Russia. No. 1 (1919). - 49. Sir C. Eliot to the Earl Curzon.

No. 49.

Sir C. Eliot to the Earl Curzon.—(Received March 7.)

(Telegraphic.) Vladivostock, March 5, 1919.

FOLLOWING from consul at Ekaterinburg, 3rd March :—

"Following is summary of Bolshevik investigation at Perm. Commencing from February 1918 factories were managed by Labour Committees amongst whom criminals were to be found ; incapacity of these committees and general demoralisation of labouring class brought about complete standstill of production and rise in prices from which whole population suffers.

"Bolsheviks completely disorganised school establishments by appointing teachers by system of voting in which students and domestic employees of schools took part. First-year law students appointed by Bolsheviks replaced magistrates in Law Courts.

"Bolshevik policy was characterised by persecution of all classes of population suspected of ill-feeling towards them, especially well-to-do class and peasants.

"In spite of confiscation of their property well-to-do class were forced to pay huge contributions and many of them were arrested as hostages on most futile pretexts, without any accusations being made against them and frequently by caprice or personal spite of some Bolshevist commissary.

"Those who were not shot were incarcerated under disgraceful conditions where they were kept under perpetual dread of being murdered. During arrest of these people their houses were pillaged.

"In villages 'poor committees' were organised, representatives of which were supposed to be elected by peasants ; elections were, however, discarded tacitly by Bolsheviks, who appoint people almost exclusively of criminal classes. Contributions, requisitions, and other tyrannies were imposed by Bolsheviks on peasants possessing land or other property, which resulted in insurrections in villages suppressed by Bolsheviks by pillage, devastations, and massacres on large scale, notably at Sepytchyi and Pystor in Ohansk district August 1918. Labourers opposing Bolsheviks were treated in same manner as peasants. One hundred labourers were shot at Motovilyky near Perm December 1918 for protesting against Bolshevik conduct. Peasants particularly suffered when Red Army retreated, Bolsheviks taking with them cereals, horses, and cattle available, and destroying all agricultural and other instruments they were not able to take with them. Bolshevik persecution of anti-Bolshevik elements reached height of its fury after attempt on Lenin's life, although even previously it had developed into a reign of terror.

"Commissaries consisted of unintellectual labourers from 20 to 30 years' old who condemned people to death without making any accusation against them, frequently personally taking part in murder of their victims.

"Russian authorities have only just commenced investigation of Bolshevik crimes, and therefore it is difficult to obtain precise data as to number of persons killed, although, as far as we can judge, it runs into several thousands in Perm Government. Victims were usually shot, but frequently drowned or killed by sword. Murders of groups of 30, 40, and 60 have taken place, for example at Perm and Kungur.

"Murders were frequently preceded by tortures and acts of cruelty. Labourers at Omsk, before being shot, were flogged and beaten with butts of rifles and pieces of iron in order to extract evidence. Victims were frequently forced to dig their own graves. Sometimes executioners placed them facing wall and fired several revolver shots from behind them, near their ears, killing them after considerable interval ; persons who survived this gave evidence.

"Girls, aged women, and women enceintes were amongst victims. Case of Miss Bakouyeva is an example. December, 1918, this lady (19 years old) was accused of espionage, and tortured by being slowly pierced thirteen times in same wound by bayonet. She was afterwards found by peasants still alive ; is now nearly cured, and has herself related her sufferings to us.

"Bolshevists vented violent hatred on church and clergy, pillaged monasteries (such as Bielogorod and Bielogorski), turned churches into meeting places and workshops, persecuted and murdered priests and monks ; of 300 priests in liberated parts of Perm diocese, 46 were killed by Bolshevists."