When the revolt of Kerensky and Krasnov broke out, Dybenko found himself at the center of events. That attempt to restore the power of the Provisional Government failed. At two o'clock in the morning, Trotsky, in the name of the Council of People's Commissars, sent a telegram to Petrograd: “Kerensky’s attempt to move the counter-revolutionary troops to the capital of the revolution received a decisive rebuff. Kerensky retreats, we advance. Soldiers, sailors and workers of Petrograd proved that they can and want to weapons in the hands to affirm the will and power of democracy. The bourgeoisie tried to isolate the army of revolution, Kerensky tried to break it with the power of the Cossacks. Both suffered a miserable collapse ... Revolutionary Russia and the Soviet government have the right to be proud of their Pulkovo detachment operating under the command of Colonel Valden. "
The failure of the rebellion, researcher Vasiliev, explained: “The Krasnov Cossack campaign, doomed to defeat, vividly showed the whole of Russia the weakness of the army, the colossal split of the nation and the complete demoralization of all healthy forces capable but not willing to fight. War fatigue, socialist propaganda, problems with rail transport, mistrust, and sometimes hatred of so unpopular A.F. Kerensky, are only a few reasons for the defeat of the anti-Bolshevik campaign against Petrograd.
By the way, Pavel Efimovich himself after the victory often boasted that “he personally arrested the ataman Krasnov”.
In general, that time became for Dybenko a kind of “high point”. At the end of November 1917, Lenin ordered Dybenko to take up the problem of the Constituent Assembly. Actually, Pavel Efimovich received an order to disperse the "founding". For this, Dybenko gathered several thousand sailors. In general, this army would be enough to end not only the Constituent Assembly, but also the party of Vladimir Ilyich. Perhaps such thoughts sneaked into Paul’s head, but he did not dare.
When at the beginning of January, 1918, the streets of Petrograd, poured tens of thousands of demonstrators, consisting of workers, intellectuals and garrison soldiers, Dybenko found himself in the thick of things. The people demanded democracy and the transfer of power to the Constituent Assembly. Pavel Efimovich personally ordered his sailors to open fire with machine guns at demonstrators at the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Liteiny Prospect. But the deputies of the Constituent Assembly of Shingarev and Kokoshkin, who previously held ministerial positions in the Provisional Government, were taken by the sailors in the hospital. Here they were pinned down with bayonets.
After the liquidation of the "founding", Dybenko received enormous strength and power. He became so powerful that the top of the party began to seriously fear him. They called him "sailor Napoleon" and considered him an outsider, who accidentally enrolled into the party elite. And to control the "sailor" they assigned him Fyodor Raskolnikov, also, by the way, "sailor".
Raskolnikov, to put it mildly, had a negative attitude towards Dybenko. And he was very jealous of him. Like everyone else, he knew perfectly well that Pavel Efimovich made a dizzying career not thanks to a brilliant mind or talent, but using access to the bed of Kollontai. Of course, Fedor also wanted to be there. But it was difficult to shake Dybenko’s positions. But Raskolnikov did not give up. He constantly wrote denunciations of Dybenko, accusing him of unrestrained drunkenness and soldering of sailors. According to Raskolnikov, Dybenko thus tried to "gain cheap popularity."
But it was not the denunciations of the "faithful friend", but the character of Dybenko in 1918 that year almost brought him to execution. In February, German troops launched an active offensive. Pavel Efimovich at that time commanded a detachment of sailors near Narva.
Despite the fact that negotiations were proceeding in Brest in the meantime, the Germans wanted to finish off the tormented enemy. Military failures would have made the Bolsheviks more compliant, which means that a separate peace could be signed faster and without any requirements. It is clear that the Germans were not going to overthrow Lenin. They just had to press it to the nail.
Pavel Efimovich, barely under Narva, began to bend his line. First of all, he refused the help of the head of the Parsky defense sector, arrogantly telling him that "we will fight on our own." But arrogance let down Dybenko. In the battle of Yamburg, he was defeated. And he ran away, taking with him the remnants of the detachment. Thus, Narva, which covered the capital, was left unprotected. According to Parsky's memoirs, the abandonment of Narva occurred mainly because there was no general leadership and communication in the actions, because little or even completely unprepared troops drove into battle ineptly and they suffered unnecessary losses (the sailors suffered more than others); finally, the mood of the troops seemed to have a certain influence and the then created situation, as it were, between war and peace, which worried people and contributed to the reduction of their resilience. ”
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in the Pravda editorial dated February 25, 1918, wrote: “This week is a bitter, insulting, hard, but necessary, useful, beneficent lesson for the party and the entire Soviet people.” Then he mentioned the “painful and shameful message about the refusal of the regiments to maintain their positions, about the refusal to defend even the Narva line, about the non-execution of the order to destroy everything and everyone during the retreat; not to mention the flight, chaos, myopia, helplessness, sloppiness ".
Dybenko with his sailors retreated to Gatchina. And here they were disarmed in early March. After a short time, he was expelled from the RCP (B.) And deprived of all posts. This decision was made at the IV-th Congress of Soviets. Then he was arrested altogether. The list of accusations was impressive: surrender of Narva, flight from positions, disobeying the command of the combat station, drunkenness, violation of discipline, and so on. The most terrible thing for Dybenko in this situation was that Kollontai did not stand up for him for the first time. But Alexandra Mikhailovna did it not on her own will, she just at that moment was powerless to help her “eagle”. The fact is that she opposed the conclusion of the Brest peace. I went, so to speak, at odds with the decision of the party. This is not forgiven even the closest. Therefore, she was removed from all posts, including from the Central Committee of the party. It is clear that Alexandra Mikhailovna could not forever be in political disgrace, but it took a sufficient amount of time to calm the situation.
True, it did not last long. When the threat of execution of the sailor became obvious, Kollontai nevertheless rushed to save him. She personally addressed Trotsky, Krylenko, Krupskaya and even Lenin. But everyone had a negative attitude towards Dybenko. Some even with undisguised cynicism and malice were interested in: “And who are you such a person under investigation?”
Alexandra Mikhailovna was in a depressed state. She even left a note in her diary that she was ready to “climb the scaffold” with Dybenko. But this idea she quickly threw back, replacing it with a desire to organize a sailor uprising. But this did not happen, although they were willing to open fire on the Kremlin. Someone advised her to legalize relations with Dybenko, they say, the legitimate wife has more chances to save him than a banal mistress. Creating a legal family for Kollontai was a real betrayal of its own principles and beliefs. And she refused everything she believed in for the sailor. Marriage notes Kollontai and Dybenko appeared in newspapers. True, nowhere was it said that this Soviet social unit was fictitious, and Pavel Efimovich hardly knew at all that he had unexpectedly become a husband.
Becoming a legitimate wife, Alexandra Mikhailovna was able to take Dybenko on bail before the trial. She personally promised that her husband would not leave the capital. According to eyewitnesses, when the sailors learned about the release of their leader, they walked for two days. Of course, together with Dybenko. And he did not call his wife for a holiday. And then completely disappeared from the capital. When Kollontai found out about Dybenko’s treachery, she fled to Petrograd, fearing arrest. Newspapers, as if competing with each other in wit, described the details of the sailor's escape in colors. Some attributed to him the theft of a lot of money, others - numerous murders.
The government, we must give him his due, tried to peacefully resolve the situation. But Dybenko reacted aggressively. Nikolai Krylenko, who conducted the case against Pavel Efimovich, nevertheless managed to contact him once and announced his arrest. And in response, he heard: “it is not yet known who will arrest anyone and whom.”
Hiding in Samara, Dybenko launched a powerful campaign in defense of his beloved. And feeling support, he behaved arrogantly even with Lenin, reminding him of "German gold." During the trial, he delivered a speech written by Kollontai: “I’m not afraid of the sentence on me, I’m afraid of the sentence on the October Revolution, on those gains that have been obtained at the cost of proletarian blood. Remember, the Robespierre terror did not save the revolution in France and didn’t protect Robespierre himself; no established norms. We all broke something ... The sailors went to die when panic and confusion reigned in Smolny ... ”. The court Dybenko won, the execution was canceled. After the meeting, the sailors carried their hero in their arms. Pavel Efimovich, having won one of the most important victories in his life, plunged into drunkenness. And what about Alexandra Mikhailovna? She suffered and worried, knowing full well that her “eagle” was having fun in the most ceremonious hangouts of Moscow.
Their marriage lasted only a few years. Pavel Efimovich diligently avoided his wife, preferring not to see her at all. And when he fled to Oryol, Kollontai gave the word to Lenin to break with the "unworthy subject."
The true dog of the revolution
Vladimir Ilyich had many reasons to shoot Dybenko. He did not even hide his negative attitude towards the sailor, but considered him a necessary and loyal dog. Therefore, in the fall, Pavel Efimovich was sent to the border between the RSFSR and, at that time, an independent Ukraine. He was assigned an important and responsible task - to gather enough forces to join the Ukrainian lands. But Dybenko was not given the high post, he became “only” the battalion commander. Then, for a short time, he took the place of the commissioner, but his career was hindered by the fact that he was expelled from the party. There was another reason - the constant conflicts with the authorities and drunken fights.
Pavel Efimovich, shaking the air with tales of a heroic past, tried to prove his “peculiarity” to everyone. By this he meant complete freedom of action without submission to anyone. This behavior, of course, was angry and annoying. Kollantai wrote in her diary like this: “Sverdlov does not hide his antipathy towards such a“ type ”as Pavel, and Lenin, in my opinion, also”.
But the leadership of the party authorities tolerated him, since it was Dybenko who was to become their main trump card in the struggle for Ukraine’s accession. Therefore, at the beginning of 1919, Pavel Efimovich suddenly became the commander of a group of troops of the Ekaterinoslav direction. By that time, the Soviet soldiers were already on the territory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and were fighting with the Petliurists. Lenin hoped that the Ukrainian surname Pavel Efimovich (as, indeed, his origin) would help more quickly seize the territory. After all, Dybenko positioned himself as "his" commander, who led the soldiers of the Russian Republic. Soon, under the command of Pavel Efimovich, the brigades of Makhno and Grigoriev appeared.
When power was again in the hands of Dybenko, he revealed to all of himself the present. His soldiers organized pogroms, looting and drunken fights. The State Archive of the Russian Federation stores a message from the Bolsheviks from Nikolaev, addressed to the government of Soviet Ukraine. In it, they asked to take measures against Pavel Efimovich and bring him to justice for the “Kupyan events” and “riot in Lugansk”. Dybenko was also accused of numerous executions "without trial" and liquidation of the Bolshevik revolutionary committee.
But Dybenko and his fighters got away with it. Hiding behind the fight against the enemies, he arrested more than fifty left Social Revolutionaries and anarchists from Yekaterinoslav, ordered the closure of the Left Socialist-Revolutionary newspaper "Struggle". After the ban, propaganda lectures by anarchists were also banned. Pavel Efimovich played the main role in the arrest of the participants of the district Alexander Congress of Soviets.
When the party elite, located in Moscow, once again received information about the antics of Dybenko, nevertheless decided to create an investigative commission. Contributed to this, of course, and the inspection, which was conducted by Lev Kamenev. In his report, he pointed out that "Dybenko's army feeds itself." Simply put, Pavel Efimovich and his soldiers robbed the peasants, seized trains with fodder, bread, coal and other things. Moreover, these trains were sent just to Russia. That’s what a special commission should have done. Pavel Efimovich understood that he would face severe punishment for the looting of state property. But ... he was again lucky. May 1919, for the Bolsheviks turned out to be difficult, so the "self-indulgence" of his dog really just gave up. And then completely forgotten with them.
As soon as Pavel Efimovich realized that the payment for “voluntary or involuntary” sins was once again postponed, as the terrible awareness of the inevitable loss of the Crimea broke out. The White Guards were able to capture Melitopol. And that meant that they could now cut off the peninsula from Soviet territory. In addition, the soldiers of Jacob Slaschov won on the Kerch isthmus and thus opened the way for Denikin to Sevastopol and to Simferopol.
In late June, the red elite and the army began a mass flight from the Crimea in the direction of Perekop-Kherson. Together with all the position and passed Dybenko. Of course, he did not change his principles. His behavior - cowardly aggression - affected his own soldiers. The detachment of Pavel Efimovich was struck by a rapidly developing tumor of desertion. In the end, when the remnants of his squad collided with a small Cossack squad, they simply fled. Kherson, in fact, was given to white. It is not difficult to imagine what Dybenko felt then. In a short time he lost everything: the peninsula and the army.
The situation is tense. The detachments of Makhno (they had already begun to fight against all), to which the deserters Dybenko, in fact, fled, restrained the whites' attack. Makhno even turned to Pavel Efimovich for help, offering to open a common “red” front and forget the old offenses, but ... the sailor had no time for that. Alternating drunkenness with bouts of depression, he was able to take up positions in Nikolaev with the remnants of his army. And here, instead of showing foresight and political flexibility, Dybenko began to “work” according to the old scenario. Simply put, he again decided to "build." Pavel Efimovich began to openly conflict with the local authorities and the townspeople, whom his soldiers frankly robbed and beat.
For a long time this could not go on. Dybenko is still arrested. For several days he was under arrest, once again, awaiting capital punishment. While he was in prison, many of his subordinates, in fear, went over to the side of Makhno. And they began to fight both with white and red. Without a doubt, the authorities of Nikolaev wanted to end Dybenko once and for all, but ... First, he was sent from Moscow. Secondly, he was, though disgraced, but still a hero of the revolution. Therefore, just because he could not shoot, especially on the orders of provincial town governors. When they learned about Dybenko’s arrest in the capital, they sent the order for his release to Nikolaev. Pavel Efimovich was at liberty, however, removed from all his posts. But he was hardly upset. The realization that retaliation is being postponed again has definitely become a cure for all “ills” for him.
Already in the fall of 1919, Pavel Efimovich, by order from above, turned out to be in Moscow. Soon he was enrolled in the Academy of the General Staff of the Red Army. But after a short time, Dybenko unexpectedly received the position of chief of the 37 th infantry division. Fate was once again favorable to the "sailor". He managed to distinguish himself during the liberation of Tsaritsin, took part in the victory of the Reds over Denikin’s army in the North Caucasus, and fought against Wrangel and the Makhnovists. After that, he became a junior student at the Red Army Military Academy.
Spring was coming 1921 of the year - the time of the next "high point" Dybenko.
To be continued ...