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

Auld-bod
Mar 26 2018 11:21

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
Mar 26 2018 17:12
Mike Harman wrote:
- 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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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
Mar 26 2018 20:54
Noa wrote:
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 wrote:
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
Mar 27 2018 11:23

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
Mar 27 2018 15:36
Noa Rodman wrote:
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
Mar 27 2018 17:28

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
Mar 27 2018 18:40
Noa wrote:
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 wrote:
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
Mar 27 2018 19:58
Red Marriott quoting wiki wrote:
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
Mar 27 2018 21:27

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
Mar 27 2018 23:04
Noa wrote:
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
Mar 28 2018 18:10
Sergre Forward wrote:
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 wrote:
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
Mar 28 2018 18:50
Noa wrote:
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.

zugzwang
Mar 28 2018 18:56
Noa Rodman wrote:
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
Mar 28 2018 19:47
Noa Rodman wrote:
Red Marriott wrote:
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 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.
Uncreative
Mar 28 2018 23:07
Noa Rodman wrote:
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 wrote:
"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
Mar 29 2018 00:32

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
Mar 29 2018 07:45

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 wrote:
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 wrote:
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
Mar 29 2018 10:34

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
Mar 29 2018 12:42

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
Mar 29 2018 13:56

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.

--

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.

Mike Harman
Mar 29 2018 14:42
Noa wrote:
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.

He's not concerned that the soldiers might suffer from alcohol poisoning though is he? He's concerned about unreliability and indiscipline, from the same memo:

Lenin wrote:
Execution for concealing arms. Mass deportation of Mensheviks and unreliables. Change the guards at warehouses, put in reliable people.

Other telegrams from the same period focus on things like resistance to conscription, unwillingness/slackness in carrying out mass terror and similar.

Here's Lenin suggesting conscripting 1 in 25 workers into a 'food army' (food requisitioning detachments):

Lenin wrote:
Point out that the only effective method of increasing bread rations is contained in the decision of the Council of People’s Commissars to requisition grain forcibly from the kulaks and to distribute it among the poor of the cities and the countryside. This requires that the poor shall much more rapidly and resolutely enlist in the food army which is being created by the People’s Commissariat for Food.

Propose that the Congress immediately start agitating among the workers to enlist in the food army formed by the Penza Soviet of Deputies and to abide by the following rules:

1) Every factory shall provide one person for every twenty-five of its workers.

2) Registration of those desiring to enlist in the food army shall be conducted by the factory committee, which shall draw up a list of the names of those mobilised, in two copies, one of which it shall deliver to the People’s Commis-sariat for Food while retaining the other.

3) To the list must be attached a guarantee given by the factory committee, or by the trade union organisation, or by a Soviet body, or by responsible representatives of Soviet organisations, testifying to the personal honesty and revolutionary discipline of every candidate. Members of the food army must be selected so that there will not in future be a single stain on the names of those who are setting out for the villages to combat the handful of predatory kulaks and save millions of toilers from starvation.

Comrades, workers, only if this condition is observed will it be obvious to all that the requisition of grain from the kulaks is not robbery but the fulfilment of a revolution-ary duty to the worker and peasant masses who are fighting for socialism!

4) In every factory those mobilised shall elect a rep-resentative from their midst to perform all the organisation-al measures necessary for the actual enrolment of the can-didates of the factory as members of the food army by the People’s Commissariat.

5) Those enrolled in the army shall receive their former pay as well as food and equipment from the date of actual enlistment.

6) Those enrolled in the army shall give a pledge that they will unreservedly carry out any instructions that may be given by the People’s Commissariat for Food they detachments leave for their place of operation, and that they will obey the commissars of the detachments.

I am certain that if convinced socialists loyal to the October Revolution are placed at the head of the food requisition detachments, they will be able to organise Poor Peasants’ Committees and by their concerted action succeed in taking grain from the kulaks even without resort to armed force.

Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars
Lenin

June 27, 1918

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/jun/27.htm

You seem fixated on this idea that the prostitutes were simply alcohol suppliers, ignoring the much more common trope of an otherwise sober man being corrupted by women.

Noa Rodman
Mar 29 2018 15:42
Mike Harman wrote:
You seem fixated on this idea that the prostitutes were simply alcohol suppliers, ignoring the much more common trope of an otherwise sober man being corrupted by women.

I'm not ignoring that "common" trope (which you articulated now for the first time). I never heard of the trope that prostitutes cause their clients to drink (and it is concretely the alcohol consumption which is here the problem, not any alleged loss of stamina from having sex).

Russian soldiers who had been through a lot of misery in the past years would be prone to drinking all by themselves. And if, indeed quite possibly, they at the same time also used prostitutes, then in reality it's more likely that they themselves would buy the prostitutes a drink during the evening to keep merry company (like Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind), and not vice versa.

And then I think the prostitutes would be more used for the company than for the sex (if both were still able to do this after a whole evening of drinking). So I don't see the incentive for prostitutes to make their clients drunk, unless they're paid more to the extent that they keep company during the evening. But whereas Clark Gable was a well-off chap who could afford that, the soviet soldiers were not so well-off I think.

Dannny
Mar 29 2018 16:06
Noa Rodman wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
You seem fixated on this idea that the prostitutes were simply alcohol suppliers, ignoring the much more common trope of an otherwise sober man being corrupted by women.

I'm not ignoring that "common" trope (which you articulated now for the first time). I never heard of the trope that prostitutes cause their clients to drink (and it is concretely the alcohol consumption which is here the problem, not any alleged loss of stamina from having sex).

Russian soldiers who had been through a lot of misery in the past years would be prone to drinking all by themselves. And if, indeed quite possibly, they at the same time also used prostitutes, then in reality it's more likely that they themselves would buy the prostitutes a drink during the evening to keep merry company (like Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind), and not vice versa.

And then I think the prostitutes would be more used for the company than for the sex (if both were still able to do this after a whole evening of drinking). So I don't see the incentive for prostitutes to make their clients drunk, unless they're paid more to the extent that they keep company during the evening. But whereas Clark Gable was a well-off chap who could afford that, the soviet soldiers were not so well-off I think.

I'd have thought the association has to do with sex workers hanging round in bars, or the availability of booze in brothels. Spanish anarchists also often made these (to modern eyes) quite spurious seeming associations among 'vices': lumping dances, paying for sex, getting drunk together, so maybe it's a generic puritanical lefty trope from a hundred years ago. All the same, it doesn't take too much imagination to see why sex workers might think that a pissed man is more likely to spend money on sex than a sober one...

Noa Rodman
Mar 29 2018 16:34
Danny wrote:
puritanical lefty trope from a hundred years ago. All the same, it doesn't take too much imagination to see why sex workers might think that a pissed man is more likely to spend money on sex than a sober one...

I may be lacking in imagination. All I can imagine is that soldiers are generally "DtF", and prostitutes want them to spend what little money they have just on them, and not waste it on booze.

Dannny
Mar 29 2018 17:21
Noa Rodman wrote:

I may be lacking in imagination. All I can imagine is that soldiers are generally "DtF", and prostitutes want them to spend what little money they have just on them, and not waste it on booze.

Ah, that'll be why they don't serve alcohol in brothels, and why, if johns can't find a brothel, they're more often than not tipped off by locals that they can find what they're looking for at a nearby Frogurt outlet, where ladies of the night wait in eager anticipation of Clark Gable.

While I can almost believe that you think it's impossible that there's any link between boozing and paying for sex, it's stretching it a bit to insist that Lenin must have shared your point of view and therefore can't possibly have meant what he said?

Red Marriott
Mar 29 2018 17:21

Prostitutes often work bars, need to get punters/soldiers spending to please the bar bosses who allow them use of their premises (and may allow them use of rooms upstairs). Drunks spend more freely, lose inhibitions, get randy etc. So, in Lenin's terms, "making drunkards of the soldiers". It ain't rocket science.

Battlescarred
Mar 29 2018 17:51

PLease, please, please, deliver the Cheka neckshot and put Noa out of his writhing, squirming, twitching misery!

Battlescarred
Mar 29 2018 17:54

By jove, what a wonderful day for running up to the Kremlin and shouting through one of the windows:" Is Len In?"
From the Thoughts of Chairman Doddy

R Totale
Mar 29 2018 18:50

I haven't really paid attention to much they've done since In Rainbows, so I'm not really qualified to comment on whether Noa's mam actually wants to execute Radiohead or if she just thinks they should be rounded up and sent to a labour camp instead, but as I understand it, Noa's main claim here is that, as the Bolsheviks were mainly concerned about preventing drunkenness, it would be stupid for them to actively repress other phenomena that were tangentially/culturally associated with alcohol consumption - which is fair enough, that far I follow - and so that it's implausible that anyone would actually make such a stupid decision. But surely a look at the history of state attempts to control and legislate intoxication shows states making such stupid decisions time and time again?
I offered the example of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act earlier, I don't have a Big Book of Incidental Casualties in the War of Drugs on hand to consult, but trying to think of other examples, the Met haven't actually managed to murder Radiohead yet, but from 2005-2017 they did have a special form targeting events that included "DJs or MCs performing to a recorded backing track". Admittedly, the excuse for that was gun crime rather than drugs/alcohol, but it's pretty similar in its stupidity.
So, if Noa wants to argue that Lenin (and/or their mum?) was much more sensible than John Major, and the Cheka were that much more sensible than the Met, so they wouldn't make the same mistakes, then sure, go ahead and make that argument, but if it's just meant to be "cracking down on [raves/prostitution/grime music] solely because they're tangentially associated with [drugs/drinking/gun crime]? What a crazy idea, no-one could possibly be that stupid, it must all be a big metaphor and not people meaning what they literally say", then that argument doesn't really work, because it's really easy to provide examples where people have done precisely that.

Noa Rodman
Mar 29 2018 19:16
Danny wrote:
you think it's impossible that there's any link between boozing and paying for sex,

No, I said it's quite possible and that's why Lenin could say prostitutes as a shorthand for boozing/bars.

Red Marriott wrote:
need to get punters/soldiers spending to please the bar bosses who allow them use of their premises (and may allow them use of rooms upstairs).

See, I don't think it was that organised back then. Whatever vague stories we read is that things happened on certain streets/parks by women working on their own (who probably just recently were forced to take that path), or at train stations.

Battlescarred wrote:
PLease, please, please, deliver the Cheka neckshot and put Noa out of his writhing, squirming, twitching misery!

It's a cringe-worthy thread, I'll give you that. Perhaps Mike can add in the intro some of my literature references I gave though (like the Cheka report).

R Totale wrote:
then that argument doesn't really work, because it's really easy to provide examples where people have done precisely that.

Your interpretation is on the level of someone who's pointed to look at the moon but they stare at the finger. Of decisive importance is how the addressee of Lenin's message understood and implemented it, which was straightforward: ban on production/sale of alcohol, arrest of drunken persons.