Did Lenin’s Bolshevik colleagues go along willingly with the Red Terror?

Regarding my post from last week about Lenin’s Red Terror (which he made no effort to hide, and every effort to publicize to the public at large), you may be wondering whether any of Lenin’s colleagues opposed the Red Terror? The answer is no.

It is difficult to convey the vehemence with which Communist leaders at this time called for the spilling of blood. It was as if they vied to prove themselves less “soft”, less “bourgeois” than the next man … Not one of the leaders of the Bolshevik Party and Government, including those later eulogized as the “conscience of the Revolution”, objected publicly to these atrocities, let alone resigned in protest. Indeed, they gave them support: thus, on the Friday following the shooting of Lenin, the top Bolshevik leaders fanned out over Moscow to defend the government’s policies. (Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution 1899-1919, Fontana, 1990, p. 820-1.)

This wasn’t because the Bolshevik top brass were frightened of Lenin. They had rebelled against him quite a few times over various issues, especially his signing of the Brest-Litsov peace treaty with Germany. At this stage of Communist rule the other top Communists didn’t have much to fear, even if lower-down Communists didn’t dare go against Lenin. No, they didn’t go against him on this because they all had the same desire: to erase the lives of anyone they saw as not fitting into their new Utopia.

Trotsky in full Hitler mode.

But what about Trotsky? Wasn’t he a good guy? Don’t make me laugh. He was one of the most ruthless of all the revolutionaries:

Lenin’s associates now vied with each other in using language of explicit brutality to incite the population to murder and to make murder committed for the cause of the Revolution appear noble and uplifting. Trotsky, for instance, on one occasion warned that if any of the ex-Tsarist officers whom he drafted into the Red Army behaved treasonably, “nothing will remain of them but a wet spot” (Pipes, 817)


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