The Cheka And The Okhrana
So as aforementioned, these oppressive measures of terror were put into place by the Tsar and Lenin to preserve their own leadership and their politics, whether it be autocracy or revolution. Serge described that “from now on the psychosis of absolute power was to captivate the great majority of powers” showing how the Cheek and the Red Terror were essential to the great majority of power to keep Linen’s revolution stable and in his hands. Pipes also recognizes this fact: “no Tsar, even at the height of radical terrorism… Was as well protected as Lenin. 2 This furthers the dead of the Cheek being used as not only to “hunt out the political enemies of the state”3 which would ensure the continuation of the Bolshevik party and their power gains, but also as a direct protection of Lenin himself. Terror organizations before, such as the Shrank, did have effects on Internal political matters, but very rarely were directly given the task to guard the Tsar and his family. Kwashiorkor was one of the many secret agents planted by the Shrank into the Social Democratic Party and he stated: “… Knew all the secret meeting places and passwords of the revolutionary army cells throughout Russian. I was present at all the district meetings, propaganda rallies, and party conferences; I was always in the know. All the information I gathered was conscientiously reported to the Shrank. 4” Carnivore’s description of the work he was expected to do for the Shrank immediately depicts the difference in the reasons for the organization of these terror groups. Ultimately the Cheek and the Shrank were formed to ensure that their commander’s political policies spread and endured.
However the constant reformations to the Cheek’s power and Jurisdictions and also their fundamental role (I. . : they were suddenly used as personal body guards to Lenin), highlights the difference of the usage of these two organizations. In terms of the physical activities of the two groups, the Shrank seemed to be certainly more carefully planned than the Cheek. Historian Siskin comments how agents “joined political organizations that were campaigning for social reform. Some of these undercover agents reached positions of leadership in these organizations.
This included Even Safe, head of the SIR Combat Organization and Roman Mammalians, a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee”5 immediately wowing the thought placed behind the Koruna’s measures and ideas, but also suggesting the effectiveness of said implementations. Salmon also continues to discuss other Granola methods of control: “In some cases, revolutionaries were arrested and then offered the opportunity to become a double-agent… The Shrank also recruited members of Illegal organizations as paid Informers.
In 1912 over 26,000 people in Russia were receiving money from the Shrank”6 showing how However it is known that after the October Revolution that around 26,000 people were killed without trial by the Shrank, showing how in the face of immediate threat f the complete abolition of the Tsarist regime the Shrank disregarded their humanity and laws in order to serve and protect the command. Those murders were obviously extreme cases and in response to Linen’s Red Terror. Quite obtusely the Cheek did not follow the same principles of the Shrank and did not copy any of their methods.
Disinherits (Commissar for Internal Affairs and head of the All- Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, the Cheek) exclaimed: “We stand for terror – this should be frankly admitted. Terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution… We Judge quickly. In most cases only a day passes between the apprehension of the criminal and his sentences. ” Thus this shows the massive difference between the Koruna’s passive approaches in comparison to the Cheek’s aggressive approach, more commonly known as the Red terror, which were both used effectively to maintain control.
Despite both terror organizations’ different approaches, it can be argued that they were effective but naturally had their flaws. Whilst Serge states: “the new Tsar, Alexander Ill, proclaims the autocracy to be unshakable: the establishment of the Shrank follows, a political Alice force armed with extensive powers and funds” expressing the influence and impressiveness of the Shrank which it owed to its success, other contemporary accounts historians that the latter years of the Tsarist regime is what now undermines the reputation of the Shrank.
In particular this account from Subtotal (head of the Moscow section of Shrank) “used agents to set up the Mutual Assistance League of Workers in the Mechanical Industry… Agents became the leaders of this trade union and they attempted to persuade the workers not to make emends for higher wages and better working conditions. This proved unsuccessful… By 1903 the union had to be disbanded because its members had begun to take part in strikes. ” Whilst this certainly wasn’t the Koruna’s fault, it can be argued that due to the Tsar’s unwillingness to reform being so controversial, the effectiveness of the Shoran gradually declined until its end in 1917. On the other hand Lewis has discussed how the Cheek were an “invaluable institutional establishment for the early Bolshevik government; that without the activities carried out with ruthless, ritual and savage efficiency by the Cheek, the Bolsheviks would have had great difficulty retaining power. 0” This argument can certainly be supported by the fact that by mid-1918 the Cheek had developed beyond the temporary investigatory body of its formation into a fully-fledged secret police with the authority to create its own extra-judicial three-man courts known as troikas. These expanded the Cheek’s power from investigation and arrest to include interrogation, trial and the execution of the verdict, including the death penalty, therefore enabling the maximum effectiveness of the Cheek. Selves also commented how “because of the Cheek, freedom has ceased to exist in Russia…
The Cheek is the instrument of militant Communism. It is a great success. The terror is in the mind and marrow of the present generation and nothing but generations of freedom and liberty will ever root it out”11 which explicitly highlights the success of the Cheek, which isn’t seen as so much with the Shrank. In conclusion the crux of the terror organizations were the same: to be seen as the Koruna’s passive terror of infiltration and the Cheek’s aggressive terror displayed in the period of the Red Terror.
It cannot be argued that they are of the same effectiveness though, despite the Koruna’s late adoption of more radical approaches towards the end of its decline. Due to this the Cheek’s effectiveness was far greater than that of the Shoran. Lenin even noted that “the terror and the Cheek… Are absolutely indispensable”, whereas the failure of the Tsarist regime and its decline caused the powers the Shrank held much weaker and its purpose diminished, leading the way to the creation of an entirely new Russia led by Lenin and maintained through his terror organization: the Cheek.