A Thin Thread
of Destiny

A Novel
by Lara Prodan

Felix Dzerzhinsky: The Contradictory Personality

Felix Dzerzhinsky was born in 1877 in a Polish family of a grammar school teacher who lived in the small ancestral manor in the Vilna governorate. That place now makes a part of Belarus. Unfortunately at the age of 5 the boy lost his father who died from tuberculosis.

Felix’s parents always considered Russian Empire to be the oppressor of Poland and other countries. It was the thought inculcated to the boy from the very childhood. In the young years Felix dreamed of becoming a Roman Catholic priest. But this aspiration never came true. Moreover, the hatred against Russia and a revolutionary bend made young Dzerzhinsky enter the Lithuanian Social-Democratic organization.

For several years Felix was busy carrying on the propaganda among the factory workers and craftspeople. For such activity he was arrested and inprisoned in the Kovno (now Kaunas) prison. Felix escaped from it 2 years later and fled to Vilnius, but later was arrested again and sent to Warsaw Citadel and Siedlce prison. However, the young man managed to escape again.

Dzerzhinsky has always been the follower of the ideas of Rosa Luxemburgh who was the developer of Marxism ideology, as well as the activist in revolutionary circles and supporter of socialism. Inspired by such example, Felix becomes the professional revolutionist. During several following years Dzerzhinsky becomes a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania party. On the 4th union he is elected as one of the members of the party’s headquarters. In the times of Russian-Japanese war Felix is busy organizing riots of Polish workers. Moreover, he often performs acts of sabotage.

Dzerzhinsky took an active part in the preparation for the October revolution. In consideration of this activity, as well as other achievements, Felix was asked to create a special commission to deal with riots of workers all over the country. This idea was a success, that’s why when the so-called “Cheka” was created as a kind of Soviet state security organization, Dzerzhinsky was appointed its chairman.

Being the head of “Cheka”, Felix carried out severe persecution of those people who could be considered enemies of Soviet regime. In addition, he has been the ideologist of victimization of counter-revolutionaries and mass terror. Lots of people, especially from the intelligentsia and nobility, like the Ukhtomsky Dukes, suffered from this policy. Some of them died, but others were forced to leave their Motherland to save their lives.

But one can’t think that Dzerzhinsky was only a negative character and did nothing good. For some time he was at the head of commission dealing with homeless children. He created the whole network of temporal shelters, orphanages and other child care centers. Poor orphans could find a refuge there; they were given medical help and the possibility to study to achieve something in their lives.

Dzerzhinsky has always been a contradictory personality. Many people cursed his name, but others owe their lives to him. Felix died at the age of 48 from the heart attack.