Russia. No. 1 (1919). - 26. Mr. Alston to Earl Curzon.

No. 26

Mr. Alston to Earl Curzon.(Received January 25.)

(Telegraphic.) Vladivostock, January 23, 1919.

FOLLOWING from High Commissioner :

"Following statements respecting Bolsheviks in Perm and neighbourhood are taken from reports sent by His Majesty's consul at Ekaterinburg. The Omsk Government have similar information :―

"The Bolsheviks can no longer be described as a political party holding extreme communistic view. They form relatively small privileged class which is able to terrorise the rest of the population because it has a monopoly both of arms and of food supplies. This class consists chiefly of workmen and soldiers, and included a large non-Russian element, such as Letts and Esthonians and Jews ; the latter are specially numerous in higher posts. Members of this class are allowed complete licence, and commit crime against other sections of society.

"The army is well disciplined, as a most strict system especially is applied to it.

"It is generally said that officers are forced to serve because their families are detained as hostages. The population of Perm was rationed, and non-Bolsheviks received only ¼ lb. of bread a day.

"The peasantry suffered less, but were forbidden under pain of death to sell food to any but Bolsheviks.

"The churches were closed, for many priests were killed, and a bishop was buried alive.

"This and other barbarous punishments, such as dipping people in rivers till they were frozen to death. Those condemned to be shot were led out several times and fired at with blank cartridges, never knowing when the real execution would take place. Many other atrocities are reported.

"The Bolsheviks apparently were guilty of wholesale murder in Perm, and it is certain that they had begun to operate a plan of systematic extermination. On a lamp above a building were the words: 'Only those who fight shall eat.' "