From the very beginning, senior officers participated in the overthrow of the king.
Classical arguments about the causes of the February revolution are reduced to a simple scheme: tsarism came to a standstill, and the masses (workers, peasants, soldiers) driven to despair started an uprising. Then, to save the country, a group of generals went to the sovereign to explain to him the whole burden of the situation. As a result, Nicholas decided to abdicate.
However, the facts clearly show how naive this current version. The former head of the Moscow Security Department has long made public information of exceptional importance, and it is perfectly clear from them how the “spontaneous uprising of dissatisfied masses” had to do with the revolution:
“I have just raised a question of great importance: the lack of awareness of our central administration in the political search, that is, the Police Department, in relation to the preparation by the leaders of the Progressive Bloc of the so-called palace coup. Rumors about this undertaking, of course, went, and who then, in 1916, did not hear them? But specifically what were they based on?
In 1916, around October or November, a letter sent to the conditional address of one of the local public figures (I forgot my last name) was recalled in the so-called black office of the Moscow Post Office, and the Police Department and I received copies of the letter, according to a routine.
The letter - unsigned - was completely exceptional in its content. It caused in me at the same time anxiety and the decision to examine him personally, having previously established contact with the director of the Police Department in order to discuss further actions. I immediately informed the mayor of the contents of the letter.
To my deepest regret, I cannot reproduce from memory the exact content of the letter, but the meaning was as follows: it was reported to the Moscow leaders of the Progressive Bloc (or associated with it) that the Old Man was finally persuaded, who for a long time did not agree, fearing a big blood spill, but, finally, under the influence of our arguments, gave up and promised full assistance ...
The letter, which was not very long, contained phrases, of which even then active steps taken by a narrow circle of leaders of the Progressive Bloc in the sense of personal talks with the commanders of our armies at the front, including Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, quite clearly spoke.
In émigré literature, as I recall, in Modern Notes, articles appeared that quite frankly explained the content of these “personal talks,” at least with the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich; The famous Khatisov negotiated with him.
It would seem that the Russian imperial government could already on these facts alone and should have been fully aware of the conspiracy. But the grand duke "kept silent", and the Police Department, apparently, could not bring to the notice of the sovereign about the treason of the "Old Man", who was none other than the head of the emperor's headquarters, General Alekseev! Much after the 1917 revolution of the year was revealed, much emerged, but the treacherous role of General Alekseev, thanks to the silent conciliation of his associates in the Volunteer Army and the partners in treason, is still not illuminated with decent clarity and completeness.
Meanwhile, for the future historians of our revolution and the “palace coup”, it is necessary to know about the treacherous role of the sovereign’s chief companion at the front, who kissed Judah with a kicking before the emperor left for sick children and knew well what awaits him at Bottom ...
The fact that the nickname "Old Man" refers specifically to General Alekseev, I was told by the director of the Police Department, A.T. Vasiliev, to whom I personally left Moscow for personal negotiations on this letter. ”
Until now, people constantly talk about the sufferings of the army on the fronts, about the unresolved land issue in the rear, and so on. Until now, these "facts" are called the prerequisites of the revolution. But it’s completely obvious that the concepts of “many” and “little” are relative. Little land compared to whom? If our peasant had little land, then it would be logical to compare the size of land allotments in Russia with what the peasants of England, France or Germany owned. Have you ever seen such a comparison? I bet there isn't.
Or, for example, take the front. Have you often encountered in literature a comparison between the grocery supply of a Russian soldier and his European colleague? Do you know the severity of the mobilization load (the proportion of people called up to the front from the entire population) in Russia and in other countries that fought in the First World War? There are no shortages of emotional stories about the sufferings of the people before the revolution, but there are practically no comparative figures. Meanwhile, the impact on feelings, vagueness of formulations, the substitution of specifics by common words are typical signs of manipulation.
Of course, it would be possible to conduct such a comparative analysis and, having shoveled the mountains of literature, to verify the factual fallacy of all these accusations at the address of “tsarist”, but there is a more effective way.
So let's start with the thesis of the front-line. During the revolution, the garrison in Petrograd really rose. But, excuse me, Petrograd at that time is a deep rear. The soldiers - participants of February did not "rot in the trenches", did not die and did not starve. They sat in the warm metropolitan barracks, hundreds of kilometers from the whistling of bullets and explosions of shells. And those who held the front at this time, in their absolute majority honestly performed their duty. They really were much harder than the Petrograd rear men, but they were preparing for a decisive spring offensive and did not participate in any riots. Moreover, in January 1917, that is, literally on the eve of the revolution, our army conducted a Mitava operation against the German troops and achieved victory.
Go ahead. They say that the peasants suffered from the lack of land, in other words, they lived from hand to mouth, and, they say, this was one of the weighty reasons for the revolution. In fact, in the USSR in the 1930-s, millions of people died of starvation, but not only the revolution, but even a little bit dangerous for the power of the rebellion did not happen, and to compare the realities of the blockade of Leningrad and Petrograd 1917 quite ridiculous.
It is appropriate to quote the memoirs of General Kurlov, who left a very characteristic description of the February events:
“After returning home, I sent A.D. Protopopov wrote a letter in which he told him that some police measures in the present state of affairs would not help, and begged to convince General Khabalov to order all military bakeries to bake as much bread as possible from the supplies of commissariat that night and to let him into the people in the morning. I do not know what fate befell this letter.
I did not give such advice because I found that the reason for the popular unrest that arose in Petrograd these days was the lack of bread. I knew very well that the bread ration was 2 pounds, that other edible products were also given out, and that cash reserves would be enough for the 22 of the day, even if we assume that not a single wagon of food would be served to the capital. The demand for "bread!" Was a revolutionary slogan launched into the masses. Its initiators well understood that on this basis, the masses would believe everything and any verbal objection from the government would not make any impression on the people. After all, they did not believe the announcement by General Khabalov that there was enough bread in Petrograd! The leftist newspapers diligently made this announcement. That is why I found it necessary to counter rumors with striking facts.
Nevertheless, all joined in efforts to discredit the imperial power, not stopping in front of slander and lies. Everyone has forgotten that a coup d'état during the world war is the inevitable death of Russia. ”
But can you believe a single testimony? Of course, it is impossible, therefore I will quote also the head of the Moscow security department Zavarzin, in whose memoirs there is a description of the realities of the life of Petrograd on the eve of February:
"In Petrograd, from the outside, it seemed that the capital lives normally: shops are open, there are many goods, brisk traffic on the streets, and the ordinary man in the street only notices that bread is given out on cards and in reduced quantities, but you can get macaroni and croup as much as you like." .
Think about these lines. Two and a half years goes unprecedented in stories World War. In such conditions, a sharp drop in the standard of living is a completely natural thing. The cruel economy of everything and everything, huge queues for elementary products, starvation deaths are absolutely ordinary satellites of the hardest war. We know this perfectly well in the history of the Great Patriotic War. But look at how tsarist Russia successfully copes with difficulties. This is a phenomenal result, almost unprecedented! What are the reasons for the masses to rebel in such conditions?
But a summary of the country. "In general, the grain resource of the Russian Empire by the spring of 1917 of the year amounted to about 3,793 billion pounds of bread with the country's total need for 3,227 billion pounds," notes the modern historian M.V. Oskin.
But this is not the main thing. The people who directly overthrew Nicholas II belonged to the highest military elite of the empire. General Alekseev, the commanders of the fronts, the Grand Duke - did they lack land? Did they have to starve or stand in long lines? What does the people have to do with this? The piquancy of the situation also lies in the fact that unrest in Petrograd itself did not pose a direct threat to the Tsar, because Nikolai was not in the capital at that time. He went to Mogilev, that is, to the headquarters of the Supreme Commander. The revolutionaries decided to take advantage of the absence of the tsar in the capital.
In this regard, I consider it necessary to give the floor to the man who in those years was the head of the Petrograd security department - General Globachev:
“Then the revolutionary center decided to take by force what it would otherwise have received in the order of the monarch's grace, which he did not count on. Leaders superbly considered the situation. The Russian army was firmly in the occupied positions for almost a year, and in the south, in Bukovina, even went over to the offensive. All this time, the country has strained all its efforts to supply the army, and in this respect it really surpassed itself, having made such preparations that would suffice for many more years of the most bitter war. The army was completed and increased in its composition. Everything was prepared for the transition to the general offensive in spring 1917 of the year according to the plan worked out by the Allied Command. The central powers were to be crushed this year. Thus, for a revolution in Russia there was one month of the term, that is, before April 1.
Further delay would disrupt the revolution, for military successes would begin, and together with this, favorable conditions would slip away. That is why, after the sovereign left for the Stavka, it was decided to take advantage of the very first suitable reason for causing an uprising. I will not say that the coup plan was developed in detail, but the main stages and characters were outlined. The game was very subtle. Military and court circles felt the impending events, but imagined them as a simple palace coup in favor of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich with the announcement of a constitutional monarchy. Even people like Milyukov, the leader of the party of constitutional democrats, were convinced of this. Even the majority of the members of the progressive bloc were in this illusion.
But the most extreme elements were thought differently with Kerensky at the head. After the monarchy, they imagined Russia only as a democratic republic. Neither of them could even imagine what all would come out of. True, there were prophets at that time who knew that such upheavals would lead to a general collapse and anarchy, but no one wanted to listen to them, regarding them as enemies of the people. These were the only living bodies, such as the Police Department, the Security Division, the gendarmerie and some of the far-sighted, truly Russian people, who knew what they would have to reckon with later and what the destruction of the thousand-year-old monarchy would cost Russia.
On February 23, a partial economic strike began at some of the factories and plants of the Vyborg side of Petrograd, and the 24 th strike grew by joining the Putilov factory and the industrial enterprises of the Narva part. In general, strikes before 200 000 workers. Such strikes have happened before and could not foreshadow anything dangerous at this time. But through the Central Military Committee, political slogans were thrown into the working masses and a rumor was spread about the impending famine and the absence of grain in the capital. It must be said that in Petrograd, for some time at the bakeries and bakeries, there were queues for the purchase of bread. This phenomenon did not occur because there really was no bread or it was not enough, but because, thanks to the excessively increasing population of Petrograd, on the one hand, and the call of the next baker’s age, on the other, there were not enough hot spots for baking. In addition, just at this time, to regulate the distribution of bread, the food commission decided to switch to a rationing system. The supply of flour for the food of Petrograd was sufficient and, moreover, a sufficient number of wagons with flour were delivered to Petrograd every day. Thus, the rumors about the impending famine and the absence of bread were provocative - with the aim of causing major unrest and unrest, which in fact was possible. The striking workers began to move in noisy crowds to the city center, demanding bread. ”
The masses are an instrument in the hands of the elite, and the creation of a “food psychosis” out of the blue is one of the classical methods of crowd manipulation. In fact, modern “orange” events and the “Arab spring” very clearly showed what all this talk about “popular” revolutions cost. Grosz them price on market day. The reasons for the overthrow of power should not be sought by the people, for the masses are not making history. We need to see what was happening inside the elite and what the international situation was like. The intra-elite conflict with the broad participation of foreign states is the real reason for February.
Of course, you can blame Nicholas for the fact that it was he who appointed the unreliable people to the highest state posts. However, according to the same logic, exactly the same accusation must be brought against the German monarch Wilhelm II, who was removed from power during the First World War. And if you recall our recent history, then it’s no secret that Khrushchev was overthrown by his closest associates, and Gorbachev was ousted by Yeltsin, that is, the very person Gorbachev raised up. And the death of Stalin is a very dark matter. Many researchers reasonably assume that he was “helped” to die. Who helped? People who are completely obliged to Stalin for their high position. Alas, for monarchical and quasi-monarchical devices, that is, direct dictatorship, such things are not uncommon.
By the way, during the February revolution a very eloquent fact surfaced. Among the insurgent units were two machine-gun regiments, and so 2500 machine guns were at their disposal. For comparison, in the entire Russian army at the end of 1916, there were 12 000 machine guns, and for the entire 1915 year, the entire domestic industry produced their 4250 units. Think about these numbers. There are heavy battles on the front, and it must be admitted that the weakness of Russia was the provision of machine guns to the army, they really were not enough, and at that time a huge number of machine guns, essential armies were kept completely idle! Who is so "brilliantly" distributed machine guns? Such orders could be given only by generals, army leaders. From a military point of view, this is absurd, so why was it done? The answer is obvious. Machine guns were needed for the revolution.
That is, rebel generals committed a double crime. Not only did they oppose the legitimate authority, they also sharply weakened their own army for the sake of their revolutionary goals, sending thousands of machine guns to the rear, to the capital.
As a result, the overthrow of the king was bought with the great blood of soldiers and officers. They honestly fought at the time at the front, they would be helped a lot by machine-gun support, which could be provided by machine gun rear units armed to the teeth. But these parts were held entirely for other purposes. The revolutionary contagion as if struck the brain of the greatest military leaders, who sacrificed their own subordinates, and ultimately the whole country, to please their own selfish intentions.