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                                The Secret Police of Lenin's Russia

Okhrana, Gendarmes, Vecheka, GPU, OGPU, KGB..."secret police". All terms
that struck fear into the hearts of millions of Russians. The Cheka, Lenin's own form of
secret police, has rightfully earned its place among these institutions of terror. The Cheka was the
all-encompassing means of maintaining Bolshevik authority throughout Russia. It ultimately
wished to pervade the lives of every worker, peasant, politician, and soldier. The Cheka was
responsible for killing innumerable amounts of Russians via exile or execution, thereby setting the
precedent for the Stalinist regime in years to follow.

In order to understand the basic concept and philosophy behind Lenin's Cheka, it is
necessary to understand the history of its forerunner, the tsarist Okhrana. The institution
of a "secret police" is as old as governmental systems are, though some were created to perform
differing tasks than others. Some were primarily concerned with industry and industrial sabotage,
while others were preoccupied with political awareness and fraud. Still others, such as during
Stalin's regime, were concerned with the "well-rounded citizen", implementing restrictions on all
facets of Communist life. For hundreds if not thousands of years, monarchs, dictators, tyrants and
others in positions of power have had spies, informants or henchmen to carry out tactics that
prevent the usurping of power and impose laws upon the governed populace. The Okhrana of the
Russian Tsars was no different. "The Okhrana, at first established only in St. Petersburg,
Moscow, and Warsaw, and later installed in other cities, engaged principally in
counterintelligence, whereas the Gendarmes were more involved in formal investigation of
individuals apprehended in illegal activities." (01) The Okhrana was the executive and
legislative branch of government. The Gendarmes, considered as a separate institution from the
Okhrana, worked in conjunction with it, as if they were part of the same organization (which, in a
manner of speaking they were, contolled by the tsarist governments.) The Gendarmes performed
the policing, and later, the judicial branch of government. A loose analogy can be made with the
relationship between our state police organizations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations or
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). The state police will investigate and
apprehend violators of state or federal laws, cooperating with federal agencies that have placed
warrants for a criminal's arrest. The state police are also far more visible in an average citizen's
daily routine than the usually undetected covert or routine activities of federal agents. "The
Gendarmes had a paramilitary force to control railroads and quell urban disorders. There were
10,000 to 15,000 gendarmes in the Empire. Each city had a Gendarme official, clad in a familiar
light blue uniform, whose responsibility it was to gather information on all matters affecting
internal security." (02) The responsibilities and actions of the Okhrana and the Gendarmes go
far beyond those of our state police and FBI. Although there are similarities with the use of
informants, "agents provacateurs" (whose job it was to infiltrate subversive groups), the dispersal
of law enforcement agencies throughout the empire, and methods of investigation, the
regulations that governed these various agencies were much different. It was not
uncommon to make use of assassination, torture, blackmail, and mail interception. According to Pipes,

"Of all the services of the Russian bureaucracy, the police were the least constrained by law. All its operations, affecting the lives of millions, were carried out free of external controls, save those of the Minister of the Interior and the Director of the Department of Police. Under regulations issued in 1881, the police organs had no judiciary powers. However, in areas subject to the August 1881 provisions for 'Safeguard', high officials of the Corps of Gendarmes had the right to detain suspects for two weeks, and for two weeks longer with a governor's authorization. After one month, a detainee was either released or turned over to the Ministry of the Interior for
further investigation."(03)
The Gendarmes also became quite active as the "teeth" behind the regulations of
many government agencies not directly connected to law enforcement or counterrevolutionary
organizations. They often manifested themselves in labor organizations, finance ministries, war-
time movements, etc.

"The authority of the Interior was enhanced by virtue of the fact that his police and gendarmerie were the only vehicles for enforcing directives of the other ministeries. If Finance ran into a taxpayers' revolt, or War had trouble recruiting, they had to go to Interior for help...Interior Ministers supported and implemented various 'counterreforms' designed to emasculate the liberal reforms of the 1860's. Among them were restrictions on zemstva, the introduction of land commandants, expulsion of Jews from areas where law forbade them to reside, and repression of student unrest."(04)

However, Viacheslav Plehve, who became the Minister of the Interior in 1902, attempted
an experiment in police-controlled labor unions that exemplifies the totalitarian methodology of
hypervigilante counterrevolutionary agencies. This experiment was labelled "Zubatovshchina",
honoring the chief of the Moscow Okhrana, S.V. Zubatov.

" It was a bold attempt to remove Russian workers from the influence of revolutionaries by satisfying their economic demands...The nascient labor movement was apolitical, confining its demands to improvements in working conditions, wages, and other typical trade-unionist issues. But because in Russia of that time any organized labor activity was illegal, the most innocuous actions automatically acquired a political and, therefore, seditious connotation." (05)

Plehve recognized that the workers were unfairly viewed by the central government, which
lumped them in with anarchists, subversives, and revolutionaries. The average worker was more
concerned with economic well-being of himself and his family, than of committing political crimes.
He argued that " in order to frustrate radical agitators, workers had to be given lawful
opportunities to improve their lot." (06) However, Plehve's notorious anti-semitic attitudes,
which were brought fully to light after the slaying of fifty Jews on Easter Sunday in 1903, only
served to further antagonize the populace, by making an example of blatant police brutality. This
would give any proletarian cause to worry that they were possibly next in line to be gunned down
in the street based on a particular religious or political view. The zemstvo, which were
organizations of local self-government created in 1864, became more radicalized, when he tried to
treat them as branches of the Ministry of the Interior. Intensifying hatred of the Minister brought
about the formation of the Socialist-Revolutionary Combat Organization, which placed Plehve at
the top of its "hit list". After repeated attempts on his life by members of this group such as Evno
Azef and G.A. Gershuni, Plehve was finally assassinated on July 15, 1904, by Boris Savinkov,
who threw a bomb at his carriage. "...(I)n the excited atmosphere of the time, when politics turned
into a spectator sport, the terrorists were widely admired as heroic champions of freedom."(07)

The Okhrana thoroughly infiltrated all facets of the fledgling Bolshevik party. Even
Malinovskii and Chernomazov, editor and treasurer respectively of the legal Bolshevik
newspaper, Pravda, were police agents. "The extent of the Okhrana penetration of the Bolshevik
Party was such that not only was it minutely informed about the membership, structure, and
activities of the Party, but it was also in a position to influence Bolshevik tactics. Okhrana
manipulation contributed significantly to the post-1910 debacle of the Socialist Democratic
However, what the Okhrana had failed to take action on, was the starvation and suffering
by the countless millions. Rioting and disorderly conduct among the Russian citizens steadily
crept upwards. A stronger police presence was necessary, but too many men were involved on
the front lines of World War I . The tsarist regime tried to remedy this problem by recalling entire
Infantry units from the front lines. Once the soldiers returned home, many abandoned their posts
since they too had families to feed, and were mostly of peasant origin. They could not possibly
fight their own class, their own friends and family. They understood what it was to be hungry and
despondent in the front lines of war. Their supplies and rations had dwindled down to almost
nothing at the hands of the Tsarist regime. Soldiers that stood in as make-shift police also
abandoned their posts due to lack of pay (which often took as much as a year to get to them, if it
was recieved at all.) Even with the reinforcement of the garrison at Petrograd, the police were
unable to asuage the citizens. The Petrograd installation was reinforced in anticipation of massive
riots. This would be the last defensive action the Tsarist regime undertook before events turned

Eventually, in October 1917, the police mutinied, joining with the thousands of suffering
to take Petrograd, handing authority to the newly created Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and
Soldiers' Deputies and the Provisional Committee of the State Duma. "Members of the old police,
which alone had shown some spirit of resistance during the rioting in Petrograd, queued on 28
February at the Tauride Palace to be arrested so as to escape lynching; the more senior police
officers, along with the Minister of the Interior, Protopopov, were incarcerated in the Fortress of
Peter and Paul." (09) So began the first steps towards Lenin's Cheka, with the dissolution of
the Okhrana.

The formal dissolvement of the old police was brought about by a law passed on
10 March, 1917. A new temporary police organization was created in order to provide
protection for the citizens and their property. Eventually militias would replace the police
in other cities and provinces to maintain law and order and perform other routine police
functions. Unfortunately, the new Provisional Government could not handle its enormous
responsibilities without the proper authority and a reliable police force.

Neither could the army be counted on to provide adequate support, and the milita groups
were inexperienced and ill-equipt. " The crumbling army was pushed to complete dissintegration
by decrees ordering election of officers (but now called 'commanders') and abolishing all
ranks and decorations. What units were left were being speedily demobilized. Neither
Reds nor Whites managed to take over the old army; it simply ceased to exist." (10) Desertion
from the army reached an all-time high with the passing of the Petrograd Soviet's Order Number
One, which split authority between the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet of
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, effectively decentralizing the army. Entire units were removed
from the Army pay roll, officers were now elected instead of being commissioned or appointed,
and the rudimentary fundamentals of disciplining an army were thrown to the wind. Because the
Provisional Government and the Soviet could not agree on funding and supply, necessities could
not be drawn by standing units. Lenin labelled desertion as 'voting with their feet'. "Nature
abhors a vacuum; Lenin was swift to appraise and exploit the situation." (11) With the
crumbling empire, there was no better time to implement his ideals, forcing them upon a war-
weary population that was reduced to grasping at straws. The peasants may have thought that it
was inconceivable for a duplicate of the old regime to reemerge from the ashes. Only this time,
the leader (Lenin) had benefitted by learning from past mistakes of the old system, and he
understood what was necessary to make his own form of secret police work.
" Terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the
scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and
internally." (12) stated Trotsky in 1920. These words would be taken to heart by many Soviet
officials, becoming their ideology throughout their careers. On the 25th of October 1917, the
Petrograd Soviet formed the Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) was formed. On that
same day it wrested power from the Provisional Government in the famous Bolshevik Coup.
On the 26th of October, the Anti-Bolsheviks formed the Committee for Salvation of Country and
Revolution. Unfortunately, this organization would be short-lived when the MRC
passed a decree to muzzle the press on the 27th, assumed All-Russian status on the 29th,
suppressed the Officer-cadet uprising also on the 29th, and assumed responsibility for internal
security of the Bolshevik regime on the 30th. The leaders of the Committee for Salvation of
Country and Revolution were arrested on 9 November. The Bolsheviks had been successful in
taking Moscow on the second of November, and the LSR's (Left Socialist Revolutionaries)
decided to part company with the SR Party on 6 November. "Composed of a number of
departments, headed by a presidium and a central executive committee, the MRC came to control
a network of provincial MRC's which were springing up in its image, and which contributed
signally to the consolidation of Bolshevik power beyond the capital. These provincial MRCs were
eventually abolished under a decree published on 24 December 1917, their functions having been
inherited by local Soviets." (13) The ideal time had arisen to implement a new police system.
In a time of political turbulance, the Bolsheviks realized that they needed to guarantee their
continued existence outside of Russia's large cities. They could not let happen to them what they
had done to the tsarist forces. The Red Guard, which consisted of only 23,600 members in
January of 1917 would be too small to carry out this necessary function. The MRC had
established, in late October, the Military Investigation Commission. This commission ended up as
a type of structural"blue print" for the future Vecheka. " This agency...worked round the clock
dealing with arrested military personnel, officials sabotaging their duties, leaders of counter-
revolutionary parties, and so forth." (14) The MRC was abolished on 5 December that year,
and the Military Investigation Committee resigned its duties to the Investigation Commission of
the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Petrograd Soviet. Enter the Vecheka.

The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for combatting Counter-revolution,
Speculation, Sabotage, and Misconduct in Office (Chrezvychainaia kommissia po bor'be s
kontrrevoliutsiei i sabotazhem
) or Vecheka was a coopted creation by Lenin and Dzerzhinsky.
After the dissolution of the MRC, Lenin sent a letter to Dzerzhinsky calling for "exceptional
measures" in dealing with the upper class "saboteurs". He called for a registration system for all
citizens whose income exceeded a specified level, usually in the form of livestock or items that
could be used by the military, or who were employees of banks, firms, or state enterprises. He
called for the severest punishment for those that refused to work. On 20 December, Dzerzhinsky
gave a speech to the Sovnarkom, stating that the current government was in a state of "warfare",
making an analogy between the political leaders to soldiers on the front lines. He called for
immediate, unwaivering action. The Sovnarkom unanimously agreed to Dzerzhinsky's outline for
an anti-Bolshevik combative force. His proposed resolutions included:
"To suppress and liquidate all attempts and acts of counter-revolution and sabotage throughout Russia, from whatever quarter. To hand over for trial by revolutionary tribunal all saboteurs...and to work out means of combatting them. The Commission solely carries out preliminary investigation, in so far as this is necessary for suppression. The Commission is divided into departments: information, organisation department (for organising the campaign against counter-revolution throughout Russia and for organising ancillary departments); department for operational action." (15)
Dzerzhinsky had clearly set an agenda for the creation of a new secret police institution, though not labelled as such.

"Some important laws were never published-such as the one creating the Cheka. Other measures-for instance, the introduction of the practice of taking hostages (september 1918)-came out in the name of the Commissar of Internal Affairs: it was published in Izvestiia, but is not included in the corpus of Soviet laws and decrees. Before long, the Bolsheviks reverted to the tsarist practice of legislating by means of secret circulars, which were not published at the time and many of which remain unpublished to this day..." (16)

Being born in almost compete secrecy, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission
(Cheka) was given the license to kill by Lenin, who later became disenchanted by the
Revolutionary Tribunals, despite the fact they had been streamlined and toughened. The
Extraordinary Commission to Fight the Counterrevolution and Sabotage) main
office was located in Petrograd at Gorokhovaia. Whether through poor communications or
complete disobedience, the Cheka usurped power the Sovnarkom did not intended it to possess.
" It was to have no judiciary powers: the Sovnarkom intended for the Cheka to turn over political
suspects to Revolutionary Tribunals for prosecution and the manuscript of the
resolution the word 'to suppress'-presekat-appeared in an abbreviated form as 'presek[at'].' In the
earliest published versions, this word was altered to read 'presledovat', which means to
prosecute." (17) This deliberate ignorance of the law on behalf of the Cheka led to a reign of
terror, upon the expansion of the Cheka into other regions of Russia. Soon there were local
chekas throughout the land, where none could escape the prying eyes of the insidious secret-

Provincial chekas were created, much to the Petrograd Soviets' glee and the Russian
peasants' chagrin.They were given broad, destructive powers by the Vecheka. Although the
Cheka had no right to impose the death penalty until 1918, it is well documented that many
citizens turned up dead in remote areas, or simply disappeared without a trace. At the hands of
the Cheka, exile was almost certainly tantamount to the death penalty. " Provincial secret police
organs were given the right to (1) propose the declaration of martial law on a province wide scale;
(2) issue ordinances on questions of revolutionary order applicable to the given province; (3)
subject criminals to arrest by administrative action and assess fines by general procedures; and (4)
search the premises of and arrest anyone 'suspected of counterrevolutionary activities' or of doing
anything 'directed against Soviet authority." (18) One can easily argue that these are
draconian measures. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg. Every provincial cheka
consisted of four departments, each with its own particular expertise: a department for
combatting of counterrevolution; a department for combatting of speculation; a department for
combatting of abuses of office; and a department dedicated to the task of maintaining close
liaisons with other chekas and the Vecheka (also referred to as the VCheka). None could escape
the scrutiny of the cheka...not even the officers of the cheka. It was a given that other chekas
would be nonchalantly inspecting their peers, at any given time, for any sign of incompetence or
unfaithfulness to the Soviet. " No area under Bolshevik control escaped the organizing influence
of the secret police. The Chekas were among the first agencies of Soviet power to be established
in newly conquered territory and among the last to be evacuated when the enemy approached."

Once the blue print had materialized in the form of a few Chekas, the Petrograd Soviet
expected that growth would continue into outlying provinces and new territory. Therefore, a
specialized band of roaming instructors was formed, in order to educate the most trusted
comrades as commissars of the fledgling chekas. The instructors were required to have a
proficient knowledge of all laws of the local peasant community, and be aware of any new decrees
or mandates that might be issued by a Soviet, local or central. They were instructed to carry with
them to each new "project" a list of mandates and plans for implementingthe new standards, as
well as any training aids or materials essential to the founding of the new cheka. Instructors were
held responsible for "re-aligning" any cheka that had gone astray, and to ensure the proper
construction of new chekas. If an instructor came across acute defiance from a cheka or a local
soviet, he was required to gather as much evidence as possible that would indicate such, and
report them to his superiors. Only the most loyal and intelligent members of the Vecheka were
selected to perform the tasks of an instructor. One can easily imagine that the life of an instructor
was not easy. Just like everyone else under Bolshevik rule, the instructors were under constant
scrutiny, where "guilty until proven innocent" was not the case. The actual setting-up of a cheka,
according to Gerson, " was hardly a complicated or difficult task since all that was required at the
outset was an administrative staff of five trustworthy "comrades" who would select among
themselves a chairman and a secretary."(20) The instructor would allow the cheka to conduct
its own recruiting drive to build up a staff, and he would be long gone to his next objective.

Once these chekas had been installed, they were responsible for a myriad of taskswithin
the local communities. First and foremost, to make the local population adhere to Soviet doctrine
by whatever means possible. The dark and dirty side of the cheka emerges. The substance of
novels, works of fiction, and movies that circumnavigated the globe. Terrorism reigned supreme
over the Bolshevik controlled lands. The MRC dissolved on 5 December 1917, handing over
complete control to the Department for Combatting Counter-Revolution attached to the All-
Russian Central Executive Committee of the All Russian Congress of Soviets (Vserossiiskii
Tsentralnyi Ispolnitelnyi Komitet
), or VTsIK. Provincial chekas were given greater control over
their respective territories, answerable only to the Petrograd Soviet.

         "In the event of counter-revolutionary disturbances, the Provincial chekas were authorized to recommend to their Soviets the introduction of a state of emergency throughout the province, to issue mandatory instructions regarding law and order, and to subject offenders and suspects to searches, fines, and administrative arrest." (21)

The Vecheka controlled the budget and annual objectives of the subordinate local chekas.
Generally, each local cheka was divided into five departments: department to combat counter-
revolution; department to combat speculation; department to combat misuse of authority;
department of territorial liaisons; department of railway security. Provincial chekas were in
command of local militias, and could utilize them to maintain personal belongings inspections of
the populace, to keep the railways unobstructed, or to gain sensitive information regarding anti-
government sentiment that was being disseminated throughout the province. Provincial chekas
were at constant odds between the Vecheka and their local Soviets, unsure of which to pledge
greater fealty to. Soviets were instructed on 18 June 1918 to form new departments within their
executive committees, to perform separate administrational duties regarding information, the
Militia, and the Cheka. A two-way "watchdog" struggle emerged. "The deadly enemies of the
working class were to be found 'in factories and plants, in Soviet institutions, in the armed forces,
in the villages and in the cities." (22) Often, these two organizations lacked communication
between themselves. The objectives undertaken were often identical, and miscommunication
often led to acquittal of a criminal suspect by one organization, and the other finding them guilty
of treason.
The local chekas were responsible for recruiting their own secret police force. A deadline
was established for these chekas to conform to Vecheka standards, so recruitment was guaranteed
to be hasty and ill-researched. This inevitably led to the hiring of unscrupulous characters with
unstable mental conditions, who, according to Dzerzhinsky, found themselves a home within the
chekas. "But he made use of them anyway because he knew that such types made willing
Chekists." (23) With the expansion of local and provincial chekas, the need for informants and
henchmen increased. Dzerzhinsky called for men who were "strong in muscle and quick on the
trigger." (24) An interesting situation presents itself, due to the unscrupulous activity within
the smaller chekas of "skimming-off" money that should have been handed over to various
commissions. The Vecheka placed a mandate on the local chekas to obtain a steel safe for
storage of money, either through confiscation or requisitioning from the bourgeoisie. By this act
alone, the Vecheka has decreed that theft from the popluation is allowed, but theft from the higher
organizations of government is illegal. This is obviously a double standard, which completely
contradicts true Socialist doctrine. Dzerzhinsky was a harsh and iron-fisted leader of the
Vecheka, who could easily prosecute members of his own organization for suspected acts of
delinquency. However, to further complicate issues, not all members suspected of subversive acts
were penalized equally. "We have evidence that on at least two occasions even the most brazen
acts of theft and extortion-when committed by particular valuable agents-failed to ignite the wrath
of the chairman of the VCheka, but, quite contrary, found him testifying in court on behalf of the
The initial efforts of the local chekas were centered on reduction and elimination of
speculation. Common daily merchant activities were now branded as "speculation". The cheka
agents devoted much of their time to chasing down peasant "bagmen" (dealers in black market
surplus drygoods), inspecting the luggage of passengers at railway depots, and raiding
blackmarkets. The Cheka organization has been criticized for overlooking far more insidious anti-
government plots while spending its time prosecuting minor market infractions. The Vecheka, in
August 1918, declared war on the village. "Lenin instructed the authorities in Nizhnii Novgorod
to 'introduce at once mass terror, execute and deport hundreds of prostitutes, drunken soldiers,
ex-officers, etc." (26) Unfortunately, the "etc" left a wide margin for the local authorities to
utilize as they felt necessary. Tens of thousands of peasants, most simply corralled under
suspiscion of anti-communist sentiment, were deported to Siberia or executed in the street. These
people would become known as "kulaks", which would became a dirty slang insult as well as a
feared branding        . Lenin urged all workers to fight the Kulaks, to rid society of these
"richer" members. The definition eventually came to mean any person owning private property or
a single cow. Most of Russia could have been considered "Kulak" in the recent past. The local
chekas created food requisitioning parties, which would raid the grain supplies of the locals.
Many Kulaks died trying to protect their food stores. Murder and torture became an honorable
and noble activity, as long as it was performed for the benefit of the Bolshevik government.

"No such exhortation to mass murder was heard either in the French Revolution or on the White side. The Bolsheviks deliberately sought to brutalize their citizens, to make them look on some of their fellow citizens just as frontline soldiers look on those wearing enemy uniforms: as abstractions rather than human beings." (27)

Flaming rhetoric was used by Trotsky, Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, and other leaders to incite
violence in the streets. The master plan was to severely cripple the peasantry, causing them to
weary and give up. When the leaders finally relented, it would come as such a relief to the
citizenry, that they would not contemplate an uprising. They would not want to reinstate the pain
and terror that had recently lessened. However, Lenin found that his plan did not work out as he
wished. More power, not less, needed to be introduced. As various agencies and organizations
aged andbecame comfortable with the daily routine, it was possible that they would slip away
from Communist doctrine, adapting to a particular hybrid form of provincial control of their own.

The chekas came under closer scrutinization of the centralized government. The
Revolutionary Tribunal (military courts) reviewed as many Chekist infractions as civilian
infractions. Some dismissed the cases as rare instances of abuse of power, no more than mere
trivialities. The Petrograd Soviet and the Vecheka viewed any infraction as a major conflict of
interests that had to be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly. Many officers were shot for committing
"illegal" acts. The common view among the Provincial Soviets and the Petrograd Soviet was "If
there are malpractices, this means that the chekas are functioning badly, that their organisation is
weak and lacks the required resources." (28) Individuals took advantage of this situation,
claiming to be representatives from the Vecheka or Petrograd Soviet, and blackmailing families
into handing over quantities of goods or cash for the supposed release of an imprisoned chekist
family member. Of course, there was no return on these promises. The first notions of
replacement of these government organizations were beginning to take form in Lenin's mind, and
assuredly, the minds of many Soviet High Officials. In 1918, 35 Cheka battalions had been raised
for the sole purpose of internal policing. On 28 May 1919, the Defense Council passed a decree,
proposed by Dzerzhinsky, to transform the COrps of Vecheka Troops into the Troops of Internal
Security of the Republic (Voiska Vnutrennei Okhrany Respubliki), or VOKhR . Virtually all
armed forces attached to state agencies were merged into this large conglomeration, under the
guise of streamlining and economizing. These troops , with the exception of those guarding
railways and frontiers, were now directly responsible to the Narkomvnudel (NKVD) under the
Staff of Internal Security Troops. Numerous name changes took place, decreed by the NKVD.
First, on 16 June 1919 to Chief Administration of Troops of Internal Security (GUPVOKhR),
then on 24 November 1919, to Staff of Troops of Internal Security (Shtab Voisk Vnutrennei
).Despite the name changes, the job titles remained the same. The local chekas could not
be trusted to handle matters on their own, so the VOKhR troops were dispatched to "assist" in
food-confiscation, railway management, transport, and waterway management. On 18 June 1919,
the Defense Council declared martial law on all railways, granting greater jurisdiction and
prosecution rights to the VOKhR. The troops of the VOKhR were then organized into regiments,
battalions, companies, platoons, and squads, just as a military operation would be. The troops
were subject to the same laws and regulations that members of the Red Army were bound by.
Trotsky thoroughly disapproved of the formation of the VOKhR units, complaining to Lenin that
while the Red Army was falling apart due to lack of supplies and standing orders, these new units
were being formed and kept busy with internal tasks. He recommended to Lenin that portions of
the Red Army be disbanded and reformed to create additional units within the VOKhR, which
would mean they would fall directly under Vecheka control, and not necessarily NKVD control.
Lenin still felt that he controlled everything, anyhow.

"In the summer of 1921 a nation-wide purge of the Party was carried out which resulted in
the reduction of Party strength from 730,000 (at the time of the X Congress) to 530,000.
almost athird of the Party members were thus expelled. Such measures might have been
expected to 'put the lid' on any opposition beyond doubt; but more was to come. The following
year the Cheka was abolished and replaced by the GPU (Gosudarstvennoe Politicheskow
Upravlenie or State Political Administration)." (29)

There was no final "blow-out" or "last-hurrah" by the MRC. It simply ceased to exist.
New organizations developed as quickly as old ones were abolished. Lenin would not admit that
the Chekist government had not worked out as according to plan. He simply removed it,
forwarding all powers to the GPU, as well as instating new ones, such as legal powers of arrest
instead of simple "detainment". The Vecheka disappeared from existence on 6 February 1922,
almost a full year after MRC had been disbanded. A new reign of terror betgan, eventually handed
off to Stalin,do with as he pleased.

The years of the Cheka were long and hard for the peasant and Chekist both. Stronger
control over an individual's life developed with Lenin's hunger for power. He could not be
content with the notion that somewhere, someone was slipping through the cracks of Soviet
doctrine. I barely touched on the most infamous divisions and actions of Lenin's Cheka. A wealth
of knowledge is to be had on this subject...and a greater wealth could be garnered from hidden or
destroyed documents that we may never see. I could not possibly cover every aspect of the
Cheka within the confines of this paper. However, it had been made quite apparent that the
Cheka was not a new idea, nor would it be the last institution to implement these methods of
terrorism and spying. It is the duty of all citizens to learn from history and to prevent such
cataclysmic disaster from ever grasping hold on this country.