In the Beginning was Violence


Carl Schmitt

How to Cite

Matiashvili, Lasha. 2020. “In the Beginning Was Violence: Notes Toward an Early Soviet Governmentality”. Brolly 3 (3):97-117.


In this article, I will address the following theoretical and historical problems. I would assume that Lenin, during the pre-revolutionary period, thought that \ violence was necessary for seizing the state power but later on, after taking it, his utopian ideals about the temporal exercise of violence has been disappeared. Lenin’s idea about the necessary and temporal application of violence as an element of revolutionary constituent power was far from realization because, in his first decrees, he attempted to vindicate the terror and violence within the legal body of the state. One of the most provocative hypotheses would be that Carl Schmitt, despite his negative attitude towards both liberalism and bolshevism could have been the perfect theoretical ally for Lenin. Lenin’s dream about the abolition of violence and the state has become fiction in itself. If there is certain parallelism or convergence between the messianic deactivation of the law and the revolutionary effacement of the old order, one has to ask the question “What kind of law can be installed and exercised in the post-revolutionary state?“ “What becomes the law after the revolutionary fulfilment and how is it possible to conceive the law without the state?“ In addition, in the second part of the article, I will argue that Lenin’s political strategy was a certain form of Foucault’s theory of the governmental paradigm of power and, in fact, this was the foundation of the Soviet biopolitical machine.