"Soviet power is too strong and too poor to build new camps"

The order of the Cheka about the punitive policy of the Cheka

08.01.1921

There are no external fronts. The danger of a bourgeois coup no longer exists. The acute period of the civil war was over, but it left a heavy legacy — overcrowded prisons, where mostly workers and peasants, and not bourgeois, sit. We must put an end to this legacy, unload the prisons, and look keenly so that only those who are really dangerous to the Soviet government fall into them. In a front-line setting, even small-scale speculation in the bazaar or crossing the front could be dangerous for the Red Army, but now such matters must be eliminated.

For the future, the conversation with gangsters and malicious recidivists should be short, but to keep in prison crowds of peasants and workers who got there for petty theft or speculation is unacceptable. Mass speculation is dangerous, but it dies out slowly, gradually, but it is true thanks to the combination of economic measures of Soviet power. True, a wave of embezzlement rose high, and many workers are guilty of them, but if you force a stealing worker instead of a prison to work in his own factory under the responsibility of the rest of the workers, then such a stay on all honest people who will wait: Sidor or Petrov will steal again if he disgraces the factory again or becomes a real conscious comrade, such an order will act much stronger and more expedient than sitting under investigation and trial. The working environment will be able to straighten out weak, unconscious comrades, and the prison will permanently cripple them. The slogan of the Chek's organs should be: "A prison for the bourgeoisie, a comradely influence for the workers and peasants."

To unload the prisons - the work is simpler, it is more difficult to prevent their new overflow Meanwhile, the Soviet government is too strong and too poor to build new camps for random people, against whom there is no evidence and that there is no point in keeping them now in custody.

What threatens us on the counter-revolutionary front? Antante espionage, terrorist acts and the underground organization of right-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries: the latter seek to use crop failure and famine in the village, to inflate and unite the kula rebellions.

Of course, open rebellions must be crushed mercilessly, gangster gangs are simply to be destroyed, but the fight against the underground organizations of the Social Revolutionaries, preparing rebellions or terrorist acts, catching political or economic spies requires subtle methods of work, internal awareness, etc. Old methods, mass arrests and repressions, fully understandable in a combat situation, with the changed situation, the Cheka will only pour water on a counter-revolutionary mill, increasing the mass of the discontented. All suspicious persons who may take part in active struggle, non-partisan officers or persons of Right Socialist-Revolutionary, Makhnovist, or the like, should be kept on record, find out, check. This is a gigantic informational work that should come to the fore, but it’s impossible to fill up the prisons under investigation with those arrested on suspicion.

Rough signs of discernment on one’s own or not one’s class: fist, former officer, nobleman, etc. — could be applied when Soviet power was weak, when Denikin approached Orel, but in the 20th year, during the Polish offensive, when most of the active bourgeois elements ran on the other side of the front, such tricks yielded few results. You need to know what a certain name, a former officer or landowner, does so that his arrest makes sense; otherwise, spies, terrorists, and underground instigators of the uprisings will walk free, and prisons will be full of people engaged in harmless grumbling against Soviet power.

The same situation on the economic front, much more dangerous than the counter-revolutionary front. Even during the “National Center” case, the VChK felt the desire of the bourgeois top to thwart the economic policy of the Soviet government. On the one hand, trestifying industry and the sabotage of the switchgear, on the other, such was the plan of the National Center trade and industrial group in order to ensure the domination of large capital in Russia in the event of success of the White Guard weapons and foreign intervention. Now the Russian bourgeoisie is not up to wide tasks, it is suppressed by our victories, the national and other centers are destroyed (although they are trying to create a union of all anti-Bolshevik parties in every way), but the foreign bourgeoisie is alive, and it decided to kill the Bolsheviks, if not dupes, like a ruble. Its instrument is foreign trade: to corrupt our foreign missions with interest bribes, to pump out gold and raw materials as soon as possible, to fool Soviet authorities with all sorts of rubbish instead of steam locomotives, cars, spare parts and other elements of production recovery, and after a year and a half Soviet power will find itself in front of an economic abyss . If, along with the missions of various small and perhaps even major powers, the RSFSR is flooded with foreign receivers of Russian goods who are excellent economic spies and at the same time tie together a loose mass of specialists, the tops of our employees can play the role of “sand poured into the communist machine. Foreign capital will raise the baton, the sand will fall out, and the car will stop.

But this danger of a technical counter-revolution, led by foreign capital, cannot be prevented by rude, accidental blows from the KGB hammer. It is necessary that he fell on the hand of the villain, and not on the machine itself: you need to know the culprit, to suspect is not enough. Here you need to have in your hands accurate evidence, specific data, which again can only be obtained by good information, otherwise cries will rise against the organs of Chek that they prevent the economic revival of the RSFSR by their arbitrary arrests and the detained speculators will have to be released; but if we manage to put the fight against technical counter-revolutionaries on new rails, then it goes without saying that the massacre of captured, caught saboteurs should be merciless. For such bourgeois criminals, a special, harsh prison regime should be established so that others do not have to be guilty.

The struggle on the economic front is also dangerous because there will be many temptations for the Check to apply here mass methods in the struggle against the bourgeoisie in our economic bodies. The situation is as follows: the landlords as a class disappeared, the bourgeoisie declassed, from a political ruler, it turned into zero, and instead of economic domination it left a lackey marauding. But since all the bourgeois elements rushed to the Soviet service, they play a huge role there. For example: the factories are nationalized, but former owners and often unconscious workers sit in the plant administrations, even the factory committees sometimes go hand in hand with the factory owners against the interests of the production as a whole. Private economy in industry and commerce has been destroyed, all the tools of production belong to the state, but the state is embodied in people, and quite often in Soviet institutions three or four conscious communists account for hundreds of bourgeois employees, impregnated with capitalist psychology, acting according to ancient precepts: “It’s not the wolf will not run away into the woods ”or“ Deri treasury-mother as Sidorov goat ”. These cheesy servants of the workers 'and peasants' power are only servants, not masters, but thanks to their mass, their loyalty to their predatory skills, even acting without any collusion or plan, they can simply destroy the efforts of the Communists to restore production by force of inertia.

And so the workers of the check can have a big temptation: to take up work that belongs only to parties and trade unions; only they alone can overcome this inertial mass and raise labor productivity. But the fight against the malicious actions of the Soviet employees, since it takes the form of official or criminal offenses, lies entirely on the organs of the check. But even here one should not “spread out on a tree” - all thieves and speculators cannot be caught with the best information. It is necessary to catch speculators and thieves' organizations, it is necessary to beat speculation and theft in the head. No major criminal, especially in a prominent position, should avoid punishment, and since such a bourgeois was caught, convicted, he must be held firmly. There should be no exemptions for the guarantee of such specialists, for them the Soviet prison is intended.

Chairman of the Cheka, F. Dzerzhinsky

Chief Executive Officer Cheka G. Yagoda

Sources
  1. Central Bank of the FSB of Russia. F. 66. Op. 1. D. 102. L. 10-11

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