Internationalists are not by blood, but by spirit
It is unlikely that anyone will argue that representatives of national minorities made a contribution to the three Russian revolutions that was absolutely inadequate to the role assigned to them in the Russian Empire. And this, in fact, can be understood, and besides, one should not forget that all the revolutionary parties have relied on the nationals in their political struggle.
For the majority, this was recorded in programs, many directly promised the Poles, Finns, and even the politically backward Baltic states independence or at least autonomy. By the way, the Ukrainians in this respect were generally in a special position, but the Belarusians managed to seriously express themselves only with the support of the Bolsheviks.
However, while Jews were certainly the first in the national top list of Russian revolutionaries, the Poles definitely claimed the second place. At the same time, it must be admitted that they really showed themselves clearly only in October 1917 and after it. Together with the extreme left, such as the Bolsheviks, part of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, they declared their commitment to world revolution and internationalism, but they decided to solve narrow national tasks first and foremost.
The main issue on the agenda of any more or less significant national association has always been the issue of independence. For a hundred years, the Poles did not wait for favors from Russian tsarism, as did Michurin from nature, and raised uprisings at every moment, as soon as the empire experienced difficulties. So it was under Catherine the Great in 1794, and in 1830, and in 1863.
One should only be surprised that Poland did not really flare up in 1848-49, when the well-known ghost "wandered through Europe." Most likely, in Warsaw and Lodz, without receiving any support from Austrian Krakow and the German Poznan and Danzig, they were simply afraid that the Nikolaev army would go through Russian Poland in the same rink as it had in rebellious Hungary.
Polish revolution, which took place in Russia in 1905, was perceived by Polish politicians, regardless of their views, as a unique chance. Your Polish chance. The Polish lands of the empire, which were relatively backward compared with the rest of Europe, were far ahead of almost all Russian provinces, with the exception of only two capital provinces.
Already in the early 1890s, industrial production was ahead of agriculture in the value of its output. Correspondingly, the number of the proletariat, which was quite revolutionary for itself, also increased greatly. However, fifteen years later, in battles with the Red Army, the Polish working class showed that at heart each of its representatives is more like a failed pan than a proletarian who has nothing to lose but chains.
There were few real violent
However, it was in 1905 in Warsaw and Lodz that it was sometimes as hot as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But the Polish revolutionaries clearly lacked truly outstanding leaders. One of them could be the Social Democrat Martin Kaspshak, who was well acquainted with Plekhanov, but he ended up in prison in the spring of 1904 at the height of the anti-war demonstrations when he defended one of the underground printing houses. On September 8, 1905, Kaspšak was executed in the Warsaw Fortress.
At the monument to Martin Kasprzyk in his native village of Cholovo, near Poznan, there are always fresh flowers
Another potential leader, Józef Pilsudski, who headed the militant organization of the socialist party - the PPS, by that time had neither authority nor experience of revolutionary struggle. From what the comrades could credit the future “commandant”, “marshal” and “head of state”, there will be a link to the Siberian Kirensk, as well as an escape from the St. Petersburg madhouse.
Pilsudski militants began to shoot back in late 1904, before Bloody Sunday. By winter, anti-war rallies and demonstrations in Polish cities had quieted down a bit, but after the fall of Port Arthur and especially after the shooting of a peaceful march in St. Petersburg on January 9, they flared up with renewed vigor. Many Polish parties demanded not only independence, but also the overthrow of the monarchy.
It’s hard enough to recognize Józef Pilsudski in this photo of 1899
However, the leaders included mostly moderate politicians, primarily from the "endemic" - the National Democratic Party. This party has long held tough anti-Russian positions, considering even aggressive Germanization as a lesser evil in comparison with “royal oppression”. However, during the days of the first Russian revolution, the endion leader Roman Dmovsky made an unexpected turn, believing that only Russia could unite Slavic Polish lands. The politician expected that she would immediately make concessions to the Poles and even autonomy.
Later, Dmovsky became a deputy of the State Duma of the second and third convocations, and set forth his ideas in the program book “Germany, Russia and the Polish Question”, where he wrote the following:
“In this international situation, it is clear for Polish society that if it is threatened in the future by the loss of national existence, then not from Russia, but from Germany.”
Emperor Nicholas II liked this so much that he subsequently declared "the restoration of integral Poland" one of Russia's main goals in the world war. "Integral", of course, under the scepter of the Romanovs.
Roman Dmovsky: either Russophobe or Russophile
Meanwhile, it was Dmovsky who was originally one of the ideologists of the struggle against Russification by all possible means. According to him:
“Russian domination has already shown what it can do with the help of the greatest oppression and far-reaching means of Russification. These funds could not even slightly reduce the independence and national independence of the Poles, did not even partially introduce the Polish element into the Russian body, and if they caused huge damage to Polish society, it was only in the sense of delaying cultural progress by destroying Polish centuries-old work, weakening the bonds of public organization and the moral wildness of entire sections of the population resulting from this. ”
Another thing is that the leadership qualities of such a politician were quite in demand in the Russian decorative parliament - the Duma, but not in revolutionary battles. Polish workers and peasants still seized the strike movement in the autumn of 1905, but, unlike the Moscow proletariat, after the manifesto of October 17 (30), their activity quickly waned.
A characteristic sign that the revolution "in Polish" ended in 1905 with virtually nothing can be considered the fact that almost all the active politicians of the western provinces of Russia were successfully elected to the State Duma of the first convocation. Except for the irreconcilable Pilsudski, who simply boycotted the Russian elections and ... the leader of the NDP Dmovsky. The emperor himself did not have time to “evaluate” the first of the endecs, but, most likely, he later assessed, and nothing prevented the election of a rather popular politician.
They are called the fathers of Polish independence. Jozef Pilsudski and Roman Dmowski
Meanwhile, the “elected” from the western provinces formed a special Polish colo in the Duma, which initially included 33 deputies, in the second convocation - already 45. Later, after the dispersal of the Second Duma, the tsarist government managed to “cut” the Polish colo into Dumas of the III and IV convocations up to 11 and even 9 deputies.
It is interesting that in the State Council of Russia there was also a small Polish colo, but even among its members no one was able to compete with the same Jozef Pilsudski. However, up to the world war and Pilsudski, by and large, only the arrows themselves, his future legionnaires, knew well.
(Luty is “February” in Polish.)
February 1917, the "call" of Polish revolutionaries, too, can hardly be seriously compared with the heroes of the October and Civil War, led by Iron Felix - Dzerzhinsky. However, unlike the revolution of 1905, when the activity of the Poles was mainly limited by Poland, many “heroes” of this nationality managed to prove themselves in the events in Petrograd.
And although today their names are known only to specialists, it is simply necessary to recall some of their deeds. Already because, at least, that it is often too obvious both in deeds and in words, a very special Polish specificity. To begin with, we note that members of the Polish colo entered the notorious Provisional Committee of the State Duma, which, even before the abdication of Nicholas II, was ready to assume full power in Russia.
From the composition of the Provisional Duma Committee there was also an nominated Polish leader, who can hardly be called informal - 50-year-old Alexander Lednitsky. This pan nobleman was born outside Minsk, a brilliant speaker, but a rather modest lawyer, who could hardly compete in popularity with Pilsudsky or Dmovsky in those days. But first of all, on the night of March 1, the Chairman of the Duma personally, Mikhail Rodzianko, sent the Pole Lednitsky to the throne to report on the revolutionary events in Petrograd.
Pan Lawyer Alexander Lednitsky
When it became clear that the matter was steadily leading to the fact that the Provisional Government would grant Poland even autonomy and independence, Lednitsky led the Duma commission - the liquidation committee for the affairs of the Kingdom of Poland. As you can see, feeling himself omnipotent, Lednitsky even refuses to recognize the Polish National Committee, which has settled in Paris, headed by the same Dmovsky.
The affairs of the "liquidators" were moving slowly - the independence of the occupied territories is easy to declare, but difficult to put into practice. Having come to power, the Bolsheviks took for granted the appointment of Lednitsky as representative of the Regency Council of the bastard Kingdom of Poland. We recall, in 1916, the Austro-German occupation authorities hastily concocted them on the Polish lands of the Russian Empire.
And soon Lenin's Council of People's Commissars decided to expel Lednitsky from Russia, putting an end to his political career. It is a paradox, but he was not accepted as one of the leaders in Warsaw and Paris either - they considered him too “Russian”. Lednitsky generally ended badly - during the reign of Pilsudsky, he was involved in financial frauds and committed suicide in 1934.
In addition to Lednitsky, mainly Poles with a smaller caliber managed to distinguish themselves in February days. So, the group of soldiers of the Volyn regiment that arrested the premier Germanophile Sturmer was assigned to lead the Pole, Lieutenant Shimansky, which can hardly be considered an accident. Another officer of the same regiment, Yablonsky, became the commander of the detachment, which cleared the printing house of the newspaper Kopeyka for the publication of Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies.
Among the military columns marching with red bows in front of the Tauride Palace where the Duma was sitting, one of the first was the column of the Life Guards of the Jäger Regiment, and it was commanded by a member of the PPS (Józef Pilsudski, on the other side of the front), Warrant Officer V. Matushevsky. The Tauride Palace itself was guarded by outfits under the command of Lieutenant A. Skobeiko, again a Pole.
Surprisingly, in those days, many Russian politicians seriously believed that the revolutionary Poles would not even think about stuttering independence now. So, Miliukov’s subordinate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who headed the legal department, Baron Nolde directly said: “Poland does not need independence. Better give them ulans, uniforms and other tinsel. ” But almost the first statement by Milyukov as minister was the promise of at least autonomy for Finland and ... Poland.
However, almost all the Poles, one way or another involved in military affairs, counted just on the operational formation of an independent Polish army. Even as part of the Russian, no longer imperial, army. This will be negotiated with the next interim Prime Minister Kerensky, and this will be discussed by the participants in the congress of Poles-military in Petrograd.
“Creating a Polish army can help your and our freedom.” So in May 1917, the insatiable B. Matushevsky convinced his Russian listeners, the namesake of the ensign from the life huntsman, who, as early as 1915, had literally sold the idea with the Polish legions in the Russian army. The case with the legions, as you know, was very stalled, and by 1920 in the new Poland they had completely forgotten about “our” and “your” freedom.