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Is The Bolsheviks Brutality The Reason They Held Onto Power From 1917 1924?

1358 words - 6 pages

Is the Bolsheviks brutality the reason they held onto power from 1917-1924?

The Bolsheviks finally had what they wanted- control of Russia. But now that they had the power they had to keep it, whilst trying to gain public support. But during this period of time several hardships were encountered by Russia; the First World War, solved with the treaty of Brest Litovsk; a civil war and one of the worst famines in modern history. The way these were countered did not gain the Bolsheviks any favours, with war communism and severe oppression, public moral hit rock bottom.
One brutal method used was that the Bolsheviks were deceiving the entire population of Russia. They all thought that the ...view middle of the document...

Those who they didn’t kill were sent to the gulags - labour camps - after the Cheka was sure they didn’t have any more information. Many people were not counter-revolutionaries just people that the Bolsheviks didn’t like, and were kidnapped to keep them silent. This tactic was basically to scare people into submission. In 1918 in just a few months over 800 people were arrested and shot without a trial. Many deserters from the army were tracked down and killed by the Cheka as they saw it as their job to carry out the court marshalling. In 1919 the number of deserters arrested was about 500,000 and by 1920 the figure had risen to around 800,000, but it's unknown how many of these men were shot to provide examples of compliance for the rest. The Cheka were also the ones who killed the Romanov family, with the Tsar and his family out of the way, there was no going back to the Romanov dynasty. The Cheka were also the people who controlled the grain requisitioning during war communism, keeping the Red Guard in line. Due to this many peasants started to equally fear and hate them. Anyone who wanted to get rid of Bolshevik control was too scared to act. Lenin had successfully repressed the counter-revolutionaries by scaring them into submission.
The Red Terror is aptly named due the horrific amount of torture and murders during the civil war. This was the systematic oppression from the Bolshevik party and the main casualties were the counter-revolutionaries or the people suspected to be one. The main cause of the Red Terror to start was the assassination of Uritsky, the Petrograd Cheka leader and the attempted assassination of Lenin. Lenin was the one who wanted it to start as he wanted to stop the peasant uprisings and to crush the land owners who were violently retaliating to the grain requisitioning by the military units. He wanted the kulaks to be hung publicly so that others from miles around would understand the meaning and tremble in fear. He wanted people to understand that all the violence must stop and they had to let the requisitioning happen else they would share the same fate. The torture was the thing that scared people the most. At Odessa the Cheka tied White officers to planks and slowly fed them into furnaces or tanks of boiling water. The Voronezh Cheka rolled naked people around in barrels studded internally with nails; victims were crucified or stoned to death at Dnipropetrovsk. In Orel, 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. Those who were killed in prison were taken to the execution cellar and...

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