Tsuyoshi Hasegawa

 

On his book Crime and Punishment in the Russian Revolution: Mob Justice and Police in Petrograd

Cover Interview of November 26, 2017

A close-up

I would hope readers pay close attention to Chapter 5, An Epidemics of Mob Justice, pp. 167-191, especially the graphic cases, 170–177. Also, I would like readers to pay attention to the explosion of the alcohol pogroms under the Bolshevik regime, pp. 214–217.

Mob justice and alcohol pogroms reveal that violence was lurking behind the thin veneer of society, like volcanic magma, ready to explode. That violence was not an organized violence to advance political goals of social groups, but what Pushkin called “spontaneous, merciless” elementary forces. None of the political elite, whether liberals, moderate socialists, and even the Bolsheviks had any solution to meet this violence. It also reminds us of the fragility of civilization that is often skin-deep.