- Full and immediate amnesty for all matters - political and religious, including terrorist attempts, military uprisings, agrarian crimes, etc.
- Freedom of speech, press, unions, meetings, and strikes, with the extension of political freedoms to military personnel within the limits allowed by military conditions.
- The abolition of all class, religious and national restrictions.
- Immediate preparation for the convocation on the basis of universal, equal, direct and secret voting of the Constituent Assembly, which will establish the form of government and the constitution of the country.
- Replacement of the police by the people's militia with an elected bosses subordinate to the local self-government bodies.
- Elections to local governments on the basis of universal, equal, direct and secret voting.
- Non-disarmament and non-withdrawal of military units from Petrograd that took part in the revolutionary movement.
- With the preservation of military discipline in the ranks and during the performance of military service, the elimination for the soldiers of all restrictions on the exercise of public rights granted to all other citizens.
After the revolution, parties of socialists of various shades, as well as groups of social democrats, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, who formed the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, voluntarily appeared on the political scene, except for members of the State Duma and the Provisional Government. These parties did not yet have their own leaders who were in emigration, where they sought support in their activities among the geopolitical opponents of Russia, including the German government and its general staff. The commanding staff of the acting army knew about the events taking place inside the country only from newspaper information, which began to be distributed in large numbers among military units, and in the created conditions all hopes were pinned on the Provisional Government. At first, all of these diverse political groups, the Provisional Government and the upper strata of commanding personnel, were in complete agreement with regard to the change of power that had taken place and the overthrow of the autocracy. But later they took up a completely irreconcilable position. The leading role in the decaying army, in the local garrisons and in the country began to shift to the arbitrary organization - the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies.
The revolution brought to power many people completely useless, and very quickly it became absolutely clear. The Minister of War was appointed A.I. Guchkov. His competence in military matters, in comparison with his colleagues, was determined by his stay as a guest performer during the Anglo-Boer War. He turned out to be a "great connoisseur" of military affairs, and with him in two months they replaced 150 top commanders, including 73, commander and commander. Under him, order No. XXUMX appeared on the Petrograd garrison, which became the detonator of order destruction, first in the capital garrison, and then in the rear, reserve and training units of the army. But even this experienced destroyer, who organized a merciless cleansing of commanders, did not dare to sign the Declaration of the Rights of a Soldier, imposed by the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies. Guchkov was forced to resign and 1 on May 9, the new military minister Kerensky signed the Declaration, decisively launching the mighty instrument of the final decomposition of the active army. The officers, who had little understanding of politics, had no political influence on the mass of soldiers. Ideological emissaries and agents of various socialist parties, sent by the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies to promote peace "without annexations and indemnities", led the soldier masses ideologically very quickly. The soldiers did not want to fight anymore and found that if peace should be concluded without annexations and indemnities, further bloodshed is meaningless and unacceptable. Began mass fraternization of soldiers in positions.
Fig. 1 Fraternization of Russian and German soldiers
But that was the official explanation. The secret was that the slogan had prevailed: “Down with the war, immediately peace and immediately take the land from the landlords.” The officer immediately became an enemy in the minds of the soldiers, for he demanded the continuation of the war and represented the type of gentleman in military uniform in the eyes of the soldiers. At first, the majority of officers began to join the Cadet Party, and the mass of soldiers became completely Socialist-Revolutionary. But soon the soldiers understood that the Social Revolutionaries and Kerensky wanted to continue the war and postpone the division of the land to the Constituent Assembly. Such intentions were not at all included in the calculations of the soldiers' masses and clearly contradicted their aspirations. It was here that the preaching of the Bolsheviks and relished the concepts of soldiers. They were completely uninterested in the Internationale, Communism and similar questions. But they quickly learned the following beginnings of their future life: immediate peace, by all means, confiscation from the property class of any estate of all property, the destruction of the landowner, the bourgeoisie and the master in general. Most of the officers could not stand on such a position and the soldiers began to look at them as at enemies. Politically, officers were poorly prepared, practically unarmed, and at public meetings they were easily hammered by any speaker who could talk and read several pamphlets of socialist content. There could be no talk of any counter-propaganda, no one wanted to listen to the officers. In some parts, all the authorities were expelled, they chose their own and announced that they were going home, because they no longer want to fight. In other parts, chiefs were arrested and sent to Petrograd, to the Soviet of workers and soldiers' deputies. There were also such units, mainly on the Northern Front, where the officers were killed.
The interim government made a change in the entire administration of the country, not giving a new form of organization of power and instructions on how to operate in the new conditions, providing a solution to these issues at the local level. The Soviets of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies immediately used this provision and announced a decree to the whole country on the organization of local Soviets. The “Declaration of the Rights of a Soldier,” promulgated in the army, astonished not only among the commanders, but also among the lower ranks, who still retained the awareness of the need for discipline and order in the army. This revealed the real essence of the Provisional Government, on which hopes were pinned that it would lead the country to an upsurge and restoration of order, and not to the final chaos in the army and lawlessness in the country. The authority of the Provisional Government was severely undermined, and between the commanders from top to bottom the question arose: where to look for salvation from the collapse of the army? Democratization from the first days of the revolution led to the rapid collapse of the army. The lack of discipline and responsibility opened up the possibility of an unpunished flight from the front, and mass desertion began.
These masses of former soldiers with weapons and without it they filled the cities and villages and, as former war veterans, occupied a dominant position in the local Soviets and became the leaders of the rebellious element rising from the bottom. The established power not only did not restrain arbitrary appearances, but also encouraged them, and therefore the peasant masses set about solving their main historical and everyday issue: the seizure of land. Meanwhile, with the breakdown of rail transport, with the collapse of industry and the cessation of the delivery of urban goods to the village, the connection between the village and the city decreased. The urban population was isolated from the village, the food supply to the cities was bad, because the banknotes lost all value and there was nothing to buy for them. The factories, under the slogan of turning them into the property of the workers, quickly turned into dead organisms. To stop the decomposition of the army, the top commanders, generals Alekseev, Brusilov, Shcherbachev, Gurko and Dragomirov, arrived in Petrograd. On May 4, a joint meeting of the Provisional Government, the executive committee of the Council of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was held, at which the commanders' statements were heard. The speeches of the generals presented a vivid picture of the collapse of the army and the impotence of the commanding staff to stop this collapse without the imperious help of the Temporary Government. In the final statement it was said: "We need power: you have pulled the ground from under our feet, so take the trouble to restore it ... If you want to continue the war to the bitter end, then you need to return the power to the army ...". To this, Skobelev, a member of the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, replied that "a revolution cannot begin and stop on the order ...". This demagogic statement was the basis for the collapse of the army and the country. Indeed, all the creators of the revolution attribute the revolutionary processes to the field of metaphysics. In their view, the revolution moves and is governed by the laws of cycles. Leaders of the revolution explain their powerlessness to stop the raging element by the fact that no one can stop it, and it must go through all the cycles of its development to its logical end, and only after destroying everything in its path that was connected with the past order, the element will be reversed.
On the South-Western Front, until May 1917, there was not a single murder of officers than other fronts could not boast of. But even the popular Brusilov could not get a promise from the soldiers to attack and attack enemy positions. The slogan: “A world without annexations and indemnities” and a bust dominated unconditionally. So great was the unwillingness to continue the war. Brusilov wrote: “I understood the position of the Bolsheviks, because they preached“ Down with war and immediate peace by all means ”, but could not understand the tactics of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who more than all collapsed the army, ostensibly to avoid counter-revolution, and together with so they wanted to continue the war to the bitter end. Therefore, I invited the Minister of War Kerensky to come to the South-Western Front to confirm the demand for an attack on behalf of the Petrograd Soviet at rallies, since by that time the authority of the State Duma had fallen. In the middle of May, Kerensky visited the South-Western Front, delivered speeches at rallies. The soldier’s masses greeted him enthusiastically, promised everything that anywhere and did not fulfill their promise. I understood that the war was over for us, because there were no means to force the troops to fight. ” By May, the troops of all fronts were completely out of control, and it was already impossible to take any measures of influence. Yes, and the appointed commissioners obeyed only insofar as they indulged the soldiers, and when they went against them, the soldiers refused to carry out their orders. So the soldiers of 7 of the Siberian Corps, who were on holiday in the rear, flatly refused to return to the front and announced Commissioner Boris Savinkov that they wanted to go to Kiev for further rest. No persuasion and threats Savinkov not helped. There were many such cases. True, during the detour of the front, Kerensky was well received everywhere and promised a lot, but when it came to business, they took their promises back. Taking the enemy's trenches, the troops the next day left them without permission, returning back. They declared that since annexations and contributions cannot be demanded, they return to their old positions. It was in this situation that Brusilov was appointed to 1917 in May as the Supreme Commander. Seeing the complete collapse of the army, not having the strength and means to change the course of events, he set himself the goal to at least temporarily maintain the combat capability of the army and save the officers from extermination. He had to rush from one part to another, with difficulty keeping them from unauthorized departure from the front, sometimes with whole divisions and corps. The units hardly agreed to return the authorities and defend their positions, but flatly refused to offensive actions. The trouble was that the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who thought it necessary to maintain the power of the army and did not want to break with the allies, themselves destroyed the army themselves.
It should be said that similar destructive processes of revolutionary fermentation took place in other belligerent countries. In France, unrest in the active army, among workers and the public, also began in January 1917. In more detail about this was written in the Military Review in the article "How America saved Western Europe from the ghost of the world revolution." This article exemplifies the parallelism of events and the similarity of the morale of the armies of the warring countries and shows that military defects and all sorts of flaws in a three-year positional war were inherent not only in the Russian army, but also in other countries, including the German and French armies. Prior to the abdication of the sovereign, the Russian army almost did not know of major unrest in military units, they began under the influence of the demoralization that started from above. The example of France also shows that revolutionary propaganda and demagogy, no matter in which country it is conducted, are built according to one pattern and are based on the excitement of base human human instincts. In all sections of society and in the ruling elite, there are always people who sympathize with these slogans. But without the participation of the army of revolution does not happen and France was saved by the fact that in Paris there was no insane congestion, as in Petrograd, spare and training battalions, and also managed to avoid mass exodus of units from the front. However, its main salvation was the appearance on its territory of the armed forces of America, which raised the morale of the command and social structure of society.
She survived the revolutionary process and the collapse of the army and Germany. After the cessation of the struggle against the Entente, the army disintegrated, the same propaganda was conducted inside it, with the same slogans and objectives. Fortunately for Germany, inside it there were people who started fighting against the forces of decomposition from the head and one morning the communist leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were found dead and thrown into the ditch. The army and the country were saved from the inevitable collapse and the revolutionary process. In Russia, unfortunately, the State Duma and the Provisional Government, which received the right to govern the country, in their activities and in revolutionary slogans did not differ in any way from the extreme party groups. As a result, they lost their prestige among the masses inclined towards organization and order, and especially in the army.
In the presence of the Provisional Government and the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, the State Duma and the State Council continued their activities, but they no longer enjoyed great influence in the country. In this situation, dual power was created in the capital and anarchy in the country. The Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies formed arbitrarily, in order to formalize its legality, convened in April the All-Russian Congress of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, who, under the signboard of various political parties from socialists to anarchists communists in the number of 775 people, gathered in Petrograd. Overwhelmingly, the congress was represented by low-culture strata, and by nationality - foreigners. If the Soviet Socialist Revolutionary Council still held the slogan: the war was up to the end, although without annexations and indemnities, the Bolshevik slogans were more straightforward and expressed simply: “Down with the war”, “Peace to the huts and the war palaces”. The slogans of the Bolsheviks were announced Ulyanov arrived from exile. The basis of the activities of the Bolshevik Party was: 1) overthrow of the Provisional Government and the complete disintegration of the army 2) initiation of class struggle in the country and even intraclass in the village 3) denial of democratic forms of the state system and the transfer of power to the minority . minority, the most organized, armed and centralized.
The declaration of the Bolshevik leaders was not limited to the promulgation of their theses, and they began to organize a real force, a strengthened formation of the "Red Guard". Its structure stretched: the criminal element, the underground, the deserters who filled the country, and in a large number the foreign workers, mostly Chinese, who were imported a lot to build the Murmansk railway. And in view of the fact that the Red Guards were well paid, the Russian proletariat, left without work due to the stopping of factories and industrial production in the country, reached there. The emergence of Bolshevik leaders on the surface of the revolutionary turmoil was for the majority so ridiculous that no one could admit that a country with a thousand-year-old history, with the established moral and economic order and customs, could be in the power of this force, which from its foundation led the struggle against the age-old social foundations of humanity. The Bolsheviks brought envy, hatred and enmity to the country.
The leaders of Bolshevism attracted the people to their side, not because the people were well acquainted with the political program of Marx-Ulyanov, which up to 99% of the people in the USSR did not know and did not understand even after 70 years. The program of the people were the slogans of Pugachev, Razin and Bolotnikov, expressed simply and clearly: what is needed, take it, if allowed. This simplified formula was expressed differently by the Bolsheviks and took on an even clearer form: “rob the loot”. Indeed, by its nature, a significant part of the population of Russia is anarchic and does not value the public domain. But this part of the population is outraged only with the permission of the government and so it began to act even before the Bolsheviks. It simply went and took away what it thought was taken from him, and above all, took the land from the big landowners.
The party of social democrats (Bolsheviks) among other political groupings occupied a special position, both at the extreme of their ideas and in the form of their implementation. In its ideology, the Bolshevik party in the revolutionary movement inside Russia was the successor to the Narodnaya Volya party, which committed the murder of Emperor Alexander II. After this murder, the party was defeated inside the country and the leaders of the People's Fighters fled abroad, where they began to study the reasons for the failure of their activities in Russia. As their experience showed, after the assassination of the head of state, the situation not only did not change in their favor, but the dynasty became even stronger. The main theorist among this part of the People was Plekhanov. When they familiarized themselves with the theory of West European Social Democrats, they saw that their mistake in political work was that they saw the Russian peasantry or the agricultural class as the main support of their activities, and not the working class masses. After that, in their reasoning, they came to the conclusion: “The Communist revolution of the working class can in no way grow out of that philistine-peasant socialism, which almost all of our revolutionary centers are guides because:
- by the internal character of its organization, the rural community seeks to give way to bourgeois, not communist forms of dormitory;
- in the transition to these communist forms of dormitory, the community will have an inactive and a passive role;
- the community is not able to move Russia onto the path of communism, and can only resist such a movement;
“Only the working class of our industrial centers can take the initiative of the communist movement.”
The program of the Social Democratic Party was based on this platform. The main tactics of the political struggle of the Social Democrats considered agitation among the working class, combat activities against the existing regime and terrorist acts. The scientific basis for the study of social democratic ideas was the works of Marx, Engels, Liebknecht, Kautsky, Lafargue. And for Russians who did not know foreign languages, the works of Erisman, Janjul and Pogozhev. After the defeat of the Social Democrats' Duma faction, the main activities of the party were moved abroad, and a congress was convened in London. Political emigrants, spending many years in absolute inactivity, living on sponsors' money, rejecting work and society, trampling on their homeland and at the same time real life, covered their parasitism with phrases and high ideas. When the revolution broke out in Russia and when the partitions separating them from their homeland fell, they rushed to Russia from London, Paris, New York, from the cities of Switzerland. They were in a hurry to take their place in the political boilers where the fate of Russia was decided. Even in anticipation of the imminent 1914 war of the year, Ulyanov decided, in order to replenish funds, to enter into an agreement with Germany regarding the joint struggle against Russia. He went to Berlin in June and made an offer to the German Foreign Ministry to work for him against Russia and the Russian army. For his work, he demanded big money and the ministry rejected his proposal. After the February Revolution, the German government realized the benefits and decided to take advantage of this opportunity. 27 March 1917, Ulyanov was summoned to Berlin, where, together with representatives of the German government, he developed a plan of action for the rear war against Russia. After that, Ulyanov was released to work 70 million marks. From this point on, Ulyanov did not follow the instructions of Marx’s theory more than the directives of the general staff of the German army. 30 March Ulyanov and 30 people of his employees, guarded by German officers, were sent to Stockholm through Germany, and a meeting was held at which plans for the activities of this group of Bolsheviks inside Russia were finalized. The main actions consisted in the overthrow of the Provisional Government, the disintegration of the army and the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. After the meeting, Ulyanov and his companions left on a special train to Russia and on April 3 arrived in St. Petersburg. By the time Ulyanov appeared with his staff in Russia, everything was already prepared for their activities: the country was not controlled by anyone, the army had no authoritative command, and, moreover, the German agents who arrived were received by the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies with honor. By the time the German agents arrived at the station, a delegation was waiting for them and a guard of honor with the orchestra was lined up. When Ulyanov appeared, they grabbed him and carried him to the station, where they were given an opening speech with praise from Russia and that the whole world was looking at her with hopes. Ulyanov was set aside for the work of a luxurious mansion of the ballet dancer Kshesinskaya, which turned into a center of propaganda for the Bolsheviks. At that time, in St. Petersburg, a congress of the socialist revolutionary party was held, where for the first time Ulyanov made a lengthy speech calling for the overthrow of the government and a break with the defencists, for ending the war with Germany. He further called on everyone to put on the truly revolutionary garments of communism, throwing off the rags of the Social Democrats, allies of the bourgeoisie. His speech made a negative impression, the Bolsheviks tried to explain this by saying that he did not understand Russia because of its long absence within it. The next day, he delivered a speech at the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, calling on the Communists to seize power and land in the country and begin peace negotiations with Germany. His speech was met with shouts: “Get out, go to Germany!”. Speaking after him, the chairman of the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies declared that Ulyanov’s ideas were harmful, calling them a blow to the revolution. Among the masses, the arrival of Ulyanov and his companions from Germany also aroused mistrust and suspicion of them as of German agents. But the work of the German agents went past these masses, and they sought support in a different category. They continued the formation of military units, known as the "Red Guard", very well paid. They did not spare money to attract the masses of soldiers, paying them for refusing to leave the barracks against the demonstrators to 30 rubles. Ulyanovs issued a message to the people and the army prepared by the German government and its general headquarters, the content of which was made public in the first days of the “leader's” arrival in Russia from emigration. Thus, the Communists were well-developed propaganda, created for their activities armed support from the lower classes and the criminal element, suitable for every crime. And at the same time, the Provisional Government quickly lost influence on the people and soldiers' masses and turned into a helpless talker, devoid of authority.
In the Cossack regions there were also issues that required changes, but these issues did not require political, social or economic upheaval and breaking the basic conditions of the Cossack way of life. In the Cossack regions after the February Revolution, it was possible to restore the old electoral commencement of military atamans, as well as expand and strengthen the election of the national representative bodies. An example of this was the Don Army, which was deprived of these rights during the reign of Emperor Peter I. By the time of the sovereign’s abdication, the headguard ataman on the Don was General Count Grabbe. After the local government’s right to organize local government by decision of the local population, it was proposed to Count Grabbe to resign, without any excesses, and a Troops ataman of Cossack origin was elected in his place. It was announced the right to convene the national representation. The same changes occurred in other Cossack regions, where the orders of electoral democracy were violated. At the front, among the Cossack units, the sovereign's abdication was accepted calmly. But the order No. 1, which introduced changes to the internal life of military units, was received with bewilderment. The destruction of the military hierarchy was tantamount to the destruction of the existence of military units. Among the rest of the Russian population, the Cossacks constituted a military estate, on the basis of which their special situation and living conditions were formed for centuries. Declared freedoms and equality put the Cossacks in the need to carefully look at the events taking place, and, not seeing consonance with their Cossack ideas anywhere, for the most part, the Cossacks took a wait-and-see position without interfering with the events taking place. All remained in the regiments, there was no desertion, all followed the orders of the troop ataman to remain loyal to the oath to the Provisional Government and perform their duties at the front. Even after the introduction of the norm of order No. 1 on the election of commanders, the Cossacks, most often, voted for their officers. In Petrograd, the Cossack Forces Committee was established. With the abolition of titling commanders began to turn to the officers, calling for the rank, adding "mister" ... which, in essence, had no revolutionary character.
Anxiety on the Don with the beginning of the expansion of the common parts of the army began to appear among the infantry reserve battalions located in the vicinity of Novocherkassk. But on the Don, in the winter of 1916 / 1917, the Cossack cavalry units were withdrawn from the front, from which the 7,8,9 Don Cossack divisions were formed, intended for the summer offensive operation 1917 of the year. Therefore, the infantry units around Novocherkassk, which took the revolutionary order, were quickly dispersed by the Cossacks, and Rostov remained the center of the unrest, making up one of the railroad junctions connecting the Caucasian Army with Russia.
However, in the Cossack regions, with the beginning of the revolution, the difficult and intractable question of relations between the Cossacks, urban, non-towns and local peasants was raised. On the Don there were three categories of people who did not belong to the Cossack class: indigenous Don peasants and peasants who lived temporarily as nonresident. In addition to these two categories formed in the historical process, the Don included the cities of Taganrog, Rostov, and the Aleksandro-Hrushevsky coal region (Donbass), inhabited exclusively by people of non-retaliatory origin. With the total population of the Don region of five million people, there were only about half of the Cossacks. Moreover, from the different categories of non-Kazakh population, the indigenous Don peasantry, which constituted 939 LLC man, occupied a special position. The formation of the Don peasantry dates back to the time of serfdom and the birth of large landowners in the Don. For tillage, workers were required, and the export of peasants from Russia began. The arbitrary seizure of land on the Don by the official world that originated on the Don caused complaints from the Cossacks, and Empress Catherine II ordered land surveying of the Don Region. The lands that were arbitrarily occupied were taken away from the Don landowners, turned into the common property of the whole Army, but the peasantry taken out by the Cossack landowners was left in the places occupied by them and awarded with lands. It was part of the population of the Don, called the Don peasantry. Using the lands, these peasants did not belong to the Cossack class and did not use their public rights. In the possession of the Cossack population, not counting land under horse breeding, urban and other military lands, there were 9 581157 tithes of land, of which 6 240 942 tithing were processed, and the rest of the land was public pastures for cattle. In the possession of the Don peasantry was 1 600 694 tithing, so among them there was no all-Russian cry for land shortage. In addition to the Don peasantry in the Don region were Rostov and Taganrog urban districts and non-resident population. Their position with the land was much worse. However, they initially did not openly bring unrest into the domestic life of the Don, with the exception of Rostov and other railway junctions that crossed the territory of the Don Region, where deserters of decomposed Russian armies were accumulating from all the extensive fronts.
The 28 of May was assembled by the first military Circle, which brought together 500 elected from villages and 200 from front-line units. By that time, the former commander of the 8 Army, General A.M. Kaledin, detached from the command of the new Supreme Commander General Brusilov, because of the complex relationship between them. After repeated failures of A.M. Kaledin 18 June was elected as a troop ataman, MP was elected his assistant. Bogaevsky. The activity of the elected ataman and the government was aimed at resolving the main domestic Don issue - the relations of the Cossacks with the Don peasantry, the city and non-towns, and in the all-Russian plan - bringing the war to a victorious end. On the part of General Kaledin, it was a mistake that he continued to believe in the combat capability of the army and left the Cossack regiments in the decaying army. The power of the Provisional Government quickly passed over entirely to the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, in its political orientation quickly inclined to extreme demagogy. The country was turning into an uncontrolled continent, deserters and a criminal element began to occupy a dominant position among the population. Under these conditions, the Don region with the ataman became a hotbed of reaction, and General Kaledin turned into the propaganda of all socialist rationalists as a symbol of the counterrevolutionary. The Cossack regiments, preserving the appearance of military units, saw collapse everywhere, were surrounded by propagandists, and their chieftain was the center of attacks. But propaganda, not constrained by either prohibitions or moral responsibility, also acted on the Cossacks and gradually infected them. The Don, like all the Cossack regions, gradually turned into two camps: the indigenous population of the regions and the front-line soldiers. A significant part of the front-line soldiers, like a certain part of the population of the oblasts, fully adopted revolutionary ideas and, moving away gradually from the Cossack life, took the side of the new order. But the category of these renegades was in large part those veterans who, following the example of the revolutionary leaders, were looking for opportunities, using the position, to show themselves in the events that took place. However, in the process of the collapse of the army and in order to maintain at least a relative order in the management of the units, the higher headquarters of the army tried to keep the Cossack units at their immediate disposal and showed great attention to them. In the immediate rear, where there was a large accumulation of deserters that threatened areas valuable in terms of food and supplies for the army, Cossack regiments were also set up, and, despite the outrages raging around the sea and unrest, Cossack regiments represented quiet and peaceful hearths. Passing by railways, the stations of which were filled with crowds of deserters everywhere, it was not necessary to think about restaurants and any kind of food. But at the entrance to the first station within the Don Cossacks, everything changed dramatically. No accumulations of deserters, no confusion, and it seemed that those passing through fell into another world. In modest buffets everything could be got. The internal order of the Cossacks on their land was maintained exclusively by local means, despite the presence of the main Cossack mass at the front.
Among the human whirlpools raised by the revolution, all sorts of movements, extreme right, extreme left, middle, intelligent people, enthusiastic, honest idealists, inveterate scoundrels, adventurers, wolves in sheep's skin, schemers and extortionists, it was no wonder to become confused and make mistakes. And the Cossacks did them. And yet, during the revolution and the Civil War in Russia, the population of the Cossack regions, the vast majority, still went a different way than the entire population of vast Russia. Why Cossack heads were not drunk from freedoms and seductive promises? It is impossible to explain this reason for their prosperity, economic situation, because among the Cossacks there were both rich and average people, and there were quite a few poor people. After all, the economic situation of families is determined not so much by the general conditions of life, as by the qualities of each owner, so it’s necessary to look for an explanation in another. In general cultural terms, the Cossack population also could not differ from the general level of the Russian people, either for the worse or for the better. The base of the common culture was the same as the whole Russian people: the same religion, the same schools, the same social needs, the same language and the same racial origin. But the most numerous, having a more ancient origin, the Don Army was an amazing exception among the general chaos and anarchy. The army turned out to be able to cleanse their lands of spontaneous collapse and without any difficulties, political and social upheavals to preserve a normal life, broken not by the Cossack population in their lands, but by an alien element hostile and alien to the Cossacks. Cossack life and order throughout its history was built on military discipline and a special psychology of the Cossacks. The Cossack population still under the rule of the Mongols was a part of the Horde armed forces settled on the outskirts or in places requiring constant monitoring and protection of important areas, and their internal life was formed according to the custom of military units. They were under the direct authority of the khans or the ulus khans or noyons loyal to them. In such a position of their internal life, they came out from under the power of the Mongols and continued to exist, and in conditions of independent status. The order established over the centuries has been preserved under the rule of Moscow princes, kings, and then emperors, with whom it was maintained and was not fundamentally disturbed. The whole Cossack population took part in the decisions of internal life, and all decisions depended on the general agreement of the participants at the gathering of the general military gatherings. At the heart of the Cossack life was the veche, and the organization of life was built on the basis of a wide participation of the masses of the Cossack people, which, gradually changing, depending on the time, took the form of more responsible time, maintaining the principle of the participation of the Cossack masses in public life. The 1917 revolution of the year pulled the broader masses of the country into public life, and this process has historically been a necessity. In the Cossack areas he was not news, but with the hands of aliens, it took forms that distorted real public freedoms. Cossacks were supposed to protect their life from external aliens with their distorted ideas about freedom and people's democracy.
In the army, the main resistance to anarchy and decomposition came from the commanders. In the absence of assistance from the Provisional Government, the command of the army saw the recovery of the existing army in a successful offensive. As General Denikin believed: "... if not with an explosion of patriotism, then a heady, captivating feeling of great victory, relying, if not on strategic success, then on faith by revolutionary pathos." After the unsuccessful Mitava operation, the Russian command 24 in January (February 6) approved the campaign plan for 1917 year. The main blow was delivered by the South-Western Front on the Lvov direction with simultaneous auxiliary attacks on Sokal and Marmaros-Siget. The Romanian front was to occupy Dobrudja. The northern and western front were to make auxiliary attacks on the choice of their commanders. On the northern front there were 6 six-hundred Don regiments and 6 individual hundreds, only about 13 thousands of Cossacks. On the Western Front, the number of Don Cossacks decreased to 7 thousand. The South-Western Front had the largest group of Cossack units. In his battle formations were 21 regiment, 20 individual hundreds and 9 batteries. Only about 28 thousands of Cossacks. On the Romanian front, 16 fought the Don regiments, 10 individual hundreds and 10 batteries. Total up to 24 thousand Cossacks. The remaining 7 Don regiments and 26 special hundreds in the middle of 1917, served in the garrisons and the front line.
Army committees already dominated the army, but the Provisional Government and the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies stood on the idea of “war to the bitter end,” and the command was preparing an offensive. On this basis, friction arose between the command and the government. The command demanded the restoration of order and discipline in the army, which was completely undesirable both for the revolutionary rulers and for the decomposed army. General Alekseev as the Supreme Commander after repeated proposals to change the internal order in the army and convene a congress of army officers, 22 was removed from command in May, and General Brusilov, who had the character of an opportunist (compromiser) and sought to flirt with military committees, was put in his place.
The activities of the Bolsheviks in Petrograd, meanwhile, went on as usual. At the request of the armed forces and the people, 20 of April was removed from the Milyuk government. On April 24, the All-Russian Party Conference of the Bolsheviks met in Petrograd, to which the 140 delegates arrived. The conference elected the Central Committee and confirmed the program of the Bolshevik Party and their consistent activities. This conference was important not for the center, but for the spread and strengthening of communism in the provinces and among the masses of the country. 3 June in connection with the proposed offensive of the army in Petrograd, the All-Russian Congress of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies was convened, in which the 105 Bolsheviks took part. Seeing that the Bolshevik slogans remained in the minority at the congress, they decided on 15 June to bring the Bolshevik column of workers to the streets for demonstration. The troops were on the side of the demonstrators, and it became increasingly clear that the force was moving to the side of the Bolsheviks.
The summer offensive on the South-Western Front began with 16 (29) June 1917 artillery preparation and was initially successful. The Minister of War Kerensky reported this event in the following way: “Today has put a limit to slanderous attacks on the organization of the Russian army, built on democratic principles.” Then the offensive continued as well: Galich and Kalisz were taken. The government rejoiced, the Germans were alarmed, the Bolsheviks were confused, fearing the victorious advance of the army and the strengthening of counter-revolution in its ranks. The Central Committee began their preparations for the impact from the rear. At that time, a ministerial crisis had arisen in the Provisional Government, and four ministers of the people's freedom party left the government. The government was confused, and the Bolsheviks decided to use this to seize power. The basis in the armed forces of the Bolsheviks was a machine-gun regiment. July 3 machine-gun regiment and parts of two other regiments appeared on the streets with posters: "Down with the capitalist ministers!" Then they appeared at the Tauride Palace, where they remained during the night. Preparing a decisive speech to seize power. On July 4, around 5000, the sailors gathered in front of the Kshesinskaya Palace, where Ulyanov and Lunacharsky welcomed them as “the beauty and pride of the revolution” and agreed to go to the Tauride Palace and disperse the capitalist ministers. On the part of the sailors there was a statement that Ulyanov himself would lead them there. The sailors were hastily sent to the seat of the Provisional Government, and they were joined by revolutionary-minded regiments. Many units were on the side of the government, but only parts of the St. George's Union and Junker formed an active guard. Cossacks and two squadrons of a cavalry regiment were called up. The government, in view of the unfolding events, fled, Kerensky escaped from Petrograd, the rest were in complete oppression. General Polovtsev, commander of the Petrograd district, led the loyal units. The sailors surrounded the Tauride Palace and demanded the resignation of all bourgeois ministers. Minister Chernov, who had come to them for negotiations, was rescued from mob justice by Bronstein. Polovtsev gave the order to one hundred Cossacks with two guns to go to the palace and open fire on the rebels. The rebellious units at the Tauride Palace, hearing the volleys of guns, fled. The detachment approached the palace, then the loyal parts of other regiments approached, and the government was saved.
By that time, conclusive evidence had been received in government circles that Ulyanov, Bronstein and Zinoviev were German agents, were in relations with the German government and received large sums of money from it. This information of counterintelligence and the Ministry of Justice was based on undeniable data, but Ulyanov and his people were under the auspices of Kerensky and other socialist ministers. The criminals were not arrested and continued their activities. By this time, reliable information was received at the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief that the work of Leninist agitators was paid for by the German embassy in Stockholm through a certain Svenson and members of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine. Military censorship established a continuous exchange of political and monetary telegrams between German and Bolshevik leaders. This information was published in all newspapers and produced a sobering effect on the masses. The Bolsheviks became German paid agents in the eyes of the soldiers and the masses, and their authority fell sharply. On July 5, the uprising was finally crushed. By evening, the Bolshevik leaders began to hide. Parts loyal to the government were occupied by the Kshesinskaia palace and searched. Peter and Paul Fortress was liberated from the Bolshevik detachment. It was necessary to arrest the leaders. A detachment of faithful troops arrived in St. Petersburg from the front, and Kerensky also appeared. He expressed dissatisfaction with General Polovtsev for the suppressed rebellion and for the publication of documents against the Bolsheviks, the Minister of Justice Pereverzev was removed. But against the German agents there was indignation from the army, and the Preobrazhensky regiment arrested Kamenev. Finally, under pressure from the army, General Polovtsev was ordered to arrest 20 people of the Bolshevik leaders. Ulyanov managed to escape in Finland, and the arrested Bronstein was soon released by Kerensky. The troops began to seize weapons from workers and Bolshevik detachments, but Kerensky, on the pretext that all citizens have the right to bear arms, banned. Nevertheless, many leaders were arrested, and prosecutions were instituted against them, the results of which were announced on July 23 by the prosecutor of the Petrograd Chamber. This material provided quite sufficient grounds for establishing the existence of a criminal act and for establishing the circle of persons involved in its commission. This decisive measure on the part of the Chamber’s prosecutor was paralyzed by Kerensky, General Polovtsev and the Minister of Justice were removed. Ulyanov at that time, in Kronstadt, had a meeting with the German agents of the General Staff, where a plan for the Baltic fleet, army and seizure of power by the Bolsheviks.
At the front, the successful offensive of the South-Western Front ended in complete disaster and the flight of units from the front. Throwing artillery, carts, supplies, making robberies and murders on the road of escape and returning to Ternopil, the army virtually ceased to exist. On other fronts, units completely abandoned the offensive. Thus, hopes for at least a partial recovery of the country, on the one hand, by arresting Ulyanov and his staff as German paid spies, and on the other, by a successful offensive on the South-Western Front, collapsed. From that moment on, the importance of Kerensky and the Commander-in-Chief of General Brusilov fell, and the activity of the Bolsheviks released from prisons began to rise, and Ulyanov returned to St. Petersburg. A meeting of senior commanders, chaired by the Minister of War Kerensky, was convened in Mogilev at the Headquarters of the High Command. The meeting resulted in the removal of General Brusilov and the appointment of General Kornilov in his place. There was another reason for the replacement Glavkoverha. Brusilov received a proposal from Savinkov and Kerensky, from which he had no right to refuse and which General Kornilov did not refuse. Brusilov recalled this in the following way: “I completely deliberately abandoned the idea and role of the dictator, because I thought that it was very unwise to build a dam during the flood of the river, because it would inevitably be carried away by the arriving revolutionary waves. Knowing the Russian people, its advantages and disadvantages, I clearly saw that we would inevitably reach Bolshevism. I saw that no party promises to the people what the Bolsheviks promise: immediate peace and immediate division of the land. It was obvious to me that the entire mass of soldiers would necessarily be for the Bolsheviks and any attempt at dictatorship would only facilitate their triumph. Speech Kornilov soon proved it. "
The catastrophe of the South-Western Front demanded two decisions: either to abandon the continuation of the war, or to take decisive measures in the management of the army. General Kornilov embarked on decisive measures against anarchy in the army and, by order of Glavkoverha, he restored the death penalty and field-military courts in the army. But the whole question was who would make these sentences and execute them. At that phase of the revolution, any members of the court and the executors of the sentences would be immediately killed and the sentences not executed. As expected, the order remained on paper. The time for the appointment of General Kornilov to the post of commander-in-chief was the beginning of aspirations on the part of the command and Kerensky to establish firm authority in the person of the dictator, and candidates for the post of dictator were General Kornilov and the Minister of War Kerensky. And both of them were influenced by their own environment. Kerensky was influenced by the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies, which was quickly inclined towards Bolshevism, General Kornilov was influenced by the overwhelming mass of commanders and his closest employees: the inspirer of his ideas on restoring order in the army and the country to Zavoyko and the military commissar under the headquarters of the Socialist Revolutionary Savinkov . The latter was a typical terrorist, without any motivation for improving the life of the people, which he deeply despised, as, indeed, he despised all his inner circle. A prominent representative of terrorism, he was guided in his actions by a sense of his complete superiority over others.
At a time when the demands and proposals of General Kornilov were received by the Provisional Government, it became clear that all secret information concerning the internal situation of the army was passed on to the enemy and was openly stated in the press of the Communist Party. In addition to the Communists, the Minister of the Provisional Government, Chernov, also held the position of a paid German agent. At the same time, General Kornilov was harassed, and he decided from words to get down to business. He was supported by the Union of Russian Officers, the Union of the Cavaliers of St. George and the Union of Cossack Forces. According to the information of the Commander-in-Chief's staff, the Germans began to prepare an offensive in the direction of Riga. Under the pretext of strengthening the defense of Petrograd, General Kornilov began to deploy the 3 Cossack Cavalry Corps as part of the 1 Don Cossack, Ussuri Cossack and Native Cavalry Divisions, which were commanded by General Krymov. On August 19, the German army launched an offensive and 21 took Riga and Ust-Dvinsk. The troops of the 12 of the Russian army very unsuccessfully defended against the advancing 8 of the German army. Only the diversion of forces to the Anglo-French front forced the Germans to abandon the preparation of an offensive on Petrograd. At this, the First World War was essentially complete for Russia, because it was no longer able to conduct large-scale operations, although the army still existed and was formally considered to be a fairly strong adversary capable of offering serious resistance. Even in December 1917, the Russian front still attracted the 74 German divisions, which made up 31% of all German forces. Russia's withdrawal from the war led to the immediate transfer of part of these divisions against the Allies.
In Petrograd, it became known that the Bolsheviks were preparing for an armed uprising. Kerensky, on the report of the Minister of War Savinkov, agreed to the announcement of Petrograd on martial law. August 23 Savinkov arrived at General Kornilov Headquarters. At this time, the cavalry corps of General Krymov moved to Petrograd. At a meeting with the participation of General Kornilov, Savinkov and some members of the government, it was decided that if, in addition to the Bolsheviks, members of the Council spoke, then they would have to act against them. At the same time, “actions must be the most decisive and merciless.” And Savinkov assured that the bill with the requirements of Kornilov "on measures to stop anarchy in the rear" will be held soon. But this conspiracy ended in Kerensky’s transition to the Soviet side, and his decisive measures against General Kornilov. Kerensky sent a telegram to the Headquarters saying: “Headquarters, to General Kornilov. I order you to immediately relinquish the post to General Lukomski, who, until the arrival of the new Supreme Commander, enters into the temporary fulfillment of the duties of commander-in-chief. You must immediately arrive in Petrograd. " By this time, on the orders of Savinkov, reliable officers went to Petrograd, where they, with the help of the junkers, were to organize opposition to the Bolshevik demonstrations, before the approach of the cavalry corps. At the same time, General Kornilov appealed to the army and the people. In response to this 28 of August, Kerensky appealed to the Bolsheviks with a request to influence the soldiers and stand up for the revolution. A notice was sent to all the stations of the railways, so that the echelons of the cavalry corps, moving to Petrograd, detain and direct them to the places of the previous stops. Trains with trains began to go in different directions. General Krymov decided to unload the trains and go on march order to Petrograd. 30 August to Krymov came from Kerensky, Colonel of the General Staff Samarin and told Krymov that Kerensky, in the name of saving Russia, asks him to come to Petrograd, guaranteeing his safety with his word of honor. General Krymov complied and drove off. Arriving on August 31 in Petrograd, General Krymov went to see Kerensky. There was a stormy explanation. By the end of Krymov's explanation with Kerensky, the naval prosecutor entered and offered Krymov to arrive in two hours in the Main Military Judicial Department for interrogation. From the Winter Palace, Krymov went to his comrade, who occupied an apartment in the house where the office of military minister Savinkov was located, and shot himself there. According to other sources, General Krymov was actually killed. Commanders of all fronts, except the South-West, commanded by General Denikin, evaded the open support of General Kornilov. After Kerensky was notified of the betrayal of General Kornilov, revolutionary tribunals arbitrarily formed in all parts of the front, in which the Bolsheviks played a decisive role. General Kornilov, his chief of staff Lukomsky and other officers were arrested in the Stavka and sent to Bykhov prison. On the South-Western Front there were committees chaired by the Front Commissioner of Jordan, who assumed military power. On August 29, by order of the Jordanian generals Denikin, Markov and other members of the headquarters were arrested. Then, in cars accompanied by armored cars, they were all sent to the guardhouse, then to Berdichev prison. At the same time, in Petrograd, Trotsky and all those who arrived with Ulyanov were released from prisons, accused of spying for Germany and imprisoned after the first attempt at a Bolshevik uprising.
Only from the Don Ataman of the Cossack troops of Kaledin did the Provisional Government receive a telegram about his joining Kornilov. If the government did not agree with Kornilov, Kaledin threatened to interrupt Moscow’s message with the South. The next day, Kerensky sent a telegram to everyone that declared General Kaledin a traitor, removed him from his position as a chieftain and called him to the headquarters in Mogilyov to testify to the investigating commission investigating the Kornilov case. On September 9, the Military Circle convened on Don 5, and the expressed desire of General Kaledin to go to Mogilyov to testify to the investigating commission, the Circle did not agree, and sent an answer to Kerensky that, with respect to the ataman General Kaledin, the Circle’s decision was guided by the old Cossack right - “with Don no issue ".
The Provisional Government, which turned into the Council of the Republic, no longer had any means to maintain order in the country. Hunger and anarchy were everywhere. On the railways, waterways were robberies and robberies. Hope remained for the Cossack units, but they were scattered among the parts of the vast front and among the disintegrating army masses, served as centers of a certain order, holding on to the revolutionary movements of complete neutrality. In Petrograd, there were three Cossack regiments, but with the imminent threat of seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, they did not see the need to defend an unpopular, anti-people government.
In the area of Gatchina, some of the 3 regiments of the Cossack corps were concentrated during the life of Krymov, while the other regiments were scattered over vast spaces and in different directions. In General Headquarters Dukhonin and Bykhov prison remained the only hope for the Cossack units. The Council of Cossack troops supported this hope, and around Bykhov a group of Cossack units was established under the pretext of guarding railway junctions in case of a front crash and to direct the streams running from the front towards the south. Between General Kornilov and Ataman Kaledin, intensive correspondence was maintained. Having achieved the elimination of the "Kornilov" and decomposing the Russian army, the Bolsheviks found broad support in the regimental committees of the Petrograd garrison and the naval commands of the Baltic Fleet. They covertly, but very actively, began to prepare for the elimination of the dual power, i.e. to the overthrow of the Provisional Government. On the eve of the uprising, the Bolsheviks supported the 20 of thousands of soldiers, several tens of thousands of armed Red Guards, and up to 80 of thousands of Tsentrobalt sailors. At the head of the uprising stood the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee. On the night of October 25, the Bolsheviks occupied all government offices, except for the Winter Palace, where the Council of the Republic was located. By the morning, rebellious soldiers, sailors and Red Guards, who continued to occupy key objects, disposed of Petrograd. In 7 hours of the evening, the dismounted Cossacks, who were in the Winter Palace, entered into negotiations with the Bolsheviks and, having received the consent of a free exit with weapons, left the palace and went to the barracks. The Cossack units did not want to protect the hateful government of the capitalist ministers and shed blood for it. After leaving Winter, they carried away the women's death battalion and the junkers of the school of ensigns of the Northern Front. Armed Bolsheviks broke into the palace and gave the Council of the Republic an ultimatum to surrender. Thus, because of the anarchy that was created, because of the inactivity of the Provisional Government, or rather, with the assistance of the Provisional Government, and with it the liberal public, the power in the country passed to the Bolshevik party, led by a group of individuals who had no personal biography except pseudonyms . If during the February revolution in Petrograd, more than 1300 people were killed and wounded, then in October, out of many thousands of participants in the uprising, 6 died and about 50 people were injured. But a bloodless and silent coup in the very near future turned into a bloody civil war, civil war. Against extremist, anti-democratic actions of the Bolsheviks, the whole democratic and monarchical Russia rebelled.
Kerensky fled Petrograd to the army in an attempt to call on soldiers and Cossacks to fight the Bolshevik coup, but he had no authority. Only the 3 Cavalry Cossack Corps, which at that time was commanded by the Cossack General P.N. Krasnov. As the corps moved toward the capital, its ranks melted, and in the environs of Petrograd Krasnov had only 10 under-equipped with hundreds of Don and Ussuri divisions. Sovnarkom sent against the Cossacks more than 10 thousands of sailors and Red Guards. Despite this balance of power, the Cossacks went on the offensive. Red Guards fled, but the sailors withstood the blow, and then with the powerful support of artillery went on the offensive. The Cossacks retreated to Gatchina, where they were surrounded. After several days of negotiations, P.N. Krasnov was released with the remnants of the corps and sent to his homeland. Other clashes with the new government did not happen. But the difficult and dangerous situation for the Soviet government began to take shape in the Cossack regions. On the Don, the Cossacks, led by ataman Kaledin, did not recognize the Council of People's Commissars, and in the Southern Urals, ataman Dutov raised a rebellion the very next day. But at first, in the Cossack regions, the protest was of a sluggish, mainly apical, ataman character. In general, the Cossacks, like other classes, received certain benefits from the February Revolution. The military atamans began to be elected from the Cossack class, the Cossack self-government expanded, everywhere they began to manage the troop, district and stanichesky Councils, formed by elected Cossack Circles of the appropriate level. Non-resident and Cossack women who have reached 21 of the year received the right to vote. And at first, the Cossacks, with the exception of some of the most far-sighted chieftains and officers, did not see anything dangerous in the new government and adhered to a policy of neutrality.
The political victory of the Bolsheviks in October 1917 of the year accelerated Russia's political exit from the war. They quickly began to establish control over the army, more precisely, over the millions of people who craved peace and return home. New Supreme Commander Warrant Officer N.V. Krylenko 13 (26) on November sent the Germans parliamentarians with a proposal to begin separate negotiations on an armistice, and on 2 (15) on December a truce agreement between Soviet Russia and the Fourth Alliance was concluded. In December, the Cossack units remained on the fronts 1917. 13 regiments, 2 batteries, 10 hundreds on the North Front, 1 regiments, 4 batteries and 4 hundreds on the South Front, 13 regiments, 2 batteries and 10 hundreds on the South-West, 11 regiments, 2 batteries and 15 hundreds, on the Romanian 1917 regiments, 72 batteries and 1918 hundreds and special hundreds. A total of thousands of Cossacks were on the Austro-German front at the end of 2 of the year. And even in February, the 46 of the year on the South-Western Front still carried the service of the 51 Don Regiment (2 and 9), XNUMX batteries and XNUMX hundreds. After the conclusion of a truce, the Cossack regiments from the entire vast front moved in echelons to their homes. Silent Don and other Cossack rivers were waiting for their sons.
During the October Revolution, General Kornilov escaped from the Bykhovsky prison, and accompanied by the Tekinsky cavalry regiment went to the Don region. All the other prisoners with false IDs moved in different ways and after long and heavy wanderings began to arrive in Novocherkassk. The first to arrive in Novocherkassk on November 2 was General Alekseev, and proceeded to the formation of armed detachments. On November 22, General Denikin arrived, and on December 8, General Kornilov, where his family and colleagues were waiting for him. Began the resistance movement of Soviet power. But that's another story.
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