Forcing the Bolsheviks to leave the hall, the Constituent Assembly lost the quorum and did not have more legal force. Waste of time was interrupted by one of the guards at five o'clock in the morning, urging the gentlemen to round out, because "the guard was tired, and it would be good to disperse." The “bloody Bolsheviks” stopped at this, but, as historian Ilya Ratkovsky says, the white movement, which also did not support the “founding” in the future, dealt with its followers more strictly.
About how the conspiracy matured before the Constituent Assembly, who prepared the attempt on Lenin, what the victims of the armed uprising prevented by the Cheka, and many other things were read in the interview on the eve of the main event of January 1918 with historian Ilya Ratkovsky.
Question: The Constituent Assembly, without which the Provisional Government could not make decisions about the organization of power in Russia, with the fall of the Provisional Government did not lose its relevance. Or is it not quite like that? What preceded the first and only meeting?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The Bolsheviks supported the idea of the Constituent Assembly for the most part of 1917 year. In the opinion of many politicians, it was to finally decide the question of the form of government. Suffice it to mention the wording of the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich’s abdication, which referred this question to the Constituent Assembly. Procrastination with the development of regulations on elections, postponement of elections - all this was interpreted as the anti-people policy of the Provisional Government. It is another matter that, under these conditions of the continued distancing of the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the alternative idea of the Republic of Soviets became increasingly important. In addition, the key issue of the form of government of September 1 has already been resolved: a republic was officially proclaimed in Russia. By this decision, the value of the future Constituent Assembly has already been largely reduced. Especially important in departing from the idea of the Constituent Assembly of the Bolsheviks were the re-election of the Soviets in late August - September 1917, when the Bolsheviks won a majority in the major Soviets of workers and soldiers' deputies, including Moscow and Petrograd. Under these conditions, the idea of the Republic of Soviets was seen as more promising for the implementation of the political program of the Bolsheviks. It was the Second Congress of Workers and Soldiers' Deputies that shaped the coming to power of the Bolsheviks. However, the Bolsheviks could not immediately reject the idea of the Constituent Assembly, as they had previously advocated its convocation. Therefore, the first Soviet government headed by Lenin was called the Provisional Workers 'and Peasants' Government.
Question: In general, what was the point of the Constituent Assembly when the idea first arose? Did she belong to Michael, in whose favor Nicholas II had renounced?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The idea of the Constituent Assembly has a long history. This term was used by the Decembrists. It was also mentioned in the works of liberal figures at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was the idea of a popular assembly that would form a government of national trust. In the February days, this idea was revived again. During the February Revolution, Michael only used the opportunity to postpone the question of the form of government to a remote period.
Question: The Soviets - this is the improved form of the Constituent Assembly, the roots of which go back to the days of the French Revolution?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The idea of the Soviets is the idea of the dictatorship of the working people. If we talk about the roots, here, rather, you can see the connection with the organs of the Paris Commune 1871 of the year. This is the difference between the Constituent Assembly and the System of Soviets. The first represented the idea of a national assembly in which the interests of various groups of the population and estates would be represented. The idea of the Soviets is in reliance on the workers: on workers 'and peasants' Soviets, and further, as the development of this idea showed, on the Cossack Soviets. The bourgeoisness of the first idea was opposed by the Nationality in the broad sense of the Soviets.
Question: Before the Constituent Assembly a conspiracy matured, and an attempt was made on Lenin? Why, whom did he bother?
Ilya Ratkovsky: Lenin is the key figure of the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet government. Its elimination could destabilize the situation before the Constituent Assembly, to split the party and the government. Again, it could convince the Germans of the weakness of the Bolsheviks and provoke them to interrupt the peace talks, achieve everything with an armed German offensive. The Germans, many of the opponents of the Bolsheviks saw the saviors of Russia and waited for their arrival.
Question: Who was involved in the assassination?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The involvement of the Orel-Lansky officer group, to a lesser extent the Right Socialist-Revolutionary terrorist organization, or other groups is possible for the attempted assassination of 1 in January. The circumstances are inclined to accept with great justification the first version, since it received indirect confirmation of a new attempt to capture (murder) Vladimir Lenin in the middle of January 1918 by the leadership of the Petrograd Union of St. George Cavaliers: Osmin, Ushakov, Zinkevich, Nekrasov and others. The role of the organizer of the January assassination also claimed the prince Shakhovskoy.
It is characteristic that on the same days observation of the movements of Lenin, Bonch-Bruyevich, Trotsky and other persons was revealed. It is also plausible that Savinkov’s people were involved in organizing the terrorist attack, the organization of which included many officers, Social Revolutionaries of various persuasions, as well as young students. Savinkov was also connected with the Union of St. George Knights.
Question: Was there a place for other terrorist attacks? Cheka was already on guard?
Ilya Ratkovsky: Actually, this was the second attempt to liquidate Lenin. Back in December 1917, actions were taken to eliminate it physically. It was only there that a mere chance, the time factor, played in favor of Lenin. He left the place where he had not rested for long, literally in a few hours, when armed officers arrived there. Therefore, the attempted January 1 is a continuation of the hunt for Lenin. It is this attempt that will lead to a change in the protection of Lenin. Before him, Lenin moved around the city without protection. It is characteristic that in the car at the January assassination, apart from the driver, Lenin's sister and another Swiss socialist Platten sat, leaning Lenin’s head down during the shelling of the car. Weapons no one had it. After the January assassination attempt, there was an armed driver in the car and, as a rule, one guard. Lenin was assigned a car. The commandant of the Smolny, and later the Cheka, took over the protection of Lenin. Dzerzhinsky also undertook an investigation of the December-January events. True, it soon became clear that many of the participants in the attempt left for Don to Kaledin.
Question: How did the Bolsheviks prepare for the assembly?
Ilya Ratkovsky: First, they tried to take control of the electoral process. Tried to take the majority. The chairman of the credentials committee was Moses Uritsky. Secondly, they launched an agitation in their favor. The partial demobilization of soldiers during the election period had a certain effect. The demobilized soldiers in the village were literally carried the “Decree on Land”, printed in large quantities. Numerous meetings were held. Thirdly, the Bolsheviks went to meet the Left Social Revolutionaries, forming a coalition of parties standing on the Soviet platform. The left SRs were supposed to give peasant voices. However, the time factor played a key role. There was little time for propaganda and agitation. The left SRs also gave a smaller number of peasant votes, because as a party they were only formed, and the mandates were for the most part not for them, but for supporters of the right SRs and centrists. Thus, although the Constituent Assembly was socialist in its choice, it was not pro-Bolshevik. The Bolsheviks and the Left Social Revolutionaries managed to get only a third of the mandates.
Question: Why the Bolsheviks could not abandon the idea of the Constituent Assembly?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The refusal to convene a Constituent Assembly would give opponents a reason to accuse the Bolsheviks of departing from their pre-October promises. In addition, the idea of the Constituent Assembly was still quite popular, that would just abandon it. It was necessary to give the Constituent Assembly to show itself, to reveal its essence, to show its opposition to the Soviet decrees on the land, on the world and others. To give a "pain of the disease" to the Constituent Assembly, so that the Right Socialist-Revolutionary alternative would "self-debauch".
Question: Why did the presidency refuse to consider the decrees of the Soviet government and to consider the decrees? Maybe they wanted the Bolsheviks (120 delegates) to leave the hall?
Ilya Ratkovsky: Recognition of the Declaration and Soviet decrees legitimized Soviet power and the October Revolution. Moreover, the Declaration proclaimed the principle of the dictatorship of the working people, which was unacceptable for the Right Allied majority. Rather, the Right SRs, demonstrating "uncompromising", wanted to "indicate the place" to the Bolsheviks, to achieve a split of the Soviet coalition and the formalization of the transfer of power to the Presidium. The departure of the Bolsheviks by the Presidium was not deliberately provoked, since after that the quorum and legality of the Constituent Assembly would be called into question.
Question: But, in essence, the decisions of this assembly copied the decisions already adopted by the Soviet government - the law on the land, for example, duplicated the “Decree on Land”, and the warring powers called for peace. How to explain it?
Ilya Ratkovsky: It was determined by two factors. Firstly, the Bolsheviks themselves used the Socialist-Revolutionary documents in the preparation of the "Decree on Land", since they were based on peasant orders. Therefore, the Social Revolutionaries in this matter duplicated the Bolsheviks, who were able to earlier declare the peasants' aspirations collected earlier by the Social Revolutionaries, but postponed by them for later. Secondly, the majority of participants in this meeting were representatives of the socialist parties, and the “Decree on Land”, in fact, is deeply socialist. Therefore, the Presidency, not accepting it under the Bolshevik hat, wanted to accept as a manifestation of its will, its “gift” to the people. The "Decree on Peace" is already a purely Bolshevik decree, therefore it cannot be accepted. But also to keep silent too, therefore, not having accepted a decree, the Presidium tried to give something similar. The soldiers would not understand ...
Question: Why does the name “overclocking” remain in history? Nobody was going to disperse the meeting initially? According to the legend, it lasted until 5 in the morning, and simply “the guard was already tired,” asked everyone to disperse? Was it an initiative solely for Sailor Ironstone?
Ilya Ratkovsky: Initially, several solutions to the problem of the Constituent Assembly were considered. Considered, in particular, the option of Sovietization of the Constituent Assembly. This would have been possible if the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries had carried away the majority of the assembly, the divisions of the Social Revolutionaries. Therefore, there was a compromise candidacy from the Bolsheviks and the Left Social Revolutionaries to chair the Assembly in the person of the Left Social Revolutionary Maria Spiridonova. However, the Left Social Revolutionaries failed to get the majority among the Social Revolutionaries, failed to win over. The candidate from the Social Revolutionary majority Victor Chernov won. After this, the confrontation began with the Bolsheviks of Chernivtsi, attempts to drag the Left SRs over to their side. Under these conditions, the continued presence of the Bolsheviks within the walls of the Constituent Assembly became unpromising. Staying here, they only legitimized the decisions of the Constituent Assembly. The Bolsheviks are leaving, disrupting the quorum of the assembly and raising the question of the further stay of the Left Social Revolutionaries. Ultimately, the Presidium “outplayed” itself, denying the Bolsheviks, he achieved their departure and the loss of a quorum. He failed to win support from the Left Social Revolutionaries. The actions of the Presidium were reduced to speeches, to promises to achieve a change in the situation the next day.
The speeches were really delayed, and here, as an expression of the attitude of the soldiers and sailors to these speeches, the reaction of the guard. The guard was tired, and the delegates were tired. And then followed by a willingness to give in to the demands of the guard. Submit to "violence" and disperse. Transfer all the next day, which has not come for the Constituent Assembly. Therefore, figuratively speaking, the guard executed the mission of the doormen in the restaurant, who took out (kicked out, dispersed) the later visitors from the establishment.
Question: What was the attitude of the people to the Constituent Assembly? Is there any support?
Ilya Ratkovsky: By many, the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly was simply ignored. Actually, authority is determined by real or moral force. There was no real power behind the Constituent Assembly. The moral component of the Constituent Assembly was relative, endless conversations and reports in 1917 were already fed up. Therefore, for the Constituent Assembly, if there were speeches on the ground, then, rather, these were speeches against the Bolsheviks, and not for the Social Revolutionaries. It is characteristic that General Lavr Kornilov expressed support for the Constituent Assembly. Other opponents of the Bolsheviks also came out in support of the Constituent Assembly. In my opinion, this was only a reason, and not the adoption of the ideas of the Constituent Assembly.
Question: What role in the dispersal of the "founding", as it was called, was in the Cheka?
Ilya Ratkovsky: Cheka played a certain role in the January events. She conducted a series of preventive arrests on the eve of the Constituent Assembly. In the "crackdown" of the Constituent Assembly, the staff of the Cheka did not participate. Yes, and there were few of them: just 40 people. More important actions after the "acceleration". The Chekists conducted an operation to arrest the delegates of the Constituent Assembly who lived at the Astoria Hotel. This arrest was intended to prevent delegates from traveling to another city to organize a new Constituent Assembly. However, it soon became clear that there were no such intentions among those arrested, and they were released.
Question: The confrontation between the Constituent Assembly and the Soviets was less bloody than expected, however, there were no victims?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The sacrifices could be great, as preparations were made for an armed uprising on the opening day of the Constituent Assembly. It was assumed that during the armed demonstration several regiments would be involved, drummers, an armored division, and so on. Cheka was able to disable armored cars, isolate percussion. Campaign work was carried out in the barracks. The same Semenovsky regiment did not go to the demonstration. Demonstration in support of the Constituent Assembly in such conditions was peaceful. However, they tried to use it too, sending it to the Tauride Palace, where the Constituent Assembly met. The Red Guard units blocked the path of the demonstration. There was an attempt to break through, during which the nerves of the young Red Guards broke down, and there was a volley.
The victims in Petrograd were according to different sources from 8 to 12 people. There was a crackdown on similar demonstrations in other cities. As a rule, there were no victims from the opponents of the Bolsheviks. But the victims among the Bolsheviks were. So, on January 5, 1918, late in the evening, in Moscow after the local demonstration of the defenders of the Constituent Assembly was dispersed, the building of the Dorogomilovsky district council was blown up. The head of the headquarters of the Red Guard of the Dorogomilovsky district, Tyapkin, the chief of the arsenal of the district Red Guards Vantorin and three Red Guard workers were killed. It was a deliberate terrorist act, designed for numerous victims among the hours gathered at 9 in the building of the Council members. In total, five people died as a result of the explosion - a relatively small number of victims were due to an earlier end of the meeting.
The Presidium of the Moscow City Council 8 in January 1918 adopted a resolution on the burial of the victims of this explosion near the Kremlin wall, where they replenished the “red church”, as expressed by the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. 6 January 1918 in Petrograd, an attempt was made on the commandant of the Constituent Assembly, a member of the Emergency Military Headquarters of Uritsky (the future first chairman of the Petrograd GubChK). And on January 9 1918, around two o'clock in the afternoon, in Moscow, a working demonstration dedicated to the next anniversary of Bloody Sunday (January 9 on January 1905) was fired by unidentified persons in Moscow. For security reasons, vehicles with machine guns and armed Red Guards moved in front and behind each group of demonstrators. The measures taken were insufficient, and during a rally, rifle and machine-gun fire was opened at the protesters from the roofs of the adjacent buildings in front of mass graves in the Red Square. Among the dead were the Red Guards of Sushchevsko-Maryinsky District: 18-year-old Zasuhin, 19-year-old Drozdov; Red Guard Zamoskvoretsky area 18-year-old Yudichev and many others. In total, as a result of the shelling, more than 30 people were killed and 200 was injured.
Question: How then to explain the appearance of Komuch in the cities of Russia, what was the role of supporters of the Constituent Assembly in the Civil War?
Ilya Ratkovsky: 8 June 1918, after the capture of Samara by parts of the Czechoslovak Corps with the support of the local underground, a Committee of members of the Constituent Assembly (KOMUCH) was formed, headed by Social Revolutionary Vladimir Kozimirovich Volsky (he acted as chairman), Ivan Brushvit, Prokopy Klimushkin, Boris Fortunatov Ivan Nesterov. This government was formed six months after the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly. However, it was formed not as a result of the popular movement, but with the assistance of the Czechoslovak corps. At the same time, it relied not only on them, but also on units of the People's Army, at the head of which were white monarchist officers, including Kappel. Therefore, the continuity of the Constituent Assembly Komucha relative. Yes, the government declared the restoration of basic democratic freedoms, allowed the activities of workers and peasant congresses, factory committees, set the 8 hourly working day (September 4 1918) and adopted the Red state flag. However, this was reminiscent of the actions of the Constituent Assembly, which, not recognizing the Soviet power, declared a lot of similar things from itself. Later, Komuch began to implement a more stringent policy, the victims of which were in the summer and autumn up to 5 thousand people. At the same time, Komuch’s tougher course against the background of his military defeats was considered insufficient, and in the fall a whole series of upheavals took place, which marked a departure from previous ideas towards white dictatorships.
Question: What can be said when the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly is attempted to be presented as a crime by the Bolsheviks and a violation of the “natural”, “normal” historical path of Russia?
Ilya Ratkovsky: The February 1917 revolution marked the revolutionary path of Russia's development. The constituent assembly, as an idea, was still difficult to fit into the revolutionary process.
Moreover, the idea of the Constituent Assembly later did not accept the White movement, putting forward an alternative National Assembly. Attempts at the third way in the civil war, previously called the "democratic counter-revolution", were unsuccessful. The heirs of the Founding were dispersed white. At the same time, if the Bolsheviks dispersed the Constituent Assembly, then after the Kolchak coup did not end there. A number of delegates were soon self-executed.
Well, I will add that soon after the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly, on January 13, an association of Congresses took place: worker-soldier and peasant. Appeared unified system of Soviets.