“Social Democrat” February 1907


Source: Anon, Social Democrat, Vol. XI No. 2 February, 1907, pp. 107-108;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

It may, at first sight, appear inconsistent on the part of a Socialist who advocates the abolition of capital punishment condoning the bomb-throwing of the Russian Terrorists. But let us examine the conditions of the case. Socialists say that judicial murder is immoral, and maintain that the murderer should be kept out of harm’s way, and that is possible. But the case is different in Russia. There we have persons possessing arbitrary power upon whom no restraining hand can be placed, who can violate any law, commit any crime with impunity. And we have seen what dire effects have been produced. We know that the life of every citizen – Slav as well as Jew – is at the mercy of these men. We have heard of those horrible atrocities to which they have descended to perpetuate the Autocracy. We have heard of the exile of good and innocent men; we have heard of the imprisonment and diabolical torture of men and women simply because they held advanced opinions; we have heard of the wholesale butcheries of Jews – as a revolutionary side-tracker. Things have come to such a pass that the whole reigning power of Russia is regarded as a more brutal, callous, and bloodthirsty institution than any ever before known. And Terrorism is the answer. Its purpose is to checkmate. Our comrades are often willing martyrs – they are almost invariably caught. Our cause cannot spare them – their lives are too precious to be thrown away on such vile scum. But perhaps we shall have to agree with Sydney Carton, that it is “the only way.”

At first the Social-Democrats tried to persuade the Czar to concede rights peacefully, but the petitions of the working men were answered with cannon shot. The world remembers “Bloody Sunday,” and the awful massacre that occurred that day. When the Russian workers realised the impotency of public, peaceful demands, they resorted to other methods. When they saw that the Czar would not be moved by an appeal of peace, they immediately appealed to force. Failing to conquer by open force, they began to secretly assassinate.

Several months ago it was announced in dispatches from Europe that the Terrorists in Russia had placed on a list for assassination the names of all the Czar’s principal ministers and guardians. Each was to be killed, getting closer and closer to Nicholas, until at last, if he refused reforms to the people, he also would be assassinated.

So far the Terrorists have kept their word. Since August there have been killed:

General Min, commander of the guard, shot by a girl August, 26, 1906.

General Dmitri Trepoff, commandant of the Imperial Palace, slain in the Palace September 15, 1906.

General Alexis Ignatieff, one of the most powerful of the Czar’s supporters, shot at Tever, December 20, 1906.

General Von der Launitz, prefect of police of St. Petersburg, one of the most powerful men in Russia, shot and killed January 3.

General Pavloff, chief military public prosecutor, even more powerful than Von der Launitz, shot and killed.

An attempt to kill Vice Admiral Doubassoff, ex-governor general of Moscow, was made recently. Two bombs and six revolver bullets missed him at close quarters.

Vice Admiral Doubassoff, ex-governor general of Moscow, at present a member of the council of empire, has received notification that another attempt upon his life will be made.

From the list enumerated it is seen that the Terrorists are keeping their word, and that each nobleman killed brings the assassins nearer to the Czar. Gerschuni said recently in Chicago that the Czar’s days were numbered, and that his death may be expected any time. These assassinations are taking place despite the most strenuous efforts of the Russian secret service to protect the victims and apprehend the assassins. Individuals are winning with dynamite where thousands failed with guns.