The Bolsheviks promised to build a world in which money will lose its value. But his own money was very much needed. For starters, the state Bank sent future chief security officer of the country Vyacheslav Menzhinsky. He demanded that the new government ten million roubles for current needs. Employees of the state Bank of the Bolsheviks did not recognize and arrogantly refused to obey the orders of the CPC.
Lenin appointed Menzhinsky Deputy people’s Commissar of Finance. The task is simple — to knock out of the banks money. In Smolny, it drew the attention of the American John Reid who described the revolution in all the details:
“Huddled in a corner, sat a man in a fur hat and in the same suit he… I wanted to say, slept through the night, but he spent it without sleep. His face was overgrown with three-day stubble. He nervously wrote something on the dirty envelope and thought she was biting a pencil. It was the Commissioner of Finance, Menzhinsky, all the preparation of which was the fact that he once served as a clerk in a French Bank.”
Menzhinsky gave a short interview to John Reid:
— Without money we are helpless. It is necessary to pay the salary to railwaymen, postal and Telegraph employees… Banks are closed; master key provision — the State Bank is also not working. Bank employees across Russia bribed and stopped working. But Lenin ordered to blow up the basements of the State Bank with dynamite, and that of private banks, has just issued a decree, ordering them to open tomorrow, we will open them ourselves!
Lenin and the Menzhinsky signed a Decree about the opening of the banks: “Working and peasant government requires to open tomorrow, October 31, at the usual hours banks… if the banks are opened and money on checks will not be issued, all Directors and Board members of banks will be arrested, all banks will be appointed commissioners interim Deputy people’s Commissar for the Ministry of Finance, under whose control and will be paying by check, having the seal of the factory Committee”.
The most powerful argument has turned out armed guards, who accompanied the Menzhinsky. So he knocked out the first five million rubles for the needs of the CPC. The Soviet government required a lot of money. The Bolshevik government has adopted a simple solution: “Give upfront money for the above purpose. To authorize the Menzhinsky to raise funds to cover this advance.” The money was taken away just like they took the power by force. First, on the proposal of the Menzhinsky abolished one Bank after another, and then the people’s Commissars declared the state monopoly on banking. Private banks were nationalized.
14 December, together with the decree on the nationalization of the banks decided to conduct an audit of Bank safes, in which people in dangerous and gang always kept all his property. It was just a robbery. The Newspapers published room safes, which were subject to verification in the presence of the owners. If they were not, the safes were opened, the contents were completely transferred to the state. In any case of forfeiture subject: gold bullion and coins, platinum, silver, and currency. Took jewelry, securities and cash. Left to the owners not more than ten thousand. But with my own money now I had to pay tax!
Local Councils also demanded that the CPC money. The government adopted decision: “to Propose Councils to raise funds through taxes, the taxation of the propertied classes, and so on. The Council of people’s Commissars draws the attention of all the local Soviets of workers’, soldiers ‘and peasants’ deputies that they as authorities have revenue rights.”
In other words, Councils across the country received the full right to collect from the population by any means. Not just Advice… At the session of the Council of people’s Commissars decided: “to Force the manufacturers and factory owners to pay the salaries of the red guard”.
Having at its disposal a printing press, the Soviet state turned it on full power. Much needed money — so many were printed. The ruble became worthless piece of paper. Hyperinflation!
NO POSTS, NO FOOD
None of the leaders of the CPC did not doubt the right of the Bolsheviks to manage the economy, to dispose of the industry and to deprive property owners. The whole meeting of the CPC took place in decisions on the confiscation of factories, mines, oil fields… the Nationalization and the introduction of war communism led to the largest collapse of the economy in history. Industrial production collapsed, the population fled from the cities. Stopped rail transport due to the lack of fuel. The standard of living of workers was reduced threefold and the number of industrial and mining and metallurgical workers has fallen by half.
Events unfolded quickly. On the morning of November 21, 1917 at the meeting of the Council of people’s Commissars discussed the question of nationalization of urban real estate. Adopted a decree on the abolition of private ownership of urban real estate, and people lost their right to own a home. Now they could not sell the house or apartment, nor transmit by inheritance. But they themselves at any moment could be evicted just to drive on the street.
“Decrees on nationalization, socialization, trade restriction, and then almost total cessation, recalled one former tsarist officer, was put a layman in such a position that, even if he had money, he had to either starve or go to Soviet service, where they received food rations. Was established the principle that it has the right to exist is the only one that brings your work for the benefit of the worker-peasant Republic”.
Very soon people realized that they have no other choice but to ask the public service. No other work in Soviet Russia, not because private businesses were destroyed.
Lenin promised that after the revolution the state would wither away. The people themselves will be in control of my life. Just the opposite would happen: the state as an apparatus of coercion and control was growing by leaps and bounds. And with it grew and the class of officials. There was a Soviet aristocracy and bureaucracy, arrogant, cocky, demanding, and greedy.
No traces of the pre-revolutionary slogan of equality. At first only the leaders were experiencing the difficulties that all.
“When we actually eat? recalled the people’s Commissar of state charity Alexandra Kollontai. — I remember once, after the CPC. I think it was three in the morning, in the dining room of the CPC. Brought us huge slices of bread with pressed caviar. It was surprisingly tasty.
I remember the Swedish comrades have brought us (CPC) drawer with provisions: canned food, sausages, cheese. I cut round red Dutch cheese, when Lenin came out of his office and saw the cheese, stopped:
Cheese is still a good thing.
— You want a piece?
I cut him off the Crescent. And imagine — less. But then began the meeting of the CPC. It was awkward to go with cheese, left in the office along with bags of canned food. On the table near Lenin was still not started their Crescent with a piece of lead paper, adhering the side. All the meeting I looked at this piece and were happy to share, eat it at home after the meeting. But when the session ended, the office did not have any cheese or bags of canned food. Someone has “expropriated”.
Revolutionary asceticism was disappearing before our eyes.
The leader of the Mensheviks Julius Martov amazed at how quickly changed the leaders of the Bolsheviks: “a Privileged position, almost naked. People like Riazanov, Radek, and Rykov, who previously fought against inequality, now don’t hide on the table white bread, rice, oil, meat… a bottle of good wine or cognac. Karakhan, Kamenev, Bonch, Demian Poor, Steklov and others just enjoying life. Only Angelica (Balabanov), Bukharin and Chicherin of the first magnitude stars can still be noted for their simplicity of manners”.
The Soviet government, taking away bread from the peasants, promised to improve the supply of the city, but in reality, the city began to starve. Vasily Rozanov in the story “Love” written in December 1917, resignedly said: “My dear, there is no escape! Who told you that from every situation there is a worthy exit?”
Leonid Krasin, which will soon become people’s Commissar for trade, wrote to the family remaining abroad: “buying something only for the incredible prices. How did people live is a mystery”.
Time was really very difficult, but the new government was concerned that leading cadres are not starving, not freezing and in no way felt needs. The Soviet government organized its leaders enhanced nutrition. Little people’s Commissars (the government Commission, who held a relatively minor matters) approved the “Sovnarkomovskaya rations”. Food rations for the bosses was abolished Gorbachev. Medicine for the bosses have survived to this day.
TO BE CONTINUED:
Why did the Bolsheviks created the office of state security?