World History

Published 07 Sep 2017

My dear friend Serge,

I’m writing you this letter with inly dismay and anxiety for our motherland, Russia. I want to relate you the story of the actual state of affairs in Russia in the current year of 1919. I want you to know about everything from the first hand. The whole country is overset by chaos. The small group of fanatics managed to seize the power in the country. To say that Russia suffers from inflation, lack of food it would mean to say nothing about the real situation.

Our trainings have stopped. Moreover, the whole our cadet corps has been destroyed by Bolsheviks as the “hangover from czarist regime”. All educational institutions are closed down. And who can think about study when the world around goes all to pieces. I and many of our friends decided not to lie up the events in the state and stick to that side to which our heart tells us. Of course, we could have waited out while the situation had normalized and Bolsheviks got pulled down as some of our cadet mates did. However, I consider such actions to be an outrage against the motherland. I must inform you that the unity in views which used to be the distinguishing feature of the czarist cadet corps alumni vanished into the thin air. A lot of our mates captured by the idea of universal justice joined Bolshevik units, others went to socialist-revolutionaries (eser in Russian) which is the most radical revolutionary party; but the majority of them along with myself including made their choice in favor of the “white” movement. We joined General Denikin’s Army and want to pull Bolsheviks down even if it cost us our heads.

My father was shot dead by Bolsheviks. He was an ordinary military officer and was not interested in politics. But the fact that he served as the officer in czarist army was enough for Bolshevik to kill him. So as you see I have some personal reasons to fight Bolsheviks.

Now I want to tell you about the course of the events which happened after our disgraceful defeat in the war and how Bolsheviks managed to seize the power without both sufficient support from people and sufficient resources.
As you know we entered a war with a number of unsolved social and economic problems. For you know that Russia is mainly an agrarian country and the opinion of peasantry reflects actually the opinion of the whole society. The conflict between the country authority and the peasantry has very deep roots and its beginning is traced back to the abolishment of serfdom in 1861. With this act the government obliged the peasants to pay off the price for the lease of landowners’ land in the course of 9 years. However the low level of work productivity and too high payments hindered peasants from paying off their debt. Then the government paid that money instead of peasants but respectively obliged them to make annual payments of a debt to the state. All these changes coincided with the period of industrialization which entailed the need of costs to construct railways and factories. Obviously such financial burden was heaped to peasants’ shoulders. And after Russia had entered the war the life for people became unbearable and they got exasperated

The war devoured practically all national resources what caused massive protests and dissatisfaction with the czarist regime. A quite logical consequence of this was the czar abdication and the establishment of democracy in the country as the result of February revolution. However, inefficient governing of the country performed by the new government caused new protests. This time Bolsheviks succeeded in leading masses and their slogan about finishing the war helped them to attract the majority of army forces. In October 1917 Bolsheviks waged coup d’Etat which they call a revolution and as result they took power in their hand. One of their first steps was a signing of a shameful Brest-Lithuanian peace treaty between Russia and Germany (the treaty signed on 3 March 1918 in Brest-Litovsk). As the consequence of the treaty signed in Brest-Litovsk with Kaiser Germany Russia lost some territories. When Bolsheviks came to power Russia got overwhelmed with red terror and chaos.

However, I have to note that not only domestic situation was the reason for the changes that occurred in Russia. Europe and in particular our former Entente allies also are partially responsible for situation that had happened. Instead of trying to strengthen the peace and divide territories on the continent fairly each country from the Entente decided to defend exclusively its own interests.

You probably know about the conclusion of treaty at Versailles and about the peace conference that preceded it. This conference was organized as a congress of winners but not as a general assembly of European countries. Neither Soviet Russia nor the German Republic was represented there. To my opinion neglecting the interests of defeated countries is seriously dangerous. Degraded peoples will always remember insults caused to them and some day they will certainly try to revenge. Therefore we are going to sit on a barrel with gunpowder. In this I see the biggest tragedy of Europe.

So what happened – Wilson had declared and Clemenceau and Lloyd George supported noble impulses and ideas. In particular they wanted to establish International Organization to maintain peace, or the League of Nations, as it was called later, which had to defend the right of national self-determination of a country, ensure disarmament and refusal from secret diplomacy. But these ideas were not supported by the US Congress! And was it the fact that

France and Britain and not the USA could have become dominating nations on the continent to be the reason for this refuse to show support??? Britain and France also had some disputes: on the one hand, Britain insisted upon the preservation of the unity of Germany as counterbalance to France; France, on the other hand, tried to weaken Germany as much as possible.

Actually, exactly these plans of domination on the continent, attempts to establish such world order which world leaders are trying to implement will lead to brutal exploitation and social inequality and consequently to permanent wars for world repatriation.

Russia was overtaken by revulsion only because it is economically backward and war burden was incomparably difficult for our society. If France or Britain had been with the same level of economical development, who knows, probably they would have found the same fate.

What concerns Russia, I think that the biggest mistake made by participating countries was their lack of will to acknowledge the dissolution of Russian Empire whose interests they were trying to “preserve”. Leaders of European countries failed to understand that the power of Bolsheviks was not just short-term theater performance it was real menacing force that might be dangerous for the whole Europe. The intervention made by the allies at the beginning of this year which was aimed to pull down Bolshevik regime was actually a half-measure. The intervention only inspired the events which it was supposed to suppress! It only promoted the strengthening of Bolshevik power. At the moment I’m writing this letter Bolsheviks virtually took the situation under their control and the armies of foreign countries hastily evacuate.

I believe that imprudent actions of our generals and lack of discipline gave chance to Bolsheviks’ victory. Now there is no other idea that can come up with the popularity of communism among the people. I think that Bolsheviks will try to wage coup d’Etat in other European countries in order to implement their idea of world revolution. Virtually, Bolshevik regime has already come to power in Hungary and Bavaria. I hope that European governments will be clever enough to resist the mass protests not with force but with necessary reforms while, I believe, only in this way it will be possible to avoid the spread of Bolshevism over the continent. What concerns Russia, I think that czarism exhausted itself. The best regime for Russia, as I see it, is the federation with extensive autonomy for its national constructs and with such administration where the industry won’t suppress peasantry.

To finish my letter I’d like you to tell this story to everybody you know in France.

You friend, Ivan.
December, 1919.

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