SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR



The crisis of 1921. Kronstadt


With the completion of the main battles on the fronts of the civil war, the first attempts are being made to restore the national economy. Since the beginning of 1920, labor armies have arisen, which are becoming a new form of militarization of labor. The transfer of workers and employees to the position of mobilized, which took place in 1918-1919, is complemented by the use of the economy of the Red Army, which is involved in the restoration of transport, fuel extraction, loading and unloading and other activities.


The end of 1920 - the beginning of 1921 becomes the time when the policy of "war communism" reached its highest point. The Decree of the Council of People's Commissars “On free distribution of food products to the population” was adopted on December 4, 1920, which came into force on January 1, 1921. Travel on trams, utilities, etc., become free.


Under such conditions, the peasantry refused to supply the necessary amount of grain to the cities, as a result of which the population constantly left industrial centers, and the level of industrial production was close to zero. The number of residents of Petrograd decreased from 2 million 400 thousand people at the end of 1917 to 590 thousand people by the summer of 1920. The number of workers at industrial enterprises over the same period decreased from 300 thousand to 80 thousand. the scope of such a phenomenon as labor desertion.


The 9th Congress of the RCP (b), which took place on March 29 - April 5, 1920, was forced to admit this openly. It was officially stated that "a significant part of the workers, in search of better conditions, arbitrarily leaves the enterprises, moves from place to place, which causes further blows to production and worsens the overall situation of the working class." Thus, it was emphasized that socio-economic problems became one of the main causes of labor desertion. However, the calls of the congress to create punitive work teams from deserters or to enter them into concentration camps did not yield the expected results.


At the turn of 1920-1921. The economic crisis has become rampant. A wave of peasant uprisings swept through the country with new force: in Western Siberia, in the North Caucasus, Ukraine, etc. The rebellion in Tambov and a number of provinces adjacent to it was the largest peasant revolt. Tambovschina acutely felt the burden of food-tatura. The removal of "surplus" was already massive here in the autumn of 1918. By that time, there were 50 armed food detachments with a total number of up to 5 thousand people operating in the province. Thus, the uprising, which began at the end of August 1920, expressed a long-standing peasant protest. Headed a speech by A. S. Antonov, who was a member of the Social Revolutionary Party since 1906 and sentenced in 1910 for participating in the expropriation of the death penalty, replaced by indefinite hard labor.


The suppression of the peasant uprising was conducted exclusively by military measures and intimidation, since the announcement of the amnesty for voluntary appearance did not have much success. In April 1921, the commander-in-chief of the troops in the province, M.N. Tukhachevsky, was tasked with eliminating the insurgency within a month. The total number of units of the Red Army in this area exceeded 100 thousand people.


The number of supporters of Antonov was also growing rapidly. In his appeal, addressed to the Red Army, he called the figure of 120 thousand. People supporting him. In reality, however, the rebel army numbered up to 50 thousand fighters.


Tough and vigorous measures (Tukhachevsky, in particular, signed an order on the use of poisonous gases "to smoke bandits out of the woods") the uprising was suppressed. After the defeat of his army, Antonov himself hid in the woods for a year, but was killed during the arrest in June 1922. The peasant uprising in Tambov, which lasted a year - from summer 1920 to summer 1921 - and killed no less than 50 thousand The lives of both sides, brighter than the others, demonstrated the bankruptcy of the policy of "war communism."


Anti-Soviet movements developed during this period in the Saratov and neighboring gubernias. At the head of the peasant uprising stood A. Sapozhkov. Since February 1919, the commander of the 22nd division, a participant in the battles on the Ural and Southern fronts, Sapozhkov repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the policy of “war communism” conducted by the Bolsheviks. Removing him in July 1920 from the post of division commander led to the mutiny of the unit. The main slogans of the rebels were "Down with the surplus, long live free trade!", "Down with the commissars, specialists and white guards!", As well as "the correct distribution of the items needed by the population." With these slogans at the head of the educated "1st Army of Truth" (numbering about 3 thousand people), he occupied the city of Buzuluk and launched an attack on Uralsk and Novouzensk. In September 1920, Sapozhkov’s squad was defeated, and he himself died.


The scattered, but not destroyed, parts of Sapozhkov served as the basis for the "green movement" in the Saratov province in 1921. In some periods, the cities of Kamyshin, Khvalynsk, Rtishche, Pugachevek were under their control. Another well-known peasant uprising against the Soviet government was the West Siberian Uprising. In early 1921, the rebels controlled the cities of Ishim, Petropavlovsk, Tobolsk, Berezovo, Obdorsk, Barabinsk, Kainsk, Surgut and other settlements. Only in June 1921, these territories were returned under the control of Soviet power.


By the spring of 1921, the situation in cities became explosive. Especially difficult situation has developed in large industrial centers. The government adopts special regulations for the supply of fuel. Despite this, on February 11, 1921, it was announced that 93 Petrograd enterprises would be closed before March 1, among which were the Putilov, the Sestroretsky factories, the Triangle factory, etc. The workers' unrest began to escalate into open unrest. These days it came to the beating of prominent Petrograd communists: "Comrade Ancelovichu especially got", noted in one of the documents of the end of February 1921, telling about the forced stopping of automobiles on Vasilyevsky Island and disembarking from them officials "walking on equal footing".


On February 25, 1921, martial law was declared in the city and the Petrograd Defense Committee was created . The situation was becoming threatening. Anti-Bolshevik speeches could not but affect the mood of the seamen of Kronstadt, whose total number at that time was 26 thousand people. The delegations of the Kronstadt sailors who visited Petrograd reported the reasons for the workers' unrest. On February 28, the sailors of the battleships Petropavlovsk and Sevastopol adopted a resolution calling on the government to respect the rights and freedoms proclaimed in October 1917. This resolution did not contain a call for the overthrow of the Soviets, but was directed against the omnipotence of one party, the Bolshevik party.


On March 1, a rally was held at the Anchor Square in Kronstadt, in which about 16 thousand people took part. The chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee M. I. Kalinin, who arrived from Moscow, did not succeed in changing the on-campus of those gathered and in removing political demands. Soon, in order to maintain order in Kron-Stadt, the sailors decided to create the Provisional Revolutionary Committee (WRC), which was headed by SM Petrichenko. The power in the city without a single shot passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Committee.


News of the events in Kronstadt caused a negative reaction from the central authorities. March 3 Petrograd and the province were declared a state of siege. The Petrograd Defense Committee attempted to influence the mood of the Kronstadters through leaflets addressed to the rebels. Only on March 6, 20 thousand leaflets were dropped from Kronstadt and its forts, and on March 7, 30 thousand. Poets D. Poor, V. Knya-zev, journalist M. Ye. Koltsov were included in a specially created group of counter-propaganda. and etc.


But the main way to eliminate the uprising was to become an armed force. Kronstadt was isolated from the outside world, the 7th Army was being restored under the command of M. N. Tukhachevsky. On March 8, the first assault on Kronstadt began , but it was not possible to end the rebellion with one blow. Having suffered heavy losses, the Soviet troops were forced to retreat. One of the main reasons for the failure was the mood of the Red Army, some of whom refused to obey the command. After the campaigning and intimidation (dozens of Red Army men were shot), on the night of March 17, a new assault on the fortress began, which was preceded by intensive shelling. March 18, Kronstadt fell, and 8 thousand people from among its defenders on the ice went to Finland. After this, the massacre of the Kronstadt garrison began. By the summer of 1921, more than 2,100 people were sentenced to capital punishment; about 6.5 thousand were convicted for various terms of imprisonment.


The idea of ​​organizing a public trial of the main organizers of the uprising was not implemented: the chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee Petrichenko and the chief of artillery of Kronstadt, former Major General of the Tsarist Army A. N. Kozlovsky, took refuge in Finland. The authorities also failed to find any data on the participation of "international imperialism" in these events. Nevertheless, the official version for a long time interpreted the uprising as if its main organizers were the Mensheviks, the Social Revolutionaries, the Tsarist generals, and the intelligence of foreign powers.


The events of March 1921 accelerated the adoption by the Soviet leadership at the Tenth Congress of the RCP (B.) Of a primary power and cardinal measure — the decision to replace the surplus with a tax.


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