Talk:Red Terror/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


The historiography of 20th c. Russia is not represented by Richard Pipes, Robert Conquest, and "The Black Book of Communism" of the anti-Communist school.[1] These sources dominate this article even though most scholars hold views different from them. In sum, even though this school of authors represent a minority in the discipline of Russian history, nearly all of the citations contain their works.

There are neutrality problems in this article. Non-binding statements by a couple of random officials do not have a place in this article. It's interesting that the content of the official policy are omitted while overzealous, non-binding statements by some uknown officials like Martin Latsis are included.

The claim that Lenin talked about terror in 1908 does not have documented proof. Historians conclude that the Social Democratic Party in Russia did not advocate violence until after the hardships of the revolution.

Lappeldu (talk) 19:50, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Latsis an "unknown official"? Please stop making POV changes to the article. Also, this is NOT an article on White Terror but on Red Terror. Rewriting everything to make it seem like Red Terror was only a minor response to White Terror is POV and does not reflect general scholarly consensus. Likewise, while Pipes and Conquest are not the be-all and end-all of this scholarship they are noteworthy authors on this subject and you just CAN'T remove info because you don't like them. Statements by various officials illustrate how the Red Terror developed so they do in fact belong in the article. And I don't know who these "historians" you refer to are, but most historians conclude no such thing. Please stop your deletions and POVing and discuss the changes first, step by step.radek (talk) 02:42, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
All of the additions made by me have been sourced. Every scholarly account of the Red Terror also discusses the White Terror. A random speech by Zinoviev who was not even a member of the government is not notable. It's strange to talk about scholarly consensus for this article when the majority of the article's citations contain the controversial Pipes and Werth. I am majoring in Russian history and the anti-Communist school led by Pipes and Conquest do not dominate our discipline.
And do not question my motives. Nowhere have I have removed sources just because I don't like them. I do not like Werth's work, yet 9 citations of his book remain in the version submitted by me. I have not deleted material, but have either expanded, modified, or replaced it.Lappeldu (talk) 02:53, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Asserting that statements by prominent Bolsheviks and participants in the terror like Latsis and Zinoviev are not notable is just weird. And yes, you are removing large parts of the material. You're rewriting other parts to make it seem like the Red terror was only a minor policy response to White terror. Even if Pipes and Conquest do not dominate the discipline (like I said above) that is not the consensus historical view either. You want to add, fine - but watch undue weight and keep in mind that this is NOT an article on White Terror but on Red Terror (in other words, keep the need for balance in mind). But don't remove what's there.radek (talk) 03:07, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Also, please stop using dishonest edit summaries like "There were no deletions". What do you call the removal of the Latsis info and quote? Additionally websites like these: [2] ("Leninist") are not reliable source by any stretch and should not be used. There are similar problems with other sources you're adding and how they are represented.radek (talk) 03:16, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
And you've just violated 3RR.radek (talk) 03:21, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Please do not make dishonest accusations of the deletion of material. Latsis' quote was removed because of undue weight. The citation was not deleted and his remarks are summarized. Lengthy Quotations belong in books or P.hD theses, not in an encyclopedia article.
Remarks by Latsis and Zinoviev did not constitute official policy. Hence, there's no need for them. The Red Terror decree was official policy and is discussed in the article. You are right that this article is not about White Terror. But discussion of Red Terror cannot be discussed without considering White Terror. If we do not discuss White Terror, we run the risk of disseminating agitprop. There are statements by Soviet leaders on Red Terror that cast them in a more favorable light. Trotsky wrote a lengthy discussion of Terror, yet his work is strangely absent from this article. Lenin wrote, Red terror is a defence of the working class against the exploiters, the crushing of resistance from the exploiters About Latsis, Lenin said "one need not go to the same absurd lengths as Latsis" and that Latsis meant to say "Red terror meant the forcible suppression of exploiters who attempted to restore their rule, but instead, he put it this way: “Don't search [!!? the records for evidence."]
Lappeldu (talk) 03:29, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

<-- In the first paragraph you accuse me of falsely accusing you of removing material. And then in the first sentence of your second paragraph you state that you removed info on Latsis and Zinoviev (for spurious POV reasons - you don't get to decide whether that's undue). It's true that White Terror needs to be mentioned but you're giving it undue weight. Additionally your sources are not reliable. A Leninist website and a Soviet era propaganda version of Soviet History.radek (talk) 03:35, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Do not deny me the right to make observations on NPOV and undue weight when you're the one who characterizes the inclusion of White Terror in this article as undue weight. Nor do you get to decide what source is and is not reliable. You cannot remove sources just because you don't like them. The quotation of Latsis was removed, but what he said had been summarized. This did not constitute the deletion of sourced material but rather the modification of it. Lappeldu (talk) 03:40, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Too much emphasis on White Terror is obviously undue weight since this is an article on Red Terror. And you're right, I don't get to decide what sources are or are not reliable. But Wikipedia as a whole does - and guidelines on RS state that Soviet propaganda works or ideologically motivated webpages of dubious origin are not reliable sources. And you did not summarize what Latsis said. You replaced it by some excuse making by Dzierzynski.radek (talk) 03:45, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
There is not too much emphasis on White Terror. The sections about "repressions of peasants" and "repressions of workers" consists solely of claims of Red Terror. Your claim that I have derived information from ideological sources is a misunderstanding. Every work I have cited was written by a specialist of history or Russia. If I cited propaganda from the pamphlet of the Communist Party, you would have a point. But that is not what has happened. Lappeldu (talk) 03:53, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Ok. You've violated 3RR [3]. Please self-revert to the last section by Radeksz, otherwise you'll be reported. We can discuss the changes after that. And you did cite a Leninist website and a communist era Soviet book neither of which are RS.radek (talk) 04:07, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Continued attempts at POVing the article and deletions of sourced materials

User Lappeldu continues to alter the article by rewriting it in his POV manner which tries to portray the Red Terror as a minor policy response to White Terror. S/he is removing sourced material on Red Terror and is replacing it with text on White Terror. S/he is removing referenced statements by prominent Bolsheviks (presumably since they make the Red Terror look "bad"). It would be one thing if s/he was just adding additional material for context - though notably s/he is relying extensively on communist era Soviet sources as well as websites like which are NOT considered reliable by Wikipedia. Strangely enough s/he keeps insisting that nothing is being removed. Apparently this text:

"Members of the clergy were subjected to particularly brutal abuse. According to documents cited by the late Alexander Yakovlev, then head of the Presidential Committee for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, priests, monks and nuns were crucified, thrown into cauldrons of boiling tar, scalped, strangled, given Communion with melted lead and drowned in holes in the ice.[1] An estimated 3,000 were put to death in 1918 alone.[1]"

was NOT removed and replaced by this text:

"Likewise, there were allegations of abuses against opponents of the Soviet Government. According to Maxim Gorky, there were instances of Communists being nailed to trees with railroad spikes and their half-crucified bodies being left to flop about and dangle in agony. According to rebel eyewitnesses, captured workers were buried alive up to their necks after having been charged with "religious apostasy". [2] "

Apparently, this referenced quote from Latsis is still in the text:

"Do not look in the file of incriminating evidence to see whether or not the accused rose up against the Soviets with arms or words. Ask him instead to which class he belongs, what is his background, his education, his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror."[3]

or this quote:

"Comrades!... You must make example of these people. (1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. (2) Publish their names. (3) Seize all their grain. (4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday's telegram."

Lappeldu has also violated 3RR with 5 revisions yesterday. These edits by this point constitute vandalism.radek (talk) 05:31, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

All of those quotations are undue weight. Non-binding remarks by Martin Latsis (for which Lenin called Latsis overzealous) do not take precedence over the contents of the Red Terror decree. It was perfectly reasonable to modify the referencs to Latsis and to replace them with the contents of the Red Terror decree. Lenin's words were summarized and linked to the document in concern. If you want to discuss statements from Soviet officials, then quote some contents from Trotsky's 200-page "Terrorism and Communism" that casts them in a relatively neutral light. Alexander Yakovlev is not a reliable source, for he was not a professional historian from a respected academic institution but was a partisan politician associated with President Yeltsin. Your complaint of Maxim Gorky's accounts of terror against Communist is unreasonable. The inclusion of Gorky renders the section NPOV. Lappeldu (talk) 05:44, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Those quotations are perfectly relevant to this article and so cannot be undue weight. What is undue weight is replacing info on Red Terror with lots of info on White Terror. Per 3RR you need to self revert.radek (talk) 05:49, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
It is hardly undue weight to mention White Terror when discussing Red Terror. If one discusses Red Terror while totally ignoring White Terror, then that is not a trustworthy encyclopedia article, but reads more like a 1920s propaganda pamphlet. Red Terror and White Terror played off of each other.
With all due respect, you do not seem to understand to purpose of The website has transcribed vast material from Marx, Engels, Lenin, and other Marxist scholars. Professional historians use in their research. The suggestion that Russian research from before 1990 is somehow out of bounds is ludicrous. ALL specialists on Russian history utilize secondary sources published in Russia for their research. Lappeldu (talk) 05:56, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

<-- Sure, White Terror should be *mentioned* but the article shouldn't be rewritten to be all about it. And yes, historians use Soviet sources from before 1990 but they do not do so uncritically and out of context, as you are doing here. And even then, this still leaves the problem of you removing large chunks of sourced text.radek (talk) 06:03, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

"Sourced text" is not written in stone and can be compromised for the sake of improving the article's quality. Even if your allegations are true, it is not justified to simply sabotage another user's hard work. The version of the article submitted by me still contains no less than 15 citations citations of controversial pop-history and anti-Communist work by the likes of Werth, Pipes, Conquest and Radzinsky. The version submitted by you almost entirely consists of these sources. The evidence makes it clear that your version is POV-tinged. Lappeldu (talk) 06:13, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
But you're not improving the article. You're POVing it. You are removing info on Red Terror and replacing it with text on White Terror (in addition to other problems). But this is an article on Red Terror. The article on White Terror is here: [4]. Wikipedia does not need two article on White Terror. It needs an article on White Terror and an article on Red Terror.radek (talk) 06:53, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Your allegation that I am POVing the article is not true because the version submitted by me contains a broad array of sources whereas you're consists almost entirely of the school of historians described above. It is dubious whether any respectable scholar would find it acceptable to talk about repression in a war by one side without discussing what the other side did. Your attempt to suppress facts of White Terror is part of an attempt to propagandize this article. Lappeldu (talk) 21:39, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Radek, instead of revert war did you consider to reinsert the "info on Red Terror" you claim deleted without reverting the other persons work? Why you think this approach is impossible? Also I don't see that the article presents Red Terror "as a minor policy response". Lappeldu: please give an example of "suppressing facts of White Terror". In other words, instead of reverting back and forth, please try to arrive to a commonly agreed text. As a beginning, please both sides, provide itemized lists of objections to either versions, rather than accuse each other. Exchange of angry words will not lead to any improvement of the article. - 7-bubёn >t 22:52, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Sem, I fail to see why I should "reinsert" the info on Red Terror that is being removed. Wait. No, that's actually exactly what I did by reverting Lappeldu. Removal of material sourced to RS is generally considered vandalism on Wikipedia. That's why it's reverted and not retyped. There is absolutely no reason why I should be made to retype the removed info just because Lappeldu wishes to replace it with POVed material cited by non-RS. The burden here is on him, to add, rather than replace. And to add info that is not of undue weight, that is sourced to RS and that is NPOV. Please just look at the edits he's making:
Sourced text being removed:
Many Russian communists openly proclaimed that Red Terror was needed for extermination of entire social groups or former "ruling classes". Lenin planned the terror in advance. In 1908 he had written of "real, nation-wide terror, which reinvigorates the country".[4] Communist leader Grigory Zinoviev seemed to be advocating genocide when he declared in mid-September of 1918:
"To overcome of our enemies we must have our own socialist militarism. 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."[5]
(plus more that I don't include to save space, like the Latsis quote) is being replaced with
"The Council of People’s Commissars passed a resolution on red terror, calling it a temporary extraordinary measure of the country's self-defence, a response to white terror. The Cheka chairman Dzerzhinsky explained that this step was “nothing but an expression of the will of the poorest peasantry and the proletariat—to check all attempts at a revolt, and to win"."
It'd be one thing if the above was ADDED, though it's really white washing the situation. But the problem is that sourced text is being removed. And the rest of the edits follow the same pattern: remove text which makes Red Terror look bad, replace it with text on White Terror, and portray all instances of Red Terror that are left as "claimed" (per Wiki style and NPOV guidelines stating repeatedly that a source (BBoC in this case, which is considered RS by Wiki) "claims" something is seen as POV since it is usually done in order to create the impression that the information is non-verifiable. Same thing goes for portraying verifiable historical fact as "allegations". Like for example this, another piece of text that was removed to be replaced by a vague statement about "allegations":
This campaign marked the beginning of the Gulag, and some scholars have estimated that 70,000 were imprisoned by September, 1921. Conditions in these camps led to high mortality rates, and there were "repeated massacres." The Cheka at the Kholmogory camp adopted the practice of drowning bound prisoners in the nearby Dvina river.[6] Occasionally, entire prisons were “emptied” of inmates via mass shootings prior to abandoning a town to White forces.[7][8]" (note that the source here is not Conquest or BBoC despite Llapeldy's claims above to the contrary)
It's also notable that the only secondary, reliable sources that Lappeldu is able to come up with in support of the deletions/replacements are Soviet communist historians.
This is a whole scale POV attack on the article, dressed up with a few phrases about what "real historians" think (Lappeldu also seems to suffer from the mistaken conceit that s/he is the only person in the world who's got (or getting, in her/his case) an academic degree in history). It's a non-starter for a compromise. What would POSSIBLY be a start would be to ADD text rather than deleting it though whether or not new information is POV, RS or UNDUE WEIGHT would still be up for discussion.radek (talk) 02:04, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Either Radek has not carefully read my changes or he is telling bald-faced lies about my edits. He claims that the only sources I cited are "Soviet communist historians." I cited such respected western-based historians such as Alexander Rabinowitch, Arno Mayer, Christopher Read, Evan Mawdsley. Radek has made his intent to propgandize the article abundantly clear. His edits amount to suppressing information that do not fit his prejudicies.
Concerning the BBoC, it must be emphasized that its accounts of Red Terror, particularly the claim of massacres at Astrkhan, are primarily derived from 1920s emigre agitprop disseminated by anti-soviet politicians like Chernov and Melgunov. Their allegations can be entertained, but they have to be clearly attributed in conformity with Wikipedia policies.
Concerning my use of Soviet-era sources, your allegation that they are not reliable sources is simply not true. All western specialists on Russia like Alexander Rabinowitch have employed these sources for data and interpretations of Russian history. Your derision of "Soviet communist propaganda" is more evidence of an attempt to propagandize this article.Lappeldu (talk) 21:02, 7 March 2009 (UTC)¸

10 % of Jews in the Cheka

I know this is controversial, but in the article Jewish Bolshevism, it says that were perhaps a total of 5 000 Jews in the Cheka out of 50 000 revolutionary agents. This could perhaps be mentioned in the article, since there have been numerous authors who have made allegations that the persecutions against the Christian clergy and the Christian bourgeoisie were actually motivated by religious or ethnic hatred on the part of members of the Cheka. ADM (talk) 23:55, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Although a significant number of Bolsheviks were ethnic Jews, they did not follow Jewish religion. They believed in the Communism. One could also cite Lenin's words about the religion in general ("Millions filthy deeds..." and so on). That is what sources tell.Biophys (talk) 03:04, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Black Book of Communism

Since when is that a reliable source? I'll be removing anything sourced to the Black Book of Communism. sorry, but I'm not going to let editors get away with that. Shlomo411 (talk) 19:41, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Black Book of Communism meets all Wikipedia requirement for reliable source - given than one editor does not like it is no reason to remove properly source material. Bobanni (talk) 21:31, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Shlomo411, not only this is a reliable source, but this is a scholarly book written by a group of best European historians. If you have concerns, please ask at WP:RS noticeboard. All outright deletions of texts supported by reliable sources will be reverted.Biophys (talk) 21:44, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

It's wikipedia. Reliability of sources is not a high priority. It's a loose democratic catalogue of facts and views. The BBoC sources should stay.

-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 9 August 2009 (UTC)


There is a section of the page which currently reads:

Edvard Radzinsky noted that Joseph Stalin himself wrote a nota bene "Terror is the quickest way to new society" beside the following passage in a book by Marx: "There is only one way to shorten and ease the convulsions of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new - revolutionary terror".

Now the text in question which this refers is known to be a curious combination of fact and rumour (Wikipedia says so, it must be true!). Try as I might, I cannot find anywhere in Marx's Collected Works where he makes such a statement.

If it does not exist I think the paragraph should be deleted - it does not help Wikipedia to replicate a rumour (already there's about 40 other pages that repeat the page word-by-word).

--Lev lafayette (talk) 08:58, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

As there is no further discussion I am removing the Radzinsky quote. This subject is too important for less than scholarly work.

--Lev lafayette (talk) 11:18, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Please see page 155, 2nd paragraph (unless you have different edition).Biophys (talk) 13:44, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Quote removed

I removed this part:

From 1917 Lenin, like Marx,[9] consistently called for revolutionary dictatorship, as elaborated in his 1917 work The State and Revolution.[10] While Marx had argued for a dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin - in the conditions of undeveloped Russia - argued for a dictatorship of the workers and the poor peasants (symbolized by the hammer and sickle).[11] However sympathetic scholars have claimed that Marx and Lenin did not mean "dictatorship" in the modern sense of undemocratic one-party rule. Isaac Deutscher argued:

Of course, the Soviet government was to be a 'proletarian dictatorship'. By this was meant the social and political preponderance of the working class; but the means by which this preponderance was to be established were not fixed in advance. The Bolsheviks, and socialists of other schools as well, wanted to describe the parliamentary democracies of the West as 'bourgeois dictatorships', in that they embodied the social preponderance of the bourgeoisie, not that they were actually ruled in a dictatorial manner.[12]

If anyone can explain what it means, we can place it back. Biophys (talk) 04:52, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

I can't explain it with any authority but I think the author is referring to two things: firstly, I think the matter of Soviets meant Lenin's concept of "direct democracy" from his earlier writings and secondly, the 'bourgeois dictatorships' refers to the political class which was what they sought to get rid of. No proof, I'm afraid. Just what I suspect it means.Flanker235 (talk) 13:01, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Re. "Atrocities"

--copied from cwmacdougall talk page---- Hey, I notice you've reverted my recent edit to Red Terror. I've since made another change to the article, broadening the scope of the Bolshevik's activities (i.e. "systematic repression"); I just don't consider the term "atrocities" to be very encyclopedic.

Thoughts? Kurtis (talk) 00:49, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

It is encyclopaedic, i.e. covers lots of things, including for example torture, so I would use it. Alternatively you could expand the list a bit. cwmacdougall 11:44, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
  • You can go ahead and re-add "atrocities" if you wish. I've thought about it and now I'm starting to think it's not really all that unencyclopedic. Kurtis (talk) 14:14, 18 January 2013 (UTC)


This edit. We should not simply make long quotes from primary sources, such as original works by Lenin. If Lenin was quoted in another, secondary source (there are plenty of them) specifically with regard to Red Terror, than it would be something more reasonable, although still debatable (due weight and other criteria). All other quotes currently on this page were made from secondary RS. If some of them were not, please tell, and let's fix it. The fact that Lenin's work was translated does not make it a secondary source. My very best wishes (talk) 16:04, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

WP:SYNTH is a policy against "analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources." That is clearly not the case here: the Lenin quotation does not deviate from any of the ideas put forward elsewhere in the article but rather supports and explains them. As for this distrust of primary sources: according to policy, primary, secondary, and tertiary sources may all be acceptable if used appropriately. Since Lenin was a principal player in these events, a quotation from him is entirely appropriate, and the exact quotation under discussion is uniquely illuminating. This was a good and useful addition by a new contributor and should be reinstated. SteveStrummer (talk) 16:37, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
According to WP:PRIMARY, such sources should be used with great care. "Illuminating" is your personal opinion, and this is precisely the problem. Lenin said a lot of things about everything. We should quote only such texts that has been identified in reliable secondary RS as important and illuminating (and there are lots of such secondary sources). The same can be said about quoting the Bible and any other high-profile primary sources. My very best wishes (talk) 18:17, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
And "unilluminating" would be your personal opinion, I presume. But the fact is that Lenin's viewpoint matters a great deal here, and it isn't presented nearly as well in the article without it. I would say that other observers clearly thought that his remarks were important and illuminating: they are his words as spoken in public, not from his published writing, and as such they were carefully selected by a secondary source, the editor(s) who compiled Collected Works long after Lenin's death. SteveStrummer (talk) 19:09, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I did not tell this is "unilluminating". I am only telling we should cite something that was deemed important in a good secondary RS, and to cite only in such degree and in such context as provided in the secondary source. There are lots of good secondary sources for this particular subject. There is no need in quoting any primary sources in the way you (or me) would feel appropriate. No, the original works by Lenin still remain his original works (primary source), even if someone selected a few of them to include in a certain edition. My very best wishes (talk) 19:39, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure you know about WP:ADHOM so I won't belabor the point. Personally I don't know that user at all, but his motivations are irrelevant insofar as this particular edit does not show any soapboxing at all. It is a genuinely incisive choice of a quotation used to illustrate an important facet of the article, i.e. the Bolsheviks' justification of the Terror. Where can you show any soapboxing in its use? SteveStrummer (talk) 19:59, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
It is clear from WP:PRIMARY that we may use a primary source for a relevant quote from a participant of the events. The quote should be accepted as useful and acceptable and not original research. cwmacdougall 20:03, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
All right, let me explain this another way: Lenin was a master of deception. He was telling one thing (something cited directly by this user), but at the same time, he was sending secret telegrams (widely published by now) saying something very different. Therefore, one must use good secondary sources to put this in proper context.My very best wishes (talk) 20:09, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I continue to oppose this revert, but I'll be unable to continue this thread for the rest of the afternoon. I would just like to say that it is very difficult to respond when changes are made to posted text. Please use strikeouts instead. SteveStrummer (talk) 20:33, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Then you should look more carefully on quotation. It tells: "When that Kerensky of yours reintroduced capital punishment at the front, that was not terror, gentlemen, was it? When your coalition cabinet, with the hands of the Kornilovs, machine-gunned whole regiments for showing insufficient enthusiasm for the war, that was not civil war, gentlemen, was it? When those Kerenskys and Avksentyevs of yours threw 3,000 soldiers into a single prison in Minsk for “harmful agitation”, that was not terror, gentlemen, was it? When you suppressed the workers’ newspapers, that was not terror, gentlemen, was it?"
Everything here requires an explanation to a fresh reader. What capital punishment by Kerensky? What “harmful agitation” in Minsk? Which "suppressed the workers’ newspapers"? I have no idea. This quotation is only confusing and does not really help. My very best wishes (talk) 21:16, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, everything there does require an explanation to a fresh reader; those are all important facts which establish context. Perhaps some brief footnotes might be in order, rather than removing the whole section entirely. Then the article would be more informative rather than less, which is what it's becoming now. SteveStrummer (talk) 01:17, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, in that case, I would like you to explain in footnotes what exactly episodes Lenin is talking about. Perhaps you know Russian history better than me, but I would not be able to do it for all these episodes.My very best wishes (talk) 13:47, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree with SteveStrummer, i made the initial change and put in the quote. Ill also add that the removal of this quote appears to be a part of an agenda to put across a certain biased perspective. It is silly that a discredited book like the black book of communism is fine (secondary source) but primary sources of the opinions of the leader of the soviet union who promoted the red terror is not fine.Footnotes are needed for historical explanation for a new reader. What do you suggest Steve ? RedsaidFred (talk) 07:55, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

You started reverts during active WP:BRD discussion. Doing so is WP:DE and constitutes WP:Edit warring. My very best wishes (talk) 13:47, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Rewrite 5/10/13
I've rewritten the section ("Purpose") which includes this quotation and added in some contextual information with some new references. Please read it over and leave feedback here. Thanks, SteveStrummer (talk) 21:03, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Approve of the edit, its neutral. With more edits like this the article may become a reputable article rather than a dumping ground of bias against socialism/marxism and the russian revolution.RedsaidFred (talk) 15:03, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Disapprove. I see three major problems in new version:
  1. The quotation of Lenin is WP:OR (as explained above) because this is an indiscriminate citation of a primary propaganda source. We must use reliable secondary sources (per Wikipedia policy) because this is a controversial subject. Main problem here: Bolsheviks claimed a lot of things for propaganda purposes, but actually did something opposite. Lenin declared the right of nations to self-determination, but Red Army took over almost all Imperial Russia republics which declared independence; Lenin promised "land to peasants" but confiscated their grain leading to hunger; he promised "factories to workers", but ordered to shoot workers who decided to strike, and so on. Therefore, we must use good books by professional historians who put this in a proper perspective.
  2. The meaning of examples in the quote by Lenin is completely unclear even for me (still unexplained). Therefore, this quotation is confusing. This is just another result of making original research.
  3. New version tells: "The Red Terror was an effort by the Bolsheviks to eliminate counter-revolutionaries who belonged to former "ruling classes". No, this is incorrect for several reasons. (1) counter-revolutionaries and ruling classes are two different things; (2) no, the actual purpose of Red Terror was for Bolsheviks to stay in power; (3) you should say "the stated purpose of Red Terror was ..."

Finally let me ask, are you familiar with this subject? Thanks, My very best wishes (talk) 20:51, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Firstly im very familiar with this subject. Quotations of primary sources does not equate to Original research. Your objection on the grounds that Bolsheviks said one thing did the other is explainable by other means i.e. war communism and civil war(debate for another day and is debated among historians themselves). We should use material by historians as well as primary sources. Because historical interpretation is always partisan. The quotation is not confusing, it implies that Lenin saw terror as a necessary means of violence to defend the revolution, this quote is no problematic because it is not presented as correct or false just the position lenin had as its purpose, and therefore illuminates to a reader the bolsheviks view of their action and its supposed purpose.

"The Red Terror was an effort by the Bolsheviks to eliminate counter-revolutionaries who belonged to former "ruling classes"

this should maybe read- "The Red Terror according to Bolsheviks was an effort to eliminate counter-revolutionaries who belonged to former "ruling classes".

Counter revolutionaries it is true were not always members of the forming ruling classes. But from a bolshevik perspective by aiding the whites or harming the reds aided the forming ruling classes and their cause to regain control of Russia. RedsaidFred (talk) 21:10, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

re: My very best wishes and his problems:
  1. The quotation is hardly indiscriminate considering the topic: its relevance is self-evident.
  2. I'm sorry you don't understand, but this article isn't being written specifically for you. As for WP:OR, refer to your comments about your Problem #1.
  3. The sentence you're attacking newly here was in the article for a very long time before my edit.

Finally let me say: you must be quite desperate to resort to obnoxious remarks like that. SteveStrummer (talk) 21:39, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

I will not. Do what you want, but I don't think my edits qualify as OR in the slightest. They are sourced twice, first to a wikilinked scholar's book on the subject, second to a common academic textbook. Admittedly, much more could be said about the purpose and origin of the Terror, but I believe it was a sound start. You know you are free to add all you want to flesh it out. SteveStrummer (talk) 22:15, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Point 1 (WP:OR). Sorry to disagree about policy here. If you do not want to go through further stages of dispute resolution, this is obviously your choice. Point 2 (what Lenin means?) Do you know what exactly episodes Lenin is talking about? Because I do not know, even though I studied Russian History. That's why I asked you above about your knowledge (perhaps you are a professional historian who specializes in this area?). Point 3. I think this is fixable by rewording. My very best wishes (talk) 22:34, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Primary sources are fine for a participant admitting fault or adding colour, but I suggest cutting the quote, as it is repetitive and tendentious. That Lenin admits responsibility for the terror is significant; but his questionable justifications are not, and to include them would require discussion of their doubtful validity as several have in effect pointed out above. I suggest we merely write "The 'good of the revolution' now demands a grim fight against saboteurs, organisers of military cadet insurrections, and newspapers run by bankers." That is more than sufficient at that point in the text. cwmacdougall 00:19, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for responding. Yes, this is something I would certainly agree. Two points are important: (a) Lenin not only supported, but actually engineered Red Terror, and (b) some quotation of Lenin about this would be appropriate. I thought his position was already directly quoted (for example in the famous telegram about the "bloodsuckers"). However, nothing prevents from adding more. I only suggest this should be something brief, telling, and understandable for reader. Perhaps making this quotation shorter will serve the purpose. My very best wishes (talk) 00:41, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
That's fine with me. Thanks, SteveStrummer (talk) 00:49, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. Great! Actually, let's keep your version right now, and I will have to check a couple of books prior to making any further changes. My very best wishes (talk) 01:52, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I will make the change now, while it's still fresh in our minds. This will permit you to develop new undiscussed changes at your leisure. SteveStrummer (talk) 03:40, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Red Terror was self-referential, not derogatory

Red Terror was self-referential term, used by Bolsheviks themselves, not derogatory. See for example or German totenkopf-- (talk) 12:41, 4 June 2014 (UTC)


The introduction suggests that the purpose of the Red Terror was to eliminate political opponents. Yet both Bolshevik descriptions describe something closer to class genocide. Grigory Zinoviev's summary is particularly clear.Royalcourtier (talk) 00:00, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


This is a joke, Zozs, why do you do so many reverts adding synthesis and removing things which are truly referenced? Spumuq (talq) 14:19, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Because what you're doing (combining several sources which say several things into one) is synthesis, and the source you added talks about the Great Purge, not the Red Terror - however, it doesn't even have a page number. How am I doing synthesis? Zozs (talk) 19:23, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Estimations for people killed

I'm not at all familiar with this organization self titled "University Press of American" but am I to believe that they are a reputable authority here when they have such a radically expanded estimation over the previous sources from Cambridge? (talk) 10:35, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

"matched only by the Spanish Inquisition."

It's British/WASP POV, there were many cases of extreme cruelties in human history, including anti-Catholic terror in England.Xx236 (talk) 08:22, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev. A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia. Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0300087608 page 156
  2. ^ The Furies By Arno J. Mayer, p 397
  3. ^ Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia - Past, Present, and Future, 1994. ISBN 0-374-52738-5.
  4. ^ Robert Conquest Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000) ISBN 0-393-04818-7, page 98
  5. ^ George Leggett. The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police Oxford University Press, 1986. ISBN 0198228627 page 114
  6. ^ Gellately, Robert (2007). Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Knopf. pp. 58–59. ISBN 1400040051. 
  7. ^ Gellately, Robert (2007). Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Knopf. p. 59. ISBN 1400040051. 
  8. ^ Figes, Orlando (1998). A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891–1924. Penguin. p. 647. ISBN 0-14-024364-X. 
  9. ^ Marx to Weydemeyer (5 March 1852), Marx and Engels Internet Archive
  10. ^ Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917), Lenin Internet Archive.
  11. ^ Vladimir Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918), Lenin Internet Archive
  12. ^ Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed: Trotsky 1879-1921, London: Verso (2003), p. 263.