The authority on the history of White and Red terror in Russia has always been S. Melgunov's work Red Terror in Russia. This book appeared in Berlin in 1923 as fulfillment of a definite "social order" received from Russian military and political emigre organizations, and was timed to coincide with the trial of terrorists Konradi and Polunin. A. Guchkov, the brains behind the campaign in their defense, wrote to P.N. Wrangel: "We are doing our best to secure an acquittal, which is very important to us. An acquittal would be a powerful stimulus to anti-Bolshevist propaganda generally and terror in particular."1 This is why he requested Melgunov, a professional historian, to produce a book on Red terror as quickly as possible.
The documentary foundation of the work was constituted by the so-called Meinhard Archives, which contained documents collected by the Historical Commission on the Investigation of Bolshevik Atrocities under the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia. Melgunov probably realized that his sources were all on the one side and intended to seriously revise his book. However, this never happened, and for a long time it remained the fullest study of the subject. Practically all later works on Red and White terror were biased politically.
In the late 1980s early 1990s, the interest in the subject heightened and there appeared quite a number of works, whose authors, however, failed to go farther than Melgunov. The reviewed work, which was written by Professor of Kazan University A. Litvin, is the first comprehensive study of this problem in modern Russian historiography.
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