Quotations: Civil War and Red Terror

This selection of Russian Revolution quotations pertains to the Russian Civil War and the Bolshevik Red Terror. These quotes have been sourced and selected by Alpha History authors. If you would like to contribute a quotation for inclusion on this page, please contact us.

“We were always for revolutionary war. The bayonet is an essential necessity for introducing communism.”
Karl Radek

“The Cheka is the defense of the revolution as the Red Army is; as in the civil war the Red Army cannot stop to ask whether it may harm particular individuals, but must take into account only one thing, the victory of the revolution over the bourgeoisie, so the Cheka must defend the revolution and conquer the enemy even if its sword falls occasionally on the heads of the innocent.”
Felix Dzerzhinsky

“First you must ask him to what class he belongs, what his social origin is, his education and profession. These are the questions that must determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning of the Red Terror.”
Martin Latsis

“We must execute not only the guilty. Execution of the innocent will impress the masses even more.”
Nikolai Krylenko, commissar for justice

“The Cheka is not an investigating commission, a court, or a tribunal. It is a fighting organ on the internal front of the civil war… It does not judge, it strikes. It does not pardon, it destroys all who are caught on the other side of the barricade.”
Martin Latsis

“I have long had the intention of killing Lenin. In my eyes he has betrayed the revolution. I was for the Constituent Assembly and still am.”
Fanya Kaplan

“If we are not ready to shoot a saboteur and a White Guard, what sort of Revolution is that? Nothing but talk and a bowl of mush.”
Vladimir Lenin

“We must put an end once and for all to the papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life.”
Leon Trotsky

“I can do nothing with my army. I am glad when it carries out my combat orders.”
Anton Denikin, White general

“An army cannot be built without repression. The commander will always find it necessary to place the soldier between the possibility that death lies ahead and the certainty that it lies behind.”
Leon Trotsky

“The kulaks are the rabid foes of the Soviet government… These leeches have sucked the blood of the working people and grown richer as the workers in the cities and factories starved…Ruthless war on the kulaks! Death to them!”
Vladimir Lenin, 1918

“We Communists recognize only one sacred right – the right of the working man, his wife, and his child to live. We did not hesitate to wrest the land away from the landlords, to transfer the factories, mills, and railroads into the hands of the people…and, by the force of arms, to tear the crown from the stupid Tsar’s head. Why then should we hesitate to take the grain away from the kulaks?”
Leon Trotsky