Military operations until the summer of 1918 developed mainly along the lines of railways. For the transfer of troops were widely used trains and trains. The front lines as such did not exist. Therefore, this period in the history of the civil war was called the "period of the echelon war".
After the formation of fronts, the military confrontation shifted to a different quality level. The impetus for the consolidation of the anti-Bolshevik forces was the armed intervention of the 40,000th Czechoslovak corps, consisting of captured Slavic soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian army. After the Bolsheviks came to power, the Supreme Council of the Entente envisaged the use of corps units in France, and to this end in the spring of 1918, the movement of troops by rail to Vladivostok, coordinated with the Soviet government, followed.
However, during the advancement of conflicts of legionnaires with local authorities. Armed clashes after attempts to confiscate weapons from passing parts turned into an armed demonstration (initiated and supported by representatives of the Entente) corps across the railway from the Urals to Vladivostok. The uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps received immediate support from all anti-Soviet forces and spread to new territories.
This was facilitated by the weakness of the Soviet government in the eastern regions of Russia. In the seven provinces of the Volga region, there were only 23,484 Red Army men, of whom 12,443 were armed, trained in military delu 2405, and 2,243 ready for action, that is, approximately one in ten. On May 26, 1918, the Czecho-Slovaks occupied Novonikolayevsk (Novosibirsk), on May 27, Chelyabinsk, on May 29, Penza and Syzran. Omsk fell on June 7, and Samara fell on June 8, which became the political center of the anti-Soviet movement in the summer and autumn of 1918.
The formed government (Committee of members of the Constituent Assembly - Komuch - led by Social Revolutionary V.K. Volsky) declared the restoration of basic democratic freedoms, allowed the activities of workers and peasant congresses, factory committees, set the 8-hour working day and took the red state flag. In June-August, the power of KOMUCHA extended to Samara, part of Saratov, Simbirsk, Kazan and Ufa provinces. At the same time as KOMUCHU in the summer, a number of Social Revolutionary governments were formed, which controlled large territories. In Siberia, power was consistently exercised: the West Siberian Commissariat, which functioned in Novo-Nikolaev, and then in Omsk until June 23, 1918; the Provisional Siberian Government in Tomsk that replaced it (P.V. Vologodsky) and finally the Ufa Directory (N. D. Avksentyev), which operated from September 23 to November 18, 1918. The latter nominally became the unified center of the Socialist-Revolutionary governments of Siberia. However, the created Directory in fact represented only members of the various groups that belonged to it, and not all-Russian parties and movements.
On August 2, 1918, the Supreme Administration of the Northern Region was formed in the Arkhangelsk Province with the support of the allied forces (chairman of the People’s Socialist N. V. Tchaikovsky), which on September 28, 1918 formed the Provisional Government of the Northern Region (in 1919 it will be headed by General E C. Miller). The Transcaspian Provisional Government functioned in Ashgabat (chairman of the Social Revolutionary Party Funtikov).
The programs of the Socialist-Revolutionary government, which included the Mensheviks, included demands for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, the restoration of political rights, denationalization and freedom of trade, and social partnership. Characteristic was the evolution of all governments in the direction of the tightening of the political regime and the elimination of the originally proclaimed democratic freedoms. "Paper rights" were soon replaced by repression. Such an evolution was caused both by pressure from the allies on the right and by a crisis of state power. None of the Socialist-Revolutionary governments succeeded in creating an efficient army, resolving the land and labor issue, and creating statehood with a effectiveness comparable to the Bolshevik one.
Mass mobilization conducted by KOMUCHEM did not give a tangible effect. Volga People's Army KOMUCHA had less than 50 thousand people in its ranks, which did not exceed 2.5% of the population of the region (the mobilization percentage of the Bolsheviks was several times higher). Under these conditions, white formations of Orenburg region, Priural and other territories carried the main load, detachments of workers from Izhevsk and Votkinsk - only about 180 thousand people. The decomposition of the Czechoslovak Corps, which in the early summer of 1918 was the main military force, complicated the situation. Together, this introduced an element of instability in the centrist policy of KOMUCH, who had no real military power of his own and was dependent on the allies on the right and left.
Faced with resistance to mobilization in the army and requisitioning, as well as with the growing working movement, Komuch turned to hard punitive practice. Within one month, over a thousand people were shot in the Kanian province, and in total for four months of Komuch’s activity Territory killed about 6 thousand people. Numerous working speeches were mercilessly suppressed: in the workers' settlement Ivaschenkovo (Chapayevsk), on September 3, out of 6,000 inhabitants, after the liquidation of the uprising, every sixth was shot. Komucha's allies sometimes acted even more decisively. After the seizure of Chelyabinsk, Troitsk and Orenburg (July 3), a regime of white terror is established there. Only in the Orenburg prison were more than 6 thousand prisoners, of whom 500 people died during interrogation. Already in the first weeks, 700 people were shot in Troitsk, and there were at least 3,000 casualties in total for the Dutovs who controlled these territories.
A different punitive policy was characteristic only for the Izhevsk-Votkinsk district, where the death penalty was abolished, although there was a problem of self-justice. But here, by the autumn of 1918, the situation had changed. The practice of execution was resumed. And due to the lack of prison facilities and problems related to the escape of prisoners, special barges-prisons appeared in Sarapul, Votkinsk and later in Izhevsk. Prisoners of one of these floating prisons with the help of the destroyer "Prytky" mastered the barge, taking the barge from under his nose, the enemy, October 17, 1918 F. Raskolnikov. By this time, out of 600 political prisoners, 432 remained alive.
The intensification of repressive measures became the general trend of the summer of 1918 for both whites and reds. The Soviet state, which in the summer of 1918 was in a deep political, social and military crisis, gradually emerged from it. Strict centralization of control, toughening punitive measures, regulated terror were opposed to rear anarchy. The uprisings of the peasants and those mobilized into the army were mercilessly suppressed, including by the organs of the Cheka.
The first city where counter-revolutionaries were mass executed was Tambov. During the rebellion, accompanied by numerous victims on June 17-18, 50 people were shot on June 22, and another 11 on July 3. It was a local initiative, but it was immediately supported in the center. In Pravda, a member of the panel of the Cheka Y. X. Pete-re wrote these days: "If the working class takes the example of Tambov, our struggle with the counter-revolution will end in a few days." Each month of the summer of 1918, the duplication of the victims of the Cheka will occur: June - about 150, July - more than 300 (not counting the Yaroslavl Uprising), August - more than 600 people.
Beside the executions of the Cheka, in the summer of 1918, the executions of revtribunals and other extraordinary judicial organs began. The starting point in this process was the indictment issued by the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal to the former head of the maritime affairs of the Baltic Fleet, A. M. Schastny, accused of Leonid D. Trotsky of counter-revolutionary activities. The execution of Shchastny, on the basis of Trotsky’s unfounded assertions, “coincided with the executions in Tambov. Individual terror acts played a certain role in tightening the punitive policy (on June 20, the murder of V. Volodarsky in Petrograd).
An example of the tightening of the punitive practice of the Soviet state is the Yaroslavl uprising. After the capture of Yaroslavl on July 21, 1918, 57 people were immediately shot on the spot, and after the sentencing of the Special Investigation Commission, another 350 people. The executions continued later: in September, the Soviet press recorded more than 60 cases of execution of participants in the uprising. Of the other speeches against the Soviet government in the summer of 1918, the Liven Uprising of August 14-17 should be singled out (10 thousand participants). Several hundred rebels died in the course of stubborn combat, and more than 300 were shot after the capture of the city. Petrograd leader G. E. Zinoviev referred to the Liven uprising as indicative. He declared: “We are now calmly reading that 200-300 people were shot somewhere. The other day I read a note that, it seems, several thousand White Guards were shot in Livny of the Oryol province. If we go at that pace, we we will quickly reduce the bourgeois population of Russia. "
At the same time, it should be noted that the repression of the Bolsheviks had certain differences from the white terror. Firstly, these were regulated repressions, and, therefore, solving political and economic problems, terror to a lesser extent disorganized the rear than similar white actions. Secondly, they were accompanied by other "preventive measures", a less rigid character - registration of officers, a well-thought system of fines. Finally, there was no gap between word and deed, when the hidden repressions against the Bolsheviks had a disorganizing effect precisely because of their denial. It should also be noted that the growth of punitive measures by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918 did not affect all territories. In Petrograd for almost six months, until August 21, 1918, there was not a single execution of the Cheka. There were at least five more provinces, not affected by the terror in the summer of 1918.
In addition to the internal opponents of the Soviet government, during this period, we had to deal with the activated fronts of the counter-revolution. The main were in this period two fronts: East and South. On the Eastern Front of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army (RKKA), scattered forces of the Socialist-Revolutionary governments and their allies opposed it. In June 1918, when the restructuring of the Red Army was in full swing, the Czechoslovak units occupied one city after another. The Soviet government did not control the situation, not only in the frontline provinces, but also in the provinces and cities, which were significantly distant from the Eastern Front.
These circumstances played a certain role in the decision-making on the execution of the royal family on July 17, 1918 in Yekaterinburg. The destruction of the last im-governor finally solved the problem of intraparty disputes, rallying the party before a united front of white and democratic counter-revolution. The Bolsheviks demonstrated their determination to go to the end on this and other issues of their domestic policy.
A further loss of control, the preservation of half measures regarding discipline in the army would mean the defeat of the entire Soviet regime. The answer was the acceleration of the reorganization of the Red Army, begun by a decree on universal conscription on May 29, 1918. The Decree of the 5th All-Russian Congress of Soviets of July 10, 1918 “On the Construction of the Red Army” established its fundamental principles: regular character, universal military duty of working people aged from 18 to 40, class principle, centralized management, strict discipline, the institution of military commissars and specialist sheets.
The election of the commanders was canceled. In the Red Army, which increased its number to 600,000 over the summer (i.e., 2 times), both the communists and representatives of the officer class and other military specialists were mobilized. By 1920, 50,000 former officers and generals and more than 40,000 military medical workers served in the Red Army. By this time, there will be 300 thousand communists in the army, that is, every second member of the party, and the total number of all troops will exceed 5 million people.
The army was also reorganized. On September 2, 1918, a decision was made to merge the Supreme Military Council and the people's commissariat of military and maritime affairs and create on their basis the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic (RVSR). Leonid D. Trotsky became chairman of the RVSR, his deputy E. M. Sklyansky. Later, in order to mobilize all the resources of the country for the needs of defense, on November 30, 1918, the Council of Workers 'and Peasants' Defense headed by V.I. Lenin was formed. The implementation of the principle of unity of the front and rear has helped turn the tide in favor of the Bolsheviks on the main Eastern Front.
In September 1918, Soviet troops under the command of I. I. Vatsetis and S. S. Kamenev launched a counteroffensive. Kazan fell on the first of September 10, then Simbirsk on September 12 (operation was headed by M.N. Tukhachevsky) and in October Samara. Attempts of counter-offensive actions of the white units, including V. O. Kap-pelya on the Simbirsk direction on September 18-24, were unsuccessful. The results of the campaign on the Eastern Front in 1918 meant for the whites the loss of the Volga region and the move to the Urals.
Military failures caused the political defeat of the democratic counter-revolution. On November 18, 1918, having overclocked the Directory and proclaimed himself the supreme ruler of Russia, Admiral A. V. Kolchak (formerly the War Minister of the Directory) came to power in Siberia. Soon the other leaders of the white movement declared their support for the Supreme Ruler. In the south, the dictatorship of A. I. Denikin, commander of the Volunteer Army, strengthened, which in January, subjugating the Don army of Krasnov, created the combined Armed Forces of southern Russia. In the north, the dominant role belonged to General EK Miller. These events marked the rearrangement of forces in the injured counter-revolutionary camp in the autumn of 1918.
Political changes in the autumn-winter of 1918 did not mean the suspension of military operations. All changes took place “on the move”, moreover, in the aggravated not only military, but also internal political situation. In Soviet Russia, the fall of 1918 — a period of red terror introduced in accordance with the Ordinance on Red Terror on September 5, 1918. The attempt of Kaplan on V.I. Lenin and the assassination of the head of the Petrograd sponge, M. S. Uritsky, on August 30 pushed the government to this measure. The terror was directed mainly at those segments of the population that could oppose the Soviet power (officers, wealthy peasantry), and was of a preventive nature.
The largest scale it acquired in Petrograd (800 people), Moscow (500 people) and the Volga region, where only in the city of Kurmysh of Simbirsk province several hundred people were shot, In total in the central gubernia of the Cheka, at least 5 thousand people were shot in September and 2 thousand in the other autumn months of 1918. A significant number of victims also fell to military tribunals, as well as extrajudicial killings. In addition to the shootings, the terror also marked the introduction of a hostage system with concentration camps. The terror caused a wave of individual terrorist attacks against the leaders of the Cheka at various levels.
The retaliatory executions gave rise to a second wave of red terror and intensified the discussion about the Cheka as a body abusing its position. In the winter of 1918/19, county Cheka were abolished, and the gubernian and oblast Cheka were largely cleared. The result was a temporary decline in the role of the Cheka in the punitive policy of the Soviet government, while simultaneously strengthening the role of the tribunals.
In the autumn of 1918, the white terror intensifies. Ataman B. V. Annenkov, on September 10, 1918, shot down more than 1,500 peasants of Slavgorod district, and General V. A. Pokrovsky killed 2,500 people in Maykop on September 18, Maykop. The atmosphere of mutual hatred is well conveyed by the statement of the general M. G. Drozdovsky: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and I would say: two eyes for an eye, all teeth for a tooth!"
Any battle as it was completed took the form of a bloody massacre. Any city was established "Russian Verdun", under which hundreds and thousands of soldiers died, as it was near Tsaritsyn. Three times the ataman P. Krasnov attempted to take the city: the July and September attacks in 1918, as well as the January attacks in 1919 ended without result. PN Krasnov was removed from command. Stalin, responsible for the enormous losses in the defense of the city (up to 50 thousand people!), Was transferred from Tsaritsyn . In the new year, this city, like the whole of Russia, was presented with new tests - the campaign of 1918 did not reveal a clear winner.