The Cheka (Chesvychaika) did not allow the Soviet Communist Party to seize power, but it allowed it to maintain it in Russia and the Soviet Union. Even as the less visible, more secretive GPU and eventually the KGB, they were the means by which leaders like Lenin, killers like Stalin and do-nothings like Brezhnev were able to keep control over an enormous, nine-time-zone country after WWII. The most unfortunate side effect or in some cases the result, was the deaths of tens of thousands - most of them innocent of anything but difference of political view point than those of the leadership. The elimination of opposition by physically removing them from their homes, families and eventually their lives, was so rampant during the early years of Bolshevik rule that the activities of the Cheka-GPU was called the "Red Terror" by both opposition, foreign and domestic, and the members of the Cheka itself.
Many Western journalists attempted to make their careers by reporting on the newly-formed government in Russia. One such anonymous British reporter wrote in 1929 that a high-ranking member of the Cheka said: "We have executed some twenty or thirty thousand persons, perhaps fifty thousand. They were all spies, traitors, enemies within our ranks, a very small number in proportion to the persons of this kind then in Russia. We instituted the red terror at a time of war, when the enemy was marching upon us from without and the enemy within was preparing to help him. Scotland Yard executed spies and traitors also in war time."*
The Lubyanka All-Russia Insurance Company headquarters building was built in 1898. This photo above was taken before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, after which it became the headquarters for the Soviet Secret and political police until 1991 when the KGB was officially disbanded. Though the basic structure has remained the same, multiple renovations and a massive addition have changed the building and the Lubyanka Square it occupies radically. In all, there are a total of three conjoined buildings that make up the final design of the most infamous security agency ever created. A section of the FSB (Federal Security Service) Border Guard is still housed here as well as a museum-memorial and a new statue in place of the giant one of Dzerzhinsky has been erected across from the main building as a memorial to those tortured and/or killed in the massive underground network of prison cells and "special purpose" rooms. Often, people were arrested and taken to Lubyanka without their families' ever knowing what happened to them.
|The first acknowledged photo of the Lubyanka taken by a CIA operative|
soon after the agency was created in 1947. The photo is from the early 1950s.
The above photo is of the Lubynka taken in the 1980s with the statue of state security service founder Felix Dzerzhinsky prominently adorning the square on which the expanded building dominates the surface but hides a labyrinth of prison cells and torture chambers under the building and the street where automobiles continue to drive around above to this day. However, the statue of Dzerzhinsky was removed (not torn down as in other areas with similar statues) in 1991 and replaced with a modern monument to the memory of all those who were tortured and/or killed by officers from whatever security agency occupied the building and ran the prison at the time.
|Photo of the rearmost part of the contemporary Lubyanka building and square it centers. (Photo by Barry Kent)|
The poster at right is a prime example of the attempt by the Communist Party leadership trying to demonize the Kulaks and achieve the goal of a classless society devoid of aristocracy and other forms of social class distinction, regardless of what it was based on.
After WWII when the maps had been redrawn, the next war waged by the Communist Part of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was against organized groups of rebels in areas of Ukraine, the Baltic States and other Warsaw Pact countries that were not necessarily part of the Soviet Union proper, but also in the new regions considered under the stewardship (voluntary or not) of the Soviet Union known as "Spheres of Influence." The war to maintain communist and/or socialist forms of government friendly to the Soviet Union was one that lasted the entire lifespan of the SU itself, an antagonistic situation faced by every leader of the SU from 1917 to 1991.
* Whether or not the quote is true to the alleged speaker, the quote is true of the questionable and certainly controversial actions of the Cheka through the KGB. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUScheka.htm