you're reading...
Daily History

December 20 1917 Creation of Russia’s Cheka security service

Cheka BadgeOn December 20th 1917, the first Soviet security organisation, Cheka, was founded. While the KGB is the stereotypical Soviet secret police in modern society, the Cheka were the first of its kind, created by Lenin in 1917 in order to stabilise Russian society after the Bolshevik Revolution and the dismantling of the Russian monarchy.

Cheka’s full translated name is “All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage.” The organisation was originally led by Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, a Polish Communist revolutionary who spent the majority of the twenty years previous to the Bolshevik Revolution in various prisons. Apart from being a leader of the Cheka, he is also known for several scientific advancements, among them a Soviet camera known as “FED.”

While not necessarily secret in its functioning, the Cheka were methodical and sought out bourgeois members of post-Bolshevik Russian society. Many were found guilty without proper trials, and the Chekas performed many mass arrests, imprisonments and even executions of those considered to be a threat to society.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.


10 thoughts on “December 20 1917 Creation of Russia’s Cheka security service

  1. Observation suggest that re-ordering an upset apple cart as per the French and Russian revolutions particularly, inevitablty requires a powerful and ruthless executive with his own police force, right? Too many contending interests!

    It might be interesting to compare the Russian apparat and the German SS with current evolution of the Dept of Homeland Security to elucidate similarities and differences…

    Posted by jackcurtis | February 23, 2012, 06:31
  2. Craig, This is a link to a lttle story I wrote when Obama was elected.


    The reason I mention it is that there was an interesting book I read and referenced in my story.

    “An Archaeology of Socialism” written by Buchli in 1999.

    I thought you may find it interesting if you can get your hands on it.

    Posted by Waldo "Wally" Tomosky | February 24, 2012, 22:13
  3. I’m curious about the timing and subject matter, Craig. I studied Russian and Soviet history and on a trip to
    Moscow many years ago, went to Dzherinsky Ploshad in front of KGB HQ at the time. I walked around the building and took pictures of all sides, including the underground driveway that Solzhenitsyn described in his Gulag books.
    I believe the FSB has taken over the property w/ its cells and underground dungeons.

    Posted by jackandmarilynerickson | February 25, 2012, 18:28
    • Interesting. having studied Russian and Soviet history, you would be far more knowledgeable about the subjects than I. Why is the timing and subject matter curious? 🙂

      Posted by Craig Hill | February 25, 2012, 18:33
  4. Dzerzhinsky: had to look up Felix’s origins again as I had been sure that I had seen that the Belarusians consider him one of their own. English Wikipedia certainly shows the ancestry as Polish, but doesn’t give the birth location. You have to go to the Russian Wikipedia entry for that information: Dzerzhinovo, Oshmyansky Uezd, Vilenskaya Guberniya, Russian Empire… which translates today to Dzerzhinovo, Volozhinsky Rayon, Minskaya Oblast in Belarus (I believe my sister-in-law is from somewhere near those parts, from Ivye).

    Of course, this is a part of the country that was briefly part of Interwar Poland, and of course his ancestry is clearly Polish, so its not completely inaccurate to describe him as Polish. Just the same as it’s not completely inaccurate of Belarusians to consider him from Belarus.

    Shifting borders, part of what makes studying Eastern European history fun…

    Posted by benmangel | March 2, 2012, 02:59
    • The shifting borders have created many interesting barr room conversations during my travels and associations with older European residents 🙂

      Posted by Craig Hill | March 2, 2012, 07:30
  5. This shifting borders also give a clue to Felix D’s success. He was an outsider. Precisely for the same reason Lenin chose Koba J- (aka. Stalin to head the commission to write about the minorities and their place in the new Bolshevik Russia. A Russian Jew would have been biased. It is from her Stalin’s star began to rise. The secret Police was necessary and played a vital role.

    Posted by bennythomas | March 3, 2012, 18:29


  1. Pingback: Political Correctness And Where It Originated « Stirring Trouble Internationally – Around the world - January 22, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,946 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Cadence Column: Asia, September 20, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 20, 2021

China steps up expansion via Hong Kong elections. Seven editors are banned from Wikipedia on concerns of not acting in good faith and with relation to China. The US sails through the Taiwan Straight again, this time a destroyer. Taiwan wants more backup runways for fighter jets. Escalations only continue and no side shows any […]

China adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet

China adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet

China has added a new powerful ship to its fleet of maritime patrol vessels in the South China Sea, state media has reported. The 5,560-ton Hai Xun 03 was launched on Tuesday and will become the largest ocean patrol ship under the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration (MSA), the official China News Service reported, adding that […]

A lesson in political economy on investments in China

A lesson in political economy on investments in China

Paul Krugman, the eminent Nobel laureate in economics, recalls how companies are different from nations and their reasons. Business managers have different perspectives. It is economists – not managers – who place the question of foreign trade, the balance of payments and the exchange rate at the center of their reflections. Since 1989, China and […]

Are China’s climate promises just a load of hot air? (Yes!)

Are China’s climate promises just a load of hot air? (Yes!)

China is prepared to hold its cooperation on climate issues hostage to Western concessions elsewhere. Few cities in China represent the country’s addiction to coal more than Tianjin, where Alok Sharma travelled this week to talk about cooperation on climate issues. It sits on the coast of one of China’s most polluted regions, and its […]

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

It is nothing new for foreign firms to endure shakedowns by the Chinese Communist Party. As far back as revolutionary times, Chairman Mao’s victorious troops did not directly confiscate foreign-owned assets as their Bolshevik forerunners had done in Russia. Instead, they wore them down with higher taxes and fines so big that eventually companies gave […]

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia has suffered an “infiltration” that sought to advance the aims of China, the US non-profit organisation that owns the volunteer-edited encyclopaedia has said. The Wikimedia Foundation told BBC News the infiltration had threatened the “very foundations of Wikipedia”. The foundation banned seven editors linked to a mainland China group. Wikimedians of Mainland China accused […]

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Today, “Li materials” are the subject of a legal battle between Stanford University and Mr. Li’s widow in Beijing. This is a battle for custody of an unofficial history of China. In millions of handwritten Chinese characters, Mr. Li documents his early days in the party, the revolution that brought him to power and his […]

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

Ponder this: A new tally of global cities’ emissions finds that the top 25 are responsible for 52% of the planet’s urban greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-three of those are in China. New York City is the first American city to appear, at No. 26. Out of the top 75, just four other American cities are listed […]

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

The easiest solution to China’s escalating situation in the South Sea is to enforce China’s own formal statements at face value. China says they respect other countries and do not want to militarize the South Sea. Leave it at that. Any disrespect toward other countries is not at the behest of Xijinping. Any militarization of […]

Why is Iran so keen on joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

Why is Iran so keen on joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

What Happened: Iran became an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – originally comprised of China, Russia, and 4 Central Asian republics – back in 2005. In the 16 years since, Tehran has consistently pushed for an upgrade to full membership, particularly after the SCO underwent its first expansion, adding India and Pakistan, in 2017. […]

%d bloggers like this: