September 1918 saw the formal adoption of the use of terror by the Soviets. The decree On Red terror signed on the 5th stated the use of terror was required without question in order to secure areas under Bolshevik control and specified methods of dealing with those supporting the Whites or otherwise undermining the Red war effort.
The Red Terror was described in shocking detail in a book by Sergei Mel’gunov, published in Russian in Berlin in 1924 and subsequently in English translation. The anti-Bolshevik Mel’gunov faced the death penalty in Soviet Russia in 1920 for his political activities but was eventually freed and sent into emigration after the sentence. The factual veracity of his account of the Red Terror has often been questioned.
Our copy here belonged to a significant figure in the Russian émigré community – Ivan Shklovskii (his signature И. Шкловкий can be seen in the top right-hand corner), who published under the name Dioneo.
“Krasnyi terror” v Rossii / S.P. Mel’gunov (1924) 586:92.d.90.42 (English copy at S586.d.92.1)