What are the concentration camps built by the Bolsheviks in the Civil war

History 15/01/20 What are the concentration camps built by the Bolsheviks in the Civil war

the Soviet government began to avoid the designation “concentration camp” as something exclusively “bourgeois.” In the beginning this word, inherited from the practice of the Anglo-Boer war, were applied without reservation. But soon the Bolsheviks gave it a “proletarian” are synonyms in which the word “camp” still remains.

First concentration camp

the Concentration camps originated in the late nineteenth century during the colonial wars. The colonizers created them for the conclusion of the civilian population representing a danger to them, in their opinion. However, sometimes the words “concentration camp” called camp for prisoners of war in the civil war in USA 1861-1865 gg for the first time in the history of warfare, the number of prisoners began to be measured in tens or hundreds of thousands. During the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902 in South Africa, British colonialists created the first concentration camps for white civilians.

the Word “concentration camp” originally did not bear in itself such a sinister tone, which it acquired during the Second world war, during the Nazi practice of genocide. However, in the Anglo-Boer war, the death rate in the British concentration camps horrified the world public opinion.

the Bolsheviks decided to resort to the practice of concentration camps almost from the beginning of the civil war. In July 1918, the Petrograd Committee of the RCP(b) adopted the decision about the device “labor concentration camps” for “hostile elementov”. Imprisonment in a concentration camp were subject to the whole family, suspicious of his class origin.

Petrograd in the summer of 1918 represented an Autonomous Republic, but was soon the initiative was picked up all over Soviet Russia. It praised Lenin, who in a telegram on 9 August 1918 to the Penza provincial Executive Committee was ordered to conduct a merciless terror against the whites, priests and kulaks, and “dubious locked up in a concentration camp outside the city” (though the authenticity of this telegram is disputed by some).

With the announcement of the red terror of 5 September 1918, the practice of creating concentration camps for civilians was in Soviet Russia widespread. At the Central level for a long time she still was not organized. Local bodies of the Soviet government, red army command and the Cheka showed broad initiative in the organization of the concentration camps. Detention conditions in them vary greatly, and the number of prisoners cannot be accounted for due to the lack of clear documentation.


in the Spring of 1919, the Central Bolshevik government decided to bring in the concentration camps some order. Then there was the official name of “forced labor camp” (PMD). However, the name “concentration camp” continued to be widely used, including in official documents, for a long time. Only in 1929 it issued a decree on compulsory renaming the concentration camps corrective labor.

First a short decree of the Central Executive Committee of Soviets of 15 April 1919, prescribes the creation of a forced labor camp at the initiative of the provincial Cheka and with the necessary permission of the NKVD. The conclusion in the DM were to be persons against whom was rendered the appropriate verdict on any of the organs of the Cheka, had the right of trial and punishment. For the management of concentration camps was created in the Central Directorate of Camps of the NKVD.

by Decree of the Central Executive Committee dated may 17, 1919 it was ordered already mandatory to establish in each province at least one of the concentration camps, calculated not less than 300 people.

“Soft camp”

some Places you can find claims that the contents in the Soviet concentration camps of the civil war period was milder than in prison. For example, in some cases, prisoners in the concentration camp could reside in their apartments and in the camp to be only for the passage of “correctional work”. This concerned primarily the DM, who was in the NKVD and createdtion, primarily for the passage of the “unearned grades” assigned to them compulsory “labor service”. But this type of camps were not only in Soviet Russia at the time.

in Addition, the “softness” of the regime decision-makers were destroyed by the uncertainty of the timing of the stay. As a rule, the conclusion has been applied in respect of people representing the “social danger” to Soviet power and was often accompanied by vague wording: “until the end of the civil war.”

In the concentration camps often contained not only local prisoners, but also imported from other regions of Russia prisoners of war and internees. So, in 1919, in the suburban Kozhukhovsky concentration camp (near the station Kozhukhovo ICC, now within the city) drove from the South a group of civilians, belonging to the “hostile class”. And in 1921, they have placed more than 300 families of peasants of the Tambov province, including children under the age of 1 month.

Often, the camp served as a transit place to determine in prison. Sometimes against prisoners of these concentration camps imposed the death penalty. In addition, in charge of the Cheka were the real death camps.

the Camp for mass destruction

the Most famous camp was organized by the Bolshevik Mikhail Cedar in Kholmogory after the suppression of the White movement in the North. First there were sent prisoners from the Northern volunteer army. After their destruction, in 1921, the Kholmogory camp was filled with captured soldiers and officers of Wrangel’s army, the sailors of Kronstadt, the peasants of Tambov and Western Siberia. Hence they had only one exit – to the light.

Chairman of the Arkhangelsk Gubchk Zinoviy Katsnelson reported to Moscow that the Kholmogory camp was organized personally Pine for the sole purpose of killing prisoners. According to tentative estimates, their death is not found at least 8,000 people. The killings took part personally, Cedars and his girlfriend Rebekah Plastinina-Maisel. About its work in Vologdade remained chilling testimony of the revolutionary and writer Yekaterina Kuskova. The Plastinina already in the summer of 1920 withdrew from Arkhangelsk at the request of the local Council with a diagnosis of “sick Man, nervous”. Kedrova recalled in 1921, after long treatment in a mental hospital.

“death Camps” were built in the Crimea during the Bela Kun and Rosalia Countrywoman-Zalkind mass red terror in the winter of 1920/21 G.

the Central Soviet authorities did not give direct instructions on carrying out total genocide. But their individual statements were easy to interpret in places like this. Moreover, there are no penalties except a small friendly censure, who have the power of the criminals was carrying.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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