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.

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.

Posted By

Mike Harman
Feb 9 2018 22:59

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  • You must strain every effort, appoint three men will) 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.

    Lenin, 1918

Attached files

Comments

Battlescarred
Feb 12 2018 11:58

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
Feb 12 2018 12:03

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
Feb 12 2018 13:09

"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
Feb 12 2018 15:56

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 wrote:
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
Feb 12 2018 17:52

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
Feb 13 2018 06:48
Noa Rodman wrote:

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
Feb 13 2018 14:02

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
Feb 13 2018 15:03

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

twitter person wrote:
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.
Feb 13 2018 16:06

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
Feb 13 2018 19:41

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
Feb 13 2018 19:35

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
Feb 13 2018 22:18

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
Feb 13 2018 22:22

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
Feb 14 2018 11:24
Pennoid wrote:
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
Feb 14 2018 11:37

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
Feb 14 2018 12:16

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
Feb 14 2018 13:26

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
Feb 14 2018 14:07
Pennoid wrote:
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 wrote:
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
Feb 14 2018 17:50

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
Feb 14 2018 18:11

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

Noa Rodman
Feb 14 2018 18:21

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:

Quote:
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 wrote:
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
Feb 14 2018 18:47
Steven wrote:
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
Feb 14 2018 19:57
Pennoid wrote:
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 wrote:
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
Feb 14 2018 22:22
mike harman wrote:
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
Feb 14 2018 22:29

.

Mike Harman
Feb 14 2018 22:29

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

Noa Rodman
Feb 14 2018 22:58

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
Feb 14 2018 23:10

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.

Big No No
Feb 14 2018 23:15

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)

Fleur
Feb 15 2018 00:02

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.