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Quotable Barbellion. Magnusson, Denis N. Spring Wells ". Queen's Law Journal. March Science Fiction Studies. SF-TH Inc. Deeks v H. Supreme Court , p. The Last War Cyclone, —50". The shape of things to come: the ultimate revolution Penguin ed. Wells: traversing time. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press.

World Brain. Partington The Reception of H. Wells in Europe. Bloomsbury Publishing. Wells—A Pictorial Biography. London: Jupiter Books, , p. The Huffington Post. The World of Miniatures—An Overview. Doran, , p. Stalin " ". Open Culture. Retrieved 3 June London: Macmillan. Red Star Press Ltd. Archived from the original on 18 January Wells under revision: proceedings of the International H. Archived from the original on 6 January War of the Worlds: from Wells to Spielberg by. Owens Mills, MD: Galactic.

Wells Dies in London". Petersburg Times. Retrieved 29 October Archived from the original on 18 February Retrieved 12 February Archived from the original on 22 December Retrieved 11 February Wells: Aspects of a Life , p. Wells - ". Blue Plaques. English Heritage. Wells' ghost". New Yorker. Retrieved 18 March Retrieved on 9 August God the Invisible King.

London: Cassell. Link to the online book. Galaxy Science Fiction. The New York Times. Retrieved 12 December New York: Routledge, Detroit, MI: Gale Research, Fowler Wright". Detroit—Gale Research Company. Collings, Brian Aldiss. Contemporary biopolitics in s' British futurism". EMBO Rep. Haldane" PDF.

Strand Mag. Garden City, N. Archived from the original on 21 October Retrieved 21 October Wells and his Successors". Science Fiction Studies , July The New York Review of Books. The Paris Review. Retrieved 9 February The Total Library. Edited by Eliot Weinberger. London: Penguin Books, Open culture.

Wells: First Citizen of the Future". Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Retrieved 17 January Keith Westport: Praeger Publishing. Retrieved 15 April Archived from the original on 6 October Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 9 March University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign. Wells Correspondence". Library Illinois. Archived from the original on 22 July Retrieved 22 August Last updated in , this was the official homepage of the Hall of Fame to This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines.

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Contracts would be signed with DuPont and Nitrogen Engineering to manufacture ammonia, nitric acid, and synthetic nitrogen, and Westvaco for chlorine. There would be ball-bearings technology from Sweden and Italy, advanced plastics and aircraft from France, turbines and electrical technology from Britain. On December 21, , Stalin officially turned fifty. Therefore he is invariably the object of savage abuse on the part of the world bourgeoisie and the Social Democrats.

The newsreel agency produced a six-part silent amalgamation of Stalin moments caught on film: smiling, waving, graciously accepting accolades, wise, benevolent. Viewers also saw his birth hovel and hometown of Gori, with its medieval-fortress ruins on the hill, a pantheon of childhood photos, and a long interlude at the current Tiflis home of his bespectacled mother, Keke Geladze, as she assembled a care package with his beloved homemade walnut jam.

The defense commissar had written that Stalin made fewer mistakes than the others. There were no mistakes—cut that paragraph. Those who wanted to be part of the world-historical building of socialism would have to fall in line. The author, K. Gorky, also abroad, was taken aback. The press should keep reminding itself and its readers. Already by early December , the Soviet state had procured Stalin appointed Yakov Epstein, known as Yakovlev, the editor of Peasant Newspaper and a member of the disciplinary Central Control Commission, as commissar.

Collectivized peasants were also to be allowed to retain household plots. Disposition of kulaks had largely been left to locals, and many collective farms were admitting them. The Yakovlev commission warned against any blanket approach. Is it possible to continue for a more or less long period to base Soviet power and socialist construction on two different foundations—on the foundation of the largest and most consolidated socialist industry and on the foundation of the most subdivided and backward small-scale peasant economy?

No, not possible. The solution is to make agriculture large-scale, make it capable of accumulation, of expanding production, and in this way transform the agricultural base of our economy. Once again, the dictator had enacted a conspiracy within the regime: at Old Square, more than a month before, he had received the OGPU hierarchs—Yagoda, Messing, Yevdokimov, and others—as well as Georgy Blagonravov, the former head of the secret police transport department and now first deputy commissar of railroads.

Stalin also crossed out mention of farmers retaining minor implements, chickens, or a milk cow and wrote in that collectivization was to be completed in just one to two years depending on region , using dekulakization. All this became a politburo resolution approved on January 5, Stalin issued secret circulars to local party machines on the dekulakization of more than 2 million peasants, using every available instrument: the procuracy, courts, regular police militia , secret police, party activists, urban workers, and, if necessary, soldiers.

There were more than , settlements in just the European part of the Soviet Union. Newspaper articles and decrees made their way to the county level and even below, but the party-state lacked rural cadres that could see through consistent implementation. The regime had planned to mobilize up to 25, urban workers; more than 70, were said to have volunteered, and around 27, were accepted. More than two thirds were party members, and more than four fifths were from industrial regions.

Either we destroy the kulaks as a class, or the kulaks will grow as a class of capitalists and liquidate the dictatorship of the proletariat. The OGPU secretly reported that some of the volunteers tried to rape village women and lusted for power. Even conscientious 25,ers were not well versed in management or agronomy, and most faced material hardships on-site, as well as armed resistance. Still, peasants would assassinate more than 1, rural officials and activists in Almost half the mass peasant actions in would occur in Ukraine, where, in strategic regions bordering Poland, revolt overtook every inhabited settlement.

Many villages elected their own leaders, ringing church bells to signal mobilization. An offended Vsevolod Balytsky, Ukraine OGPU chief, claimed to the republic party boss, Kosior, that he was already doing just that, from a command post in the field. Kvasov wrote, in a letter published in Peasant Newspaper, apropos of a village assembly on March Kaganovich replaced him as party boss for Moscow in April , while remaining a Central Committee secretary. I know old workers with long experience in production who are still following the Mensheviks and even now cannot emancipate themselves from nostalgia for the old capitalist masters.

Yes, comrade Kin, all kinds of workers are found on the earth. To immense fanfare, on April 25, , the separate constructions of the northern and southern sections of the Turkestan—Siberian Railway, known as Turksib, were joined at Aina-Bulak, some eight months ahead of schedule, using excavators purchased abroad and gargantuan amounts of manual labor, amid climate extremes and self-generated chaos.

The upshot would be Siberian grain imported to Central Asia to allow further expansion of cotton crops, and, in the short term, a propaganda coup. Long Live Stalin! Not every person would be ideologized to the same depth, but life outside Communism was becoming unthinkable. The Rostov Agricultural Engineering Works followed, the largest of its kind in Europe, pronounced complete on June 1, , after three years of construction. Never mind that, for a time, half the derricks were occupied picking up the other half: the symbolism of harnessing nature in order to power a new industrial complex of projected aluminum plants and an integrated steel plant at Zaporozhe was linked in saturation coverage to individual transformation.

The sites also drew peasant laborers seeking to transform themselves, escape from dekulakization, or find food. Reports of spot food shortages and starvation-induced disease were most extensive already in summer and emerged from the Central Black Earth region, the North Caucasus, Ukraine, the Soviet Far East, and Western Siberia. The OGPU noted that collective farmers in Ukraine were refusing to work because they were not being fed, threatening a vicious food-shortage circle.

More than , Kazakhs, and their nearly 1 million head of livestock, were said to be heading for Siberia, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. Stalin kept up the pressure to suppress resistance; the OGPU had made , arrests between January 1 and April 15, , and from the latter date through September 30 it would make another , Altogether, perhaps 8 million households quit, taking 7 million draft animals. At the same time, at least 5 million households remained in collectives, and more than 4 million of them had joined only recently, meaning that this was their first agricultural season in the new way.

Stalin—and the country—needed a miracle. Getting collective farms up and running was not for the squeamish. A few 25,ers were able to pry loose scarce tools, scrap metal, construction materials for barns and silos, spare parts for machines, generators, books, tobacco, and workers from their home factories for their collective farms, and many put their skills to use as mechanics to repair inventory.

Peasants went from threatening 25,ers to protesting their transfers. On average, a 25,er ended up in one of every three collective farms in the principal grain-growing regions, and in one of every five collective farms overall.

The Stalin Front: A Novel of World War II

By and large, despite minimal regime support and their own ignorance, it seems they helped salvage the spring sowing season. One key contribution was their introduction of the brigade system into the fields. Regime concessions were even more consequential for the spring sowing. Peasants who quit collective farms were given back their seed grain if they promised to sow crops.

For those who stayed in the collectives, gigantomania, whereby entire counties were combined into a single collective farm, was abandoned. Perhaps 33 percent of what these farmers grew in would come from these plots. Stalin would never again countenance such a generous retention. What the farmers did not consume, they could sell.

Beyond 25,er mobilization and grudging regime flexibility, local solutions to the chaos emerged. The central authorities had proved unable to settle on how collective farmers would be compensated, but the farmers sowed crops anyway as locales came up with their own compensation formulas.

In the early summer of , Stalin had sent Nadya to German doctors in Karlsbad for a stomach ailment. Things are not too bad. I miss you very much. Tatochka, I am at home alone, like an owl. Come home soon. I kiss you. Still, that was 1. Only one quarter of state functionaries belonged to the party, and in industrial management it was significantly less. They also received, gratis, grams of meat, grams of cheese, 1 kilo of smoked sausage, 80 grams of sugar, grams of tea, and cigarettes.

Just in time for the congress, the Stalingrad Tractor Factory, whose construction had been rushed through the brutal winter, produced its first tractor. Two of the high-priced American engineers died from typhoid; others begged to go home. At pre-congress meetings in educational academies, factories, and major party organizations, sharp attacks had been leveled at party policy. Their reward was to be rebuked at the congress for insufficient zeal in repudiating their potential followers.

Bukharin, ill with pneumonia—what Trotsky contracted while under political assault—had gone to Crimea, where he hooked up with Anna Larina; she was sixteen, he was forty-one. I got all three letters. I could not reply immediately, as I was very busy. Now at last I am free. The congress will end the 10—12th. I shall be expecting you, do not be too long coming home.

But stay longer, if your health makes it necessary. Tomsky, Bukharin, and Rykov were reelected to the Central Committee, which returned Rykov to the politburo. But Tomsky was left out of the politburo, and his people were systematically purged from trade union positions. Voroshilov and Orjonikidze departed the capital immediately for holidays of around two months.

On July 17, the Stalin loyalist Sergei Kirov reported on the party congress to the Leningrad party organization he oversaw. We are building socialism anyway, and sooner or later the kulak himself will disappear. If we need to conduct grain collections, if the kulak must hand over his surplus, why squeeze him when the price paid could be raised and he will then give it over himself. In a word, the rightists are for socialism, but without particular fuss, without struggle, without difficulties. Two days later, state bank chairman Pyatakov, the recanted Trotskyite, who had been talking heart to heart to Orjonikidze, wrote to Stalin detailing a fiscal crisis and runaway inflation from lack of attention to costs and promiscuous printing of money.

He proposed radically streamlining imports, curbing exports of animal products, raising prices on many goods, and tightening expenditures at the wasteful iconic construction projects. Stalin did not immediately respond. Molotov was left to mind the store in Moscow. Nadya, after visiting her brother Pavel Alliluyev, the Soviet trade representative in Berlin, had returned from Germany and joined her husband. Stalin had been suffering occasional dizziness and a flaring of nerves, and doctors confirmed a diagnosis of neurasthenia.

It listed his appendectomy, which had left a scar, and illnesses over the years chest pains, flu, polyarthritis, chronic tonsillitis, coughing. He was said to have frequent pain in his left shoulder muscles, which were atrophying, a result of a childhood contusion. Down south, he had his usual joint and muscle aches and undertook sulfur baths at Matsesta, near Sochi, which worked wonders.

It took four days to drop. After that, he complained of pains in his left leg. Valedinsky saw his patient every day for three weeks, and the dictator appreciated his company, speaking to him on a wide variety of topics: labor discipline, collective farms, the intelligentsia. When it was time for Valedinsky to depart, Stalin inquired how he could recompense him. Stalin cherished his recuperative time on the Black Sea. Many of the far-reaching changes to the country and the regime he set in motion the previous winter and spring were now consolidated. Meat and dairy production had fallen off a cliff, but the grain harvest—ultimately fixed at The peasants ate or sold the rest on the market.

Labor supply became tight, railways devolved into bottlenecks, and inflation proceeded unabated. Already in the summer and fall of , while luminaries such as H. Overfulfilling the output target of nuts only led to waste if they exceeded the production of bolts; an increased supply of bricks provided no extra utility with insufficient mortar. Stalin was well informed about the problems. Unaccountable regional party machines, meanwhile, were consumed by skirmishing.

After a collective denunciation had arrived from Western Siberia against Roberts Eihe, Stalin wrote to Molotov August 13, that Siberia had just been divided into two regions, west and east, and that no one had complained about Eihe when he had run all of Siberia. I advise you to kick out all the intriguers and. The dictator also kept a close eye on Mikhail Kalinin, who enjoyed a high profile because of his peasant origins and his role as ceremonial head of state chairman of the Soviet central executive committee.

Molotov hesitated to circulate the extracted testimony. Even as he attended to his personal power, Stalin drove the financing of industrialization. Prices for industrial machinery remained more or less stable, meaning that in , twice as much Soviet grain had to be exported per unit of machinery imported than had been the case in They ought to be horsewhipped, because they are dragging us into a trap.


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In order to hold out, we must have hard currency reserves. In short, we must push grain exports furiously. The Soviets would export just over 5 million tons of grain at an average price of only 30 rubles per ton half that of ; they would earn Stalin continued to insist that the economic troubles in the capitalist world had only reinforced the dependence of Poland, Finland, and the Baltic states on the imperialist powers, which eyed these states as platforms for attacking the Soviet Union. In fact, the Polish government had secretly rebuffed the urgent entreaties of the Ukrainian national movement in Poland to invade the Soviet Union, evidently deterred by Soviet military measures on the frontier.

This means that we will have to bring our current army reserves up from , to , men. Thousands of specialists had been sentenced. Executions would follow. Privately, Stalin acknowledged his didactic purposes. It would not be a bad thing if they did. Tukhachevsky had been demoted from chief of staff to commander of the Leningrad military district. He remained a polarizing figure, a former nobleman who mixed prominently with tsarist general staff types, even though he had never gone to the general staff academy. Tukhachevsky argued that no modern army could prevail without tanks, aircraft, chemical weapons, and parachute infantry for greater mobility.

He called for annual production of no less than 50, tanks and 40, airplanes which would rise in the future to , tanks and , aircraft. Voroshilov had had the memo vivisected by the new chief of staff, Shaposhnikov. Although Tukhachevsky had not specified the size of his proposed standing army, Shaposhnikov reckoned it at a preposterous 11 million, fully 7. It would be worse than any counterrevolution. Collectivization had provoked hints of wavering in the Red Army something Voroshilov denied , and Stalin was preternaturally given to seeing an ideological affinity between the party right deviation and the tsarist-era officers.

Police informants who suffused the military milieu reported gossip, on the basis of which the OGPU had arrested two military academy teachers close to Tukhachevsky. Had Stalin believed in the existence of a genuine military plot, could he have suggested waiting to arrest the plotters and remained on holiday, far from the capital, for another month? It is impossible to establish his thinking definitively. Elections in Germany on September 14, , meanwhile, delivered a sensation: the National Socialists received 6. Communist deputies increased from 54 to Clearly, this cannot continue. Radical measures are needed.

As to what kind, I shall tell you when I get to Moscow. This is now inevitable. But for the time being, this is just between you and me. He appears to have written the same to Kaganovich. From reports of eavesdropped conversations, Stalin could read that the populace was unhappy with the consequences of wholesale collectivization, dekulakization, and accelerated industrialization—which was why Rykov was especially dangerous: he was a leader who could rally the disaffected and the opportunistic.

I do not know if Klim knows. It turned out that Tukhachevsky is a captive of anti-Soviet elements and was thoroughly worked over by anti-Soviet elements from the ranks of the rightists. Is it possible? Of course, it is possible, since it is not excluded. It seems the rightists are prepared to embark on the path of military dictatorship if only to escape from the Central Committee, collective and state farms, Bolshevik tempos of industrialization.

We need to think this through. In person only. We shall launch as broad a campaign as possible against interventionists and thwart them in their attempts for the next one or two years, which is of great significance to us. Everything understood? Nadya had already returned to Moscow in August. Your Iosif. He sent peaches and lemons from his Sochi orchard. But something was amiss.

This summer I did not feel that you would like me if I prolonged my stay; quite the contrary. Last summer I felt very much that you would, but this time I did not. Of course, there was no point in staying in such a mood. Write, if my letter does not make you cross, but as you like. All the best. A Kiss. Probably you are distracted by your quail-hunting trips. She said that you were exceptionally jolly and gave no rest to everyone taken aback by your personage. I am glad to hear it. But will things get better if there is a change? I doubt it. Molotov wrote that same day, listing the reasons he was unsuitable and encouraging Stalin to take the post, but acknowledging that party work and the Comintern would suffer.

Unsurprisingly, Stalin decided to hold on to the party apparatus, which afforded him the final word on policy and personnel without the day-to-day burdens of the government. Stalin had forwarded to Bukharin some Industrial Party interrogations that mentioned a terrorist plot against the dictator, with connections to the right deviation. On the phone, Stalin accused Bukharin of fostering an atmosphere for terrorist acts by criticizing the party line.

Back from holiday, in his Old Square office, he received economics officials, the head of the railroads, a professor who had founded the Soviet biochemical industry, and the new head of foreign trade, Arkady Rosenholz known as Rozengolts , in tandem with the foreign affairs commissar. The politburo assembled again October 20 and, with Syrtsov reporting, ordered the designation of several priority regions—Moscow, Leningrad, the Donbass, Baku—with higher norms of supply for workers.

The politburo ruled that Stalin had been correct in refusing the one-on-one meeting. Stalin was not the only one engaged in provocations. We need to dispel these illusions. In reality, all decisions are made behind the backs of politburo members, by a small clique of party insiders, who meet in the Kremlin or in the former apartment of Clara Zetkin. They played at staging a coup; they played at being the politburo.

Meanwhile, Tukhachevsky, in the presence of Stalin, Voroshilov, Orjonikidze, and other politburo members, had been made to confront his two accusers from the military academy, and he, in turn, accused them of lying. This is very good. Syrtsov and Lominadze would not get off as easily. Further, I did not like and do not like that sometimes especially during the days of his 50th jubilee , in certain speeches in the press, Stalin was placed on the same plane as Lenin. If memory serves, I said this to comrade Orjonikidze and pointed to the corresponding places in the press.

Their cases were adjudicated at a joint session of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission presidium November 4 , where Lominadze and Syrtsov both confessed to engaging in political discussions with the other. Syrtsov did not back down from claims that politburo decisions were pre-decided. It seems to me we could have avoided many of the costs by doing so. Yes, we did, mostly in the Central Committee building [on Old Square]. What is bad about that? Is this the case now? Unfortunately not. Such a state of affairs cannot last long. But a vote for expulsion from the Central Committee had already passed.

Stalin and the Scientists: A History of Triumph and Tragedy, by Simon Ings

Soviet newspapers November 11, published lengthy indictments of prominent scientists and engineers accused of establishing a clandestine Industrial Party. Meetings at Soviet factories and the Academy of Sciences approved resolutions demanding the death penalty. The problems faced by Soviet workers were all too real.

All eight defendants pleaded guilty. Stalin needed no further evidence of such Western plots, but he had received a copy of a transcript of a recent confidential conversation between Winston Churchill, the former chancellor of the exchequer out of office following the Labour party victory , and Prince Otto von Bismarck, a grandson of the famous chancellor. Presiding judge Andrei Vyshinsky, as per instructions, read out guilty verdicts, sentencing three to prison terms and five, Ramzin included, to death.

This came without right of appeal. The hall erupted in an ovation. As it happened, that same day, Stalin returned a devoted young apparatchik of uncommon diligence to the central party apparatus as department head for economic personnel. His name was Nikolai Yezhov b. Stalin received him on November 21, the first of what would be hundreds of private audiences connected to rooting out sabotage and treason.

Rumors that Stalin had been killed were being spread out of independent Latvia, where many governments ran their intelligence operations against the Soviet Union, and on November 22 Eugene Lyons, a Belorussia-born, New York—raised UPI correspondent in Moscow and a Soviet sympathizer, suddenly got summoned to Old Square for a seventy-minute audience. Stalin met me at the door and shook hands, smiling. He was remarkably unlike the scowling, self-important dictator of popular imagination. Lyons established for a foreign audience that Stalin had a wife and three children the Soviet populace did not know , and that he could be charming.

Lyons returned to the United States for a twenty-city lecture tour. Belatedly, Duranty, too, was granted an interview, also of seventy minutes, on November He wrote that Stalin believed that the current global crisis in capitalism would deepen but not mark its demise, and yet the result would be a war over markets in the future, and the downfall of the the Versailles settlement.

I took him out on account of his health. He did not want to go. I took him out. He was my only [surviving] son. He works too hard. Pervasive domestic difficulties rendered the treason tales plausible, press reports gave them life, and Stalin afforded them great intensity.

On December 1, , Syrtsov became the first politburo official expelled by the method of merely polling Central Committee members over the phone, without a plenum. One had been postponed, perhaps because Stalin had to cajole members into accepting the sacking of Rykov. No matter how much you cursed me, I have never forgotten that friendship that we had. We can always talk, if you want.

Finally, on December 17, , the delayed plenum opened, and at the last minute it became a joint session of the Central Committee and the punitive Central Control Commission. No one could doubt who stood behind the move. The vote was unanimous. I am deeply sorry for this fact, but it is not my fault. Molotov had no prior experience in government, but he would prove himself up to the task. Petersburg Polytechnic and edited Pravda before Bukharin did. On the final day December 21 , Rykov was expelled from the politburo; Orjonikidze assumed his spot on that supreme body.

Whereas Molotov had been methodical and wooden, Kaganovich was dynamic and showy. Molotov had known Stalin since , and Kaganovich had known Stalin since He not only pressurizes, but is somewhat personally self-regarding. He is strong and direct—a strong organizer and quite a good orator. Voroshilov and Orjonikidze were closer to Stalin personally the former had known him since , the latter since , and while Voroshilov continued to oversee the military, Stalin appointed Orjonikidze head of the Supreme Council of the Economy, in place of the faltering loyal dog Kuibyshev, who was transferred to the state planning commission.

Accounting is exceptionally weak and muddled. INTO , his seventh year as general secretary, Stalin had continued to enlarge his personal dictatorship within the Bolshevik dictatorship, and by the end of he had amassed still vaster power. Around the time of the December plenum, Iona and Alexander Pereprygin, two of the six siblings of Lydiya Pereprygina—the orphaned, scandalously young teenager with whom Stalin had had a long cohabitation during his last Siberian exile—were arrested for long-ago White Army service.

What Stalin forced through all across Eurasia was flabbergasting, using newspaper articles, secret circulars, plenipotentiaries, party discipline, a few plenums, a party congress, the secret police and internal troops, major foreign technology companies and foreign customers for Soviet primary goods, tens of thousands of urban worker volunteers and a tiny handful of top politburo officials, and the dream of a new world.

Trotsky perceived him as an opportunist and cynic, a representative of the class interests of the bureaucracy, a person bereft of convictions. But it seems to me wrong to think that he is an opportunist and that for him Communism is a mere name. The perpetual emergency rule required to build socialism afforded free rein to his inner demons as well. Indeed, it is striking how much potential power the right wing of the party had possessed within the politburo, and how Stalin crushed them anyway.

Rykov was respected but had made no friends throttling army budgets, and, unlike Stalin, had not earned plaudits at the front in the civil war. Stalin had adroitly positioned himself as the incarnation of the popular will and historical necessity, but his resounding political triumph of —30 had demonstrated a certain dependency, beyond even the luck of the harvest. Not for nothing had he promoted Yevdokimov. The first two seemed unlikely ever to waver.

But Orjonikidze and Voroshilov? Of course, the question would have been, Who could replace him? Still, what if, going forward, they changed their minds? Using deception, slander, and cunning against party members, with the aid of unbelievable acts of violence and terror, under the guise of a struggle to uphold the purity of Bolshevik principles and party unity, and using a powerful centralized party apparatus as his base, Stalin has over the past five years cut off and eliminated from positions of leadership all the best, genuinely Bolshevik cadres in the party and has established his personal dictatorship within the party and throughout the country as a whole, breaking with Leninism and taking a path of the most unbridled adventurism and uncontrolled personal tyranny, bringing the Soviet Union to the brink of the abyss.

More ominously, he would warn of deliberate deception, collusion, double-dealing, and sabotage. But the dictator himself would turn out to be the grand saboteur, leading the country and his own regime into catastrophe in —33, despite the intense zeal for building a new world. Henry Ford popularized the fact that manufacturing could be revolutionized by large capital investments and superior organization, throwing up a direct challenge for industry throughout the world economy.

Mass manufacturing required costly, risky, up-front investments and a large market, but the Soviet statized economy removed competition internal and foreign and manipulated domestic demand, enabling industry to take advantage of assembly lines. The construction industry continued to use brick and timber rather than concrete; steam, not electricity, continued to power railways.

Still, industry expanded significantly, and simultaneously with a plunge in production all across the capitalist world. Tsarist Russia had produced almost no machine tools in ; the Soviet Union, in , produced 20, Full employment, a magical idea, resonated globally. By the end of , unemployment had reached 2.

But the disappearance of the unemployed in the USSR gave rise to unprecedented labor turnover—workers had options—which in turn provoked draconian laws such as prison sentences for violations of labor discipline or perceived negligence, and mandatory labor books to track workers. The flux was staggering: as many as 12 million rural folk permanently resettled in cities or at construction sites that became cities during the plan.

Moscow, which received migrants from other cities, too, swelled from 2 million to 3. No central decree explicitly outlawed private trade, but Stalin incited attacks against NEPmen traders. Party-state pressure also squeezed out individual artisans. Molotov then decried the severe scarcity of wooden spoons at factory canteens and the sheer impossibility of having clothes or shoes mended. The larger factories would soon establish their own farms, granaries, and goods warehouses, an unplanned yet foreseeable result of the suppression of legal private trade and private enterprise.

Simply by virtue of its monopoly over politics and the public sphere and its dynamic mass organizations, the Soviet party-state stood out from other contemporary authoritarian regimes, but piecemeal introduction of a socioeconomic monopoly, too, added another major dimension to fulfilling the aspirations of totalitarian control. Centralized procurement and distribution imposed a nearly impossible administrative burden, and vast corruption and everyday ingenuity afforded people space to maneuver.

The state itself was in upheaval, undergoing headlong expansion, thanks to elimination of private property, and political purging. Orjonikidze opened an All-Union Conference of Leading Personnel of Socialist Industry January 30—February 4, with a speech that defended quantitative output targets but called for controlling costs, supplementing centralized allocation with direct factory-to-factory contract relations for additional supplies, and holding managers accountable for financial results and output quality.

But on the final day, Stalin arrived in the hall. And those who fall behind get beat up. But we do not want to get beat up! One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered because of her backwardness. She was beaten up by the Mongol khans. She was beaten up by the Turkish beys. She was beaten up by the Swedish barons. She was beaten up by the Polish-Lithuanian pans. She was beaten up by the Anglo-French capitalists. She was beaten up by the Japanese lords.

All beat her—because of her backwardness, her military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. You are backward, you are weak—and therefore you are wrong; therefore you can be beaten up and enslaved. You are mighty, therefore you are right, therefore we must handle you carefully. We must make good this gap in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us. How is it that we Bolsheviks,.

The reason is that it is easier to sign papers than to manage production. Master technology. It is time Bolsheviks themselves became experts. Technology decides everything. And an economic manager who does not want to study technology, who does not want to master technology, is a joke and not a manager.

Who, precisely, was a kulak—an owner of three cows? Four cows? Criteria could be murky. But centrally imposed quotas forced answers. Up to 30, heads of households were summarily executed. All the while, the regime was supposed to be facilitating the planting for the next harvest, the first in which the collective and state farms would predominate. Stalin got warnings of lagging harvest preparation as well as locust infestation and ordered some actions, but the regime seems not to have perceived the danger.

State procurements took such a large proportion of the grain grown here that herders and their animals were effectively left to starve. Urban rationing, meanwhile, was mired in bureaucracy, while investment in housing, health care, and education took a backseat. Stalin attended both days of a conference of industrial managers June 22—23, Control over the military is always an issue in a dictatorship.

OGPU special departments continued to maintain watch lists for officers with tsarist pasts. Hence, the counterintelligence operation was code-named Springtime. Controversy was sparked without delay. It is a controversy that ends up reaching far beyond Russia. It was not only circles and writers of a clearly anarchist orientation who adopted a critical stance. Exponents of the international communist movement also expressed dissatisfaction, disappointment and clear dissent. If the Soviets did not escape distrust, equally explicit was the contempt for Parliament, trade unions and political parties, perhaps including the Communist Party which was also based on the principle of representation and, therefore, affected by the virus of bureaucracy.

In the last instance, rather than the organs of power, it is power itself, power as such, which was being criticized. The situation changed significantly in the following years. To those who demanded that the problem of the extinction of the state be readdressed, Stalin responded in asking them not transform the teachings of Marx and Engels into a dogma and an empty scholasticism; the delay in the realization of the ideal was explained by the ever-present capitalist siege.

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Of course, this was a rather problematic, and mystifying, statement: it certainly did not reflect the situation of the USSR in , when the terror was raging and the Gulag was growing monstrously. But here we are dealing with another aspect: is the thesis of the extinction of the state valid, and to what extent? There is no doubt that Stalin reveals uncertainties and contradictions, probably also driven by the political necessity of moving with caution through a minefield, where every small deviation from the classic thesis of the extinction of the State exposed him to the accusation of treason.

From the beginning, the leadership group that took power in October was deeply divided over the most important questions of internal and international politics. Barely contained while Lenin was active, the fractures became irreparable once the charismatic leader passed away. Did that shock remain limited to the political-ideological sphere? There were times in which, with respect to the case of Sergei M. The story and the insinuations contained in the Secret Speech had already aroused a patent perplexity in the mid-nineties We are therefore in the presence of a work whose anti-Stalinist credentials are more than proven; and yet, despite denying that after the murder had a vast conspiracy, destroys the version contained or suggested in the Secret Speech to the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU.

This open-minded man did not appreciate intrigue, lying, or deception. Stalin had to appreciate these character traits, which were the basis of their relationship. According to the testimonies of his contemporaries, Kirov was indeed able to make objections to Stalin, penetrating his suspicious spirit and roughness. Stalin was sincerely enthused by him and trusted him. An avid fisher and hunter, he often sent fresh fish and big game to Moscow. Until the end, nothing ever happened to disturb this relationship, as confirmed in the investigation of another Russian historian: the archives contain no evidence of a political divergence or a rivalry between the two.

The turn to the right in foreign and domestic policies could not fail to arouse alarm among the more class-conscious elements of the proletariat [ To this must be added to dull rumbling among the youth, particularly among that section that, being close to the bureaucracy, observes its arbitrariness, its privileges and its abuses.

In this thick atmosphere, the shot of Nikolaev exploded [ Very likely he wished to protest against the party regime, the uncontrollability of the bureaucracy or the course to the right. The sympathy or understanding towards the perpetrator is transparent, and the contempt and hatred reserved for Kirov explicit. The victim was an individual against which the wrath of the revolutionaries had been growing for some time:. As for the latest outburst of terrorism, it does not rest either upon the old ruling classes or upon the kulak. The terrorists of the latest draft are recruited exclusively from among the young, from the ranks of the Communist Youth and the party Now the oppressed would overthrow the oppressors:.

Every revolutionary party finds its chief support in the younger generation of the rising class. The Mensheviks relied upon the more respectable skilled upper stratum of the working class, always prided themselves on it, and looked down upon the Bolsheviks. Subsequent events harshly showed them their mistake. At the decisive moment the youth carried with them the more mature stratum and even the old folks This dialectic was destined to repeat itself.

Owing to the immatury of the forms it initially assumed, the revolt against oppression always has a positive value. Having reaffirmed his contempt and hatred of Kirov, Trotsky adds:. Our relation to the assassin remains neutral only because we know not what motives guided him. And yet, these investigations did not produce results; Soviet authorities then began to look to the leftist opposition.

As we have seen, it was Trotsky who supported the new track, who not only stressed the revolutionary turmoil among the Soviet youth but also made it clear that those who resort to violence are not and can not be classes that had been definitively defeated and consequently already close to giving up:. The history of individual terror in the Soviet Union clearly marks the stages in the general evolution of the country.

At the dawn of the Soviet power, in the atmosphere of the still unfinished civil war, terrorist deeds were perpetrated by white guards or Social Revolutionaries. When the former ruling classes lost hope of a restoration, terrorism also disappeared.

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The kulak terror, echoes of which have been observed up to very recent times, had always a local character and supplemented the guerrilla warfare against the Soviet regime. The terrorists of the latest draft are recruited exclusively from among the young, from the ranks of the Communist Youth and the party — not infrequently from the offspring of the ruling stratum If the old classes, which had dealt with before the October Revolution and afterwards with the collectivization of agriculture, had given up, the case was not the same regarding the proletariat, the protagonist of the revolution and blocked and oppressed momentarily by the Stalinist bureaucracy.

True, Trotsky was quick to point out that individual terrorism is not really effective. But this observation is not entirely convincing, and perhaps Trotsky was not entirely convinced himself. It characterizes the sharp contradiction between the bureaucracy and the broad masses of the people, especially the young. The overthrow of the Romanov dynasty had been preceded by a long series of terrorist attacks carried out by organizations that, despite the hard blows of repression, always managed to rebuild themselves.

What threatened it was not necessarily acts of individual terrorism but rather the beginnings of another great revolution:. All indications agree that the further course of development must inevitably lead to a clash between the culturally developed forces of the people and the bureaucratic oligarchy. There is no peaceful outcome for this crisis [ The development leads obviously to the road of revolution.

As we have seen, the murder of Kirov evokes the specter of civil war between the forces that had overthrown the old regime. In fact, this specter had haunted the history of Soviet Russia since the time of its constitution. If the specter of an internal schism within the Bolshevik leadership group, even threatening civil war within the same organization, lurked while Lenin was alive—despite the enormous prestige he enjoyed—this specter would definitely take complete form in the following years. This can be unequivocally deduced from important testimonies from inside the anti-Stalinist opposition and defectors from the communist movement, whose old faith has been transformed into implacable hatred.

The Opposition, on its side, completed its organisation as a clandestine Party within the only Party, with its own hierarchy in miniature, its Politbureau, its Central Committee, its regional and local agents, its foundation groups, its subscriptions, its circulars, its code for letters.

The prospect was of not only a political clash but a military one as well. Immediately after the end of World War II, the memoirs of Ruth Fischer, who was at the forefront of German communism and a member of the Presidium of the Comintern from to , were published in the United States. This was in Fischer continues her story:. This was an affair largely of technicalities, to be arranged between the two military leaders, Trotsky and Lashevich [Deputy Commissioner of War, who would die not long after, prior to the purges].

Since as second in command of the Red Army Lashevich was still in a better legal position, he was charged with laying the groundwork for military action against Stalin The author, Curzio Malaparte, who had been to Moscow and conducted interviews with top figures, gives a reading of the tensions of that is confirmed by Ruth Fischer, that is, by an authorized representative of the anti-Stalinist opposition:. The arrest of Trotsky on the eve of the tenth birthday of the October Revolution would produce an unfavorable impression [ Trotsky could hardly have chosen a more suitable moment for his attempt on the State.

His tactical wisdom had shown him how to cover his position. Stalin would never dare to arrest him for fear of tyrannical appearances. If and when he should dare to do so, it would surely be too late, said Trotsky. By then the bonfires of the tenth anniversary of the Revolution would have burnt out and Stalin would no longer stand at the helm of the State As we know, these plans failed and Trotsky, expelled from the party, was forced to go first to Alma Ata and then to Turkey.

The exiled revolutionary did not renounce his projects. How did he try to realize them? Malaparte writes:. The sabotage on the railways, in electric power stations and in post and telegraph offices increased from day to day. These were mere skirmishes leading up to the insurrection itself Were these imagined events or mere propaganda of the regime? The book cited here, after being published, circulated widely in Europe and the arguments contained in it do not seem to provoke wry smiles or cries of scandal.

By the early s, had this tradition completely dissolved, or did it continue to manifest itself in new ways? In any case, those who have been seen to cherish this tradition are the White Guards. And the leftist opposition? The conspiratorial tradition that had contributed mightily to the establishment of Soviet power was now being stirred against it. In What is to be Done? Taking note of this lesson, the opposition organized a clandestine network that paid particular attention to the military apparatus in a strict sense.

Its tormented process of formation made the task of infiltration easier. What happened at the time of formation of the Cheka, the first political police force of Soviet Russia, is significant. On July 6, , an attempt was made on the life of the German ambassador in Moscow; the perpetrator was Iakov G. Blumkin, a revolutionary socialist seeking to protest the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and reopen the debate on it: when the head of Cheka, Felix E.

Subsequently released by the Red Guard, Dherzhinsky then proceeded with the purging of the political police and the execution of those responsible for the conspiracy and mutiny. Thus, the victims of the first purge were Chekists, but ones who were part of the opposition According to a contemporary American historian, it is possible that the role of double agent was being played by Genrikh G. Yagoda himself, who led the first phase of the Great Terror, before he was himself consumed by it The battle is even better under camouflage, concealing the intention to undermine and overthrow the power.

The life and death struggle is unthinkable without military craftiness, in other words, without lying and deceit. Again the conspiratorial Bolshevik tradition turned against the regime that emerged from the revolution. In this way, they came in contact with other groups Meanwhile, with the abandonment of the NEP, the break with Bukharin had been completed. Regarding the attitude of the latter, it may be interesting to read the testimony of Humbert-Droz, leader of the Comintern, expelled from the Swiss Communist Party in because of his differences with Stalin.

While expressing these sentiments in private, Bukharin was directing Izvestija , a Soviet government organ. Is this a glaring inconsistency? It was not from the point of view of the Bolshevik leader, who continued to alternate between legal and illegal work, with the goal of overthrowing a regime, following another indication of Lenin to such heights that seemed obnoxious.

Referring to Tsarist Russia, we can read What is to be Done? It is precisely in this way that Bukharin used the platform of the Soviet government. Quite a considerable time elapsed [ Meanwhile, Marxist books were published one after another, Marxist journals and newspapers were founded, nearly everyone became a Marxist, Marxists were flattered, Marxists were courted, and the book publishers rejoiced at the extraordinary, ready sale of Marxist literature.

Bukharin and the opposition hoped that a similar phenomenon had created a climate favorable to the overthrow of Stalin. But Stalin had also read What is to be Done? In conclusion: we are witnessing a protracted civil war. The underground network reorganizes or attempts to reorganize despite the successive waves of repression that are becoming more and more ruthless. The Bolshevik leadership group was then broken by a pulse that is done without excluding blows and, at least in the calculations and hopes of the enemies of Stalin, from one moment to another can involve the whole country in an open and widespread manner.

While the opposition abided by the lesson of Lenin and the conspiratorial tradition of Bolshevism, weaving its plans in the shadows, this double game arouses the indignation of Soviet power, which identifies false friends as the most dangerous and slippery enemy: the tragedy is way of their outcome. Those who harbor these kinds of suspicion are not only limited to pro-government American journalist Anne Louise Strong Significantly, this resulted in an episode that occurred at the time the murder of Kirov was announced.

The predominant feelings—recalled Andrew Smith, who was working in the Elektrozavod factory in Kuznecov at that time—were of shock and anxiety about the future; but there are some who expressed regret about the fact that it was not Stalin who was murdered. An assembly was drawn later, during which the workers were invited to denounce the enemies or potential enemies of Soviet power.

With surprise, Smith remembered how, during the discussion, the group of dissidents with whom he was in contact had been the most active when it came to attacking opponents and deviants and calling for the most severe measures against them Another symptomatic episode was one that occurred outside the USSR but is helpful for understanding what was happening inside that country. When General Alexandr M. Orlov, at that time already a collaborator at the highest level of the NKVD and fleeing to the US in , was accused by journalist Louis Fischer of having participated in the liquidation of anti-Stalinist communist cadres during the Spanish civil war, he responded with the false claim that his accuser was actually a spy for Moscow In the Soviet Union in the s we saw the opposition infiltrate the highest levels of the repressive apparatus: it would be rather strange if, after having achieved this result, it did nothing but execute the orders of Stalin!

It was then necessary to become aware of the new situation. To Trotsky, the rise to power of Hitler did not mean that unity was necessary in order to confront the enormous danger being threatened from Germany, but rather that they could not stop halfway in fighting one power, the Stalinist, which had led the German and international proletariat to defeat.

We are in the presence of a category which is the leitmotif of the investigation of a Russian historian of certain and declared Trotskyist affiliation, author of a monumental work in several volumes dedicated precisely to the detailed reconstruction of this civil war.

Stalin was thus compared to Hitler; it should be noted that French Communists and Partisans were not limited to opposing the latter by passive or non-violent resistance. It is not surprising that one or another superpower occasionally tried to benefit from the latent civil war in Soviet Russia. Every time, those who requested or wanted to provoke foreign intervention were the losing side, who believed there was no other possibility of success.

Let us return to the attack on 6 July This was an integral part of a very ambitious project. The perpetrator of the attack against the German ambassador was a sincere revolutionary: before making contact with Trotskyists circles, he tried to emulate the Jacobins, protagonists of the most radical phase of the French Revolution and of the heroic resistance of the masses against the invasion of counterrevolutionary powers.

To the Soviet authorities, however, Blumkin could not have been anything but provocative: the success of his plan would have resulted in the army of Wilhelm II attacking and perhaps the collapse of the power established in the October Revolution. The intertwining of domestic and international politics re-emerges with every historical change. In the summer of the same year, in France, the Daladier government granted visas to Trotsky: only a few months had passed since Herriot had opposed doing so, and doubts began to arise regarding the reasons for this change of heart.

A new and dramatic turn of events occurred with the outbreak of the Second World War. In the spring of , the Soviet Union was still outside the conflict, indeed, still bound by the non-aggression pact with Germany. This was an intolerable situation for the countries already surrounded by Nazi aggression; on the pretext of the Russian-Finnish conflict, they considered bombing the oil facilities of Baku. Let us return for a moment to the attack on German ambassador Mirbach. The perpetrator was of course trying to provoke Germany into attacking, but not because he expected it to win: on the contrary, he was hoping that the whiplash would awaken Russia, leading to a decisive response.

Later we will see Blumkin participate in the Trotsky-led conspiracy. Of the numerous successive interpretations and reinterpretations of this analogy only one thing is clear: not even the invasion of the Soviet Union would have ended attempts by the opposition to seize power. Even more disturbing is the aforementioned comparison of Stalin with Nicholas II: during World War I, denounced as an imperialist war, the Bolsheviks had proclaimed the slogan of revolutionary defeatism and had identified as the main enemy the czarist autocracy and the internal enemy, who needed to be fought and defeated first.

Once independent, it would have been unified with Western Ukraine, which would be wrested from Poland, and Carpathian Ukraine, which had been annexed shortly before by Hungary. Immediately after the invasion of Poland, Trotsky went further. It was not a particularly ignominious suspicion either: referring to Lenin , Trotsky sought to use in his favor the dialectic which had at the time led to the defeat of the Russian army, the collapse of the czarist autocracy, and the victory of the October Revolution. Again, the previous history of Bolshevism turned against Soviet power.

Against this background, a charge of treason is of course unsurprising. As the flames of World War II burned higher and higher, destined to reach the Soviet Union just as Trotsky predicted, he continued to make declarations and statements that were anything but reassuring. Any government would identify organizations of this orientation as a threat to national security. Where did this certainty come from?

Was it a prediction based solely on developments within the country? On one side and another, rather than pursue an arduous analysis of objective contradictions and conflicting options, as well as the political conflicts that developed over them, it is preferred to resort hastily to the category of treason and, in its extreme form, the traitor becomes a conscious and valuable agent of the enemy.

Between one side and the other the most insidious accusations were being exchanged; it is evident that the most fanciful were those from the opposition. The contradictory and tormented mood of its leader has been subtly analyzed by a Russian historian who can be little suspected of Stalinist sympathies:. Trotsky did not want the defeat of the Soviet Union, but the overthrow of Stalin.

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In his prophecies about the coming war, insecurity was noticeable: the exiled Trotsky knew that only a defeat of his homeland could break the power of Stalin [ He wanted war, because in this war he saw the only chance to overthrow Stalin. But this Trotsky would not admit even to himself. Civil war latent or manifest within the new leadership group that emerged from the collapse of the old regime, mutual accusations of treason and collusion with the imperialist enemy, and intense activity by secret services, dedicated as much to the recruitment of agents as to manipulation, make up the context in which we must place the matter that in led to the accusation and execution of Marshal Tukhachevsky and other numerous and prominent members of the Red Army.

Behind this case there is a long previous history. Years before Lenin saw the possibility of a Bonapartist period and also expressed his concern to Trotsky: would civil power really come to be obeyed by the military? In Tukhachevsky seems to independently decide on the longed-for victory march on Warsaw.

Ten years later, Stalin was alerted by the GPU about plans being woven against him in military circles. Was this just a set-up? However, unimpressed by this Bonapartist danger, in Stalin promoted Tukhachevsky and four other military leaders to the rank of marshal. On the contrary, these have found their most finished expression in the army. What can we say about this new text? Rumors spread in the circles of the White Russians in Paris about the military coup was preparing to further feed the climate of suspicion and concern in Moscow Thus it was not only Stalin who believed the voices or information conveyed by the Czechoslovak president.

In conclusion; doubts remain, although it seems difficult to explain everything that happened through the usual deus ex machina : a power-hungry and bloodthirsty dictator, eager to surround himself with puppets ready for blind and unconditional obedience. Even greater is the fragility of this explanation insofar as in Stalin had no difficulties when he attended, along with Molotov, the classes of the director of the Military Academy, Boris M. Shaposhnikov; and these classes, taught by a highly respected strategist who was not a member of the Communist Party, Stalin seemed to have benefitted greatly The posts of Tukhachevsky and his collaborators were occupied by generals who, far from being passive executors of orders, expressed their opinions openly and argued with independent judgment , not hesitating to contradict the supreme leader, who on the other hand encouraged and occasionally rewarded such an attitude see above, p.

In order to not get stuck in the caricature of Stalin drawn by Trotsky and Khrushchev for two different but equally bitter political struggles, we must not lose sight of the fact that the path that began in October was marked by three civil wars. The first saw the confrontation between revolution on one side and the front formed by its various enemies on the other, supported by capitalist powers fixated with the containment of the Bolshevik infection by all possible means. The second developed from the revolution from the top and from the outside, and consists substantially, despite some impulses from below by the peasantry, of the collectivization of agriculture.

The third is the one that fractured the Bolshevik ruling group. The last one was more complex to the extent that it was characterized by high mobility and even dramatic changes ahead. With Bukharin against Stalin? The former member of the duumvirate thus headed towards a future bloc with Trotsky. Finally the different oppositions coalesced against the winner; it is clear that in the deadly conflict between the Bolsheviks alignments shifted quickly until the last moment.

Not always easily distinguishable acts of terrorism and sabotage could be the expression of counter-revolution or a new revolution , the three civil wars were in turn intertwined with the intervention of one or another great power. The convoluted and tragic set of these conflicts is dissolved in the context that was described in different ways by Trotsky first and Khruschev second, telling the simple and uplifting fable of the monster who with only a touch transforms gold into blood and mud.

So far we have concentrated on the intertwining between the ideological, political, and military contradictions within the revolutionary process, on the one hand, and international conflicts, on the other. But the combination would not be complete if it did not also involve the dimension of the long duration of Russian history. Observers from the most diverse ideologies had warned of approaching catastrophe long before and even well before the formation of the Bolshevik Party.

In , from the city of St. Let us jump ahead about half a century. Immediately after the revolution of , Prime Minister Serge Witte would both highlight the unsustainability of the Russian situation and alert the czar to the danger represented by the bunt , the peasant revolt:. The advance of human progress is unstoppable. The idea of human freedom will triumph, if not by way of reform, then by way of revolution. But in the latter even it will come to life on the ashes of a thousand years of destroyed history.

The Russian bunt, mindless and pitiless, will sweep away everything, turn everything to dust [ Witte was also involved in the fierce repression directed against the revolution and the often brutal jacqueries that often accompanied it: Interior Minister P. This situation continued until the outbreak of the war. And this was exactly what happened. The myth of a country happily following the path of liberalism and democracy after the collapse of the autocracy had already fallen into crisis.

It would be easy to accuse the English statesman of hypocrisy: he knew that, between February and October, London had regularly supported coup attempts aimed at restoring the tsarist autocracy or imposing a military dictatorship. But this assertion does not withstand any historical analysis.

It was not only the obstinacy of the leaders who emerged in the February days first of all Kerensky , persisting in a bloodbath that the vast majority of the population was determined to end: this was a political line that could only be carried forward through the iron fist and terror on the front and at the rear. Nor was it the recurrent attempts to establish a military dictatorship with which Churchill was not at all unfamiliar. In St. For this reason, we must start from World War I and the crisis and disintegration of the Russian army. It might be even a good idea to go further back.

The oppression, exploitation, and humiliation of a boundless mass of peasants at the hands of a small aristocratic elite, who considered their own people foreigners, of a different and inferior race, were harbingers of a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. The social conflict was intensified further by World War I, in which the noble officers daily exercised literal life-and-death power over the servant-soldiers: they would even resort to artillery at the first signs of crisis to try to maintain discipline in the front and rear, instead of dealing with it case by case The collapse of the old regime was the time for revenge and retaliation that had been fermented and buried for centuries.

Prince G. Overall, the situation created after the February revolution and the collapse of the old regime can be characterized as follows:. Russia, in short, was being Balkanized [ If proved anything, it was that Russian society was neither strong enough nor cohesive enough to sustain a democratic revolution. Apart from the state itself, there was nothing holding Russia together. What an irony of history that a party predicting and advocating the final extinction of the State would itself reintroduce the State!

A ruthless impetus was needed to bring order to a world that, dulled by centuries of isolation and oppression, saw a new period of barbarity after the war, the dissolution of the old regime, and anarchy and chaos growing everywhere. But it would be trivially ideological to focus only on the recourse to terroristic violence taken by one of the actors involved. This was a savage war of vengeance against the Communist regime. Thousands of Bolsheviks were brutally murdered.

Many were the victims of gruesome and symbolic tortures: ears, tongues and eyes were cut out; limbs, heads and genitals were cut off; stomachs were sliced open and stuffed with wheat; crosses were branded on foreheads and torsos; Communists were nailed to trees, burned alive, drowned under ice, buried up to their necks and eaten by dogs or rats, while crowds of peasants watched and shouted. Party and Soviet offices were ransacked. Police stations and rural courts were burned to the ground. Soviet schools and propaganda centres were vandalized [ Simple banditry also played a role.

Most of the rebel armies held up trains. Raids on local towns, and sometimes the peasant farmers, were another common source of provisions. What was the cause of this savage violence? Was it the policies put into place by the Bolsheviks? With regard to the Bolshevik policies it is also necessary to distinguish the measures that beat down the peasants senselessly from those that had a completely different character. Women did heavy field work alongside the men, and sometimes nurseries were set up for the children.

There was also an absence of religious practice. Here is how one of them, Mikhail Romas, lived:. From the start the villagers were suspicious of his co-operative. They could not understand why its prices were so much cheaper than the other retail outlets. The richest peasants, who were closely linked with the established merchants, intimidated Romas and his allies. They filled one of his firewood logs with gunpowder, causing a minor explosion. They threatened the poorer peasants who began to show an interest in the co-operative; and brutally murdered one of his assistants, a poor peasant from the village, leaving his horribly mutilated body in several pieces along the river bank.

Finally, they blew up the co-operative along with half the rest of the village by setting light to the kerosene store. The naive populists barely managed to save themselves by running, he ran away. Once again emerges the prospect of long historical scope that is behind the violence that was unleashed in a Russia in crisis. This also applies to the horrible pogroms against Jews and Bolsheviks, especially the second to the extent that they were suspected of being manipulated by the first. Let us again call on the British historian previously quoted:.