Before ticking the box, Novye Izvestia recommends Muscovites to familiarize with the main facts from the life and work of both historical characters. Let's start with the "iron" Felix.
Sergey Baimukhametov, publicist, historian
The Bolsheviks, on the second day of the revolution, having adopted a decree abolishing (!) The death penalty, shot them without trial. Six months later, they realized it and canceled the cancellation. The word "terror" was a favorite, popular word.
Back in December 1917, Trotsky told the cadets:
“You should know that within a month, the terror will take on very strong forms, following the example of the great French revolutionaries. Our enemies will be awaited by a guillotine, and not just a prison".
In December 1917, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage (VChK) was created. She became an instrument of terror. And Felix Dzerzhinsky is its leader, symbol and personification.
Subsequently, the deputy of Dzerzhinsky, a member of the board of the Cheka Latsis, wrote:
“The happiness of our revolution was the appointment of FE Dzerzhinsky as chairman of the Cheka. The organization of the Cheka and its work are so closely related to his name that one cannot talk about them separately. Comrade Dzerzhinsky created the Cheka, he organized it, he transformed it... Comrade Dzerzhinsky stood for many years at this post, splattered with blood". (Highlighted by me. - S. B.)
From the first days of the Cheka, Dzerzhinsky defined the conditions and methods:
“The workers of the Cheka are soldiers of the revolution ... Socialists are not suitable for such work. A militant body like the Cheka cannot delegate police work. The right to shoot for the Cheka is extremely important".
At the beginning of 1918, at one of the meetings of the Council of People's Commissars, Lenin sent a note to Dzerzhinsky: "How many malicious counter-revolutionaries do we have in our prisons?" Dzerzhinsky wrote on a piece of paper: "About 1500". Lenin put a cross next to the figure and handed the piece of paper back.
All 1,500 prisoners were immediately shot. Later, Fotieva, Lenin's secretary, explained: “There was a misunderstanding. Vladimir Ilyich did not want to be shot at all. Dzerzhinsky did not understand him. Our leader usually puts a cross on a note as a sign that he has read it and took note".
Latsis, Dzerzhinsky's deputy, summed up the "methodological" foundations for the practice of the Cheka:
“Do not look at the investigation for materials and evidence that the accused acted in deed or word against the Soviet regime. The first question we have to ask him is what class he belongs to, what kind of background he is, upbringing, education or profession. These questions should determine the fate of the accused. This is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror”.
From the instructions of the Cheka:
“Shoot all counter-revolutionaries. Give the districts the right to shoot on their own ... Take hostages... set up small concentration camps in the districts... The Presidium of the Cheka will consider the cases of counter-revolution and shoot all obvious counter-revolutionaries. The same should be done by the regional Cheka. Take measures to prevent corpses from falling into unwanted hands".
From the order of the Cheka of September 2, 1918:
“Arrest all prominent Mensheviks and Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and imprison them.
Arrest, as hostages, major representatives of the bourgeoisie, landowners, factory owners, merchants, counter-revolutionary priests, all officers hostile to the Soviet regime, and imprison all this public in concentration camps ... At any attempt to organize, raise an uprising, attack the guard, shoot immediately...
Former gendarme officers, police officers - to be shot immediately.
Execute this order unswervingly, report every execution to the Cheka.
For divulging an order to bring the Cheka to revolutionary responsibility".
That is, the order was secret.
After the Volunteer Army occupied Kiev in August 1919, General Rerberg's commission drew up a document about what he saw in the basements of the Cheka:
“The entire... floor of the large garage was covered... with blood standing for several inches, mixed into a terrifying mass with brain, cranial bones, clumps of hair and other human remains ... The walls were splattered with blood, next to thousands of holes. from the bullets, brain particles and pieces of head skin adhered... The groove, a quarter of a meter wide and deep and about 10 meters long... was filled with blood all the way to the top...
Near this place of horrors in the garden of the same house, 127 bodies of the last massacre lay hastily, superficially buried... All corpses have their skulls smashed, many even have their heads completely flattened... Some were completely headless, but the heads were not cut off, but. .. we were coming off... In the corner of the garden we came across another, older grave, in which there were about 80 corpses... There were corpses with their bellies ripped open, others had no limbs, some of which were completely chopped up. Some had their eyes gouged out... Heads, faces, necks and torso were covered with stab wounds ... Several had no tongues... There were old people, men, women and children. One woman was tied with a rope to her daughter, a girl of about eight years old. Both had gunshot wounds.
In the provincial Cheka it was the same, the same floor covered with blood with bones and marrow, etc. In this room, the deck was especially striking, on which the victim's head was placed and broken with a crowbar, directly next to the deck there was a pit, like a hatch, filled up to the top with a human brain, where, when the skull was crushed, the brain immediately fell".
In the Tambov province, while suppressing the uprising of the peasants against the communist government, the Tambov Cheka on September 1, 1920, declared civilians hostages and ordered to shoot them:
“To carry out the merciless Red Terror to the families of the rebels, to arrest everyone in such families from the age of 18, regardless of gender. If the bandit actions continue, shoot them. "
In 1921, after the Civil War, Dzerzhinsky ordered the head of the Ukrainian Cheka:
“In view of the interventionist preparations of the Entente, it is necessary to destroy the arrested Petliura conspirators as soon as possible and more. We must shoot them. You shouldn't get carried away with the processes..."
"Dzerzhinsky was called a fanatic and a sadist", - recalled Angelica Balabanova, an activist of the Comintern.
Even the Bolsheviks themselves understood what a monster they had set free.
People's Commissar of Justice Nikolai Krylenko in 1925 proposed to transfer the state security organs to the subordination of the People's Commissariat of Justice so that at least some norms of law were observed: "The Cheka is terrible by the ruthlessness of its repression and complete impenetrability for anyone's gaze".
Dzerzhinsky responded by giving an order to his subordinates: “It is necessary to draw up a note to the Politburo about the practice and theory of the People's Commissariat of Justice, which have nothing in common with the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but constitute the liberal gum of bourgeois hypocrisy. At the head of the prosecutor's office should be fighters for the victory of the revolution, and not people of articles and paragraphs".
And, finally, about the organization of SQUEALING.
Decision of the Collegium of the Cheka of March 5, 1921.
“Every more or less responsible Chekist should get a position in the economic body through the Supreme Council of the National Economy. This work will not cost the Cheka any expenses, and the results will be colossal, tk. we will acquire a lot of informants and we will chekise the workers, turning them into fighters for their cause".
“The happiness of our revolution was the appointment of FE Dzerzhinsky as chairman of the Cheka. The organization of the Cheka and its work are so closely related to his name that one cannot talk about them separately. Comrade Dzerzhinsky created the Cheka, he organized it, he transformed it ... Comrade Dzerzhinsky stood for many years at this post, splattered with blood. " (Highlighted by me. - S. B.)
“Shoot all counter-revolutionaries. Give the districts the right to shoot on their own ... Take hostages ... set up small concentration camps in the districts ... The Presidium of the Cheka will consider the cases of counter-revolution and shoot all obvious counter-revolutionaries. The same should be done by the regional Cheka. Take measures to prevent corpses from falling into unwanted hands. "