Censorship of images in the Soviet Union

Censorship of images in the Soviet Union


Flag on the Reichstag

On May 5, 1920, Lenin gave a famous speech to a crowd of Soviet troops. In the foreground was Leon Trotsky and Lev Kamenev. The photo was later altered and both were removed by censors.

Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky ( _ru. Лeв Давидович Трóцкий) was a Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. He was an influential politician in the early days of the Soviet Union, first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army and People's Commissar of War. He was also among the first members of the Politburo.

He became an enemy of the State and was erased from Soviet history after leading the failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing bureaucratization of the Soviet Union. Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party and deported from the Soviet Union in the Great Purge. As the head of the Fourth International, he continued in exile to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, and was eventually assassinated in Mexico by Ramón Mercader, a Soviet agent. [The murder weapon was a hidden cut-down ice axe, not an ice pick. Many history and reference books have confused the two. See Robert Conquest, "The Great Terror: A Reassessment", Oxford University Press, 1991, ISBN 0-19-507132-8, p.418 for a detailed account] Trotsky's ideas form the basis of Trotskyism, a variation of communist theory, which remains a major school of Marxist thought that is opposed to the theories of Stalinism.

October Revolution celebration

The "Union for Struggle of the Liberation of the Working Class" was a St Petersburg based organization that was founded by a number of Russian revolutionaries including Mikhail Kalinin and Lenin. They would merge with other groups to lay the foundation for the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDRP)cite web |year=2007 |url = http://www.library.yale.edu/slavic/leaders.html|title = Leaders of the Russian Revolution|format = HTML |publisher = Yale| accessdate = 2007-10-21 | last= |quote=] . The RSDRP formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party. It would later split into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions, with the Bolsheviks eventually becoming the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

This picture is a meeting of the St. Petersburg chapter of the Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class taken in February 1897. Shortly after the picture was taken the whole group was arrested by the Okhrana. The members were handed out various punishments with Lenin being arrested, held by authorities for fourteen months and then released and exiled to the village of Shushenskoye in Siberia, where he mingled with such notable Marxists as Georgy Plekhanov, who had introduced socialism to Russia.

To the left standing is Alexander Malchenko. At the time of this picture he was an engineering student and his mother would let Lenin hide out at her house. After his arrest he spent some time in exile before returning in 1900 and abandoning the revolution. He moved to Moscow where he worked as a senior engineer in various state departments before in 1929 being arrested, wrongfully accused of being a "wrecker" and executed on November 18, 1930. After his arrest and execution he was airbrushed out of all reproductions of this image. In 1958 he was posthumously rehabilitated and was allowed to reappear in reproductions of the image.


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