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Table of contents :
Spontaneity and Planning in the Plebian Revolution
Spontaneity in the Formation of the Workers' Militia and Red Guards, 1917
Spontaneity and the Legitimacy of the October Revolution: The Moscow Insurrection as a Case Study
Spontaneity and Illiteracy in 1917
The Birth of the Soviet Bureaucratic System
The Thirteenth Conference of the Latvian Social Democrats, 1917: Bolshevik Strategy Victorious
Lenin's April Theses and the Latvian Peasant-Soldiery
The Bolsheviks of the Twelfth Army and Latvian Social Democracy
Grigorii Zinoviev: The Myths of the Defeated
Iakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov: Founder of the Bolshevik Party Machine
Aleksandra Kollontai: Libertine or Feminist?
Stalin and His Biographers: The Lenin-Stalin Relationship

Reconsiderations On The Russian Revolution
 0893570354, 9780893570354

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Ralph Carter Elwood Carleton University


Barbara E. Clements Charles Duval Herbert J. Ellison Andrew Ezergailis Marc Ferro Myron W. Hedlin

George D. Jackson Stanley W. Page Roger Pethybridge Michal Reiman Rex A. Wade Allan K. Wildman


Slavica Publishers, Inc.

For an up-to-date catalog o f other Slavica books with price and ordering information, write to:

Slavica Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 312 Cambridge, Mass. 02139

ISBN 0-89357-035-4

Copyright © 1976 by Slavica Publishers, Inc.; all rights reserved.

Editor o f Slavica Publishers, Inc.: Charles E. Gribble, The Ohio State University, Columbus.

Text set by Eleanor Sapp.

Printed in the United States o f America by Braun-Brumfield, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106.


Sponsored by The American Association for the A d v a ncement of Slavic Studies The British Universities A s s o c iation of Slavists The British National Association for Soviet and East European Studies The Canadian Association of Slavists

General Editor Roger E . Kanet University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


The studies published in this volume were selec­ ted from those presented at the First International Slavic Conference, held in Banff, Alberta, Canada, September 4-7, 1974. The conference, which was atten­ ded by approximately 1,500 persons, was sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, the British Universities Association of Slavists, the British National Association for Soviet and East European Studies, and the Canadian Association of Slavists. Although the sponsorship of the confer­ ence was limited to the four major English-speaking Slavic associations, attendance and participation were much broader and included numerous scholars from continental Western Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin Ameri­ ca, and Oceania. In addition, a substantial number of scholars from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe participated in the deliberations of the conference. Among the more than 250 papers presented, a rel­ atively large number has been selected for publica­ tion in two series of conference volumes. Papers in the humanities are included in the series of books being published by Slavica Publishers of Cambridge, Massachusetts; those in the social sciences are ap­ pearing in the series of volumes being published by Praeger Publishers of New York As general editor of both the Slavica and Prae­ ger series of Banff publications, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all the individuals and institutions that made the conference possible, in­ cluding the numerous government and private organi­ zations that provided financial assistance, the mem­ bers of the International Planning Committee who pre­ pared the conference, and the participants themselves. Finally, I wish to thank the editors of the individ­ ual volumes in the two series and the authors of the essays for their major contributions.



CONFERENCE, BANFF 1974 I. Volumes in the humanities, published by Slavica Publishers, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139: Reconsiderations on the Russian Revolution, edi­ ted by Ralph Carter Elwood, Carleton University. Russian and Slavic History, edited by Don Karl Rowney, Bowling Green State University, and G. Edward Orchard, University of Lethbridge. Slavic Linguistics and Language Teaching, edited by Thomas F. Magner, The Pennsylvania State University. Russian and Slavic Literature, edited by Richard Freeborn, University of London, Charles A. Ward, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and R. R. Milner-Gulland, University of Sussex.

II. Volumes in the social sciences, published by Prae­ ger Publishers, Praeger Special Studies, New York: Soviet Economic and Political Relations with the Developing World, edited by Roger E. Kanet and Donna Bahry, University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign. Education and the Mass Media in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, edited by Bohdan Harasymiw, University of C a l gary• Economic Development in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Volume I: Reforms, Techno­ logy and Income Distribution ; Volume II: Sectoral Analysis, both edited by Zbigniew M. Fallenbuchl, University of Windsor. From the Cold Wa'r^ifo Detente, edited by Peter J. Potichnyj, M c M a s t e r -University, and Jane P. Shapiro, Manhattenville College. Change and Adaptation in Soviet and East European Politics, edited by Jane P. Shapiro, Manhat­ tenville College, and Peter J. Potichnyj, McMaster University. v

Environmental Misuse in the Soviet Union* edited by Fred Singleton, University of Bradford.

Demographic Developments in Eastern Europe* edi­ ted by Leszek Kosinski, University of Alberta.

III. Additional volumes: "Nomads and the Slavic World," a special issue of AEMAe Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi , 2(1975), edited by Tibor Halasi-Kun, Columbia Universi­ ty.

Russian Literature in the Age of Catherine the , Great: A Collection of Essays. Oxford: Willem A. Meeuws, 1976, edited by Anthony Cross, University of East Anglia.

Commercial and Legal Problems in East-West Trade. Ottawa: Carleton University, Russian and East European Center, 1976, edited by John P. Hardt, U. S. Library of Congress.

Marxism and Religion in Eastern Europe .

Dor­ drecht and Boston: D. Reidel, 1976, edited by Richard T. DeGeorge, University of Kansas, and James P. Scanlan, The Ohio State University.

Detente and the Conference on Security and Coop­ eration in Europe. Leiden: Sythoff, 1976, edited by Louis J. Mensonides, Virginia Poly­ technic Institute and State University.





Ralph Carter Elwood:



Mi chal Reiman:

Spontaneity and Planning in the Plebian Revolution


Rex A. Wade:

Spontaneity in the Formation of the Workers' Militia and Red Guards, 1917


George Duncan Jackson:

Spontaneity and the Legitimacy of the October Revolution: The Moscow Insurrection as a Case Study

Roger Pethybridge: Marc Ferro:

Spontaneity and Illiteracy in 1917

42 81

The Birth of the Soviet Bureaucratic



Andrew Ezergailis:

The Thirteenth Conference of the Latvian Social Democrats, 1917: Bolshevik Strategy Victorious

Page: Lenin's April Theses and the Latvian Peasant-Soldiery


Stanley W.


Allan K. Wildman:

The Bolsheviks of the Twelfth Army and Latvian Social Democracy

Myron W. Hedlin:


Grigorii Zinoviev: The Myths of

the Defeated


Charles Duval:

Iakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov: Founder of the Bolshevik Party Machine


Barbara Evans Clements:

Aleksandra Kollontai: Libertine or Feminist?


Herbert J. Ellison:

Stalin and His Biographers: The Lenin-Stalin Relationship


256 270

Preface The papers that follow emanate from the International Slavic Conference held at the Banff Centre in western Canada during September 1974. This unique gathering, which attracted more than a thousand delegates and guests from around the world, was jointly sponsored by the Ameri­ can Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 'the Canadian Association of Slavists, the British National Association for Soviet and East European Studies, and the British Universities Association of Slavists. Three of the conference sessions— 'Spontaneity vs. Planning in the Revolutionary Process," "Old Bolsheviks: Myths and Real­ ities," "Lenin and the Latvian Social Democrats in 1917"— dealt with aspects of party history and particularly with the Russian Revolutions of 1917. Eleven of the papers presented at these sessions have been revised and in some cases expanded for publication in this volume. To these has been added Herbert Ellison's related paper on Stalin's relationship with Lenin. A unique aspect of the Banff Con­ ference was the participation of an eleven-man delegation from the Soviet Union. One of its members, S. L. Titarenko of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, provided an inter­ esting critique of western scholarship on the Russian Revolution by commenting on all of the papers delivered at the sessions mentioned above. Regrettably, his written comments were unavailable for publication. The contributors to this volume would like to express their appreciation to Robert Daniels, Albert Parry, Robert Slusser and Bertram Wolfe, who served either as chairmen or as discussants for these three sessions, and especially to Roger Kanet whose work as program chairman for the con­ ference and general editor for this series has done much to ensure the success of both ventures. All dates herein are expressed according to the Julian Calendar ("Old Style").

Ottawa October 1975


CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Evans Clements is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Akron and the author of an arti­ cle on Aleksandra Kollontai published in the Slavic Review. Charles Duval is Associate Professor of History at New Mexico State University and the author of an article on la. M. Sverdlov which appeared in the Slavonic and East European Review. Herbert J . Ellison is Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Comparative and Foreign Area Studies at the University of Washington. He is the author of History of Russia. Ralph Carter Elwood is Professor of History at Carleton University, Ottawa. He is the author of Russian Social Democracy in the Underground: A Study of the RSDRP in the Ukraine'9 1907-1914 and editor of The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party > 1898October 1917. Andrew Ezergailis is Professor of History at Ithaca College and the author of The 1917 Revolution in Latvia. Marc Ferro is Director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, and author of The February Revolution of 1917y The Great Wary 1917-1918y etc. Myron W. Hedlin is presently engaged in research at the Hoover Institution. His articles on G. E. Zinoviev have appeared in the Slavic Review and the South Atlantic Quarterly. /•*

George Duncan Jackson is Professor of History at Hofstra University and the author of Comintern and Peasant in East E u r o p e 1919-1930. Stanley W . Page is Professor of History at City College of New York and author of Lenin and World Revolution, The Formation of the Baltic States3 etc. ix

Roger Pethybridge is Director of the Centre of Russian and East European Studies, University College, Swansea. He has written The Social Prelude to Stalinism, The Spread of the Russian Revolution: Essays on 19173 etc. Michal Reiman was formerly associated with the Institute of the History of Socialism in Prague and is now at the University of Tubingen. He is the author of Ruskâ revoluce, 23 unor-25 i^ejen 1917. Rex A . Wade is Professor of History at the University of Hawaii and author of The Russian Search for Peace: February-October 1917. Allan K . Wildman is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and the author of The Making of a Workers' Revolution: Russian Social Democracy i 1891-1903.


INTRODUCTION Ralph Carter Elwood Over the past two decades, western scholars have de­ voted more attention to the Russian revolutionary movements than to any other topic in modern Russian history. This is not surprising given the paucity of synthesized information concerning early twentieth-century Russia and the lasting importance of the revolutions which these movements pro­ duced or exploited. Soviet historians, who have long been interested in the origins of their party and state, have facilitated this research through the recent republication of numerous documents concerning 1917. The results of this scholarship have been illuminat­ ing. The early years of Russian Social Democracy and es­ pecially the initial organization of the party in emigra­ tion have been revealed in great detail through the works of Leopold Haimson, John Keep, Allän Wildman, Leonard Shapiro and Dietrich Geyer. A number of the leading fig­ ures in the revolutionary movement— Plekhanov, Martov, Aksel’rod, Bukharin, Bogdanov, Struve and perhaps Trotsky and Stalin— have found their biographers in the writings of Samuel Baron, Israel Getzler, Abraham Ascher, Stephen Cohen, Dietrich Grille, Richard Pipes, Isaac Deutscher and Robert Tucker. Certain aspects of the great revolutionary year have also been clarified in recent books by Marc Ferro on the February Revolution, Alexander Rabinowitch on July Days, and Robert Daniels on the October Revolution. Nevertheless, very large gaps remain in our knowledge of the background to and the events of 1917. Despite the archival work of Soviet scholars— which has resulted in a steady stream of Leniniana, letters from his or Krupskaia's pen, and minute facts about his daily life— we lack an ex­ haustive biography of th^ first Soviet leader. Despite the publication of memoirs'and bibliographies, we as yet have no history of the Menshevik movement to complement our ex­ tensive knowledge of Bolshevism. Far more is known about the RSDRP in emigration and especially before 1905 than is known about its operations inside Imperial Russia. And despite a number of recent monographic studies, we have no comprehensive synthesis of either the Revolution of 1905 or those of 1917.

2 To a certain extent this lack of a definitive history of the Russian Revolution is a result of errors of omission made by western and Soviet scholars alike. For instance, the concentration of western scholars has been on the revo­ lutionary events in Petrograd. The average historian, even one who has specialized in party history, would be hard put to describe the sequence of events in Moscow much less in a provincial town during 1917. The contribution of the na­ tional minorities to the downfall first of the tsar and then of the Provisional Government has been largely ig­ nored, with the possible exception of the role of the Ukrainians. It is instructive in this regard to look at recent historiography on the French Revolution which has increasingly and profitably turned its attention to revo­ lutionary events outside of Paris. Even inside Petrograd, research has been focused on national political leaders and organizations. We know much about the Provisional Govern­ ment but little about the Petrograd city duma; we are reasonably well-informed about the actions of Lenin and Trotsky, but we know little about the activities of Shliapnikov and Nogin let alone middle or lower echelon leaders who often are nameless. Perhaps the key to under­ standing the events of 1917 lies in the grass-roots organ­ izations which often sprang up spontaneously to give direc­ tion and coherence to the discontented masses. And yet we know very little about the origins, functions, structure and interrelationships of such bodies as the Red Guards, local soviets, factory and shop committees, workers mili­ tia and raion party organizations. Any reader of western literature on 1917 cannot help but realize the almost total concentration on political history. In comparison to the French and the American rev­ olutions, we know virtually nothing about the social and economic conditions which gave rise to a revolution in Februrary, a mass demonstration in April, a revolt in July and a preventive coup in October. How much had the cost of living gone up to cause unrest among the women in the bread lines during February? What was the social composition and the nature of the leadership of the Petrograd garrison that made it so unreliable? What were the living and work­ ing conditions in the Vyborg raion that made its inhabi­ tants so discontented? Surely a history of the Putilov Works, or of the Volynsk Regiment, or of Kronstadt would tell us much about the economic and social origins of a revolution which we all too often insist on seeing solely in political terms.

3 Western and Soviet historians have also been guilty for different reasons of certain errors of commission, of perpetuating certain stereotypes and myths concerning the Russian Revolution. Was Leon Trotsky as heroic in 1917 as he himself and Isaac Deutscher have led us to believe? N. N. Sukhanov has said and numerous western biographers have repeated that Stalin was merely a ngrey blur” during 1917. Many scholars, both East and West, have portrayed Zinoviev as a coward and Kamenev as vacillating throughout the revolutionary year. It is perhaps because of these supposed negative qualities, which are reflected in most western accounts of 1917, that no biography about either man has appeared despite their key roles in the formative years of the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet state. One of the principal contributions of the three Banff sessions devoted to aspects of party history and the Rus­ sian Revolution was to call attention to some of these er­ rors of omission and commission committed by western and Soviet scholars. Time and again, speakers and discussants suggested areas which needed further research and prevail­ ing views which needed reconsideration. Perhaps even more important, attempts were made to fddl in some of the lacunae and to correct some of the stereotypes mentioned above. It is to be hoped that these reconsiderations will be of assistance to other scholars working in the field. The Czech historian Michal Reiman, for instance, cau­ tioned western scholars not to look at the Russian Revolu­ tion through the prism of western liberalism or to try to fit it into the model of western-type revolutions. He notes that the small middle class in Russia had little influence over the masses and did not reflect the latter’s interests and that the gulf between the bourgeois and plebian tend­ encies was gradually increasing during 1917. The October Revolution, therefore, was neither accidental nor a simple coup d fetat by the Bolsheviks but rather the culmination of historic and unsatisfied mass grievances. He also takes indirect issue with Soviet historians who tend to over­ emphasize the role of planning by the Bolshevik Party and the influence of Lenin in particular in achieving power. He suggests the need to give more attention to the role of the majority of the Central Committee, which stood between Lenin on the one hand and Zinoviev and Kamenev on the other, and of the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies in harnessing and directing this plebian unrest. Among the grass-roots organizations which western

4 historians have long ignored, one of the most important is the militia. Rex Wade examines the origins, composition and relation to higher political authority of these volun­ tary armed bands in Petrograd during the first half of 1917. He finds that they grew up spontaneously as workers and students armed themselves so as to protect themselves from counter-revolutionary and criminal elements. They were not, therefore, the creation of the Bolsheviks1 Rus­ sian Bureau (which initially opposed worker self-arming), the Petrograd Soviet, or the city duma. By 2 March there were some 20,000 militiamen organized into self-directed groups in the factories, schools and residential districts of the capital. Professor Wade discusses the failure of these groups to achieve city-wide coordination before August 1917, the emergence of the Red Guard, the growing suspicions of the Menshevik-controlled Petrograd Soviet toward these spontaneous and armed bodies. As a result, the raion Soviets, where the Bolsheviks and anarchists often prevailed, 'gradually gained influence in the militia and the Red Guard and used them to extend and to achieve the goals of the socialist revolution. George Jackson turns his attention to the October Revolution rather than the February and to the long over­ looked events in Moscow rather than in Petrograd. But like Professor Wade he stresses the importance of under­ standing the actions of lower level bodies— raion dumas, raion soviets and military committees— in determining why the Bolsheviks ultimately won. He notes that western his­ torians tend to see this victory as accidental and not a legitimate result of spontaneous popular support whereas Soviet historians have often taken this support for grant­ ed as a product of predetermined economic forces of his­ tory. He has chosen to take issue with both schools of thought by looking in detail at how the Bolsheviks rather skillfully managed to gain the support of the electorate in the September raion duma elections as well as of large segments of the soldiers, women, students and ultimately of the Moscow Soviet itself. He then examines how they failed through a lack of overall planning to transform this strong mass support into effective revolutionary action concurrent with the seizure of power in Petrograd. Differences be­ tween the Bolsheviks’ moderate Moscow Committee and the ■radical Oblast Bureau are noted but, utilizing recent So­ viet scholarship, he stresses that revolutionary planning was in fact carried out though by lower echelon party bod­ ies which helped to insure a Bolshevik victory once

5 additional support was received from Petrograd. Roger Pethybridge is interested in the question of mass illiteracy, which is rarely mentioned in accounts of the Bolshevik victory, and in its relationship to politi­ cal consciousness on the one hand and spontaneous revolu­ tionary action on the other. He notes that over two-thirds of the Russian population were illiterate in 1917 and thus lacking in traditional political consciousness. Neither the Menshevik intelligentsia in the Petrograd Soviet nor the highly educated liberals in the Provisional Government could effectively communicate with these workers and peas­ ants. Lenin, however, wanted to harness the spontaneous force of the illiterate masses and to bring them into the political arena on his side. To this end he utilized a "watered down Marxism” which his semi-literate.would-be followers could comprehend. Moreover, he communicated with them by means of oral propaganda, street corner ora­ tory, posters, banners and slogans and by using deserting soldiers and the ”bush telegraph” to spread his message and to incite the spontaneous participation of the largely il­ literate and.politically unconscious masses. This politi­ cal illiteracy created problems fo*- Lenin after the revo­ lution, however, in that believers often could not commun­ icate the faith and more particularly in that there was a need to curb the needless and spontaneous violence as well as the unorthodox ideas of worker control and peasant land seizure which had been so effectively exploited to bring down the Provisional Government. Marc Ferro notes that while there is little disagree­ ment about the pre-revolutionary origins of the Soviet oneparty system, there is less consensus about the genesis of the bureaucratic centralism that accompanied it. In con­ trast to those who date the bureaucratic phenomenon from early Leninism and those at the other extreme who claim it was an aberration of latter-day Stalinism, M. Ferro sees it as a product of the revolution itself. He shows how the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies gradually lost much of their power to nyjre radical, less conciliatory grass-roots bodies such as factory and shop committees and raion committees during the course of the revolutionary year. These in turn were taken over by self-perpetuating executive organs made up of full-time apparatohiki who de­ veloped many of the characteristic bureaucratic procedures and practices even before the October Revolution. Later these committeemen together with Red Guardsmen of similar background provided much of the new blood needed to

6 administer the embryonic Soviet state structure and gradu­ ally came to supplant the old Bolshevik intett'Lgent'L as the basis of Stalin1s power. Historians have long been aware of the radical nature of the Latvian Riflemen and the fact that the Bolsheviks gained de facto power in Latvia four months before they did in Petrograd. The explanations for how and why these pro­ cesses were accelerated in the Baltic region have been less evident. Three of the Banff papers offer interesting answers to these questions. Andrew Ezergailis calls attention to the long-obscured Thirteenth Conference of the Latvian Social Democratic Par­ ty held in Moscow during April 1917 and to its key role in the Bolshevization of Latvian Social Democracy. Called by a self-appointed Latvian Central Committee employing the same tactics as the Iskra editors in packing the Second Congress in 1903 and Lenin in rigging the Prague Conference in 1912, the Thirteenth Conference attracted virtually no delegates from Latvia itself and admitted very few Menshe­ vik representatives. This unrepresentative body neverthe­ less assumed the powers of a party congress to pass bind­ ing resolutions and approved not only the actions of its pro-Bolshevik Central Committee and merger with the RSDRP but also a whole series of proclamations reflecting a Len­ inist position on pressing political issues. Stanley Page adds to this explanation of how the Bol­ sheviks were able to capture Latvia by calling attention to the special relevance and appeal of Lenin’s April Theses for the Latvian peasant-soldiers. When the Bolshevik lead­ er advocated the seizure of landed estates, fraternization with German troops, self-determination for national minor­ ities, no annexations (with Courland specifically men­ tioned), no support for the Provisional Government, and the creation of Soviets of Farm-laborers, it seemed that he had the landless Latvian peasant and war-weary soldier especi­ ally in mind. Indeed, the Theses reflected Latvian condi­ tions even more than they did those in Russia proper. Pro­ fessor Page suggests that this goes a long way to explain­ ing why the Latvian Rifles overwhelmingly went over to the Bolsheviks in May 1917. Allan Wildman shows some of the immediate benefits the ^Bolsheviks derived from their control of Latvian Social De­ mocracy and from their influence within the Rifle Brigades. He notes the close cooperative relationship that developed between the Latvians and the Russian Bolsheviks inside the

7 Novoladozhskii Regiment of the Twelfth A r m y ■stationed near Riga. During the spring and summer of 1917 Bolshevik ele­ ments within the regiment used this sanctuary to put out Okopnaia Pravda (later Okopnyi•Nobat) which considerably radicalized the entire Twelfth Army through its advocacy of "Bread, Peace, Land" and fraternization. As a result, "by the fall of 1917 the Twelfth Army was the most thor­ oughly schooled in Bolshevik slogans and the most pene­ trated with functioning Bolshevik organizations of any of the front-line armies." The significance of this military support became clearly evident in October. Several of the papers delivered at Banff were con­ cerned not so much with calling attention to overlooked aspects of the Russian Revolution as with reconsidering stereotypes and myths that have developed around some of the Bolshevik participants in the seizure of power. Myron Hedlin, for example, notes that G. E. Zinoviev is either ignored entirely by Soviet scholars or he is damned as a "shifty, untrustworthy creature" who was soft on Lenin's factional opponents before the revolution and a strikebreaker during the revolution*? In the West he is usually seen as being personally 'unattractive, weak-willed and vacillating; a man who was Lenin's "servile shieldbearer" before 1917 and a coward during the revolutionary year. Dr. Hedlin correctly notes that these somewhat con­ tradictory pictures cannot be reconciled with the long list of responsible party offices which Zinoviev successfully filled both before and after 1917. In an attempt to dispel these myths, he looks in detail at Zinoviev's activities before the revolution citing instances where he disagreed with Lenin and the circumstances which led him to oppose the timing of the October coup. Charles Duval is concerned not so much with the myths of the defeated as with the ignoring of the victorious, la. M. Sverdlov died at the age of 33 in 1919. He was then at the height of his powers as chairman of the Central Executive Committee of th£ Soviets and head of the party Secretariat. Since 1919 the image of Sverdlov has been that of a "good" Old Bolshevik; a loyal disciple of Lenin who faithfully carried out orders. Professor Duval be­ lieves this view to be "simplistic and superficial." To correct it, he presents an overview of Sverdlov's career from the time he became a revolutionary in Nizhnii Novgorod in 1902, through his elevation to the Bolshevik Central Committee in 1912, to his all important behind-the-scenes

8 organizational work in 1917. Sverdlov’s talents were those of an organizer and a manipulator but one who was attentive to detail and who always kept his finger on the pulse of the party rank-and-file. In many respects, Stalin was more the heir of Sverdlov than he was of Lenin. If for no other reason than this, Sverdlovfs principles and practices de­ serve a thorough reconsideration. If Zinoviev has been damned by history and Sverdlov glossed over, then, according to Barbara Clements, Aleksandra Kollontai has been unfairly ridiculed both in the West and in the Soviet Union. Western journalists have seen her as a "cultured but promiscuous noblewoman who' preached revolution and practiced free love" while western scholars have largely ignored her perhaps because of their own anti-female bias. Soviet commentators, on the other hand, branded her a narrow bourgeois feminist and distorted her theoretical work so as to discredit her participation in two major opposition movements. These myths of liber­ tine and feminist have, concludes Professor Clements, ob­ scured Kollontai1s contributions as a serious theorist on the woman question, an agitator during the revolution and Civil War, the head of the Commissariat of Social Welfare and the party’s Woman’s Bureau, and as a respected Soviet diplomat. "The elucidation of the Lenin-Stalin relationship is probably still the most outstanding weakness of the Stalin biographies" according to Herbert Ellison. He notes that official Soviet biographers see Stalin as the "major dis­ ciple of a deified Lenin" whereas anti-Stalin Marxists such as Trotsky and Medvedev try to dissociate Lenin from Stalin and from the subsequent negative aspects of the latter's reign. Recent western biographers of Stalin have not sought to resolve these differences or to analyze systemat­ ically the relationship between the two Bolshevik leaders. Mr. Ellison suggests that Lenin purposely elevated Stalin to positions of great power in the Orgburo, Politburo, Secretariat, Rabkrin, etc.,— despite Stalin's weak per­ formance during the Civil War— precisely because he needed Stalin’s drive, organizational abilities and ruthlessness so as to preserve the party’s preeminent role in the face of factional opposition. He finds that Lenin's late dis­ illusionment with his protege was a result: of Stalin's 'rudeness and tactics with respect to crushing the national minorities and not because of his abuse of power as is sometimes argued. Stalin therefore remains Lenin’s "main legacy" and not an aberration of the first Soviet leader.

9 While an observer at the Banff Conference or the read­ er of these papers might conclude that western scholarly attention is still being fruitfully concentrated on the Russian revolutionary movements, other evidence suggests to the contrary. It is curious that a number of the scholars mentioned previously as having contributed sub­ stantially during the 1950s and early 1960s to our knowl­ edge of revolutionary history have now chosen to move off into other fields. It is perhaps understandable but nevertheless distressing that first-class graduate stu­ dents are being guided into supposedly more virgin areas of historical research before the major problems of 1917 have been resolved. It is discouraging that some of the leading foundations, after having given generously to earlier investigations of the CPSU and the Menshevik move­ ment, have now decided to concentrate their financial sup­ port in more "relevant” topics. The history of the Russian Revolution, perhaps the most important event of the twen­ tieth century, remains to be written. It is hoped that the following reconsiderations on that momentous year might provide a few new insights and dispel a few old stereotypes and thereby contribute to a renewed*interest in this major undertaking.


I do not belong to that group of scholars who consid er the Bolshevik take-over of power in October 1917 to be primarily the result of a chance configuration of factors and conditions. There Is, of course» no doubt that there existed a number of alternatives and possibilities for de­ velopment. But when judging them» we aré often guilty of being unable to shake off completely those ideas, terms and experiences which were typical for the developed countries, especially in western Europe, and which have formed the foundation of contemporary theoretical, ideological and political thought. We often seem to prefer those alter­ natives which confirm this tradition of thought, while con­ sidering other alternatives as random or temporary. The developed countries, however, represent only the smaller, even if highly influential part of the contemporary world. The question arises, therefore, as to whether and to what extent their experiences and ideals are of general validity and to what extent they represent or can represent the fu­ ture of the world. A line of thinking which became apparent in Czechoslo­ vak his torio graphy since 1967 has certain common ground with recent western historical work without, however, shar­ ing certain ideological points of departure. This is also true of some of the work done by Soviet historians. This line of thinking takes into account the disparity of world development and its consequences, which are reflected in processes usually designated in the West as the "industri­ alization," "modernization" or "Europeanization" of back­ ward countries. Western historiography often follows these processes from the point of view of reproducing in the un­ derdeveloped countries, the structures and relationships which are typical for the developed countries. While such side effects as the growth of nationalism and its specific , manifestations on the international scene and the specific forms of solving economic, social and cultural problems are taken into account, nevertheless, there is an inclination to clarify these phenomena within the framework of con­ vergence theories.

Reiman: Spontaneity and Planning


It is my contention, however, that the process of "modernization11 and "Europeanization" is characterized not only by the development of modern economic, social and cultural structures, which have a tendency to follow models provided by the developed countries, but also by the development of very complex social structures in which modern phenomena are intermixed with domestic trends in­ herent to and unique in particular civilizations. Spe­ cific structures are thus developed, which we may call "combined" structures, which have their own dynamics and laws of development, and are in many aspects fundamentally different from similar processes in developed European countries. These aspects have been used in our thinking concerning the history of the Russian Revolution. In the middle of the nineteenth century domestic Rus­ sian socio-economic and cultural structures, which since the time of Peter the Great had been under the long-term pressure of European influences, entered a stage probably comparable to the situation in western Europe at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth cen­ tury. The accelerated development of transportation, large-scale industry, banking, market agriculture, etc., did not occur and could not have occurred, both because of naturally existing complications in the economic and social life, and especially because of a number of artificial measures by which the state attempted to ensure its mili­ tary requirements and the status of Russia in the system of European and world relations. Another reason for this de­ layed development was the penetration of foreign capital into Russia which, together with increasing ties of the Russian economy and culture with fhe rest of the world, led to the rise of new situations and interests. Russian economic development had for a long time been taking place on a relatively limited domestic foundation and was still anticipating the maturity of numerous fea­ tures typical of an industrial society. As T. G. Masaryk very aptly noted, two Russias came into being: a new Euro­ pean Russia, and an old Ryssia, carrying the burden of prePetrine culture and civilization. Modernization changed the nature and content of Russian life, but was retroac­ tively influenced by the backwardness of the empire. The development of new economic forms often assured the ex­ ploitation and conservation of backward conditions which acted as a brake upon more rapid progress. Only a very limited stratum of the population reaped the fruits of "Europeanization," while for others this same "European-


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ization" often brought further burdens to bear or obstacles to realizing their interests and immediate needs. The growth of large-scale industry required fundamen­ tal changes in the fabric of Russian life. It was the Rus­ sian industrial bourgeoisie or other upper strata of bour­ geois society which were to implement this change. How­ ever, the presence of foreign capital and the specific role of tsarism led to a situation where the growth and maturity of the Russian bourgeoisie could not keep abreast of the rate of development of the capitalist economy. Among the various strata of the bourgeoisie, the liberal landowners and part of the intelligentsia were becoming predominant. Thus, under conditions of tsarism, the Russian bour­ geoisie did not gain experience in ruling, in solving so­ cial problems and conflicts. The development of the mid­ dle classes, so typical of industrial societies, was meager in Russia and did not provide the bourgeoisie with a suf­ ficient social foundation. Its ideological and political influence upon the masses therefore remained limited. Most important of all, the bourgeois movement only weakly and insufficiently mirrored the specific interests of the pop­ ular masses, i.e., the peasantry and other small-scale pro­ ducers. While it is true that this phenomenon was not uniquely Russian, in Russia it was more pronounced and ex­ tensive. The bourgeoisie and the popular masses were di­ vided by the great differences in economic conditions of the Russian urban centers: large-scale production in some, and small-scale production with patriarchal or early cap­ italist characteristics in others. They were also separ­ ated by very large differences in civilization, in modes of thinking and in goals. To this we must add the weak­ nesses of the bourgeoisie and the manner in which it was formed, as well as the fact that the bourgeoisie in the urban areas had a strong opponent in the working class and other plebian strata which came forward with socialist slo­ gans and resisted existing forms of "modernizing" Russia. Large segments of the peasantry and small-scale producers sought their political representation outside bourgeois politics and often tended toward those political streams which differentiated their program from that of the liberal bourgeoisie (for instance, the Socialist Revolutionaries). The goals, interests and status of tfie workers, the 'peasantry and other small-scale producers differed in many aspects but much also brought them together. This made it possible to form a dividing line for the social upheaval in Russia, for a Russian plebian revolution, fostered above

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all by the socialist parties. These parties, despite numer­ ous and far-reaching internal contradictions, reflected the complex nature of the situation on behalf of the popular masses• In Russia there came to maturity simultaneously two very different social upheavals which sought entirely con­ tradictory results. In the plebian camp, the socialist workers represented the leading urban element of the ple­ bian revolution and this necessarily left its imprint upon the nature of the maturing revolution. When I speak of a revolutionary solution and the in­ terconnection of the two upheavals, I do so conditionally. As a matter of fact, in Russia after 1905 there existed the possibility of evolutionary changes which during the years just before the war achieved substantial results. The First World War, however, wiped out such a possibil­ ity, led to a complete breakdown in the existing system of Russian life, and intensified social contradictions which ended in revolution. From the very first moments of the 1917 Revolution, the dualism of the upheaval was evident— a dualism which reflected the above-mentioned dualism of Russian life. In spite of the fact that the revolutionary front against tsarism and the old regime was at first united on a number of questions, the plebian traits of the upheaval became predominant over its bourgeois, democratic, European traits. This was very clearly apparent in the role played by the Soviets. No government could exist or rule without the consent and support of the Soviets. The problem of the Soviets in the Russian Revolution is sometimes judged very narrowly from the point of view of the activities of party and political groupings of var­ ious kinds in the struggle for power. In fact, far more was at stake. The revolution opened the path to complet­ ing the structure of Russian society, which during the revolution underwent a very stormy growth and development and was to become the foundation of a new form of govern­ ment. The bourgeois upheaval had as its aim the construc­ tion of certain forms of a European parliamentary system, which would have incorporated the previously existing selfgoverning zemstvos and urban dumas. These bodies, however, had predominantly been in the hands of the propertied classes before the revolution. The plebian revolution was only partially and temporarily willing to take these at­ tempts into consideration. It was constructing its own parallel structure of civil and governmental society.


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represented by the Soviets and by a whole system of popular organizations. In spite of the fact that this development was at first largely spontaneous, the plebian revolution in fact was beginning to constitute itself into definite state and social structures, which secured its most important re­ sults and eliminated similar possibilities for a bourgeois upheaval. From a theoretical point of view, a bourgeois upheaval in 1917 was not unfortuitous. Its realization, however, was dependent upon the rapid solution of at least three problems: terminating the war, carrying out an agrarian revolution, and satisfying the essential demands of thé national minorities. Bourgeois policy could have met these demands only under one condition— a decisive victory by the Entente over the Central Powers. In all other situations, the realization of these demands not only clearly damaged the interests of the bourgeoisie, but directly threatened its existence (for instance, the relation between largescale industry and large-scale agricultural production, the role of the landowners in bourgeois politics, the integrat­ ed economy of the former empire, the feasibility of being at war while carrying out an agrarian reform). Hence, the solution of these problems had to be postponed and thus all possibilities and opportunities were lost. The chasm between the bourgeois and plebian tendencies of the upheaval very rapidly increased and beginning with April 1917 led to a continual series of crises. The events of July and August clearly demonstrated that the bourgeoi­ sie did not have sufficient strength; it became clear that its foundation was limited and that it was incapable of de­ ciding the situation in its own favor, as far as power was concerned, or of defending itself in the face of the on­ slaught of the plebian revolution and its demands. The complete victory of the plebian revolution became a logi­ cal alternative together with the transfer of power to the Soviets. In the autumn of 1917, after the defeat of General Kornilov, the only things still to be decided were the forms and subsequent structures of the victorious plebian take­ over. The Bolsheviks were not the only members of the ple­ bian camp, which also included the more moderate socialist parties. This made it possible for these parties to par­ ticipate in the plebian revolution and the take-over of power. The moderate socialist parties were, however, too enmeshed with traditional European thinking concerning the nature of bourgeois upheavals, their possibilities and

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alternatives. They thus tried to oppose a plebian solution to the revolution and thereby lost their historical oppor­ tunity, which could have been exceptionally important for the further development of the revolution. They were, in fact, preparing conditions under which the victory of the plebian upheaval would become the monopoly of the Bolshe­ viks. On the basis of what has been said, we have formed certain prerequisites for an interpretation of Bolshevik policy during the autumn of 1917. The Bolsheviks were the only political party in Russia which directed their entire policy toward a successful plebian overthrow or, as they considered it, a socialist upheaval. Acknowledgment of this fact alone should make it impossible for us to look upon the victory of the Bolsheviks as being the result of an arbitrary take-over of power or as the product of a random accumulation of factors. Soviet historians explain the victory of the October Revolution largely in terms of the purposeful activities of the Bolshevik Party and in the realization of the party's plans and intentions. Western authots who consider the October Revolution to be an arbitrary act of power seem to have the same point of departure. Detailed analysis, how­ ever, shows that the Bolsheviks in many respects only pro­ vided final forms to what were essentially spontaneous processes in. which the existing regime was disintegrating and the popular movement was growing. It is true that their policy was full of compromises, improvisations, chance activities and reactions. But it is also true that the policy and activities of the party played an important role in the culmination of the plebian revolution. Soviet historiography, as well as numerous western authors, have for a long time based their work on the thesis that Bolshevik policy during the autumn of 1917 was orientated toward preparations for an armed uprising and that this uprising was the basic reason for their victory. It is my opinion that this>yiew is fundamentally distorted. The victory of the Bolsheviks vas decided above all not by military events but by political factors. Calculating the armed power at the disposal of the Bolsheviks in October 1917 tells us almost nothing essential about their triumph. A characteristic of the situation in the autumn of 1917 was the rapid increase in Bolshevik influence. This can be seen in the results of elections held in the two capitals, on the Northern and Western Fronts, in the Baltic


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Navy and in military units stationed in Finland, where, in each instance, the Bolsheviks gained majorities. In view of the social and political structure of Russia, these elections were exceptionally important, even if they did not necessarily prove decisive. The Bolsheviks, of course, did not have the support of the majority of the population. Much depended on political tactics. This can be demon­ strated by the different course the revolution took in the two main cities, Petrograd and Moscow. The key problem in the autumn of 1917 was the stand taken by the Soviets. A successful Bolshevik overthrow outside the framework of the Soviets, or even more so against the Soviets, was very improbable and perhaps im­ possible. Nevertheless, it is the role of the Soviets in the general context of Bolshevik policy and the Bolshevik overthrow which is so often under-estimated. One of the reasons for this is the manner in which contemporary his­ toriography understands the situation in the Bolshevik Party and the real weight of various currents inside the party. Opinions within the Bolshevik Party concerning the po­ litical tactics were not united. The majority of histori­ cal work written on the subject reports only the differing opinions of L, B. Kamenev and G. E. Zinoviev, who were against an independent take-over of power by the Bolshe­ viks. Even if these opinions were important, for the ac­ tual development of the situation it seems very likely that they were not decisive. From the point of view of the po­ litical tactics, the contradictions existing between Lenin and the majority of the Central Committee were more signif­ icant. In the autumn of 1917 Lenin suggested reviving the slogan "All Power to the Soviets" (see his article "On Com­ promises"). But shortly thereafter he abandoned this stand. The slogan at that time still meant that political power should pass into the hands of political parties and tendencies represented in the Soviets. Lenin correctly un­ derstood that the moderate socialist parties were against such a solution and he did not wish to depend too much upon uncertain and complex developments within the Soviets. He therefore advanced the slogan of a Bolshevik overthrow and gave preference to the military and technical aspects of the problem. There was the possibility that the overthrow could take place under the guise of the Petrograd and Mos­ cow Soviets, where the Bolsheviks had majorities, but he felt the struggle to gain power in the Soviets and the

Reiman: Spontaneity and Planning


formal take-over of power by a congress of Soviets would involve a dangerous delay. Another distorted view of the October overthrow holds that Lenin's opinions were identical with Bolshevik policy. The facts show this was not so. The majority of the Cen­ tral Committee did not share Lenin's views. On 24 Septem­ ber 1917 a meeting of party workers in Petrograd decided to adopt their own policy which assumed a gradual change in the membership of the Soviets and their executive bodies, the taking over of power by local Soviets, and the conven­ ing of regional and later all-Russian congresses of Soviets which would proclaim the overthrow. The resolution at this meeting was drafted by L. D. Trotsky and the main speech was made by N. I. Bukharin. The concept of this majority in the Central Committee gained supremacy within the party, and the Bolsheviks ap­ peared before the public as a group struggling for the im­ plementation of the will of the Soviets. Lenin, who at that time still was in the underground and separated from the party hierarchy, did not have sufficient means at his disposal to push through his own concepts. If we confront the stream of events with the various proposals, we must come to the conclusion that the majority in the Central Committee was on the whole successful in realizing its plans and that this ensured a mass foundation and politi­ cal support for the overthrow. I do not, of course, wish to say that Lenin's sugges­ tions were .unimportant. He gradually was able to influence a part of the Petrograd party organizations and thus force the Bolshevik Central Committee to modify its policy. On 10 October 1917 the Bolshevik Central Committee decided, under strong pressure by Lenin, to adopt the policy of an armed uprising. Bolshevik tradition, as well as a large number of historians, consider this meeting to be decisive. In my opinion, this assessment should be reconsidered. This resolution was adopted ten days before the an­ ticipated opening of the Second Congress of Soviets and fourteen days before its.^ptual convocation. It could no longer change either the basic motivation or the concept of the overthrow. Not enough time remained for that. A change in concept was moreover much more dangerous than a modification of the existing plan. Lenin's suggestions therefore met with resistance on the part of the "practi­ tioners," which merged with resistance among members of the party leadership. But on 16 October, at a new and en­ larged meeting of the Central Committee, a compromise was


Reiman: Spontaneity and Planning

reached. Lenin's stand was merged with a general orienta­ tion toward the Congress of Soviets and a take-over of power by the Soviets. The definite concept of the .Bol­ sheviks was thus nothing but a combination of two differ­ ent concepts existing within the Central Committee where it was felt that the uprising could play a substantive role only in connection with the general orientation to­ ward a seizure of power by the Soviets. No political overthrow, even less a social overthrow, can exist with­ out ensuring power. There were no substantial disagree­ ments on this point. The real importance of Lenin's pressure and his sug­ gestions lay not so much in his change of political tac­ tics as in his influence upon the distribution of power within the party and upon the fundamental understanding of power. He was able to bring about an isolation of thos.e members of the Bolshevik leadership (Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov and others) who wanted a coalition with other social­ ist parties. Lenin was able to implement a policy whereby Soviet power was understood as power of the Bolshevik Party implemented through the Soviets. Thus he made a very strong impact not only upon the nature of the October up­ rising, but upon the whole subsequent course of the revo­ lution. The October Revolution was won in a relatively rapid and easy manner, if we are speaking of its first phase (that is, prior to the spring and summer of 1918), precise­ ly because it was not a coup d retat> but a political and social upheaval. The idea that it was a random occurrence is often the consequence of rejecting its results while at the same time misunderstanding its specific traits. Plebian revolutions in general, and especially one which oc­ curs in a backward country such as Russia, cannot be ideal­ ized. They are cruel and drastic affairs. But this does not mean that they must be chance occurrences. In all revolutions which have social equality as their great ideal, there is always the problem of not only what the revolution proclaims, but also what it can in fact accom­ plish. The October Revolution was a complex phenomenon. It combined very contradictory and even opposing trends, which caused the contradictory and varied nature of its results. ' It intertwined the socialist movement of the workers, peas­ ant agrarian movements, a general rejection of the war, and numerous nationalist movements. This was later the cause of various frictions within the revolution. The plebian

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revolution also destroyed numerous by-products of "modern­ ization" and "Europeanization," which had been of vital im­ portance to Russia and which later had to be restored and rebuilt on new foundations. Upon all this was superimposed the resistance of classes and strata defeated by the revo­ lution as well as the conflict of the revolution with the surrounding world. All this was the cause of further dra­ matic and drastic developments,jwhich brought about excep­ tionally large sacrifices. The October Revolution may thus appear to some as a historical adventure with too high a price tag. But this assessment, which is based on subse­ quent developments, was not the outlook of the revolution itself and could in no way have brought about changes in those conditions which very logically caused this "adven-

SPONTANEITY IN THE FORMATION OF THE WORKERS1 MILITIA AND RED GUARDS, 1917 Rex A. Wade One of the overriding concerns of the revolution was the problem of possession of arms and the formation of var­ ious types of ,,militia11 and other popular armed bands. The creation of such armed bands coincided with the revolution and continued throughout 1917. The first efforts at arming the citizens during the February Revolution had two funda­ mental purposes: to repel counter-revolutionary moves ex­ pected from the-old regime and to form some sort of rudi­ mentary domestic security force, in place of the tsarist police, which could patrol the streets and maintain order and security from criminal elements and drunks. This gen­ eral agreement on the role of volunteer armed bands was short-lived, however, as the fear of a tsarist counter­ revolution and the euphoria of revolutionary triumph gave way to deep-seated class and political antagonisms and to conflicting views of the purpose and goals of the revolu­ tion. For the working class especially there was a strong sense of a need to possess arms and to have their own armed organizations for defense of their rights. From there it was only a short step to the conception that such armed forces were necessary not only to defend the freedoms al­ ready won, but to move Russia forward towards the goal of a government more attuned to their own aspirations— that is, as a force to be used in a new revolution. One of the most important questions about the develop­ ment of these armed groups concerns the role of spontaneity and leadership in their formation. To what degree were they spontaneous, self-organized and locally led? How much guidance, coordination and leadership did they receive from higher revolutionary bodies such as the Petrograd Soviet? The author wishes to express his appreciation to the Committee on International Exchange of Persons (FulbrightHays Program) and to the National Endowment for the Human­ ities for support of this research.

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These important and long-belabored questions concerning the relationship of spontaneity and leadership as well as the function of popular lower-level armed groups in a revolu­ tionary situation will be reconsidered through an examina­ tion of groups such as the militia and Red Guards in Petrograd. Before proceeding further it might be well to pause for a moment on the troublesome word "spontaneous," which conjures up different images for different people. This paper is concerned with spontaneity in connection with the process of self-organization in 1917, particularly of armed bands. Several kinds, or degrees, of spontaneity in self­ organization can be distinguished. They might be categor­ ized, in descending order of spontaneity, thusly: 1) total spontaneity in the sense of a wholly unprompted effort on the part of impromptu groups of individuals, previously un­ associated or only loosely associated, to organize and act in the face of momentous social and political events; 2) the organization of local bodies of authority (militia or other) by people belonging to some existing social entity (school, association, factory) and acting through its fa­ cilities, composed primarily of people belonging to this unit but without its formal sanction; 3) the self-author­ ized formation of local bodies of authority by some pre­ viously existing non-governmental organization acting be­ yond its traditional sphere of competence; 4) self-organized as above but in response to appeals, urgings or directives from authoritative political bodies (such as the Petrograd Soviet). All of these suggest strong local initiative and would be in contrast to efforts to organize a militia or other body by a central authority (such as the Petrograd Soviet or city duma) using its own agents. Such efforts might, however, evoke a great popular response and a good deal of individual spontaneous activity. This definition pertains primarily to the first period of mili­ tia-formation during and just after the February Revolu­ tion. Carrying the definition into the problem of spon­ taneity in later militia organization, it would be modified by noting that spontaneity would be characterized as the attempt throughout 1917 to form better organized permanent armed bands by 1) the militiamen themselves, 2) the factory committees, raion Soviets, local political leaders and com­ mittees acting with and for the militiamen, 3) the above acting on the urging, but not direct orders, of a higher political leadership. The key in the working definition is that the initiative comes "from below," from among the


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workers, citizens and the lowest level of political lead­ ers, men who seem to be reflecting mass aspirations rather than following higher party or political directives. In an extremely fluid situation such as in 1917 the dividing line between spontaneous and non-spontaneous is, obviously, often almost impossible to distinguish: spon­ taneous activity rarely leaves clear or extensive records. Still, the distinction is critical to an understanding of the revolutionary process in 1917. The purpose of this essay, therefore, is to reconsider the role of spontaneity in the February days and to comment on continuing spon­ taneity throughout 1917 by studying the formation of armed bands such as the workers1 militia and Red Guards. The formation of popular armed bands in the February Revolution resulted from both a spontaneous reaction to the events of late February 1917 and conscious efforts by the leaders thrown up by the revolution to call forth such. In this process the element of spontaneity predom­ inated. There seems to have been little effort to arm the workers during the disturbances leading up to the revolu­ tion on 27 February. At a meeting of local Bolshevik lead­ ers as late as 26 February, for example, the suggestion to organize fighting detachments of workers was overruled as impractical. On the morning of the 27th, when the garrison was beginning to mutiny, Alexander Shliapnikov, probably the leading Boshevik then in Petrograd, responded to a de­ mand for arming the workers by reaffirming the earlier po­ sition. 1 It is worth noting that the demand for arms seems to have represented pressure from below on the political leaders and was being resisted by the latter. Once the troops mutinied, the situation changed dra­ matically. The workers— and others— began to seize arms and to organize themselves. There does not appear to have been much in the way of organized bands created on the 27th. Rather, that day witnessed mostly spontaneous and transitory groups of workers, soldiers and others who com­ bined for a specific objective, such as the taking of a police station, and then dissolved. More permanent, co­ hesive groupings were rare. Toward the evening of the 27th, however, they began to form. The earliest, surpris­ ingly, came from the outlying areas rather than from the central city or main workers' districts. In the Obukhov raion on the southern edge of the city, a "revolutionary committee" was set up late on the 27th and armed workers' detachments organized and sent on patrols. This was done

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in relative isolation from the rest of the revolution. The only other militia organization about which there is posi­ tive information on the 27th was in the Paliustrovskii rai°n on the northeastern outskirts of the city, where V. I. Startsev cites the formation of a militia at the op­ tical factory under the leadership of a local Bolshevik.2 What clearly did exist on the 27th was the workers’ will to arm and assert.themselves, prior to any prompting by polit­ ical leaders, and the first groping efforts towards forma­ tion of more permanent armed forces. The organization of a militia really came only on the 28th, both in the sense that on that date a large number of armed bands were formed and in the sense that on the 28th four centers can be identified as attempting to give lead­ ership and organization to the drive toward self-armament: the newly formed Petrograd Soviet, the city duma (city council), the Temporary Committee of the State Duma, and the Committee for Military-Technical Assistance. Of these, the Petrograd Soviet and the city duma were to play the most important role in militia affairs in the long-run, but the other two played a role in turning popular revolution­ ary enthusiasm along somewhat contrp,lled lines and getting organized popular armed forces on.*-the street during the first days of the revolution. The question of organizing a militia was one of the first to face the Petrograd Soviet when it opened its cha­ otic inaugural meeting about 9 p.m. on 27 February. At some point, probably about 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. but perhaps much later, M. A. Brounshtein, a Menshevik active in local economic organizations, proposed to the Soviet that it send a directive to each factory to form a militia consisting of 100 men for every 1,000 workers. This directive would be carried home by the returning deputies. He also proposed the appointment of commissars in the various districts of the city to direct the effort to keep order and to combat anarchy and pogroms. This was accepted. Although the Soviet took no formal steps to implement this decision, presumably some of the deputies played a role in forming militia units after they, returned home about 4 a.m. the morning of the 28th. The Executive Committee of the Petro­ grad Soviet opened its first meeting after the Soviet ad­ journed, shortly after 4 a.m. on 28 February. It worked out a directive on the forming of militia on the basis of 100 militiamen to each 1,000 workers. Several gathering places scattered around the city were designated where militiamen were to receive arms and instructions. The


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instructions on forming a militia appeared that afternoon th© second issue of I z v & S ’b'U'va* The same meeting of the goviet Executive Committee also appointed some candidates for commissars but, with the exception of A. V. Peshekhonov on the Petrograd side, they apparently did little or noth­ ing. 3 How much influence the Soviet actions had is hard to tell. They could not have any influence before the depu­ ties returned home after 4 a.m. on the 28th. There are instances of militia being formed the morning of the 28th that mention the Soviet decision, such as that in the Porokhov raion on the northeastern edge of the city which was created at about 9 a.m. These instructions must have been carried by word of mouth. ** The newspaper account, coming in the afternoon, would have influenced only the second wave of militia-formation. The Executive Committee put Alexander Shliapnikov in charge of militia affairs, but his own memoirs make it clear that he did little but receive reports* and made virtually no effort to direct the formation of workers' militia.5 The Soviet's role seems to have been largely exhortative. It should be emphasized that in all this the Soviet leaders were giving little or no thought to permanent organization or functions; they were concerned with the immediate task of mobilizing armed strength to meet an expected attack from tsarist defenders and with problems of basic public order in the city— drunks, random shooting, looting, etc. Nor did the so­ cialist parties organizing the Soviet attempt much in this direction. Even Bolshevik memoirists are in general agree­ ment in stressing the spontaneous and self-directing nature of these early organizational efforts, especially in the formation of armed workers' detachments. About the most they claim for the party is that its local leaders gave some political direction to these strivings or that their earlier schooling of the Petrograd proletariat was influ­ ential. Some of the earliest writers scarcely go this far. The first Bolshevik historian-memoirist of the militia-Red Guard movement, P. Georgievskii, and another early writer on the Red Guards, V. Malakhovskii, both stress the imme­ diate, instinctive drive of the workers towards formation of armed bands, "not waiting for the call of leaders and par ties.1,6Indeed, throughout their history down to October, the workers' militia and Red Guards for the most part are locally organized and directed. They are perhaps the ex­ ample par-excellence of local initiative and assertiveness in the revolution.

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One rather curious organization apparently played a role in getting militia patrols on the streets on 28 Feb­ ruary: the Committee for Military-Technical Assistance, which united various scientific and technical associations and took the lead in forming militia units among the stu­ dents in the city's technical institutes. Here is an ex­ ample of an existing organization which undertook to act beyond its old sphere of activity. It published two ap­ peals in the Izvestiia revoliutsionnoi nedeli of 28 Feb­ ruary. In a declaration to "Citizens!," it asserted that only by a quick restoration of order in the streets would the final victory of the people be secured and called on them to assist in the establishment of order and to obey the patrols. It outlined an elaborate system of patrols which included an automobile with a white flag which would make the rounds of the patrols each hour and report the results to the "bureau." The patrols and their commanders were to make sure that each check point was occupied by the patrol under arms, deal with drunks and reckless shoot­ ing, and prevent looting of shops and arson. This appeal assumed a fairly well-organized militia. No record has survived of a militia bearing the n^ime of the Committee, however. Still, the specificness of organization and ac­ tivity and the present tense of verbs tempts one to be­ lieve that the Committee either may have already formed such a militia when the proclamation was drawn up or else intended this as a blueprint for one it planned to launch shortly. If this was only a wish, a guideline for groups coming into being, it might have had some influence on their organization, since it is the earliest published in­ structions for militia organization and activity. Most likely, it was a guideline for militia units being formed at the technical schools (where some were organized the 28th), since immediately after the above appeal another one was issued addressed to students calling on them to join at their places of study "organizations for maintain­ ing Petrograd." It is difficult to tell, for evidence is scarce, but it is possible that the Committee for Military-Technical .Assistance was active in organizing these student militias in the* technical schools. Although its exact role remains unclear, as an organization willing to step into the vacuum of street-level leadership and having provided the earliest published guidelines for mi­ litia organization and behavior, it almost certainly played a significant role. Zigfrid Kel'son, one of the earliest and best memoirists of the militia, confirms this


Wade: Workers Militia and Red Guards

hypothesis. Indeed he emphasizes, and other references bear him out, that students were very active in the first flush of militia activity and that student-inspired pa­ trols were among the first on the streets. In some in­ stances their professors played a role. Student involve­ ment also was encouraged by an appeal signed by the "stu­ dent group of S.D., student group of S.R., student group of Bund" which appeared in I z v e s t t i a on 1 March. Student activity on other than an individual basis quickly waned, however. Distinctly student militia units soon disap­ peared altogether except for one in the Petrograd raion which continued for some time as part of the city militia.7 The activities of the Temporary Committee of the State Duma and of the city duma were directed primarily towards rapid restoration of order. The former concerned itself primarily with the disposition of army units, through its Military Commission, but also gave some attention to the citizens1 militia. Although the Duma Committee did not undertake to form a militia, it issued a number of appeals and instructions which contributed to the early self-or­ ganized armed bands. At 2:00 a.m. on the 28th it appealed to the residents of Petrograd to protect public institu­ tions and equipment, government buildings, factories, and other places. It also issued a set of rules for "military units and the people’s militia" to follow in making arrests which listed categories of people subject to arrest: ine­ briates, burglars, arsonists, people shooting in the air and otherwise disrupting order, former police, and persons making illegal arrests and searches. The order, published on 1 March, also listed places to take arrested persons.8 It is impossible to tell how much influence this had. It is strikingly similar to rules of behavior set forth by various self-created militia units and, given its date, may have influenced them. While the similarity in contents may simply have grown out of the same set of problems, such an authoritative statement probably was welcomed and used by many of the self-constituted militia patrols of the first days. Generally, the State Duma’s role was minimal but its prestige was great and its sanction was sought by many self-organized groups. The city duma played a much more active and permanent role in militia affairs, although it was the last of these four organizations to enter the scene. Only on the evening of 28 February did it move to fill the void left by the disappearance of the old police. It named Dimitri Kryzhanovskii, an architect, as commander of the city

Wade: Workers Militia and Red Guards


militia. That evening Kxyzhanovskii and hla associates set to work* sending commissars across the city to organize lo­ cal militia districts (basically along the boundaries of the old police districts). Their job was both to establish authority qvçr existing militia bands and to form new, city militia units. They were successful in the city center, less so in the working-class districts where already exist­ ing workers' militia units resisted the efforts of "bour­ geois” city officials to establish authority over them. Although established through governmental action, its staff and patrols during the first weeks were wholly volunteer and an enormous number of men-— and women— turned up at militia headquarters to volunteer their services, if only for a day. The new city militia administration, however, was concerned primarily with harnessing this revolutionary enthusiasm in order to maintain public order, and then to turn to the task of creating a new type of city police. Their volunteers, unlike the workers, did not have any particular interest in maintaining a special, class-orient­ ed, armed body outside the regular governmental structure. Therefore, the spontaneous period of the city militia passed in a few weeks and it turned' toward becoming a regular, paid police, force.9 7 Several organizations, then, moved on the 28th into the void left by the collapse of the old police authori­ ties in an effort to provide leadership and direction to the armed bands springing up from varied sources. It should be stressed that many of the early efforts to or­ ganize a militia were appeals to the population in gener­ al, lacking any clear class lines, which tended to be ob­ scured in the revolutionary euphoria and the sense of com­ mon danger. Many called for a "peoplesfM (narodnaia) mi­ litia or lacked any kind of qualifying adjective. These efforts from above to call forth a militia met a spontane­ ous drive in the same direction from the populace. In un­ derstanding this drive, it is essential to remember the combination of exaltation and of fear— for personal secur­ ity as much as for the .{jplitical future— that intermingled in people's minds in those days when the crash of the old order brought the destruction not only of the hated polit­ ical police but also of all .those ordinary police who pro­ tected individuals and property from criminal activities. The sense of insecurity was heightened as word spread that the destruction of the prisons on the 27th had released ordinary criminals along with the "politicals" and as tales of robbery, attacks, and looting circulated. This sense


Wade: Workers Militia and Red Guards

of crisis combined with the tremendous surge of self-asser­ tion and self-organization released by the revolution to cause the self-creation of voluntary militia units which needed only the slightest, if any, encouragement from above. A look at some of the first militia organizations themselves will help to understand their origins and na­ ture and their relationship to the above-mentioned politi­ cal organizations. Militia organizations from varied sources sprang to full life the 28th. The first few issues of the newspa­ pers after the revolution provide numerous examples of militia units being formed in factories and other places; memoir accounts list many others. There was a wide vari­ ety of types of militia formed during the first two or three days but they can be broken down into three broad types: those made up almost entirely of workers, those composed mainly of students and soldiers, and those of heterogeneous composition. In fact, even these lines were blurred. One c’an identify also three main types of insti­ tutional-geographical base for the self-organized militias corresponding roughly to the above types: a factory, a school or other semi-public institution, or a "residents111 or "citizens,,f committee in a locality. Some examples will tielp to illustrate the variety of militia organiza­ tions and how they were formed, as well as their varying objectives. The developments on Vasilevskii Island, a geographi­ cally and historically clearly identified entity, are es­ pecially instructive since a number of militia organiza­ tions of differing types were formed on the island in the early stages of the revolution. Particularly interesting is the militia formed by the Organizational Committee of the Mining Institute on 28 February. The Organizational Committee, composed of three professors and fifteen stu­ dents, was formed some time during the 28th and by its own description "entered into relations with the Temporary Revolutionary Government [Duma Committee] and was con­ firmed the evening of 28 February by the commandant of the State Duma." It chose a Militia Commission which, from the evening of 28 February, took upon itself armed secur­ ity for large parts of the island. It mounted patrols consisting of ten soldiers of the Finland Regiment (quar„ tered in the area) and one student, who acted as command­ er.10 At about the same time a similar militia, this one using the sailors of the Second Fleet, was organized by an ad hoc committee for maintenance of order which

Wade: Workers’Militia and Red Guards


patr oiled part of the same area of Vasilevskii Island, near the harbor. The composition of this committee is unknown.11 This type of militia, using soldiers and sailors to roVide the armed c o n t i n g e n t w h i l e among the first tó be organised, did not last beyond the first days of the r ©vou­ lut ion. Mote permanent was the type of workers1 militia formed at the Petrograd Gable Factory, also located in the harbor area of Vasilevskii Island* At a meeting either late on 28 February or on 1 March, thé factory committee decided to organize a "peoples1 militia.11 Learning about the militia organized by the ad hoe committee using sail0tSf the factory committee decided that they must enter this committee and contribute their own militia. They de­ cided to ask a general factory meeting to approve à mill— tia of volunteers, at a ratio of 100 persons for each 1,000 workers, up to a total of 270. To secure arms, they ap­ pealed to both the citizenry and the Petrograd Soviet for guns.12 They apparently cooperated with the ad hoc com­ mittee at first, but soon established a purely workers’ militia commissariat in the area. Although information about their activities is less clear, a number of other workers’ militias were organized about the same time on the island and eventually coalesced into a number of subraion commissariats of workers’ militia. A completely different type of militia was formed in the first sub-raion located at the eastern end of the island which included a large number of government offices, the stock-market and the university. A "residents’ com­ mittee" was established which undertook to supervise ac­ tivities in that area and a militia was formed under one Justice of the Peace Drozdov. Although the composition of this militia is not indicated, it clearly was not made up of workers, for its existence caused continued agitation in the Vasilevskii Island Soviet of Workers Deputies until at least the second week of March. The militia commissariat in this area eventually came under the control of the city militia.13 There also was a student militia at the univer­ sity, which may have beçn part of Drozdov’s but probably was distinct.14 The militia on Vasilevskii Island, then, originated in different ways and from varied sources. Even after the chaotic first days of the revolution passed, this diversity persisted in that the island came to be divided into areas patrolled by militia under the authority of the city militia and areas where the militia gave allegiance to separate workers’ militia commissariats. What is striking is that almost all of the militia centers seem to have been


Wade: Workers1Militia and Red Guards

self-constituted, with little outside involvement beyond the possible influence of the various appeals of 28 Feb­ ruary . An interesting comparison to the situation on Vasilevskii Island was that of the Petrograd raion, lying just to the east across the Malaia Neva. The situation there was unique by virtue of the commissariat established on 28 February by A. P. Peshekhonov, a Popular Socialist leader and future minister in the Provisional Government. The only one of the Petrograd Soviet commissars to take an active role, he and his assistants managed to harness the revolutionary fervor and urge to self-organization well enough to bring the militia units under central control. It is also clear from his memoirs, however, that there were numerous armed bands and local self-appointed organizations that had to be brought under control after they were formed. That he was fairly successful is verified by a Soviet historian’s admission that workers’ militia units ’’all received their verification not from commissariats of workers’ militia, as on Vasilevskii Island, but from the raion commissariat of city militia [sic] under the signa­ ture of commissar V. M. Shakh,” Peshekhonov’s assistant.15 Apparently, then, Peshekhonov’s commissariat was able to establish a degree.of control over the militia in the Pet­ rograd raion, whatever its composition, that did not exist elsewhere. From what evidence exists it is apparent that 'Peshekhonov, alone among the numerous commissars and com­ mandants appointed by the Soviet and Duma Committee, man­ aged— or even made a concerted effort— to set up an allencompassing raion center of authority, including a cen­ tralized militia. How long the commissariat lasted is not clear, but apparently it remained in existence about three weeks or less. Militia patrols with similar objectives sprang up in other parts of the city, composed of varied social ele­ ments. A good example of the fluid nature of many of these organizations comes from the Litieny raion near the city center. There, apparently on 28 February, the workers of the Petrograd Cartridge Factory organized a militia com­ manded by one Sergei Komarov to guard the factory. How­ ever, they soon merged into the city militia of the 4th Litieny sub-raion under a Commissar Shekhter named by the .city duma. This militia had a mixed social,composition.16 Another militia of mixed composition was organized in the Kolomensk raion on the evening of 28 February by an appar­ ently self-constituted ’’supply (prodovolfstvennaia) com-

Wade: Workers’Militia and Red Guards


fission" of six persons. Its announced measures included the keeping of order by a "militia of soldiers and citizens under the direction of Lieutenant Grachev." They set up patrols and, apparently, devoted considerable time to tak­ ing away drunks.17 Neither ràion was included in the Soviet's list of gathering points for militia. The composition of the militia was determined gener­ ally by the composition of the local population. In work­ ing-class quarters self-organization, including militia, tended to be centered around places of work. This meant the formation of militia units with an entirely proletarian outlook and composition. A few examples from the first workers’ militia organizations are instructive. Reference has already been made to the patrols sent out by the "revo­ lutionary committee" in the Obukhov raion. One distinctive feature of the Obukhov unit is that while it was clearly a "workers" militia, it was not at first organized at a fac­ tory. The workers were out on strike and the grounds of the main factory, the Obukhov factory, were apparently un­ der control of regular factory guards. Only on 28 February was a meeting held in the factory, for general organiza­ tional purposes. This meeting ele&ted deputies to the Petrograd Soviet and voted to organize a "red fighting de­ tachment" to defend the new freedoms. Three detachments were organized. The author of a history of the factory claims that an important nucleus of this detachment was provided by "fighters from 1905." The Obukhov militia is one of the few instances that gives some identification of the party orientation of its organizers: the meeting on the 28th that organized the militia elected to the Petrograd Soviet eight Socialist Revolutionaries, two Mensheviks, two Bolsheviks, and two non-party individuals.18 In the northeastern suburbs in the Porokhovskii raion the workers of the factories located in that semi-rural area met in a mass meeting at 9 a.m. on the morning of the 28th to choose a "Temporary Executive Committee of the Porokhovskii raion," which became the raion Soviet of Workers' and Sol­ diers' Deputies. It set-up a number of commissions, in­ cluding one for a mili.t-ia. The militia, drawing on local factories, undertook to take*over local armed control: dis­ arming police, establishing patrol posts, winning over the military regiments quartered in the area.19 This is the earliest known establishment of a militia whose records in­ dicate that it was acting in response to the call of the Petrograd Soviet. Again, news of the Soviet resolution on forming a militia would have to have been verbal, as


Wade: Workers’Militia and Red Guards

Izvestiia had not yet appeared. Nor did the Soviet appeal mention any militia gathering point in the raion. There­ fore, there was still a good deal of local initiative, even if in response to the Soviet appeal. The leaders of the militia are not known, but the factories were strongly Menshevik and the raion Soviet was overwhelmingly Menshe­ vik, even anti-Bolshevik, down to October. In the heavily industrial Vyborg raion, a workers’ militia was created also on 28 February. A meeting of workers at the medical insurance office of the "Old Parviainen" factory on the morning of the 28th to organize political authority in the area set up a Militia Committee for the raion. It was composed entirely of workers and headed by one Diumin, a metalworker. Although not clearly identified, this probably was the same A. A. Diumin, a Bolshevik, who represented the "Old Lessner" factory in the Vyborg raion Soviet. The Izvestiia appeal for the creation of militia had not yet appeared, but news of it easily could have spread by word of mouth. That seems likely in view of the fact that the medical insurance of­ fice of the "Parviainen" factory had been designated as a gathering point by the Soviet. Therefore, it is not clear to what extent this was a response to the Soviet appeal or to what degree completely spontaneous. There certainly was considerable local initiative, however, for Shliapnikov im­ plies that the Militia Committee had been set up and arms were being collected and distributed before he arrived at the meeting .in his capacity as Soviet commissar to the raion. Shliapnikov in fact repeatedly stresses worker ini­ tiative, their samostoiatel 'nost; the role of the Bolshevik party was not that of mover and organizer, but an agency to give political guidance, while as Soviet commissar he was only assisting in that huge samostoiatelrnost. The Vyborg Militia Committee issued an appeal on its own authority (on a press it had seized) for those possessing arms to come to the militia center for organization into militia detach­ ments, and for those possessing arms only as souvenirs to turn them over to a militia for its needs. It is not clear whether this was done before or after Shliapnikov addressed the meeting about the Soviet’s actions. It is interesting as an illustration of the spirit of this time that the ap­ peal— although written in the most radical raion, the only , one to be firmly pro-Bolshevik from the beginning— used "citizens" and not "workers."20 During the next two or three days militia organizations sprang up in most of the factories of the raion, many of them apparently independent

Wade: Workers1Militia and Red Guards


of the Militia Committee* In the neighboring Lesnoi district, sometimes included in the Vyborg raion, a militia detachment of 200 was formed at the Aivaz factory, appar­ ently under the influence of the Soviet appeal. Students from the nearby Polytechnical Institute also participated in militia activities, either in this one or their own.21 There are numerous other examples of local creation of militia organizations. Workers1 militia were formed at various factories around the city. Other types were found­ ed also. Kel'son cites examples in early March of special militia having been organized at a wide variety of places, including the Gostirvyi Dvor and the Mariinskii market. Whether these were gathering points for patrolling a larg­ er area or just for security of these shops is not clear. Militia commissariats, he recalled, were established wher­ ever an interested group came together: in factory medical insurance offices, workers' cafeterias, schools, former police stations, movie theaters, an auction hall, the Hotel France and other hotels, even in private apartments.22 From public spirit and private fears, for the defense of the revolution and to advance it’, to handle drunks or disarm defenders of the old regime, to cop*e with thieves and other common criminals who had been let*' out of jail along with everyone else on the 27th, from all imaginable motives, a great surge of organizing armed "militia" bands swept the city. The spontaneity and resulting chaos of a multitude of armed bands thrilled the hearts of revolutionaries and made those trying to harness the revolutionary surge des­ pair. Kel'son, who was attempting to give some organiza­ tion and direction to the militia through his work in the city militia offices, commented that it seemed as if the entire adult male population of Petrograd (and some of the female and youth) was trying to join the militia.23 By 2 March, the day of the formation of the’Provision­ al Government and the abdication of Nicholas II, about 20,000 men were under arms in the various militia units. The problem of a more orderly and permanent structure now surfaced. The efforts of^the city duma to organize a reg­ ular police-type militia,* although far from complete, had progressed i>y the end of the Eirst week of the revolution’ to the point where the continuation of self-constituted armed bands, became a serious question. On 2 March a feeble effort was made by city and Soviet officials to delineate the geographic spheres of influence between the city mili­ tia and the self-constituted, mainly workers', militia and to arrange some sort of recognition by the latter of the


Wade: Workers1 Militia and Red Guards

authority of the city officials. This was followed by a conference lasting from 5-7 March to deal with the prob­ lem. It was notably unsuccessful.2h One reason for its lack of success was that the Petrograd Soviet's attitude was ill-formed. In general it approved of some sort of subordination of the workers' militia to the city, but it was not willing to push this and limited its support of the city militia— a version of the famous "support in so far as" that it extended to the Provisional Government. More important, however, was the attitude of the workermilitiamen themselves. They resisted such subordination. At the root of their resistance was both a distrust of the "bourgeois" city duma and a different vision of the role of the militia. They felt their workers' militia not only had order-keeping functions, as did the city militia, but served as an armed defense of working-class interests. They mistrusted the concept of a neutral police. Most of all, they were loath to surrender their arms and to dis­ band. Thereforé, while some workers' militia accepted varying degrees of city control, others completely re­ jected it. The workers' groups looked instead to their factory committee or meeting, the raion Soviets, or in some instances to trade unions for authority. Their focus was local and they lacked broad organizational forms or a clearly enunciated larger purpose. While they looked ul­ timately to the Petrograd Soviet as the supreme locus of political authority, the latter played little real role in their actions and organization. During March and April two trends developed among the armed workers' bands. One was the effort to create some sort of general, city-wide leadership for the workers' groups outside the city militia. The other was the emer­ gence of a new term, the Red Guards, which implied a more aggressive, politicized, disciplined force. These two trends reinforced each other and resulted in late April in a major effort to establish a unified Red Guard in Petrograd. The term Red Guard was first used in 1917 by Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich in a Pravda article on 18 March. He took the term from the formation in Finland in 1905 of a "red proletarian guard" under one Captain Kok. Bonch-Bruevich, omitting the usual references to the need for a militia to , maintain general order, called for the formation of a "pro­ letarian red guard" as a disciplined armed force to pro­ tect the revolution. After this time the term comes into increasingly frequent use, especially by the Bolsheviks at

Wade: Workers'Militia and Red Guards


their meetings. The earliest reference to the existence of a Red Guard is on 11 April, when the Vasilevskii Island raion Soviet allocated space for a "club of the Red Guard," and the same day the first Vyborg sub-raion militia com­ missariat decided that militiamen entering the Red Guard could not remain in the militia. Nothing is known of the political coloration of these Red Guards; the Vasilevskii decision was supported by all the socialist parties, which would suggest a non-party character.25 At the same time there were a series of efforts to form either raion or city-wide workers1militia organiza­ tions. In most cases the initiative came from local mili­ tia leaders or the militiamen themselves. The Petrograd Soviet made a half-hearted effort in mid-March through its department for militia affairs (a short-lived body, appar­ ently) , but its meetings with local militia representatives led nowhere. The initiative for forming a broader body, therefore, remained with the local leaders. Eventually, the desire to organize all of the armed worker bands into an all-city Red Guard found expression in the "fighting detachment [dvuzhina] of the Printers Union." This "fight­ ing detachment" was one of the beste-organized militia units and, being trade union rather thah factory or district based, the only one with a city-wide structure. N. Rostov, a Menshevik and one of the organizers of the resulting con­ ference, emphasizes that the initiative came from the mi­ litiamen through their union leaders and that the Soviets and political parties played an insignificant role. An organizational committee was formed and grounds laid for a city-wide conference of militiamen.26 The opening meeting, scheduled for 23 April, was aborted by the first major crisis of the Provisional Gov­ ernment— the "April Crisis." This crisis originated in a dispute between the Provisional Government and the Petro­ grad Soviet over foreign policy and, following the publi­ cation of a note by Foreign Minister Paul Miliukov on 18 April, culminated in massive street demonstrations lasting until 22 April. A group^of delegates gathered on the 23rd, however, with the recent street demonstrations providing a sense of urgency. On the one hand, the disorderly behav­ ior of some workers' militia during the demonstrations un­ derscored the need for better organization- On the other hand, the recent disorders also convinced many of the need for a more powerful force: one speaker stated that "if we had a Red Guard then they would take us seriously. . . At the head of districts [demonstrations] will go armed Red


Wade: Workers1Militia and Red Guards

Guardsmen, and then they will not tear up the red flag." The meeting also approved a set of "Draft Regulations for the Petrograd Red Guard" drawn by Rostov. It was patterned after that of the printers' "fighting detachment" and, like Bonch-Bruevich's article, drew its inspiration for a name for the Finnish red guards of 1905. When the conference finally opened on 28 April it had 156 delegates from 82 factories, mostly members of armed bands, plus representatives from socialist parties and other groups. The conference leadership, however, was already receiving indications that the leaders of the Petrograd Soviet opposed the conference and the entire Red Guard project. That morning's issue of Izvestiia, the paper of the Petrograd Soviet, carried an editorial denouncing the Red Guards as "unnecessary and harmful." The key to the success of the revolution, it argued, was the unity of the workers and soldiers, a unity that would be damaged by the creation of the Red Guard, for it would allow enemies of the revolution to tell the soldiers that the workers were arming against them. Moreover, it ob­ jected that the rules provided for "close ties" to the Soviet rather than subordination and again warned of dis­ unity among the "revolutionary democracy." The article, though unsigned, was written by Fedor Dan and hence indeed represented the top Soviet leadership. The article caused great consternation among the con­ ference organizers who anticipated a close relationship between the .Guards and the Soviet; three of the five mem­ bers of the organizing committee were Mensheviks and Dan was one of the most authoritative Mensheviks. Nonetheless, they pushed ahead, hoping to win over the Soviet leaders and confident that they represented the true sentiment of the mass of the workers. This hope was dashed at the con­ ference when a Petrograd Soviet spokesman, Iudin, lashed out against the Red Guards with great, indeed needless, harshness. The conference was in a furor, some even sug­ gesting that they take measures to stop the next day's publication of Izvestiia^ which was reported to carry a new article against the Guards. On no account, it was clear, would they give up their arms, and their arguments reflected a sense of having been betrayed. Had not the Soviet itself originally encouraged arming and organizing *the workers? A deputation was sent to try "to discuss the issue with the Executive Committee of the Soviet. Accord­ ing to Rostov, they tried without success to convince the Committee that the conference represented a genuine workers'

Wade: Workers’Militia and Red Guards


movement that should not be left to the Bolsheviks by de­ fault. The Executive Committee passed a resolution that the ’’comrades from the Red Guard . ’. . take no kind of organizational and no kind of agitational steps.” I z v e s tiia followed with a new editorial on 30 April reaffirming its position. This was reinforced by an article in the Menshevik paper, R á b o c h a i a g a z e t a , condemning the idea of self-created Red Guards. Rostov and the two other Men­ sheviks were instructed soon afterwards to cease their work on the Red Guard. The motives of the Soviet leaders in opposing the Red Guards is a bit perplexing. The stated reason— the danger of rupturing the unity of workers and soldiers— is uncon­ vincing, although it may have carried weight with politi­ cal leaders haunted by remembrance of 1905. Still, there is little evidence that the soldiers took serious umbrage at the formation of armed workers’ guards, and there is plenty of evidence of soldier support for them. One won­ ders if constant harping on the danger of alienated sol­ diers being used by counter-revolutionaries in fact did not have the effect of increasing the workers’determina­ tion to form armed units. Most likely, the basic reason for the Soviet opposition represented two interrelated worries. One was a general concern for public order and a desire to avoid confrontations. The Soviet leaders were sufficiently revolutionary and sufficiently afraid of counter-revolution not to want the workers disarmed, but they wanted them integrated into the general militia, where they would be better disciplined and where spontan­ eity could be controlled. The recent demonstrations am­ ply showed how volatile they could be. The other concern was a fear that the Red Guards were Bolshevik-oriented. Apparently the Soviet leaders hoped that by preventing a city-wide organization of the Red Guards the danger of a Bolshevik-dominated armed force would be averted. What they did not perceive was that the formation of Red Guardtype units would not be stopped, but that with more moder­ ate leaders removed only^the Bolsheviks remained as a po­ litical home. One must*, ’however, in fairness note that the workers’ militia had decreased in size in late Marchearly April, and they could expect it to continue to do so. However, that conclusion was a misreading of the temper of the masses and an early sign of the alienation from and distrust of the masses that would lead to their loss of the Petrograd Soviet in September and of Russia in October. Failure to perceive the importance of broadly based local


Wade: Workers1Militia and Red Guards

bodies and spontaneous self-created organizations such as the raion Soviets and the inability to work with them, was one of the fundamental causes of the failure of the moder­ ate socialists in 1917* Their attitude towards the Red Guard conference in April was one of the clearest— and earliest— manifestations of that outlook which was to cost them so dearly among their working-class supporters. The failure of the April Red Guard conference did not end the matter. Rather, the action of the Petrograd Soviet threw the initiative back to the local level where the for­ mation of armed workers1 bands continued. The Bolshevikdominated Vyborg raion Soviet went ahead and issued its own regulations for a workers guard in that raion. A new effort at creating a city-wide organization was launched in May-June which resulted in the establishment of a Coun­ cil of the People's Militia as an executive organ. The impulse seems to have come, again, from among workermilitiamen, but this time the political backing was en­ tirely Bolshevik and anarchist and completely divorced from the Petrograd Soviet.28 The Council of the Peoples1 Mili­ tia did not survive the July Days, the Bolshevik-inspired effort to overturn the government, in which some of its organizers played a role. The workers, however, clung stubbornly to their arms in July against government ef­ forts to disarm them. By mid-July the pressure had eased and, once again, the formation of militia and Guard units progressed and the question was raised of the formation of a larger city structure. On 2 August steps in this direc­ tion were taken with a meeting of eighteen Red Guard and militia representatives from twelve raions. The initia­ tive for this conférence is not clear, but appears to have come from the more radical local militia leaders, in all probability mostly Bolsheviks and anarchists. It set up an initiative committee to work toward the better or­ ganization of the raion Guards as well as a city struc­ ture. The members of this group were all Bolsheviks or anarchists, although they do not appear to have been act­ ing on any specific party instructions beyond the repeated Bolshevik call for arming the people.29 Then in the days of the revolt of General Kornilov at the end of August their efforts were swamped in the resurgent formation of militia and Red Guards supported at least temporarily by , all the leftist groups in Petrograd. The workers insistence upon arms, coupled with the tremendous drive for self-organization unleashed by the revolution, led in 1917 to the formation of many armed

Wade: Workers1Militia and Red Guards


bands. Over and over again they made attempts to form broader raion and city-wide organizations. Localism, even within raions in Petrograd, and the opposition of the Pet­ rograd Soviet helped to prevent the success of such ef­ forts until the Bolsheviks gained control of the Soviet in the aftermath of the Kornilov affair. Unlike their prede­ cessors, they used the Soviet through a newly created Red Guard department to encourage the formation of such an or­ ganization as part of their own revolutionary plans. Even so, the workers1 militia. Red Guards, and other such armed groups remained basically local in orientation and organi­ zation down to the October Revolution. They represented a force which could be used in a moment of crisis by a polit­ ical leadership whose goals seemed to coincide with theirs, but their essential characteristics remained more those of self-assertion, self-organization and spontaneity rather than those of leadership, discipline and direction from above. NOTES xSee A. G. Shliapnikov, Semnadésatyi go d, 4 vols; Moscow, 1923, I, 109; E. N. Burdzhalov, Vtovaia vusskaia vevoliutsiia: vostanie v petvogvade, Moscow, 1967, pp. 152-54-, 181-82. 2A. S. Gunderov, nZa Nevskoi zastavoi," V ogne vevotiutsionnykh boev_, Moscow, 1967, pp. 317-20; V. I. Startsev, Ochevki po istovii Petvogvadskoi kvasnoi gvavdii i vabochei militsii, Moscow, 1965, p. 41. 3N. N. Sukhanov, Zapiski o vevoliutsii, 7 vols.; Ber­ lin, Petersburg, Moscow: Grzhebin, 1922-23, I, 121-55; Shliapnikov, Serrmadtsatyi god, I, 124-26; Izvestiia, 28 February and 1 March 1917. hRaionnye sovety petvogvada v 1917 g . ; Pvotokoly vezoliutsii^ postanovleniia obshchikh sobvanii i zasedanii ispolnitel'nykdi komitetov3 3 vols.; Moscow-Leningrad, 1966, III, 180-81. 5Shliapnikov, Semnadésatyi god, I, 124-26. 6V. F. Malakhovskii*, Iz istovii Krasnoi gvavdii: Kvasnogvavdeitsy Vybovgskogo vaiona3 1917 g . Ochevk s pvilozheniem, dokumentov i illustvatsii, Leningrad, 1925, p. 10; G. Georgievskii, Ochevki po istovii Kvasnoi gvavdii, Moscow, 1919, p. 65. Shliapnikov, Semnadtsatyi god, I, 130, and elsewhere, lays great stress on the samostoiatet* nost of the workers in which the Bolshevik Party was not the mover or organizer, but only an agency to give politi­ cal guidance.


Wade: Workers1Militia and Red Guards

'On the Committee and student activity in militia for­ mation see, besides the newspaper accounts mentioned, Zigfrid S. Kel'son, "Militsiia Fevral'skoi revoliutsii," part 2, Byloe, no. 2 (30) (1925), pp. 159-60. *Izvestiia revoliutsionnoi nedeli, 28 February and 1 March 1917. Orders sent out by the Military Commission of the State Duma in the first days of the revolution are given in "Fevral1skaia revoliutsiia v Petrograde," Krasnyi arkhiv, nos. 41-42 (1930), pp. 62-102. 90n the actions of the city duma the fullest account is Kel'son, "Militsiia," passim. See also Izvestiia Petrogradskoi gorodskoi durny, nos. 3-4 (March-April 1917), p. 212; R e c h r, 5 March 1917. 10 The report of the Organization Committee filed with the Petrograd Soviet on 1 March was received by Shliapnikov and printed in his book, Semnadtsatyi god, I, 181-82. See also Izvestiia, 1 March 1917. 11 "Iz istorii Krasnoi gvardii Petrograda," Istoricheskii arkhiv, no.' 5 (1957) , pp. 121-22. 12 Ibid. 13Raionnye sovety , I, 73. 14Kel'son, "Militsiia," part 2, pp. 159-60. 15 Startsev, Ocherki , pp. 44-45. Most of the informa­ tion on the activities of the Petrograd-side commissariat comes from the memoirs of A. P. Peshekhonov, "Pervyia nedeli (Iz vospominanii o revoliutsii)," Na Chuzhoi storone> I (1923), 255-319. There are references scat­ tered in newspapers and in Kel'son as well. 161. M. Liapin, "Iz vospominanii byvshego nachal'nika Krasnoi gvardii I-go Gorodskogo raiona Petrograda," Istoriia proletariata SSSR, no. 11 (1932), p. 93. 17 Izvestiia , 3 March 1917. 18M. D. Rozanov, Obukhovtsy: Istoriia zavoda "Bolshe­ vik" 1863-1938, Leningrad, 1938, pp. 353-54. 19Raionnye sovety, ill, 182. 20Shliapnikov, Semnadtsatyi god, I, 130, 167-69, 193. 21 Ibid.; Izvestiia, 2 March 1917; Kel'son, "Militsiia," part 2, pp. 159-60. 22Kel'son, "Militsiia," part 2, pp. 159-60. 23Zigfrid S. Kel'son, "Militsiia Fevral'skoi revoliut­ sii," part I, Byloe, no. 1 (29)(1925), pp. 165-66. 24 See ibid., pp. 167-74; Shliapnikov, Semnadtsatyi god, II, 134-36; Izvestiia, 9 and 10 March 1917; Raboehaia gazeta, 9 March 1917; R e c h f, 8 March 1917. 25Raionnye sovety, I, 94; Startsev, Ocherki, p. 107. 26 The major source for information on the conference

Wade: Workers Militia and Red Guards


is N. Rostov, "Vozniknovenie Krasnoi gvardii," Krasnaia n o V r, II/ no. 2 (1927), 168-80, passim. Some documents on the meetings are in "Pervoe Sobranie po organizatsii Krasnoi gvardii," Istoricheskii arkhiv, no. 6 (1961), pp. 178-79. See also M. Lur’e, Petrogradskaia krasnaia gvardiia, Leningrad, 1938, p. 29? E. Pinezskii, Krasnaia gvardiia (Ocherki istorii piterskoi Krasnoi gvardii 1917 g.) 2nd ed.? Moscow, 1929, pp. 22-23? R e c h f, 29 April 1917? Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v Rossii v aprele 1917 g.: Apr el *skii krizis, Moscow, 1958, pp. 412-14, 864. 27The regulation is in Raionnye sovety, I, 135-36. 28The activities of the Council of People's Militia is chronicled in the memoirs of one of the participants, A. Vasil'ev, "Moe uchastie v Krasnoi gvardii'i Oktiabr'skoi revoliutsii," Katorga i ssylka, nos. 11-12 (1932), pp. 101-104. Startsev, Ocherki, pp. 72-89, and E. F. Erykalov, "Krasnaia gvardiia Petrograda v period podgotovki Velikoi Oktiabr'skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii," Istoricheskie zapiski, no. 47 (1954), pp. 74-75, both give accounts in­ corporating some documents from Soviet archives. There are scattered references to it elsewhere. 29 The activity of this group iá* known almost exclu­ sively through a set of minutes of its meetings and the regulations it drafted for a city-wide Red Guard. These were kept by one of the members, V. A. Trifonov, and then brought to light by his widow in 1956 to support his polit­ ical rehabilitation. They are published as an appendix to Startsev, Ocherki, pp. 294-99.

SPONTANEITY AND THE LEGITIMACY OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION: THE MOSCOW INSURRECTION AS A CASE STUDY George Duncan Jackson Some historical events seem momentous in their own day, but their significance does not stand the test of time. Others grow in significance with each passing dec­ ade. The October Revolution falls into the second cate­ gory. Its impact on world history in the twentieth century becomes more profound each year, bearing out in many ways the contention of Soviet historians that the Russian Revo­ lution is to our century what the French Revolution was to the nineteenth. By the time of the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1967, thirteen additional coun­ tries had joined Russia, increasing to one-third the pro­ portion of the world's population living under communist systems.1 Scores of countries have developed strong communist parties. These trends have all been shaped in one way or another by the influence of Russia, even in China, where Mao Tse-tung is now at odds with his mentors. Yet, even as the significance of the Russian Revolution be­ comes ever more apparent, western historians continue to deny the legitimacy of that event. This is not always done explicitly, or even consciously, yet in the end, there is no doubt that in their view neither the logic of history nor the will of the Russian people had anything to do with Bolshevik victory. Rather they emphasize Lenin’s tactical skill and party planning. Soviet historians often go to another extreme, asserting that Bolshevik victory was to a large extent a result of spontaneous popular support gener­ ated by the forces of history, though they also stress the inspired leadership of Lenin, For their invaluable advice and assistance I wish to thank the faculty and staff of the Summer Research Labora­ tory on Russia and Eastern Europe at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I started this project # in the summer of 1973, and the faculty and staff of the Russian Institute at Columbia University, where it was com­ pleted during my pleasant visit there as a Senior Fellow for the academic year 1973-74.

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


Because our understanding of communism in the twenti­ eth century is so strongly influenced by the preconceptions which we bring to the subject, it is necessary to make these preconceptions explicit and conscious. Now is an opportune moment for a reconsideration of the standard interpretations of the October Revolution. Historians of both East and West have fostered serious distortions and misrepresentations about the October Revolution, especially about the scale and role of spontaneous popular support, because they have not performed the necessary preliminary ritual of clarifying and expressing their own biases and values. This paper will be­ gin with a discussion of the preconceptions about revolu­ tionary legitimacy held by Soviet and western historians, and their effect upon the study of the October Revolution. A case study will then be made of Moscow. This city has -been chosen, rather than Petrograd, for a variety of rea­ sons, but chiefly because it is somewhat more typical of Russia as a whole than the capital. Also Moscow is poorly represented in non-communist studies of the October Revolu­ tion, even though its role may be as important as that of Petrograd.2 Lenin used developments in Moscow as evidence to persuade his party to act before^the revolution, and Mos­ cow shored up his victory in Petrograd by giving Bolshevism a second major triumph in Russia. On the face of it, "legitimacy" seems too vague a term. Obviously "legitimacy" is in the eye of the beholder. It tends to be subjective and often subconscious. What is legitimate to the agents of revolution is illegitimate to the agents of the old regime, or, as Paul Schrecker puts it, "revolutions are illegal changes in the conditions of legal­ ity."3 Therefore, one would naturally expect that western liberal historians would see communist revolutions as il­ legitimate, because although communist leaders share some of the aspirations of liberal revolutionaries, communists seek to fulfill a different hierarchy of goals. Although Bolshe­ viks drew some of their inspiration from 1688, 1776 and 1789, they placed a lower priority on the political goals of those revolutions than such new social objectives as a more equitable distribution of property and wealth. Feel­ ing that communist revolution^ are somehow unnatural, west­ ern liberal historians tend to seek evidence which proves that Bolsheviks had little, if any, popular support. Or they allege that public support for communists was misguided and, therefore, invalid. Some deny the importance of plan­ ning, though here there are more differences of opinion, with many western historians leaning toward the "Fainsod


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

Thesis" that the discipline of the Bolshevik Party was the decisive factor in 1917. Robert Daniels, for instance, in his book on the revolution in Petrograd, writes: The stark truth about the Bolshevik Revolu­ tion is that it succeeded against incredible odds and in defiance of any rational calcula­ tion that could have been made in the fall of 1917. The shrewdest politicians of every po­ litical coloration knew that while the Bolshe­ viks were an undeniable force in Petrograd and Moscow, they had against them the over­ whelming majority of the peasants, the army in the field, and the trained personnel with­ out which no government could function.4 In the classic account of the October Revolution in English, W. H. Chamberlin gives some weight to popular sup­ port for the Bolsheviks, but this emphasis is muted because he sees it chiefly as a result of the strains of war and, therefore, somewhat abnormal or unhistorical.5 The most ambitious recent western account, by E. H. Carr, who is not a liberal, and who actually approves of the October Revolution, nonetheless underrates the impor­ tance of spontaneous public support because he attributes Bolshevik success almost entirely to Lenin’s will to power and tactical skill.6 In pleading for a more balanced view of the Russian Revolution in western studies, James Billing ton recently characterized the most common approach in the West as "accidental pathetic." . . . This outlook is common to all those who see in the revolution no deep meaning, but view its outcome with the same sense of bewilderment and helpless outrage one feels at the interjec­ tion of a senseless natural calamity into human affairs. Use of terms like "flood" and "storm" are characteristic trademarks of pathetic accidentalists. Bewilderment is resolved into a feeling of pathetic regret and intellectual in­ quiry focussed on random detail and occasional­ ly animated by the belief or suggestion that what happened might somehow have been averted.7 Walter Laqueur, in another review of western historiography , writes: Most historians now agree that Tsarism as it existed in 1914 could not survive for long; whether peaceful change was still possible is

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


doubtful. They also agree that great tensions, bitter class hatred, general resentment accumu­ lated as a result of the iniquities of the old regime. The prerequisites for a major eruption all existed. But there is wide disagreement as to whether the actual form it took was accident­ al or inevitable. Russian emigres and probably the majority of Anglo-American scholars have tra­ ditionally emphasized the accidental elements. . . . The revolution was caused, in other words, by a mixture of adverse circumstances and human fraility and stupidity. It was a natural dis­ aster, a catastrophe ('a powerful geological up­ heaval1 in Milyukov’s words).8 j Naturally, Soviet historians are quite annoyed with^ western liberal interpretations of the October Revolution.^ As one Soviet historian, E. B. Cherniak, puts it: Some bourgeois historians, among the most influential, realize that it is impossible to defend the notion that the October Revolution was a consequence of the military situation, \ failure at war, and the pressure of the war | on the economic system. Butr nevertheless, they want to prove by some other way the unlawful­ ness of the victory of the October Revolution, and portray it as a consequence of the mistakes of the Provisional Government, as an exclusively Russian, or, at its worst. Eastern phenomenon, having nothing to do with the countries of west­ ern Europe. With that end in mind, they invent a whole series of false and unsupportable argu­ ments. 9 Cherniak goes on to identify the various approaches used by western scholars to discredit the Russian Revolution as a meaningful event in world history, such as, for example, the assumption that the revolution came because Russia was a backward and underdeveloped country with vestiges of feudal­ ism and national minority^problems, all of which gave it a closer resemblance to the*countries of Asia and Africa than to those of western Europe. The notions advanced in the first decade of the twentieth century by the Vekhi about the neurotic predispositions of the Russian intelligentsia to revolutionary violence are used to discredit the revolu­ tion as an event in world history. Cherniak also sees western emphasis on Lenin’s will to power, on the Bolshevik disciplined organization, and on psychological explanations


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

for those characteristics, as an attempt to deny the exist­ ence of powerful supranational historical forces favoring communist revolutions everywhere and, consequently, as an attempt to deny the implications of the Bolshevik Revolution for western industrialized countries. In a similar vein, another Soviet historian, Boris Marushkin, finds that Amer­ ican research on Russia attempts to discredit the Bolshevik Revolution by viewing it as one of the following: a success­ ful coup d'etat by the most radical and fanatical political group, a vulgar distortion of Marxist revolutionary theory, or an aberration brought about by uneven modernization.10 In short, Soviet historians feel that their western col­ leagues use history for political ends, to conceal the "true” lessons of October from the world because those lessons would be dangerous to the survival of capitalist countries. But Soviet historians also fall into traps shaped by their own concepts of legitimacy. Although both western and Soviet historiahs subscribe to an empirical method that is supposed to limit the influence of their own bias on indi­ vidual political beliefs, Soviet historians contend that Marxist dogma represents a set of truths which will always be confirmed by genuine empirical research. In practice Soviet historians transgress far beyond the bounds set by either empiricism or by orthodox Marxism. Their own ide­ ology suggests that they should be less concerned with such tests of legitimacy as popular opinion than with deeper historical forces. According to the officially approved view, historical change is brought about by historical laws that lead inexorably toward socialist government and, therefore, the problem of legitimacy11 does not arise, and the Russian word for legitimacy (zakonnost') is rarely used. Instead they refer, as can be seen in the quotations above, to the lawfulness (zakonomemost ') of an historical event. The Sovetskaia istovicheskaia entsiklopediia pro­ vides a complex, but complete, definition of their view of historical lawfulness as: . . . the firmly established, objectively essen­ tial, necessarily recurring relationship between the phenomena and processes of social life, flow­ ing from their internal natures and expressing the progressive development of history: the recog­ nized correctness, regularity of the sequence, or coexistence of social phenomena, brought about by one or several laws. 11 It then goes on to contrast the Marxist approach to the non-

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


Marxist, characterizing bourgeois historical science as a battlefield between the neo-positivists, who deny the exist­ ence of historical laws and speak only of empirical gener­ alizations, and the idealists, who see history only as a rather subjective exercise in obtaining self-knowledge through the study of the past influence of m a n 1s ideas upon his social reality,12 For Soviet historians the test of legitimacy or law­ fulness, at least in theory, is the degree to which an his­ torical event proceeds out of a correspondence among phenom­ ena, process and the laws of Marxism, Soviet historians, therefore, must try to illustrate a tie between the rela­ tions of production and the character of the forces of pro­ duction. 13 That effort might be described in non-Marxist terms as an attempt to show at each stage in the develop­ ment of society's ability to produce material goods that the interaction between the organization of production and the nature of man's consciousness and existence follows the patterns described by Marx. This is manifest in the speci­ fic tests of legitimacy or lawfulness used in Soviet his­ torical accounts of the October Revolution. Russian his­ torians must try to show that the capitalist system of property ownership In Russia necessarily led to the in­ creasing misery of the working class under the tsarist regime, to the corruption and the exploitative nature of the tsarist government, to the spiritual bankruptcy of all political regimes other than the Bolshevik, and finally to nearly unanimous mass support for Bolshevism in October 1917. One of the surprising features of Soviet historical writing on the October Revolution is the striking evasion in practice of the imperatives of Marxist orthodoxy. In writing history Soviet scholars usually choose an easy path toward party acceptance of their work by merely affirming the official interpretations given above, rather than trying to prove that they are true, and that they grow out of the means of production. This type of Soviet historical writing tends to be what Billington* calls "heroic-inevitable. " lk They verge on old-fashiorfed nineteenth-century political history in their attempts to show that there is only one group of heroic people in a world populated by villains. In the most orthodox Soviet works, not only the Provisional Government and all othet political parties, but also the whole working-class movement are relegated to a twilight zone from which they o n l y ‘occasionally emit feeble rays. There is little effort in practice to explore the essence


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

of the connection between the relations of production and the character of pre-revolutionary society. In fact, there is very little social history at all.15 It is indeed a crude parody of Marx to use him as an excuse for ignoring all the other historical forces except the Russian Communist Party, and merely affirming, rather than trying to prove, the inevitability of Bolshevik victory. Although this kind of historical writing often does, win party approval in Russia, it does not have much value in persuading the non-Marxist world to believe in the legit­ imacy of the October Revolution, because it violates some of the most elementary rules of empirical research. In order to make its claims more credible the Soviet academic world has made ambitious efforts in the past decade, not only to refute western interpretations of the October Revolution, but also to meet western scholars on their own ground by producing more carefully documented histories of the Octo­ ber Revolution ,that deal more honestly with rival political parties and the! Provisional Government.16 Even with this new attempt at objectivity, many of the most important facts about the Moscow insurrection, like the size of con­ tending forces, remain elusive. Historical materialism and economic determinism do not, then, clearly map out a route which all Soviet histor­ ians must follow without deviation. Even they have their disagreements about the nature of legitimacy, though the issue is raised in a somewhat different form than in west­ ern studies. For example, few Soviet historians doubt the legitimacy of the October Revolution, but many raise ques­ tions about the exact moment in time when the rebels be­ come legitimate; when the Bolshevik uprising becomes the new legality and the opposition becomes the insurrection­ ary force. Taking the revolution in Moscow as an example, one of the leading Soviet specialists on this event, A. Ia. Grunt, sees three schools of thought among his colleagues about that event. 17 The majority, which includes Grunt him­ self, see the revolution in Moscow as a justifiable and in­ evitable insurrection of workers and soldiers against the Provisional Government, a revolt which is victorious when the local representatives of the Provisional Government sur­ render on 2 November 1917.18 A second school of thought, which includes A. V. Lukashev, G. D. Kostomarov and V. A. Kondratiev, argues that the Bolshevik coup d'etat was legit­ imized by the forces of history and the victory of the Bolsheviks in Petrograd, so that the Bolsheviks are the legitimate power from the moment the revolt begins on 25

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


October.19 A third school, represented by F. L. Kurlat, en­ deavors to combine the two points of view, arguing that there was a bloodless c o u p d fe t a t by the Bolsheviks, who be­ came the new legitimate government somewhere between 25 and 27 October, and that the fighting which began on 27 October must, therefore, be considered a mutiny against Soviet pow­ er.20 Although the differences between these three posi­ tions may seem trivial, they have a profound influence on one’s interpretations of that event. This paper will assume a posture that is extremely conventional, and, therefore, unique. An attempt will be made to jettison the ideological baggage of both liberalism and communism, and to embark on a conventional exercise in empirical history. To the extent that it succeeds the re­ sults should be unconventional, for no such studies of the Moscow insurrection now exist. Obviously, a paper of this size cannot do justice to such momentous questions as the potential viability of the tsarist or the Provisional Gov­ ernments, nor can it provide a definitive account of the complex and dramatic events played out in Moscow in Octo­ ber 1917. Rather it will focus on one question raised in the foregoing discussion— the role d¥ spontaneous mass sup­ port for the Bolshevik* seizure of power, and, therefore, by implication the role of planning as well. Most western and Soviet accounts devote considerable attention to the ques­ tion of mass support, though they dispute with one another on the degree of false consciousness involved in each ex­ pression of mass sentiment. After having completed an exploration of this question, I would like to underscore the differences, if any, between my conclusions and those provided by prevailing western and Soviet interpretations, each dominated by their own preconceptions about historical legitimacy. The city of Moscow is more useful for these purposes than Petrograd because it is generally acknowledged to be a city that was more representative of Russia as a whole than the capital city. The two.^cities were about the same size. By 1914 Moscow, with a population of more than 1,600,000, was the eighth largest city in the world and the second largest in Russia. 1 But Moscow had a different character from Petrograd, which was, as Peter the Great intended when he moved his capital from Moscow in the eighteenth century, closer to the West, not only geographically, but also in the character of its class structure and culture. As the capi­ tal of Russia, Petrograd made politics and administration


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

its major enterprise. It dominated the Northern Industrial Region, where finance, heavy industry, and precision tool manufacturing predominated.22 Petrograd1s working class repsented a somewhat higher proportion of its total population than Moscow’s, and had a different character, with a longer tradition of organizational activity, and fewer ties to the peasant village.23 Moscow, with its central location in Rus­ sia, was closer to the rural Russian communities around it, and still retained enough of the traditions of the past to preserve an atmosphere of conservatism and nationalism that influenced all political movements based there.24 The socalled bourgeois, or non-Bolshevik parties were stronger in Moscow and the diversity of industrial production, including a larger number of small-scale enterprises, produced a work­ ing class that was much more diverse and politically divided than in Petrograd.25 Moscow was the railroad hub of European Russia. It was in the heart of the textile-producing Cen­ tral Industrial Region, and was also a publishing center. According to official tsarist statistics, about 150,000 peo­ ple worked in the factories of Moscow in 1914, about ten per cent of the total population of the city, and of them the largest single group, about 37.5 per cent, were textile work­ ers.26 The differences between the workers in the two cities in 1914 has been described by one western scholar in the following way: . . . The industrial workers of Petrograd . . . an­ swered to all the classic requirements of the revo­ lutionary proletariat— energetic, disciplined, class conscious. . . . They were a very different species from the working class of the rest of Russia, which was still marked by peasant crudeness. Even the Mos­ cow worker was much less westernized and sophisti­ cated. 27 That recent evaluation only bears out Lenin’s perceptions in 1917. . . . That Moscow is more petty bourgeois than Petersburg is well-known. That the Moscow prole­ tariat has incomparably more ties with the country, rural sympathies, closeness to the peasant state of mind, has been confirmed many times without ques­ tion. 28 The difference between the two cities was confirmed also in the character of évents in 1917. As one Menshevik observer points out: Moscow was a city of businessmen, not officials. Here events unfolded more slowly and lacked that

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


dramatic quality which the February Revolution had from the beginning in Petrograd (perhaps from the day of the murder of Rasputin). . . . Thus when Petrograd was already bubbling and boiling, and catching fire, in Moscow there were only strikes and demonstrations.29 Despite its more tranquil atmosphere, Moscow experi­ enced many of the same problems as Petrograd and the rest of Russia. Even prior to 1914, before three years of war had taken their toll, there were signs that the loyalty and obedience of the ordinary citizens were dissolving. Hopes raised in 1905 for a more democratic or, at least, respon­ sive government had been dashed by the halting and inade­ quate steps taken in that direction before 1914. Already before 1914 the number of workers involved in strikes reached the highest point since the Revolution of 1905, and the Bolsheviks controlled ten out of thirteen governing boards of trade unions in Moscow.30 There were, in short, signs that, despite their relatively small size and short history before the war, the industrial workers had acquired, as the Bolsheviks contended, a sense of corporate identity, militancy and hostility toward the éikisting order of polit­ ical authority. Among the factors accounting for the pre­ cocious development of this social group was a filtering down of liberal ideas about equality and individual human rights, which was not accompanied by the kind of political and economic, institutions that might translate those ideals into reality. During the war the population of the city of Moscow rose to more than two million, as people flooded the city to join the expanding war industries, and the garrisons in the city were enlarged by reserve troops waiting to be sent to the front. According to some estimates, the number of in­ dustrial workers rose to more than 200,000, with the number of workers in the metal-working industries doubling, making them the largest single group in the industrial working class.31 The number of troops rose above 100,000.32 In addi­ tion to the existing grievances, the war brought prices that rose faster than wages, .shortages of food, general economic dislocation, and humiliating failures on the battlefield. Finally, the revolution of February 1917, by removing the tsar, seemed to prove conclusively that the old order could be altered by revolutionary action. There is little doubt that events in Petrograd provided an inspiration that gal­ vanized the more sluggish Moscow Bolshevik organization into activity, but it is also clear that it was the response of


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

the small and rather insignificant Muscovite Bolshevik or­ ganization that accounted for its growing popularity at the local level from February to October.33 In February, the Provisional Government came to power and the tsar abdicated. From February to October an increas­ ingly radical succession of cabinets came to power, but none of them seemed able to bring victory on the battlefield, control of prices, or improvement of the food supplies for the city and the front. Now, however, Russia became, in Lenin1s words, one of the freest countries in the world, with all the restrictions lifted on the formation of polit­ ical parties, trade unions, and workers' peasants1 and soldiers1 Soviets. The three tests of Bolshevik strength in 1917 that tell the most about its popular appeal were the three elections held in Moscow in June, September and November. ELECTIONS IN MOSCOW IN 1917a 25 June i Central City Government Bolshevik 11.5 Menshevik 12.6 Kadet 18.0 Socialist Revolu­ 56.2 tionary percent of those eli­ gible to vote who voted


24 September 12-14 November Constituent City Raion Assembly Dumas civilian garrison*5 civilian garrisonb 50.9 83.2 50.1 79.5 4.1 2.9 .9 26.6 9.8 35.9







aThe classic study of these elections in English is Oliver Radkey's The Election to the Russian Constituent Assembly of 1917 (Cambridge, Mass., 1950), p. 53. His fig­ ures for the elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly were based almost entirely on the calculations made by the Socialist Revolutionary, N. V. Sviatitski in his Itogi Vyborov vo Vserossiiskoe Uchreditelfnoe Sobranie (Moscow, 1918), and on the reports in local newspapers. The figures used here are based upon a more recent examination by William G. Rosenberg, and appear in his "The Russian Munic­ ipal Duma Elections of 1917 : A Preliminary Computation of Returns," appearing in Soviet Studies, XXI, no. 2 (October

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


1969)> P* 161. The figures for the elections to the Con­ stituent Assembly are based on the data gathered by the Soviet scholars, Krol and Kronenberg, for the official. History of the Civil War published in the 1930’s, though they never appeared in that publication. They are said to be more complete than Radkey’s and were finally pub­ lished in E. N. Gorodetskii, Rozhdenie sovetskogo gosudarstva (Moscow, 1965), pp. 438-39. The figures for electoral participation are from A. Ia. Grunt, Pobeda oktiabr*skoi revoliutsii v Moskve (fevral' - oktiabr' 1917 g#) (Moscow, 1960), p. 118. The franchise was determined by the electoral law of 15 April 1917 which allowed all people twenty and over who were not members of the police to vote; Rosenberg found that the reports, at least for the June elections, indicated that voting procedure was fair and orderly (Rosenberg, pp. 137-38). Soldiers voted sep­ arately in their garrisons, and the record of their votes was kept separate. kPodgotovka i pobeda oktiabr9skoi revoliutsii v Moskve (dokumenty i materialy){Moscow, 1957), p. 317. Mints indi­ cates that it is difficult to tell what the garrison vote in the raion duma elections m e a n s , sïnce the percentage of eligible voters who participated ranged from thirty to seventy per cent. I . ’I. Mints, Triumfalfnoe shestvie sovetskoi vlastiy Vol. Ill of Istoriia velikogo oktiabria (Moscow, 1973), p. 28, n. 85. The elections to the raion dumas loom large in Russian historiography because Lenin attached so much importance to them and used them as proof that the time for the seizure of power had come, or, if you like, that a Bolshevik gov­ ernment would be, not only possible, but also legitimate, because it would have mass support in Petrograd and Moscow. Five days after the elections he wrote in his article, nThe Crisis has Matured,” Only the Bolshevik votes grew [by comparison to the June elections to the City Duma] from 34,000 to 82,000. They received 42 per cent of the total vote. Thére cao be no shadow of doubt that we, together with the Left Socialist Revolu­ tionaries, now have a majority in the Soviets, in the army and in the country. . . . 3I+ In an additional passage, earmarked only for mémbers of the Soviets, the Central (Committee, the Petersburg Commit­ tee, and the Moscow Committee, he concluded that The Bolsheviks are now guaranteed a victorious


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insurrection. . . . we now have the technical capability to take power in Moscow, which could even begin the insurrection- in order to strike the enemy where he doesn’t expect it.35 Naturally, official Soviet historians have all stressed the importance of this election and Lenin's com­ ments upon it. The Stalinist history of the Civil War comments. The elections to the district [raion] dumas, which held on September 24 revealed how great had been the swing of the proletariat and the semi-proletarian masses in Moscow toward the Bolsheviks. 36 The latest official history of the October Revolution com­ ments, The voting is convincing testimony that the Moscow Bolshevik organization had achieved undivided leadership over the proletariat and won the overwhelming majority of the soldiers of the Moscow garrison.37 The collective history of the city of Moscow begun in the 1950's quotes Lenin's statement in "The Crisis has Ma­ tured," that the elections were a "gigantic victory," and "one of the most striking symptoms of the most profound change that has taken place in the state of mind of the nation."38 One of the more objective and careful Soviet scholars, G. A. Trukan, argues that the June elections show that "under the conditions provided by a capitalist struc­ ture they [the elections] cannot give a complete picture of the class forces."39 Trukan quotes Lenin's explanation that under capitalism the toiling masses had not been able to achieve a sufficiently high level of consciousness, and, therefore, voted in the June elections for the Social­ ist Revolutionaries. But Trukan then goes on to cite the raion duma elections as proof that the soldiers were being Bolshevized.40 The leading Soviet expert on the Moscow in­ surrection, Grunt, admits that in the June elections the army and part of the working class voted for the Socialist Revolutionaries, commenting, "the victory of the Socialist Revolutionaries can be explained, on the one hand, by the peculiar social composition of the Moscow population, and, on the other, by the fact that the broad toiling masses still had faith in the petty bourgeois conciliator par­ ties." 1+1 But, when he turns to the September elections, he writes, "Basic changes had taken place in the conscious­ ness of the toiling people of Moscow, finding its first

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reflection in the results of these elections." He sees those results as proof that "the people had gone over to the Bolsheviks," giving the Moscow party a strong pillar of support in the forthcoming October Revolution, though to give Grunt his due, he does take note of the low voter participation in September.42 Grunt explains the September victory, at least in part, by Bolshevik tactical skill in campaigning for peace and land, and against speculation.43 It is a little difficult for non-Marxists to accept voter behavior in September as an expression of class conscious­ ness, while at the same time viewing the June elections as an expression of false consciousness. The two western scholars who have treated the raion duma elections in Moscow, 0. H. Radkey and W. G. Rosenberg, do not see them as proof of a great change of heart on the part of the citizens of Moscow or as evidence that the Bolsheviks could assume power because they had achieved legitimacy by earning real mass support. Instead they have focused, characteristically, on short-run factors and underrated the importance of more extended trends in Rus­ sian history, and of the close fit between Bolshevik pol­ icy and the developing attitudes of ^the urban population. They might almost have taken their cue from the moderate Moscow Kadet newspaper, Russkie vedomosti, which after the elections commented editorially: "they did indeed show the state of mind prevalent, not only in Moscow, but also throughout Russia, a predisposition, not toward socialism, but toward every brand of demogoguery.1,44 Oliver Radkey, in his study of the Socialist Revolutionaries, denies the legitimacy of the Socialist Revolutionary victory in June by arguing that it was the result of the shortcomings of other parties in the eyes of the voter, rather than any distinctive virtues of their own. The Kadets, he argues, had become too conservative in their Jacobin image, and the Bolsheviks were then considered unpatriotic because they called for an end to the war.45 He also explains the success of.the Bolsheviks in September to a large extent as the result of the shortcomings of another party— in this case the Socialist Revolutionaries themselves, who had by then enjoyed three months in office after their June victories. Radkey, however, berates the Socialist Revo­ lutionaries for not realizing thàt Bolshevik support was more solid than their own and was "actually a testimonial to the growing class consciousness of the electorate."46 But this is a passing comment, and he does not return to that theme. Radkey points out that both the Bolsheviks and


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the Kadets gain in September, and he characterizes this as a build-up of extremes at the expense of the center.47 More to the point, he indicates that the Socialist Revolu­ tionaries suffered from the agonies of their responsibili­ ties. They had become the government in Moscow in June, and the voters felt they had not accomplished anything by September, except to raise streetcar fares. Radkey adds one significant observation, that the shift in popular vote from June to September cannot be dismissed as mere vacillation on the part of the voters, because support for the Bolsheviks lasted through the elections to the Con­ stituent Assembly in November. Once again, however, he does not develop this idea.40 In another study of these elections, William Rosenberg touches on one trend which seems to undermine the conven­ tional western view that the Russian voter was merely be­ having in an irresponsible fashion because of inexperience in the democratic process. Rosenberg found evidence that the Moscow votfer was displaying growing political con­ sciousness because of the efflorescence of grass roots political activity, and the free and open competition for votes.49 But for Rosenberg, as for Radkey, this is an aside, and Rosenberg focuses chiefly on short-run factors to explain changes in the pattern of voting. He suggests that in June the Socialist Revolutionaries had the advant­ age of appearing as a major party in the national coalition government which had just launched a new offensive at the front; an offensive that began to transform itself into a retreat only after the elections.50 Also he argues that Bolshevik agitation in the demonstrations in early June had aroused fears of their radicalism.51 By September new mil­ itary failures were apparent, a military coup d'etat had been tried and failed, and the Bolshevik peace campaign had gained them nearly unanimous support from military garrisons in the cities.52 Rosenberg also points out that between June and September large numbers of people were leaving Moscow, probably neither soldiers nor workers, though no one knows for sure, and that this increased the weight of the soldier-worker vote.53 Rosenberg does not include the results of the elections to the Constituent Assembly, which appëar above. Those figures indicate that the Bolsheviks were able to sustain their popular support even when a much higher proportion of the electorate went to the polls. The difficulty with both these interpretations is that they do not rest on close scrutiny of the problems of

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


tke city of Moscow from June to September, or of the kind 0f election campaign the Bolsheviks ran during those four

months. Certainly the fact that the Moscow Bolsheviks displayed a new sensitivity to the mood of the city and a relentless drive to harness that force helps to explain their success in the September elections. Perhaps there was some kind of spontaneous mass response to the Bolshe­ viks, partly as a result of the failures of other politi­ cal parties and partly as a result of the program for radical change advanced by the Bolsheviks. But the Bol­ sheviks planned and worked to get that support. As one of the Bolshevik leaders assigned to manage that electoral campaign, Alexander Shlikhter, put it: Our propaganda was furious and energetic. At our meetings we were united by our revolu­ tionary state of mind and schooled by the rev­ olutionary slogans of the sizable revolutionary cadres of the most advanced and active members of the working class. But, all the same, mili­ tary attacks make a revolution, not meetings of friends, and the masses of workers actually re­ mained at the moment, as they* did in general in all revolutions, more or less unaffected by the school of our revolutionary meetings. It was an extremely important and urgent task for us to learn how to sound out the state of mind of this middle and lower strata, for we did not know the hour or the day of the forthcoming revolutionary explosion, but the general political and economic situation was such that this explosion could burst forth any day, spontaneously and impetu­ ously, as it had in the July Days in Petrograd. To find our way among the various miraculous events and facts of current life taking place before us, we needed to develop remarkably sensi­ tive antennae. The Moscow Committee found those antennae and used them in the election campaign for raion dumas o f ;.t^e city of Moscow. 54 This passage can, of course, be read in two different ways. One can follow most western scholars and argue that the Bolsheviks were immoral opportunists and, therefore, cap­ able of exploiting any opportunity that the bitch goddess, Clio, thrust upon them. Or, on the contrary, one can fol­ low Soviet scholars and argue that centuries of oppression and social injustice brought about a revolutionary situa-


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

tion and a party conditioned to take advantage of it. In any case, the Bolsheviks did a masterful job. The chief sources of desperation were immediate is­ sues: prices, housing and food supplies. It has been es­ timated that in Russia as a whole between February and December wages rose 53 per cent and prices about 100 per cent.55 Items of common consumption rose at an even fast­ er pace.56 There was an increasing tendency to meet work­ ers strikes with lockouts, and between August and September some 231 enterprises were closed and 61,000 workers were unemployed.57 The result was a blossoming of trade unions and factory committees, many of which called for worker control over industry.58 Already in May there were around forty trade unions in the city with an estimated membership of about 180,000.59 The Bolsheviks controlled two of the largest unions from the outset, the textile workers union, claiming 80,000 members in May, and the metal workers union, claiming 25,000 members.60 They were weakest in those unions, like the pharmacists, shop clerks, and printers, involved in small-scale enterprise.61 By July the Bolshe­ viks had gained control of the Central Bureau of Trade w co Unions in Moscow. Everywhere the Bolsheviks put them­ selves at the head of the movements making the most radi­ cal demands: the movement for the eight-hour workday, for workers’ control of hiring and firing, for pay for full­ time administrators in trade unions and factory committees, etc. The strike of leather workers, most of whom were en­ gaged in the production of military goods, began o n 16 August 1917 and ended in victory shortly before the Octo­ ber Revolution.63 In August the Bolsheviks received the greatest encouragement when they were able to persuade the trade unions to mobilize a one-day general strike for ex­ clusively political purposes against the Moscow State Con­ ference, a meeting sponsored by the Provisional Govern­ ment. Factories, shops, electric stations, restaurants, and trolley cars stopped running in an impressive display of the newly discovered power of the working class.61* Housing had always been a problem in Moscow outside of the Sadovoe Circle, and remains so even today. Accord­ ing to the census of 1912 the bulk of the population in the city lived in rented rooms, with an average occupancy of 8.4 persons per apartment, which rose to 10.8 by 1917.65 By 1917 the city was flooded, not only with new workers for the booming war industries, but also with wounded soldiers from the front, who were arriving at the rate of 69,000 per month. 66 Rents, and the price of residential

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


property rose, often to ten times the pre-war level.67 The supply of food was one of the most serious prob­ lems in 1917. Bread, meat and sugar were rationed from March onwards, with one pound of meat per civilian per w e e k , and it continued to drop throughout the year.68 The amount of bread and grain apportioned to each individual also declined. In April it stood at thirty pounds of grain and three pounds of groats per person per month, and in June it dropped to twenty-five pounds of grain (about a fourteen per cent drop from the pre-war level of consump­ tion) .69 By October it had dropped further to twenty-one pounds per person per month. From March to October the price of bread in Moscow nearly tripled.70 In the elec­ tions in September, according to Shlikhter, the food sup­ ply question served as a focal point for riveting the at­ tention of the workers on the need for revolution. The working class feels the scarcity of food then and now in all its sharpness. The present day-by-day state purchases of grain amount to nothing and the reserves from the previous purchases were catastrophically low. The bread ration became smaller*’and smaller, reaching, if I am not mistaken, one-quarter pound per person per day.71 In addition to their efforts to develop a program that would deal with the most immediate problems of the people of Moscow, the Bolsheviks embarked on an ambitious organi­ zational drive. The army was won over slowly and by hard work. From March onward the Military Bureau of the Bol­ shevik Party coordinated these efforts.72 The Bolsheviks tried to create cells in all units within the city, began to operate service clubs, and streamlined the organization of the Military Bureau.73 Perhaps even more significant were their efforts to redistribute land, to establish peace, and to eliminate the death penalty for deserters. As early as 23 July the Bolsheviks called upon the Moscow City Duma to abolish the death penalty, military fields courtsmartial and all the measures limiting the political rights of the soldiers, but their motion was defeated.71* On the same day the same resolution was approved on Bolshevik initiative by a city-wide conference of factory committees attended by 1,000 delegates.75 The effect of their work is apparent in the garrison vote in September and November. Thè party also began to-win over women and young peo­ ple. As early as 4 June 1917, a meeting of forty young Bolsheviks formed a union of students.76 By August they


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

claimed 1,500 members, and 2,170 by October.77 Women formed a large part of the work force, almost half in those factories employing more than twenty-one workers, and the party renewed its efforts to mobilize them. A journal for women, called Rabotnitsa> was published in Petrograd, but distributed throughout the country. In Moscow women who were party members, like A. M. Kollontai, K. N. Samoilova, P. F. Judel, and K. I. Nikolaeva, went on lecture tours to the factories to awaken and organize women workers. 78 The chief ad hoc organization representing the citi­ zens of Moscow, apart from the city government, which had received its mandate three months before, was the Moscow Soviet of Workers Deputies. On 5 September 1917 that body approved by a vote of 355 to 254 a Bolshevik resolution condemning the Provisional Government for allowing an at­ tempted coup d fetat by Kornilov and calling for a new government of representatives of the proletariat.79 On 19 September, fivç days before the elections to the raion dumas, the executive committee of the Moscow Soviet of Workers Deputies was reorganized to give the Bolsheviks a majority and the new president of the Soviet, Victor Nogin, was a Bolshevik. The 24 September elections were a result of this ac­ tivity. The final appeal to the voters told the elector­ ate that they had to vote against the Socialist Revolu­ tionaries if they wanted to put an end to the lockouts.80 It pointed out that the government in power, which was continuing the war, included members of all the other major parties. It stressed that this was the same government that had failed to give the peasants the land they needed by redistributing the larger estates. By way of contrast, the Bolsheviks said they would distribute all church, monastic and aristocratic land.81 Rooms would be provided in the apartments of the rich and in single-family homes. The political content of the Bolshevik appeals was simple, but rather vague. Much is made of the threat of counter­ revolution. Some of the vocabulary of democracy is used, but in a rather loose populist fashion. Military terminol­ ogy is more abundant than references to constitutions, the rule of law, or the rights of man. For example. Social Democratic Internationalists stand resolutely guarding the political rights of rev­ olutionary democracy and will immediately fight all attempts to limit them.

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


The working class and the poorest people of Mos­ cow must have steadfast and decisive representa­ tives in general and in raion dumas in particu­ lar, so as in peaceful times to conduct the city's economy in the interests of democracy, and in hours of battle to be at the head of the people and boldly and decisively to lead the pop­ ular masses to new social and political conquests, to new and greater victories.8 The pattern evident in the capture of the raion dumas was also apparent in other organizations where, except for the Moscow Soviet of Workers Deputies, the Bolsheviks were stronger among the rank-and-file than they were in the ex­ ecutive committees of those organizations, which had been elected earlier in the year. By October the Bolsheviks had gained a strong foothold in the trade unions, they controlled the Moscow Oblast Bureau of the Metal Workers Union and the Central Committee of the Textile Workers Union.83 They did not control the national or local ex­ ecutive committees of the vital Union of Railway Workers, which included telegraph workers, as well as railroad work­ ers, the printers unions, the pharmaceutical workers union, the retail shop workers, and the chemical workers union. 84 In the Soviet of Soldiers Deputies the Bolsheviks were a minority and in the Moscow Oblast Soviet of Peasant Deputies they had only nine out of 150 delegates.85 The crucial question was the attitude of the army garrison. It has been established that there were about 100,000 soldiers in Moscow by October,86 though probably less than half were combat or combat-ready, and they had virtually no arms.87 Unlike the situation in Petrograd, the Moscow city government did not provoke the army by threatening to send radicalized regiments to the front, and it was an open question whether the soldiers' strong vote for the Bolshe­ viks in September would translate itself into armed action on behalf of that party.88 There was a Red Guard, whose size has been estimated at between 6,000 and 15,000 mem­ bers, but most sources ajycee that they were unorganized, untrained, and poorly armed.89 By way of contrast, the city government seemed to have at its disposal 10,000 to 20,000 well-armed and disciplined officers, cadets and ensigns at the eight officer-training schools in Moscow.90 The most striking feature of the Moscow uprising was the failure of the Bolshevik Party to transform their strong electoral support into mass revolutionary action. That failure needs to be explained, if only because it so


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

flagrantly contradicts Lenin's prediction that the October Revolution could have begun in Moscow. 91 In Moscow it was only after isolated clashes between small contending groups representing the city government and pro-Bolshevik forces that genuine revolutionary action began on 27 October. Once begun, the revolution appears to have involved only small numbers of people; it was punctuated by truces and interminable bargaining; and it finally ended in a rather inconclusive armistice. Why were the Moscow Bolsheviks unable to use their popular appeal, and why were they un­ able to develop a plan for the seizure of power? One has to turn to the scholarly literature for an answer. Unfortunately, there are few non-communist accounts of the Moscow revolution other than those by Russian emigres. Also most of the non-communist newspapers in Moscow in 1917 were closed at the beginning of the insur­ rection, and those published appeared sporadically and in small editions that are not especially informative. The two most comprehensive emigre descriptions were written by S. P. Melgunov, a member of the Popular Socialist Party, and Boris Dvinov, a Menshevik. Both men are eager to prove that Bolshevik victory was primarily a result of luck or chance, rather than of intrinsic virtues possessed by the communists. Melgunov, for example, comments: In actuality there was no concrete plan and the Moscow insurrection to a greater degree than in Petrograd was organized as a result of Lenin’s gamble, even though on 14 October the delegates returned from Petrograd and a decisive meet­ ing of the Central Committee was held which cre­ ated a- party combat center with full dictatorial powers to prepare the insurrection for the sei­ zure of power. 'The overwhelming majority of party leaders,' acknowledged one of the active participants in the insurrection, Mostovenko, 'came out for insurrection, chiefly under the pressure of events in Leningrad.'92 On the role of public support for the Bolshevik c o u p d re t a t in Moscow, Melgunov quotes approvingly a passage written after the insurrection in the Menshevik newspaper V p e r e d . In these senseless days when cannons thundered in the name of the working class, the working class was silent. Only an insig­ nificant part of it appeared in the Red Guard to show support for the Bolshevik venture.93

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection pvinov agrees: In my capacity as a witness of history I assert that in the first place, there were no heroic acts on the part of the Military Revo­ lutionary Committee in Moscow, and secondly, neither the working masses nor the Moscow gar­ rison participated in the Moscow insurrection, as a result of which this adventure had an un­ happy ending: victory in Moscow fell into the hands of the Bolsheviks and was not rightfully theirs* 94 Dvinov also writes that "neither the workers nor the sol­ diers responded to Bolshevik appeals."95 The Socialist Revolutionary mayor of Moscow at the time, V. V. Rudnev, as quoted by Radkey, confirms Dvinov1s version of October week, saying that his greatest disappointment was the passivity of the population.96 Melgunov sums up by quoting approvingly a statement by S. N. Prokopovich, the only member of the cabinet of the Provisional Government to escape to Moscow. Moscow fell, not so much because of the strength of the Bolsheviks, but*: rather because of our failure to use force.*’ Very great re­ serves of force, power that would have been on qH our side, remained inactive. Most Bolshevik memoirs and primary sources support these non-communist allegations. One leading participant I. S. Veger, writes: Moscow did not seize power in October. Moscow could not take power in October. It would not have been able to do so with its own forces, and needed those sent from Peter. . . . In the revolutionary center, the Mili­ tary Revolutionary Committee, there was no combat leadership, no order of battle, no battle plan.98 A few- days after the insurrection, one of the seven original members of the Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC), G. A. Usievich, reported: You know that at that very moment when the MRC was already organized, it had no real forces. When it moved to the house of the Governor Gen­ eral at midnight, it had a small unit of bicy­ clists, and no other real armed forces at all. Clearly at that moment it was necessary to strengthen ourselves and the soviets or the


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

MRC would be taken unawares. . . . Three-fourths of the Moscow garrison was without arms. The Red Guard was in a rudimentary condition.99 There is almost a comic opera quality to some of the Bolshevik efforts to start the insurrection. A second mem­ ber of the original MRC, N. I. Muralov, could find no guide to action at the beginning of the insurrection, and began to rummage through his papers for a pamphlet the Bolshe­ viks had published in 1905 on street fighting.100 Another member of the MRC, A. Ia. Arosev, when assigned on the first day to capture the Post Office and the Telephone Ex­ change, could not find a revolver,101 and finally ended up taking the wrong telephone exchange, and forgetting to or­ der that all calls were to be monitored. 102 A member of the eight-man party combat center says that on the eve of the insurrection the Bolshevik Party could rely only on a bicycle company, the ordinance workers, and one battery of a reserve artillery brigade, though he felt that more troops would follow if there were an appeal from the Soviet.103 A member of the Central Committee of the Bol­ shevik Party, M. S. Ol'minskii, describes the garrison as disorganized and unarmed.101* In one early attempt to com­ pare the revolutions in Petrograd and Moscow, a Soviet ob­ server concludes that they were the antithesis of one an­ other. 105 This is essentially the same judgment rendered in the official Stalinist History of the Civil War. . . . No technical preparations were made for the insurrection. The leading bodies were formed too late,* at the beginning of the insur­ rection, the transmission belts from the . Bolshevik party to the soldiers were not suf­ ficiently strong. . . . In Petrograd the insur­ rection was exceptionally well-organized. In Moscow things were allowed to drift in their own way, particularly in the initial period.106 Despite the rather formidable and convincing evidence against the existence of any serious Bolshevik planning for the seizure of power, and against any immediate upsurge of mass support for such activity, recent Soviet historiogra­ phy tends to imply that both existed, in an apparent ef­ fort to give the seizure of power in Moscow more of an ap­ pearance of legitimacy. In the most recent Soviet account, , the veteran scholar, I. Mints, writes, "New data used in scholarly revisions demonstrate that there has been an under-estimation of the military-technical preparedness of the Moscow Bolsheviks inherent in a number of earlier works

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about October in Moscow, including in their number the second volume of the History of the Civil War" (cited above).107 As examples of such scholarly research Mintscites the unpublished dissertation of Kurlat, and two books on the Red Guard in Moscow by G. A. Tsypkin and T. A. Logunov. On the basis of archival material which is difficult for non-communist scholars to confirm or deny, Tsypkin concludes that there were 6,000 members of the Red Guard, and L. S. Gaponenko thinks it may have been as high as 30,000 members.108 According to Tsypkin, his archival work indicates that preparations and planning for the in­ surrection went on despite the reluctance of the Moscow City Committee of Bolsheviks.109 In short, this interpre­ tation insists that there was planning, albeit at the eleventh hour, in the Moscow Oblast Bureau of the Bolshevik Party, and in the raion dumas, raion Soviets, factory com­ mittees, trade unions, and raion military committees. 110 The Moscow Oblast Bureau was theoretically in charge of all party operations in Moscow Guberniia, including the activities of the reluctant Moscow Committee in the city. But the Red Guard was autonomous in each raion. Cadres of Bolshevik militants sent out by the*)0blast Bureau after 14 October began to organize them'for revolt, with the assistance of Bolshevik militants already entrenched in the raion dumas and Soviets. On 27 October a council of raion dumas was set up to coordinate the work of the local bodies.111 The metal workers tried to make up for the shortage of arms by stealing and manufacturing arms, bombs, grenades and automatic weapons.112 One of the most recent Soviet revisions of the con­ ventional view paints a picture of intense involvement and interest on the part of the masses. All day on 26 October the districts bubbled with activity in the mobilization of forces. In all the raions military revolutionary committees were elected. In this way order was preserved and the decisions of the leading revolutionary center of the Soviets were carried out unflinchingly. De­ spite the freezing-^rain in the streets of the city great animation prevailed. Lively discus­ sions took place around the posted appeals of the Military Revolutionary Committee in which the de­ veloping situation was the focus of attention.113 There is some justification for this position, because in the end it would be pressure from the working-class suburbs and the Moscow Oblast Bureau, and support from the suburbs


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and other cities (especially Petrograd), that would turn the tide. Some raion Soviets had assumed effective con­ trol over their districts before the insurrection.m Those recent accounts that emphasize the role of spon­ taneity and planning in the working-class districts, how­ ever, must at the same time either ignore or gloss over the intense factional disputes between the top Bolshevik lead­ ers in Moscow that prevented genuine coordinated planning. This is especially true of the feud between the moderate older generation of Bolsheviks in the Moscow City Commit­ tee led by V. P. Nogin, and younger and more radical com­ munists in the Moscow Oblast Bureau, led by men like N. I. Bukharin.115 In the Moscow Committee Nogin, P. G. Smidovich, A. I. Rykov and 0. Piatnitskii were skeptical about the possibility of victory through an armed upris­ ing, especially without close cooperation with the other socialist parties represented in the various Soviets.116 Perhaps the members of the Moscow Committee were cautious because they remembered that Moscow had been the first to call a general strike in 1905, leading to revolutionary action, and the results had been disastrous.117 Thus, in subsequent criticisms of their position and even in their own speeches, the words that recur are "all-socialist gov­ ernment" (odnovodnaia sotsialistioheskaia vlast1) "wait­ ing" (vyzhidanie) , "conciliation" (soglashatel'stvo) , and "avoidance of bloodshed." As a result the Moscow Committee resisted the idea of armed insurrection and Lenin's prodding for it. They postponed the opening of actual combat for two days after they received the news of events in Petrograd. Lenin's views were clear. On 12 and 14 September he called upon the Moscow Bolsheviks to make insurrection and preparation for insurrection the order of the day.118 At the end of September or beginning of October at a joint meeting of the Moscow Oblast Bureau and the Moscow Committee the majority concluded, against the opposition of Bureau mem­ bers, that "to begin in Moscow is impossible," though they would support actions in Petrograd.“ 9 The reasons were that the workers and soldiers in Moscow were poorly armed, the party's ties with the garrison were too weak, and the Soviet of Soldiers Deputies and its executive committee were in the hands of Socialist Revolutionaries and Men. sheviks.120 Representatives of both the Moscow Committee and Oblast Bureau met with Lenin in Petrograd on 10 Octo­ ber. Members of the Committee defended their position at the meeting and subsequently refused even to unite their

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combat center with that of the Bureau until the day after the coup d'etat in Petrograd.121 But the Bureau went ahead with its preparations despite the opposition of the Moscow Committee.122 Once the insurrection began addi­ tional friction developed between the Military Revolution­ ary Committee created by the Soviet of Workers Deputies, in which the views of the Moscow Committee predominated, and the united Party Combat Center, in which the views of the Oblast Bureau prevailed.123 From the beginning, the uprising in Moscow was a mod­ ern urban revolution in the sense that control of the rail­ roads, radio, telephone and telegraph was crucial, and most of that apparatus was in the hands of their enemies. Also, the objective of the insurrection was to seize the center of the city inside the Sadovoe Circle,where the apartments of the upper classes, and the central administrative build­ ings were located, and an area where the Bolsheviks had the least support. They lost the raion duma elections there, perhaps because the area had a much smaller number of in­ dustrial workers than elsewhere.124 On the other hand, perhaps it was not as much of a gamble as it seemed, be­ cause some members of Oblast Bureau# G. I. Lomov and V. V. Osinskii, argued that lack of discipline in the garrison made it possible for a relatively small group of men to seize power. 125 Another important factor in the Moscow insurrection was the failure of the Moscow city government to take armed action against Bolshevik and Soviet headquarters, which were also located within the Sadovoe Circle. The entrenched Socialist Revolutionary city government conducted a holding action, using students (cadets) from the officers training schools while awaiting reinforcements from the front, be­ fore initiating more aggressive strategies. The Bolsheviks also seemed to be mounting only a'holding action, expecting either a peaceful compromise or help from Petrograd, the outlying suburbs, and from working-class districts outside of the Sadovoe Circle, and especially from the Zamoskovorech'e raion south of the^Moskva River. The sequence of eyeiîts or periodization has been a subject of some controversy among Soviet historians. There were two periods of armed truce, from 25 to 27 October and on October 30th, leaving only five days of actual fighting. A united Party Combat Center, including members of both the Moscow Committee and the Oblast Bureau, was created some time after 11:45 a.m. on the morning of 25 October.126 That same day the city government formed a Committee of


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Public Safety including delegates from loyal trade unions, political parties, and the general staff and officers of the city garrison,127 During the afternoon, before the Moscow Soviet had a chance to approve Bolshevik plans for a seizure of Power by creating its own Military Revolution­ ary Committee, the Party Combat Center took three actions, V, I. Soloviev was ordered to close down the major nonsocialist newspapers,128 A, P, Rosengolts was assigned to find soldiers to protect the Polytechnic Museum where the Soviet of Workers Deputies was scheduled to meet that evening. 129 A. S. Vedernikov and A. Ia. Arosev were or­ dered to seize the city telephone exchange and the post office.130 Arosev did not seize the main telephone ex­ change controlling messages going out of the city, and he did not attempt to control messages passing through the ex­ change he had taken.131 Bands of cadets came to test Bol­ shevik control, but left after a brief conversation with Bolshevik guards. Later that evening Arosev was asked by the chief of the Moscow garrison, K. I. Riabtsev, why he had taken the exchange, and Arosev responded by asking Riabtsev why he had sent cadets, since that might have led to bloodshed.132 Early the next morning a Bolshevik en­ sign, 0. M. Berzin, entered part of the Kremlin and claimed it for the Bolsheviks, though he was soon surrounded by cadets.133 While no shots were fired, the remainder of the Kremlin continued to be controlled by the city government. It looked like a stalemate on 26 October, with neither side willing to precipitate a bloody conflict. That even­ ing the Military Revolutionary Committee began negotiating with Riabtsev for a peaceful solution of their differences. The calm was broken at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening, 27 October, when Riabtsev broke off negotiations and demanded that the Bolshevik force inside the Kremlin surrender to the cadets who had surrounded them. 13lf Riabtsev was en­ couraged to take this bold step by rumors from Petrograd about the return of the Provisional Government, and by promises of reinforcements from the front.135 When his ultimatum was rejected, he seized the Kremlin and recov­ ered the telephone exchange and the post office.136 The Military Revolutionary Committee finally issued appeals for offensive, rather than defensive, action; and there was scattered street fighting until 29 October when the All-Union Executive Committee of the Railroad Workers Union demanded that both sides in Petrograd and Moscow stop fighting and negotiate or face a general strike of railroad and telegraph workers.137 In fact, the Military

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Revolutionary Committee never stopped negotiating, even after Riabtsev's abrupt about face.138 Although it had heard the encouraging news about the formation of a Bol­ shevik government in Petrograd endorsed by the Second Con­ gress of Soviets,139 the Committee had heard equally dis­ couraging news about the prospects of its survival from X. S. Veger, who returned from Petrograd on that day.140 At the behest of the railroad workers, the Committee agreed to a twenty-four hour truce. At this point, the contention of Lukashev, Kondratiev, and Kostomarov that the Military Revolutionary Committee was the new legitimate government in Moscow from 25 Octo­ ber seems to defy the facts. On 28 October a call for a general strike was issued.141 Nogin, speaking perhaps for the dominant position in the Moscow Committee, said, "I am completely unnecessary here. This is a time for action, and I am not a soldier.11 In the evening the records of the Military Revolutionary Committee were burned and the staff reduced to a skeleton crew in anticipation of an attack by Riabtsev.lk3 The Party Combat Center established a back-up team with Bukharin at its head in the Zamoskovorech'e raion. lifl+ On the following day the Biulteten9 of the MRC announced 11In the center 'of the city from the night of 28-29 October the position of the revolutionary soviet army became very critical."11*5 That day the Mili­ tary Revolutionary Committee sent Veger back to Petrograd to get more troops. llf6 The tide began to turn between 29 and 30 October. Two companies of soldiers arrived from Minsk to help the in­ surgents. 147 At the same time raion military revolutionary committees, in particular in Zamoskovorech1e and BlagusheLefortov, called upon the party leaders to take a strong stand in their negotiations with the enemy, and to accept nothing less than total surrender. 11+8 On 30 October the first assistance from Petrograd arrived in the form of 500 sailors from Kronstadt, soon to be followed by more troops, pressure,.and aid from the outlying districts and sub­ urbs. 11+9 At the same time the districts outside of the Sadovoe Circle began to .experience some successes of their own, the first being the seizure of the Alekseev Military School.150 Riabtsev learned that his reinforcements would not be forthcoming, and on 2 November he surrendered.151 In conclusion, the character of the October Revolution in Moscow would seem to be somewhat different from accounts appearing in both Russia and the West, in which historical evidence has been screened through their respective beliefs


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

and preconceptions about historical legitimacy. There has been some thaw in Soviet historiography, especially in the works of P. V. Volobuev, E. N. Burdzhalov, Trukan and Grunt, who use some of the more accurate memoirs from the vintage years of the 'twenties, but most official Soviet accounts today see a heroic wave of workers enveloping the historically obsolete city government. By way of contrast western accounts, like those by Radkey and Chamberlin, or emigre accounts, like those of Dvinov and Melgunov, tend to emphasize the role of chance, with the victory of the Bol­ sheviks as an historical accident. In recent years Soviet historians have introduced two new trends in the interpre­ tation of Moscow week. One tends to emphasize the role of local initiative and planning, rather than the paralysis of the Moscow Committee and the Military Revolutionary Committee. A second school, represented by G. D. Kosto­ marov and A. V. Lukashev, tends to bypass local problems altogether by seeing Moscow as a mere reflection or re­ sponse to Petrograd. In the final analysis these different viewpoints can supplement one another, rather than cancelling each other out. The evidence suggests that Moscow week was neither accidental nor heroic in the usual sense of that word. The Moscow Oblast Bureau was either heroic or foolish in un­ dertaking to seize power in a situation where the chances of success seemed very slim because they made few prepar­ ations, and had little active support or certainty of victory. To. say that they had little active support, however, is not to say they were without a mass following. To some extent the "waiting policy" engaged in by most of the soldiers, officers and civilians in Moscow was prob­ ably less an expression of indifference and apathy than of caution, which was warranted by the impressive array of military force in the hands of the established city govern­ ment. The willingness of a large part of the Moscow elec­ torate to accept and support a Bolshevik government, as, for example, in the subsequent elections to the Constitu­ ent Assembly, ultimately may have been as important as street fighting. In the end, of course, the question of whether the Bolshevik insurrection in Moscow was legitimate or not in terms of long-run historical factors is difficult, perhaps .impossible, to answer in purely historical terms. It seems to depend almost entirely on one's political convictions. But the question of determinism or contingency must be re­ considered, and what is needed for that is a more careful

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


examination of the period before and after October, It would be illuminating to explore the historical experience before 1914 that shaped the portion of the Bolshevik cadres which was ready in Moscow as well as in Petrograd to seize the opportunities presented by the year 1917, One would also have to reconsider the mood and attitude of workers between 1910 and 1914 before leaping to the conclusion that it was chiefly events in 1917 that made them willing to support, or at least accept a Bolshevik government. The most significant difference between the Bolshevik seizure of power in Moscow and Petrograd is that the latter occurred first. Though it is difficult to agree with A. V. Lukashev that the Petrograd coup makes the Moscow rebels the legitimate government of the city, events in Petrograd forced the hand of the moderate leaders of the Moscow Com­ mittee, precipitated revolutionary action, and in the end insured the success of the Moscow operation by lending moral and material support. Whether the revolution in Moscow would have occurred anyway, as Lenin suggests, is an intriguing question, but it is not one a historian can answer with confidence. NOTES 1They are Bulgaria,’Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Albania, China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba, Outer Mongolia, and East Germany. 2There are very few non-communist accounts of the October Revolution in Moscow. Probably the best is S. P. Mel'gunov, Kak b o V sheviki zakhvatili vlast* : oktiabr*skoi perevorot 1917 goda, Paris: La Renaissance, 1953. The book was recently translated into English, though, re­ grettably, the section on the October Revolution in Moscow was omitted. S. P. Melgunov, The Bolshevik Seizure of Power, Santa Barbara: ABC Clio, 1972. Mel'gunov was a member of the small and moderate Popular Socialist Party in Moscow in 1917, so his account is an eyewitness report, as well as a scholarly analysis of the available primary sources. There is a somewhat fragmentary account by a Menshevik, Boris Dvinov, Moskovskii sovet rabochikh députâtov 1917-22, vospominaniia, No. 1 of the InterUniversity Project on the History of the Menshevik Move­ ment, New York, 1961. There are two Soviet accounts in English: The Great Proletarian Revolution (October-Novem­ ber^ 1917), vol. II of M. Gorky, et al. (eds.), The His­ tory of the Civil War in the U.S. S.R. , London: Lawrence


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

and wishart, 1947; and I. Mintz, The October Days in Moscow; The Struggle for Power in 1917 , New York: Workers Library, 1941. There are three brief accounts by western scholars based on a rather limited selection of sources: Oliver Radkey, The Sickle Under the Hammer: The Russian Socialist Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule , New York: Columbia University Press, 1963, pp. 47-61; W. H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, 1917-21, 2 vols.; New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1965, I, 335-41; Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution : A Political Biography, New York: Knopf, 1973, pp. 49-53. 3Paul Schrecker, "Revolution as a Problem in the Phil­ osophy of History," in C. J. Friedrich (ed.), Revolution > New York: Atherton Press, 1966, p. 43, vol. VIII of Year­ book of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. ^Robert v. Daniels, Red October: The Bolshevik Revo­ lution of 1917, New York: Scribners, 1967, p. 215. 5Chamberlin, I, 192-350. 6E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-23, 3 vols; Baltimore: Pelican Books, 1966, I, 109; and even more clearly in E. H. Carr, The October Revolution: Before and After, New York: Random House, 1967, pp. 15-16; and his contribution to Richard Pipes (ed.), Revolutionary Russia: A Symposium, Garden City: Doubleday, 1969, p. 361. 7James Billington, "Six Views of the Russian Revolu­ tion," World Politics, XVIII (April 1966), 469. 8Walter Laqueur, The Fate of the Revolution: Inter­ pretations of Soviet History, New York: Macmillan, 1967, p. 55. 9E. B. Cherniak, Istoriografiia protiv istorii: kritika reaktsionnoi istoriografii epokhi krusheniia kapitalizma, Moscow, 1962. 10 B. I. Marushkin, Istoriia i politika: amerikanskaia burzhuaznaia istoriografiia sovetskogo obshchestva, Moscow, 1969, pp. 160-206. 11 Sovetskaia istoricheskaia entsiklopediia , vol. V, "Zakonomernost' istoricheskaia," by I. S. Kon, p. 603. 12 Ibid., p. 604. 13 Ibid., p. 603. 14Billington, "Six Views," p. 459. 15 To some extent this has changed since Stalin's death. See, for example, the revival of interest in soci­ ology, as described in George Fischer, Science and Poli­ tics: The New Sociology in the Soviet Union, Cornell Re­ search Papers in International Studies, vol. I, Ithaca:

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Center for International Studies, 1964, Now the Soviet historian is expected to be more sophisticated, more scholarly, and more profound in order to make the legit­ imization of the Russian Communist Party more credible, but that change seems to have made the historian's task more difficult- See Nancy Heer, Politics and History in the Soviet Union, Boston: M.I.T. Press, 1971, pp. 15-21, 197208, 264-66. A good case in point is that of Burdzhalov. See Merle Fainsod, "Historiography and Change," and Leonard Schapiro, "Continuity and Change in the New History of the CPSU," in John Keep (ed.). Contemporary History in the Soviet Mirror, New York: Praeger, 1964, pp. 22-25, 34-42, 70r75. 16 See n. 15 above and Marin Pundeff, History in the U. S.S.R., Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967, pp. 197-208, 256-78. 17 A. Ia. Grunt, "Istoriograficheskie zametki o moskovskom oktiabre," Istoriia SSSR , no. 5 (September/ October 1972), pp. 70-71. Kachurin, in his surveys of the historiography of this subject, does not make much of these controversies. A. V. Kachurin, Partiia b o l rshevikov vdokhnovitelf i Organisator moskovskogo vooruzhennogo vosstaniia v Oktiabre 1917 goda, Moscow, 1967; A. V. Kachurin, "Sovetskaia istoriografiia oktiabr'skoi revoliutsii v Moskve," in K. V. Gusev and V. P. Naumov (eds.), Velikii oktiabr9 v rabotakh sovetskikh i zarubezhnykh istorikov , Moscow, 1971. 18 Grunt includes among those who share his view the authors of Istoriia Moskvyy 6 vols; Moscow, 1952-57; T. A. Logunov, Moskovskaia krasnaia gvardiia v 1917 godu, Moscow, 1960; G. A. Trukan, Oktiabr9 1917 goda v tsentraHnoi rossiiy Moscow, 1967. Grunt's own views are stated in a number of articles and in his comprehensive little survey of the October Revolution in Moscow, A. Ia. Grunt, Pobeda oktiabr9skoi revoliutsii v Moskve (fevral9-oktiabr9 1917 g .), Moscow, 1961. 19 As expressed in his review of the published docu­ ments of the Moscow Military Revolutionary Committee, A. V. Lukashev, "Moskovskii voenno-revoliutsionnyi komitet oktiabr'-noiabr' 1917 goda," Voprosy istorii KPSSy no. 7 (1970), p. 134. V. A. Kondratiev occupies a similar posi­ tion in his "Istoriografiia deiatel*nost' Moskovskogo V. R. K. (oktiabr'-noiabr1 1917)," Voprosy istorii, no. 1 (1970), pp. 152-61, and, despite Lukashev's criticisms, in his notes for the published documents of the Moscow Mili­ tary Revolutionary Committee, Moskovskii voenno-


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revoliutsionnyi komitet oktiabr9-noiabr9 1917 goda, Moscow, 1968. G. D. Kostomarov is close to that interpretation in his "Revoliutsionnye traditsii," in Moskva V dvukh revoliutsiiakh , Moscow, 1958. Mints occupies essentially the same position in his Istoriia velikogo oktiabria. 20 F. L. Kurlat, "Nekotorye voprosy istorii oktiabr1skoi revoliutsii v Moskve," Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta, no. 6 (1963), p. 42. 21 Staticheskii atlas gorod Moskvy i Moskovskom gubemiia, Moscow, 1924, vypusk I, p. 8. 22 B. M. Freidlin, Ocherki istorii rabochego dvizheniia V Rossii V 1917 g. ^Moscow, 1967, pp. 25-27; P. V. Volobuev, Proletariat i burzhuaziia Rossii v 1917 g.,Moscow, 1964, pp. 36-37. 23Freidlin, Ocherki istorii, pp. 25-27; Volobuev, Proletariat i burzhuaziia, pp. 36-37; E. N. Burdzhalov, Vtoraia russkaia revoliutsiia: M o s k v a f r o n t , periferiia, Moscow, 1971, p. 7. These differences were emphasized in the first pioneering effort to compare the revolution in Petrograd and Moscow, F. Anulov, "Taktika Oktiabr1 v Pitere i v Moskve," Proletarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 4 (1922), pp. 159-60. 24Volobuev, Proletariat i burzhuaziia, pp. 45-46. 25Burdzhalov, Vtoraia russkaia revoliutsiia, pp. 7-8; Trukan, Oktiabr9, pp. 18-20. 26 Grunt, Pobeda, p. 14. There is considerable debate about the exact size of the industrial working class in Moscow. See A. Ia. Grunt, "Moskovskii proletariat v 1917 g. (k voprosy o chislennosti sostav i territorial1nom razmeshchenii)," Istoricheskie zapiski, no. 85 (1970), pp. 67-111; and Kurlat, "Nekotorye voprosy," pp. 31-33. 27Daniels, Red October, p. 11. 28 V. I. Lenin, Polnoe sobranii sochinenii, 55 vols.; Moscow, 1958-65, XXXIV, 278. 29Dvinov, Moskovskii sovet, p. 3. 30L. H. Haimson, "The Problem of Social Stability in Urban Russia," Slavic Review, XXIII, no. 4 (1964), 632. Haimson adds, however, that this trend was by no means a linear projection. He stressed that "the political threat of Bolshevism in 1914 stemmed primarily not from the solidarity of its organizations nor from the success of its efforts at ideological indoctrination, but from the workers1 own elemental mood of revolt," a*mood which would evaporate after 1914. Ibid., p. 639. Sorenson points out that at the beginning of 1917 most of the union execu­ tive committees were Menshevik-dominated. Jay B. Sorenson,

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The Life and Death of Soviet Trade Unionism, 1917-28 , New york: Atherton, 1969, p. 9. Toward October 1917 the ele­ mental mood of revolt had apparently overtaken the work­ ers again and "the majority of the trade unions, not only in Petrograd, but also in Moscow, the Urals, the Central industrial Region, already occupied a Bolshevik position." P # A. Garvi, Professionalfnye soiuzy v pervye gody revoliutsii 1917-21, New York, 1968, p. 25. Sorenson is a little more skeptical: "Of the roughly 28 All-Russian and 900 local unions, few, except the metal workers and textile workers, two of the largest, supported the Bolshe­ viks." Sorenson, Soviet Trade Unionism, p. 42. Control of the trade unions was more important in Moscow than in Petrograd. In the absence of a Central Council of Fac­ tory Committees, the factory committees tended to look to the trade union leaders and organizations for guidance. Freidlin, Ocherki istorii, pp. 147, 167. 31 P. B. Sytin, Konsnunal'noe khoziaistvo (blagoustroistvo Moskvy v sraVnenii s blagoustroistvom drugi bolfshikh gorodov) , Moscow, 1926, p. 75. Kurlat, "Nekotorye voprosy," p. 33. The official statistics in­ dicate that the value of production^in the metal working industries also pulled far ahead of the other branches of industry between 1913 and 1917. Statidheskii atlas gorod Moskvy, vypusk III, pp. 19-20. 2V. Petrakova, "Voennaia organizatsiia M. K. Partii v oktiabr*skie dni," in Moskva V dvukh revoliutsiia , p. 140. 33 The Moscow City Organization contained less than 600 members at the beginning of 1917, and claimed 15,000 by July. N. V. Ruban, Oktiabr1skaia revoliutsiia i krakh m e n 1shevizma (Mart 1917-1918 g. ), Mowcow, 1968, pp. 5253 and Trukan, Oktiabr 1 1917 , p. 55. Trukan says that there were 550 party members in the city of Moscow in 1915. 3IfLenin, PS S , XXXIV, 27£ Emphasis in the original. 35 Ibid., XXXIV, 281-82.

362%e- History of the Civil Wav, II, 74. 37Mints, Istoriia ve^ikogo oktiabria, p. 15. 38Ietorii Uoskvy, vi {Part I), 72. 39Trukan, Oktiabrr 1917, p. 123. 80 Ibid., pp. 224-25. 81Grunt, Pobeda, p. 66. 82 Ibid., pp. 118-19. 83 Ibid. 88Russkaia vedornosti, no. 220 (27 September 1917), p. 3.


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

45 Oliver H. Radkey, The Agrarian Foes of Bolshevism: Promise and Default of the Russian Socialist Revolution­ aries3 February to October 1917, New York: Columbia Uni­ versity Press, 1958, pp. 241-42. 4-6 Ibid., p. 434. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid. 49 , William Rosenberg, "The Russian Municipal Duma Elec­ tions of 1917: A Preliminary Computation of Returns," Soviet Studies, XXI, no. 2 (October 1969), 138-39. so Ibid., p. 140. 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. 53 Ibid., p. 161. 54 Aleksandr Shlikhter, "Pamiatnye dni v Moskve," Froletarskaia revoliutsiia , no. 10 (1922), p. 173. See also M. F. Vladimirskii, "Moskovskie raionnye dumy i sovet raionnykh dum v 1917-18 gg.," Froletarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 8 (20) (1923), pp. 79-80. 55Trukan, Oktiabr9 1917, p. 187? Volobuev, Prole­ tariat i burzhuaziia, pp, 222-23. 56Volobuev, Proletariat i burzhuaziia, pp. 225-28. 57 Grunt, Pobeda, p. 111. 58Volobuev, Proletariat i burzhuaziia> pp. 229-30. 59 A. Egorov, "Profsoiuzy i fabzavkomy Moskvy v period podgotovki oktiabria," in Moskva v dvukh revoliutsiiakh, p. 223. 60Isto.riia Moskvy, p. 21. Nikolaev contends that the Metal Workers Union grew to 80,000 members by October. P. A. Nikolaev, Raboche-metallisty tsentral'no-promyshlennogo raiona Rossii v b o r rbe za pobedu oktiabr9skoi revoliutsii (mart-noiabr9 1917 g*)y Moscow, 1960, p. 28. 61 M. Marshev, Moskovskie profsoiuzy v oktiabr9skie dni: vospominaniia uchastnika, Moscow, 1924, pp. 34-36. 62Volobuev, Proletariat i burzhuaziia, p. 64. CQ Egorov, "Profsoiuzy i fabzavkomy," pp. 246-47. 69 ibid. , pp. 241-42; Istoviia Moskvy, VI (Part I), 61; Grunt, Pobeda, pp. 91-97. 6!ï. Verner, "Zhilishchi vopros," Kommunal'noe khoziaistvo , XXIV (25 December 1925), 53-54; Sytin, Kommunal'noe khoziaistvo, p. 74. 66Istoviia Moskvy, VI (Part I), 25. 67 Ibid. 68 P. V. Volobuev, Ekonomioheskaia potitika vremennogo pvavitel'stva, Moscow, 1962, p. 460. 69 Ibid., p. 457.

70 Ibid. , p. 463. 71 Shlikhter, "Pamiatanye dnif" p. 174. 72O. Varentsova, Moskovskaia b o l fshevistskaia voennaia organizatsiia V 1917 g., Moscow, 1937, p. 8; and O. Varentsova, "Oktiabr*skie dni v Moskve: iz vospominanii," Istoricheskii zhumal, no. 10 (1937) , p. 69. 73 Grunt, Pobeda, p. 51. Varentsova, the secretary of the Military Bureau, points out, however, that the Mili­ tary Bureau did not make much headway until August. Varentsova, Moskovskaia voennaia organizatsiia , p. 31. 74 Grunt, Pobeda, p. 82. 75 Ibid. , p. 83. 76 A. N. Atsarkin, Pod b o l 1shêvistakaia znameneni vedenie soiuzov rabochei molodezhi v Moskve v 1917 g., Moscow, 1963, pp. 25-26. 77 Ibid. , pp. 31, 45. 78z. Igumnova^Zhenshchina Moskvy v gody grazhdanskoi voiny, Moscow, 1958, pp. 4, 15-16. 79Podgotovka i pobeda oktiabrfskoi revoliutsii v Moskve: dokumenty i materialy , Moscow, 1957, pp. 300-302. 80Listovki moskovskoi organizatsii bol*shevikov 191425, Moscow, 1954, j>j>. 109-10. 81 Ibid. , pp. 98-99> 107. 82 Ibid., p. 99. 83 Trukan, Oktiabr* 191?, pp, 212-14. 88 Marshev, Moskovekie profeoiuzy, p. 16. 85 Trukan, Oktiabr ’ 1917, p. 197. 88 Podgotovka i pobeda, p. 515. 87M. p. Vladimirskii, Oktiabr1 ekie dni v Moskve, Moscow, 1928, p. 15; M. S. Ol'minskii, "Khod sobytii," in Moskva V oktiabre, Moscow, 1919, p. 30; N. Angarskii, Moskovskii sovet v dvukh revoliutsiiakh, Moscow, 1928, p. 124. 88 At least the leaders of the Moscow Committee of the Bolshevik Party thought so. See O. Piatnitskii, "Podgot­ ovka Bol'shevikami oktiabr'skogo vosstaniia v Moskve," Istorik Marksist, no. 10 (1935), pp. 17, 27. 89 Kurlat, "Nekotorye>vvoprosy," p. 38; G. A. Tsypkin, Krasnaia gvardiia v borlbè za vlast' sovetov , Moscow, 1967, p. 105. 98 Grunt., Pobeda, p. 152. 91 Supra, p. 16. In a closely reasoned article. Grunt examines all of Lenin's many comments on the question of Moscow "beginning," and concludes that Lenin's status as a prophet was not jeopardized because he hedged his predic­ tions with appropriate qualifiers. A. Ia. Grunt, "Mogla

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


li Moskva nachat'," Istoriia SSSR, no. 2 (1969), pp. 5-48. 92Mel'gunov, Kak b o l ’sheviki zakhvatili vlast' , p. 278. "ibid., p. 373. 94 Dvinov, Moskovskii sovet, p. 1. 95 Ibid. , p. 50. 96Radkey, The Sickle Under the Hammer, p. 53. 97Mel'gunov,Kak bol*sheviki zakhvatili vlast' , p. 302. 98 I. S. Veger, "K istorii moskovskogo soveta rabochikh deputatov," Proletarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 1 (48) (1926), p. 231. 99Moskovskii voenno-revoliutsionnyi komitet: oktiabr’noiabr’ 1917 goda, Moscow, 1968, p. 234. 10°N. I. Muralov, "Iz vpechatelenii o boevykh dniakh v Moskve," Proletarskaia revoliutsiia , no. 10 (1922), p. 308. 101 A. Arosev, Kak eto proizoshio, oktiabr’skie dni v Moskve: vospominaniia - materialy , Moscow, 1923, p. 7. 102 Ibid., pp. 7-8. 103 Vladimirskii, Oktiabr’skie dni, p. 27. This is con-

finned by Angar'skii, Moskovskii sovet, p. 126. 189 Ol'minskii, "khod sobytii," p. 30. 105 Anulov, "Tidetiki oktiabr'p. 160.

m The History o f the C iv il War, II, 477. 107 Mints, Isto r iia velikogo oktiabr ', p. 46, n. 147. 180 Tsypkin, Krasnaia gvardiia, pp. 105-106.

189 Ibid., pp. 98-101. 110 Ibid., p. 105. 111 Vladimirskii, Oktiabr’skie dni, p. 26. N. Prokof'eva, "Moskovskie metallisty v borb'e za velikuiu sotsialisticheskuiu revoliutsiiu, " Istoricheskii zhurnal , no. 9 (1937), p. 34. 113 Oktiabr* v Moskve, Moscow, 1967, p. 327. In the introduction to this volume, the authors place themselves among those who are embarking on a new effort since the Twentieth Party Congress to be more objective and scholar­ ly/ p. 5. 11IfKurlat, "Nekotorye voprosy," pp. 35-37. 115 In developing this theme Cohen tends to go too far and to exaggerate the role of both Bukharin and the gener­ ation gap in explaining the character of the Moscow insur­ rection. Cohen, Bukharin, pp. 49-53. Some of the most important and vigorous leaders in October, including some members of the Oblast Bureau, were over thirty, for ex­ ample, N. S. Angarskii, N. I. Muralov, P. K. Shternberg, M. F. Vladimirskii, E. M. Iaroslavskii, A. G. Shlikhter, O. A. Varentsova, I. S. Veger, V. N. Iakovleva, etc. 112

Jackson: Moscow Insurrection


See Nogin's disputes with Lenin and Stalin in VII (aprel'skaia) vserossiiskaia konferentsiia RSDRP (b), Mos­ cow, 1958, p. 101? and Shestoi s"ezd RSDRP (bol1shevikov) : protokoly , Moscow, 1958, p. 128. On the differences of opinion, see O. Piatnitskii, "Podgotovka Bol1shevikami," p. 27 and O. Piatnitskii, "Iz istorii oktiabr'skogo vosstaniia v Moskve," Istorik Marksist , no. 4 (1935), pp. 9-10? V. Iakovleva, "Podgotovka oktiabr'skogo vosstanie v moskovskoi oblasti," Proletarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 10 (1923), p. 302. 117 Robert Slusser, "The Moscow Soviet of Workers' Deputies of 1905: Origin, Structure, and Policies" (Un­ published Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, Faculty of Political Science, 1963), passim. ,118 Lenin, PSS3 XXXIV, 240. 119 G. I. Lomov, "V dni bur1 i natiski," Proletarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 10 (1927), pp. 166-67? N. Norov, "Nakanune," Moskva V Oktiabre, p. 14? Vladimirskii, Oktiabr1skie dni, pp. 14-15? Iakovleva, "Podgotovka," p. 302? Piatnitskii, "Podgotovka Bol'shevikami," p. 27. 12 0 Ibid. As late as 23 October representatives of the sympathetic military units told the^Bolshevik leaders that one-half of the garrison was unarmed, and the other half had no bullets. Varentsova, "Oktiabr1skie dni," p. 73. 121 Trukan, Oktiabr1 1917, pp. 248-49? Grunt, Pobeda, pp. 123, 135-39. 12 2 I. Stukov, "Oblastnoe Biuro i voenno-revoliutsionnyi komitet," Oktiabr1skoe vosstanie v Moskve, Moscow, 1922, p. 41. 123 Triunfal9noe shestvie sovetskoi vlasti, Chast' I, Moscow, 1963, pp. 312-13? Piatnitskii, "Iz istorii," p. 11? Trukan, Oktiabr1 1917, p. 253. 12ii In actuality the Gorodskoi raion inside the Sadovoe Circle had one of the highest concentrations of population and a fairly large number of industrial enterprises. But it was primarily a rich residential district. The indus­ trial enterprises were primarily small-scale operations, and many of the workers p^pbably commuted to them from other parts of the city.-* Grunt, Pobeda, pp. 9-10, 200205? Grunt, "Moskovskii proletariat," pp. 88-90? Verner, "Zhiliöhehi vopros," p. 53. 125 Piatnitskii, "Podgotovka Bol'shevikami," p. 27. l?€'TfrLvmfal1noe shestvie, p. 251. 127 Krasnyi arkhiv, no. 6 (61) (1933), pp. 26-57. It included the members of the City Duma, the executive com­ mittee of the Moscow Soviet of Soldiers Deputies and its presidium, the Moscow Council of the All-Russian Postal and


Jackson: Moscow Insurrection

Telegraph Union, the Moscow Bureau of the All-Russian Rail­ road Union, the general staff of the Moscow Military Dis­ trict, and the executive committee of the Soviet of Peasant Deputies. 128 Piatnitskii, nIz istorii," p. 10. 129 Ibid. 130 Ibid. 131 Ibid. 132 A. Arosev, Kak eto proizoshlo, p. 8. 133 Moskovskii voenno-revoliutsionnyi komitet (hereaf­ ter to be cited as MVRK), pp. 24, 36-37. 134 Ibid., pp. 34, 55, 74-75. 13 5 Ibid., p. 55. A. N. Voznesenskii, Moskva v 1917, Moscow, 1928, pp. 169-70. 136 Varentsova, "Oktiabr'skie dni," p. 77. 13 7 MVRK, pp. 61-66. 138 Moderates like Smidovich and Nogin were used for most of these efforts to resolve the crisis. 13SMVRK, p. 73. llt0 I. S. Veger, "Iz khroniki Oktiabria," Katovga % ssyVka, nos. 11/12 (1932), p. 79. 141 One author argues, not too convincingly, that it was the general strike that decided the outcome in Moscow. A. M. Lisetskii, "Iz istorii stachechnoi bor'by proletariataMoskvy nakanune i v khod vooruzhennogo vosstaniia," Uchenye zapiski Kishenevskogo Gosudavstvennogo univevsdteta^ no. 72, pp. 3-18. 142 MVRK, p. 72. 14 3 Ibid., pp. 54, 74. 144 Ibid., pp. 70, 74. 145 Ibid., P. p. 78. 14 6 Veger, "Iz khroniki," p. 19. 147 MVRK, p. 79. 148 Ibid., pp. 82, 86-87; Varentsova, "Oktiabr1skie dni," pp. 77-78. lUsM V R K , pp. 98, 100, 125. 150 Ibid., pp. 99, 100. 151 Ibid-, p. 161.

SPONTANEITY AND ILLITERACY IN 1917 Roger Pethybridge The relationship between the idea of spontaneity and the prevalence of illiteracy at the time of the Russian Revolution may at first sight appear to be tenuous. One way of showing the connections between them is to bring each into separate focus. In the process of defining them the links between them should become clearer. Both terms are notoriously difficult to pin down. Ever since the first mention of the concepts Msoznatel'nost'" and Mstikhiinost'" in the discussion of the pre-revolutionary Russian intelligentsia, they have been applied to many as­ pects of the historical process. We are concerned here more with revolutionary action than with theoretical mus­ ing, but in both spheres, as Leopold Haimson has noted, spontaneity always stood for a strong desire to give free rein to impulse and a belief in the*#strength of elemental forces in society which could be creative as well as being destructive.1 Very often, but not always, the quality of consciousness was ascribed to the Russian intelligentsia and referred to its efforts to make a rational analysis of society and to impose its will on that society. Thus, the twin concepts took on social connotations, since elemental spontaneity was usually seen to reside above all in the peasantry and the laboring masses. All this is well-known and need not be discussed further. The dividing line in practice between "spontaneous" and "conscious" social groups was by no means clear-cut, as will become apparent in a moment. Nor is there a dis­ tinct division between literate and illiterate sections of any given society. For the purposes of the Russian cen sus of 1897, a literate person was someone who could sign his name and who merely claimed to be able to read.2 Such an imprecise test could -cover a whole gamut from highly literate to completely illiterate people. The ability to write a long sentence, let alone one’s signature, is not a necessary corollary of the ability to read. Even if one can read, there is a world of difference between the lit­ erary skills needed to read a factory notice and those re­ quired in order to read and understand the works of Karl Marx. The Russian intelligent, who was often an intellec-


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

tual snob, normally meant the latter capacity when he talked of consciousness, and so polarized the distinction between consciousness and spontaneity, and by inference literacy and illiteracy, to an artificial degree. This attitude has led foreign observers to copying the same exaggerated view. Yet in Russia many gradations of lit­ eracy, illiteracy and semi-literacy co-existed in 1917. Maxim Gorky, Leo Tolstoy and other members of the "con­ scious" intelligentsia remind us that the spoken literacy of illiterates was often of a very high order3 in a huge country that had remarkably few local dialects of the Russian language. It is not possible to obtain precise figures for lit­ eracy rates in 1917, quite apart from the difficulties of definition. For the period before the first general cen­ sus of 1897 there is very little information on the inci­ dence of illiteracy.4 According to the 1897 census, 21.1 per cent of the total population of the Russian Empire, excluding Finland, could read and write. Children below school age are for the most part illiterate and their in­ clusion here unduly inflates the rate of illiteracy. The census indicates that 35.8 per cent of all males over the age of eight were literate, compared to 12.4 per cent of females. Town dwellers over eight were 54.3 per cent lit­ erate, rural inhabitants 19.6 per cent. Like many inves­ tigations of literacy, these figures, apart from the* proof of written signatures, were often no more than measurements of people’s-views of their abilities, as given to strang­ ers, rather than direct evidence of any capacity to write or read with reasonable fluency. By 1913 the literacy rate, including both reading and writing, had risen to 28.4 per cent for Russia excluding Finland. Naturally, no reliable figures are available for 1917, when Russians were too preoccupied to carry out so­ cial surveys. The nearest one can get in time is the RSFSR census of factory labor undertaken in 1918, which, although it covers a small fraction of the overall population, nevertheless deals with a group of vital political impor­ tance in Bolshevik ideology. This census shows a surpris­ ingly high average literacy rate of 64 per cent (72.9 per cent for males and 44.2 per cent for females). Soviet com­ mentators admit that these figures may exaggerate the ■ spread of literacy since several regional sectors of the proletariat, like the1Ukraine and the Urals, which prob­ ably had lower rates than the European heartland, were not included in the survey.5 The only other useful indicator

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


of literacy rates for the period around 1917 is the popula­ tion census of 1920 (for European Russia only)• Literacy Rates for the Population of European Russia (in per cent) Males



32.6 42.2

13.6 25.5

22.9 33.0

As can be seen, rates between 1897 and 1920 increased by almost 50 per cent for women and by about 25 per cent for men. The common social ground on which literacy rates and levels of Consciousness1' meet is, of course, the educa­ tional field. Broadly speaking, the higher social classes were both literate and "conscious y" whereas the peasantry in particular and other lower classes in general were far less literate, and so classified as "spontaneous." Ob­ viously, there were numerous exceptions to this generali­ zation. Two important ones should' be mentioned at this point. Robert Daniels has drawn our attention to what he calls the quasi-intelligentsia, which grew up in the late tsarist and early Soviet periods.6 This intermediate group differed from the pre-existing literary intelligentsia in that it only took on the appearances of education and in­ tellectuality. Since Lenin despised the old literary in­ telligentsia for its lack of discipline and could not yet rely on the workers or peasants because of their lack of consciousness, he appealed implicitly to this new halfeducated and often semi-literate group.7 By 1922, 92.7 per cent of all party members (including candidate members) had received only primary education or less. A mere 0.6 per cent had studied in institutions of higher education.8 The second significant exception to the dichotomy be­ tween "conscious" and "spontaneous" groups is the combina­ tion of both "conscious'^-and "spontaneous" psychological elements in the minds of the literary intelligentsia. Just as in the frustrated intellectual circles of Germany before unification, where the over-rational aridity of the Erklärung had its counterpart in the elemental excesses of Sturm und Drang, so also in Russia in a more political con­ text the late tsarist intelligentsia sought an outlet for its own intuitive, "spontaneous" side. A large section


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

came to believe, under the influence of Marxist and Popu­ list thought, that it could obtain a profitable outlet for its feelings by fusing with the "spontaneous” masses, the repository of vast if largely uncontrolled powers. This brings us to the central political relationship between low educational levels and the idea of spontaneity in 1917. Both the Provisional Government and the Petro­ grad Soviet were led by genuine intellectuals, but at the lower levels of the Soviet network, and especially among the less politically organized population in and around the industrial cities of European Russia, sti-khiinostr prevailed, arising to some extent from a lack of formal education. The hallmark of a pre-literate society is an unthinking spontaneity, an attitude to the world of ab­ sorbed and largely uncritical immersion. A military offi­ cer who commanded a regiment in Petrograd in 1917, and so had first-hand experience of the reaction of illiterate or semi-literate soldiers to the revolution, asks, "Who led them when they conquered Petrograd? . . . Not a political thought, not a revolutionary slogan, not a conspiracy, not a mutiny. But an elemental movement that suddenly reduced the whole old regime to ashes with nothing left over."9 This is the third force in Marc Ferro’s triarchy, consist­ ing of the Provisional Government, the Soviet and the opinion of the street.10 The latter accrued political power during 1917 in several ways. First, it represented the majority of the population. Second, both the Provi­ sional Government and the Soviet, which were in no sense the legitimate heirs of the pre-revolutionary government, had to appeal to these external forces for support, since in theory sovereignty now resided in the vox populi after the fall of the sovereign. In the third place, just be­ cause it often lacked forethought and inhibitions, popular opinion acted quickly and ruthlessly, brushing aside the laboriously prepared legal plans of the Provisional Govern­ ment, which slowly produced on paper a great deal of rationally thought-out but quite ineffective reforms.11 Lenin realized that literacy formed a dividing line between blind spontaneity and political awareness when he wrote "An illiterate person stands outside politics, and must first learn the alphabet. Without this there can be no politics."12 Yet both Lenin and V. B. Stankevich exag­ gerate the political importance of illiteracy in reality. It is surely erroneous to assume that illiterates in any country are entirely apolitical. Neither the Russian nor the Chinese Revolutions could have succeeded without the

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


approval and positive intervention of the illiterate peas­ antry- Indeed, in the 1905 Revolution, Lenin had virtual­ ly contradicted his statement quoted above when he wrote that "the working class is instinctively, spontaneously Social Democratic."13 He adopted this view in November 19.05, after observing how the course of the revolution had educated illiterate and semi-literate workers in pragmatic politics. Again in the summer of 1917, in another bout of euphoria, he envisaged in State and Revolution that any peasant could work at a high level in the party or govern­ ment administration. In both cases, however, Lenin did not abandon his firmly held view that the party vanguard must always act as the conscious guide of the two awaken­ ing classes. Lenin's theoretical debates with other Marxists be­ fore 1917 indicate why he would be likely to take advant­ age of elemental disorder created by the chaotic situation in 1917. In What is to be Done? he had countered G. V. Plekhanov's opinion that the ripening of political con­ sciousness among the workers would do away with the need to rely on the "spontaneous" strivings of the masses. Lenin had also disagreed with Iu. 0**Martov's view, ex­ pressed in Ob agitatsiiy that only a previously developed political awareness among the proletariat could result in the overthrow of the tsarist regime. Lenin intended to harness the still largely inchoate impulses of the popu­ lation to the highly organized machine of the Bolshevik Party in order to push through the revolution. When the opportunity arose to put his ideas into ac­ tion in 1917, Lenin more than any other party leader em­ ployed techniques that brought into the political arena the illiterate masses. He needed the support of their large numbers, and his party throve on the chaos their activities caused as the year progressed. It is no coin­ cidence that some of the most eminent figures of the rev­ olution were also its greatest orators— Trotsky and Keren­ sky. Their audiences could understand nearly all they heard, in a nation where on average only one in three adults could read at all*. If one looks at any film of the revolution, one of the mos’t striking features is the widespread use of posters, banners and slogans, particu­ larly by Bolshevik supporters. Slogans are written words, yet in a sense they lie halfway between the written and spoken word, acting as shorthand signs to sum up a wider and more complicated concept. More than any other party, the Bolsheviks relied on unpaid voluntary agents to act as


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

oral agitators throughout the country— soldiers and sailors returning home on leave or as deserters, members of zemt'iachestva going to the countryside, postmen, telephone operators, railway workers, Lenin paid great attention to the capture of Russia’s rudimentary radio network in Octo­ ber 1917- One of the less obvious, but important, reasons why the rest of the country acquiesced in the Petrograd coup was this careful nurturing of all means of oral com­ munication from February onwards.11* Together with the monumental Bolshevik press effort,15 it helped, perhaps more than anything else, to make it look in October as if a majority of the Russian population was siding with the party of Lenin. The amazing efficiency of the oral bush telegraph in rural areas had already been proved politically with the very widespread rumors concerning Rasputin before 1917. When popular interest in a subject was particularly strong (and this was certainly true in 1917 when the whole social fabric was at stake), the bridges between literates and illiterates were more easily crossed from both sides. In any case, as has been noted, many of the more recently re­ cruited Bolsheviks were semi-literates who stood in the middle of the bridge. Lenin in 1917 deliberately discarded sophisticated Marxist arguments of the type he had used previously against Plekhanov or Martov. To new supporters it came naturally to use a greatly watered-down version of Marxism in their propaganda, since they had never risen to a higher intellectual level. During the February Revolution N. N. Sukhanov over­ heard an uneducated Petrograd worker summing up in a crude way the aims of the workers and peasants: "They want bread, peace with the Germans, and equality for the Yids."16 "Right in the bull’s eye," thought Sukhanov, delighted with this brilliant formulation of the program of the revolution. This episode shows how neatly even uneducated men could/ phrase their socio-political aspirations, and also reminds us how cleverly Lenin anticipated the wishes of the "spon­ taneous" masses when the fundamental Bolshevik slogan "bread, peace and land" was coined. All the political parties involved in the revolution needed to cultivate the art of persuasion in order to con­ vince the masses of their authority to rule. The need was , greater than in any other great revolution of modern times, because no party could ensure the positive support of a sufficiently large section of the armed forces. The Bol­ sheviks achieved the next best thing by neutralizing the

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


taillions of illiterate peasants in uniform through bril­ liant oral propaganda,17 so that the army was powerless to intervene in October. Lenin had learned long before 1917 that it was vital for the survival of his party to put the aim of political revolution before that of slow cultural development. When a member of. the St. Petersburg Marxist circle in 1894 pointed to education as a means of changing the social or­ der, Lenin broke in with a cold little laugh: "Well, if anyone wants to save the country through the Committee for Illiteracy, we won't hinder him."10 The historical exper­ ience of earlier revolutionary movements in Russia probably reinforced Lenin in his opinion. The failure of the polit­ ical campaign among the peasantry in 1873-74 was partly due to the naive optimism of the disorganized b u n t a v i ^ who be­ lieved in S. Kravchinskii's and M. Bakunin's assertions that the masses were already endowed with intuitive polit­ ical consciousness which could easily be unleashed and set to work. Even after the failure of n a r o d n i c h e s t v o , P. B. Aksel'rod held to the belief that the success of a revolu­ tion would depend wholly on whether it was a reflection of the free, active and conscious participation of the masses. Lenin built on the differing view'of Plekhanov, who consid­ ered that the Social Democrats should devote themselves in an organized manner to the development of proletarian con­ sciousness until it reflected their own world view in all details. This ambitious aim was achieved only in part by 1917. Highly organized party and propaganda machines existed, but their inevitably slow educational mission had not been ful­ filled. Lenin adopted an ambivalent stance in 1917. On the one hand he did all that was physically possible be­ tween February and October to speed up the process of po­ litical education. On the other hand, he took a leaf out of Kravchinskii's book by deliberately inciting the "spon­ taneous" participation of Russia's untrained and undis­ ciplined millions. The second program rather than the first probably had the gratest political weight in hasten­ ing the downfall of the ^Provisional Government on account of the general disorder which 'it aroused. Not for nothing did I. P. Goldenberg make his famous remark concerning the April Theses: "Lenin has now made himself a candidate for one European throne that has been vacant for thirty years— the throne of Bakunin."19 Goldenberg, however, underesti­ mated Lenin's ability to ensure that his tightly knit party, a weapon derived from an armory of thought quite

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


opposed to that of Bakunin, would nearly always prevail over the forces of anarchy which it unleashed in 1917. Nevertheless, in making direct use of the t e m n y e liudi, Lenin created new problems for the future that over­ shadowed the success of the October coup. The least seri­ ous of these problems concerned the superficial and garbled ways in which Bolshevik ideas were spread among the unedu­ cated. Since most political information had to be passed by word of mouth rather than in writing at these levels, its influence was often very ephemeral. Soldier delegates would listen eagerly to political orators, but proved quite unable to pass on the gist of what had been said in an articulate form. Illiterates and semi-literates found it hard to grasp the meaning of abstract and foreign wörds, and there are numerous amusing examples of their incompre­ hension of Bolshevik slogans in 1917. Bernard Pares came across "an orator demanding immediate peace fBez aneksiy i contributsiy1, which really meant ’Without annexations and contributions [indemnities],1 but neither of these were Russian words: and the speaker himself imagined that ’Aneksia’ was an extra daughter of Nicholas II, who on no account should be allowed to come to the throne, and that "Contributsia" was a town in the Archangel Government (probably Murmansk), seized by the English, which they could not be allowed to retain."21 A Russian observer in a military garrison at Gatchina noted the same kind of thing going on, but gives his own comments on it as well: Some kind of Bolshevik demonstration had taken place the day before, and huge red posters wer^e. lying about in different corners of the bar­ racks. Noticing one with 'Long live the Inter­ national1 written on it, I inquired of one of the soldiers whether he had marched under this motto. He replied ’Yes', so I asked him what the word 'International' meant. He was very much embar­ rassed, and had to admit that he did not know, but assured me that his deputy in the soldiers' com­ mittee knew, so I at once turned to this fellow, a stalwart NCO, and put the question to him. With­ out a moment's hesitation he replied: 'interna­ tional means the interests of the nation.1 This showed that the Bolsheviks had not yet had time to explain the aims of their*Third Inter­ national to the soldiers, or perhaps they did not care to do it. It was not by explanations and reasonings that they influenced the crowds, but

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


by short slogans. As for the word 'internation­ al1, in the minds of the soldiers it apparently stood for the name of a new and mysterious deity; for instance, on the railways they invaded the cars, irrespective of class, broke the windows, tore the cloth from the seats, and so on, but they always treated with the greatest respect the car bearing the inscription 'International Sleeping Car Co.'22 A second and much more serious problem arising from the involvement of illiterates in revolutionary action was the question of blind and aimless violence. The leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries, V. M. Chernov, was well aware of the closè ties between illiteracy and the de­ structive rather than the creative side of "spontaneity." Writing of the peasants whom his party championed, he ob­ served "The immature ingenuous minds of the ignorant masses leapt from the general idea straight into action, without evaluating ends and means, without weighing up the difficulties."23 During 1917 the majority of the mindless acts of violence that are recorded took place in the countryside, ravaged by peasant jacqueries.21* The Bolsheviks more often than not encouraged activity of this kind, which they could scarcely control, but which hin­ dered the Provisional Government from asserting its author­ ity in the rural areas. V. V. Ivanov, a distinguished Soviet novelist whose work the Bolsheviks never prohib­ ited, often wrote in praise of the elemental destruction wrought by the illiterate peasantry.25 Gorky slowly came to a different conclusion as 1917 went by. In February he wrote, "The people have shown a high degree of conscious­ ness"; but by October, only a week before the Bolshevik seizure of power, he warned Lenin "All the dark instincts of the mob will be roused to fury. . . . People will kill each other because they are unable to destroy their own beastly stupidity. Into the streets will creep a disor­ ganized mob With no understanding of what it wants."26 The problem of widespread violence at every level occurs in most major revolutions. .-Moreover, the fact that Russian society was plunged into external and internal war from 1914 to 1921 further enhanced the influence of violent methods which were to continue long after the Civil War and came to a climax in the Great Purge.27 The knowing application of mindless violence by poorly informed peo­ ple at the formative stages of the new regime in 1917 added fuel to these flames.


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

A third problem which resulted from Lenin’s temporary alliance with the elemental actions of the uneducated in 1917 affected the rock on which Bolshevik success was built, that of a highly centralized organization run by men who were all of the same mind. Lenin’s brief flirta­ tion with the wilder aspects of workers’ control of in­ dustry and with independent peasant land seizures tended to upset the careful balance he had always maintained in his theoretical writings between the paternal role of the conscious party vanguard and the ancillary aid of the spontaneous masses. As another of Ivanov’s peasant heroes put it, "We settle things in our own way. That is why we don’t want any governments. . . . Petersburg, sir, is something, if I may say, like a fungus. I make so bold as to think that the people can manage best itself without any supervision.1,28 It was difficult for the Bolsheviks to engrave ideological orthodoxy on minds still lacking an adequate intellectual apparatus with which to imbibe the new truth. If the political aspirations of peasant insur­ gents and the less sophisticated participants in the fac­ tory committees can be fitted into any political slot, their ideas seem to be closer respectively to social an­ archism and syndicalism than to Marxism. Once the October coup was secure, and Lenin no longer had such urgent po­ litical reasons for wooing these sections of the popula­ tion, he was confronted by the embarrassing task of grad­ ually dissociating his party from ,the more unorthdox fringes of the workers’ and peasants’ movements. Lenin was only being a realist in 1917 when he sacri­ ficed an intelligent appreciation of the masses for the sake of a quick political victory. In the short term, he was right. But having advanced along a voluntarist route as the articulator of the intuitive masses, the danger arose at the outset of claiming to interpret their wishes without actually achieving an active consensus. This position was to have long-term repercussions for the fate of democracy in Soviet Russia, as Rosa Luxemburg had prophesied in 1904: ”It is rigorous, despotic centralism that is preferred by opportunist intellectuals at a time when the revolutionary elements among the workers still lack cohesion and the movement is groping its way. . . ."29 In a more humble but also a more practical manner, . another famous woman Marxist in 1917 was demonstrating the urgent need to narrow the gap between the consciousness of the masses and the objective conditions of their exist­ ence. Krupskaia took heed of Plekhanov's plea that "with

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


all the means at its disposal, the ’revolutionary bacillus’ should aid the consciousness of the workers to lag as lit­ tle as possible behind the real relations of a given society.” 30 Nearly all her energies in 1917 were devoted to the eradication of illiteracy and the inculcation of genuinely critical political awareness among the working class of Vyborg, where she became the Bolshevik represen­ tative in the raion duma. Her previous career suited her admirably to this task. She had devoted much of her time to the education of working-class adults. She met Lenin in 1894 in the St. Petersburg Marxist circle, at the same party where Lenin made the disparaging remark noted above about the inefficacy of education as a primary revolution­ ary weapon. Although Krupskaia was to marry Lenin four years later, his lack of enthusiasm in this sphere never dampened hers. During the period from 1914 to February 1917, Krup­ skaia read and wrote more extensively about pedagogy.3 When she found herself overruled in 1917 by Elena Stasova in the Bolshevik secretariat, she forsook her previous role as Lenin’s secretary and moved on a full-time basis into education. 32 Her discoveries in the> Vyborg raion are of considerable interest. Here, at the .core of the Petrograd proletariat, which was itself the most politically ad­ vanced in Russia, the problem of illiteracy was still acute. Krupskaia records that among the district popula­ tion of 170,000 there was a great number of illiterates. The worst affected were the textile and weaving factories. Metal and armaments plants had a higher proportion of lit­ erate workers.33 Krupskaia tells u s •that one of the larg­ est factories, the Novyi Lessner, drew up its own long list of illiterate and semi-literate staff. 3if Yet the same plant, as we know from other sources, managed to col­ lect over 30,000 rubles in the month of May alone for help­ ing the secretariat of Pravda to send revolutionary liter­ ature to the armed forces at the front.35 The prevalence of illiteracy at the activist core of Bolshevik support is of interest, but above all Krupskaiafs intentions and methods of dealing with it are revealing when set against Lenin’s attitude at that time. She set out with the following premise: ”In taking part in the [new] structure, the population should not merely elect representatives, who must look to its needs, but also follow the activities of these representatives who have its confidence, and help in their activities by partici­ pating in them as widely as possible.” 36 This could only


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

come about if the general population were sufficiently well educated. The easy way out would be to set up a responsi­ ble body to organize literacy classes, night schools, etc. Krupskaia insisted instead on a broadly based campaign run jointly by elected delegates from all forty factories in the raion, and by a large number of home-based activists from outside the big industrial plants.37 Krupskaia af­ firmed that the organization she set up would breathe life into the concept of workers' control and make the prole­ tariat really independent of the intelligentsia. Workers should not stop at mastering the rudiments of literacy, but go on at once to learn political economy and bookkeeping, so that the(notion of kontrolr could actually take effect in every factory.38 Krupskaia thus abandoned in practice the Leninist con­ cept of careful regulation of all political learning from above. For instance, she criticized the cultural committee of the Rosenkrantz factory because it consisted of three workers and thrée sympathetic engineers from the manage­ ment. A fifty-fifty representation would mean that the engineers would have too much influence over the workers and would distort their real interests.39 Krupskaia went further than this. She encouraged worker-pupils to criti­ cize their teachers, and to argue with them on political points with which they did not agree: "The cultural activ­ ities of those who approach the workers under the guise of friendship are far more dangerous when the former can adapt themselves to the mood of the workers and exert their in­ fluence by subterfuge.1,40 This was to a great extent a naively optimistic cam­ paign, especially if it were to be applied to the whole of rural Russia. Yet when Krupskaia went to work in the People's Commissariat of Education after the October coup, she continued at first to stress the need for independence from centralized management by intellectuals. She advo­ cated that control of all schools at the local level should be in the hands of ordinary teachers. She praised the edu­ cational work of Leo Tolstoy, and hoped to build on it.41 If she had thought for a moment in more political terms, she might have realized that she was invoking an anarchist at the very moment when her husband, now at the helm of the state, was fighting fiercely against a rising tide of an,archism in the country at large.42 In fact, throughout 1917 Lenin took a very different line to Krupskaia on party control over the dissemination of political information. In May the Bolshevik committee

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


in the capital clamored for a separate press organ besides Pravda that would represent local city interests. Lenin’s sharp reply heralded the monolithic centralized attitude that was to characterize the majority of subsequent Bol­ shevik exercises in communication and illiteracy eradica­ tion schemes. He said ”1 believe that the decision of the Petersburg Committee’s Executive to establish a special newspaper in Petrograd is utterly wrong and undesirable, because it splits up our forces and introduces into our party the elements of conflict.1,43 That was the first thought to come into his head. Apparently it did not occur to him that a new party organ might reinforce the Bolshevik cause in the capital. After the October coup Lenin imme­ diately imposed a harsh censorship similar in most respects to the one he had vociferously opposed from February on­ wards. 44 In his journal Novaia zhizn', Gorky stormed against the Bolsheviks’ ’’shameful attitude towards freedom of the word.”45 Lenin did not soften. His dispute with A. A. Bogd­ anov, ending in a Central Committee decree of December 1920 criticizing Proletkult, only served to harden his attitude in the period after 1917. ^iPrior to the revolu­ tion Bogdanov had spelled out in lucid theoretical terms some of the political implications of the tentative prac­ tical experiments Krupskaia was to undertake in the Vyborg raion. Bogdanov saw the attainment of literacy and educa­ tion by the masses as a spontaneous process which would be inherently, self-regulating, meaning that the population would discipline itself intellectually in the act of learn­ ing. Bogdanov entered on even more perilous ground when he asserted that the conquest of political and economic power by the Bolshevik Party in the name of the proletariat was secondary to the development of an independent proletarian culture, which would create its own ideology.46 It is worth looking briefly beyond 1917 in order to put the embryonic experience of 1917 into better perspec­ tive. Krupskaia was to modify her views considerably. Her almost Utopian plans for ^the Vyborg raion could not con­ ceivably be implemented^on a nation-wide basis, as she dis­ covered in her trips around the country.47 Ten years after the basic decree on the liquidation of illiteracy, which was issued on 29 December 1919, she admitted that not one jIo of its articles had been enforced during the Civil War. By 1920 she was saying bluntly that ’’Cultural work must be closely combined with political tasks."49 Between late 1920 and early 1924, she personally signed three directives


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

on the censorship of Soviet libraries.50 Practical exper­ ience steered her firmly towards the official line of her husband, who never wavered in his own belief, which was also that of Chernyshevskii, in the ability of a small élite to remold society in the image of its conscious­ ness. Krupskaia never commanded much influence at the highest party levels. She lacked the intellect and elo­ quence of a Rosa Luxemburg or a Bogdanov, and her smallscale experiments in education at the height of the revolu­ tion displayed a poor sense of tactical political timing. Nevertheless, the difference between her approach and that of Lenin to the allied problems of spontaneity and illit­ eracy deserves mention, since it contained a crucial dilemma for the future relationship between the party and the masses. As soon as the Bolsheviks were in a strong enough position to act after the October coup, Lenin either diss­ ociated the party from the wilder elements that had been encouraged to create havoc during 1917, or else harnessed them firmly to the party machine. This process can be seen most clearly in the treatment of the factory committees and workers' control. Lenin's stand seems to be authoritarian enough when compared with Krupskaia's position as of 1917, but it takes on a relatively mild complexion when set be­ side Stalin's position later. Not for nothing was Lenin the son of a school inspector. He had himself been a model pupil at school, graduating from the classical gym­ nasium at Simbirsk with a gold medal. He believed that schools should teach fundamental matters, and that lowlevel political indoctrination should be excluded from their curricula, despite the desperate need to make the masses aware of Bolshevik goals. He knew that quick but scanty education-cww-indoctrination of the peasants would have a dangerous boomerang effect in the long run. Be­ lieving up to the time of his death that the New Economic Policy (NEP) would survive for a considerable period, he envisaged a slow but thorough process of turning all sec­ tors of Soviet society into a literate, self-conscious whole. He would not tolerate an independent proletarian culture but, as a true heir of the Russian intelligentsia, he insisted on humane, broad educational principles laid down with some degree of autonomy so long as they did not . conflict with Bolshevik aims. Stalin was later to take a far harsher line. Press­ ing political and economic needs at the close of NEP helped to ensure that the leisurely graces of true education went

Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy


t>y the board. Tho most prominent representative of the »»quasi-intèlligentsialf paid scant attention to pedagogic beetles or to the dangerous political consequences for democracy that might arise as a result of superficial in­ doctrination. The sharpest increase in the national lit­ eracy rate was to take place in the massive campaign that got under way in May 1929, just when the censor finally muzzled the remnants of free expression.51 Hardened though she was by this time, Krupskaia could not refrain from com­ menting on the campaign that it "helped millions of people to read and write, but the knowledge gained was of the most elementary kind.” 52 The whole system of tsarist education had been geared to the notion that the decoding of other people’s thought was taught before the encoding of on e ’s own. One learned by repetition, not by creation. This passive attitude toward knowledge survived the pedagogical experiments of the immediate post-revolutionary period and remained a characteristic of the Soviet literary movement until its decline. The outpouring of popular political agitation after 1917 was carefully adapted to this frame of mind, relying on crude repetition as its major weapon. Lenin’s and Stalin’s writings also »used the same method at a higher level of sophistication.'. Whereas Lenin was com­ pletely aware of the device, Stalin probably fell back on it subconsciously. His own education in a religious sem­ inary had been entirely by rote, and his mature style still carried traces of the Orthodox liturgy. It will never be possible to make an exact assessment of the effects of low educational standards on mass polit­ ical awareness. Full statistics are simply not available for literacy rates in 1917, and the problem of stikhiinostr cannot be shifted from the non-quantifiable realm of psy­ chology, where it mainly belongs. Yet, just because they are hard to measure, they have perhaps been somewhat ne­ glected, and particularly the ties between them. In con­ junction they probably had a large if imponderable negative influence-on the emergence of a genuine dictatorship of the proletariat in the early ^Soviet period. Many societies, even towards the close .of the twentieth century, contain a high proportion of politically inarticulate people. The infant Soviet Union did not differ from other developing countries in this respect, but differed only because its leaders were faced with the gulf between social realities and their ambitious project of turning the social pyramid upside down in a short period of time. In view of the educational backwardness of Russia’s lower classes in 1917,


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

the Bolsheviks1 hopes for an imminent and genuine govern­ ment by the proletariat and peasants themselves should be reconsidered. NOTES Leopold H. Haimson, The Russian Marxists and the Ori­ gins of Bolshevism, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1955, pp. 210-11. 2A. A. Troinitskii (ed.), Pervaia vseobshohaia perepis' naseleniia rossiiskoi imperii, vol. I, St. Peters­ burg, 1905. 3For a famous example of this quality, read Gorky's depiction of his grandmother in Detstvo. 4The most thorough Soviet analysis of illiteracy in Russia is in V. A. Kumanev, Sotsializm i vsenarodnaia gramotnost r, Moscow, 1967, which covers all three major censuses and many regional ones between 1897 and 1939. It also contains a good bibliography. For the 1897 census alone, see A. A. Troinitskii (ed.), Pervaia vseobshohaia perepis f naseleniia rossiiskoi imperii. A. g. Rashin also gives systematic accounts. See Formirovanie raboohego klassa Rossii,Moscow, 1958, and "Gramotnosf i narodnoe obrazovanie v Rossii v XIX i nachale XX v.," Istorioheskie zapiski, 1951, pp. 39-49, and his Easelenie Rossii za 100 let, Moscow, 1956. The most useful western author still remains F. Lorimer, The Population of the Soviet Union, Geneva: League of Nations, 1946, pp. 52-61, 67-70, 198-201. 5Rashin, Formirovanie raboohego klassa, pp. 600-603. 6Robert V. Daniels, "Intellectuals and the Russian Revolution," Amerioan Slavic and East European Review 3 xx, no. 2 (April 1961), 270-78. 7S. V. Malyshev, the secretary of Pravda in 1914, and therefore the main organizer of the Bolsheviks' chief tool for bringing "consciousness" to the masses, admitted that in 1917 it was very difficult to run the paper. "We had never been able to go to school. We were all semi-liter­ ate Bolsheviks." "Na proletarskikh stupeniiakh," Molodaia gvardiia, nos. 2-3 (1925). 8See T. H. Rigby, Communist Party Membership in the USSR3 1917-1967 , Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968, p. 401. 9V. B. Stankevich, Vospominaniia 1914-1919 gg. , Berlin, 1920, p. 77. 10Marc Ferro, The Russian Revolution of February 1917 , London: Routledge, 1972.

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11 The impotency of the Provisional Government in this respect is nowhere more clearly seen than in the three bulky volumes devoted to its proceedings in 1917. Virtu­ ally none of them got beyond the committee stage. See R. P. Browder and A. F. Kerensky (eds.), The Russian Pro­ visional Government, 1917: Documents, 3 vols.?Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961. 12V. I. Lenin, Polnoe sobrante sochinenii, 55 vols.? Moscow, 1958-65, XLIV, 174. 13 Ibid., XII, 86. 14 For a detailed account of Bolshevik tactics in this sphere, see Roger Pethybridge, The Spread of the Russian Revolution— Essays on 1917, London: Macmillan, 1972. 15 Ibid., especially the essay on the role of the press in 1917. By October the Bolsheviks were issuing approxi­ mately seventy newspapers and journals. 16N. N. Sukhanov, The Russian Revolution, 1917,London: Oxford University Press, 1955, p. 17. 17 See Pethybridge, The Spread of the Russian Révolu­ tion, pp. 154-64, on Bolshevik political agitation among the armed forces. 18 N. K. Krupskaia, Vospominaniia o Lenine, Moscow, 1931, p. 5. 19 Quoted in Sukhanov, The Russian Revolution, p. 287. 20 * • Among many reports of this happening, see P. A. Polovtsov, Glory and Downfall: Reminiscences of a Russian General Staff Officer, London: Bele, 1935, p. 206. 21 Sir. Bernard Pares, My Russian Memoirs, London: Cape, 1931, p. 427. 22Polovtsov, Glory and Downfall, p. 206. 23V. Chernov, Zapiski sotsialista-revoliutsionera , Berlin, 1922, p. 326. 0 || An analysis of the peasants1 spontaneous recorded reactions to the February Revolution shows that their opinions were also more violent than those of other social groups. See M. Ferro, nThe Aspirations of Russian Soci­ ety," in R. Pipes (ed.), Revolutionary Russia, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard UniversityJPress, 1968, pp. 143-63. 25A hero in the novel The Raked Year proclaims, "I know that these days, as never days before, mean one thing: the struggle for life— struggle for life to the death, that is why there is so much death. To hell with all this clap­ trap about humanism. I don't feel any fears when I think of it, and so let only the strong be left." A. Blok's poem The Scythians, which was widely acclaimed in the revolution, expresses very similar sentiments.


Pethybridge: Spontaneity and Illiteracy

26 Quoted in Bertram Wolfe, The Bridge and the Abyss: The Troubled Friendship of Maxim Gorky and V. J. Lenin , London: Pall Mall Press, 1967, pp. 64, 66-67. 27 For a general analysis of the incorporation of early violent practices into the subsequent fabric of Soviet po­ litical and social life, see Roger Pethybridge, The Social Frelude to Stalinism , London: Macmillan, 1974, Chapter III. 28 Ivanov, The Naked Year. 29 Rosa Luxemburg, The Russian Revolution— Leninism or Marxism?, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961, p. 101. 30 G. V. Plekhanov, foreword to "Vademekum dlia redaksii," in Sochineniia, 24 vols.; Moscow, 1923-1927, XIII, 14 ff. Plekhanov opposed the October coup mainly because he thought that neither the economic substructure nor the level of consciousness of the proletariat was ripe for it. See his God na rodine: Polnoe sobranie statei i rechei 1917-1918 gg. , Paris, 1921, II, 246-48. 31 Krupskaia compiled 26 notebooks on education before 1917. See Narodnoe obrazovanie, no. 2, 1959, pp. 84-93. 32See Robert H. McNeal, Bride of the Revolution: Krupskaya and Lenin, London: Gollancz, 1973, pp. 169-73. 33N. Krupskaia, Pedagogicheskie sochineniia , 9 vols.; Moscow, 1957-60, I, 436, 438. The higher number of female workers in the textile industries accounted for this dis­ crepancy. 8 On a trip on an agitation ^steamer in 1919, she wrote to her friend Zinaida Krzhizhanovskaia that in educational matters the center would have to treat the provinces with "more authority, not fearing to interfere. . . . " From Krupskaia, Pedagogicheskie soohineniia, XI, 190, quoted in McNeal, Bride of the Revolution, p. 194. 1+8Krupskaia, Pedagogicheskie soohineniia, IX, 404-408. **9 See Likvidatsiia bezgramotnosti, Moscow, 1920, pp. 39-46. 50 See Bertram Wolfe, "Krupskaia Purges the People's Libraries," Survey, no. 72 (1969), pp. 141-55. 51 For a review of the wider political implications of the literacy campaign in the 1920s, see Pethybridge, The Social Prelude to Stalinism, Chapter IV. 52Krupskaia, Pedagogicheskie soohineniia, IX, 540. 1 9 0 4 - 1 9 2 4 9 Moscow,

THE BIRTH OF THE SOVIET BUREAUCRATIC SYSTEM Marc Ferro The Revolution of 1917, in all of its manifold as­ pects, brought about the disintegration of the state, the secession of the subject nationalities, a great surge of peasant rebellion, and an overall challenge to the capital­ ist order. In State and Revolution V. I. Lenin pointed out the relevance of Engels1 analyses; the experience of 1917 proved them right. Moreover, 1917 confirmed the vision shared by both Lenin and the anarchists on the role and function of the Soviets— those new power-centers which ap­ peared in February. As the incarnation of the revolution their role was not limited to that of a counter-force, the ''proletarian fortress in a bourgeois country" of Social Democratic tradition, which the Petrograd Soviet had em­ bodied in its first stage. They were not simply the in­ strument which would destroy the old order but also, like the Paris Commune of 1871, the embryo of the new prole­ tarian state in the cities as well as in the army. There is a striking contrast between the extraordi­ nary diversity of these new centers of power and the rigid centralization ultimately imposed by the Soviet state. For a long time, the whys and hows of this transformation have been the object of various interpretations. Should we agree, for example, with Trotsky that it is connected with the rise and triumph of Stalinism? Can we accept his theory that bureaucracy and Stalinism are two aspects of the same parasitical phenomenon which originated within a faction of the Bolshevik Party, and against which Lenin apparently never ceased to warn his comrades from October until his death? Or is the bureaucratic phenomenon1 linked with the very essence of Bolshevism, as defined by Lenin in What is to he Done? and as attacked by Plekhanov ever since 1903? To be sure, the one-party principle is contained in What is to he Done?— but the bureaucratic phenomenon is not. Yet one of the characteristics of the Soviet regime, and one which is intentionally ignored by official Soviet historiography, is precisely the special relationship be,tween the two. Translated by E. P# Fitzgerald and A. Fitzgerald-deGraaff

Ferro: Birth of Soviet Bureaucracy


This essay will examine the birth of the Soviet state and how it began to function. In contrast to Trotskyite and anti-Bolshevik interpretations, it will be argued that the Soviet state structure had already been set up in em­ bryonic form before the October Revolution, and that even before October its activities showed characteristic traits. In short, the Soviet regime was just as much a child of the revolution itself as it was the product of earlier Bolshev­ ism which reinforced those traits. Four points will be discussed: 1) the formation of the embryonic proletarian state and the ways in which the power of one of its com­ ponents, the Soviet of Deputies, shifted to other institu­ tions which have frequently been lumped together with it: soviets of factory committees, raion soviets, etc.; 2) the appearance of bureaucratic characteristics in relations between the various political parties and institutions; 3) the formation of a new social group whose existence was linked to the disappearance of the old order; 4) the place of the Bolsheviks within this system. Challenges to the Power of the Soviets of Deputies There were all kinds of soviets. An old soldier, lib­ erated after forty-five years of military service, wrote to the Petrograd Soviet: "I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the desire for self-government (svoevolie vlastr) is extremely strong among us here in the provinces. [We have] political committees, agricultural departments, food supply departments, agrarian committees, justices of the peace, administrative tribunals, soviets, liaison commit­ tees, and so on. We just do not know who to listen to or who to complain to. And all the time discontent is growing, there is disorder everywhere, it just cannot keep going on like this."2 As can be seen, there is no mention in this letter (which was written during the summer of 1917) of the Pro­ visional Government or,the All-Russian Congress of Soviets. The local soviet is only^mentioned in passing along with all the other committees,’ which could just as well be called soviets themselves. What is clear is that there were many centers of power and that there was a keen riv­ alry among the different sorts of soviets. They repre­ sent, in fact, the multiple identities of each category of citizens. For example, the worker, as a wage earner, be­ came a trade unionist or not, according to his choice. He participated in the factory collective and could sit on its


Ferro: Birth of Soviet Bureaucracy

committee. As a member of the working class, he elected representatives to the Soviet of Workers Deputies; as a citizen, he elected members of the city council or of the town’s political committee; as a local resident, he would take part in the raion committee; as a consumer, he could be a member of the food supply committee. And, of course, he could choose to be an activist in a political party. In short, this ambiguity and multiplicity of roles and activities led to a constant competition of jurisdictions, powers, and representative functions. Yet at the start, the situation had been a good deal simpler. A Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies had been formed in Petrograd. Its Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary leaders looked on it as the po'l'it'Löal voice of the workers and soldiers in the capital. At its in­ stigation, similar soviets were set up in other Russian cities: they formed a popularly-based representative ele­ ment in contrast to the '’bourgeois11 institutions of the municipal dumas and zemstvos. Thus in June 1917 there were 519 Soviets of Deputies grouped into thirteen region­ al divisions (Northern oblast, central Vologda, the area along the Volga, central Saratov, etc.). At the top, the Congress of Soviets stood out as a veritable workers and soldiers parliament. Its Central Executive Committee (TsIK) dealt with the government more or less as an equal power. And on the TsIK we meet again the members of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, the "Founding Fathers" of the revolution.3 In the minds of Russian socialists the Soviet of Dep­ uties, like every institution, possessed a corresponding principle of representation and fulfilled a given func­ tion.^ For the Soviet of Deputies this principle of rep­ resentation was class; for the raion committees it was. place of residence; for the trade unions it was occupation and for the factory committees it was place of work. As the political representative of the working class, the Soviet of Deputies defended the workers' general interests vis-à-vis the government, the state, and the employers. The trade unions and factory committees took care of the workers' economic demands; the former acting on the nation al level, the latter within the framework of the factory. The raion committees' role was to maintain the political ,alliance uniting the lower middle class and the proletar­ iat. As for the political parties, their function was to serve as a vanguard.

Ferro: Birth of Soviet Bureaucracy








party section Soviet of


Soviet of Deputies*


trade union*


workers militia*

I, 150. 40 Dauge, p. 485. 1+1LKP pezolücijas un lemumi3 I, 486. 42 It may be too obvious to note that in 1906 Stucka had deeper premonitions about it than in 1917 when he ap­ pears naive. Stucka, "Provincu autonomija . . . ," Nakotne, no. 4, 1906. 43 Dauge, StuSkas, p. 485. ^ I n a C i y a article, "Should We Speak Latvian Only?", he attacked the liberal assumption that all bureaucrats in Latvia must know Latvian. Stucka points out that this kind of a proposition would give Latvian a privileged „ status. He stressed that it would be more correct to say "that everybody has the right to converse and correspond in Latvian with any bureaucrat. . . . If we are recon­ structing the state and local administration on a demo-

Ezergailis: Thirteenth Conference


cratic foundation, then we must give equal rights to all— to obscure the morn of liberation with chauvinism, nation­ al animosity of whatever variety, would not be becoming to the great day." He maintains that each citizen was to be assured of equal rights in the future self-government of Latvia and would have an equal right to use his tongue, whether he was Latvian, Russian, or German. "Therefore not only Latvian, but also Latvian." CÍr^a, 17 March 1917. This is also brought out by J. Vilks in retelling his ex­ periences at the Seventh (April) Conference in Petrograd where Latvian delegates had voted for the complete program of Lenin with the exception of the national question, on which they abstained. Stucka reportedly explained the abstention: "to defend the right of separation from Russia is the obligation of the Russian proletariat, but for the Latvians to vote for the resolution would mean merging with the Latvian bourgeois element. . . . In principle, we consider the resolution as correct and necessary." vilks, Grüst vecä, p. 41. W P. Stucka, Piezimes par agrâro (zemes) jautajumu (1917). The original pamphlet issued in Bern was confis­ cated, but it was reprinted in article fprm in Ncckotne, 1906, nos. 1 and 2. 1+6 Lenin's ideas were similarly complete by 1917. At the Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference, he said: "Com­ rades, the agrarian question was discussed so thoroughly by our party during the first revolution [i.e., 1905] that by now I think our ideas on the subject are sufficiently defined." Lenin, PS S, XXXI, 416. LKP rezolucijas un lêmumi, I, 58. NO For more on this subject, see Page, "Lenin and Peasant Bolshevism," pp. 98-99. |i Q How and by whom the new order was to be arranged was not spelled out by the resolution. More and clearer detail was given in the Fifth Latvian Congress resolution of July 1917. LKP rezolücijas un Vëmumi, I f 142-44. 50 Ibid., pp. 124-26. 51 T U i J

LENIN'S APRIL THESES AND THE LATVIAN PEASANT-SOLDIERY Stanley W. Page V. I. Lenin's relations with the "national-liberationist" peasants of Latvia was of unique relevance, even be­ fore, but especially during the course of 1917, The Lat­ vian Rifle units, organized in 1915, later became known as the vanguard of the October Revolution. Their readiness to do or die for Lenin began early in 1917, a fact hitherto given little mention. Any reconsideration of the Russian revolution must therefore pay due attention to the trigger­ ing by Lenin's April Theses of this decisive weapon in the arsenal of the Bolshevik seizure of power. On 5 January 1917 the Latvian Rifles Regiments of Imperial Russia's XII Army initiated the so-called "Christmas Battle" against the German lines below Riga. According to Uldis Çërmanis, highly placed Latvian offi­ cers freely admitted that the incentive for this campaign came largely from them. General Radko Dimitrevj the XIIth Army commander, agreed to it even though the campaign was independent of the plans of the Russian General Staff and one which, by and large, the General Staff was unhappy about. General Nikolai V. Ruzskii, Supreme Commander of the Northern Front, although not forbidding the campaign, offered no promise of help toward its success. From Çërmanis' well-documented account, there can be no question but that the Latvians eagerly undertook the bloody task, hoping to liberate conquered Courland. They expected, however, perhaps somewhat optimistically, that once they had through their own efforts broken through the German lines, the Russian Army in the Riga area would promptly follow in their tracks in order to recapture Mitau. Dimitrev's motives in supporting this action were apparently quite limited. On the one hand he seems to have wanted to gain revenge for reverses he had suffered in March and July 1916, and he wished also to capture "machine-gun hill," an important German fortified point. In any case, his views did not coincide with those of the »Latvians, who were certain to bear the brunt of the fight­ ing. This did not stop Dimitrev from using hypocritical phraseology, obviously intended to stimulate Latvian pa­ triotism, proclaiming, on the battle's eve, that the

Page: Latvia and the April Theses


Latvians would be fighting "for their own home villages and to tear from the foe all that is dearest in the world to you." The Latvians, having breached the German lines at enormous cost, found themselves left high and dry. Várious Siberian units mutinied, and the Russian troops, in gener­ al, were not the least bit interested in the nationalliberationist fervor of the Latvians which went back dec­ ades and attained momentous climaxes around 1905 and 1915. When Latvian General Misins was told, after a bare handful of Siberians came to the aid of his forces, that "he could count only upon his own troops," that message. General Bangerskis1 memoirs note, "struck like a bolt of lightning from the blue." Rightly or wrongly, the Latvians consid­ ered themselves betrayed by the Russian General Staff. This did much to radicalize the Latvian Rifles at a crucial period in Russian history.1 This in turn aids us in understanding why the Thir­ teenth Latvian Social Democratic Conference, held 19-22 April in Moscow, although terra incognita to most histor­ ians, was "one of the most significant events in 1917," according to Andrew Ezergailis. In his paper and also in his book. The 1917 Revolution in Lafevia> Ezergailis per­ forms the service of highlightings the total domination of the conference by Latvian Bolsheviks, who employed every possible maneuver to obtain tactical superiority over their Menshevik rivals. By discouraging the attendance of Mensheviks in various ways, the Bolsheviks were even ef­ fective in providing the conference with the appearance of something like a Latvian Social Democratic party congress. The conference was, moreover, intended to create the im­ pression that it actually represented, besides the Latvian Social Democrats whom the war had scattered throughout Russia, Social Democrats from Latvia proper.2 According to a Bolshevik account, 56 delegates came to the conference from Russia, representing 2,375 party members. If only four delegates from Latvia made their appearance— because of the grim military situation in that country— those four allegedly represented 1,^37 individuals.3 But Ezergailis, citing from Cífta, the official organ of the Latvian Social Democratic Party, reveals tha't "with the exception of four observers, who had no intention of participating in the conference as voting members, no delegates from the Lat­ vian organization attended." Ezergailis goes on to sug­ gest that the failure of Latvians from Latvia to partici­ pate in the conference came about for two principal rea­ sons: first, that they were not notified in time that the


Page: Latvia and the April Theses

conference was scheduled and were consequently too preoc­ cupied with attending various conferences in Latvia to be willing to travel to Moscow, and secondly, that there was among them "a certain resistance to the arbitrariness of the Moscow comrades.114 Conceding that political trickery was the standard practice for Lenin's disciples— the Latvian Bolshevik leader, P. I. Stucka, included— it is, nevertheless, all too evident that the so-called Thirteenth Conference, however illegitimate or unrepresentative, or however im­ properly conducted, was nonetheless a smashing success in winning the Latvian masses for Bolshevism. Considering the extremist tenor of the times throughout the Russian Empire, and especially among Latvians, this should evoke no great astonishment. Therefore, the principal point is that the great importance of th£ conference lay not only in the Bolshevik victory that was achieved there. Of even greater significance— in the broadest historical terms— was the fact that it hammered out, and defined most mem­ orably, for the Latvian peasant-soldiery, whose cause and that of the landless peasants in particular determined the attitudes of the Latvian Rifles as a whole,5 the position the Rifles were to take with respect to Lenin's April Theses. Those who had attended the conference were rapidly able to extend through the ranks of the Rifles the essence of that which had been deliberated and decided in Moscow. This, soon after, swung Latvia into the Bolshevik camp. That outcome.was to prove decisively important in Russian and world history, if only because the Latvian revolution did so much from October 1917 through much of 1919, to affect the outcome of the struggle, to help the Bolsheviks in taking and holding power. It was a case of the Latvian tail wagging the Russian dog. This paper focuses upon the special ways in which Lenin's Theses struck the Latvian landless soldier-peas­ ants, for it was their impressions derived from words, phrases, and ideas which Lenin used that may be said to have shaped their opinions which were later translated into political and military action.6 The Thirteenth Conference met just after the April Theses had been adopted by the Petrograd All-City Conference of Bolsheviks and just prior ,to the convening of the Seventh All-Russian Conference of Bolsheviks in Petrograd. The conference discussions, guided by Pëteris Stucka, as leading member of the presid­ ium, centered upon the April Theses.

Page: Latvia and the April Theses


In the Theses, as part of his anti-imperialist, anti­ annexationist propaganda line, Lenin stressed that the right of national self-determination, even to the point of secession, was beyond dispute and inalienable. Implicit in his argument was not only the possibility of Latvia's secession from Russia, but, more than that, Courland's separation from the rest of Latvia.7 Such talk, however, gave the Latvian Bolsheviks a serious headache, for it threatened their party in Latvia with political defeat. The Latvian Bolsheviks feared even to raise the issue of Latvian autonomy because they knew that Latvian national­ ists had most of what the Bolsheviks called "petty bour­ geois intellectuals" on their side. The conference, therefore, while "not disputing in principle the right of peoples to self-determination," rejected the idea of a "federal separation of Latvia from democratic Russia."8 In a corrolary to its rejection of the notion of a separate Latvian statehood,9 the conference hailed Lenin's proposal for a Third International. The new Internation­ al, it asserted, ought to admit only such revolutionary organizations as rejected "any kind of nationalism," add­ ing that the Third International ought not to be "a bloc of separate socialist parties [note here the dread of separation and hence isolation] but a party of interna­ tional revolutionary social democracy" and "that the Third International should be brought to life at the earliest possible moment and be organizationally cemented and actively led from the center of these international forces."10 Lenin's call for nationalization of all the land and its communization by the poorest peasants into state farms, also gave the Latvian Bolsheviks uneasy moments. The con­ ference proved unwilling, at that moment, to split the revolutionary forces in Latvia— a combination of landless and small-holding peasants. The decision, then, was taken "to free from confiscation that part of a peasant's prop­ erty which does not exceed a maximum," the amount in each case to be determined by the "district land commission to be democratically elec.técl." Such small private farms, however, would be allowed to "remain in existence only under condition that, their owners assumed responsibility for "the rural proletariat's minimal conditions of labor and social security." The specifics regarding conditions of labor and social security were spelled out by the conference and tell us a great deal about the life-style of the Latvian landless


Page: Latvia and the April Theses

peasants, and their proletarian (or semi-proletarian) Weltanschauung. The fact of being propertyless markedly distinguished most Latvian peasants emotionally from their Russian fellows; this difference is of crucial importance. The conference called for an eight-hour day without over­ time; night work and Sunday labor were forbidden. Other trade union-type demands included inspection of conditions of labor on the farms by worker-elected inspectors and com­ plete social security in cases of illness, accidents and old age.11 The Latvian Bolshevik objections to the parts of the April Theses that were likely to cause them trouble with regard to particular Latvian conditions, could not dull the exciting impact of the April Theses as a whole. Their spirit of militancy matched the generally extremist Latvian sentiments. In a recent article, I argued that Lenin’s program for the Russian peasantry, formulated around 19051906, was tailor-made to the aspirations of Latvia’s very radical peasants [but had far less application to Russia’s muzhiki. Indeed, it was in large part the Latvian peasan­ try, in the period 1904-1906, which provided Lenin with the model of activism, which he optimistically began to expect from the Russian' peasantry as well. Lenin never shrank from accommodating Marxism to con­ siderations of the existing reality. With respect to Russia this meant, among other things, that he altered the doctrine to fit a predominantly agricultural society. But it was not only the Marxian theory that underwent redefini­ tion in Lenin’s practical interpretation; the peasant, too, was subjected to distortion, in that Lenin, impatient for the revolution, depicted him as being much more class con­ scious than in fact was the case. It was one thing for Lenin to establish through sta­ tistics (as he did in the Development of Capitalism in Russia) or through the generalized arguments of a political pamphlet (such as Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution) that most Russian peasants had be­ come pauperized and were, therefore, prepared to behave according to his prescription. It was quite another thing for the peasants around 1900 to see themselves through Lenin’s eyes. Indeed, it was pure wish-fulfillment for Lenin to have expected Russian peasants of that period to think like factory workers. That they were capable of violence was true enough, but this did not mean that they could possibly have understood their place in Lenin’s version of the Marxian scheme of things in Russia and that

Page: Latvia and the April Theses


they would, therefore, advance into the revolution by stages. nIn viewing the peasantry and assessing its role,11 writes A. G. Meyer, "Lenin . . . projected 'inevitable' future development into the present and based his strategy on the futuristic analysis of Russian society."12 Meyer's comment states the case perfectly. But in Latvia, as dis­ tinct from Russia as a whole, the proletarian, or what Lenin called the semi-proletarian, peasant actually exist­ ed. This accounts for the fact that.peasant behavior in Latvia preceded and coincided with Lenin's theoretical projections and may, indeed, have helped to shape them.13 Let it further be noted that Lenin had become ex­ tremely well-informed about the course of the revolution in Latvia, where the peasants in 1905 had driven out the barons and had briefly established their own authority on local and regional levels. Much of this information was channeled to Lenin by Jânis Bêrzips (Ziemelis)>subse­ quently a life-long devotee, whom he met in Finland in 1906. A Proletarii article by Lenin in late September of that year gave hearty approval to the terror and guerilla tactics of the Latvians in the course of the revolution. He contrasted these tactics favorably with the generally sluggish Russian responses to the^same challenge.lif Soon thereafter Lenin completed his pamphlet The Agravian Pro­ gram of Social Democracy ; 1905-1907, the main conclusions of which emerged intact in the April Theses. At the April 1917 Conference of Petrograd Bolsheviks, M. I. Kalinin saw clearly that the emperor lacked certain clothing. Commenting on the Theses he asked in baffle­ ment, "What is different in the point about the agrarian program compared to what the Bolsheviks said in the past?" He answered his own question. "Nothing."15 Lenin, having returned from almost ten years of exile and lack of direct contact with Russia, simply had no new advice concerning agriculture to offer his party. But it was precisely this, which in Latvia, made the Theses so effective a propa­ ganda tool; namely, that their comments pertaining to agriculture had risen originally from stimuli provided in part by the 1904-1906 revolution in Latvia. Moreover, the Theses' exhortations for the Latvian landless— as part of the Russian Empire's peasantry— to seize the land, had been proclaimed not by some unimportant person, but by Lenin, the same Lenin, who as late as April 1914 had writ­ ten admiringly about Latvian radicalism16and now, in April 1917, was famous throughout Europe as the herald of a new communist International and of an immiment European révolu-


Page: Latvia and the April Theses

tion. Such a combination of circumstances could be nothing less than incredibly thrilling and inspiring to the simple Latvian, whose heroic wartime struggles had suddenly and miraculously borne potentially great rewards. This in turn brought about a flocking of soldiers into the newly reor­ ganized Social Democratic Party in Latvia, where it had become defunct as a result of the war, and hence an ava­ lanche of pro-Bolshevik sentiment within the revitalized party. Beyond the above-mentioned hope-stirring factor, the April Theses contained ideas which particularly fas­ cinated the rural paupers of Latvia. In Thesis No. 1, Lenin justified "revolutionary de­ fens ism, only on condition that all power be in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest section of the peasan­ try joining it."17 The Latvian Rifles, for the very best of reasons— their own peculiar role in the fighting— re­ garded the war precisely as a revolutionary defensist war fought by the "poorest section of the peasantry" against an invader, who, if victorious, would preserve intact the estates of the Baltic barons. . "Fraternization," the sin­ gle word paragraph which concludes Thesis No. 1, was, of course, also attractive to the war-weary Rifles, especially as interpreted in the revolutionary-internationalist sense of the term. Deep-rooted though their hostility toward the German Herrenoolk was, they understood very well, being Marxists— many of them literally since their kindergarten days18— the difference in class between their own baronial landlords and the feldgrau proletarians confronting them in the trenches near Riga. Besides, it was the Germans who in April had initiated fraternization attempts by distributing leaflets in the Riga area. These referred to the enemy as "Brothers" and stressed the common desire of troops on both sides for democracy and representative government.19 But two weeks after the German offer had been made, a Latvian congress of officer and soldiers’ deputies of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th Latvian Rifles regiments, the 4th Siberian strelkovoy artillery brigade and the 2nd Siberian artillery division had countered with a detailed plan for disseminating print­ ed and oral revolutionary propaganda among the Germans. The plan for the so-called "agitational offensive" called for sending elected teams— one agitator and one assistant— equipped with leaflets, into battle zones in which opposing «trenches were the shortest distances apart. Artillery cov­ ering such areas and those adjoining them wa& to be given a signal to cease firing for a designated half-hour, it being specified in the plan, signed by Captain Donvarov, that the

Page: Latvia and the April Theses


agitational effort must not exceed "half an hour.”20 That this incident was quite in line with the mood of the Lat­ vian forces in general is proven by the fact that the en­ tire Latvian contingent, on a subsequent occasion, passed a resolution to end the war by fraternization.21 Thesis No. 1 also contained Lenin’s demand that f,all annexations be renounced in deeds, not only in words."22 Lenin had used Courland to illustrate what he meant by an annexed land, going on to describe that then German-occupied portion of Latvia as having "always been annexed to Russia." His use of Courland in this context was entirely acciden­ tal. It had arisen out of the fact that he was polemicizing with the Kadet paper Rech, which had sought to use Courland as a convenient illustration in arguing its point on the subject of annexation.23 Lenin might just as read­ ily have used Finland for his argument— as indeed he did on a later occasion— or he might have mentioned Poland or the Ukraine.2h As has been seen, Lenin’s advocacy of national secession, either of Latvia from Russia or of Courland from Latvia (and Russia), did not sit well with the Latvian Bolsheviks. But to Latvians in general, so many of whom were giving their lives on the Riga front to save their Fatherland, and of whom half a million had al­ ready been literally driven from their homes in Courland, Lenin appeared to be focusing attention upon their par­ ticular plight, as though highlighting both the heroism and the suffering of tiny Latvia above that of all the other subject nations of the empire.25 Thesis No. 2 defined the "present moment in Russia as a transition from the first stage of the revolution," which, because of inadequate organization and class con­ sciousness of the proletariat, had allowed power to fall into the hands of the bourgeoisie, "to its second stage, in which power would rest in the hands of the prolétariat and the poorest strata of the peasantry."26 To the Lat­ vian peasants, in or out of uniform, it may well have seemed that Lenin was making pointed reference to that which, unique within the Russian Empire, had taken place in southern Livonia in..tîie period from March to early May. The sensationally bold initial attempt made by the land­ less peasantry to challenge the domination of those who held land, had failed at that time only because of eventu­ al loss of nerve or, what might be called, inadequate class consciousness. And so, instead of taking political power, as they could easily have done, the landless, in the end, meekly consented to join with the propertied peasants in


Page: Latvia and the April Theses

the Zemel'nyi Soviet of southern Livonia. Despite their five-to-one numerical preponderance over the landed, the landless settled for 45 votes in the chamber as against the latter's 48.27 Thesis No. 3, in which Lenin asked his party to refuse to give any support to the Provisional Government and de­ manded a "complete exposure of all its false promises,1'28 might once again have made it seem as though Lenin had his eye particularly upon the Latvians, and had therefore ap­ proved the ultra-militant stance taken by the Riga Soviet of Workers Deputies on 18 March. On that date, the Bolshe­ vik-dominated Riga Soviet, supported by machine-gun units of the Latvian Rifles (placed on strategic heights sur­ rounding the city) had passed a resolution of no confi­ dence in the newly appointed provisional governor of Livonia Guberniia, Andrejs Krastkalns, the former mayor of Riga.29 The Soviet had also called upon the Council of Social Organizations— Latvian bourgeois groups supporting the Provisional Government— to act swiftly in taking the place of "the Riga German reactionary duma," to institute a people's militia, to oust the existing school directors and inspectors and to replace them with school Soviets, etc. In short, even before Lenin had reappeared in Petro­ grad, the Latvian Bolsheviks, in marked contrast to the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee, had gone on record as opposing the Provisional Government, which they associ­ ated with a probable continuation of German predominance.30 Thesis No. 6 carried a message that had no relation­ ship to agrarian conditions in most of the Russian Empire but was written as if to please the bulk of Latvia's peasants. Lenin asked that the agrarian program of Social Democracy be based upon "nationalization of all lands in the country and management of such lands by local Soviets of Fieldhands and Peasants Deputies. A division of Soviets of the poorest peasants was to be created along with model agricultural establishments (about 100 to 300 desiatins) to be carved out of large estates, as local conditions per­ mitted, and placed under control of the Soviet of Fieldhands at public cost."31 N. N. Sukhanov vividly recounts the very first reading of Lenin's Theses, noting his utter astonishment at one idea, in particular. Denying the need for a "parliamen­ tary republic" or a "bourgeois democracy," Lenin said: "We don't need any Government except the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers'and Farm-labourers' deputies!" But what struck Sukhanov, and probably no others in Russia but the Latvians,

Page: Latvia and the April Theses


was that "Lenin didn't speak of Peasant Soviets. . . . ” Sukhanov emphasizes the word "Peasant" because he in­ stantly understood the startling significance of this word's omission from Lenin's statement— Lenin having, as it were, erased the real life muzhik. Sukhanov continued, "and there were no farm-labourers' Soviets, nor could they be formed— as must have been clear to anyone at all equipped for a 'polemic on the agrarian question. "'32 Sukhanov, listening carefully, had astutely caught the bizarre erasure in Lenin's speech (and thinking) of the vastly predominant peasant stratum and its replace­ ment by a class ready to be organized into Farm-laborers' Soviets but for which, in fact, there was no social basis. What, indeed, was Lenin up to? Why was he presenting to his bewildered party comrades, as though it was something brand new in 1917, his agrarian program exactly as he had drawn it up a decade earlier? The answer to this neces­ sarily spans the passing of the decade in question. Len­ in's agrarian program, evolving in the period 1905-1907, had been predicated, as pointed out above, upon a "semi­ proletarian" peasant, who in all respects greatly resembled the Latvian landless peasant, the creature of an advanced agricultural economy. But in Russia, that which Lenin chose to call a "semi-proletarian" peasant was virtually non-existent. That did not prevent Lenin from believing such a being to exist, if only because his wish-fulfill­ ment world of the future required that it be so. Essen­ tially, Lenin's need to manufacture a mythical peasant type for Russia around 1907, undoubtedly arose out of his need to keep alive for some future date a more successful recreation of the revolution that had failed. And now, in 1917, the time had come, and the propaganda and tactical needs of that year, made it more urgent than ever before that Lenin conceive of and thus, in his propaganda, sug­ gest a Russia teeming with "semi-proletarian" peasants. Admittedly, Russia's agrarian conditions had changed con­ siderably, in the decade of Lenin's absence. But the changes did not match Lenin's estimate of the peasants' situation, nor could they have since Lenin had not re­ examined the peasant problem’in the decade after 1907. And although by 1917 his 1907 depiction of the semi-pro­ letarian (actually proletarian) peasant, familiar with machinery, had some approximation with reality in the Russian Empire as a whole, his analysis of 1907 was still, in 1917, most appropriate to peasant conditions in the Baltic Provinces.,


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This is not to suggest that the ideas suggested above ran through Lenin’s mind, as, in a fever of excitement, he proclaimed the April Theses. What did occupy his mind, however, was that he was making his debut in Petrograd as the Marxist leader of a Europe he believed to be pregnant with a revolution about to be born out of the imperialist war. It is clearly understandable, therefore, that public relations made it imperative for him to do what he could to camouflage as a capitalistic society the land (or the mountain) in which he, the Messiah of international socialism, would soon be arriving (or descending).33 There was no possibility, in Russia, that Soviets of Farm-laborers Deputies could be organized. Sukhanov, as mentioned, had instantly perceived this fatal flaw— and many others as well— in the prophet’s homecoming address. But in Latvia, which, where agricultural methods were concerned, remained uniquely advanced within the Russian Empire, the bulk of the peasantry (as in 1905) and unlike their Russian fel­ lows, still enjoyed no stake at all in land ownership. That fact alone made Thesis No. 6— proposing that fieldhands take over all the land— sound like sweet music to the landless peasants. But there was more. In preparation for the Seventh All-Russian Conference, Lenin wrote a lengthy elaboration of the April Theses as a draft for the party platform. Captioned ’’The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution,” it was completed on 10 April. Several copies were typed and distributed among party members, and it is safe to as­ sume that one copy, at least, found its way to the Thir­ teenth Conference of Latvian Social Democrats. In the draft platform, sections 13 and 14 were jointly titled ’’The Agrarian and the National Programs.” These sections, linking the agrarian program, as we shall see, to inter­ nationalism, asked the proletarian party to support na­ tionalization of the land and its disposition ’’totally and exclusively” through ’’oblast and local Soviets of Feasants Deputies.” Within those bodies, "without considering it essential to begin at once to split the Soviets of Peas­ ants Deputies [note that the class of landed peasantry herein receives some recognition not hitherto granted it by Lenin, but then only as a transitional phenomenon and slated for extinction], the party of the proletariat must »make clear the need for organizing special Soviets of Fieldhands Deputies and special Soviets of Deputies from the poorest (semi-proletarian) peasants,” whose function it would be to control the large model estates made up of

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land confiscated from landlords* Lenin stressed "above all" the "promulgation and immediate attainment of com­ plete freedom of separation from Russia for all nations and peoples who were oppressed by tsarism and forcibly united to Russia and forcibly retained by her, i.e., an­ nexed."31* The use of such language on Lenin's part, had, as noted, caused the Stucka-headed Latvian Bolsheviks con­ siderable irritation. But it should be fully understood that there was at no time any real or fundamental disa­ greement between Lenin and Stucka over this question, ex­ cept to the extent that Lenin, by writing his propaganda for international "broadcast" purposes, thereby, inad­ vertently created static for Bolshevik propaganda on the regional Latvian level. Indeed, the above-cited draft program makes it unmistakably clear (directly following Lenin's rendition of lip service to the principle of demo­ cratic rights concerning secession) that his aim was, as ever, a union of nations via working-class brotherhood and not their separate existence as bourgeois democracies. But leaving aside Stucka's annoyance over the problems caused him and his party by Lenin's phrase-making, it was only natural that the landless peasants should have taken something like the following message out of Lenin's words: "Lenin wants us poor Latvians to resolve our land problems by ourselves. And, by telling us that we have the right, if we wish, even to separate our nation from Russia, this saintly man^ is really trying to assure us that he will no longer tolerate the perennial interference by Russian bureaucrats into the affairs of the Latvian people." In sum and substance, then, Lenin's Theses came like a Zionist manifesto to a Latvian peasantry, or peasantproletariat, oppressed by foreigners in their land since time immemorial, until— as destiny's most recent jolt— the war had come to blow them out of their country, dispersing them among the Russian industrial centers. "The Lettish Bolsheviks," writes Trotsky, "torn away from their home soil and wholeheartedly standing in the soil of revolu­ tion, convinced, stubborn resolute, were carrying on dayby-day and all day long a mining operation in all parts of the country. Their angular faces, harsh accent, and often their broken Russian phrases, gave special expressiveness to an unceasing summons to insurrection."35 At the beginning of May, immediately following the Thirteenth Conference of Latvian Social Democrats in Mos­ cow— in actual fact, a conference of Bolsheviks— Ctr^a, the newspaper of those who had been dispersed, returned from


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its foster home in Petrograd to Riga.36 At the same time its editorial board, henceforth to be dominated by Stucka & Co.; ousted the Mensheviks Margers Skujenieks and Fricis Menders. A further indication of the powerful current of Bolshevism then flowing in Latvia was the joint action taken by the Riga Soviet of Workers Deputies and the Lat­ vian Rifles Regiments on 17 May, in adopting a resolution favoring solidarity with the Seventh All-Russian Conference of Bolsheviks. On this occasion Jülijs Danishevskis, a powerful orator, played much the role of a Latvian Trotsky to Stucka1s "Lenin.” Stucka conveyed the greetings of the Russian Bolsheviks and described the Latvian Rifles as "the armed vanguard of the proletariat."37 Among the Rifles’ deputies present, who had attended the Moscow Conference, 200 voted for the resolution, one was opposed and eight ab­ stained.38 Judging from this result, the 48,000 Latvian Rifles, probably the most dedicated military force in the Russian ImperialfArmy, had already then decided to back Lenin to the hilt. "The news that the Latvian Rifles had gone over to the Bolsheviks," Stucka wrote soon thereafter in Pravda, "gave the entire [Latvian] bourgeoisie a jolt such as their class had experienced nowhere else in Russia. And all the [Latvian] bourgeois press hurled itself upon the Rifles with even greater rage than did the Petersburg bourgeois press against the Kronstadters. . . . At least one Latvian bourgeois paper demanded as early as 31 May that the Rifles should cease being supported and another cried: ’Not a single paper mark to the Bolshevik Rifles.’" 39 "By June, 1917," as Ezergailis has noted in a recent article, "Latvia was in the hands of the Bolsheviks."1*0 The world-historic role of the Latvian Rifles from the time of the Bolshevik seizure of power to mid-1919 needs no further comment here. It is all too well-known, although one would scarcely guess it from the contents of the many textbooks from which Russian history is taught in the Eng­ lish language. But leaving that issue aside, if one thinks of the Latvian peasantry of 1917 as being in a condition similar to that of the Hebrews in biblical Egypt, then it is not too difficult to understand why, to them, Lenin seemed like the Moses who would lead them out of slavery and through the desert. And in that sense, poetic license 'being forgiven, Lenin’s ten April Theses played a role something like that of Moses’ Ten Commandments.

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1U. Qërmanis, Oberst Väcietis und die lettischen Schützen im Weltkrieg und in der Oktoberrevolution, Stock­ holm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1974, pp. 115-52. 2A. Ezergailis, The 1917 Revolution in Latvia, Boulder, Colorado: East European Quarterly, 1974, pp. 60-65. 3A. A. Drizulis, A. Y. Kabikis, A. K. Kirshbaum, eds., Oktiabr 9skaia revoliutsiia v Latvii; dokumenty i materialyy Riga, 1957, p. 415. Hereafter referred to as ORL. **See Ezergailis paper above, pp. 136, 14CT 5., The sharpshooters were made up entirely of tenant farmers and workers. The memory of 1905 was still upper­ most in their minds, for after the punitive expeditions of the Czar there was not one family that had not lost father, mother, brother, sister, husband or friend11 (see Yan Vaceetis, "History of the Latvian Sharpshooters," p. 7; manuscript in my possession). Qermanis writes that "the Riflemen came from all Latvian social classes but the large majority was constituted by landless peasants . . . " (Çërmanis, Oberst Väcietis, p. 296). It should be noted that the evacuation of Latvian factory wdrkers to Russia in 1915 contributed to the particular class composition of the Riflemen (see statistics in çërmanis, Oberst Väcietis, pp. 197-98). 6., The revolutionary movement in the northern front w based mainly on the Latvian Rifle Regiments. . . . The mil­ itary actions of the Latvian [Rifles] frustrated all at­ tempts to dispatch army units from the northern front in support of Kerensky. . . . The new Soviet power in Petro­ grad continued to be dependent on the . . . Latvian Bol­ sheviks who commanded the loyalty of the disciplined and battle-tested Riflemen ("The Vanguard of the Revolution") while the Bolsheviks still lacked a comparable force. Al­ ready on November 14 Lenin asked for a Latvian Rifle Regi­ ment for the defense of Petrograd" (U. Çërmanis, "The Idea of Independent Latvia and its Development in 1917," in Res Baltica, A. Sprudzs and Aw Rusis, eds., Leyden, 1968, p. 62) . 7At the 4 April caucus of Bolsheviks, Lenin, according to the imperfect secretarial record, said: "The basic con­ dition is the renunciation of annexation not in words but in actions. Rech carries on about the statement in [the Moscow] Sotsial-demokrat that the uniting of Courland and Russia constitutes annexation. But annexation means the attachment of any country distinguished by national


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peculiarities . . . every taking over of any nation, against its will, regardless of whether it has a language of its own, as long as it considers itself a separate people11 (V. I. Lenin, Polnoe Sobranie Soohinenii, 55 vols; Moscow, 1958-65, XXXI, 104-105), On 8 April 1917 Lenin wrote in Pravda that the "bourgeois Rech," a Kadet paper, had deliberately obfuscated the issue of annexation, when "days ago it had displayed the sad courage to declare that Courland (now annexed by the imperialist plunderers of bourgeois Germany) Was not annexed by Russia!! This is shocking. This is an unendurable betrayal of the workers by the bourgeoisie, for any person having even the slight­ est political education would have to admit that Courland has always been annexed to Russia" (ibid., p. 128; empha­ sis in the original). 8The conference declared that "the federative indi­ viduality of separate states or parts of states [i.e., Courland] on the basis of nationality gives the petty bourgeoisie the greater part of nationalistically-oriented officials and performers of intellectual work. The big bourgeoisie hope by this means to create for its national capital a privileged position, trying by its nationalism to conceal the class schism among the people and to dim the class consciousness of the proletariat. And, there­ fore, the interests of the working class in this respect do not coincide with the interests of the . . . bour­ geoisie. The workers view the national question in the sense of language and culture, simply as a question of democracy in general, which can best of all be resolved not by way of insulation and national separatism, but through the formation of a broad union and democratic centralism." On 7 May, after the Seventh Conference of the Russian Bol­ shevik Party had approved Lenin's position on the national question, StuEka referred in Cir^a to Lenin's "childish" position. "Lenin, as a member of a large nation, offers us more rights than we ourselves desire. . . . Comrade Lenin goes so far as to give Courland the right to secede completely at any time, of course, together with the rest of Latvia if it so wishes. But we, the Latvian Social Democrats, admit the possibility that if international com­ plications make an independent Courland as a neutral or a free port state inevitable, we would, of course, vote for *the inclusion of the rest of Latvia in such an independent Courland. . . . In the first place [we are] for a demo­ cratically governed Latvia in a democratic Russia, or more broadly, in a western European or.a world-wide democratic

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republic" (ORL., pp. 36-37? see also çërmanis, Res Baltica, p. 47). It is not at all inconceivable that word of the German intention of annexing Courland and Lithuania, which had been designated as official Reich policy at the April 1917 Kreuznach discussions, had spread within Courland and thence to Latvians elsewhere. Assuming that to have been the case, the advocacy by a Russian leader of Courland1s right to separation might well have played directly into German hands? this especially since Lenin, as early as 1914, had been charged by various persons with acting in the German interest (see A. E. Senn, The Russian Revolution in Switzerland, 1914-1917, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1971, p. 31). The high-riding Baltic barons might well have interpreted the Kreuznach decisions to mean that they were the linchpins of this policy regarding the "Ger­ man" lands of the Baltic (as the Kaiser always termed them). On 8 March 1918, the barons requested the Kaiser to take their Baltic lands under his protection. Any scheme hatched by the Kaiser or the barons was not the sort of thing with which any Latvian political group would have wished to be associated. For the final draft of the Kreuznach discussions, 23 April 191ü> see G. Feldman, ed., German Imperialism, 1914-1918, New York: Wiley, 1972? for further data regarding German designs on Courland, as well as on Riga, Latvia as a whole, and Estonia, see H. E. Volkmann, Die Deutsche Baltikumspolitik Zwischen BrestLitovsk und Compiègne, Cologne, 1970. Even before April, i.e., at the time of the February Revolution, there were rumors to the effect that court circles were ready to hand over Riga to the Germans (çërmanis. Oberst Vâcietis, p. 235) . 9Another fear of Latvian Bolshevism was that its power might be undermined by particularism within Latvia as a whole. After the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, for instance, many Latgalians wanted their own independence and the right to separate from Latvia as well as from Russia. The question of self-determination was on the agenda at the 3-4 December 1917 session^of the joint Latgalian Confer­ ence of the delegates of àll nationalities and political and professional organizations of Latgalia held in Rezhits. On that occasion the Bolshevik majority, headed by speaker Viksnin, opposed the idea of a federated Latvia or even a Latvia separated from the workers of Russia or of the en­ tire world. Protests against this viewpoint came from var­ ious delegates, among them "Comrade Chigan," who said: "We Latgalians need unity neither with Latvia nor with Russia.


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We are our own masters in Latgalia." Another person ob­ jected that the Latvians "in their majority/' were trying "to press their own interest— self-determination" (ORL, pp. 286-93). 10 ORL., pp. 38-39, citing Cîî^a, 3 May 1917, pp. 1-2. 11 ORL., pp. 39-40, citing Ctr¡a, 4 May 1917, p. 2. 12 A. G. Meyer, Leninism, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1957, p. 155. 13 For a fuller development of this argument, see S. W. Page, "Lenin and Peasant 'Bolshevism* in Latvia, 19031915," Journal of Baltic Studies, III, no. 2 (Summer 1972), 98-99. 14 Lenin, PS S, XIV, 5-8. 15Petrogradskaia obshchegorodskaiia i Vserossiiskaia konferentsiia RS -DRP (Bolrshevikov) v Aprele 1917 g. , Mos­ cow, 1925, pp. 14-15. 16 Lenin, PSS3 XXV, 22-30. At Zimmerwald, the Latvian Berzins had most emphatically identified his position with Lenin's (see Ya. G. Temkin, Lenin i Mezhdunarodnaia SotsiaLDemokratiia , Moscow, 1968, p. 216). 17Lenin, PSS, XXXI, 114-15. 18 Page, "Lenin and Peasant 'Bolshevism,'" pp. 95-98, 104-105; M. L. Schlesinger, Russland im XX Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1908, pp. 142-45. Schlesinger notes that the Latvians placed red flags in the hands of their kindergartners and taught them to sing revolutionary songs. 19 A. Ezergailis, "A German Leaflet on Fraternization, April, 1916,." The Slavonic and East European Review, XLVIII, no. 113 (October 1970), 598-99. 20ORL., pp. 127-28. 21W. S. Woytinsky, Stormy Passage, New York: Vanguard Press, 1961, p. 319. 22 Lenin, P S S , XXXI, 114. 23 See footnote 7. 2lf Lenin, PSS, XXXI, 435. "If Finland, if Poland or the Ukraine break away from Russia, there is nothing bad about that. What could be bad? He who says so is a chauvinist." 25A. Ezergailis, "1917 in Latvia: The Bolshevik Year," Canadian Slavic Studies, III, no. 4 (winter, 1969), 646-47. Ezergailis points out that the Russian-ordered "scorched earth policy" in Courland was largely responsi*ble for the huge number of refugees, which certainly helps to account for the Latvian bitterness toward the tsar's government and army. In that connection, R. H. Bruce Lockhart recalls the anti-Russian bitterness of the Latvian

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sentries who guarded him during his Kremlin imprisonment in 1918. "Most of them were contemptuous of the Russians, whom they regarded as inferiors. One Lett informed me that, if Russia could have put a million non-Russian troops into the trenches, she could not have failed to win the war. Every time the Letts advanced, he said, they were let down by the Russians, who failed invariably to support them. He despised, too, the dirt and laziness of the Rus­ sian troops. On the other hand, he had a wholesome respect for the Bolshevik leaders, whom he regarded as supermen" (R. H. Bruce Lockhart, British Agent, New York: Putnam, 1933, p. 330). As late as December 1921, Latvian Eiduk, then Soviet plenipotentiary supervising the American Re­ lief Administration, demanded that the walls of an ARA kitchen in Moscow be adorned with photographs of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev. They had been removed thence by a Russian employee and "Eiduk insisted that the ARA . . . take steps to prevent future 1descrations1 at Ameri­ can feeding stations" (B. M. Weissman, Herbert Hoover and Famine Relief to Soviet Russia: 1921-1923, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1974, pp. 118-19). For addi­ tional information on refugees from^Courland and from Lat­ via in general, see also Presseabteilung Ober Ost, Berlin, 1917, p. 431; and M. Markov, Sovetskaia Latviia, Moscow, 1940, p. 13. The latter reports that almost a million people left Latvia in the course of the war. 26 Lenin, P S S , XXXI, 106 (emphasis in the original). 27 In the words of a Bolshevik writer, "the Soviet of the Landless capitulated before the bourgeoisie." V. Mishke, "Podgotovka Oktiabra v Latvii," Prole tarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 72 (1928), p. 58. 20Lenin, PSS, XXXI, 107. 22 ORL. , pp. 29-30. After this was done, Krastkalns, according to Latwju Strehlneeks , organ of the Latvian Rifles, was removed to Petrograd under guard and "placed at the disposition of the Provisional Government under condition that he was not to have the right to return to Riga while the war lasted" (see V. Mishke, "Podgotovka Oktiabra," p. 56. 30 0RLm, pp. 29-30. 31 Lenin, PSS, XXXI, 109 (emphasis in the original). 32 N. N. Sukhanov, The Russian Revolution3 19173 Eyewitness Account, 2 vols., New York: Harper, 1962, I, 282-83 (emphasis in the original). 33See S. W. Page, Lenin and World Revolution, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972, p. 44.


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34Lenin, PS S, XXXI, 166-67 (emphasis in the original). 35 L. Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, 3 vols*, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1936, III, 75. 36 Back in Riga^ Cvqa replaced Zinotajs, the newspaper published by the Riga Soviet. 37 Germanis., Oberst Vaoietis, pp. 192-93. 3eORL., pp. 70-72. (These figures vary somewhat from those in germanis, Oberst Vaoietis. gêrmanis points out that the new Executive Committee of the Rifles was Bolshe­ vik-controlled. See pp. 196-97.) 39 Ibid. Stucka wrote his Pravda article at Lenin's request. According to germanis the conservative circles of the German Balts had a field day jeering at the Latvian bourgeoisie and other non-Bolshevik Latvians, whose "spoiled and beloved child," a Baron Lieven wrote, had crossed into the enemy camp. "So even the best troops of our front, as the Russian Command reports have often called the Latvian Battalions, are no longer available for further adventurist schemes" (Oberst Vaoietis, p. 198). Reacting to storms of protest, a certain number of Riflemen dele­ gates reneged on the resolution of 17 May which they had originally supported (ibid., 199). 40Ezergailis, "1917 in Latvia: The Bolshevik Year," p. 646.

THE BOLSHEVIKS OF THE TWELFTH ARMY AND LATVIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY Allan K. Wildman Professors Ezergailis and Page rightly call attention to a little-appreciated dimension of the 1917 struggle that helped immeasurably to bring the Bolsheviks through the precarious days after the October coup. One might question in part the stress in their formulations on the overwhelm­ ing causative role of the Thirteenth Conference and Lenin's agrarian program in winning over the Latvian Bolsheviks and the Brigades (though they are certainly important indica­ tors) , but there is no doubt that hard-core Latvian Bol­ shevism was pivotal in the conjunction of forces which as­ sured a Bolshevik victory* Other sources of strength— the peasantry, minority nationalities, Kronstadt sailors. Red Guards and garrison soldiers— proved of uncertain durabil­ ity and firmness, but the Latvian Rffle Brigades remained an unswerving palace guard, even, as Professor Page points out, through the Civil War and beyond* Regardless of w h a t drew the Latvians to Lenin's brand of Bolshevism (they appear not to have shared Kamenev’s and Stalin's hesitations about the April Theses), their conver­ sion firmly anchored one extremity of what the bourgeois groups called the Mrotten triangle"— that chain of for­ tresses, naval stations, industrial regions and garrisons surrounding the Finnish Gulf (Helsinki, Vyborg, Kronstadt, Krasnoe Selo, Narva, Reval, Riga) which denied the Pro­ vision Government much-needed moral authority and military support. In essence, these areas underwent their "October Revolution" in April and May; and the strategic implica­ tions of this fact for the outcome of the Russian Revolu­ tion have yet to be appreciated in the historical litera­ ture. * The Latvian Brigades, numbering around 48,000 men in eight regiments and another 15,000 in the reserve training unit, were stationed in and around Riga with its working class population of 60,000* They served as a militia for the maintenance of public order in the early months of the revolution, lending support to the Bolshevik-leaning Work­ ers Soviet against the bourgeois-nationalist dominated Committee of Social Organizations, the weaker, but official


Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia

holder of power in Riga* Thus the Brigades were in a posi­ tion to give firm sanctuary to the group of Russian Bolshe­ viks of the 436th Novoladozhskii Regiment, also stationed on the outskirts of Riga, who put out the newspaper Okopnaia Pravda. In May and June this organ considerably radicalized the entire Twelfth Army, some eighteen divi­ sions strong, which defended a sector encircling Riga to a point less than a hundred kilometers southeastward. The umbrella organization for the soldiers committees of the Twelfth Army, Iskosol, and its officer counterpart Iskomof, were firmly in the hands of Menshevik defensists. These bodies commanded the loyalty of most corps, divi­ sional and regimental committees; but their influence over the soldier masses was from the start very uncertain, and by May the committee organizations of the 109th Division, of several regiments of Siberian Rifles (the 10th, 17th and 70th), and of the Latvian Brigades constituted a siz­ able Bolshevik schism. With the help of the Latvian party organization in[Riga, with whom they became organization­ ally affiliated, the Bolsheviks who controlled the commit­ tee of the 436th Novoladozhskii Regiment of the 109th Division were able to set up the most successful propa­ ganda enterprise in the Russian army. Even though the Army Headquarters and Iskosol, also located in Riga, ex­ pended great efforts to root them out, Okopnaia Pravda and its successor organ Okopnyi Nabat were sold for four ko­ pecks at railroad stations and kiosks, and handed over in huge bundles to front-line soldiers who fetched them at the clearly advertised address. Since Riga was always teeming with soldiers en route to the front, on leave, or being transferred, its wide circulation (an estimated 6,000) was guaranteed. Though the Bolsheviks' formal con­ trol did not extend much beyond'the units already men­ tioned, even in September and October, they kept all units of the army in a constant state of turmoil and insubordi­ nation with their tantalizing agitation for an immediate peace, fraternization, the election of officers, the imme­ diate seizure of the land, and the publication of the' secret treaties. By far the richest grist for their mill was the forthcoming offensive, to which the Provisional Government and the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet were now committed. Okopnaia Pravda argued, with ,telling effect on the weary front-line soldiers, that so long as the Allies refused to renounce the secret treaties and the Provisional Government supported the Entente with offensive operations, the war remained an imperialist war

Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia


with the complicity of socialist ministers, and that work­ ers’ and peasants' blood was being shed for the benefit of capitalists and landowners, Iskosol and the regular soldiers' committees enthusi­ astically supported the efforts of War Minister Kerensky to prepare the army for the 'summer offensive, and in so doing sacrificed their standing with their constituency. In June, as the offensive drew near, the upper level com­ mitteemen and Iskosol above all, functioned more and more as a police force for the command structure to apprehend Bolshevik agitators, to bring disobedient units back into line, and to shut off the flow of Bolshevik literature to the front. High on their agenda was to close down Okopnaia Pravda and the Latvian Rifle Brigade’s Privais Strelnieks♦ Considerable repressive efforts were mounted after the July Days and the collapse of the summer offensive, as the Bolsheviks were now felt to be clearly revealed as "traitors" and "German agents" subject to the severest punishment for their agitation. On 12 July Kerensky is­ sued a general order on the closing of Bolshevik newspa­ pers, naming Okopnaia Pravda as the most notorious example, and on 21 July raids were undertaken«?on its editorial of­ fice and its printing establishment (where Cty}a was also published), as well as on the Riga party headquarters; stockpiles of the paper, records and supplies were de­ stroyed or confiscated.1 Two days later, on 23 July, the first issue of Okopnyi Nabat appeared, every bit as solid and articulate as its predecessor. Command reports con­ tinued to complain of its pernicious influence right up until the fall of Riga at the end of August.2 Given the strategic importance to the Bolsheviks’ fortunes of such a compact area of support near to the capital, it is worth reconsidering the cooperative rela­ tionship between Latvian Social Democracy and the Russian Bolsheviks of the Twelfth Army. The core of the group which founded Okopnaia Pravda were a few Bolshevik soldiers and officers from the 436th Novoladozhskii Infantry Regi­ ment which had long been stationed in the environs of Riga and had carried on a cautious agitation against the war before the February Revolution.' D. I. Grazkin, a workerBolshevik from Petrograd and the only participant to chronicle their history, claims that already at that time he had made contact with Riga Social Democrats Peterson and Ianberg and through them had received information and instructions from the Russian Bureau of the Central Com­ mittee in Petrograd.3 During the initial period of turmoil


Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia

in the army the group easily gained control of the regi­ mental committee structure— the regiment consisted largely of Petrograd workers— and by mid-March obtained the en­ dorsement of the regiment for a "program" which was in essence the Bolshevik program before the return of Lenin. (The full text was printed in Pravda on 20 March.) Though members of their group were elected to divisional and corps committees of their units, they were a dissident voice in the otherwise heavily Menshevik-Socialist Revolu­ tionary committees of the Twelfth Army. Sometime later in March the Novoladozhskii Regiment was removed from the front line for rest and re-equipment, and was to be replaced by units of the Latvian Brigades. Grazkin's version is that the officers and Mensheviks who still dominated the brigade committees, hoping to embroil the Latvians with the troublesome Bolsheviks, circulated the rumor that the Novoladozhskii Regiment had departed for the rear without orders, leaving the front exposed. Supposedly he and.a fellow Bolshevik, Lt. Sivers, agitated the ranks of the Latvians, persuading them of the provocatory nature of the accusation, and thus carried out a "committee revolution" in these particular units by bring­ ing in Bolshevik leadership. Though certain details of Grazkin's account seem doubtful, the implanting of recip­ rocal influence and cooperation through such an incident is not implausible.4 Stationed in Tornberg on the out­ skirts of Riga, the Novoladozhskii Bolsheviks were very conveniently located for setting up their enterprise. They acquired a solid reputation in the 109th Division by making the rounds of soldiers' meetings which perpetually took place in the reserve, always challenging Iskosol and officer orators, always proposing substitute resolutions or amendments designed to embarrass the regular committee­ men or to take the steam out of high-sounding appeals to patriotism and militancy ("We'll shed our last drop of blood for the revolution as soon as they supply us with new boots."). They financed the enterprise partially by collections from soldiers, but also by laying hold of a large sum of regimental money earmarked for fallen and evacuated soldiers in their committee capacity of super­ vising regimental accounts. They persuaded their regi­ mental commander, a recently elevated captain, to agree to * the release in exchange for recommending him to higher bodies for promotion to colonel. With these means (some 5000 to 7000 rubles) they hired an unused printing estab­ lishment in Riga and brought out the first number of

Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia


O k o p n a i a Pravda on 30 April,5

Okopnaia Pravda revealed its Bolshevik loyalties in its first issue by printing in full the above-mentioned "program11 of the Novoladozhskii Regiment, but did not identify itself by party label. There was a problem with one of the co-editors, F. P. Khaustov, a Socialist Revolu­ tionary Maximalist, who refused to cooperate unless his tendency were given equal billing. But the fourth issue (7 May) proudly bore the initials RSDRP and the slogan "Workers of the World Unite," along with the sub-heading "Organ of the Initiative Group of Military Social Demo­ crats," The next few issues chronicle a tug-of-war between the army Mensheviks and Bolsheviks for status within the revolutionary establishment of the city of Riga. The Novoladozhskii Bolsheviks sought to embarrass the Menshe­ viks in Iskosol by persuading the Riga Workers' Soviet to pass a resolution in favor of merging the workers and soldiers into a joint Soviet on the Petrograd model.6 This might seem a risky step, as it would give the Men­ sheviks, entrenched in Iskosol and Iskomof, the upper hand in a more all-embracing territorial organization. As the Bolsheviks anticipated, however, the^Menshevik-controlled bodies could not afford to go for the bait, as it would mean surrendering their status as quasi-official army or­ ganizations recognized by the command structure for the uncertainties of identification with organs that symbol­ ized to the latter the horrors of "dual power." The Workers' Soviet issued the invitation on 18 April, but at the same time instructed the military Bolsheviks to work within Iskosol for a change of policy rather than cause a schism in revolutionary institutions.7 The Novoladozhskii Regiment had just passed a resolution to boycott Iskosol and was now obliged to reverse it. A truce, which did not last very long, was announced in Okopnaia Pravda on 5 May. From their standpoint, the maneuver had already accom­ plished its purpose. The army Mensheviks, alerted by this effort to under­ mine their standing in revolutionary institutions in Lat­ via, became active in the’Russian section of the Riga Com­ mittee of the Latvian Social Democratic Party, probably with the explicit idea of heading off its adherence to the decisions of the Thirteenth Conference. At a meeting re­ counted in the fourth issue of Okopnaia Pravda (7 May), the Latvian majority of the Riga Committee, over the vig­ orous protest of the Russian Mensheviks G. D. Kuchin and A. E. Diubua, approved the decisions of the Thirteenth


Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia

Conference. Kuchin was a prominent member of Iskomof and Diubua was commissar to the Twelfth Army appointed by the Petrograd Soviet (a civilian, he was also active in trade union activity in Riga). Okopnaia Pravda slyly re­ marked that the Mensheviks had voluntarily separated them­ selves from the proletariat of Riga for more interesting high-level work in the army in the company of officers, and that their place had been taken in the Russian section by a new group (meaning themselves) more in tune with the mood of the masses. Thus, both the Latvian and Russian sections of the Riga Committee were now declared Bolsheviks, and in all probability the Workers1 Soviet was as well. From 10 May on, a standing invitation to front-line soldiers ap­ peared in Okopnaia Pravda to enroll in the ranks of the Bolshevik Party as members of the Russian section of the Riga Committee. The address given was the city "militia building opposite the railroad station, which also housed the Riga Committee headquarters and the editorial offices of Ciqa, a layout suggestive of the physical solidity of the Bolshevik stronghold. Okopnaia Pravda now carried the subheading "Organ of the Military Organization and Russian Section of Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory." In spite of the advertised organizational affiliation, there is only scant information on the cooperative actions of the two sections. Certainly they must have shared ex­ penses on the upkeep of their joint facilities. Grazkin mentions that he became acquainted at this time with A. M. Dizhbit, K. I. Rimsha and Kovnator, all apparently members of the Latvian Party and later to play prominent roles in establishing Bolshevik power in the region.0 On 12-17 May a Congress of the Latvian Brigades took place in Riga, and after a protracted and impassioned debate in which Iskosol representatives, Latvian officers and Latvian Social Demo­ crats took part, a ringing Bolshevik resolution denouncing the war policy of the Coalition Government and calling for all power to the Soviets was passed by an overwhelming majority (Iu. Danishevskis, editor of introduced and defended the resolution).9 Efforts by Iskosol, the command staff and non-Bolsheviks in the brigades, and even by Com­ missar Diubua in the name of the Petrograd Soviet, to get the resolution rescinded were in vain.10 On 4 June a con­ ference of Bolshevik organizations of the brigades took place, and it was determined that there were 1,537 members of the party in the eight regiments and 200 more in the reserve unit.11 The blossoming of Bolshevism in the bri­ gades was capitalized upon by the Russian section. The

Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia


delegate of Okopnaia Praváa to the All-Russian Conference 0£ Bolshevik Military Organizations in Petrograd in midjune reported that "the resolution of the Latvian Rifles enjoyed great sympathy in the Russian units, and at all meetings where it was put to a vote, it was passed*"12 He claimed that the Bolsheviks had organizations of up to a hundred members in eight different regiments.13 At the end of June there was a conference of Bolsheviks of the Twelfth Army in Riga attended by 400 delegates according to Grazkin, but he does not say how many represented Russian as opposed to Latvian units (in all probability the majority were the latter).14 Rimsha, the delegate from the Twelfth Army to the Sixth Congress of the Bolsheviks (26 July-3 August), reported 1,800 party members in the Russian sec­ tion alone, a considerable increase over the claim for early summer. 15 This was a fair showing at a time when Bolsheviks all along the front were on the defensive and were being arrested on the slightest pretext. Even if the numbers do not seem very impressive in an army of over a half-million, the enormous impact of their agitation on the discipline, morale and attitudes of en­ tire troop formations is evident from military reports of the time. The following weekly report of Twelfth Army Com­ mander General Radko-Dmitriev to Front Headquarters of 9 July needs little comment: The past week has been distinguished by the strengthening of Bolshevik propaganda, which takes advantage of every conceivable circumstance to provoke severe excesses and to disorganize units, not only those already affected, but also those hitherto noted for their firmness or tend­ ency toward recuperation. The detaching of the 187th Division from the 27th Corps has led to strong dissatisfaction and mistrust of the com­ mand structure, which has been fed by stubborn, but elusive propaganda against which the commit­ tees and officers are helpless; reasonable com­ mittees and worthy deputies are voted out . . . and threats are directed against command person­ nel. The 5th and 20th Divisions, hitherto dis­ tinguished by their unshakable morale, have not yet observed my command to take up their positions on the line, but continue to debate it. According to the latest report, one battalion each of the 79th and 17th Siberian Rifle Regiments have taken up their positions. In the 3rd Siberian Division,


Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia

the chief hotbed of Bolshevik propaganda is the 10th Siberian Rifle Regiment— already definitive­ ly disorganized, it is spreading its poison to other regiments of the division. This past week the 10th Regiment passed a resolu­ tion on executing military commands only on the condition of the realization of Bolshevik slogans, namely, 1) the transfer of all power to the Soviets, 2) the publication of the secret treat­ ies, 3) the clarification of the aims of the war, 4) the introduction of the election of officers, 5) removal of points 14 and 18 of the Declaration of Soldiers' Rights [covering military discipline], 6) the review of all operational orders and plans. The 11th and 12th Siberians passed resolutions attaching similar conditions to the execution of orders; only the 9th Regiment resolved unquestioningly to obey all military orders, but one cannot rely on its being carried out. The First Latvian Brigade is in complete disarray. There were cases of fraternization. . . . Deser­ tions have increased. . . . Cases of the humili­ ation of officers and threats to beat them have increased. . . . The army is incapable of under­ taking further active operations. 6 Available materials establish that there had been major incidents of indiscipline (arrests of commanding officers, refusals to obey orders on troop movements) in at least nine out of fifteen infantry divisions in the Twelfth Army, each case involving more than one regiment in the division (i.e., exclusive of minor incidents quickly liquidated). In spite of massive efforts in July to weed out Bolshevik agitators and to disarm and disband the worst units, and occasional optimistic reports by commanders and commissars notwithstanding, Bolshevik agitation and influ­ ence continued to make inroads unabated, as the following report of 4 August by General Parskii, Radko-Dmitriev1s successor, confirms : Committees of some units are performing useful service. Here and there are calls to coopera­ tive work with officers. But external manifes­ tations of discipline are regarded as holdovers of the old regime and the soldier mass is unsym­ pathetic. The propaganda of the Bolsheviks is being carried on intensively, which is greatly facilitated by the broad circulation of the

Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia


papers Rabochii i Soldat and Okopnyi, Nabat. . . . Work details are being performed, but often meet resistance. In many units one still notices hatred or silent hostility toward officers. The greatest obstacle to rejuvenating the army is the newspapers of Bolshevik tendency.17 Surprisingly, the report credits the 109th Division with performing exemplary service, which is confirmed by the ob­ servations of the front-line commissars Vladimir Voitinskii and V. B. Stankevich, whereas the worst cases of indisci­ pline were taking place in units previously less-affected by Bolshevik propaganda.18 This seeming paradox is ex­ plained by the fact that at this time Okopnyi Nabat was calling on its constituency to observe discipline and carefully maintain the defenses of the front line. This was partly to deflect repression and avert bearing onus for the deterioration of the army, but also because the editors were now genuinely worried about a German advance on "the revolutionary capital." During the battle for Riga, the Latvian units and the 109th Division fought with greater tenacity than any other units and even disobeyed orders to retreat.19 By the fall of 1917 the Twelfth Army was the most thoroughly schooled in Bolshevik slogans and the most pen­ etrated with functioning Bolshevik organizations of any of the front-line armies, though it gave only 54 per cent of its votes to the Bolsheviks in the elections to the Con­ stituent Assembly, whereas all other armies on the Northern and Western Fronts (the 5th, 2nd, 3rd and 10th Armies) rolled up 65 per cent or better.20 A Military Revolution­ ary Committee of the Twelfth Army, consisting primarily of Latvian Bolsheviks, was formed on 18 October after V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko brought them word of the decision of the Central Committee of 10 October. The Latvian Brigades and the Novoladozhskii Regiment immediately put themselves at the disposal of the Military Revolutionary Committee, and as soon as news arrived of the October coup in Petrograd they arrested their officers and occupied key points in the rear. Under instructions from Petrograd they dis­ patched a force to occupy the -Twelfth Army headquarters at Valka, a mission which was accomplished on 7 November.21 In the meantime^ a congress of all units of the Twelfth Army had taken place on 28-31 October and had yielded an even division between pro- and anti-Bolshevik delegates. Nevertheless, the old Menshevik-controlled Iskosol, whose membership had not been renewed since its original forma-


Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia

tion, was deprived of its mandate and a new Iskosol re­ flecting the new division of forces was elected. Two weeks later, a second congress produced a firm Bolshevik majority and the new Bolshevik Iskosol proclaimed full power to itself in the Baltic region in the name of the Soviet government in Petrograd. Kerensky’s desparate efforts to raise an expeditionary force from the Northern Front to restore the Provisional Government met with the fate of Kornilov. NOTES ^ e e Oktiabrfskaiarevoliutsiia v Latvii: Dokumenty i Materially, Riga, 1957, pp. 165-66 and 167-68 for Keren­ sky's order and Procurator's report of execution. (Here­ after referred to as OEL.) 2See below, n. 16, and other reports in the same col­ lection. Soviet monographs cite many others from unpub­ lished archival sources, as for example M. I. Kapustin, Soldaty sevemogo fronta v b o r fbe za vlast' sovetov, Mos­ cow, 1957, p. 116. 3,,Revoliutsionnaia rabota v XII Armii nakanune Oktiabria," Voprosy Istorii , no. 9, 1957, p. 5. There are three published versions of Grazkin's account and an un­ published one frequently cited by Soviet authors, each dif­ fering in emphasis and details and showing glaring inac­ curacies. Hence the need for caution, which even one So­ viet authority advises (V. I. Miller, "Fevral1skaia revoliutsiía i vozniknoveniie soldatskikh komitetov na fronte,” Sverzhenie samoderzhaviia: S b o m i k statei, Moscow, 1970, pp. 171-72). For the other two versions, see D. L. Grazkin, Okopnaia Pravda, Moscow, 1933, and "Okopnaia Pravda,” Istoricheskii Arkhiv, no. 4, 1957, pp. 168-83. ^Grazkin, "Revoliutsionnaia rabota," pp. 5-6. 5Grazkin, Okopnaia Pravda, pp. 8-9. 6Text in 0RL.r pp. 128-29. 7Ibid., pp. 56-57. 8Grazkin, Okopnaia Pravda , p. 18. s0RL.j pp. 137-38. 10 Ibid., pp. 141-44 and T. Ia. Draudin, Boevyi Put' Latyshskoi Strelkovoi Divisii v dni Oktiabria i v gody grazhdanskoi voiny, Riga, 1960, p. 24. 11 Ibid. , p. 25. 12Soldatskaia Pravda, 20 June 1917, cited in Kapustin, Soldaty, p. 70.

Wildman: Twelfth Army in Latvia


l*Biulleten Vserossiiskoi Konferentsii Frontovykh i Tylovikh Voennykh Organizatsii RSDRP, nos. 3 and 4, 18 and 20 June 1917. ll+Grazkin, "Okopnaia Pravda," pp. 179-80. 15 She s toi S tfezd RSDRP (Bolfshevikov) : Protokoly , Moscow, 1958, p. 72. 16Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v russkoi armii v 19Í7 g. , Moscow, 1968, pp. 195-96. 17 Ibid., pp. 295-96. 18 From V. S. Voitinskii's manuscript memoirs at the Hoover Institution and V. B. Stankevich, Vospominaniia 1914-1919 gg♦ , Berlin, 1920, pp. 180 and 192-93. 19Efraudin, Boevyi Put',p. 31 ff. , and all other Soviet versions. Voitinskii's version, a Menshevik viewpoint, concurs and Stankevich, while blaming other units, does not blame Bolshevik units. Soviet historiography insists that Kornilov and the High Command deliberately planned the sur­ render of Riga so as to blame the Bolsheviks and to create a panic in the capital which would then be in a frame of mind to accept his coup. This version may be true with respect to Kornilov, whose orders on troop movements left Riga exposed, but the Soviet versions are manifest distor­ tions of the truth with respect t,o the complicity of the generals and commissars of the Twelfth Army, as none of them sympathized with Kornilov and did the best they could with a very demoralized army, for which the Bolsheviks must take part of the blame. 20 I. V. Mints, Istoriia velikogo Oktiabria, 3 vols.; Moscow, 1967-1973, III, 373 and 387. 21 See Draudin, Boevyi Put', pp. 36-50, Kapustin, Sotdaty, chap. 4, and many other standard Soviet accounts.

GRIGORI I ZINOVIEV: THE MYTHS OF THE DEFEATED Myron W. Hedlin In August 1936 Zinoviev told the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR that MI plead guilty to hav­ ing been the principal organizer of the assassination of Kirov." He asserted that he and his co-conspirators had taken the place of the Mensheviks, Socialist Revolution­ aries, and White Guards and had adopted the terrorism of the S.R.'s. "My defective Bolshevism," he said, "became transformed into anti-Bolshevism, and through Trotskyism I arrived at fascism."1 Thus did one of the most prominent old Bolsheviks, now defeated and humiliated, participate in the myth-making process about himself and his history. A member of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party from 1901, a Bolshevik from 1903, a Central Committee mem­ ber for nearly two decades, a candidate member or full mem­ ber of the Politburo for the first seven years of that body's existence, the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, Lenin's closest collabor­ ator in exile prior to the revolution, and the leader of the city of Petrograd for more than seven years, Grigorii Zinoviev is one of those figures who, while often men­ tioned, has received little concerted analysis even out­ side the Soviet Union. Although his name occurs frequent­ ly in the literature, generally with some derogatory note either before or after the reference, he is usually brought in because he cannot be ignored, rather than in an effort to examine him for what he reveals of Bolshevism itself. Thus a historian now trying to analyze Zinoviev confronts two types of myths: myths of commission, those already ex­ pressed; and myths of omission, those created by simply omitting him from a historical development where in fact he was an important actor. While under Stalin Zinoviev's criminality and the justness of his trial remained unquestionable verities, today in the USSR such flagrant violations of historical fact and probability are no longer in vogue. Instead, » Soviet scholarship deals with Zinoviev in one of two ways. The first method, now seemingly the preferred one, is to ignore him completely, thereby promoting the,idea that Zinoviev was unimportant to the history of Bolshevism.2

Hedlin: Zinoviev


One looks in vain in the Sovetskaia istoricheskaia entsiklopediia or in the newest edition, of the B o l fshaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia for any listing under Grigorii Zinoviev. Similarly, the public card-catalogue in the Lenin Library in Moscow fails to include any entries under Zinoviev's name despite his prolific pen. His name has been removed from the title page of all publications of the pamphlet Sotsiatizm i voina even though it was first pub­ lished during World War I under both his and Lenin's name. The original draft for what became the "Twenty-one Condi­ tions of Admission to the Communist International" clearly was written by Zinoviev and yet is listed even in the fifth edition of Lenin's writings as Lenin's work.3 The presentday museum at Razliv, marking the spot where Lenin took refuge from the Provisional Government in the summer of 1917, by no accident fails to mention that Zinoviev spent the entire time with him— and this despite the erection there in 1925 of a bas-relief showing Lenin in conversation with Zinoviev.h This list of omissions could be extended almost indefinitely. While omission may be the most common Soviet method of dealing with Zinoviev, more scholarly Soviet historians choose another approach. Roy Medvedev, the dissident his­ torian, has summarized this approach as one that for Stalin's opponents, when they must be mentioned, lists "only sins, blunders, and mistakes."5 Thus, the editors of the authoritative PoZnoe eobvanie sochinenii of Lenin, after listing the date for Zinoviev's entry into the party and the other positions he held, insist that "during the years of reaction and of a new revolutionary resurgence [Zinoviev] sought to conciliate the Liquidators, the Otzovists, and the Trotskyists" and after the revolution he "repeatedly came out against the Leninist policy of the party."6 A scholarly example of the attempt to show that Zinoviev was always disloyal, if not treasonous to Lenin, may be found in la. G. Temkin's Lenin i mezhdunarodnaia sotsial-demokvatiia> 1914-1917 published in 1968 by the prestigious Nauka press. While Temkin lists Zinoviev's or­ ganizational positions such as his representation of the Bolshevik Central Committee at' the preliminary meeting for the Zimmerwald Conference, the overall interpretive empha­ sis is on the degree to which Zinoviev resisted Lenin's program and sought to divert Bolshevism from its proper Leninist course.7 Temkin never raises the question of why Lenin continued to cooperate in so many enterprises with this alleged opponent who had to be dragged, kicking and


Hedlin: Zinoviev

screaming, down the path of Bolshevism. He never admits that despite their numerous squabbles, Lenin and Zinoviev were, for all practical purposes, the Bolshevik Central Committee during the war. Thus, in the Soviet Union the scholarly view of Zinoviev is that of a shifty, untrust­ worthy creature whose close cooperation with Lenin and many services to the Bolshevik Party remain either unmen­ tioned or incomprehensible. If Soviet historiography is unsatisfactory in its factual and analytical presentation of Zinoviev's role in the Bolshevik movement, western historiography, despite its greater attention to detail, fails to offer an accur­ ate and balanced view of the controversial Bolshevik. Ob­ viously it is impossible to describe all the nuances of western historiography— to commend the accurate and casti­ gate, the errant. Yet, like their Soviet counterparts, western writings have common themes that have formed the background for judging Zinoviev's character and his ac­ tions. It is unquestionably true that Zinoviev was per­ sonally repulsive to many of the people he encountered after the revolution. To Comintern official Victor Serge, Zinoviev was "Lenin's biggest mistake."0 To a German dip­ lomat in Russia, he was "no more than an ambitious and selfish demagogue.1,9 A Swedish leftist, who in 1923 wrote character sketches of the principal Russian leaders he had met, observed that "it is notable how little beloved Zinoviev is in the narrow circle of his party friends."10 An English ^sculptor, who returned to Russia with Lev Kamenev in 1920 to do busts of the new leaders, remarked concerning Zinoviev that "I never heard anyone except Kameneff have a decent word for him."11 Louis Fischer noted that "Zinoviev was especially disliked despite his talents."12 Angelica Balabanoff, who for a short time worked in the Comintern, bitterly opined that "after Mus­ solini . . . I consider Zinoviev the most despicable indi­ vidual I have ever met."13 Perhaps built upon this dislike of the man personally and abetted by Trotsky's repeated and vehement condemna­ tions of him, the judgment of Zinoviev goes far beyond merely noting his unpleasantness. Zinoviev, in the widely accepted image, was, owing to the flabbiness of his will, incapable of standing on his own, of taking an independent and courageous position. Trotsky averred (and Isaac Deutscher repeated approvingly) that Zinoviev was so de­ pendent upon Lenin that he had even acquired Lenin's hand­ writing.1 Already by the time of Lenin's death, Zinoviev

Hedlin: Zinoviev


was in some circles nicknamed the ngramophone for Lenin's records."15 Anatolii Lunacharskii, the Commissar of Edu­ cation, soon after the revolution in a flattering portrait of Zinoviev admitted that the latter had acquired a reputa­ tion among non-Bolsheviks for following Lenin "as thread follows a needle."16 And at the time of his own death, the story circulated that before the revolution Zinoviev's acquaintances used to say that he found "his greatest hap­ piness in carrying Lenin's baggage."17 Franz Borkenau, the early historian of international communism, in his commen­ tary on Zinoviev's selection as head of the Comintern, per­ haps best typifies the standard portrayal of Zinoviev's character and role: It was hardly a happy choice. . . . A brilliant speaker and debater, he had the gifts of dealing with various sorts of people, but an innate du­ plicity and love of double-dealing and intrigue very soon disgusting the most enthusiastic. He was notoriously anything but courageous, but, as is so often the case with excitable types, was capable of the wildest overrating of chances and unable to admit failure. He had made his career in the party by boundless submission to Lenin, who found him useful, because he repeated the master's ideas à la lettre, but with a polemical and literary gift which Lenin did not possess. . . . This man, who was not deemed suitable for a major office in the Soviet state, was made head of the Communist International.18 The composite and admittedly contradictory image that emerges from western and Soviet histories is that of an unhappy combination of betrayal, ambition, servility, con­ nivance, obtuseness, and cowardice. That image, however, is perplexing, because if one accepts it, it is virtually impossible to understand or to explain why Zinoviev not only became a revolutionary but a powerful, influential and for several years a successful one. Why would anyone en­ trust any task, much less some of the party's most impor­ tant duties to such a person? Why was this Bolshevik, who E. H. Carr concludes was "the' least highly educated of the Bolshevik leaders, except Stalin,"19 chosen to head the Petrograd party and soviet organization at a moment of crisis in 1918, to be a member of the Politburo, to draft innumerable Comintern documents, to.serve as an editor for countless Bolshevik emigre organs prior to the revolution as well as the Third Internationál's journal, The Communtst


Hedlin: Zinoviev

International y after it? Why, when he left Russia in 1908, did he immediately become a leader of the party in emigra­ tion? Why did Lenin make him a co-editor of the party press and work with him despite Zinoviev's disagreements with him?20 Why, if Zinoviev was so ill-educated and de­ pendent upon Lenin, did the erudite David Riazanov declare: 11He works a colossal amount, works diligently and with understanding. At the present time in the sense of the level of his economic and general sociological education he has far surpassed the majority of the Mensheviks, and perhaps even all of them."21 Why, if he was so little im­ pressed by Zinoviev's fortitude and abilities as he was later to contend, did Trotsky suggest to Lenin that someone "with his wits about him" be assigned to counter false re­ ports of Bolshevik atrocities in the Austro-German press? "It would be a good thing," he continued, "if Comrade Zinoviev were to take on this job. It is of vast impor­ tance."22 One must also ask how, if Zinoviev was so polit­ ically obtuse, he was able to outmaneuver Trotsky in 192324 in the intra-party struggle? If he was so utterly de­ void of personal appeal and organizational talent as this image indicates, why was he the only one of Stalin's op­ ponents who was able to bring to a party congress a united organization, however much in the minority, as he did in 1925? It is obviously impossible in a short essay to discuss all these questions and the many others that must ultimate­ ly be asked of the standard interpretation. Nevertheless, these questions demonstrate a need for renewed scrutiny of Zinoviev and for a more detailed reconsideration of his role in the Russian revolutionary movement. The remainder of this essay then will begin that reconsideration by fo­ cusing exclusively on his career prior to 1918. That focus hopefully will provide a partial basis for future analysis of the Bolshevik movement and for a comparison of the his­ torical Zinoviev with his questionable image. While little is known of Zinoviev's early life, the available information strongly suggests that it was* not merely boundless devotion to Lenin that caused him to rise in the Bolshevik hierarchy . Zinoviev had been born in a bustling provincial town in the Ukraine to a family of •dairy farmers. Unlike Trotsky, Lenin, L. B. Kamenev, and N. I. Bukharin, however, he was unable to gain formal schooling and instead had to content himself with a home education. Despite this inauspicious beginning, he

Hedlin: Zinoviev


developed his literary skills sufficiently to become a part-time tutor at the age of fourteen or fifteen. While these skills all the same might be dismissed as minimal, the fact is that at the age of twenty or twenty-one Zinoviev was able to pass the entrance examination and enroll in the University of Bern, Switzerland, first in the chemistry and later in the law faculty.23 That he could pass this examination (almost certainly in a foreign language) indicates Zinoviev’s ability and success in edu­ cating himself. On the exterior, he remained rather unim­ pressive. Anatolii Lunacharskil, who later held a high opinion of him, when he first met Zinoviev in 1904 in Switzerland, judged him "not especially promising" and "too phlegmatic. Although he participated little in the Revolution of 1905, the years from 1906 to 1908 give substantial evidence of his rapidly developing organizational and agitational talents. Because the Mensheviks had eclipsed the Bolshe­ viks both in strength and in importance during the Revolu­ tion of 1905, Bolshevik dominance in the St. Petersburg Committee, their one party stronghold, became especially important. While detailed Information is lacking, it is possible to catch glimpses of Zinoviev's feverish and, from Lenin's point of view, valuable work in behalf of Bolshe­ vism in the capital. Coming from obscurity in the party in 1905, Zinoviev's activities within four months of his re­ turn from western Europe had resulted in his election to the executive committee of the Petersburg Committee. He was sufficiently impressive as a spokesman and organizer that the Moscow raion in the capital elected him as their representative. Four months later the workers of another raion repeated the honor.25 At the same time he began to write for his party* s press organs, and his writings scarcely reveal him as an ill-educated boor.26 He was admittedly a strident Bolshe­ vik partisan who, like Lenin, could and did attack Men­ sheviks and Kadets with the same relish that he would later use to assault opposititjp. within the party. Julius Martov, the Menshevik leader, ¿criticized Zinoviev at the party's Fifth (London) Congress, singling him out personally as one of the reasons for the abnormal state of affairs in St. Petersburg.27 However unpleasant or unfair to his oppon­ ents, plainly Zinoviev could persuasively and persistently present the Bolshevik position. His value to Lenin camé not in his mindless subservience but in his stubborn tenac­ ity in fighting for and ultimately controlling the


Hedlin: Zinoviev

Bolshevik island, St. Petersburg, in what seemed to be a Menshevik sea.28 It was not only his Bolshevik persist­ ence, however, that caused his advance. Zinoviev had a remarkable asset in his voice. Lunacharskii appeared on the platform with Zinoviev in 1906 and later related his impressions of Zinoviev as an d>rator: I immediately evaluated him and was somewhat sur­ prised: usually so quiet and podgy, he caught fire during his speech and spoke with great, ner­ vous enthusiasm. He turned out to have an enor­ mous voice of tenor timbre, extraordinarily clear. Already at that time it was apparent to me that this voice could command thousands of listeners. To these remarkable gifts were joined ease and fluidity of speech. . . . In fact, Lunacharskii averred that except for Trotsky there was no political orator, neither Menshevik nor Socialist Revolutionary, who was his equal as a mass orator. Never­ theless, it was not his talents as an orator or a publicist that, according to Lunacharskii, made him a leader in the party. "Very early Lenin began to depend on him as a test­ ed political friend, entirely filled with Vladimir Il’ich’s spirit, but also as a person who had profoundly understood the essence of Bolshevism and who possessed to a high de­ gree a clear political mind.”29 Within one year of his ar­ rival in the capital, where he had had little previous po­ litical experience, Zinoviev won election as a representa­ tive of the local organization to his party's Fifth Con­ gress. 30 Moreover, he was an active representative at the congress even though at his age and with his inexperience he might have been expected to assume a less noticeable position in a gathering of party greats. In fact, however, through his bounteous energy, his obvious political apti­ tude, and his devotion to the Leninist cause, Zinoviev had already acquired sufficient reputation to be elected one of five members of the secretariat of the congress. He also labored for a time on the mandates commission, was one of two speakers for the congress’ commission on organizational questions and by only two votes missed being elected to the party’s ruling body, the Central Committee.31 While it could be argued that it was Zinoviev's unswerving obedience to Lenin that caused his rapid advancement, the question would still remain why Lenin chose him for ,these tasks un­ less he was capable of fulfilling them. Moreover, Zinoviev demonstrated some independence even at the congress by ab­ staining on a resolution condemning revolutionary

Hedlin: Zinoviev


expropriations while Lenin was strongly opposed to the res­ olution. 32 Zinoviev's fortunes within the party continued to soar after the Fifth Congress. He had become a leader of the Bolshevik organization and already assumed some party edi­ torial responsibilities.33 At an important party confer­ ence he was honored by being chosen one of three members of the conference's presidium. As one of seven members of the executive committee of the party's Petersburg Committee, he at least occasionally if not regularly presided over the full committee's meetings.31* Furthermore, as an additional sign of its confidence in both his literary and political skills, the Central Committee in 1907 directed him to write an outline history of the party for the congress of the Socialist International in Stuttgart.35 And as if his agitational activities were insuffici­ ent, from 1906 to 1908 he translated, apparently among many other things, a book by Karl Kautsky and a history of the French Revolution from German into Russian.36 Moreover, he must have done research on contemporary international top­ ics, for in 1908 in an article published legally in the Russian capital, Zinoviev analyzed" p. 104; Boris I. Kraevskii, "Iakov Mikhailovich v ssÿlke," in Iakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov: sbornik vospominanii i statei, compiled by N. V. Nelidov, Leningrad, 1926, pp. 136 ff. 12 See the anecdote in Anna S. Allilueva, Vospominaniia,> Moscow, 1946,^ p. 115. 13Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, I, 218. 1IfIbid. , pp. 217, 362, n. 66; Muranov in Borets za raboche-krestfianskoe delo la. M. Sverdlov: rechi . . ., Moscow, 1920, p. 18; M. S. Ol'minskii, "Do voiny," in N. N. Baturin, Ocherk istorii sotsial-demokratii v Rossii, Moscow, 1920, p. 156. 15 Ibid., p. 155. See also I. Vardin, "'Pravda' i likvidatorstvo," in P u t f Pravdy: materialy i vospominaniia, Tver, 1922, p. 43. For a recent study of Lenin's problems with the editors, see Ralph Carter Elwood, "Lenin and Pravda, 1912-1914," SlavicReview, XXXI, no. 2 (June 1972), 364 ff. 16 ' The day after they voted him editorial powers, mem­ bers of the Russian Bureau in St. Petersburg held a meet­ ing which instructed Sverdlov to go to the Urals where he was to establish a printing press and consolidate party organizations. Sverdlov, however, remained at his post in the capital. See the official memorandum from the Depart­ ment of Police to the St. Petersburg Okhrana Department,


Duval: Sverdlov

dated 6 February 1913, and .cited in "Nekotorye daty," p. 104; and the report to the police on the course of the meeting, reproduced in "K 20-letiiu smerti Sverdlova," p. 80. 17M. Savel'ev, "Dalekoe-blizkoe," in P u t f Pravdy, p. 102; F. N. Samoilov, Vospominaniia, 4 vols.; Moscow, 192427, III, 38. is "Pis'ma Lenina, Krupskoi, Zinov'eva i Kameneva v Peterburg," in Iz epokhi Zvezdy i Pravdy, III, 206. 19 See ibid., pp. 210, 212-15; G. Zinov'ev, "Iakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov," in Sverdlov: sbomik, p. 60. 20 Unsigned letter from Sverdlov to Gustav Titsch, published in Iz epokhi Zvezdy i Pravdy, III, 245. 21 K. T. Sverdlova, Iakov M. Sverdlov, Moscow, 1957, p. 215. See Petrovskii's formal complaint in Gosudarstvennaia Duma3 Chetvertyi sozvy: stenogra fiche skie otchety¿ 1912-1913, 1st session (Part 1), St. Petersburg, 1913, pp. 1701-1702. See also A. E. Badaev, "Badaev o bol'shevikakh," in Byloe : sbomik, I (1933), 82; Samoilov, Vospominaniia, ill, 39. 22"Iz perepiski la. M. Sverdlova," Pechatr i revoliutsiia , no. 2 (1924), p. 64. 23 Leon Trotsky, Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941, p. 173; Bertram D. Wolfe, Three Who Made a Revolution, New York: Dial Press, 1948, p. 623. 2k Ia.B. Shumiatskii, "Vozvrashchenie cherez g. Krasnoiarsk iz ssylki t. la. M. Sverdlova," in Sverdlov: sbomik, pp. 119-24; Leon Trotsky, Selected Works, Max Shachtman (ed.), 2 vols.; New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1937, vol. II: The Stalin School of Falsification, p. 18. 25Shumiatskii, "Vozvrashchenie Sverdlova," in Sverdlov: sbomik, pp. 124-26. 2eIbid., pp. 126-27. 27 Vel-ikaia oktiabr'skaia sots-ialistioheskaia revoliutsiia : khronika sobytii, G. N. Golikov, et al. (eds.), 4 vols.; Moscow, 1957-61, I, 463. 20 See the criticism in S e d 9maia (aprel* skaia) vserossiiskaia konferentsiia RSDRP(b) aprelf 1917 goda: protokoly , Moscow, 1958, p. 353. 29 Ibid., p. 315; K. T. Sverdlova, "Deiatel'nost' la. M. Sverdlova v 1917 godu," Voprosy istorii , no. 6 (June 1956), p. 4. One historian has even claimed that Sverdlov was called back from the Urals specifically to build a party loyal to Lenin (Stefan T. Possony, Lenin: The Com­ pulsive Revolutionary, Chicago: Regnery, 1964, p. 218).

Duval : Sverdlov


30Elena Stasovaf "Nakanune oktiabria," in Velikaia oktiabr1skaia sotsialisticheskaia revoliutsiia: s b o m i k vospominanii uchastnikov revoliutsii v Petrograde i Moskve, A. V. Lukashev (ed.), Moscow, 1957, p. 65? S. I. Gopner, "Aprel*skaia konferentsiiaf" in ibid., p. 54. See also S e d fmaia konfeventsiia, pp. 162-63. 31Zinov'ev, "Sverdlov/* in Sverdlov: sbomik, p. 60. Robert McNeal has suggested that Krupskaia lost out to Stasova even before the April Conference because of her unwillingness to support her husband's radical demands? see R. H. McNeal, Bride of the Revolution: Krupskaya and Lenin, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972, pp. 168-73. 32L. R. Menzhinskaia, "la. M. Sverdlov v period fevral'skoi revoliutsii, " in Sverdlov: sbomik, pp. 89-90? Sverdlova, Iakov M . Sverdlov, p. 300. See also my "The Bolshevik Secretariat and Yakob Sverdlov? February to October 1917," Slavonie and East European Review 3 , LI, no. 122 (January 1973), 49 ff. 33"Iz moikh vospominanii o Sverdlove," in Sverdlov: sbomik, p. 179. 34Iakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov, Moscow, 1924, pp. 1415. 35Krol', Za tri goda, pp. 38-39. 36 For criticism of this action, see Pervyi legal *nyi peterburgskii komitet b o l rshevikov v 1917 g. : s b o m i k materialov i protokolov . . . , P. F. Kudelli (ed.), Moscow/Leningrad, 1927, pp. 126-27. 37"Iz perepiski Sverdlova," pp. 72-73. See also Ts. Bobrovskaia, The First President of the Republic of Labor, New York: Workers Library, 193?, p. 29. 38 B o l 1sheviki v period podgotovki i provedeniia velikçi oktiabr1skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii: khronika sobytii v Petrograde, K. Sharikov, et al. (eds.), Leningrad, 1947, I, 164? Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, II, 24-25. 39 It is difficult to judge whether such mergers actually took place or whether Sverdlov's answer was de­ signed simply to neutralize his critics. 1+0 Vtordia i tret H a petrogradskie obshchegorodskie konferentsii b o l 1shevikov v H u l e i oktiabre 1917 goda: protokoly . . . , P. F. Kudelli (ed.), Moscow/Leningrad, 1927, pp. 23-27. 41 Ibid., pp. 23-25. See also Khronika sobytii, II, 448? Khronika sobytii v Petrograde, I, 142? Sverdlova, "Deiatel'nost1 Sverdlova v 1917 godu," p. 10.


Duval: Sverdlov

k2She s toi s rfezd RSDRP(b) avgust 1917 g. : protokoly, A. S. Bubnov, et al. (eds.), Moscow, 1934, pp. 36-38. Ibid., pp. 165-66. ****He had become one of the directors of the Organiza­ tional Bureau at the end of June (Sverdlova, Iakov M. Sverdlov, pp. 324-25); he chaired Central Committee ses­ sions and participated in various party and Soviet gather­ ings (Sverdlova, "Deiatel'nost' Sverdlova v 1917 godu," p. 12)? and was charged with forming a bureau "for information on the struggle with counter-revolution" on 7 October 1917 (Protokoly tsentralrnogo komiteta RSDRP[b]> avgust 1917-fevral1 1918, Moscow, 1958, p. 80; Trotsky, Staliny p, 228). ^ See S e d rmoi snezd Rossiiskoi Kormunisticheskoi Partii: stenograficheskii otchet, Moscow, 1923, pp. 10-11. 46Protokoly tsentralrnogo komiteta, pp. 83-85. See also Robert v. Daniels, Red October: The Bolshevik Revolu­ tion of 1917, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967, p. 76. 47Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, V semnadtsatom godu, Moscow, 1933, p. 253. ho B. A. Breslav, the Bolshevik secretary at the con­ gress, makes this statement in his "15 let tomu nazad," Katoraa i ssylka, nos. 96-97 (1932), p. 47. B. A. Breslav, Kanun oktiabria 1917 goda, Moscow, 1934, pp. 64-71. 55History of the Russian Revolution, 3 vols.; New York: Simon & Shuster, 1932-34, III, 211. 51lbid.; F. F. Raskol'nikov, Kronshtadt i Piter v 1917 godu, Moscow-Leningrad, 1925, p. 228; I. T. Smilga, "Na 'sluzhbe sviazi*: vospominaniia chlena TsK partii," Izvestiia, 18 March 1919, p. 2. 52Antonov-Ovseenko, V semnadtsatom godu, p. 302. 53 Leon Trotsky, My Life: An Attempt at an Auto­ biography, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931, p. 341; Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed: Trotsky3 18791921, London: Oxford University Press, 1954, p. 327. ShRevoliutsiia 1917 goda: khronika sobytii , N. Avdeev, et al. (eds.), 6 vols.; Moscow/Leningrad, jl923-30, VI, 58, 89. 55 Vladimir D. Bonch-Bruevich, Na boevykh postakh fevral*skoi i oktiabrfskoi revoliutsii, Moscow, 1930, p. 171. 56 Ibid., pp. 178-80. 57Revoliutsiia 1917 goda, VI, 99. See also Protokoly tsentralrnogo komiteta, pp. 146, 227, n. 183.

Duval: Sverd lov


58Trotsky, Stálin, p. 340. See also his Soohineniia, 12 vols.; Moscow, 1925-27, III, Part 2, 400. 59Bortsy za sotsializm, 2nd ed.; 2 vols.; Moscow/ Leningrad, 1923-24, II, 401. 0,,Pamiati la. M. Sverdlova," in Sverdlov: sbomik, p. 55. This speech is a reprint of the address to a spe­ cial session of VTsIK on 18 March 1919; it differs slight­ ly from the version found in V. I. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie soohinenii, 55 vols.; Moscow, 1958-65, XXXVIII, 74-79. 61 Revoliutsiia 1917 goda, VI, 167. 62Zasedanie vserossiiskogo tsentralfnogo ispolnitel'nogo komiteta 4-go sozyva: protoko Iy,Moscow, 1919, pp. 6667. Protokoly tsentralrnogo komiteta, pp. 242-43, 288, n. 232. 61fSee the examples given by K. G. Fedorov, VTsIK V pervye gody sovetskoi vlasti¿ 1917-1920 gg. , Moscow, 1957, p. 39. 65Izvestiia, 13 December 1917, p. 7. See also Revoliutsiia 1917 goda, VI, 329. 66Izvestiia, 22 February 1918, p. 2; Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia , II, 124-28.-* 67Protokoly tsentralfnogo komiteta, pp. 174-80. 68Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, II, 117. 69Ibid., p. 123; Izvestiia, 22 February 1918, p. 2. 70 A major article describing this inner party debate is L. Stupochenko, "V *Brestskie dni': vospominaniia ochevidtsa,V Proletarskaia revoliutsiia, no. 16 (1923), pp. 101-109. See also Sverdlova, Iakov M . Sverdlov, pp. 426-27; V. Suzdal1tseva, "Predsedatel' VTsIKa tovarishch Sverdlov," in Sverdlov: sbomik, p. 112. 71 Stupochenko, "V 'Brestskie dni,'" p. 110; Izvestiia, 26 February 1918, p. 4. See also Protokoly tsentralfnogo komiteta, p. 218; Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, II, 282. 72 According to published Soviet statistics, this organization had approximately 50,000 members, although only 38,428 were represented at the Sixth Party Congress. By contrast, the Moscow Committee had 15,000 members and the Moscow Okrug Committee only 4,671. For these figures, see Perepiska sekretariata TsK RSDRP(b) s mestnymi partiinymi organizatsiiami: s b o m i k . . . G. D. Obichkin, et al. (eds.), 8 vols.; Moscow, 1957-74, I, 484. 73 Sverdlov had opposed sending Zinoviev as a peace commission delegate on the grounds that he was needed for appearances in Petrograd and for "inner party consider-


Duval : Sverdlov

ations" (Protokoly tsentral9n0go komiteta, p. 219). 7hSverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, II, 130; G. Zinov'ev, God revoliutsii, Leningrad, 1925, p. 752; Sverdlova, Iakov M . Sverdlov, pp. 430-31. The rivalry between the Moscow Committee and the oblast bureau caused by a "generation gap" was probably another factor which Sverdlov exploited, along with the call for party unity and "factual information," in reversing the Moscow deci­ sion. For the hostility between the two party groups, see Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938, New York: Knopf, 1973, pp. 49-53. 75 For the absence of such instructions after 26 Feb­ ruary, see Perepiska sekretariata, Vols. II, III. 76 Sed*moi snezd RKP, (1923), pp. 207-10. A confirma­ tion of this list can be found in A. S. Bubnov, VKP(b), Moscow/Leningrad, 1931, p. 512. Compare these figures with the fuller list of provinces published at the Fourth Congress of Soviets (Stenograficheskii otchet 4-go chrezvychainogo snezda sovetov raboch., sold., krestfiansk. i kazachHkh deputatov, Moscow, 1920, p. 83; Izvestiia, 14 March 1918, p. 2). 77S e d 9moi s r,ezd: mart 1918 goda, D. Kin and v. Sorin (eds.), Moscow/Leningrad, 1928, pp. 187-89, and Istpart's comment about the lack of material to verify some of Sverdlov*s figures (ibid., pp. vii-viii). 78Preobrazhenskii, writing soon after the congress, blamed the lack of representation on the "absolutely un­ foreseen rules of representative norms"; see the excerpt from his article, published in Istoriia VKP(b), Em. Iaroslavskii, et al. (eds.), 4 vols.; Moscow/Leningrad, 1926-29, IV, 307. Sverdlov also agreed that the electoral norms had been partially responsible for the lack of dele­ gates; see the speech to party activities in Nizhnii Novgorod in his Izbranñye proizvedeniia, II, 151. ^ Sed9 moi s"ezd RKP (1923), pp. 8-9. W Ib:id. , pp. 111-14. Ibid., pp. 131-39. 82 Ibid., pp. 140 ff. 83 Ibid., pp. 186-87. ON Ibid., pp. 194-96. Sverdlov compared the party to "one common family," a statement which was true in more than one respect. His speeches, without "the debate, can be found in his Izbrannye proizvedeniia, II, 131-46. 85Stenograficheskii otchet 4-go s"ezda sovetov, pp. 6-7.

Duval: Sverdlov


öbIbid., pp. 7 ff., 69-75. 07Zasedanie VTsIKa 4-go sozyva, pp. 124-29. 80Ibid., pp. 152-64, 167. The VTsIK did approve, however, the inclusion on the agenda of an item concerning the "means for the struggle with the militant anarchist movement in all of Russia." 09 See ibid., pp. 194-97. 90 Ibid., pp. 48, 178. 91 Ibid., p. 164. go Ibid., pp. 40-49. Shliapnikov had just delivered to VTsIK a report on the condition of the railway lines and on the plans for evacuating Petrograd. Sverdlov classified it as "purely informational" and thus not subject to de­ bate. 93 Ibid., pp. 110-11. Sverdlov instructed the pro­ testers to submit written information to the presidium, which would make its own decision on the matter. 9IfIbid., pp. 419-20. 95 Ibid., p. 439, for Sverdlov1s announcement of their exclusion; debate on the matter is in ibid., pp. 420 ff. 96Trotskii, Soohineniia, VIII, 251. 97For these measures, see Izvestiïïa, 8 July 1918, p. 4. 98 See the information compiled by Avanesov and ap­ pended to the stenographic record of the congress (Piatyi vserossiiskii snezd sovetov raboohikh3 krest'ianskikh, soldatskikh i kazaohrikh deputatov: Stenograficheskii otohet, Moscow, 1919). gg After Lenin had reported on the refusal of the government to allow German troops in Moscow and had at­ tacked the Left Socialist Revolutionary "adventure" of July 1918, Sverdlov stated that debate should not be opened "in view of the clarity of the question" (Platyi sozyv vserossiiskogo tsentralfnogo ispolnitel'nogo komiteta sovetov raboohikh, krest'ianskikh> kazaoh *ikh i krasnarm. deputatov: stenografioheskii otohet, Moscow, 1919, pp. 5457). 100 P. Vinogradskaia, "P^slednii zhiznennyi reis la. M. Sverdlova," in Sverdlov: sbornik , pp. 188-89. 101 Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, III, 19. inn , See his circular letter to all party factions and executive committees within provincial Soviets in ibid., p. 198. 103 Perepiska sekretariata, iv, 18-20. m Ibid., pp. 74-76. 105 Ibid., pp. 167-68.


Duval: Sverdlov 106Trotskii, Soohineniia, VIII, 251; Stalin , pp. 344-

45. 107 Trotsky also notes that both Lenin and Sverdlov possessed greater authority than he (Stalin , p. 242). 100 Trotskii, Soohineniia , VIII, 248. 109 Why Lenin? Why Stalin?, 2nd ed.; New York: Lippin­ cott, 1971, p. 96. Von Laue, like the majority of western writers, attributes both qualities solely to Lenin. Krestinskii, Sverdlov1s successor in the Secretariat, was more accurate when he described Lenin as the political chief of the party and Sverdlov as the organizational leader (Stenografiaheskii otohet X s rrezda, Petersburg, 1921, p. 203). 110 Sverdlov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, ill, 189-90. At the Second Ukrainian Party Congress, held in Moscow in October 1918, Sverdlov and Kamenev had given the dele­ gates a clear message as to the future relationship be­ tween the two socialist republics. Sverdlov had stated that Ukrainian autonomy was only "formal" and that "we were and remain one Russian communist party" (Vtoroi s r,ezd KP[b]U: protokoly, 2nd ed. , amended and corrected; n.p., 1927, pp. 113-14). 111 For the reactions of Lenin and Trotsky, see Bonch-Bruevich, Na boevykh postakh, p. 183; Trotskii, Soohineniia, vili, 255. 112 "Pamiati Sverdlova," in Sverdlov: sbomik, pp. 5556. 113 Stenografioheskii otohet X s nezda> pp. 202-203. 11**It was not only with provincial agents that the directors were insensitive. Krestinskii1s rude treatment of Stasova after the Ninth Party Congress led to her re­ fusal to work in the Zhenotdel and to the end of her role as a major participant in the central Secretariat. Stasova remembered his rebuke extremely well; see her Stranitsy zhizni i b o r fby, 2nd ed.; Moscow, 1960, pp. 10910; Vospominaniia, Moscow, 1969, p. 176. See also Janice Ali, "Aspects of the RKP(b) Secretariat, March 1919 to April 1922," Soviet Studies, XXVI, no. 3 (July 1974), 398. Stasova's pre-1930 autobiography was published in Entsiklopedioheskii slovar9 russkogo bibliografioheskogo Instituta (Granat), XLI, Part 3, 112-19. 115 Ali, "Aspects’ of the RKP (b) Secretariat," p. 407. The third member of the troika was V. M. Mikhailov. 116 Trotsky, Stalin, p. 345.

A L E X A N D R A KOLLONTAI: LIBERTINE OR FEMINIST? Barbara Evans Clements There are two ways to approach the problem posed by the title "Kollontai, Libertine or Feminist?" One could examine her ideology and life, a study as yet lacking in western scholarship. That reconsideration would reveal Kollontai to have been a Marxist feminist who sought wo­ man's equality as part of the socialist struggle. She de­ voted much of her time before the revolution to work with women, both as an agitator speaking to working-class audi­ ences and as a polemicist seeking to awaken fellow social­ ists to the plight of the proleterian woman. In 1916 Kollontai published a lengthy study on maternity and in­ fant protective legislation, Obshohestvo i matevinstvo. Returning to Russia in March 1917 Kollontai began working as an agitator among military units and women work­ ers. Her eloquence earned her widespread acclaim and ar­ rest after the July Days. While 'she sat in prison, charged with being a German agent, the Sixth Party Congress re­ warded her with election to the Central Committee. Freed in late September she spent the tumultuous month of Octo­ ber doing agitational work. Because of her expertise on female emancipation and because of her prominence, Lenin chose her to lead the Commissariat of Social Welfare in November. Kollontai cut short her administrative career, how­ ever, by resigning in protest against the Treaty of BrestLitovsk in March 1918. During the Civil War she worked in the Ukraine as an agitator. She returned to national of­ fice only in the fall of 1920 when she succeeded Inessa Armand as head of the Party Women’s Bureau (Zhenotdel). Once again political activity cost her her work among wo­ men, and by February 1922^she had been removed from the Zhenotdel for participation in the Workers’ Opposition. Sent into diplomatic exile the same year, Kollontai spent the rest of her life as Soviet envoy to various Scandina­ vian countries, primarily Sweden. There her mediation in negotiations during the Russo-Finnish Wars of 1940 and 1941-1944 earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. She died in Moscow on 9 March 1952, 23 days before her eightieth birthday.


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Kollontai was, then, an important Bolshevik theorist on the woman question, a participant in two major opposi­ tion movements, the head of two large administrative bur­ eaus, and a respected diplomat. And yet, these serious activities are far less well-known than the myths which abound about her. Why? Where did the myths arise? Why do they linger? Herein lies the second approach to the issue "Kollontai, libertine or feminist?11: to reconsider these myths about her by explaining their origins. They came from many disparate sources— the gossip of eye-witnesses, the hunger of the press for a good story, the attitude of the period toward women in politics, and the rejection in the Soviet Union of an annoying critic. Tracing the interaction of such nebulous elements proves difficult, for how can one find the origins of a rumor or follow its course across decades? How can one determine the interplay between the image in western Europe and the image in the Soyiet Union? How, indeed, can one even as­ sert that there1was a mythical Kollontai? The Kollontai myth took two distinct forms, that prev­ alent in western Europe and the United States and that prevalent in the Soviet Union. The western myth primarily grew out of gossip in Russia in 1917 which was published by both the non-Bolshevik Russian press and the foreign press. As Kollontai1s prominence continued in the'twenties and 'thirties the rumors continued to appear in print, now fed by a mixture of émigre and Soviet sources and reporters' imagination. This aspect of the myth-making process can be followed by studying newspapers and magazines, wherein Kollontai emerges as a romantic adventurer with bizarre sexual opin­ ions. 1 There is another element of Kollontai's western image, however, that is at once more difficult to analyze and more important to understand— that held in the scholar­ ly community. The difficulty arises from the fact that in most studies of Soviet history Kollontai has been passed off with a few words about her part in the Workers' Opposi­ tion.2 Perhaps scholars have devoted more attention to other second-echelon Bolshevik leaders because they begin with the preconceived notion that Kollontai was an unim­ portant, rather high-strung, attractively promiscuous lady. Perhaps they do not reexamine prejudice toward a woman with the same concern for objectivity which they display toward male subjects. Perhaps, in short, scholars are influenced by anti-female bias. Such bias, however, is difficult to establish using omission of serious consideration as the

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primary evidence, and only occasionally does a historian make an obviously prejudiced statement. Thus one can only point out the omission and cite a few particularly outlandish quotations from those contemporary scholars who have slipped into self-revelation. It is somewhat easier to analyze the Kollontai myth created in the Soviet Union where a conscious campaign was mounted to discredit her as a theorist on women and to si­ lence her political criticism. Thé tactic chosen was to brand her a feminist, a person who considered woman's prob­ lems as an issue separate from the broader question of so­ cialist construction. Once so labelled, Kollontai could be eliminated as an influence in the Soviet Union. How did the western myth and the Soviet myth inter­ act? Because of the campaign against her, Kollontai fell silent and western observers were left with rumor and So­ viet condemnation unless they chose to dig deeper. The gossip that came before official censure seems to have appeared in print first in the spring of 1917 when Kollontai became a well-known agitator. Fellow revolution­ aries and the public alike were fascinated by her physical appearance, by her sexuality. Her e,arly life as the daugh­ ter of a tsarist general aiid wife- of an officer and her subsequent love affairs fuelled the rumors. From these few facts a myth was woven of Kollontai, the cultured but pro­ miscuous noblewoman, who preached revolution and practiced free love. In what would become a frequent theme, antiBolshevik newspapers commented on her elegant wardrobe, al­ though Kollontai claimed at the time that she had only one dress. Her trunk had been lost in shipment from Norway. 3 The same year Pitirim Sorokin wrote in his diary after a public debate with her and Trotsky, "As for this woman, it is plain that her revolutionary enthusiasm is nothing but a gratification of her sexual satyriasis. In spite of her numerous 'husbands,' Kollontai, first the wife of a gener­ al, later the mistress of a dozen men, is not yet satiated. She seeks new forms of sexual sadism."** Sorokin must have fared poorly in the debate. Not only the intelligentsia talked about Kollontai's promiscuity. Street songs liñked her with Lenin romanti­ cally in 1917 and joked about her marriage to P. E. Dybenko in 1918. On this gossip the western press drew both then and later. While journalists who really knew Kollontai, such as Louise Bryant, Albert Rhys Williams and Bessie Beatty, wrote accurately about her, many others published questionable accounts. A reporter from the Gazette de


Clements : Kollontai

Lausanne y for example, asked Kollontai how she would im­ prove the lot of the poor. Madam lifted the wonderful eyes and waved the perfect arm. "I will borrow of the rich. . . , of the banks11 "But the rich, the banks, will not lend.'* MadameKollontai smiled until her white teeth shone. Then she touched the interviewer caressingly on the arm and said in her wonderful whisper, "A forced loan would do."5 There is no corroborating evidence that Kollontai either whispered to or caressed reporters during interviews, al­ though she may well have proposed the nforced loan." This excerpt sounds ridiculous, but it is typical of many stories about Kollontai that appeared in the western press in the ’twenties and ’thirties. She was a welldressed feminist temptress. She was a strange Bolshevik with expensive tastes and absurd theories on female equal­ ity. She almost lost her post in Norway in 1925 because she bought a dress every week in Paris. She rode about Stockholm in a Rolls-Royce. She wrote books on female emancipation as "one who . . . might appear to be rational­ izing her own adventures.” 6 The sketch of Kollontai's life by two French journal­ ists is a particularly inventive example. Henry de Val and Roger Vaillant wrote in Pavis-soiv in 1938 that she had once been arrested at an illegal meeting during the RussoJapanese War. Noticing that she wore silk stockings the Okhrana agent asked, "Where did you steal them?" "I or­ dered them," Kollontai replied, "rue de la Paix, Paris." The police then asked her father to persuade the girl to give up revolutionary activities, but General Domontovich demurred, saying her husband was responsible for her. Kollontai would listen to no one. She continued to speak passionately at political rallies, then return home to a "perfumed bath," the latest novel, or an evening at the theater with her long-suffering husband.7 All of which makes lovely melodrama, but bears only the most tenuous relation to reality. Domontovich had been dead two years when the Russo-Japanese War began. Kollon­ tai had been separated from her husband for six years. By that time she had become a committed Social Democrat— a decision which destroyed her marriage and cut her off from her family. But de Val and Vaillant would rather see her revolutionary activities as the romantic diversions of a pampered young lady. The French press generally treated Kollontai as a

Clements: Kollontai


noblewoman with typically female weaknesses for expensive clothes, handsome men, and bizarre sexual theories. Eng­ lish and North American newspapers were far more balanced. From the first stories in 1915* to the last in the 1940s, the New York Times was consistently fair and accurate in its treatment of Kollontai. In 1926, when Secretary of State Kellogg denied her permission to cross the United States on her way to Mexico, many American newspapers de­ fended her without fictional sketches of her past.0 Again in the 1940s American journalists praised her efforts at ending the Russo-Finnish War. Kollontai1s diplomatic achievements also earned her approval in Scandinavia. In her later years, no longer writing or talking about her theories on women, too old to be sexually appealing to most reporters, Kollontai the real woman appeared more often in the press. Yet, the myths linger on in Russian emigre circles and among the scholarly community. As late as 1966 an American historian wrote, 11. . . just as Bogdanov saw the proletariat as God, Kollontai saw it as a kind of cosmic sex partner."9 Why did Kollontai titillate journalists and historians alike? The most obvious reason is that an attractive woman writing about sex could not be a serious figure. After all, feminism itself was not really an important subject. In 1928 Louis Fischer wrote in a review of one of Kollon­ tai’s books, that "as one of Europe’s leading feminists she merits as much attention as any suffragette."10 She was charming, she had lovers, and she dealt with sexual rela­ tionships in her treatises on female emancipation. Few people ever read those works. Thus reporters categorized Kollontai as a romantic adventurer among the all-tooserious Bolshevik leadership and scholars echoed their attitudes, usually in more subdued form. In the Soviet Union the second Kollontai myth grew, and there one can determine more easily the motives for its creation, if not those responsible. Soviet writers denounced Kollontai as a feminist in an attempt to destroy her influence. Since 1917, Kollontai had been a wellknown party leader. Her •’Writing on women and her position at Zhenotdel brought her a following among the young. When she joined the Workers’ Opposition in January 1921, there­ fore, her mere presence gave the group greater publicity within the party, and her public appearances to speak for its pla.tform increased the faction’s votes in the elections of January and February. Her pamphlet, Raboohaia oppozitsiia, became their most effective written program-


Clements : Kollontai

matic Statement• Consequently, by the time the debate cli­ maxed at the Tenth Party Congress in March, Kollontai had become a target for the party leadership, Lenin1s attack on her has drawn the attention of scholars, for in addition to criticizing her pamphlet he made a poor ioke about her relationship with A. G, Shliapnikov. 1 More interesting than Lenin’s speeches, how­ ever, was one made by N. I. Bukharin. Its technique fore­ shadowed the campaign against her that would later create the myth of Kollontai the bourgeois feminist. To discredit her political opinions, Bukharin quoted from her article "Krest' materinstva” (Kormunistka, January-February 1921, pp. 22-29). The quotation was, he declared, "a sentimental Catholic platitude.” If Kollontai had such confused views on ‘the subject of motherhood, how could she be correct in her pamphlet on labor issues?12 Kollontai’s article is a strange piece, probably writ­ ten in 1914 and reprinted in 1921. In it she indeed praised the Virgin as a symbol of motherhood’s sacrifices but, however peculiar, ”Krest’ materinstva” is in no way representative of Kollontai’s work. Nor is it relevant to the Workers’ Opposition. Bukharin distorted her writing on women to discredit her political criticism— a technique used repeatedly in the next two years. As early as the summer of 1921 Trotsky borrowed it at the Third Comintern Congress when he refuted her speech against the New Eco­ nomic Policy (NEP) in part by referring to her as an "Amazon” and a "Valkyrie.” He and K. B, Radek bantered on the platform about which label was more appropriate.13 The Workers’ Opposition activity cost Kollontai her post as head of Zhenotdel. In mid-1922 she requested work abroad where she hoped to find peace. She left the Soviet Union for Norway in October.14 Over the next two years she published one novel, five short stories, three reminiscences, and three theoretical articles.15 If the Soviet leaders had expected her to be­ come a docile diplomat these polemics must have angered them, for Kollontai continued her attack on Soviet bur­ eaucracy. Furthermore, she retained contacts with Swedish and Norwegian socialists known to her since before the war, but who were now becoming unacceptable to a Soviet-dom­ inated Comintern. She still wrote to Worker^ Opposition­ ists.16 In fact, there is evidence that in 1923 she had to return to Moscow to affirm her party loyalty before the Central Control Commission.17 Probably more damning than these activities, however, was the tone of her

published work. The complaints she raised were those of the Workers1 Op­ position— that the bureaucracy was destroying mass partici­ pation and thereby mass initiative. One of the reminis­ cences, "Oktiabr1skaia revoliutsiia i massy,” stressed that it was proletarian action which had made the revolution. They were "days which were created not by the genius of a leader and not even by the firmness [krepost1] of our party, but only by the spontaneous, vigorous will of the depths, of the great social force of the revolutionary creativity and revolutionary determination of the masses. 1 il 18 •


In her fiction the criticism was more direct. NEP had created a new communist elite cut off from the workers. Kollontai wrote of her former colleagues, "They had become officials with the manner of military ’governors.’" 19 They were no longer concerned with the people but with produc­ tion quotas and personal aggrandizement. Meanwhile, the workers grew disillusioned. Kollontai further charged that NEP was creating unemployment, particularly among women. The political criticism in her fiction brought only one direct rebuttal in 1923. In a note attached to the short story "Sestry," the editors of Molodaia gvardiia de­ fended the government’s firing of women workers as neces­ sary for efficiency. Proletarian workers knew how to find relief from economic problems in "the organization," so Kollontai should have chosen to write about them rather than about-white collar personnel (sluzhashchie).20 Kollontai was also seeking in 1923 to refine her thoughts on the psychology of the new communist person, particularly woman, and it was here that she was directly attacked. In Molodaia gvardiia she wrote four articles to young people who had asked her how to live as good commun­ ists. She began the series in 1922 with two pieces on the moral code of the new society and her answer seems accept­ able if not rigorously orthodox. To the young person who had asked for rules to live by, she wrote: You want the impossible, my young friend. There are no such rules a*hd couldn’t be. To live and act like a communist means to think and feel like a communist, and neither rules nor party instruc­ tions teach this, but on the one hand, the mas­ tering of communist ideology, the understanding of the laws of social development, the goals of the working class, on the other hand, the atmosphere.


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the situation, the living conditions of the working class. 21 There were no categorical imperatives, she wrote, only the rules created by the collective in which one lived and McompulsoryM so long as one wished to remain within that collective.22 nExpulsion from the midst of the collective has always been and remains the harshest and most terrible punishment for a person.” 23 The two later articles dealt more specifically with women in the current, Mtransitional” period. Kollontai had always been fascinated by psychological problems, particu­ larly those feelings of inadequacy and dependence which plagued woman in bourgeois society. She saw as one of the cruelest aspects of woman's subordination the creation in her of this slave mentality. In a 1913 article she wrote, ”How difficult it is for contemporary woman to throw off this capacity to assimilate herself to man, trained into her by the centuries, by hundreds of centuries . . ., how difficult it is for her to be persuaded that for a woman renunciation of self should be considered a sin. . . .”2It Now in 1923 Kollontai was exploring the ways a woman in the new society could establish a sense of her own worth, could shake off the "training of centuries.” Her third Molodaia gvavdiia article stressed the importance to a woman of meaningful work and praised Anna Akhmatova as a poet who could guide the young woman in her search for self-esteem. She could not do it alone, however. To achieve independence woman had also to restructure her re­ lationship with man, so that he learned to value her as an individual, not simply as a love object. Kollontai wrote the fourth article, "Dorogu krylatomu Erosu!” , to define the new type of sexual relationship. She used the phrase "The Winged Eros” to describe an emancipated love based on sexual attraction, comradeship, common dedication to the collective, and full psychological equality of the part­ ners. Ostensibly because of these articles, particularly the last, Kollontai was branded a feminist. Krupskaia and Natalia Sedova made that charge to reporters in Moscow in early 1923, but the major rebuttal began with two ar­ ticles published that fall.*5 In the October issue of Moloâaia gvardiia% B. Arvatov called Akhmatova a "bour­ geois lady” who could teach only despair to communist youth. Kollontai was wrong to praise her. Furthermore, Kollontai viewed relations between men and women from a middle-class, moralistic perspective rather than

Clements: Kollontai


’’scientif ically. ” She was a feminist who insisted on seeing women’s problems as separate from social problems as a whole. 26 The more thorough attack followed in November when Polina Vinogradskaia, a former colleague in work with wom­ en, published ’’Voprosy morali, pola, byta, i tov. Kollon­ tai. ” It was not her first public attack on Kollontai. In a July 1923 Pravda article criticizing Trotsky, Vinogradskaia had condemned the Molodaia gvavdi'La articles in passing as ’’purely literary exercises of the intelli­ gentsia” not responsive to the needs of working women.27 She went on to call for the very kinds of reform in family structure that Kollontai had long advocated, but she did so with a prudent reference to ’’preserving [the working woman] as a living working force and as a mother. . ♦ .”28 Thus she stepped back from the demand for complete aboli­ tion of the family which was becoming increasingly unpopu­ lar within the party. Aside from the reference to Kollontai, there is lit­ tle in the July article that would foreshadow Vinograd­ skaia’s strong attack in November. Ideologically, she stood very close to Kollontai. Yet^, ideology probably played a minor role in her motivation. The fact that she wrote to criticize an innocuous Trotsky piece on litera­ ture suggests that Vinogradskaia was involved in the po­ litical infighting among the party leadership. The rather gentle tone she adopted toward the still powerful Trotsky gave way in November to distortion and vilification when she turned her attention to a banished Kollontai. Kollon­ tai, Vinogradskaia charged, was guilty of ’’George Sandism,” of ’’metaphysical” thinking, of bourgeois feminism because she discussed the woman question morally, not materialis­ tically. Kollontai would put sexual relations ahead of economic ones as the motive force of history. ’’Comrade Kollontai, with great zest breaks out on trips to the re­ gion of the communist future, blowing the sails of the socialist boat with the wind of sexual problems. . . .”29 Her excessive emphasis on a Utopian future irrelevant to present problems was further proof of her uselessness to youth. How had such a person once been so respected a leader? Vinogradskaia concluded that Kollontai was ”a woman communist with a solid dose of feminist trash.” 30 There was only a hint of truth in the feminist label. If the term meant a person deeply concerned with female emancipation from all the social and psychological chains that kept woman subordinate to man, then Kollontai was


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indeed a feminist. She believed fervently in that emanci­ pation. This is not, however, the meaning intended by her critics. They called her a feminist because they said that Kollontai saw the resolution of the woman question as separate from the broad process of communist construc­ tion. In that charge they were wrong. Kollontai never said that female emancipation could be achieved without the emancipation of all people under communism. She merely concentrated on women and stressed that changed social re­ lations were as important as industrial hardware in build­ ing a new society. Early in 1922 she wrote, "Marxism teaches us that every time some class fights for its su­ premacy it relies not only on the newly created forms of production but on new understandings, customs, rules of life, i.e., morality. This morality defines the relations of the members of the given class among themselves and the relations of each member to the collective, to the class. Morality is a powerful weapon of the class struggle. 1» 31 •

Such writing could have evoked a sophisticated theo­ retical debate on all of the implications of economic de­ terminism, but it did not . Instead Arvatov and Vinogradskaia labelled it as evidence of Kollontai’s bourgeois, "moralistic" leanings and her feminist tendency to analyze the woman question apart from its economic roots. Finally, in calling her a feminist her critics wished to place Kollontai among the suffragists, women who accord­ ing to socialist ideology sought only the right to vote for the middle class. A life-long opponent of suffragism, Kollontai had fought any pre-war attempts at collaboration with suffrage groups. To charge that she was a bourgeois feminist from the Marxist perspective was, then, to dis­ tort her past and her writing. More than a myth, it was a lie. However unfair, the label attached in 1923 stuck to Kollontai. Until 1926, when she entered her last campaign for women in the debates on a revision of the marriage law, the charge of feminism was raised repeatedly. After 1926 she confined her writing to memoirs and diplomatic dis­ patches. She was silenced. The motives and even those responsible for the vilifi­ cation begun in 1923 are difficult to document. The ideas Kollontai expressed that year did not greatly contradict the current party doctrine on female emancipation.' Indeed, she avoided repeating her earlier calls for the abolition

Clement s : Kollontai


of the bourgeois family through a rapid construction of communal facilities. Most of her writing concentrated on individual problems of adjustment to the present, "tran­ sitional" period. Nevertheless, her demands for emancipa­ tion through communism remained well-known. Already in 1923 discussions of the relations between the sexes were beginning to stress the virtues of a rather traditional morality with which Kollontai’s communal goals did not harmonize. If she could be discredited by distorting her distasteful theories about women, she could be eliminated as a political critic and as an influence on youth at one and the same time. Thus Arvatov and Vinogradskaia probably wrote with some encouragement from party authorities, although the evidence is only circumstantial. Kollontai had been at­ tacked as a feminist by Krupskaia and Sedova. Her main accuser, Vinogradskaia, had earlier taken part in the cam­ paign against Trotsky. Above all, Vinogradskaia and Arvatov sought not to debate honestly the issues Kollontalfs writing raided, but rather to discredit her through distorting her work. Kollontai's views on women had al­ ways been controversial, but it wa# not until after the Tenth Congress that she was publicly charged by her Bol­ shevik comrades with bourgeois deviations. A new time had begun for h e r , when the collective to which she be­ longed, the party. Would require silence as the price of membership. And silence meant the myths could thrive, generated by vilification, by journalistic sensationalism, by scorn toward professional women, and by the influence on western scholars of all such prejudices.’ Who was the real Kollontai? She was the charming daughter of a Russian general. She spent much of her life trying to find freedom for herself and her society. She lived long enough to bow to a despot. The reality is a tale of suffering with hope and compromise that needs no myth to lend it moment. NOTES 1For the Scandinavian press I am indebted to Henryk Lenczyc, "Alexandra Kollontai/' Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, XIV, no. 1 (1973), 205-41. I have been able to review French, Swiss, and Scandinavian coverage through a dossier compiled by the Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand in Paris. There were also useful reports in Current Opinion, LXIV (January 1918) , 22; and The Literary Digest, XCI (20 November 1926), 15, and CXV (11 February 1933), 34-36. The


Clements: Kollontai

London Times was the main representative of the British press. For the United States I used the New York Times and Time since they had the greatest number of articles. An­ other valuable American piece is by Katharine Anthony, "Alexandra Kollontay," The North American Review , CCXXX (September 1930), 277-82. Also useful were reviews of Kollontai1s novels; I have read seven— two German reviews, one English, and four American. The books by journalists are the following: Bessie Beatty, The Red Heart of Russia, New York: The Century Company, 1918; Louise Bryant, Mirrors of Moscow, New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1923, and Six Red Months in Russia, New York: George H. Doran, [1918]; Walter Duranty, I Write As I Please, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935; John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World, New York: Vintage, 1960; Albert Rhys Williams, Journey Into Revolu­ tionj Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969, and Through the Russian Revolution, New York: Boni and Liveright, 1921. 2I draw this conclusion from years of searching. To reinforce my experience I looked again at E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, 3 vols., Baltimore: Penguin, [1966]; William H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, 2 vols., New York: Macmillan, 1960; Robert Daniels, The Conscience of the Revolution, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960; Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed and The Prophet Unarmed3 New York: Vintage, n.d.; Leonard Schapiro, The Communist Party of The Soviet Union, New York: Vintage, [1964], and The Origin of the Communist A u t o c r a c y London: The London School of Economics and Political Science, 1955. Kollontai has drawn serious attention only from scholars like H. Kent Geiger who are studying family structure (The Family in Soviet Russia, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univer­ sity Press, 1968). 3Kollontai, Autobiographie einer sexuell emanzipierten Kommunistin, Iring Fetscher (ed.), Munich: Rogner and Bernhard, 1970, p. 44. ^Pitirim Sorokin, Leaves, from a Russian Diary3 Boston: Beacon Press, 1950, p. 59. 5Current Opinion, p. 22. Alfred E. Senn has pointed out to the author that the Gazette de Lausanne was an antiBolshevik newspaper by early 1918. sThe Saturday Review of Literature, 4 June 1927, p. 886. The two prior claims originated in Oslo newspapers and were picked up by the French press (Dossier, Biblio­ thèque Marguerite Durand). 7Henri de Val and Roger Vaillant, "La vie prodigieuse d ’Alexandra Kollontai," Paris-soir, 29 January 1938, as available in Dossier, Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand.

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sThe Literary Digesty 20 November 1926, p. 15. 9James H. Billington, The Icon and the A x e , New York: Knopf, 1966, p. 501. 10Louis Fischer, "Love and Work," The Nation, CXXIV, no. 3233 (1927), 700. 11 In Rahochaia oppozitsiia Kollontai had described their faction as "class-united and class conscious" (The Workers Opposition in Russia [Chicago: iww, 1921], p. 5). Lenin quoted her and then said, "Well, thank God, so we know that Comrade Kollontai and Comrade Shliapnikov are ’class-united and class conscious.'" (V. I. Lenin, Rolnoe sobranie soohinenii, 55 vols.; Moscow, 1958-65, XLIII, 41). Angelica Balabanoff in My Life as a Rebel (New York: Har­ per, 1938, p. 252) wrote that the congress took the remark as a reference to Kollontai and Shliapnikov's relationship. 12Kommunisticheskaia partiia Sovetskogo Soiuza, Desiatyi s nezd RKP(b): Stenograficheskii otohet, Moscow, 1963, p. 325. 13Communist International, Tretii v s e mimyi kongress Kommunistieheskogo Intematsionala : Stenograficheskii otohet, Petrograd, 1922, p. 372. 14Kollontai, Autobiographie, *p. 61. Bertram Wolfe has pointed out that Kollontai's "request" was probably forced on her. Although it is true that the party leadership com­ pelled her to leave by stripping her of all offices at home, this fact should not imply that Kollontai went un­ willingly. Abroad she could find peace while remaining in Soviet service. 15 The fiction is most commonly titled B o t fshaia liubovf, a novel, and Liubovr pchelr trudovikh, a collec­ tion of three short stories— "Liubov' pchel' trudovikh," "Sestry," and "Vasilissa Maligina." These four are avail­ able in English in A Great Love¿ translated by Lily Lore, New York: Vanguard, 1929; and Red Love, New York: Seven Arts, 1927. Far less common are two short stories, "Tridsat'dve stranitsy" and "Podslushannyi razgovor," published with B o l 1shaia liubov r under the title Zhenshchina na perelome ^ Moscow-Petrograd, 1923. This book is not well-known because Kollontai used her maiden name, Domontovich. The non-fiction consists of the remi­ niscences, "Kak my sozvali pervyi vserossiiskii s"ezd rabotnits i krest'ianok," Kommunistka, no. 11 (November 1923), pp. 3-8; and "Otrivki iz dnevnika," Zvezda, no. 4 (1924). The theoretical articles appeared in Molodaia gvardiia under the general title "Pis'ma k triudiashcheisia moledezhi." They were "Pis'mo pervoe: Kakim

254 Clements: Kollontai dolzhen byt1 kommunist?' nos. 1/2 (1922), pp. 136-44; "Pis'mo vtoroe: Moral1, kak orudie klassovogo gospodstva i klassovoi bor'by," nos. 6/7 (1922), pp. 128-36; "Pis'mo tretoe: O 'drakone' i 'beloi ptitse,'" no. 2 (1923), pp. 162-74; "Dorogu krylatomu Erosu!" no. 3 (1923), pp. 11124. Although the first two were published before Kollontai left the Soviet Union, they form part of the series and were included in the criticism, hence their inclusion here. Also of interest is another 1922 article, "Oktiabr'skaia revoliutsiia i massy," Molodaia gvardiia, nos. 6/7 (1922), pp. 211-18. Kollontai also published an article in Pravda3 "Ne 'printsip,' a 'metod,'" 20 March 1923, p. 4. 6 Kaare Hauge, "Alexandra Kollontai: The Scandinavian Period, 1922-1945," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Univer­ sity of Minnesota, 1971, p. 97. Through interviews and re­ search in Scandinavian archives, Professor Hauge has un­ covered much new information on Kollontai's later life. 17 Marcel Body, a friend and colleague of Kollontai's during the 'twenties, reports this incident. Written so long after the events, however, his memoir has errors in dating which makes its reliability questionable. See Marcel Body, "Alexandra Kollontai," Preuves, no. 14 (April 1952), p. 14. For a confirmed error of Body's, see below, n. 25. 18Kollontai, "Oktiabr'skaia revoliutsiia i massy," p. 215. 19Kollontai, Red Love, p. 137. 20 Kollontai, "Sestry," Kommunistka , nos. 3-4 (1923), p. 26. 21 Kollontai, "Pis'mo vtoroe," p. 128. 22 Ibid., p. 132. 23 Ibid. 2k Kollontai, Novaia moralf i rabochii klass, Moscow, 1918, p. 13. 2*New York Times, 13 February 1923, p. 2. Marcel Body wrote years later that a series of articles appeared in Pravda in 1923 bearing Kollontai's initials and present­ ing a distorted version of her views on women. He reported that she returned to Moscow to ask Stalin to stop publica­ tion of these forgeries (Body, "Kollontai," p. 14). A check of Pravda for that entire year has failed to uncover any articles over the initials A.M.K. There appeared an innocuous series on factory life over the initials A.K. which Kollontai would not have written and which bear no relation to women. Possibly Body, writing so long after the events, confused the date, or perhaps he remembered the articles written against Kollontai as forgeries over her name. They distorted her ideas to the point where

Clements : Kollontai


Kollontai would certainly have protested. 26B. Arvatov, "Grazhdanka Akhmatova i tov. Kollontai," Molodaia gvardiia, nos. 4/5 (1923), pp. 148-49. 27 Polina Vinogradskaia, "Voprosy byta (po povodu stat'i tov. Trotskogo)," Pvavda, 26 July 1923, p. 4. 28 Ibid., p. 5. 29 Polina Vinogradskaia, "Voprosy morali, pola, byta, i tovarishch Kollontai," Kvasnaia nov\ no. 6 (16) (1923), p. 181. 30 Ibid. , p. 210. 31 Kollontai, "Pis'mo pervoe," p. 140. 32 The most famous of these earlier criticisms of her views on women is Lenin's gentle scorn expressed to Klara Zetkin in 1920. He never mentioned Kollontai by name (Klara Zetkin, Lenin on the Woman Question, New York: In­ ternational Press, 1934).

STALIN AND HIS BIOGRAPHERS: THE LENIN-STALIN RELATIONSHIP Herbert J. Ellison One of the most important issues in the biography of Joseph Stalin in his relationship to V. 1. Lenin. It is a relationship that has interested biographers in varying de­ grees, and whose presentation has been influenced by a vari­ ety of biases. The bias of the official biographies of the Stalin era is all too plain--Stalin was the major disciple of a deified Lenin. The theme has been presented more subtly, though with little difference in substance, by a variety of western sympathizers of Stalin and the Stalinera Soviet Union. There is also the bias of anti-Stalin Marxists, from Leon Trotsky to Roy Medvedev, seeking sharply to dissociate Lenin from Stalin, from responsi­ bility for the negative aspects of the Stalin system, and even from the responsibility for Stalin’s rise to power.1 Such works tend to be far more reliable and in­ formative than the official Stalin-era biographies on most issues, but they suffer from a serious distortion on the issue at hand. Finally, there is what could be called the western scholarly tradition of Stalin biography, much advanced by the critical bibliographical works of Robert McNeal, and more recently reaching a new stage with the appearance of major biographies by Robert Tucker and Adam Ulam.2 Mr. Tucker has closely examined the psychology of Stalin’s re­ lationship to Lenin, though he gives rather little atten­ tion to other aspects of the relationship during the cru­ cial period from the Bolshevik Revolution to the death of Lenin. Mr. Ulam offers a number of insights into the re­ lationship, but his approach tends to be more in the form of rejecting excessively negative estimates of Stalin’s leadership abilities than in that of positive and sys­ tematic analysis of the relationship and its consequences. The nationalities question, so basic to the relationship and the key to the conflict of the last months of Lenin’s life, receives a mere two paragraphs at the point of • • 3 crisis* It can be suggested that there are two questions that

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


ought to be reconsidered about the Lenin-Stalin relation­ ship; questions which tend to bring the main issues into focus and facilitate their examination. The first is why did Lenin consistently advance Stalin to ever more prom­ inent and powerful positions in the party and government, ignoring until it was too late the generous evidence of his rudeness, arrogance and treachery? Posing this ques­ tion focuses attention on the decisive importance of Len­ in's support and advancement to Stalin's career, on the fact that he alone among the senior leaders of the party saw Stalin as one of the two major leaders and sponsored and defended him accordingly. It also enables one to look more closely at the main elements of the relationship. The second question concerns the basis of the break with Stalin on the eve of Lenin's death. Exploration of this question helps to define more clearly the ideologi­ cal relationship between the two men, especially since much more has been affirmed or implied about the ideologi­ cal similarities or differences between them than has been demonstrated. It also helps to deal with the "what-mighthave-been-if-Lenin-had-lived11 writings about the relation­ ship . The outstanding fact about Stalin's career from the revolution to Lenin's death is his rise to a position of preeminent power. Lenin's senior party colleagues were astonished to find that their leader's "Testament11 placed Stalin together with Trotsky in the first-rank leadership of the party; astonished because they, like Trotsky, saw him as a distinctly third-rate leader.^ Nor had they un­ derstood, until it was too late, the significance of the powerful positions which Stalin held. Clearly Lenin had perceived, or at least valued, Stalin's character and utility in wholly different terms from those of his close colleagues, and saw him as a key element, probably the key element, in the implementation of his plans for Soviet Russia. • It was clearly ver^ difficult— virtually impossible— for Trotsky to understand Lenin's advancement of Stalin. One searches in vain for an 'adequate recognition, much less an explanation, of the phenomenon in his biography of his rival. He seeks unconvincingly to minimize the im­ portance of Stalin's inclusion in the powerful Council of Defense in 1918, suggesting that it was merely a consola­ tion for Stalin's abrupt removal from the Council of War of the Southern Front and from Tsaritsyn during the pre-


Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship

ceding weeks.5 And the entire volume contains only one contemptuous, though highly significant, line seeking to explain what it was Lenin valued in Stalin.6 Trotsky could simply not accept, even in retrospect, that Lenin held Stalin in the highest esteem as a developing leader. Nor could Roy Medvedev, even many years later, accept this fact as his unsuccessful effort to relieve Lenin of respon­ sibility for Stalin’s appointment as General Secretary would appear to demonstrate.7 The interpretive stress of both authors is upon the crafty exploitation by Stalin of his positions of power, not upon the fact that Lenin had provided him with those positions, or upon the analysis of Lenin’s motives which that fact would logically suggest. Yet the conscientious factual presentation of Stalin’s very negative Civil War record by both authors simply rein­ forces the question of what led Lenin to advance Stalin’s career so rapidly. Trotsky and Medvedev provide a more reliable picture of the negative aspects of Stalin’s Civil War role than do his more recent western biographers, who in fact tend to understate it. Indeed, their generous and proper atten­ tion to this matter make their inattention to Lenin's role in Stalin’s simultaneous upward rise to power all the more curious. For even in a time of civil war, a time that has rarely nourished the civilized virtues of political leader­ ship, Stalin’s performance was appalling. There is thus a sharp discrepancy between Stalin's poor performance in his Civil War assignments and the steady forward advance of his career. Yet, in spite of individual setbacks, such as the withdrawal from Tsartisyn in the autumn of 1918, Stalin took increasingly responsi­ ble positions, including most importantly the role of political commissar for the Southwestern Front during the Polish campaign. His shocking insubordination during that campaign, and its damage to the Russian effort in Poland, cannot be ignored, as the official biographers have tried to do, or explained away in the fashion of the late Isaac Deutscher.0 It was almost inevitable that the limited critical scholarship on Stalin during the Khrushchev era would strike early at this issue.9 Rather than suffering for his failures, Stalin moved forward to ever larger responsibilities. Already a member of the Politburo and the Central Committee, as well as Commissar for Nationalities, he would add vast new powers following the Civil War and during the last years of Len­ in’s life. And just as Lenin was responsible for Stalin’s

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


many appointments, he was also responsible for the increas­ ingly centralist and repressive policies in party and state which created many of Stalin’s new tasks. Even before the end of the Civil War the process of centralization within the party organization was far ad­ vanced. By the time of the Eighth Party Congress in March 1919, the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet had lost its power to the Central Committee of the party, and the local Soviet committees were likewise completely sub­ ordinated to the corresponding committees of the party. The highly centralized power structure had its focus in the Central Committee of the party firmly led by Lenin. The Eighth Congress accepted Lenin’s plan, presented by Zinoviev, calling for the Central Committee to delegate some of its powers to smaller bodies appointed by it: the Political Bureau (Politburo), the Organization Bureau (Orgburo) and the Secretariat. The Politburo was to act as the executive committee of the Central Committee, de­ ciding all questions arising during the intervals between sessions of the Central Committee. Members of the Central Committee who opposed the measure feared . that the Polit­ buro would soon supplant the Committee, and their fears were amply justified. Dur/ing the second half of 1921 the Politburo rapidly supplanted the Central Commit­ tee as the decision-making body. By 1922 it had become the real governing body of the party, and by extension, of the Soviet government and the Communist International as well. Stalin joined Lenin, Trotsky, L. B. Kamenev and N. I. Bukharin in the original five-man Politburo of 1919. In the following year two additional members were named, E. A. Preobrazhenskii and L. P. Serebriakov. The Orgburo became a crucial instrument in the build­ ing of Stalin’s power system. Containing five members, it was authorized to appoint and remove officials from party jobs. Originally placed under the full, supervision of the Politburo, the Orgburo was given independence in organiza­ tional and personnel questions up to the oblast level by the Ninth Party Congress in 1920. Stalin was the only member of the original-.Politburo appointed to the Orgburo, and his experience and prestige helped him to dominate that body. He soon established complete control over the appointment of oblast party secretaries, a power which made him the strongest member of the Politburo. But his power extended into other organizations as well. The third sub-committee of the Central Committee, the Secretariat, proved a weak force originally, but in 1921


Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship

it was enlarged and granted some of the powers of the Orgburo. The change was intended to make it a more effective instrument in the program to silence opposition which Len­ in initiated at the Tenth Congress. The new personnel of the Secretariat included such later prominent Stalin sup­ porters as E. M. Iaroslavskii and V. M. Molotov. The or­ ganization provided Stalin a power lever in subsequent conflicts with his colleagues in the Politburo. Stalin gained control of additional instruments of political power in the special inspection bodies created to supervise the personnel and administration of the party and state apparatus. He headed the organization for in­ spection of the state administration, Rabkrin, from its foundation in 1919. More important to his purposes was the indirect control he gained of the control commissions established in 1921. These commissions were granted broad investigatory and appellate functions, ostensibly to cor­ rect abuses in the party organization. Their purpose as an instrument for purging the opposition was, however, only thinly veiled, and the centralization of the control commissions under the Central Control Commission at the Eleventh Party Congress was intended to make them more ef­ ficient in removing opponents of the leading group. Four of the seven members of the governing body of the Central Control Commission were Stalin’s allies, and he later made ample use of that group to bring the lower commissions un­ der firm control of the center and to initiate investiga­ tory actions aimed at purging political opponents in his rise to power. The brightest gem in the crown of power being crafted for Stalin by Lenin was the position of General Secretary of the party. The still vigorous opposition at the Elev­ enth Congress led Lenin to conclude that the three-man Secretariat was not doing the "organizational” work for which it was intended. There were still too many key figures in the party organization, and too many delegates at party congresses (the turbulent opposition at the Eleventh Congress was still very fresh in Lenin's memory) who openly opposed the leadership. More efficiency was needed in making suitable party appointments and in organ­ izing malleable congressional delegations. High-minded and gentle men could not do the job that was required; the original incumbents— N. N.. Krestinskii, Serebriakov, and Preobrazhenskii— had proved this. Lenin needed, and chose, a man who would not scruple at expulsion of old and loyal party members from responsible positions. Stalin*was named

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


General Secretary of the party in April 1922. The ineffi­ cient secretarial troika was replaced by the firm one-man command of Stalin, assisted by two loyal aids, Molotov and V. V. Kuibyshev. With his elevation to the General Secre­ taryship, Stalin controlled more positions of power than any other party leader. His powerful positions in the Secretariat and the Central Control Commission enabled him to control the personnel appointments in the party, while his place in the Politburo assured him a major voice in policy. Within a year he would demonstrate, at the Twelfth Congress, the ruthless and skillful way in which he had used his authority to build for himself the dominant lead­ ership position in the party. We are still left with the question of why Lenin was willing to entrust Stalin with such extraordinary power. Surely by any standards the negative aspects of Stalin’s Civil War performance— whatever case could be made for the demonstration of positive abilities (and no adequately documented case has been made)— were such as to warn plain­ ly of the danger of granting him greater power. It is perfectly proper to maintain— as do Medvedev and Ulam on different grounds— that the uglier^aspects of Stalin’s psychology became more marked as-his power increased.10 But one ought not to ignore the plain signals of the Civil War era, or refrain from asking why Lenin ignored them. The elucidation of the Lenin-Stalin relationship is probably still the most outstanding weakness of the Stalin biographies, yet the clues are there, waiting to be as­ sembled and developed. Trotsky quotes Serebriakov, re­ sponding to the question of whether Stalin could be re­ leased from the Revolutionary Council of War for the Southern Front: ”No, I cannot exert pressure like Stal­ in.” He then observes, rather tersely, that ’’The ability to ’exert pressure’ was what Lenin praised so highly in Stalin.” 11 There is a generous supply of quotations from Lenin denouncing intellectuals for their quibbling (i.e., disagreement with Lenin’s policies) and moral scruples (i.e., reluctance to use the instruments of terror and repression) and lauding’the sturdy proletarian virtues (as exemplified in the reliable administrative perform­ ance and aggressive use of repressive instruments by Stalin). 12 Trotsky’s observation is expanded (albeit in a way that would have been impossible for him), in a very per­ ceptive statement by Professor McNeal:13


Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship

Stalin was at least as dogmatic as Lenin, with no compunctions concerning the use of authoritarian­ ism or political expediency to achieve the Commun­ ist goal. He alone among Lenin’s lieutenants was not disturbed by the more severe tactics to which Lenin resorted in 1917-1922, such as the crushing of the rival socialist parties, the Treaty of Brest Litovsk, and the fate of ’intraparty de­ mocracy’ and trade-union autonomy. Stalin was not only a consistent "Leninist”— accepting unquestioningly the ideological structure which Lenin pro­ vided— but he shrunk from no measure necessary for the practical implementation of that ideology. The combina­ tion of a simple and dogmatic faith, a natural ruthless­ ness and cunning, industry and genuine organizational ability made Stalin indispensable to Lenin. That he rec­ ognized his peculiar relationship and utility to the lead­ er is plainly evident in the recurrent themes of his mes­ sages from various' fronts during his Civil War service— messages which spoke of decisive blows to waiverers and traitors, contempt for excess sophistication (especically of the military specialists during the Civil War), and the need for decisive action couched always in terms of the Leninist ideological Stalin doubtless rec­ ognized that the very passion with which Lenin called for measures of firm repression revealed not only the need to overcome the scruples of his other senior colleagues, but his own scruples as well. In such matters Stalin’s "pro­ letarian" faith and ready sword were a powerful and unique assurance. Hence the heavy reliance of Lenin upon Stalin and the latter’s rapid promotion to positions of great power. Stalin’s career was greatly aided by the circumstances of the last years of Lenin’s life. The end of the Civil War brought a vigorous revival of intra-party opposition factions since the plea of wartime emergency could no longer justify the stifling of dissent. But Lenin was as little prepared to tolerate opposition as he had been dur­ ing the Civil War. A policy of retreat, especially before peasant opposition, was indispensable. He could conceive no other course than suppression of intra-party opposition to his policy. To those who, like the Democratic Central­ ists and the Workers’ Opposition, sought to resist the growing centralization of political power, he responded by bitter denunciation and expulsion. For Lenin the preser­ vation of the established line, and of the instrument—

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


centralized party dictatorship— which guaranteed it, were the premier concerns. Virtually single-handedly, there­ fore, Lenin cleared the path for Stalin*s advance to pow­ er, and placed in his hands the indispensable instruments of power. The question of the basis of the Lenin-Stalin break on the eve of Lenin*s death is a singularly important one, as much for what it says about Lenin as about Stalin. Lenin’s "Testament11 and its famous postscript, are quite explicit: Stalin is too rude; Stalin has been guilty of abuse of power; and there is a grave danger of a StalinTrotsky split— a division between the two ablest people in the party. The problem here appears to be the temptation to make more of the differences between Lenin and Stalin than the evidence will support. Mr. Tucker correctly notes that the issue of nationalities policy, and specifically the Georgian question, was central to the conflict.15 After Stalin became head of the commission charged with prepar­ ing a scheme to regulate relations between the Russian Federation and the other republics#¿n August 1922, he de­ veloped the so-called "autonomization" plan calling for the entry of the independent republics into the Russian Republic as autonomous republics; the governmental organs of the Russian Federation (the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars) becoming the cen­ tral organs for the new structure. The proposal was re­ jected by the Georgian Central Committee and was regarded as unsatisfactory by a majority of the republican dele­ gates in Stalin’s commission. It was subsequently modi­ fied, at Lenin’s suggestion, to provide for the notion of a new Union of Soviet Republics into which all would enter as equals, and the creation of new governmental organs at the union level. Up to this stage of the process there had been no con­ flict between Lenin and Stalin. When Lenin suggested modi­ fications in Stalin’s initial plan, he was basically sup­ portive and felt only that Stalin was "in rather too much of a hurry."16 Stalin, on the other hand, saw Lenin's modifications as ones that would "supply fuel to the ad­ vocates of independence" and criticized the "national lib­ eralism of comrade Lenin."17 However, he accepted Lenin’s modifications without resistance, probably recognizing that the revised plan would make little operative difference, and the revised version was ratified by the Central


Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship

Committee on 6 October 1922. It was during the subsequent weeks that the LeninStalin conflict developed more fully* For Lenin the news that Stalin and 'G. K. Ordzhonikidze had responded to Georgian objections to entry into the Union as part of a Transcaucasian Federation by the simple application of force (including one case physical violence by Ordzhoni­ kidze against a supporter of the Georgian Leader B. G. Mdivani) was a hard blow* Lenin called this rude dicta­ tion from Moscow "Great Russian chauvinism," and repeated­ ly charged Stalin with rudeness (grubostf) and haste. Over the years he had smoothed many a feather ruffled by Stalin’s rudeness, clearly feeling that Stalin’s talents far outweighed the disability of his rough manner. But what had been tolerable, even useful, in the Civil War had become, in time of peace, a grave disability, threatening to sow serious discord in the party and to generate great hostility between its Georgian and Russian wings. Mr. Tucker states, perhaps, mistakenly, that the basis of Stalin’s conflict with Lenin at this point was Stalin’s adopted Russian nationalism:18 Paradoxically, the man whom Lenin himself regard­ ed as a valuable party asset primarily in his capacity as a spokesman of minority nationali­ ties, and who accepted for a long while that definition of his principal party role, was in­ wardly a budding Russian nationalist even before the two men met, and many years prior to Lenin’s shocked discovery of his fully formed Russian nationalist outlook* There is little doubt that Stalin felt a strong identifica­ tion with Russia, and that his attachment and admiration grew over the years. But in the case in question— the procedure for administrative consolidation of the repub­ lics— Lenin and Stalin sought similar centralist structures and for common ideological reasons that had nothing to do with nationalism. Stalin's motivation, like that of Lenin, was communist-centralist, and had as little to do with con­ ventional nationalism or chauvinism as did the administra­ tive centralism of Catherine the Great. Lenin was shocked— as indeed he ought to have been— by the report that Ordzhonikidze, as the representative of Moscow, had treated local Georgian communist leaders with a rudeness that would have offended a tsarist administrator and that indicated a disgusting khamstvo. But it was the rude application of a policy, not the underlying policy

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


itself, that he was attacking. It would seem wiser to interpret literally the words of Lenin's "Testament11 and the postscript: his chief con­ cern was indeed with Stalin's rudeness, or rather with the larger implications of the Russian word grubostr, and with the damage that could be done by such behavior to relations with the smaller republics and to communist prestige abroad. If there is a paradox in this conflict it is not the one to which Professor Tucker points— Stalin's putative Russian nationalism— but rather the fact that he perceived better than Lenin the pressures that would have to be ap­ plied from the center to complete Lenin's own centralist political structure in the face of growing autonomist sen­ timents in Georgia. Ever the utterly literal-minded Len­ inist— precisely the man whom Lenin described as one of the two foremost leaders and to whom he had given greatest power— Stalin approached the creation of the Soviet Union in the same spirit in which he subsequently approached collectivization— with a dogmatic faith and ruthless re­ solve— in a spirit which found Lenin's modest policy reser­ vations a manifestation of "national liberalism." This is not to say, of coursé, that there is no sub­ stance to Moshe Lewin's thesis that Lenin came to have serious reservations about the centralist structure which he himself had created by the time of his December 1922 memorandum on the nationalities question. Stalin and Ordzhonikidze had shown him the dangers of the system to­ ward which Soviet Russia was moving, and he wished des­ perately to modify the political course.19 Moreover, he had prepared a "bombshell," and intended to come out plainly against Stalin at the Twelfth Party Congress on broader grounds than just the nationalities question. But Lenin suffered his third and mpst severe stroke on 9 March 1923 and was unable to continue his campaign against Stal­ in. Stalin demonstrated his control of the party appar­ atus by his control of the majority of the delegates at the Twelfth Congress (17*^25 April 1923). There is a strange irony in Lenin's effort to remove Stalin as General Secretary. ' Even in good health he would have found the task difficult, perhaps impossible, for Stalin had consolidated his powerful position carefully and thoroughly. Krupskaia remarked bitterly in 1926 that had Lenin been living then he would have found himself in prison, and well he might. Stalin's words show no deep personal respect for Lenin, and there are many reports of


Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship

his angry denunciation of Lenin in private* His respect for Lenin seemed to be more as an embodiment of an imper­ sonal category of revolutionary— devoted, hard-driving and utterly uncompromising, though with a capacity for the most thoroughgoing tactical opportunism which particularly distinguished him from other party intellectuals. Lenin­ ism was dearer to Stalin's heart than Lenin himself, and how very like the master's voice— how very much in the Leninist tradition— was his speech on nationalities pol­ icy at the Twelfth Congress. The underlying theme was that the national question was subordinate to the labor question, which meant that national interests and aspirations must always give way to the interests of Bolshevik-style socialist revolution. There was no question whether the small republics ought to be brought under central control. The question was how to make that control palatable and what measures ought to be taken to make the union enduring. Stalin reminded his audience of the importance of the sympathy of the peoples of the borderlands to Bolshevik victory in the Civil War, and then enumerated the dangers to the future of political union. Foremost among these was Great* Russian chauvinism, "the most dangerous factor" inhibiting development of the union: "if a force like Great Russian chauvinism blossoms and spreads there will be no confidence on the part of the formerly oppressed peoples, we shall have no cooperation within a single union, and we shall have no Union of Re­ publics."20 A second factor, though ranking much below the first, was simply the cultural and economic backward­ ness of many of the peoples of the borderlands: "the trouble is that some nationalities have no proletarians of their own, have not undergone industrial development, have not even started on this road, are terribly backward cul­ turally and are entirely unable to take advantage of the rights granted them by the revolution.1,21 The nationalism of the local nationalities themselves occupied only third place in the obstacles to effective union, and Stalin re­ iterated his point that Great Russian chauvinism was "nine-tenths of the problem." Economic and cultural de­ velopment, the spreading use of local languages— these were the ways in which the union, forged by Russian mili­ tary and political power, was to be made lasting. ' There was in this speech a peculiar blend of hard calculation and utopianism, a cynical realism about local nationalism and Russian chauvinism, and a deep faith in the rectitude of the guiding political doctrine. The

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


right of the Russian proletarian Mbig brother11 to arbi­ trate the political future of the nationalities of the borderlands was assumed, though this was an assumption shared by a majority of the party leadership including Lenin. Lenin’s objections to Stalin's handling of the Georgian question were, after all, confined to reserva­ tions about timing and subsequent relations with the Georgian communists. The basic "necessity" of assimila­ tion of Georgia into the Soviet state was not questioned. Professor Pipes has written:22 The basic Communist assumptions worked to the advantage of Stalin. The unity, centraliza­ tion, and omnipotence of the Communist Party, the hegemony of the industrial proletariat over the peasantry, the subordination of the national principle to the class principle— all those Communist doctrines which were in fact responsible for the plight of the minor­ ities— were axiomatic and beyond dispute. That they were "axiomatic and beyond dispute" was Lenin’s achievement, as was the fact that their application for the next thirty years would be wholly dependent upon Stalin. Moshe Lewin has provided interesting and significant, though inconclusive, evidence that Lenin was sufficiently shocked by the events in Georgia in the autumn of 1922 and by other aspects of Soviet government that he was rethink­ ing fundamentally his own precepts during the last months of his life.23 But Stalin, the most complete "Leninist" in Lenin’s inner circle, was moving ruthlessly forward to compel reality in the matter of nationalities, in conform­ ity with theory, as he would also do so brutally and de­ cisively with the peasantry some six years later. Perhaps Lenin felt something of the dismay of Ivan Karamazov in the last days, but this does not change the fact that the party and the government, the ideology and the ruler were his own achievements and his main legacy. NOTES 1I refer here to Leon Trotsky, Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence, New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1941; and to Roy A. Medvedev, Let History Judge: The Ori­ gins and Consequences of Stalinism, New York: Knopf, 1971. Trotsky's handling of the issue is largely to ignore the importance of Lenin's crucial and consistent advocacy of Stalin's career. Moreover, his explanation of the mis-


Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship

carriage of the revolution tends to treat Stalin more as an expression of social forces than as an independent in­ fluence— a manifestation rather than a cause of what he calls the Russian Thermidor. Medvedev, on the other hand, gives Stalin the fundamental blame for the major negative features of his era, but tends to ignore, indeed to dis­ miss, Lenin's role in Stalin's rise to party leadership. 2Professor Robert McNeal edited the final three vol­ umes of Stalin's Sochineniia, published by the Hoover In­ stitution and completing the official series begun in the Soviet Union. He also prepared Stalin's Works: An Anno­ tated Bibliography, Stanford: The Hoover Institution, 1967. Adam B. ulam, Stalin: The Man and His Era, New York: Viking, 1973. Robert C. Tucker, Stalin as Revolutionary, 1879-1929 : A Study in History and Personality, New York: Norton, 1973. A third new biography is Ronald Hingley, Joseph Stal­ in: Man and Legend, New York: McGraw, 1974. No reference is made to the book in the following pages since it does not appear to be necessary in the context of the present discussion. 3Ulam, Stalin, pp. 213-14. ^Moshe Lewin writes of this as follows: "The very idea that Stalin and Trotsky were the two preeminent leaders was, in its placing of Stalin, enough to astonish the country, hurt Trotsky and unpleasantly surprise Zinoviev and Kamenev." Moshe Lewin, Lenin's Last Struggle, New York: Pantheon, 1968, p. 80. 5Trotsky, Stalin, pp. 289-92. 6Ibid., p. 270. 7Medvedev, Let History Judge, p. 18. 8Isaac Deutscher, Stalin: A Political Biography, New York: Vintage Books, 1960, p. 217. Deutscher is remarkably gentle in his judgment of Stalin, suggesting that the main responsibility for the failure of the campaign must be at­ tributed to Lenin's decision to go into Poland in the first instance, and in this and other ways tending to diminish the impact of Stalin's insubordination and delay in send­ ing support to Tukhachevskii. 9N. Kuzmin, S. Naida, Iu. Petrov, and S. Shishkin, "0 nekotorykh voprosakh istorii grazhdanskoi voiny," Kommunist , No. 12 (1956), pp. 64-66. ’ 10Ulam speaks of the "evolution of a bad-tempered and suspicious man into a tyrannical and obsessed one. . ." (Stalin , p. 288). It is a main thesis of the Medvedev study that Stalin was a victim of paranoia and that the

Ellison: Lenin-Stalin Relationship


very nature of the disease is its steady progress and change of the.personality. 11 Trotsky, Stalin, p. 270. 12 Alexander Solzhenitsyn has collected an edifying sample in The Gulag Archipelago, Glasgow: Collins/Fontana, 1974, p. 328. 13 Robert H. McNeal, The Bolshevik Tradition, Englewood Cliffs, N. J. : Prentice-Hall, 1963, p. 85. llfA fair example of the type can be found in I. V. Stalin, Sochineniia, 13 vols.; Moscow, 1946-51, IV, 116-27. See especially the letter of 4 August 1918 to Lenin, p. 122 . 15 ( Tucker, Stalin, p. 242. 16 Cited in Lewin, Lenin's Last Struggle, p. 50. 17 Cited in ibid., p. 52. 10 Tucker, Stalin, p. 246. Ulam, by contrast, writes that the Stalin period of "intense Russian chauvinism" was at this time still "far in the future" (Ulam, Stalin, p. 203). 19 The difficulty is in knowing whether Lenin perceived the roots of the problem, and his words provide no adequate guidance. Lewin clearly feels that, when Lenin wrote of equality of the republics he meant a very different struc­ ture than the one being consolidated in 1923, but even Lenin's main proposal, restoration of the former commis­ sariats, would hardly have changed the basic power struc­ ture. 20 Stalin, Sochineniia, V, 252. 21 Ibid. 22 Richard Pipes, The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923 , New York, Atheneum, 1968, p. 274. 23 I find the evidence inconclusive because, though Lenin speaks of the autonomization plan as "probably es­ sentially unjust and premature," there seems to me to be no evidence that he thought of revising the basic power structure, that made possible the injustices of the StalinOrdzhonikidze performance in Georgia. Moreover, the very use of the word "premature" contradicts the notion of in­ justice except in the matter ‘of timing and implies agree­ ment with the policy.


INDEX Abramovich, R.A, 201, 229 agrarian committees 162-64 agrarian question 60, 143, 148, 161-65, 167, 173 Akhmatova, Anna 248 Aksel’rod, P.A. 1, 87 Alekseev Military School 69 Alliluev, S.Ia. 201 anarchists 4, 38, 109, 110, 122, 224, 229, 239 Anisimov, N.A. Ill, 116 Antonov-Ovseenko, V.A, 128, 181, 222 April Crisis 35, 104 "April Theses" (Lenin) 6, 143, 154, 156-66, 173,

200 Archangel 88, 114 Armand, Inessa 198, 199, 241 army -Red Army 128 -Twelfth Army 7, 137, 154, 155, 160, 161, 173f f -Conference of Bol­ sheviks in 179 -Congress of Bolshe­ viks in 181-82 Military Revolutionary Committee of 181 -109th Division 174, 176, 181 -Finland Regiment 28 -Novoladozhskii Regiment 7, 174-77, 181 -Volynsk Regiment 2 -Siberian Rifles 174, 179-80

army (continued) -soldiers committees in 174-76, 179-80 -garrison troops 2, 52, 54, 63, 64, 173, 221 -Northern Front (1917) 15, 173ff, 221 Arosev, A.Ia. 64, 68, 80 Arvatov, B. 248-49, 251 Ascher, A. 1 Astrakhan 114 Avksen’tev, N.D. 106, 116 Badaev, A.E. 217 Baku 114 Bakunin, M.A. 87 Balabanoff, Angelica 186, 253 Baltic region 6, 140, 141 173f f Baron, S.H. 1 Beatty, B. 243, 251-52 Berzin, O.M. 68 BerzinS, J. 159 Billington, J.H. 44, 47, 72, 253 Biulleten9 69 Blagushe-Lefortov 69 Bogdanov, A.A. 1, 93, 207 245 Bogdanov, B.O. 107 Bol'sakov 107 Bonch-Bruevich, V.D. 34, 36 Borkenau, F. 187 Bosh, E.E. 193, 196, 197, 198, 199, 209, 241 Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of 204, 225 Bvivais Strèlnieks 175

Index Brounshtein , M.S . 23 Bryant, L. 243, 251-52 Bukharin, N . 1 . 1, 17, 66, 69, 104, 105, 188, 193, 196, 197, 198, 199, 206, 209, 222, 246 Burdzhalov, E.N. 70, 73, 74

Carr, E.H. 44, 72, 187, 206 252 Caune, V. 137 Central Committee. See Com­ munist Party, Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, Latvian Social Democratic Party Central Control Commission 246 Central Industrial Region 50 Chaianov, A,V. 126 Chamberlin, W.H. 44, 70, 72, 251-52 Cherniak, E.B. 45, 72 Chernov, V.M. 89, 104, 106 Chernyshevsky, N .G . 94 Chicherin, G.V. 127 China 42 Chkheidze, N. S.104, 115 Ctm 139, 149f f , 155, 165, 168, 175, 178 Civil War 8, 173, 241, 262 Cohen, S.F. 1, 72, 78, 204, 238 Combat Center 67, 68, 69 Commissariat of Social Welfare 8, 241 Committee for MilitaryTechnical Assistance 23, 25 Committee of Public Safety

68 Committee of Social Organ­ izations 162, 173

271 Communist International (Comintern) 143, 145, 157, 159, 184, 187, 191, 205 -Third Congress of 246 Communist Party 109, 112, 113, 116, 119-30 -Seventh Congress of 226, 227, 230, 238 -Eighth Congress of 227, 231 -Ninth Congress of 240 -Tenth Congress of 232, 246, 251 -Central Committee of 126-30, 232, 241 -Orgburo of 8 -Politburo of 8 -Secretariat of 7 , 8 , 218-21, 223, 226, 23032, 240 -General Secretary of 258 See also Russian Social Democratic Labor Party Constitutional Democrats (Kadets) 52, 55, 56, 161, 168 Constituent Assembly 56, 143, 144, 181 Cooperative movement 114 Council of Peoples Com­ missars 182, 204, 222-25

Dan, F.I. 36 , 115 , 205, 229 44, 72, Daniels, R.V. 1, ■ 74, 83, 203 , 252 Danishevskis, Iu. 136, 142-44, 166 , 178 Dauge, Peters 145 Deutscher, I. 1, 3, 186, 252, 258 Dimitrev, R. 140, 179-80 Diubua, A.E. 177, 178 Diumin, A. A, 32 178 Dizhbit, A.M.



Domontovich, M.A. 244 Donvarov, Capt. 160 Drozdov, Justice of the Peace 29 duma 13, 59, 79 -raion 4, 53, 54, 55, 65 -Petrograd city 2, 4, 21, 23, 26, 33, 34 -Temporary Committee of State Duma 23, 26, 28 Dvinov, B.L. 62, 63, 70, 71, 74, 78 Dybenko, P.E. 243 Dzerzhinskii, F. 203

Geyer, D. 1 Goldenberg, I .P . *87 Gorin, A.M. Ill, 120 Gorky, Maxim 82, 89, 93, 130 Gots, A.R. 115, 116 Grachev, Lt. 31 Granat Encyclopaedia 240 Grazkin, D.I. 175 178, 182 Grille, D. 1 Grunt, A.Ia. 53, 70, 73, 75, 76, 116 Gvozdev, K.A.

Ekaterinburg 105, 213, 218 Engels, F. 100 Ezergailis, A. 6, 133, 150, 155, 166, 170, 173

Haimson, L.H. 1, Helsinki 222 History of the Civil War 53, 54, 64, 65, 71

factory committees 2, 5, 21 29, 58, 108-10, 112, 118, 123, 125, 129 -conferences of 59, 109, 117 Fainsod, M. 43, 73 February Revolution 1 , 2033, 52, 134, 175, 217 Ferro, M. 1, 5, 84 Filipovskii, Lt. 115 Finland 16, 34, 82, 215 Fischer, L. 186, 245 French Revolution 2, 42, 43

Iakubovich, M.P. 195 Ianberg 175 Iaroslavl1 213, 229 Iaroslavskii, E.M. 78, 219, 232 Ioffe, A.A. 119, 126, 127, 128 Iskomof 174, 177, 178 Iskosol 174, 175, 177, 178, 181-82 Iskra 6, 147 Iudin 36 Ivanovo-Voznesensk 114 Ivanov, V. 89, 90 Izvestiia 24, 26, 32, 36, 37, 103 Izvestiia revoliutsionnoi nedeli 25

Galperina, B.D. 120 Gaponenko, L .S . 65 Gatchina 88 Gazette de Lausanne 243-44, . 252 Georgia 267 Georgievskii, P . 24 Getzler, I. 1

Jansons (Brauns), Janis Judel, P.F. 60 Jurkin 123 Jews 127


Index "July Days" 1, 38, 57, 118, 175, 201, 220, 241

Kalinin, M.I. 159 Kamenev, L.S. 3, 16, 18, 114, 115, 126, 128, 173, 186, 188, 194, 200-204, 207, 223, 240 Kautsky, Karl 197 Kazan 116, 212, 213 Kishinev 114 Keep,.J.L.H. 1, 73 Kellogg, F.B. 245 Kel'son, Z.S 25, 33 Kerensky, A. F. 85, 112, 175, .182 Khaustov, F. P. 177 Kirov, S.M. 184 Kok, Capt. 34 Kollontai, Al.M. 8, 60, 127, 241-55 -works of 241 , 245-48 Komarov, S. 30 Kommunist 196, 197, 198 Kondratiev, V. A. 48, 69, 73 Kornilov, L.G. 14, 38, 182, 183 -revolt of 38, 39, 60, 202 Kostomarov, C.D. 48, 69, 70, 73 Kostroma 114, 212 Kovnator 178 Krasin, L.B. 206 Krastkans, A. 162 Kravchinskii, S.M. 87 Kremlin (Moscow) 68 Krestinskii, N.N. 232,.-2**t0 Kreuznach discussions 169 Krol', L.A. 213 Kronstadt 2, 69, 173 Krumins (Piläts), Janis 140 Krupskaia, N.K. 1, 90-95, 209, 218, 248


Kryzhanovskii, D. 26, 27 Kuchin, G.C. 177-78 Kurlat, F.L. 49, 65, 73, 74, 76

Laqueur, W. 44, 72 Latgalians 169, 170 Latvia 6, 133, 154-72, 173ff Latvian Riflemen 6, 133, 137, 173, 174, 175, 176, 178, 179, 180, 181 -Congress of 166, 178-79 Latvian Social Democratic Party 133ff, 175, 178 -Central Committee of 6, 134-53 -Thirteenth Conference of 6, 133ff., 155-58, 164, 165, 173, 177-78 -Riga Committee of 177-78 -Mensheviks in 6, 134, 139ff, 149, 177 Left Communists 227 Left Socialist Revolution­ aries 122, 222-24, 226, 228, 229, 239 Lencmanis, J. 136, 142 Lenin, V.I. 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, 42, 43, 44, 45, 50, 52, 53, 62, 66, 76, 83-87, 89-95, 106, 115, 123, 127, 128, 133, 145, 156, 158, 173, 176, 187, 188, 190, 191, 193204, 206, 207-209, 215-17, 222-26, 229, 231, 239, 241, 243, 246 -works of 54, 74, 75, 79, 100, 106, 158, 185, 207 Lewin, M. 257, 263, 265, 267 Lockhart, R.H.B. 171 Logunov, T.A. 48, 65, 73 Lomov, G.I. 67, 79, 221 Luch 216



Lukashev, A.V. 48, 69, 70, 73 Lunacharskii, A.V. 121, 187, 189, 190, 226 Luxemburg, Rosa 90, 198

Maksimkin lar 215 Malakhovskii, V. 24 Malinovskii, R.V. 217 Manuilskii, D.Z. 111 Mao Tse-tung 42 Martov, Iu.L. 1, 85, 189, 194, 196, 225, 229 -works of 85 Marushkin, B.I. 46, 72 Marx, Karl 46, 47, 48, 81, 171, 191 Masaryk, T.6. 11 Maximalists 105, 122 McNeal, R.H. 235, 256, 261 Medvedev, R.A. 8, 185, 256, 258, 261 Melgunov, S.P. 62, 70, 71, 78 Menders, F. 166 Mienshevlks 1, 5, 6, 9, 23, 31, 32, 36i 52, 62, 66, 115, 116, 120, 139ff, 174, 176, 177-78, 181, 184, 195, 202, 204, 221, 222, 229 -Liquidator Mensheviks 185,. 193, 215, 216 -Menshevik Internation­ alists 220 -Mënshevik Defenslsts 174 Meyer, A.G. 159 Mezhraiontsy . 220 Military Organizations 177-78 -All-Russian Confer­ ence of 179 militia 2, 4, 173, 178 -‘Petrograd 20-39

militia (continued) -Council of Peoples Militias 38 Miliukov, P.N. 35, 45 Minsk 221 Mints, I.I. 53, 64, 65, 72 74, 75 Misins, A. 155 Molodaia gvardiia 247-49 Molotov, V.M. 114, 232 Moscow 2, 4, 6, 16, 42, 43 48-70, 226, 227 -insurrection in 64, 78 Mostovenko 62 Muralov, N.I. 64, 78 Murmansk 88

Narym 215 nationality question 143, 145, 157, 161, 164, 165, 199 navy 15-16 Hew Economic Policy 94, 246, 247 New York Times 245 Nicholas II 33, 88 Nikolaeva, K.I. 60 Nizhnii Novgorod 7, 212, 218 Nogin, V.P. 2, 60, 66, 69, 79, 201 Norata Z h i m 1 93.

October Revolution 1, 3, 4, 15, 19, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 49, 54, 55, 6171, 120-24, 173, 181, 222 Okopnaia Pravda 7, 174-83 Okopnyi Nabab 7, 174, 175, 181 Ol'minskii, M.S. 64, 77 Osinskii, V.V. 67 Otzovists 185, 193

Index Page, S. 173 Pankov 114 Pares, Bernard 88 Paris 2 Paris-so-ir 244 Parskii¿ Gen. 180 Pavlov, V. 123 Peasantry 60, 157-65, 203 -See also agrarian ques­ tion Peïaks, Karlis 144 Peoples Commissariat of Education 92 Peshekhonov, A.P. 24, 30 Peter I 11 Peterson 175 Petrograd (St. Petersburg) 2, 4, 5,, 16 , 20--41, 43, 44, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 57, 62, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69, 74, 181 , 184 187, 189, 190, 203, 215, 216, 218, 220, 227 Petrovskii, G.I. 217 Piatakov, G.L. 127, 193, 196, 197, 198, 199, 209 Piatnitskii, 0. A. 66, 77, 79, 80 Pipes, R. 1, 72 Plekhanov, G. V. 1, 85, 87 Plume, Emma 143 Poltava 114 Polytechnical Institute 33 Pravda 34, 91, 176, 194, 207, 208, 216, 217 Preobrazhenskii, .E.A. 214, 219, 232, 238 Printers Union, Fighting Detachment of 35 Prokopovich, S.N. 63 Proletarii 159, 192, 207 Proletkult 93 Provisional Government 2, 6, 33, 34, 35, 45, 47, 48, 49, 52, 58, 60, 68, 84, 87, 149, 173, 174, 178,


Provisional Government (continued) 182, 185, 202, 217, 218,


Rabinowitch, A. 1 Rabkrin 8 Rabochaia gazeta 37, 207 Rabodh'ii i Soldat 181 Raboohii put 203 Rabotn-itsa 60 Radek, K.B. 193, 196, 198, 199, 207, 246 Radkey, O.H. 52, 53, 55, 56, 63, 70, 72, 75 raion committees 110, 116, 118, 121, 122, 125, 126, 129 -conference of 110, 119 -Soviet of 110, 119, 122 Railroad Workers Union, All-Union Executive Com­ mittee of 68, 69, 223 Rappoport, V.I. Ill, 120. Rasputin, G. 50 Red Guards 2, 4, 5, 34-39, 61, 62, 64, 65, 108, 110, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 128-29 -April Conference of 3538 -August Conference of 38 Reisner, M. 126 Reval 107 Revolution of 1905 1, 51, 143, 147, 159, 212 Riabtsev, K.I. 68, 69 Riazan 114 Riazanov, D.B. 188, 226 Riga 7, 142, 154, 160, 162, 166, 173-74, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 183 Rimsha, K.I. 178, 179 Rosenberg, W.G. 52, 53, 55, 56, 75



Rosengolts, A.P. 68 Rostov, N. 35, 36, 37 Rudnev, V.V. 63 Russian Social Democratic Labor Party 1, 42, 44, 48, 49, 51-65, 177, 184 -Second Congress of 6 -Fifth Congress of 189, 190, 191, 220, 221, 227 -Sixth Congress of 179 -Sixth (Prague) Confer­ ence of 6, 192, 216 -Seventh (April) Confer­ ence of 156, 200, 218 -March (1917) Conference of 217 -Central Committee of 3, 7, 16, 17, 18, 53, 66, 181, 184, 185, 190, 191, 192, 203, 204, 216, 218, 220-22, 22527 -February 1913 Meet­ ing of 216 -Russian Bureau of 4, 175, 216, 233 -Moscow Committee of 4, 53, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 76 -Moscow Oblast Bureau of 4, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 215, 226, 228, 237, 238 -Moscow Okrug Committee of 215 -Nizhnii Novgorod Com­ mittee of 211, 212 -Northern Committee of 212 -Perm Committee of 214 -Petersburg Committee of 53, 159, 189, 225 -Second Petrograd Con­ ference of 220

Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (continued) -Ural Conference of (1906, 1917) 214, 218 See also, Communist Party Eusskie vedomosti 55, 75 Russo-Finnish Wars 206, 241, *245 Ruzskii, N.V. 154 Rykov, A.I* 18, 66

Saína 143 Samara Guberniia 116, 212 Saratov 114, 212 Samoilova, K.N. 60 Sapronov, T.V. 227 Sbovnik Sotsial-demokrata 197, 207 Schapiro, L. 1, 200, 252 Schrecker, Paul 43, 72 Serebriakov, L.P. 232 Serge, Victor 180 Shakh, V.M. 30 Shliapnikov, A.G. 2, 22, 24, 32, 197, 239, 246, 253 Shlikhter, Alexander 57, 59, 78 Simbirsk 94 Sivers, Lt. 176 Skujenieks, M. 166 Smidovich, P.G. 66 Smilga, I.T. 127 Smolny Institute 113, 119,

222 Sociäldemokräts 140, 150ff Socialist Revolutionaries, Party of 12, 26, 31, 52, 55, 56, 60, 63, 66, 67, 115, 120, 122, 176, 177, 184, 202, 203, 204, 213, 224, 229 Skolov, N.D. 114 Soloviev, V.I. 68

Index Sorokin, P. 243 Sotsial-demokrat 194, 196, 208 Soviets of Peasants Deputies 162-64 -Congress of 116 -Moscow Oblast Soviet of 61, 80 Soviets of Soldiers Deputies -Moscow 61, 66, 79 Soviet of Workers Deputies -Riga 173, 177, 178 Soviets of Workers & Soldiers Deputies 3, 5, 13, 16, 100-11, 126 —First All-Russian Congress of 101, 201, 217 -Second All-Russian Congress of 17, 18, 69, 222 -Fourth All-Russian Congress of 228 -Central Executive Committee of 7, 101, 103, 107, 108, 115, 126, 174, 203, 22326, 229, 230, ¿32, 239 -Military Revolutionary Committee of 63, 64, 222, 229 -Moscow Soviet 4, 16, 60, 61, 67 -Executive Committee of 60 -Military Revolution-*" ary Committee of 63-69 -Petrograd Soviet 4, 5, 16, 20, 21, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35-, 36, 37, 38, 39, 101, 105, 112, 114, 115, 123,


-Petrograd Soviet (continued) 178, 202, 226 -Executive Committee of 23, 24, 36, 37, 107, 113 -Department for Militia Affairs of 35 -Vasilevskii Island raion Soviet 29 -Vyborg raion Soviet 35, 38 —Northern Oblast Congress of 102, 222 Sovetskaia istoricheskaia entsiklopediia 46, 72, 185 Spandarian, s.s . 217 Stalin, J.V . 1 , 3, 8, 94, 116, 129, 173, 95, 114, : 184, 187, 215 -17, 257, 258., 262, 263 , 266 Stankevich, V.B . 84, 181, 183 Startsev, V .1. 23, 123 Stasova, E.:D. 91, 218, 240 Steklov, Iu .M. 223, 226 Stradnieku avtze 136, 137, 150ff Struve, P.B. 1 Stucka, P.I. 136, 142, 144ff, 156, 165, 166, 168, 172 Sukhanov, N.N. 3, 86, 162, 163, 228, 229 Sukhanova, G. 221 Sverdlov, I.A. 7, 8, 116, 126, 128, 211-40 Sverdlova, K.T. 214

Tambov 229 Temkin, Ia.G» 185, 206 Teodorovich, I.A. 217 Third International. See Communist International



Tolstoy, L.N. 82, 92 trade unions 58, 61, 103, 107, 109, 114, 118, 178 -Central Bureau of 58, 74 Trifonov, E.A. 123 Trifonov, V.A. 41 Trotsky, L.D. 1, 2, 3, 85, 100, 104, 105, 123, 126, 165, 171, 186, 188, 190, 193, 196, 201, 206, 208, 222, 223, 225, 229, 231, 232, 240, 243, 246, 250, 257, 258,261 Trukan, G.A. 54, 70, 73, 75, 77, 79 Tsaritsyn 258 Tsereteli, l.G. 106 Tsypkin, G.A. 65,< 77 Tucker, R.C. 1, 194 Tugan-Baranovskii, M.I. 126

Ukraine 2, 82, 206, 231, 240, 241 Ulam, A.B. 200, 201, 256, 261 Urals 82, 105, 213, 217, 227 Uritskii, M.S. 221 Usievich, G.A. 63

Vaillant, Roger 244 de Val, Henry 244 Valka 181 Vedernikov, A.S. 68 Veger,, I.S. 63, 69, 78, 80 Vekhi 45 Viatka 114 Villa Durnovo (Petrograd) 109 VÍnogradskaia, P. 249-51 Voitinskii, V.S. 181, 183

Volobuev, P.V. 70, 76 Volodarskii, V. 226 Vologda 114 Von Laue, T.H. 231, 240 Voronezh Guberniia 115, 116 Vpered 62 Vyborg 91, 93, 112, 118, 173

Warski, A.S. 194 Wildman, A.K. 1, 6 Williams, A.R. 243 Witte, S.Iu. 214 Worker control 110 Workers' Opposition 241, 242, 245 World War I 13, 144

Zalutskii, P.A. 114 zemliachestva 86 Zemstvo 13 Zhenotdel 8, 240, 241, 245, 246 Zimmerwald Movement 185, 192, 193, 200, 201, 207 Zinoviev, G.E. 3, 7, 16, 18, 171, 184ff, 217, 226 237 -works of 185, 192, 193 205, 207-208 Zlatoust 229 Zvezda 207, 215