“My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own. I will not say whom I obtained my revolver. I will give no details. I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the Revolution. I was exiled to Akatui for participating in an assassination attempt against a Tsarist official in Kiev. I spent 11 years at hard labour. After the Revolution, I was freed. I favoured the Constituent Assembly and am still for it.”
By 1920, Russians were without freedom of expression, of the press, or the right to bear arms. They did not have the right to a trial, let alone a jury of their peers. These were never granted to begin with, and yet the Bolshevik despots found ways of deepening the injustice and tyranny. The Red Terror officially began in response to the attempted assassination of Vladimir Lenin by Fanya Kaplan, although Lenin had prior instructed the use of terrorism as a method of counteracting civil disorder.
This open violence was a revolutionary tactic. To the leading members of the party clique, the Russian people had become objects whose intrinsic value was not sufficient to justify their rights and protections. Miners, factory workers, laborers and peasants enumerable who slaved and toiled to survive were relegated to the unmarked grave for the purpose of staving off counterrevolution. The Bolsheviks were spared this treatment, for they were the untouchable caste, whose virtue and status protected them from the terror and cruelty of the so-called proletarian dictatorship.
“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.” – Grigory Zinoviev. Perhaps this was necessary, as the Bolshevists said, under the circumstances of Civil War. All of the foreign powers sent armies and supplies to bolster the White Army, assaulting them on nearly all fronts of their thousands-mile border. But under this pretense, what can or can’t be justified?
Was it cruel enough that 50,000 captured soldiers were executed in Ukraine after having been promised amnesty in exchange for surrender? Was it cruel enough that thousands of factory workers who striked and protested in Astrakhan were drowned in the Volga with stones tied around their necks? To what avail did the sadistic tyrants perpetuate these crimes against humanity? That question is left to their contemporary followers to answer.
Main photo is public domain.