Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 18:45:18 GMT
The next phase which began after the Bolsheviks had turned Kerensky out was dominated by the issue of peace with Germany. Lenin's main opponent here was Nikolai Bukharin, with Trotsky acting as intermediary. Although the Bolsheviks had repeatedly denounced the war, there was a faction within the party which wished to declare a revolutionary war immediately after taking nominal power. For people like Bukharin, the political act of signing a peace with Kaiser Wilhelm II in which they accepted German terms for the nonce was too odious to contemplate. Trotsky positioned himself between Lenin and Bukharin and argued that the Bolsheviks should refuse to sign a peace treaty with Germany, but should instead declare that the war had de facto ended with the overthrow of the previous Russian government so that a signed peace was unnecessary.
The end result of this was that German armies made a huge advance into Russian territory while no peace had yet been signed. The majority of Russians showed no strong inclination to want to fight against the German army and it was obvious that if the Bolsheviks did not sign a swift peace, then they would easily be toppled just as Kerensky had been. In March the peace was signed, with very humiliating terms. The signing of the peace also augured the beginning of the White uprising against the Bolshevik government. As long as the war continued, army officers were kept busy on that front. With the Brest-Litovsk Treaty signed, it was now easier for them to begin preparing an attack on Lenin's government.
While this was going on the breakdown of food-collections and deliveries to the cities which had been taking place since the time of the February Revolution continued. This was a general crisis which had been growing in Russia since the onset of the war in 1914. The crisis reached a new stage in 1917 and triggered the toppling of the Czarist government. But it didn't stop with that and instead kept rolling forward. This created a very special problem for the new Bolshevik regime. The vote for the Constituent Assembly had shown that the Bolsheviks were able to win the urban working class vote, but that the countryside vote went to the SRs. If the process that was already in motion were allowed to proceed unhindered, the likely event would be mass-fleeing from the cities into the countryside as people went in search of food. The only way that a new government could avoid this was to requisition food from the countryside at a time when there was little which could be offered as payment.
"During the First World War, a series of measures were undertaken by the Tsarist government to control the market in cereals and raw materials. The peculiar location of industry in Russia made the problem of food supply harder than in other countries…
"In the second half of 1916 the central industrial regions received only 36.8 per cent of the planned provisions. Moscow received only 35.5 per cent."
-- Silvana Malle, The Economic Organization of War Communism, 1918-1921, pp. 322, 324, Cambridge University Press, 1985.
The earliest types of Cheka-violence were related to a serious issue which any government of Russia had to somehow face, starvation in the cities.
"Subversive stirrings had become endemic in the countryside, where the peasantry fought, with sullen fury, to defend their stocks of grain against the food-confiscation detachments of city workers."
-- George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police, p. 103, Oxford University Press, 1981.
"On 31 January , a Bolshevik delegation from the city of Omsk pulled into hungry Petrograd with a trainload of grain. The delegation informed Lenin that 1,000 more carloads of grain were being held up in western Siberia by anti-Bolshevik railway workers. Lenin ordered about 50 CHEKA agents to ride back with the Omsk delegation and man key positions along the railway to expedite the stalled grain. The CHEKA agents performed their mission with ruthless efficiency; grain shipments from Siberia to European Russia skyrocketed in the month after their arrival."
-- Jamie Bisher, White Terror, p. 49.
The problem of having to take food to feed the cities was not just the invention of an imaginary Jewish cabal. It was a fact that all through 1917 a food crisis had been developing in the cities which corresponded to the social breakdown in Russia. This meant that despite the nominal support which Lenin had been declaring for peasant demands to take over the large landed estates, there was an obvious source of conflict between the Bolsheviks and the countryside. It must be stressed that it was entirely the cruel stupid arrogance of the White army officers which prevented this issue from resulting in a Bolshevik defeat. That fact would be the most decisive aspect of the entire Russian Civil War.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 19:06:36 GMT
A key event following the elections to the Constituent Assembly was the dismissal of that same assembly by Trotsky, when it became apparent that the Bolsheviks had not won a majority. Trotsky's own account of his confrontation with Julius Martov (a leading Jewish Menshevik) in the Constituent Assembly describes himself as saying:
"You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on--into the rubbish-can of history!"
To which Martov is said to have responded "Then we will go!" (Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution, Volume 3, p. 311).
Since this event was a major tripwire, it is worth recalling the opinion of it which Admiral Kolchak expressed in his later interrogation:
"I think that even though the Bolsheviks have few positive sides, the disbandment of that Constituent Assembly is truly to their credit. This, one should consider their positive asset."
-- Vladimir Brovkin, Behind the Front Lines of the Civil War: Political Parties and Social Movements in Russia, 1918-1922, p. 195, Princeton University Press, 1994.
If White leaders such as Kolchak had instead sought to defend the Constituent Assembly which Trotsky dismissed on (new style) January 19, 1918, then the history of the 20th century might very well have looked different. This is particularly well highlighted by the evidence that the urban proletarian vote for the Bolsheviks began to slip away within a short time:
"As early as January 1918 massive unemployment hit Petrograd and other big cities. The workers began to grumble, reminding the Bolsheviks of their October promises. The Mensheviks saw their chance and opened a vigorous campaign against the Bolshevik 'quasi-socialist experiments,' as they put it... Yet the Menshevik view was popular now, and they began winning one city soviet election after another in major industrial centers. In most cases they formed an electoral bloc with the SRs, and the two parties were well on the road to recovering majorities in major urban centers, which they had lost to the Bolsheviks in September-October 1917...
"To make things worse for the Bolsheviks, the Left SRs and the mainstream SRs were doing very well in the provincial soviet elections in the countryside."
-- Brovkin, ibid, pp. 13-4.
Again, 2 facts call for emphasis:
1) It was only the SRs and Mensheviks who were able to compete with the Bolsheviks on a political level in both urban and rural centers. No type of "popular conservatism" existed anywhere.
2) The numbers of Jews who held leading positions in the Mensheviks and SRs was visibly greater than anything which could be said about the Bolsheviks. A popular government forming as an alternative to the Bolsheviks would have reflected this fact.
The refusal of the Whites to accept these basic bits of reality must always be returned to in understanding the causes of the eventual Bolshevik victory.
Post by wheelbarrow on Feb 14, 2023 19:14:52 GMT
"the team was led by Yakov Yurovsky, a Jew"
That was never disputed, that Yurovsky was Jewish and led the team. Wilton tried to claim that there was one Russian Pavel Medvedev and that the others were Latvians. Not true. There was one Latvian Y.M. Tselms involved, and the other 7 members of the team were Russians, including Pavel Medvedev.
"The Soviets maintained it was a local initiative. Their fellow-travelers obliged. Wilton thus provided a much more accurate account of the killing of the Romanovs than his opponents by any standards."
So, your alternative to a liar like Wilton is Soviet official statements? Trotsky's Diary in Exile: 1935, published through Harvard University Press as far back as 1958 (reissued in 1976) contains a more honest account of things. See pages 80-1 of the 1976 edition. Or look for the same pages here:bishopkingdom.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/SIbMZeGL08TCx6Ap4gIS.pdf
Even the book published in 1957 by Frederick Schuman contains a simple concise account:
"A brutal incident of these days of incipient civil war is noteworthy. Nicholas II, with his wife and children, had been shipped from Tsarkoe Selo near Petrograd to Tobolsk and then to Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), north of Chelyabinsk. When Czech and Russian anti-Soviet troops moved on the town, the Ural Territorial Soviet concluded that the royal refugees could not be permitted to fall into hostile hands. During the night of July 16-17, 1918, Red Guards took the Romanovs, with their doctor and servants, to the basement of the house where they resided and there shot them all to death, burning the bodies in a near-by mine and scattering the ashes in a swamp."
-- Russia Since 1917: Four Decades of Soviet Politics, pp. 106-7, publisher Alfred A. Knopf.
There is no special and accurate reliable information added on to the above by Wilton's propaganda.
"The killing of the Romanovs did not reflect"
While the specific act of execution at that moment was based upon a political calculation by Lenin, that if he could not put the royal family on trial then it was better to execute them swiftly, there should be no doubt about the fact that broad sentiment favored a general revolution. Not necessarily the Bolshevik brand of revolution. The Social Revolutionaries were the most popular party among peasants and the Mensheviks very often won the support of urban workers away from the Bolsheviks. But there certainly was a very real revolutionary sentiment among the mass of Russians.
"Weber tells readers the lists appear to be inaccurate and contradict later available official lists"
Bring that up with John Wear. He was the one who wrote what claimed to be a piece of "Inconvenient History" where he simply recycled stories which were derived from Wilton's original fake lists. If you accept Weber's statement that the lists are inaccurate then the stuff taken from Ernest Elmhurst, The World Hoax, is fake too.
An observer of the Islamic State with incomplete access to information might infer a different hierarchy than the one the Islamic State formally set up, based on looking at the enforcers and string-pullers. It's the same with other similar groups for whom there is much simping in this thread. It's not Wilton's fault that they were inscrutable, unstable and chaotic, at least formally.
In fact, it is noted by historians that the early years have record gaps and we don't even know exactly who attended their Congresses and when. There was also an effort from 1923 on to piece together the early years, and it's unclear what was or wasn't falsified in the process based on internecine grievances. You have not established that the lists are "fake, fabrications, phony" - what is clear is Wilton didn't pull names out of a hat. If he mischaracterized the information he obtained, you have not established he did it in bad faith rather than a misunderstanding of terrorist structures. I agree that it's useful commentary on Wilton's work that officially released lists indicate different members and a lower membership of Jews.
Your side-swipe at other observers of the phenomenon is even lamer. You have not even come close to refuting the work of the MID or the plethora of War Office and Foreign Office reports, many of which are philosemitic in nature and worry about blowback to the Jewish population. You have not checked the personnel rosters of the Cheka and good luck breaking into the FSB archives to do so.
Your cited accounts do not provide more or much better detail than Wilton on the killing of the Romanovs. You yourself note such details. There is nothing even close to a competing independent effort that gets right most of the details Wilton got right and improves on Wilton - even with the indulgence of going decades after the events. In fact, Lenin's apologia refutes Schuman's account which more closely resembles the Soviet position. For a stickler for correct details you suddenly don't care.
Trotsky on Soviet deciders:
Between these four we get more than 80% Jews and the balance is philosemtic.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 19:33:22 GMT
It's worth inserting some observations by Oleg Budnitskii from a piece already referenced, when describing the period 1917-8:
"Jews were members of the central committees of practically all the significant parties of Russia. And in the central committees of the parties of the left wing, the Bolsheviks and the Socialists-Revolutionaries, as a rule the Jews claimed from a quarter to a third of the membership. The Central Committee of the Mensheviks was half-Jewish. At the other end of the scale, three out of sixty-seven members of the Central Committee of the Constitutional Democratic Party who were elected at its Eighth Congress, were Jews."
Budnitskii, "The Jews and Revolution: Russian perspectives, 1881-1918," East European Jewish Affairs, Volume 38, Number 3, p. 329.
Nonetheless, the Constitutional Democrats did not win a significant share of support among Russian peasants and workers when in open competition with the Left, though many more ordinary non-political Jews supported the Cadets than supported any of the Left-wing parties. Even at a time when Budnitskii says the Menshevik Central Committee had become half-Jewish, they were still the only party able to compete with the Bolsheviks for support among the urban working classes.
Budnitskii's estimates of Jewish membership among the central committees of the main political parties (a quarter for the Bolsheviks, a third for the Social Revolutionaries, half for the Mensheviks) are meant to be for the top layer. I mentioned Benjamin Pinkus's sturdy earlier where he cites that about 1000 out of 23000 members of the early 1917 Bolsheviks were Jewish. That's much less than a quarter.
The editorial by J.J. Goldberg where he commented on Putin's rehash of Wilton's fake numbers also mentions this:forward.com/opinion/179038/putin-jews-ruined-russia-but-now-were-pals-eh/
"something like under 10% Jews in the top & middle tiers of Bolshevik leadership, around 25% or 30% among the SRs and close to 40% among the Mensheviks. What all three had in common was that they weren’t the tsars, but it appears that for most Jews the Bolsheviks and their 'dictatorship of the proletariat' stuff were a bit too close for comfort to what they’d just gotten rid of."
-- J.J. Goldberg, "Putin: Jews Ruined Russia – But Now We’re Pals, Eh?," Forward, June 21, 2013.
Some of the discrepancy there may be that Goldberg counts "top & middle tiers" where Budnitskii was addressing "members of the central committees." Hence where Budnitskii gives "a quarter," Goldberg gives "10%," and so on. In any event, the party-memberships are a clear reminder that no indication of Jews being drawn towards the Bolsheviks existed prior to White pogroms. To complain about Jews having positions on the Left in general is pointless, since it was only the Leftist parties who had any popular support at this time.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 20:09:10 GMT
"It's not Wilton's fault that they were inscrutable, unstable and chaotic, at least formally."
Wilton certainly showed a lot of ideological bias in the way that he pandered to the Whites, but I can agree that it's more unforgivable for someone writing something today to rehash reports derived from Wilton as if they were accurate. When John Wear repeats the stories of a the Council of People's Commissars having allegedly had "17 Jews out of 20 members" then that's a much bigger sin than the original "17 out of 22" fallacy published by Wilton.
"You have not even come close to refuting the work of the MID or the plethora of War Office and Foreign Office reports"
I pointed out already how the MID casually accepted false claims about Lenin having had the name "Zimmerman" which no one has ever found, even when biographers agree that the father of his mother was likely a Christian convert from Judaism. The MID simply accepted claims by White propaganda uncritically and never attempted to properly assess anything. Whether you think they were "philosemitic" or whatever is not so important really. They just gullibly drank in White propaganda claims like Kool-Aid.
"Your cited accounts do not provide more or much better detail than Wilton on the killing of the Romanovs."
The actual source material for earlier histories would have been the stuff gathered by A. P. Nametkin, I. A. Sergeev, and N. A. Sokolov, rather than Wilton. A more recent book like King & Wilson, The Fate of the Romanovs, 2003, John Wiley & Sons, has more sources. But Wilton was always unreliable. The King & Wilson book gets much more stuff right.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 20:39:02 GMT
An important phenomenon in the Russian Civil War was the parallel occurrence of both Red Terror and White Terror. Not surprisingly, Right-wing propaganda such as regurgitated by John Wear tends to play up the first and pass over the second. This even allows the fiction to be created that perhaps the practice of terror was related to the ethnic background of those who carried it out, with the overtone that Jews were more likely to carry out acts of terror. Unfortunately, an objective assessment does not give us any grounds for suggesting that either Jews or Bolsheviks were more likely to engage in violent acts of terror than were the Whites. This fact is pivotal towards understanding the eventual White defeat, but for starters it is useful to recall some assessments of the Cheka's terror:
"Surveying the available evidence and allowing both for exaggerations by witnesses and for all the slaughter that must have gone unreported, one is led to surmise that the total number of victims of the massive Cheka apparatus and Internal Security Troops throughout Soviet-controlled territory, over the four-year period December 1917-February 1922, may have been in the region of 280,000, of whom perhaps half perished through execution and half in the suppression of insurrection."
-- George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police, pp. 466-7.
The distinction which Leggett makes between "execution" and "suppression of insurrection" is worth keeping in mind as it appears elsewhere in Leggett's study:
"... we may arrive at an estimate of perhaps 140,000 executions attributable to the Chekas of the various Soviet republics and to the Internal Security Troops under Vecheka control... Leaving aside executions, it seems likely that at least another 140,000 persons were killed by the Cheka and Internal Security Troops in the suppression of insurrections throughout Soviet territory during 1918-21."
-- Leggett, ibid, pp. 359-60.
Leggett's methodology would surely include the suppression of Nestor Makhno's anarchistic revolutionary forces as part of the "140,000 persons ... killed by the Cheka ... in the suppression of insurrections..." But the White Army also fought with Makhno before its defeat. Any casualties inflicted by the Whites in such a context should be counted parallel with Leggett's tally for "suppression of insurrection" as something to be added onto "execution." The Whites would have conducted an ample share of both outright "executions" and "suppression of insurrections." Even if one were to ignore the mass-pogroms carried out against Jews who typically welcomed the Whites at first as liberators from the Bolsheviks, the simple killings of non-Jewish Russians would be sufficient to match the actions of the Cheka.
Some of the most dramatic instances of White Terror were carried on in Siberia by 2 prominent figures:
"Dutov was feared for his retribution: on taking a town or village that previously had been in Red hands, he customarily ordered all remaining men tortured, then killed, while soldiers raped any female unfortunate enough to have remained behind. Tales of child-rape were not uncommon, as were mass-executions. Whole families–husbands, wives, and their children–were regularly tortured and killed without any charges or trial.
"As terrible as Dutov was, his cruelty was far surpassed by Semyonov… In all, more than a hundred thousand men, women, and children were killed by Semyonov and his division, a number without parallel by any other single leader, White or Red, in the Civil War."
-- Greg King & Penny Wilson, The Fate of the Romanovs, pp. 187-8, John Wiley & Sons, 1983.
Semyenov alone would allow us to already begin approaching the 140,000 or so executions which Leggett deduces for the Cheka. But while Semyenov was certainly the worst of the worst, he was far from the only one:
"Kutupev, an able officer and a favorite of both General Denikin and Wrangel, was brutal and had only the most primitive understanding of politics. In 1918, as military governor of Novorossisk, he established a bloody and reactionary regime which greatly alienated the population. In 1920, as Commander of the First Corps, he became military governor of Sevastopol. In this capacity he surpassed everyone in his cruelty and frequency of executions. Complaints poured in to the office of the Chief of Staff and to Wrangel himself. The town council sent a delegation to Wrangel in April complaining that the parents would not send their children to school because the children were terrified by seeing so many people hanged in the streets."
-- Peter Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 1919-1920: The Defeat of the Whites, p. 275, University of California Press, 1977.
"General Pokrovskii was another uncouth upstart … Shkuro, who was by no means soft, was shocked by the unceremonious hangings ordered by his fellow general. In his memoirs he describes how Pokrovskii tried to convince him: 'You brother, I hear, are a liberal and hang too few people. I asked my people to come here and help you in this matter.' While eating breakfast, Pokrovskii suddenly opened a door which allowed Shkuro to see hanging prisoners, saying: 'This is to improve the appetite.'"
-- Peter Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 1918, pp. 182-3, University of California Press, 1971.
Such practices of terror were built into the visions of White officers as laid down early by Kornilov:
"Nestorovich talked to Alekseev in Kornilov’s presence:
"‘General Alekseev, as always, talked in a quiet, calm tone: “No, one must not do this, because innocent people would suffer. Terror would begin and the population of Petrograd would pay for it.” But General Kornilov had a different opinion … “Even if we were to burn half of Russia”–he said passionately–“shed the blood of three fourths of the Russians, nevertheless, it is necessary to save Russia."’
"… Kornilov instituted the policy of taking no prisoners, and the Volunteer Army adhered to this in the first months of its existence. Referring to the Red Guards, he said: 'Do not capture these criminals. The greater the terror the greater our victories.'"
-- Kenez, ibid, pp. 78-9.
An interesting point about Kornilov is made by Peter Kenez:
"On February 5,  Kornilov issued his own manifesto... His manifesto also stated explicitly that the Constituent Assembly, dispersed by the Bolsheviks on January 18, should be restored. Shortly after Kornilov composed his manifesto the Volunteer Army was forced to leave Rostov; therefore, Kornilov's program was never distributed and had no political importance."
-- Kenez, ibid, p. 80.
At first glance this manifesto is clearly in conflict with the sentiments of Kolchak towards the dismissal of the Assembly, cited above. Kornilov was shaped by temperament more than ideology. During the year he spent in a Hungarian prison camp Kornilov was:
"Reading in the Austrian press of the struggle between progressive Duma leaders and the Russian government, Kornilov talked incessantly of the pleasure he would gain from hanging 'all those Guchkovs and Miliukovs.'"
-- Rabinowitch The Bolsheviks Come to Power, p. 97.
Guchkov and Milyukov were founders of the Constitutional Democrats at the time of the 1905 uprising. Kornilov's antagonism to them does not reflect a man likely to support a liberal government. Yet he had arrested the Czarina Alexandra and her children on March 8, 1917. Hence, Kornilov was not really a monarchist by any standard. But his temperament made him into a tool of the Right and this is why the statement made in his briefly written but never issued Manifesto about restoring the Constituent Assembly never amounted to anything.
The issue here is critical, because Russians were not willing to fight for what Kolchak and other White leaders advocated. To the extent that there was any kind of "anti-Bolshevism" popular among Russians it amounted to support for the Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, as well as occasional offshoots from these parties such as the Left SRs. No popular support for any kind of conservative leader was ever in evidence among the Russian populace.
The founders, leaders and members of these parties which acted as popular rivals to the Bolsheviks included such figures as:
1) Chaim Zhitlowsky: "As one of the founders of the Russian Socialist Revolutionary Party, he was a spokesman in radical Russian journals published in the many emigre centers throughout Europe... Returning ... in 1906, Zhitlowsky ... stood for election to the Russian Duma, but his successful candidature to the electoral body was invalidated by the Russian government..."
-- The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 10, p. 641, Ktav Publishing House, 1969.
2) Abram Gots: "Born in Russia to a rich Jewish family. Younger brother of M. Gots, who was leader of the SR party until his death in 1906... After the February revolution 1917, leader of the SR faction in the Petrograd Soviet... Active opponent of the Bolshevik takeover in November 1917. Arrested by the Bolsheviks, 1920."
-- Jeanne Vronskaya & Vladimir Chueguev, The Biographical Dictionary of the Former Soviet Union, p. 169, Bowker-Saur, 1992.
3) Julius Martov: "Martov ... was asked in a geography class to name the capital of Russia before St. Petersburg. He answered Moscow... A deluge of sarcasm followed as the master pretended he had expected Martov to say Berdichev. ... a town with a Jewish majority in the Pale of Settlement."
-- Service, Trotsky, p. 37.
"Martov ... Opposed Lenin's plans to introduce dictatorial methods into party work, and after the interparty split 1903, became the most prominent Menshevik leader. In 1917, proposed coalition government of all socialist parties. After the October revolution 1917, protested against the dictatorship of the Bolsheviks. Emigrated, Sep. 1920."
-- Vroskaya & Chueguev, ibid, p. 327.
4) Fannie Mae Kaplan: "Kaplan was born to a Jewish family in the Volhynian Governorate of the Russian Empire. A member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party (the “Esers”), she had become disillusioned with Lenin’s policies and attempted to kill him… The Bolsheviks were shaken by the assassination and reacted strongly – three days later they introduced the so-called Red Terror."
-- "1918: Fanny Kaplan Shoots Vladimir Lenin".history.info/on-this-day/1918-fanny-kaplan-shoots-vladimir-lenin/
5) Fyodor Dan: "Russian journalist Fyodor Dan (1871-1947), born Gurvich."
-- Dan Rottenberg, Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook To Jewish Genealogy, p. 197, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986.
"Member of the SDs from 1894... Joined the Mensheviks after the split in the SD party (one of the main opponents of Bolshevism within the SD party)... After the February revolution 1917, member of the Cen. Executive Cttee. Supported the Provisional Government... Expelled from the USSR by Lenin in 1922, stripped of Soviet citizenship, 1923."
-- Vroskaya & Chueguev, ibid, p. 96.
6) Raphael Abramovich: "... elected a member of the Central Committee of the Jewish Labor Bund ... Abramovich became one of the leaders of the Menshevik group... He opposed the Bolshevik seizure of power ... he was arrested in 1918 on trumped up charges because of his growing influence among the workers of Petrograd and Moscow."
-- Introduction by Sidney Hook to Raphael Abramovich, The Soviet Revolution, pp. viii-ix, International Universities Press, 1962.
I've noted already that revolutions are determined by a mixture of popular discontent, political leadership and links between these latter 2 phenomena. In terms of popular discontent, there was nothing lacking in the Russian Revolutions. The only parties which held any significant support from ordinary Russians were the SRs, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. White officers such as Kolchak, Denikin, Kornilov et alia never had any significant support from the Russian populace. The fact that White coup d'etats made it impossible for the SRs and Mensheviks to act as a political rival to the Bolsheviks was what guaranteed the latter's victory.
An eternal problem in arriving at any estimates of the White Terror is that the White forces were broken up into various regions and lacked an effective central command. Thus, an analysis of acts carried out in the region of south Russia where first Kornilov, then Denikin, and finally Wrangel led the White Army can easily overlook Semyenov and Dutov in Siberia, and vice versa. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that at least another 100,000 victims of White Terror executions can be added on top of the more than 100,000 that is generally ascribed to Semyenov alone. This is without even counting the White pogroms carried on against Jews who were initially friendly to the Whites, nor any of the casualties involved in the White fight against peasant rebels such as Nestor Makhno (casualties of a type which Leggett includes within his 280,000 estimate).
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 21:35:54 GMT
Regarding the White pogroms and the likely 150,000 or so deaths which they would have caused (Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, p. 855), some notice should be made of the general attitude with which most ordinary Jews greeted the arrival of the Whites in their towns:
"Ironically and tragically, the Jews had awaited the coming of the Volunteer Army [the Whites led by Denikin] with high hopes. Although they were represented in the Bolshevik leadership disproportionately, the overwhelming majority of Jews, artisans and tradesmen, suffered as a result of Soviet economic policies, such as restrictions on free trade. The Jewish minority was one section which had little interest in Ukrainian nationalism and therefore was unlikely to sympathize with Petliura. The Jews expected the return of law and order after White victory, and they hoped to be able to get on with their normal lives...
"In any case, the exhibition of a friendly attitude on the part of the victims towards their tormentors did not help. Often the pogroms began by killing Jews who participated in a good will delegation approaching the entering army. In Korsun', for example, the town sent a mixed Jewish and Christian delegation led by the rabbi to the Volunteer Army. Next day the Bolsheviks retook the town and the rabbi went into hiding. The Bolsheviks captured two Jewish members of the delegation, who were killed. The following day the Volunteers chased out the Bolsheviks and immediately started a vicious pogrom, killing the rabbi as he came out of hiding.
"Self-defense against the Petliurists and anarchists was successful at times; against the Volunteer Army it was hopeless. Anti-Semitic propaganda often described Jews firing from windows on retreating White soldiers. It even talked about imaginary Jewish detachments fighting against the Volunteer Army, but these were pure fabrications. In Kiev, for example, after the Bolsheviks managed to occupy the city for a few days in October 1919, anti-Semitic papers started a campaign charging the Jews with responsibility. The anti-Semitic Vechernie ogni published detailed charges of Jews firing from windows, but the liberal organ, Kievskaia zhizn', decided to investigate and found all the accusations false. As one would expect, such an investigation made no impression on the pogromist press.
"Ultimately, the Jews did learn. It was Soviet rule, which in spite of its economic policies, in spite of occasional pogroms carried out by some ill-disciplined Red troops, offered the best chance of survival."
-- Peter Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 1919-1920: The Defeat of the Whites, pp. 169-70.
It should be interjected here that the Military Intelligence Division, whose phony reports John Wear is so enamored of, also never did any of the kind of investigation which Kenez noted the liberal news organ Kievskaia zhizn' as having carried out. Phony reports about Jews firing from windows at White soldiers were accepted uncritically by MID, along with the fake stories by Robert Wilton about Trotsky having 300 New York Jews travel back to Russia with him or the nonsense about "384 'commissars' ... 300 Jews." The MID reports are absolutely unreliable when it comes to repeating such invented stories of the kind which Kievskaia zhizn' investigated.
It was these White pogroms which resulted in the fact that by 1922 almost any Jewish person within the territory of the USSR would have been a willing supporter of the Soviet government. Prior to the onset of Right-wing pogroms there was no indication of any significant percentage of the Jewish population supporting the Bolsheviks. The greatest number of Russian Jews simply favored liberal parties such as the Constitutional Democrats, while the bulk of Leftist Jews favored either the Mensheviks or the SRs.
Just the same, it was not the willingness of many Jews to subsequently support the Bolsheviks in response to White pogroms which allowed the Bolsheviks to win the Civil War. It was instead the alienation of most Russians, who had overwhelmingly supported either the SRs or Mensheviks when they didn't support the Bolsheviks (as quite a few did), that guaranteed White defeat. While Russian peasants could easily have been won over to supporting a political party which carried out pogroms against Jews, they were not going to support a conservative army which aligned itself with the landed gentry.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 22:11:32 GMT
Although the White Terror is the first most obvious thing which explains the White defeat, there is also the matter of White corruption which needs to be addressed when understanding the Bolshevik victory. John Hodgson traveled with Denikin's armies for a time. In his chapter "Why Denikin Failed" of the book With Denikin's Armies he gives observations to shed some light on things:
"About the middle of 1919 the British sent out a complete 200-bed equipment for a hospital at Ekaterinodar. Not a single bed ever reached its destination. Beds, blankets, sheets, mattresses and pillows disappeared as if by magic. They found their way to the houses of staff officers and members of the Kuban government. At this very time typhus and enteric were raging, and in a hospital of only 150 beds at Ekaterinodar the men were dying at the rate of twelve a day. They lay on bare boards, were covered with dirty sacks to which clung the detritus of their original vegetable contents, and were swarming with lice and fleas. In 1919 we sent Denikin 1500 complete nurses’ outfits. I did not, during the whole of my service with the army in Russia, ever see a nurse in a British uniform; but I have seen girls, who were emphatically not nurses, walking the streets of Novo Rossisk wearing regulation British hospital skirts and stockings. Britain sent Denikin enough soldiers’ clothing to equip an army twice the size of her own peace establishment. He never claimed to have had more than 300,000 men … but neither at the Tsaritzin nor the Don front did I ever see as many as 25 per cent … in British kit.
“I saw and talked to young ladies of good social standing at Taganrog who were wearing costumes made of British officers’ serge, and I can name Russian officers attached to the British Mission who deliberately ‘wangled’ a double issue of clothing from our Ordnance and at once sold the surplus set at a fabulous price …
"No matter how urgently trucks were needed to get British munitions to the front it was always possible for a local profiteer to bribe railway officials and obtain freight cars. This was done on a colossal scale...
“While the battle was raging just north of Kursk ten British tanks were landed at Novo Rossisk. For weeks they lay on the jetty awaiting trucks on which they could be sent to the front. None came, but one night a typical Black Sea storm caused one of the tanks to slip its moorings, and the whole consignment slid quietly to the bottom of the harbor."
-- John Hodgson, With Deniken’s Armies, pp. 180-3, Temple Bar Publishing, 1932.
This type of corruption which Hodgson observed among Denikin's forces was not unique to the southwest front but extended across all areas governed by the Whites and if anything was even worse in Siberia among Kolchak's forces:
"Captain Francis McCullagh of the British Military Mission, noting the existence in the rear of ‘committees for underclothing’ and ‘committees for furniture’, was to estimate the one function of the entire military establishment in White Siberia to be:
“‘to create posts for a crowd of lusty officers who are afraid to fight at the front. The stories I could tell in that regard would fill a volume. It is to the last degree disgraceful and shameful.’
"British and American observers were particularly dismayed that many 'swaggering' officers seemed completely and coldly indifferent to the sufferings of the refugees and underfed troops who were becoming all too conspicuous on the streets of the capital."
-- Jonathan Smele, Civil War in Siberia, pp. 114-5, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Kolchak's overall outlook is concisely laid out by Vladimir Brovkin:
"Kolchak and his associates believed that all these Bolsheviks, Mensheviks or SRs confused the workers and peasants and cleverly manipulated them in all these soviets, dumas, and zemstvos. According to Gins, the chairman of the Economic Conference under the supreme ruler, idiosyncrasies in the electoral law made it possible for the SRs to get absolute majorities in elections to the dumas and zemstvos in Siberia. The solution was not in competing with the SRs in elections based on universal suffrage but in changing the electoral law in such a way that leftist agitators would not be able to manipulate the electorate. It did not bother the leaders of the Kolchak government that in Siberia the SRs had won 75 percent of all votes to the Constituent Assembly and overwhelming majorities in local city dumas and zemstvos…
“The leaders of the White movement had already gotten rid of the Siberian duma, dominated by the SRs, in the period of the Directory government. With the rise to power of the supreme ruler, not even lip service to the Constituent Assembly was tolerated. The very words–Constituent Assembly–infuriated Kolchak’s officers. They associated it with the SRs, elections, accountability, and civilian control over the army–everything they detested…
“The worldview of the White movement was profoundly conservative. They reckoned that peasant conscripts would do their service, barred from politics, and that would suffice to win. They believed they could win the civil war against the Red Army without the support of the dumas, or trade unions, or peasants or workers. Clearly this approach doomed the White cause from the very beginning...
“What guided Kolchak’s officers was not so much the desire to create an army capable of defeating the Reds but the desire to settle scores with the hated leftists… They were confident that they were superior to any kind of ‘worker and peasant army’ led by Jews and commissars. In their opinion the best way to strengthen the front was not through compromise with the dumas or SRs but by revenge on those who had destroyed the Russia they knew before 1917. Victories at the front in March-April 1919 further convinced the Whites that Bolshevism was crumbling and that the course they had chosen was the right one. It did not occur to them that their victories were largely the result of local protests against the Bolsheviks and that the credit of popular trust which they had at the beginning would not last forever."
-- Vladimir Brovkin, Behind the Front Lines of the Civil War, pp. 194-5.
Brovkin's reference to how "the White movement had already gotten rid of the Siberian duma," refers to the coup d'etat carried out against the SRs in Siberia:
"There were ... few workers in Siberia to form a natural constituency for Lenin's party, and only a small intelligentsia. The overwhelming majority (some 90%) of the population were peasants, but of a relatively prosperous and independent kind, not in thrall to large landowners and, consequently, not attracted to the land redistribution policy which had served the Bolshevik party so well in land-hungry European Russia. They did, however, display a marked inclination for socialist politics, and in the Constituent Assembly poll this progressive yeoman class had formed the basis for an overwhelming victory for the SRs in Siberia..."
-- Smele, ibid, pp. 13-4.
Kolchak's coup turned out the popularly elected government of SRs and replaced it with a corrupt racket which alienated everyone. It's no surprise that the Bolsheviks eventually won and there's no need to fantasize about Jewish conspiracies.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 14, 2023 22:21:17 GMT
The brutality of White Terror and the rampant corruption endemic among White officers were 2 of the main ingredients which determined the White defeat at the domestic level, but secondarily there was the failing at the level of foreign relations. Some of this just flowed from the previous failings. British and American officers who saw the actual behavior of the Whites and were not ideologically drawn in by White propaganda (the way that many MID officers were) came away disillusioned with the prospects of supporting the Whites as a legitimate political force against the Bolsheviks. But a more direct issue of foreign relations came about in regard to states which had previously been part of the Czarist Empire and were now breaking away.
"Kolchak was certainly aware of this, and, in a personal letter to Mannerheim of June 23rd 1919, he literally begged the Finnish leader to 'adopt decisive measures for the liberation of the northern capital of Russia'. ... Mannerheim for one was certain that his army would fight for the Russian Whites. He replied to Kolchak on July 10th, saying that ... the army would certainly follow him in an attack on the Russian Bolsheviks ...
"The admiral's prime objection to the prospective Iudenich-Mannerheim agreement was that it entailed the 'unconditional recognition of Finnish independence'. He steadfastly refused to consider such recognition of the Helsingfors regime, even though, as Sazonov pointed out, Finnish independence was already an accomplished fact..."
-- Smele, ibid, pp. 302, 304.
While Kolchak's refusal to recognize Finnish independence made it politically impossible for Mannerheim to advocate Finnish aid to the Russian Whites in the spring and summer of 1919, by the fall Mannerheim had lost his position of regency and the new Finnish Diet was no longer willing to commit itself to a costly entanglement in the Russian Civil War. Lenin had made multiple statements in recognition of Finnish independence and, although there were long-term doubts about the broader Soviet intent, no Finnish commander could have mobilized the country to aid Kolchak without a clear statement recognizing Finnish independence from him.
Similar problems were caused by Kolchak in other areas:
"For as long as the pre-Kolchak anti-Bolshevik regimes in the east had been dominated by SRs and oblastniki, they faced few problems with the native peoples of the region and, in some cases, established warm relations with them. The Sibobduma, for example, was sympathetic to the needs of the native peoples of Siberia and actively championed their causes. ... in July 1918, mutually satisfactory agreements for joint struggle against the Bolsheviks were reached between Omsk and two of the most important native groups of the east - the Alash Orda Government at Semipalatinsk ... and the Bashkir National Party, ... Kirghiz and Bashkir leaders subsequently commenced mobilization of their peoples and formed military units which, although officially subordinate only to their own national authorities, were to be constituent parts of the planned Siberian Army and might be deployed in areas of the front away from their home territories."
-- Smele, ibid, pp. 296-7.
These alliances which the Social Revolutionaries had built as an anti-Bolshevik force were wrecked by Admiral Kolchak's Right-wing coup d'etat which dismissed the government of SRs which had won the votes of Russian peasants and reached constructive agreement with the Siberian nationalities. Kolchak's mishandling of things eventually led to the Bashkir government negotiating with Lenin and becoming the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The Whites botched the opportunity for diplomatic relations which would have made them stronger. But the point to be clear about here is that not only were such consequences not the creation of Jewish subversion, but the party of SRs which had originally begun constructive relations before it was toppled by Kolchak's coup was also a party which had had significantly more Jews in its membership before the White pogroms forced more Jews to side with the Bolsheviks.
Eventually the USSR would recover large portions of the old Czarist Empire (though not Finland) and would extend its influence to a wider region by 1945. But the Whites were not willing to play a long game in which the old Czarist Empire is broken up and a new state begins to slowly expand. Their impatience on this point was a background contributing factor to White defeat, though not as important as the way that White Terror and monumental corruption alienated the Whites from the majority of Russians.
Post by wheelbarrow on Feb 14, 2023 23:23:13 GMT
I pointed out already how the MID casually accepted false claims about Lenin having had the name "Zimmerman" which no one has ever found, even when biographers agree that the father of his mother was likely a Christian convert from Judaism. The MID simply accepted claims by White propaganda uncritically and never attempted to properly assess anything. Whether you think they were "philosemitic" or whatever is not so important really. They just gullibly drank in White propaganda claims like Kool-Aid.
And I pointed out already that old intelligence reports of conversations like this tended not to editorialize unless the author has some special insight that the recipient lacks. If there was any actual endorsement of the claim, my opinion is Bendersky would have published it. There isn't, and Bendersky skirts around the issue.
The main thrust of the agent's report appears to be that Jewish opinion in Paris is jubilant at their ethnic victory over Russians, and the agent's report was forwarded with a cover letter saying "I am rather in doubt as to whether the conclusions drawn by this agent are based on observations sufficiently wide to be valuable. However, I am myself convinced that the subject would bear closer investigation and while I am not ready to subscribe entirely to these conclusions, still I am convinced that there may be more than a modicum of truth in them." (Cf. Bendersky, pp. 48-49.) Thus, the MID bureaucracy not only skipped comment on the anecdote about what a gossiping woman said, but they even - charitably to the Jews - downplayed the agent's report on the mood of the Jewish population in Paris.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 15, 2023 1:20:48 GMT
Any actual investigation into Russian Left-wing politics that was made in 1917-8 would quickly have uncovered the fact that many more Jews were Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries than were Bolsheviks and would immediately notice the Mensheviks and SRs were the only parties capable of competing with the Bolsheviks in the domain of popular support. The fact that this simple reality was not immediately at the forefront of any would-be analyses shows how ideologically biased all of these supposed intelligence reports were. The various Russian aristocrats all had an incentive to maintain that Jews were acting specifically as one party, when they demonstrably were not, while implying that Russians were happy with the old order, when this was obviously untrue. The intelligence operatives were themselves ideologically biased to accept such a worldview and so did not look carefully at either the real public sentiments among Russians or at the conflicting political parties which various Jews supported. If they had done this then they would have realized that something like Kolchak's coup against the elected government of the Social Revolutionaries was a disaster in the making. Instead fools like Montgomery Schuyler supported the Kolchak coup.
William Graves was more in touch with reality and when he saw the brutality exercised by Ataman Semyonov against Siberians he was firm that the US should not get drawn into trying to maintain Semyonov. Schuyler's response was to whip up a bunch of tall tales alleging that Graves was surrounded by Jewish Bolsheviks who had enlisted in the US Army in Siberia. The fact that Schuyler had so little to say about the mass-slaughters carried out by Semyonov shows how he was just engaging in an ideological rant. Unfortunately, things like that repeatedly corrupted these types of "intelligence" reports.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 16, 2023 14:51:10 GMT
While the above points are what determined the outcome of the Russian Civil War, it can nonetheless be worth giving some honest attention to the issue of how many Jews held positions in the Cheka and when and where. It should be clear that the defeat of the Whites and victory of the Bolsheviks was absolutely not determined by this question of some Jews taking up positions in the secret police. Even during periods when Jews were most over-represented in the Soviet state apparatus, they never formed a majority and never acted as a unified group. Lenin (quarter-Jew) and Trotsky (Jew) were the only definite individuals who played decisive irreplaceable roles in making the Bolshevik victory. Apart from their personal roles, the Bolshevik victory simply followed from the political failings of the Whites and would not have been changed if Zinoviev, Kamenev and some others had instead quit the Bolsheviks and joined the Mensheviks (as almost occurred in 1917-8). But there are still some noteworthy points worth flushing out about Jewish involvement with the secret police.
One of the first most notable incidents to start with is the complaint which Trotsky was forced to make:
"At a politburo meeting held on 18 April 1919, Trotsky commented:
"'that Latvians and Jews constituted a vast percentage of those employed in Cheka frontal units, executive committees in frontal zones and the rear, and in Soviet establishments at the center; that the percentage of them at the front was a comparatively small one; that strong chauvinist agitation on this subject was being carried out among Red Army men and finding a certain response there; and that in Comrade Trotsky's opinion, a reallocation of Party personnel was essential to achieve a more even distribution of all nationalities between the front and the rear.'
"A striking imbalance manifested itself particularly in the Ukraine, where in early 1919 the Chekas contained an extraordinarily high proportion of Jews. 75 per cent of the personnel of the Kiev Cheka, and seven out of its ten collegium members, were Jews...
"On 1 May 1919, i.e. shortly after Trotsky's Politburo protest, the Kiev Cheka (and doubtless other Chekas) received an order prohibiting (or, more probably, limiting) the appointment of Jews to top Cheka posts and requiring, for propaganda reasons, the token execution of Jews--previously only one Jew had been executed by the Kiev Cheka..."
-- Leggett, The Cheka, pp. 262, 413.
It's not really clear whether Leggett's point about only 1 Jew having been executed by the Kiev Cheka represents loyalty by Kiev Jews to the Bolshevik government or favoritism by Jewish Cheka agents towards people who otherwise might have been charged and executed by the Cheka. In any event, Trotsky certainly was not interested in promoting Jews as such within either the Cheka or anywhere else. Hence his acting to curb the most extreme over-representation.
Lenin at times indicated his own concern about having too many Jews occupy positions in the Ukraine. In a Draft Theses of the Central Committee concerning policy in the Ukraine, made up some time before November 21, 1919, he wrote:
"Treat the Jews and urban inhabitants in the Ukraine with an iron rod, transferring them to the front, not letting them into government agencies (except in an insignificant percentage, in particular exceptional circumstances under class control.)"
-- Pipes, Unknown Lenin, pp. 76-7.
Next to "the Jews" Lenin added in the margin "Express it politely: Jewish petty bourgeoisie." The phrase class control" appears to have been substituted for the original "special supervision." Lenin had obviously agreed with Trotsky making an issue of having too many Jews holding positions in Ukraine.
More generally, we not surprisingly find that Jews did maintain some over-representation in the secret police all the way into the 1930s but never formed a majority and never functioned on an ethnic basis of mutual cooperation at any high level. The matter of 1 Jew having been executed by the Kiev Cheka before Trotsky intervened may have reflected some low-to-middle level ethnic cooperation among Kiev Jews working in the Cheka, but Trotsky was certainly not part of this. Nor is there any evidence of Zinoviev or anyone similar among high party officials ever having cultivated partisan ties with Cheka agents based on ethnicity.
"The proportion of Jews in the Cheka as a whole was not very high (compared to what White propaganda often alleged): 3.7 percent of the Moscow apparatus, 4.3 percent of Cheka commissars, and 8.6 percent of senior ("responsible") officials in 1918, and 9.1 percent of all members of provincial Cheka offices (Gubcheka) in 1920. As in the Party, the majority of Cheka members were Russians, and by far the most over-represented group were the Latvians, consistently and successfully cultivated by Lenin as the Praetorian Guards of the Revolution (35.6 percent of the Moscow Cheka apparatus, 52.7 percent of all Cheka senior officials, and 54.3 percent of all Cheka commissars, as compared to about 0.09 percent in the country as a whole and about 0.5 percent in Moscow). But even in the Cheka, Bolsheviks of Jewish origin combined ideological commitment with literacy in ways that set them apart and propelled them upward. In 1918, 65.5 percent of all Jewish Cheka employees were "responsible officials." Jews made up 19.1 percent of all central apparatus investigators and 50 percent (6 out of 12) of the investigators employed in the department for combating counter-revolution. In 1923, at the time of the creation of the OGPU (the Cheka's successor), Jews made up 15.5 percent of all "leading" officials and 50 percent of the top brass (4 out of 8 members of the Collegium's Secretariat)."
-- Slezkine, Jewish Century, p. 177.
Here I might mention that Robert Wilton also includes some claims in the appendix of The Last Days of the Romanovs about what he describes as "The Extraordinary Commission of Moscow (Cheka)" (pp. 189-90). Like with all of Wilton's alleged lists, this can be disregarded as fake.
Slezkine's observations about the years 1918-23 are pertinent as a description of what was going on when the early Soviet state consolidated its power. The year 1918 is distinct since this was when White pogroms were just beginning, and it wasn't immediately obvious that Jews would be forced to choose between a bloodbath by Whites or a Bolshevik victory. By 1923, the actions of the Whites had already determined that any Jew who hadn't been branded as a political opponent (the first Soviet show trial was centered in 1922 on Abram Gots as a leader of the Social Revolutionaries) would have welcomed the White defeat. But something like Slezkine's point that in "1918 ... Jews made up 19.1 percent of all central apparatus investigators" is a fair reflection of the general state at that time.
It, of course, goes without saying that nothing about the actions of the Whites, whether in pogroms against Jews or simply the multiple mass-killings of Russian peasants and such, was any kind of "response" to an honest concern over Jews or anyone else working in the Cheka. The White violence was driven by its own ideological agenda which never sought to evaluate where a political point could be scored by factual messaging. As such, the failure of the Whites is not to be seriously explained by seeking a count of how many Jews worked in the Soviet secret police.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 16, 2023 15:02:29 GMT
After Stalin had completely defeated any type of political opposition by 1928, he seems to have actually increased the number of Jews who held positions in the secret police in the early 1930s before purging most of them by the end of the decade.
"In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. They too, of course, were gradually eliminated in the next purges. In a fascinating lecture at a Tel Aviv University convention this week, Dr. Halfin described the waves of soviet terror as a "carnival of mass murder," "fantasy of purges", and "messianism of evil." Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern history."
-- Sever Plocker, "Stalin's Jews," Ynetnews, December 21, 2006.
The events of the 1930s are a separate chapter and again it should be clear that Yagoda and Kaganovich absolutely never maintained any type of ethnic Jewish alliance with each other. This was why Kaganovich was able to survive Yagoda's fall. Nor were these individuals ever in any way connected to a network that had somehow included Trotsky and Zinoviev as far back as 1917. If anything, as was highlighted in the spat raised by Trotsky over Jews in the Kiev Cheka in 1919, these early revolutionaries tried to avoid having too many Jews in such positions because their political cause was directed elsewhere. When Stalin had taken over the party he was rather more willing to temporarily allow the promotion of more Jews in the NKVD, while keeping all control in his own hands and eventually removing many people whom he had previously promoted:
"... in 1936 ... About forty percent of high-ranking NKVD officers had Jewish nationality recorded in their identity documents, as did more than half of the NKVD generals...
"The Jewish officers who brought the Polish operation to Ukraine and Belarus, such as Izrail Leplevskii, Lev Raikhman, and Boris Berman, were arrested and executed. This was part of a larger trend. When the mass killing of the Great Terror began, about a third of the high-ranking NKVD officers were Jewish by nationality. By the time Stalin brought it to an end on 17 November 1938, about twenty percent of the high-ranking officers were. A year later that figure was less than four percent. The Great Terror could be, and by many would be, blamed on the Jews.
"To reason this way was to fall into a Stalinist trap: Stalin certainly understood that Jewish NKVD officers would be a convenient scapegoat for national killing actions, especially after both the Jewish secret policemen and the national elites were dead. In any event, the institutional beneficiaries of the Terror were not Jews or members of other national minorities but Russians who moved up in the ranks. By 1939 Russians (two thirds of the ranking officers) had replaced Jews at the heights of the NKVD, a state of affairs that would become permanent. Russians became an overrepresented national majority; their population share at the heights of the NKVD was greater than their share in the Soviet population generally. The only national minority that was highly overrepresented in the NKVD at the end of the Great Terror were the Georgians—Stalin’s own."
-- Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, pp. 93, 108-9, Basic Books, 2010.
It bears clarification and emphasis here that this figure of 38.5% of Jewish origin among senior posts of the security apparatus was not somehow reflective of promotions carried out at the time of the 1917 revolutions, but rather of promotions carried out by Stalin years later when he displaced all of the original revolutionary leaders. Neither Trotsky nor Stalin actually sought to create a state in which Jews would hold 38.5% of senior security positions. Stalin temporarily promoted some Jews who could carry out dirty work and then later be blamed and purged. But that was largely a separate phenomenon from the events of 1917.
Post by wheelbarrow on Feb 16, 2023 23:46:29 GMT
"Nor is there any evidence of Zinoviev or anyone similar among high party officials ever having cultivated partisan ties with Cheka agents based on ethnicity."joshf731.substack.com/p/british-reports-on-bolshevism
The above, of course, concerns Zinoviev. Perhaps Pat can explain how that happened.
Post by patricksmcnally on Feb 18, 2023 18:10:35 GMT
Your own page shows how ideologically twisted these reports of British intelligence were. Here's an example from your own link:
"An important element in the situation is that the Bolshevist party is controlled and dominated by the New York Jews, the same class which came out in support of the Socialist candidate Hillquist in the New York election.”
Absolute rubbish. Show me any evidence of New York Jews having had anything to do with controlling the Bolshevik party. In the earlier pages of this thread, I've already touched upon some of the sources of misinformation of this type. Trotsky spent less than 3 months in New York where his activity was devoted to telling audiences that World War I was a bad imperialist war and US workers should not join it. I did mention the possibility that some New York Jews might very well have approved of and supported such activity, because many New York Jews were strongly opposed to the US entering the war as an ally of Czarist Russia against Imperial Germany. Only when the Czar was overthrown did they accept this.
That bit about Trotsky having spent a few months in New York campaigning against WW I is the only slender reed that anyone has produced showing even a mild connection to New York Jews. As I've also mentioned earlier in this thread, Trotsky was not even a Bolshevik at this time and his activities in New York would not have been recognized by Lenin as Bolshevik activity. The hoax about New York Jews controlling the Bolshevik Party was launched by Robert Wilton and is simply regurgitated by British intelligence here without any independent investigation. All of these so-called "intelligence reports" of that time were just recycling stuff from rumor mills without critical examination.
If British or US intelligence had ever tried to do any serious investigations then their conclusion would have reflected the facts which I've laid out in this thread already. These are that:
1) The overwhelming majority of Russians had enthusiastically supported the overthrow of the Czarist monarchy and the only political parties which had any strong popular support were the Social Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. The SRs actually were the most popular party by far, and the Mensheviks were often able to outpoll the Bolsheviks in many political contests. But no party to the Right of these had any popular support.
2) The Social Revolutionaries, and Mensheviks even more so, had had many more Jewish members among their leadership than the Bolsheviks had, and this only began to change in 1919 when White pogroms began killing many liberal Jews who had welcomed the White armies.
No actual ideologically impartial investigation of the events as they were unfolding at this time would support anything like the statements which you've quoted here. The fact that they repeat this rubbish about New York Jews controlling the Bolsheviks simply shows that this is not the result of any authentic investigative work.
During the Cold War this sort of crap stopped because it suddenly became apparent that if you wanted to stop an insurgency in, say, Thailand, then you needed to actually look into what were the grievances among the people which Maoist guerillas were trying to appeal to. At the time of the Russian Revolution, nobody among Western intelligence took any of this seriously and they never honestly tried to examine which political parties among the Russian populace had support, what were the political demands of Russians which such parties appealed to, and how could this create a rational alternative to a Bolshevik victory. Instead, Western intelligence reports repeated the most vulgar White propaganda uncritically.