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Anarchists in the Gulag (and prison and exile)
Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917 Trouble in Moscow: From the life of the “Liesma” ["Flame"] Group
Article published on 17 October 2008

by r-c.
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This account covers the Latvian anarchists’ activities in Moscow, up to the Cheka raids of April 1918, when the Bolsheviks attacked anarchists in the city in the name of “Law and Order”

The group was founded in August 1917 and from the beginning worked in the syndicalist direction.

Before its foundation comrades worked independently, as well as together with existing Russian groups. Later, in view of much greater efficiency if comrades could communicate in Latvian, working with Latvian workers, comrades decided to unite in a permanent group and found quarters which could be open at any time to interested workers, where existing anarchist literature would be available for their use, where on certain days comrades would be able to come together, read lectures, organise “question and answer” evenings for comrades and the broader public. But because such quarters were difficult to find, members gathered once a week in a tiny private apartment, where they were only able, packed like sardines, to review and discuss the most important issues for the group.

When the October revolution started all comrades subscribed either to the Red Guard or to the anarchist fighting organisation, and took the most active part in the October battles, extending their solidarity (hand in hand) with the formerly oppressed but now empowered and oppressing Bolshevik-Communists.

Other comrades, who at the time of the fighting were at the printing house “Moskovski Listok” (The Moscow Sheet), fought a fierce battle against the Junkers and only because of the cowardice of soldiers who had been called to the assistance of the anarchists after two days of fierce fighting were they disarmed and subjected to the Junker’s violence. Together with coats and hats, also the whole capital of the group – several hundred roubles – was looted. (One of the comrades happened to have the money on him). Thus the group again remained without any means, and we had to postpone our plans to open permanent quarters for an indefinite time.


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