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Grigori Sokolnikov

Grigori Sokolnikov

Grigori Sokolnikov, the son of a doctor, was born in Poltava Oblast on 15th August, 1888. The family moved to Moscow and later Sokolnikov settled in St Petersburg where he met Leon Trotsky. The two men were inspired by the weavers' strikes in 1896. The following year they formed the underground South Russian Workers' Union.

Trotsky later recalled: "I drafted our constitution along Social-Democratic lines. The mill authorities tried to offset our influence through speakers of their own. We would answer them the next day with new proclamations. This duel of words aroused not only the workers but a great many of the citizens as well. The whole town was alive with talk about revolutionaries who were flooding the mills with their handbills. Our names were on every tongue."

In 1905 Sokolnikov joined the Bolsheviks faction of the Social Democratic Labour Party. Sokolnikov was arrested and served time in prison until going into exile where he joined Lenin, George Plekhanov, Julius Martov, Vera Figner, Fedor Dan, Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev in Paris. Lenin's biographer, Helen Rappaport, the author of Conspirator: Lenin in Exile (2009): "As Lenin surveyed his shrinking Bolshevik entourage of thirty or so who came out and went over the next three years in Paris, he was forced to face up to the possible demise of his own faction... Lenin could only ever look on political variance to his own dogmatic view as a threat to his vision for the party and thus compulsively sought to alienate detractors from the movement."

In 1914 Russia became involved in the First World War. Lenin thought the best way to achieve a socialist revolution was to keep the war going and sent Inessa Armand to the International Socialist Bureau conference in Brussels "to do battle with such large figures" such as Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, George Plekhanov, Leon Trotsky, Julius Martov, Emile Vandervelde and Camille Huysmans.

On 26th February Nicholas II ordered the Duma to close down. Members refused and they continued to meet and discuss what they should do. Michael Rodzianko, President of the Duma, sent a telegram to the Tsar suggesting that he appoint a new government led by someone who had the confidence of the people. When the Tsar did not reply, the Duma nominated a Provisional Government headed by Prince George Lvov.

The High Command of the Russian Army now feared a violent revolution and on 28th February suggested that Nicholas II should abdicate in favour of a more popular member of the royal family. Attempts were now made to persuade Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich to accept the throne. He refused and on the 1st March, 1917, the Tsar abdicated leaving the Provisional Government in control of the country.

Lenin was now desperate to return to Russia to help shape the future of the country. The German Foreign Ministry, who hoped that Lenin's presence in Russia would help bring the war on the Eastern Front to an end, provided a special train for Lenin and 27 other Bolsheviks, including Grigori Sokolnikov, to travel to Petrograd. On his arrival he became co-editor with Joseph Stalin of Pravada.

On 3rd April, 1917, Lenin announced what became known as the April Theses. Lenin attacked Bolsheviks for supporting the Provisional Government. Instead, he argued, revolutionaries should be telling the people of Russia that they should take over the control of the country. In his speech, Lenin urged the peasants to take the land from the rich landlords and the industrial workers to seize the factories.

The Bolshevik Committee was reorganised. It now included Grigori Sokolnikov, Lenin, Gregory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Alexandra Kollontai, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Yakov Sverdlov, Moisei Uritsky, Felix Dzerzhinsky, Andrey Bubnov, Alexei Rykov, Nickolai Bukharin, Viktor Nogin, Ivan Smilga and V. P. Milyutin. Lenin then set about convincing them that the time was right to overthrow the new government.

On 19th July, Alexander Kerensk gave orders for the arrest of Lenin and other leading Bolsheviks. The Bolshevik headquarters at the Kshesinsky Palace, was also occupied by government troops. A spy in the Ministry of Justice discovered what was going to happen and Lenin was able to escape to nearby Finland where he was hidden by a secret socialist, the Helsinki chief of police.

Sokolnikov was at first reluctant to support Lenin's call for an immediate armed uprising. He argued that "the Congress of Soviets in itself constitutes the apparatus which we can use". However, by early October, he had grown slightly more militant. Robert V. Daniels, the author of Red October: The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (1967): "Dzerzhinsky and Sokolnikov tried to brush aside such concern about preparing an uprising. After all, Sokolnikov pointed out, the February Revolution had needed none. The party had sufficient forces, but it was wrong to understand the resolution as an order; the party should wait for events to give it the expected opportunity. If the Congress of Soviets decided to assume power, that would be the time to judge whether a mass move was necessary. Such reasoning was close to the dominant sentiment of the party leadership, echoed by several other speakers - and clearly inconsistent with Lenin's demand to seize power before the Congress of Soviets."

The Bolsheviks now set up their headquarters in the Smolny Institute. The former girls' convent school also housed the Petrograd Soviet. Under pressure from the nobility and industrialists, Kerensky was persuaded to take decisive action. On 22nd October he ordered the arrest of the Military Revolutionary Committee. The next day he closed down the Bolshevik newspapers and cut off the telephones to the Smolny Institute.

At a secret meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee on 23rd October 1917, attended by Grigori Sokolnikov, Lenin, Gregory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Alexandra Kollontai, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Yakov Sverdlov, Moisei Uritsky, Ivar Smilga, Victor Nogin, Felix Dzerzhinsky and Andrey Bubnov. Lenin insisted that the Bolsheviks should take action before the elections for the Constituent Assembly. "The international situation is such that we must make a start. The indifference of the masses may be explained by the fact that they are tired of words and resolutions. The majority is with us now. Politically things are quite ripe for the change of power. The agrarian disorders point to the same thing. It is clear that heroic measures will be necessary to stop this movement, if it can be stopped at all. The political situation therefore makes our plan timely. We must now begin thinking of the technical side of the undertaking. That is the main thing now. But most of us, like the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries, are still inclined to regard the systematic preparation for an armed uprising as a sin. To wait for the Constituent Assembly, which will surely be against us, is nonsensical because that will only make our task more difficult."

A long and bitter discussion followed Lenin's summons to insurrection. Trotsky claimed that Lenin's proposal for immediate revolt met with very little enthusiasm: "The debate was stormy, disorderly, chaotic. The question now was no longer only the insurrection as such; the discussion spread to fundamentals, to the basic goals of the Party, the Soviets; were they necessary? What for? Could they be dispensed with? The most striking thing was the fact that people began to deny the possibility of the insurrection at the given moment; the opponents even reached the point in their arguments where they denied the importance of a Soviet Government."

On 24th October 1917 Lenin wrote a letter to the members of the Central Committee: "The situation is utterly critical. It is clearer than clear that now, already, putting off the insurrection is equivalent to its death. With all my strength I wish to convince my comrades that now everything is hanging by a hair, that on the agenda now are questions that are decided not by conferences, not by congresses (not even congresses of soviets), but exclusively by populations, by the mass, by the struggle of armed masses… No matter what may happen, this very evening, this very night, the government must be arrested, the junior officers guarding them must be disarmed, and so on… History will not forgive revolutionaries for delay, when they can win today (and probably will win today), but risk losing a great deal tomorrow, risk losing everything."

Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev were the main opponents of insurrection. Lenin, backed up by Leon Trotsky, insisted that the Bolsheviks should attempt to gain power. In the early hours of the morning Lenin finally won his victory. Trotsky claimed: "I do not remember the proportion of the votes, but I know that 5 or 6 were against it. There were many more votes in favour, probably about 9, but I do not vouch for the figures."

On the evening of 24th October, 1917, orders were given for the Bolsheviks began to occupy the railway stations, the telephone exchange and the State Bank. The following day the Red Guards surrounded the Winter Palace. Inside was most of the country's Cabinet, although Kerensky had managed to escape from the city.

The Winter Palace was defended by Cossacks, some junior army officers and the Woman's Battalion. At 9 p.m. the Aurora and the Peter and Paul Fortress began to open fire on the palace. Little damage was done but the action persuaded most of those defending the building to surrender. The Red Guards, led by Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, now entered the Winter Palace and arrested the Cabinet ministers.

On 26th October, 1917, the All-Russian Congress of Soviets met and handed over power to the Soviet Council of People's Commissars. Lenin was elected chairman and other appointments included Leon Trotsky (Foreign Affairs) Alexei Rykov (Internal Affairs), Anatoli Lunacharsky (Education), Alexandra Kollontai (Social Welfare), Felix Dzerzhinsky (Internal Affairs), Joseph Stalin (Nationalities), Peter Stuchka (Justice) and Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko (War). Sokolnikov went to work with Trotsky at Foreign Affairs and signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty in 1918.

Sokolnikov was appointed People's Commissar of Finance and was responsible for nationalising the banks after the revolution. He also played and important role in the introduction of the New Economic Policy. In May 1924 he became a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party. However, he was highly critical of the economic policies of Joseph Stalin and described them as "state capitalist". At the Fourteenth Congress of the Communist Party in December 1925, he called for Stalin's removal as General Secretary. This call was rejected and Sokolnikov lost his place on the Politburo.

In 1929 Sokolnikov was appointed as the Soviet ambassador to London. He held the post for three years. In January, 1937, Sokolnikov, Karl Radek, and fifteen other leading members of the Communist Party were put on trial. They were accused of working with Leon Trotsky in an attempt to overthrow the Soviet government with the objective of restoring capitalism. According to David King, the author of Red Star Over Russia (2010) "Sokolnikov confessed to save his young wife and son". Thirteen of the accused were found guilty and sentenced to death. Sokolnikov and Radek were sentenced to ten years in prison.

Robin Page Arnot, a member of the British Communist Party, reported in The Labour Monthly in November, 1937: "The volume of evidence brought forward at this trial was sufficient to convince the most sceptical that these men, in conjunction with Trotsky and with the Fascist Powers, had carried through a series of abominable crimes involving loss of life and wreckage on a very considerable scale. With the exceptions of Radek, Sokolnikov, and two others, to whom lighter sentences were given, these spies and traitors suffered the death penalty."

Grigori Sokolnikov was reportedly killed in a prison by other convicts on 21st May, 1939. It was later revealed that he had in fact been killed by the NKVD.

In 1896 the famous weavers' strikes broke out in St Petersburg. This put new life into the intelligentsia. The students gained courage, sensing the awakening of the heavy reserves. In the summer, at Christmas, and at Easter dozens of students came down to Nikolayev, bringing with them tales of the upheaval in St Petersburg, Moscow, and Kiev. Some of them had been expelled from universities - boys just out of the gymnasium returning with the haloes of heroes. In February 1897 a woman student, Vetrova, burned herself to death in the Peter-Paul fortress. This tragedy, which has never been fully explained, stirred everyone deeply. Disturbances took place in the university cities; arrests and banishments became more frequent.

I started my revolutionary work to the accompaniment of the Vetrova demonstrations. It happened in this way: I was walking along the street with a younger member of our commune, Grigory Sokolovsky, a boy about my age. "It's about time we started," I said.

"Yes, it is about time," he answered. "But how?"

"That's it, how?"

"We must find workers, not wait for anybody or ask anybody, but just find workers, and set to it."

"I think we can find them," said Sokolovsky. "I used to know a watchman who worked on the boulevard. He belonged to the Bible Sect. I think I'll look him up."

The same day Sokolovsky went to the boulevard to see the Biblist. He was no longer there. But he found there a woman who had a friend who also belonged to some religious sect. Through this friend of the woman he didn't know, Sokolovsky, on that very day, made the acquaintance of several workers, among them an electrician, Ivan Andreyevitch Mukhin, who soon became the most prominent figure in our organization. Sokolovsky returned from his search all on fire. "Such men! They are the real thing!"

We called our organization the South Russian Workers' Union, intending to include workers from other towns. I drafted our constitution along Social-Democratic lines. Our names were on every tongue. Still the police delayed. They refused to believe that "those young brats from the garden" were capable of carrying on any such campaign. They suspected that there were more experienced leaders behind us, probably old exiles. This gave us two or three additional months in which to work. Finally our movements were so closely watched that the police couldn't help but discover one group after another. So we decided to leave Nikolayev for a few weeks, to put the police off our track. I was supposed to go to my family in the country; Sokolovskaya, with her brother, to Ekaterinoslav, and so on. At the same time, we firmly resolved not to hide in case of wholesale arrests, but to let ourselves be taken, so that the police could not say to the workers: "Your leaders have deserted you."

Dzerzhinsky and Sokolnikov tried to brush aside such concern about preparing an uprising. Such reasoning was close to the dominant sentiment of the party leadership, echoed by several other speakers - and clearly inconsistent with Lenin's demand to seize power before the Congress of Soviets.

The return of the Soviet delegation to Petrograd plunged the Bolsheviks into despair and panic. They tried to save face by proclaiming the "fatherland in peril"; they appealed to soldiers and citizens to continue the fight and resist further penetration by the Germans, to dig trenches; Krylenko was ordered to destroy military stores and to blow tip ammunition factories at the approach of the enemy. But when the Germans began their advance on February 5 (18), they met with no resistance whatever. The next day, the Soviet of People's Commissars hastily dispatched a telegram to Berlin expressing its readiness to sign on the dotted line.

The Germans, however, were in no hurry, and continued to capture still more territories and towns. The German High Command's answer, which finally arrived on February 9 (22), contained new and harsher terms of surrender. The Germans further demanded that the new terms be accepted within 48 hours and that the Soviet delegation leave immediately for Brest-Litovsk, where the treaty would have to be signed within three days and ratified within two weeks thereafter.

The period between February 5 (18) and February 12 (25) was a most critical one for the Soviet government. In the uninterrupted sessions of the Central Committee and at various party conferences there was still no stable or sufficiently strong majority. Lenin had made his position quite clear: the attempt to ignore the real balance of power only made the situation worse; there was no choice but to capitulate; the only thing that mattered was that the Bolsheviks should retain power. But at the Central Committee meeting of February 4 (17) there were at first only five votes in support of Lenin, while six members of the Central Committee, headed by Bukharin, voted against him. After several counts, with varying results, the final vote was six (including Trotsky) in support of Lenin, one against, and four (Bukharin, Lomov, Uritsky, and Krestinsky) abstaining.

An open revolt against the Central Committee and Lenin followed. The Petrograd and Moscow city and district party organizations were now joined by the Ural and Ukrainian district organizations in protesting that the Central Committee had no right to take decisions on the basis of such a small majority and should lay the questions before a party congress. Trotsky characterized the situation by noting that by parliamentary standards there were already two parties instead of one." After a heated discussion accompanied by mutual recrimination, a vote was taken. This time the result was: seven in support of Lenin's proposal to sign a treaty, four against, and four, including Trotsky, abstaining. Lenin rejected Stalin's suggestion that a new attempt should be made to draw out the negotiations. A second telegram was sent to Berlin which stated that Germany's ultimatum was accepted. Although the Central Committee was now inundated with protests and resignations, Lenin took no account of them. He put his proposal before VTsIK, where he received a more impressive majority of 116 to 84.

When confirmation was received from Germany, a new delegation left for Brest-Litovsk, headed this time by Sokolnikov and Chicherin; Trotsky and Yoffe had refused to go. At Brest-Litovsk the Soviet delegation signed the treaty without discussing it or even reading the text. The terms proved even more severe than those announced in the German telegram of February 9 (22). Thus, on demand of the Turkish delegation, Russia was obliged to return to Turkey the towns of Kars, Ardagan and Batum in the Caucasus, which had been captured 70 years earlier. The treaty was signed on February 18 (March 3) and ratified two weeks later by the Fourth Congress of Soviets.

The most delicate issue of all was the opposition's behaviour in the army. After Frunze's death, Voroshilov was appointed Commissar of War, as if to crown the revenge of the Tsaritsyn group on Trotsky. But Lashevich, Zinoviev's friend and supporter, was still Voroshilov's deputy. Unlike the opposition of 1923, the present opposition, after much hesitation, began to carry the struggle into the armed forces. In July 1926 Stalin exposed before the Central Committee Lashevich's doings, the semi-secret organization of the sympathizers of the opposition among the military. This was a shattering blow for the opposition. Lashevich was dismissed from his military post and expelled from the Central Committee. Zinoviev, his protector, lost his seat on the Politbureau.

For the first time Stalin now kept the threat of expulsion from the party suspended over his opponents. Anxious to avert it, they retreated. On 4 October Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Piatakov, Sokolnikov, and others signed a statement admitting that they were guilty of offences against the statutes of the party and pledged themselves to disband their party within the party. They also disavowed the extremists in their ranks who were led by Shlyapnikov and Medvedev, the chiefs of the 1921 opposition. However, having admitted their offences against the rules of discipline, Trotsky and his associates restated with dignified firmness their political criticisms of Stalin and Bukharin.

On 8 September, the Central Committee summoned Bukharin to a meeting with Kaganovich, where, along with Yezhov and Vyshinsky, he was amazed to encounter his childhood friend, Grigory Sokolnikov, a venerable Old Bolshevik, who was delivered to the room by the NKVD. The "confrontation" was one of Stalin's bizarre rituals in which, like an exorcism, Good was meant to confront and vanquish Evil. They were presumably designed to terrify the accused but also, and this may have been their main function, to convince the presiding Politburo members of the victim's guilt. Kaganovich played impartial observer while Sokolnikov declared there was a Left-Right Centre, involving Bukharin, which was planning the murder of Stalin.

"Can you have lost your reason and not be responsible for your own words?" Bukharin "turned on the tears". When the prisoner was led out, Kaganovich boomed: "He's lying, the whore, from beginning to end! Go back to the newspaper, Nikolai Ivanovich, and work in peace."

"But why is he lying, Lazar Moisevich?"

"We'll find out," replied an unconvinced Kaganovich who still "adored" Bukharin but told Stalin his "role will yet be uncovered". Stalin's antennae sensed that the time was not right: on 10 September, Vyshinsky announced that the investigation against Bukharin and Rvkov had been closed due to lack of criminal culpability. Bukharin returned to work, safe again, while the investigators moved on to their next trial - but the cat did not stop caressing the mouse.

In December 1934 one of the groups carried through the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Subsequent investigations revealed that behind the first group of assassins was a second group, an Organisation of Trotskyists headed by Zinoviev and Kamenev. Further investigations brought to light definite counter-revolutionary activities of the Rights (Bucharin-Rykov organisations) and their joint working with the Trotskyists. The group of fourteen constituting the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre were brought to trial in Moscow in August 1936, found guilty, and executed. In Siberia a trial, held in November, revealed that the Kemerovo mine had been deliberately wrecked and a number of miners killed by a subordinate group of wreckers and terrorists. A second Moscow trial, held in January 1937, revealed the wider ramifications of the conspiracy. This was the trial of the Parallel Centre, headed by Pyatakov, Radek, Sokolnikov, Serebriakov. The volume of evidence brought forward at this trial was sufficient to convince the most sceptical that these men, in conjunction with Trotsky and with the Fascist Powers, had carried through a series of abominable crimes involving loss of life and wreckage on a very considerable scale. With the exceptions of Radek, Sokolnikov, and two others, to whom lighter sentences were given, these spies and traitors suffered the death penalty. The same fate was meted out to Tukhachevsky, and seven other general officers who were tried in June on a charge of treason. In the case of Trotsky the trials showed that opposition to the line of Lenin for fifteen years outside the Bolshevik Party, plus opposition to the line of Lenin inside the Bolshevik Party for ten years, had in the last decade reached its finality in the camp of counter-revolution, as ally and tool of Fascism.


Grigori Sokolnikov

Grigori Jakovlevitš Sokolnikov (oikea nimi Girš Jankelevitš Briliant 15. elokuuta (J: 3. elokuuta) 1888 Romny, Pultavan kuvernementti, Venäjän keisarikunta – 21. toukokuuta 1939 Verhneuralsk, Tšeljabinskin alue, Neuvostoliitto) [1] oli venäläinen bolševikki ja neuvostoliittolainen poliitikko. Hän kuoli Stalinin vainoissa.

Sokolnikov oli etniseltä taustaltaan juutalainen. [1] Hänen isänsä oli lääkäri. Sokolnikov liittyi Venäjän sosiaalidemokraattisen työväenpuolueen bolševikkisiipeen vuonna 1905. [2] Vuonna 1907 hänet vangittiin ja karkotettiin Siperiaan, josta hän onnistui vuonna 1909 pakenemaan ulkomaille. Hän asui vuoden 1917 helmikuun vallankumoukseen saakka maanpaossa Ranskassa ja valmistui vuonna 1914 Pariisin yliopistosta. Huhtikuussa 1917 Sokolnikov palasi Venäjälle samassa suljetussa junassa kuin Vladimir Lenin. Sokolnikov kuului Pietarin neuvoston toimeenpanevaan komiteaan elokuusta 1917 alkaen ja bolševikkipuolueen keskuskomiteaan 1917–1919 sekä uudelleen 1922 alkaen. [1] Hän johti Venäjän pankkitoiminnan kansallistamista lokakuun vallankumouksen jälkeen ja oli maansa rauhanvaltuuskunnan jäsenenä Brest-Litovskin rauhanneuvotteluissa. Lev Trotskin erottua valtuuskunnan johdosta juuri Sokolnikov allekirjoitti rauhansopimuksen Neuvosto-Venäjän edustajana. [2]

Venäjän sisällissodan aikana Sokolnikov toimi sotilaallisissa tehtävissä. Hän johti vuosina 1920–1921 puna-armeijan valtaaman Turkestanin hallintoa. Sokolnikov oli vuosina 1922–1926 Neuvosto-Venäjän ja sittemmin Neuvostoliiton valtiovarainasioiden kansankomissaari sekä 1924–1925 kommunistisen puolueen politbyroon ehdokasjäsen. Vuonna 1925 Sokolnikov liittyi puolueen sisällä Grigori Zinovjevin ja Lev Kamenevin muodostamaan niin sanottuun ”uuteen oppositioon”, joka vastusti Josif Stalinia. Tämän seurauksena hän menetti pian asemansa politbyroossa ja kansankomissaarina. Hän joutui irtisanoutumaan oppositiomielipiteistään vuonna 1927. Vuodesta 1928 Sokolnikov oli valtion öljy-yhtymän johdossa ja vuosina 1929–1932 Neuvostoliiton suurlähettiläänä Lontoossa. Sen jälkeen hän työskenteli ulkoasiainkansankomissariaatissa ja oli 1933–1934 apulaisulkoasiainkansankomissaarina. Hänet pudotettiin 1930 keskuskomitean ehdokasjäseneksi. [1]

Sokolnikov erotettiin kaikista viroistaan ja vangittiin heinäkuussa 1936. [1] Tammikuussa 1937 hän oli syytettynä kuudentoista muun merkittävän kommunistin kanssa oikeudenkäynnissä, joka oli toinen niin sanotuista Moskovan oikeudenkäynneistä. Sokolnikov tunnusti kuuluneensa vastavallankumoukselliseen salaliittoon pelastakseen perheensä. Hänet ja Karl Radek tuomittiin kymmeneksi vuodeksi vankeuteen, mutta pääosa syytetyistä sai kuolemantuomion. Vankitoverit murhasivat Sokolnikovin vankilassa toukokuussa 1939. Myöhemmin murha paljastui turvallisuuspoliisi NKVD:n järjestämäksi. [2] Sokolnikov rehabilitoitiin vuonna 1988. [1]


Lëndë

Grigori Sokolnikov lindi Girsh Yankelevich Brilliant në Romny më 15 gusht 1888, djali i një doktori jehud i punësuar nga stacioni hekurudhor. [3] Ai u zhvendos në Moskë si i ri dh u bashkua me fraksionin Bolshevik të Partisë së Puntorëve të Social Demokratike Ruse më 1905. Në vitin 1906-07, ai ishte i vendosur në distriktin e Moskës si propagandist bolshevik, deri në vjeshtën e vitit 1907, kur organizata e distriktit u shtyp nga arrestimet masive dhe u arrestua për 18 muaj në izolim në burgun Butyrka dhe u dënua me mërgim gjatë gjithë jetës në Siberi. Deportuar në shkurt 1909, u deshën katër muaj që ai të arrinte destinacionin e caktuar, një fshat të quajtur Rybnoye, në buzë të lumit Angara dhe gjashtë javë për t'i shpëtuar, nëpërmjet Moskës në Paris. [4] Në Paris, ai mori një doktoraturë në ekonomi. Ai u bashkua me bolshevikët 'pajtues', të cilët donin të shmangnin një ndarje të plotë me Menshevik. Gjatë luftës, ai u zhvendos në Zvicër, dhe kontribuoi në gazetën Nashe Slovo, redaktuar nga Trocki.

Pas kthimit të tij nga Bresti, në fund të vitit 1917, Sokolnikov mbikëqyri konfiskimin e bankave ruse dhe krijimin e sistemit të ri bankar të centralizuar. [5] Në mars 1918, ai u emërua redaktor i Pravda, por ai kaloi pothuajse të gjithë Luftën Civile të Rusisë në vijën e frontit, së pari si komisar politik me Ushtrinë e Dytë, e cila ishte përgjegjëse për hedhjen e rebelimeve antibolshevike në anën perëndimore të malit Ural, rreth Vyatka dhe Izhevsk. Dy muaj më vonë, pas kryengritjes, ai u transferua në Frontin Jugor, si komisar i Ushtrisë së Nëntë dhe më vonë të Ushtrisë së Trembëdhjetë, për fushatën kundër Don Kozakëve që u rebeluan kundër sundimit bolshevik dhe Ushtrisë së Bardhë i Gjeneralit Denikin. Më vonë, së bashku me Rosalia Zemlyachka, ai u bë komisar i Ushtrisë së Tetë, duke përdorur këtë pozicion për të urdhëruar të shtëna masive gjatë Luftës Civile Ruse. [6] Ai ishte gjithashtu, për një kohë, komandant ushtarak i Ushtrisë së Tetë, përkundër një proteste nga aleati i Stalinit, Sergo Ordzhonikidze, i cili i shkroi Leninit duke kërkuar: "Ku erdhi ideja se Sokolnikovi mund të komandonte një ushtri? . A të të mbrojë krenarinë e Sokolnikovit që atij i është lejuar të luajë me një ushtri të tërë?" [7] [

Në gusht të vitit 1920, Sokolnikov u postua në Azinë Qendrore si kryetar i qeverisë së Turkestanit dhe komandant i Frontit Turkestan. Ai e udhëhoqi shtypjen e rebelimit Basmachi. Ai gjithashtu mbikqyri futjen e një monedhe të re, futjen e tatimit në vend të ndarjes së prodhimeve të tepërta, kthimin e tregtisë së lirë, kthimin e tokës në Kirgiz që ishte kapur nga kolonët rusë dhe ringjalljen e prodhimit të pambukut.

Në vitin 1925, Sokolnikov u martua me shkrimtaren Galina Serebryakova. Ata kishin një vajzë, Geliana, e lindur më 1934. [8]


Grigori Sokolnikov

Grigori Yakovlevich Sokolnikov [a] (born Hirsch Brilliant or Girsh Yankelevich Brilliant [b] 1888–1939) was a Russian Old Bolshevik revolutionary, economist, and Soviet politician.

Early career

Grigori Sokolnikov was born Girsh Yankelevich Brilliant in Romny on 15 August 1888, the son of a Jewish doctor employed by the railways. [1] [2] He moved to Moscow as a teenager and joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1905. In 1906-07, he was based in the Sokolniki district of Moscow as a Bolshevik propagandist until autumn 1907, when mass arrests crushed the district organization, and he was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in Butyrka prison, and sentenced to lifelong exile in Siberia. Deported in February 1909, it took four months for him to reach his assigned destination, a village called Rybnoye, on the bank of the Angara River, and six weeks to escape, via Moscow to Paris. [3] In France, Sokolnikov obtained a doctorate in economics. He joined the 'conciliatior' Bolsheviks, who wanted to avert an outright split with the Mensheviks. During the war, he moved to Switzerland, and contributed to the newspaper Nashe Slovo, edited by Trotsky.

In April 1917, Sokolnikov was a passenger in the famous sealed train that took Vladimir Lenin and other Bolsheviks across Germany to Russia.

Role in 1917

In April 1917, Sokolnikov was elected to the Moscow party committee. He backed Lenin's call for a second revolution. When Lenin was forced to go into hiding, in July, Sokolnikov moved to Petrograd, where he and Stalin were given joint control over Bolsheviks newspapers. [4]

Elected to the Central Committee in August 1917, he was selected in October as a member of the 'Political Bureau', a forerunner of the Politburo, whose members were Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, Stalin, Sokolnikov and Bubnov, [5] but the 'bureau' never met. Trotsky wrote later that it was 'completely impractical', with Lenin and Zinoviev in hiding, and Zinoviev and Kamenev opposed to the planned Bolshevik insurrection. [6]

Brest-Litovsk Treaty

After the October Revolution, he was a member of the original delegation led by Joffe sent to Brest-Litovsk to sign a truce with Germany. When the truce broke down, and the Germans was advancing through Latvia towards Petrograd, he backed Lenin's line that the Soviet government would have to capitulate, although he saw this as a delaying tactic while they created a Red Army capable of conducting a 'revolutionary war'.

When the decision was made, on 24 February 1918, no-one wanted to sign the surrender, and Sokolnikov was instructed to lead the delegation, after he had tried in vain to nominate Zinoviev instead. [7] He signed the final treaty, angrily and under protest, on 3 March, forecasting that German's expansionism would be short-lived. The German and Austrian diplomats complained that his outburst spoiled the final day of negotiations. Sokolnikov later wrote that "the division of labour in capitalist society was brilliantly expressed in this contrast of unceremonial plunder at the front and mannerly gentlemanliness at the green table". [8]

On 10 May, Sokolnikov told a meeting of the Central Committee that the Germans could not be trusted to honour the treaty, and that it had been a mistake to sign it. It required a fierce rebuttal from Lenin to avert the threat of resuming the war. [9] Despite his intervention, in June 1918, Sokolnikov led a delegation to Berlin to negotiate a trade treaty with Germany, but the talks were aborted after the assassination of the German ambassador in Moscow, Wilhelm von Mirbach in July.

Role in the Civil War

After his return from Brest, late in 1917, Sokolnikov supervised the seizure of Russian banks, and the creation of new centralised banking system. [10] In March 1918, he was appointed an editor of Pravda, but he spent almost the entire Russian Civil War on the front line, firstly as Political commissar with the Second Army, which was responsible for putting down anti-Bolshevik rebellions on the western side of the Ural mountains, around Vyatka and Izhevsk. Two months later, after the rebellion had been crushed, he was transferred to the Southern Front, as commissar for the Ninth Army and later the Thirteenth Army, for the campaign against the Don Cossacks who had been rebelled against Bolshevik rule, and the White Army of General Denikin. Later, alongside Rosalia Zemlyachka, he became commissar of the Eighth army, using this position to order mass shootings during the Russian Civil War. [11] He was also, for a time, military commander of the Eighth Army, despite a protest from Stalin's ally Sergo Ordzhonikidze, who wrote to Lenin demanding:"Where did the idea come from that Sokolnikov could command an army? . Is it to protect Sokolnikov's pride that he has been allowed to play with a whole army?" [12]

In August 1920, Sokolnikov was posted to Central Asia as chairman of the government of Turkestan and commander of the Turkestan Front. He led the suppression of the Basmachi rebellion. He also oversaw the introduction of a new currency, the introduction of tax in place of appropriation of surplus produce, the return of free trade, the return of land to Kirghiz that had been seized by Russian settlers, and the revival of cotton production.

Commissar for Finance

Sokolnikov was appointed USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Finance on 10 January 1922. Since the People's Commissar, Nikolai Krestinsky had been appointed Ambassador to Germany, he was in fact in charge of Narkomfin from that time. In March 1922, he was re-elected to the Central Committee (from which he had been dropped in 1920) and in the autumn he was formally appointed as People's Commissar. This role made him central to the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP). More than anyone else, he is credited with introducing a stable currency to end the economic chaos of the civil war years. He proposed the introduction of a new currency in the month when he first took office. The 'gold bank notes' or chervontsi were issued by the state bank in November 1922. [13]

During 1922, Sokolnikov argued persistently in favour of relaxing the state monopoly on foreign trade, to allow some of the private enterprises that came into existence under NEP to import equipment sell their produce abroad without going through government agencies. He was supported by Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Nikolai Bukharin - i.e. by a majority of the Politburo - but met vehement opposition from Lenin, who warned: "Sokolnikov is making a great mistake, which is sure to ruin us, unless the C.C. corrects his line in time, and actually secures implementation of the corrected line. His mistake is abstract enthusiasm for a scheme (something of which Sokolnikov has always been guilty, as a talented journalist and a politician who is easily carried away)." [14] In October 1922, Sokolnikov persuaded the Central Committee to agree to partially lift the monopoly, provoking an angry reaction from Lenin, who missed the meeting through illness. He accused Sokolnikov of being someone who "likes paradoxes". [15] The Central Committee backed down in December, after Trotsky - who also missed the October meeting - had backed Lenin.

Speaking to the 11th Congress of the CPSU in March 1922, Sokolnikov flatly contradicted those who suggested that the state should print more paper money to finance the revival of war-damaged industry, likening it to poisoning the system by injecting opium. More controversially, he warned that many factories were losing money and living off the state, and would have to pay their way by selling products in the new free market conditions of NEP.

He became a candidate member of the Politburo of the Communist Party in May 1924. According to Boris Bajanov, as minister of finance Sokolnikov proved himself to be a capable administrator, accomplishing every task he was asked to do, such as creating the first stable Soviet currency. Bajanov also notes that despite Sokolnikov's past in the Red Army, he was not ruthless in his personality. Privately, Sokolnikov lost faith in the Soviet Union under Stalin and later described the Soviet economy as state capitalist. [16]

Family

In 1925, Sokolnikov married the writer Galina Serebryakova. They had a daughter, Geliana, born in 1934. [17]

Opposition to Stalin

On 5 September 1925, Sokolnikov signed the unpublished 'Platform of the Four', a joint protest by Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Lenin's widow, Nadezhda Krupskaya against Stalin's leadership. His decision seems to have been personal than political, because politically he was on the right of the party, whereas Zinoviev and Kamenev were about to join Trotsky in the United Opposition. He appears to have been motivated by mistrust of Stalin, and friendship with Kamenev. Even while publicly aligned with the opposition, he continued to argue that agricultural output had to be increased before industry could be expanded, and that consumer goods should be imported to give the peasants an incentive to take their produce to market. He was also openly dismissive of the figures produced by Gosplan, believing that 'state capitalism' properly managed would be more efficient that a centrally planned economy. [18]

In October 1926, the six principal leaders of the opposition, including Sokolnikov, signed a promise to follow the party line in future. He kept to this line, unlike the others but was removed from the Politburo nonetheless, in January 1926, while being allowed to retain his membership of the Central Committee. In the same month, he was removed from the post of People's Commissar for finance, and appointed Deputy Chairman of Gosplan, despite his well known scepticism about the value of central planning. In spring 1926, he was sent on a trade mission to the US, which aborted when he was denied a visa. [19]

In March 1928, when the Central Committee discussed the food crisis - to which Stalin reacted later in the year by sending shock troops into the villages to collect grain by force - Sokolnikov made a speech in which, while admitting that he had been wrong in the past, he stuck to his earlier beliefs by arguing that the way to get peasants to sell their produce was to raise the price of grain. [20] However, after the introduction of the First five-year plan, he defended the principle that it was possible and necessary for the state to intervene and plan economic output. He wrote:

The history of recent decades shows that even in countries where the principle of private property dominates, unlimited competition of private enterprises is steadily receding before the advance of gigantic financial and industrial corporations which. actually plan production and marketing within the limits of certain branches, often carrying their operations across national frontiers. A policy of non-interference by the state in such conditions would mean paralysis of state power [21]

In July 1928, Sokolnikov and Bukharin were returning to the Kremlin from a Central Committee plenum when they encountered Kamenev, and Bukharin talked indiscreetly about the gathering opposition to Stalin within the Politburo. In February 1929, Sokolnikov was formally rebuked by the Politburo for being present during this conversation, after a transcript had been published abroad. [22] He was removed from his post in Gosplan. From 1929 to 1932, Sokolnikov was the Soviet ambassador to the United Kingdom, where the newly elected Labour government had extended diplomatic recognition to the USSR. Speaking very little English, he had limited contacts with leading British politicians. Beatrice Webb who invited Sokolnikov and his wife to her home and introduced him to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Snowden noted in her diary: “We are the only ‘Cabinet’ members who have consorted with them. The Hendersons do not ‘know them’ socially, nor the PM." [23]

In 1932, Sokolnikov was recalled to Moscow (and replaced by Ivan Maisky, who spoke fluent English) and appointed Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

Arrest and execution

The British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who had met Sokolnikov in England, visited his Moscow flat just before the start of the Great Purge. He wrote later:

There had been rumours of his arrest. The poor fellow looked very nervous and shifty, and there was a noticeable greenish tinge in his sallow face. He kept glancing anxiously over his shoulder as though at some invisible intruder. With one of the most mirthless smiles I have ever seen, he remarked over tea that, if the capitalist press was to be believed, he was languishing in Lubyanka Prison. Did he look like it? he asked, getting his teeth into a chocolate eclair. Alas, he did, and I was not surprised to hear, in due course, that he had been liquidated. [24]

Sokolnikov was arrested on 26 July 1936. He was sufficiently broken under interrogation, either through torture or more probably through threats to harm his young wife and daughter, that he not only incriminated himself, but was made to confront Bukharin, in Lazar Kaganovich's office, and accuse him of being part of a conspiracy to restore capitalism in the USSR. Bukharin shouted at him "Have you lost your reason?" - but Sokolnikov, whose face was "pale but not tortured" stuck to his story. [25] In January 1937, he was a defendant at the Trial of the Seventeen at which he 'confessed' that he had been party to a terrorist plot against Stalin since 1932, and that Trotsky was conspiring with Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess to incite a Nazi invasion of the USSR. He was sentenced to ten years in the Gulag. [26] Even at the time, there were Soviet citizens who were not taken in by the trial and the forced confessions, such as the writer Isaac Babel, who was reported to the NKVD for saying, in private conversation with the film director Sergei Eisenstein "Lenin was very fond of Sokolnikov because he's a very smart man. and his whole struggle is the struggle against Stalin's influence." [27]


Grigori Sokolnikov was born Girsh Yankelovich Brilliant ( Гирш Я́нкелевич Бриллиа́нт ) to a railway doctor in Romny on 15 August [O.S. 3 August]�. Sokolnikov was Jewish by birth. [1] He moved to Moscow as a teenager and joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1905. He served time in prison and studied economics whilst at the Sorbonne.

He returned to Russia in April 1917 along with Vladimir Lenin in the 'sealed train', and on arriving in Russia became part of the editorial board of the Bolsheviks' central party organ. [2]

Grigori Sokolnikov was a member of the first Politburo, with seven members: Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, Stalin, Sokolnikov and Bubnov. [3] After the October Revolution, he held various government positions. He was a member of the delegation for peace negotiations with Germany (he replaced Leon Trotsky as chairman, and signed the Brest-Litovsk treaty in 1918). Later, alongside Rosalia Zemlyachka, he became commissar of the Eighth army, using this position to order mass shootings during the Russian Civil War. [4] He was appointed People's Commissar of Finance following the introduction of the New Economic Policy and became a candidate member of the Politburo of the Communist Party in May 1924. According to Boris Bajanov, as minister of finance Sokolnikov proved himself to be a capable administrator, accomplishing every task he was asked to do, such as creating the first stable Soviet currency. Bajanov also notes that despite Sokolnikov's past in the Red Army, he was not ruthless in his personality. Privately, Sokolnikov lost faith in the Soviet Union under Stalin and later described the Soviet economy as "state capitalist". [5] He was removed from his position in the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars) and demoted from the Politburo after calling for Joseph Stalin's removal as General Secretary of the Communist Party at the Fourteenth Congress of the Bolsheviks in December 1925. Sokolnikov was appointed instead as vice-chairman of Gosplan, the new economic planning agency (an appointment that carried cruel irony since Sokolnikov himself was a bitter opponent of heavy-handed centralized planning) and later as head of an oil company. He was the Soviet ambassador to England from 1929 to 1932.

During the Great Purge, Sokolnikov was arrested in 1937 and tried at the Trial of the Seventeen. He was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. Reportedly, he was killed in a prison by other convicts on 21 May 1939. A post-Stalin investigation during the Khrushchev Thaw revealed that the murder was orchestrated by the NKVD. In 1988, during perestroika, he was rehabilitated along with many other victims of the Great Purge.


Grigori Sokolnikov was born Girsh Yankelovich Brilliant to a Jewish railway doctor in present-day Poltava Oblast on . He moved to Moscow as a teenager and joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1905. He served time in prison and studied economics whilst at the Sorbonne.

After the October Revolution, he held various government positions. He was a member of the delegation for peace negotiations with Germany (he replaced Leon Trotsky as chairman, and signed the Brest-Litovsk treaty in 1918), and alongside Rosalia Zemlyachka became commissar of the Eighth army, using this position to order mass shootings during the Russian Civil War. He was appointed People's Commissar of Finance following the introduction of the New Economic Policy and became a candidate member of the Politburo of the Communist Party in May 1924. According to Boris Bajanov, as minister of finance Sokolnikov proved himself to be a capable administrator, accomplishing every task he was asked to do such as creating the first stable Soviet currency. Bajanov also notes that despite Sokolnikov's past in the Red Army, he was not ruthless in his personality. Privately, Sokolnikov lost faith in Marxism and later described the Soviet economy as "state capitalist". He was removed from his position in the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars) and demoted from the Politburo after calling for Joseph Stalin's removal as General Secretary of the Communist Party at the Fourteenth Congress of the Bolsheviks in December 1925. He was the Soviet ambassador to England from 1929-32.

During the Great Purge (1936-38), in 1937 Sokolnikov was arrested and tried at the Trial of Parallel Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Centre and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. Reportedly, he was killed in a prison by other convicts on May 21, 1939. A post-Stalin investigation during the Khrushchev Thaw revealed that the murder was orchestrated by the NKVD. In 1988, during perestroika, he was rehabilitated along with many other victims of the Great Purge.


Grigori Sokolnikov.

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Letter to Grigori Sokolnikov, February 1, 1922

You said to me that some of our trusts may, in the immediate future, find themselves without any money and ask us in an ultimatum to nationalise them. I think that trusts and factories have been founded on a self-supporting basis precisely in order that they themselves should be responsible and, moreover, fully responsible, for their enterprises working without a deficit. If it turns out that they have not achieved this, then, in my opinion, they must be prosecuted and punished, as regards all the members of their boards of management, by prolonged terms of imprisonment ( perhaps applying conditional release after a certain time), confiscation of all their property, etc.

If, after setting up trusts and enterprises on a self– supporting basis, we do not prove able by business-like, mercantile methods fully to protect our interests, we shall turn out to be complete idiots.

The Supreme Economic Council must watch over this, but still more the People’s Commissariat of Finance through the Stale Bank and through special inspectors, since it is precisely the People’s Commissariat of Finance which, not being directly interested, is obliged to establish effective and real control and supervision.


Grigori Sokolnikov - History

says Jewish Columnist

In 2006, a remarkable article &mdash and admission &mdash appeared

in the Israeli news source Ynet News. Titled &ldquoStalin&rsquos Jews&rdquo

and written by Jewish columnist Sever Plocker, this piece confirmed the

terrible crimes which Jewish Communists had committed under Stalin.

&ldquoWe must not forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish,&rdquo

Plocker started out by saying. He went on to make a number of startling confessions:

&ldquoHere&rsquos a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 90 years ago, between the 19th

and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war,

Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary

Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.

&ldquoWithin a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security

organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its

names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.

&ldquoWe cannot know with certainty the number of deaths Cheka was responsible for in its

various manifestations, but the number is surely at least 20 million, including victims

of the forced collectivization, the hunger, large purges, expulsions, banishments,

executions, and mass death at Gulags.

&ldquoWhole population strata were eliminated: Independent farmers, ethnic minorities, members

of the bourgeoisie, senior officers, intellectuals, artists, labor movement activists,

&ldquoopposition members&rdquo who were defined completely randomly, and countless members

of the Communist party itself.

&ldquoIn his new, highly praised book The War of the World, Historian Niall Ferguson writes

that no revolution in the history of mankind devoured its children with the same unrestrained

appetite as did the Soviet revolution. In his book on the Stalinist purges, Tel Aviv University&rsquos

Dr. Igal Halfin writes that Stalinist violence was unique in that it was directed internally.

&ldquoLenin, Stalin, and their successors could not have carried out their deeds without

wide-scale cooperation of disciplined &lsquoterror officials,&rsquo cruel interrogators, snitches,

executioners, guards, judges, perverts, and many bleeding hearts who were members of

the progressive Western Left and were deceived by the Soviet regime of horror and

even provided it with a kosher certificate.

&ldquoAnd us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name

Genrikh Yagoda, the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU&rsquos deputy

commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. &ldquoYagoda diligently implemented

Stalin&rsquos collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people.

&ldquoHis Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer

viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman

in 1936 by Yezhov, the &ldquobloodthirsty dwarf.&rdquo

The Jew Genrikh Yagoda, director of the NKVD, the Soviet Union&rsquos Stalin-era security and intelligence agency.

&ldquoYezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his book Stalin:

Court of the Red Star, Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest

period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was

surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.

&ldquoStalin&rsquos close associates and loyalists included member of the Central Committee and

Politburo Lazar Kaganovich. Montefiore characterizes him as the &ldquofirst Stalinist&rdquo and

adds that those starving to death in Ukraine, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of

human kind, did not move Kaganovich. &ldquoMany Jews sold their soul to the devil of the

Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We&rsquoll mention just one more:

Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD&rsquos special department and the organization&rsquos chief

interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist.

Yagoda (center) inspecting the construction of the Moscow-Volga canal, built by slave labor from the Gulags.

&ldquoIn 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior

posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. Even if we deny it, we

cannot escape the Jewishness of &lsquoour hangmen,&rsquo who served the Red Terror with loyalty

and dedication from its establishment. After all, others will always remind us of their origin.&rdquo

The Gulags: Jewish-Run Concentration Camps

As mentioned above, the infamous Soviet Gulags were under the direct control of the

Jew Yagoda. He was not the only such Jew involved in the running of these camps, in which

millions were interned and nearly 1.4 million died.

The most famous revelation about the Jewish nature of the Gulags was that of

famous dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Speaking from personal experience as a Gulag

prisoner, Solzhenitsyn gave a candid account of Jews in charge of the Soviet prison camps

in his book, Two Hundred Years Together. According to his observations, Jews

made up a clear preponderance in the Gulag administration and in the early

Bolshevist government, saying that of the 22 ministers in the first Soviet government

three were Russian, one Georgian, one Armenian and 17 were Jews. In addition, he points

out, from personal experience once again, that &ldquotwo thirds of the Kiev Cheka&rdquo (secret police) were Jews.

In 1937, another book appeared in Germany called Jewish-Run Concentration Camps in the Soviet Union,

which revealed that Communist Jews were the commandants of 11 out of the 12 main Gulags.

The Jewish Role in the Bolshevik Revolution
and Russia's Early Soviet Regime

Assessing the Grim Legacy of Soviet Communism

In the night of July 16-17, 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police murdered Russia's last

emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their 14-year-old son,

Tsarevich Alexis, and their four daughters. They were cut down in a hail of gunfire in a

half-cellar room of the house in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountain region, where they

were being held prisoner. The daughters were finished off with bayonets. To prevent a cult

for the dead Tsar, the bodies were carted away to the countryside and hastily buried in a secret grave.

Bolshevik authorities at first reported that the Romanov emperor had been shot after the

discovery of a plot to liberate him. For some time the deaths of the Empress and the children

were kept secret. Soviet historians claimed for many years that local Bolsheviks had acted on

their own in carrying out the killings, and that Lenin, founder of the Soviet state, had nothing

In 1990, Moscow playwright and historian Edvard Radzinsky announced the result of

his detailed investigation into the murders. He unearthed the reminiscences of Lenin's

bodyguard, Alexei Akimov, who recounted how he personally delivered Lenin's execution

order to the telegraph office. The telegram was also signed by Soviet government chief

Yakov Sverdlov. Akimov had saved the original telegraph tape as a record of the secret order. 1

Radzinsky's research confirmed what earlier evidence had already indicated. Leon

Trotsky -- one of Lenin's closest colleagues -- had revealed years earlier that Lenin and

Sverdlov had together made the decision to put the Tsar and his family to death. Recalling a

conversation in 1918, Trotsky wrote: 2

My next visit to Moscow took place after the [temporary] fall of Ekaterinburg [to

anti-Communist forces]. Speaking with Sverdlov, I asked in passing: "Oh yes, and where is the Tsar?"

"Finished," he replied. "He has been shot."

"And where is the family?"

"The family along with him."

"All of them?," I asked, apparently with a trace of surprise.

"All of them," replied Sverdlov. "What about it?"

He was waiting to see my reaction. I made no reply.

"And who made the decision?," I asked.

"We decided it here. Ilyich [Lenin] believed that we shouldn't leave the Whites a

live banner to rally around, especially under the present difficult circumstances."

I asked no further questions and considered the matter closed.

Recent research and investigation by Radzinsky and others also corroborates the account

provided years earlier by Robert Wilton, correspondent of the London Times in Russia for

17 years. His account, The Last Days of the Romanovs - originally published in 1920, and

reissued in 1993 by the Institute for Historical Review -- is based in large part on the findings

of a detailed investigation carried out in 1919 by Nikolai Sokolov under the authority of "White"

(anti-Communist) leader Alexander Kolchak. Wilton's book remains one of the most

accurate and complete accounts of the murder of Russia's imperial family. 3

A solid understanding of history has long been the best guide to comprehending the

present and anticipating the future. Accordingly, people are most interested in historical

questions during times of crisis, when the future seems most uncertain. With the collapse

of Communist rule in the Soviet Union, 1989-1991, and as Russians struggle to build a new

order on the ruins of the old, historical issues have become very topical. For example,

many ask: How did the Bolsheviks, a small movement guided by the teachings of German-Jewish

social philosopher Karl Marx, succeed in taking control of Russia

and imposing a cruel and despotic regime on its people?

In recent years, Jews around the world have been voicing anxious concern over the specter

of anti-Semitism in the lands of the former Soviet Union. In this new and uncertain era, we

are told, suppressed feelings of hatred and rage against Jews are once again being

expressed. According to one public opinion survey conducted in 1991, for example,

most Russians wanted all Jews to leave the country. 4 But precisely why is anti-Jewish

sentiment so widespread among the peoples of the former Soviet Union? Why do so

many Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and others blame "the Jews" for so much misfortune?

A Taboo Subject

Although officially Jews have never made up more than five percent of the country's total

population, 5 they played a highly disproportionate and probably decisive role in the infant

Bolshevik regime, effectively dominating the Soviet government during its early years.

Soviet historians, along with most of their colleagues in the West, for decades

preferred to ignore this subject. The facts, though, cannot be denied.

With the notable exception of Lenin (Vladimir Ulyanov), most of the leading Communists

who took control of Russia in 1917-20 were Jews. Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) headed

the Red Army and, for a time, was chief of Soviet foreign affairs. Yakov Sverdlov (Solomon)

was both the Bolshevik party's executive secretary and -- as chairman of the Central

Executive Committee -- head of the Soviet government. Grigori Zinoviev (Radomyslsky)

headed the Communist International (Comintern), the central agency for spreading

revolution in foreign countries. Other prominent Jews included press commissar Karl

Radek (Sobelsohn), foreign affairs commissar Maxim Litvinov (Wallach), Lev Kamenev

(Rosenfeld) and Moisei Uritsky. 6

Lenin himself was of mostly Russian and Kalmuck ancestry, but he was also one-quarter

Jewish. His maternal grandfather, Israel (Alexander) Blank, was a

Ukrainian Jew who was later baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church. 7

A thorough-going internationalist, Lenin viewed ethnic or cultural loyalties with contempt.

He had little regard for his own countrymen. "An intelligent Russian," he once remarked,

"is almost always a Jew or someone with Jewish blood in his veins." 8

Critical Meetings

In the Communist seizure of power in Russia, the Jewish role was probably critical.

Two weeks prior to the Bolshevik "October Revolution" of 1917, Lenin convened a top

secret meeting in St. Petersburg (Petrograd) at which the key leaders of the Bolshevik party's

Central Committee made the fateful decision to seize power in a violent takeover.

Of the twelve persons who took part in this decisive gathering, there were four Russians

(including Lenin), one Georgian (Stalin), one Pole (Dzerzhinsky), and six Jews. 9

To direct the takeover, a seven-man "Political Bureau" was chosen. It consisted of two

Russians (Lenin and Bubnov), one Georgian (Stalin), and four Jews (Trotsky, Sokolnikov,

Zinoviev, and Kamenev). 10 Meanwhile, the Petersburg (Petrograd) Soviet -- whose chairman

was Trotsky -- established an 18-member "Military Revolutionary Committee" to actually

carry out the seizure of power. It included eight (or nine) Russians, one Ukrainian, one Pole,

one Caucasian, and six Jews. 11 Finally, to supervise the organization of the uprising, the

Bolshevik Central Committee established a five-man "Revolutionary Military Center" as the

Party's operations command. It consisted of one Russian (Bubnov), one Georgian

(Stalin), one Pole (Dzerzhinsky), and two Jews (Sverdlov and Uritsky). 12

Contemporary Voices of Warning

Well-informed observers, both inside and outside of Russia, took note at the time of

the crucial Jewish role in Bolshevism. Winston Churchill, for one, warned in an article

published in the February 8, 1920, issue of the London Illustrated Sunday Herald that

Bolshevism is a "worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the

reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence,

and impossible equality." The eminent British political leader and historian went on to write: 13

There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in

the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the

most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one it probably outweighs all others.

With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews.

Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders.

Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate, Litvinoff,

and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with

the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or

of Krassin or Radek -- all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews

is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the

system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combatting

Counter-Revolution [the Cheka] has been taken by Jews, and in some notable

cases by Jewesses.

Needless to say, the most intense passions of revenge

have been excited in the breasts of the Russian people.

David R. Francis, United States ambassador in Russia, warned in a January 1918

dispatch to Washington: "The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and

90 percent of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country

but are internationalists and they are trying to start a worldwide social revolution." 14

The Netherlands' ambassador in Russia, Oudendyke, made much the same point a few

months later: "Unless Bolshevism is nipped in the bud immediately, it is bound to spread

in one form or another over Europe and the whole world as it is organized and worked by

Jews who have no nationality, and whose one object is to destroy for their own ends

the existing order of things." 15

"The Bolshevik Revolution," declared a leading American Jewish community paper in

1920, "was largely the product of Jewish thinking, Jewish discontent, Jewish effort to

As an expression of its radically anti-nationalist character, the fledgling Soviet government

issued a decree a few months after taking power that made anti-Semitism a crime in

Russia. The new Communist regime thus became the first in the world to severely punish

all expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment. 17 Soviet officials apparently regarded such

measures as indispensable. Based on careful observation during a lengthy stay in Russia,

American-Jewish scholar Frank Golder reported in 1925 that "because so many of the

Soviet leaders are Jews anti-Semitism is gaining [in Russia], particularly in the army [and]

among the old and new intelligentsia who are being crowded for positions by the sons of Israel." 18

Historians' Views

Summing up the situation at that time, Israeli historian Louis Rapoport writes: 19

Immediately after the [Bolshevik] Revolution, many Jews were euphoric over their

high representation in the new government. Lenin's first Politburo was dominated

by men of Jewish origins.

Under Lenin, Jews became involved in all aspects of the Revolution, including its

dirtiest work. Despite the Communists' vows to eradicate anti-Semitism, it spread

rapidly after the Revolution -- partly because of the prominence of so many Jews in

the Soviet administration, as well as in the traumatic, inhuman Sovietization drives

that followed. Historian Salo Baron has noted that an immensely disproportionate

number of Jews joined the new Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka And many

of those who fell afoul of the Cheka would be shot by Jewish investigators.

The collective leadership that emerged in Lenin's dying days was headed by the

Jew Zinoviev, a loquacious, mean-spirited, curly-haired Adonis whose vanity knew no bounds.

"Anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka," wrote Jewish

historian Leonard Schapiro, "stood a very good chance of finding himself confronted

with, and possibly shot by, a Jewish investigator." 20 In Ukraine, "Jews made up nearly

80 percent of the rank-and-file Cheka agents," reports W. Bruce Lincoln, an American

professor of Russian history. 21 (Beginning as the Cheka, or Vecheka) the Soviet

secret police was later known as the GPU, OGPU, NKVD, MVD and KGB.)

In light of all this, it should not be surprising that Yakov M. Yurovksy, the leader of the

Bolshevik squad that carried out the murder of the Tsar and his family, was

Jewish, as was Sverdlov, the Soviet chief who co-signed Lenin's execution order. 22

Igor Shafarevich, a Russian mathematician of world stature, has sharply criticized the Jewish

role in bringing down the Romanov monarchy and establishing Communist rule in his

country. Shafarevich was a leading dissident during the final decades of Soviet rule. A

prominent human rights activist, he was a founding member of the Committee on the

Defense of Human Rights in the USSR.

In Russophobia, a book written ten years before the collapse of Communist rule, he

noted that Jews were "amazingly" numerous among the personnel of the Bolshevik

secret police. The characteristic Jewishness of the Bolshevik executioners,

Shafarevich went on, is most conspicuous in the execution of Nicholas II: 23

This ritual action symbolized the end of centuries of Russian history, so that it can

be compared only to the execution of Charles I in England or Louis XVI in France.

It would seem that representatives of an insignificant ethnic minority should keep as

far as possible from this painful action, which would reverberate in all history. Yet

what names do we meet? The execution was personally overseen by Yakov Yurovsky

who shot the Tsar the president of the local Soviet was Beloborodov (Vaisbart)

the person responsible for the general administration in Ekaterinburg was Shaya

Goloshchekin. To round out the picture, on the wall of the room where the execution

took place was a distich from a poem by Heine (written in German)

about King Balthazar, who offended Jehovah and was killed for the offense.

In his 1920 book, British veteran journalist Rober

t Wilton offered a similarly harsh assessment: 24

The whole record of Bolshevism in Russia is indelibly impressed with the stamp of

alien invasion. The murder of the Tsar, deliberately planned by the Jew Sverdlov

(who came to Russia as a paid agent of Germany) and carried out by the Jews

Goloshchekin, Syromolotov, Safarov, Voikov and Yurovsky, is the act not of the

Russian people, but of this hostile invader.

In the struggle for power that followed Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin emerged victorious

over his rivals, eventually succeeding in putting to death nearly every one of the most

prominent early Bolsheviks leaders - including Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek, and Kamenev.

With the passage of time, and particularly after 1928, the Jewish role in the top

leadership of the Soviet state and its Communist party diminished markedly.

Put To Death Without Trial

For a few months after taking power, Bolshevik leaders considered bringing "Nicholas

Romanov" before a "Revolutionary Tribunal" that would publicize his "crimes against

the people" before sentencing him to death. Historical precedent existed for this. Two

European monarchs had lost their lives as a consequence of revolutionary upheaval:

England's Charles I was beheaded in 1649, and France's Louis XVI was guillotined in 1793.

In these cases, the king was put to death after a lengthy public trial, during which he

was allowed to present arguments in his defense. Nicholas II, though, was neither charged

nor tried. He was secretly put to death - along with his family and staff -- in the dead of

night, in an act that resembled more a gangster-style massacre than a formal execution.

Why did Lenin and Sverdlov abandon plans for a show trial of the former Tsar? In Wilton's

view, Nicholas and his family were murdered because the Bolshevik rulers knew quite well

that they lacked genuine popular support, and rightly feared that the Russian people

would never approve killing the Tsar, regardless of pretexts and legalistic formalities.

For his part, Trotsky defended the massacre as a

useful and even necesssary measure. He wrote: 25

The decision [to kill the imperial family] was not only expedient but necessary. The

severity of this punishment showed everyone that we would continue to fight on

mercilessly, stopping at nothing. The execution of the Tsar's family was needed not

only in order to frighten, horrify, and instill a sense of hopelessness in the enemy but

also to shake up our own ranks, to show that there was no turning back,

that ahead lay either total victory or total doom. This Lenin sensed well.

Historical Context

In the years leading up to the 1917 revolution, Jews were disproportionately represented

in all of Russia's subversive leftist parties. 26 Jewish hatred of the Tsarist regime had a

basis in objective conditions. Of the leading European powers of the day, imperial

Russia was the most institutionally conservative and anti-Jewish. For example, Jews were

normally not permitted to reside outside a large area in the

west of the Empire known as the "Pale of Settlement." 27

However understandable, and perhaps even defensible, Jewish hostility toward the imperial

regime may have been, the remarkable Jewish role in the vastly more despotic Soviet

regime is less easy to justify. In a recently published book about the Jews in Russia during

the 20th century, Russian-born Jewish writer Sonya Margolina goes so far as to call the

Jewish role in supporting the Bolshevik regime the "historic sin of the Jews." 28 She

points, for example, to the prominent role of Jews as commandants of Soviet Gulag

concentration and labor camps, and the role of Jewish Communists in the systematic

destruction of Russian churches. Moreover, she goes on, "The Jews of the entire

world supported Soviet power, and remained silent in the face of any criticism

from the opposition." In light of this record, Margolina offers a grim prediction:

The exaggeratedly enthusiastic participation of the Jewish Bolsheviks in the

subjugation and destruction of Russia is a sin that will be avenged Soviet power

will be equated with Jewish power, and the furious hatred against the Bolsheviks will

become hatred against Jews.

If the past is any indication, it is unlikely that many Russians will seek the revenge that

Margolina prophecies. Anyway, to blame "the Jews" for the horrors of Communism seems

no more justifiable than to blame "white people" for Negro slavery,

or "the Germans" for the Second World War or "the Holocaust."

Words of Grim Portent

Nicholas and his family are only the best known of countless victims of a regime that

openly proclaimed its ruthless purpose. A few weeks after the

Ekaterinburg massacre, the newspaper of the fledgling Red Army declared: 29

Without mercy, without sparing, we will kill our enemies by the scores of hundreds,

let them be thousands, let them drown themselves in their own blood. For the blood

of Lenin and Uritskii let there be floods of blood of the bourgeoisie -- more blood, as

much as possible.

Grigori Zinoviev, speaking at a meeting of Communists in September 1918, effectively

pronounced a death sentence on ten million human beings: "We must carry along with

us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia's inhabitants. As for

the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated." 30

'The Twenty Million'

As it turned out, the Soviet toll in human lives and suffering proved to be much higher

than Zinoviev's murderous rhetoric suggested. Rarely, if ever, has a regime taken the

lives of so many of its own people. 31

Citing newly-available Soviet KGB documents, historian Dmitri Volkogonov, head of a special

Russian parliamentary commission, recently concluded that "from 1929 to 1952, 21.5

million [Soviet] people were repressed. Of these a third were shot, the rest sentenced to

imprisonment, where many also died." 32

Olga Shatunovskaya, a member of the Soviet Commission of Party Control, and head

of a special commission during the 1960s appointed by premier Khrushchev, has similarly

concluded: "From January 1, 1935 to June 22, 1941, 19,840,000 enemies of the people

were arrested. Of these, seven million were shot in prison, and a majority of the others

died in camp." These figures were also found in the papers of Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan. 33

Robert Conquest, the distinguished specialist of Soviet history, recently

summed up the grim record of Soviet "repression" of it own people: 34

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the post-1934 death toll was well over ten

million. To this should be added the victims of the 1930-1933 famine, the kulak

deportations, and other anti-peasant campaigns, amounting to another ten million

plus. The total is thus in the range of what the Russians now refer to as 'The Twenty Million'."

A few other scholars have given significantly higher estimates. 35

The Tsarist Era in Retrospect

With the dramatic collapse of Soviet rule, many Russians are taking a new and more

respectful look at their country's pre-Communist history, including the era of the last

Romanov emperor. While the Soviets -- along with many in the West -- have stereotypically

portrayed this era as little more than an age of arbitrary despotism, cruel suppression

and mass poverty, the reality is rather different. While it is true that the power of the

Tsar was absolute, that only a small minority had any significant political voice, and that

the mass of the empire's citizens were peasants, it is worth noting that Russians

during the reign of Nicholas II had freedom of press, religion, assembly and association,

protection of private property, and free labor unions. Sworn enemies

of the regime, such as Lenin, were treated with remarkable leniency. 36

During the decades prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the Russian economy

was booming. In fact, between 1890 and 1913, it was the fastest growing in the world.

New rail lines were opened at an annual rate double that of the Soviet years. Between

1900 and 1913, iron production increased by 58 percent, while coal production more than

doubled. 37 Exported Russian grain fed all of Europe. Finally, the last

decades of Tsarist Russia witnessed a magnificent flowering of cultural life.

Everything changed with the First World War, a catastrophe not only for Russia, but

Monarchist Sentiment

In spite of (or perhaps because of) the relentless official campaign during the entire

Soviet era to stamp out every uncritical memory of the Romanovs and imperial Russia,

a virtual cult of popular veneration for Nicholas II has been sweeping Russia in recent years.

People have been eagerly paying the equivalent of several hours' wages to purchase

portraits of Nicholas from street vendors in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian

cities. His portrait now hangs in countless Russian homes and apartments. In late 1990,

all 200,000 copies of a first printing of a 30-page pamphlet on the Romanovs quickly

sold out. Said one street vendor: "I personally sold four thousand copies in no time at all.

It's like a nuclear explosion. People really want to know about their Tsar and his family."

Grass roots pro-Tsarist and monarchist organizations have sprung up in many cities.

A public opinion poll conducted in 1990 found that three out of four Soviet citizens

surveyed regard the killing of the Tsar and his family as a despicable crime. 38 Many

Russian Orthodox believers regard Nicholas as a martyr. The independent "Orthodox

Church Abroad" canonized the imperial family in 1981, and the Moscow-based Russian

Orthodox Church has been under popular pressure to take the same step, in spite of its

long-standing reluctance to touch this official taboo. The Russian Orthodox Archbishop

of Ekaterinburg announced plans in 1990 to build a grand church at the site of the killings.

"The people loved Emperor Nicholas," he said. "His memory lives with the people, not as

a saint but as someone executed without court verdict, unjustly, as a sufferer for his faith

On the 75th anniversary of the massacre (in July 1993), Russians recalled the life, death

and legacy of their last Emperor. In Ekaterinburg, where a large white cross festooned with

flowers now marks the spot where the family was killed, mourners

wept as hymns were sung and prayers were said for the victims. 40

Reflecting both popular sentiment and new social-political realities, the white, blue and

red horizontal tricolor flag of Tsarist Russia was officially adopted in 1991, replacing

the red Soviet banner. And in 1993, the imperial two-headed eagle was restored as the

nation's official emblem, replacing the Soviet hammer and sickle. Cities that had been

re-named to honor Communist figures -- such as Leningrad, Kuibyshev, Frunze, Kalinin,

and Gorky -- have re-acquired their Tsarist-era names. Ekaterinburg, which had been

named Sverdlovsk by the Soviets in 1924 in honor of the Soviet-Jewish chief, in

September 1991 restored its pre-Communist name, which honors Empress Catherine I.

Symbolic Meaning

In view of the millions that would be put to death by the Soviet rulers in the years to

follow, the murder of the Romanov family might not seem of extraordinary importance.

And yet, the event has deep symbolic meaning. In the apt words of Harvard University

historian Richard Pipes: 41

The manner in which the massacre was prepared and carried out, at first denied

and then justified, has something uniquely odious about it, something that radically

distinguishes it from previous acts of regicide and brands it as a prelude to twentieth-century

mass murder.

Another historian, Ivor Benson, characterized the killing of the Romanov family as

symbolic of the tragic fate of Russia and, indeed, of the entire West, in this century of

unprecedented agony and conflict.

The murder of the Tsar and his family is all the more deplorable because, whatever his

failings as a monarch, Nicholas II was, by all accounts, a personally decent, generous,

The Massacre's Place in History

The mass slaughter and chaos of the First World War, and the revolutionary upheavals

that swept Europe in 1917-1918, brought an end not only to the ancient Romanov

dynasty in Russia, but to an entire continental social order. Swept away as well was the

Hohenzollern dynasty in Germany, with its stable constitutional monarchy, and the ancient

Habsburg dynasty of Austria-Hungary with its multinational central European empire.

Europe's leading states shared not only the same Christian and Western cultural foundations,

but most of the continent's reigning monarchs were related by blood. England's King

George was, through his mother, a first cousin of Tsar Nicholas, and, through his father,

a first cousin of Empress Alexandra. Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm was a first

cousin of the German-born Alexandra, and a distant cousin of Nicholas.

More than was the case with the monarchies of western Europe, Russia's Tsar personally

symbolized his land and nation. Thus, the murder of the last emperor of a dynasty that had

ruled Russia for three centuries not only symbolically presaged the Communist mass

slaughter that would claim so many Russian lives in the decades that followed, but

was symbolic of the Communist effort to kill the soul and spirit of Russia itself.

Notes

  1. Edvard Radzinksy, The Last Tsar (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 327, 344-346. Bill Keller, "Cult of the Last Czar," The New York Times, Nov. 21, 1990.
  2. From an April 1935 entry in "Trotsky's Diary in Exile." Quoted in: Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990), pp. 770, 787. Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: 1976), pp. 496-497. E. Radzinksy, The Last Tsar (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 325-326. Ronald W. Clark, Lenin (New York: 1988), pp. 349-350.
  3. On Wilton and his career in Russia, see: Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), pp. 141-142, 144-146, 151-152, 159, 162, 169, and, Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold, The File on the Tsar (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), pp. 102-104, 176.
  4. AP dispatch from Moscow, Toronto Star, Sept. 26, 1991, p. A2. Similarly, a 1992 survey found that one-fourth of people in the republics of Belarus (White Russia) and Uzbekistan favored deporting all Jews to a special Jewish region in Russian Siberia. "Survey Finds Anti-Semitism on Rise in Ex-Soviet Lands," Los Angeles Times, June 12, 1992, p. A4.
  5. At the turn of the century, Jews made up 4.2 percent of the population of the Russian Empire. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: 1990), p. 55 (fn.).
    By comparison, in the United States today, Jews make up less than three percent of the total population (according to the most authoritative estimates).
  6. See individual entries in: H. Shukman, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Russian Revolution (Oxford: 1988), and in: G. Wigoder, ed., Dictionary of Jewish Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991).
    The prominent Jewish role in Russia's pre-1914 revolutionary underground, and in the early Soviet regime, is likewise confirmed in: Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter, Roots of Radicalism (New York: Oxford, 1982), pp. 92-94.
    In 1918, the Bolshevik Party's Central Committee had 15 members. German scholar Herman Fehst -- citing published Soviet records -- reported in his useful 1934 study that of six of these 15 were Jews. Herman Fehst, Bolschewismus und Judentum: Das jüdische Element in der Führerschaft des Bolschewismus (Berlin: 1934), pp. 68-72. Robert Wilton, though, reported that in 1918 the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party had twelve members, of whom nine were of Jewish origin and three were of Russian ancestry. R. Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (IHR, 1993), p. 185.
  7. After years of official suppression, this fact was acknowledged in 1991 in the Moscow weekly Ogonyok. See: Jewish Chronicle (London), July 16, 1991. See also: Letter by L. Horwitz in The New York Times, Aug. 5, 1992, which cites information from the Russian journal "Native Land Archives." "Lenin's Lineage?"'Jewish,' Claims Moscow News," Forward (New York City), Feb. 28, 1992, pp. 1, 3. M. Checinski, Jerusalem Post (weekly international edition), Jan. 26, 1991, p. 9.
  8. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990), p. 352.
  9. Harrison E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia's Revolutions, 1905-1917 (Doubleday, 1978), p. 475. William H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution (Princeton Univ. Press, 1987), vol. 1, pp. 291-292. Herman Fehst, Bolschewismus und Judentum: Das jüdische Element in der Führerschaft des Bolschewismus (Berlin: 1934), pp. 42-43. P. N. Pospelov, ed., Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: A Biography (Moscow: Progress, 1966), pp. 318-319.
    This meeting was held on October 10 (old style, Julian calendar), and on October 23 (new style). The six Jews who took part were: Uritsky, Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Sverdlov and Soklonikov.
    The Bolsheviks seized power in Petersburg on October 25 (old style) -- hence the reference to the "Great October Revolution" -- which is November 7 (new style).
  10. William H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution (1987), vol. 1, p. 292. H. E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia's Revolutions, 1905-1917 (1978), p. 475.
  11. W. H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 274, 299, 302, 306. Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution (New York: 1965), pp. 235, 238, 242, 243, 245. H. Fehst, Bolschewismus und Judentum (Berlin: 1934), pp. 44, 45.
  12. H. E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia's Revolutions, 1905-1917 (1978), p. 479-480. Dmitri Volkogonov, Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), pp. 27-28, 32. P. N. Pospelov, ed., Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: A Biography (Moscow: Progress, 1966), pp. 319-320.
  13. "Zionism versus Bolshevism: A struggle for the soul of the Jewish people," Illustrated Sunday Herald (London), February 8, 1920. Facsimile reprint in: William Grimstad, The Six Million Reconsidered (1979), p. 124. (At the time this essay was published, Churchill was serving as minister of war and air.)
  14. David R. Francis, Russia from the American Embassy (New York: 1921), p. 214.
  15. Foreign Relations of the United States -- 1918 -- Russia, Vol. 1 (Washington, DC: 1931), pp. 678-679.
  16. American Hebrew (New York), Sept. 1920. Quoted in: Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot (Cambridge, Mass.: 1963), p. 268.
  17. C. Jacobson, "Jews in the USSR" in: American Review on the Soviet Union, August 1945, p. 52. Avtandil Rukhadze, Jews in the USSR: Figures, Facts, Comment (Moscow: Novosti, 1978), pp. 10-11.
  18. T. Emmons and B. M. Patenaude, eds., War, Revolution and Peace in Russia: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1913-1927 (Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1992), pp. 320, 139, 317.
  19. Louis Rapoport, Stalin's War Against the Jews (New York: Free Press, 1990), pp. 30, 31, 37. See also pp. 43, 44, 45, 49, 50.
  20. Quoted in: Salo Baron, The Russian Jews Under Tsars and Soviets (New York: 1976), pp. 170, 392 (n. 4).
  21. The Atlantic, Sept. 1991, p. 14.
    In 1919, three-quarters of the Cheka staff in Kiev were Jews, who were careful to spare fellow Jews. By order, the Cheka took few Jewish hostages. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 824. Israeli historian Louis Rapoport also confirms the dominant role played by Jews in the Soviet secret police throughout the 1920s and 1930s. L. Rapoport, Stalin's War Against the Jews (New York: 1990), pp. 30-31, 43-45, 49-50.
  22. E. Radzinsky, The Last Tsar (1992), pp. 244, 303-304. Bill Keller, "Cult of the Last Czar," The New York Times, Nov. 21, 1990. See also: W. H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, vol. 2, p. 90.
  23. Quoted in: The New Republic, Feb. 5, 1990, pp. 30 ff. Because of the alleged anti-Semitism of Russophobia, in July 1992 Shafarevich was asked by the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC) to resign as an associate member of that prestigious body.
  24. R. Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1993), p. 148.
  25. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 787. Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: 1976), pp. 496-497.
  26. An article in a 1907 issue of the respected American journal National Geographic reported on the revolutionary situation brewing in Russia in the years before the First World War: " The revolutionary leaders nearly all belong to the Jewish race, and the most effective revolutionary agency is the Jewish Bund " W. E. Curtis, "The Revolution in Russia," The National Geographic Magazine, May 1907, pp. 313-314.
    Piotr Stolypin, probably imperial Russia's greatest statesman, was murdered in 1911 by a Jewish assassin. In 1907, Jews made up about ten percent of Bolshevik party membership. In the Menshevik party, another faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the Jewish proportion was twice as high. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 365. See also: R. Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1993), pp. 185-186.
  27. Martin Gilbert, Atlas of Jewish History (1977), pp. 71, 74. In spite of the restrictive "Pale" policy, in 1897 about 315,000 Jews were living outside the Pale, most of them illegally. In 1900 more than 20,000 were living in the capital of St. Petersburg, and another 9,000 in Moscow.
  28. Sonja Margolina, Das Ende der Lügen: Russland und die Juden im 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin: 1992). Quoted in: "Ein ganz heisses Eisen angefasst," Deutsche National-Zeitung (Munich), July 21, 1992, p. 12.
  29. Krasnaia Gazetta ("Red Gazette"), September 1, 1918. Quoted in: Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), pp. 820, 912 (n. 88).
  30. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: 1990), p. 820.
  31. Contrary to what a number of western historians have for years suggested, Soviet terror and the Gulag camp system did not begin with Stalin. At the end of 1920, Soviet Russia already had 84 concentration camps with approximately 50,000 prisoners. By October 1923 the number had increased to 315 camps with 70,000 inmates. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 836.
  32. Cited by historian Robert Conquest in a review/ article in The New York Review of Books, Sept. 23, 1993, p. 27.
  33. The New York Review of Books, Sept. 23, 1993, p. 27.
  34. Review/article by Robert Conquest in The New York Review of Books, Sept. 23, 1993, p. 27. In the "Great Terror" years of 1937-1938 alone, Conquest has calculated, approximately one million were shot by the Soviet secret police, and another two million perished in Soviet camps. R. Conquest, The Great Terror (New York: Oxford, 1990), pp. 485-486.
    Conquest has estimated that 13.5 to 14 million people perished in the collectivization ("dekulakization") campaign and forced famine of 1929-1933. R. Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow (New York: Oxford, 1986), pp. 301-307.
  35. Russian professor Igor Bestuzhev-Lada, writing in a 1988 issue of the Moscow weekly Nedelya, suggested that during the Stalin era alone (1935-1953), as many as 50 million people were killed, condemned to camps from which they never emerged, or lost their lives as a direct result of the brutal "dekulakization" campaign against the peasantry. "Soviets admit Stalin killed 50 million," The Sunday Times, London, April 17, 1988.
    R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, has recently calculated that 61.9 million people were systematically killed by the Soviet Communist regime from 1917 to 1987. R. J. Rummel, Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1917 (Transaction, 1990).
  36. Because of his revolutionary activities, Lenin was sentenced in 1897 to three years exile in Siberia. During this period of "punishment," he got married, wrote some 30 works, made extensive use of a well-stocked local library, subscribed to numerous foreign periodicals, kept up a voluminous correspondence with supporters across Europe, and enjoyed numerous sport hunting and ice skating excursions, while all the time receiving a state stipend. See: Ronald W. Clark, Lenin (New York: 1988), pp. 42-57. P. N. Pospelov, ed., Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: A Biography (Moscow: Progress, 1966), pp. 55-75.
  37. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), pp. 187-188.
  38. The Nation, June 24, 1991, p. 838.
  39. Bill Keller, "Cult of the Last Czar," The New York Times, Nov. 21, 1990.
  40. "Nostalgic for Nicholas, Russians Honor Their Last Czar," Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1993. "Ceremony marks Russian czar's death," Orange County Register, July 17, 1993.
  41. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 787.

From The Journal of Historical Review, Jan.-Feb. 1994 (Vol. 14, No. 1), pages 4-22.


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