Fact of the day: 17th August

On this day in 1918 Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky was assassinated.

In 1914 he emigrated to France and contributed to the Party newspaper Our Word. Back in Russia in 1917 Uritsky became a member of the Mezhraiontsy group.

A few months before the October Revolution of 1917, he joined the Bolsheviks and was elected to their Central Committee on July 1917.

download (5)Uritsky played a leading part in the Bolsheviks’ armed take-over in October and later was made head of the Petrograd Cheka.

In this position Uritsky coordinated the pursuit and prosecution of members of the nobility, military officers and ranking Russian Orthodox Church clerics who opposed the Bolsheviks.

Because Uritsky was against the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, he resigned his post in 1918, like Bukharin, Bubnov, Piatakov, Dzherzhinsky and Smirnov. On March 4, 1918, the Petrograd committee published the first number of the journal Kommunist, the public organ of the “left communist” opposition, as directed by Radek and Uritsky.

The Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the Bolshevik party, which was held between March 6 and 8, 1918, rejected the Theses on the Present Situation that was submitted as a resolution by the “Left Communists”.

The “Left Communists” Lomov and Uritsky, who were elected to the Central Committee, stated at the Congress that they would not work in the Central Committee, and did not begin work there for several months in spite of insistent demands from the Central Committee.download (4)

On May 25, 1918, with the Revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion, the Russian Civil War began and Uritsky resumed his position on the Central Committee.

Leonid Kannegisser, a young military cadet, assassinated Uritsky on August 17,[2] 1918 in retaliation for the execution of his friend and other officers.

Following this event, along with the assassination attempt on Lenin by Fanya Kaplan on August 28, the Bolsheviks began a wave of persecution known as the Red Terror. Palace Square in Petrograd was known as Uritsky Square from 1918 to 1944.

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