leningrad. Arrested, shot.

KRAEVSKY Boris Izrailevich (1888 - 1938), the Bolshevik. Education is inferior. Member of the RSDLP since 1905. Twice referred to Narym. Until 1917 in exile. In 1918, the authorized representative of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) In Nizhny Novgorod, the head of the Red Guard, a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee, Nizhny Novgorod garrison, military commissar of Nizhny Novgorod Province. From October 1918 the district military commissar of the Western District. In 1937 the beginning. Gayskrikansky construction of the People's Commissariat of the USSR. Arrested, shot.

SHELEHES Ilya Savelievich (1891 - 1938), the Bolshevik. Member of the RSDLP from 1908. He graduated from the real school. In 1917 before. regimental roar. committee, a member of the Khamovniki Revcom. In 1918, the secretary of the Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee, deputy. chairman of the executive committee. In 1919, the chairman of the executive committee of the Kursk Soviets. From October 1919 to March 1920, the military commissar of the 13th Division of the Red Army Division. After the Civil War on the leadership work in Nikolaev, Yaroslavl, Bryansk, Kharkov. In 1925-26, authorized by the STO of the USSR for Central Asia. Since 1930 a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), since 1933 a member of the Central Committee of the CP (b) of the Ukrainian SSR, since 1934 the first deputy. before. SNK of Ukraine. Arrested in 1937, shot.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 10, 2018

Arzhanova's piece (Аржанова В.Ф. Нижегородский Военно-революционный комитет в 1918 году: К 60-летию Октября, pp. 11–15 in Записки краеведов. Очерки. Воспоминания 1977) contains several documents (published for the first time) of actual orders given by the Nizhny Novgorod military committee. I copy-paste just some passages from Google snippet view, and google-translate the relevant part:

Arzhanova writes:

[...]By order the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution was entrusted with monitoring the internal defense of the city and the province, and was instructed to develop a plan for internal self-defense in the case of the Whiteguard uprising and attempts to it. Specially on the commission, an order was issued (which is attached) on the intensification of arrests and searches among the bourgeoisie and former officers. The commission developed and approved a mass raid plan at once of about 1/3 of the city, but it was not possible to implement it due to the lack of a sufficient number of armed forces. Further, measures were taken to streamline water transport.[...]

Order VRK of August 13, 1918 in the Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution.

In view of the precise information available to the executive committee on an upcoming act by counter-revolutionary gangs, the presidium orders you, with a view to immediately suppress any attempt at an uprising against the Soviet government, to carry out the general arrests of all counter-revolutionaries.

Chairman Gr. Fedorov. Secretary Karklin.

Order VRK of August 30, 1918 gubernskomu commissar for military affairs.

The Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee orders you immediately to bring to justice all those who hide from military service and all those who have not registered. All those evaded from military service and from registration to be handed over to the military field court.
Those who hide evaders are to be arrested for up to three months, with the replacement of the penalty up to 3 thousand rubles. All those who do not have documents, send for clarification to the commission to combat counter-revolution, speculation and sabotage.
Chairman Gr. Fedorov. Secretary I. Shelekhes.

Order No. 1

In confirmation of the order of the provincial executive committee of August 12 about the prohibition to appear in the streets after 10 pm, the Military Revolutionary Committee declares that the perpetrators of the violation of the order will be punished with arrest for up to three months,
..

--

Руководствуясь указаниями В. И. Ленина, 10 августа на экстренном заседании губкома РКП (б) и губисполкома в Нижнем был создан Военно-революционный комитет. Его состав менялся. Известны следующие члены комитета: Г. Федоров (председатель), Я. Воробьев, С. Акимов, Б. Краевский, И. Коган, И. Шеле- хес (секретарь).

Вся власть в городе и губернии с 10 августа по 20 сентября 1918 года была сосредоточена в руках ревкома. В Центральном государственном архиве Октябрьской революции хранится «Переписка с исполкомом Нижгубсовета рабоче-крестьянских и солдатских депутатов, комитетом РКП (б) и др. учреждениями о создании Военно-революционного комитета, снабжении продовольствием населения, присылке партийных работников для работы на местах» в которой обнаружены неопубликованные документы: доклад о деятельности Нижегородского Военно-революционного комитета, два приказа ревкома в Комиссию по борьбе с контрреволюцией и губернскому комиссару по военным делам, приказы (к сожалению, не датированные) и обращение
..
Нижегородского Военно-революционного комитета в напряженнейший период жизни нашей страны. Документы публикуются впервые **. 1. Доклад председателю Всероссийского Центрального исполнительного комитета Я. М. Свердлову о деятельности Нижегородского Военно-революционного комитета с 10 августа по 20 сентября 1918 года. События на фронте, а также угрожающее положение внутри поставили перед Нижегородским исполнительным
...
События на фронте, а также угрожающее положение внутри поставили перед Нижегородским исполнительным комитетом Совдепа вопрос о необходимости усиления и большей концентрации работы в целях быстрого проведения необходимых мероприятий. ВРК был создан из пяти человек с чрезвычайными полномочиями, и вся власть в губернии с 10 августа перешла к вновь созданному ВРК. В связи с приближением фронта основной задачей ВРК было
..
Сейчас работы по внешней обороне подходят к концу, но с приездом главнокомандующего фронтом план работы расширен, и работы продолжаются. На обязанность Чрезвычайной комиссии по борьбе с контрреволюцией было возложено наблюдение за внутренней обороной города и губернии, было поручено разработать план внутренней самообороны на случай белогвардейского восстания и попыток к нему. Специально по комиссии был отдан приказ (который прилагается) об усилении арестов и обысков среди буржуазии и бывшего офицерства. Комиссией был разработан и утвержден план массовой облавы сразу около 1/3 города , но осуществить не представилось возможным из-за отсутствия достаточного количества вооруженных сил. Дальше были приняты меры к упорядочению водного транспорта. Ввиду близости фронта и большой нужды всевозможных воинских частей, а также других органов (продовольствия, Совнархоза) средства передвижения по воде забирались без всякого контроля. Был издан приказ (прилагается) и .
..

Для окончательного упорядочения работы водного транспорта образована специальная «Тройка», ведению которой подлежит весь водный транспорт. Особенно сильно сказалась необходимость большей концентрации в целях регулирования автомобильного и гужевого транспорта. Благодаря изданному приказу No 2 гужевой транспорт сравнительно легко удалось учесть и правильно распределить, но гораздо сложнее обстоит дело с автомобильным
..
Принимался ряд мер, обеспечивающих работу губернии, как прифронтовой, все изданные приказы в количестве 9 прилагаются. Ревкомом был окончательно разработан и утвержден план внутренней самообороны. Таковой уже почти проведен в жизнь. Освобождение Казани, а затем и Симбирска создали условия, в которых существование особого органа с чрезвычайными полномочиями считалось излишним, на заседании исполкома 19 сентября было

..
Председатель Военно-революционного комитета Гр. Федоров.
Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ ВРК от 13 августа 1918 г. в Комиссию по борьбе с контрреволюцией.

Ввиду имеющихся в исполкоме точных сведений о готовящемся выступлении контрреволюционных банд президиум приказывает Вам в целях немедленного подавления всяких попыток восстания против Советской власти произвести повальные аресты всех контрреволюционеров.

Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь Карклин*.

Приказ ВРК от 30 августа 1918 г. Губернскому комиссару по военным делам.

Нижегородский военно-революционный комитет приказывает Вам немедленно привлечь к ответственности всех укрывающихся и укрывающих от воинской повинности и всех не- зарегистрировавшихся. Всех уклонившихся от воинской повинности и от регистрации предать военно-полевому суДУ.
Укрывающих уклонившихся подвергнуть аресту до трех месяцев с заменой ытрафа до 3 тыс. рублей. Всех, не имеющих документов, направлять для выяснения в комиссию по борьбе с контрреволюцией, спекуляцией и саботажем.
Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ No 1

В подтверждение приказа губернского исполнительного комитета от 12 августа о воспрещении появляться на улицах после 10 часов вечера Военно-революционный комитет объявляет, что виновные в нарушении приказа будут караться арестом до трех месяцев,

...

Приказ No 2
Владельцам лошадей, телег, саней или занимающихся извозом и имеющих их в пределах Нижнего Новгорода, Канавина, Молитовки, Гордеевки, Сормова приказывается представить (сведения. — В. А.) в губсовнархоз в отдел транспорта к 1 сентября н/стиля с/г. Непредставление сведений или представление их ложными повлечет за собой конфискацию лошадей и подвижного инвентаря. Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 11, 2018

Fedorov Grigory Fedorovich (19.11 (1.12) .1891, St. Petersburg - 05.10.1936, Moscow) was an important revolutionary (I think he deserves an entry in the libcom library). Here are also some closer details about his role in August 1918 in Nizhy.

Sources:
basic info: http://www.opentextnn.ru/history/rushist/sovigu/predsovnn/?id=4409
more written out: https://murzim.ru/nauka/istorija/istorija-sssr/30655-fedorov-grigoriy-fedorovich-1891-1936.html

Fedorov in 1918:

Member of the RSDLP (b) since 1907. And from 29.4 (12.5) - 26.7 (8.8) .1917 - Member of the Central Committee of the RSDLP (b).

The son of the laborer of the Nevsky Shipyard, Fedorov, in 1907, like his father, enters as a laborer on the municipal water pump. This was the time of the Stolypin reaction. The Bolsheviks had to work in a situation of deep underground. Struggling for the preservation of illegal organizations, the party simultaneously used all legal possibilities. Work in trade unions, workers' cooperatives, insurance companies, clubs and cultural societies served as the main means of communication with the masses. Grigory Fedorov began to visit the cultural and educational society "Science" and in 1907 joined the Bolshevik organization that was operating illegally here. Soon he becomes a member of the board of the society, conducts propaganda work on Peski and the Petrograd side. A year later, when he was already working as a fitter at the telephone exchange, he was elected to the metalworkers' trade union commissioner. GF Fedorov successfully combines party and trade union work.

In 1910, GF Fedorov participates in the creation of the newspaper Zvezda.

Grigory Fyodorov was dismissed from his job for participation in the May 1, 1911 strike, and was soon arrested for belonging to the Bolshevik party.

Four months in the House of Preliminary Detention and "release" under the open supervision of the police with a written undertaking not to leave the place.

1911-1912 - working in the port in Helsingfors.

1912 - working at the factory "Promet" in St. Petersburg. Member of the illegal district committee of the RSDLP, a member of the Petersburg City Committee of the RSDLP.

In 1914, Fedorov was again arrested and expelled from the capital.

In 1915 - in Moscow. Here he is again arrested and this time charged with anti-war propaganda. Released to be sent to the forefront, Fedorov, with forged documents, moves to the Urals. The threat of a new arrest soon forces him to flee. Arriving in Petrograd, he goes to an illegal position.

1917 - Active participant of the February Revolution, deputy of the Petrograd Soviet.

Member of the first legal Petersburg Party Committee.

Since March 1917, deputy of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, since September 1917 - head of the working section of the Council, a member of the Commission of the Labor Department of the Executive Committee and a member of the Presidium of the Council.

Delegate to the I and III Petrograd citywide party conferences. Delegate of the VII (April) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP (b) from the Petrograd organization. From April 1917 he was a member of the Central Committee of the Party. Participant of the VI Party Congress.

In June 1917, at the First City Conference of Factory Committees, he was elected to the presidium of the Central Council of the factory committees of Petrograd. He became its chairman.

In October 1917 he was a member of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee.

In October 1917 he took part in the creation of people's commissariats, joined the collegium of the People's Commissariat of Labor, and two months later was appointed assistant to the People's Commissar.

--
From August 5 to September 26, 1918 - acting. Chairman, since August 15 - Chairman of the Nizhny Novgorod Province Executive Committee. The predecessor is I. Romanov. The successor is A.I. Taganov.

From August 10 to September 19, 1918 - Chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee in Nizhny Novgorod.

In July 1918 the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) decided to recall I.R. Romanov from Nizhny Novgorod and send there to strengthen the party and Soviet work GF Fedorov.

July 20, 1918, first attended the meeting of the Nizhny Novgorod Gubernia Party Committee.

July 31, 1918 at a meeting of the Provincial Committee of the RCP (B.) "It is unanimously decided to delegate Comrade Fedorov to the Presidium of the Gubernia Executive Committee as chairman of that committee, in exchange for Comrade Romanov."

Since August 5, Fedorov presides at the meeting of the Provincial Executive Committee as "acting chairman". He changes the heads of the Committees there.

August 9, 1918, Lenin talks with the chairman of the Cheka, J.Peters, about the situation in Nizhny Novgorod in connection with information about the counter-revolutionary conspiracy. After that, he talks with the authorized representative of the People's Commissariat of Food, AN Bobrov, sent to Nizhny Novgorod. Using what he can convey to the lower directive, Lenin writes "To the Nizhny Novgorod Soviets," referring to Fedorov, recently sent there to help: "Comrade Fedorov! In Nizhny Novgorod, obviously, a White Guard uprising is being prepared. We must exert all our forces, make up a three dictators (you, Markina, etc.), immediately mass terror, shoot and take out hundreds of prostitutes, solder soldiers, former officers, etc. " (VI Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 50, pp. 142-143.)

August 10 in the wake of the capture of Kazan by the Czechoslovaks and in connection with the letter of VI Lenin, an emergency meeting of the Gubernia Executive Committee was convened, in which VRK the following comrades are appointed: GF Fedorov, SA Akimov, Ya.Z.Vorobiev, LMKaganovich and ILKogan.

August 15, 1918 at a meeting of the Gubernia Executive Committee on the report of the Chairman of the Party's Gubernia Party L.M. Kaganovich "The majority of votes with two abstentions, Fedorov is elected by the Gubernia Executive Committee to the post of president. "

August 31, 1918 at a meeting of the Revolutionary Military Council Fyodorov announced the news received of the attempt on Lenin and the murder of Uritsky. "Seeing in these two acts an open campaign against the leaders of the proletariat, Comrade Fedorov proposes to respond to this campaign with mass terror against the bourgeoisie and its henchmen. To order the commission to fight ruthlessly shoot all those who openly or secretly support the counter-revolution. " It was decided to "Offer the gub. committee of the party to publish a leaflet and organize a series of rallies on the question of the attempt on Comrade Lenin. " (Unknown pages of the Nizhny Novgorod history (1918-1984), ed. L.P. Gordeeva 1994, pp.82-83.).

September 19 was the last day of the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee, the question of dissolving the Revolutionary Military Council was discussed. The chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee, Fedorov, said that they had been negotiating with the center on this matter, "which considers it possible to dissolve the VRK."

--

In September 1918 he was recalled from the Central Committee of the RCP (B.).

From December 1918 - 1919 - Chairman of the Saratov Gubernia Executive Committee.

In 1919-1920 he was chief of the Political Department of the 13th and 14th armies of the Southern Front.

In March 1921, he took part in the suppression of the Kronstadt mutiny among the other delegates of the Tenth Congress of the RCP (B.).

Since 1921 - in trade union, state work.

Member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

In 1927 he was in the Trotskyite opposition.

In 1927, the 15th Congress of the CPSU (B.) Was expelled from the party as an active activist of the Trotskyite opposition; in 1928 he was reinstated in the party, worked as deputy chairman of Metallosindikat, then headed the All-Union Cartographic Trust. In 1934, again excluded.

Arrested on December 16, 1934 among the "former Zinovievites" GE. Zinoviev, L.B. Kamenev, G.I. Safarov, P.A. Zalutsky, G.E. Evdokimov, I.V. Wardin. In January 1935 the military collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR was sentenced to 10 years as one of the leaders of the so-called "Moscow Center".

Arrested on September 4, 1936. Sentenced: VKVS USSR October 5, 1936, obv .: k.r. terrorist activity. He was shot on October 5, 1936. The burial place is Moscow, Don cemetery. Rehabilitated March 28, 1959 VKVS USSR.

Battlescarred

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 11, 2018

" (I think he deserves an entry in the libcom library)"
I thought libcom stood for libertarian communist not Bolshevik-Leninist.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 11, 2018

I wouldn't want to provoke you, besides I'm not into biographies. But it turns out that Fyodorov/Fedorov was quite an important figure, most active right in Petrograd, for example:

In June 1917, at the First City Conference of Factory Committees, was elected to the presidium of the Central Council of the factory committees of Petrograd. He became its chairman.

R Totale

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on March 11, 2018

Noa Rodman

I wouldn't want to provoke you, besides I'm not into biographies. But it turns out that Fyodorov/Fedorov was quite an important figure, most active right in Petrograd, for example...

Yes, but was he a libertarian communist or not? Or were you proposing that libcom should have a "famous butchers of the working class" section?

Battlescarred

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 11, 2018

So someone involved in the attack on the Kronstadters should have their name in lights on libcom? Don't make me laugh.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 11, 2018

Bolshevik Central Committee, elected in April 1917 at the 7th All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP(b), Fedorov on the bottom left:

But let me try to wrap up, repeat some main points from my last posts, which perhaps can serve as conclusion to this thread.

Fedorov, the addresse of Lenin's 9 August letter, did not interpret it as a command to shoot/deport prostitutes. Fedorov on 13 August ordered: "to carry out the general arrests of all counter-revolutionaries." That is, an intensification of arrests and searches "among the bourgeoisie and former officers" (I quote Arzhanova). A more ambitious plan for a mass raid on about 1/3 of the city was impossible to implement, due to the lack of a sufficient number of armed forces. There is no evidence that there was an organised (large) massacre of bourgeoisie and former officers in the early part of August (i.e. before the attempt on Lenin's life), except on August 15, when Nizhny Novgorod chekists shot five people, including the former head of the provincial gendarmerie I.P. Mazurin. On 12 August there was a 10 PM curfew proclaimed.

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 11, 2018

There's a couple of telegrams from Lenin in 1918 where he castigates his correspondents for not being repressive enough:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/14aym.htm
Lenin

Minkin
Gubernia Executive Committee
Penza

August 14, 1918

I have received two complaints against you: the first, that you are showing softness in crushing the kulaks. If this is true, you are committing a great crime against the revolution. The second complaint is that you are cutting down agitation, reducing the circulation of leaflets, complaining of lack of money. We shall not grudge hundreds of thousands for agitation. Demand money urgently from the Central Executive Committee, there will be no lack of money. We shall not accept such excuses.

Lenin
Chairman, Council of People’s Commissars

That was sent three days after this one to the same people in Penza:

Lenin

Russian
Federated
Soviet Republic
..................
Chairman of the Council
Of People’s Commissars
From Moscow, the Kremlin.
11-VIII-08

To Penza

To Comrades Kuraev, Bosh, Minkin and other Penza communists.

Comrades! The uprising by the five kulak volosts must be mercilessly suppressed. The interest of the entire revolution demands this, for we are now facing everywhere the “final decisive battle” with the kulaks. We need to set an example.

1. You need to hang (hang without fail, so that the people see) no fewer than 100 of the
notorious kulaks, the rich and the bloodsuckers.
2. Publish their names.
3. Take all their grain from them.
4. Appoint the hostages — in accordance with yesterday’s telegram.

This needs to be done in such a way that the people for hundreds of versts around will see, tremble, know and shout: they are throttling and will throttle the bloodsucking kulaks.

Telegraph us concerning receipt and implementation.
Yours, Lenin.
PS. Find tougher people.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/11c.htm

(Note, the 'hanging order' was found when the archives were opened in 1991, so that translation is not from Progress Publishers).

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 11, 2018

Mike, if now are you're trying to argue that, while Lenin's message in your view still did call for a "massacre of sex workers", the addressee didn't act upon that order, then you concede that the order was not implemented, as you make appear in the introduction (also your mention of Trotsky is gratuitous).

I have little hope that you will change your provocative title, or even mention that Lenin's message is at least open to a different interpretation, but I think you could at least modify the claim that there was an implementation of a massacre of prostitutes (as your intro strongly suggests).

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 11, 2018

Well we know that Kaganovich was tasked with executing the orders, and your own quotes say that locally they planned a mass terror:

Noa's sources

Comrade Fedorov proposes to respond to this campaign with mass terror against the bourgeoisie and its henchmen. To order the commission to fight ruthlessly shoot all those who openly or secretly support the counter-revolution.

I think it's reasonable to change the intro to say 'Kaganovich implemented the terror.' so I've done that.

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 12, 2018

Fedorov

"Seeing in these two acts an open campaign against the leaders of the proletariat, Comrade Fedorov proposes to respond to this campaign with mass terror against the bourgeoisie and its henchmen. To order the commission to fight ruthlessly shoot all those who openly or secretly support the counter-revolution. "

Once again we can be reminded that those who were labelled "counter-revolutionary" by the Boleshevik leadership in this period included all those critical of the new state rule, certainly not only white guards and bourgeoisie. The 1921 Kronstadt rebels - who Fedorov helped slaughter - were smeared in the same way. Those persecuted by the Cheka included workers, anarchists, dissident Bolsheviks like Miasnikov and even, as early as 1918, satirical clowns who dared to make fun of Lenin & Trotsky; https://libcom.org/history/bim-bom-bang-bang-chekists-clowns

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 12, 2018

those who were labelled "counter-revolutionary" by the Boleshevik leadership in this period included all those critical of the new state rule, certainly not only white guards and bourgeoisie.

I focus on the 9 August episode. Where did Lenin get the idea about a Whiteguard conspiracy in Nizhny? Apparently he talked with 2 persons:

August 9, 1918, Lenin talks with the chairman of the Cheka, J.Peters, about the situation in Nizhny Novgorod in connection with information about a counter-revolutionary conspiracy. After that, he talks with the authorized representative of the People's Commissariat of Food, AN Bobrov, sent to Nizhny Novgorod.

Days earlier there was apparently a similar conspiracy in the capture of Kazan:

... Czechoslovaks used this moment to attack the ill-prepared Red Guards from another direction. Using this opportunity, an underground officer organization began a rebellion within the city. By evening the city was encircled by Whites from three sides, and there was fighting inside the city.

Even some allies of the Reds were unreliable:

but suddenly a Serbian battalion of Reds, defending the Kazan Kremlin, changed sides

Despite Lenin's 9 August message, we see that the Bolshevik "mass terror" in Nizhny stayed relatively limited. It was only after the assassination attempt on Lenin at the end of August that Fedorov on his own took recourse to shooting. There were 41 executed, which included "a large group of senior and junior army officers, police and gendarmerie officers, public figures", although there were "several randomly tucked citizens of low rank on the list."

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 12, 2018

You've posted about events from Aug-Sep 1918.

Lenin writes "To the Nizhny Novgorod Soviets," referring to Fedorov, recently sent there to help: "Comrade Fedorov! In Nizhny Novgorod, obviously, a White Guard uprising is being prepared. We must exert all our forces, make up a three dictators (you, Markina, etc.), immediately mass terror, shoot and take out hundreds of prostitutes, solder soldiers, former officers, etc. " (VI Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 50, pp. 142-143.)

Maybe the prostitutes were all counter-revolutionary white guards?! Or maybe they were just among the "41 executed" by Federov you mention which included

several randomly tucked [picked?] citizens of low rank on the list.

Why would low rank citizens be randomly picked for killing? We can assume it was to instill terror in the general population in an area where the bolsheviks were weak and facing resistance, not only from bourgeois/white forces, but also workers & peasants. As you say;

It was only after the assassination attempt on Lenin at the end of August that Fedorov on his own took recourse to shooting.

But the assassination was carried out by Fanny Kaplan, a veteran SR militant who'd spent years in Tsarist jails and felt betrayed by the bolshevik assumption of sole political power - nothing to do with a White plot. So we can see that the subsequent Cheka terror was a response to the whole spectrum of resistance to Bolshevik rule, not only that from the right.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 12, 2018

I do not think this episode of 9 August 1918 (nor even that of late August, after the assassination attempt on Lenin) in Nizhny Novgorod serves as an example of Bolsheviks crushing resistance of workers and peasants.

The majority of the 41 executed (after the attempt on Lenin) were apparently priests, officers and prominent people. The next day the list of their names were published in a Bolshevik paper, obviously to instill terror. I'd say instill terror only in the bourgeoisie and their henchmen (priests, former officers, etc.).

The earlier curfew (and enlistment into the army) did effect the general population of the area, perhaps you can call it also a sort of terror.

Serge Forward

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on March 12, 2018

Fuck me, you still banging on about Lenin???? He was a cunt, Noa. End of.

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 13, 2018

Noa. Given that the assassination attempt was by an SR, don't you think the terror was supposed to instil terror in SR sympathisers? There are several telegrams from this time specifically talking about the SRs. Remember they were sharing power with the Bolsheviks until expulsion in July.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 13, 2018

We (and I mean you, or if there are no sources in English, Battlescarred) would have to look at the political representation in the Nizhny Novogorod soviet at the time to make the argument that this was the case in this instance.

Btw, the Russian wiki page on Fanny Kaplan mentions particularly the execution of 41 in Nizhny Novgorod (listing their professions, one strange one on it: forest ranger).

Just for the record, I post the rest of Fyodorov's orders in August (most are boring, about transportation) and a translation of the final document (all from Arzhanova 1977):

From the Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee to all workers and peasants, to all Red Army men, to the entire population of Nizhny Novgorod and the province

Our eternal enemy - the bourgeoisie - has launched an open offensive against the proletariat. The offensive is conducted in the most heinous way, which was only used in the wars: the murder of certain leaders of the revolutionary proletariat from around the corner by means of hired executioners. From the hands of the assassins hired by the bourgeoisie, one of the oldest fighters for work, the commissar of the internal affairs of the Northern Commune, fell in Petersburg. Uritsky. A few hours later, in Moscow, an unprecedented attack on our pride, our glory, and favorite leader Comrade Lenin took place in Moscow. Comrade Lenin was seriously wounded at the time when he left the rally at the factory. The bourgeoisie is attacking us in a completely organized way, hoping to create the impression that our leaders are being killed by the workers themselves, near the walls of the factories. The impudence of the bourgeoisie is revealed, the murder of our comrades-leaders is the work of the hands of the bourgeoisie itself. Henceforth, we are responding to the challenge of the bourgeoisie by active action. The Nizhny Novgorod Military Revolutionary Committee, at its emergency meeting on August 31, decided to respond to the terror of the bourgeoisie with terror, for every one killed, or for attempting to kill, to respond by shooting hostages to the bourgeoisie. The Committee announces to the public that these measures will be applied without delay. The order of the Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution was given - cartridges for the bourgeoisie should not be spared. From this day, this decision comes into force and will not be abolished until the proletariat completely wins.

Chairman Gr. Fedorov. Secretary I. Shelekhes.

--

Приказ No 2

Владельцам лошадей, телег, саней или занимающихся извозом и имеющих их в пределах Нижнего Новгорода, Канавина, Молитовки, Гордеевки, Сормова приказывается представить (сведения. — В. А.) в губсовнархоз в отдел транспорта к 1 сентября н/стиля с/г. Непредставление сведений или представление их ложными повлечет за собой конфискацию лошадей и подвижного инвентаря.

Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ No 3

Объявляется всем гражданам Нижнего Новгорода, что въезд и выезд по всем железнодорожным и шоссейным, а также пароходное движение в пределах Нижнего Новгорода без установленных особых пропусков ВРК воспрещается. Нарушение приказа будет преследоваться со всей строгостью революционных законов. Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ No 4

О движении дачных, почтовых и грузовых пароходов Объявляется всем гражданам и учреждениям, что с 25 августа 1918 г. устанавливается следующий порядок движения пароходов: 1. Движение товарно-пассажирских пароходов будет происходить один раз в сутки от Нижнего до Козьмодемьянска. 2. Движение дачных пароходов устанавливается только с 1 сентября 1918 г., один раз в сутки. 3.

...
Приказ No5

Предлагается представить в отдел секретариата Губсовнархоза все имеющиеся пишущие машинки, ротаторы, шапирографы.

Председатель Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ No 6 Предлагается сдать в трехдневный срок в Совет народного хозяйства, в отдел автосекции, все имеющиеся автомобили и мотоциклы, а также запасные части к ним. Распределение таковых организациям будет проводиться по нарядам.

Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ No 7 Нижегородвкого Военно-революционного Комитета 1. Нижегородский ВРК настоящим объявляет всем лицам и учреждениям, что доступ в Кремль с 5 сентября с/г закрывается. 2. Все учреждения и организации, расположенные в пределах Кремля, должны освободить занимаемые ими помещения с 5 сентября с. г. 3. Проезд трамвая в пределах Кремля, движение Кремлевского элеватора, пешее

..
Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

Приказ No 8

ВРК объявляет всем гражданам Нижнего- Новгорода, что с 20 сентября отменяется действие приказа No 1 и (объявляется) о свободном движении по улице после 10 часов вечера. Всем караульным постам предписывается не чинить препятствий к свободному движению граждан, в то же время усилить наблюдение за всякими нарушителями порядка, подавляя их в самом начале.

Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

От Нижегородского ВРК ко всем рабочим и крестьянам, всем красноармейцам, всему населению Н. Новгорода и губернии

Наш извечный враг — буржуазия — перешла в открытое наступление на пролетариат. Наступление ведется самым гнусным способом, какие только применялись в войсках: убийством отдельных вождей революционного пролетариата из-за угла посредством наемных палачей. От руки нанятых буржуазией убийц пал в Петербурге один из старейших борцов за рабочее дело, комиссар внутренних дел Северной коммуны тов. Урицкий. Через несколько часов после этого совершилось в Москве неслыханное по наглости покушение на нашу гордость, на нашу славу, на любимейшего вождя товарища Ленина. Тов. Ленин был тяжело ранен в тот момент, когда выходил с митинга на заводе. Буржуазия наступает на нас вполне организованно, рассчитывая создать впечатление, что вожди наши убиваются якобы самими рабочими, у стен заводов. Наглость буржуазии раскрыта, убийство наших товарищей — вождей — дело рук самой буржуазии. Отныне мы отвечаем на вызов буржуазии активными действиями. Нижегородский ВРК на своем экстренном заседании 31 августа решил на террор буржуазии ответить террором, за каждого убитого, или за покушение на убийство, отвечать расстрелом заложников буржуазии. Комитет объявляет для всеобщего сведения, что меры эти будут применены без промедления. Отдан приказ Комиссии по борьбе с контрреволюцией — патронов на буржуазию не жалеть. С нынешнего дня это решение входит в силу и не будет отменено до полной победы пролетариата.

Председатель Гр. Федоров. Секретарь И. Шелехес.

--
Нижегородский Военно-революционный комитет в 1918 году сыграл свою историческую роль. Более месяца он руководил всей жизнью в городе и губернии. Проведенные им экстренные меры по обороне и укреплению тыла парализовали действия реакционных сил, готовивших в Н. Новгороде
...

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 13, 2018

Noa

I'd say instill terror only in the bourgeoisie and their henchmen

You yourself quoted the fact that some victims of "low rank" were chosen "randomly" - ie, completely innocent workers, peasants and/or rank'n'file soldiers were publicly murdered just to show who was in control and how ruthless their Cheka would be to any resistance. To instill terror in an unruly local population. If the Bolsheviks were so fond of 'Soviet power' and Lenin claimed that Bolshevik rule was a “proletarian dictatorship” & “the rule of the working class”, why did they send in the heavies from central Party government and not involve or consult the local Soviet, supposed local organ of proletarian power? Unsurprising then that Miasnikov & others were at that time criticising Party repression of workers - and being jailed and exiled by the Cheka for merely speaking of it; https://libcom.org/library/bolshevik-opposition-lenin-paul-avrich.
https://libcom.org/library/lenins-terror-bolshevik-party-maximov
And yes, why was the terror deliberately intensified, as you say, in response to the SR assassination attempt on Lenin if it was only against White/bourgeois threats?

R Totale

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on March 13, 2018

Noa, what are you actually hoping to achieve here?

Serge Forward

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on March 13, 2018

That we all admit we were very very wrong and accept that the Holy Church of Bolshevik Sanctity and Lenin the Redeemer remains unblemished???

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 13, 2018

Fyodorov

Our eternal enemy - the bourgeoisie - has launched an open offensive against the proletariat. The offensive is conducted in the most heinous way, which was only used in the wars: the murder of certain leaders of the revolutionary proletariat from around the corner by means of hired executioners. From the hands of the assassins hired by the bourgeoisie, one of the oldest fighters for work, the commissar of the internal affairs of the Northern Commune, fell in Petersburg. Uritsky. A few hours later, in Moscow, an unprecedented attack on our pride, our glory, and favorite leader Comrade Lenin took place in Moscow. Comrade Lenin was seriously wounded at the time when he left the rally at the factory. The bourgeoisie is attacking us in a completely organized way, hoping to create the impression that our leaders are being killed by the workers themselves, near the walls of the factories.

It's quite clear here that Fyodorov is blaming the SR assassination attempt on Lenin on 'assassins hired by the bourgeoisie', there is no mention of Fanny Kaplan or the SRs, who did shoot him right next to a factory.

Found the telegrams about Penza, which is about 450km from Nizhny, and was at least very close to an SR insurrection if not in the middle of it:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/19c.htm
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/22c.htm
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/12c.htm

Lenin

Minkin
Gubernia Executive Committee
Penza

August 14, 1918

I have received two complaints against you: the first, that you are showing softness in crushing the kulaks. If this is true, you are committing a great crime against the revolution. The second complaint is that you are cutting down agitation, reducing the circulation of leaflets, complaining of lack of money. We shall not grudge hundreds of thousands for agitation. Demand money urgently from the Central Executive Committee, there will be no lack of money. We shall not accept such excuses.

Lenin
Chairman, Council of People’s Commissars

footnotes

The Left Socialist-Revolutionaries’ revolt in Chembar, an uyezd town in Penza Gubernia, mentioned in the telegram, broke out on the night of August 18. On August 20, the revolt was put down by a detachment of Lettish riflemen and Red Army men, who had arrived from Penza.

On Nizhny itself, found this from Bookchin citing Brovkin:

Bookchin

On 2 July workers in Yaroslavl, Tula, and Nizhny Novgorod worked with their Petrograd fellows in organizing a general strike, about 80,000 workers heeded the strike call.

Just a month before this order then.

DevastateTheAvenues

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by DevastateTheAvenues on March 13, 2018

Noa Rodman

(I quote Arzhanova). A more ambitious plan for a mass raid on about 1/3 of the city was impossible to implement, due to the lack of a sufficient number of armed forces.

A defense of impotence is hardly a defense at all.

@Pennoid:
I haven't forgotten your post, I am just ill-equipped to answer it. You have given me plenty to think about.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 13, 2018

Red Marriott

You yourself quoted the fact that some victims of "low rank" were chosen "randomly" - ie, completely innocent workers, peasants and/or rank'n'file soldiers

I post an article from the same Stanislav Smirnov, which has more specific names and data, so you can judge for yourself:

Archpriest Nikolai Orlovsky was rehabilitated. 09.10.2009
https://rusk.ru/st.php?idar=105871

(google-translated:)

The Nizhniy Novgorod prosecutor's office formally rehabilitated 39 Nizhny Novgorod citizens - victims of "mass executions of the largest representatives of the bourgeoisie, former officers and clergy". The execution was carried out by the Nizhny Novgorod Cheka on the night of August 31 to September 1, 1918, in retaliation for attempts on Lenin and Uritsky. The decision to shoot was taken by the local military revolutionary committee consisting of G. Fedorov (chairman), B. Kraevsky (secretary), L. Kaganovich, I. Vorobyov, I. Kogan, S. Akimov. The shooting took place on the Mochalnaya Island of the Volga, opposite the present Chkalov ladder.

The speaker of the Nizhny Novgorod Bolsheviks, the newspaper Raboche-peasant Nizhny Novgorod leaflet, published a list of the "hostages of the bourgeoisie" shot in the September 1 issue. Thanks to this information about the massacre at Mochalny reached our present day. Otherwise, disappear to the tragic list in the secret archives of gubChK.

Among the shot by the Latvian-Chekists, by order of the Chairman of the Cheka, Y.Z. Vorobyov (Katz), there were many prominent and respected Nizhny Novgorod citizens. The first in the list is the name of Archimandrite Augustine, rector of the Ouran Monastery. Then follow the rector of the Kazan Church, Nikolai Orlovsky, Major-General, the head of the Nizhny Novgorod Explosives Plant MM Chernov, the editor of the newspaper Kozma Minin and several other right-wing publications, G. N. Vasiliev, the colonels of the Russian Imperial Army, Nikolai Kondratiev, Pavel Boglachev, Albert Guernick (Chevalier of the Order of St. George IV degree), Alexei Krause, lieutenant colonel and commander of the Sedleck regiment Alexei Desyatov, staff captains BM Zhadovsky, KK Lyusinov, SP Gvozdikovsky, IP Kazarinov, lieutenant N.Shatsfayer, junior officers I.A. . Belov, A.V. Kuznetsov, N.P.Grebenshchikov, I.N.Grebenshchikov, N. I.Lyalkin, police officers: NLZillo, assistant of Nizhny Novgorod police chief FAA.Rozhdestvensky, district police officers A.S. . Kolesov, N.P. Kremenetsky, A.I. Kharitin, sergeants and guardians K.I.Vilkov, M.K. Troitsky, A.S.Kuklev, V.V.Vlasiev, A.Yazykov, C. I. Spassky, employees of the plant of explosives in Rastyapin: assistant to the head, Col. MI Mordvinov, early. equipment workshop call. adviser G. P. Mejzrikov, pom. Chief of the militia ensign ST Gorodetsky, industrialists MI Pribryukhov, GA Vagin, VM Terebin (head of the metalware factory from Pavlova), public figure, peasant, forest ranger, policeman - AM Dyachkov, VMToporkov, IP Safronov, NPObozov.

The public and the press have raised the issue of rehabilitation since 2006. Earlier, several persons from the list were rehabilitated, apparently after individual appeals or as a result of selective work of the prosecutors. This is Archimandrite Augustine, officers Kuznetsov, Grebenshchikov, Lyusinov, Desyatov, Kazarinov.

But on the whole, the list of "41" remained, as it were, under the spell, probably due to the prevalence of false notions about the Civil War and "counterrevolutionary masses" prevailing until recently (and to a large extent today).

In 2006, two public organizations of Nizhny Novgorod appealed to the regional prosecutor's office with a petition for the rehabilitation of "41". The appeal was followed by a refusal similar to the long-standing refusals to rehabilitate the royal family. The essence of the refusal was to point out the absence of charges and sentences in the archives and investigation cases of the victims of the Red Terror. An indication of the publication of the list in the newspaper with the reduction, in fact, of the reasons for the shooting-label-labels like "the ardent enemy of Soviet power" or "the capitalist", pointing to the class attribute as the only one, along with revenge for attempting "the leaders of the proletariat," the motive for the execution - The prosecutor's office was ignored.

But at some point the situation changed. It can be assumed that the decisive role was played by the precedents - the decision of the Presidium of the RF Armed Forces on 1.10.2008 on the rehabilitation of Tsar Nicholas II and his family and the decision of the Prosecutor General's Office of 8.6.2009 on the rehabilitation of the VK. Mikhail Aleksandrovich, v.k. Elizabeth Feodorovna and four other Romanovs.

Anyway, on June 24 this year. The prosecutor's office of Nizhny Novgorod region issued a resolution on the rehabilitation of 39 prominent hostages, Nizhny Novgorod, victims of terror on the Mochalniy Island. The basis for such a decision was the discovery in the regional archive of the report of the provincial Cheka for September 1918, which contained a list of "41", almost word-for-word repeating the newspaper list.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 13, 2018

Among the shot by the Latvian-Chekists, by order of the Chairman of the Cheka, Y.Z. Vorobyov (Katz), [...]

This Vorobyov had been an anarchist btw.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 13, 2018

A bit more about the situation here: https://altyn73.livejournal.com/430574.html

Detachment of Lieutenant Colonel V.O. Kappel launched an offensive against Sviyazhsk, where the headquarters of the Red Eastern Front had fled from Kazan. From there it was a stone's throw to Nizhny Novgorod.
Discontent was ripening in the city. The population, mostly philistine bourgeois, was following with hope the news from the front. Fermentation swept also over factories, primarily Sormovsky. Lenin sent a telegram to Nizhny Novgorod on August 8 with the demand to "form the three dictators" and "to bring mass terror". On August 10, at 9 pm, an extraordinary organ, the Military Revolutionary Committee, was formed at a meeting in the former governor's house, renamed the Palace of Freedom. It included G.F. Fedorov, L.M. Kaganovich, I.S. Shelekhes (all emissaries of the center), Ya.Z. Vorobyov, I.L. Kogan, S.A. Akimov. At the following meetings, the views of Lenin and Sverdlov were announced on the "softness" of the Nizhni-Novgordians. Gubchek was ordered to "take decisive action." We set out to call a detachment of 400 bayonets from Ivanovo-Voznesensk, the arrests of officers. Since August 13, the population was banned from appearing in the streets after 22 hours. The most active at the meetings of the military commissar are Kogan, Kaganovich, Vorobyov.

Vorobyov pictured:

(The Makhno site says about him: One of the organizers of the "Belotserkovsky group of anarchist-communists" (Белоцерковской группы анархистов-коммунистов), a militant. He was arrested three times in 1904-1906, served about a year in prison and 2 years of exile. In 1908 he moved in the RSDLP, worked in the Bolshevik organizations of Odessa and Nizhny Novgorod, was arrested in 1911 ...)

Gubchek received a carte blanche. There began raids, searches, arrests. The prisons were filled with former police officers, officers, officials, traders and industrialists. The press began publishing Gubchek's reports on executions. The newspaper "Workers 'Peasants' Nizhny Novgorod Sheet" reported on August 16 about the shooting of six "counterrevolutionaries", including Ivan Petrovich Mazurin, former head of the gendarmerie and Vasiliy Mikhailnikov, commander of the 10th Grenadier Regiment, both rehabilitated in 2011. However most of the executions were carried out behind the scenes. In August 1918, the staff of the NGChK consisted of: Vorobyov, Deputy Stromberg, Khakharev as secretary, Volodymyr Busse, commander of the flying detachment, members of the board, officers, inspectors, searchers, investigators, commandants - Barr, Boitman, Bredis, Karr, Krippen, Lelapsh , Marcus, Matushon, Movchan, Reinberg, Taurin, the brothers Shepte.

-

Attempts on Uritsky and Lenin, which happened on August 30, [...]
The Nizhny Novgorod Cheka responded to these bloodthirsty calls with a mass execution of at least 17 people, performed on the night of August 31st, September 1, on the Mochalniy Island of the Volga. Together with the victims of extrajudicial executions of the end of August, they compiled a list of 41 hostages - the victims of the Red Terror, which was printed in the newspaper Raboche-peasant Nizhny Novgorod leaf dated September 1. "For every communist killed or for attempted murder," the Bolshevik shout announced, "we will respond with the execution of the hostages of the bourgeoisie." In the following days, a wave of massacres swept across the province. Arrests and executions were conducted mainly on a class basis.

Victims of the shooting in Nizhny Novgorod 09/01/1918
Augustine - Archimandrite, Orlovsky NV - Protopriest, Chernov M.M. - Major-General, Mordvinov M.I. - Colonel, Kondratiev NL - Colonel, Boglachev P.V. - Colonel, Guernik AK - Colonel, Kraus AA - Colonel, Desyatov AV - Lieutenant-Colonel, Zhadovsky BM - Captain-Captain, Konstantin Lusinov - Staff Captain, Gvozdikovsky SP - Staff Captain, Kremenetsky NP - police officer, Kazarin (s) I.K. - Staff Captain, Shatsfayer NA - Lieutenant, Belov IA - officer, Kuznetsov A.V. - of., Grebenshchikov NP. - of., Grebenshchikov IN - of., Gorodetsky TS - ensign, Lyalkin N.I. - Ensign, Myazdrykov G.P. - military official, Vilkov K.I. - Police officer, Kolesov A.S. - Bailiff, Haritin AI - Officer, Gillo N.L. - Chief of Police, Rozhdestvensky FA - pom. police chief, Spassky K.I. - beginning. the arrest house in Balakhna, Troitsky, MK. - police sergeant, Kuklev AS - sergeant, Vlasyev VI - police guard, Yazykov AA - guard, Toporkov (Toporikov) - with Czechoslov. front, Safronov IP - A policeman, Terebin V.М. - capitalist, Vagin G.A. - capitalist, Pribryukhov M.I. - the capitalist, Dyachkov AM - capitalist, Obozov NP - Forester, Kuznetsov N.V., Vasiliev G.N. - A journalist. All rehabilitated in 2009.

The peak of terror unleashed by the Communists took place in September 1918. In the Nizhny Novgorod province there were no white governments, no white terror. Nevertheless, its inhabitants have more than ever known the delights of the so-called workers 'and peasants' power. Mass raids, arrests that began in August, continued at an increasing pace. Prisoners of the internal prison of Gubchek or common places of confinement were officers, policemen, officials, clergymen, the bourgeoisie, in a word, the most educated, able-bodied and socially-active stratum.

Dissatisfaction, handed over by word of mouth rumor, censure of power for citizens accustomed to freedom of speech in the tsarist and, especially, revolutionary time, resulted in deprivation of liberty and, often, execution. In the report of Gubchek, after summarizing the number of executions in Nizhny Novgorod for September, it is reported that "in the sphere of the bourgeois-philistine population, these mass shootings caused an almost open murmur, but the rapid arrest of a huge number of such grumbling people just as quickly compelled all others to remain silent and accept the fait accompli fact ".
Over a month, 900 people were arrested in 1469 searches, although, as we know, mass arrests began in the first decade of August. There was a real panic, in fear for life, people left the city, throwing homes and property. It is obvious that the terror was directed not only and not so much against those who really fought the Bolshevik regime, but against the peaceful population - dissenters, murmuring and often those who had the misfortune of being an officer, priest or merchant.
Prisons were overcrowded and a concentration camp was hastily equipped for the flow of prisoners. In the same Gubchek report for October, it was reported: "In the concentration camp by October, up to 600 prisoners were concentrated." The prisoners were both Nizhny Novgorod residents and residents of the districts, arrested by local emergency forces. A significant part of them were hostages. In the list of prisoners of the Semenovskaya Uyezd prison, subject to transfer to the disposal of Gubchek, are: Babushkin AI. - monarchist, Galanin P.V. - for agitation, Zuev N.V. - Cadet (and a member of the State Duma - Author), Kiselev II, Lyubimov SM - for his speech in the press, Maslennikov IN, Nosov FA, Pirozhnikov AV and SV, two of Prudovsky, N.K. and P.N. Smirnov NP, Shlyapnikov II - hostage to the bourgeoisie, Sacek M.S. - police officer, Uspensky VI - The former chief of the prison, Polivanov VV, Devel N.V. and Gutiar S.D. - zemstvo chiefs, Albul AA, Rabynin A.Ya., Usevich KI, Uspensky NV, - "for propaganda as former officers".

Anyone from the list could become a candidate for execution. A notice of the execution of a resident of the village of Bor, Lieutenant Constantine Usevich, was published in the newspaper Raboche-peasant Nizhny Novgorod leaf dated 21.09.1918. Today this edition serves as the main source of information about the bacchanalia of the red terror raging in the province. Here is an incomplete chronicle of executions: September 1 - shooting of the 41st at Mochalny, and on page 4 - about the execution of the Pavlovsky Cheka of the priest Znamensky; September 4 - a report on the shooting of the Rastyapinsky Cheka on the night of September 3, the bailiff Dobrotvorsky IA, gendarme Romanychev SG, and the bourgeois Zemskov MV and Kolova KI; September 7 - shooting Sergachskoy UCHC hostages of the bourgeoisie archpriest Nikolsky NN, noblewoman Olga Priklonskaya, student Rudnevsky NN, ensign IG Rybakov, merchant Fertman LM; September 8 - shooting Pavlovsky UCHK schoolboy Samoilov AI, the priest Sigrian MF. and "bourgeois" Vorontsov NM, Lyubimova EP, Pidkladkina PI, Sankina M.I. and N. Shatchinina.

Battlescarred

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 13, 2018

"Had been " an anarchist but became a Bolshevik in 1908. What the fuck are you trying to prove here, Noa?. I thought you were an intelligent person, but you're just making a fool of yourself here.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 13, 2018

It is just by the way, not that it matters.

Battlescarred

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 13, 2018

"I believe that the formation of the Chekas was one of the gravest and most impermissible errors that the Bolshevik leaders committed in 1918 when plots, blockades, and interventions made them lose their heads. All evidence indicates that revolutionary tribunals, functioning in the light of day and admitting the right of defence, would have attained the same efficiency with far less abuse and depravity. Was it necessary to revert to the procedures of the Inquisition?"
Victor Serge

Battlescarred

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 14, 2018

Mention of Fyodorov/ Fedorov reminded me that he plays a minor part in Fyodor Raskolnikov's Kronstadt and Petrograd in 1917. Raskolnikov (real name Ilyin) was a Kronstadt Bolshevik who also wrote Tales of Sub-Lietenant Ilyin. Anyway, this chapter describes the proclamation of the Kronstadt soviet in 1917, and Lenin's consternation at this and his threat at shooting for breaking of Party discipline.Note the old bureaucrat trick of being so absorbed in writing when Raskolnikov enters the room, designed to humiliate him ( so well described as a bureaucratic ploy by Ngugi wa Thiongo in his great novel Petals of Blood)
https://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/raskolnikov/1925/kronstadt-petrograd-1917/ch05.htm

Battlescarred

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 14, 2018

The first concentration camp for women was set up by the Bolsheviks.at the former Chesma House of Invalids in May 1919. It had a relatively mild regime. By January 1920 about 6, 500 women had passed through this camp, Of these about 60% were sex workers.At the end of 1919 a much harsher concentration camp for sex workers "for inveterate prostitutes" as the Bolsheviks called it,was set up at Razliv station, about 15 miles from Petrograd. Sex workers were also sent to Concentration Camp No2. in the former Kresty Prison in Petrograd. “In Petrograd, in 1919, city officials prohibited [the public from] spending the night at city railway stations, sending all offenders to concentration camps for six months. Among those arrested were many women, who were assumed to be prostitutes.”N. B. Lebina and M. V. Shkarovskii

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 14, 2018

Battlescarred

”N. B. Lebina and M. V. Shkarovskii

That kind of information would have been 100 times more conducive to a serious discussion on the topic of purported original interest to Mike, instead of creating this clickbait-title and some blithely assuming prostitutes could very well have been shot in Nizhzy (AFAIK there weren't even deportations, of anyone).

But anyway, here's picture of Kaganovich closer to the date (in 1923 his daughter was born). His later role as Stalin-supporter (the unflattering picture above is from 1934) doesn't say anything about the events in Nizhny 1918:

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 14, 2018

You mean like when I posted https://libcom.org/library/alexandra-kollontai-prostitutes-forced-labour-camps-1921 and Pennoid called it 'inaccurate' and giving the "opposite impression to what is argued in the piece" despite Kollontai very clearly stating that was her view?

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 14, 2018

So most of the Nizhy 41 were upper class apart from some randomly selected peasants and forest rangers. Though we can bear in mind that for anyone opposing the Cheka or their masters it was easy to become ‘disappeared’ in such a climate with deaths going unrecorded. Nor can we be sure, just because it’s not officially recorded, that Lenin's order wasn’t obeyed and prostitutes and others weren’t shot and/or deported; it would be entirely consistent with other proven patterns of Cheka behaviour elsewhere. But the original point was that the order was given – not that it was definitely obeyed.

Noa cited above “Fyodorov's orders in August”;

The bourgeoisie is attacking us in a completely organized way, hoping to create the impression that our leaders are being killed by the workers themselves, near the walls of the factories. The impudence of the bourgeoisie is revealed, the murder of our comrades-leaders is the work of the hands of the bourgeoisie itself.

The above quote seems to make clear that all those criticising the Bolshevik state were now being labelled as “the bourgeoisie”, SRs lumped in with Whites etc. The SR Kaplan shot Lenin outside a factory, so she is clearly “The bourgeoisie ... attacking us in a completely organized way, hoping to create the impression that our leaders are being killed by the workers themselves, near the walls of the factories.“ So when we read of orders to shoot the bourgeoisie and repress all counter-revolutionaries we can understand this would often include those on the left as much as the right; the evidence of suppression of anarchists, SRs, strikers etc at this time confirms this.

But why would the Bolsheviks respond to an attempted assassination by SRs in Moscow with a purge of bourgeois in a town 250 miles away? It was part of a general national policy which killed 10-15,000 bourgeois as the Cheka roamed the country repressing all dissent, including striking workers. Werth cites these incidents;

1918; September-October: Mass executions of ‘bourgeois hostages’ in Moscow, Petrograd, Tver, Nijni-Novgorod, Viatka, Perm, Ivano-Voznessensk, Tula… etc. Estimated number of victims: 10,000 to 15,000 (Ejenedelnik VCK, September 22-October 27, 1918; Leggett, 1981). In a matter of weeks, the Cheka, the political police of the new regime, carried out two to three times as many executions as the Czarist regime had pronounced death sentences over a 92-year period from 1825 to 1917. Moreover, under the Czarist regime, death sentences were pronounced following legal procedures and later often commuted to forced labor sentences.
++++
Summary executions of striking workers by the Cheka (Winter 1918-Spring 1919)
***
Late 1918-early 1919: Several major strikes (sometimes alongside mutinies of Red Army units) caused by declining living conditions and the arrests of Menshevik or Socialist-Revolutionary workers, were severely repressed by Cheka special units. The most violent repressions (massacres or executions of strikers) took place either in cities conquered over White or Socialist opponents (S-R and Mensheviks) where workers supported anti-Bolshevik forces (the Ural region) or in cities occupying strategic military positions when the strikes or the mutinies occurred (the Astrakhan region). Among the bloodiest and best documented episodes:
1919; March 12-14: Summary executions and drowning of striking workers and mutineers of the 45th Infantry Regiment in Astrakhan. At the beginning of March 1919, strikes broke out in Astrakhan for economic reasons (very low standards of rationing) as well as political reasons (arrests of non-Bolshevik Socialists), only to spread and degenerate into riots when the 45th I.R. refused to shoot at workers demonstrating in the town center. Mutineers joined strikers in raiding the Bolshevik party headquarters, killing several party officials. Serge Kirov, president of the Revolutionary Military Committee of the Astrakhan region, ordered "the merciless extermination of White Guard vermin by all means necessary." Cheka units crushed both the strike and the mutiny. Between March 12 and March 14, 2,000 to 4,000 strikers and mutineers were executed or drowned, thrown from barges in the middle of the Volga with stones attached to their necks. From March 15 on, repression struck the "bourgeois" who were accused of having "inspired the White Guard plot" of which the workers and soldiers had merely been the rank and file. Several hundred "bourgeois" were killed (Melgunov, 1927: 58-60; Silin in Chernov, 1922, p. 248-255).
1919; March 17-18: Summary executions at the Shlusselburg fortress of approximately 200 workers from the Petrograd Putilov factories following the great strike that broke out at the beginning of March in this "workers stronghold" of Petrograd. On March 10, the general assembly of Putilov workers had adopted a proclamation condemning the Bolshevik government and demanding free elections of the Soviets and factory committees, the elimination of limitations on quantities of food which workers were authorized to bring to Petrograd from the countryside (1.5 pood or 54 pounds) and the release of all "authentic revolutionary party" activists (Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries) held by the Cheka. When Lenin went to Shlusselburg in person on March 13, he was confronted by a hostile crowd shouting: "Down with the Jews, down with the Commissars!" On March 16, armed Cheka detachments stormed the Putilov factories that were defended by workers who had taken up arms. 900 workers were arrested. During the following days, approximately 200 strikers were summarily executed (Brovkin, 1994: 69-72; Leggett, 1981: 313).
1919; March 20-22
: Summary executions of about thirty workers in Tula where a strike had been crushed at the city arsenals. The strike in Tula had started because of declining living conditions and arrests carried out by the Cheka among Menshevik workers (Brovkin, 1994: 74-75).
http://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/crimes-and-mass-violence-russian-civil-wars-1918-1921#title1

The bourgeois hostage tactic was used to forcibly enlist wealthier peasants into the grain requisition process to overcome peasant resistance. Lenin ordered that hostages be taken, publicly named, and held personally responsible under pain of death for guaranteeing delivery of local grain quotas from the peasantry – so not quite just a simple case of class war against the rich hoarder kulaks.

Buhkarin, a prominent Bolshevik, described the Cheka in 1918 as;

"full powers given to an organization that seems to be acting above the Soviets and above even the party itself," Nikolai Bukharin, Aleksandr Olminsky, who was one of the oldest members of the Party, and Petrovsky, the people's commissar of internal affairs, demanded that measures be taken to curb the "excessive zeal of an organization filled with criminals, sadists, and degenerate elements from the lumpenproletariat." (p.80 – BookofCommunism10/the-black-book-of-communism-jean-louis-margolin-1999-communism_djvu.txt

More evidence of repression of "counterrevolutionaries" from the state archives;

On 10 March the general assembly of workers of the Putilov factories, at a
meeting of more than ten thousand members, adopted a resolution that sol-
emnly condemned the Bolshevik actions: This government is nothing less
than the dictatorship of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, kept
in place thanks to the Cheka and the revolutionary courts." ...
On 16 March 1919 Cheka detachments stormed the Putilov factory), which
was defended by armed workers. Approximately 900 workers were arrested. In the next few days more than 200 strikers were executed without trial in the Schlusselburg fortress, about thirty-rive miles from Petrograd. p 86
A Cheka internal memo dated 1 July 1919 laid out with extraordinary cynicism the outlines of the plan to deal with the opposing socialists:
Instead of merely outlawing these parties, which would simply force
them underground and make them even more difficult to control, it
seems preferable to grant them a son of semilegal status. In this way we
can have them at hand, and whenever wc need to wc can simply pluck
out troublemakers, renegades, or the informers that we need ... As far
as these anti-Soviet parties are concerned, we must make use of the
present war situation to blame crimes on their members, such as "coun-
terrevolutionary activities," "high treason," "illegal action behind the
lines," "spying for interventionist foreign powers,' etc. P.86

In 1918 the Bolsheviks feared they would be toppled at any moment by internal plots and/or foreign invasion. We get a picture of the Cheka as hastily assembled packs of thugs sent out across the country with absolute power to wipe out all opposition from across the political spectrum. Bukharin, who remained loyal to the Party despite his disgust, dissident ex-party members like Miasnikov and other Party veterans all stated at the time that the Cheka was out of control and brutally persecuting for even the mildest criticism. They were all silenced by Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and others in the leading clique. Anarchists, SRs, striking workers & peasants were being attacked, slandered in the press, jailed & killed – under the label of "counter-revolutionary, kulak, bourgeois henchmen, bandits" etc. From 1918 on their offices, organisations and newspapers began to be suppressed and destroyed and they were forced out of the soviets. Internal criticism within the Party was soon also silenced, factions banned. So most significant is not really the question of who died in this Nizhy incident but why. It was simply part of a mass wave of unleashed terror, a tactic of self-preservation for the threatened new Party-state. Their long term statist goal had been achieved and the vanguard would defend it at all costs & BAMN against all opposition; so every critical anarchist, SR or striking worker became a “bandit” or “counterrevolutionary” Cheka target. That embedded in this logic was both the logic of the vanguard Party & the certain drowning in blood of the revolution was at least partly recognised even by some Party members - but long-ingrained Party loyalty overrode these fears and led, later, to the stalinism that killed off most of those Party veterans.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 14, 2018

Red Marriott

So most of the Nizhy 41 were upper class apart from some randomly selected peasants and forest rangers.

The last excerpts I posted come from a longer 2013 piece by Smrinov, the same author of the 2009 articles I posted earlier. The one person (Топорков) whom he listed as a peasant in the 2009 article, in 2013 is listed as "from the Czechoslovak front".

So you come down to one guy (Обозов), listed as a forest ranger.

But the original point was that the order was given – not that it was definitely obeyed.

The interpretation/understanding of Lenin's message by the addressed person (Fyodorov) matters. My argument is that Fyodorov's response to the message shows that he understood it as general mass terror: i.e. they proposed a plan for mass raids, they did impose a curfew, they arrested former officers.

In the month after 30 August arrests amounted in total to 900. The city population of Nizhny was maybe 120,000.

(By the way, I don't want to sound relativising of this number of arrests of bourgeoisie, but it is similar to apparently normal situation, e.g. I found in Jonesboro city (Arkansas, population 121,000):

In February 2015, there were a total of 806 arrests carried out by the Jonesboro Police Department, down - 4 %, comparing with the last year’s data for the month of February

)

Now you argue that Fyodorov, but also the Cheka, to whom I'm sure he also showed the message, understood that Lenin meant "shoot/deport prostitutes", but collectively disobeyed the order. That would mean that Fyodorov (who had been a CC member) and Kaganovich etc. would live in the knowledge that Lenin equated prostitutes to former officers, and wanted both shot/arrested. And they would not speak out about Lenin's outrageous command (Fyodorov was a participant at following Party Congresses). It would also mean that Fyodorov (and perhaps Kaganovich) had a higher moral sense than Lenin.

On 16 March 1919 Cheka detachments stormed the Putilov factory), which
was defended by armed workers. Approximately 900 workers were arrested. In the next few days more than 200 strikers were executed without trial in the Schlusselburg fortress, about thirty-rive miles from Petrograd.

For sake of numbers, the figure of 200 is given only by the US vice-consul Imbrie. The Bolshevik press mentioned 15, Western reports cited the figure of 12 or scores. The number of arrests was according to a Western paper 300 (225, and just from Putilov 75, according to a soviet source). The arrest-execution ratio I think would preclude more than hundred (but of course still be high).

So in case of Kronstadt 1921, the highest number given for losses on the Bolshevik side, was given by an American, as 10,000 (which would make it almost 4 times the Kronstadt sailors). Should we also take the highest number as most plausible?

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 14, 2018

Noa Rodman

Now you argue that Fyodorov, but also the Cheka, to whom I'm sure he also showed the message, understood that Lenin meant "shoot/deport prostitutes", but collectively disobeyed the order. That would mean that Fyodorov (who had been a CC member) and Kaganovich etc. would live in the knowledge that Lenin equated prostitutes to former officers, and wanted both shot/arrested. And they would not speak out about Lenin's outrageous command (Fyodorov was a participant at following Party Congresses). It would also mean that Fyodorov (and perhaps Kaganovich) had a higher moral sense than Lenin.

Well not really though is it. There's an order for a mass terror, they implemented a mass terror. Telegrams around the time show that Lenin was frequently admonishing local party operatives for not being harsh enough. Given they summarily executed at least 41 people, implemented a curfew, and arrested hundreds, it sounds like it met the standards for being harsh enough really.

On the other hand, let's say they actually did find hundreds of sex workers in the town, shot dozens, deported hundreds more, and reported this back to Lenin. Are we supposed to think Lenin would respond "Oh I didn't really mean shoot and deport prostitutes, actually I just meant white guards/kulaks" and set up a military tribunal or something?

This when there's Kollontai's speech discussing police round-ups and forced labour of sex workers during the same period, the documentation above about specific forced labour camps in 1918 onwards where prostitutes were sent?

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 14, 2018

Given they summarily executed at least 41 people, implemented a curfew, and arrested hundreds, it sounds like it met the standards for being harsh enough really.

Just to be clear, the execution of 41 took place after 30 August, apparently done on their own initiative (and that's what makes the Nizhny number of executions so high, compared to other regions in Russia for the month August 1918). The curfew and so on, was perhaps drastic and a form of terror, but not quite the level of mass deportations/shootings that you might read into Lenin's message.

Btw Lenin's letter concludes:

Lenin

They say Raskolnikov and Danishevsky are on their way to see you from Kazan.

Read this letter to the friends and reply by telegraph or telephone.

So Fyodorov probably replied by telegraph/ telephone. And certainly if he wasn't clear on Lenin's message, he could just ask.

A few days later, on 19 August Lenin wrote to that Raskolnikov in Nizhny:

Gubernia Executive Committee for Raskolnikov
Nizhni-Novgorod

Pay thrice-heightened attention to ensuring supplies for the Kazan Front, to accelerated dispatch there of reserves, and see to it that the struggle against the whiteguards in Nizhni-Novgorod is begun without delay and carried out with absolute firmness. See especially to the safeguarding of artillery property, telegraph fulfilment.

Lenin

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/19.htm

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 15, 2018

Noa

The last excerpts I posted come from a longer 2013 piece by Smrinov, the same author of the 2009 articles I posted earlier. The one person (Топорков) whom he listed as a peasant in the 2009 article, in 2013 is listed as "from the Czechoslovak front".
So you come down to one guy (Обозов), listed as a forest ranger

One doesn’t need sympathy with counter-revolutionaries to point out that while some of the executed were actual industrialists and high officialdom others were teachers, a petty trader, engineer, a military student, a former WWI officer who worked at the local railway station etc – apparently randomly chosen and hardly the active insurgent ruling class nor probably White conspirators. https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=https://zaton50.livejournal.com/2146.html&prev=search
Levels of social status not unlike most prominent Bolsheviks. Yet the Bolsheviks were happy to employ former Czarist officers as commanders in the Red Army. One doesn’t have to be a pacifist to note that blood so pointlessly spilled for such paranoid reasons (neither the murderer of Cheka boss Uritsky nor Kaplan were part of any greater plot) only fuelled the rampaging brutality of the Cheka against all its victims, whether of left or right.
Noa

By the way, I don't want to sound relativising of this number of arrests of bourgeoisie, but it is similar to apparently normal situation, e.g. I found in Jonesboro city (Arkansas, population 121,000):
Quote:
In February 2015, there were a total of 806 arrests carried out by the Jonesboro Police Department, down - 4 %, comparing with the last year’s data for the month of February

This is completely irrelevant and bizarre; different era, different social situation, different political motives. You are comparing normal Jonesboro crime figures not with Nizhy crime figures – the only thing that would make the slightest sense – but with a political purge and summary executions during a civil war.

Noa

Now you argue that Fyodorov, but also the Cheka, to whom I'm sure he also showed the message, understood that Lenin meant "shoot/deport prostitutes", but collectively disobeyed the order.

?? I never said anything like that. I said quite clearly;

Nor can we be sure, just because it’s not officially recorded, that Lenin's order wasn’t obeyed and prostitutes and others weren’t shot and/or deported; it would be entirely consistent with other proven patterns of Cheka behaviour elsewhere. But the original point was that the order was given – not that it was definitely obeyed.

Noa

For sake of numbers, the figure of 200 is given only by the US vice-consul Imbrie. The Bolshevik press mentioned 15, Western reports cited the figure of 12 or scores. The number of arrests was according to a Western paper 300 (225, and just from Putilov 75, according to a soviet source). The arrest-execution ratio I think would preclude more than hundred (but of course still be high).

One can take issue with the politics of the Black Book authors but they used data from their research deep in the Soviet archives and as far as I know no one has ever accused them of falsification since the book’s publication over 20 yrs ago. We don’t know if in this case they’re quoting those figures based on what they found in the archives or not. But, again, the main point is that bloody Cheka repression was readily used against the working class – alongside Trotsky’s militarisation of labour, Bolshevik introduction of piece rates and all the other crap. Quibbling over exact numbers can’t distract from that relationship between the ‘proletarian state’ and the actual proletariat under the state seen as mere productive human material to be battered into submission and obedience. Very different from how Lenin had described the relationship of class & state in State & Revolution;

All officials, without exception, elected and subject to recall at any time, their salaries reduced to the level of ordinary "workmen's wages" — these simple and "self-evident" democratic measures, while completely uniting the interests of the workers and the majority of the peasants, at the same time serve as a bridge leading from capitalism to socialism.

As Simone Weil said when analysing the Russian Civil War;

"This war imposed on a revolution that had a program calling for the abolition of the army, the police, and the permanent bureaucracy, a Red army whose officer corps was made up of czarist officers, a police force that lost no time coming down on Communists more harshly than counterrevolutionaries, and a bureaucratic apparatus unequaled in the rest of the world. These apparatuses were all a response to the necessities of the moment; but they were fated to outlast those necessities. Generally speaking, war always reinforces the central power at the expense of the people."
Dorothy Tuck McFarland/Wilhelmina Van Ness. Simone Weil: Formative Writings 1929-1941, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987, 245

“The existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery ... The more powerful a state and hence the more political a nation, the less inclined it is to explain the general principle governing social ills and to seek out their causes by looking at the principle of the state – i.e., at the actual organization of society of which the state is the active, self-conscious and official expression.” - Karl Marx - “Critical Remarks on the Article: The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By a Prussian,” Vorwärts, 7 and 10 August 1844.

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 15, 2018

Red Marriott

One can take issue with the politics of the Black Book authors but they used data from their research deep in the Soviet archives and as far as I know no one has ever accused them of falsification since the book’s publication over 20 yrs ago.

Not quite falsification of each individual thing, but there was a big falling out among the authors on the methodology to come up with the total figure of 94 million deaths.

There's this Le Monde article (In French) with direct discussion from Werth: http://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1997/11/14/communisme-retour-a-l-histoire_3810094_1819218.html

The wikipedia summary for the French-challenged:

wiki

Two of the book's main contributors, Nicolas Werth and Jean-Louis Margolin, as well as Karel Bartosek,[16] publicly disassociated[4]:xii themselves from Courtois' statements in the introduction and criticized his editorial conduct. Werth and Margolin felt Courtois was "obsessed" with arriving at a total of 100 million killed, and faulted him for exaggerating death tolls in specific countries.[16][17]:194[18]:123 They also argued that, based on the results of their studies, one can tentatively estimate the total number of the victims at between 65 and 93 million.[19] Historians Jean-Jacques Becker and J. Arch Getty have criticized Courtois[20]:178 for failing to draw a distinction between victims of neglect and famine and victims of "intentional murder."[21] Economic historian Michael Ellman has argued that the book's estimate of "at least 500,000" deaths during the Soviet famine of 1946–48 "is formulated in an extremely conservative way, since the actual number of victims was much larger"—1,000,000-1,500,000 excess deaths according to Ellman.[22] Regarding these questions, historian Alexander Dallin has argued that moral, legal, or political judgments hardly depend on the number of victims.[23]

Also this review mentions Werth is quite sloppy:

https://web.archive.org/web/20000301191738/http://www.feedmag.com/essay/es271_master.html

To make matters worse, Werth can also be an extremely careless historian. He gives the number of Bolsheviks in October 1917 as 2000, which is a ridiculous underestimate. He quotes from a letter of Lenin to Aleksandr Shliapnikov and gives the date as 17 October 1917; the letter could hardly have originated at that time, since in it Lenin talks about the need to defeat the Tsarist government, and turn the war into a civil conflict. He gives credit to the Austro-Hungarian rather than the German army for the conquest of Poland in 1915. He describes the Provisional Government as "elected." He incorrectly writes that the peasant rebels during the civil war did more harm to the Reds than to the Whites, and so on.

Battlescarred's comment mentioned Brovkin's book (which looks expensive), there's a few historians like Brovkin, William Rosenberg who've done research in the archives who are interesting.

https://press.princeton.edu/titles/5503.html

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 15, 2018

That's fair enough - the details the historians fell out over though are of quantity rather than quality. As the review says, the 1968 Robert Conquest book on the Terror already gave the general picture of the repression and his later revised edition after the archives opened corrected and added some facts. And the general picture given in the Black Book and other sources from the archives verifies accounts going back to Maximov, Miasnikov, Ciliga and many other eyewitnesses and survivors of the Terror.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 16, 2018

Red Marriott

. We don’t know if in this case they’re quoting those figures based on what they found in the archives or not.

Again, the figure of 200 executions in Petrograd March 1919 was given only by the US vice-consul Imbrie (Vyborg, Finland 18 April 1919, Records, dispatch 861.00.4323). Brovkin finds this figure plausible due to a finding of Leggett, namely that the Cheka organised executions in a remote locality called Irinovka (Legget's book is not online, so I don't know how relevant that is to the immediate spring 1919 situation). However, Brovkin also mentions that at least publicly the Bolshevik used those arrested as hostages.

But, again, the main point is that bloody Cheka repression was readily used against the working class ...
Quibbling over exact numbers can’t distract from that relationship between the ‘proletarian state’ and the actual proletariat under the state seen as mere productive human material to be battered into submission and obedience.

And we can discuss in general about terror against the bourgeosie and how the soviet apparatus escapes the control of the working class. For example the Cheka was created to deal with a strike/"sabotage" by state bank employees on the first days after the October revolution. I assume these state officials also were workers in some sense.

I don't think the number game favoured by the Black Book authors and Conquest (who deals with the Stalinist 1930s) is any useful, let alone constitutes an advance on the accounts of Maximov, Miasnikov, Ciliga you mention.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 16, 2018

Red Mariott

This is completely irrelevant and bizarre; different era, different social situation, different political motives. You are comparing normal Jonesboro crime figures not with Nizhy crime figures – the only thing that would make the slightest sense – but with a political purge and summary executions during a civil war.

You understood my point; at the height of terror in Nizhny, in the month after the murder of Uritisky and attempt on Lenin, there were 900 arrests of bourgeois etc. Now, if you compare this with normal arrests in Jonesboro during peaceful times, the number of arrests is similar. It surprised me.

Nizhny in that time had no "crime figures", or do you think Cheka was busy with traffic violations (when bolsheviks themselves requisitioned cars) and burglary (when they took valuables in house searches of bourgeois)?

Actually, this brings us back to the question of prostitutes. So, if you want to have a discussion on that, simple question, was prostitution a crime?

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 16, 2018

This remains bizarre; why make such a random comparison with so little similarity of circumstances? It proves nothing about anything, illuminates nothing.

Nizhny in that time had no "crime figures", or do you think Cheka was busy with traffic violations (when bolsheviks themselves requisitioned cars) and burglary (when they took valuables in house searches of bourgeois)?

Exactly - so the whole concept of 'crime', its enforcement and its recording in Nihzy 100 yrs ago were completely different than in present day Jonesboro - so a pointless comparison.

Btw, Conquest's book has an early section about the pre-1930s 'roots of the Terror'.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 16, 2018

The 900 arrests by Bolsheviks in Nizhny is presented as peak terror. I point out that in ordinary times in a capitalist city in the US the same number occurs. So this de-dramatises the 900 figure in Nizhny, you don't think so?

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 16, 2018

No, that's a desperate attempt to excuse the Terror. Random comparative numbers don't lessen at all what was wrong with the Terror. The motive and function of that repression is what is particular to the events and their own context; the Terror had victims across the political spectrum but it was as much a weapon against the working class as anyone else. That perhaps less striking workers were killed than one historian says is not a justification or excuse for the Terror nor makes it more tolerable; if you think workers are just necessary collateral damage for the greater Bolshevik good then just say so. But irrational comparisons don't excuse or prove anything.

In normal Jonesboro policing the cops themselves aren't being summarily executed by an extra-judicial state Cheka - as they were in Nizhy! And even if your comparison had any other validity you don't even compare relative population, nor normal levels of arrest nor many other differentials. If 900 members of a particular social group were suddenly targetted in Jonesboro only a lunatic or apologist would shrug it off as insignificant on the basis it was no different from crime figures elsewhere (or from another continent 100 years ago). Trying to reduce everything to relative numbers misses the whole point and mirrors the cold bureaucratic mentality of quotas of victims that the bolsheviks & their Cheka imposed on events.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 16, 2018

I'm speaking just about arrests. Jonesboro has same population as Nizhny around 1918. The arrests in Jonesboro do target a particular class, like is the case usually under capitalism, i.e. the working class/ poor (and e.g. almost half are people of colour). I'm not the one who brought up numbers, but if we're going to speak about numbers one can make comparisons.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 16, 2018

Earlier in the thread I made a comparison to Spanish Red Terror, which had a higher amount of extra-judicial killings than the first years of the Russian Civil War. See also The 'Red Terror' and the Spanish Civil War (2014) Julius Ruiz, especially on the Provincial Committee of Public Investigation (Comité Provincial de Investigación Pública – CPIP), responsible for the Terror in Madrid (population then around 950,000).

In statistical terms, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT-FAI made the greatest contribution to this network of terror. Of the 67 centres, 23 (34 per cent) belonged to the CNT-FAI
...
the presence of Anarchist Youth indicates the extent to which Manuel Muñoz was determined to secure the participation of the anarcho-syndicalist movement in the CPIP: out of a management committee of 30 members, it secured nine places, courtesy of a decision to allocate 3 places each to the CNT, FAI, and the JL. This figure would increase to 12 if we include the three members of the political offshoot of the movement, the Sindicalist Party. By contrast, the PSOE-UGT only had 6 representatives, the same as Communists (PCE-JSU) and bourgeois Republican parties (IR and UR were given 3 each).
Anarcho-syndicalist influence within the CPIP was also evident at the investigation group level. By October, there were 77 groups of five members each (including a ‘leader’). With the exception of two groups (including one based at the Higher Military Academy (Escuela Superior de Guerra) with the task of investigating the background of military officers), groups were not politically mixed. The anarcho-syndicalist movement (CNT-FAI-JJLL) dominated here too: it had 31 squads (40 per cent), whereas the Sindicalists had 5 (6.5 per cent). The Socialists (PSOE/UGT) and the Communists (PCE-UGT) had 15 (19.5 per cent) apiece, whereas barely 6 (8 per cent) and 5 (6.5 per cent) belonged to Izquierda Republicana and Unión Republicana, respectively.

Red Marriott

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 16, 2018

Stamina and loyalty to the cause Noa .. but little convincing rationality. Was it normal for hundreds to be slaughtered in a few days in Nizhy? We can be confident it was exceptional otherwise it wouldn't have had the desired effect. The reasoning for the Terror and who it served is what matters. If your only attempted defence of the Bolshevik state Cheka is a meaningless comparison that they weren't any more barbaric than the Jonesboro local cops 100 years later, well that's really convincing... or completely bonkers.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 16, 2018

Was it normal for hundreds to be slaughtered in a few days in Nizhy?

The total executions for the whole month August (including the 41 at the end) amounted to 101 according to Ratkovskij (as I mentioned in my first post in this thread). This made Nizhny Novgorod comparatively speaking the region with the highest number of executions then. So no, it wasn't normal even then.

If your only attempted defence of the Bolshevik state Cheka is a meaningless comparison that they weren't any more barbaric than the Jonesboro local cops 100 years later,

I don't know if Jonesboro cops are particularly barbaric (I didn't immediately find monthly arrest statistics for other cities). I just suppose it is a normal situation for a US city.

I'm just using this discussion to learn more, and point out possible errors. Not antagonising anyone nor defending some cause.

Mike Harman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 17, 2018

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. So comparing a revolutionary situation to the daily grind of one of the most repressive state apparatus in history. One thing to do would be to compare those Jonesboro figures to Ferguson 2014 and see if the Ferguson arrest rate was that much higher. I'm not sure Noa's comparison does as much work as intended even if we take it apples to apples.

A more apt comparison though would be the deployment of troops against striking workers in Wales an d Scotland at the same time. The Freikorps against the Spartacist uprising. Or Imperial Japan against the 1919 rice riots and strike wave.

Noa Rodman

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 17, 2018

Mike Harman

So comparing a revolutionary situation to the daily grind of one of the most repressive state apparatus in history.

A revolutionary situation is repressive of the bourgeoisie and their henchmen. So I'm comparing the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

One thing to do would be to compare those Jonesboro figures to Ferguson 2014

Ferguson has about a 6 times smaller population.
[quote=CNN]By the time the tear gas started to clear in Ferguson, Missouri, at least 212 people had been arrested over nearly two weeks of clashes with police. [/quote]

Extrapolated over a month that would be 424 arrests, times 6 (supposing they were all Ferguson residents) = 2544. Unsurprisingly, in case of popular unrest, arrests would be higher than in normal Jonesboro situation. And unsurprisingly it is higher than Nizhny situation. Such comparison teaches nothing.

A more apt comparison though would be the deployment of troops against striking workers in Wales an d Scotland at the same time. The Freikorps against the Spartacist uprising. Or Imperial Japan against the 1919 rice riots and strike wave.

In Nizhny at the time of Lenin's message the talk was about a preparation of a Whiteguard uprising. There was no open riots/uprising as in your examples.

The 900 arrests occur in response merely to some unspecified discontent about the 41 executions end August, as the texts I posted earlier tell:

In the report of Gubchek, after summarizing the number of executions in Nizhny Novgorod for September, it is reported that "in the sphere of the bourgeois-philistine population, these mass shootings caused an almost open murmur, but the rapid arrest of a huge number of such grumbling people just as quickly compelled all others to remain silent and accept the fait accompli"..

The arrests seemed to have been made in the course of house searches (i.e. not streets protests), and mainly on a class basis (officers, merchants, etc.):

As the official report of the Nizhny Novgorod gub-cheka notes for September 1918, which is now kept in the regional archive, only in September Cheka produced 900 arrests in 1469 searches. ... There was a real panic, in fear for life, people left the city, throwing homes and property. It is obvious that the terror was directed not only and not so much against those who really fought the Bolshevik regime, but against the peaceful population - dissenters, murmuring and often those who had the misfortune of being an officer, priest or merchant.

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 25, 2018

The Nizhny province's Cheka report of 31 August 1918, published in the first issue (22 September 1918) of the weekly paper of the Cheka (Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Speculation), online here: http://istmat.info/node/25307

Доклад о деятельности Нижегородской губ. Чрезвычайной Комиссии

Report on the activities of Nizhny Novgorod Province Extraordinary Commission

Nizhny Novgorod with its fairs, piers and factories is a major center both in trade and industry. A mass of plants from the cities of Riga, Petrograd, were evacuated [during the world war] to the vicinity of the city, namely to Sormovo, Rastyapin, and Kanavin. The city itself is inhabited by the petty bourgeoisie and merchants, who are timid and cowardly in themselves. Recently, in connection with the occupation of Kazan among these petty-bourgeois merchant elements, a certain revival was noticeable, and even proclamations to the population with an appeal to overthrow the Soviet power were issued by them. All attempts at any kind of speech were radically eliminated by the Extraordinary Commission.

The commission, thanks to its reconnaissance, discovered the arrival of steamships that had flown from the front, from Trofimovsky's [this was a SR commander in Kazan, described as a sadist, drug addict and drunkard military dictator, engaged in debauchery, unreasonably cruel reprisals, and for his acts, in particular for escaping in battle with Czechoslovaks [i.e. in Kazan] on the night of August 5 to August 6, 1918, eventually was arrested by Soviet military authorities and shot. Also, it is said that in July Trofimovsky had gone over with his detachment to an anti-Bolshevik rebellion of the Left SR Muravyov. ] detachment – the "Olga", "Prosvet", etc., which were disarmed by the commission. Further the commission has caught Trofimovsky's steamer with a cargo which went to the Moscow province. The crew accompanying the steamer was disarmed and the cargo, consisting of weapons, horses and foodstuffs sent by Trofimovsky own command, as a gift to the Trud and Seth commune, was confiscated.

The commission took the most energetic measures to arrest officers and gendarmes - about 700 people were arrested. By registration, there were about 1,500 people in Nizhny Novgorod.

Arrests of gendarmes, police officers and officers continue.

Further, the commission began to pay serious attention to the drunkenness, which is highly developed here, and the sale of alcoholic beverages produced secretly and openly. Concerning drunkenness, the commission issued an appeal in which it was stated that anyone engaged in the sale and manufacture of alcohol would be shot; Anyone detained in a drunken state will be punished with up to 6 months in prison. Over 15 days, 60 people were detained for drunkenness, of which about half were - Soviet employees, such as commissars, etc. (especially from the provinces). These people were imprisoned from 2 days to 2 months and were brought to forced labor, such as cleaning the prison of the yard, stables and unloading the goods. In order to fight this evil more successfully, the commission decided to publish the names of the detainees for drunkenness in the press and inform the committees.

The Commission liquidated the Arzamas White Guard organization, from which almost all the members were arrested and some of them were shot.

In connection with the arrest of the officers in Nizhny Novgorod, all the counter-revolutionary elements scattered around the villages. On this occasion, the commission put punitive detachments in Stogovo, where weapons and gold were found and the kulak uprising in the Doskinsky Volost was abolished, where the soviet had been overthrown and began to disarm the poor. The detachment arrested the accomplices of the uprising and confiscated the estates and transferred them to the poor. A fine was imposed on Katkov's kulaks in the amount of 5000 r. in favor of the poor and transferred to the committee of the poor.

From the work from August 1 this year to September 1 one can also note that a gang of hijackers was caught, which was engaged in arbitrary searches. This gang consisted of persons of the 1st Tula detachment, in general, this detachment proved to be hooligan, was engaged in drunkenness and theft, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission in Moscow was notified on this for transferring to Zurin and for issuing powers for disarmament. About 25 people were shot for engaging in Whiteguard affairs, some of them were published. The Commission began raids throughout the city. The city is divided into sections and all houses and premises are inspected.

On the orders of Comrade Latsis, Trofimovsky and his staff were arrested, who are now in the Nizhny Novgorod prison. The arrest was made without bloodshed. Then a commission was sent, which took all the things on the boat and checked the cash register and documents. The results of the audit showed that there was no reporting on the boat, no books existed, only 3 bags of different notes and receipts (these bags are sealed). I took 2 boxes of gold and silver from the steamer and were delivered to the Nizhny Novgorod commission.

Yesterday, on August 31, after receiving news of the murder of Comrade Uritsky and the wounding of Comrade Lenin, the commission decided to respond to this bourgeois provocation by terror and execution of 41 people from the camp of the bourgeoisie and the general searches and arrests of the bourgeoisie. On Saturday, August 31, today began a round-up that gave a few arrests and a several hundred thousands of money, which the owners refused to recognize for their debts.

1918 August 31, Nizhny

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 25, 2018

"anyone engaged in the sale and manufacture of alcohol would be shot"

^so these booze makers/sellers are the ones that Lenin must have designated as "prostitutes" making the soldiers drunk. Like he once famously called kulaks "vampires, spiders, bloodsuckers".

Battlescarred

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 26, 2018

Yeah, sure.

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 26, 2018

No, it's not sure, but it seems quite plausible (at first I didn't give credit to the metaphorical interpretation of the term 'prostitute', but with the new info I found, it seems more credible). To uphold the most damning interpretation you would have to argue that prostitutes were (the main) producers/sellers of booze. Or that soldiers/commissars with a penchant for drinking did so only in the presence of prostitutes.

Serge Forward

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on March 26, 2018

[youtube]BUdbZ9QY5VU[/youtube]

Fleur

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on March 26, 2018

You're planning on dying on this hill then.

Mike Harman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 26, 2018

So the two people named are SRs rather than white guards.

But then it talks about white guards here:

Cheka report

Arzamas White Guard organization

Sounds like from the report that:

- there were red army detachments in the area that had gone over to the Left SRs and ALSO unreliable still-Bolshevik red army detachments that were drinking alcohol or similar.

- separately, there was a crackdown on the 'petit-bourgeios' residents who were talking about an anti-Bolshevik insurrection - this is presumably the 'white guard insurrection'.

- there doesn't seem to be any mention of actual Czech detachments at all, except for the accusation that a Left SR commander fled with a detachment after losing a battle somewhere.

Here's the drunk soldiers, anyway.
Check report

in general, this detachment proved to be hooligan, was engaged in drunkenness and theft, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission in Moscow was notified on this for transferring to Zurin and for issuing powers for disarmament.

Noa

To uphold the most damning interpretation you would have to argue that prostitutes were (the main) producers/sellers of booze. Or that soldiers/commissars with a penchant for drinking did so only in the presence of prostitutes.

Given alcohol was illegal until 1925, this only requires the concept that illegal drinking venues might also have been brothels or frequented by sex workers. Probably means looking at prohibition and responses to it - something like https://www.jstor.org/stable/151698

Auld-bod

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Auld-bod on March 26, 2018

I think this poem sums up my feelings regarding Lenin’s endeavours and those interested in defending his gang’s methods.

The Great Day

Hurrah for the revolution and more cannon-shot!
A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
Hurrah for the revolution and cannon come again!
The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.

William Butler Yeats

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 26, 2018

Mike Harman

- there doesn't seem to be any mention of actual Czech detachments at all, except for the accusation that a Left SR commander fled with a detachment after losing a battle somewhere.

Battlescarred translated some info on Trofimovsky here (Trotsky seemingly blaming him in part for the fall of Kazan): https://libcom.org/history/shootings-trofimovsky-panteleev-gneuchev-trotsky-imposes-discipline-red-army

A symposium from 1983 on Jaroslav Hašek (p. 92) mentions that this Trofimovsky-detachment consisted mostly of Czechs: "sie hauptsächlich aus Tschechen bestand, die im Frühjahr 1918 in der Ukraine gegen die Deutschen kämpften".

Of course the point isn't about Czechs as such, but sympathisers of Whiteguards among the former officers etc. There is also mention of 25 executions for dealing in Whiteguard affairs.

there were red army detachments in the area that had gone over to the Left SRs and ALSO unreliable still-Bolshevik red army detachments that were drinking alcohol or similar.

If the 1st Tula-detachment was disbanded for drinking and hooliganism then this shows that Bolsheviks tried to curb such excesses among their side.

Here's the drunk soldiers, anyway. [...] this only requires the concept that illegal drinking venues might also have been brothels or frequented by sex workers.

I don't know if the booze was spread through such places. Apparently there was nobody shot (or even arrested) for production/sale of alcohol, as the issued Cheka appeal warned. This could indicate that the Cheka didn't find any such places/persons, which raises the question how Lenin even could know about prostitutes visiting them. Perhaps he just assumed that was usually the case. Certainly it would be absurd to punish then precisely the prostitutes, and not those booze-sellers (like e.g. the brothel-owner).

Mike Harman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 26, 2018

Noa

Certainly it would be absurd to punish then precisely the prostitutes, and not those booze-sellers (like e.g. the brothel-owner).

You'd think it was absurd in Russia in 1918, but then it still happens in the UK in 2018:

Graun

local police forces have been aggressively raiding working flats. The result is often to arrest the sex workers they find: in UK law, brothel-keeping is an offence so broad that any two sex workers simply sharing a flat for safety can be charged with it. Those who are not prosecuted are evicted, and migrant workers are deported.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/06/sex-workers-advertise-online-pop-up-brothels-criminalised

You also see trafficking victims 'rescued' and then deported shortly afterwards because they don't have a regular work/immigration history in the UK.

What the UK does in 2018 obviously does not provide a model for what happened in Russian in 1918 except that despite the supposedly progressive attitude to sex workers from both Lenin/Kollontai the reality is not the same.

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 27, 2018

Again, ordering punishment of prostitutes, if taken literally, when your main concern is drunkenness among soldiers is an absurdity that would have no parallel in history. I think it's precisely the absurdity of it that causes such scandal.

It would be like punishing the football players because people often drink while watching a game.

R Totale

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on March 27, 2018

Noa Rodman

Again, ordering punishment of prostitutes, if taken literally, when your main concern is drunkenness among soldiers is an absurdity that would have no parallel in history. I think it's precisely the absurdity of it that causes such scandal.

It would be like punishing the football players because people often drink while watching a game.

That feels like the claim of someone who's not paid much attention to history. Is it really definitively more absurd than, say, criminalising music characterised by the emission of repetitive beats?

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 27, 2018

You're using "criminalised" not in the sense of legally prohibited. If you checked wikipedia on prostitution in SU, then you know that it wasn't a crime. Just like being a football player isn't a crime.

Red Marriott

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 27, 2018

Noa

You're using "criminalised" not in the sense of legally prohibited. If you checked wikipedia on prostitution in SU, then you know that it wasn't a crime.

In a technical sense you may be correct but you're splitting hairs again; under bolshevism prostitutes were still rounded up, shoved into labour camps, persecuted & prosecuted for their work;
wiki

The Soviet government, based on ideological ideas, pursued prostitutes as part of the "war communism". (Lenin, amongst the emergency measures to prevent the insurrection in Nizhny Novgorod, demanded "to take out and shoot hundreds of prostitutes who are causing all the soldiers to drink"[4]). In 1919 a concentration camp of forced labour for women was created in Petrograd; 60% of its prisoners were women suspected of prostitution.[5] At the same time attempts were made to socialise prostitutes as "victims of the capitalist system".

At the end of 1919, the Commission for Combating Prostitution under the People's Commissariat of Health was established, and later the Interdepartmental Commission for Combating Prostitution under the People's Commissariat of Social Security. At the beginning of the New Economic Policy (NEP), prostitution experienced a new surge, it was practised almost openly by representatives of all strata of society. According to surveys, prostitutes were used by 40% to 60% of the adult male population.[5] There were attempts to reintroduce compulsory medical examinations of prostitutes.[2] The police's attempts to repress prostitution (raids, etc.) were combined with the ideas of social prevention advocated by the Central Commission for Combating Prostitution under the People's Commissariat for Health; during the last program, special dispensaries for the socialisation of prostitutes were created. ...Specific laws prohibiting prostitution were not introduced into the Soviet codes until 1987, but prostitutes could be persecuted under other articles of the criminal and administrative codes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_Soviet_Union

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 27, 2018

Red Marriott quoting wiki

In 1919 a concentration camp of forced labour for women was created in Petrograd; 60% of its prisoners were women suspected of prostitution.[

The reference for that is Lebina/Shkarovsky (1994), but (here comes some more hair-splitting) I think it's imprecise.

According to S. Ravich's article on the country's first labor camp created in Petrograd in May 1919, in its first year 6,577 of the 12,000 persons who passed through were female (i.e. this would mean that it was not a female camp). Of those women who served a full year (the max. sentence at this camp) 60% had been engaged in prostitution (so it's not 60% of all female prisoners). Those serving sentences for prostitution in the camp's first year "probably numbered only in the hundreds". (source: Elizabeth A. Woodn p. 115 The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia).

Serge Forward

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on March 27, 2018

Noa, it's all a bit 'how many chekists can dance on the head of a pin' though, doncha think? Give it up.

Red Marriott

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 27, 2018

Noa

Those serving sentences for prostitution in the camp's first year "probably numbered only in the hundreds". (source: Elizabeth A. Woodn p. 115 The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia).

Well OK, so the numbers can be debated. Nevertheless, it's established that prostitutes were prosecuted and sent to labour camps for being prostitutes. Whether any were shot or deported at Nizhy or not, that's damning enough of the Bolshevik regime. And, given the Party's attitude, it wouldn't be surprising if such an order had been given - whether it was carried out or not.

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 28, 2018

Sergre Forward

Noa, it's all a bit 'how many chekists can dance on the head of a pin' though, doncha think? Give it up.

It's just to try to get a more accurate picture of the situation. In that spirit, here's some other literature:

Medvedev's 2012 book on the SR in Nizhny: http://www.unn.ru/site/images/docs/monography/2011/medvedev.pdf Партия социалистов-революционеров в Нижегородском крае. (1895–1923)

pp. 185-6 mentions there was a (Right) SR revolt (with the rich kulaks) against the Soviets in late July 1918 in the region.

Medvedev's 2015 (in Russian) article DESERTION IN THE RED ARMY AND MEASURES AGAINST IT DURING THE CIVIL WAR IN THE NIZHNI NOVGOROD PROVINCE (1918 – 1920) has some more background:
http://www.unn.ru/pages/e-library/vestnik/19931778_2015_-_3_unicode/7.pdf

Red Marriott

it's established that prostitutes were prosecuted and sent to labour camps for being prostitutes. Whether any were shot or deported at Nizhy or not, that's damning enough of the Bolshevik regime. And, given the Party's attitude, it wouldn't be surprising if such an order had been given

We go could go into how established that is (for instance I would need to read the Ravich article in Kommunistka). Btw, for you it doesn't even matter if prostitutes were specially prosecuted based on the "party's attitude", since in your view the Bolsheviks were suppressing all workers/population, so by definition also prostitutes. But again, I'm not trying to change your mind about that.

I'm just saying that, even if you suppose the Bolshevik leader capable of intentionally targeting people like prostitutes, his order, if taken literally, is absurd, because his prime concern in this context is solely with the problem of drunkenness of soldiers.

Let me give another analogy. A teenager is in the habit of smoking pot while listening to loud music, say some particular music band (e.g. Radiohead), to the annoyance of their (otherwise liberal of their pot-smoking) parents. They order their teenager to get rid of that Radiohead. Now you will interpret this as an order to massacre Radiohead, and given that we know that the parents have previously changed the radio channel when a Radiohead song played, their dislike of Radiohead is established.

Red Marriott

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 28, 2018

Noa

We go could go into how established that is (for instance I would need to read the Ravich article in Kommunistka).

It's established by the same wiki link you introduced to selectively support your argument and has several references for those statements; but now suddenly that same source is less reliable?
You're obsessed with casting doubt on the worst aspects of Party repression; but the established facts - in many cases taken from your own cited sources - are damning enough. That's indisputable in any rational assessment.

adri

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on March 28, 2018

Noa Rodman

Let me give another analogy. A teenager is in the habit of smoking pot while listening to loud music, say some particular music band (e.g. Radiohead), to the annoyance of their (otherwise liberal of their pot-smoking) parents. They order their teenager to get rid of that Radiohead. Now you will interpret this as an order to massacre Radiohead, and given that we know that the parents have previously changed the radio channel when a Radiohead song played, their dislike of Radiohead is established.

Please don't massacre Radiohead... They're one of my favorite music bands.

Mike Harman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on March 28, 2018

Noa Rodman

Red Marriott

it's established that prostitutes were prosecuted and sent to labour camps for being prostitutes. Whether any were shot or deported at Nizhy or not, that's damning enough of the Bolshevik regime. And, given the Party's attitude, it wouldn't be surprising if such an order had been given

We go could go into how established that is (for instance I would need to read the Ravich article in Kommunistka). Btw, for you it doesn't even matter if prostitutes were specially prosecuted based on the "party's attitude", since in your view the Bolsheviks were suppressing all workers/population, so by definition also prostitutes. But again, I'm not trying to change your mind about that.

Kollontai's not enough?

Kollontai

We have so far passed no statutes recognising prostitution as a harmful social phenomenon. When the old tsarist laws were revoked by the Council of People’s Commissars, all the statutes concerning prostitution were abolished. But no new measures based on the interests of the work collective were introduced. Thus the politics of the Soviet authorities towards prostitutes and prostitution has been characterised by diversity and contradictions. In some areas the police still help to round up prostitutes just as in the old days. In other places, brothels exist quite openly. (The Interdepartmental Commission on the Struggle against Prostitution has data on this.) And there are yet other areas where prostitutes are considered criminals and thrown into forced labour camps. The different attitudes of the local authorities thus highlight the absence of a clearly worded statute. Our vague attitude to this complex social phenomenon is responsible, for a number of distortions of and diversions from the principles underlying our legislation and morality.

Uncreative

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on March 28, 2018

Noa Rodman

Let me give another analogy. A teenager is in the habit of smoking pot while listening to loud music, say some particular music band (e.g. Radiohead), to the annoyance of their (otherwise liberal of their pot-smoking) parents. They order their teenager to get rid of that Radiohead. Now you will interpret this as an order to massacre Radiohead, and given that we know that the parents have previously changed the radio channel when a Radiohead song played, their dislike of Radiohead is established.

What if instead of saying "get rid of that Radiohead", one of your parents said:

Noa Rodman Snr

"You must strain every effort, appoint three men with dictatorial powers (yourself, that nice boy Mark and one other boy from your class), organise immediately mass terror, shoot Radiohead and deport the hundreds of Radiohead fans that must exist somewhere, presumably."

10/10 for bizarre analogies though.

Fleur

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on March 29, 2018

To be fair, if my teenage son started listening to Radiohead I'd be devastated but I would take some succour in the knowledge that his dodgy tastes don't extend to Lenin.

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 29, 2018

Kollontai acknowledges some local authorities did consider them criminals and thrown into forced labour camps (I was not denying that, just would like to be sure about/know more of the specifics), but it's not a party line, nor one that she advocates. If there was a leading bolshevik who consciously argued that prostitutes should be round up as criminals, I think that would be more damning than the actual incidences of arrests by some chekists in a pretty undefined legal environment (i.e. revolution/civil war).

Fleur

To be fair, if my teenage son started listening to Radiohead I'd be devastated

It's not Radiohead itself, but the loudness of the music that annoys the parents, because it's played on full blast, say, in the middle of the night when they're trying to sleep (even the neighbors are threatening to call the police).

Furthermore, suppose the teenager has a weird hairdo, which the parents dislike. So in a explosive confrontation with their teenager, they could literally order: "get rid of that Radiohead and weird hairdo". A bit odd formulation (perhaps due to their anger), but you could understand its meaning.

Uncreative

shoot Radiohead and deport the hundreds of Radiohead fans that must exist somewhere, presumably."

The problem is not about Radiohead, but the effect of the loud music.

Fleur

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on March 29, 2018

Sounds like pretty shit parents who can't mediate what is actually very common teenage behavior or hold such petty opinions about how someone else wears their hair, without letting it escalate to a point where dire threats are made. If that's the analogy, Lenin is a particularly inept and authoritarian parent and the citizens are naughty children.

Red Marriott

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on March 29, 2018

Noa, I'm real sorry for this "hypothetical" teenager's plight. But once you leave home you'll be able to wear your hair any way you like and play Radiohead really loud all night long. Nevertheless, your oppressive parents still aren't really on a par with the Cheka and the analogy is totally bizarre. Nor is the proletariat that resists bolshevism analogous to a naughty teenager.

Noa Rodman

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noa Rodman on March 29, 2018

It was an example of a sentence where the verb "get rid" applies to two different things, the first is not meant literally (it is not a call to massacre Radiohead - but just to not play music loud at night, which is the sole problem for the parents), the second is meant literally, i.e. get rid of the weird hairdo, which, I agree, is a much more oppressive order than just to turn down music volume.

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Lenin's sole concern in this context was with the drunkenness of soldiers, not anything with prostitutes as such. That he mentions prostitutes (if taken in a literal sense) would be just incidental, like a shorthand indication of the problem of drunkenness among soldiers. So he means fix the drunkenness problem.

In the same sentence Lenin calls for deportation/shooting of former officers (and so on), which is a quite different concern (i.e. potential plotters of an uprising) and the drastic measures he orders are indeed meant literal here.

The sentence without the crucial part "who are making drunkards of the soldiers" would read:

"organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes, former officers and the like."

You have to admit that it is odd to single out prostitutes together with former officers.

Actually the sentence is much longer, since it is preceded by "You must strain every effort, appoint three men with dictatorial powers (yourself, Markin and one other),". So several instructions are given in one long running sentence.

Hence it's plausible to read Lenin here as giving orders to address 1) the drunkenness problem (if he meant literally prostitutes, it would be shorthand, while if he meant it metaphorically, it would be the makers/sellers of booze), 2) the potential danger posed by former officers and the like.