Letter from exile (Slobodsk, Viatka province)

To the “Golos Truzhenika,” Chicago, Ill., from comrade A. I. Baturo [Aleksandr Ivanovich Batura], exiled to Slobodsk, Viatka province.

To the editor of the “Golos Truzhenika”:

I beg you to print in your paper the few lines I am sending you now.

I lived in the town Gomel, White Russia. In 1924, as you know, I was deported from America as an “undesirable element” for the bourgeoisie. But in the Soviet country also life is very had for me since I openly declared that it is only Commissars and not workers that live well here. That is why I was not allowed to live in any of the larger cities, not even in the capitals of any of the provinces.

There are eight exiles here; there are Social-Revolutionists and Mensheviks. They were given three years. As for myself, I don’t know for how long I was sentenced. It is Moscow that decided about it, but Moscow is not very much in a hurry about such business. I wrote to Moscow to allow me to go abroad, but there has been no answer yet.

The main thing is that I have no work and it is so hard to get anything. I have been actually starving here, moreover, I am sick. I am therefore asking you, my dear comrades, to help me out as much as you can, for otherwise the Soviet government will surely put an end to my life. It is a worse mockery than in America. Our Communists shout that workers are exploited abroad, but one need only look around to see what kind of exploitation is going on here.

Here is an example. Women work at the docks, unloading salt. For six hours work a day they get fifty cents. Isn’t this exploitation of the worse sort? I beg of you to publish in your paper this letter with my appeal for help. Perhaps, some of the comrades will respond.

With comradely greetings,


(The Archive of the “Golos Truzhenika,” the organ of the Russian Section of the I.W.W.. 1919-1927, Chicago, Ill.)

From: The guillotine at work : twenty years of terror in Russia (data and documents) by G.P. Maximoff, p569 .