The anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (and for someone the coup d'état carried out by the hirelings of the German General Staff) clearly demonstrated the division into reds and whites that was not overcome in society.
A figure of Trotsky pours oil on the fire, with which the entire series on the central channel is dedicated. In this regard, it is worth talking about the role of the individual in stories. Take the same Trotsky or Lenin, Budyonny, Voroshilov, Dumenko, Kikvidze, Mironov. These very different people share a common trait: they were ready to go and die for them. They had the ability to light their hearts with faith in the rightness of their cause. Undoubtedly, these Bolshevik military leaders and politicians had charisma, multiplied - in the case of Lenin and Trotsky - by the ruthlessness of enemies. And this led the Reds to victory.
In recent decades, much has been written about the leaders of the White movement, reprinting their memoirs, diaries. Historians, analyzing the reasons for the defeat of the forces of counter-revolution, draw attention to many factors: military, political, economic. However, in my opinion, one of the key reasons for the defeat of the White movement lies in the factor of the leader. From April 1918 to April 1920, the combined forces of the counter-revolution in southern Russia were led by Lieutenant-General Anton Denikin. He turned out to be the most successful White Guard commander who managed to bring his army almost to Moscow.
Hero but not leader
Eyewitnesses recalled: Denikin did not bow to the bullets in either the Russian-Japanese or the First World War or the Civil War, did not hide behind others' backs, in the days of the Novorossiysk tragedy in March 1920 didn’t enter the ship sailing to the Crimea last one. During the Second World War he lived in poverty, but refused to cooperate with the Germans, died a staunch opponent of the Bolsheviks in a situation where many emigrants, impressed by the success of the Red Army, were ready to accept Soviet power.
It would seem that adamant towards enemies, ascetic in everyday life, a brave and honest general, who did not change his convictions under the blows of fate, is a charismatic person. He was even at one time, when the whites attained considerable military successes in the south of Russia, they were called “Tsar Anton”. But was Denikin a "king" in the eyes of his closest associates, or at least the lower ranks?
Anton Ivanovich was publicly criticized by subordinate generals, say, Peter Wrangel, allowed him to be treated in a rude manner (Mikhail Drozdovsky), did not fully execute his operational orders (Don Commander Vladimir Sidorin).
Denikin was not able to maintain faith in himself with the overwhelming majority of officers, some of whom were popular with Wrangel, who left a curious characteristic of the commander in chief: “As I watched General Denikin, his appearance became more and more clear to me. One of our most outstanding generals, remarkable abilities, possessing extensive military knowledge and great combat experience, he during the Great War deservedly moved forward among military leaders. Subsequently, in the role of the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander at the beginning of the troubles, he honestly and courageously tried to stop the collapse in the army, rally ... all the Russian officers. He was fluent in words, his speech was strong and imaginative. At the same time, speaking with the troops, he did not know how to capture the hearts of the people. His appearance ... he resembled the average man in the street. He did not have everything that affects the crowd, lights the hearts and captures the souls. Having made his way through the army only through knowledge and work, he developed his own and a certain view on the conditions and phenomena of life, firmly and definitely held this view, excluding all that, as it seemed to him, is outside these indisputable truths for him.
The son of an army officer, who himself spent most of his service in the army, he, being at its top, retained many of the characteristics of his environment — provincial, petty-bourgeois, with a liberal undertone. From this environment remained with him an unconscious prejudice against "aristocracy", "court", "guard", painfully developed scruples, involuntary desire to protect their dignity from illusory encroachments.
Fate suddenly dumped on his shoulders a huge, alien to him state work, threw him into the very whirlpool of political intrigue. In this work, which was alien to him, he apparently lost himself, fearing to make a mistake, did not trust anyone, and at the same time did not find in himself sufficient forces with a firm and confident hand to lead the state ship through the turbulent political sea. ”
In this case, it is important to observe Wrangel of Denikin’s inability to kindle hearts and take possession of souls, which the baron himself could masterfully do — we honor orders issued during the Civil War from the pen of two worthy commanders.
It was Wrangel (and not only he) that remarked: Denikin lacked what would be called the entourage today and what the baron himself had, who, unlike Anton Ivanovich, had a spectacular appearance. He was tall, thin, lean, with a loud voice. And if the face of Wrangel carried the stamp of charisma on himself and was the image of a true leader, capable of subordinating others to his will, then Denikin's appearance, on the contrary, did not contain anything heroic.
In this sense, many Bolshevik leaders were also distinguished by their impressiveness and ability to capture the crowd. Trotsky turned his performances into real drama performances, long remembered by the soldiers. As a rule, the “Lion of the Revolution” was late — we must assume, deliberately — by the appointed date of his appearance on the scene. When the anxiety caused by the lack of a speaker accumulated to the limit, he burst onto the stage in a black leather overcoat and walked quickly to the edge of it, with a sharp movement of both hands he opened the overcoat and died down for a moment. All those sitting in the hall saw the red lining of his overcoat, the figure of a man in black leather clothes, a beard thrown forward and sparkling pince-nez glasses. Thunder of applause and shouts of greetings were the answer to this mise en scene.
In order to revive interest in his speech, Trotsky could unexpectedly withdraw a soldier from the ranks and, turning to him, declare — I quote the historian Yury Yemelyanov: “Brother! I am the same as you. You and I need freedom - you and me. It was given to us by the Bolsheviks (shows with hand towards the red positions). And from there (a sharp ejection of the hand in the direction of the enemy) today white officers and landlords can come to turn us into slaves again! ”
It is impossible to imagine that Denikin behaved in a similar way, who did not like the “lush phrase” at all. Sometimes his inability to speak with troops, primarily with private soldiers, to ignite their hearts led to military setbacks. Lieutenant Sergei Mamontov describes the commander in chief on the eve of the cavalry battle at Egorlykskaya, which largely decided the outcome of the campaign in the spring of 1920: “General Denikin flew by plane and addressed us with a speech. But there was wind and hard to hear. In addition, he spoke for a long time and soon it became tedious and boring. There would be needed Wrangel, in Circassian, on a wonderful horse, besieging his horse and throwing a few words. This could ignite the Cossacks. And not the stooping foot figure of Denikin and a long incomprehensible speech. ”
Anton Ivanovich did not become a charismatic leader even for a narrow circle of military and politicians, such as General from the Infantry Lavr Kornilov, and later on the larger scale of the army - Wrangel. At the same time, whites did not have an all-Russian leader or tribune, like Lenin and Trotsky.
In the minds of ordinary fighters and ordinary citizens, the charismatic personality is mythologized. So it was with Trotsky, who was called the red Bonaparte and about whom the American researcher Richard Pipes wrote that he "is the desperate son of the Tambov governor and stood up, albeit of a different rank, for the working class."
About Denikin myths are not composed. His very appointment as commander of the Volunteer Army after the death of Kornilov in April 1918 took place in view of the fact that he had support in a narrow circle of military: generals Markov, Alekseev, Lukomsky, Romanovsky. All of them treated him with respect, but did not bow to him at all and did not note in him the qualities inherent in the leader. In circumstances where Denikin led the army, he needed a man capable of taking him out of the blow, not leading him into battle. Anton Ivanovich coped brilliantly with this task, and most likely if he had not, the White movement in the south of Russia would have been crushed in the spring of 1918.
I could not and did not want
Lieutenant-General Peter Makhrov, who left the most interesting psychological portraits of the most famous White Guard commanders, thinking about the attitude towards Denikin in the army, wrote that if the youth were enthusiastic about Wrangel, then the experienced officers looked hopefully at Denikin. According to the duty general staff of the commander-in-chief, Major-General Sergei Trukhachev and his assistant, Major-General Nikolai Ern, Anton Ivanovich was the only one who understood the situation and approached questions about military operations from the point of view of not only strategic, but also state, political.
It is important to note that a charismatic person cannot be influenced by anyone. Georgy Shavelsky, the protopresbyter of the Volunteer Army, who closely watched Denikin, recalled: “The greatest influence on the gene. Denikin enjoyed the chief of staff gene. I. P. Romanovsky, in his turn, was very attentive to the "cadets", among which N. I. Astrov and M. M. Fedotov played the first role (figures completely devoid of the qualities of leaders. - I. Kh.). Dragomirov and Lukomsky were afraid of the influence of the “cadets” on Romanovsky and did not approve of the influence of the latter on Denikin. Lukomsky directly said to himself that he was not honored by the commander in chief, who considered him too right ... Unfortunately, I must say that neither in civilian nor in military circles is a gene. Denikin was not particularly popular. ”
Denikin himself did not seek to become a true leader, stating in one of the letters to Wrangel: “I don’t need any love, I don’t have to feed. There is a debt that I was guided and guided by. Intrigue and gossip have long been lagging around me, but I don’t attach importance to them and only grieve when they reach me. ”
However, the importance of intrigue Anton Ivanovich still attached. It was because of the fear of becoming their weapon that he locked himself in, trying to communicate only with devoted military comrades, above all, with Lieutenant-General Ivan Romanovsky, who was very unpopular in officer circles. That is, he chose a path that was completely unacceptable for a charismatic personality, suppressing all the intrigues around him, as did the replacement of Denikin as commander-in-chief Wrangel. He removed all of his critics from the army, including people whose authority in the White movement was high: former commander of the Don army, General Sidorin, his chief of staff, professor Lieutenant General Anatoly Kelchevsky, lieutenant General Yakov Slashchev, who managed to keep the spring 20-th Crimea, the famous Major-General Andrei Shkuro.
Thus, there are no sufficient grounds for asserting that Denikin was striving to be a “king,” felt himself to be him, communicating with the army. At the same time, he was probably really the power, especially in 1918, when the Volunteer Army had to fight with the superior forces of the enemy, not having a reliable rear. Then the life of the highest White Guard commanders was constantly under threat - that year Kornilov was killed, Markov died, Drozdovsky was mortally wounded, barely escaped the death or captivity of Wrangel.
Obviously, Denikin did not and could not become a symbol of the White movement, as the head of the military clergy of the Russian army of Wrangel, Metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov), wrote in his memoirs: “Denikin, White, Cadets said, but rarely General Denikin. And here about the whole movement (when it was headed by the baron. - I. Kh.) It was usually stated briefly: “General Wrangel” or even simpler: “Wrangel”. ”
This leads to the conclusion that Denikin was not a person in the army and Cossack circles, capable of rallying troops around himself and leading him. Although in fairness it should be noted that it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to unite all South Russian counter-revolutionary forces into a monolithic movement. Too polar goals set for themselves, for example, the Cossacks and volunteers. The latter sought to rid Russia of the Bolsheviks, the Cossacks — especially the Kuban — were ready to be satisfied with the liberation of their own villages and, if the new government agreed to their independence, recognize the legitimacy of the Soviets.
I emphasize once again: Denikin was not a man of power-loving and quite sincerely perceived power as a grave cross sent down by the Almighty. But the lack of lust for power prevents a person from becoming a true leader. And the fact that Anton Ivanovich did not want to be a leader, doomed the White movement to defeat. After all, if the troops do not believe in being the leader, then no strategy will lead them to victory, especially on the fields of the Civil War.
It seems that the tragedy of Denikin, as well as many other White Guard generals and officers, in their inner division, in the absence of integrity. On this, drawing a fairly accurate psychological portrait of Anton Ivanovich, wrote a researcher of his biography, Vladimir Cherkasov-Georgievsky. Trying to understand the motivation of Denikin’s actions, this author noted: “What was Denikin convinced by his origin, childhood, and youth? Yes, there was no integrity, a single coordinate system. The sign of such "forked" people is to do one thing, to imagine another. Denikin's fate, of course, is brighter than the path of some raznochinets. In her shine weapons, and the glory of the imperial victories, and the "thorns" of the White Guard. But in it is also the love of the Young Turk rationalism, although you yourself live not with your mind, but with your heart. And in Anton Ivanovich, all this was intelligently tried to get along with genuine Orthodox asceticism. ” The reason lies in the inner division of the Russian intelligentsia. Sergei Melgunov also said that the Volunteer Army "... was the army of the Russian intelligentsia in the broad sense of the word." Thousands of its representatives during the First World War put on military uniforms, replacing the embossed army personnel on the battlefields. After the revolution, military intellectuals became the basis and leaders of the White movement. We also remember the supreme ruler Alexander Kolchak as a polar scientist, General Denikin - as a talented writer and publicist. Before the war, Alekseev and Markov were engaged in teaching and were professors. Baron Wrangel was educated as a mining engineer, General Kornilov owned several eastern languages and was the author of a serious scientific work on Turkestan.
Already in exile in the Russian army, Wrangel intelligentsia played a predominant role. In Gallipoli, after the exodus from the Crimea, there were 50 percent of officers, and the rest in the vast majority were soldiers from intellectuals.
Their common tragedy is in the absence of many charisma, in the amorphous political views, in the inability to formulate the goals and objectives of the struggle in a language that is understandable and accessible to the common people. It is noteworthy that contemporaries characterized Kolchak in a way similar to Denikin. People often talked about him: “A tragic person,” “A fatal man who could steer a ship, but was unable to lead a country.” Could such a yes and burdened with principles and moral guidelines win the Civil War?