Red Terror of 1918 – 1921: Reasons and Goals

Posted by Nick Efstathiadis in ,



On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik revolution, an event that had a drastic effect on the course of the world history, occurred in Petrograd, Russia. How could the Bolsheviks, a relatively small group of people, hold power in such a vast and diverse country as Russia? Richard Pipes and some other scholars believe that it was possible only due to a policy of mass terror. “Such a party could not rule by consent but had to make permanent use of terror”, Pipes states in A concise history of the Russian revolution (217). Pipes believes that the goal of mass terror was to create a “pervasive atmosphere of lawlessness…which impressed on ordinary citizens a sense of utter powerlessness” (217). Other historians think that the terror was a harsh necessity of the Civil War: the only way to survive. Let us take a look at the development of Red Terror in the Soviet Russia and try to understand where the truth is.

The Situation of Lawlessness

Pipes believes that the first step to the introduction of mass terror was the “abolition of law” (219). The Sovnarkom’s Decree issued on December 5 (November 22, old style) of 1917 abolished nearly all existing general state institutions including courts, and destroyed the imperial legal system.

Particularly, the decree abolished okruzhniye sudi (analog of American district courts), sudebniye palati (courts of appeals for okruzhniye sudi), and “the senate with all its departments” (roughly equivalent to the Supreme Court of the United States). The decree also eliminated the institution of mirovikh sudei (analog of magistrates’ courts). All those institutions were replaced by Local Courts and Revolutionary Tribunals (“Decree of December 5, 1917”).

The Local Court consisted of three people, a judge and two members of the jury. They were to be selected by “direct democratic elections”. Former magistrates had a right to become Local Judges (“Decree of December 5, 1917”).

Local Courts exercised their jurisdiction over a majority of civil and all minor (the maximum punishment - up to two years’ imprisonment) criminal matters. More serious criminal and civil offenses were supposed to be dealt with by courts that did not exist at that time. Those courts were due to be created later, by a separate decree (“Decree of December 5, 1917”).

Imperial law officials were dismissed. The decree ordered Local Judges to investigate offenses that were under Local Courts jurisdiction. It was a temporary measure. New organization was supposed to be formed by a separate decree in the future (“Decree of December 5, 1917”).

A person could be arrested only if there was an agreement between all three members of the court. Any citizen who had “full citizen’s rights” could defend or accuse an offender during the trial (“Decree of December 5, 1917”).

A considerable part of the population, primarily former members of exploiting classes had limited citizens’ rights. However, “if a worker did not want to work...[he was] no longer a worker, but rather a hooligan, an enemy to the same degree as an exploiter” (Lenin qtd. inShubin 56).“Dictatorship is iron-clad power; it is bold and swift in a revolutionary way, and it is merciless in suppression of both exploiters and hooligans” (Lenin qtd. in Shubin 56).

Judges of Local Courts were instructed to make decisions and pass sentences “by the laws of the overthrown government only to the extent that they have not been annihilated by the Revolution and do not contradict the revolutionary conscience” (Pipes 219). The term revolutionary conscience could be understood very broadly. People who had the power to mete imprisonment were not required to have a formal education (Pipes 219).

All activities that were considered being harmful to the state were handled by Revolutionary Tribunals of Workers and Peasants. This category of crimes embraced a wide variety of activities including speculation and sabotage. The Revolutionary Tribunal consisted of seven people: a chairman and six members. Those people were elected by local Soviets of Peasants and Workers Deputies’ (“Decree of December 5, 1917”).

Pogroms also were under the jurisdiction of revolutionary tribunals (Decree on Revolutionary Tribunals, May 4, 1918). The term pogromreferred not only to Jewish pogroms, but to any violent mob attack. Kara-Murza mentions numerous “drunken pogroms”: a destruction and looting of liquor warehouses (39). Berman states that in decision-making, revolutionary tribunals were instructed to be guided “exclusively by the circumstances of the case and by revolutionary conscience” (31).

The“situation of lawlessness” was clearly present. “Nothing like this had ever existed”, Pipes states, “Soviet Russia was the first state in history to outlaw law” (219). I could hardly agree with Mr. Pipes' statement. In my opinion annihilation of laws of an overthrown government is a most common thing. It always happens after revolutions or civil wars. Could you, for instance, imagine a lawyer trying to protect private property of a slave owner using laws of the Confederation in 1866? The peculiarity of the Russian situation was that after the revolution, a nearly complete juridical vacuum occurred in the country.

Why did the Bolsheviks not start creating new law codes immediately?

Why a legal system was not created in 1918-1921?

As we can see, after the revolution, Soviet Russia had courts, but did not have any laws to guide them; people were tried by amateur judges for crimes that were not defined in any legal code. Why?

I see two reasons for it. First, the law reforms were consistent with the main Bolsheviks’ doctrine: Power to workers. This statement was based on the Karl Marx teaching. “The only solution to bourgeois injustice is to...smash its system of state and law altogether, and introduce a new social order based not on law but on administration”, Marx states (qtd. in Berman 23-24). Lenin develops this thought even further and writes, “ transformed from a bourgeois democracy into a proletarian one, from the state (i.e., a special force for the suppression of a certain class) into something that is not the state proper. Such a democracy meant transfer of power directly to the organs of the workers’ and peasants’self-government and liquidation of the bureaucratic superstructure...”(qtd. in Shubin 45 - 46).

Lenin thought that Russia would be not a state of government officials, but rather a state of armed workers who would control the process of governing through the Soviets. “Lenin imagined control as something very simple” (Shubin 46).

Second, we should remember that the Soviet Russia did not exist in a vacuum, but was surrounded by foes. Most territory of the former Russian Empire was controlled by the Bolsheviks’ adversaries. The Germans occupied the Ukraine and Belorussia. In Finland “the Whites...defeated the Reds and took Helsinki” (Simmons 93). Romania occupied Bessarabia. In May 1918, Czechoslovak troops formed from former prisoners of war turned against the Bolsheviks, and “helped a Socialist Revolutionary Government, [Komuch], to set up on the Volga”(Simmons 93-94) . Soon, to make things even worse for the Soviets, the Komuch forces took the city of Kazan with “the entire gold reserve of the Russian Empire” (Brovkin 20). Ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk were occupied by the British and American troops. “By the autumn of 1918, the Soviet regime was surrounded by enemies on all sides” (Simmons 94).

Yet, another grave problem for the Soviet Russia was the famine. Citizens were dying of hunger:

With each passing day the food situation in the republic is getting worse. Less and less bread is delivered to consuming regions. The famine has already come; its horrifying breath is felt in towns, factory centers, and consuming provinces...There is some bread, but very little. Till a new increase in the bread supply and a relief in the struggle with food disaster is not expected. (Address to the Citizens on a Struggle against Hunger, May 29, 1918)

Food shortages had started during the World War I, but after the revolution, “things were done much worse by the loss [to the Whites] of the main food-producing areas” (Madsley 71), namely the Ukraine, North Caucasus, Siberia, and Volga region.

The situation was worsened even further by the theft and looting. “Employees and non-employees pilfered grain from the station yards” (Argenbright 517). Mobs of local people “would swarm into the station yards, sometimes with the support of Red Army soldiers...Even famine-relief shipments could not be secured” (Argenbright 517). The American Relief Administration figured that “seventeen hundred carloads of grain were just six months” (Argenbright 517). As a state investigator admitted referring to rail road workers, “They must steal, or drop dead from hunger” (Argenbright 517).

The situation was decisive; in my opinion, the Bolsheviks simply had no time to create an elaborate legal system in those days. There were more urgent matters to take care of. The Soviet Power was hanging by its fingertips.

The Bolsheviks’ Doctrine and a Value of a Human Life

Roots of the Red Terror can be found in the Bolsheviks' world view. V. Chernov compared a social model of the Bolshevism with “a colossal machine in which history conquers available people along with their weaknesses, habits, passions, and opinions as human raw material, subject to merciless processing” (qtd in Shubin 56).

According to the Bolshevik ideology, the violence was an organic continuation of the revolution. “Capitalism”, Lenin writes,“Cannot be defeated and eradicated without the ruthless suppression of the resistance of the exploiters...During every transition from capitalism to socialism, dictatorship is necessary” (Lenin).

The Lenin’s attitude towards human lives is illustrated in some of his writings. For example after a murder of Volodarsky, a commissar of propaganda, Lenin wrote to Zinoviev, “Comrade Zinoviev! Only today we...heard that in Peter[sburg] the workers wanted to respond to Volodarsky’s murder with mass terror, and you. . . . restrained them. I protest strongly. We have to encourage the energy and mass expressions of the terror against counterrevolutionaries (qtd. in Shubin 60).

V. I. Lenin, 1918

V. I. Lenin, 1918 Source: Wikipedia

Here is another Lenin telegram, “Conduct merciless mass terror against the kulaks, priests, and the White Guards; lock the suspicious ones in a concentration camp outside the city” (qtd. in Shubin 60). On August 22, 1918, Lenin gave orders “to shoot the conspirators and the wavering ones, never asking for anyone’s permission and without bureaucratic delays (qtd in Shubin 60) “Thus, not only enemies but even wavering ones became subject to destruction” (Shubin 60). It seems that an era of the mass terror was inevitable.

The Beginning of the Terror.

Officially, a campaign of Red Terror was announced on September 5 of 1918. This policy was proclaimed by two documents: the order of Peoples’Commissar of the Interior Petrovsky issued on September 4, and the decree of the Sovarkom of September 5.

The order of September 4 states, “All right SR known to the local Soviets must be immediately arrested. It is necessary to take from among the bourgeoisie and officers numerous hostages. In the event of the least attempts of resistance or the least stir in White Guard circles, resort must be had at once to mass executions…” (Pipes 223).

The document declares that the Red Terror was a response to “murders of Volodarsky, Uritsky, an attempted murder of the chairman of Soviet of Peoples’ Commissars' Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, mass executions of tens of thousands of our comrades in Finland, the Ukraine, and…in the Don region…” (Order of the Commissar of the Interior Petrovsky, 1918).

The Sovnarkom’s decree of September 5 ordered class enemies to be committed to concentration camps, and all people “linked to White Guard organization conspiracies, and seditious actions to be summarily executed” (Pipes 223).

Felix Dzerzhinsky, 1918
Felix Dzerzhinsky, 1918 Source: Wikipedia

On December 17, 1918, the chief of the All-Russian Cheka Dzerzhinsky gives an instruction to local Chekas on how to take hostages:

Make out a list of (a) the entire bourgeois population from which hostages can be taken, namely, former landowners, merchants, factory owners, industrialists, bankers, large real estate owners, officers of the old army, important officials of the tsarist and Kerensky regimes, and relatives of persons fighting against us; (b) important members of anti-Soviet parties who in case of our retreat are likely to remain on the other side of the front...Send in these lists to the All-Russian Cheka...Hostages may be taken only by permission of or order of the All-Russian Cheka...Technical experts may be placed under arrest only after their participation in White Guard organizations has been established beyond doubt”. (qtd. in Bunyan, 265-266).

In the very first month of the Red Terror, thousands people were executed; most of them were guilty only of belonging to “counterrevolutionary” classes and social movements (Shubin 61). In Krasniy Terror v Rossii: 1918– 1923 (The Red Terror in Russia: 1918 – 1923)Melgunov recollects his experience in the Moscow' Butirskaya Prison where he was during the attempt on Lenin, “Automobiles came and took their victims away, and the prison did not sleep and trembled from any sound of an automobile horn” (40). Guards would enter a cell, and order somebody to go out: “with belongings into a shower-room”. This phrase meant an execution. (Melgunov, 40).

The earliest victims of the Red Terror's were 512 representatives of the old elite. Those people had been in prison since February of 1917, and could not have anything to do with the Lenin's murder attempt. By an order of a chairman of the Petrograd Soviet Zinoviev all of them were summarily executed (Mawdsley 82; Pipes 223 - 224).

Sergey Melgunov mentions in his bookthat a number of victims killed in Petrograd in those days was, probably, significantly higher:

As for Petrograd, there, using a rough estimation (begliy podschet), a number of executed reached 1, 300; the Bolsheviks admitted only 500, but they did not count hundreds of those officers, former servants, and private citizens who were shot in Kronstadt [a base of the Baltic fleet in a few miles from Petrograd], and in the Petropavlovskaya Fortress [was used as a prison] in Petrograd without a special order of the central authority, just by the will of a local soviet... (38)

M. Latsis, another Cheka leader, expresses his view of the red terror, “Do not search for evidence in each case - whether he has opposed the Soviet [regime] by arms or by words. First of all, you have to ask him to what class he belongs, what are his origins, education, and profession. Those are the questions that should decide the fate of the accused.” (qtd. in Shubin 61).

Lenin criticized Latsis for those words. But that “did not stop the bacchanalia of murders rolling throughout the territory under the Bolsheviks’control” (Shubin 61).

It is now impossible to establish the scale of the terror. Pipes states that between 50,000 and 140,000 people were murdered (Pipes 227).“Materials collected by Melgunov, allow one to estimate the number of victims as involving at least hundreds of thousands” (Shubin 61).

All-Russian Extraordinary Commission

A main tool of the Bolsheviks’ policy of Red Terror was the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (VChK, or Cheka). It was formed on December 7, of 1917. The organization combined the functions of judicial investigation and trial. “The Cheka arrested, and that same Cheka conducted investigations, trials, and executions. Arbitrariness was total; it was important not so much to find culprits as to instill fear in the entire nation. In fact, the red terror was not a class terror: its blows fell on all strata of the population” (Shubin 51).

The methods used by the Cheka could be understood from the words of Felix Dzerzhinsky, its first leader, “Don’t think I am in search of forms of revolutionary justice; we don’t need justice right now. . . . I suggest, I demand, the organization of revolutionary reprisal against the counterrevolutionaries” (qtd. in Shubin 51).

Official figure showed that 6, 300 people were executed by the Cheka in twenty Russian provinces [a territory under the Bolsheviks' control] in 1918, but Mawdsley believes that this number was an understatement (83).

The madness of killing swept over the country. Melgunov, who lived in Moscow then, states that “the death penalty...had become a most common phenomenon (bitovoye yavleniye) in Russia” (228). People could be shot for military officer's buttons found during the search (Melgunov 157). Peshekhonov recollects, “...One old man in our midst had been arrested because during a general search they found in his possession a photograph of a man in a court uniform...The photograph dated from the seventies [the 1870s] (qtd. in Bunyan 235). Some person was executed for “illegal obtaining of a son's corps”(Melgunov 157).. “Among those who got shot”, Melgunov continues,“We can find a butcher from Miussskaya Square, who dared publicly call monuments to Marx and Engels dummies (chuchela)...Kronstadt doctors got shot for “popularity among workers” (157).

Professor Melgunov gives many other examples. However, to a large extent, his writing is based on eyewitnesses' testimonies and newspapers' publications; for this reason, Melgunov warns the readers that some facts described in his book could be biased or exaggerated.

Thanks to the documents presented in the Bunyan's work we can see the results of “a day's work of the Cheka of the Western region” (246 - 250). During the session of September 17, 1918, among many other cases, the commission tried nineteen people in the relation to a General Dorman's plot. Thirteen of them, including former General Dorman, were shot. Six people were released.

Ekaterina Selenek and P. Mikhailov, for example, were freed on a ground that they were“not active participants in a plot”(248). Besides, the commission took into a consideration the fact that “during the tsarist regime Mikhailov, [a teacher], published a number of articles against reaction and anti-Semitism” (248). Schwartz N., a banker, was released “in the absence of proof that he participated in the plot”(248). This fact shows that not every bourgeois was automatically prosecuted. A Yatsevitch, arrested in a connection with the plot, was to be set free; the paper does not explain why. Stepan Beliy was freed because “he [was] a railway physician” (248). As we remember, “technical experts [could] be placed under arrest only after their participation in White Guard organizations has been established beyond doubt” (266).Finally, General Dorman's son Vladimir was released because of “being only fifteen years old” (246).

Chekas in provinces, particularly in the Ukraine, were “even more prone to resort to executions” (Brovkin 46) than in Moscow and Petrograd. Their violations were so serious that the All-Russian Cheka had to order local Chekas (presumably in the Ukraine) “to stop terror against a peaceful population” (Brovkin 46).

It seems to be obvious that the Extraordinary Commission was created as an instrument of terror. Here is an interesting fact, however. “On 10 December [of 1917], there was the first trial in the history of the new regime, a trial against Countess S. Panina, who hid Ministry of Education funds from the Bolshevik government. There were no repressions: all ended in a public reprimand” (Shubin 51). Perhaps, the Cheka became an “instrument of terror” later, in a response to certain circumstances of the civil war. As Latsis stated the Cheka was forced to adopt extraordinary measures “in order to save hundreds of thousands...comrades, from the hands of the White Guards”(qtd. In Bunyan 263). “As soon as the victory is ours...”, he added, “We will give up the right to shoot” (qtd. in Bunyan 263).

White Terror.

An honest study of the Red Terror is impossible without an examination of the White Terror. “The White cause”, as Shulgin mentioned, “Was initiated by the almost saintly, but...fell into the hands of almost bandits”(qtd. in Shubin 62). It seems to be true. Facts show that towards the end of the war, the discipline in both Kolchak and Denikin armies (two main forces of the White Guards) was deteriorating. Kolchak's people were involved in “systematic robbery” (Brovkin 198). According to an American cable to Washington “...the Kolchak units, freed from any restraints, [were] looting the districts through which they [were] retreating” (qtd. in Brovkin 199). The things in the Denikin's army were not better. During a raid in the Red Army's rear, for example, General Mamontov's cavalrymen seized “so many goods that their transport was sixty kilometers [37.5 miles] long”(Brovkin 219).

A. I. Denikin
A. I. Denikin Source: Wikipedia

Most scholars believe that the White Terror, as a planned policy, did not exist.“Terror – a system, and not a violence by itself”, Melgunov states (27). No historian, however, denies numerous atrocities committed by the White troops.

The Whites took hostages, too. Here is a passage from an order of Artemyev, a general of the Kolchak's army, “Local inhabitants should be used for reconnaissance and liaison. Hostages should be held. If the information [about guerrillas]...should prove to be false...or if there is treachery, the hostages should be executed and the houses that belong to them should be burned” (qtd. in Brovkin, 200-201). In another order Artemyev states that “if the peasants rendered armed resistance to government troops, the entire village was to be burned, the entire male population shot, and all property confiscated” (qtd in Brovkin 201). Artemyev also reminds his officers that “all confiscated property should be officially registered” (qtd. In Brovkin, 201).


A. V. Kolchak
A. V. Kolchak Source: Wikipedia

The law, adopted by the Denikin's Special Council (a civilian government subordinated to Denikin) in November 1919, shows what might happen to Russia if the Whites win. The law imposed the death penalty for “membership in the Bolshevik/Communist parties, Soviets of workers, soldiers and peasants deputies, or other similar organizations which participated in the grab for power by the Soviets, or persons who supported the policies of this power” (qtd. in Bortnevski 363). In other words not only prominent Bolsheviks, but all party members, several hundred thousand people, were to be executed. “According to the letter of this law”, Botnevski continues, “Members of the Socialist-Revolutionary, Menshevik, and the People Socialist parties were also subject to the death penalty since...these parties had collaborated in the grab for power during the February Revolution”(363).

“Before the advent of Hitler”, Kenez writes, “The greatest modern mass murder of Jews occurred in the Ukraine, in the course of the Civil War”(166). Here are several fragments from a report of a White Secret Service agent:

No administrative step would help; it is necessary to make harmless the microbe: the Jews...As long as the Jews will be allowed to do their harmful work, the front will always be in danger...The Jew is not satisfied with corrupting the soldier. Lately he pays even greater attention to officers. But he is most interested in youth. Clever [Jewish] agents ...mix with military youth and with the help of cards, women, and wine they attract the...youth into their nets”. (qtd in Kenez 172)

Kenez writes that numerous evidences made it clear that “anti-Semitism was neither a peripheral nor accidental aspect of White ideology; it was a focal point of their world view” (Kenez 176). Brovkin states that “120, 000 deaths were recorded as a result of pogroms perpetrated by Denikin's Volunteer Army” (228). To this number tens of thousands killed by Cossacks and independent bands must be added (Brovkin 228).

Many scholars believe that the White movement was rapidly becoming a prototype of a Fascist regime. Shulgin states, “The other movement, the white one,..had been...infected with racism…The authoritarianism of the white movement gravitated toward forms of early fascism” (qtd in Shubin 62). Former White General Sakharov wrote, “The White movement was in essence the first manifestation of fascism” (qtd. in Mawdsley 280).

Both sides, the Whites and the Reds, used mass terror during the civil war. The White Terror, however, had not become an official policy, and was not centralized. Probably, it was one of the reasons why White Guards lost. If they had taken families of Makhno's partisans as hostages, the outcome of the war would have been different. Unfortunately, mass terror is, probably, the only way to defeat guerillas. The Reds successfully used this tactic to suppress peasants' uprising in Tambov region. I believe that the Whites simply did not have enough resources to organize terror on a wide scale.


Could the Bolsheviks’ regime survive in the Civil War without its policy of mass terror and one party dictatorship? This question likely has no definite answer, but I believe – no.

In his work, Mawdsley cites Russian historian Roy Medvedev. Medvedev suggested that the New Economic Policy (NEP) of 1921 could have been introduced shortly after the revolution: “nationalization would have been limited, war industry effectively demobilized; the state grain monopoly replaced by free trade and small tax” (qtd. In Mawdsley 74). Could it have happened? Most certainly, yes. But in this case the Bolshevik government would cease to be Bolshevik. It is naïve to expect revolutionaries to “think purely in terms of economic rationality” and not to try to actualize their political believes (Mawdsley 74). Only in 1921, when Lenin, probably, understood that some of his expectations, the world revolution in particular, were not to happen in the nearest future, he decided to introduce the NEP.

N. I. Makhno
N. I. Makhno Source: Wikipedia
There was another interesting precedent in the Russian history explicitly described by Shubin: Maknovian territory. It was a sociopolitical formation in the South-Eastern Ukraine controlled by peasant-rebels. “ Their self-governing bodies...were developed the form of soviets...The Cheka was not admitted in the region; there was no food dictatorship, and no monopoly on power was held by any one party...The existence of the Makhnovian region allows one to speak of the existence of a...democratic alternative to the Bolsheviks’totalitarianism ” (Shubin 63).

But the Maknovian regime was an Utopia. It would be able to resist neither the Whites nor the Reds for a long time.


Pipes and some other historians believe that terror was a vital part of a communist regime; without this policy, a government simply would not be able to rule. They argue that Leninsm and Stalinism are the same thing. Stalin just continued the Lenin’s deed, and Lenin’s Red Terror of the Civil War was a preparation for a much bigger Stalin’s terror. I do not think so.

In point of fact, we know that the early Soviet state incarcerated very few workers and a relatively small number of its citizens. Recently published GPU summaries, from 1922 to 1928, report over 3,000 strikes but mention only six incidents in which authorities arrested striking workers. The entire Soviet prison population only exceeded 100,000 in 1925, with a tiny minority imprisoned for political offenses. In her Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the Gulags, Anne Applebaum reluctantly acknowledges that, by the end of 1927, only 300,000 Soviet citizens were incarcerated and political prisoners received special privileged status until 1925. (Murphy 15).

Even Richard Pipes, who hardly can be called a Bolsheviks' sympathizer, gives the following numbers, “At the end of 1920, Soviet Russia had eighty four concentration camps that held approximately 50, 000 prisoners; three years later, that umber had increased to 315 camps with 70, 000 prisoners” (Pipes 227). To compare, in 2007, a prison population of the democratic USA without those on probation and parole was about 2.3 million people (New York Times).

I think that Lenin used Red Terror to win the Civil War. When the war was over, Lenin did not need Red Terror to govern the country. The policy of terror was not as essential as Mr. Pipes believes. Perhaps, Lenin recognized a weakness of his political theory. In 1921, he introduced the New Economic Policy trying to combine elements of capitalism and socialism; a model that can be observed in a modern China today.

Works Cited

“Address to the Citizens on a Struggle against Hunger.” May 29, 1918. Web. 25 Dec. 2010.. In Russian

Argenbright, Robert. "Bolsheviks, baggers and railroaders: Political power and social space, 1917-1921."Russian Review 52.4 (1993): 506. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 25 Nov. 2010.

Berman, Harold J. Justice in the USSR: an interpretation of Soviet Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963. Print.

Bortnevski, Viktor G. "White administration and White terror (The Denikin period)." Russian Review 52.3 (1993): 354. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Dec. 2010.

Brovkin, Vladimir N. Behind the Front Lines of the Civil War: Political Parties and Social Movements in Russia, 1918 – 1922. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Print.

Bunyan, James. Intervention, Civil War, and Communism in Russia, April – December 1918: Documents and Materials. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1936. Print.

“Decree of December 5, 1917.” Web. 25. Oct. 2010.. In Russian.

“Decree of September 5, 1918.” <>. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. In Russian

“Decree on Revolutionary Tribunals of May 4, 1918.” Web. 25 Oct. 2010. . In Russian.

Kara-Murza, Sergey. Istoriya Gosudarstva I Prava Rossii.Moscow.: Bylina, 1998. Print. In Russian

Kenez, Peter. Civil War in South Russia, 1919 – 1920: The Defeat of the Whites. Berkeley: University of California Press, Ltd. 1977. Print.

Lenin, Vladimir. “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government”. Mar.- Apr. 1918. Web. 12 Nov. 2010.

Mawdsley, Evan. The Russian Civil War. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1987. Print.

Melgunov, Sergey. Krasniy Terror v Rossii, 1918 – 1923. 2nded. Berlin: Vataga, 1924. Print. In Russian

Murphy, Kevin J. "Can We Write the History of the Russian Revolution? A Belated Response to Eric Hobsbawm." Historical Materialism 15.2 (2007): 3-19. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 25 Now. 2010.

“Order of September 4, 1918 on Hostages signed by People's Commissar of the Interior Petrovskiy.” Web. 25 Oct. 2010. <>. In Russian.

Pipes, Richard. A Concise History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. Print.

Simons, Ernest J., ed. USSR: A Concise Handbook. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1947. Print.

Shubin, A. V. “Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik Dictatorship.”Journal of Russian & East European Psychology 39.6 (2001): 41. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 10 Nov. 2010.

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Red Terror of 1918 – 1921: Reasons and Goals

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