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The Trump Tripartite

Much like living in America in a post 9/11 world, living in in the aftermath of the Decembrist revolt brought a certain paranoia to the Russian regime. So deep was the neurosis that in 1833 Sergey Uvarov-the Minister of Education of Russia-presented the following statement of ideology:
"It is our common obligation to ensure that the education of the people be conducted, according to Supreme intention of our August Monarch, in the joint spirit of Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality. I am convinced that every professor and teacher, being permeated by one and the same feeling of devotion to the throne and fatherland, will use all his resources to become a worthy tool for the government and to earn its complete confidence." Thus began The Triad of Official Nationality (Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality). Although it is understood that interpretations of the Trinity are different than they were in the 19th century, commonalities still exist. In fact, so common are the core …

The Cost of a Hangman in Tsarist Russia

Ever wonder how much it cost to put someone to death? Ok, I haven't either, but I'll bet your curiosity will get the better of you on this one. I mean, 2 rubles for the hangman's traveling expense? 

Revolutionary novelist Victor Serge is one of the most compelling figures of Soviet history. First published in 1926 as Les Coulisses d’une Sûreté générale, Serge set forth a manifesto which exclaimed "the epoch of civil wars has begun."

Following is an excerpt from Serge's nonfiction book "What Everyone Should Know About Repression."
In among all the red tape and paperwork of the Tsarist police there abound the saddest of human documents, as we have already seen. Although it is a little outside our subject, I think we should devote a few lines to a series of simple receipts for small sums of money, found enclosed in one of the files. Especially as these little slips of paper appear all too often after the liquidation of revolutionary groups, swelling the files already crammed with details of surveillance and informing. As a kind of epilogue ...

These are the documents which tell us how much an execution cost the Tsarist judicial system. They are the receipts signed by all those who collaborated, directly or indirectly, with the hangman.

All in all, not very dear. The sums to the priest and the doctor are especially modest. The priesthood of the one and the profession of the other after all surely imply devotion to humanity.

Expenses for the execution of the brothers Modat and Djavat Mustapha Ogli,
sentenced to death by the court-martial of the Caucasus

Transportation of the condemned men from the Metek fortress to the prison, paid to the carters
Other expenses
For having dug and filled in two graves (six grave-diggers each signed a receipt for two rubles)
For setting up the gallows
For supervising the job
Travelling expenses for a priest (return)
To the doctor, for the death certificate
To the hangman
Hangman’s travelling expenses

At this point we should perhaps have a chapter headed: Torture. All police forces resort in varying degrees to medieval “interrogation”. In the USA they practice the terrible “Third Degree”. In most of the European countries, torture has become generalized because of the resurgence of the class struggle following the war. The Roumanian security services, the Polish Defence Ministry, the German, Italian, Yugoslavian, Spanish and Bulgarian police – and there must be others we have missed out – frequently resort to it. 

The Russian Okhrana preceded them in this, though with a certain degree of moderation. Although there were cases, even many cases, of corporal punishment (the knout) in the prisons, the treatment the Russian police meted out to prisoners before the 1905 revolution seems to have been generally more humane than is the case today when workers are arrested in any one of a dozen European countries. After 1905, the Okhrana had torture chambers in Warsaw, Riga, Odessa and apparently in most of the great urban centers.


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