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“The Reddest of the Blacks”


For the past several months, I’ve been researching the life of Lovett Fort-Whiteman. Here’s a short film I made about his eventual arrest and death in Stalinist Russia.

From the Komsomol Archive

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Today, I began research on Komsomol participation in collectivization and found this little tidbit in the archive.  This is from Komsomol Central Committee member Gerasimov’s report, October 1929:

In Penzen region, there were rumors that a [grain requisitioning] commission arrived to close the church.  Or in a similar rumor, the commission arrived to arrest the priest and take him away.  A crowd gathered.  Or another case, to catch a swindler.  A crowd of up to 800 people surrounded the commission and began shouting.  They wanted to arrange a samosud.  There were shouts of “They attack the peasantry from all sides, let’s beat them all.”  True, more than half of [the crowd] was drunk.

RGASPI f. 1M, op.5, d. 24a, l. 22