Holding Families of Officers Hostage

Leon Trotsky, Order of the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic. September 30, 1918


Original Source: L. Trotskii, Kak vooruzhalas revoliutsiia (Moscow: Izd. VVRS, 1923-25).

Cases of treacherous flight by members of the commanding apparatus into the enemy’s camp, though less frequent, are still occurring. These monstrous crimes must be stopped, without shrinking from any measures. The turncoats are betraying the Russian workers and peasants to the Anglo-French and Japanese-American robbers and hangmen. Let the turncoats realize that they are at the same time betraying their own families-their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives and children.

I order the headquarters of all the armies of the Republic, and also the district commissars to supply by telegram to member of the Revolutionary War Council Aralov lists of all the members of the commanding apparatus who have gone over to the enemy camp, with all needful data about their family situation. I entrust Comrade Aralov with the responsibility for taking, in co-operation with the appropriate institutions, the measures necessary for arresting the families of deserters and traitors.

Source: Leon Trotsky, How the Revolution Armed, Vol. 1, Brian Pearce, trans. London, 1979-1981, p. 196.

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