Mercy Amid Terror? The Role of Amnesties during Russia's Civil War
Slavonic and East European Review
Modern Humanities Research Association
Reason for embargo
2 year embargo required due to publisher policy.
Russia's Civil War was a period of escalating violence as the Bolsheviks struggled to retain power, yet it was also a period of numerous amnesties. This article analyses the nature and impact of these amnesties, and explores their value to the Bolsheviks. These amnesties were not a sign of mercy; they never admitted mistakes or granted innocence, but excused or underplayed crimes and their significance. Instead, amnesties had a range of practical and political functions for the state, not least of which was to act as a ‘safety valve’ to release burgeoning pressures on the fledgling justice system and tensions between state and society.
The majority of the research for this article was funded by a research fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust and I am very grateful for their support. Additional research emerged from a related project funded by the British Academy to whom I am also very grateful.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from MHRA via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 92, No. 3, pp. 449-478