5 September 1918, the Council of People's Commissars issues a resolution on “red terror”, which the Soviet government allegedly launched in response to counter-revolutionary terror. The “last straw” was an attempt on V.I. Lenin, which led to his severe wound.
Responsibility for the conduct of terror was assigned to the All-Russian Emergency Commission and "individual party comrades," who made every effort to toughen the repression. So, already 17 September, the chairman of the Cheka, F. E. Dzerzhinsky demands that local commissions “speed up and complete, that is, eliminate unsolved cases.”
1. Not so simple
It is not possible to calculate the exact number of victims of the red terror, although researchers are trying to clarify this issue. For example, the Western historian R. Conquest names the number in 140 of thousands of people shot. And his Russian colleague, OB Mazokhin, who relies on archival materials, considers it possible to talk about 50 thousands of victims.
It should be borne in mind that the scale of repression often depended on local authorities. For example, in Petrograd in the fall 1918 of the year 800 was shot by a man, whereas in Moscow 300 was shot. (In addition, not all the dead and injured were innocent victims or political opponents of the Bolsheviks. Among those who fell under the "red spit" were many criminals - murderers, robbers, rogues, etc.)
The punitive apparatus of the famous All-Russian Emergency Commission (VChK) was not created immediately. It is significant that local bodies of the Cheka began to be formed only by decision of March 22 of 1918. And they were not engaged in massive repression. Thus, the Petrograd Cheka from 1 March to 6 June examined 196 cases, most of which were associated with speculation (102) and banditry. And only 18 cases were of a political nature, and even then 10 of them were stopped due to lack of evidence, and 3 was closed under an amnesty.
The Bolsheviks at first behaved quite liberally. They released from imprisonment all the royal dignitaries whom the “democratic” Provisional Government had imprisoned there (in particular, the head of the St. Petersburg security department A. Gerasimov). The attitude of the participants in various conspiracies was very liberal.
So, after the discovery of the conspiracy of V. M. Purishkevich, the participants were given some very ridiculous dates. Purishkevich himself received four years of community service, and in the spring of 1918, he was finally forgiven (after which he fled to the white South).
The standoff, however, was growing, and from all sides. The agrarian-food policy of the Bolsheviks caused special rejection, the peasants stubbornly did not want to give up the bread. Thus, in January-September, 1918 of the year, 7309 was killed by protesters. In total, 15 thousands of people died at the hands of the rebels. Only in July, the opponents of the Bolsheviks destroyed the Soviet workers 4110.
But the Bolsheviks did not sit with their arms folded, the flywheel of red repression was deployed on the ground. Especially got the officers. Thus, the chairman of the Sevastopol Revolutionary Tribunal, Yu. Gaven, boasted that 500 officers had been shot on his initiative. Or here are the memoirs of the S.L. Petrova: “We took all the workers of our factory to anti-Socialist-Revolutionary demonstrations ... We were not shy then - they drowned inveterate enemies in barges on Lisie Nos ...”
Of course, one cannot ignore the fact that among the Bolsheviks, including the Chekists, there were different opinions regarding terror. One of the leaders of the Cheka, MI. Latsis wrote: “We do not conduct war against individuals, we are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class”. But colleague Ya.H. Peters, in an interview with the Menshevik newspaper Utro Moskvy, said: “As for the shootings, I must say that, contrary to popular belief, I’m not at all so bloodthirsty as they think. On the contrary, if you want to know, I first raised a cry against the red terror in the form in which it appeared in Petersburg. ”
2. Who was the most zealous?
All the leaders of the Bolsheviks bear responsibility for the extremes of revolution and terror. However, each contribution was different - someone tried more, someone less.
It seems that the most radical position in this matter was occupied by Ya.M. Sverdlov, canonized in his time by Soviet historiography.
At the 5th All-Russian Congress of Soviets, with a report to the Congress on the activities of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (July 5 1918), he called for a "mass terror" that should be carried out against "counter-revolution" and "enemies of Soviet power" and expressed confidence that "all labor Russia will respond with full approval to the extent of the shooting of counter-revolutionary generals and other enemies of the working people. ” It is curious and revealing that the congress approved his doctrine, however, the mass terror itself did not turn around then. Obviously, within the Bolshevik leadership, not everyone supported the “terrorists”.
Sverdlov in May 1918 held two important posts - the chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the secretary of the Central Committee, heading the entire party apparatus. Yakov Mikhailovich himself considered himself the leader of the entire party. So, the documents are preserved under which Sverdlov signs as the “chairman of the Central Committee”. Party documentation testifies to its steady rise, which was accompanied by a weakening of Lenin's position. “It is Sverdlov who reads instead of Lenin at the Moscow city party conference 13 in May,“ Theses of the Central Committee on the current political situation, ”notes the historian Yu.M. Felshtinsky. - In the minutes of the meeting of the Central Committee of 18 May Sverdlov in the list of those present in the first place. The meeting of the Central Committee of 19 in May - the complete triumph of Sverdlov. He is entrusted with absolutely all party affairs ... Lenin was given only one assignment at this meeting ... It is not possible to trace the further growth of Sverdlov's influence ... according to the protocols of the Central Committee, since the protocols from May 19 to September 16 of 1918 were not found. Obviously ... because the position of Lenin looked in them in an extremely unfavorable light. About this there is only fragmentary information. Thus, the Central Committee 26 discussed the issue of drafting the Constitution of the RSFSR for approval at the 5th Congress of Soviets. The Central Committee acknowledged the work on the draft preparation unsatisfactory, and Lenin, supported by some other members of the Central Committee, proposed "removing this question from the order of the day of the congress." But "Sverdlov insisted that this question remain." ("Leaders in Law")
3. Strange attempt
There is reason to believe that it was Sverdlov who was involved in organizing the assassination attempt on Lenin 30 August 1918. Then, by his order, Lenin was sent to the Michelson plant without protection. And it looks especially strange, if we consider that before that, in the city of Petrograd, the head of the Cheka there, MS, was killed. Uritzky.
And here is another oddity, Sverdlov ordered to take F. Kaplan, who allegedly fired at the leader, from the prison of the Cheka and to place her in his personal prison, which was under his Kremlin office.
And he gave the order for her execution, although he had no rights to it. Attention is drawn to the haste with which Kaplan was executed. No expert examination (forensic and ballistic) was carried out, no one even thought to question witnesses and victims. In addition, it is very doubtful that Kaplan was the one who shot Lenin, because this woman was almost blind. She simply could not make an accurate shot, while Lenin, after the assassination attempt, asked: “Have they caught him?”. That is precisely "his", and not "her."
So, a man shot at Lenin? And here it is necessary to recall that in the attempt on the leader were involved two Social Revolutionary militants - G. Semenov-Vasilyev and L. Konopleva. In 1921, at the trial that was conducted over the Social Revolutionaries, the authorities officially recognized that it was they who were preparing the attempt on Lenin. And the most piquant is that these individuals have worked in the Cheka since the beginning of 1918. Thanks to their intelligence work, all the work of the combat organization of the Social Revolutionaries was paralyzed. The conclusion suggests itself - the attack against Lenin was organized by the leadership of the Cheka.
By the way, the chairman of the Cheka, Dzerzhinsky was in a very trusting relationship with Sverdlov. "Iron Felix" was ready to fulfill almost any request of Yakov Mikhailovich. When the latter asked to hire his young relative GG Yagoda (the future chairman of the OGPU and the People's Commissar of the NKVD), Dzerzhinsky not only made him an employee of the Cheka, but immediately assigned a new task to the new employee. Berry was instructed to resolve the issue of a certain Lopukhin, who played an important role in exposing the provocateur Azef. Berry decided that he could be released abroad. Lopukhin was released, but he never returned, for which Yagoda was only scolded. At the same time, Dzerzhinsky did not even check the data on Yagoda, who attributed 10 years of party experience to himself, and was an anarchist before 1917.
The tandem of Sverdlov and Dzerzhinsky otter wounded Lenin from power, having done everything so as not to “disturb Lenin” for as long as possible.
The leader confidently went on the amendment and on September 1 took part in the meeting of the Central Committee. It was not included in the plans of the conspirators, and Sverdlov achieved the creation of Lenin’s country residence in the village of Gorki. There he was transported, away from the authorities - “to recover”. Incidentally, it is characteristic that the terror itself began long before the above-mentioned decree of the Council of People's Commissars. He announced himself Sverdlov 2 September 1918 of the year. And already September 3 Petrograd Cheka shot 500 hostages. Thus, Sverdlov clearly demonstrated that he was the master, and not the chairman of SNK Lenin.
4. Taming the zealous
But Lenin, despite his injury, was still on the mend. Ilyich was extremely concerned about the ambitions of his zealous colleague, and besides, he was afraid that his left-wing “experiments” would cause irreparable damage to the Bolsheviks. Relying on other disgruntled people, perhaps even Trotsky, Lenin began to “correct” his comrade-in-arms. So, the 6 of November was officially terminated by the “Red Terror”. In November, by the decision of the VI All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the committees of the poor (combats) hated by most peasants, whose creation began in June-August, that is, at the moment of strengthening Sverdlov’s positions, were abolished. (Kombedy carried out a grandiose redistribution of property in the countryside, depriving the wealthy peasants of 50 millions of dessiatines of land - more than landowners had.) In addition, the “extraordinary revolutionary tax” was abolished. And in January of the following, 1919 introduced a surplus. Now they began to determine at least some kind of ceiling of state requirements, but earlier there were no norms, and the food detachments could take away all the bread from the peasants.
Sverdlov, nevertheless, continued his leftist "bend." They adopted the notorious directive of the Organizing Bureau of the Central Committee of January 14 of 1919, which ordered "to conduct mass terror against the rich Cossacks, exterminating them all polls; conduct a merciless mass terror against all Cossacks who took any direct or indirect part in the struggle against Soviet power. " So began the storytelling, which cost tens of thousands of lives.
However, Sverdlov did not have long to rule. He did not live to the VIII party congress (March 1919 of the year), dying, according to the official version, from the Spaniard (flu).
There was a steady rumor that angry workers who had beaten Sverdlov during one of the rallies acted as “Spanish”.
And there is a version based on the study stories his illness, according to which Yakov Mikhailovich was treated very “unconventionally”, which in no way contributed to his recovery, rather, on the contrary. And who was behind such an "unconventional" medicine, one can only guess.
At the party congress, Lenin very talentedly portrayed grief and grief over the "departed comrade." But the annoyance of the deceased nevertheless broke through - Vladimir Ilyich told the delegates that Sverdlov had taken on too many party and state concerns.
Then Lenin reduced the importance of the Secretariat, putting his minor figure at the head, E.D. Stasov, who was rigidly subordinated to the Politburo. At the same time, Lenin put the Tver peasant M.I. Kalinin. The center of power finally moved to Sovnarkom.
5. Another terror
Finally, we should not forget about the white terror. Critics of the Soviet government somehow do not like to talk about him, often claiming that this is supposedly an invention of the Reds. However, the leaders themselves and the participants of the White movement recognized that this was the case.
A.I. Denikin in "Outlines of the Russian Troubles" wrote: "There is no peace of mind, - every day - a picture of theft, robbery, violence throughout the territory of the armed forces ... I must say that these agencies (counterintelligence - A. Ye.) Covered the territory of the South with a dense network, were sometimes hotbeds of provocation and organized robbery. Counterintelligence of Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Rostov (Don) was especially famous in this respect. ”
But the military minister of the Kolchak government, A.P. Budberg: “The degenerates who arrived from the detachments boasted that during punitive expeditions they had given the Bolsheviks to the Chinese for massacre, after cutting the prisoners' tendons under their knees (“ not to run away ”); they also boast that they buried the Bolsheviks alive, with the bottom of the pit carpeting with the insides released from the burrowed ones ("so that it was softer to lie"). "
By the way, 24 in November 1919 of the Year Special Meeting under Denikin adopted a law under which all those who contributed to the Soviet power were subject to the death penalty "participated in the community, called the Communist Party (Bolsheviks), or other society that established the power of the Soviet of Workers., Sol. and cr. deputies ". “Thus,” the historian Yu.I. notes. Semenov - the death penalty threatened not only all members of the Communist Party, of which there were more than 300 thousand people, but also all workers who participated in the nationalization of factories and factories, etc., were part of trade union organizations, etc., to all the peasants who participated in the division of landed estates and their processing; everyone who served in Soviet organizations, fought as part of the Red Army, etc., i.e. to the majority of the population of Soviet Russia ”(“ The White Case Against the Red Case ”).
It is obvious that the terror (any) of the civil war was and is not so much a manifestation of some kind of evil as a tragedy, reflecting the severity of the contradictions inherent in the country.