Jacob Peters: how Latvian revolutionary became head of the Cheka

History 28/02/20 Yakov Peters (left) and Felix Dzerzinskij Peters: how Latvian revolutionary became head of the Cheka

One of the first leaders of the Cheka, who is considered the founder of the Soviet foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, Latvian revolutionary Yakov Peters remains in many ways mysterious person. In particular, it is still unclear motives, why he was in the midst of a civil war “thrown on dropping the” in Petrograd, and in what relations he was with was operating there at the same time, Stalin.

English trail

a Lot in the biography of Peters, it is unclear starting from the origin. So, in some cases, he said he was the son of a Latvian farm laborer in others that the son of a wealthy farmer. It is known that in 1904, at the age of 17 he joined the Social democratic workers ‘ party of the Latvian region. In 1905 during the first Russian revolution, has organized a group of militants, which were engaged in the robbery of the landlords ‘ economies. In 1907, he was charged with murder, but a year later at trial acquitted.

Peters is generally carried with the spineless bourgeois courts. He emigrated to England and headed there the same gang of Latvian revolutionaries retired, Peters has organized several armed bandit raids on banks and jewellery shops. In 1911, several members of the gang was hunted down by the police and after a fierce battle shot. Then after Peters was arrested as an accomplice, but acquitted by a jury for lack of evidence.

Smart people, as you know, learn from the mistakes of others. Becoming later, in 1918, Chairman of the Moscow revolutionary Tribunal, Peters did not repeat the mistakes of their “class enemies” and willingly wrote out the death penalty “the bourgeoisie.”

he was Carrying and women. When its completely ordinary appearance, he somehow managed to attract the attention of the young English aristocrat. One of them is a cousin of the Minister of internal Affairs of Uinsthe tone of Churchill’s budding sculptors Clara Sheridan was after the process’s mistress Peters. But not for long. Soon the hot Latvian guy has eyes the daughter of a banker Mae Freeman. Ardent revolutionary immediately preferred this best of the party and formally tied to the Freeman of his life. However, that does not mean the termination of the relationship with Clara, but this will be discussed later.

At the head of the Cheka

In 1917, Peters is back in the throes of revolution Russia and quickly began to make a career in the Bolshevik party. However, the diverse ties with England was interrupted, and they subsequently helped him in the work of the Cheka. Who provided him with the patronage of the party in 1917, it is difficult to establish. But in any case, after December 1917, Peters immediately became the Treasurer and Vice-Chairman of the newly created Cheka, he soon was a man Yakov Sverdlov.

Peters proved himself a master of provocations against Western diplomats, which was necessary to compromise. However, he immediately began to use their English communication for the disclosure of a secret network. In the winter of 1918, he was able to get in touch with the emissary of Solomon Rosenblum, better known as agent Sidney Reilly, under the pretext of delivering a letter to his wife in England.

After the defeat of the left socialist-revolutionary revolt of Dzerzhinskiy for some time was under suspicion of having links with the conspirators and was removed from the leadership of the Cheka. The acting President of that body became Peters. It was his finest hour. Although 22 August 1918, Dzerzhinsky formally returned to the post of head of the Cheka, Peters continues in fact to lead it.

At this time Peters (probably on the instructions of Sverdlov and using’reilly) fabricates loud “the case of Lockhart”. The circumstances of this case remain in Russia’s secret and now a hundred years later. Technically, it was to expose the counter-revolutionary conspiracy involving foreign ambassadors. Also important is the actual result was unobstructed exit from the Russian Ambassador Lockhart, Reilly and several enostrange citizens, in absentia, declared in the Russian Federation “outside the law”.

Then Peters “investigates” the attempt on Lenin August 30, 1918, quickly eliminating suspected Fanny Kaplan too, seems to be, at the direction of Sverdlov. In October of 1918 Sverdlov in agreement with the authorities of Imperial Germany organizes on a trip to relatives in Switzerland. During this time, the position of the Peters at the head of the Cheka even more strengthened. It was a period of rampant red terror, which thus a direct responsibility of the actual head of the Cheka.

In Petrograd with Stalin

the Sudden death of Sverdlov in March 1919 undermined and the value of Peters. Dzerzhinsky gets rid of all-powerful Deputy, directing its chief of internal defense of Petrograd. Here, Peters was raised in a formally subordinate relationship to the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet Grigory Zinoviev. In may 1919, in Petrograd especially authorized the revolutionary military Council of the Republic was appointed by Stalin.

it is Unknown what between them, and with Zinoviev, was established in the period of the relationship. At the initiative of Peters, during the offensive of General Yudenich on Petrograd, on the night of 14 June in the city have been mass roundups of security officers in private apartments, the red cross mission, foreign mission (still in the city), temples. Was allegedly seized many weapons, ammunition and explosives.

on June 11, Peters issued the order on total capture and arrest everyone not having a residence permit in Petrograd, as well as former police officers and gendarmes. All the so-called “unearned” the city’s population were subject to eviction on “labor conscription” by digging trenches on the outskirts of Petrograd. At midnight “house committees of the poor” was presented by “bourgeois” agenda, where to appear at Assembly points to 6 o’clock in the morning. The work went until late at night. “Unearned” elements relied on the card of a pound of bread a day, which, however, is not always possible to obtain.

Apparently, indiscriminate raids and searches have not given WElenovo result, as already in the autumn of 1919 in Petrograd, it was disclosed, the white guard underground, led by chief of staff of the 7th Soviet army Vladimir Lundequist. However, Peters at this time in Petrograd was gone.

Again with the British lady

later, Peters was cast in “responsible positions” on various important theatres of the civil war, but from the headquarters of the Cheka for a long time kept on the sidelines. Meanwhile, the British “daily Express” October 7, 1919, published an interview with his English wife. The newspaper, calling Peters the Chairman of the Moscow revolutionary Tribunal, was using obsolete data. Interviews clearly contributed to the positive image of Soviet Russia in British bourgeois circles. After that, in 1920, until Peters got his ex-lover Sheridan, and was with him for two years. Sheridan probably brought to the Cheka information first hand about his cousin Churchill – the inspirer and organizer of the anti-Soviet intervention – and returned to London with a new instruction.

There is a version of the journalist in the Theater that the shooting of Peters in 1938 was staged.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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