Nicolai Ragozin’s “Cheka” is an amazing film not just because of what it shows but because of what it does not show. It was produced in 1992 just after the fall of the Soviet Union. The film shows, in the most graphic detail, just what the glorious Communist seizure of power really involved. It also shows just exactly what the Germans were up against when they invaded the Soviet Union twenty years later. The movie is unremitting in its horror. It is also shockingly repetitious. With only brief interludes to show the Bolshevik butchers discussing their motivations, it is one scene after another of prisoners of the Russian upper and middle classes being stripped of their clothing, lined up against the wall of a cellar, and then shot by pistol in the back of the neck. The bodies are then hoisted by rope and pulley into a waiting cart and taken for burial. This episode repeats, over and over, in nauseating horror.
As graphic as these scenes are, they by no means describe how bad the horror actually was. In actual fact, many of the Bolshevik executions involved indescribable mutilation of body parts. Many documented photographs were taken by English and other Europeans in Russia documenting the hideous atrocities of the commissars. Corpses are shown with their eyes gouged out, with tongues ripped out, with ears, nose, penis and testicles cut off. There are even photographs of women with burning coal inserted into their vagina and breasts hacked off. A favorite torture tactic was to bury victims alive, then pull them out and bury them again. The tactic was fabulously effective, with many of the victims going insane.
None of these things, mercifully, are shown in the film. The repeated shootings are bad enough. “Chekist” provides an interesting comparison with David Lean’s famous film “Doctor Zhivago”. In Lean’s epic, all this is shown obliquely but not in the graphic detail of “Chekist”. “Chekist” contains several scenes that unmistakably illustrate the sadism and savagery of Bolshevism. In one scene an officer refuses to strip prior to execution. When he is finally forced to strip, he spits in the face of the commissar who promptly puts the pistol in his mouth and blows his brains out. In another episode, a berserk guard gratuitously shoves his bayonet into the stomach of a terrified woman, who dies on her knees in terrible pain. A particularly poignant scene shows a beautiful blonde “of excellent breeding stock” as one of the guards sneeringly remarks, pleading for her life. As she stands at the wall, breasts and buttocks fully exposed, she turns and begs for her life, proclaiming repeatedly that “she wants to live”. The guards momentarily lower their weapons before their leader settles the problem by shooting her.
Like the Polish director who made his film on the Katyn massacre, “Chekist” skirts the central, damning fact of all the executions. It was carried out, as every one of the times knew, by Communist Jews Never are the executioners shown to be primarily Jewish, although they surely were. Even after the fall of Communism and the ushering in of the era of so-called “openness” the ethnic taboo behind Communism is still enforced by vast Jewish media, commercial and political power. This is the key point that every viewer of Ragosin’s otherwise excellent film should understand. The horror of the so-called noble Communist experiment before Joseph Stalin supposedly perverted it is shown in unmistakable terms. But the ethnic reality behind Communist power is still deliberately deleted – in obeisance to a power that has not disappeared.