Anarchists in the Gulag (and prison and exile)

Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

Archive for March 2015

Postcard from Aulie-Ata, 1931 – Berta Tubismann

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25/VIII Aulie-Ata* 10/X/1931

I very gratefully acknowledge receipt of the items most kindly sent to me in a bag containing: 1 kg butter, ¼ kg semolina & 4½ kg flour, all the other items listed in the customs declaration disappeared on the way here — where to, I have no idea. They took 15 roubles in customs duty on these few things that are left. The first consignment reached me complete and in good condition; I did acknowledge receipt of same too but I don’t know whether you received what I sent. If all is well, I am thinking of leaving here in January of next year.

Berta Hibes Tubismann

63 Bazaar Street, Aulie-Ata

* Aulie-Ata: town in Kazakhstan, now called Taraz.

From: From Folder 75 of the Flechine Archive at the IISG in Amsterdam: Translated by: Murray Glickman.



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30, March 2015 at 9:44 am

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Soviet anarcho-mystic Julian Shchutsky commemorated by plaque

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On March 21, 2015, a plaque was unveiled on the house in St Petersburg where sinologist Julian Konstantinovich Shchutsky (1897-1938) lived [1]. The plaque was installed as part of non-state, public-funded “Last address” project, commemorating the victims of Stalinist repressions in the USSR [2]. Shchutsky’s plaque, one of the first in St Petersburg, is located at 9 Dekabristov Street. The unveiling was attended by two of his granddaughters [3].

Professor Shchutsky, who worked at the Leningrad State University, Institute of Oriental Studies and the State Hermitage, is known as the first translator of “I-Ching, or Book of Changes” into Russian [4]. Shchutsky was arrested two months after defending his PhD dissertation on “I-Ching”, on August 3, 1937, at the Leningrad Region village of Pitkelevo. He was charged with counter-revolutionary activities under articles 58-10 and 58-11 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. The investigation, led by State Security officer Jr. Lt. Drozdetsky, fabricated the case against the “terrorist” anti-Soviet anarcho-mystical group “Order of the Templars”, based on remaining personal connections between former anthroposophers and anarcho-mystics. The fabrication was sanctioned by the head of department No 4 of the Leningrad Region directorate of the NKVD, Capt. Karpov. Testimony incriminating Shchutsky was forced from Moscow architect G. V. Gorinevsky, who was not personally acquainted with him, and from F. B. Rostopchin, who was brought in to testify from exile. Rostopchin”testified” that he recruited Shchutsky in early 1935, on his way home from work. During his second interview, on September 3, 1937, Shchutsky signed a confession, as he was unable to withstand moral and physical torture. On February 18, 1938, he was sentenced to death by a visiting board of the Supreme Court [5].

He was executed by firing squad on the same day, alongside physicist Aleksei Sinyagin (1901-1938), sentenced in the same case. In the late 1920s, Sinyagin joined the Leningrad branch of the anarcho-mystical “Order of the Russian Templars”, in which he was the supporter of “anarchist, not mystical current” and tried to persuade his comrades “to go into the streets to oppose the evil personified by Soviet dictatorship”. In 1935, Shchutsky joined the same group [6]. During an interview on Sept. 3, 1937, Shchutsky said that Order of Templars was “a deeply clandestine organisation of anarchist current”, which used mysticism as a cover [7, p. 308]. Toymaker Andrey Sparionapte (1893-1937) told investigators that Shchutsky “expressed anarchist views” although he did not reveal that he identified as an anarchist [7, p. 317].

Shchutsky was rehabilitated in 1958, and his translation of “I-Ching” was published in 1960 [5]. Buried presumably at the Levashovo Memorial Cemetery [8].

[Compiled by Szarapow]







7 Orden rossiyskikh tampliyerov. Tom 2. Dokumenty 1930-1944 gg. M., 2003. (Order of the Russian Templars. Vol. 2. Documents 1930-1944. Compiled and published by A. L. Nikitin. Moscow, 2003. Materials concerning the Shchutsky and Sinyagin case are at pp. 304-322).


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30, March 2015 at 9:15 am

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New book: The Revolution is dead! Long live the revolution!

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«Революция умерла! Да здравствует революция!»[The Revolution is dead! Long live the revolution!] – Yury Glushakov

Published in 2015, 176 pp, 12 pp of illustrations, paperback.


This book by the Belorussian historian Yury Glushakov is the first important work describing the formation and development of the anarchist movement of the first quarter of the 20th century on the territory of the regions which now comprise the Republic of Belarus.

Basing himself on a wide range of sources – archival documents from Belarus and Russia, information in the legal and underground press, memoirs of eye-witnesses, and also the rather scanty researches of historians, – the author traces a lively picture of the stormy social-political life in Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev, Vitebsk and Vilna provinces. It was here around 1902 that the first real anarchist organizations of the Russian Empire appeared, along with other revolutionary tendencies. The book shows the important role played by these organizations, activists, and ideologies in the revolution of 1905–1907, in the inter-revolutionary period, and after the fall of tsarism. Soviet power was not accepted by all the anarchists of Belarus, but their organizational resistance was suppressed by the second half of the 1920s.

On the pages of the book pass hundreds, if not thousands of personalities – inhabitants of cities, towns, villages and even aristocratic estates, which were fated to live under conditions of constant violence, war, strikes, lock-outs, pogroms, armed uprisings, expropriations and “Stolypin neckties”. The author investigates in detail the ideological transformations of anarchism and hybrid tendencies such as the Makhaevists or SR-Maximalists during the period when they played an important political role. He analyzes the conditions which allowed the anarchists to attract the masses to their side, and uncovers the reasons why their selfless struggle did not lead to the establishment of an stateless society. Among those reasons were the reliance on militancy, which led to duels between the revolutionaries and the authorities; and also the drastic changes in social and economic circumstances, cutting the ground from under them.

Translated from

Written by gulaganarchists

5, March 2015 at 10:23 am

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