“We stand for organized terror - this should be frankly admitted. Terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution. Our aim is to fight against the enemies of the Soviet Government and of the new order of life. We judge quickly. In most cases only a day passes between the apprehension of the criminal and his sentence. When confronted with evidence, criminals in almost every case confess; and what argument can have greater weight than a criminal's own confession?”
- Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky
Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926) is a significant figure in Russian, Communist and global history because he was the architect of the internal and foreign security apparatus of state which enabled the Bolshevik regime to survive after it seized power in 1917.
This ensured that the first Socialist-Communist state would play an influential part in shaping global history during the 20th Century.
Dzerzhinsky orchestrated "Operation TRUST", the CHEKA-run phantom anti-Bolshevik organisation which lured both Boris Savinkov and Sidney Reilley, the "Ace of Spies", to their deaths.
The TRUST deceived a good many White Russians into handing over money (much needed foreign cash reserves) to the Bolshevik regime.
Dzerzhinsky also played a vital role in check-mating the "Lockhart Plot", the British secret service intrigue which aimed to overthrow the Bolsheviks.
While Dzerzhinsky’s legacy is clouded by his full embrace of the totalitarian methods of state repression, he remains a figure revered by die-hard communists and even wider by those who credit him with saving the lives and bloodlines of thousands through the system of orphanages which he founded after the Russian Civil War.
Of aristocratic Polish ancestry, Dzerzhinsky was born in the town of Dzerzhinovo. He was the founder of the CHEKA and the OGPU, organisations through which later security organisations such as the NKVD, KGB and the modern FSB trace their lineage.
Dzerzhinsky died from a heart attack at the age of 48 on July 20th 1926, and was buried two days later at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, Moscow.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2022)
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.