The mill of the Bolsheviks

We published herewith excerpts from the news recently received by us directly from our correspondents in Russia.

NIKOLAI BELYAEV and ARTEM PANKRATOV, two Anarchist workers in exile at Ksyl-Orda, Turkestan, left their work in order to take part in the public protest which was held in behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti. Both were among the speakers that addressed the audience on that occasion, but the G. P. U. thought that they had “gone too far” in this condemnation of social injustice and judicial murder. For our two comrades did not stop with their criticism of outrages in America, but also protested against the suppression and political persecution practiced in Russia. Immediately after the meeting they were arrested. Thereupon they declared a hunger strike which lasted eight days. According to our latest information, Pankratov has been exiled to the village of Djambetta, Ural District, almost 200 miles distant from any railroad, a most isolated and forsaken place where SERGEI GAIDOVSKY and other comrades are also in exile. Nikolai Belayev has also been sent to Siberia, exact destination not yet known.

ALEXANDER GOUMENIUK who was in prison in Sverdlovsk, has now been condemned to exile in the Tobolsk District. Siberia. Comrade GERASSIMOV, who kept Goumeniuk company in Sverdlovsk, has been incarcerated in the Upper Uralsk prison for three years. The official “reason” given for the new administrative sentence is that Gerassimov, a studious young man; had been making “subversive” notes and calculations about the agrarian budget!

Comrade TOUMANOV was till recently an exile in the region of Zyriansk, extreme North. A short time ago he was arrested for an alleged attempt to escape and condemned to three years’ prison. For protesting against the new sentence he has now been transferred to the Solovietzki Islands.

Another Anarchist, ORLOV, having finished his term of exile in Novorossiysk, was arrested and imprisoned in Sverdlovsk and shortly afterwards again sent, for unknown reasons, to Tobolsk.

Four other Anarchist comrades, whose names could not be ascertained so far, were taken out of the Tobolsk prison and ordered to Moscow.

NIKOLAI VICTOROV, an Anarchist of many years standing recently completed his term of exile in the village of Samarovo. Instead of being liberated he was sent for six months to prison in Tobolsk, Siberia, for allegedly “insulting a policeman,” whom he had called gendarme. At the expiration of that new sentence, was he liberated? Oh, no! In accordance with the established policy of the G. P. U. he has now been exiled together with his wife and small child to Saratov. Not being members of any union, neither Victorov nor his wife are able to secure work; on the other hand, they cannot join any union because as exiles they are forbidden by Bolshevik law to do so. Both are entirely without means of subsistence, and their case is further aggravated by Victorov’s illness.

MARIA POLIAKOVA with her two children, and PAVEL USKOV have been transferred from Khantaik to Yenisseisk after having finished their terms of exile. They are now awaiting a new sentence, since the G. P. U. refuses to release them. To Yenisseisk has also been brought our old comrade AARON BARON, whose life during the past seven years has been one continuous round of imprisonment and exile. He also is expecting a new sentence.

We are informed that VICTOR SERGEYEV, an Anarchist long in prison and exile, has taken seriously ill. He is suffering from anemia and heart trouble, but is deprived of any opportunity for systematic medical treatment.

SERGEI SEMIN, upon having finished his term in the Upper Uralsk political isolation prison, has been exiled to Tver. He is in a most advanced stage of consumption, the general conditions, of his exile are extremely severe. Though he is not expected to survive very long, the Bolshevik authorities refuse to free him.

LELYA PISAREVSKAYA, in exile in Tver, has fallen dangerously ill. According to the reports of our local correspondents, her material situation is of the worst. There are several Anarchists in exile in Tver, but only one of them has been able to get work and thus earn a scanty living.

S. CHUCHKOV, woman Anarchist; has been transferred from Ukhta to Izhma. the latter place notorious for the brutal beating up of the exiles by the agents of the G. P. U. in 1925. Five of our comrades are in Izhma at present, none of them permitted to secure employment.

SHURA ANDIN, woman Anarchist. exile in Ural District. is facing a major operation, which is to be performed without anesthetics because of the patient’s weak heart. In the same place is also our comrade ANTON SVETLOV with his woman companion.

To Irbit is exiled ELENA CHEKMASOV, who together with her sick child has spent the past seven years between prison and exile. Her exile is shared by VASYA SHIROKOV.

A. B. MAXIMOV, geographer and Syndicalist, completed his term in the Upper Uralsk Polit-Isolator and has been exiled to the town of Berezov, Tobolsk Province.

TATIANA POLOSOVA, a member of the Anarchist publishing house, “Golos Trouda,” has been transferred together with her child from Tver to Poltava. She is without work and in great need.

POLIA KURGANSKAYA, in prison and exile since 1921, has been sent from her Tula exile to Krasnaya Poliana. Both her children are in precarious condition owing to years of undernourishment. Aid is urgently needed.

VASYA MAKHOV, who has now five years of prison and exile behind him, is exiled in Parabel, Tomsk District, Siberia.

Just as we are going to press information reaches us about the case of ALYA LILIENTHAL, the young woman comrade arrested last October in Leningrad. It has been definitely established now that the only charge against her is “connection with people in foreign countries”. Those “connections” consisted of the most innocent correspondence with personal friends in France and America.

After having been kept in the Shpalerny prison for three months, comrade Lilienthal was told by the G. P. U. that she would be released on condition of signing a written statement forswearing Anarchism. This she categorically refused to do. Thereupon the G. P. U. condemned her to three years exile in Kasakhstan, one of the most dreaded places in Russia.

On January 3, 1920, she was sent to her destination by etape; that is, by nerve-racking slow stages, often by foot. To make the difficult journey more miserable, the accompanying chekists amused themselves by continuously insulting the young woman. As a result of deprivation and brutal treatment she broke down on the way.

Our correspondents call our particular attention to the deplorable condition of our comrades in Upper Uralsk, where there are quite a number of our people in prison and exile. One of them, who is suffering from consumption, has not sufficient clothing on to be able to take a walk in the prison yard. During the last two months he has been compelled for that reason to stay all the time in his cell, ill and solitary.

(“Bulletin”, [Bulletin of the Relief Fund of the IWMA for anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists imprisoned or exiled in Russia] No. 5, March, 1928).

From: The Guillotine at work, p574-577.