The collapse of the control system and the army
Fevralista-Westerners, seizing power and destroying autocracy under the banner of "freedoms", began to destroy everything and everyone, breaking the last bond that still held back many contradictions and faults formed in the Romanov Empire. In one fell swoop, the entire system of civil administration was swept away: the administration, the gendarmerie, the secret police, the police, etc. Unlimited freedom of speech, press, assembly, rallies were proclaimed, the death penalty was abolished. The Petrograd Soviet issued Order No. 1 for the troops, which led to the "democratization" of the army. And all this in the conditions of the war, which led Russia! Attempts by the generals to stop the collapse of the army did not have much success.
A general amnesty was declared, “political” - radical, revolutionary activists of all stripes, and tens of thousands of criminals came out. In addition, the cities were inundated with deserters, many of whom were armed and found a place among the bandits. Even during the February-March coup, many prisons were destroyed, police stations, secret police offices were burned down, and unique archives with data on criminals and foreign agents were destroyed. Taking into account the dispersal of the old police, the loss of the majority of law enforcement personnel, a real criminal revolution began, the eternal companion of any distemper. Crime jumped several times. In some cities even imposed a state of siege. In Russia, the foundation was laid for the emergence of another “front” - the “green” (gangster).
Shock units of revolutionary militants are sent to Russia. From Switzerland, Lenin drove through Germany with his team. There was a double game - Western intelligence agencies tried to use the leader of the Bolsheviks to strengthen the unrest in Russia, and Lenin himself used the organizational and material capabilities of the Westerners to seize power in Russia. Trotsky (after the liquidation of Lenin) was to become a true conductor of the interests of the West and the future leader of colonial Russia. Trotsky moved out of New York, having US citizenship and a British visa. True, in Canada he was detained as a German spy, but not for long. Held and released, as a "deserved fighter against tsarism." The owners of the United States and Britain planned to completely destroy Russia and solve the “Russian question” (a thousand-year standoff between Russian and Western civilizations). The US “Gray Cardinal” House wrote to President Wilson: “The rest of the world will live more calmly if there are four Russia in the world instead of huge Russia. One is Siberia, and the rest are the divided European part of the country. ” The great Western powers, Turkey and Japan have already divided Russia into spheres of influence and colonies. At the same time, Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, which initially seize significant pieces of the Russian Empire, will soon be left unchanged. They waited for the fate of the vanquished - the collapse and partition. On the first role out of England, France, USA and Japan. In this case, the owners of the United States claimed the most "fatty piece" of Russia - Siberia (for the Americans it will be seized by the Czechoslovak Corps).
L. Trotsky agitates soldiers
Disruptive, destructive and chaotic actions of the Provisional Government fit perfectly into the plans of the owners of the West to destroy Russia. In fact, the feudalist Westerners, the Russian masons themselves realized the old plans of the masters of the West to destroy Great Russia. They launched the first wave of the demolition of Russian statehood and civilization, were obedient tools in the hands of foreigners. Foreign ambassadors Buchanan and Paleolog disposed of the ministers of the Provisional Government, as their clerks. Each of their words became an indication, binding. We see a similar picture in modern Ukraine, where American and European officials easily turn the representatives of the Ukrainian “elite”. In essence, the Provisional Government became an occupational administration, “provisional” until the complete colonization of Russia. Then it was possible to disperse in Paris and London, to the "honorable retirement."
Foreign Minister Miliukov staged patriotic demonstrations under the windows of the British Embassy! He walked with the demonstrators, shouting slogans of "loyalty to the allies" (as we recall, the "allies" waged war with Germany until the last Russian soldier). In his speeches, Milyukov did not tire of expressing allegiance to the Entente: "Based on the principles put forward by President Wilson, as well as the Entente powers ...". “These ideas are completely consistent with those of President Wilson.” True, even such a democrat as Milyukov did not completely suit the West. He recalled the agreements concluded under the king, declared "historical mission ”of Russia to occupy Constantinople, take Turkish (Western) Armenia under the protectorate, and annex Galicia. The West did not like such requests. Buchanan and the Paleologue hinted, and Miliukov retired. They appointed Mikhail Tereshchenko, who already did not stutter about any acquisitions of Russia. He argued that the main thing for Russia in the war was “to withstand, to keep the allies friendly.” In the United States, a new ambassador, Bakhmetyev, was appointed, who even asked (!) That Wilson took a leading role in world politics and "allowed Russia to follow him." In Russia, under the Provisional Government, various Western adventurers, speculators, dark dealers, who were in full predation and exported strategic resources, rushed in even greater numbers. The interim government offered oil, coal, gold and copper deposits and railroads in concessions.
War Minister Guchkov has launched a “purge” in the army. They removed the "reactionaries", including Yudenich, Sakharov, Evert, Kuropatkin and others. The "liberals" were put forward in their place. Often these were talented commanders — Kornilov, Denikin, Krymov, and others. Many of them would later lead the White movement, launching the Civil War in Russia, which they would “order” from abroad. At the same time, a dull stream of various agitators, government commissars with corrupting opinions, leaders of the Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, anarchists, various nationalists, etc. will rush into the army. Replenishments that have been poured into front-line units have already been dispersed in the rear. In some places, officers, among whom were many liberal intelligentsia, who greatly diluted the knocked out backbone of the imperial army, themselves introduced “democracy”, fraternized with the soldiers. Discipline collapsed to zero, the army literally in front of the once formidable force capable of beating external enemies and maintaining order inside the country, turned into a crowd of revolutionary soldiers who were ready to run home and begin the redistribution of land. Peasants and deserted soldiers throughout the country already burned landlord estates and divided the land, in fact, starting a new peasant war. Neither the Provisional Government, nor the bourgeois and white governments will not be able to curb this element, only the Bolsheviks will be able to calm the peasants (by force and development program).
The results of the revolutionary changes (we will note even before the Bolsheviks seized power) had an immediate effect. Germans in April, a small force undertook a private operation on the South-Western Front in order to recapture the Chervishchensky bridgehead on the r. Stokhod. He was defended by units of the 3 Corps of the 3 Army (more than 14 thousand soldiers). In the battle, about 1 thousand people were injured or killed, more than 10 thousand people were missing, that is, they surrendered or deserted. The German command quickly realized what was going on. Ludendorff came to the conclusion that the Russian army can no longer be feared, there was a temporary lull at the front. The Austro-German command ordered not to disturb the Russians, they say, their front is already falling apart. For their part, the Germans also helped the Russian army to decay. An excellent material was the exodus of the Provisional Government in front of the Entente. The agitators suggested that the “capitalist ministers” had sold out and the soldiers were already fighting for the interests of the foreign bourgeois. Leaflets were distributed: “Russian soldiers are victims of the British instigators of war” (which was close to the truth). In Berlin, approved the formula of General Goffman: called for "a world without annexations", but at the same time introduced the principle of "the right of nations to self-determination." The Germans understood that the western regions of Russia (Finland, the Baltic States, Poland, Little Russia), which "self-determined", would immediately fall under the control of the Second Reich.
Minister of War Guchkov was a traditional Westerner. He believed that Russia should become a constitutional monarchy according to the British model, to develop according to the Western matrix. That the goals of liberals and Western powers in Russia have already been achieved. Stabilization is needed, you can no longer "rock the boat." Therefore, when the “Declaration of the Rights of the Soldier” was submitted to the government, it distributed Order No. 1 of the Petrosoviet to the entire army. Guchkov opposed this "Declaration." He did not want to break through the armed forces. On May 12, Guchkov resigned, was not liberal enough. He turned to the head of government, Prince George Lvov, with a letter, in fact recognizing the impossibility of resisting anarchy and the decomposition of the army: “In view of the conditions in which the government is placed in the country, in particular, the power of the military and naval ministers in relation to the army and fleet, - conditions that I cannot change, and which threaten the fateful consequences of the defense, freedom and the very existence of Russia - I honestly can no longer bear the duties of a military and naval minister, and share responsibility for the grave sin that is happening in relation to homeland. " The Minister of War was the protege of the Masonic “backstage” Kerensky. The collapse of the army was continued.
There was a quick change of supreme commanders. After the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, this post was taken by Alekseev. On May 20, at the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander in Mogilev, the I All-Russian Officer Congress began, at which about 300 delegates gathered. The Union of Army and Navy Officers was formed. Among the speakers were the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, General Mikhail Alekseev, chief of staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, General Anton Denikin, chairman of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma, Mikhail Rodzianko, representatives of the Allies in the Entente. Alekseev said that “Russia is dying. She stands on the edge of the abyss. A few more jolts ahead, and it will fall with all its weight into this abyss. You will not bribe an enemy with a utopian phrase: “a world without annexations and indemnities”. The officers tried to save at least part of the army by creating the so-called. "Shock parts", "death battalions". The troops began to form such units, including national ones — Ukrainian, Georgian, Serbs living in Russia, women’s, and so on, which were to be recruited exclusively from volunteers deliberately “going to their death.” An example of such units, according to the officers, was to "infect" the entire army with consciousness. However, this initiative could not stop the general collapse. Yes, and the national units eventually became the core of the formations, which took an active part in dragging Russia along national corners and unleashing a civil war.
22 May in Russia was published "Declaration of the Rights of a Soldier", approved by the Minister of War and Navy Minister Kerensky. This document finally equalized the rights of servicemen with the civilian population. The equation of rights with civilians primarily meant that political campaigning on the front lines was legalized. All the parties at once “went to the trenches”: newspapers, leaflets, brochures, posters, etc. were widely distributed among the soldiers. Only the cadets distributed around 2 million leaflets and posters, but they were mostly viewed by officers. Soldiers in the main mass more readily perceived the information of the Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, after which the materials of the Bolsheviks went: "News of the Petrograd Soviet", "Voice of a Soldier", "Rabochaya Gazeta", "Army Affair", "Soldier's Truth", "Social Democrat" and so on. The Bolsheviks, who in February had almost no noticeable press in the society, sharply increased their propaganda among the troops. The circulation of the newspaper Pravda reached 85 thousand copies, Soldatskoy Pravda - 75 thousand. By the beginning of June more than 100 thousand copies of newspapers per day were delivered to the troops, which in practice meant the delivery of Bolshevik materials to almost every company.
It is not surprising that when Commander-in-Chief of the South-Western Front, General Alexey Brusilov, learned about the publication of the “Declaration”, he clutched his head: “If it is announced, there is no salvation. And then I do not consider it possible to remain a single day at my post. ”
Distribution of newspapers to parts
Alekseev was also a feminist; without his participation, the autocracy could not have been so easily dumped. But, like Guchkov, he did not want the collapse of the army and Russia, so he protested against the “Declaration”, and 4 of June removed it. Appointed supreme Brusilov, hoping for his popularity among the troops. The general himself was skeptical about his new assignment: "I understood that, in essence, the war was over for us, because there was, of course, no means to force the troops to fight." However, he tried to at least do something to strengthen the army. Brusilov spoke to the soldiers at rallies, tried to rely on the soldiers' committees, to build a "new, revolutionary discipline," but without success. Went already complete collapse.
Here is such a picture in the troops and the country reigned before the planned decisive summer offensive of the Russian army. The military historian Zayonchkovsky described this collapse in those days: “At the beginning of May (according to the old style, according to the new style — in the second half of May - A.S.), when Kerensky received the portfolio of the military and naval minister, he began feverish preparations for active actions on front. Kerensky moves from one army to another, from one corps to another and is furiously agitating for a general offensive. The Socialist-Revolutionary-Menshevik Soviets and front committees in every way helped Kerensky. In order to suspend the ongoing collapse of the army, Kerensky proceeded to the formation of voluntary shock units. “To step, step!” - Kerensky shouted hysterically, wherever possible, and he was echoed by officers and front, army regimental committees, especially the South-Western Front. The soldiers, who were in the trenches, came to the "scouts" who called for war and an offensive, who were not only indifferent and indifferent, but also hostile. The vast majority of the mass of soldiers was, as before, against any offensive action. ... The mood of these masses is illustrated by one of the typical letters of soldiers of that time: “If this war does not end soon, then it seems to be a bad story. When will our bloodthirsty, fat-bellied bourgeois get drunk to the full? And just let them dare to delay the war for a few more time, then we will go to them with weapons in the hands and then no one will be given mercy. Our whole army asks and waits for peace, but the whole damned bourgeoisie does not want to give us and is waiting for them to be massacred. ” Such was the menacing mood of the overwhelming majority of the soldiers at the front. In the rear - in Petrograd, Moscow and other cities - a wave of anti-war demonstrations took place. Rallies were held under Bolshevik slogans: “Down with the capitalist ministers!”, “All power to the Soviets!”
Brusilov and the front commanders begged the government that with the army disintegrated it was impossible to launch a decisive offensive. In defense, she is still poorly holding herself, defending herself, dragging out considerable enemy forces, supporting her allies. If you break this balance, it will be bad. And indeed, after the failure of the Nivelles offensive on the Western Front, the Russian offensive has already lost all meaning. However, the Western powers demanded that the Provisional Government fulfill the "union debt." The Russian army again had to wash with blood for the sake of the "allies." Buchanan and Paleologue pressured the government; the French minister Tom was specially visited by the Russian capital. Connected and the Americans. A famous banker and Zionist leader Yakof Schiff addressed the Provisional Government with a personal message. Persuaded to overcome the "reconciliation mood" and "intensify efforts." President Woodrow Wilson sent E. Ruta’s mission to Russia. He reminded the ministers about the promised loan in 325 million dollars and put the question firmly: the money will be allocated only in case of the onset of the Russian army. As a result, the money was not given, but beckoned to them.
Kerensky at the front
To be continued ...