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Bread and JusticeState and Society in Petrograd 1917-1922$
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Mary McAuley

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198219828

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198219828.001.0001

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The Cheka, September 1918–1921

The Cheka, September 1918–1921

(p.375) 18 The Cheka, September 1918–1921
Bread and Justice

Mary McAuley

Oxford University Press

Violence and political repression will inevitably feature in a civil war, but its organization and focus will differ, as will the consequences for the future state's treatment of political opposition. This chapter shows how an array of different factors were responsible for the role played by the Cheka during and after the civil war, and for defining Bolshevik attitudes towards opposition. In August 1918 the Cheka had acquired both the responsibility for investigating activities ranging from counter-revolution and speculation to corruption and robbery, and the right of execution. With the introduction of the Red Terror the Cheka was told its brief was to exterminate the class enemy, the bourgeoisie. Although subsequently pulled back, it was as the ruthless scourge of the class enemy that the Cheka was depicted.

Keywords:   Cheka, civil war, counter-revolution, corruption, Red Terror, bourgeoisie

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