Red Terror

The Red Terror (Russian: красный террор, romanized: krasnyy terror) in Soviet Russia was a campaign of political repression and executions carried out by the Bolsheviks, chiefly through the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police. It started in late August 1918 after the beginning of the Russian Civil War[1][2][3][page needed] and lasted until 1922.[4][5]

Red Terror
Part of Russian Civil War
Propaganda poster in Petrograd, 1918: "Death to the Bourgeoisie and its lapdogs – Long live the Red Terror"
Native name красный террор
Krasnyy terror
DateAugust 1918 – February 1922
Duration3–4 years
LocationSoviet Russia
MotivePolitical repression
TargetAnti-Bolshevik groups, criminals, counter-revolutionaries, and dissidents
Organized byCheka
Deaths50,000–200,000 (estimates)

Arising after assassination attempts on Vladimir Lenin and Petrograd Cheka leader Moisei Uritsky, the latter of which was successful, the Red Terror was modeled on the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution,[6] and sought to eliminate political dissent, opposition, and any other threat to Bolshevik power.[1] More broadly, the term is usually applied to Bolshevik political repression throughout the Civil War (1917–1922),[7][8][9] as distinguished from the White Terror carried out by the White Army (Russian and non-Russian groups opposed to Bolshevik rule) against their political enemies, including the Bolsheviks.

Estimates for the total number of victims of Bolshevik repression vary widely. One source asserts that the total number of victims of repression and pacification campaigns could be 1.3 million,[10] whereas another gives estimates of 28,000 executions per year from December 1917 to February 1922.[11] Estimates for the number of people killed during the initial period of the Red Terror are at least 10,000.[12] Estimates for the whole period go for a low of 50,000[13] to highs of 140,000[13][14] and 200,000.[15] The most reliable estimations for the number of killings in total put the number at about 100,000.[16]