Nicolai Rogdayev: A Letter from Russia

Dear Comrades:

We feel deeply hurt ourselves by learning from your paper of the death of our good old Comrade Nicolai Rogdayev.

I, as his close friend and co-worker in the foregone days of the Russian Revolution, want to say a fewwords in the form of an obituary. To our great sorrow we cannot do it here, in this land where Comrade Rogdayev gave his best years of revolutionary activity. On the contrary, this very land, which is considered by many nowadays as Socialistic, kills in its prisons and exiles revolutionists like Rogdayev. The mere fact that Rogdayev died of hunger in the far Turkestan exile shows the real face of Russian Bolshevism. Rogdayev is put in prison; luckily he escaped from the jail and migrated out of revolutionists. [typo]

Being yet a student in the beginning of this century, Rogdayev joined the Russian Anarchist movement where from the very beginning he has been most active. In 1907 he was sent as a delegate to the Anarchist Congress that took place in Amsterdam. After his return back to Russia he was arrested by the Tzar’s gendarmes and put in prison: luckily he escaped from the jail and migrated out of the country

Many years of his emigration Rogdayev lived in Spain and was active in the Spanish Anarchist movement and only in the time of the World War he went to Paris where he stayed till the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.

In the beginning of 1918 I met him first in Saratov. He was full of energy then.

As an experienced conscientious revolutionist his views were definite and uncompromising. In regard to the results of the victory of Bolshevism in Russia he was much less optimistic than many of his comrades; nevertheless, he propagated the necessity of fighting Denikin and other counter-revolutionists.

Being an eloquent orator he was an excellent agitator. All his life and activity were a natural expression of a genuine revolutionist.

In 1919 he was in Samara (Central Volga) and owing to his energy and colossal mental power we had there a nice club and a good cultural centre. His lectures always attracted hugs crowds of workers. At the end of 1919 the Bolshevik reactionaries closed our club and almost all of the Samaran Anarchists were jailed. At that time the Bolsheviks didn’t yet dare to put their claws upon comrade Rogdayev. But he was aware of the fact that the reaction in Russia had a tendency to strengthen and that he would also be thrown into the Socialistic dungeon for not being in agreement with the Bolshevik executioners.

In 1920 I met Rogdayev again at Tashkent. Here he worked in an “Hindustan Revolutionary Committee” where he had great influence. But the Bolsheviks fearing competition disbanded the committee and Rogdayev was sent out of Tashkent.

Being deprived for a long time of communicating with anyone on this plane naturally I lost sight of Rogdayev and only in 1930 being in exile I was informed that he was being kept in the political prison of the Suzdal convent.

In the name of all comrades in Russia we energetically protest against torturing Anarchists in the Bolshevik prisons and exiles. We also urge our comrades outside of Russia to unite their protest.

We mourn the death of our dear comrade Nicolai Rogdayev, as also the death of all other revolutionists-victims of the Bolshevik regime.

Applebaum and Comrades.

Russia, 2-VII-1934.

P. S.-Dear Comrades: I beg of you to translate these lines for your paper and to forward the original or translation to other Anarchistic publications.

With Comradely regards: Applebaum.

(“Man!” A Journalof the Anarchist Ideal and Movement, No. 8, August, 1934. San Francisco, Cal.)

From: Guillotine at work 617-18.