Demonizing “Enemies of the State” as “Child Murderers”. 1

Post-Soviet Era Research. 6

The Silent Martyrdom of Tsarevich Aleksei 9

“Child Martyrdom” and fabrication of “Blood Libel” in Tsarist Russia. Inciting Anti-Semitism and pogroms – the Beilis Case. 11


Demonizing “Enemies of the State” as “Child Murderers”

Text Box:  
Nazi propaganda accurately depicting the class Civil war in the Soviet Union waged against the peasants

The Soviet propaganda versions of the story had a huge impact on the moral norms of generations of Soviet children. The story is really a sad reflection on the Civil War, inciting children against fathers, a war which the Soviet Bolsheviks waged against the majority of their own people in 1917 and never stopped since then: everyone who was not a lumpen-proletarian was a class enemy and was either to join the “Army of the Proletariat” or be annihilated. (Lumpen-proletariat is a Marxist-Leninist conception of an individual with no possessions other than a pair of hands; a member of the underclass, angry, hungry, ready end eager for violence, including a violent revolution.)

Although officially ended in 1921, the civil war and ethnic cleansings in Eastern Europe and all of Eurasia raged through 1945 and re-ignited in 1950’s, 1960’s and 1990’s in parts of East Germany, Poland, Western Ukraine and Belarus, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Abhkazia, Georgia, Armenia, Chechnya, South and North Ossetia, most of former Yugoslavia, Kazakhstan and many other geographical areas, generously fertilized with human blood, the geographic areas which may remain “hot” spots for generations to come.

Pavlik Morozov lived in the village of Gerasimovka, some 350 kilometers north-east of Yekaterinburg (in Soviet time known as Sverdlovsk.) By the official version of the story, he was a dedicated young communist who led the Young Pioneers (sort of the Soviet “boy scouts,” but with a communist ideological twist) at his school, although his contemporaries and teachers say otherwise. As a Young Pioneer, he was presumably an ardent supporter of Stalin's collectivization, although his villagers were not, none of them joined the collective farm.  In some artistic renditions, the boy was made out to resemble young Lenin.

Yury Druzhnikov wrote about the only real photo of Pavlik: “When I saw that unpublished photograph it became clear that the Text Box:  
Soviet poster circa 1930’s: Young Pioneer!
Learn to fight for the cause of the 
working people.
pictures of the boy in every encyclopedia, schoolbook, postcard, and postage stamp had been so routinely retouched that they had lost any resemblance to the original.”

It was a sad irony that at the same time when exiled peasants were arriving in this  Siberian village from other areas of the vast Soviet Union, residents of Gerasimovka, including Pavlik’s father, were being exiled much farther North, to much less habitable parts of Siberia. Pavlik Morozov's father, who was the Chairman of the Village Soviet, had been found guilty of “forging documents and selling them to the bandits and enemies of the Soviet State,” as the official sentence read. In reality, Trofim Morozov’s trouble started when he attested to a good character of a neighbor, describing him as a poor hard-working peasant, not “kulak” as authorities labeled him for not being a member of a collective farm.

The “kulaks” by Stalin’s definition, were rich peasants, who exploited their poorer neighbor. In reality, any peasants not yet in a collective farm, not singing loud praises to Comrade Stalin, was called kulak, and could be dealt with appropriately. Poverty in Gerasimovka village was pervasive, making the mere idea of “kulaks” laughable… except for the Morozov family it turned out to be not a laughing matter at all; much more so than for anyone else.

In some propaganda stories Pavlik’s father committed a crime of hiding some grain from the state, so his children would have some food during the long, cold Siberian winter. His father, Trofim Morozov, was sentenced to ten years in a labor camp, but vanished there forever without a trace, like millions of others – most likely executed soon thereafter, as was customarily done with the slaves of the state, quickly emaciated by hard labor and unbearable living conditions.   

The official version was that Pavlik Morozov’s family did not take kindly to his snitching on his father: so on September 3, 1932, his 81-year-old grandfather, 80-year-old grandmother, 70-year-old uncle and godfather,  and a 19-year-old cousin supposedly ganged-up and murdered him, along with his younger 9-year-old brother.  The Soviet propagandists knew how to fuel class hatred towards the “enemies of the state” by making them into “child murderers” and painting the state to be a child savior and protector.

None of them could read or write, or truly understand what was happening at the trial. Tatyiana, Pavlik’s mother, testified that they all craved revenge for Trofim’s disappearnce in the Gulag and were anti-Soviets who… gasp… read the Bible. A court was conducted on stage of the public club named after Joseph Stalin in the tiny Siberian town of Tavda, of which Gerasimovka was a nearby satellite village. Over a thousand peasants were brought in, some by coercion, some – coaxed with a promise of a free buffet and vodka. A military orchestra playing, several tons of wheat and rye were forcibly collected as the peasants’ “gift to the state” for maintaining the law. 

Thousands of telegrams from all over the Soviet Union “poured” to the court in a well-orchestrated effort by the communist “Pioneer” leaders, urging the judges to show no mercy for Pavlik's killers and “all enemies of the state.” A crowd of propaganda workers from central Russia was brought in to sing the International and Revolutionary marches. The letters were the substantive part of the state’s case. The prosecution’s main evidence was a quotation from the Great Communist Leaders, Comrades Stalin’s and Molotov’s speeches that “the class struggle has entered a phase of intensification in certain locales.” Pavlik Morozov’s murder case was an illustration of the clairvoyance of the genius of the People’s Leaders. The “trial” was a major farce. Writes Druzhnikov, “None of those sentenced confessed to the murder. They were all members of the Morozov family: Pavel's grandfather, Sergei Morozov, 81 years old; his grandmother, Ksenia, 80; his godfather and uncle, Arsenii Kulukanov, 70; and Danila Morozov, 19.”

 “The highest measure of social self-defense” – execution by a firing squad, was a routine that began with marking a new case with “K” (kulak.) Immediately after the tral, they were  taken outside and sieved with bullets, publicly, in front of a grave dug out in advance. The Soviet government declared Pavlik Morozov a “young martyr” who had been murdered by the reactionaries. Thus, the New Religion created its patron “Saint” of the young generation. 

Statues of Pavlik Morozov were erected, poems published, numerous schools, communist youth groups and streets were named in his honor. An opera, stage plays and movies, countless songs and poems were written about him to program into the minds of the children that the State is far above Family. (Some of those questioned in his native village still maintain after all these years that he was none of what the newspapers depicted, that he was a “shithead” who always caused trouble, had poor hygiene habits and “stunk.”)

 The Socialist State – whether the Soviet Stalinist or Red Maoist – was painted as omnipresent and omnipotent LOVE for everyone, but especially so children; the family – an egotistic, abusive cell of private ownership, which lead to DEATH and held children to the moral decay of their fathers.

It was the youth, whom Mao Tzedung utilized as the Revolutionary Guards of the Cultural Revolution of 1960’s, destroying old values in Text Box:  
“Destroy the old world! 
Forge the new world!” 
A young Red Guard is 
shown crushing the 
Crucifix, Buddha, and 
classical Chinese
 texts with his hammer; 
(around 1967.)
the show of public beatings of their parents.  The Chinese poster here reads: “Destroy the old world! Forge the new world!” A young Red Guard is shown crushing the Crucifix, Buddha, and classical Chinese texts with his hammer; (around 1967.)

This odious spiritual repast was force-fed to the Russian peoples with their 2000 year-old history of a rich cultural Christian tradition. That said, it must be noted that the Bolsheviks have wiped clean the collective cultural slate: by executing most of the priests, intelligentsia and others in the social infrastructure – the teachers, doctors, engineers, military officers, plant managers, accountants, writers and poets. 

The school in Gerasimovka village, which Morozov attended, became a holly shrine and children from all over the Soviet Union went on “school excursions” – sickening propagandistic pilgrimages – delivered by train, then bus coaches.


Post-Soviet Era Research.

A lot more evidence of fabrication has emerged since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. 

The mid-1980s path-finding investigative research by Yuri Druzhnikov originally circulated far and wide in “samizdat,” (the underground, clandestine system of self-publishing and text distribution by copying.)  It was a strictly forbidden “anti-Soviet” activity, severely punished, if caught.  The book was widely read, copied and re-copied, even despite the threat of stiff criminal penalties. It was published in the U.K. in Russian (Юрий Дружников, Доносчик 001, или Вознесение Павлика Морозова) in 1988 and soon thereafter translated into several languages. The first English translation appeared in 1996 under the title "Informer 001: The Myth of Pavlik Morozov."

In his book, Druzhnikov debunks every aspect of the Soviet propaganda versions of Pavlik's life and death and thoroughly puts two and two together. In addition to the discussion above, the Soviet press and literature gave different ages for Pavlik at his death, chronicled his life in different – and sometimes non-existent places, and  accused his father of different “state crimes,” Text Box:  
Gerasimovka railroad station in 1930’s.

depending on the propagandistic needs of the moment.

Pavlik was not a “Young Pioneer.” The Soviet propagandistic sources made Pavlik's 81-year-old grandfather Sergey Morozov responsible for his murder. According to Prof. Druzhnikov, the grandfather was a wise old man, smart enough to see the inevitable poisoning of his favorite grandson’s immature mind; he  occasionally addressed Pavel as “my little commie,”  loved the boy dearly even despite his potential involvement in the demise of Sergey’s son Trofim. He organized the search party when the children went missing, was heartbroken and devastated by Pavlik’s death, and maintained his innocence during the trial, despite torture and beatings by the GPU interrogators. 

Druzhnikov suggests that Pavlik was killed by a GPU officer whom Druzhnikov interviewed during his research. For example:

<<…The most remarkable fact about this document is that it is dated September 4, 1932, two days before Ivan Potupchik [local GPU informer] is alleged to have found the bodies of the Morozov brothers. So it appears that while all the villagers, including Pavel's grandparents, were searching for [the] children, thinking that they were lost in the woods, the OGPU agent and his informer had already described the murder and identified the ten individuals who would later be charged as kulaks and as Pavel Morozov's murderers.>>

<<Kartashev, an OGPU investigator, willingly spoke of his part in persecuting kulaks: “By my personal count, I shot thirty-seven people and sent many more to the camps. I know how to kill quietly. Here's the secret: I tell them to open their mouth, and I shoot them close up. It sprays me with warm blood, like eau de cologne, and there's no sound. I know how to do this job — to kill.”>>

Text Box:  
The State’s reliance on the “educated” 
(i.e. brainwashed) youth. Text:
Young builders of Communism,
go forth to new achievements in work
and study!

Kelly suggests that Pavlik was killed during a squabble with other kids over a gun they found. (Having a gun hidden somewhere in a dugout could have been a matter of life and death in those days, it had great value even despite the fear of being shot on the spot by the authorities for the possession of one.) The GPU investigation was so sloppy, politically motivated and marked with deliberate destruction of evidence, that we will never find out with any certainty who really murdered the two young boys.  Some more mysterious things happened after the trial and executions. Wrote Druzhnikov:

<<The villagers told me that mysterious events had occurred even after the murder of Pavlik Morozov. The house in which the boy and his family lived burned to the ground. The villagers believed that it was arson, but it was never investigated. And the grave of Pavlik Morozov and his brother had secretly been moved at night…>>

Dr. Catriona Kelly shows how the official version's emphasis shifted to suit the changing times and propagandistic focus: in some accounts, Pavlik's father's crime was forging the documents, in others −  hoarding grain; by some gruesome accounts Pavlik's death was through decapitation by saw, by others – a bullet through his heart, while the initial criminal report – death of stab wounds.

The Silent Martyrdom of Tsarevich Aleksei

In a way the cult of Pavlik Morozov was a diversionary play against the martyrdom of another famous child, Tsarevich Alexei, the hemophiliac 13-year-old son of the last Russian Tsar, Nikolas II. The unofficial martyrdom of the Tsar’s family was never openly discussed in the Soviet Union until its collapse:  until 1960’s the subject matter would lend one being expeditiously and unceremoniously executed without as much as an investigation, record, or notification to the relatives.

In May 1918, central Russia was invaded by the Czech Legion (“White Czechs”). They captured Chelyabinsk and Petropavlovsk, arrested and hung all members of the local Soviets. By mid-July 1918 the Czech Legion of the White Army was approaching Yekaterinburg and the sounds of gunfire in the distance could be heard by the royal family kept prisoners and by their Bolshevik captors. The arrival of their potential liberators sealed the fate of the Tsar and his family.

During the wee hours of the morning of July 17, 1918, an order by the Ural Soviet of Workers' Deputies was executed: the Tsar Nikolas II, his wife Alexandra, their children and servants (the servants were given an option to leave, but decided to die with the Tsar’s family) were herded into the cellar of their prison house and massacred in a hail of bullets.

Eleven people died:  Nicholas II – the Tsar; Alexandra Fyodorovna – the Tsaritsa and Nicholas' wife; Olga Nikolaevna – the oldest daughter of Nicholas, she was 22; Tatiana Nikoalevna – the next oldest daughter, age 21; Maria Nikolaevna, she was 18; Anastasia Nikolaevna – the youngest daughter, just 17; Alexei – the Tsarevich and the heir to the throne, 13 years of age at his death;

The servants: Eugene Botkin, the Tsar’s family personal physician; Aleksei Trupp, Nicholas II's valet; Anna Demidova, the Tsaritsa maid; Ivan Kharitonov, the cook.

A week later, on July 25, 1918, the Czech Legion captured Yekaterinburg. The bloody murder of the Tsar’s family happened about 350 km South-west from where Pavlik Morozov died 14 years later.  In a way, the cult of Pavlik Morozov was to eclipse the silent martyrdom of Tsarevich Alexei. In the days and years that followed, not a husband to wife, nor a parent to child could speak about the destiny of the Tsar and his family on fear of an immediate, unqualified execution. People knew that under torture, anyone, including their loved ones, would make any confession, so the subject was absolutely untouchable.


“Child Martyrdom” and fabrication of “Blood Libel” in Tsarist Russia. Inciting Anti-Semitism and pogroms – the Beilis Case


In 1911, a 13-year-old schoolboy named Aleksei Yushchinsky was murdered in Kiev, the Ukraine. Although the local police detective Nikolai Krasovsky found the murderers of the boy, the anti-Semites in the Tsarist government, seeking political capital and a scapegoat for the increasing unrest in the pre-revolution Russia, concocted an absurd “ritual murder” charge against an innocent Jew, Mendel Beilis. Mendel, after serving in the Tsar’s army, settled in Kiev, married, had children and was employed at a brick factory as a clerk.  lies


A massive anti-Semitic propaganda campaign was unleashed in the press, focusing on accusations of blood libel and ritual murders. For hundreds of years, here and there rumors would be spread that Jews kill Christian children, presumably for ritual, religious purposes, would drink their blood, and do whatever else a sick imagination may invent.  Now the myth was resurrected by the highly placed police officials. The propaganda campaign involved “scientific” proof by the government’s “experts,” newspaper articles and money infusions into the nationalistic organizations; it was well-organized, well-oiled, well-coordinated and well-funded effort to re-direct the dissatisfaction of the masses from the government upon an easy target of the people’s wrath, the habitual scapegoat. To direct the people’s anger for the social ills that plagued Russia at the Jews was not a difficult proposition.


The rural population was ambivalent towards Jews. To a degree the relations were good and mutually beneficial. At the same time – marked by mutual suspicion, even resentment. Jews looked alien: their religion, language, food, clothing and manners were different, strange and mysterious. The laws of empire discriminated against the Jews even more than against peasants, thus violence appeared sanctified by the Tsar himself. Typically, to fuel a pogrom, Jews would be accused of murdering innocent Christian children. Typically, the pogroms were not simply spontaneous outbursts of hostility towards Jews: they occurred most frequently and with the most horrific violence close to or in the urban centers, where authorities and the police could have prevented violence, if they so desired. Jews living in remote Siberian villages and towns were not attacked.


The prosecution was composed of the government's best lawyers, including Professor Sikorsky, the father of Igor Sikorsky, the designer of American helicopters. 


The trial took place in front of a jury that was deliberately devoid of “intellectuals.” Of the twelve jurors, seven were members of the notorious Union of the Russian People, a political organization with a distinctly nationalistic platform with a strong anti-Semitic leaning. The prosecution’s expert in Judaic rituals was a Catholic priest, Justinas Pranaitis, brought over all the way from Russian Asia, from Tashkent. The author of an anti-Semitic book Talmud Unmasked (1892,) he testified that the murder of  the youth Yushchinsky was a religious ritual, the blood libel, a hoax in which many Russians eagerly believed. Under the questioning by defense, it became clear, however, that Father Pranaitis had little knowledge of Judaism.


Top lawyers were hired by the Kiev Jewish community to represent Beilis. Kiev’s Jews knew that if Beilis is convicted, they won’t live long enough to frat about the verdict’s unfairness.  The accused was represented by famous lawyers from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev:  Vasily Maklakov, Oscar Gruzenberg, N. Karabchevsky, A. Zarudny, and D. Grigorovitch-Barsky. Two prominent Russian professors, Troitsky and Kokovtzov spoke on behalf of the defense, praising the Jewish tradition and values of respect for life, and exposed the accusation of “ritual murders” as an appalling hoax. Professor of Kiev Theological Seminary, Orthodox Christian philosopher Alexander Glagolev was the expert for the defense, as was the well-respected Moscow Rabbi Mazeh. 


During the 2 years that elapsed before the trial, a cult was created of an innocent Child-Martyr, described as slaughtered by the slimy, blood-sucking Jews, so the trial took place in a highly electrified political atmosphere, with crowds of demonstrators in front of the court house chanting the call to action, which became the battle cry of Russia’s plebian masses in 1880’s and resurrected many times since: ‘Kill the Jews, save Mother Russia!’


To the credit of the Russian tsarist, jury-based court system, to the credit of the defense lawyers and witnesses, despite the well-coordinated effort of the police and prosecution, the jury acquitted Beilis. Soon thereafter he made a smart move – he and his entire family moved to the US.  Attempts were made to resurrect the Bailis case, and especially so the propagandist materials prepared during the case, before the February and October Revolutions of 1917 and after. The propagandistic materials developed during the period were used to fuel massive pogroms during the civil war.


It was because of such accusations, putting them on the verge of extinction as a result of massive pogroms – bloody massacres of the Jewish population at the hands of murderous crowds of bandits wielding axes and crowbars, as well as by the military, that Jews came to hate the Tsarist government and flocked to the revolution in droves.  Later on, many of them would treat the “enemies of the Revolution” just as mercilessly. Others – fled to America in search of a peaceful life.


Notable in this dirty propagandistic affair was the use of the imagery of an innocent youth slaughtered at the hands of the villainous public enemy; and the suggestion that genocidal atrocities being committed against Jews were in the name of the bright future for the Russian children.



All rights reserved ● Copyright ©  2011, Eric Ross, Ph.D.