Skip to main content

The 'Red Terror' and political opposition

Anarchists call for release of political prisoners at the 1921 funeral of Peter KropotkinThe 'Red Terror' was an officially sanctioned policy of the Soviet government during the Russian Civil War, administered by the state security organisation the Cheka between 1918-1921. The documents linked to here relate to both the 'Red Terror' of the Civil War and to later treatment of political opponents - particularly those who were on the political left or anarchists.

Britain and the 'Red Terror'

Socialist opposition:

Anarchist opposition:

Trade union opposition:

  • Trade Union delegates from Russia, April 1920. Extract from the International Trade Union Review, reporting on a meeting between members of the British Trades Union Congress and exiled Russian trade unionists in London. The Russian delegates comment on the "effect of Bolshevik rule on the industrial and political life of Russia", the purging of non-Communists from the trade unions, and the arrest of trade union critics.
  • Report regarding the conditions of labour in the metal industry in Soviet Russia, December 1920. The report describes the persecution of trade unionists under the Tsar and the "terrible fratricidal struggle" since the October Revolution, arguing that "in order to clear their own way, the Communists declared that freedom of speech, Unions, strikes and meetings was a "superstition of the bourgeoisie", and condemned all who demanded political rights as "counter-revolutionists"". Editorials on the report are included in the Journal of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, April-May 1921 and the Workers' Union Record, May 1921.
  • 'Soviet intolerance of trade unions: escaped Labour leader's indictment', 1924. Cutting from the Morning Post, reporting the objections of A. Kefali, former printers' union leader, to the investigations of the Trades Union Congress in the Soviet Union. It also refers to Trotsky's removal from Moscow.
  • Statement by exiled Georgian trade union leaders, 1925. The statement was sent to members of the Trades Union Congress delegation who had visited Georgia shortly after the suppression of the August 1924 uprising. It attacks the delegation report's "praise for the Occupation regime in our country" and reports on the violent suppression of the uprising. Photographs of articles in Soviet newspapers (with translations) and lists of some of those who were condemned to be shot are also included.

In the prisons: