There was no "spontaneous uprising of disaffected masses"
The entire course of events of the February-March revolution shows clearly that the British and French embassies, with their agents and "connections", directly organized a conspiracy with the Octobrists and Cadets, together with part of the generals and officers of the army and the St. Petersburg garrison, especially to remove Nikolai Romanov. (V.I. Lenin)
12 March 1917 began a military coup, which overthrew the Supreme Commander of the Russian army, Tsar Nicholas II.
Classical arguments about the causes of the February revolution are reduced to a simple scheme: tsarism came to a standstill, and the masses (workers, peasants, soldiers) driven to despair started an uprising.
Then, to save the country, a group of generals went to the sovereign to explain to him the whole burden of the situation. As a result, Nicholas decided to abdicate.
However, the facts clearly show how naive this conventional version.
The former head of the Moscow Security Department has long made public information of exceptional importance and it is perfectly clear from them what kind of relationship to the revolution was the "spontaneous uprising of dissatisfied masses":
“In the 1916 year, around October or November, a letter was read in the so-called“ black office ”of the Moscow post office. the meaning was as follows: it was reported for information to the Moscow leaders of the Progressive Bloc (or associated with it) that the Old Man was finally persuaded, who did not agree for a long time, fearing a big spill of blood, but finally, under the influence of his arguments, gave up full assistance ...
The letter, not very long, contained phrases, of which the active steps taken by a narrow circle of leaders of the Progressive Bloc in the sense of personal talks with our commanding armies at the front, including Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, quite clearly acted.
In émigré literature, as I recall, in Modern Notes, articles appeared that quite frankly explained the content of these “personal talks,” at least with the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich; The famous Khatisov negotiated with him.
It would seem that the Russian imperial government could already by these facts alone and should have been fully aware of the conspiracy. But the Grand Duke "kept silent", and the Police Department, apparently, could not bring to the notice of the Sovereign about the betrayal of the "Old Man", who was none other than the head of the Emperor's headquarters, General Alekseev!
The fact that the nickname "Old Man" refers specifically to General Alekseev, I was told by the director of the Police Department, A.T. Vasiliev, to whom, for personal talks about this letter, I immediately left Moscow ”[1, p. 384-385].
So, we see that General Alekseev was the key participant in the conspiracy, and the tsar's uncle, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, was aware of the preparations for the coup, and even methyl himself to the monarchs. And all this happened long before the unrest in Petrograd.
Meanwhile, they are still constantly talking about the sufferings of the army on the fronts, about the unresolved land issue in the rear and so on. Until now, these "facts" are called the prerequisites of the revolution. But it’s completely obvious that the concepts of “many” and “little” are relative.
Little land compared to whom? If our peasant had little land, then it would be logical to compare the size of land allotments in Russia with what the peasants of England, France or Germany owned. Have you ever seen such a comparison?
Or, for example, take the front. Have you often encountered in literature a comparison between the grocery supply of a Russian soldier and his European colleague? Do you know the severity of the mobilization load (the proportion of people called up to the front from the entire population) in Russia and in other countries that fought in the First World War?
There are no shortages of emotional stories about the sufferings of the people before the revolution, but there are practically no comparative figures. Meanwhile, the impact on feelings, vagueness of formulations, the substitution of specifics by common words are typical signs of manipulation.
So let's start with the thesis of the front-line. During the revolution, the garrison in Petrograd really rose. But Petrograd at that time is a deep rear. The soldiers - the participants of February, did not "rot in the trenches", did not die and did not starve. They sat in warm metropolitan barracks, hundreds of kilometers from the whistling of bullets and the explosion of shells. And those who held the front at this time, in their absolute majority, honestly performed their duty. They really were much harder than the Petrograd rear men, but they were preparing for a decisive spring offensive and did not participate in any riots.
Moreover, in January 1917, that is, literally on the eve of the revolution, our army carried out the Mitava operation against the German troops and achieved victory.
Go ahead. They say that the peasants suffered from the lack of land, in other words, they lived from hand to mouth, and they say it was one of the compelling reasons for the revolution. But even the hottest heads are not taken to compare the realities of besieged Leningrad and Petrograd 1917 of the year. According to official data, 600 thousands of people died in the blockade from starvation, but there were no demonstrations against the authorities.
It is appropriate here to quote the memoirs of Tsarist General Kurlov, who left a very characteristic description of the February events:
“I was well aware that the bread ration was 2 pounds, that other edible products were also given out, and that cash reserves would be enough for the 22 day, even if we assume that not a single wagon with food would be served to the capital. Nevertheless, all joined in efforts to discredit the Imperial power, not stopping in front of slander and lies. Everyone has forgotten that a coup d'état during the World War is the inevitable death of Russia ”[2, p. 14-15].
“But is it possible to believe a single testimony?”, The incredulous reader will say, and he will be right in his own way. Therefore, I will quote the head of the Moscow security department Zavarzin, in whose memoirs there is a description of the realities of life in Petrograd on the eve of February:
"In Petrograd, from the outside, it seemed that the capital lives normally: shops are open, there are many goods, brisk traffic on the streets, and the ordinary man in the street only notices that bread is given out on cards and in reduced quantities, but you can get pasta and croup as much as you like [3, c. 235-236].
Think about these lines. Two and a half years goes unprecedented in stories World War. In such conditions, a sharp drop in the standard of living is a completely natural thing.
The cruel economy of everything and everything, huge queues for elementary products, starvation deaths are absolutely ordinary satellites of the hardest war. We know this perfectly well in the history of the Great Patriotic. But look at how tsarist Russia successfully copes with difficulties. This is a phenomenal result, hardly unprecedented; What are the reasons for the masses to rebel in such conditions?
“In general, the grain resource of the Russian Empire by the spring of 1917 amounted to about 3793 million pounds of bread with the country's total need for 3227 million pounds” [4, p. 62.], - notes the modern historian M.V. Oskin.
But this is not the main thing. The people who directly overthrew Nicholas II belonged to the highest military elite of the empire. General Alekseev, the commanders of the fronts, the Grand Duke - did they lack land? Did they have to starve or stand in long lines? What does the people have to do with this?
The piquancy of the situation also lies in the fact that the riots in Petrograd themselves did not pose a direct threat to the Tsar, because Nikolai was not in the capital at that time. He went to Mogilev, that is, to the headquarters of the Supreme Commander. The revolutionaries decided to take advantage of the absence of the tsar in the capital.
The masses are an instrument in the hands of the elite, and the creation of a “food psychosis” out of the blue is one of the classical methods of crowd manipulation. In fact, the modern “orange events” and the “Arab spring” very clearly showed what all this talk about people's revolutions cost. Grosz them price on market day.
The reasons for the overthrow of power should not be sought by the people, for the masses are not making history. We need to see what was happening inside the elite, and what the international situation was like. The intra-elite conflict with the broad participation of foreign states is the real reason for February.
Of course, you can blame Nicholas for the fact that it was he who appointed the unreliable people to the highest state posts. However, according to the same logic, exactly the same accusation must be brought against the German monarch Wilhelm II, who was removed from power during the First World War.
By the way, during the February revolution a very eloquent fact surfaced. Among the insurgent units were two machine-gun regiments, and so they had at their disposal two and a half thousand machine guns [6, p. 15]. For comparison, in the entire Russian army at the end of 1916, there were twelve thousand machine guns, and for the entire 1915 year, the entire domestic industry produced 4,25 thousands of them.
Think about these numbers.
There are heavy battles at the front, and it must be admitted that the weak point of Russia was precisely the provision of machine guns to the army, they really were not enough. And at that time, in the deep rear, a huge number of machine guns and vital armies were kept completely idle. Who is so "brilliantly" distributed machine guns? Such orders could be given only by generals, army leaders. From a military point of view, this is absurd, so why was it done? The answer is obvious.
Machine guns were needed for the revolution. That is, rebel generals committed a double crime. Not only did they oppose the legitimate authority, they also sharply weakened their own army for the sake of their revolutionary goals, sending thousands of machine guns to the rear, to the capital.
As a result, the overthrow of the king was bought with the great blood of soldiers and officers. They honestly fought at the time at the front, they would have been helped a lot by machine-gun support that machine-gun rear units could provide, but they adhered to completely different goals.
In the February Revolution, the intervention of the West is also clearly visible. For many years, Nicholas was under pressure from the internal opposition, but representatives of foreign countries also tried to influence the tsar.
Shortly before the February Revolution, George Buchanan met with the Chairman of the Duma Rodzianko. Buchanan probed the ground on the political concessions that parliamentarians want from the king. It turned out that we are talking about the so-called responsible government, responsible to the "people", that is, to the Duma. In fact, this would mean the transformation of monarchical Russia into a parliamentary republic.
So Buchanan had enough audacity after that to come to Nicholas and teach the sovereign how he should lead the country and whom to appoint to key posts. Buchanan acted as a clear lobbyist for the revolutionaries who frantically prepared at that time to overthrow the king.
At the same time, Buchanan himself understood that his actions were a gross violation of the rules of conduct of a foreign representative. However, in a conversation with Nikolay Buchanan literally threatened the king with revolution and disaster. Of course, all this was filed in a diplomatic package, under the guise of caring for the tsar and the future of Russia, but the hints of Buchanan were completely transparent and unequivocal.
Nicholas II did not agree to any concessions, and then the opposition tried to come from the other side. At the beginning of 1917, Entente representatives arrived in Petrograd at an allied conference to discuss future military plans. The head of the British delegation was Lord Milner, and a prominent Cadet leader Struve appealed to him. He wrote two letters to the Lord, in which, in fact, he repeated what Rodzianko said to Buchanan. Struve handed letters to Milner through a British intelligence officer Choir.
In turn, Milner did not remain deaf to Struve's reasoning and sent Nikolai a confidential memorandum, in which he was very careful and much more polite than Buchanan tried to support the demands of the opposition. In the memorandum, Milner praised the activities of Russian public organizations (the Zemstvo Union and the Union of Cities) and hinted at the need to provide major positions to people who had previously been engaged in private affairs, and did not have experience in government activities! [7, p. 252]
Of course, the king ignored such absurd advice, and the opposition was again left with nothing. But the pressure on the king did not stop. Already literally on the eve of February, General Gurko, the Acting Chief of the General Staff, met with Nicholas in Tsarskoye Selo and spoke in favor of constitutional reforms.
It became finally clear that the ideas of a radical transformation of the state structure penetrated into the environment of senior officers. Now the situation began to rapidly go out of control. Duma speakers and all sorts of social activists could talk about anything, in themselves they were powerless to overthrow the legitimate authority. But when the king received a “black mark”, first from English diplomats, and then from Gurko, his throne reeled seriously.
In February, Alekseev returned to the 1917 year from the vacation, and Nicholas II soon arrived there. Further events acquire a rapid course. February 23 (hereafter dates are given according to the old style) the strike of Petrograd workers begins, February 24 rallies escalate into clashes with the police, February 25 amid the growth of the strike movement is out of control Cossack hundreds who refuse to assist the police on Znamenskaya Square. February 27 rebel soldiers in the L.-GW. Volyn and Lithuanian regiments, soon revolt covers other parts of the Petrograd garrison. 2 March Tsar Nikolai is finally removed from power.
The overthrow of the system consisted of two parallel developing phases. The higher generals were supposed to actually arrest the tsar, and in Petrograd there were organized "popular demonstrations" with the aim of camouflaging a military coup.
Subsequently, the Minister of the Provisional Government Guchkov openly admitted that the previously developed plan for a palace coup consisted of two operations. It was supposed to stop the train of the king during his movement between Tsarskoye Selo and Headquarters, and then force Nicholas to abdicate. At the same time, units of the Petrograd garrison were to carry out a military demonstration.
It is clear that the coups are carried out by the security forces, and in the case of riots, again, the security forces must fight back the rebels. So let's see how they behaved in the days of the February Revolution. The list of people whose actions we are obliged to analyze is very small. This is the Minister of War Belyaev, the Minister of Marine Grigorovich (given that Petrograd is a port city, his position was of particular importance), the Minister of Internal Affairs Protopopov and several senior generals, high-ranking army commanders.
Grigorovich during February "fell ill", did not undertake active actions to protect the legitimate authorities, on the contrary, it was at his request that the last units, who remained loyal to the monarchy, were removed from the Admiralty, where they tried to gain a foothold. February 27, when the Volynsky and Lithuanian regiments started up, the government, although it existed, did essentially nothing.
True, the Council of Ministers nevertheless met in 16: 00 in the Mariinsky Palace. At this momentous meeting, the question of the resignation of Protopopov was decided, and since the ministers did not have the authority to remove him from office, Protopopov was asked to be affected by the sick and thus retire. Protopopov agreed, and soon voluntarily surrendered to the revolutionaries.
This happened before the announcement of the king's abdication, that is, Protopopov does not resist the rebellion, does not even try to escape, but simply resigns himself from his powers. Subsequently, during interrogation, he claimed that he resigned as minister earlier that February 25. It is very possible to be that this is true.
On the night of 28, the government finally ceased to pretend that it was functioning and ceased any work.
The behavior of the War Minister Belyaev was similar to the actions of Protopopov. February 27 Belyaev took part in the meeting with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, then moved to the Admiralty building.
February 28 troops defending the Admiralty, left him, and the Minister of War went to his apartment. He spent the night there and 1 March came to the General Staff, from where he called the Duma with a request to take measures to protect his apartment! In response, he was advised to go to the Peter and Paul Fortress, where Belyaev would be protected most reliably. Apparently, it was such a black humor. Then Belyaev came to the Duma, and soon he was arrested. That's all the actions of the Minister of War in the crucial days of February.
What is it? Paralysis of will, cowardice, stupidity, inconsistency of official position? Hardly. This is not just nonsense, but treason. Key security officials simply refused to defend the state.
And what about the king? What did he do these days? Fast forward to Headquarters, where Nikolai arrived from Tsarskoye Selo 23 February. Interestingly, along the route of the king's train, the locals greeted them cordially. In Rzhev, Vyazma, Smolensk, people took off their hats, shouted "Hurray", bowed. Initially, the work schedule of the king at Headquarters was no different from the usual. We can judge this by the recollections of General Dubensky, who was next to Nikolai in those days.
On February 25, information about the riots in Petrograd began to arrive at the headquarters. February 27 Alekseev called Grand Duke Michael and offered himself as regent. But is Nikolai already deposed? Officially, it is believed that no, but in this case, Michael’s behavior, to put it mildly, is strange.
Apparently, already on February 27, the king was under the "supervision", and this was reported to Michael. However, early in the morning of February 28, Nikolay somehow slipped out of control and traveled by train to Tsarskoye Selo.
At first, the rank and file chiefs of stations, the local authorities, the police do not stop the tsar, quite naturally considering that the head of state is going. You never know what's going on there in Petrograd, and here the king, and he should be missed. And besides, few people in the provinces knew about the rebellion in the capital. The plans of the conspirators were clearly violated.
However, at the same time, on February 28, the Commissioner of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma Bublikov loaded the soldiers into the trucks, got into the car and headed to the Ministry of Railways. It must be said that the Ministry had a telegraph network control center associated with stations throughout the country. It was the seizure of the network, the seizure of this “hundred-year-old Internet” and that was the goal of Bublikov.
The network could notify the whole country about the change of power, and also find out where the king is at this time. At that moment the Februaryists did not know about it! But as soon as the Ministry of Railways was in the hands of the rebels, Bublik was able to track the movement of the royal train. The staff of the station in Bologoye telegraphed Bublikova that Nikolai was moving in the direction of Pskov.
The telegraph sent Bublikov's orders: not to let the Tsar north of the Bologoye-Pskov line, dismantle the rails and arrows, block all military trains closer than 250 versts from Petrograd. Bublikov was afraid that the king would mobilize his loyal units. Still, the train was moving, in Staraya Russa the people welcomed the king, many were glad to see the monarch even through the window of his car, and again the station police did not dare to prevent Nikolay.
Bublikov receives a message from the station Dno (245 km from Petrograd): it is not possible to execute his order, the local police - for the king. 1 in March, Nikolai reached Pskov, on the platform he was met by the governor, soon the commander of the Northern Front, Ruza, arrived there. It would seem that at the disposal of the king were huge military forces of the whole front. But Ruzsky was a feminist and was not about to defend legitimate power. He began negotiations with Nikolai on the appointment of a "responsible government".
On March 2, two representatives of the Duma arrived in Pskov: Shulgin and Guchkov, who demanded the tsar to give up the throne. The official version of the events says that 2 March, Nikolai signed a manifesto on renunciation.
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