Red terror

Violence and intimidation were from the very start the essence of communist dictatorships.

“How can you make a revolution without executions?” This is how Vladimir Ilyich Lenin described the essence of the communist exercise of power. Once Russia had been Sovietised, Lenin had the Czar and his entire family executed, and ordered everyone who stood – or could stand – in his way to be murdered, intimidated, deported, and sent to concentration camps. By 1920 there had been several hundred thousand documented political executions, and around one hundred concentration camps had been set up. Cheka, the dreaded Soviet state security organisation, had been created as early as in 1917, under the leadership of the notoriously cruel Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Following the pattern established in Russia, the leaders of the Hungarian Soviet Republic also based their rule on open violence and intimidation. During the months of the Hungarian Red Terror, a taste of the real nature of communism was given by armed units known as “the Lenin Boys”, inspired and led by Tibor Szamuely and József Cserny. The number of their victims is estimated to have been around 600. Based on their view of history as an expression of the Marxian class struggle, they considered all representatives of the old order – including the bourgeoisie, land-owning farmers, the aristocracy and the churches – as enemies to be liquidated. In practice, however, that definition was extended to include anyone who refused to accept – or simply dared to question – the communist social order of their dreams. Communism claimed around 100 million victims worldwide throughout the 20th century.


„Ideology kills."
George Orwell