The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956 - Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

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Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary and Analysis

A "new era" of executions begins in June, 1918 as the Revtribunals kill more than 16,000 people in 16 months. Capital punishment is abolished for ordinary courts in January 1920, but retained for military and extrajudicial tribunals. The ban follows a cleaning out of the prisons and within four months is overturned. The death penalty is re-christened "the supreme measure," a temporary means of "social defense." For the 10th anniversary, it is abolished for all but military crimes and banditry (broadly interpreted), but for the 15th, to advance socialism, "seven-eights" is added. Among those shot are six peasants in Tsarskoe Selo, who dare mow collective fields a second time to feed their cows. Stalin should be drawn and quartered for this crime alone, but people beg not to expose him posthumously.

People instinctively picture those on death row as ill-fated loners, deserving their...

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This section contains 306 words
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