Military Review

"Popovtsy." How the Cheka Detachment of the Cheka became the main force of the uprising of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries and who was its commander Dmitry Popov

6 July 1918 in Moscow there was an armed insurgency, which entered into history as the "Rise of the Left Social Revolutionaries." As you know, its reasons were in contradictions between the Bolshevik and Left-Socialist-Revolutionary leadership, aggravated by the conclusion of the Brest peace treaty. At the IV All-Russian Congress of Soviets, held on 14 - 16 in March 1918, the left SRs voted against the Peace of Brest, but it was ratified by a majority vote. Another important turnaround in the policy of the Bolshevik leadership, which led to the indignation of the Left Social Revolutionaries, was the organization of food detachments for the forced gathering of grain from the peasants. As is known, the Left Social Revolutionaries considered themselves to be a peasant party defending the interests of the Russian peasantry.

Finally, the Left Social Revolutionaries were very unhappy with the “betrayal of the revolution” by the Bolsheviks. They accused the Bolsheviks of departing from revolutionary positions, replacing class interests with the tasks of building a new state. At the same time, the Left Socialist-Revolutionary leadership tried to influence with its propaganda the strata and groups that brought the Bolsheviks to power. First of all, they were revolutionary sailors and soldiers who played the main role in the October Revolution. Taking advantage of the considerable influence among the revolutionary sailors and soldiers, the Left Social Revolutionaries at the time of the armed uprising maintained a presence and strong influence in the Cheka, and under their control were numerous armed groups.

24 June 1918 was decided at the plenum of the Central Committee of the Party of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries to switch to an armed struggle against the Bolshevik government. 5 July 1918. At the V All-Russian Congress of Councils, the Left Social Revolutionaries openly opposed the conclusion of peace with Germany and the policy of the Bolsheviks in the countryside. 6 July 1918, the day after the congress, two VChK officers entered the building of the German embassy in Moscow — Left Social Revolutionaries Yakov Blumkin and Nikolai Andreev. They had a meeting with the ambassador, Count Wilhelm von Mirbach, and the embassy counselor Kurt Ritzler and translator Muller also attended the audience. During the conversation, Ambassador Earl Mirbach was shot dead. Shot at it, according to most sources, Nikolai Andreev - 28-year-old left SR, who served as a photographer in the department to combat international espionage Cheka. Having done their work, Nikolai Andreev and Jacob Blumkin jumped out of the embassy and, jumping into the car waiting for them, drove away. They disappeared in the location of the "Popov detachment" - the Combat Command of the Cheka, which was located in the Pokrovsky barracks.

The VChK detachment was an operational unit, well-armed and staffed mainly by the Left Social Revolutionaries. Shortly before the events described, a group of anarchists joined the detachment - former militants of the anarchist Black Guard defeated in Moscow. The detachment size was 600 people, although the command, again in early July, requested food and ammunition for 1000 people - obviously, waiting for replenishment. The detachment was commanded by Dmitry Ivanovich Popov (1892-1921) - 26-year-old sailor, a very remarkable person in the history of revolutionary events and the Civil War.

The biography of Dmitry Popov is typical for a revolutionary sailor of that time. A peasant son, a native of the Kononovo village of the Troitskaya volost of the Klin district of the Moscow province, Dmitry Popov, already in 14 years, barely finished school, went to work in Moscow factories. In 1914, after the start of World War I, an 22-year-old worker was called up for active military service. Workers, as more technically literate, were often sent to the fleet, and peasants to the army. Dmitry Popov was distributed to the Baltic Fleet. By 1917, many sailors of the Baltic Fleet were influenced by revolutionary ideas, and not even the Bolsheviks, but the more radical left-wing Social Revolutionaries and anarchists enjoyed greater popularity among the sailors. Dmitry Popov was no exception - in 1917, he joined the Party of Left Socialist Revolutionaries, participated in the October armed uprising. At the same time, Dmitry Popov was delegated to the Central Executive Committee. At the end of 1917, in Helsingfors, under the command of Popov, the Red-Soviet Finnish detachment was formed, which included not only the revolutionary sailors of the Baltic Fleet, but the Red Army soldiers - Finns by nationality. In March, 1918, by order of the superior leadership, Popov's detachment was redeployed to Moscow and transferred to the Moscow Council. 8 April 1918, as a combat-ready and well-trained unit, the Popov detachment was transferred to the command of the Cheka and was called the Combat Command of the Cheka. In April, 1918 Dmitry Popov was approved by the Chief of Staff of the Combat Detachment at the Cheka, at the same time he was included on the Cheka panel.

After the leadership of the Left Social Revolutionaries decided to prepare for an armed uprising against the power of the Bolsheviks, measures began in the Popov detachment that even an ignorant person could recognize as preparation for hostilities. First, Popov requested food and ammunition not for the 600 fighters of the detachment, but for the 1000 people. Secondly, he demanded to supply the detachment with sanitary stretchers and medical supplies in large quantities, which indicated only one thing - the commander knows that in the near future there will be many wounded. In addition, all probolshevische-minded fighters and commanders, including the "Red Finns", were removed from the squad under various pretexts. But they took the former Black Guard fighters. Popov explained his obvious preparations for a military operation by the fact that, according to his information, the counter-revolutionaries were going to attack the detachment. On the eve of the armed intervention of the Left Social Revolutionaries, Popov's detachment was put on full alert. It should be noted here that in Moscow, the Popov detachment performed the most important tasks. Not only did he represent the operational division of the Cheka, but also guard the premises where the All-Russian Emergency Commission was located, also carried the fighters Popova.

When Andreev and Blumkin committed the assassination of the German ambassador, Mirbach, they rushed to hide in the location of the Popov detachment. Soon the head of the Cheka Cheka, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, arrived at the headquarters of the Military Detachment of the Cheka. According to the official version, he arrived in the detachment in order to demand from Popov the immediate extradition of Andreev and Blumkin as the perpetrators of the murder of Mirbach. Dzerzhinsky was accompanied by only three security officers, but, according to the official version, he behaved quite boldly at the detachment headquarters — he searched the premises, threatened the left SRs with arrest and execution. In the end, the priests arrested Dzerzhinsky himself and took him hostage. After that, the new acting chairman of the Cheka was appointed at the headquarters of the Cheka - Martin Latsis (his real name and surname is Jan Sudrabs), Deputy Dzerzhinsky. But since the guard in the premises of the Cheka also consisted of fighters of the Popov detachment, Latsis was also arrested.

"Popovtsy." How the Cheka Detachment of the Cheka became the main force of the uprising of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries and who was its commander Dmitry Popov
- Left SRs

In the hands of the Left Social Revolutionaries, the chairman of the Moscow Soviet Smidovich along with 27 and other KGB and party workers found themselves. Sailors - priests captured the telegraph, mail and printing. Most of the armed detachments stationed in Moscow preferred either not to do anything, or went over to the side of the priests. The only effective armed force, on whose loyalty and effective support the Bolshevik leaders could count, remained units of Latvian riflemen. The organizers of the Left Socialist-Revolutionary Uprising themselves knew very well about the loyalty of the Latvians to Lenin and Trotsky. It was not by chance that the uprising was scheduled for Yanov Day - the Latvian national holiday. The left SRs hoped that the Latvian arrows would drink, relax and not be able to prevent the insurrection.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin himself, in spite of the fact that the Latvian arrows were loyal to the Bolsheviks, was very afraid that they too would go over to the side of the Left Social Revolutionaries. He was particularly suspicious of the commander of the Latvian rifle division, Joachim Vatsetis, a former royal officer, a colonel who commanded the Zemgale 5 rifle regiment and almost reached the rank of general (the documents were sent to the headquarters, but the revolution prevented). But Lenin's fears were in vain — Vatsetis (in the photo) was engaged in organizing the suppression of the Left Socialist-Revolutionary uprising. He quickly gathered around 3300 Latvian riflemen and transferred them from Khodynsky field, where the celebration of Jan's Day was going, to Moscow. Here it should be noted that the Latvian commanders tried to bribe the agents of the Entente, who did not benefit from Russia's withdrawal from the war with Germany. But in vain - in the morning of July 7, the units of Vatsetis launched an offensive on the positions of the priests.

Meanwhile, the priests strengthened in the vast area between the Kursk railway station and Varvarskaya Square (now - Nogin Square). However, when the Latvian arrows went on the offensive, the Left SRs began to retreat to Trekhsvyatitelsky Lane. The Bolshevik command decided to bring the artillery and suppress the left Social Revolutionaries with guns. But before the guns started talking, the Bolsheviks once again demanded that the priests should surrender. But the Left SRs refused. After that, the 1-I Latvian battery of the First Instructor Soviet courses began shelling positions of the fighters. The house where the headquarters of the VChK Military Detachment was located was fired, as well as two neighboring houses where many fighters of the detachment lodged. It should be noted here that the Bolshevik functionaries captured by him were taken hostage by the Popov detachment, but this did not prevent the deputy chairman of the RSFSR Revolutionary Military Council, Efraim Sklyansky, from sanctioning shelling of the positions of the Popovites. The commander of the Latvian battery E.P. Berzin. Well-aimed shooting at the positions of the Bolsheviks gave their results - the headquarters was defeated, and the soldiers of the detachment began to retreat from their positions. The uprising of the Left SRs was crushed.

The next day, on July 8, the Bolsheviks shot the deputy chairman of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission of the Left SR, Vyacheslav Alexandrovich (Peter Dmitrievsky) and the 12 fighters from the Dmitry Popov squad. However, the immediate leaders of the detachment’s resistance were more fortunate. Twenty-year-old Yuri Sablin (1897-1937), a former commissar of the Moscow region of the Western Curtain, who took an active part in organizing the uprising, was sentenced to one year in prison, then was amnestied and broke with the Left Social Revolutionaries. He managed not only to survive the flames of the Civil War, but also to make a decent military career - in 1936 the division commander Sablin commanded the 97 rifle division. However, in the next 1937, the divisional commander, like many other former Left Socialist Revolutionaries and anarchists, was arrested and shot. However, the same fate befell the commander of Joachim Vatsetis - a man to whom the Bolsheviks were obliged to suppress the Left Socialist-Revolutionary uprising.

Dmitry Popov fled from Moscow. 27 November 1918 at an open court hearing of the Revolutionary Tribunal of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on charges of "counter-revolutionary conspiracy of the Central Committee of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries against Soviet power and revolution" was announced that if captured, he, as the "enemy of the working people", was subject to death. But Popov was not caught. In December 1918, he appeared in Ukraine. In Kharkov, he became head of the Central Rebel Headquarters of the Left Social Revolutionaries and carried out preparations for a new uprising — this time against the Ukrainian Directory. Then he, under the name of Kormilitsyn, found himself in the disposition of the 11-th Ukrainian Soviet regiment, commanded by his long-time friend Yuri Sablin, who had been amnestied by that time. Popov served as assistant commander of the regiment, but was identified and, fearing the arrest of the KGB, he fled to Kharkov.

In August, 1919, he was in Yekaterinoslav province, where in the fall in Novomoskovsk district formed an armed detachment and joined the rebel army Nestor Makhno. As part of the rebel army, Popov commanded first 2-m Sulinsky, then 24-m Ternovsky and 3-m Ekaterinoslavsky rebel regiments, declared himself an anarcho-communist and became one of the prominent Makhnovists. At the end of May 1920, Popov was elected to the Council of the Revolutionary Insurgents of Ukraine (Makhnovists), and in June 1920, he became Secretary of the Council. It was Dmitry Popova that Makhno entrusted telegraph negotiations with the Soviet leaders on the cessation of hostilities and the conclusion of a military alliance to fight the forces of Baron Peter Wrangel. October 10 1920 d. Dmitry Popov signed on behalf of the Makhnovists a preliminary military-political agreement between the government of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine (Makhnovists). On the night of November 26, 1920, together with other representatives of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine (Makhnovists) in the Southern Front, was arrested in Kharkov by the KGB and transferred to Moscow by order of Felix Dzerzhinsky. In the spring of 1921, Dmitry Popov was shot.

Regarding the personality of the detachment commander who played the main role in the armed uprising of the Left Social Revolutionaries, not very positive testimony remained. So, many contemporaries note the tendency of Dmitry Popov to drunkenness. This, in particular, was reported by the Military Control Commissioner, who was among the functionaries arrested by the priests, the mechanic Kaurov, who worked at the headquarters of the Combat Command of the Cheka. Of course, these accusations could have been attributed to the bias of the Bolsheviks to the Left Social Revolutionaries and personally to Popov, but two years later Nestor Makhno himself accused Popov of the same thing. Makhno's “Old Man”, who certainly cannot be suspected of “sobriety” and hypocrisy, was very dissatisfied with almost daily drunkenness at Popov’s headquarters and even sent him a letter in which he tried to call the commander to responsibility. “It is absolutely unacceptable to hear again about your negligent attitude to the business entrusted to you by the army. I hope that the following messages about your work will be different, more pleasant for all of us. Remember the rule - business time, fun hour, "- wrote in one of the letters to Dmitry Popov Nestor Makhno. Perhaps these personal qualities led Popov and his squad to a fiasco in July 1918, at one of the crucial moments for the country.

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  1. V.ic
    V.ic 6 July 2016 07: 49
    There was at one time the movie "July 6", in my opinion 2-part. Just on the topic. Lenin seems to have played Kayurov.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 6 July 2016 07: 52
    Thank you Ilya, interesting .. But with regards to the civil war, we are used to the confrontation of the two sides "red" and "white" .. With the "red" it seems everything is clear .. Here with the "white" misunderstandings .. In my opinion, not "white" ... "pink" .. There was not a single uprising, under the slogan ... of the type For God, Tsar and Fatherland .. The main slogan of all uprisings long live the Constituent Assembly .. by the way, the majority in this assembly in the elections of 1917 was won by the Socialist Revolutionary Party ..Yes, and all the revolts on the territory of Russia were organized by the Social Revolutionaries in Siberia, on the Volga .. in the North .. in the South .. Armenian, Azerbaijani Dashnaks, Musavists .. in fact, shtetl SRs .... The same thing in Ukraine .. Petliura and others .. local socialists .. Georgia .. there are Social Democrats (Mensheviks) as an exception .. White Volunteers .. headed by generals .. who supported the Tsar's abdication .. and insisted on it .. and where is the whiteness? .. During the bourgeois revolutions in England and France it was clear ... supporters of Parliament, the Convention and royalists ... supporters of the king ... Yes ... the White movement in Russia was heterogeneous in its composition ... but it was not white, it was not ... pink ... By the way ... Kolchak was summoned by the Socialist-Revolutionaries with the Mensheviks ... They then overthrew him ...
    1. ilyaros
      6 July 2016 08: 17
      Ultra-right yet. For example, Baron Ungern von Sternberg
      1. Beefeater
        Beefeater 6 July 2016 10: 56
        Quote: ilyaros
        Ultra-right yet. For example, Baron Ungern von Sternberg

        Ungern is such a distinctive character that does not fit into any political scheme. After all, he never voiced his political platform and did not participate in the elections
        1. ilyaros
          6 July 2016 13: 05
          Anyway. if we use a very conventional scheme "Right - Left", then Baron Ungern or, say, Ataman Semyonov, certainly cannot be classified as left ...
          1. Beefeater
            Beefeater 6 July 2016 22: 07
            Quote: ilyaros
            Anyway. if we use a very conventional scheme "Right - Left", then Baron Ungern or, say, Ataman Semyonov, certainly cannot be classified as left ...

            He’s exactly what a baron is in the medieval sense.
        2. Verdun
          Verdun 6 July 2016 21: 30
          Quote: Beefeater
          After all, he never voiced his political platform and did not participate in the elections

          The Baron is not an elected position. At the same time, the identities of many adventurers over time acquire a romantic aura. Ungern is no exception. And the facts, meanwhile, are quite eloquent. They abandoned him, and the Mongols, who, according to some, considered the baron almost the god of war, were taken prisoner and surrendered with giblets.
    2. Makarov
      Makarov 6 July 2016 13: 53
      all the rebellions in Russia organized by the Social Revolutionaries in Siberia, on the Volga .. in the North .. in the South

      But what about the Czechoslovak corps, which was subordinate to the French General Staff? They are definitely not Socialist-Revolutionaries, and around their first and main rebellion "whites" rallied ...

      here a curious theory ... more precisely, curious facts are tailored to one theory))
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 6 July 2016 18: 20
        The Czechoslovak Corps was supported by Komuch ... the Socialist-Revolutionary Government ..
        1. Beefeater
          Beefeater 6 July 2016 22: 12
          Quote: parusnik
          The Czechoslovak Corps was supported by Komuch ... the Socialist-Revolutionary Government ..

          Because the Bolsheviks, by agreement with the Germans, tried to prevent the appearance of Czechs on the Western Front and began to disarm the Czechs. Here the Czechs rebelled. And naturally they began to rely on anti-Bolshevik forces.
      2. sibiryouk
        sibiryouk 6 July 2016 19: 31
        The Social Revolutionaries actively collaborated with the corps. Here in Krasnoyarsk in 1918. Socialist-Revolutionary officers raised a rebellion against Soviet power, but they managed to capture the city only with the help of Czechoslovakians.
  3. Baloo
    Baloo 6 July 2016 08: 58
    Many years ago, there was a broadcast on the radio about Blumkin. It was alleged that the captain of the French intelligence Lefebvre influenced Blumkin, that this was his idea - the murder of Count Mirbach. Lefebvre died in 1942, did not participate in the resistance. The Socialist-Revolutionary Party itself was influenced by agents of influence of the Entente countries. However, no details. By the way, F. Kaplan (a friend of Sverdlov’s cousin), accidentally arrested a few blocks from the place of the assassination attempt on Lenin, was waiting for a Chekist friend, a Left Socialist-Revolutionary from former Odessa bandits. But I did not wait: What are you doing here? And why are you trying to stash it? The answer of the poorly seeing Kaplan seemed suspicious. Three hours later, an assistant to Sverdlov takes her from the Cheka building and takes her to the Kremlin. The first words of Lenin: you took it (not her!)? Well, then Kaplan’s fate is known: he shot it (despite Lenin’s ban and desire to look at it!) In the courtyard of the Kremlin’s garage, burning in a kerosene barrel. The bullets were not from a Kaplan pistol.
    Lefebvre could have provided "compromising evidence" to Mirbach's nephew, which was the reason for the meeting. Didn't you bargain?
    And the assassination attempt on Lenin most likely was organized by Reilly, having written out a pro-killer from the states. I read this version too. hi
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 6 July 2016 15: 58
      Lenin was most likely injured by the Social Revolutionary Lydia Konopleva, a former rural teacher. Before that, she participated in two successful assassinations of the Chekists Uritsky and Volodarsky.
      It was easy for her to mingle with a crowd of female workers. Unlike the tall brunette Kaplan with 80% vision loss and no experience of terrorist attacks.
  4. Aleksander
    Aleksander 6 July 2016 10: 26
    On the night of November 26, 1920, along with other representatives of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine (Makhnovists) at the Southern Front, was arrested in Kharkov by Chekists and transferred to Moscow on the orders of Felix Dzerzhinsky. In the spring of 1921, Dmitry Popov was shot.
    The Bolsheviks paid off well with those who helped them to stay in power and fight (left Socialist-Revolutionaries and Makhnovists): bullets.
    And rightly so.
    1. Beefeater
      Beefeater 6 July 2016 10: 59
      Anarchists were a powerful large party. They themselves could have seized power by shooting the Bolsheviks.
  5. Beefeater
    Beefeater 6 July 2016 11: 48
    Blyumkin actually worked in the Cheka and traveled the world with various sensitive orders, a member of the Persian campaign (together with Yesenin).
    1. Makarov
      Makarov 6 July 2016 13: 55
      Yeah, he also served in the army ... more precisely, he nobly stole ...
  6. Zulu_S
    Zulu_S 6 July 2016 13: 26
    Quote: Balu
    Many years ago, there was a broadcast on the radio about Blumkin.

    Blumkin worked for a long time (until 1937) at the Cheka-OGPU.
    1. Baloo
      Baloo 6 July 2016 14: 08
      He sympathized with Trotsky, even drove him money, on which he burned. The Chekist wife revealed his Trotskyist nature. laughing
  7. 1536
    1536 6 July 2016 16: 59
    Very interesting stuff. Actual, I must say, not only for admirers of history, but in the light of recent events and all kinds of Gelentvagens, and for everyone who is trying to understand what is happening in Russia correctly.
  8. King, just king
    King, just king 6 July 2016 17: 54
    Very interesting article. It's a pity the "boobs topic" is not disclosed. I mean, what exactly Popov and his lads wanted. Who is the coordinator and head of the conspiracy, how Dzerzhinsky survived, and why did he actually go there ..., taking into account the fact that F.E. was against the Brest Peace. A million questions.

    In the year 81-82 at the age of 12-13 I read in "Roman-Gazeta" (in my opinion), I don't remember the year of publication, an interesting novel about the Cheka. There, just this rebellion of the Left SRs was described.
  9. Andrey VOV
    Andrey VOV 6 July 2016 22: 54
    I read the version ... that in the attempt on VI Lenin and his successful say so, Comrade Sverdlov was very interested .... and then, at the beginning of 19, he was suddenly and so dead at the time ....
    1. Baloo
      Baloo 7 July 2016 07: 25
      Probably Sverdlov was the same agent of influence as Trotsky. Brother Sverdlova opened a bank in the FSA in 1916. or so. After the death of Sverdlov, the bank was closed. There was no message about the attempt on Lenin's life, but Sverdlov had already sent out telegrams that he was taking all the power of us himself. And finally, Sverdlov's safe with a half-centner of jewelry and diplomatic passports for the whole family. Does Trotsky's permanent revolution remind you of anything? I mean not only "color" revolutions?