Despite their slight savor of ecclesiastical eloquence, those are fine words. I subscribe to them.
In the summer of 1922, the question of reprisals took on special urgency, because it was concerned with the leaders of a party that had once waged the revolutionary fight against Czarism, side by side with us, but had turned the weapon of terror against us after the October revolution. Deserters from the camp of the Socialist-Revolutionists disclosed to us the fact that the worst acts of terrorism were not instigated by individuals, as we had at first been inclined to believe, but by the party, although it did not risk a formal acknowledgement of its responsibility for the assassinations it was committing. The death-sentence by the tribunal was inevitable, but carrying it out meant just as inevitably a retaliating wave of terrorism. To limit the method of punishment to imprisonment, even for a long period of time, was tantamount to encouraging the terrorists, since they were the least likely to believe in the longevity of the Soviet. There was no alternative but to make the execution of the sentence dependent on whether or not the party continued the terrorist struggle. In other words, the leaders of the party must be held as hostages.