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Entries / Political Persecution

Political Persecution

Categories / Social Life/Political Repressions

POLITICAL PERSECUTION refers to large-scale punitive measures organized by the Soviet Government from October 1917 on with a purpose of physical removal of real or potential political opponents, and liquidation of the opposition to the Bolshevik regime. Political persecution was organized by organs of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission - the Joint State Political Administration Board - People's Commissariat of Home Affairs - the Committee of State Security. In Petrograd (Leningrad) in 1918-53, over 250,000 people were convicted on political charges. In the years of the Civil War taking hostages and organizing Red Terror became the main instruments of repression. In December 1917, there were arrests of people charged with spreading anti-Bolshevik leaflets (K.V. Kekuatov et. al.), and in 1918, followed the suppression of the rebellion of students at Mikhailovsky Artillery School (S.F. Orlov, G.S. Arnautsky et. al.). In July 1918 the march of left socialists-revolutionaries was suppressed, and in 1919, the underground organization Great United Russia was liquidated (S.A. Butvilovsky, D.D. Butovsky, L.K. Filatov et. al.). Large-scale persecution accompanied the suppression of Kronstadt Revolt of 1921. It was back then that the first shootings without trial and the first instigated trials started, such as the cases of V. M. Purishkevich (January 1918) and of A.M. Shchastny (June 1918), shooting of the Grand Princes in Peter and Paul Fortress (January 1919), the case of Petrograd Fighter Organization (1921) etc. Catholic Mitropolitan E.Y. von Ropp (1919), representatives of humanitarian intelligentsia (from the Ship of Philosophers; November 1922) were arrested and exiled from the country. Repressions were widely used against the clergy: as Mitropolitan Veniamin stood trial in 1922, 10 people were shot on related charges and over 50 people were convicted; during the trial of Roman Catholic Archbishop of Russia Y.Y. Tseplyak (1923) bishop A.I. Maletsky, prelate K.Y. Budkevich and others were convicted. In 1923-24, members of the Community of Eastern Catholics - Exarch L.I. Fedorov, priests A.E. Zerchaninov, Y.N. Danzas et. al. were persecuted; in 1924, Archbishop Serafim (Protopopov), Bishops Amvrosy (Libin), Manuil (Lemeshevsky) and others were arrested in the case of Orthodox Fraternity. In the 1920s, the Government of Leningrad took measures to liquidate all the unions, circles and societies not subordinated to the Government. The list of fabricated cases included the case of the pupils of the Lyceum, instigated cases of officers of Finnish Life-Guard Regiment (1927; V.V. de Gerve et. al.), of officers of the Baltic Fleet (1926; B.L. Adlard, S.A. Lovtsov, A.N. Bakhtin et al.), of the Order of Martinists (1926; G.O. Mebes, A.M Nesterova, V.F. Gredinger, G.S. Gabaev et al.), of the Order of St. Grail (1927; A.G. Gaucheron-Delafosse, M.A. Poiret-Purgold et al.), of scouts (1927; V.A. Sobinin, N.A. Katanskaya et al.), of Falcon Sport Society (1927; G.A. Dupperon, F.K. Dormidontov et al.), of Resurrection Circle, of the Space Academy of Sciences (1928; P.P. Moshkov, D.S. Likhachev, et al.). The high-profile cases of the late 1920s – early 1930s included the Academic Case brought against Regional Studies experts, and the Guards' Case. Persecutions of intelligentsia and elimination of independent social entities continued in the next years. Such were the cases of the Russian Society Of World Studies (1931; S.V. Muratov, D.O. Svyatsky, V.A. Kazitsyn et al.), of the Russian National Party (the Case of Slavic Scholars, 1933-34; 35 members of the staff of the Russian Museum, of the Hermitage and of the Museum of Ethnography were arrested, including A.A. Avtonomov, P.I. Neradovsky, R.F. Kulle, G.A. Bonch-Osmolovsky, the Case of Ivanov-Razumnik (1933; F.I. Vityazev-Sedenko, D.M. Pines). After the approval of the Declaration by Mitropolitan Sergius in 1927, the victims of persecution included the brotherhood of Seraphim of Sarov (1928; S.A. Alexeev-Askoldov, I. M. Andreevsky et al.), the Case of Josephites [1929, archbishop Dimitry (Lyubimov), priests V. Veryuzhsky, S. Tikhomirov et. al.] not controlled by the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as representatives of Catholic Clergy and members of Roman Catholic communities, including the fabricated cases of the illegal Roman Catholic seminary and underground monasteries (1927; priests Y.Y. Troyko, P.S. Khomich et al.), the case of Archbishop T.Y. Matulyanis (1929; priests B.K. Yurevich, S.B. Prszirembel and laity), the case of the Polish Catholic Community (1931; priest S. Voyno and over 50 members of the community), and the case of acting bishop A. Prontsketis (1932; over 30 people). From the middle of the 1930s, the repressive policy of the Soviet Government assumed the character of total terror against its people: Kirovsky Stream, Former People Operation, and ethnic repressions as a result led to the period known as the Great Terror. During the period of the siege of 1941-44, large-scale ethnic deportations and forced evacuation of unreliable contingents (people with a criminal record, families of enemies of the people and others) were carried out, the Case of Scholars №555 was fabricated (January - February 1942; professors N.S. Koshlyakov, N.V. Roze, A. . Zhuravsky, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR V.S. Ignatovsky et al.). Repressions against the clergy continued as well: in 1942, Catholic priest P.S. Khomich, Josephite Bishop K.S. Savinsky and others were shot. All in all over 13,500 people were convicted on political charges in the years of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. In post-war years there were sweeping arrests of people who had been in captivity or had remained on the occupied territory, at the end of the 1940s, in the course of the Campaign Against Cosmopolitanism many people of Jewish nationality were persecuted. The Leningrad Case became the culminating event of the purges. Later on the repressive policy aimed to eliminate the political opposition and suppress all the kinds of independent social entities (see Dissident Movement). The last political prisoners in Leningrad were set free in 1987. The Memorial Day of Victims of Political Persecution - October, 30 – has been annually commemorated from 1974 unofficially, since 1991, it has been commemorated officially. In St. Petersburg it is accompanied by a solemn ceremony near Solovetsky Stone on Troitskaya Square, by laying of flowers on the cemeteries of persecution victims.

References: Иванов В. А. Миссия Ордена: Механизм массовых репрессий в Советской России в конце 20-х-40-х годов: (На материалах Северо-Запада РСФСР). СПб., 1997.

T. F. Kosinova, I. A. Flige.

Adlard Boris Leonidovich
Alexeev-Askoldov Sergey Alexeevich
Amvrosy (Nikolay Xenofontovich Libin), Bishop
Andreevsky Ivan Mikhailovich
Arnautovsky Georgy Sergeevich
Avtonomov Alexander Alexandrovich
Bakhtin Alexander Nikolaevich
Bonch-Osmolovsky Gleb Anatolievich
Budkevich Konstantin Romuald Yulianovich
Butovsky Dmitry Dmitrievich
Butvilovsky Sergey Antonovich
Danzas Yulia Nikolaevna
Dimitry (Dmitry Gavrilovich Lyubimov), Archbishop
Dormidontov Fedor Konstantinovich
Dreyden Simon Davydovich
Dupperon Georgy Alexandrovich
Fedorov Leonid Ivanovich
Filatov Lev Konstantinovich
Gabaev Georgy Solomonovich
Gaucheron-Delafosse Alexander Gabrielovich
Gerve Viktor Viktorovich de
Gredinger Vasily Fedorovich
Gukovsky Grigory Alexandrovich
Gukovsky Matvey Alexandrovich
Ignatovsky Vladimir Sergeevich
Ivanov-Razumnik (real name Razumnik Vasilievich Ivanov)
Katanskaya Nina Anatolievna
Kazitsyn Vladimir Alexeevich
Kekuatov Konstantin Vladimirovich
Khomich Pavel Semenovich
Koshlyakov Nikolay Sergeevich
Kulle Robert Fridrikhovich
Likhachev Dmitry Sergeevich
Lovtsov Sergey Alexandrovich
Maletsky Antony Iosifovich, Archbishop
Manuil (Lemeshevsky Viktor Viktorovich), Metropolitan
Matulyanis Teofilis (Feofil) Yurievich
Mebes Grigory Ottonovich
Moshkov Peter Pavlovich
Muratov Sergey Vladimirovich
Neradovsky Peter Nikolaevich
Nesterova Maria Alfredovna
Orlov Sergey Fedorovich
Pines Dmitry Mikhailovich
Poiret-Purgold Maryana Alexandrovna
Prontsketis Avgustin Petrovich, Bishop
Przhirembel Stanislav Boleslavovich
Ropp Eduard Yulievich von, Metropolitan
Roze Nikolay Vladimirovich
Savinsky Konstantin Safronovich (archimandrite Klavdy)
Serafim (Alexander Alexeevich Protopopov), Archbishop
Sergy (Ivan Nikolaevich Stargorodsky), Patriarch
Shchastny Alexey Mikhailovich
Sobinin Vladimir Anatolievich
Svyatsky Daniil Osipovich
Tikhomirov Sergy Andreevich, Archpriest
Troyko Ya.Ya.
Tseplyak Yan (Johann) Hyacinth, Archbishop
Veryuzhsky Vasily Maximovich
Vityazev P. (real name Sedenko Feropont Ivanovich)
Voyno Stefan Nikolaevich
Yurevich Boleslav Kazimirovich
Zerchaninov Alexey Evgrafovich
Zhuravsky Andrey Mitrofanovich

Troitskaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city

Иванов В. А. Миссия Ордена: Механизм массовых репрессий в Сов. России в конце 20-х - 40-х гг.: (На материалах Северо-Запада РСФСР). СПб., 1997

The subject Index
Red Terror
Mikhailovsky Artillery Academy
Kronstadt Rebellion of 1921
St. Peter and Paul fortress
St. Peter and Paul fortress
Petrograd Fighter Organization
Case of Pupils of the Lyceum
Finlyandsky Life Guards Regiment
Baltic Fleet
Academics' Case
Guards' Case
Russian Museum, State
Russian Ethnographical Museum
Kirovsky Stream
Former People
"Great Terror"
Siege of 1941-44
Deportations, ethnic
Leningrad Affair
Dissident Movement
Solovetsky Stone, monument


Archives, St. Petersburg

ARCHIVES, SAINT PETERSBURG, the Central State Archives of St. Petersburg situated at 15 Varfolomeevskaya Street. They were founded as the Leningrad Regional Archives of the October Revolution in 1936 and renamed as the State Archives of the October