The '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'
- The Bolshevik Revolution: its Rise and Meaning, 1919. Pamphlet written by Maxim and Ivy Litvinov. It includes a section which puts forward the Bolshevik view of the 'Red Terror'.
- A collection of reports on Bolshevism in Russia, 1919. Summary reports produced for the British government. They include information about the arrest and imprisonment of Britons during the Russian Civil War, and the killing of Captain Francis Cromie at the British Embassy.
- Interim report of the Committee to Collect Information on Russia, 1920. The report of the Committee to Collect Information on Russia (appointed by the British government) was an extensive document on the situation in Russia, drawing on British, Russian and other sources. The interim report dealt with the "conditions under which British subjects were recently imprisoned or detained in Russia".
- Bombs or Brains? Dynamite or Organisation?, 1921. Pamphlet written by John S. Clarke, delegate to the Second Congress of the Communist International. It distances the Communist Party in Britain from "crackpot" terrorists, and attacks the idea of revolutionary violence in the UK as "totally impracticable and therefore reactionary".
- Correspondence with the Russian Soviet Government respecting the imprisonment of Mrs. Stan Harding in Russia, 1922. British government publication, reproducing diplomatic correspondence about the imprisonment of Mrs Harding in 1921 for alleged espionage. Includes descriptions of her interrogation and imprisonment.
- Correspondence between His Majesty's Government and the Soviet Government respecting the murder of Mr. C. F. Davison, 1923. British government publication, reproducing diplomatic correspondence about the execution of Mr Davison in 1920, after his arrest in Petrograd in connection with a fraud case.
- International Anti-Bolshevik Review, March 1926. As the name suggests, the International Anti-Bolshevik Review was strongly opposed to the Soviet regime. This special issue of the review includes a section on 'The Red Terror'.
- The Red Terror: Rykov's reply to British labour appeal, 1927. Report of the Soviet Premier's response to British socialist protests about "the renewed outbreak of the Red terror in Russia", published in The Times.
- Red and White Terror by N. Krylenko, 1928. Pamphlet published by the Communist Party of Great Britain. It supports the policy of the 'Red Terror' ("Yes, we admit the fact of "terror""), defends the executions of political prisoners in the Soviet Union as "only an act of self-defence" against "white-guards, spies and traitors", and attacks Western Social Democratic groups (such as the British Labour Party and Trades Union Congress) for protesting.
- The Bolshevik and Menshevik governments in Russia, January 1918. Statement sent by Jacob O. Gavronsky, former Chairman of the Petrograd Committee of the Social Revolutionary Party, to the British Trades Union Congress. He contrasts the Menshevik revolution and the Bolshevik "coup d'etat" and puts forward his view of "the secret of the success of the Bolsheviks in Russia".
- Russia under the Bolsheviks by Dioneo (I.V. Shklovsky), January 1919. Shklovsky was an ethnographer and journalist who had been arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1887, whilst a student, for his connections with 'The People's Will' group. He criticises the administration of the Bolsheviks for both economic mismanagement and violence.
- A letter from a Russian Comrade to the Socialists and Syndicalists of Allied Countries, July 1919. Open letter written by Gregor Alexinsky, a Russian Social Democrat. It attacks the new government as "an anti-social and barbarous regime, hated by the people, condemned by History and already on its way to an imminent downfall". The appeal was also published in the National Union of Railwaymen's journal 'The Railway Review', resulting in an argument through the letter pages with Robert Holder, a British supporter of the Russian Revolution.
- The Moscow Trials: A warning to the workers, 1922. Communist Party of Great Britain leaflet on the trial of the "miscalled Socialist Revolutionaries". It condemns the criticism of the trial by democratic socialist parties in Europe, arguing that the S-Rs were aristocratic pro-White Russian terrorists, who "seek to attain their peculiar ends by means of the dagger, the bomb, and the revolver".
- To the socialist parties of all countries, 1922. Statement by members of the delegation of the Social-Revolutionary Party abroad (including Viktor Chernov), made in response to the Moscow Trial of the Socialist Revolutionaries. It includes references to the S-R's "state of war" against both the Bolsheviks and the White Russians during the Russian Civil War.
- Memorandum of the Foreign Delegation of the Russian Social-Revolutionary Party to the conference of the three international federations of socialist and communist parties held at Berlin on 2 April 1922. The memorandum attacks the "state terror" of the Bolsheviks and protests against the Moscow Trials.
- Correspondence and statement on the treatment of Mensheviks in Russia, 1927. The statement (in both English and Russian) was forwarded to the Trades Union Congress by the leading Menshevik Fyodor Ilyich Dan. It comments on the continuing arrests of Mensheviks and trade unionists, and protests of the unemployed in the Soviet Union.
- Album of the funeral of Peter Kropotkin in Moscow, 13 February 1921. The publication includes photographs of crowds following the coffin and graveside speeches by anarchists, released from prison for the occasion. The February 1921 issue of the British anarchist newspaper Freedom, including tributes to Kropotkin and comments on the Russian Revolution, has also been digitised.
- Bolsheviks Persecute Anarchists, June 1921. Copy of an appeal against "the wholesale arrests and the physical violence toward our comrades" made by prominent anarchists in Russia to Lenin, published in Freedom. The newspaper published a response to accusations that the appeal was an anti-Bolshevik forgery in the August 1921 issue.
- The Kronstadt Rebellion, 1922. Pamphlet by Alexander Berkman on the rebellion at the Kronstadt naval base, which took place in response to reports of the violent repression of strikes in Petrograd by the Bolshevik authorities. The Soviet authorities condemned the protest as counter-revolutionary and it was violently suppressed.
- The Crushing of the Russian Revolution, 1922. In this pamphlet, Emma Goldman criticises the centralised state and 'War Communism' of the Bolsheviks "which destroyed the Soviets and crushed the revolution", and the persecution of political opponents through the Cheka. Goldman lived in Russia between 1920-1921, leaving after the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion.
- 'The Communist Mistake: Extracts from the diary of a disillusioned revolutionist', 1925. Extracts from the 1920 diary of the anarchist Alexander Berkman, published by the Freedom Association, a right-wing libertarian organisation. It includes comments on inequality in the Soviet Union, on Berkman's experiences as an interpreter for the 1920 Trades Union Congress delegation, treatment of strikers and the execution of a colleague.
- Protest "against the continued denial of political liberty by the present Russian Government", 1925. Letter and resolution sent to the Trades Union Congress by the South Wales Workers Freedom Group, following a meeting at Glanamman addressed by Emma Goldman. It appeals for the "elementary civil rights of free association, free press and free speech" in the Soviet Union now that "all the counter-revolutionary fronts have been liquidated".
- Bulletin of the Relief Fund for Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists Imprisoned or Exiled in Russia, no.3, June 1927. The bulletin, edited by Alexander Berkman, reflects on the 10th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and contains information on exiled political prisoners and accounts of the relief fund.
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:
- A cry from a Russian prison, 1921. Letter from I.V. Tarasiuk, an inmate in Ryazan Concentration Camp of Forced Labour, published in the anarchist newspaper Freedom, August 1921.
- Correspondence on the hunger strike of socialist prisoners on Solovetsky Island, 1924. Copies of letters received by the British Trades Union Congress and Labour Party. They give contrasting views of the hunger strike and treatment of socialist prisoners at Solovetsky.
- The Concentration Camp of Susdal and Solovetzki: what people interned in Susdal and Solovetzki have to say about the conditions there, 1924. Response to "the calumnious campaign carried on by the representatives of the Second International", presenting a favourable view of the treatment of political prisoners.
- Manifesto of the Executive Committee of the Red Aid, 1924. The manifesto condemns the "Yellow Socialist traitors" of the Second International for criticising the treatment of political prisoners in the Soviet Union, and contrasts the treatment of Soviet prisoners with those in Germany, India, Poland and elsewhere.
- Letters from Russian prisons, 1925. Book produced by the International Committee for Political Prisoners, a US-based organisation with links to the American Civil Liberties Union. It consists "of reprints of documents by political prisoners in Soviet prisons, prison camps and exile, and reprints of affidavits concerning political persecution in Soviet Russia, official statements by Soviet authorities, excerpts from Soviet laws pertaining to civil liberties, and other documents". The contents focus in particular on "the Social Democrats (Mensheviks), the Socialist-Revolutionists of the Right and Left and the Anarchists".
- 'Bolshevik Terror Against Socialists: documents and facts collected by authority of the Socialist Labor International', 1925. Pamphlet produced by the US-based Committee for Political Prisoners in Russia.
- Statement by political prisoners in Kharkov prison, 1926. The statement by socialist and anarchist prisoners talks about violence against political prisoners being hidden from foreign delegations to the Soviet Union. It was originally sent to the Executive Committee of the Soviets in the Ukraine.
- Statement on Georgian political prisoners, 1926. The statement was forwarded by Irakli Tsereteli, a leading member of the Georgian Social Democratic Labour Party. It refers to the deportation of Georgians to the prison island of Solovki, conditions in prison, and the continuing terror in Georgia.
- The condition of the Georgian political prisoners in Georgia and Russia, 1927. Statement forwarded by the Central Committee of the Social-Democratic Labour Party of Georgia. It describes the treatment of individual prisoners and includes a copy of a letter from prisoners at Solovki.