Forwarded from Jurriaan Bendien (Lenin and lawsuits?)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Mar 27 09:41:08 MST 2001

At 11:28 AM 3/27/01 -0500, you wrote:
>I am not aware Lenin sued anybody for libel. What is true is that after the
>October 1917 insurrection a lot of old political scores were settled by the
>victors. Stalin actively persecuted Martov, without objection from Lenin
>(see the book by Antonov-Ovseyenko, "The time of Stalin"). In the post-1917
>period Lenin of course did not need to sue anybody for libel, he just had
>people locked up or banished/deported. As Pipes notes for instance, "No
>head of the Tsarist Okhrana ever tracked dissident intellectuals so closely
>as he [i.e. Lenin] did, classifying them according to their attitude to his
>regime and turning the information over to the Cheka or GPU for repressive
>action. He had lists drawn up of those he wanted expelled from Soviet
>Russia: he ordered the GPU to prepare a roster of "several hundred
>intellectuals who must be deported abroad without mercy". The case of a
>minor Menshevik historian with a Bolshevik past, N. A. Rozhkov, bothered
>him so much that he brought it up on several occasions before the
>Politburo, unable to decide whether to send him into exile inside Russia or
>to deport him abroad" (Richard Pipes, The unknown Lenin, p. 12).

Generally, Jurriaan makes a lot of sense but I find this somewhat silly.
The "post-1917" period was one of civil war, which required extraordinary
measures. Lenin died just at the time when the NEP was kicking in, which
was marked by a relaxation of repression. I am not familiar with
Antonov-Ovseyenko's book, but the title suggests to me that he is
documenting Stalin's arbitrary methods. So what else is new? As far as
Pipes is concerned, the less said the better.

Louis Proyect
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