Waiting for the train
Dukhonin was cornered. However, being a true professional in his field, he felt responsible for the army and for the fate of the state in the war. Nikolai Nikolayevich understood that because of the ferment in the ranks of the soldiers, that very “external enemy” could break through a weakened front. Therefore, with obstinacy bordering on madness, he continued to send orders and directives to headquarters, hoping to the last for a successful outcome of the confrontation. After all, in fact, there was not much left to hold out. Dukhonin was afraid of a catastrophe, he was afraid of breaking through the enemy soldiers, but at the same time his faith in his own fighters had practically left him. However, at the end of November, he sent a message to the headquarters of the Northern Front: “In the extreme case, if the connection with the Stavka is completely lost ... the situation on the fronts will be such that the army, having lost their stability, will open the front, then the limit of their movement to the rear Nar position, Lake Chudskoye, Pskov-Ostrovskiy positions and fortified position covering the direction to Bologoye-Moscow. Ensuring this front should consist in firmly retaining the most important paths and our domination over the paths going from west to east. ”
Literally the next day, Nikolai Nikolayevich sent another telegram there: “If the demoralization of the military masses ... leads to a breakdown of the positions ... and the beginning of the civil war, then with a shortage of troops loyal to the duty to perform the task that you specified on November 14 ... with the loyal national honor of the Russian troops to cover the direction of Pskov - Bologoe, denoting the approaches to Moscow from the north and northwest, meaning that Russia will continue to fight until the decision of the Constituent Assembly or rules lstvennoy power based on the majority of the country. To the left of you in this extreme situation, covering the routes from the west to Moscow in the Nevel-Vitebsk-Orsha region, a group of 17 and 22 corps and 2 of the Kuban division is formed ... It’s their task to attach parts of the Western Front to would this front also succumb to complete demoralization. By force weapons people leaving the front without permission, when he moves from the spot and rushes inland, do not let go deep into Russia ... or disarm them in advance. In this extreme situation, we must save Moscow and half of Russia from civil war. ”
The following message has already flown by the commanders of the South-Western and Romanian fronts: “The information received from both front reconnaissance and undercover reconnaissance forces us to assume that the enemy can move to action in the near future on the Romanian front and, possibly, on the South-Western front ... pursuing the goal of mastering Bessarabia, Odessa, and coal Donetsk areas. It is necessary to take all measures in order to timely detect the intentions of the enemy. ”
On November 30, 1917, Nikolai Nikolayevich learned that a train with Baltic sailors, who had joined the Bolsheviks, was moving to his headquarters in Mogilyov. But even the realization that he was on the edge of the abyss, did not knock him out of a rut. Assessing the situation, Dukhonin decided to seek his fortune from the government of the UPR. He asked him for permission to transfer the Stake to Kiev. But in the general secretariat this request was reacted, to put it mildly, with skepticism. The UNR government understood perfectly well how this relocation could have ended. Therefore, at first, the secretariat diligently delayed the answer, and then began to put forward counter conditions. To fulfill them Dukhonin was already corny there was neither the strength nor the time.
In the journal "Hourly" for 1937, Nikolai Nikolayevich's correspondence with his wife was partially published. In his messages, he wrote: “On my shoulders I bear a great responsibility before my conscience and before my homeland. The slightest mistake can have fatal consequences. The string is stretched to the last degree. Faith does not leave me, and this is the guarantee of the very productivity of work. ”
Here is another passage: “Works doom. You know, but I still believe in Russia. I do my duty as my conscience and conscience dictates. ”
Face to face
Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko arrived in Mogilyov on the third of December 1917 of the year. First of all, he declared himself the new Glavkoverhom, and then informed Dukhonin that he was waiting for his departure to Petrograd. So, they say, ordered SNK.
For Dukhonin went. Krylenko's envoys arrested him and brought him to the railway station. Nikolai Nikolayevich had no doubt that the hour of death was near: “I had and I have thousands of opportunities to hide, but I will not do that. I know that Krylenko will arrest me, and maybe even shoot me. But this is a soldier’s death. ”
Nikolai Nikolaevich was delivered straight to the Krylenko car. But in Mogilev, in the meantime, rumors began to spread that General Kornilov’s army was approaching the city. And the revolutionary-minded soldiers and sailors gathered at the train. They didn't need the truth. They only believed in what they themselves wanted. For them news about Kornilov meant one thing — one could deal with Dukhonin. An angry mob demanded his extradition.
According to the official version, Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko even tried to stop them and calm them down. But his “efforts” were not crowned with success. Anton Ivanovich Denikin in “Outlines of the Russian Distemper” wrote: “... a crowd of sailors — wild, angry in front of the Glavkoverkha; Krylenko tore up General Dukhonin and cruelly abused him”.
According to one of the versions, the sailors, despite Nikolai Vasilievich's persuasion, still broke into the car. Then they brought Dukhonin him from there to the site. Shot sounded. The bullet hit the head of the former Supreme Commander. And after that he was already finished off with bayonets and butts.
Krylenko later recalled: “I cannot keep silent about the sad fact of mob court over the former Glavkoverh Dukhonin. Popular hatred too boiling. Despite all attempts to save him, he was pulled out of the car at the station Mogilyov and killed. The flight of General Kornilov on the eve of the fall of the Headquarters was the cause of the excess. Comrades! I cannot tolerate stains on the banner of the revolution, and with the strictest condemnation one should relate to such facts. Be worthy of winning freedom. Do not blur the power of the people. Revolutionary people are formidable in the struggle, but should be soft after victory. ”
Considering Krylenko’s further path, he quite often resorted to manipulating facts that were advantageous for him. And although he officially even sympathized with Dukhonin, many researchers are inclined to believe that this is nothing more than a farce. There is a version that Krylenko deliberately made a mockery of the body of the former Supreme Commander. Moreover, everything that happened near his carriage was a skillful dramatization, and the massacre of Dukhonin was agreed with the leaders of the Bolshevik movement. This version is indirectly confirmed by the fact that when the leaders learned about the death of Nikolai Nikolayevich, they reacted as calmly as possible.
Shortly before his death, Nikolai Nikolayevich wrote that most of all he was afraid of sneering at his body in the event of a massacre. And his fears were confirmed. Almost all eyewitnesses of those events noted this fact. One of the witnesses recalled: “The whole day continued the abuse of the brutal crowd over the body. Already in the evening, they saw the corpse of the deceased being planted with a cigarette in their hands next to a dead dog. When the body was washed, 16 bayonet, 3 saber and two gunshot wounds were found. ” Others said that they had mocked Dukhonin’s body for several days, until it began to decompose. Only after that he was sent to Kiev.
General Gustav Mannerheim recalled: “At the station of the city of Mogilev, where the Supreme Commander’s Headquarters was located, a strange atmosphere reigned. On the platform was a small group of horrified people, and in the middle was a large bloody stain. I learned that the Acting Supreme Commander, Lieutenant-General Dukhonin, was shot dead. Without security, he arrived at the station to sign an agreement with the newly appointed Bolshevik commander-in-chief, a former candidate officer Krylenko. At that very moment, when they met on the platform, soldiers jumped out of the Krylenko train and quickly dealt with Dukhonin. ”
On December 7, Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko told Trotsky about the incident: “In connection with the murder of Dukhonin, the legal formalization of the case is necessary; The body was sent to Kiev. If you refer the case to a judicial investigator, an autopsy is required, even to the point of digging. I propose to terminate the case by a resolution of the state power ... Acts of inquiry are sufficiently rehabilitated from all sorts of misinterpretations ... but it is hardly advisable to initiate proceedings with the mandatory interrogations of sailors.
To which Lev Davidovich replied: “It would be pointless and criminal to transfer the case to the hands of judicial officials of the old temper. If necessary, you can refer the case to the revolutionary court, which must be created by democratic soldiers' organizations under the Stavka and guided not by the old letter, but by the revolutionary sense of justice of the people. ”
Alexey Alekseevich Brusilov wrote in his memoirs: “It was time for the tragic death of N.N. Dukhonin. The telegrams about how brutally he was killed were a heavy blow to us all. ”
As for Krylenko, he noted: “The fate of Dukhonin was decided. Further known. Dukhonin was torn to pieces ... The stakes were taken, and the entire technical apparatus of command was in the hands of the new government. ”
* * *
Since the probability of provocation by the Bolshevik-minded soldiers and sailors was great, Nikolai Nikolayevich’s funeral took place at night. They were attended by only a few people, including his wife, Natalya Vladimirovna.
After the death of Dukhonin, the Bolsheviks no longer had a worthy opponent who would somehow be able to prevent them from embarking on peace negotiations with the Germans in Brest-Litovsk. At those negotiations there was a tragedy that became resonant. According to one of the versions, General Vladimir Yevstafyevich Skalon could not accept the conditions of peace, to which the Bolsheviks agreed. And therefore committed suicide. But his death did not affect further events, the agreement was signed.
In 1934, the cemetery where the body of Dukhonin rested was liquidated. His remains were transferred to the Lukyanos civil cemetery, where his father was buried. Moreover, the ashes of Nikolai Nikolaevich were buried there, but they did not make the corresponding inscription on the tombstone. Only after many years, when the tombstone was restored, the name and dates of life of the former commander-in-chief appeared on it. True, they are indicated inaccurately, approximately.
By the way, after the massacre of Dukhonin, the Bolsheviks tried to get his wife too. And for her head was even appointed a substantial reward. Apparently, someone was afraid that Natalya Vladimirovna could have spoken too much. Therefore, they decided to get rid of it. But they did not succeed. First, Natalya Vladimirovna under the protection of the Red Cross (a woman changed her first and last name) took refuge in Ekaterinodar. In this city, she worked in a hospital. Then, together with the soldiers of Wrangel, Dukhonina was able to move to Serbia. Here she also continued to work as a sister of mercy. After the end of World War II, Natalya Vladimirovna lived in Germany for a while, and from there she moved to Morocco. In Casablanca, she died in 1968 year.