The Jews of Russia: Part II
Mike Martin - March 15, 2009
One of the first acts by Lenin in Russia following the Bolshevik Revolution was to establish The Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage. It became known as the Cheka and within a very short period of time this organization became of the most powerful and cruel state security operations in history. Its mission as given to Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the first head of the Cheka, by the ruling cabinet, the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom) was:
Russian Poster: Jews are the eternal enemy!
1. To investigate and liquidate all attempts or actions connected with counter-revolution or sabotage, no matter from whom they may come, throughout Russia.
2. The handing over for trial by Revolutionary Tribunal of all saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries, and the elaboration of measures to fight them.
By April 1918, the Cheka had set up its own three-man courts, known as troikas, to carry out extra-judicial reprisal. This gave the Cheka the power to perform investigation, arrest, interrogation, prosecution, trial, and execution of the verdict, including the death penalty. Later that year attempts on the life of Lenin and other uprisings by rival communists ushered in a period that is known as the Red Terror. The Red Terror period is estimated to have claimed the lives of between 100,000 and 500,000 people and it also served to strengthen the mandate of the Cheka.
The Cheka would be reorganized and re-named over the years from the Cheka to the GPU, to the NKVD, and finally to the KGB but its basic mission would remain the same and the methods it used would become legion: forced collectivization, starvation and torture, purges, expulsions, banishments, executions, and mass death at remote Siberian prison camps known as Gulags.
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