Red Terror

The Red Terror was a period of political repression and mass killings carried out by Bolsheviks after the beginning of the Russian Civil War in 1918. The term is usually applied to Bolshevik political repression during the whole period of the Civil War (1917–1922),[1][2] as distinguished from the White Terror carried out by the White Army (Russian and non-Russian groups opposed to Bolshevik rule) against their political enemies (including the Bolsheviks). It was modeled on the Terror of the French Revolution. The Cheka (the Bolshevik secret police)[3] carried out the repressions of the Red Terror.[4] Estimates for the total number of people killed during the Red Terror for the initial period of repression are at least 10,000.[5] Estimates for the total number of victims of Bolshevik repression vary widely. One source asserts that the total number of victims of repression and pacification campaigns could be 1.3 million,[6] whereas another gives estimates of 28,000 executions per year from December 1917 to February 1922.[7] The most reliable estimations for the total number of killings put the number at about 100,000,[8] whereas others suggest a figure of 200,000.[9]

19180830-grave uritzy red terror
"Death to the Bourgeoisie and its lapdogs – Long live the Red Terror", propaganda poster in Petrograd, 1918


The Red Terror in Soviet Russia was justified in the Soviet historiography as a wartime campaign against counter-revolutionaries during the Russian Civil War of 1918–1921, targeting those who sided with the Whites (White Army). Under the slogan "Who is not with us, they against us", Bolsheviks referred to any anti-Bolshevik factions as Whites, regardless of whether those factions actually supported the White movement cause. Leon Trotsky described the context in 1920:

The severity of the proletarian dictatorship in Russia, let us point out here, was conditioned by no less difficult circumstances [than the French Revolution]. There was one continuous front, on the north and south, in the east and west. Besides the Russian White Guard armies of Kolchak, Denikin and others, there are those attacking Soviet Russia, simultaneously or in turn: Germans, Austrians, Czecho-Slovaks, Serbs, Poles, Ukrainians, Roumanians, French, British, Americans, Japanese, Finns, Esthonians, Lithuanians ... In a country throttled by a blockade and strangled by hunger, there are conspiracies, risings, terrorist acts, and destruction of roads and bridges.

He then went on to contrast the terror with the revolution and provide the Bolshevik's justification for it:

The first conquest of power by the Soviets at the beginning of November 1917 (new style) was actually accomplished with insignificant sacrifices. The Russian bourgeoisie found itself to such a degree estranged from the masses of the people, so internally helpless, so compromised by the course and the result of the war, so demoralized by the regime of Kerensky, that it scarcely dared show any resistance. ... A revolutionary class which has conquered power with arms in its hands is bound to, and will, suppress, rifle in hand, all attempts to tear the power out of its hands. Where it has against it a hostile army, it will oppose to it its own army. Where it is confronted with armed conspiracy, attempt at murder, or rising, it will hurl at the heads of its enemies an unsparing penalty.

Martin Latsis, chief of the Ukrainian Cheka, stated in the newspaper Red Terror:

Do not look in the file of incriminating evidence to see whether or not the accused rose up against the Soviets with arms or words. Ask him instead to which class he belongs, what is his background, his education, his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror.

— Martin Latsis, Red Terror[10]

The bitter struggle was described succinctly from the Bolshevik point of view by Grigory Zinoviev in mid-September 1918:

To overcome our enemies we must have our own socialist militarism. We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia's population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated.


The campaign of mass repressions officially started as retribution for the assassination (17 August 1918) of Petrograd Cheka leader Moisei Uritsky by Leonid Kannegisser and for the attempted assassination (30 August 1918) of Lenin by Fanni Kaplan. While recovering from his wounds, Lenin instructed: "It is necessary – secretly and urgently to prepare the terror".[12] Even before the assassinations, Lenin had sent telegrams "to introduce mass terror" in Nizhny Novgorod in response to a suspected civilian uprising there, and to "crush" landowners in Penza who resisted, sometimes violently, the requisitioning of their grain by military detachments:[2]

Comrades! The kulak uprising in your five districts must be crushed without pity ... You must make example of these people. (1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. (2) Publish their names. (3) Seize all their grain. (4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday's telegram. Do all this so that for miles around people see it all, understand it, tremble, and tell themselves that we are killing the bloodthirsty kulaks and that we will continue to do so ... Yours, Lenin. P.S. Find tougher people.

The Bolshevik communist government executed five hundred "representatives of overthrown classes" immediately after the assassination of Uritsky.[3]

The first official announcement of a Red Terror, published in Izvestia, "Appeal to the Working Class" on 3 September 1918, called for the workers to "crush the hydra of counterrevolution with massive terror! ... anyone who dares to spread the slightest rumor against the Soviet regime will be arrested immediately and sent to concentration camp".[13] There followed the decree "On Red Terror", issued on 5 September 1918 by the Cheka.[14]

On 15 October, the leading Chekist Gleb Bokii, summing up the officially ended Red Terror, reported that in Petrograd 800 alleged enemies had been shot and another 6,229 imprisoned.[12] Casualties in the first two months were between 10,000 and 15,000 based on lists of summarily executed people published in newspaper Cheka Weekly and other official press. A declaration About the Red Terror by the Sovnarkom on 5 September 1918 stated:

...that for empowering the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission in the fight with the counter-revolution, profiteering and corruption and making it more methodical, it is necessary to direct there possibly bigger number of the responsible party comrades, that it is necessary to secure the Soviet Republic from the class enemies by way of isolating them in concentration camps, that all people are to be executed by fire squad who are connected with the White Guard organizations, conspiracies and mutinies, that it is necessary to publicize the names of the executed as well as the reasons of applying to them that measure.

— Signed by People's Commissar of Justice D. Kursky, People's Commissar of Interior G. Petrovsky, Director in Affairs of the Council of People's Commissars V. Bonch-Bruyevich, SU, #19, department 1, art.710, 04.09.1918[15]

As the Russian Civil War progressed, significant numbers of prisoners, suspects and hostages were executed because they belonged to the "possessing classes". Numbers are recorded for cities occupied by the Bolsheviks:

In Kharkov there were between 2,000 and 3,000 executions in February–June 1919, and another 1,000–2,000 when the town was taken again in December of that year; in Rostov-on-Don, approximately 1,000 in January 1920; in Odessa, 2,200 in May–August 1919, then 1,500–3,000 between February 1920 and February 1921; in Kiev, at least 3,000 in February–August 1919; in Ekaterinodar, at least 3,000 between August 1920 and February 1921; In Armavir, a small town in Kuban, between 2,000 and 3,000 in August–October 1920. The list could go on and on.[16]

In the Crimea, Béla Kun and Rosalia Zemlyachka, with Vladimir Lenin's approval,[17] had 50,000 White prisoners of war and civilians summarily executed by shooting or hanging after the defeat of general Pyotr Wrangel at the end of 1920. They had been promised amnesty if they would surrender.[18] This is one of the largest massacres in the Civil War.[19]

On 16 March 1919, all military detachments of the Cheka were combined in a single body, the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic, which numbered 200,000 in 1921. These troops policed labor camps, ran the Gulag system, conducted requisitions of food, and put down peasant rebellions, riots by workers, and mutinies in the Red Army (which was plagued by desertions).[2]

One of the main organizers of the Red Terror for the Bolshevik government was 2nd-Grade Army Commissar Yan Karlovich Berzin (1889–1938), whose real name was Pēteris Ķuzis. He took part in the October Revolution of 1917 and afterwards worked in the central apparatus of the Cheka. During the Red Terror, Berzin initiated the system of taking and shooting hostages to stop desertions and other "acts of disloyalty and sabotage".[4] As chief of a special department of the Latvian Red Army (later the 15th Army), Berzin played a part in the suppression of the Russian sailors' mutiny at Kronstadt in March 1921. He particularly distinguished himself in the course of the pursuit, capture, and killing of captured sailors.[4]



Leon Trotsky
"Bolshevik freedom" – Polish propaganda poster with nude caricature of Leon Trotsky from the Polish–Soviet War

The Internal Troops of the Cheka and the Red Army practised the terror tactics of taking and executing numerous hostages, often in connection with desertions of forcefully mobilized peasants. According to Orlando Figes, more than 1 million people deserted from the Red Army in 1918, around 2 million people deserted in 1919, and almost 4 million deserters escaped from the Red Army in 1921.[20] Around 500,000 deserters were arrested in 1919 and close to 800,000 in 1920 by Cheka troops and special divisions created to combat desertions.[2] Thousands of deserters were killed, and their families were often taken hostage. According to Lenin's instructions,

After the expiration of the seven-day deadline for deserters to turn themselves in, punishment must be increased for these incorrigible traitors to the cause of the people. Families and anyone found to be assisting them in any way whatsoever are to be considered as hostages and treated accordingly.[2]

In September 1918, in just twelve provinces of Russia, 48,735 deserters and 7,325 bandits were arrested, 1,826 were killed and 2,230 were executed. A typical report from a Cheka department stated:

Yaroslavl Province, 23 June 1919. The uprising of deserters in the Petropavlovskaya volost has been put down. The families of the deserters have been taken as hostages. When we started to shoot one person from each family, the Greens began to come out of the woods and surrender. Thirty-four deserters were shot as an example.[2]

Estimates suggest that during the suppression of the Tambov Rebellion of 1920–1921, around 100,000 peasant rebels and their families were imprisoned or deported and perhaps 15,000 executed.[21]

This campaign marked the beginning of the Gulag, and some scholars have estimated that 70,000 were imprisoned by September 1921 (this number excludes those in several camps in regions that were in revolt, such as Tambov). Conditions in these camps led to high mortality rates, and "repeated massacres" took place. The Cheka at the Kholmogory camp adopted the practice of drowning bound prisoners in the nearby Dvina river.[22] Occasionally, entire prisons were "emptied" of inmates via mass shootings prior to abandoning a town to White forces.[23][24]

Industrial workers

On 16 March 1919, Cheka stormed the Putilov factory. More than 900 workers who went to a strike were arrested, of whom more than 200 were executed without trial during the next few days. Numerous strikes took place in the spring of 1919 in cities of Tula, Oryol, Tver, Ivanovo and Astrakhan. Starving workers sought to obtain food rations matching those of Red Army soldiers. They also demanded the elimination of privileges for Bolsheviks, freedom of the press, and free elections. The Cheka mercilessly suppressed all strikes, using arrests and executions.[25]

In the city of Astrakhan, strikers and Red Army soldiers who joined them were loaded onto barges and then thrown by the hundreds into the Volga with stones around their necks. Between 2,000 and 4,000 were shot or drowned between 12 and 14 March 1919. In addition, the repression also claimed the lives of some 600 to 1,000 of the bourgeoisie. Archival documents indicate this was the largest massacre of workers by the Bolsheviks before the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion.[26]

However, strikes continued. Lenin had concerns about the tense situation regarding workers in the Ural region. On 29 January 1920, he sent a telegram to Vladimir Smirnov stating "I am surprised that you are taking the matter so lightly, and are not immediately executing large numbers of strikers for the crime of sabotage".[27]


У здания Харьковской ЧК
Excavation of a mass grave outside the headquarters of the Kharkov Cheka

At these times, there were numerous reports that Cheka interrogators used torture methods which were, according to Orlando Figes, "matched only by the Spanish Inquisition."[28] At Odessa the Cheka tied White officers to planks and slowly fed them into furnaces or tanks of boiling water; in Kharkiv, scalpings and hand-flayings were commonplace: the skin was peeled off victims' hands to produce "gloves"; the Voronezh Cheka rolled naked people around in barrels studded internally with nails; victims were crucified or stoned to death at Dnipropetrovsk; the Cheka at Kremenchuk impaled members of the clergy and buried alive rebelling peasants; in Oryol, water was poured on naked prisoners bound in the winter streets until they became living ice statues; in Kiev, Chinese Cheka detachments placed rats in iron tubes sealed at one end with wire netting and the other placed against the body of a prisoner, with the tubes being heated until the rats gnawed through the victim's body in an effort to escape.[29]

Executions took place in prison cellars or courtyards, or occasionally on the outskirts of town, during the Red Terror and Russian Civil War. After the condemned were stripped of their clothing and other belongings, which were shared among the Cheka executioners, they were either machine-gunned in batches or dispatched individually with a revolver. Those killed in prison were usually shot in the back of the neck as they entered the execution cellar, which became littered with corpses and soaked with blood. Victims killed outside the town were moved by truck, bound and gagged, to their place of execution, where they sometimes were made to dig their own graves.[30]

According to Edvard Radzinsky, "it became a common practice to take a husband hostage and wait for his wife to come and purchase his life with her body".[3] During decossackization, there were massacres, according to historian Robert Gellately, "on an unheard of scale". The Pyatigorsk Cheka organized a "day of Red Terror" to execute 300 people in one day, and took quotas from each part of town. According to the Chekist Karl Lander, the Cheka in Kislovodsk, "for lack of a better idea", killed all the patients in the hospital. In October 1920 alone more than 6,000 people were executed. Gellately adds that Communist leaders "sought to justify their ethnic-based massacres by incorporating them into the rubric of the 'class struggle'".[31]

Members of the clergy were subjected to particularly brutal abuse. According to documents cited by the late Alexander Yakovlev, then head of the Presidential Committee for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, priests, monks and nuns were crucified, thrown into cauldrons of boiling tar, scalped, strangled, given Communion with melted lead and drowned in holes in the ice.[32] An estimated 3,000 were put to death in 1918 alone.[32]

Interpretations by historians

Some historians such as Stéphane Courtois and Richard Pipes have argued that the Bolsheviks needed to use terror to stay in power because they lacked popular support.[2][33] Although the Bolsheviks dominated among workers, soldiers and in their revolutionary soviets, they won less than a quarter of the popular vote in elections for the Constituent Assembly held soon after the October Revolution, since they commanded much less support among the peasantry (though the Constituent Assembly elections predated the split between the Right SRs, who had opposed the Bolsheviks, and the Left SRs, who were their coalition partners. Consequentially many peasant votes intended for the latter went to the SRs).[34][35][36] Massive strikes by Russian workers were "mercilessly" suppressed during the Red Terror.[34]

According to Richard Pipes, terror was inevitably justified by Lenin's belief that human lives were expendable in the cause of building the new order of communism. Pipes has quoted Marx's observation of the class struggles in 19th century France: "The present generation resembles the Jews whom Moses led through the wilderness. It must not only conquer a new world, it must also perish in order to make room for the people who are fit for a new world", but noted that neither Marx nor Engels encouraged mass murder.[33][37] Robert Conquest was convinced that "unprecedented terror must seem necessary to ideologically motivated attempts to transform society massively and speedily, against its natural possibilities".[34]

Orlando Figes' view was that Red Terror was implicit, not so much in Marxism itself, but in the tumultuous violence of the Russian Revolution. He noted that there were a number of Bolsheviks, led by Lev Kamenev, Nikolai Bukharin and Mikhail Olminsky, who criticized the actions and warned that thanks to "Lenin's violent seizure of power and his rejection of democracy ... [t]he Bolsheviks [would be] forced to turn increasingly to terror to silence their political critics and subjugate a society they could not control by other means".[38] Figes also asserts that the Red Terror "erupted from below. It was an integral element of the social revolution from the start. The Bolsheviks encouraged but did not create this mass terror. The main institutions of the Terror were all shaped, at least in part, in response to these pressures from below."[39]

The German Marxist Karl Kautsky pleaded with Lenin against using violence as a form of terrorism, because it was indiscriminate, intended to frighten the civilian population, and included the taking and executing hostages. "Among the phenomena for which Bolshevism has been responsible, terrorism, which begins with the abolition of every form of freedom of the Press, and ends in a system of wholesale execution, is certainly the most striking and the most repellent of all".[40]

In The Black Book of Communism, Nicolas Werth contrasts the Red and White terrors, noting the former was the official policy of the Bolshevik government:

The Bolshevik policy of terror was more systematic, better organized, and targeted at whole social classes. Moreover, it had been thought out and put into practice before the outbreak of the civil war. The White Terror was never systematized in such a fashion. It was almost invariably the work of detachments that were out of control, and taking measures not officially authorized by the military command that was attempting, without much success, to act as a government. If one discounts the pogroms, which Denikin himself condemned, the White Terror most often was a series of reprisals by the police acting as a sort of military counterespionage force. The Cheka and the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic were a structured and powerful instrument of repression of a completely different order, which had support at the highest level from the Bolshevik regime.[41]

James Ryan points out that Lenin never advocated for the physical extermination of the entire bourgeoisie as a class, just the execution of those who were actively involved in opposing and undermining Bolshevik rule.[42] He did intend to bring about "the overthrow and complete abolition of the bourgeoisie", but through non-violent political and economic means.[43]

Leszek Kołakowski noted that while Bolsheviks (especially Lenin) were very much focused on the Marxian concept of "violent revolution" and dictatorship of the proletariat long before the October Revolution. Implementation of the dictatorship was clearly defined by Lenin as early as in 1906 where he argued it must involve "unlimited power based on force and not on law", "absolutely unrestricted by any rules whatever and based directly on violence". In The State and Revolution of 1917 Lenin once again reiterated the arguments raised by Marx and Engels calling for use of terror. Voices calling for moderate use of violence, such as Kautsky's, met "furious reply" from Lenin in The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918). Another theoretical and systematic argument in favor of organized terror in response to Kautsky's reservations was written by Trotsky in The Defense of Terrorism (1921). Trotsky argued that in the light of historical materialism, it's sufficient that the "violence is successful" for it to justify its "rightness". Trotsky also introduced and provided ideological justification for many of the future features characterizing the Bolshevik system, such as "militarization of labor" and concentration camps.[44]

Historical significance

Memorial stone to victims of the red terror in Daugavpils
Memorial stone to victims of the Red Terror in Daugavpils

The Red Terror was significant as the first of numerous Communist terror campaigns that followed in Russia and many other countries.[45] It also unleashed the Russian Civil War according to historian Richard Pipes.[33] Menshevik Julius Martov wrote about Red Terror:

The beast has licked hot human blood. The man-killing machine is brought into motion ... But blood breeds blood ... We witness the growth of the bitterness of the civil war, the growing bestiality of men engaged in it.[46][47]

The term 'Red Terror' came to refer to other campaigns of violence carried out by communist or communist-affiliated groups.

Examples of the usage of the term "Red Terrors" include the following:

See also


  1. ^ Melgounov (1975). See also The Record of the Red Terror.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), Chapter 4: The Red Terror.
  3. ^ a b c Radzinsky, Edvard (1997). Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives. Anchor. pp. 152–5. ISBN 0-385-47954-9.
  4. ^ a b c Suvorov, Viktor (1984). Inside Soviet Military Intelligence. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 9780026155106.
  5. ^ Ryan (2012), p. 114.
  6. ^ Rinke, Stefan; Wildt, Michael (2017). Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions: 1917 and Its Aftermath from a Global Perspective. Campus Verlag. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-3593507057.
  7. ^ Ryan (2012), p. 2.
  8. ^ Lincoln, W. Bruce (1989). Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War. Simon & Schuster. p. 384. ISBN 0671631667. ...the best estimates set the probable number of executions at about a hundred thousand.
  9. ^ Lowe (2002), p. 151.
  10. ^ Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia – Past, Present, and Future, 1994.
  11. ^ Leggett (1986), p. 114.
  12. ^ a b Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7, page 34.
  13. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 74.
  14. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 76.
  15. ^ V.T.Malyarenko. "Rehabilitation of the repressed: Legal and Court practices". Yurinkom. Kiev 1997. pages 17–8.
  16. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 106.
  17. ^ Rayfield, Donald (2004). Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him. Random House. p. 83. ISBN 0375506322. See also Stalin and His Hangmen.
  18. ^ Gellately (2008), 72.
  19. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 100.
  20. ^ Figes (1998), Chapter 13.
  21. ^ Gellately (2008), p. 75.
  22. ^ Gellately (2008), 58.
  23. ^ Gellately (2008), p. 59.
  24. ^ Figes (1998), p. 647.
  25. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), pp. 86–7.
  26. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 88.
  27. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 90.
  28. ^ Figes (1998), p. 646.
  29. ^ Leggett (1986), pp. 197–8.
  30. ^ Leggett (1986), p. 199.
  31. ^ Gellately (2008), pp. 70–1.
  32. ^ a b Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev. A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia. Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-08760-8 page 156
  33. ^ a b c Richard Pipes, Communism: A History (2001), ISBN 0-8129-6864-6, p. 39.
  34. ^ a b c Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000), ISBN 0-393-04818-7, p. 101.
  35. ^ Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2008), p. 66.
  36. ^ E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Harmondsworth: Penguin (1966), pp. 121–2.
  37. ^ Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France (1850).
  38. ^ Figes (1998), pp. 630, 649.
  39. ^ Figes (1998), p. 525.
  40. ^ Karl Kautsky, Terrorism and Communism Chapter VIII, The Communists at Work, The Terror
  41. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), p. 82.
  42. ^ Ryan (2012), p. 116.
  43. ^ Ryan (2012), p. 74.
  44. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main currents of Marxism. W.W. Norton & Company. pp. 744–766. ISBN 9780393329438.
  45. ^ Andrew, Christopher; Vasili Mitrokhin (2005). The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00311-7.
  46. ^ Werth, Bartosek et al. (1999), pp. 73–6.
  47. ^ Julius Martov, Down with the Death Penalty!, June/July 1918.
  48. ^ After the War was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation and State in Greece, 1943–1960 (as an editor, Princeton UP, 2000)
  49. ^ Denis Twitchett, John K. Fairbank The Cambridge history of China,ISBN 0-521-24338-6 p. 177
  50. ^ BBC Article
  51. ^ Banerjee, Nirmalya (15 November 2007). "Red terror continues Nandigram's bylanes". The Times Of India.

References and further reading

External links


Desecration is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful, contemptuous, or destructive treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.

Ethiopian Civil War

The Ethiopian Civil War was a civil conflict fought between Ethiopia's communist governments and anti-government rebels from September 1974 to June 1991.

The Derg overthrew the Ethiopian Empire and Emperor Haile Selassie in a coup d'état on 12 September 1974, establishing Ethiopia as a Marxist-Leninist communist state with itself as a military junta and provisional government. Various left-wing, ethnic, and anti-communist opposition groups supported by the United States began armed resistance to the Soviet-backed Derg, in addition to the Eritrean separatists already fighting in the Eritrean War of Independence. The Derg used military campaigns and the Qey Shibir (Ethiopian Red Terror) to repress the rebels. By the mid-1980s, various issues such as the 1983–1985 famine, economic decline and other after-effects of Derg policies ravaged Ethiopia, increasing popular support for the rebels. The Derg dissolved itself in 1987, establishing the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) under the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WEP) in an attempt to maintain its rule. The Soviet Union ended its support for the PDRE in the late-1980s and the government was overwhelmed by the increasingly victorious rebel groups. In May 1991, the PDRE was defeated in Eritrea and President Mengistu Haile Mariam fled the country. The Ethiopian Civil War ended on 4 June 1991 when the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of left-wing ethnic rebel groups, entered the capital Addis Ababa and overthrew the WEP. The PDRE was dissolved and replaced with the Tigray People's Liberation Front-led Transitional Government of Ethiopia.The Ethiopian Civil War left at least 1.4 million people dead, with 1 million of the deaths being related to famine and the remainder from combat and other violence.

Fanny Kaplan

Fanny Efimovna Kaplan (Russian: Фа́нни Ефи́мовна Капла́н; real name Feiga Haimovna Roytblat, Фейга Хаимовна Ройтблат; February 10, 1890 – September 3, 1918) was a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party who allegedly tried to assassinate Vladimir Lenin.

As a member of the Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), Kaplan viewed Lenin as a "traitor to the revolution" when the Bolsheviks banned her party. On 30 August 1918, she approached Lenin as he was leaving a Moscow factory, and fired three shots, badly injuring him. Interrogated by the Cheka, she refused to name any accomplices, and was shot on 3 September. The Kaplan attempt and the Moisei Uritsky assassination provoked the Soviet government to reinstitute the death penalty after its abolition on October 28th, 1917.

Great Purge

The Great Purge or the Great Terror (Russian: Большой террор) was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union which occurred from 1936 to 1938. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of wealthy landlords and the Red Army leadership, widespread police surveillance, suspicion of saboteurs, counter-revolutionaries, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. In Russian historiography, the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina (literally, "Yezhov phenomenon", commonly translated as "times of Yezhov" or "doings of Yezhov"), after Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, who was executed a year after the purge. Modern historical studies estimate the total number of deaths due to Stalinist repression in 1937–38 to be between 681,692-1,200,000.In the Western world, Robert Conquest's 1968 book The Great Terror popularized that phrase. Conquest's title was in turn an allusion to the period called the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution (French: la Terreur, and, from June to July 1794, la Grande Terreur, the Great Terror).


A kebele (Amharic: ቀበሌ, qäbäle; Tigrinya: ታቢያ, tābiyā; "neighbourhood") is the smallest administrative unit of Ethiopia, similar to a ward, a neighbourhood or a localized and delimited group of people. It is part of a woreda (district), itself usually part of a Zone, which in turn are grouped into one of the Regions based on ethno-linguistic communities (or kililoch) that comprise the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Each kebele consists of at least five hundred families, or the equivalent of 3,500 to 4,000 persons. There is at least one in every town with more than 2,000 population. A keftanya, or representative, had jurisdiction over six to twelve kebeles.

The kebele, also referred to as a peasant association, was created by the Derg in 1975 to promote development and to manage land reform; they became a key element that the rival Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party and MEISON fought each other, and the ruling Derg, to control during the Ethiopian Red Terror. These armed members, formed into neighborhood defense squads, were responsible for many of the brutal excesses of the Red Terror.Upon the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front assuming power at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War in 1991, it retained the peasant associations, or kebeles, but utilized them for providing services such as healthcare through the Health Extension Workers program. As Human Rights Watch noted, "Kebele officials determine eligibility for food assistance, recommend referrals to secondary health care and schools, and help provide access to state-distributed resources such as seeds, fertilizers, credit, and other essential agricultural inputs."

Mengistu Haile Mariam

Mengistu Haile Mariam (Amharic: መንግስቱ ኃይለ ማርያም, pronounced [mənɡɨstu haɪlə marjam]; born 21 May 1937) is an Ethiopian soldier and politician who was the leader of Ethiopia from 1977 to 1991. He was the chairman of the Derg, the military junta that governed Ethiopia, from 1977 to 1987, and the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) from 1987 to 1991. The Derg took power in the Ethiopian Revolution following the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1974, marking the end of the Solomonic dynasty which had ruled Ethiopia since the 13th century. Mengistu purged rivals for power from the Derg and made himself Ethiopia's dictator, attempting to modernize Ethiopia's feudal economy through Marxist-Leninist-inspired policies such as nationalization and land redistribution. His bloody consolidation of power in 1977–1978 is known as the Ethiopian Red Terror, a brutal crackdown on opposition groups and civilians following a failed assassination attempt by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) in September 1976, after they had ignored the Derg's invitation to join the union of socialist parties.

Internal rebellion and government repression characterized Mengistu's presidency, the Red Terror period being a battle for dominance between the Derg, the EPRP and their rivals the All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement, who had initially aligned themselves with the Derg. While this internal conflict was being fought Ethiopia was threatened by both Somali invasion and the guerilla campaign of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front who demanded independence for Eritrea, then a province of Ethiopia. The Ogaden War of 1977–1978 over a disputed border region with Somalia was notable for the prominent role of Mengistu's Soviet and Cuban allies in securing an Ethiopian victory. The catastrophic famine of 1983–1985 is what brought his regime the most international attention.

Mengistu left for Zimbabwe in May 1991 after the PDRE National Assembly dissolved itself and called for a transitional government. His departure brought an abrupt end to the Ethiopian Civil War. Mengistu Haile Mariam still lives in Harare, Zimbabwe, and remains there despite an Ethiopian court verdict finding him guilty in absentia of genocide.His regime is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of 1,200,000 to over 2,000,000 Ethiopians.

NZR RM class (Red Terror)

The Red Terror was a four-wheel railcar built in 1934 and used by the general manager of New Zealand Railways, Garnet Mackley, for six years for inspections of the railway system, and to demonstrate the potential for using petrol- and diesel-powered railcars in New Zealand. The railcar could carry 7 people plus the driver. It was given the classification RM 1.

Nandigram violence

The Nandigram violence was an incident in Nandigram in the West Bengal state of India, in the aftermath of a failed project by the Government of West-Bengal under the erstwhile Communist rule to acquire land for SEZ (Special Economic Zone).

The policy led to an insurgency in the region, followed by the death of 14 people by the Police Forces.

This incident played an important role in the politics of West Bengal for the next few years. Mamata Banerjee and her political party widely mentioned this issue along with the political war cry Ma Mati Manush in their election campaigns.

Later the CBI gave a clean chit to the entire Buddhadeb Bhattacharya govt on Nandigram firing.

Noman Çelebicihan

Noman Çelebicihan (Crimean Tatar: نعمان چلبى جهان, Numan Çelebicihan) (1885–1918) was a Crimean Tatar politician, lawyer, mufti of Crimean Muslims, and writer. He was the first President of the short-lived independent Crimean People's Republic, established on November 26 (December 9 under the Gregorian Calendar), 1917. He is known for having written the poem "Ant etkenmen" ("I've pledged"), which became the Crimean Tatar national anthem. His early death at the hands of Bolshevik forces during the Russian Civil War is still commemorated in the Crimean Tatar nation.

Political repression in the Soviet Union

Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, tens of millions of people suffered political repression, which was an instrument of the state since the October Revolution. It culminated during the Stalin era, then declined, but it continued to exist during the "Khrushchev Thaw", followed by increased persecution of Soviet dissidents during the Brezhnev stagnation, and it did not cease to exist until late in Mikhail Gorbachev's rule when it was ended in keeping with his policies of glasnost and perestroika.

Qey Shibir

Qey Shibir or Key Shibbir (Amharic: ቀይ ሽብር ḳäy šəbbər), also known as the Ethiopian Red Terror, was a violent political repression campaign of the Derg against competing Marxist-Leninist groups in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1976 to 1977. The Qey Shibir was an attempt to consolidate Derg rule during the political instability after their overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 and the subsequent Ethiopian Civil War. The Qey Shibir was based on the Red Terror of the Russian Civil War, and most visibly took place after Mengistu Haile Mariam became Chairman of the Derg on 3 February 1977. It is estimated that 30,000 to 750,000 people were killed over the course of the Qey Shibir.In December 2006, Mengistu was convicted in absentia by Ethiopia for his role in the Qey Shibir while leader of the Derg.

Red Terror (Hungary)

The Red Terror in Hungary (Hungarian: vörösterror) was a period of heightened political tension and suppression in 1919 during the four-month period of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, primarily towards anti-communist forces. The communist party and communist policies had considerable popular support among the proletarian masses of large industrial centers - especially in Budapest - where the working class represented a higher ratio of the inhabitants. In the Hungarian countryside, the authority of the government was often nonexistent, serving as a launch-point for anti-communist insurgency. The new government followed the Soviet solution: the party established its revolutionary terror groups (such as the infamous "Lenin Boys") to "overcome the obstacles" of the worker's revolution. It received its name in reference to the Red Terror of Soviet Russia. It was soon followed by the White Terror against communists, industrial workers and Jews.

Red Terror (Spain)

The Red Terror in Spain (Spanish: Terror Rojo) is the name given by some historians to various acts of violence committed from 1936 until the end of the Spanish Civil War "by sections of nearly all the leftist groups". News of the rightist military coup in 1936 unleashed a social revolutionary response, and no republican region escaped revolutionary and anticlerical violence, but it was minimal in the Basque Country. The violence consisted of the killing of tens of thousands of people (including 6,832 members of the Catholic clergy, the vast majority in the summer of 1936 in the wake of the military coup) as well as attacks on landowners, industrialists, and politicians as well as the desecration and burning of monasteries and churches.A process of political polarisation had characterised the Spanish Second Republic, and party divisions became increasingly embittered and questions of religious identity came to assume a major political significance. Electorally, the Church had identified itself with the right, which had set itself against social reform.The failed pronunciamiento of 1936 set loose a violent onslaught on those that revolutionaries in the Republican zone identified as enemies; "where the rebellion failed, for several months afterwards merely to be identified as a priest, a religious or simply a militant Christian or member of some apostolic or pious organization, was enough for a person to be executed without trial".In recent years, the Catholic Church has beatified hundreds of the victims, 498 of them on 28 October 2007 in a spectacular ceremony, the largest single number of beatifications in its history.Some estimates of the Red Terror range from 38,000 to ~72,344 lives. Paul Preston, speaking in 2012 at the time of the publication of his book The Spanish Holocaust, put the figure at a little under 50,000.

Historian Julio de la Cueva wrote that "despite the fact that the Church... suffer[ed] appalling persecution", the events have so far met not only with "the embarrassing partiality of ecclesiastical scholars, but also with the embarrassed silence or attempts at justification of a large number of historians and memoirists". Analysts such as Helen Graham have linked the Red and White Terrors, pointing out that it was the coup that allowed the culture of brutal violence to flourish: "its original act of violence was that it killed off the possibility of other forms of peaceful political evolution". Others see the persecution and violence as predating the coup and found in what they see as a "radical and antidemocratic" anticlericalism of the Republic and its constitution, with the dissolution of the Jesuits in 1932, the nationalisation of virtually all church property in 1933, the prohibition of teaching religion in schools, the prohibition of teaching by clergy and the violent persecution beginning in 1934 in Asturias, with the murder of 37 priests, religious and seminarians and the burning of 58 churches.

Red Terror (disambiguation)

The Red Terror was a campaign of mass arrests and executions conducted by the Bolshevik government of Soviet Russia in 1918–1922.

Red Terror may also refer to:

Communist terrorism

Cultural Revolution, mass violence by the Red Guards in China from August 1966 to September 1967

Revolutionary terror

The last six weeks of the "Reign of Terror" of the French Revolution in 1794

Red Terror (Hungary), a series of atrocities during the 1919 regime of Hungarian Soviet Republic

Red Terror (Spain), various atrocities by Spanish Republicans during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s

Red Terror (Ethiopia), a violent political campaign to annihilate the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party in Ethiopia in 1977–1978

Red Terror (Finland), various brutal acts committed by Red Guards during the Finnish Civil War in 1918

Leftist errors (Yugoslavia), sometimes called the "Red Terror", a period in Yugoslavia (1941–42) during World War II

Red Terror on the Amber Coast

Red Terror on the Amber Coast is an American documentary film about the Lithuanian resistance to the Soviet occupation from the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.Two Dominican Order priests, David O'Rourke and Ken Gumbert, collaborated on the project with the intent to have it reach millions of American viewers through public broadcasting.During a year teaching at Vilnius University, O'Rourke was inspired by an accidental visit to the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, calling it "one of the most chilling experiences of my life." He teamed up with Gumbert, who had been making a documentary about the Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948. They gained access to Lithuania's film and photo archives. It took several years of work in the archives before they gained the confidence of those featured in interviews - including former prisoners and Forest Brothers. Lithuanian president (at the time of filming) Valdas Adamkus appears in the film.Red Terror was released in fall 2008. It was televised for the first time in January on Rhode Island PBS station WSBE-TV, Channel 36. It has subsequently been uploaded by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association, for distribution to participating PBS stations, and is shown around the United States

The film has received special screenings, including at the Heritage Foundation in December 2008, where it was introduced by Audrius Bruzga, Lithuanian ambassador to the US, followed by a discussion with Gumbert and O'Rourke, and at the Rhode Island International Film Festival in the summer of 2009. On 23 August 2010, the anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, Lithuanian National Television broadcast Red Terror in prime time throughout the country in commemoration of the event and its impact.

Revolutionary terror

Revolutionary terror (also referred to as revolutionary terrorism, or a reign of terror) refers to the institutionalized application of force to counterrevolutionaries, particularly during the French Revolution from the years 1793 to 1795 (see the Reign of Terror). The term "Communist terrorism" has also been used to describe the revolutionary terror, from the Red Terror in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) to the reign of the Khmer Rouge and others. In contrast, "reactionary terror", such as White Terror, has been used to subdue revolutions.

Terrorism in Russia

Terrorism in Russia has a long history starting from the time of the Russian Empire. Terrorism, in the modern sense, means violence against civilians to achieve political or ideological objectives by creating extreme fear. Terrorism was an important tool used by Marxist revolutionaries in the early 20th century to disrupt the social, political, and economic system and enable rebels to bring down the Tzarist government. Terrorist tactics, such as hostage-taking, were widely used by the Soviet secret agencies, most notably during the Red Terror and Great Terror campaigns, against the population of their own country, according to Karl Kautsky and other historians of Bolshevism.

Starting from the end of the 20th century, significant terrorist activity has taken place in Moscow, most notably apartment bombings and the Moscow theater hostage crisis. Many more acts of terrorism have been committed in Chechnya, Dagestan, and other parts of the country.

The Red Terror (film)

The Red Terror (German: GPU) is a 1942 German film directed by Karl Ritter.Released after the breakdown of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, it is noteworthy for the crude, heavy-handed depiction of Communists.

White Terror (Hungary)

The White Terror in Hungary was a two-year period (1919–1921) of repressive violence by counter-revolutionary soldiers, carried out to crush any opposition supportive of Hungary’s short-lived Soviet republic and its Red Terror. Many of the victims of the White Terror were Jewish. During the White Terror, tens of thousands were imprisoned without trial and as many as 1,000 people were killed.

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