As Ukrainian units after the Revolution 1917, fought their way out of Belarus; during an attempt to capture the peninsula of Kiev in 1918, the fleet was divided into Russian and Ukrainian
Caused by a prolonged and unsuccessful world war, the crisis in the army, the military command initially tried to solve the usual methods of toughening penalties. However, to restore the combat capability of military units with the help of repression failed neither the royal command, much less the Provisional Government. Therefore, after the February revolution of 1917, both revolutionary appeals and national ideas were used as incentive measures in the army. The Provisional Government noted that the units organized according to the national principle are distinguished by a certain stability on the front and, in fact, gave the go-ahead to their formation.
Supporters of the independence of Ukraine, who interpreted the February Revolution as “Ukrainian national”, began to be among the first to be one of them. As an argument, they cited the fact that the first of the military units to the side of the rebels was Volynsky regiment. Already in the spring of 1917, the Ukrainian Military Club named after Hetman Polubotka and the First Ukrainian Cossack Regiment of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky were created in Kiev.
For the Ukrainianization of parts of the Russian army, first of all were officers of Ukrainian origin. Among them were both conservative elements, natives of Ukrainophile landowners, custodians of the old Zhupans and the hetman’s roost, and yesterday’s students and national teachers, whose worldview was a mixture of socialism and nationalism. The soldier’s masses, called up from the Ukrainian village, against the background of general disintegration, with sympathy, took the sermon on the “Reada Move”, for which they had to endure so much from the noncoms of the old tsarist army. The workers and townspeople, for the most part, were cool towards nationalist agitation.
One of the leaders of the movement was Simon (Semyon) Petlyura. Before the 1905 Revolution, the future Head Ataman of the Ukrainian Army was a member of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Labor Party. Disillusioned by the defeat he goes to journalism. Unlike many Ukrainian nationalists, Petlura supports Russia during the war. In 1916, he entered the service in the All-Russian Union of Zemstvos and Cities (Zemgor), formed to help supply the army. He quickly earns credibility and after the revolution becomes a prominent figure among Ukrainians in the army in the field. In May, the Ukrainian Military Rada was established on the Western Front, headed by Petliura.
When the 18 th Ukrainian Military Congress met in Kiev on May 1, Petlyura, as a delegate of the Western Front, was elected to its presidium. At the congress, left-wing nationalist Petliura had to endure a serious struggle with right-wing ethnic nationalist lieutenant Nikolai Mikhnovsky, who wanted to lead the Ukrainianized army units.
From the creation of the extraterritorial national units, the congress decided to move on to the "nationalization of the army on a national-territorial basis", and in fact to the creation of the Ukrainian army. Ukrainian nationalists also claimed the fleet, and not only the Black Sea, but also part of the Baltic Sea. According to them, the fleet on the Black Sea was completely manned by Ukrainians, and many ships on the Baltic Fleet had Ukrainian crews.
General Secretariat of the Ukrainian Central Council (Simon Petlyura on the right), 1917 year.
Exactly a month later, in June 1917, in Kiev, in spite of the ban, a second Ukrainian military congress opened. Among 2500 delegates to the congress were also representatives of the Western Front, delegates from Minsk and Dvinsk. Petliura continued to rapidly pursue his military career — it was he who developed the organizational charter of the Ukrainian General Army Committee, after which he became chairman of the UGVK.
Ukrainization in the army found its patrons in the face of such representatives of the generals as Lavr Kornilov. Even from the subsequent defeat of the so-called "Kornilov revolt", Ukrainian nationalists tried to gain advantage, referring to the role of the Ukrainian parts in its suppression.
In September 1917, the meeting of the head of the Provisional Government of Kerensky and the delegation of the Central Council headed by Petlyura was held in Mogilev, at the headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Taking into account, above all, the anti-Bolshevik sentiments of the Ukrainian units, Kerensky signed an order on the Ukrainization of 20 divisions and a number of spare regiments of the Russian army. Commissioners of the Central Council began to be appointed to all Ukrainianized units.
"Nationalization" of the Russian army
It was not by chance that the Western Front in Belarus became a major base for the Ukrainianization of army units - it was defensive in the strategically important direction, the main forces of the Russian army were concentrated here. In Minsk, Ukrainian political parties and organizations acted, which took part both in local and in elections to the All-Russian Constituent Assembly. But the Belorussianization of military units in the territory of the future republic was conducted rather weakly. But on the territory of Ukraine, on the Romanian front and in Odessa, whole compounds were belarussian.
One of the first Ukrainian regiments was formed precisely on the Western front - the Zaporozhsky name Kostava ataman Kostya Gordienki, the regiment of mounted gaydamakov under the command of Vsevolod Petriva. The regiment arose on a revolutionary wave with the active participation of elected soldiers' committees and commissioners.
Ukrainization was also actively pursued on the neighboring Northern Front. Here, the Ukrainian movement began in the 542 Infantry Lepel Regiment of the 136 Infantry Division, despite its “Belarusian” origin. In May, the Ukrainian congress of the 1917 Army passed 12 in Riga, but in the future all the efforts were glad to be kept to a minimum: after the Bolsheviks came to power, many units went over to their side. Only the 175 Baturin regiment remained loyal to Kiev.
However, already in November, 1917 of the servicemen of the 1 Infantry Regiment of the Finnish Regiment and other units was formed, without the permission of the command, the Haydamak Kuren, commanded by the centurion Pustovit.
Many Ukrainians, referring to the "Cossack roots", willingly called into the cavalry. Thus, in the 14 Cavalry Division, a movement for Ukrainization developed. It began in the Uhlan Yamburg Regiment, whose commander Colonel Skuratov approached these transformations with approval. Directly "nationalization" ulan took centurion Shulga and other officers of Ukrainian origin. Then, under the Ukrainian banner, the dragoons (former cuirassiers) began to cross from the Little Russian regiment and the hussars from Mitavy. First, two squadrons of the Yamburg ulans were Ukrainianized, and then with the addition of "nationally conscious" dragoons and a hussar of the division, an equestrian regiment named after Taras Shevchenko was formed. But one more regiment of the 14 division - Don Cossack, did not give its fighters for the Ukrainian regiment. But after some time to the equestrian regiment to them. Shevchenko was joined by groups of soldiers and officers from the 8 Cavalry Division, where there were Lubensky hussars, and other formations.
Breakthrough to Kiev
With the coming to power of the Bolsheviks and the Left Social Revolutionaries, the new commander-in-chief of the Russian army, Nikolai Krylenko, issued an order: “... I prescribe Ukrainization to stop in every possible way and unconditionally.” In response, the Ukrainized formations began to leave for Ukraine, such an order was given to the military in Kiev. The path of the Haydamak, "Shevchenko's" and "Zaporozhian" of the Western and Northern Fronts lay through southern Belarus to the borders of the Chernigov and Kiev provinces. So, the 175 Baturin regiment made its way to Chernihiv region, where it then acted for some time.
The equestrian regiment named after Shevchenko as part of 800 sabers in January 1918 also moved to Ukraine, but was defeated in red, and its commander, Colonel Skuratov, was shot in Rogachev. The defeat of this regiment almost coincided with the fierce battles that fought on the territory of southern Belarus of the Red Guard against another rebellious "national" formation - the Polish Corps of Dovbor-Musnitsky.
No less brutal was the campaign of the Haydamatsky Kuren centurion Pustovita. AT "Stories Ukrainian troops ", first published in 1936 in Lviv, it is said that the Haydamatsky Kuren consisting of 1600 bayonets and 400 sabers" conducted a series of battles with the Bolsheviks in Belarus and captured Gomel, where they destroyed the Bolshevik Cheka. Having lost a lot of people in my campaign, honeycomb. Pustovit in February 1918, a few gaydamakov in Kiev, where they joined the Bogdanovsky regiment.
But neither in one official source, nor in the periodical press, nor in the memoirs, both published in 1920 — 60-ies, and those preserved in manuscripts in the archives and museums of Gomel and Minsk, nothing is said about such events, and most likely it is not a question of seizing power, but of pogrom.
In total, by order of Krylenko, in Belarus and in the Smolensk region, up to six thousand Ukrainian soldiers and officers, "summoned" by Petliura to Ukraine, were disarmed.
In the conflict between the Soviets and the Central Rada of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) that unfolded by this time, most of the Ukrainian front units did not want to participate. When, after a short-term fascination with national romance, it became clear that there was still another hard war ahead - this time with Soviet Russia, these regiments often took a neutral position. Sometimes even hostile to the Ukrainian authorities. No less often, the soldiers simply went home.
Nevertheless, for some time in Kiev, there were illusions about some powerful Ukrainianized group that allegedly existed on the Western Front. After the resignation of Petliura, who was suspected of Bonapartism in the Central Rada, the new military minister, Nikolai Porsh, argued that the negotiations with the government of Soviet Russia would be rejected by saying that “the well-shot Ukrainian army in 100 thousands moves from the Western Front ...”. But it was another myth.
The only Ukrainianized unit that was able to get through to the Central Rada from the Western Front was the Zaporozhsky Horse Guards. But, on the other hand, he came to Kiev from Belarus at the most acute moment for him, when the outcome of her confrontation with the insurgent workers of the Arsenal plant was decided.
Fights for Arsenal
The undeclared war between Soviet Russia and the UPR was in full swing by this time. Four columns of Reds attacked Kiev: the Berzin group from Gomel to Bakhmach and through Novozybkov and Novgorod-Seversky to Konotop, while the Special Detachment of Znamensky went to Konotop from Bryansk. The troops of the left SR Muravyov from Kharkov launched an offensive against Romny and Lubny, and the left SR Egorov - against Yekaterinoslav and Poltava. By the end of February, all these army groups had joined in Bakhmach and launched an offensive against Kiev. The weak detachments of the Central Council, advanced from the Ukrainian capital to meet the Reds, suffered a heavy defeat at Kruty.
Diorama "January Uprising". Source: Museum of the History of the Arsenal Plant
The position of the Central Rada, even in Kiev itself, was fragile. Her support here was mainly made up of Ukrainianized units and detachments of the Free Cossacks, replenished from among exalted students and intellectuals, in an insignificant number of workers, primarily railway workers. The majority of the population of Kiev, Russian-speaking and Jewish, belonged to the Rada without enthusiasm.
On the night of January 29, an uprising of workers at the Arsenal plant began in Kiev. The rebels were indeed able to capture the arsenal they had previously confiscated from weapons, the freight station and initially inflicted heavy defeats on the Haydamak and sichevik archers. Part of the Ukrainian regiments declared their neutrality. The militant workers ’laboriously combined the capture and defense of strongholds with the tactics of guerrilla warfare in urban settings, firing gaydamak from rooftops and windows, setting up ambushes on the narrow streets of Podol, Shuliavka, Demeevka. On the second day, the fighting workers' detachments were already striving to tighten the ring around the Central Rada. The fighting took place on the very streets where the events of the current Maidan unfolded - on Khreshchatyk, Banking, Institutskaya. By the third day of the fighting, the rebels had lost 150 people killed, the nationalists 70.
2 February, a hundred Red Guards from Podol erupts on Khreshchatyk and Vladimirskaya Street, a second time coming to the Central Central building. The Gordienko Regiment, which had just arrived in Kiev, was saving from defeat. 250 gaydamak counterattack Red Guards and throw them on the hem.
The Gaydamatsky regiment named after Gordienko, together with the Haydamatsky Kosh of Simon Petlyura, after defeating at the front from the Bolsheviks retreating to Kiev, and a hundred Sichevs Streltsov gave a decisive advantage to the forces of the Central Rada. February 4, the Gordyenkovites, together with the Petliurists, participate in the decisive assault on the positions of the insurgent workers. Over 300, the defenders of Arsenal were bayoneted, in all, the victims of the mass executions that followed were 1500 people.
However, in Kiev the victorious marches of the Gaydamak and the Sichevik did not play long - the 9 of February had already entered the city after the bloody battles, the vanguard of Muravyov’s army broke out. Ants, in turn, staged a tough sweep against “counter”, and the few remnants of the UNR detachments retreated to the West, under the protection of the Germans.
Hike to the Crimea
On February 9, the UPR delegation negotiated a peace treaty with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey at the talks in Brest. The exhortations and curtsies of the French and British allies did not help. The Central Rada of Ukraine concluded its separate agreement almost a month earlier than representatives of Soviet Russia. Moreover, at the same time, Ukrainian nationalists called for help from German and Austro-Hungarian troops, who immediately rushed through the open front to Ukraine. After that, the signing of the most difficult conditions of the Brest Peace by the Soviet government became almost inevitable.
German troops, which included the formation of the UPR, which were battered in the previous battles, headed east. 1 March Germans occupied Gomel; 2 march Haidamaks, "Zaporozhtsy" and Galician archers entered Kiev. By this time, the former Ukrainian units had first acquired the appearance of a regular army.
Soon the offensive of the German-Ukrainian troops continued in the direction of Lubny, Poltava, Kharkov and Lozovaya. Inspired by the successes behind the interventionists, the Central Council decided to take the fact that, according to the terms of the Brest German-Ukrainian peace treaty, it did not belong to it, - Crimea.
The history of the struggle for this strategically important peninsula in 1918 was written by each of the interested parties in its own way. Official Soviet historiography loved to talk about the "triumphal procession" of Soviet power. But Crimea was originally a layer cake, where Crimean Tatar nationalists sat in Bakhchisarai, the Cadet-Menshevik “Council of People’s Representatives” in Simferopol, and power in Sevastopol changed almost every day. It was based on the crews of the Black Sea fleetamong which the agitators of various revolutionary groups acted freely - from the Bolsheviks and left Social Revolutionaries to anarchists and Ukrainian socialists, inclusive. Therefore, depending on the fluctuations of the sailor’s soul, one day on the guns of battleships and cruisers it was possible to observe red flags, on the other - already yellow-black, and on the third - generally black banners of anarchy.
The signing of the Brest Peace 9 February 1918 of the year.
In December, the Tatar national leaders held a kurultai in Bakhchisarai, where they announced the creation of their own Directory. Subsequently, the Crimean Tatar government was headed by General Matvey (Magomet) Sulkevich, a Belarusian Tatar from Grodno, the commander of another national unit created by the Provisional Government - the 1917 of the Muslim Corps. The directory confirmed its power in Simferopol, then the Crimean Tatar cavalry tried to take Sevastopol, but was rejected. Following this, the red units defeated the detachments of the Crimean Tatar nationalists defeated Alma, the one where the royal troops suffered defeats from the British and French during the Crimean War.
In January, the 1918 of the year in Simferopol, as a result of an uprising at the Anatra plant, won the Soviets. In March, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tavrida was proclaimed in Crimea. However, the German emperor Wilhelm II also had views of the Crimea, where many German colonists lived. At the same time, they chose the Crimean Tatars, and not the Ukrainians, as allies in Berlin. For reasons that are quite obvious, neither Germany nor the patchwork prison of the Slavic peoples of Austria-Hungary were ever really interested in the existence of a strong Ukraine.
Initially, the Central Council agreed with these claims of Germany. And under her dictation, Brest recognized the future of the Crimean Tatar state under the Kaiser protectorate. But then, having come round, decided to correct the situation. A separate army group under the command of Colonel Bolbochan, separated from the Zaporizhia Corps, was advanced to the Crimea. It was composed of the same 1 th cavalry regiment named after Gordienko, which operated with it the equestrian-mountain artillery division, the 2 th infantry regiment of Zaporizhzhya and other auxiliary units.
13 April, the Crimean group began to move from Kharkov to Lozova. 14 April from the battle, she took Alexandrovsk, where she joined up with the Galician brutish archers who came here together with Austro-Hungarians. On April 18, the battle began for Melitopol, which the Haidamaks were able to take, having only overcome the stubborn resistance of the red parts. Then 21 April was captured Novoalekseevka. After that, an unexpected night attack, captured the bridge over the Sivash. And already April 22 was taken by Dzhankoy. One column of the Crimean group began to advance on Simferopol, and the Gordienkovsky cavalry regiment with the mountain artillery division attached to it — on Bakhchisarai. By 25 April, both cities were captured by UNR troops.
Ukrainian nationalist organizations in Sevastopol cheered up, and on April 29 on a number of ships, starting with the flagship battleship George the Victorious, yellow-blue cloths were raised. But not for long - almost immediately, the Black Sea Fleet split into "Russian" and "Ukrainian." The next day, the fleet commander Rear Admiral Sablin, under German artillery fire, brought out the 1 Brigade of battleships, the battleships Empress Catherine the Great and Volya, as well as the 15 destroyers, to the Soviet Novorossiysk, where the Andrew flag was hoisted. In Sevastopol, under the command of the Ukrainian admiral Ostrogradsky, 7 of old dreadnoughts and other ships remained. On May 1, the Germans entered Sevastopol, captured the remaining ships with their crews, and raised the Hohenzollern imperial flags on them.
Dula Germanic guns, though they could not stop the Black Sea squadron from Sevastopol, but very quickly put an end to the claims of the Kiev council to the Crimea. Shortly after the seizure of Simferopol and Bakhchisarai, the Germans demanded the immediate withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the Crimean peninsula, under the threat of their complete disarmament. Five German divisions were advanced to the Crimea. The Central Council was forced to agree with this shout, but it didn’t help her anymore, April 29, on the day when Ukrainian flags were raised in Sevastopol, the Germans decided to establish even more loyal power to them in Ukraine. The German command and Ukrainian landlords led Hetman Skoropadsky to power in Kiev, who was no longer able to pursue an independent policy. After some time, the 1 th cavalry regiment named after Gordienko for their too revolutionary and republican sentiments was disarmed and disbanded.
The loss of the Crimea was not the only loss for Kiev under the terms of the Brest peace. All Western Ukraine remained part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Subsequently, the new "allies" of the Ukrainian nationalist camp, France and the United Kingdom, will also behave. Entente powers will leave Galicia for Poland, and Bukovina will be given to Romania.