100 years ago, 2 (15) March 1917, Russian Emperor Nicholas II abdicated. The court historian of the tsar, General Dmitry Dubensky, who constantly accompanied him on trips during the war, commented on the renunciation in the following way: “I handed in as a squadron was handed over ... I had to go not to Pskov, but to the Guard, to the Special Army”.
The day before, the tsar's train, having failed to drive in the direction of Petrograd, which was already controlled by the rebels, arrived in Pskov. There was the headquarters of the armies of the Northern Front under the command of General Nikolai Ruzsky, and the king hoped for his defense. However, even here the autocrat expected a heavy blow: as it turned out, Ruzsky was a secret opponent of the monarchy and did not personally like Nicholas II. And the chief of staff of the army, General Alekseev, organized by telegraph a “general opinion poll”. The next day, all the front commanders had already sent telegrams to the tsar with requests to lay down power to save the country. After that, Nicholas II signed a manifesto on the abdication in favor of his younger brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich. But the next day, he also refused the crown, saying that he would put it on only if the Constituent Assembly of the new Russia favors this. At the same time, a de facto dual power was established in Petrograd: on the one hand, the Provisional Government of Russia, on the other, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies.
Thus, the palace coup ended with the complete success of the conspirators-fendists. Autocracy fell, and with it began the collapse of the empire. Fevralista, without realizing it, opened a Pandora's box. The revolution has just begun. The fevralists, after crushing the autocracy and seizing power, hoped that with the help of the Entente (the West) they would be able to build a "new, free Russia", but they were greatly mistaken. They overwhelmed the last obstacle that had restrained the fundamental social contradictions that had been accumulating in the Romanovs for centuries. Began a general collapse, a civilizational disaster.
In the countryside, begins its own peasant war - the defeat of landowners' estates, arson, armed clashes. Even before October 1917, peasants would burn almost all the landlords 'estates and divide the landowners' lands. The separation of not only Poland and Finland, but also of Little Russia (Little Russia-Ukraine) begins. In Kiev on March 4 (17), the Ukrainian Central Council was created, which spoke of autonomy. On March 6 (March 19), the 100th demonstration was held under the slogans "Autonomy to Ukraine", "Free Ukraine in Free Russia", "Long Live Free Ukraine with the Hetman at the Head". All over Russia, all kinds of nationalists and separatists raised their heads. National formations (gangs) appear in the Caucasus and the Baltic states. The Cossacks, formerly faithful support of the throne, also become separatists. In fact, independent state formations arose - the Don Army, the Kuban Army, etc. Kronstadt and the Baltic Fleet in the spring of 1917 got out of the control of the Provisional Government. Mass killings of officers in the army and on navy, the officers lose control of the units entrusted to them, the army loses its combat readiness by the summer of 1917 and falls apart. And all this without any influence of the Bolsheviks!
February 28 (March 13)
The uprising continued to gain momentum. In 08.25, General Khabalov sent a telegram to GHQ: “The number of remaining loyal to duty was reduced to 600 infantry and to 500 people. riders with 13 machine guns and 12 guns with 80 cartridges in all. The situation is extremely difficult. ” In 9.00 — 10.00, he answered questions from General Ivanov and said that at his disposal, in the building of the Main Admiralty, “four guards companies, five squadrons and hundreds, two batteries. Other troops went over to the side of the revolutionaries or remain neutral by agreement with them. Some soldiers and gangs roam the city, shooting at passers-by, disarming officers ... All the stations are dominated by revolutionaries, they are strictly guarded ... All artillery establishments are dominated by revolutionaries ... ”.
Armed workers and soldiers, advancing from the assembly point at the People’s House in Alexander Park, crushed the outposts at the Birzhevoy and Tuchkov bridges and opened the way to Vasilyevsky Island. The 180 Infantry Regiment and the Finnish Regiment revolted here. The sailors were joined by sailors of the 2 of the Baltic naval crew and the cruiser Aurora, which was under repair at the Franco-Russian plant near Kalinkin Bridge. By noon the Peter and Paul Fortress was taken. The garrison of the fortress went over to the side of the rebels. The commandant of the fortress, Adjutant General Nikitin, recognized the new government. The soldiers of the reserve battalion of the Pavlovsky regiment, who were arrested two days earlier, were released. At the disposal of the rebels turned out to be artillery of the Peter and Paul Fortress. In 12.00, revolutionaries presented an ultimatum to General Khabalov: under the threat of shelling by means of the guns of the Peter and Paul Fortress, they left the Admiralty. General Khabalov removed the remnants of government troops from the building of the Main Admiralty and transferred them to the Winter Palace. Soon the Winter Palace was occupied by troops sent by the Provisional Committee and the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. The remnants of government forces went over to the rebels. Pal and the headquarters of the Petrograd Military District. Generals Khabalov, Belyaev, Balk and others were arrested. Thus, about 400 thousand people with 899 enterprises and 127 thousand soldiers took part in the movement on this day and the uprising ended with a complete victory for the rebels.
The new centers of power were finally formed. On the night of February 28, the Provisional Committee of the State Duma announced that it was taking power into its own hands, in view of the termination of its activities by N. D. Golitsyn. State Duma Chairman Rodzianko sent the appropriate telegram to the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander General Alekseev, commander of fronts and fleets: "The Provisional Committee of the State Duma informs your Excellency that, due to the removal of the entire composition of the former Council of Ministers, the government has now passed to the Provisional Committee of the State Duma" . During the day, the Provisional Committee appointed General L. G. Kornilov to the post of commander of the troops of the Petrograd district and sent out his commissars to all the ministries.
At the same time, a second center of power was being formed - the Petrograd Soviet. On February 27, the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Council distributed leaflets calling on the factories and soldiers to elect their deputies and send them to the Tauride Palace. Already in 21.00, in the left wing of the Tauride Palace, the first meeting of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies headed by the Menshevik N. S. Chkheidze began, the labor of A. F. Kerensky and the Menshevik M. I. Skobelev became deputies. All three were State Duma deputies and masons.
By five o'clock in the morning of February 28, the imperial trains left Mahiliou. The trains were to be crossed about 950 versts on the route Mogilyov - Orsha - Vyazma - Likhoslavl - Tosno - Gatchina - Tsarskoe Selo. But they did not arrive there. By the morning of March 1, the lettered trains were able to get through Bologoye only to Malaya Vishera, where they were forced to turn around and go back to Bologoye, where only by the evening of March 1 arrived in Pskov, where the headquarters of the Northern Front was located. With the departure, the Supreme Commander was actually cut off from his Headquarters for forty hours, as the telegraph message worked intermittently and with delays.
1 (14) March
In this situation, the mood of the tsarist generals, its willingness to support the king and suppress the uprising in the capital, is increasingly taking the first place. And also the readiness of the tsar himself to fight to the end and decide on the toughest measures, right up to the beginning of the civil war (it was already inevitable, with the separation of the national suburbs, the peasant war and the most severe class struggle).
However, the higher generals participated in the conspiracy. In Pskov, the headquarters of the armies of the Northern Front was under the command of General Nikolai Ruzsky, and the king hoped for his defense. However, even here the autocrat expected a heavy blow - as it turned out, Ruza was a secret opponent of the monarchy and did not personally like Nicholas II. Upon the arrival of the royal train, the general pointedly did not organize the usual meeting ceremony, appeared on the platform late, advising "to surrender to the mercy of the winner."
Headquarters Headquarters Mikhail Alekseev was also inclined to support the Februaryists. Even before the February uprising, he was appropriately "processed", inclined to support the conspiracy. Historian G.M. Katkov wrote: “It was impossible to avoid official contacts between the commanders-in-chief of the fronts and the leaders of public organizations whose functions were to help the army, to care for the wounded and sick, in the ever-increasing and expanding organization of the supply of food, clothing, fodder and even weapons and ammunition. Leaders of public organizations ... were not slow to take advantage of official contacts to constantly complain about the inertia of government agencies and to exacerbate the problems that already complicated relations between commanders-in-chief and ministries. Guchkov himself and his deputy Konovalov worked on Alekseeva at GHQ, and Tereshchenko, the head of the Kiev military-industrial committee, made every effort to influence Brusilov, the commander-in-chief of the South-Western Front, in the same vein. ” Katkov noted that the position taken by General Alekseev both during this period and during the February events can be qualified as two-faced, dual, insincere, although the general tried to avoid direct participation in the conspiracy.
According to historian G.M. Katkov, “in the evening of February 28, Alekseev ceased to be an obedient executor towards the king and assumed the role of mediator between the monarch and his rebellious parliament. Only Rodzianko, creating the false impression that Petrograd was under his complete control, could have caused such a change in Alekseev ”(G. M. Katkov. February Revolution).
As stated shortly before his death in emigration, one of the most active conspirators, Chairman of the Central Military Industrial Committee A. I. Guchkov, who from February to August 1916, sent Alekseev privately to his general bitter observations and advice about the unsatisfactory work of the rear, from February to August 1917 "... I was so aware [of the fact that in well-known circles there may be well-known plans], which was done by an indirect participant." An indirect fact that Alekseev supported the Februaryists and the transfer of power to the liberal-bourgeois government is the fact that he, when the Bolsheviks took power, with the support of the then political and financial-economic elite of Russia, became one of the founders of the White movement. Fevralisty, losing power in October XNUMX, unleashed a civil war, trying to return Russia to the past.
At a time when the Stavka and the high command had to act in the most decisive manner to suppress the uprising, they dragged time. If at first Alekseev quite accurately covered the situation in the capital before the commanders-in-chief of the fronts, then from February 28 he began to indicate that the events in Petrograd had calmed down, that the troops, "joining the Provisional Government in full, are being put in order", that the Provisional Government "under the chairmanship Rodzianki "says" the need for new bases for the selection and appointment of the government. " That the negotiations will lead to a common world and will avoid bloodshed, that the new government in Petrograd is filled with goodwill and is ready with new energy to contribute to military efforts. Thus, everything was done to stop any decisive actions to suppress the insurgency by armed forces, to prevent General Ivanov from forming a strike force to suppress the uprising. In turn, the leaders of the Februaryists, Rodzianko, were keenly interested in stopping the expeditionary forces of General Ivanov, which they considered far more numerous and stronger than they actually were. The Provisional Committee created the illusion that it keeps Petrograd under complete control.
Confused and the king. On the night of 1 (14) on 2 (15) in March, General Ivanov received a telegram from Nicholas II, which he sent after his negotiations with the commander of the Northern Front, General Ruzsky, acting on the basis of agreements with the Chairman of the State Duma Rodzyanko: “Tsarskoe Selo. Hope to arrive safely. I ask you not to take any measures before my arrival and report. ” 2 (15) March, General Ivanov received a dispatch from the emperor, canceling the previous instructions on the movement to Petrograd. As a result of negotiations between the emperor and the commander-in-chief of the Northern Front, General Ruzsky, all the troops previously assigned to General Ivanov stopped and returned to the front. In this way, the highest generals in alliance with the conspirators in the capital disrupted the possibility of an immediate military operation to restore order in Petrograd.
On the same day, the Provisional Government took shape. At an expanded meeting of the Provisional Committee of the Duma with the participation of the Central Committee of the Cadet Party, the Bureau of the “progressive bloc” of the State Duma deputies, and representatives of the Petrograd Soviet, the composition of the cabinet of ministers was agreed, the formation of which was announced the next day. The first chairman of the Provisional Government was a high-level Freemason Prince George Lvov, formerly known as a cadet, and then a progressive, State Duma deputy and prominent figure in the Russian zemstvo. It was assumed that the Provisional Government would have to manage Russia before the elections to the Constituent Assembly, at which delegates elected in democratic elections will decide what the new form of government of the country will be.
They adopted a political program from the 8 points: full and immediate amnesty for all political and religious affairs, including terrorist attacks, military uprisings; democratic freedoms for all citizens; the abolition of all class, religious and national restrictions; preparation for elections to the Constituent Assembly and to local governments on the basis of universal, equal, direct and secret voting; the replacement of the police by the people's militia with an elected official; the troops that took part in the revolutionary uprising in Petrograd remained in the capital and kept weapons; soldiers received all public rights.
The Petrograd Soviet formally recognized the power of the Provisional Government (only the Bolsheviks who were its members objected). But in fact he himself issued decrees and orders without the consent of the Provisional Government, which increased the chaos and confusion in the country. Thus, the 1 (14) of March issued the so-called “order No. 1” on the Petrograd garrison, which legitimized the soldiers' committees and placed at their disposal all weapons, and the officers were deprived of disciplinary power over the soldiers. With the adoption of the order, the principle of unity of command, fundamental for any army, was violated, as a result of which a collapse in discipline and fighting capacity began, and then the complete disintegration of the whole army.
In modern Russia, where part of the “elite” and the public ”enthusiastically creates the myth of the“ crunch of the French loaf ”- an almost perfect device of the“ old Russia ”(which implies the idea of the need to restore the then orders in the Russian Federation), it is considered that massacres of officers began under the Bolsheviks. However, this is not true. Lynches of officers began during the February coup. So, when 26 February, the rebels captured Arsenal, where the famous artillery systems designer, Major General Nikolai Zabudsky was killed.
1 (14) March killings have become widespread. On this day, the first victim was the watch lieutenant Gennady Bubnov, who refused to change the flag of St. Andrew to the revolutionary red battleship “Andrew the First-Called” - he was “raised to the bayonets”. When Admiral Arkady Nebolsin himself, who commanded a battleship brigade in Helsingfors (modern Helsinki), climbed onto the battleship of the battleship, the sailors shot him, and then five more officers. In Kronstadt, also 1 (14 in March), Admiral Robert Viren was stabbed with bayonets on the main square and rear-admiral Alexander Butakov was shot dead. 4 (17) in March in Helsingfors, the commander of the Baltic Fleet, Admiral Adrian Nepenin, was already shot dead, who personally supported the Provisional Government, but negotiated with him secretly from electoral committees of sailors, which aroused their suspicions. Nepeninu also recalled his rude temper and inattention to the requests of sailors to improve life.
It is worth noting that from that moment, Kronstadt, and the way the Bolsheviks imposed their order there, became an independent “republic”. In essence, Kronstadt was a kind of Zaporizhian Sich with a sailor anarchist freemen instead of the “independent” Cossacks. And finally, Kronstadt will be “calmed down” only in the 1921 year.
Then the commandant of the Sveaborg fortress, VN Protopopov, lieutenant-general for the fleet, commanders of 1 and 2 of Kronstadt naval crews N. Stronsky and A. Girs, commander of the battleship "Imperator Alexander II", captain 1 of rank N. Povalishin, were killed. , the commander of the cruiser "Aurora" Captain 1 rank M. Nikolsky and many other naval and land officers. By 15 March, the Baltic Fleet lost 120 officers. In Kronstadt, moreover, at least 12 land army officers were killed. Several officers committed suicide or went missing. Hundreds of officers were attacked or arrested. For example, for comparison: all the fleets and fleets of Russia have lost 245 officers since the beginning of the First World War. Gradually, rampant violence began to penetrate the province.
To be continued ...