Military Review

Alarm clock for Herzen

Alarm clock for Herzen

The first Russian revolutionaries came up with a new Russia, but failed to defend their dream
The first quarter of the XIX century was the heyday of secret political societies in Russia. Our country did not yet know such organizations: unlike the Masonic lodges, they set goals for themselves with the reorganization of the state, and not with the correction of morals. The uprising of the Decembrists, which happened in the 1825 year, could well have been possible, if not for the indecision of their leaders.

From France with ideas

The ideology of such societies was fed from various sources. First of all, dissatisfaction with the liberal-minded part of the nobility with the policies of Alexander I contributed to their formation: the tsar was expected to solve the most serious problems related to the backwardness of the country, and especially the problems of serfdom. Instead, government policy after World War 1812, the year sank into reaction. Many of the officers, who until this time were in the masonic lodges, began to become disillusioned with the possibility of a peaceful reorganization of society.

Another source of discontent was the comparison between Russia and the West that future Decembrists made during the hostilities in Europe. “Returning to St. Petersburg, could our liberals be satisfied with a vulgar regimental life and boring petty activities and details of military service, which their bosses strictly demanded from them, catering to Alexander’s innate tendency for brothers and men to frustration, solo exercises, etc., despite It seems that the experience of a two-year cruel war with the enemy by the most skillful could convince Alexander that victory does not depend on these trifles, ”the Decembrist Mikhail Fonvizin later writes.

Comparison with Europe turned out to be not in favor of Russia, and many of the future conspirators felt keenly this in the first days of their return to their homeland - for example, the young warrant officer of the Semenov regiment Ivan Yakushkin was struck by the scene when the police began to beat people who met the winners, returning to St. Petersburg with regiments: “During the prayers, the police mercilessly beat the people who were trying to get close to the army built up. This made us the first unfavorable impression upon returning to the fatherland. ” Further Yakushkin writes: “Finally, the emperor appeared, leading the guards division, on a glorious red horse, with a bare sword, which he was ready to lower before the empress. We admired them; but at this very moment, almost before his horse, a man ran across the street. The emperor gave the spurs of his horse and rushed at the runner with a bare sword. The police took the guy in the stick. We did not believe our own eyes and turned away, ashamed of our beloved king. It was my first disappointment about him. ”

Finally, the spread of revolutionary sentiment in Europe itself played a significant role. The officers were most receptive to political ideas. “Being during a campaign abroad,” the same Yakushkin would say during interrogation in the case of the Decembrists, “probably, for the first time, my attention turned to the social structure in Russia and made him see shortcomings. Upon my return from abroad, the serfdom of the people was presented to me as the only obstacle to the convergence of all classes and with it public education in Russia. ”

Thoughts and plans

The first secret political societies began to appear in Russia in 1814. It is curious that the king knew from denunciations about their existence - he even knew the names of their members. However, Alexander did not resort to repression, apparently, not considering them dangerous. In 1815, he, however, banned the activities of the so-called Semenov Artel, created by officers of the Life Guards Semenovsky Regiment, among which were Sergei Trubetskoy, Sergei Muravyev-Apostol and Dmitry Yakushkin.

In February 1816, the Union of Salvation was created in St. Petersburg. The structure of the society included almost 30 people, among whom were Alexander Muravyov, brothers Muravyov-Apostles, Prince Sergei Trubetskoy, Ivan Yakushkin and Pavel Pestel. The union considered as its objectives the tasks that once faced the Tacit Committee: the destruction of serfdom and autocracy. It was not clear, however, the form of restriction of autocracy, as well as the specific strategy of struggle. Members of the Union of Salvation argued a great deal about these issues, drawing on examples from French political clubs, the secret unions of the Italian Carbonari and the Prussian patriotic society Tugendbund. They had their own hotheads in the organization - the same Ivan Yakushkin, excited by rumors that Alexander I was supposedly going to transfer the capital to Warsaw, away from the rebellious nobility, was called to kill the king. However, on the whole, a peaceful, gradual strategy prevailed in society - the “Union of Salvation” was going to act by persuasion, attracting to its side the most prominent officials surrounded by the emperor.

Meeting of the Union of Salvation

The company's charter was strict: it was to be governed by “boyars” who demanded absolute obedience, and provided for penalties for divulging secrets. This statute caused rejection among some of the Decembrists - they did not like its authoritarianism, and also the fact that this statute did not allow the creation of a wider society. This was one of the reasons why it was decided to dissolve the previous society and create a new one. It originated in 1818 year under the name "Union of Welfare". It consisted of about 200 people, it was governed by the Moscow Indigenous Government, which had local governments in provincial cities. The Union of Welfare was a semi-legal organization — the official goal was proclaimed moral education and enlightenment of the people, helping the government and softening the plight of the serfs. Only members of the Indigenous Government knew about the secret goals inherited from the Union of Salvation. The new organization used to promote literary and educational societies (such as the Green Lamp and the Free Society of Lovers of Russian Literature), a number of magazines and brochures. The society set itself a task that seemed quite realistic: in the next 20 years to conduct an almost bloodless coup with the help of the guards units.

However, like the previous society, the Union of Welfare from the very beginning was not distinguished by the unity of positions. Disagreements between radical and moderate members of society, as well as the need to get rid of random people, led to the dissolution of society in January 1821. Two others arose in its place: the Southern Society in Ukraine, headed by Pavel Pestel, and the St. Petersburg Northern Society, created on the initiative of Nikita Muravyov. These societies interacted with each other and viewed themselves as part of the same organization. They did not agree only in their vision of the future Russia. Thus, in the program of the Southern Society, called "Russian Truth", it was planned to replace autocracy with a unitary republic on the model of Novgorod, but built on the separation of powers. Southern society planned to free the peasants from serfdom with the allotment of land. And in the "Constitution" - the program of the Northern society - it was decided to establish a constitutional monarchy, while turning Russia into a federal state. Peasants Northern society was going to free without land.

Price indecision

The lack of a unified program was not an obstacle to the preparation of the uprising, which was planned for the summer of 1826. However, in November 1925, an event happened that accelerated the conspirators' plans, the emperor passed away. After the eldest of Alexander's brothers, Konstantin, showed an unwillingness to take the throne, the right of inheritance passed to Nicholas, who was extremely unpopular with the guard. The conspirators were ready to swear allegiance to Constantine and even formally dissolve their societies if the heir, known for his liberal views, ascended the throne. But they didn’t want to swear allegiance to Nicholas, realizing that they would hardly have any chance of coming to power with this emperor.

On December 14, 1825 of the year was appointed to “swear” the new emperor. At the meeting with Ryleev, members of the Northern Society decided to use dubious legitimacy (after all, there was no definite refusal of Constantine from the throne) as an excuse for an uprising: they agreed to act on this day to prevent the troops and the Senate from taking the oath to the new tsar. The uprising was to be led by the "dictator" Prince Sergei Trubetskoy and the "Chief of Staff" Yevgeny Obolensky. It was planned to occupy the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress, arresting the royal family, and publish on behalf of the Senate the “Manifesto to the Russian people”, which would proclaim a change in the form of government in the state and the establishment of the Provisional Revolutionary Government. Such a manifesto would give legitimacy to the coup.

Prince Sergei Trubetskoy. Portrait sketching. 1830's

The manifesto provided for the abolition of serfdom, recruitment, military settlements, corporal punishment, poll tax and tax arrears, the introduction of democratic freedoms (words, occupations, religions), equations in the rights of all classes, election of central and local authorities, etc. All this was supposed to consolidate the first stories Russian constitution. Since the members of the two societies did not have unity on the question of a specific form of government, it was planned to convene a National Council, which would decide whether to build a republic or a constitutional monarchy.

The conspirators were well aware of the irrevocability of their decision - as Ryleev said on the eve of the uprising, “the scabbard is broken and the sabers cannot be hidden”. On the morning of December 14, the conspirators were in full agitation against the oath to Nicholas in their military units. Alexander and Mikhail Bestuzhev, as well as Dmitry Schepin-Rostovsky, brought 11 soldiers of the Moscow Guards regiment to Senatskaya Square to 800, having built them in a square near the monument to Peter I. In the afternoon, sailors of the Guards crew and soldiers Guard Grenadier Regiment. In total, about 3 thousands of soldiers and sailors and 30 officers gathered in the square, not all of whom, by the way, were in secret society - some were convinced by the skillful agitation of the conspirators. However, there was no visible “dictator” Trubetskoy on the square - there was no one to give a signal about the beginning of the uprising. The prince did not dare to lead the rebellion, not believing in his success. In addition, Alexander Yakubovich, who was scheduled to seize the Winter Palace, arresting the royal family, suddenly refused the assignment, fearing that he would have to resort to regicide.

Nicholas was aware of the plans of the conspirators and, although he was extremely frightened by the rebellion, he decided to speed up his accession to the throne - without waiting for the ceremony, he took the Senate oath at dawn, at 7 in the morning. The passivity of the rebel troops played its sad role - so, they did not even try to capture those few light guns, which the troops loyal to the king brought to the square for shelling. Nikolai did not want bloodshed and sent for negotiations to the rebels the governor-general of St. Petersburg, the hero of World War 1812, Mikhail Miloradovich, who had enormous prestige among the soldiers. Justly fearing that Miloradovich will be able to persuade the rebels to lay down weapon, Peter Kakhovsky shot at the Governor-General with a pistol, mortally wounding him. However, time was lost: Nikolay managed to pull a detachment of infantry into 9 thousand men and 3 thousandth cavalry to Senate Square.

The army units did not want to kill each other: the cavalry twice launched an offensive, but the rebels stopped him with guns firing into the air. Nikolay, seeing that many of his officers frankly sympathize with the rebels, gave the order to use artillery, which began to beat the rebel with grape-shot. Began flight. By 6 hours of the evening the uprising was completely suppressed. The night was spent gathering the bodies of the dead and washing the blood off the stones from the square. In the evening, the defeated Decembrists at Ryleyev gathered to say goodbye and agree on how to behave during interrogations. After that, some of them went straight to the Winter Palace - to surrender.

Deaf Echo

Two weeks later, on December 29, a riot broke out in the south - Sergei Muravyov-Apostol raised the Chernihiv regiment, located near Kiev. The Southern Society was pushed to the uprising by the news of the unsuccessful demonstration in St. Petersburg and the arrests of conspirators who did not take part in it. However, Sergei Muravyov-Apostol and Mikhail Bestuzhev-Ryumin tried in vain to convince the soldiers that the autocracy had outlived its own by spreading the Catechism drawn up in advance. Having isolated the Chernigov regiment, government troops, in command of which the emperor, by the way, entrusted his elder brother Konstantin, shot the regiment with a canister, and Muravyov-Apostol himself in shackles was taken to St. Petersburg.

Lieutenant Colonel, one of the leaders of the Decembrist movement. Sergey Muravyov-Apostol. 1858

In the case of the Decembrists, 579 people were brought in, of whom more than half were found guilty - 289. Nikolay personally took part in the interrogations. The investigation was conducted for six months. It is curious that Count Speransky and Admiral Mordvinov, whom the Decembrists planned to enter into the Provisional Government, took part in the trial of them. The death sentence, however, was imposed on only five - Ryleev, Pestel, Kakhovsky, Bestuzhev-Ryumin and Sergey Muraviev-Apostol. They were first sentenced to quartering, but then they replaced this medieval execution with a more humane one - by hanging. True, the Decembrists themselves still perceived it as shameful - at the sight of the gallows, Pestel said: “Can it be that we do not deserve a better death? It seems that we never averted our heads either from bullets or from nuclei. We could have shot us. ” Nikolay himself did not fail to write to the prisoners in a letter to his mother in the end: “The naughty people behaved in a vile manner, without any dignity.”

More than 120 people were exiled to Siberia for penal servitude or settlement for various periods by personal order of Nicholas, without trial. Special judicial commissions that examined the cases of soldiers, sentenced 178 people to punishment by the gauntlets, 23 - to sticks and rods, and from the other participants in the uprising formed a regiment, which was sent to the army in the Caucasus.

The uprising of the Decembrists was the first open protest in Russia, aimed at a radical reorganization of society. Despite the failure of the uprising, it played a huge role in the development of political movements in Russia: according to Lenin’s famous phrase, “the Decembrists woke Herzen”.
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  1. oleg-gr
    oleg-gr 10 November 2015 18: 15
    These Decembrist masses wanted the same thing as the current liberals. I did not like the new ruler - that’s the reason, not ideology, as we were told in Soviet times.
  2. iury.vorgul
    iury.vorgul 10 November 2015 18: 18
    Although I am not a "Crimean woman, the daughter of an officer," I can say that "not everything is so simple." There are many moments in the history of the Decembrist uprising that are not mentioned in the official "chronicle of December 25" - the connection between the leaders of the uprising Yevgeny Obolensky, Nikita Muravyov and Kondraty Ryleev with Miloradovich's adjutants, the role of Rostovtsev and some others. For example, in few places it is mentioned that after Kakhovsky wounded Miloradovich with a pistol, Obolensky hit the latter with a bayonet from a gun taken from a soldier.
  3. bober1982
    bober1982 10 November 2015 18: 41
    I didn’t like the article, it’s a lot of absurdity and gross errors. To list, it will take a lot of time and place. For the author: the ideas of the Decembrists were crazy and criminal, so to speak, the Bolsheviks of their time. The Emperor Alexander-1 himself was a secret society, these societies themselves didn’t arise in Russia in 1814, but much earlier, which means that after 1812 Russia plunged into the reaction? etc., etc.
    The liberal bastard was afraid of Nicholas-1, hated Alexander-3, despised Nicholas-2. This is because Russia in 1825 was very lucky with the Tsar, who managed to strangle all this fuss.
    1. Riv
      Riv 11 November 2015 08: 09
      I will join. It is noteworthy: not one of the noble ones died during the uprising. The shot went to ordinary soldiers. "Blue Blood" managed to quietly pull off the Senate.
    2. Morrrow
      Morrrow 11 November 2015 12: 51
      Is Russia lucky with Nikolai? Hmm. Read at least Tarle or something.
      1. Bersaglieri
        Bersaglieri 11 November 2015 22: 28
        "Lucky" .. in 1854 :(
      2. bober1982
        bober1982 12 November 2015 18: 53
        Academician Tarle (Stalin Prize laureate) was more of a historical writer than a historian, a man he was certainly gifted, but was tied hand and foot (time was like that)
        As for Emperor Nicholas the First, he was hated by liberals, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Communists, the whole of Europe. Hence there is a lot of all sorts of dirt: the crowned drummer, Nikolai Palkin, the gendarme of Europe, etc. Speak about the lack of reform, so after his death in the empire complete chaos began, the bombing ladies, terrorists, mass terror, the killing of civil servants: and this abolished serfdom! What did we even learn:
        1. ..... in Russia with the kings no luck, except for Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great
        2. ..... film- Star of captivating happiness- (evil and stupid king, Decembrist knights)
        3. ..... song- Cavalry Guard Century is short-
        4. ..... rotten tsarism, reaction (communism turned out to be prosperous or something)
        5. ..... all sorts of borozopisy, laureates and alkalis
        Crimean war - all our rulers had their own Crimean war
  4. Terner38
    Terner38 10 November 2015 18: 42
    Trubetskoy right after George Fashington! One face - the breed is visible at first sight. Yes, and the thoughts were the same. And Getsena did not wake the Decembrists, but the long pound sterling of Rothschild’s grandfather.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 11 November 2015 12: 50
      What is your evidence?
  5. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 10 November 2015 18: 44
    Thank you, the article is very good.
    1. Ingvar 72
      Ingvar 72 10 November 2015 19: 04
      Quote: voyaka uh
      Thank you, the article is very good.

      What good Beautiful tales of Narodnaya Volya, but there is silence about the Masonic background. The correspondence of the Decembrists with members of the English parliament is the same silence. Read the story of the Decembrists, many later in his diaries admitted a mistake. hi
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 11 November 2015 12: 04
        What did you get?
        The Nikolaev era - zero reforms - as a result
        the complete destruction of the sailing Black Sea Fleet, the disaster of the Crimean War.
        30 years of development has been lost.
        And ... after 30 years, the same reforms that the Decembrists proposed:
        abolition of serfdom, corporal punishment, recruitment.

        When social reforms are postponed and postponed "for later" it turns out
        worse, a bloody revolution. Both 1905 and 1917 are the result of procrastination.
        decisions "for later", "will somehow resolve itself."
      2. Morrrow
        Morrrow 11 November 2015 12: 49
        And what's wrong with Masonic lodges?
  6. muks
    muks 10 November 2015 18: 57
    Did the hanging feel a shame? Having sworn allegiance to the Tsar and the FATHERLAND, bringing soldiers under the bullets, they also woke Herzen up! And where did Alexander Ivanovich ring his bell from? Yes, from London, of course! Skillfully Herzen described the wonders of Vyatka life in "exile": land surveyors, police officers, pies with dogs - there, in Vyatka, he should have been left! All these foreign sufferers, having eaten at the resorts, scribbled instructions ... how to destroy the country.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 11 November 2015 12: 44
      Do you think serfdom is super? And the estate society, when 1% and 99% are cattle?
  7. individual
    individual 10 November 2015 18: 58
    Russia experienced its "Maidan" in 1917.
    Ukraine has been ruining itself since 2014. Until now.
    This is the main difference between us.
    That's exactly how much they lag behind us.
    1. Zoldat_A
      Zoldat_A 10 November 2015 22: 13
      Quote: individ
      Russia experienced its "Maidan" in 1917.
      Ukraine has been ruining itself since 2014. Until now.

      In the 17th, Russia did not survive the Maidan, but a revolution that drove away the liberals who had paid the British pounds. And Russia survived the Maidan in the 91st ... The 1917th allowed us to win in the Great War and launch Gagarin. And Ukraine has been ruining itself since 1991.
  8. bashkort
    bashkort 10 November 2015 19: 13
    "They were terribly far from the people." That says it all. Contemporary to us "maydanutye", "swamp" and others like them - from the same opera. We can say that in 1825 the prototype of the "color revolution" among the Anglo-Saxons in Russia did not give a ride, Nicholas I did not welcome them and frogs, as a result, at the end of his reign, we got the Crimean War.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 11 November 2015 12: 48
      It is because of the lack of reform that they received the Crimean shame. Russia in the era of Nicholas is completely rotten and behind Europe by 50 years.
  9. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 10 November 2015 19: 36
    In childhood, at school, reading about the proud, incorruptible Decembrists is one thing.
    A tear welling up, it was a pity.
    And exchanging the sixth dozen to read like that - it becomes funny.
    If it weren’t so dirty at heart.
    Why is it that the "blue" princes and all sorts of chamberlains dragged the soldiers to the square? Moreover, not just infantry, but soldiers of the Life Guards. It's like our Kremlin regiment now.
    Just imagine - they say officers want to improve their lives. To everyone. And so that no one goes offended.
    To do this, they pull out the entire regiment, plus two others - to the square! Stand all day in the cold!
    What for????
    But it was not easier, in the platoon and mouth, to capture this Winter Palace, to capture the Senate, to arrest everyone under one comb.
    And then distribute to whom gingerbread cookies, and to whom .. brooms.
    Well, this begs straightforwardly, it beats in my heart.
    And they are being built.
    No, guys, whatever you want, but I see only one thing in such a course of action - the artful interest of these very aristocrats is to say that the applicant will be frightened, and he will backtrack.
    And he, Nikolai - did not go.
    And they wanted to maintain a semblance of a conspiracy in the midst of universal gossip?
    Showed off, idiots .... in front of someone.
    They hung five nobles.
    And how many soldiers were killed, for nothing, for nothing?
    Peacocks are tattered.
    And I even guess who they were showing off to.
    Exactly like the same ones with "Bolotnaya".
    PS / One is good. After that, the nobility completely lost its desire to engage in front-line work.
    Only for romantic ladies, but for pale young men with consumptive eyes, there was still a desire to eat him.
  10. moskowit
    moskowit 10 November 2015 20: 16
    Yes, I agree with the commentators. Work is sloppy with errors.
    The portrait of Muravyov-Apostol is not correctly attributed. Sergei Ivanovich in the portrait is depicted in the Semenovsky uniform of a guard, on the blue collar there are paired guards buttonholes. Epaulets of the chief officer, without fringe. S.I. Muravyov-Apostle in the year 1819 had the rank of lieutenant guard.
    "The lithograph was commissioned by M. I. Muravyev-Apostol from the watercolors of 1819 by N. I. Utkin (the location of the watercolor is unknown). From the collection of E. I. Yakushkin."
  11. akula
    akula 10 November 2015 20: 37
    It’s disgusting to read comments. Whether they destroyed the country or not is still a big question. But Yeltsin ruined it with one stroke of a pen. And it’s clear who pleases. And who needs to destroy Ukraine and the whole Middle East is also clear. And you are sitting on the ruins of a ruined country and judge those who lived 200 years ago. It's ridiculously simple. And article +.
    1. Lenin
      Lenin 10 November 2015 21: 14
      Similar feelings, where so many well-wishers come from? They pulled the Leberasts out of some fright. If you know the story better or found inaccuracies in the author, write reasonably, but just crap, sorry, no big mind. If you just don’t like the story, don’t need to read, you’d better go throw the bonnets for any reason: a stormtrooper - URRRYA took off in Syria; hi
  12. Lenin
    Lenin 10 November 2015 21: 20
    Thanks to the author for trying to present and convey the material to readers. Do not pay attention to comrades with a bad mood, write. I like your style of presentation and I read it with pleasure.
  13. Turkir
    Turkir 10 November 2015 21: 41
    The manifesto provided for the abolition of serfdom, recruitment, military settlements, corporal punishment, poll tax and tax arrears, the introduction of democratic freedoms (speech, occupation, religion), the equalization of rights of all classes, the election of central and local authorities, etc. All this was to be consolidated by the first constitution in the history of Russia.

    Oh, dreamers - there is nothing better than serfdom, especially if you are a landowner.
    Yes, and you can tear your people. To know stinks their place.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 11 November 2015 12: 49
  14. Molot1979
    Molot1979 24 October 2016 09: 10
    The article was written with obvious sympathy for the Decembrists. In vain. Mentioning about the absence of a single draft of the Constitution, the author "forgot" to add that there were two projects - Pestel and Muravyov. Both are a song with a chorus. Serfdom abolish - well done. So? It is not enough to free the peasant - you need to give him land. And then our valiant revolutionary nobles wagged their spines: Muravyov offered to release with an insignificant allotment, where you can't even grow an apple tree, Pestel generally called for release without land. Say, they gave freedom, and you will find land after death - 2 meters per brother. Pestel planned to destroy the highlanders of the Caucasus in general stupidly. Well, such a small revolutionary genocide ... The author was also ashamed to write about this. “Liberal Constantine,” judging by the criminal chronicle of that time, was a hefty bastard of those who, under the guise of a title, do whatever goes into their heads. Excitement, rape, threats ... And he has not yet become an emperor. He could not become one - he broke too many rules. Therefore, he renounced in favor of his brother. And the Decembrist agitators agitated so much that many soldiers believed that the constitution was the wife of Konstantin Palych. Finally, the Chernigov regiment, which rebelled in the south, managed to be marked by robberies and murders during its short journey. From which the commanders of the soldiers did not really deter. In fact, all five have earned their noose.
    Yes, I completely forgot - the Soviet textbooks did not write about this, but there were a lot of subjects among the Decembrists whose estates were mortgaged, re-mortgaged, and the tsar’s family was the main lender. That as if hints at the personal interest of these citizens in the liquidation of creditors.