Pitirim Sorokin and Dmitri Volkogonov describe the Kronstadt Massacre and Trotsky's Role. Peter Myers, July 11, 2002; update January 19, 2009. My comments are shown {thus}; write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/kronstadt.html.

A soviet was a "workers' council". The Kronstadt Massacre showed that "worker control via the soviets" was a myth, right from the start of the USSR. Instead, the Bolsheviks ruled by "Democratic Centralism".

(1) Bolsheviks elicit Anarchist support but lose it as they impose Dictatorship & Terror
(2) Kronstadt sailors proclaim "Soviets without Communists"
(3) Pitirim Sorokin, Leaves From A Russian Diary
(4) Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: the Eternal Revolutionary

(1) Bolsheviks elicit Anarchist support but lose it as they impose Dictatorship & Terror


by Professor Gerhard Rempel


The anarchists had always stood for revolution, though some of them wanted this revolution to be achieved, not by bloodshed but by the peaceful means of a general strike; this did not apply to all anarcho-syndicalists, least of all to the Spanish movement. Thus, in more than one respect, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia was the fulfillment of the dreams of international anarchism. Even its form appealed deeply to them. Bakunin was the first Russian revolutionary to conceive the idea of a revolutionary movement led and directed by a small circle of select conspirators, but carried on by the spontaneous rising of the largest masses.

Finally, the Soviet regime had something deeply akin to anarchism. Had it been a persistent reality, and not an incident in the evolution of a party dictatorship, it would have been anarchism in full. For the Soviets, elected by the masses, directly responsible to them, getting no special reward for their work, locally and regionally independent, must be and were the ideal of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism. Accordingly Lenin, as early as 1917, had expressed in State and Revolution the idea that Bolshevism, on the international battle-field, must seek the alliance of the best elements of the anarchists against the socialist traitors.

But its is obvious that the successes the Comintern scored in this milieu could not last. Not a single one of the anarchist contacts thus established lasted for more than two or three years. The anarchists broke with the Comintern in disgust as soon as the dictatorship of the party, the Cheka, and the Red Army had fully developed; admiration turned into deep hatred.

(2) Kronstadt sailors proclaim "Soviets without Communists"



by Professor Gerhard Rempel

Just before the X Congress of the Party in early 1921, Lenin declared that socialism could be built in Russia only on one of two conditions: if there was an international socialist revolution, or if there was a compromise with the peasant majority within the country. The essence of the New Economic Policy which he adopted soon afterwards was acceptance of a compromise with the peasantry. The Bolshevik theoretician Riazanov labeled the NEP "the peasant Brest," that is to say, a temporary truce was concluded with the peasant adversary, as with the German Empire at Brest-Litovsk.

In reluctantly accepting the terms of Brest-Litovsk, Lenin had not given up hope that a revolutionary situation would still develop in the West. In 1919, when Communist regimes appeared briefly in central Europe and in 1920, when Red armies were approaching Warsaw and hoping to reach Berlin, such hopes revived. However, even though the Comintern tried twice more to foment a revolution in Germany, by 1921 it was plain enough that the Russian Communists could not count on their foreign brethren to solve their immediate problems.

These problems were domestic. Peasant risings had erupted in the south and east of Russia, for centuries the regions from which jacqueries had sprung. As demobilization of the Red Army got under way in September 1920, rural riots, the most serious led by Antonov in Tambov, broke out and continued to smolder despite punitive measures. Tambov was in fact not pacified until 1924, and months after the promulgation of the NEP, the army general staff reported that twenty thousand "bandits" were operating throughout south Russia and the Ukraine. The climax of anti-Communist unrest, involving as Lenin himself admitted "discontent not only among a considerable part of the peasantry but among the workers as well," came with the uprising in Kronstadt in March 1921.

Kronstadt had been a great Tsarist naval base, but during 1917 its sailors had become one of the strongest bulwarks of the Bolshevik cause. Its location on an island in sight of Petrograd made the political orientation of its garrison most important. During the Civil War, many of the most active leaders during the 1917 events had gone off to become Red political and military officers in various districts, and in 1921 most of its personnel consisted of new peasant recruits. The uprising in March fleetingly threw off Communist rule and proclaimed the slogan "Soviets without Communists."

(3) Pitirim Sorokin, Leaves From A Russian Diary, E. P. Dutton & Co, New York 1924.

{p. 242} In October, 1920, the "night visitors" went to my Petrograd address and demanded "comrade" Sorokin. Truthfully my friends told the men that I no longer lived there, and that they did not know where I was. When they asked for what crime I wanted the men answered: "For banditry."

"That is impossible," exclaimed my friend. "I have known Professor Sorokin for years, and I know he is a professor of Sociology in the University. '

"All professors nowadays are bandits," replied one of the Chekhists.

Next morning my students read the announcement: "On account of sudden illness, the lectures of Professor Sorokin are interrupted. Notice will be given of their resumption." Such announcements were so frequent that the students quite understood. For two weeks I peacefully reposed in the apartment of a friend pursuing my studies. As soon as I "recovered my health" I went back to my lectures, but these sudden illnesses became more and more frequent between 1920 and 1922. After a public speech or the publication of an article, it became my habit never to spend the night in my own home. Always on going to bed I asked myself, "Will they come for me tonight?" I became accustomed to this, as man accustoms himself to anything.

{p. 243} CHAPTER XX


"THE remuneration of the foreign press," said a prominent member of the Soviet Government in 1920, "requires a considerable sum of our money." This was evident from the number of foreign correspondents, foreign writers and other celebrities who visited Russia at this time, and the character of the information they spread abroad. The English Labor Delegation, H. G. Wells and Bertrand Russell, like other foreigners, saw principally what the Communists wanted to show them; they came in touch with few non-Communists, nor would they have been able to speak with many such had they so desired. They simply swallowed what ever bait the Soviet leaders offered them and went home impressed with the dictatorship of the proletariat, "endless Communist enthusiasm," and the devotion of the people to the Soviet Government. I did not meet Bertrand Russell, but friends of mine did meet him and made what efforts they could to enlighten him as to the true condition of affairs.

I was present at the meeting in the Palace of Labor, from which most real laborers were excluded, and I saw something of H. G. Wells who, from his arrival, was placed under the constant guardianship of Gorky. Wells visited the Academy of Science, but he could not talk with J. Pavlov or other dis-

{p. 244} tinguished academicians. Gorky did not take him through the University, but showed him only its one decently equipped building, the physical laboratory. A dinner was given Wells in the House of Arts, with clean table cloths, clean dishes, and better food than any of the intellectuals had seen in years. There was even meat on that table. But to give it a proletarian appearance, the spoons were of wood. To create a truly liberal atmosphere, a number of University professors and literary men were invited, although most of the guests were Communists, and two Chekhists were on hand to watch the counter-revolutionaries. Indignant at the betrayal of truth by these men, I decided to make a speech, although I could not then use the English language. Addressing Wells, but really speaking to the Communists, I explained the real situation and the appalling campaign of murder which was being carried on in the name of liberty. I spoke moderately, for one does with the hangman in the room, but I must have spoken to the point, for Gorky suddenly interrupted, saying that such speeches were inadmissable.

"Then why are we here?" I asked. "Are we invited only to assist in deceiving this great English writer?" At this several celebrated Russian writers, to show their indignation, rose and left the room, crying: "We refuse to be classed with liars." Amphitheatroff, an eminent novelist, remained, saying to me: "I am going to try to finish your speech." He did manage to speak briefly, but Gorky made him take his seat, declaring that what he was saying was "improper." Gorky's own

{p. 245} speech was a sweeping defense of the Communist Government, and made him very popular with them. But it cost him the respect of the intellectuals, many of whom after that evening would never take his hand. As for me, even before the dinner to Wells was over, I left the hall and once more, for my "health's sake," disappeared.

{Wells was a leading supporter of the early Soviet regime. Wells and the Webbs supported Trotsky (against Stalin) at the time of his Expulsion from the USSR: wells-lenin-league.html}

In 1920, when all these famous foreigners were reporting so enthusiastically on the new democracy, the mortality of scientists and scholars increased so frightfully that the Soviet Government began to fear that in a few years all Russian scientists would be dead. A special "scientific ration" was therefore established, giving each family of scientists a monthly allowance as follows: forty pounds of bad bread, two or three pounds of sugar, five pounds of salted fish or meat, five pounds of groats, one pound of salt, two to four pounds of butter, half a pound of "coffee," a poor substitute for the real thing, half a pound of tobacco, and five boxes of matches. We were also permitted to organize a House of Scholars, where we might hold meetings and conferences. For these concessions we were grateful neither to the Government, which had done so much to increase the sufferings and death of the University people, nor to Gorky, who all along had played the role of a cunning broker, displaying a generosity which cost him nothing. We were grateful to the foreign scholars and scientists who sent us additions to our poor fare. Every half pound of sugar or bit of soap we thus received was a treasure; and once when we received in one parcel, from

{p. 246} some Czecho-Slovak professors, ten pounds of sugar, we felt like millionaires.

The increased ration of course gave us great joy, and once or twice a week when we visited the House of Scholars to receive it, we gladly stood hours in the queues. "Beggars of all the World" we called ourselves, watching world-famous scholars like Pavlov and Markoff waiting in line with rucksacks or baskets; Karpinsky, president of the Academy of Science, falling asleep from happiness when he received his first basket; others, almost as well known, asking each other like paupers: "What are they giving this week?" The House of Scholars became a pleasant retreat also when foreign journals and magazines began to be sent us, H. G. Wells being among the donors. Unfortunately, no new works on social science or economics, psychology or history, philosophy and law, were included in these. We had The Outlook for 1919, some copies of The Edinburgh Review for 1917-18, two old copies of The Economic Review and one of The Historical Review, nothing more. In 1922 I received a few sociological works from Czecho-Slovak scholars and from Prof. E. C. Hayes, and these were most eagerly read by all of us.

As our economic situation became ameliorated our status in other respects became lowered. At the beginning of 1921 a decree was published, signed by the commissary Rotstein, that "Liberty of thought and scientific research is a bourgeois prejudice; that all professors, teachers, and writers should teach and write in full accordance with

{p. 247} Marxian and Communistic theories; and that those who would not do so would be dismissed." To this we replied with a declaration saying that liberty of thought was a condition without which no science could exist or develop; that science recognized no dictatorship except the dictatorship of truth, and that no real scientist or professor would or should obey a decree so absolutely dogmatic and anti-scientific.

Some University professors were instantly dismissed, while others, forbidden to teach, were removed to the Research Institute, "where they would not be harmful to students." The autonomy of the University was utterly destroyed, the elected deans being replaced by Communists, the dismissed professors by Red professors, and a special commissary - a freshman, Tsviback - was set over the Rector and academician Shimkevich. A sailor of the Baltic Fleet, one Serebryakoff, was made dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. It is enough to say of the Red professors that at one of the faculty meetings the students appeared with the following petition: "As many new professors have been appointed whose scientific works and University activities are unknown to us, we beg the faculty to require the new deans and new professors to publish a list of their scientific works and a short curriculum vitae to show their University career." The Red deans and professors got out of this delicate situation by arresting some of the students' representatives, and declaring that they held all bourgeois sciences in contempt.

{p. 248} The students prepared a new petition in which they declared the lectures of the new professors revealed ignorance of their subjects inadmissable even in freshmen. They gave us stenographic reports of these lectures to prove their charges, and they begged us to organize special courses in which they could be trained. Of course, we could neither dismiss the new professors nor organize special courses, and the Rector told the students to take their complaints to the Government - that is, if they were anxious to be arrested.

The new commissary of the University, the Jew Tsviback, took away from the Rector, Shimkevich, the most prominent zoologist in Russia, all his seals and declared that he was now the University head. For the contemptuous manner in which he treated professors and students alike, this man was caught one night by students and severely beaten. But that did not drive him from office. In 1921-22 the Rector was dismissed and most of the professors dismissed, banished, or executed. This policy of the Government was a clear trial of the moral and social spirit of Russian scholars, and I can testify that most of them withstood every trial and temptation to which they were subjected. A very few of those in the lower ranks of the scientists, Svyatlovsky, Gredeskul, Engel, and Derjavin, for example, preferred the benefits of the Government to sacrifices for truth. One of the greatest, J. P. Pavlov, showed to what heights moral and scientific ideals soared in Russia in those terrible days. For no other rea-

{p. 249} son than foreign propaganda, the Soviet Government in 1921 issued a decree giving Pavlov special consideration, providing for publication of all his works, and giving him a committee consisting of Gorky, Lunacharsky, and Kristy, to care for him and for his laboratory. The answer of Pavlov to this decree was this declaration: "I am not a broker, and I do not sell my knowledge for your rations. The dogs in my laboratory may eat better food if you give it to them, but I will not accept any privileges or benefits from hands that are destroying Russian science and culture." Another distinguished intellectual, the writer M., refused even to accept the "scientific ration," and though he was in an advanced stage of tuberculosis, he declined to go to a Soviet sanitarium. "I prefer to die rather than accept anything from the murderers of my country," he said.

Such acts of heroism, such devotion to ideals, in the face of all temptations, have been every day occurrences in Russia during the Soviet rule. Between these moral heroes and those men who have shown themselves cowards, there have been intermediate types, among them three or four scientists who, while hating Communism, adopted a policy of "captatio benevolentiae," flattery and servility to the ruling powers. The great majority of intellectuals have simply endured and, when endurance failed, died.


"CAN YOU, comrades, point to any other country in the world where the Government gives to the working people food, clothing, lodging, and everything free from any charge as we are doing in our Communistic Russia?!" So spoke Grishka (Gregory) the Third, otherwise Zinovieff, at a meeting of workmen early in 1921.

"I can," cried a voice from the audience.

"Then pray do."

"In the old Czarist galleys food and clothes, lodging and everything were free, just as in our Communistic society. Only they were better," shouted the man.

"Good! Perfectly true," laughed the audience. Grishka tried to speak again, but he was interrupted.

"Sit down! We have 'heard enough, you fat devil!" And as the workers' patience, long suppressed, broke all restraints, Chekhists with revolvers surrounded Zinovieff. The shouts continued, personal insults were hurled, and Grishka the Third disappeared.

Scenes like this are not reported in the censored news which leaves Russia, but they have been common for at least three years. I was in Novgorod-

{p. 262} skaia Province when two Communist agents, requisitloning corn, butter, milk, and meat, tried, like Zinovieff, to represent the Soviet Government as a purely beneficent institution. An old peasant was the voice of the despoiled muzhiks. "Listen, you comrades, to what I tell you," he declared. "The land is ours, it is true, but all the harvest is theirs. The forests are ours, the cattle are ours, but the trees are theirs and all the milk, butter, and meat are theirs. That is what the Government has done for us. Let them take the land back and eat it themselves." Turning to the Communist agents, he continued: "Before we began to lend to your proletariat we had plenty of plows and nails. For three years we have been lending you all we raised. You have taken everything without payment, and now there are no plows and no nails. I think it is time for us to stop lending."

Other voices rose, some threatening, some conciliatory, but all of the same tenor.

"Stop this counter-revolutionary talk," commanded one of the Communists angrily. "Tomorrow morning you must pay the prod-razverstka (food tax), that is all. Every man who does not pay will be arrested." "So!" exclaimed a stout peasant," 'the comrade peasants' suddenly become in your sight counter-revolutionists. You are worse even than a Czarist tax collector. Then listen, there is God," pointing to an ikon, "and there is the door. Get out."

"This is open rebellion," cried the Communist. But in the ensuing scrimmage the two tax collectors

{p. 263} found themselves no match for the crowd of peasants, who seized their revolvers.

"Go in peace," said the head peasant, as they threw the Communists out of the door, "but if any of us are arrested you will lose your heads."

By 1921 the destructive consequences of the Communist program became clear to even the dullest peasants. Their fields lay untilled and weed-grown. The peasants had no seeds to sow and they had no incentive to industry. In the towns everything was slowing down to a death sleep. Nationalized factories, having no fuel, stopped operating. Railways were broken down. Buildings were falling in ruins. Schools had almost ceased to function. The deadly noose of Communism was slowly choking the people to death. But Russia did not want to die, and in one sudden, desperate uprising the whole system for a time was smashed. But the Communists were left alive. In some ways that is unfortunate for them, for if they had all been killed by their enemies they would have lived in history as martyrs who tried to establish a new order but perished before their experiment had time to prove itself. Instead a different end is destined for them, an end of slow disintegratlon. Their destiny is to destroy their own ideal with their own hands, to exhibit it to the world in all its rottenness and horror; to plunge themselves deeper and deeper into the mire of corruption, cupidity, crimes, and bestiality; to erect higher and higher the mountain of the slain. And what end could be more terrible?

When that destined end comes, the cross which

{p. 264} Russia bears will be taken from her shouders, in spite of those moral bankrupts abroad who ignorantly or otherwise support the hands of the stranglers. Let these foreign theorists go on as they have been doing. They cannot help what will finally come, and what was foreshadowed by the terrible events of 1921 in Petrograd. By the middle of February in that year the factories had practically ceased production, railway traffic was paralyzed and could no longer transport food supplies to starving Petrograd. Stormy meetings were held in the idle factories and at one of these Zinovieff, spokesman for the Government, was badly beaten. Rumor told us that neighboring towns and cities were in rebellion and that peasant riots were increasing. Even in the Red army defection was spreading.

On my way to the University on February 24 I witnessed a demonstration of workers from the Laferm factory on Vasilievsky Island which was strikingly akin to the scenes of the March Revolution of 1917. The same cry for bread, the same demand for liberty of speech and of the press, only this time the banners read "Down with the Soviet." Children running around merrily sang popular songs satirizing the Government. A popular parody of "The International" ran thus:

"I am sitting on a barrel
Barrel turns about ...
The Chekha makes us quarrel.
Let us send it to the devil. ..."

{p. 265} On the Nicolaevsky Bridge the demonstration met Communist troops, which opened fire and dispersed the workmen. The next days the riots were renewed. The crowds were larger and more defiant, and it was plain that the people were trying to get together. Many were arrested or killed. But the movement grew, and as Russians in the Red army refused to act, the Government brought up the ever-faithful forces, principally Lettish, Bashkirian, and International troops, and restrained the mobs. On February 26 a great demonstration oecurred in the center of the town, on the Nevsky Prospekt, and this time so many people were killed that it seemed that the Government had completely suppressed the uprising.

The next day, February 27, we heard that the Kronstadt sailors, formerly ardent supporters of Communism, had revolted. This turned out to be true, and had that revolt succeeded, had we had even one free newspaper to support their revolt, it would have been the end of the Soviet Govermnent. Plainly we heard the cannonade from Kronstadt, and plainly we saw the panic of the Government. Within twenty-four hours a proclamation appeared announcing the New Economic Policy (NEP). According to the proclamation, requisitions from peasants were to be replaced by definite taxes; trade and commerce were to be re-established; many factories would be denationalized; people would be allowed to buy and sell food; special conferences of non-Communist workers would be organized to improve

{p. 266} living standards. In this way Communism was liquidated and "NEP" was established.

The effect on the half-starved population was to weaken their spirit of rebellion. The bribe of meat and butter, potatoes and bread, even more than the presence of the Chekhist troops, caused the people to cease their attacks on the Government. Thus the resistance to the Kronstadt rebellion was strengthened, the Soviet Government promising the army Kronstadt and its entire population if it would suppress the sailors' revolt. For three weeks we listened to the constant sound of guns, our hearts melting with joy in the hope that the sailors would win that life and death duel.

At that time both my wife and I were seized with pneumonia. She went to the hospital first, and next morning, although I was suffering, I attended a private meeting of six professors, two lawyers and two priests, with whom I discussed plans of action in case the Government fell; plans of organization of a new government, reorganization of the courts, the police force, and so on. There was no conspiracy, but simply practical discussion. I mention this because later, for just such discussions, many people were executed.

The next day I was so ill that my physician ordered me to the hospital in Czarskoe Selo, where my wife fought with pneumonia. In normal times that hospital would have been counted a dirty place, but at least we had hot water, clean linen, food enough, and very few insects. My temperature not being very high, I lay in my bed quite happy. In

{p. 267} the same room lay five or six workmen, two Soviet clerks and a University professor. Boom! Boom! echoed the sound of canon from Kronstadt, and we whispered to ourselves: "Brave boys. God help them." In the darkness of the night I was awakened by what I first thought were the delirious ravings of one of the patients. But it was only one of the workmen on his knees, crossing himself, and muttering: "God help them. Great God help them. Deliver us from these sufferings." Many hearts throbbed with prayers like that during those days and nights.

A week passed. The cannonade still went on. Boom! Boom! My wife and I progressed through the crisis of pneumonia and began to mend, still to the sound of guns. But on March 18 the firing died down and a dead silence fell over Petrograd. Joyful excitement left the hearts of the people and fear took its place. The duel of Kronstadt was over. The Communists had conquered.

Woe to the vanquished! For three days the town was at the absolute mercy of the Red troops. For three days the Lettish, Bashkirian, Hungarian, Tartars, Russian, Jewish, and International dregs, free from any restraint, mad with blood lust and alcohol, killed and violated. Men, women, children, young and old, strong and weak, all alike suffered untold tortures before death released them.

In the days of their Communist madness those Kronstadt sailors had committed many crimes. They too had murdered and violated. But for what they had done they now expiated most horribly.

{p. 268}  The Government, which had been raised to power principally through their support, had no mercy upon them. When the bloody feast in Kronstadt was finished, thousands of the "pride and glory" of the new regime were in prison or dead. About ten thousand were shot and almost as many were sent to places where they could not long survive. This was done in spite of guarantees of the Government that those who surrendered would be given immunity.

At the end of March, passing along Millionnaiai Street, I saw a group of workmen walking with bags of potatoes on their backs. Near the Hermitage we met a large group of sailor-prisoners being taken from the Chekha to Predvarilka prison. When they saw the workmen they began to revile them. "Traitors! You sold our lives for the Communists' potatoes. Tomorrow you will have our flesh to eat with your potatoes. Eat, and choke yourselves!"

The workers stopped, looking after the prisoners. Soon they passed with their guards and disappeared around the corner. The workers started slowly to walk on, but one man ran to the Neva and threw his bag of potatoes into the water. "I can't eat them now," he said bitterly. "Those boys are right. We betrayed them, and their blood is on our hands."

Three days after that the people of Czarskoe Selo living near the Kazanskoe cemetery had a sleepless night. Endless discharges of rifles were heard and seemed to strike them in the very heart. Five hundred sailors were shot that night near the cemetery.

{p. 269} The regular executioners could not do it all, so the Union of Young Communists was mobilized to help them. This was represented as a part of their party obligation. But the Young Communists had not had much rifle practice, and possibly, too, their hands were shaking. Next morning people passing the cemetery heard groans coming from hastily filled-in graves. From our window we saw motor trucks of jackets and trousers, caps and shoes of the executed sailors. From other suburbs of Petrograd we heard of similar sights and sounds. "NEP" was dearly bought by these men of Kronstadt and by thousands of peasant heroes now lying in eternal peace. If the politicians ever forget that, Russia will remind them in the future.

{p. 280} Lazarevsky burned in my brain. Now I knew why I had been so disturbed. To keep those letters for many days and send them to a wife after her husband had been shot! What a hellish deed!"

"Hush! Don't express your opinions so loudly," said an acquaintance who passed at the moment. I had not known that I was speaking aloud. My first thought was to go back to Mrs. Lazarevsky, but I literally could not do it. Let someone else tell her of her "happiness."

Shot for adversely describing the state of the Soviet oil industry! The oil industry was indeed in a deplorable state, but the report of Tikhvinsky was written for the Soviet by order of Lenin himself. Shot for giving information about the museums! Shot for writing a project for a new electoral law! I remembered our private discussions during the Kronstadt riots, about the reorganization of the Government, the courts, and the police, should the Soviet Government fall. Lazarevsky said then that he would try to outline a new electoral law. This outline, falling in the hands of the Bolsheviki, had condemned him. Shot for his monarchist opinions! Not the fact that Goumileff was one of the greatest poets in Russia, not his bravery in the war, which had been rewarded by the order of St. George, not the discretion of his daily conduct were enough to save him. He had monarchist convictions. In this "plot" were involved people who had never even known each other, and all of them had been denied even an open trial. If in a "bourgeois" country such a mockery of justice had

{p. 281} been accorded Communists or anarchists, what a roar would have been heard all over the world against the merciless cruelty of "capitalism."

But this was not the full extent of Communist cruelty. When Mrs. Lazarevsky and relatives of the other victims of the bloodthirsty god requested the Chekha to give them the bodies of their beloved for burial, the Chekha insolently answered: "What bodies? Those persons have been sent to Archangel prison." Most of the relatives knew this was intended as an added torture, but two, not really believing, and hoping that their people were still alive, became insane. Visiting old Professor Tagantzeff, I found the aged man utterly crushed with grief. "It is time for me to die," he said weeping. "All is over for me. But my grandchildren - they have sent them to an asylum for young criminals. Why could they not permit those innocents to be brought up by our friends? I thought once that they were human, but now I know that they are worse than devils." In 1922, soon after my own banishment, poor old Tagantzeff died.

"This proletarian justice once more shows our enemies our power," Grrishka the Third declared in a speech. "Let them remember this lesson."

We remember. If ever we are given opportunity to do justice to him and his companions, may God help us not to be too soft-hearted. {end quotes}

(4) Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: the Eternal Revolutionary, tr. & ed. Harold Shukman, HarperCollinsPublishers, London 1996.

{p. 130} The Red Army's crushing of the Kronstadt revolt, which occurred during the Tenth Party Congress of March 1921 when the once-loyal garrison rebelled against Bolshevik policies, gave a perfect illustration of Trotsky's capability in this sphere. When he was told about the uprising, he at once dictated an address:

{quote} To the population of Kronstadt and the rebellious forts. I order all those who have raised their hand against the socialist Fatherland to lay down their arms immediately. Recalcitrants must be disarmed and handed over to the Soviet authorities. Commissars and other representatives of the regime who have been arrested [by the insurgents] must be released at once. Only those who surrender unconditionally can count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic. I am simultaneously issuing instructions to prepare to crush the insurgency and the insurgents with an iron hand. {end quote}

The address was signed by Trotsky, as People's Commissar, S.S. Kamenev, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, commander of 7th Army Tukhachevsky, and chief-of-staff Lebedev. Years later, when his role in Kronstadt was mentioned in the West Trotsky tried to justify his actions in his Bulletin of tke Opposition and in letters to his supporters. These letters, of which there were several hundred, quickly found their way into the hands of the NKVD.

{p. 131} The use of terror and violence by both sides in the civil war is well illustrated by memoirs in the collection Arkhiv russkoi revolyutsii, published in Berlin in the 1920s. Former White officer V.Yu. Arbatov recalled: 'The head of the Cheka in Yekaterinoslav, Valyavka, used to release a dozen or so prisoners into a small, high-walled yard at night. Valyavka himself with two or three comrades would go into the middle of the yard and open fire on these utterly defenceless people. Their cries could be heard throughout the town on those quiet May nights ... The Whites were no better; they would loot any town they entered for a whole day.'

{p. 213} In practice, this meant Trotsky's issuing orders, such as one he sent to the military commander at Vologda on 4 August 1918: 'Root out the counter-revolutionaries without mercy, lock up suspicious characters in concentration camps - this is a necessary condition of success ... Shirkers will be shot, regardless of past service. ...'

{p. 392} In 1938, at the height of the Moscow trials, many of Trotsky's

{p. 393} intellectual friends began asking themselves at what point and from what source the Stalinist terror and the violent, anti-democratic character of the Soviet regime had originated. For Max Eastman, Victor Serge and Boris Souvarine the rot had begun with the crushing of the Kronstadt revolt in March 1921.* {see footnote} They now publicly raised the question of Trotsky's personal responsibility. Serge declared unequivocally that this use of force against those who thought differently from the Bolsheviks had signalled a shift to repressive policies in the Soviet republic while Lenin and Trotsky were still in power. Had Trotsky not led the punitive expedition himself? In what way was he superior to Stalin? Trotsky had never described the Kronstadt revolt: no doubt like others involved in crushing it he found it unpleasant to recall. But the criticism from his recent supporters was serious and required answering.

In an article entitled 'Once More on the Suppression of Kronstadt', Trotsky replied to his critics in characteristic style:

{quote} In his book on Stalin, that faded Marxist-turned-sycophant Souvarine claims that in my autobiography I purposely said nothing about the Kronstadt revolt: there are, he says ironically, feats one is not proud of ... The fact is I took not the slightest part in the suppression of the Kronstadt revolt itself, nor in the repressions that ensued ... As far as I recall, it was Dzerzhinsky who dealt with the repressions, and he (rightly) never permitted any interference in his work ... However, I am willing to admit that a civil war is not a school of humanitarianism ... Let those who wish to reject the revolution as a whole on these grounds (in their little articles) do so. I do not reject it. In this sense, I fully and entirely bear responsibility for the suppression of the Kronstadt revolt. {endquote}

Trotsky was not entirely honest in dealing with this issue. With Lenin's knowledge, he had indeed been one of the organizers of the bloody suppression of the revolt. The criticism coming from his

{footnote *} The soldiers and sailors of the island garrison had risen up against the Bolshevik government they had helped bring to power. The economic crisis of early 1921, combined with a sense of political betrayal, led to a rebellion which the Red Army, under Trorsky's leadership, crushed with extreme violence. Trotsky had responded to the rebels' attempts to negotiate with a demand for unconditional surrender, otherwise they would be 'shot like partridges'. Fifty thousand Red Army troops made the final assault, killing hundreds in combat and later as prisoners. {end footnote}

{p. 394} former friends had found a raw nerve and he felt constrained to respond in a further long polemical article, entitled 'The Fuss About Kronstadt', written at the end of 1937 and beginning of 1938. It quickly found its way via Zborowski to Stalin's desk. This was one occasion when the General Secretary could not have found fault with his former rival, for the line Trotsky took on Kronstadt coincided precisely with the official Soviet line at the time. Indeed, Stalin could have put his own signature to it. Among other things, Trotsky wrote: 'The Kronstadt revolt was nothing more than the armed reaction of the petty bourgeoisie against the difficulties of the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat ... The [rebels] wanted a revolution that would not lead to a dictatorship, and a dictatorship that did not use coercion.'

{end quotes}

Trotskyists and other "Marxist Anti-Communists" currently shape intellectual life in the West's universities; yet they deny the atrocities of the Bolsheviks, or that they were Jewish-led.

The Jewish identities of Lenin and Trotsky: lenin-trotsky.html.

The USSR Constitution of 1924: ussr1924.html.

The early Soviet Union - after Lenin and Trotsky, but before Stalin's ascendancy: soviet-union-early.html.

To this day, leaders of the British Labour Party claim that the Zinoviev Letter was a forgery. But given the extent of Soviet duplicity, its authenticity must be reconsidered: zinoviev.html.

To purchase Dmitri Volkogonov's books second-hand via Abebooks: http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BookSearch?an=dmitri+volkogonov.

Open Society, Open Conspiracy: opensoc.html.

Write to me at contact.html.