In March 1921, an uprising on the island fortress of Kronstadt shook Russia, starkly illustrating the conflicts within the Russian revolution. To observe the 100-year anniversary of the revolt, we present an overview of the questions that were at stake in the struggle, following by a full chronology of the events, illustrated by selections from contemporary historical documents—including the entire text of all 14 issues of the newspaper published by the Kronstadt rebels, the Izvestia [news] of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers, and Workers of the Town of Kronstadt.1 Though many different factions have attempted to portray the Kronstadt uprising according to many different ideological frameworks, this is a rare opportunity to see the rebellion from the vantage point of the rebels themselves.
Table of Contents
- Electoral Democracy, Party Dictatorship, or Self-Determination?
- From the Power of the Soviets to “Soviet Power”
- “We’ll Be Our Own Thermidor”
- Apologists for Dictatorship
- Appendix: A Chronology of the Kronstadt Uprising, including the Text of Their Daily Paper
- March 3
- March 4
- March 5
- March 6
- March 7
- March 8
- March 9
- March 10
- March 11
- March 12
- March 13
- March 14
- March 15
- March 16
- Further Reading
Electoral Democracy, Party Dictatorship, or Self-Determination?
While both anarchists and apologists for Lenin and Stalin often portray the Kronstadt uprising as a conflict between anarchists and party communists, this is a misunderstanding that has arisen as a result of subsequent conflicts. Rather, the Kronstadt uprising represented the final rupture between the autocratic dictatorship of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and every other communist and socialist current in the country, as well as anarchists and other elements of the working class—especially those to the left of the Bolsheviks, as the Bolsheviks had adopted many right-wing policies by that time. Essentially, the conflict among Russian anti-capitalist revolutionaries was about whether power should be vested in a one-party dictatorship, in representative electoral politics, or in horizontally organized workers’ councils [soviets].
From the perspective of Lenin and Trotsky, the great crime of the Kronstadt rebels in 1921 was to call for “All power to the soviets, and not to parties.” The soviets, as the Kronstadt rebels understood them, were meant to be decentralized workers’ councils, through which people could practice self-determination directly, rather than attempting to express their agency indirectly by voting for representatives to participate in the Constituent Assembly or simply carrying out the orders of a Party-controlled Central Committee.
The conflict between these three political models went back decades. In 1903, at the second party congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the Party split in two as the consequence of a debate over how to define party membership. The Bolsheviks (“majority,” though they did not actually represent the majority of the participants in the congress), headed by Vladimir Lenin, argued for a very strict definition of the Party as a tight, centralized cadre. The Mensheviks (“minority”), headed by Julius Martov, conceptualized the Party more broadly, considering it to include everyone who identified with and supported its program. Both saw the Party as the vehicle for revolutionary change, but Lenin wished to build a tightly-controlled group capable of seizing power, while Martov was more concerned with fostering a broad working-class movement.
In 1904, following the division between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, Leon Trotsky warned that substituting “a ‘Party’ placed above the proletariat (at least as Comrade Lenin and his supporters understand the term Party)” for the working class as a whole would ultimately lead to a dictator substituting himself for the Party:
“In the internal politics of the Party these methods lead, as we shall see, to the Party organization ‘substituting’ itself for the Party, the Central Committee substituting itself for the Party organization, and finally the dictator substituting himself for the Central Committee.”
-Leon Trotsky, Our Political Tasks, 1904
This fundamental conflict was never resolved. In 1912, the Bolsheviks formally excluded the Mensheviks, establishing their own distinct party. After the revolution of February 1917 pushed the Tsar out of power and established representative democracy under a Provisional Government with an elected Constituent Assembly, Trotsky and Lenin returned to Russia from exile and participated in overthrowing the Provisional Government in October 1917, ostensibly for the sake of vesting all power in the soviets (i.e., grassroots workers’ councils). Despite his earlier criticisms, Trotsky ended up working with the Bolsheviks.
At the Second Pan-Russian Congress of Soviets in November 1917, the Bolsheviks took advantage of a temporary majority to transform the Central Executive Committee into a largely independent government organ acting over the heads of the delegates from the actual soviets. Over the following months, the Bolsheviks began to consolidate power via the Central Committee. Gaining control of the Cheka (the secret police), they had their opponents arrested, including a rival socialist delegate to the Congress. In early 1918, after they failed to win a majority in the Constituent Assembly, they shut it down, seeking to assert the primacy of the political organs they controlled.
Some anarchists joined them in this effort; indeed, the anarchist Anatoli Zhelezniakov led the actions that broke up the Provisional Government in October 1917 and the Constituent Assembly in January 1918. The anarchists opposed the Constituent Assembly because they objected to the centralization of power in any government, even a government run by representative democracy—not because they sought to create a centralized one-party dictatorship, like the Bolsheviks. Collaborating with the Bolsheviks turned out to be a mistake: the Bolsheviks turned on the anarchists as their next target after the end of the Constituent Assembly, taking advantage of bourgeois hostility towards anarchists to arrest and kill large numbers of anarchists in Moscow and St. Petersburg starting in April 1918.2 It is never a good idea for anarchists to make cause with authoritarians, even in the name of fighting capitalism and the institutions of the state.
“They [the Bolsheviks] have declared war on revolutionary anarchism. The Bolsheviks want to purchase the good will of the bourgeoisie with the heads of anarchists. The anarchists did not desire any clash. We regarded you [Bolsheviks] as our revolutionary brothers. But you have proved to be traitors. You are Cains—you have killed your brothers.”
-Burevestnik (“Stormy Petrel”), an anarchist publication in St. Petersburg, April 13, 1918, responding to the raids of April 11; quoted in Paul Avrich’s The Anarchists in the Russian Revolution
Throughout 1918 and 1919, the Bolsheviks concentrated more and more power in their hands, suppressing other political parties and organizations one after the other. In June 1918, Trotsky abolished worker control in Russia’s Red Army, suppressing the proletarian tradition in which soldiers elected their officers, restoring the military hierarchies of the Tsarist era, and recruiting Tsarist officers to rejoin the army. In August 1918 and again in 1919, the Bolsheviks used the military to carry out mass executions of workers who continued to protest over labor conditions.
From the Power of the Soviets to “Soviet Power”
In this context, Julius Martov, Lenin’s former friend and comrade in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, argued that by proclaiming themselves the representatives of “soviet power” while sidelining the actual soviets and abolishing the structures of representative democracy, the Bolsheviks were retaining the authoritarian aspects of the state while abolishing the desirable ones. In 1919, in “Decomposition or Conquest of the State,” Martov argued—rightly or wrongly!3—that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had never intended for the establishment of a one-party dictatorship availing itself of the authoritarian structures of the state, but rather had called for the proletariat to abolish “’the worst sides’ of the democratic State (for example: the police, permanent army, the bureaucracy as an independent entity, exaggerated centralization, etc.)” so that the democratic state could replace the “military and bureaucratic state.”
By today’s standards, Martov comes across as something akin to a democratic confederalist, calling for the abolition of the police and standing bureaucracies but seeing direct democracy as a way to rehabilitate the state. This is far from the anarchist position that all forms of centralized power should be abolished—but it illustrates the breadth of socialist and communist perspectives in Russia at the time, showing that the Bolsheviks represented the most authoritarian end of a wide spectrum of thought regarding whether power should be vested in the institutions of representative democracy, in self-organized worker’s councils, or in an autocratic one-party dictatorship.
In “The Ideology of ‘Sovietism,’” published the same year, Martov elaborated his critique of the Bolsheviks. It’s worth quoting the following passage at length, because it shows that the authoritarianism that some pro-Bolshevik apologists later blamed on Stalin was essential to the Bolsheviks’ program from the very beginning, recognized by former colleagues who knew them intimately:
The “Soviet State” has not established in any instance electiveness and recall of public officials and the commanding staff. It has not suppressed the professional police. It has not assimilated the courts in direct jurisdiction by the masses. It has not done away with social hierarchy in production. It has not lessened the total subjection of the local community to the power of the State. On the contrary, in proportion to its evolution, the Soviet State shows a tendency in the opposite direction. It shows a tendency toward intensified centralism of the State, a tendency toward the utmost possible strengthening of the principles of hierarchy and compulsion. It shows a tendency toward the development of a more specialized apparatus of repression than before. It shows a tendency toward the greater independence of the usually elective functions and the annihilation of the control of these functions by the elector masses. It shows a tendency toward the total freedom of the executive organisms from the tutelage of the electors. In the crucible of reality, the “power of the soviets” has become the “soviet power,” a power that originally issued from the soviets but has steadily become independent from the soviets.
We must believe that the Russian ideologists of the soviet system have not renounced entirely their notion of a non-Statal social order, the aim of the revolution. But as they see matters now, the road to this non-Statal social order no longer lies in the progressive atrophy of the functions and institutions that have been forged by the bourgeois State, as they said they saw things in 1917. Now it appears that their way to a social order that would be free from the State lies in the hypertrophy—the excessive development—of these functions and in time resurrection, under an altered aspect, of most State institutions typicaI of the bourgeois era. The shrewd people continue to repudiate democratic parliamentarism. But they no longer repudiate, at the same time, those instruments of State power to which parliamentarism is a counterweight within bourgeois society: bureaucracy, police, a permanent army with commanding cadres that are independent of the soldiers, courts that are above control by the community, etc.
In contrast to the bourgeois State, the State of the transitional revolutionary period ought to be an apparatus for the “repression of the minority by the majority.” Theoretically, it should be a governmental apparatus resting in the hands of the majority. In reality, the Soviet State continues to be, as the State of the past, a government apparatus resting in the hands of a minority. (Of another minority, of course.)
Little by little, the “power of the soviets” is being replaced with the power of a certain party. Little by little, the party becomes the essential State institution, the framework and axis of the entire system of “soviet republics.”
Later, Marxist-Leninists justified the Bolsheviks’ program by arguing that it was necessary to force the abolition of capitalism upon the capitalist class. On the contrary, we see here that the Bolsheviks’ program was to expand the repressive institutions of Tsarist Russia in order to suppress other socialists and communists as well as Tsarists and capitalists, while concentrating control of capital in the hands of an unaccountable Central Committee. The word for this is state capitalism.
In 1920, after visiting Russia, Bertrand Russell published The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, arguing that the Bolsheviks had fulfilled the dictatorship aspect of their promised proletarian dictatorship without fulfilling their promise to put power in the hands of the proletariat:
Friends of Russia here think of the dictatorship of the proletariat as merely a new form of representative government, in which only working men and women have votes, and the constituencies are partly occupational, not geographical. They think that “proletariat” means “proletariat,” but “dictatorship” does not quite mean “dictatorship.” This is the opposite of the truth. When a Russian Communist speaks of dictatorship, he means the word literally, but when he speaks of the proletariat, he means the word in a Pickwickian sense. He means the “class-conscious” part of the proletariat, i.e., the Communist Party. He includes people by no means proletarian (such as Lenin and Tchicherin) who have the right opinions, and he excludes such wage-earners as have not the right opinions, whom he classifies as lackeys of the bourgeoisie.
Another visitor, the Spanish anarchist Manuel Fernandez Alvar (aka Vilkens), after meeting Lenin, briefly serving in the Red Army, and spending some weeks in prison, summarized things thus in 1920:
“There may have been a day when the Bolsheviks represented revolutionary aspirations, but today all that is finished. It would be wrong to believe that the Russian Revolution and the Bolsheviks are the same thing. The Communist Party and those it endows are walking rapidly towards the establishment of a class with interests opposed to the interests of the revolutionary masses. The proletarian dictatorship is an instrument of oppression in the hands of a new class; this class is not controlled by the proletariat and is antagonistic towards it.”
“The regime uses terror even more than the Tsarist regime,” he continued, in an article that appeared in Le Libertaire on January 14, 1921, “because it finds it more difficult to suppress people who have seen and recognized the light of revolution.”
This summarizes the substantive political differences within the Russian revolution at the close of 1920. There were additional problems—famine, social strife, and the repeated assaults of Tsarist forces backed by capitalist nations—and the various factions of the anti-capitalist movement had different proposals for how to respond to these (for example, anarchists like Nestor Makhno played a significant role in countering the invasions of the White Army). But the fundamental conflict hinged upon how power should be structured. For many of the sailors in Kronstadt, the concentration of power in the hands of bureaucrats in the Party hierarchy reminded them too much of the disparities of Tsarist society and bourgeois capitalism.
This is not to say that those who rebelled at Kronstadt in March 1921 shared an ideology or values. Rather, the rebellion showed that, after three and a half years in power, the Bolsheviks had failed to convince a wide range of socialists, communists, anarchists, and other workers that their autocratic approach was the best solution for the problems of the Russian working class. Indeed, in the year leading up to the revolt, Bolshevik Party membership on Kronstadt declined “from 5630 party members in March 1920 to 2228 by the end of the year,” according to Israel Getzler’s Kronstadt 1917-1921, with many people simply quitting the party outright.
“We’ll Be Our Own Thermidor”
If the uprising itself was limited to a single island, that was because the Bolshevik government had already succeeded in crushing resistance throughout the rest of the country—from the urban anarchist social centers they had raided in 1918 to the massive movements in Siberia, Ukraine, and elsewhere. The Kronstadt rebels hoped that their protest could give rise to what they called a “third revolution”; they initiated their revolt to express solidarity with workers in St. Petersburg [Petrograd] who were protesting in response to Bolshevik crackdowns.
But the Bolshevik repressive apparatus had already outstripped the power of the revolutionary movement. The crushing of the Kronstadt uprising marked the definitive defeat of the Russian Revolution.
The Bolsheviks were assiduous students of previous revolutions. In the original French Revolution, during the month of Thermidor (according to the French revolutionary calendar), reactionary forces within the revolutionary government took advantage of the excesses of Maximilien Robespierre to arrest and execute the radicals. Likewise, in subsequent revolutions, the victorious parties consolidated their success by slaughtering the most radical participants. This was how the bourgeois republics that came to power in February 1848 and September 1870 dealt with the rebellious proletarians that revolted in June 1848 and March 1871.
“We’ll be our own Thermidor,” the ex-anarchist and Bolshevik apologist Victor Serge recalls Lenin proclaiming as the Bolsheviks prepared to butcher the rebels of Kronstadt. In other words, having crushed the anarchists and everyone else to the left of them, the Bolsheviks would survive the reaction by becoming the counterrevolution themselves.
A week after arranging the machine-gunning of the Kronstadt rebels, Trotsky proclaimed that every socialist, communist, and anarchist who did not toe the Bolshevik line was effectively in league with capitalist imperialists:
“The counter-revolutionary scoundrels, the SR [Socialist-Revolutionary] windbags and simpletons, the Menshevik foxes and the Anarchist hooligans all, consciously or unconsciously, from cunning or from craziness, perform one and the same historical role: they cooperate with all attempts made to establish the unrestricted rule of the bandits of world imperialism over the working people and over all natural wealth. Economic, political, and national independence is possible for Russia only under the dictatorship of the Soviets. The spine of this dictatorship is the Communist Party. There is no other, nor can there be.”
-Leon Trotsky, Pravda, March 23, 1921
Trotsky had come full circle, from arguing against substituting the Central Committee for the proletariat as a whole to asserting that the dictatorship of the Bolsheviks was identical with the revolution and anyone who suggested otherwise was in the pocket of the imperialists. This makes it clear enough that the Kronstadt uprising and the bloodshed with which it was suppressed were fundamentally about the question of autocracy.
Apologists for Dictatorship
The most common excuse for the attack on Kronstadt is exemplified by Dwight McDonald’s article “Kronstadt Again” in New International. McDonald cites the ex-anarchist Victor Serge as the author who convinced him of the “necessity” of “many of the stern and undemocratic measures” of the Bolsheviks, arguing:
“To see the Kronstadt uprising as flowing from the mistakes of War Communism, and to criticize the severity with which the rebels were punished—this is by no means to agree with the anarchists and the social democrats that Kronstadt ‘exposes the fundamentally anti-democratic and totalitarian nature of Bolshevism.’ I think Kronstadt was a bad mistake, but a mistake explained and, to some extent, justified by the terrible social and economic difficulties of those early years of the revolution.”
In fact, as Trotsky and Lenin made clear in their statements at the time—many of which are provided below—the Bolshevik leaders were opposed to electoral democracy and all other proposals that could threaten their own autocratic rule. Lenin explicitly stated that in his view, the only options for Russia were the government of a Tsar or his own authority. There should be no controversy regarding “the fundamentally anti-democratic and totalitarian nature of Bolshevism.”
The notion that “the terrible social and economic difficulties” of the time could justify the Bolshevik concentration of power is based in the assumption that dictatorial rule is the structure best suited for dealing with crises. But this is hardly a foregone conclusion. It may be that dictatorial rule is the structure best suited to enabling the Party or the state to weather crises, but considering that autocracy has been one of the chief causes of human suffering throughout the past 100 years, it remains to be proven that it is a better solution for crisis than the alternatives that the Bolsheviks worked so hard to suppress.
Did the concentration of power in the party dictatorship benefit the people living under the Russian government, or just the structures of state tyranny? To answer this question, we could begin by considering the fates of those who oversaw and excused the butchering of the Kronstadt rebels, ostensibly the chief beneficiaries of this concentration of power.
Leon Trotsky, who oversaw the military defeat of the Kronstadt uprising, was exiled from Russia less than eight years later. On August 20, 1940, he was assassinated on orders from Josef Stalin.
Lenin lived just long enough to help oversee the imprisonment, execution, and exile of the leaders of the other socialist parties, including the Mensheviks and SRs (Socialist-Revolutionaries). Less than three years after the Kronstadt uprising, he died of health complications exacerbated by the stress of maintaining power—a merciful fate compared to what awaited most Bolsheviks. In the years leading up to his death, he unsuccessfully opposed Stalin’s efforts to gain supremacy within the Party.
Grigory Zinoviev, the Bolshevik who suppressed the protests in St. Petersburg that provoked the Kronstadt uprising and called for the brutal suppression of the uprising, seemed poised to make out better at first. After Lenin’s death, he formed a troika (triumvirate) with fellow Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Josef Stalin to force Trotsky from power. But Stalin ultimately got the upper hand; Zinoviev and Kamenev were subjected to a show trial and executed in August 1936.
Tukhachevsky, Dybenko, and other Bolshevik leaders who participated in crushing the Kronstadt uprising were also killed in the Great Purge.
Victor Serge, the former anarchist who made excuses for the Bolshevik centralization of power and the crushing of the Kronstadt revolt, was nonetheless eventually expelled from the party and spent several years in prison. Although he ultimately managed to leave the Soviet Union, his sister, his mother-in-law, and two of his brothers-in-law all died in prison.
As the saying goes, if you love a Bolshevik, the best thing you can do for him is to prevent his party from coming to power, since he is certain to be next up against the wall after you. The price of autocracy is a ceaselessly brutal struggle for domination.
Worse, the legacy of totalitarianism in the Soviet Union has discredited the idea that there could be emancipatory alternatives to capitalism for hundreds of millions of people. Reactionary politics are rampant throughout the former Eastern Bloc as a consequence of the failures of the party dictatorship model. In retrospect, the Kronstadt rebels were trying to save the authoritarian communists from themselves and to rescue the idea of a world without capitalism.
It is one of the ironies of history that anarchists have become the chief advocates for an uprising that involved so many socialists and communists, including members of the Bolshevik Party who only renounced their membership when they found themselves on the receiving end of its bullets, bombs, and disinformation.
Appendix: A Chronology of the Kronstadt Uprising, including the Text of Their Daily Paper
Below, interspersed with the events of each day of the uprising and other archival materials, we present the text of every issue of the newspaper published by the Kronstadt rebels, the Izvestia [News] of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers, and Workers of the Town of Kronstadt, in order to offer a view of the events from the rebels’ perspective. History is written by the victors; for seven decades after the uprising, it was much easier to hear the official narrative of the Bolsheviks who suppressed it than the voices of the rebels who were killed, imprisoned, or driven into exile. We owe it to ourselves to hear what the ordinary sailors, soldiers, and workers who participated in the Kronstadt uprising had to say about what they were doing and why.
“In February, 1921, the workers of several Petrograd factories went on strike. The winter was an exceptionally hard one, and the people of the capital suffered intensely from cold, hunger, and exhaustion. They asked an increase of their food rations, some fuel and clothing. The complaints of the strikers, ignored by the authorities, presently assumed a political character. Here and there was also voiced a demand for the Constituent Assembly and free trade. The attempted street demonstration of the strikers was suppressed, the Government having ordered out the military kursanti [Communist Party youth from the military academy].”
-Emma Goldman, “My Further Disillusionment in Russia”
In response to Soviet crackdowns on labor organizing and peasants’ autonomy—in particular, the suppression of protests in neighboring Petrograd (St. Petersburg)—the crews of two Russian battleships stationed at the island naval fortress of Kronstadt, the Petropavlovsk and the Sevastopol, held an emergency meeting. Some of these were the same sailors who had been on the front lines of the revolution of 1917. They agreed on fifteen demands. These later appeared in the first issue of the Kronstadt Izvestia.
On March 1, between 15,000 and 16,000 sailors, soldiers, and workers assembled at Kronstadt for an appearance by Kalinin, the President of the Soviet Republic. The crowd shouted Kalinin down and seized the rostrum, from which ordinary workers and sailors proclaimed their grievances. In the end, the participants in the rally overwhelmingly endorsed the fifteen demands, with the majority of rank-and-file Communist Party members joining in. Only a few Bolshevik officials objected. A conference of delegates from ships, military units, workshops and trade unions met the next day, establishing a Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and Kronstadt rose in revolt against the Soviet authorities.
On March 2, the delegates of warships, military units, and unions met on Kronstadt to prepare for reelection of the local soviet; they ended up by electing a Provisional Revolutionary Committee over the objections and threats of the Bolshevik leadership, three of whom they took hostage. In the end, they arrested 326 Bolsheviks, roughly a fifth of the total number of Bolsheviks on the island, the rest of whom were permitted to remain at liberty.
At the same time, the Kremlin published allegations in Pravda that the unrest at Kronstadt was a counterrevolutionary plot involving a collaboration between a Tsarist general and the right wing of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, claiming that the French press had given the whole thing away by accidentally announcing the mutiny weeks ahead of time:
Already on February 13, 1921 a telegram from Helsingfors, dated February 11, appeared in the Paris newspaper Le Matin, reporting that a sailors’ revolt against the Soviet power had broken out at Kronstadt. The French counter-intelligence service [sic] had only slightly anticipated events. Within a few days the events expected, and undoubtedly also prepared, by the French counter-intelligence service actually began. White-Guard leaflets appeared in Kronstadt and Petrograd. In the course of arrests some notorious spies were detained. At the same time the Right SRs began an intense agitation among the workers, exploiting the difficult situation where food and fuel were concerned. On February 28, disturbances began on the vessel Petropavlovsk, continued on March 1. The same resolution was passed by a general meeting. On the morning of March 2, the group of the former General Kozlovsky (commanding the artillery) already appeared openly on the scene.
This was their excuse for declaring the city and province of Petrograd to be placed under martial law.
It’s worth reprinting the actual text of the article from Le Matin in full, since it was the linchpin of early Bolshevik efforts to brand the uprising as a reactionary endeavor.
HELSINKI, February 11. It is reported from Petrograd that following the recent mutiny by the sailors from Kronstadt, the Bolshevik military authorities have taken a series of measures with a view to isolating Kronstadt and forbidding access to Petrograd to the Red soldiers and the sailors of the garrison of the island. The supplying of Kronstadt was interrupted until further notice. Hundreds of sailors were arrested and transferred to Moscow, presumably to be shot there.
If this telegram is supposed to be evidence that the March uprising was a Tsarist plot, what sense would it have made to declare the uprising to have been defeated two weeks before it got underway? It seems, rather, like an example of inaccurate journalism, presumably prompted by the tensions that were already simmering in Kronstadt weeks before the revolt.
Meanwhile, the Kronstadt rebels were hastening into action:
“Acting with great dispatch, the [provisional revolutionary] committee sent armed detachments to occupy the arsenals, telephone exchange, food depots, water-pumping station, power plants, Cheka headquarters, and other strategic points. By midnight, the city had been secured without any resistance. Moreover, all the warships, forts, and batteries recognized the authority of the Revolutionary Committee. Earlier in the day, copies of the Petropavlovsk resolution had been taken by courier to the mainland and distributed in Oranienbaum, Petrograd, and other towns in the vicinity. That evening the Naval Air Squadron at Oranienbaum recognized the Revolutionary Committee and sent representatives across the ice to Kronstadt. The revolt had begun to spread.”
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
At Oranienbaum, a town on the coast of the gulf of Finland, across the ice from Kronstadt,
“the rank and file of the First Naval Air Squadron held a meeting at their club, unanimously endorsed the [15-point] resolution, and, following Kronstadt’s example, proceeded to elect their own Revolutionary Committee. Soon after this, they met again in a nearby hangar and chose a three-man delegation to cross the ice and establish direct contact with the Kronstadters. In the middle of the night—apparently after the delegates from the Air Squadron arrived with their offer to join the movement—the Kronstadt Revolutionary Committee sent a party of 250 men to Oranienbaum, but they were met by machine-gun fire and forced to withdraw. The three envoys of the Air Squadron were arrested by the Cheka while attempting to return to their base. Meanwhile, the commissar of the Oranienbaum garrison, having learned of the incipient mutiny, called Zinoviev’s Defense Committee with an urgent request for reinforcements. All Communists at Oranienbaum were issued arms and given extra rations to allay any discontent which they themselves may have felt over the food situation. At 5 am on March 3, an armored train with a detachment of kursanty and three batteries of light artillery arrived from Petrograd. The barracks of the Air Squadron were quickly surrounded and their occupants arrested. A few hours later, after intensive questioning, 45 men were taken out and shot, among them the chief of the Division of Red Naval Aviators and the chairman and secretary of the newly formed Revolutionary Committee.
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
Later that day, the first issue of the official newspaper of the Kronstadt uprising appeared.
Kronstadt Izvestia 1: Wednesday, March 3, 1921
TO THE POPULACE OF THE FORTRESS AND TOWN OF KRONSTADT, COMRADES AND CITIZENS!
Our country is enduring a difficult moment. Hunger, cold, and economic ruin have held us in an iron vice these three years already. The Communist Party, which rules the country, has become separated from the masses, and shown itself unable to lead her from her state of general ruin. It has not faced the reality of the disturbances which in recent times have occurred in Petrograd and Moscow. This unrest shows clearly enough that the party has lost the faith of the working masses. Neither has it recognized the demands presented by the workers. It considers them plots of the counterrevolution. It is deeply mistaken.
This unrest, these demands, are the voice of the people in its entirety, of all laborers. All workers, sailors, and soldiers see clearly at the present moment that only through common effort, by the common will of the laborers, is it possible to give the country bread, wood, and coal, to dress the barefoot and naked, and to lead the Republic out of this dead end.
This will of all laborers, soldiers and sailors was definitively expressed at the Garrison Meeting of our town on Tuesday, March 1. At that meeting, the resolution of ships’ crews of the 1st and 2nd Brigades was passed unanimously. Among the decisions taken, it was decided to immediately carry out new elections to the Soviet, for these elections to be carried out on a fairer basis, and specifically, in such a way that true representation of the laborers would be found in the Soviet, and that the Soviet would be an active and energetic organ.
On March 2 of this year, delegates from all sailor, soldier and worker organizations gathered in the House of Education. It was proposed to form at this Conference a basis for new elections, in order to then enter into peaceful work on redesigning the Soviet structure. But in view of the fact that there were grounds to fear repression, and also due to threatening speeches by the representatives of authority, the Conference decided to form a Provisional Revolutionary Committee, to which to give all authority in governing the town and fortress.
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee is located on the battleship PETROPAVLOVSK.
Comrades and citizens! The Provisional Committee is deeply concerned that there should not be spilled a single drop of blood. It has taken emergency measures for the establishment of revolutionary order in the town and fortress, and at the forts.
Comrades and citizens! Do not stop work. Workers, remain at your machines, sailors and soldiers in your units and at the forts. All Soviet workers and organizations must continue their work. The Provisional Revolutionary Committee calls all workers’ organizations, all naval and trade unions, and all naval and military units and individual citizens to give it universal support and aid. The task of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee is a general, comradely effort to organize in the town and fortress means for proper and fair elections to a new Soviet.
And so, comrades, to order, to calm, to restraint, and to a new Socialist construction for the good of all laborers.
Kronstadt, March 2, 1921
PETRICHENKO, President of the Provional Revolutionary Committee
RESOLUTION OF THE GENERAL MEETING OF CREWS OF THE 1ST AND 2ND BATTLESHIP BRIGADES, OCCURRING 1 MARCH, 1921
Having heard the report of the crew representatives, sent to the City of Petrograd by the General Meeting of ships’ crews for clarification of the situation there, we resolve:
- In view of the fact that the present Soviets do not express the will of the workers and peasants, to immediately hold new elections to the Soviets by secret ballot, with freedom of pre-election agitation for all workers and peasants.
- Freedom of speech and press for workers and peasants, anarchists and left socialist parties.
- Freedom of assembly of both trade unions and peasant associations.
- To convene not later than March 10, 1921 a non-party Conference of workers, soldiers, and sailors of the city of Petrograd, of Kronstadt, and of Petrograd province.
- To free all political prisoners of socialist parties, and also all workers and peasants, soldiers and sailors imprisoned in connection with worker and peasant movements.
- To elect a Commission for the review of the cases of those held in prisons and concentration camps.
- To abolish all POLITOTDELS [political sections in the armed forces],4 since no single party should be able to have such privileges for the propaganda of its ideas and receive from the state the means for these ends. In their place must be established locally elected cultural-educational commissions, for which the state must provide resources.
- The immediate abolition of the militia detachments set up between towns and countryside.
- To equalize the rations of all laborers, with the exception of those in work injurious to health.
- To abolish the Communist fighting detachments in all military units, and also the various guards kept in factories and plants by the communists, and if such guards or detachments are needed, they can be chosen in military units from the companies, and in factories and plants by the discretion of the workers.
- To give the peasants full control over their own land, to do as they wish, and also to keep cattle, which must be maintained and managed by their own strength, that is, without using hired labor.
- We appeal to all military units, and also to the comrade cadets to lend their support to our resolution.
- We demand that all resolutions be widely publicized in the press.
- We demand the institution of mobile workers’ control groups.
- We demand that handicraft production be authorized, provided it does not utilize wage labor.
The resolution was passed by the Brigade Meeting unanimously with two abstentions.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Brigade Meeting
The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority of the entire Kronstadt garrison.
Together with Comrade Kalinin, Vasiliev votes against the resolution.
By 9 pm on March 2, the majority of forts and all army units of the fortress had given their support to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. All organizations and the Communications Service are occupied by guards from the Revolutionary Committee. From Oranienbaum have arrived representatives, who declared that the Oranienbaum garrison has also given its support to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
THERE IS A GENERAL UPRISING IN PETROGRAD.
Comrade Ia. Ilyin was called by the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and appointed to continue work on the provision of food to the populace. The produce apparatus will work without break. Today, bread is issued for two days, that is, for March 3 and 4.
The Oranienbaum Air Division has given its support to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and is sending delegates. Our resolution was sent to Petrograd. We await an answer.
At Fort Totleben, Novikov, Commissar of the Fortress, who had been making his way toward the Finnish border on horseback, was restrained by the crew of the 6th Battery.
Emma Goldman attended the March 4 meeting of the Petrograd Soviet, which voted to accept Bolshevik Party boss Zinoviev’s proposal to force the surrender of Krondstadt sailors upon penalty of death. Nonetheless, she did not get the impression that Zinoviev believed his own narrative about the sailors being led astray by an old Tsarist general.
“When the meeting was opened for discussion, a workingman from the Petrograd Arsenal demanded to be heard. He spoke with deep emotion and, ignoring the constant interruptions, he fearlessly declared that the workers had been driven to strike because of the Government’s indifference to their complaints; the Kronstadt sailors, far from being counter-revolutionists, were devoted to the Revolution. Facing Zinoviev he reminded him that the Bolshevik authorities were now acting toward the workers and sailors just as the Kerensky Government had acted toward the Bolsheviki. ‘Then you were denounced as counter-revolutionists and German agents,’ he said; ‘we, the workers and sailors, protected you and helped you to power. Now you denounce us and are ready to attack us with arms. Remember, you are playing with fire.’
“Then a sailor spoke. He referred to the glorious revolutionary past of Kronstadt, appealed to the Communists not to engage in fratricide, and read the Kronstadt resolution to prove the peaceful attitude of the sailors. But the voice of these sons of the people fell on deaf ears. The Petro-Soviet, its passions roused by Bolshevik demagoguery, passed the Zinoviev resolution ordering Kronstadt to surrender on pain of extermination.
-Emma Goldman, My Further Disillusionment in Russia
Meanwhile, at Kronstadt, another meeting took place, with a very different atmosphere:
“During the session of 4 March, at which 202 delegates were present (had the Communist delegates present on 2 March been asked to stay away?), it was decided at the suggestion of Petrichenko to enlarge the Revolutionary Committee to fifteen members, and ten new members were then elected by an overwhelming majority from among twenty who stood for election. Petrichenko went on to report on the activities of the Revolutionary Committee, the state of military preparedness of the ships’ crews and the garrison, the high morale of the population, and the satisfactory state of food and fuel reserves (which he certainly assessed too optimistically). The Conference then resolved that all workers be armed and assume responsibility for the security and defense of the inner town, so that sailors and soldiers could be free to man the outer defenses. It was also decided that elections should be held within three days to the governing bodies of the trade unions and to a newly founded Council of Trade Unions. Next came reports from sailors who had managed to break through the blockade and to return from Petrograd, Strelnyi, Peterhof, and Oranienbaum, all of them unanimous in saying that the local population ‘is kept by the Communists in complete ignorance of what is happening in Kronstadt,’ while rumors were being spread that ‘a gang of White Guards and generals’ was in control. This sad news is reported to have ‘provoked general laughter’ in the audience and a back-bencher’s sarcastic comment: ‘We have only one general here - the commissar of the Baltic Fleet Kuzmin — and he has been arrested.’ On adjourning, the Conference adopted the watchword ‘To Win or Die’, which is reported to have characterized the general mood.”
-Kronstadt 1917-21: The Fate of a Soviet Democracy, by Israel Getzler
Kronstadt already had a garrison of 13,000. In addition to this, 2000 more civilian volunteers joined up.
Kronstadt Izvestia 2: Friday, March 4, 1921
ORDERS OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT
March 3, 1921, battleship PETROPAVLOVSK
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt orders all organizations in the town and fortress to strictly carry out all decrees of the Committee. All heads of organizations and their workers are to remain in their places and continue work.
March 3, 1921, battleship PETROPAVLOVSK
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt forbids leaving the town. In exceptional cases, apply to the Commander of the Town. The Department of Fleet Staff Registration in Kronstadt is instructed to halt any and all leaves.
March 3, 1921
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee forbids any and all arbitrary searches in the town, and brings to the general attention that certificates for the right of search are issued with the signature of the President and Secretary of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and are invalid without the seal of the battleship Petropavlovsk. It is ordered that during searches of organizations, of whatever party, nothing is to be removed, nor stolen. All must be preserved entire, as the people’s property.
March 3, 1921, battleship PETROPAVLOVSK
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt, in view of the the events currently being endured, forewarns all citizens, seamen, and soldiers that, after 11 pm, any and all movement about the town is absolutely forbidden without special documents issued by the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee
KILGAST, for the Secretary
FROM THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee considers it necessary to refute all rumors that the arrested Communists are threatened with violence. The arrested Communists are located in complete security.
Many of them were arrested, and a part then released. A member of the Communist Party will take part in the commission for investigation of the reasons for the Communists’ arrest. To Comrades Ilyin, Kabanov, and Pervushin, who appeared before the Revolutionary Committee, was given the right to see those located under arrest on the Petropavlovsk, and they, with their signatures, personally affirm that declared above.
Ilyin, Kabanov, Pervushin.
N. ARKHIPOV, authorized member of the Prov. Rev. Com.
P. BOGDANOV, for the Secretary
Finally, the Communists themselves have admitted that it is necessary to restructure life, and that it does not follow to hold power by force which falls from your hands by the will of the laboring masses. Evidence of this is the appeal of the Provisional Bureau of the Kronstadt Organization of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia], printed below.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Revolutionary Committee
APPEAL OF THE PROVISIONAL BUREAU OF THE KRONSTADT ORGANIZATION OF THE RCP [Communist Party of Russia]
Comrade Communists, working in all Soviet departments, trade organizations, and factory committees, all economic organs, and also in the military units of the garrison, the PROVISIONAL BUREAU OF THE RCP addresses you with a comradely appeal and urgent call of the following substance:
The moment currently being endured demands of us special caution, restraint and tact. Our party has not betrayed, and is not betraying, the working class, in the defense of which it has stood for many years. The historic course of political events requires us, in the interests of all laborers, to be at our places, and to carry on our daily work without any stoppages. We must remember that the smallest weakening or break in work, in any section of our economic life, brings about worse living conditions for the working class and peasantry.
May every comrade of our party be imbued with an understanding of the moment being endured. Do not believe the absurd rumors that Communist leaders are supposedly being shot, and that Communists are preparing for armed action in Kronstadt. They are spread by a clearly provocative element, which wishes to provoke bloodshed. These are lies and absurdities, and it is on such as these that the agents of the Entente, working to achieve the overthrow of Soviet power, wish to play.
We openly declare that our party, with weapon in hand, has and will defend all the achievements of the working class against the open and secret White Guards who wish the destruction of the Soviet power of workers and peasants.
The Provisional Bureau of the RCP recognizes new elections to the Soviet as necessary, and calls on all members of the RCP to take part in these new elections.
The Provisional Bureau of the RCP calls on all members of the party to be at their places, and not to cause any obstruction to the measures being carried out by the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. Restraint, discipline, calm and unity are the price of victory for the workers and peasants of the entire world against all the secret and open plots of the Entente.
Long live Soviet power!
Long live the Worldwide Union of Laborers!
Provisional Bureau of the Kronst. Organ. of the RCP.
IA. ILYIN, F. PERVUSHIN, A. KABANOV
TO THE POPULACE OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT CITIZENS!
Kronstadt is now enduring a moment of tense struggle for freedom. An attack by the Communists can be expected any minute, with the goal of seizing Kronstadt, and again fastening us to their authority, which brings us only to hunger, cold and ruin. We all, to the last man, will staunchly defend the freedom achieved by us. We shall not allow them to seize Kronstadt, and if they should attempt to do so by force of arms, we will give them a worthy repulse.
Therefore, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee forewarns citizens not to give in to panic and fear if it becomes necessary to hear shooting. Only calm and restraint will give us victory.
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
A BROADCAST FROM MOSCOW
We print the following, broadcast on Rosta from Moscow, full of blatant lies and deceptions by the Communist Party, which calls itself the Soviet Government. The broadcast was picked up by the radio station on the Petropavlovsk.
Several sections weren’t picked up, as another station interfered. This broadcast does not require commentary. The laborers of Kronstadt will understand its provocative nature.
Broadcast. To all, To all, To all.
Radio messenger Rosta Moscow, March 3.
“To Battle With White Guard Conspiracy.”
That the mutiny by former General Kozlovsky and the ship Petropavlovsk was prepared by the spies of the Entente, like so many earlier White Guard rebellions, is visible from the report of the bourgeois French newspaper Matin, which two weeks before the mutiny printed a telegram from Helsingfors of the following substance.
“Of Petrograd they report that as a result of a recent revolt in Kronstadt, Bolshevik military authorities have taken a whole set of measures to isolate Kronstadt, and to forbid the soldiers and sailors of the Kronstadt garrison access to Petrograd. Supply of provisions to Kronstadt is forbidden in the future, until special decree. It is clear that the mutiny in Kronstadt was directed by Paris… and that French counterintelligence is mixed up here.”
The same old story is repeated. The SRs, led from Paris, prepared the soil for a rebellion against Soviet Power, and just when they’d gotten it ready, the real boss, a tsarist general, appeared from cover behind their backs. The story of Kolchak, establishing his power in exchange for that of the SRs, is now repeated. All enemies of the laborers, from tsarist generals to SRs inclusive, try to speculate on hunger and cold. Of course, this general/SR revolt will be put down very quickly, and General Kozlovsky and his associates risk the fate of Kolchak.
But the Entente’s spy net is undoubtably spread not only in Kronstadt alone. Workers and soldiers, tear apart that net, and fish out informers and provocateurs! Composure, restraint, vigilance and unity are needed. Remember that we will leave these temporary, if difficult, food and heating problems with tight, comradely labor, and not by the path of insane exhibitions which can only increase the hunger still more, and play into the hands of the damned enemies of laborers.
radio station Moskva
Today salted butter is issued from the meat stores: for letter A, 3/4 lb. and letter B, 1/2 lb. for produce coupon No 2. Table butter for children of series A, 1 pound for produce coupon No 3, series B, 1/2 lb. for produce coupon No 3, and series C, 1/2 lb. for produce coupon No 2.
Salt is issued from all stores to adults for produce coupon No 3, to children of series B for produce coupon No 4 and series C for produce coupon No 3, at 1 lb. for all.
Coffee: to boarders and non-boarders for bread coupon No 5, to children of series B for bread coupon No 53 and series C for bread coupon No 5, at 1/4 lb. for all.
2 boxes of matches are issued from all stores, by adult cards for bread coupon No 6, the same for boarders and non-boarders.
1 pound of dried potatoes is issued to children of series B for produce coupon No 6 and series C for produce coupon No 5.
Today 1/2 pound of first grade tobacco is issued from the writing paper store (formerly of Rakovskaya) and the store (formerly of Molchanov) by registered tobacco cards, with the cutting of coupon No 4.
The responsible clerks in the stores are instructed to cut control coupon No 1 on the tobacco cards.
Today kerosine is issued by cards up to No 7000.
In accordance with People’s Commisariat of Social Security circular No 2495 of September 8, 1920, the Administration of Gorkommuna instructs Uchkoms [District Election Committees] and Building Representatives, on their own responsibility, not later than March 5th to take “Red Star” cards from childless wives of soldiers and sailors who are occupied with work and service in organizations and who therefore receive produce card letter A-reserved.
Fruit drops are issued by children’s cafeteria cards of series C for bread coupon No 54 from the same stores as to non-boarders, and in the same quantity.
CHASNOV, Member of the Administration for Distribution
The order of bread issue for the month of March is announced:
For the convenience of citizens, bread will be delivered the evening before issuance, but citizens are instructed to take the bread on the announced days.
Issuance of remaining products will be announced specially.
All military units, workers’ associations, and organizations may receive “Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee” and pamphlets at Sevtsentropechat [North Central Publishing], in accordance with the set norm.
On March 5, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and others sent a letter of protest to Zinoviev, proposing a commission to settle the dispute with the Krondstadt sailors peacefully:
To The Petrograd Soviet of Labour and Defense, Chairman Zinoviev:
To remain silent now is impossible, even criminal. Recent events impel us Anarchists to speak out and to declare our attitude in the present situation.
The spirit of ferment and dissatisfaction manifest among the workers and sailors is the result of causes that demand our serious attention. Cold and hunger have produced dissatisfaction, and the absence of any opportunity for discussion and criticism is forcing the workers and sailors to air their grievances in the open.
White-guardist bands wish and may try to exploit this dissatisfaction in their own class interests. Hiding behind the workers and sailors they throw out slogans of the Constituent Assembly, of free trade, and similar demands.
We Anarchists have long since exposed the fiction of these slogans, and we declare to the whole world that we will fight with arms against any counter-revolutionary attempt, in cooperation with all friends of the Social Revolution and hand in hand with the Bolsheviki.
Concerning the conflict between the Soviet Government and the workers and sailors, we hold that it must be settled not by force of arms but by means of comradely, fraternal revolutionary agreement. Resort to bloodshed on the part of the Soviet Government will not—in the given situation—intimidate or quiet the workers. On the contrary, it will serve only to aggravate matters and will strengthen the bands of the Entente and of internal counter-revolution.
More important still, the use of force by the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government against workers and sailors will have a reactionary effect upon the international revolutionary movement and will everywhere result in incalculable harm to the Social Revolution.
Comrades Bolsheviki, bethink yourselves before it is too late. Do not play with fire: you are about to make a most serious and decisive step.
We hereby submit to you the following proposition: Let a Commission he selected to consist of five persons, inclusive of two Anarchists. The Commission is to go to Kronstadt to settle the dispute by peaceful means. In the given situation this is the most radical method. It will be of international revolutionary significance.
Petrograd, March 5, 1921.
Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Perkus, Petrovsky.
Meanwhile, Trotsky sent a last warning to the rebels:
A Last Warning to the Garrison and Inhabitants of Kronstadt and the Mutinous Forts
The Workers’ and Peasants’ Government has decreed that Kronstadt and the mutinous ships must immediately submit to the authority of the Soviet Republic.
I therefore order all who have lifted their hands against the socialist fatherland to lay down their arms at once. Those who resist will be disarmed and turned over to the Soviet authorities. The arrested commissars and other representatives of the Government must be released forthwith.
Only those who surrender unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic.
At the same time I am giving orders for everything to be made ready for crushing the mutiny and the mutineers by armed force.
Responsibility for the harm that may consequently be suffered by the peaceful population will fall entirely upon the heads of the counter-revolutionary mutineers.
This warning is final.
March 5, 1921, 1400 hours
Kronstadt Izvestia 3: Saturday, March 5, 1921
It is brought to the general attention that the Provisional Revolutionary Committee has moved from the battleship Petropavlovsk to quarters in the “House of the People,” Lenin Prospekt No 39 (fourth floor), and it is instructed to apply there for all certificates and instructions.
SPITE OF THE POWERLESS
It is three days since Kronstadt threw from itself the nightmarish power of the Communists, just as 4 years ago it threw off the power of the Tsar, and of the tsarist generals. For three days, the citizens of Kronstadt have breathed free of the party dictatorship. The Kronstadt Communists’ “great leaders” ran away disgracefully, like guilty little children. They saved their skins from the danger that the Provisional Revolutionary Committee would resort to that beloved means of extremists, the firing squad.
It was a vain fear. The Provisional Revolutionary Committee takes revenge against no one, threatens no one. All the Kronstadt Communists are at liberty, and are unthreatened by any danger. Only those are restrained who tried to flee and were taken by the patrols. But even they are located in complete security, in a security which guarantees them against revenge by the populace for the “red terror.” The Communists’ families are inviolate, just as all citizens are inviolate.
And how have the Communists answered this? From the leaflets which they threw from an airplane yesterday, it is seen that a whole group of people, completely non-participant in the Kronstadt events, have been arrested in Petrograd. Moreover, their families have also been arrested.
“The Defense Committee,” it says in the leaflet, “declares all those arrested to be hostages for those comrades restrained by the mutineers in Kronstadt, and in particular for N. N. Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot, for Comrade Vasiliev, President of the Kronstadt Soviet, and for other Communists. If even one hair falls from the heads of the restrained comrades, the named hostages will answer for it with their heads.”
Thus does the Defense Committee end its proclamation. This is the spite of the powerless… Jeering over innocent families will not add new laurels to the comrade Communists. Certainly, in any case, not by this path will they hold on to the power which is being torn from their hands by the workers, sailors, and soldiers of Kronstadt.
VICTORY OR DEATH (A Conference of Delegates)
Yesterday, March 4, at 6 pm, an assembly of the Conference of Delegates from military units of the garrison and from trade unions took place at the Garrison Club. Its purpose was to hold by-elections to the membership of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, to hear reports on the current moment from various locations, etc. 202 delegates took part in the Conference, the majority arriving straight from work.
The sailor Petrichenko, President of the Conference, announced that the Prov. Rev. Com. was overloaded with work, and that it was necessary to add to its forces. The addition of at least ten more people to the five current members of the Committee was required. Twenty candidates were nominated, and the Conference elected the following comrades by an overwhelming majority of votes: Vershinin, Perepelkin, Kupolov, Ososov, Valk, Romanenko, Pavlov, Boikov, Patrushev and Kilgast. After the election, the new members of the Committee took places in the Presidium.
After this, the Conference heard the detailed report of the President of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, the sailor Petrichenko, on the Committee’s actions from the moment of its election up to the previous day. Comrade Petrichenko underscored the full battle readiness of the entire garrison of the fortress, and of the ships, and the enthusiasm which filled all together and each individually, from the workers to the soldiers and sailors. The meeting greeted the newly elected members of the Committee and the President’s concluding words with stormy applause.
Moving on to business, the Conference considered first of all the question of produce and heating material. It was made clear that the town and garrison are fully provided for both produce and heating material.
On the question of arming the workers, the Conference mandated the arming of the working masses. This was completed to the loud approval of the workers themselves, and cries of “victory or death.” The workers were assigned the internal guard of the town, since the sailors and soldiers are bursting for active work in the combat detachments.
Further, it was decided to newly elect within three days the administrations of all unions, and also the Soviet of Unions. This is the leading organ of the workers, and will be in constant contact with the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
Then reports from various places were given by comrade sailors who had broken through to Kronstadt from Petrograd, Strelna, Peterhof, and Oranienbaum. From their information it is seen that the populace and workers of these towns are being kept by the Communists in total unawareness of what is being done in Kronstadt. Provocative rumors are being let out to the effect that some kind of gang of White Guards and generals is running things in Kronstadt.
This last information called forth the general laughter of the sailors and workers at the assembly. It reached an even more comical mood during the reading of a “Communist manifesto,” tossed on Kronstadt from an airplane.
“We just have one general, Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot,” and “Yeah, and he’s under arrest,” were heard from the back rows.
The assembly ended with a number of greetings, wishes, and an expression of full and single-hearted preparedness for victory or death.
The entire assembly took place under this slogan, “Victory or Death.”
GREETINGS TO THE KRONSTADT GARRISON
The radio station of the battleship Petropavlovsk received a broadcast from Reval [Tallinn, Estonia], sent to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. “Greetings to the valiant garrison of revolutionary Kronstadt, which has overthrown the tyrants’ power.”
ZINOVIEV AT KRASNAYA GORKA
Zinoviev arrived in Oranienbaum on a special train, and has just now come to Krasnaya Gorka. His visit is due to unrest among the local garrison, which has spoken out at spontaneous meetings in favor of giving support to the Kronstadt movement.
MOVEMENT OF TRAINS TO ORANIENBAUM HALTED
By order of the Defense Committee of Petrograd, movement of trains to Oranienbaum has been halted. Trains set out in exceptional cases, and with the special allowance of the Defense Committee. There are increased guards of railroad police and cadets at all stations.
ARREST OF THE HEAD OF PUBALT
Batis, head of the Politotdel of Baltflot, was restrained by our patrol while attempting to break through to fort Totleben, and was returned to Kronstadt. Several other Communists were restrained along with him.
“THE COMMUNIST WAY”
Mass worker arrests have been carried out at the Sestroretsk Weapons Factory. Heartbreaking scenes are being played out in the town. The wives and children of the workers appear sobbing in the streets and demand freedom for their husbands and fathers.
According to reports, meetings are being held at all factories in Petrograd, at which the events in Kronstadt are discussed. The workers’ attitude is on the side of Revolutionary Kronstadt, and they are trying in every way to make contact with us. The Communists are preventing this, throwing all their forces into observation of and spying on the workers, soldiers, and sailors.
The course of arrests has intensified, especially among the sailors. Sailors are forbidden to be absent from the ships. Commissars and Communists are occupied with intensified spying. Street gatherings are broken up by armed detachments of Communists.
The bread ration for the populace has been decreased; 3/4 pound is issued for two days.
LATEST NEWS FROM PETROGRAD
—Just now, there has been report that the gigantic Brick Plant No 1 has gone on strike.
—The workers of the Baltic Factory have refused to come to work.
—Increased guards of Communist combat detachments and cadets have been placed near the moorages of the battleships Gangut and Poltava.
—Sailors who succeed in breaking through to Oranienbaum are arrested at the station.
—All sailors living in private apartments are ordered to move to the vessels.
NORMAL LIFE IN THE TOWN
There is complete order in Kronstadt, unbroken since the moment of the transfer of power to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. All organizations are working normally, and there has not been a single hour of work stoppage. The streets are lively. In all three days not a single round has been fired. The Provisional Revolutionary Committee, in order to be closer to the populace, has moved from the Petropavlovsk to the “House of the People.”
FLIGHT FROM THE PARTY
The following declaration arrived at the Provisional Revolutionary Committee:
“I recognize that the policy of the Communist Party has led the country to a dead end because the party has become bureaucratized, learned nothing, and not wanted to learn and to listen to the voice of the masses, whom it has tried to tie to its own will. We remember the at least 150 million peasantry, that freedom of speech, and an expanded call to construction of the country by means of changed electoral methods will bring the country from hibernation, they entirely give their support at the present critical moment when the future of the reconstruction of Russia which has been begun by the Revolutionary Soviet depends only on its vigilance and energy, and I no longer consider myself a member of the RCP, but entirely give my support to the resolution taken at the general town meeting of the 1st of March, and ask that my strength and knowledge be used.
“I ask that the present be published in the local newspaper.”
At the end of 1919, official reports were published in “Izvestiia of the Central Executive Committee” that Maximalists participated in organizing the blowing up of the Moscow Department of the RCP, and in armed expropriations in the South, including the murder of collective farmers. I, considering terror against Socialist Parties to be unacceptable, left the ranks of the Socialist-Revolutionaries Maximalists because of these reports.
Recently I received information from a completely trustworthy source that this was all one of the means of party struggle by the Communists, and that the court was forced to acquit the Maximalists. The press, located in the partisan hands of the Communists, was studiously silent about this.
In strength of the above, I ask that I no longer be considered a candidate member of the Communist Party. I am returning to the ranks of the Union of SR-Maximalists, the slogan of which has always been, is and shall be, “Power to Soviets, and not Parties.”
March 4, 1921
I, a soldier of the 4th Artillery Division, was deluded and became a sympathizer with the Communist Party. Now I am leaving that delusion, and giving my support to the mass. I do this in order to move ahead hand in hand with the Revolutionary Committee.
DONAT SEMENOVICH VAG
March 4, 1921
All military units, workers associations and organizations may receive “Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee” and pamphlets at Sevtsentropechat, in accordance with the set norm.
“On March 6th, Trotsky completed the preparations for the attack. The most loyal divisions were brought from all the fronts, the regiments of kursanti, the detachments of the Cheka, and the military units composed of Communists were concentrated in the forts of Sestroretsk, Lissy Noss, and Krasnaia Gorka, as well as in nearby fortified positions. The best military technicians were sent to the theater of operations to work out the plans for the blockade and attack on Kronstadt. Tuchachevsky was designated commander-in-chief of the troops.”
-Voline, “The Unknown Revolution”
Kronstadt Izvestia 4: Sunday, March 6, 1921
“SIRS” OR “COMRADES”
The Kronstadt seamen, and the workers with their toil-hardened hands, have torn the helm from the hands of the Communists, and taken their place at the wheel. With assurance and good cheer, they will lead the ship of Soviet power to Petrograd, whence the power of toil-hardened hands must surely capture long-suffering Russia.
But be on guard comrades. Increase your vigilance tenfold, for the path leading you to the clear channel is strewn with submerged rocks. One careless turn of the wheel, and the ship, with its cargo of social construction which you value so greatly, may founder on the cliffs.
Guard the helmsman’s bridge vigilantly, comrades, for enemies already skulk near. A single negligence by you, and they will tear the wheel away. The Soviet ship may go to the bottom, to the malicious laughter of tsarist lackeys and servitors of the bourgeoisie.
You, comrades, now celebrate a great and bloodless victory over the Communist dictatorship, and your enemies celebrate with you. But your motives for joy and theirs are completely opposed. You are inspired with a burning desire to build true Soviet power, and by the noble hope of granting the worker freedom of labor, and the peasant the right to control his own land and the produce of his work. They are driven by the hope of raising anew the tsarist whip, and the privilege of generals.
Your interests are not the same, and you and they do not walk the same path. You needed to overthrow Communist authority for the goal of peaceful construction, and for constructive work. They need this for the enslavement of the workers and peasants. You search for freedom; they wish to once again throw onto you the chains of slavery. Be vigilant. Do not allow wolves in sheep’s clothing close to the helmsman’s bridge.
COWARDS AND SLANDERERS
Below, we print word for word the text of a proclamation thrown out of an airplane over Kronstadt by the Communists.
The citizens regard this provocative slander with total contempt. The people of Kronstadt know how, and by whom, the hated power of the Communists was overturned. They know that at the head of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee stand elected, selfless martyrs, the best sons of the laboring people: soldiers, sailors, and workers. They will not allow anyone to seat himself on their neck. Much less will they allow tsarist generals or White Guards. The Communists issue the threat, “A few more hours will pass, and you will be forced to surrender.” Despicable hypocrites! Who do you want to deceive?
The Kronstadt garrison did not surrender to tsarist admirals, and will not surrender to Bolshevist generals. Do not lie and attempt to deceive the people, cowards! You know our strength, and our readiness to either be victorious, or to die with honor. You know that we will never bolt, like your commissars, loaded down with “tsarist” money, and gold extracted by the blood of the workers.
YOU’VE GOTTEN WHAT YOU ASKED FOR
To the Deceived People of Kronstadt
Now do you see where the scoundrels have led you? You’ve gotten what you asked for! From behind the cover of the SRs and Mensheviks, former tsarist generals have already peered out with bared teeth. Kozlovsky, the tsarist general, Captain Burkser, Kostromitinov, Shirkanovsky [sic], and other notorious White Guards control all these Petrichenkos and Turins [sic] like puppets on strings. They are deceiving you! They have told you that you are struggling for “democracy.” Not even two days have passed and you see that, in fact, you struggle not for democracy, but for tsarist generals. You have placed a new Viren on your own necks.
They tell you fairy tales, speaking as if Petrograd stood behind you, as if Siberia and the Ukraine supported you. All this is a shameless lie! In Petrograd the last sailor turned from you when it became known that tsarist General Kozlovsky was running things. Siberia and the Ukraine stand firmly for Soviet power. Red Petrograd laughs at the pathetic labors of a little bunch of SRs and White Guards.
You are completely surrounded. A few more hours will pass, and you will be forced to surrender. There is no bread and no heat in Kronstadt. If you are stubborn, you will be shot down like grouse. All these General Kozlovskys and Burksers, all these scoundrel Petrichenkos and Turins, will run away at the last minute, of course. And you, the deceived rank and file sailors and soldiers, where will you go? If they promise that Finland will feed you, then they are deceiving you! Can you really have not heard how they took the former soldiers of Wrangel away to Constantinople, and how they died there from disease by the thousands, like flies? Just such a fate awaits you too, if you do not come to your senses right now!
Surrender now, not losing a single minute!
Lay down your weapons, and come over to us!
Disarm and arrest the criminal ring leaders, and especially the tsarist generals!
The one who surrenders immediately will be forgiven his guilt.
THE PETROGRAD DEFENSE COMMITTEE
The broadcast below, received by the radio station of the Petropavlovsk, confirms yet again that the Communists continue to deceive not only workers and soldiers, but also the members of the Petrograd Soviet.
But they will not succeed in deceiving the revolutionary garrison of Kronstadt and its workers.
ADDRESS TO THE WORKERS, SAILORS, AND SOLDIERS OF KRONSTADT
Passed at an expanded session of the Petrograd Soviet, with the attendance, besides the members of the Soviet, of representatives from factory-plant committees and from the administrations of all trade unions. With the attendance, also, of commissions and delegations elected at factories and plants, among whom were hundreds of non-party workingmen, workingwomen, sailors, and soldiers.
A little bunch of adventurers and counter-revolutionaries has led Kronstadt astray. Under cover of the Petropavlovsk sailors, spies sent by French counterintelligence have unquestionably been active. They tell the sailors that the whole matter is a struggle for “democracy,” that they do not want the shedding of blood, and that the mutiny is passing without a single shot, for some kind of “democracy.” French capitalists’ spies, tsarist generals, and their faithful helpers the Mensheviks and SRs can struggle for such democracy.
If it had ever been fated for them to achieve success, the exploits of this gang of thieves and traitors would inescapably have led to the reestablishment of bourgeois power, and to bloody reprisal against the workers and peasants.
The Mensheviks and SRs, pointing to the difficult economic situation of the Soviet Republic, say that the Communists have been incapable of economic construction. But who, for three years, did not allow the Russian workers and peasants the possibility of peaceful economic construction?
If anyone worked to create hunger and economic ruin, then it was the Mensheviks and SRs. They have supported every counterrevolutionary rebellion, tirelessly fanned the flames of civil war in the name of re-establishing the power of landlords and capitalists, and directed international imperialists against Soviet Russia.
The leaders of the conspiracy say that they captured power in Kronstadt without a shot. But this occurred only because Soviet power wished to overcome this conflict by peaceful means. It cannot continue thus. The international bourgeoisie is raising its head. There is exultation in the camp of the enemies of the working class, exultation which may any day pour out in a new campaign against Soviet Russia.
This danger threatens all our attainments. The adventurers yell that the Communists cannot handle economic construction. With this they are pushing Soviet Russia into the embrace of a new war.
The Petrograd Soviet and central Soviet power cannot, and do not have the right to, allow things to come to that. The work of the counterrevolutionaries who have been planted in Kronstadt is hopeless. They are powerless in a dispute with Soviet Russia. The mutiny must be liquidated in the very shortest period.
Comrade workers, sailors, and soldiers, understand that you are deceived. Understand that on you depends the bloody outcome of the adventurism into which the White Guards have drawn you. On you depends whether these White Guard scribblers escape their deserved punishment.
Comrades, immediately arrest the ringleaders of the counter-revolutionary conspiracy. Immediately reestablish the Kronstadt Soviet. Soviet power is able to distinguish unknowing, mistaken toilers from intentional counterrevolutionaries.
Comrades, once again the Petrograd Soviet states that on you depends whether fraternal blood does or does not spill. By the base will of enemies of the working class, their bloody scheme will collapse on the heads of the working class alone.
This is our last warning; time does not wait. Decide immediately, either you are with us against the common enemy, or you will perish shamefully and infamously together with the counterrevolutionaries.
The Petrograd Soviet of Workers’, Peasants’, and Soldiers’ Deputies
Radio station Novaia Golandiia
BROADCAST BY THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
To all… To all… To all…
Comrade workers, soldiers, and sailors! We in Kronstadt know very well how you and your half starved children and wives suffer under the yoke of the Communist dictatorship. We have overthrown the Communist Soviet here. The Provisional Revolutionary Committee is currently preparing to carry out new elections, to a new, freely elected Soviet, which will express the will of the entire laboring populace and garrison, and not of a little bunch of insane Communists.
Our struggle is rightful. We stand for power of Soviets, and not parties. We stand for freely elected representatives of laborers. The current Soviets, seized and subverted by the Communists, have always been deaf to all our needs and demands. In answer we received only executions. Now, when the limit to the laborers’ patience has been reached, they want to shut your mouths with miserable pittances. By Zinoviev’s decree, anti-profiteer roadblock detachments in Petrograd Province are being removed. Moscow is assigning ten million in gold for the purchase abroad of provisions and items of the first necessity. But we know that you cannot buy the Peter proletariat with these pittances. We extend the hand of fraternal aid to you from Revolutionary Kronstadt, past the heads of the Communists.
Comrades! They not only deceive you, but purposely obscure the truth, resorting to base slander. Comrades, do not be taken in! All entirety of power in Kronstadt is in the hands of revolutionary sailors, soldiers, and workers alone, and not of White Guards with some General Kozlovsky at head, as the slanderous broadcasts from Moscow would have you believe.
COMPOSITION OF AND DIVISION OF DUTIES AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
The following comrades are included in the composition of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee: Arkhipov, Boikov, Valk, Vershinin, Kilgast, Kupolov, Oreshin, Ososov, Pavlov, Patrushev, Perepelkin, Petrichenko, Romanenko, Tukin, and Yakimenko [sic].
From them were chosen: Comrade Petrichenko as President of the Prov. Rev. Com., Comrades Yakimenko and Arkhipov as Comrades of the President, Comrade Kilgast as Secretary of the Prov. Rev. Com. (he was also appointed the management of information); the management of civilian matters was appointed to Comrades Valk and Romanenko, of transport resources to Comrade Boikov, of the Investigative Unit to Comrade Pavlov, and of the Produce Department to Comrade Tukin.
KRONSTADT’S DELEGATES IN PETROGRAD
A special courier from Petrograd has now arrived in Kronstadt with notification that the delegation sent by Kronstadt organizations arrived there safely. The delegation informed the capitol’s workers and sailors of the events in Kronstadt, distributed the orders and leaflets issued by the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and departed for other missions, in a direction which it knows.
RESOLUTION OF THE SOLDIERS OF FORT RIF
We, soldiers of fort Rif, have heard the report of representatives of the comrade sailors, regarding the current moment, about events in Kronstadt, and have resolved: to express full faith in the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and to stay at our posts and fight until there isn’t a single soldier left in the fort.
Long live the freedom of the workers and peasants.
Long live the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
RIABOV, President of the Assembly
APPEAL TO ALL HONEST COMMUNARDS
Comrade rank and file Communists, look about, and you will see that we have entered a terrible swamp, led by a little bunch of Communist bureaucrats. Under a Communist mask, they have built warm nests for themselves in our Republic. I, as a Communist, call on you to drive from us those false Communists who incite us to fratricide. We rank and file Communists, in no way guilty, suffer the rebukes of our comrade non-party workers and peasants because of them. I look with horror on the situation which has been created.
Will the blood of our brothers really be spilled for the interests of those Communist bureaucrats? Comrades, come to your senses, and do not submit to the provocations of those Communist bureaucrats who push us to slaughter. Drive them away, for a true Communist must not limit his ideas. He must walk hand in hand with the entire laboring mass.
ROZHKALI [sic] of the minelayer Narov, member of the RCP (Bolsheviks)
ORDER OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE—TO THE REVTROIKA OF THE BUREAU OF TRADE UNIONS
In accord with the resolution of the General Conference of representatives of seamen, soldiers, and workers of March 4, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee instructs the Revtroika [Revolutionary Tribunal] of the Bureau of Unions to carry out not later than Monday new elections to Raikoms [Regional Committees] and union administrations, and on Tuesday the 8th to carry out new elections to the Soviet of Trade Unions.
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
Do not delay, comrades. Lend your support, and enter into firm contact with us. Demand that your non-party representatives be allowed through to Kronstadt. Only they will tell you the entire truth, and dispel the provocative rumors of bread from Finland and plots by the Entente.
Long live the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry!
Long live the power of freely elected Soviets!”
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE OF KRONSTADT
March 6, 1921, radio station of the battleship Petropavlovsk
On March 7, Trotsky ordered the artillery bombardment of Krondstadt.
“Military operations began on March 7. At 6:45 in the evening, the Communist batteries at Sestroretsk and Lisy Nos on the northern shore opened fire on Kronstadt. The barrage, directed chiefly at the outlying forts, was intended to soften up the rebel defenses for an infantry assault. When the forts replied in kind, the cannon of Krasnaya Gorka on the opposite coast chimed in, answered in turn by the 12-inch guns of the Sevastopol. A full-scale artillery duel was under way. In Petrograd, Alexander Berkman was crossing the Nevsky Prospect when he heard the distant rumble of gunfire rolling towards him. Kronstadt was under attack! The sounds had a shattering effect on the anarchist leader, destroying the last remnants of his faith in the Bolshevik regime. ‘Days of anguish and cannonading,’ he recorded in his diary. ‘My heart is numb with despair; something has died within me. The people on the street look bowed with grief, bewildered. No one trusts himself to speak. The thunder of heavy guns rends the air.’”
-Paul Avrich, “Kronstadt 1921”
“On March 7, 1921, at 6:45 pm, a storm of artillery fire was unleashed against Kronstadt. As was only natural and inevitable, Kronstadt fought back. Fought back, not just on behalf of their demands, but also on behalf of the other toilers of the country who were struggling from their revolutionary rights, arbitrarily trampled underfoot by the Bolshevik authorities.”
-Nestor Makhno, writing in Delo Truda, March 1926
“March 7—Distant rumbling reaches my ears as I cross the Nevsky. It sounds again, stronger and nearer, as if rolling toward me. All at once I realize that artillery is being fired. It is 6 pm. Kronstadt has been attacked!”
-Alexander Berkman, diary
Kronstadt Izvestia 5: Monday, March 7, 1921
ALL POWER TO SOVIETS, AND NOT PARTIES
“DON’T SPARE THE BULLETS”
Field marshal Trotsky is issuing threats against Free Kronstadt, risen up against the three year autocracy of Communist commissars. This newly appeared Trepov threatens the toilers who have thrown off the shameful yoke of the Communist Party’s dictatorship with armed destruction. He threatens the murder of the peaceful populace of Kronstadt. He gives the order “don’t spare the bullets.”
But he will not have enough of them for the revolutionary sailors, soldiers, and workers.
Naturally, he, dictator of a Russia raped by the Communists, does not care what becomes of the laboring masses, so long as power is in the hands of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia]. He has the shamelessness to speak in the name of long-suffering Russia, and promise mercy. This is he, bloodthirsty Trotsky, Marshal of the Communist oprichnina, extinguisher of the spirit of freedom, spiller of rivers of blood for the autocracy of the RCP, who dares speak so to those who are strongly and boldly holding aloft the red banner of Kronstadt.
The Communists hope to renew their despotic rule at the price of the blood of toilers, and of the sufferings of their arrested families. They hope to force the sailors, soldiers, and workers to again profer their neck so that the Communists may seat themselves the better. With this they hope to continue their stinking policies, which have plunged all Laboring Russia into the abyss of total destruction, hunger and cold. Enough! You will deceive the laborers no more! Your hopes are futile, Communists, and your threats powerless.
The ninth wave [according to tradition, the ninth wave was held to be the highest in a series] of the Laborers’ Revolution has arisen, and will wash the stinking slanderers and tyrants, with the defilement brought by their actions, from the face of Soviet Russia. We will not be needing your mercy, Lord Trotsky!
THEY CONTINUE TO SLANDER
The Communists have well mastered the old Jesuit tactic, “slander and slander, and with luck something will stick.”
And they slander.
In powerless spite, pathetic and confused, they spread the most outlandish rumors about events in Kronstadt among the workers and soldiers of Petrograd. At work here, as radio messenger Rosta would have you believe, are the Entente, and French spies, and White Guards, and tsarist generals, and Mensheviks, and SR’s, and the Estonian bourgeoisie, and Finnish bankers, and the Entente’s counterintelligence. In a word, the entire world has taken up arms against the poor Communists. Moreover, they assure the Petrograd workers that “French agents and former tsarist officers sneaked into Kronstadt, and, using gold, corrupted elements lacking class consciousness.”
Well imagine that! And we, the Kronstadters, didn’t know a thing about it!
And just in case these “facts” didn’t convince the Peter workers, Rosta reports such horrors. “By coincidence at the very moment when a new Republican government is coming into administration in America, and displaying a bent to enter into trade relations with Soviet Russia, the spread of provocative rumors and rigging of disorders in Kronstadt clearly works toward influencing the new American President, and preventing change in American policy relative to Russia. At the same time, the London Conference is conferring, and these provocative rumors must certainly act on the Turkish delegation, making it obedient to the Entente’s demands.”
This then is what the Communists, confused by an unexpected blow, agreed upon: French agents brought gold to Kronstadt, in order to influence the American President and the pliability of the Turkish delegation! This document of Communist idiocy is so comical, that we print it in full below. This will give the people of Kronstadt a few minutes of comedy.
And how can you relate the, “rigging of disorders in Kronstadt,” on the one hand, and the nervousness which has driven the Communists to threaten the shoot the people of Kronstadt “like grouse?” Why so nervous, when all is calm in Kronstadt, and the only thing happening is “rigging of disorders?”
We print the following broadcast, which was received by our station.
(radio messenger Rosta)
The French newspaper Matin reported, from the words of its Helsingfors correspondent, that an uprising against Soviet power had begun in Kronstadt. On February 14, there was report of a rebellion in the Baltic Fleet, and of the arrest of the commissars of the Baltic Fleet. The Soviet Government supposed, based on previous experience, that agents of French capitalists in league with former tsarist generals were preparing a mutiny in Kronstadt.
As has now become clear, French agents and former tsarist officers sneaked into Kronstadt, and, using gold, corrupted elements lacking class consciousness. The fantastic reports by counterintelligence, spreading legends three weeks ago about an uprising in Kronstadt, were simply ahead of events. Recently, White Guard leaflets have appeared in Kronstadt and Petrograd, and known French spies have been captured during the arrests. At the same time, the SRs began an increased agitation among the workers and sailors in Kronstadt and Petrograd, using the difficult situation with produce and heat.
On February 28, a reactionary resolution was passed on the ship Petropavlovsk. However, by demand of the sailors it was reworked, and passed on the following day in a new edition. In this was included the demand for new elections to the Soviet. Our comrades did not object, and proposed to form a Commission of sailors’ and workers’ representatives at the House of Education, to decide the question finally. Elections began, but counterrevolutionary elements decided to ruin this Commission, and demanded before all else that it take place on the Petropavlovsk.
On March 2, open action against Soviet power was already occurring on the Petropavlovsk, with the participation of Mensheviks and SRs, who hid under the non-party banner. The official president of the mutineers’ organization is the former clerk Petrichenko, and the secretary is Tukin, a sailor, but in fact everything is run by Captain Burkser, and General Kozlovsky is a prominent figure among the former tsarist officers. The tsarist officers Kostromitinov and Shimanovsky [sic] also appeared as leaders of the movement.
On March 2, the Soviet of Labor and Defense, decided to declare former general Kozlovsky and his co-conspirators outlawed, to declare the city of Petrograd and Petrograd province under martial law, and to hand over all power in the Petrograd consolidated region to the Defense Committee of the City of Petrograd.
The following day, demoralization began to show among the supporters of the mutinous organization on the Petropavlovsk. The organization’s leaders, in order to raise the spirits of their supporters, announced that in the end it would be possible to leave for the Finnish shore. At the same time, the White Guard press spread lying reports, talking as if the Estonian bourgeoisie supported the insurgents.
On March 4, at an expanded session of the Petrograd Soviet, Comrade Zinoviev gave a thorough report on the events in Kronstadt, after which the meeting unanimously passed an appeal to the workers, sailors, and soldiers of Kronstadt. [This appeal appears in full in the previous issue of the Kronstadt Izvestia, #4.]. This exposed the dirty work of the spies sent by French counterintelligence, and of the Mensheviks and SRs who had worked on the events which were occurring. The appeal notes that Soviet Power is able to differentiate unknowing, mistaken toilers from intentional counterrevolutionaries. In a military sense, Kronstadt does not present a danger to Petrograd, for the fort of Krasnaya Gorka has command over Kronstadt, and can crush it at any moment. The entire Krasnaya Gorka garrison curses the mutineers, and is bursting for battle.
There is complete calm in Petrograd, and even those small factories where gatherings with attacks on Soviet power by individuals occurred earlier, have recognized the provocation. They have understood what the agents of the Entente and counterrevolution are pushing them to do. An 8 thousand person meeting of Peter seamen unanimously passed a resolution supporting Soviet power, and the Petrograd garrison has not wavered for a moment. Demoralization grows among the sailors, and a meaningful number of the sailors have a dislike for General Kozlovsky and the officers. The number of those deserting to us grows.
Radiograms and newspapers received from abroad show that, simultaneous with the events in Kronstadt, the enemies of Soviet Russia are spreading the most fantastic fabrications abroad, saying that there are disorders in Russia. They say that the Soviet Government has supposedly fled to the Crimea, that Moscow supposedly is in the hands of the rebels, that blood pours in torrents through the streets of Petrograd, and so on.
The SR organization abroad has received from somewhere a huge quantity of tsarist banknotes, and is letting out rumors in order, among other reasons, to raise the rate for tsarist money, and dump it more profitably.
By coincidence at the very moment when a new Republican government is coming into administration in America, and displaying a bent to enter into trade relations with Soviet Russia, the spread of provocative rumors and rigging of disorders in Kronstadt clearly works toward influencing the new American President, and preventing change in American policy relative to Russia. At the same time, the London Conference is conferring, and these provocative rumors must certainly act on the Turkish delegation, making it obedient to the Entente’s demands.
There is no doubt that the actions taking place on the Petropavlovsk are merely a component part of a grandiose plan of provocation. This plan, besides creating internal difficulties for Soviet Russia, is intended to shatter her international standing.
Before us in the case at hand is the provocation work of the world reaction of Entente stockbrokers, and of agents of Entente counterintelligence agencies working by their orders. In Russia itself, the main figures carrying out these policies are a tsarist general and former officers, whose activities are supported by Mensheviks and SRs.
No 373 radio station Novaia Golandiia
EXECUTIONS IN ORANIENBAUM
By order of Commissar of the Oranienbaum garrison Sergeev, the following have been executed: Kolesov, Commander of the Division of Red Naval Pilots, and President of the recently formed Oranienbaum Provisional Revolutionary Committee; Balabanov, Secretary of the Committee; Committee members Romanov, Vladimirov, and others.
Damnation to the murderers, and eternal glory to the combatants for the true freedom of the people.
THE RAVENS ARE GATHERING
The Communist ravens, Trotsky, Dybenko, Gribov, and others, have gathered in Krasnaya Gorka.
LATEST NEWS FROM PETROGRAD
—In Petrograd and Petrograd Province, a state of emergency/seige has been introduced. Movement in the streets is allowed only until 7 pm.
—Mass arrests and executions of workers and seamen continue.
—The situation is very uneasy. All the laboring masses expect a revolution at any minute.
—There are continuous meetings of the Defense Committee.
—All theatrical entertainments and assemblies are forbidden.
—Passenger trains are stopped. Only military trains are moving.
—The Petrograd newspapers do not print our broadcasts.
KRONSTADT DEMANDS LIBERATION OF HOSTAGES
The following broadcast was sent to the Petrosoviet [Petrograd Soviet].
In the name of the Kronstadt garrison, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt demands that all families of workers, soldiers, and sailors imprisoned as hostages by the Petrosoviet be freed within 24 hours. The Kronstadt garrison states that Communists in Kronstadt enjoy complete freedom, and their families absolute inviolability. It does not wish to take an example from the Petrosoviet, since it considers that such methods, even if in desperate anger, are the most shameful and base whatever your beliefs. History has never seen such methods.
seaman PETRICHENKO, President of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee
TROTSKY THREATENS DEFEAT
A curious order by Trotsky was broadcast by radio to the Kronstadt populace, and the garrison of the mutinied fronts.
“The Worker-Peasant Government has resolved to immediately return Kronstadt and the mutinous vessels to the command of the Soviet Republic. Therefore, I order all who have raised their hands against the Socialist Fatherland to immediately lay down their arms. Disarm those who resist, and give them into the hands of the Soviet authorities. Free the arrested commissars and other representatives of authority immediately. Only those surrendering unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic. Simultaneously, I am giving the order to prepare for the defeat of the mutiny, and the mutineers, by armed force. Responsibility for the distress which this has brought down on a peaceful populace lies wholly on the heads of the White Guard mutineers. The present warning is the last.”
TROTSKY, President of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic
KAMENEV, for the Chief Directorate
NEGOTIATIONS ON THE DISPATCH OF DELEGATES
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee received the following radiotelegram from Petrograd.
“Send a broadcast to Petrograd, is it possible to send from Petrograd several persons from the Soviet, non-party and party, to Kronstadt, to find out what is what.”
That broadcast was immediately followed by this answer from the Prov. Rev. Com.
“Having received the broadcast from the Petrosoviet, ‘is it possible to send from Petrograd several persons from the Soviet, non-party and party, to Kronstadt, to find out what is what,’ we inform you that we do not trust the non-party status of your non-party delegates. We propose that representatives be chosen from factories, soldiers and sailors, from among the non-party, in the presence of our delegates.
“Above the number of non-party representatives chosen by the given method, you may add to the delegation up to fifteen percent Communards. It is desirable to receive an answer, with a declared time to send representatives of Kronstadt to Petrograd and representatives of Petrograd to Kronstadt, on March 6 at 18:00 hours. In event of the impossibility of giving an answer at the given time, we ask that you declare your time, and the cause of the delay.
“Means of transport must be supplied to the Kronstadt delegates.”
PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
APPEAL OF THE “KRASNOARMEITSI” TO THE “KRASNOFLOTSI”
We the soldiers of fort Krasnoarmeets, turn to you, comrades of Krasnoflotskii. We inform you that in Kronstadt, and likewise in the forts and the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, we have not a single general. There is none of the gentry of which the proclamations thrown from airplanes speak so much and so loudly. We say to you that, as Kronstadt was a town of the workers and peasants, so it has remained. The generals are found in service to the Communists.
You say that we have become traitors for some kind of spies. That is a shameless lie. As we were defenders of the freedoms won by the Revolution, so we have remained. We appeal to you not to believe the lies which the bureaucrat Communists drone at you. If you want to learn the truth in this, send to us, to Kronstadt, your own delegation. It will learn the truth, and learn of all that is being done here. It will learn what kind of generals and Entente spies we have.
“The Crew of fort Krasnoarmeets”
The soldiers of fort Krasnoarmeets, having heard the report of a representative of the Prov. Rev. Com, Comrade Vershinin, on the current moment, resolved:
“We the soldiers of the above named fort, stand in entirety on guard for the Revolutionary Committee. We will stand, that is defend ourselves, to the final moment, for the Prov. Rev. Com. and for the workers and peasants.
“We once again ask the Rev. Com. to widely distribute, by means of print and radiotelegram, our resolution passed at the general Garrison Meeting of Kronstadt, in order to avoid the futile bloodletting to which the Communists call us. This must be done so that the working masses of the town of Petrograd, and of other towns, may learn what is being done here, and what we are fighting for.
“We send greetings to the Prov. Rev. Com., as the representatives elected from the broad masses of the entire working class. Standing on guard of the rights won by the laborers, we place ourselves and the fort under the Committee’s full command.”
By the General Meeting of the crew of the 4th Division and the Training Crew.
Having heard the report of a representative of the 4th Division Crew, Karpov, and of a representative of the Revolutionary Committee, Eveltis, the following resolution was passed:
“In the current moment, when the fate of the country is being decided, we, having taken power into our own hands, have entrusted military leadership to the Revolutionary Committee. We declare to the entire garrison, and to the workers, that we are prepared to die for the freedom of the laboring people, and for liberation from the three-year Communist yoke and terror. We will die, but will not take a single step back. Long live Free Russia of the laboring people.”
The resolution was passed unanimously by the Meeting.
WE ARE NOT TAKING REVENGE
The long oppression of the Communist dictatorship over the laborers has called forth the completely natural indignation of the masses. As a result of this, the boycott or removal from service of Communists’ relatives has been adopted in several places. This must not be. We are not taking revenge, but defending our laboring interests. It is necessary to act with restraint, and to remove only those who strive through sabotage or slanderous agitation to interfere with restoration of the power and rights of the laborers.
It has been noticed that some part of the populace is leaving the electricity on all night, or is not extinguishing the light upon departure from the room. Comrades, remember that we carry on a struggle for our laboring interests. It has become vital, to the degree of emergency, to conserve heating material, which is so necessary to us with the approaching opening of navigation. Conserve electrical energy.
LEAVING THE RCP [Communist Party of Russia]
Declarations of departure from the Communist Party continue to arrive at the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
We the undersigned, servicemen in the Departmental Fines Company, entered the RCP considering it to express the will of the laboring masses. In fact, however, it has shown itself to be a butcher of workers and peasants. The recent events in Peter have demonstrated this, pointing out the complete falsehood of the party leaders, who use all means to hold onto power. The broadcasts of the Moscow Soviet of People’s Commissars serve as a shining example of this. We request henceforth that we not be considered members of the RCP We wholly give our support to the resolution of the Garrison Meeting of Kronstadt of March 2 [sic] of this year. We also ask other comrades recognizing their mistake not to be ashamed to admit it.
I. GUTMAN, I. EFIMOV, V. KUDRIAVTSEV, ANDREEV.
Being a candidate member of the RCP from August of 1920, I have found no good in any of its aspirations. Seeing that the Communist Party has become separated from the masses, and does not express the people’s will, I leave it. In this difficult time which we are suffering, I wish to work for the benefit of the entire laboring people.
P. ANANIEV, former candidate member of the RCP
Also arrived the declarations of departure from the RCP of 1) D. Pisarenko, soldier of the 4th Artillery Division, 2) N. Pusmo, worker in the Naval Artillery Laboratory, 3) O. Kuzmin, guard of the Kronstadt Port, 4) P. Lebedev, serviceman in the Produce Base, 5) N. Kartashev, member of the RCP since 1918.
We, Communists of fort Rif, having discussed the current moment, and having heard the call of the Provisional Bureau of the RCP in Kronstadt, have reached the following conclusion. For three whole years, great numbers of opportunists and careerists have poured into our party. As a result of this, bureaucratism and a criminal attitude toward the struggle with collapse have developed.
Our party has always placed before itself the work of struggling against all enemies of the proletariat and working class, and we now declare openly that we will also in the future, as honest sons of the people, defend the victories of the laborers. We will not allow a single secret or open White Guard to use the temporary, difficult situation of our Soviet Republic. At the first attempt to raise a hand against Soviet power we will be able to repulse to the counterrevolutionaries as necessary. We have already declared, and declare once again, that we are under the command of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, which has given itself the goal of creating Soviets of the laboring and proletariat class.
Long live Soviet Power, the true defender of the rights of laborers!
(signature), President of the meeting of Communists of fort Rif
(signature), Secretary of the meeting
PRODUCE FROM GORKOMMUNA
For the period from March 8 through 14 inclusive, the land and naval garrison of the fortress will receive daily, in place of the previous bread ration: a half pound of bread, half a can of preserved meat and a quarter pound of meat.
The civilian populace will receive produce according to the following norms:
Letter A daily: one pound of oats, half a can of preserved meat, a quarter pound of meat and a one time additional half pound of sugar and quarter pound of vegetable oil.
Letter C daily: one pound of oats, half a can of preserved meat, a quarter pound of meat and a one time additional half pound of sugar and quarter pound of vegetable oil.
Series A daily: half a pound of wheat, barley or dried bread, half a can of preserved meat and a one time additional can of preserved milk, half pound of sugar and quarter pound of table butter.
Series B and C daily: half a pound of barley, wheat or dried bread, half a can of preserved meat, a quarter pound of meat and a one time additional half pound of sugar and quarter pound of table butter.
Today bread will be issued for one day, with the appropriate coupon being cut.
N. KAPUSTIN, member of the Rev. Com.
The Town Health Department brings to the attention of all doctors, doctors’ assistants, and citizens, that under issuance of prescriptions for additional food, the following rules must be followed: in the prescription must be specified the first and family names of the patient, the exact diagnosis, and the address.
First in order of fullfillment are prescriptions issued to children suffering from infectious diseases, and then from pulmonary and renal diseases, and then adults with infectious diseases.
Prescriptions are given to the selection commission at the Town Hospital from 10 to 12 am daily. Return issue takes place on the following day from 11 to 12 am, with prescriptions not picked up in 3 days being considered annulled. All prescriptions issued before March 5 are also annulled.
The present rules were worked out in consultation with doctors, doctors’ assistants, a representative of the Town Hospital and the Gorkommuna of the City Health Department. This consultation requests all comrade doctors and doctor’s assistants to view the issuance of prescriptions with the highest degree of care, keeping in memory the produce difficulties being suffered by the Republic.
PLUME, Head of the City Health Department
FROM THE ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF KRONSOVDEP
1) The Administration Department instructs all Uchkoms to take measures to clean the footpaths of the town of snow, and also to bring the courtyards into order, involving the broad masses of the populace in the work. The Audit Commission is instructed to take active part in the completion of the works.
2) All Uchkoms having gathered passports from citizens are instructed to return such to the citizens into their own hands.
All military units, workers’ associations and organizations may receive “Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee” and pamphlets at Sevtsentropechat in accordance with the set norm.
The initial Red Army infantry attack on Kronstadt was a disaster. In the midst of a blinding snowstorm, Tukhachevsky’s units attacked from the north and south with cadets at the forefront, followed by select Red Army units and Cheka machine gunners who had orders to shoot defectors. Shells from Kronstadt tore holes in the frozen Gulf of Finland; scores of Red Army soldiers drowned beneath the ice. Others defected or refused to advance. The Red Army suffered hundreds of casualties and defections. Those few troops who reached Kronstradt were forced to withdraw.
Artillery attacks resumed when the storm subsided. In the afternoon, Bolshevik aircraft began bombarding the island. Yet throughout the revolt, this did not cause much damage.
“The assault of March 8 proved an unmitigated failure. The Communists lost hundreds of men without even breaching Kronstadt’s defenses. In their haste to suppress the revolt, they had deployed an insufficient force—perhaps 20,000 in all—and had made inadequate preparations for a successful storming of the powerful fortress. Troops chosen for their reliability had faltered at the crucial moment, partly out of reluctance to fire on ordinary sailors and soldiers like themselves, but mainly for fear of crossing the open ice without protection of any kind, exposed to the devastating crossfire of Kronstadt’s batteries and forts.
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
Kronstadt Izvestia 6: Tuesday, March 8, 1921
TROTSKY’S FIRST SHOT IS A COMMUNIST SOS
FROM THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
At 6:45 pm, the Communist batteries in Sestroretsk and Lisy Nos opened fire first on the Kronstadt forts.
The forts accepted the challenge, and quickly forced the batteries to become silent. Following this, Krasnaya Gorka opened fire, receiving worthy answer from the battleship Sevastopol.
Occasional artillery duelling continues.
Two of our soldiers were wounded, and taken to the hospital.
There is no damage anywhere.
THE FIRST SHOT
They began the bombardment of Kronstadt. Well, so be it; we’re ready. We will measure our strengths.
They rush to act, and yes, they are forced to hurry. The laborers of Russia, despite all the Communist lies, understand what a great endeavor of liberation from three years’ slavery is being created in Revolutionary Kronstadt. The butchers are unnerved. The victim of their shameless bestiality, Soviet Russia, is slipping from their torture chamber, and with her, dominion over the laboring people is slipping finally from their criminal hands.
The Communist government will send an SOS. The weeklong existence of Free Kronstadt is proof of their powerlessness. One moment more and the worthy answer of our glorious revolutionary ships and forts will sink the ships of the Soviet pirates. They are forced into battle with Revolutionary Kronstadt, which has raised the banner, “Power to Soviets, and not Parties.”
WE AND THEY
Not knowing how to retain the power which is falling from their hands, the Communists are resorting to the most putrid, provocative methods. Their base newspapers have mobilized all forces to set fire to the people’s masses, and to paint the Kronstadt as a White Guard movement. Now the gang of “patented” scoundrels has thrown out the slogan, “Kronstadt has sold out to Finland.” Their shameless press is already spattering poisonous spit, and now that there has been no success in convincing the proletariat that White Guards were working in Kronstadt, they are attempting to play on national feelings.
All the world already knows from our broadcasts what the Kronstadt garrison and workers are fighting for, but the Communists attempt to twist the meanings of events before the Peter brothers. The Communist oprichnina has surrounded the people of Peter with a tight ring of cadet bayonets and the party “guard,” and Maliuta Skuratov (Trotsky) [Maliuta Skuratov, also known as G. L. Skuratov-Belsky, was a leader of the Oprichnina under Ivan the Terrible] does not allow delegates from the non-party workers and soldiers to enter Kronstadt. He fears the danger that they will learn the entire truth, and that that truth in one instant will sweep the Communists away. He fears that the laboring people, with newly restored sight, will take power in their own work-hardened hands.
That is why the Petrosoviet did not answer our radiotelegram requesting the dispatch to Kronstadt of actual non-party comrades. Fearing for their skins, the Communist leaders hide the truth. They let out rumors that White Guards are at work in Kronstadt, that the Kronstadt proletariat has sold out to Finland and to French spies, and that the Finns have already organized an army, in order, together with the Kronstadt mutineers, to occupy Petrograd, and so on.
To all this we can answer only one way: all power to the Soviets! Away from that power, hands stained with the blood of those perished for the cause of freedom, for the battle with White Guardism, landed gentry and the bourgeoisie! Peasant, calmly work your land; worker, to your bench!
LIBERATED KRONSTADT, TO THE WORKING WOMEN OF THE WORLD (A Broadcast)
Today is a worldwide holiday, the Day of Working Women. We the people of Kronstadt, under the thunder of cannons, under the explosions of shells sent at us by the enemies of the laboring people, the Communists, send our fraternal greetings to you, the working women of the world. We send greetings from Red Kronstadt, from the Kingdom of Liberty. Let our enemies try to destroy us. We are strong; we are undefeatable.
We wish you fortune, to all the sooner win freedom from all oppression and coercion.
Long live the Free Revolutionary Working Woman.
Long live the Worldwide Social Revolution.
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE OF KRONSTADT
March 8, 1921
MAY ALL THE WORLD KNOW
And so, the first shot has rung out. Bloody Fieldmarshal Trotsky, standing to his waist in the fraternal blood of laborers, opened first fire on Revolutionary Kronstadt, risen against the Communist government for the establishment of true Soviet power. Without a single shot, without a drop of blood, we, soldiers, seamen, and workers of Kronstadt, threw down the Communist dominion, and even spared their lives. They desire to once again, under threat of bombardment, tie their authority to us.
Not wanting bloodshed, we proposed that non-party delegates be sent from the Petrograd proletariat, that they might learn that there is a struggle for power in Kronstadt. But the Communists hid this from the Petrograd workers, and opened fire, the usual answer of the sham worker-peasant government to the demands of the laboring people.
May all the world of workers know that we, protectors of Soviet power, stand guard over the victories of the Social Revolution. We will be victorious, or die under the ruins of Kronstadt, struggling for the bloody cause of the laboring people. The workers of all the world will judge. The blood of innocents is on the heads of the Communist beasts, who are drunk with power.
Long live Soviet power!
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE OF KRONSTADT.
WHAT WE ARE FIGHTING FOR
Carrying out the October Revolution, the working class hoped to achieve its emancipation. The result, however, was the creation of a still greater enslavement of the human personality.
The power of police-gendarme monarchism passed into the hands of usurpers, the Communists, who brought to the laborers, instead of freedom, the fear every minute of falling into the torture chamber of the Cheka. With their horrors, they have many times exceeded the gendarme government of the tsarist regime.
Bayonets, bullets and the harsh cries of the oprichniks from the Cheka, there is what the toiler in Soviet Russia gained after many battles and sufferings. The Communist authorities have replaced the hammer and sickle, glorious arms of the laboring state, in fact with the bayonet and prison bars. They have done this for the sake of preserving a calm, unsaddened life for the new bureaucracy of Communist commissars and bureaucrats.
But what is most putrid and criminal of all is the creation by the Communists of a moral cabal. They have laid hand even on the laborers’ internal world, forcing them to think in their way alone.
With the aid of the bureaucratic trade unions, they have tied the workers to their benches, having made labor not a joy, but a new serfdom. To protests by peasants, expressed in spontaneous uprisings, and by workers, forced into strikes by the very condition of life, they answer with mass executions, and with such bloodthirstiness that they don’t have to borrow any from the tsarist generals.
Laboring Russia, first to raise the red banner of labor’s liberation, is soaked through with the blood of those tortured for the glory of the Communist dominion. In this sea of the blood, the Communists drown all the great and light voices and slogans of the laboring revolution.
It has become ever more sharply visible, and now is completely apparent, that the RCP is not defender of the laborers, as it has presented itself. Rather, the interests of the laboring mass are foreign to it. Having achieved power, it fears only to lose it, and for this end all means are allowable: slander, violence, fraud, murder, and revenge on the families of rebels.
The long patience of the laborers has come to an end.
The country, in battle with oppression and violence, is lit here and there with the glow of uprisings. Worker stoppages have flared up, but the Bolshevist okhranniks have not slept, and have taken all measures to avoid and repress the unavoidable 3rd Revolution. [Okhranniks were agents of the tsarist secret police, which was popularly referred to as the Okhrana or Okhranka.]
But it has arrived all the same, and is being carried out by the hands of laborers. The Communist generals see clearly that this is the people, convinced of those generals’ betrayal of the ideas of socialism, who have arisen. They shake in their skins, knowing that there is no place for them to hide from the toilers’ anger. All the same, they try, with the help of their oprichniks, to frighten the rebels with prisons, executions, and other bestialities. But life itself under the yoke of the Communist dictatorship has become more terrible than death.
The rebellious laboring mass has come to understand that in battle with the Communists, and with the renewed serfdom they have given, there can be no middle ground. It is necessary to carry through to the end. They pretend to make concessions: in Petrograd Province they remove the anti-profiteer roadblock detachments, 10 million in gold is assigned for purchase of produce abroad. But it is necessary to point out that behind this bait is hidden the iron hand of the master. This is the hand of a dictator who desires, having waited out the unrests, to compensate his concessions a hundred-fold.
No, there can be no middle ground. Victory or Death!
This is exemplified by Red Kronstadt, terror of counterrevolutionaries of right and left.
Here a great new revolutionary step has been taken. Here has been raised the banner of a rebellion for liberation from the three year violence and oppression of Communist dominion, which has eclipsed the three-hundred year yoke of monarchism. Here in Kronstadt has been laid the first stone of the Third Revolution, which is breaking the last fetters from the laboring masses, and opening a wide new path for socialist creativity. This new revolution stirs the laboring masses of both East and West, being an example of the new socialist construction, opposed to the bureaucratic Communist “creativity.” It convinces the laboring masses abroad, by the testimony of their own eyes, that everything created here until now by the will of workers and peasants was not socialism.
Without a single shot, without a drop of blood, the first step has been completed. The laborers do not need blood. They spill it only in moments of self defense. We have enough restraint, despite all the disgraceful acts of the Communists, to not be limited by their isolation from the life of society. We do this in order that they would not obstruct the revolutionary work with false and spiteful agitation.
The workers and peasants advance unstoppably, leaving behind themselves both the Uchredilka with its bourgeois structure, and the Communist Party dictatorship with its Cheka and state capitalism, a deadly noose which has snared the neck of the laboring masses, and threatens to strangle them absolutely.
The present Revolution gives the laborers the possibility of having, finally, their own freely elected Soviets, working without any and all violent party pressure, and to reform the bureaucratic trade unions into free organizations of workers, peasants and the laboring intelligentsia. At last, the police stick of the Communist autocracy is broken.
REMEMBER THAT WE ARE THE SHOCK TROOPS OF THE REVOLUTION!
Workers are shock troops! Kronstadt is enduring a serious moment of struggle for the liberation of Soviet Russia from the Communist yoke.
We the people of Kronstadt, recognizing this, must all show unflagging fortitude, and show that in the struggle, no sacrifices are too terrible for us. We have become each other’s family, unified by a single striving for victory or death. We will share with each other the last tiny morsel. So that the populace would not hunger, the garrison shares its own allowances. All must be even, and not some hungry and some full.
Would that it were not so, but we will not leave our work. On the contrary, we will take after it all the more firmly. Our revolution is the Revolution of Labor, and its name, all to the benches, all to the hammer! All for free labor! You are shock troops at work. Be also thus the shock troops of the Revolution. Forge the Revolution, supporting the free Socialist economy. Remember that on you first is laid the shock work of saving Soviet Russia from the Communist yoke.
SOVIET POWER WILL FREE THE LABORING PEASANTRY FROM THE COMMUNIST YOKE
WHAT IS BEING DONE IN PETROGRAD?
The Helsingfors newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, in No 60, reports the following news from Petrograd.
—The Petrograd workers are on strike, and are demonstratively leaving the factories. With red banners they are demanding a change of government and the overthrow of the Communists.
Sailors are joining the demonstrators.
The garrison shares the feelings of the masses, but for now is remaining passive.
—Red units from the Korelian [Karelian] Isthmus have been rushed across to Petrograd. As it was clarified, the cadets have been recalled.
—At the Laferme tobacco factory, the Secretary of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia] called for order among the workers, but was whistled down and driven off.
—At the Putilovsky Factory, several persons, Communist members of the factory committee, have been killed.
APPEAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WORKER-PEASANT INSPECTION
Due to the present moment, the purposes of the department of Worker-Peasant Inspection being what they are, since control is always a necessity in the interests of all citizens, independent of the situation which has formed, and since the majority of the workers in the Inspection were Communists, a number of whom are currently isolated, and the remaining Communists may also be isolated, the work of control may stop.
Now, as earlier, an unconscious element may carry out various thefts of the people’s property in a period without control. Therefore, the Revolutionary Troika of the Worker-Peasant Inspection appeals to all employees formerly working in control to come help temporarily, until the new elections. In this way, you may preserve the necessary and normal order in all Soviet organizations.
A. GALKIN, President
THE TRAGEDY OF FORT KRASNOARMEISKII
(One of the Communist methods of party propaganda.)
The editors are swamped with declarations by soldiers, sailors, and workers of departure from the RCP. Therefore, we are printing only the family names of those leaving the party, and the most characteristic declarations. Today, we are given the opportunity to impart a historic document, testifying how this criminal party enlisted members.
In mid-July, 1919 began the attack by Rodzianko on Petrograd. In connection with this, unrest began in the Red Army. This unrest spread to Krasnaya Gorka and Kronstadt. Trotsky gave the order to liquidate it, whatever that might require. The Communists mobilized their butchers, and a bloody reprisal began.
On July 13, a steamship came to fort Krasnoarmeiskii, carrying a Communist detachment, with Commissars Razin, Medvedev and Sotnikov in command. Razin ordered the bugler to play assembly. The crew of the fort left their barracks, and were ordered to form up in a single line. Razin came forward and addressed the men of the fort with the following words. “Comrades! I have brought you reinforcements, and replacements for the tired. It is, of course, impossibile to free everyone, but a fifth part may go on leave.”
After this, Razin began to count out every fifth man, who was then led away to the left flank. In all, 55 people were counted out. “Play retreat,” Razin commanded, and ordered the remaining soldiers to go up into the fort tower, and to form up in one rank facing the newly arrived detachment.
Following that, Razin took the 55 people who had been counted out to a given location at the south shore, and formed them up in one rank, opposite which the newly arrived unit arranged itself.
When all these preparations were completed, Razin read them a death sentence. Three volleys rang out, and the 55 soldiers, before the eyes of their comrades standing in the fort tower, fell as victims to the unquenchable bloodthirst of the insane Communists.
Three comrades remained alive (one of them was wounded), and the butcher Razin spared them.
The second act of the tragedy began. By order of the butchers, a pit was dug, the not yet cold corpses dumped in and covered with carbolic acid, the earth was evened, and the fraternal grave was covered with cement. [Carbolic acid (phenol) was put in graves to avoid the spread of typhus and other diseases.]
Finally, Razin ordered the remaining crew to enroll in the party, and for those not wishing to do so to go out to the fence, forewarning them that the fate of those just executed awaited them.
What was there left to do?
Thus did they recruit these new Communists.
Somewhat later, the commander of a machine gun crew arrived at the fort. The commissars suspected that he had come to Kronstadt for propaganda and… yet another innocent victim washed the fort’s assembly ground with his blood.
And the next day was issued a calm order “on removal from rations.”
We print it in full on the next page.
The soldiers named below, of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Batteries, and the 11th Squad of the Machine Gun Crew, killed by the authority of the Provisional Revolutionary Court of Baltflot, are to be removed from the divisional, battery, and crew rosters, and from all types of rations and allowances, as of June 20 this year.
SOURCE: report of the Commander of fort OBRUCHEV, No 624, of June 2, 1919.
Truly signed: KARPOV, Commander of the 2nd Division
Attested: MAKSIMENKO, clerk of the construction unit.
No explanations are necessary.
Comrade Soldiers! There is the kind of freedom which the Communists have given you. There is the kind of authority against which we arose, and the people against whom the Provisional Revolutionary Committee gives the call to arms. Yesterday, a handfull of witnesses to this execution, being in service until this time at fort Krasnoarmeiskii, passed the following resolution at their meeting.
We, Communists of fort Krasnoarmeiskii, 6th Battery, give our support to the worker-peasant power. We swear before representatives of our troika who are carrying on joint work with the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt, that we will stand to the last at our posts, and achieve true liberation for workers and peasants. We swear that we will not walk the path of lies by which the Communists’ bureaucrat representatives drove us into the RCP with falsehood, violence, and the threat of execution.
A. Polunichev, A. Remin, D. Bukanov, G. Ivanov, I. Moshnikov, P. Pavlov, N. Yulin, M. Tretiakov, V. Poliakov, I. Ivanov, F. Mikhailov, M. Aksenov, M. Balabanov, N. Ivanov, A. Kondratiev, V. Tsvetoshin, Bogdanov, O. Potapov, Novozhilov.
We all, workers and peasants, are striving to achieve a free and unoppressed life, and therefore request that we not be considered members of the RCP, but as non-party comrades.
KRONSTADT IS CALM
Yesterday, March 7, the laborers’ enemies, Communists, opened fire on Kronstadt. The populace met the bombardment with spirit. Workers expressed a comradely desire to take up arms. It is clearly seen that the laboring populace of Kronstadt lives with exactly the same interests and aspirations as the Provisional Revolutionary Committee elected by it.
Despite the opening of military action, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee did not even find it necessary to declare a state of siege. Who need it fear? Not its own soldiers, sailors, workers, and laboring intelligentsia.
It is a different matter in Petrograd. There, due to the emergency situation which has been declared, movement about the city is only allowed until 7 pm. Tyrants, of course, must fear their own laboring populace.
Passed by the general meeting of the united crews and garrison of fort Konstantin, March 7, 1921
We the seamen and soldiers of the united military crews and garrison of fort Konstantin, having heard the report of Comrade Nikolaev on the current moment, find: that all the actions and measures of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee are completely fair. We further find that these actions fully express the opinions of the honest laboring proletariat and laboring peasantry, which is presently striving with all its strength to liberate itself from the damned Communist yoke. There has been enough of the Communists riding on the people’s neck without accountability or responsibility. May the murderer Trotsky know that all his proclamations thrown out over Kronstadt represent nothing to us, revolutionary seamen, soldiers, and workers, except the free provision of besieged Kronstadt with paper. Their pogrom calls and threats are not worrisome to us, and neither is their stinking slander. For we well know that behind us will come the entire honest laboring masses of our dear free Motherland, terribly tortured and robbed by traitorous Communism. We have all sworn as one to carry through to the end with our holy cause of liberating the laboring masses, which we have begun. May all those Communal [sic] scarecrows know that only by crossing over our corpses will they be able to take control of free Kronstadt. We have decided one thing, either to die, or to exit honorably as victors.
Long live the Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt!
Long live the revolutionary seamen, soldiers, and workers of free Kronstadt!
Down with the bankrupt commune!
Down with bloodthirsty Trotsky and his cohorts!
(signature), President of the meeting
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
Today, bread is issued for March 3rd: by cards of letter A, half a pound for bread coupon No 27.
By cards of letter B, in place of bread, four pounds of oats is issued for four days, March 8th, 9th and 11th, for bread coupon No 27.
By cards of series A, for produce coupon No 4, a one pound can of preserved milk, is issued from stores No 5 and 14.
By children’s cards of series B and C, in place of bread, two pounds of wheat is issued for four days, through March 11; by series B for bread coupon No 4, and C for bread coupon No 27.
Counted toward the bread norm for the four days through March 11, two cans of preserved meat are issued to all categories from all stores; by cards of letter A and B and series C for bread coupon No 26, of series A for produce coupon No 5 and of series C for bread coupon No 5.
Issue of all produce noted is limited to the amount delivered to the stores.
LEVAKOV, for the President of Gorprodkom
“On March 9, the day after the abortive assault on the rebel stronghold, the Bolshevik leader Kamenev addressed the Tenth Party Congress in Moscow. The military situation in Kronstadt, he said, had become “more protracted” than anyone had expected, so that the liquidation of the mutiny would not be accomplished “at an early hour.” The first attack had been premature. In their anxiety to crush the rebellion before it could receive outside help or spread to the mainland, the authorities had acted too hastily, making faulty preparations and using an insufficient quantity of troops and equipment, with the result that the assault was repulsed with heavy losses.
But now time was even more pressing, for before long the ice would begin to melt. Thus Tukhachevsky, the Bolshevik commander, urgently prepared for a second attack in much greater strength than before.”
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
Kronstadt Izvestia 7: Wednesday, March 9, 1921
Lenin said, “Communism is Soviet power plus electrification,” but the people have become convinced that Bolshevist Communism is commissarocracy plus executions.
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS (March 8, 1921)
Our artillery destroyed the railroad line near Martyshkino.
In Oranienbaum, fire broke out in the region of Kitaisky Dvorets.
Our artillery bombarded the northern and southern shores of the gulf. The adversary took heavy losses.
In the town, not a single building suffered from the adversary’s bombardment. Windows in several houses were broken by concussion.
Gromov, former Commissar of the Kronstadt Fortress, was killed in a skirmish with our forward posts.
THEY ARE SHOOTING OUR CHILDREN
They don’t have to get used to spilling the blood of innocents. They have already begun throwing bombs from airplanes over the dwellings of peaceful residents of Kronstadt. The first bomb was thrown March 8, at a few minutes before six. It fell in the eaves of a house, and the whole matter ended with the ruin of the house’s facade, and the breaking of glass in nearby houses. Wounded, fortunately lightly, was a boy of 13 years.
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF VICTORY?
With the adversary’s first shots, the restraint and determination of our revolutionary garrison has all the more clearly appeared. It is bursting for battle, but it strikes its blows not just as they chance to fall, but where they are needed.
All are bursting to be armed, not excluding old men and young boys. The show of spirit is remarkable. The laboring populace and garrison have decided to fight to the end. All are inspired by the single thought of breaking up the last remains of the Communist yoke. There is no turning back. There is only the path forward—to Free Labor and Soviet power. The rebels’ enthusiasm and restraint ensure our victory.
Kronstadt’s red eagles are writing a bright new page in the history of Soviet Russia. Certainty in ourselves and selfless devotion to the laborers’ interests–these are the strengths which guarantee our victory over Communist field marshal Trotsky.
It is different in the adversary’s camp. As deserters and prisoners report, Trotsky employs the usual Communist means of convincing the laborers, he places machine guns in the rear of their attacking troops.
Against the rebels’ enthusiasm, the adversary has placed the enthusiasm of the whip and firing squad.
HEAR THIS, TROTSKY!
In their broadcasts, the Communists have slung tubs of mud at the leaders of the Third Revolution, who stand for true Soviet power and against the outrages committed by the commissars.
We have not hidden this from the Kronstadt populace, and have fully printed all their slanderous attacks in our Izvestiia.
We have nothing to fear. The citizens know how the revolution took place, and who made it. The workers and peasants know that among the garrison there are neither tsarist generals nor White Guards.
For its own part, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee sent a broadcast to Petrograd demanding that the hostages taken by the Communists—workers, sailors, and their families, and also political prisoners—be freed from the overfilled prisons. In a second broadcast, we proposed that non-party delegates be sent to us in Kronstadt. They, being convinced on the spot of the true course of events, could open the eyes of Peter’s laboring populace.
And what did the Communists do? They hid these broadcasts from the workers and soldiers. Units of field marshal Trotsky’s troops which have crossed to our side brought us Petrograd newspapers, and there is not a word about our broadcasts in them!
Was it that long ago that these hucksters, used to playing with marked cards, were yelling that there shouldn’t be any secrets from the people, even diplomatic?
Hear this, Trotsky! As long as you are still running the people’s court, you can shoot innocents in whole droves, but you can’t shoot the truth. It will come out, and then you and your oprichnina will be forced to answer.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE UNIONS
Under the Communist dictatorship, the mission of the trade unions, and of their administrations in particular, was reduced to a minimum. In four years of the revolutionary trade union movement in Socialist Russia, our trade unions had no chance to be purely class organizations. This situation came about not by their fault, but purely thanks to the policy of the ruling party, which strived for a centralized, “Communist” development of the masses. Therefore, the work of the trade unions came down to nothing but completely unnecessary correspondence, for the compilation of information about the number of members of one or another industrial union, specialization, party status, and so on.
Relative to the economic-cooperative construction of the Republic and the cultural development of the trade union workers, nothing was undertaken. And that is completely understandable, since if the unions had been given the right of broad independent action, then the entire order of centralized Communist construction would have been destroyed, and together with it would have collapsed the need for commissars and politotdels.
These are undoubtably the situations which have made the working masses forsake the unions, since the latter had become a Communist gendarme yoke, holding down the laboring classes.
With the overthrow of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia] dictatorship, the role of the Trade Unions must fundamentally change. Therefore, the newly elected unions and administrations in the trade movement must fulfill the great combat mission of educating the masses in the cultural-economic construction of the country. They must pour a new, invigorating stream into their activity, and become the expressers of the people’s interests.
The Soviet Socialist Republic may only be strong when its administration belongs to the laboring classes in the form of renewed trade unions.
We will undertake this cause, comrade workers! We will form new unions, free from all oppression. In them is our strength.
FIRST MARTYRS FOR THE 3[rd] REVOLUTION
(About the executions in Oranienbaum)
On March 2, a rumor was passed in Oranienbaum that Kronstadt had driven away Kalinin.
Sailors from Kronstadt had been arrested at the train station.
The First Aeronautic Naval Division has always stood on guard of the Revolution, and sensitively listened to the voice of the laboring people.
The Kronstadt resolution was delivered. In a moment, the news passed to all the seamen of the Aero. Div., and at 6 pm. they gathered in their club to discuss the new situation. The Communists got nervous and called the Politodel, from which the RCP organizer Perekhov and other Communists arrived. The division commissar was horrified when we elected Comrade Kolesov, Commander of the Aero. Nav. Division, as President, Comrade Balobanov as Secretary, and Comrade Romanov as Assistant Secretary of a Revolutionary Committee, and especially when the entire division unanimously supported the Kronstadt resolution.
The sailors rejoiced that power had passed into the hands of the laboring people. The Communists vainly attempted to provoke us, saying that we did not have the right to revolt against Communist Soviet power. The sailors, in revolutionary ecstasy, replied to this that death was better than the Communist yoke, and with the cry, “Long live the Kronstadt sailors, soldiers, and workers,” went to the hangar where the seaplanes were located.
In the hangar, we gathered for a second time. Comrade Balabanov [sic] instructed that all seamen should be armed, but several, afraid of spilling blood, did not agree with this order, and as we will see below, paid cruelly for their love of peace and their trusting natures.
The seamen chose three delegates for communication with Kronstadt, and decided to set a division watch of 20 persons. At this time, the Communists were listening in on us, and reported everything to the Politodel, where a Communist committee of defense was gathered. Its president, commissar Sergeev, ordered military units to capture the rebel sailors, who had clearly crossed to the side of the White Guards. We went to our separate homes, since the Communists assured us that they wouldn’t use any armed force or arrests against us.
Our delegates, sent to neighboring units with the Kronstadt fortress’ resolution, were arrested by chekists on the way. Comrade Kolesov wasn’t able to use the telephone (central reported that it was out of order) to communicate with Kronstadt and with other units. In fact, Sergeev, commissar of the Oranienbaum garrison, called the Petrograd Defense Committee and asked them to send an armored train with an echelon of cadets as quickly as possible, and urgently called for 3 batteries of light artillery, and a squadron of cavalry cadets. They armed all the Communists from head to toe, supplied them with revolvers and machine guns, issued each soldier 2 lb. of bread and 1 lb. of meat, and then sent them to the brigade headquarters. Then the Communists set about disarming the young seamen and the escort crew. They arrested the most untrustworthy, and sent them to the Cheka. Some who escaped from under arrest informed Comrade Kolesov of what was happening. He answered, “Let them make their arrests. We don’t fear them, and won’t make any opposition, since our forces are too small, just a 30 person guard.”
At 5 am on March 3, the armored train Chernomorets and an echelon of cadets arrived from Petrograd. At 7 am, just as it had begun to get light, the armored train came up to the building of the Naval Aeronautic Division and aimed its cannons and machine guns point blank. Cadets rushed at the seamen from all sides, and disarmed them. The infamous beast Dulkis, from the Kronstadt Cheka, pointed his revolver at Comrade Kolesov with the animal scream, “Don’t move White Guard, or I shoot.” After this, they arrested our commander and took him under guard to the Cheka, where they began to bring the sailors arrested in private apartments.
After several hours, the chekists set about the interrogations. After the interrogation of Comrade Kolesov and 44 seamen of the Aeronautic Naval Division, at 4 o’clock on March 3 a company of cadets took them past Martyshkino for execution. Soon, the crack of small arms volleys was heard.
The Communists of the Aero. Nav. Division made sure to immediately arrest the wives and relatives of the comrades who had been saved from the terrible clutches of the Cheka.
Cadets arrived from Orel, Nizhni Novgorod and Moscow. Three more armored trains came, and were put on the reserve tracks of the town of Oranienbaum. After this, heavy artillery and the Moscow Cheka arrived.
For whom were these armed forces and oprichniki? Clearly, for the workers, peasants, sailors and soldiers who had begun to want freedom for labor and fairness.
Execution did not scare us. We decided to be victorious, or to die the glorious death of a revolutionary seaman, who has proved that he is not a gendarme, and not a servant of the Cheka which protects the Communist Party autocracy which torments our wives and children in its torture chambers.
Down with the Communist oppressors, who rob our fathers!
Long live Soviet power!
ABUSE OF THE WHITE FLAG
A white flag raised during military action means a temporary ceasefire, to carry out negotiations between the adversaries. Thus it has always been, among all nations.
But it is not so with the Communists. They turn the flag of peace into a sign of betrayal, and under its cover carry out their stinking works. Yesterday, March 8, soldiers with a white flag set out from Oranienbaum in the direction of Kronstadt. Taking the advancing soldiers as truce envoys, two of our comrades went out on horseback to meet them, having beforehand removed from themselves all weapons. One of them rode right up to the adversary’s group, and the second stopped at a small distance.
Barely had our truce envoy said a few words when the Communists threw themselves on him, pulled him from the horse, and carried him away with themselves. The second comrade managed to ride away back to Kronstadt.
The example is worthy of attention, to once more be convinced of the methods which the Communists use in their struggle against the laboring masses.
HOW THE COMMUNISTS LIE
—Tukhachevsky, commander of the army operating against Kronstadt, told a reporter from Kransnyi Komandir, “We have received reports that the civilian population of Kronstadt is receiving almost no produce.”
—The infantry regiment quartered in Kronstadt has refused to join the mutineers, and not allowed itself to be disarmed.
—The main instigators of the mutiny are planning to escape to Finland.
—A non-party sailor who escaped from Kronstadt reports that on March 4, General Kozlovsky spoke at a sailors’ meeting in Kronstadt. In his speech he called for strong authority, and decisive action against supporters of the Soviets.
—The mood in Kronstadt is one of demoralization. The masses of the populace impatiently await the end of the mutiny, and demand that the White Guard leaders be surrendered to the Soviet government.
This is what the Communists write about us. These are the means to which they resort, tring to blacken our movement before the laboring people, and by the same means to lengthen their own existence, if only by an hour.
S. KAMENEV FLED FROM ORANIENBAUM
A March 7 issue of Krasnyi Komandir, provided to us by prisoners, reports, “the Commander in Chief of all armed forces of the Republic, Comrade S. Kamenev, having arrived in Petrograd in connection with the events in Kronstadt, has returned to Moscow.”
A COMMUNIST ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE THE FORTS
On March 6, Comrade Afanasiev came to Comrade Ballot, a Communist, for some books. The latter attempted to convince him to escape from fort Rif to the Oranienbaum shore. In preparation, he had found out where the guards and machine guns were placed, and where crossing the sea would be least unpleasant.
He proposed that they dress all in white, since the night was light. (The conversation took place at two o’clock in the morning.) But of course, Comrade Afanasiev did not agree with him, arrested him and took him to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
Under interrogation, Comrade Ballot admitted that he wanted to escape to the Oranienbaum shore, and was searching for a companion so that it wouldn’t be so boring. He says that he wanted to escape because he was afraid of execution. On him were found 28 thousand rubles, and identification papers.
On March 6, a General Meeting of the crew occurred at fort Krasnoarmeiskii, at which Communists were in attendance along with the others. After a report by Comrade Vershinin on the current moment and how things stand in Kronstadt, demoralization was noticed among the crew, since the Communists located there were zealously carrying on their malicious agitation. They were making the crew feel that they were still their lords, and did not intend to give up their place. After the slogan proposed by Comrade Vershinin, “Victory or Death,” the crew came to the point of view, better death than surrender.
Then the Communists, 50 persons in number, attempted to escape from the fort, but were caught in a searchlight, restrained, disarmed, and turned over to the authority of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt.
At the present time, a cheerful and excited atmosphere and complete support for revolutionary Kronstadt are noted at fort Krasnoarmeiskii.
A RESOLUTION BY DESERTERS
The truth about Kronstadt has already broken through all the obstacles set up by the high-handed Communists, and units of the adversary’s troops surrender to us in droves. They are now being convinced that the soldiers, seamen, and workers of Kronstadt are fighting against oppressors, fighting for true Soviet power. They see that it was not generals (of which, by the way, there are none here) but the tortured laboring people itself that overthrew the oprichnik-Communists.
We print below a resolution passed unanimously by 700 deserters.
“We, soldiers, peasants, workers, cadets, and officers, having heard a report on the situation of Kronstadt, entirely give our support to the resolution of the Garrison Assembly of the town of Kronstadt, and express our faith in the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. We wish to go hand in hand with it, and at its first call we will enter anew into the ranks of the laboring masses, and will struggle against all Soviet bureaucratism and unfairness.
ALL POWER TO SOVIETS, AND NOT PARTIES
We, candidate members of the RCP of the Union of Workers of the People’s Communications, having discussed the current moment, arrived at the following conclusion: we entered the party with the goal of working for the good of the people, and stand entirely in defense of the interests of the worker and peasant masses. Therefore, at the present difficult time being suffered by the Republic, when all our strivings must be turned to the battle with destruction, cold and hunger, we unanimously declare that we do not stand for the authorities, but entirely for the rightful cause of the laborers. Therefore we, as honest workers, standing in defense of the interests and rights of the laborers, unanimously declare that we are under the command of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, which has placed before itself the goal of forming Soviets of the purely laboring proletarian masses.
Long live Sovet power, true defender of the laborers!
town of Kronstadt, March 8, 1921
PETROV, President of the Meeting
We, workers’ representatives, at the General Meeting of the 6th Raikom of the Union of Metal Workers, having heard the truthful speech of a deputy from the Prov. Rev. Com. of the Fortress of Kronstadt, say, “We believe in you, we are with you. Go boldly forward on the shining path which you have marked. We will not leave you, and if necessary, we will die together with you for the good of our brothers the laborers.”
ELECTIONS TO THE REVTROIKA AT THE WORKER-PEASANT INSPECTION
At the General Meeting of the workers of the Worker-Peasant Inspection, it was decided that since there are 4 sub-departments in Rabkrin [Worker-Peasant Inspection], just such a number of members should be elected, that is, 4 persons: Galkin, Morozov, Neveikin, and Soloviev. Three of those elected, Comrades Galkin, Morozov, and Neveikin, are to remain at the Rabkrin Department, and Comrade Soloviev is to be located at the Soviet of the People’s Economy sub-department. Comrade Galkin was elected President of the Revtroika, and Neveikin Secretary.
Comrade Communists, come to your senses! Admit your unforgivable error before the non-party comrades. I too was a Communist, of the battleship Sevastopol’s collective, and have now understood how we were deceived by our torture chamber bureaucrats. Comrade Communists, it is time to come to your senses! Enough of shooting our own fathers and executing brother peasants and workers by the order of some kind of Trotskies. We will throw away our deceiving slogan, “The dictatorship of the proletariat.” We will join in a comradely family together with our Rev. Com., for the rightful cause.
Down with the oppressors’ party!
Long live the worker and peasant!
KOSKIN, a Communist
LEAVING THE PARTY
Declarations of departure from the RCP arrive unceasingly at the editorial offices, but in view of their great quantity and the insufficiency of space, the editors are unable to publish them immediately, and will include them as possible in following editions of the newspaper.
In view of the fact that in answer to the the comrade Kronstadters’ proposal for delegates to be sent from Petrograd, Trotsky and the Communist leaders began to spill blood by firing the first rounds, I ask that from today I no longer be considered a member of the RCP. The speeches of Communist orators fogged my head, but today’s practices of the bureaucrat-Communists have cleared it.
I ask that this declaration be printed in the press, and also ask the crew to accept me into its close family, that I may share in its sorrows and joys.
I bless the bureaucrat-Communists for the fact that they have uncovered their face, and in that way brought me out of delusion. I was a blind tool in their hands.
Former RCP member No 537,575
Recognizing the critical situation which has been created by the actions of a shameless little bunch of Communists, who have woven themselves a thick nest at the top of the Communist party, and having entered the Communist party under pressure, as a rank and file working man, I look with horror on the fruits of their hands’ work. The country, brought to ruin, can be rebuilt only by the worker and peasant, whom the Communist party, as ruler, has plucked to the last feather. Therefore, I am leaving the party, and will give my knowledge for the defense of the laboring mass.
L. KOROLEV, Commander of the 5th Battalion, 4th Division
The bloody horror of Nikolai
We had not been able yet to forget,
When the commune’s “holy” party
Began to spill our blood anew.
She promised us liberty,
She promised us the gift of fortune,
But this her own gift she changed
To bloody terror and nightmare.
Executions, torments, tortures,
Blood poured from under swords.
She gave us three years of suffering
Worse than the Tsar’s butchers.
It has come true… By the Will of the people
The nightmare of oppression is broken,
Liberty has been returned
The mighty fire of uprising burns.
Grey Kronstadt, in past days
Moved ahead as a revolutionary.
It threw down Nikolai’s weight
And will throw down the Communist yoke.
Seaman K. KOLODOCHKIN
We, Communists of the battleship Sevastopol, having discussed the current moment, arrived at the following conclusion: during the last three years of our party’s existence, many self-seekers and careerists have poured into our ranks. Because of the above, these careerists have created a powerful bureaucratism in the country, and thereby have raised the workers and peasants against the party.
Our party has always placed as its purpose the struggle against all enemies of the proletariat and laboring class, and we now openly declare that we, as honest sons of the workers and peasants, will stand also in the future for the laborers’ victories. We will not allow a single White Guard, either secret or open, to use the temporary, difficult situation of our Soviet Republic, and at the first attempt to raise a hand against Soviet power, we will know how the give the necessary repulse to the counterrevolutionary hydra of the Entente.
We have already declared and declare once again that we are under the command of the Kronstadt Provisional-Revolutionary Committee, which has given itself the goal of forming Soviets of the laboring and proletarian class.
Long live Soviet power, true defender of the rights of laborers!
We ask that this resolution be widely advertised in the press.
I. Petrov, Turk, G. Babanov, E. Soloviev, F. Bobor, Tikhomirov, A. Agafonov, Dialensky, G. Moshuanov, Kornoniushkin, Iu. Kentok, Kolomychenko, Chernov, I. Naumov, V. Ianishus, I. Semenov, N. Kitto, V. Lubkov, O. Svetlov, V. Tuzov, A. Etikson, S. Fetrovin, Fedorov, Busybin, Gant, Gavrilov
Declarations of departure from the RCP also arrived from the following: 1) N. Ermolenko, seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 2) P. Tolbaev, candidate member of the RCP, 3) Zhukovsky, seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 8th Company, 4) I. Mischenkov, worker in the Port Galvanoplastics Workshop, 5) M. Petrov, member of the RCP, 6) G. Ivanov, soldier of battery No 5, 7) A. Buivolov, soldier of 3rd Division, 8) also A. Krutikov, 9) also T. Timoshin, 10) also P. Moiseev, 11) also V. Sapogov, 12) also B. Dziubinsky, 13) also A. Sokovtsev, 14) also I. Grishin, 15) also G. Semenov, 16) also E. Perezhogin, 17) G. Rebon, seaman of the Company of Seamen Specialists, 18) D. Chizhov, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 19) A. Tuzov, artisan of fort Petr I, 20) G. Zharov, member of the RCP, 21) I. Manziar, artisan of the Mine Laboratory, 22) I. Petrov, worker of the Support Crew of 3rd Division, 23) S. Savin, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 24) G. Kurakin, clerk of the Support Crew of the 3rd Artillery Division.
PRODUCE From Gorprodkom
Today, a quarter pound of biscuit is issued by adult cards of letter A, for bread coupon No 24, counted against the bread norm for March 9.
2 pounds of wheat is issued from stores No 5 and 14 by children’s cards of series A, for produce coupon No 6, counted against the bread norm for March 8 through 11.
One pound of fresh meat by adult cards of letters A and B and children’s of series C for bread coupon No 25, and by children’s cards of series B for bread coupon No 6, counted against the bread norm for March 8 through 11.
1/16 lb. of yeast is issued by Rudkevich the yeast maker (corner of Lenin Blvd. and Saidashnaia) for bread coupon No 4 by children’s cards of series C, for payment.
It is announced for the information of Uchkoms and building representatives, that citizens on naval rations must not be provided with goods.
LEVAKOV, member of the Revtroika, for the President of Gorprodkom
POZDNIAKOV, Head of the Subdepartment of Distribution
“Days of anguish and cannonading. My heart is numb with despair; something has died within me. The people on the streets look bowed with grief, bewildered. No one trusts himself to speak. The thunder of heavy guns rends the air. “
-Alexander Berkman, Kronstadt diary
“During the whole day of March 10th, the Communist artillery incessantly shelled the whole island from south to north.”
-Voline, The Unknown Revolution
“So far, despite the intensive bombardment, casualties were remarkably light; outsiders who visited Kronstadt reported little injury and only minor damage to buildings and installations. Through March 10, by the defenders’ own reckoning, only 14 persons had been killed and 4 wounded (2 sailors, a soldier, and a civilian).”
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
So far, the chief effect of the Bolshevik offensive had been to isolate the Kronstadt rebels and prevent their message from spreading. The radio and press were running nonstop disinformation against them.
“In Moscow, the rebellion was a matter of growing concern. On March 10, Trotsky returned with a grim report on the situation and presented it to a closed session of the Tenth Party Congress. That evening, some 300 delegates volunteered for the front, over a quarter of the total attendance and a dramatic measure of the gravity with which the rising was viewed ten days after its outbreak.”
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
Kronstadt Izvestia 8: Thursday, March 10, 1921
A BOMB THROWN AT KRONSTADT IS A SIGNAL FOR UPRISING IN THE COMMUNIST CAMP
ORDER OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE, No 5, March 9, 1921
In connection with the military situation, the populace of the town is directed to hang all windows with something thick at night, before striking the light.
KILGAST, for the President of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee
TUKIN, for the Secretary
ORDER OF THE COMMANDANT OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT No 69, March 10, 1921
I order all Communists resident in the town of Kronstadt to surrender to the Administration of the Commandant of the Town (Roshal Square) within two days from the publication of this order all weaponry in their possession, that is: revolvers, rifles, their ammunition, and also sabres, dirks, and accumulator (electrical) lamps.
Those not carrying out this order will be considered to be acting against the authority of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and if weaponry is discovered in their possession, they will be liable to severe consequences.
ZEMSKOV, Provisional and Acting Commandant of the Town of Kronstadt
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS (March 9, 1921)
Attempts by the adversary to attack from the North and South were repulsed, with large losses for the attackers.
There were no losses on our side.
CALM AND RESTRAINT
We didn’t want blood. They started it, and the battle is on.
The sailors, soldiers, and workers of Kronstadt, true to the laboring Revolution, are forging fortune for Soviet Russia. The chains of the three year Communist slavery are being broken with an iron hammer.
The Communist throne has begun to tremble, and in a blind rage they choke themselves in the blood of laborers. They shoot workers and peasants right and left. They jeer over and repress the rebels’ defenseless families.
One more blow and the bloodthirsty Moloch, which has lulled the laboring people to sleep with sweet speeches, will be thrown down in ruins.
May the fraternal blood which waters the face of tormented Soviet Russia, wrung from the workers and peasants by the criminal Communists, be like cement; may it bind those who fight the hated yoke of the traitors into a unified host. At the moment of decisive combat with the hydra of the Bolshevik autocracy, we must be composed.
Our call to battle has already been heard.
Reserves are already approaching. Before the Bolsheviks’ eyes, our brothers the workers and peasants are extending us a helping hand in our battle with the maddened horde.
We must destroy the commissarocracy. With flaming hate in our heart and a sober head, holding back those who burst for battle and thereby preserving our living forces, we will strike the final decisive blow to the enemy.
We will carry to success the titanic battle with those who have betrayed the laboring people.
Calm and restraint.
FROM THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee, not following the Communist example, left both them and their families at liberty. At the present time it has been established that in an attempt at provocation, wanting to sow panic among the populace, they have spread the most foolish rumors. They talk of Krasnaya Gorka surrendering, of Trotsky promising not to leave one stone of Kronstadt on another, and so on. All this makes the civilian populace worry needlessly.
If there are several reports that the Prov. Rev. Com. is not now making public, it is demanded by the military situation, since there are still not a few spy-Communists among the populace. Citizens! Everything possible is made public in Izvestiia. Do not believe whisperers’ rumors. Try to restrain the culprits and hand them over to the Prov. Rev. Com.
The Prov. Rev. Com. warns that decisive measures, dictated by the circumstances of the military period, will be taken against those sowing lying rumors.
PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
A BROADCAST TO THE WORKERS OF THE WORLD
The following broadcast was sent on March 8:
To all… to all… to all…
Comrades, workers of the world! The Communists have declared our uprising for true Soviet power a mutiny. But it is not we who are the mutineers, but they.
The laboring masses have demanded free new elections to the stacked Soviets. But the Bolshevik authorities, with bloody field marshal Trostky at the head, have decided to repress the will of the laboring people whatever may come of it. They defend the party autocracy with executions of toilers and with violence against their families.
The Communists slander us, saying that our leaders are White Guard generals. They say that we have sold out to Finland, and that it has promised us support.
Before the world proletariat, we swear that no kind of White Guard generals lead us, and that no kind of negotiations with Finland either about military or produce support have there been, and none can there be. We are supplied with military equipment and produce for the time necessary to overthrow the Communists.
If, however, our struggle were to be drawn out, it is possible that we would be forced to turn to external produce aid, for the good of our wounded heroes, children and the civilian populace.
The Communists mask their weakness with claims that they are giving us a period of grace. In actual fact, they cannot collect the forces necessary to strangle the Third Revolution of laborers.
It has been three days since they fired the first shot, and first spilled fraternal blood. Fighting for the rightful cause, we have accepted the challenge. The garrison and laboring populace of Kronstadt, having thrown off the shameful Communist yoke, have decided to fight to the end.
With comradely greetings,
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE OF KRONSTADT
VOICE OF THE DECEIVED
For three and a half years, a little bunch of usurpers have made a reality of their own thieving will. At last, the Kronstadt sons of laboring Russia, horrified by the Communist oppression, came on March 1 to decide the fate of the deceived and robbed Russian people. With a single voice, we of Kronstadt said to the Communist leaders, Kalinin and the rest, “enough of oppression, and enough of deception. Off the road! Let us breathe free and share our painful needs with all the workers, peasants, sailors, and soldiers of the boundless Russian land.”
They, traitors, are frightened of the deceived Russian laboring people coming to understand everything.
In 3 1/2 years of their reign, they have still not drunk their fill of the innocent blood of toilers.
The executions of our brothers are still too few for them. They have taken to torturing defenseless women and children. And where are our representatives? Why can they not intercede for us, and liberate our brothers who are languishing in prisons?
No, deceivers, we have heard enough of your fancy speech. No one believes you any more. Don’t try to scare us either. No one fears you.
The laboring people itself, and not generals, is leading the struggle against you, you blood-drinkers.
Long live the Russian proletariat, tortured, long-suffering all adversities, and now in rebellion to gain its rights!
Long live the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt, chosen by us, the laborers! Only it do we trust.
Off, hands stained with brotherly blood, stinking oppressors of Laboring Russia!
THE REVTROIKA OF THE ENGINEER WORKING BATTALION
TO SOLDIERS FIGHTING ON THE COMMUNIST SIDE
Comrades! March 7, by order of Trotsky, butcher of worker-peasant Russia, fire was opened on Free Kronstadt from the batteries of Lisy Nos and Sestroretsk because Kronstadt no longer wants to dance to the piping of the Communist party, which has betrayed the laboring worker and peasant folk in order to gain power.
We did not want to spill fraternal blood, and we did not fire a single shot until they forced us to do so. We were forced to defend the rightful cause of the laboring people, and to fire. We were forced to fire at our own brothers, sent to a certain death by Communists, who feast on the people’s bill.
And at that time, their ringleaders, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and the rest, were sitting on soft chairs in the warm, lit rooms of tsarist palaces, discussing how the quicker and better to cover rebel Kronstadt in blood. To your misfortune, a snowstorm arose and an impenetrable night approached. Nonetheless, taking nothing into consideration, the Communist butchers pushed you across the ice. They drove you from behind with detachments of machine gun armed Communists.
Many of you perished that night, on the huge, icy expanse of the Gulf of Finland. At sunrise, when the snowstorm had quieted, only pathetic remnants reached us, hungry and exhausted, barely moving your feet, dressed in white shrouds.
By early morning, nearly a thousand of you had been gathered, and by afternoon a countless number. You paid dearly with your blood and suffering for this venture. And after your failure, Trotsky rolled off back to Petrograd, to once again drive new sufferers to the slaughter. Our worker-peasant blood is obtained for him cheaply enough.
And once again, the regiments will set out, driven by well-dressed and well-fed Communists who hide behind your backs, farther from our rounds, in order to treat you to machine gun fire if you waver or if you don’t want to give your body for the defense of these brigands. We don’t treat the Communists like that. All the commissars, and even the butchers from the Cheka, we feed with the exact same rations which we eat ourselves.
We refused butter to Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot, when he declared that it’s impossible to live without it; we give butter only to children and the sick. That is how matters stand in Kronstadt, and not like the Communist deceivers tell you: that White officers and Finnish White Guards have captured Kronstadt. No, Kronstadt is controlled only by seamen, soldiers, and workers, who have given an oath to liberate you and all Russia from the power of those who have betrayed the laboring people.
Comrades, realize what you are doing and where you are going!
Look and see what awaits you, and what you are spilling your blood for!
The Communist administration has led Russia to unheard of destitution, hunger, cold, and other disasters. Factories and plants have closed, and railroads are almost at a stop. The countryside has been stripped to the bone. There is neither bread, nor beast, nor tool to work the land.
There is no clothing, no shoes, no heat. Every day, hungry and cold workers, peasants and city folk move toward a certain death, having lost all hope for improvement in their lives.
And the traitorous Communist party brought you to this. For three and a half years, they sang into your ears that there, there everything will be arranged and it will be good, but in fact they have pulled the wool over your eyes in the most base way, flayed the last bit from you and now are sending you to the slaughter. The Communists don’t need you, but only power over you so that they can continue to oppress the people for their own pleasure.
So enough of bearing the oppressors and their power on our own necks. Rise up, all as one, and with the comradely blow of a bayonet, throw the base traitors into the grave. Join us, so that shoulder to shoulder we may attack the common enemy, for the liberation of Soviet Russia and of our brothers the peasants and workers from the pack of robbers with the blood-drinkers Trotsky and Zinoviev at its head.
To arms, comrades!
As comrades, forward against the enemy!
Victory is ours!
THEY SHARE WITH BROTHERS
The struggle for Soviet power ties us ever closer together Every person strives to somehow aid the common cause. The 1st Raikom of metalworkers has unanimously decided to hand over to the common kettle the entire horsemeat ration due them.
ELECTIONS TO THE REVTROIKA AND RAIKOM
The General Meeting of the 6th Regional Committee of the Union of Metalworkers of the Kronstadt Port Construction Unit, after reports on the events of the day by Comrades Kilgast and Perepelkin, passed the following resolution, “We trust you, we are with you. Go boldly forward on the holy path you have marked. We will not leave you, and if necessary, will die together with you for the good of our brothers, the laborers and workers.”
Comrade Kostenko was elected as Raikom representative to the Troika. Comrade Boiarinov was elected President of the Regional Committee, Comrade Parychev Secretary and Comrade Kupriianov a member.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I ask to correct a mistake which I noticed in yesterday’s March 9 number of Kronshtadtskie Izvestiia, where it reports on my leaving the RCP. I was never in the party, and hate the supporters of the party of those who have deceived us with their lying slogans, under the mask of the laboring people.
Down with the Communist blood-drinkers!
Long live the Power of Laborers!
G. REBONE, seaman of the Company of Seaman-Specialists
THE COMMUNIST THRONE HAS BEGUN TO TREMBLE
LEAVING THE PARTY
All those leaving the ranks of the RCP are directed to turn in their party booklets and identifications at their electoral troikas. Those leaving the party in the future and giving declarations are directed to do so right now.
Declarations of departure from the RCP arrive unceasingly at the editorial offices, but in view of their great quantity and the insufficiency of space, the editors are unable to publish them immediately, and will include them as possible in following editions of the newspaper.
MY COMRADE STUDENTS OF THE LABOR, MILITARY AND NAVAL SCHOOLS!
I have lived for almost thirty years with a deep love for the people. I have carried light and knowledge, as well as I was able, wherever it was awaited, and wherever needed for the present moment. The Revolution of 1917 increased my strengths by giving my work free range, and I continued to serve my ideal with great energy. The teachings of Communism, with its slogan, “All for the people,” captured me with their purity and beauty. Thus, in February of 1920, I became a candidate member of the RCP. But with the “first shot” I was shaken by the thought that I might be considered a participant in spilling the blood of innocent victims. They have fired at a peaceful populace, at my deeply beloved children, of whom there are 6 or 7 thousand in Kronstadt. I came to feel that it is not within my strength to hold faith in, and profess to a party which has disgraced itself by a bestial act. Therefore, with this first shot I ceased to consider myself a candidate member of the RCP.”
MARIIA NIKOLAEVNA SHATEL, teacher
March 8, 1921
I request that you no longer consider me a member of the RCP, since I have become convinced that the Communists are oppressors. Like bloodthirsty animals they do not feel sorry for their kills, and hunger for the people’s blood. I greet the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, which is leading the laboring people by a true and honest path.
SHISHELOVA, manual laborer of the Artillery Workshop
We, rank and file Communists of the Electrical Unit of the Third Region have seen that when the comrade Kronstadters proposed that delegates be sent from Petrograd, Trotsky sent an airplane filled with bombs. The Communists started throwing bombs out on women and children who are in no way guilty, and barely missed taking a boy of 13 years as their victim. Because of this, and because executions of honest workers are raging everywhere, we are constantly tortured by the actions and bestial works of Trotsky and his champions, and are leaving the Communist party in order to join all honest workers in the mutual struggle for liberation of the laborers from oppression. We ask that we be considered non-party comrades.
Anton Kovtun, Andrei Luts, Iuna, Starovevki, Otu, Smark, Eduard Pokrov, Stepan Galiantcheev, Georgii Egorov, Andrei Filippov, Ivan Nikolaev, Ivan Filippov, Nikolai Baksheev, Aleksei Bostalev, Filimonov, Petr Pavlov, and one illegible signature
Declarations also arrived from:
25) F. Andreev, machinist of fort Konstantin, 26) M. Logunov, sldr. of the 4th Artillery Division, 27) also A. Sergeev, 28) V. Kondrashikhin, sldr. of the Fortress Communications Service, 29) L. Savkovsky, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 30) also S. Yakovlev, 31) also V. Shutov, 32) also P. Semeniuk, 33) also P. Kanatov, 34) also S. Ageev, 35) also F. Zhuravsky, 36) also Lebedev, 37) also Lavrov, 38) also V. Golber, 39) also I. Karavaev, 40) also A. Malashenkov, 42) S. Artamonov, seaman of the Kronstadt Naval Prodbaza, 43) F. Shlakis, artisan of the Naval Artillery Laboratory, 44) M. Glukhov, seaman of the Worker-Escort Detachment.
75) A. Suslov, sailor of the steamship Izhor, 76) P. Ivanov, seaman of the Port Tugboats, 77) S. Artemov, sldr. of 5th Company of the infantry regiment, 78) I. Ilyin, artisan of the Naval Artillery Laboratory, 79) V. Shirmov, sldr. of the 13th Battery, 80) V. Prokopov, seaman, 81) P. Zimin, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 82) A. Tarasov, sldr. of Battery No 4, 83) I. Morkin, sldr. of the 9th Battery of fort Totleben, of the 4th Artillery Division, 84) also Ia. Malevansky, 85) also V. Smirnov, 86) also V. Afanasiev, 87) also F. Litvinov, 88) also K. Deviatkin, 89) also P. Kuzmin, 90) also N. Loginov, 91) also A. Semionov, 92) also Shuagenkov, 93) V. Nekipelov, artisan of the Ust-Kanal Substation, 94) D. Spiridonov, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 95) also V. Stepanov, 96) also A. Gorodinsky, 97) also V. Burmatov, 98) also N. Kulikov, 99) also I. Petushkovsky, 100) also B. Maksimovsky, 101) also M. Chernyshev, 102) also P. Zimin, 103) also N. Steniaev, 104) also G. Vikhorev, 105) also D. Moshensky, 106) also A. Saveliev, 107) also V. Spiridonov, 108) G. Zaitsev, member of the RCP, 109) P. Kolosov, artisan of the Steamship Plant, 110) V. Spiridonov, sldr. of the Second Artillery Division, 111) D. Sedlov, sldr. of the 7th Artillery Division, 112) I. Melnikov, seaman of the Mine Casting Workshop, 113) I. Vorobiov, cashier of the Town Finance Department, 114) N. Kuriashev, baker of the Army Bakery, 115) also T. Platonov, 116) M. Sysoev, militiaman, 117) also Breiner, 118) also I. Dmitriev, 119) M. Fomin, sldr. of the 3rd Artillery Division, 120) S. Rois, sldr. of the 4th Anti-Aircraft Battery of the Fortress Air Defense, 121) K. Borovikov, sldr., 122) A. Rusakov, seaman, 123) P. Kulikov, member of the RCP, 124) M. Trofinov, lithographer of the Administration of the Artillery Commander, 125) A. Maiorov, seaman, 126) V. Kappo, artisan of the Steamship Plant, 127) also A. Selivanov, 128) G. Iosifov, 129) Ia. Tiulin, candidate member of the RCP,130) A. Vasiliev, sldr. 131) I. Chekulaev, artisan of fort Petr I.
Comrades, I ask that you accept me into your family, since I too am a peasant and village toiler. My family, like yours, was destroyed by the back-breaking and oppressive yoke of the RCP. Comrades, seeing all this filth, seeing that the RCP has become bureaucratized and that all its declarations and decisions have stayed on paper and not been brought to life, I leave its ranks and give my support to the resolution which was passed at the General Town Meeting of March 1, and for which I too voted.
Once more comrades, I ask you to accept me into your ranks and to use my work.
IUSHKOV, serviceman of the 3rd Division
We the undersigned, members of the RCP, declare that, finding the party’s tactics to be fundamentally incorrect, and that it is completely bureaucratized and absolutely separated from the masses, we are leaving its ranks. Before all the laboring people, we brand those who remain in its ranks with the shame of criminals and murderers.
We the undersigned call on all honest members of the RCP to give full support to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee as the single organ which expresses the will of the laboring people at the present time.
Follow us to honorable battle against the insane fanatics, and tell yourself, “Victory or death for the glory of the laborers.”
M. Arkhipov, V. Trapezniakov, A. Rekhov, Shitov, Ia. Filippov, Ustinov, Alekseev, Rumiantsev, P. Filippov, I. Ovchinnikov, A. Kniaginin, K. Ilyin and I. Balashev, soldiers of the Air Defense of the Kronstadt Naval Fortress
Seeing clearly that the RCP not only is not in agreement with the will of the entire laboring people, but that it is attempting to hold power for itself by all means in its command, up to and including threats and false reports from the center of power, I declare to the Revolutionary Committee that I consider myself to have left the ranks of the RCP. I will exert all my reason, strength and two years of battle experience in the last war for the good of the entire laboring people. I give my entire support to the resolution of the garrison of the town of Kronstadt.
I. SHAFRIN, seaman.
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
Today, 1/4 lb. of salted butter is issued from the meat stores by adult cards of letters A and B, for produce coupon No 4.
1/4 lb. of table butter is issued to children of all series: by series A for produce coupon No 7, by series B for produce coupon No 5, and by series C for produce coupon No 4.
1/2 lb. of sugar is issued from all stores by all adult and children’s cards. To adults of letters A and B and to children of series C for bread coupon No 7, to children of series A for produce coupon No 8 and of series B for bread coupon No 7.
The Presidium of Gorprodkom directs Uchkoms and house representatives, on their personal responsibility, to take cards from those under arrest, since the latter receive produce at their place of imprisonment, and to present these to the Statistics sub-department no later than March 11.
All orders and writs issued by Gorkommuna before March 7 are declared annulled.
Issues of produce declared by Gorkommuna until March 6 inclusive are considered ended, and unused coupons in citizens’ possesion are annulled.
From March 9 the following are the following norms are established for the foddering of horses in the possession of Soviet institutions: 12 lbs. of oats in 24 hours and 4 lbs of hay in 24 hours. The Administration of Gorprodkom directs that these norms be followed.
AL. OKOLOTKOV, for the president of Gorprodkom
An attack on Kronstadt from the southeast on the morning of March 11 failed, resulting in a large number of government casualties. Fog prevented operations for the rest of the day.
“Visibility was so poor that a Communist pilot, flying from Oranienbaum to Petrograd, mistakenly landed at Kronstadt. Seeing his error, he revved up his engines and managed to take off amid heavy gunfire, making it safely to Petrograd.”
-Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
Kronstadt Izvestia 9: Friday, March 11, 1921
ALL POWER TO SOVIETS, AND NOT PARTIES
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee reports that today at 4 pm, in the Garrison Club, there will be a meeting of the representatives elected on March 2, for the organization of new elections to the Soviets.
FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT
It is announced for your information that only those documents, giving the right of passage about the town after 11 pm, are valid which have the seal of the battleship Petropavlovsk, “Commander of the Town of Kronstadt,” or “Staff of the Kronstadt Naval Fortress.” All other documents issued by whatever kind of unit or institution are considered invalid without the presence of the seals declared above.
ZEMSKOV, Commandant of the Town of Kronstadt
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
Over the entire course of the night of March 10, the Communist artillery bombarded the fortress and forts with intensive artillery fire from the southern and northern shores, meeting an energetic repulse from our side. About 4 am, Communist infantry made the first attack attempt, from the southern shore, but was repulsed. Communist attempts to attack continued until 8 am, but all were repulsed by the artillery and small arms fire of our batteries and garrison units.
THE CONFUSION OF AUTHORITY
Kronstadt began a struggle with the Communist usurpers of power, who have taken for themselves the right to punish and pardon the peasants and workers, like grand lords. We have thrown out a call to all the laborers of Russia to struggle for freely elected Soviets. Our cry has been heard. The revolutionary sailors, soldiers, and workers of Petrograd are already coming to our aid.
We have learned from deserters that in Petrograd field marshal Trotsky is already unable to raise a single combat detachment. He is forced to make do with gangs of chekists, murderers from the anti-profiteer detachments, and other scum.
We also learn that for the Communist staff, simple Communists are already not enough for the attack on Kronstadt. They are calling for select berserkers.
The Bolshevik authorities feel the ground slipping from under their feet, and give the order in Petrograd to shoot any group of 5 people gathered in the street. The authorities are scared. They are beginning to act nervously, making mistake after mistake, and finally coming to the point where they shoot cannons at sparrows.
The people of Petrograd are putting on pressure from the rear. One more blow and the oppressors’ power will fall.
HOW THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE WAS FORMED
On the first of March at two o’clock, by permission of the Ispolkom and not arbitrarily, a meeting of seamen, soldiers, and workers gathered on Revolution Square. As many as 15 thousand people were present at the meeting. It occured under the presidency of Comrade Vasiliev, a Communist and President of the Ispolkom, and with the participation of Comrade Kalinin, President of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot, who had arrived from Petrograd.
The object of the meeting was to discuss a resolution passed previously at the General Meeting of the ships’ crews of the 1st and 2nd Brigades. This resolution was on the current moment, and the question of how to lead the country out of the difficult state of general collapse and ruin. This resolution is now well known to all, and does not include anything that would hurt Soviet power.
In fact, it was the expression of true Soviet power, of the power of workers and peasants. But Comrades Kalinin and Kuzmin, who gave speeches, did not want to understand this. Their speeches were not successful. They did not know how to speak to the masses, who were tortured to despair. And so, the meeting unanimously passed the resolution of the ships’ crews.
The next day, by the permission and authority of the Ispolkom, in accordance with a decree published in Izvestiia, delegates from ships, military units, workshops and trade unions, two per organization, gathered at the House of Education (formerly the Engineering Academy). In all, more than three hundred people were gathered.
The representatives of authority had lost their heads, and several of them left town. Because of this it is completely understandable that the protection of both the delegates and the building itself from excesses from anyone’s side had to be taken on by the crew of the battleship Petropavlovsk.
The Conference of Delegates was opened by Comrade Petrichenko. After the selection of a 5 person Presidium, he gave the floor to Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot. Despite the sharp definition of the garrison’s and workers’ attitude toward the representatives of power and the Communists, Comrade Kuzmin did not want to take it into consideration. The object of the Conference was to find an exit, to settle by peaceful means the situation which had formed. Specifically, the object was to create an organ, with the aid of which it would be possible to cary out new elections to the Soviets on a more fair basis, as outlined by the resolution.
And this was all the more necessary since the authority of the old Soviet, which was almost entirely filled with Communists, and had shown itself incapable of carrying out vitally urgent tasks, had in effect already ended. But instead of trying to calm the Conference, Comrade Kuzmin stirred it up. He spoke of the dual situation which Kronstadt occupied, of patrols, dual power, danger from Poland, of the fact that all Europe is watching us. He assured us that all was calm in Petrograd, pointed out that he was in the delegates’ hands, and that if they wished they could shoot him, and concluded his speech with the declaration that if the delegates wanted open armed struggle, then it would happen; the Communists would not leave power voluntarily, and would struggle to their last forces.
After Kuzmin’s speech, tactless and not bringing a single drop of calm to the agitated mass of delegates but just inciting it more, was a colorless speech by Comrade Vasiliev, President of the Ispolkom. This speech had a very undefined composition, and lacked purpose. The overwhelming majority of the Conference was clearly opposed to the Communists.
But none the less, the Conference did not lose the certainty that it was possible to reach agreement with the representatives of authority. This is supported best of all by the fact that the Conference President’s call to enter into substantive work and make an agenda found unanimous support among the delegates.
It was decided to begin working out an agenda, but at the same time it became clear to everyone that it was impossible to trust Comrades Kuzmin and Vasiliev. It was necessary to temporarily restrain them, since the order to take the Communists’ weapons away had not yet been issued, it was not advisable to use the telephones, and the soldiers, as was later shown by a letter divulged at the Conference, were afraid that the commissars would not allow meetings in the units and such.
Although the Conference did not hide its negative attitude toward the Communists, all the same when the question was raised after Comrades Kuzmin and Vasiliev and the Fortress Commander had been removed, it was decided to allow the Communists among the delegates to remain in the Conference, and to continue in the general work along with the non-party comrades. The Conference, despite the individual protests of several members who proposed restraining the Communists, found it possible to recognize them as the very same empowered representatives of units and organizations as the other members.
This too supports the fact that the non-party delegates of the laborers, soldiers, sailors, and workers believed that the resolution which had been passed the previous day at the Garrison Meeting would not lead to a break with the Communists, like it had with their party. They believed that a common language could be found, and that they could understand one another.
After this, at the suggestion of Comrade Petrichenko, the resolution which had been passed the previous day at the Garrison Meeting was read, and also passed by the Conference with an overwhelming majority of votes.
And then, at that moment when it seemed the Conference would be able to enter into substantive work, there came the out of order declaration of a comrade delegate from the battleship Sevastopol saying that 15 carts of rifles and machine guns were moving toward the building.
This report, completely unexpected by the Conference, was later shown to be false, and was put out by the Communists in the hope of breaking up the Conference. But at the moment when it was made, the tense atmosphere, the clearly ill-disposed attitude of the representatives of authority, and the entire situation had well prepared the Conference to believe that it was actually so.
Nevertheless, the Conference supported the President’s proposal to enter into discussion of the current moment on the basis of the resolution which had been passed. The Conference began discussing measures which would serve to actually carry out the resolution. A proposal to send a delegation to Petrograd was laid aside, in view of the possibility of its arrest. After this, proposals arrived from a large number of comrade delegates, suggesting that a Provisional Revolutionary Committee be formed from the Conference Presidium, and that it be appointed to attend to carrying out new elections to the Soviet.
At the very last moment, the comrade President reported that a detachment of two-thousand persons was moving toward the Conference. After this, the Conference, unrestful and upset, broke up in alarm and left the building of the House of Education.
With the closing of the Conference, and in connection with the report which had just been made, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee set off for the battleship Petropavlovsk with the object of finding protection. It had its residence there until the Committee’s efforts had ensured order in the town in the interests of all laborers, seamen, soldiers, and workers.
THE TRUTH ABOUT KRONSTADT
(Voice of a Communist)
The spontaneous striving of the broad laboring masses to make a reality of the bright ideals of the October revolution and of Soviet power has called forth an amazing rise in the spirits of those involved in the current revolutionary movement. From those few reports which make it through to Kronstadt, it is possible to think that several of the Petrograd Communist comrades, maybe because they don’t know the situation in Kronstadt, or maybe deliberately, are drawing the Kronstadt events in a completely different light.
To me personally, as a Communist, it is painful to hear my own party members repeat this slander, this fantasy, which the Petrograd papers write.
They are saying there that everything happening in Kronstadt is the work of White Guards and Entente spies with General Kozlovsky as head, and that Kronstadt has made an agreement with Finland and is ready to make war on Peter.
The movement which began in the Peter factories was unquestionably called out by lack of faith in the subverted Soviets, by the closing of factories and plants due to lack of heating material and the produce difficulties, and by the worker arrests connected with the movement. At that time, however, it was unnoticed in Kronstadt, which is better provided with heating material and produce, although there were rumors passed about what was happening in Petrograd.
These rumors took root on the Petropavlovsk. Her crew took up the demand to end arrests and release those already arrested, and added other demands.
Because of this, on March 1, at the Garrison Meeting at Anchor Square, in the presence of Comrade Kalinin, President of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Comrade Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot, and almost the entire populace and garrison of the fortress, a resolution which had been worked out earlier was proposed, and passed unanimously (with the exception of Comrades Kalinin, Kuzmin and Vasiliev) without any kind of change at all.
The most fundamental and important point of this resolution was the demand for new elections to the Soviets, so that representatives from all left political parties, and anarchists also, could take part in them. This would have been done so that the Soviets would represent the actual power of the laborers themselves.
As for the other points of the resolution, like removing the anti-profiteer detachments, liberating political prisoners, and so on, some of these demands have already been fulfilled under pressure from the masses. For example, there is an order by the Petrosoviet on removing the anti-profiteer detachments from all of Petrograd Province.
Based on this resolution, which had been affirmed by the entire populace and garrison of the fortress, the sailors of the Petropavlovsk proposed to the Presidium of the Soviet that it should be newly elected in the next couple of days. The next day, March 2 that is, in accordance with an announcement by the Presidium of the Soviet, two delegates were chosen from each union and raikom, who were supposed to elect from among themselves a commission to hold new elections to the Soviet.
But in view of the fact that fully believable suspicions appeared among the gathered delegates, about a supposed threat of oppression by the Communists, and also in view of the threatening speeches by several delegates on the Communists’ behalf, the Conference decided to elect a Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and to also appoint it to organize the elections to the Soviet and the protection of the town.
From all this, we see that there was no kind of White Guard organization in this case, and that there couldn’t be any, because everything that happened unfolded on grounds of the dissatisfaction of the broad masses with the existing Soviets, the majority of the representatives in which are Communists.
And once this is so, once we see that they no longer trust us, we have to say right away, not losing a day, “Citizens! Take state control in your own hands, but give us the right to take part in this work also, on the same basis as others.” We have to do this in order to not earn still greater hatred from the people’s masses, whose representatives we called ourselves.
All the repressions, executions and destruction which are brought by the war which the Communists have set up lead only to anger.
I am certain that comrade Communists who entered the party not because of a desire for power, careerism or any other self interest will agree with me.
PALANOV, candidate member of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia]
TO COMRADE WORKERS AND PEASANTS!
Kronstadt has started a heroic struggle with the hated Bolshevik authorities for the liberation of the workers and peasants. But it was not Kronstadt who first spilled comradely blood.
Our enemies are deceiving you. They say that the Kronstadt uprising was organized by Mensheviks, SRs, spies of the Entente, and tsarist generals. They assign the leading role to Paris! Idiocy! Our uprising was made in Paris like the moon was made in Berlin. It is all a blatant lie.
That which is now happening was prepared by the Communists themselves, by their three year work of blood and destruction. Letters from the villages are full of complaints and damnations of the Communists. Our comrades have returned from leave full of hate and anguish, and informed us of the horrors which the Bolsheviks have created across the entire face of the Russian land. And finally, we ourselves felt, saw and heard what was being done all around. From every direction, a great and terrible scream came from the villages and town of unbounded Russia. It lit a fire of indignation in our hearts, and caused us to raise our hands against the Communists.
We don’t want to return to the old way. We are not servants of the bourgeoisie or hirelings of the Entente. We are defenders of the power of all laborers, against the unbridled, tyrannical power of some single party.
In Kronstadt, there is neither Kolchak, nor Denikin, nor Yudenich. In Kronstadt are laboring folk.
The reason and conscience of simple Kronstadt seamen, soldiers, and workers has at last found the path and the words which will lead us out of the dead end, and which tsarist generals could not find.
The Communists have taken this well into account. Wanting to sow discord and to save their skins, they try to pin an image of White Guardism on our uprising. They will not succeed.
In the beginning, we wanted to settle everything by peaceful means, but the Communists didn’t want to concede. They cling to power more than Nikolai, and are ready to drown all Russia in blood in order to keep their autocratic power.
And now bloodthirsty Trotsky, that evil genius of Russia, drives against us our children and your brothers, who cover the ice before the strongholds of Kronstadt with hundreds of corpses. For four days already the battle has seethed, the cannons have thundered and fraternal blood has poured. For four days the Kronstadt heroes have triumphantly repulsed all the enemy’s onslaughts.
Kronstadt stands firm. One and all are prepared to sooner die than concede. Trotsky hovers like a kestrel over our heroic town, but he will not take it. His arms are too short. Our enemies act with only cadets, Communist fighting detachments and deceived troops, brought from far away and driven forward with machine guns.
The soldiers are agitated and cross over to us. Only the Communists remain. They are forced to select units from the butcher chekists, heroes of the anti-profiteer detachments and other such villains.
The people of Peter are already renouncing them, and soon the Judases will run off to hang themselves.
Comrade workers! Kronstadt is fighting for you, the hungry, cold, and bare.
While the Bolsheviks rule, it will never be your lot to see anything better. For three years they have fed you on frozen potatoes, spoiled herring, and promises, and life is getting worse and worse.
But you put up with it all.
So tell us, in the name of what? Can it really be just so that the Communists might flourish and the commissars get fat? Or do you still believe them?
At an expanded session of the Petrosoviet, Zinoviev reported on the millions in gold which are being issued to buy produce, and figured that for every worker 50 rubles will arrive. So, if an old lord-land owner would sell his serfs for a thousand ruble banknote, Zinoviev wants to buy the Peter workers for 50 rubles. That, comrades, is the kind of price which the Bolshevik market puts on you.
But we believe that our enemies will attract only unaware and backwards workers with that kind of dodge. No kind of gold will be enough for them to buy the honest and daring toilers.
Do not be slow!
Break the hated chains of the new serfdom.
Comrade peasants, the Bolsheviks deceived and fleeced you most of all. Where is the land which you took from the land owners, and of which you dreamed for hundreds of years? It has been given away to communards or put under Soviet collectives, and you watch and lick your lips. Everything has been taken from you that it was possible to take. You have been subjected to wholesale pillage. You have been worked to exhaustion by the Bolshevik serfdom. They force you to do the will of the new lords with a hungry stomach, a pinched mouth, barefoot and naked, and without a whisper.
Comrades, the people of Kronstadt have raised the banner of rebellion, and are certain that tens of millions of workers and peasants will answer their call.
It cannot be that the dawn which has appeared here has not become clear for all Russia. It cannot be that the Kronstadt explosion has not made all Russia, and first of all Petrograd, shake and arise.
Our enemies have filled the prisons with workers, but there are still many daring and honest ones at liberty.
Arise comrades, to battle with the Communist autocracy!
—An order by the Defense Committee has been published in Petrograd forbidding street gatherings of more than five people under threat of being fired on.
—The mood in the city is one of depression.
—There are no complete garrison units. Rather, small detachments are formed from chekists, Communists, and cadets.
—Garrison units are rebelling.
—A round fell on the Communist headquarters on the Oranienbaum shore, and destroyed a corner of the building.
—18 echelons have been hastily sent to the Polish border.
LIST OF THOSE KILLED, AND THOSE DIED FROM WOUNDS FOR MARCH 8, 9, and 10 (UNTIL 12 NOON)
1) FROM KRONSTADT UNITS:
1) Aleksandrov, Mikhail, 2) Danilov, Aleksandr, 3) Klimenkov, Zakhar, 4) Mischenko, Stepan, 5) Pospelov, Aleksandr, 6) Pakhtonov, Ivan, 7) Kovshin, Stepan, 8) Shaposhnikov, Foma, and also 1 seaman, 1 worker, and four soldiers whose names were not discovered.
2) FROM ATTACKING UNITS:
1) Cadets: Viasev, Semen, 2) Shamritsky, Ivan, 3 and 4) two cadets whose names were not made clear, and 5) Bachev, Aleksandr.
During the same period 2 seamen, 1 civilian, and 31 soldiers were wounded.
HOW WE FEED THE COMMUNISTS
The following apportionment of produce has been confirmed for the arrested Communists and war prisoners, until the improvement of the produce situation in the fortress.
BREAD ALLOWANCE: 1/4 lb. of bread or 1/8 lb. of biscuit; 1/4 lb. of meat. HOT FOOD ALLOWANCE: 12 zol. [1 zolotnik is about 4.62 grams] of meat, 12 zol. of fish, 12 zol. of cabbage, 4 zol. of potato, 2 zol. of fats, 4 zol. of sugar, .72 zol. of coffee.
Tobacco—3 zol. of makhorka [low-grade tobacco] and two boxes of matches per month.
ON COMMUNIST BEGINNINGS
In view of the fact that the provisionally arrested Communists aren’t now in need of shoes, theirs have been taken, 280 pairs in all, and given for distribution to the troop units defending the approaches to Kronstadt. The Communists have been given bast sandals in exchange.
This is as it should be.
ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO THE GARRISON
For the month of March it is decided to additionally issue to the troop units of the garrison: 1/2 lb. of sugar, 2 lb. of cabbage, 1 1/3 lb. of potato, 50 cigarettes, 1/2 lb. of makhorka and 1 box of matches.
LONG LIVE RED KRONSTADT, WITH THE POWER OF FREE SOVIETS!
DOWN WITH THE COUNTERREVOLUTION OF LEFT AND RIGHT!
THEIR EYES HAVE BEEN UNCOVERED
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee and the editors of Izvestiia are swamped by Communists’ declarations of departure from the party. There is such a mass of these declarations that due to the insufficiency of space in the newspaper, it is necessary to print them in small bunches in the order of arrival.
Those quitting the party are sailors, soldiers, deceived workers and that part of the intelligentsia which was foolish enough to believe in garish slogans and inflammatory speeches. What does this flight mean? Fear of revenge from the laboring people who have torn power from the bolsheviks? No. A thousand times no.
When it was noted to a woman worker appearing today with a declaration of departure from the party that there were many such as herself fleeing the party, she answered with indignation, “Our eyes have been uncovered, but we aren’t fleeing.” The bright red blood of laborers, coloring the icy cover of the Gulf of Finland for the benefit of some insane leaders who are defending their own power, has opened the people’s eyes.
The bright red blood of laborers, coloring cover of the Gulf of Finland for the pleasure of the insane Communists, clinging to their power, opened the people’s eyes. All who still possess even a spark of integrity, even a grain of truth in a tortured soul, are fleeing. They flee the gang of demagogues without looking back.
All that remains is the criminal. Commissars of all ranks, chekists and the “bigshots” who have fed well on the bill of the hungering worker and peasant, remain, with their pockets bulging from gold. They rob museums and palaces, the property which the people won with their own blood.
They still hope for something, but in vain. The people which in one instant dared to throw from itself the yoke of tsarism and the gendarmes dares to also throw from itself the feudal chains of the Communists.
The laboring people has recovered its sight.
LEAVING THE PARTY
In connection with the situation which has been created in Kronstadt I consider it imperative to declare (in particular to the crew of the battleship Petropavlovsk) that I have not taken part in the RCP since August of 1920. Therefore, I ask that I not be counted as a member since the declared time, and that it not be assumed that I am among the usurpers of power who, instead of trying to come to well known compromises and avoid spilling human blood, are throwing bombs at children who are in no way guilty.
Comrade T. IA. BRATISHEVSKY,
seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 8th Company
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
A half pound of bread is issued for March 11 by adult cards of letter A, for bread coupon No 22.
Today, March 11, is the last day of issue of canned foods, meat, oats and wheat.
TUKIN, President of the Administration of Gorprodkom
Various letters are arriving at the Secretariat of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee without the signatures of their authors. The Secretariat brings to the general attention that such declarations will absolutely not be considered.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT
Late payment of the 40 ruble fee is slowing payment of salaries to the presidents and secretaries of uchkoms, and therefore the Department of Administration instructs all control commissions to make certain that the noted fee arrives at the Department not earlier than the 15th and not later than the 25th. If this is not done, the commissions also, besides their presidents and secretaries, will be held responsible.
KASUKHIN, assistant to the head of the Department of Administration
The General Meeting of presidents and secretaries of uchkoms will take place on Friday at 1 pm, in the House of Unions. Attendance is mandatory. New mandates will be issued.
The Union of Workers of the Commission of the Economy directs members of the union to receive their onions within a 2 day period, after which time no kind of issue will take place.
The Committee of the Union of Metal Workers and the Revtroika jointly direct all comrades free from guard duty to be at work at the whistle, so that the number of free comrades in the workshops will be known.
Lists of those not showing up at work without good cause should be sent to the union.
The Committee of the Union of Water Transport workers brings to the attention of all members of the union that issue of onions ends March 13.
Issue of cigarette papers will occur at the union until March 18.
According to Za Narodnoe Delo, air and artillery bombardment resumed on March 12, but the fighters at Kronstadt succeeded in shooting down one plane, which crashed through the ice and disappeared into the Gulf of Finland.
But despite continuing small victories like this, the future looked increasingly bleak for the rebels. Their uprising had failed to spread. It was not superior military force that had won the day for the Bolsheviks, but rather, superior command of the flows of information.
This same day, according to his diary, Alexander Berkman finished reading Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, occasioning grim thoughts about the human spirit.
Kronstadt Izvestia 10: Saturday, March 12, 1921
TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE OVERTHROW OF AUTOCRACY AND THE EVE OF THE FALL OF COMMISSAROCRACY
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee directs all military units of the Kronstadt Fortress and Naval Base and Soviet departments and institutions to present exact information to the Transport Department of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee by March 13 for wagon and automobile transport, having divided it into light or dray, and suited or unsuited for carrying burdens.
V. BAIKOV, Director of the Transport Department of the Prov. Rev. Com.
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS for March 11, 1921
The day passed calmly.
Thick fog interfered with firing. About six pm Krasnaya Gorka opened occasional and resultless fire on the town.
Our northern forts were subjected to increased shelling by Sestroretsk and Lisy Nos.
The batteries of the adversary were silenced by the fire of our guns. Observations were made by intelligence.
In Oranienbaum, a train carrying bread was destroyed by our fire. The adversary’s garrison was without bread the entire day.
Yesterday, Kronstadt was subjected to repeated raids by airplanes throwing bombs over the town.
At 4 pm, the adversary’s artillery opened fire from batteries located on the Oranienbaum Shore and from Krasnoflotskii. Our artillery answered energetically. Artillery fire subsided around 8 pm.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Prov. Rev. Com.
SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense of the Kronstadt Fortress
TO ALL COMRADE SEAMEN, SOLDIERS, AND WORKERS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE REPULSE OF COMMUNIST ATTACKS FROM MARCH 8 THROUGH 12
Dear comrades! Fate itself has layed on you the great mission of liberating dear Soviet Russia from the Communist yoke. To you dear comrades, defenders of Kronstadt, the citadel of the Soviets, has fallen the most important and responsible lot of selfless struggle. Behind your valiant chests, as behind a rock wall, your mothers, wives, and children calmly await victory.
They have entrusted their lives to you, and look on you with pride and faith as the saviors of laboring Russia, and the defenders of a great truth. Prove to the entire [sic] world of laborers, dear warriors, that however difficult may the great struggle for freely elected Soviets become, Kronstadt has always stood, and stands now, a vigilant watch on guard of the laborers’ interests.
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
STAGES OF REVOLUTION
It is already four years since the three-hundred-year yoke of autocracy fell. The repressed people who had been guarded by the gendarmes and police of Nikolai threw down the rotting throne of the tsar. All rich and poor Russia rejoiced in freedom. Capitalists and landowners were satisfied because they could finally put more in their own pockets, stealing labor as before from the worker and peasant, without sharing with the tsar and his champions. They hoped to seat themselves firmly on the toilers’ neck, having duped the latter in the Constituent Assembly to which Kerensky was slowly but surely leading.
The bourgeoisie was certain that it would be be able to continue fleecing the peasant and worker. The unexperienced peasants and workers were also pulled toward the Uchredilka, not knowing what it would promise the toiler. The slogan of the Constituent Assembly ruled over all Russia.
Temporarily. But the peasant continued to be in the same fix that he had always been, waiting for when the Uchredilka would decide the question of land. The worker was universally exploited. As before he didn’t have the right to the produce of his own labor.
The toilers of Russia finally understood that they were not escaping the cabal of the landowner and capitalist, and that this cabal was preparing them a new serfdom, bourgeois power.
Patience broke, and in October of 1917 the bourgeoisie was thrown aside by a comradely blow by the seamen, army, workers, and peasants. It seemed that the laboring people had entered into their rights.
But the Communist party, filled with self-seekers and having become seperated from the peasants and workers in whose name it acted, seized power into its own hands. It decided to govern the country with the aid of its commissars, by the example of landowner Russia.
For 3 years, the toilers of Soviet Russia groaned in the torture chambers of the Cheka. Everywhere, the Communist ruled over the worker and peasant. A new Communist serfdom arose. The peasant became a hired hand on Soviet farms, and the worker a hireling at a bureaucratic factory. The laboring intelligentsia came to nothing. Those who tried to protest were dragged off to the Cheka. They wasted no time with those who continued to agitate… they put them against the wall.
It became stifling. Soviet Russia had turned into all-Russian katorga. Worker unrest and peasant uprising testified that patience had come to an end. A toilers’ uprising approached. The time to throw down the commissarocracy arrived.
Kronstadt, vigilant guard of the Social Revolution, has not overslept. It was in the first ranks of February and October. It first raised the flag of rebellion for the Third Revolution of Laborers.
Autocracy fell. The Uchredilka has passed into the land of legend.
Commissarocracy too will collapse. The time has come for true power of laborers, for Soviet power.
You fell as sacrifices to the great struggle.
Your unforgettable names shall not die in the noble memory of the laboring
people, for whose fortune you laid down your wild heads.
In the battle’s roar you did not think of yourselves.
Warriors for an idea, you did not tremble before the pack of tyrants.
You, the first sacrifices of the Third Revolution, of the Revolution of Labor,
gave an example of steadfast firmness in battle for your rights.
You went forward under the slogan Victory or Death.
We who are alive shall carry the battle to its end.
We vow on your fresh graves to be victorious or to lie next to you.
Already, the light of the Great Liberation of Laborers has begun to shine.
KRONSTADT AND SMOLNY
We hide nothing, and hide from no one.
Everything we do, we do openly because our cause is rightful. It is to realize the common desire of the laboring people, to realize true Soviet power. No one can stop us from doing this.
And truly, in any case, bands of chekists and other murderers won’t stop us. Heroism, the garrison’s morale and the populace’s calm certainty can serve to guarantee this.
And what is being done at the same time in the camp of the adversary? Interesting newspapers from March 9 which we recently received serve as the best answer. We have hung these newspapers in the windows of Sovtsentropechat [“Soviet Central Press”?]] so that citizens can personally convince themselves of the unbounded, blatant lies with which the newspapers, by orders from Smolny, try to hide the truth the truth from the workers and soldiers.
Krasnaia Gazeta has come to the point that they are claiming that, “cadets broke into the town. Vershinin, a member of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, was captured in the streets…”
Pathetic lackeys of the Communists, whom do you want to deceive?
Comrade Vershinin has been captured, this is true. But do you want to know, citizens, under what circumstances Comrade Vershinin was taken?
Allow me. On March 8, a group of the opponent’s troops, with a white flag in front, set out toward our patrols. Trusting in the flag, presuming that a delegation was coming to us for negotiations, Comrade Vershinin threw a revolver from himself and went out unarmed to meet the truce envoys.
But what does one more Judas kiss mean to traitors? They captured the unarmed truce envoy and carried him away with them..
That, citizens, is the entire truth for you! The lackeys from Krasnaia Gazeta did not even succeed in agreeing with the lackeys from Pravda. At the same time when the first was reporting that two thousand ‘gold epaulets’ [tsarist officers] had snuck into Kronstadt, Pravda says they were only “hundreds of White Guard Russian officers.”
The newspapers are before you citizens. Read and learn how the Communists deceive the people.
We hide nothing. Their lies are our best agitator.
CONFERENCE OF DELEGATES OF MARCH 11
Delegates gathered at five o’clock in the Hall of Assemblies. Before the beginning of the session, Comrade Petrichenko distributed the Bolshevist Pravda and Krasnaia to the delegates. It was easily felt that Revolutionary Kronstadt does not fear the lying Communist press. The session opened at 4:55 under the roar of the bombardment of our glorious floating fortresses. The Conference stands to honor the memory of the fallen red eagles of Kronstadt.
The produce question was discussed first. The report of the Prov. Rev. Com. was heard with deep attention. As was clarified after a short debate, Kronstadt’s produce situation is completely fine. The Conference decided to consider the actions of the Rev. Com. to be correct, and proper for the current situation.
Current affairs were discussed next.
A report on the requisitioning of boots from the arrested Communists for soldiers’ use was met with thunderous applause and calls of, “Right! Take their winter coats!!!”
It was decided to celebrate the fall of autocracy at the same time as the overthrow of commissarocracy, since there is no time now to take away from military action. A representative of the workers of the sewing workshop of the Soviet of the People’s Economy reported on the preparation of 3000 sets of underwear, which it was decided to use for those at the front line.
Comrade Kilgast requested that the delegates spread the request for comrades to donate shoes for the soldiers.
The question was raised of liberating Communists on bail. After a debate, in which Comrade Petrichenko noted the worth of a Bolshevik’s word and that in general those arrested are only the most unrestful, it was decided to leave the Communists under arrest so long as events have not been wrapped up and military actions not come to an end. (Ilyin, Galapov, Guriev, and others who were left at liberty continued to carry on agitation and to gather secretly. Ilyin had the gall to phone Krasnaya Gorka and give it information on how things stood in Kronstadt.)
It was decreed that further arrests could be carried out by the Rev. Com. only upon an inquiry into the question by the revtroikas.
One of the comrades related a fact which showed that there are also honest Communists, who are fulfilling military assignments selflessly and in an exemplary way.
At the end of the session, Comrade Petrichenko proposed that the Conference thank the defenders of the approaches to Kronstadt. This was met with long, unceasing, stormy applause.
The Communists are spreading rumors that there are White Guard generals, officers, and priests included in the composition of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. In order to stop this once and for all, we bring to their attention that the Committee consists of the following fifteen members:
1) PETRICHENKO—a senior clerk on the battleship Petropavlovsk;
2) YAKOVENKO—a telephone operator of the Kronstadt Regional Communications Service;
3) OSOSOV—a machinist on the battleship Sevastopol;
4) ARKHIPOV—a machinist foreman;
5) PEREPELKIN—an electrician on the battleship Sevastopol;
6) PATRUSHEV—an electrician foreman on the Petropavlovsk;
7) KUPOLOV—a senior doctor’s assistant;
8) VERSHININ—a seaman/combatant on the battleship Sevastopol;
9) TUKIN—an artisan in the Electro-Mechanical Factory;
10) ROMANENKO—a watchman in the Repair Docks;
11) ORESHIN—Director of the 3rd Labor School;
12) VALK—a master in the Sawmill;
13) PAVLOV—a worker in the Mine Workshops;
14) BAIKOV—Director of Transport String of the Administration of Contruction of the Fortress;
15) KILGAST—an ocean navigator.
These are our generals: the Brusilovs, Kamenevs, and the rest.
NEWS FROM PETROGRAD
—Pravda reports that, “in connection with the situation which has been created, the Celebration of the Women’s Proletariat in Petrograd is temporarily postponed.”
What kind of honest working woman would go to this celebration when stranglers of freedom and chekists are in power?
How could anyone think of holidays?
GENERAL MEETING OF DESERTERS IN THE 4TH NORTHERN BARRACKS
The General Meeting of soldiers who have crossed over to us, having first elected a revtroika consisting of Comrades Azarenko, Kuznetsov and Davydenko, passed the following resolution: “We, deserters, of a newly formed battalion, express our complete faith in the battalion commander, Comrade Gribov. We are ready, at the first call of the Rev. Com. of the Town of Kronstadt, to go to the next life defending the repressed.
seaman TROFIMOV, President of the Meeting
SOVIETS, AND NOT A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, ARE THE LABORER’S STRONGHOLD
The 14-year-old lad Podriadchikov has thrust himself into one of the reconnaissance detachments. However they tried to convince him to give it up, he persisted.
“You have to give me a rifle, and that’s it!”
They were forced to give in.
At night, the detachment set out on reconnaissance. Podriadchikov did not lag behind the other comrades.
In the dark, they stumbled on an outpost of the adversary, and a crossfire began. A stray bullet hit Podriadchikov in the leg at the very moment when the outpost gave up and retreated.
“Cut the leg off or bind it up, but I won’t lag behind,” cried the young hero. They quickly made a dressing, and Podriadchikov walked on. He is now lying in the hospital, and cannot wait to heal from his wound so that he can once more dash forward.
Last year, the Communists executed his father in a village.
LEAVING THE PARTY
All those leaving the ranks of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia] are directed to turn in their party booklets and identifications to their electoral troikas. Those leaving the party in the future and giving declarations are directed to do so right now.
Declarations of departure from the RCP arrive unceasingly at the editorial offices, but in view of their great quantity and the insufficiency of space, the editors are unable to publish them immediately, and will include them as possible in following editions of the newspaper.
Working in Kronstadt for three years as a teacher at the Labor School, and also being active in the army and naval units, I have moved ahead honestly, leg to leg with the laborers of free Kronstadt. I have given them all my strengths in the field of people’s education. The broad sweep of the wave of enlightenment which the Communists began, Soviet construction and the laborer’s class struggle with the exploiters all drew me into the Communist party, of which I have been a member since February 1, 1921. During the time that I have been in the party, a great number of fundamental failings in the party “heights” have been opened before me, spattering the beautiful idea of Communism with muck. Among these, bureaucratism, separation from the masses, dictatorship and the large number of so called “hangers on”, careerist and the like have acted to repel the masses. All these things have given birth to a deep chasm between the masses and the party. They have turned it into an organization which is powerless in the struggle against the country’s internal ruin.
The present moment has opened people’s eyes to the most terrible facts. When the many thousand person populace of Kronstadt proposed a number of fair demands to the “defenders of the laborer’s interests,” the bureaucratized heights of the RCP rejected them. Instead of dealing freely with the laborers of the town of Kronstadt, they opened fratricidal fire on the workers, sailors, and soldiers of the revolutionary town. As if that wasn’t enough, they throw bombs from airplanes on the defenseless women and children of Kronstadt. This has pleated even more thorns in the Communist Party’s crown.
I do not want to be a supporter of the comrade Communists’ barbarous excesses, and I also don’t believe in the tactics of the party “heights,” which have called for the spilling of blood and for great distress among the people’s masses. Therefore, I openly declare before the Provisional Revolutionary Committee that since the moment of the first shot at Kronstadt I no longer consider myself a candidate member of the RCP, and give my entire support to the slogan taken by the laborers of Kronstadt, “All Power to Soviets, and not Parties!”
T. DENISOV, teacher in the 2nd Labor School
I ask that you no longer consider me a member of the RCP. Seeing the tactics of the butcher Trotsky, I consider it a disgrace to be in its ranks. I have been and will be with the people, and will die the death of the honorable with them.
N. ALEKSANDROV, artisan of the Steamship Factory
We have watched the course of unfolding events in order to find out the truth behind all the loud words which authority, in the person of Trotsky and the rest from the camp of the evil kestrels, spoke and suggested to us, preaching the ideas of the RCP. With their first shot at the workers and peasants, in the person of the Kronstadt proletariat which has arisen to fight for a rightful cause, we understood that it was time for us to throw the shroud from our eyes, put there by those who call themselves warriors for the people’s liberation. We decided that it was time to say for all to hear, “betrayers of the people, spillers of innocent blood, hands off power, and eternal damnation to you.”
We ask that from the present moment you no longer consider us to be members of the RCP. We ask that you accept us into your midst as honest toilers who are prepared to stand at any time in defense of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt, and even, if it should be necessary, to lay down our lives for the workers and peasants, and for the power of free Soviets.
I. GUROV, A. YAKUSHIN, seamen of the Predbaza [sic]
The Communist party has lost the faith of the laboring masses, and its power has passed without any violence or blood into the hands of the revolutionary laboring masses of Kronstadt. Nonetheless, the Central Authorities are blockading Kronstadt and sending out provocative broadcasts and proclamations, trying to anchor its power with hunger, cold, treachery and force. Considering such a policy a betrayal of the fundamental slogan of the Socialist Revolution, “All Power to the Laborers,” I think that the Communists have put themselves in the ranks of the enemies of all labor. There is only one exit, to stay at your post to the end, and battle mercilessly with all who try to tie the laboring masses to their authority with force, treachery and provocation. We break all connection with the party.
MILORADOVICH, BEZSONOV AND MARKOV,
former members of the RCP fort TOTLEBEN (MORSKOI)
At the General Meeting of the RCP of the crew of the Transport String of the Naval Fortress of Kronstadt, in the presence of the secretary of the Revtroika, a resolution of departure from the party was passed by the following members: P. Goriachev, I. Iakovlev, Vasilii Likhrov, Nikolai Shubin, N. Scharov, P. Veselov, B. Belov, I. Makarov, Vasilii Kolosov, I. Khapov, Smorodinov, A. Arkhipov, Smirnov, Novikov, N. M. Kovkin, G. Mikhailov, K. Krylov, A. Smirnov, N. Chertkov, Ukhlin, V. Serikov, A. Khrul, A. Okunev, I. Andreev, N. Ivanov, A. Egorov. 26 persons in all.
Because of the slogan held by the RCP, “All power to the Soviets,” and because of the one-sided party agitation, and also not wishing to just remain a witness to the building of Soviet power, I entered the RCP in June of 1920. However, I have been convinced that the party does not express the will of the broad layers of the populace, the workers and peasants. This is in part supported by letters received from the provinces about the difficulties and oppression which the party directs at the village peasantry in the localities. Because of this, I ask that you no longer consider me a member of the RCP, and I give my support to the resolution passed at the meeting on March 1. I place myself entirely under the authority of the actions and decisions of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of the Town of Kronstadt.
P. BARANOV, Head of the Watch of the Kronstadt Port
Having discussed the current situation, we, Communists of the collective of the Communications Service of the Naval Fortress of Kronstadt, have arrived at the unanimous conclusion that the Communist Party, having torn away from the broad masses, has set out on the path of bureaucratism and repression against the laborers’ freedom. In three years in power, the party has brought the country to the wild raging of the Cheka, which has widely carried out executions and used all means to strangle and mock the laborers, and covered itself with their name. The Republic writhes in agony, brought to beggary by the policies of the bloodthirsty and power-blinded leaders. We greet the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, which is courageously raising rebellion against the party dictatorship and oligarchy. We give our support to the slogan, “Power to Soviets of Laborers, and not to Parties.”
Down with the party dictatorship!
Long live the true power of laborers!
We the undersigned to this resolution declare our departure from the Communist Party, and ask that you accept us into the midst of the non-party comrades, to carry out joint work for the good of the Republic.
V. Remizov, V. Gromov, A. Elesin, P. Arsentiev, F. Kozyrev, V. Zinoviev, N. Vasiliev, V. Nikolaev, P. Blintsov, L. Semukov, P. Trubochistov, I. Starostin, V. Andreev, N. King, E. Grigoriev, P. Kiprushkin, A. Sedelkin, I. Sheremet.
I, a telephonist of the central station of fort Shants, being by nature a person of weak character, was not strong enough to stand against the force of the bloody Communists who recruited me into their party during party week. [“Party weeks” were periods of reduced or eliminated requirements for party membership. There were two in Petrograd in 1919.]
Having made myself, or, more truthfully, when the Communists had made me a blind weapon in their hands, my beliefs about their actions had not changed. In my soul, I realized that the bureaucrat Communists would never achieve the prosperity of the laboring masses by way of violence, base deceit, spilling blood, and the other acts of our authority.
But fear! Only fear for my own life did not let me denounce my party colleagues, bloody Communists.
And I was silent, staying on the edges.
But then arose the hour of repayment. Communist power, until then seemingly undefeatable, was overturned. The rabble of criminals, in the person of the Communists, was arrested. The laboring people breathed free, having thrown down the heavy burden…
And I? I am a Communist. The bloody document, the party booklet which remained with me, and which has now been turned in to the Revtroika of fort Shants, says so.
Comrades, forgive me for my unwilling stay in the RCP, and I will try to justify your faith. I recognize the Prov. Rev. Com., and cry together with you, “Hoorah!”
N. ROMANOV, telephonist of fort Shants
Finding the methods to which Lord Trotsky has resorted extremely horrifying, staining the party with the blood of its own brother workers, I consider it a moral obligation to leave the party. I ask that this be announced in the press.
V. GRABEZHEV, President of the Union of Construction Workers,
candidate member of the party
Declarations have also arrived at the editorial offices from the following:
131) I. Petrushkovsky, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 132) also Maksimovsky, 133) also Chernyshev, 134) also Burmashev, 135) also Kulikov, 136) also D. Vorobiev, 137) also V. Pushkin, 138) V. Galonin, seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 139) also F. Zaitsev, 140) also Shpinev, 141) also P. Samokhin, 142) also Iudin, 143) also N. Butuzov, 144) also F. Zhbirov, 145) also P. Orekhov, 146) also Olshevsky, 147) also Kudriashev, 148) also Misiuk, 149) also O. Rykov, 150) also D. Pavlov, 151) also Lobanov, 152) also A. Zuev, 153) also N. Kolosov, 154) also I. Pavlik-Linker, 155) also A. Svitin, 156) also F. Tkachuk, 157) also Sholopaev, 158) also S. Makarov, 159) also Klimin, 160) P. Chernin, 161) also M. Gusev, 162) also M. Lazarenko, 163) also A. Shilov, 164) also I. Eremeev, 165) also F. Izhek, 166) also Makrezhetsky, 167) also Smetanin, 168) also A. Gordykov, 169) also M. Grigoriev, 170) also A. Dronin, 171) also S. Shavanov, 172) also I. Ershov, 173) also M. Flerov, 174) also S. Soloviev, 175) also S. Kozlov, 176) also I. Diakonov, 177) also K. Zhukin, 178) also Shpinov, 179) also I. Matiukhin, 180) also A. Kocherin, 181) also T. Bychkov, 182) also N. Ermakov, 183) also Zhevenin, 184) also Zhukovsky, 185) O. Stepur, artisan of the Mine Laboratory, 186) F. Strelkov, employee of the Prodbaza, 187) also A. Petukhov, 188) also I. Reshetnikov, People’s Investigator of the II District, 189) F. Matulik, employee of the Naval Bakery, 190) M. Malafeev, seaman of the crew of the Guard Headquarters, 191) V. Gogolev, serviceman of the Communications Service of the Administration of the Artillery, 192) S. Afanasiev, sldr. of the 4th Division of the Artillery, 193) S. Kurenev, employee of the Water Transport, 194) Lauve, employee of the Internal Guard Ship, 195) also G. Grinshtein, 196) also S. Shcherbo, 197) A. Sushilnikov, soldier, 198) V. Trepetsky, member of the RCP, 199) also Danchenko, 200) also A. Esenovsky, 201) A. Egorov, doctors’ assistant of the Internal Guard Ship, 202) also E. Belozerov, 203) A. Serkov, worker of the Steamship Plant, 204) also K. Nikolaev, 205) also A. Belikov, 206) also A. Lysov, 207) also Bezzubikov, 208) also Vladkmerov, 209) also Voronin.
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
Today canned foods are issued to all, counted against the bread norm for March 15:
3/4 lb. of salted beef is issued from the meat stores, counted against the bread norm for March 14.
1 lb. of bread is issued by letter A for March 12 and 13, for bread coupon No 21. 3 lbs. of oats are issued by letter B for bread coupon No 23.1 lb. of dried bread by series B for bread coupon No 10. 1 1/2 pound of barley by series A for produce coupon No 10. 1 1/2 pound of barley by series C for bread coupon No 23, counted against the bread norm for March 12, 13, and 14.
Adult cafeterias are provisionally open from 10 am until 6 pm.
LEVAKOV, for the President of the Administration of Gorprodkom
On the basis of a telephonogram from the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of March 11, in view of the military standing of the town, the March 12 holiday is moved to an unspecified date, and it is therefore instructed to consider SATURDAY a normal (working) day.
MATVEEV, Provisional and Acting Director of the Department of Labor
A. FEDOROV, member of the Central Troika
The Union of Printers brings to the attention of members of the union that issue of buttons, cigarette papers and “Baker” brand powder ends March 15.
In an interview with the New York Herald correspondent in Moscow, Lenin derided the uprising as doomed and asserted that the only possible alternative to his own government would be the return of the Tsar, proclaiming that the demands of the Kronstadt rebels for democracy were impossible:
“What can they (the revolutionists) do if they take Petrograd? Only one thing—starve. They will have a big, foodless city on their hands, and we shall have more food for Moscow, as more supplies are coming in from Kuban and Siberia, and for a short time we will no longer have to feed Petrograd, which has of late been a strain on our resources, owing to its remoteness from the grain districts…
“This shortage of bread and fuel and the transport difficulties are due to the fuel famine. Despite all our efforts, Petrograd’s food position became acute recently, and there is genuine starvation in the suburbs of that city.
“An advance on Moscow (by the revolutionists) over the melting snow and swampy ground, and because of the torn up railroads and devastated country, is impossible. The sailors at the head of this foolish mutiny at Kronstadt will be out of their element as soon as they lose sight of the Gulf of Finland. How can they provision themselves for such hard march through districts affording them no food? And we shall see that there is no food there.
“If they accept supplies from foreign Powers they brand themselves at once as traitors to Russia and the whole country will rise against them, just as it rose against Denikine and Kolchak.
“I believe that there are only two kinds of government possible in Russia—a Government by the Soviets or a Government headed by a Czar. Some fools or traitors in Kronstadt talked of a Constituent Assembly, but does any man in his senses believe for a moment that a Constituent Assembly at this critical abnormal stage would be anything but a bear garden.
“Some people in America have come to think of the Bolsheviki as a small clique of very bad men who are tyrannizing over a vast number of highly intellectual people who would form an admirable Government among themselves the moment the Bolshevist regime was overthrown. This is a mistake, for there is nobody to take our place save butcher Generals and bureaucrats who have already displayed their total incapacity for rule.
Lenin stated that if the uprising in Kronstadt had been planned by counterrevolutionary forces, it was an extremely poor plan. His claim could just as easily be used to argue that it was not a plot, but a legitimate—if untimely—revolt of the oppressed:
“I can’t say much for the common sense of the people who fabricated this particular plot. To seize an ice-bound island, containing very little food and absolutely dependent for all its supplies on Russia, was a foolish thing to do, although, to be sure, it was only a part of a much larger plot which missed fire everywhere else.”
At the close of the article, the journalist reported that Lenin—apparently wandering from the subject at hand—directed readers to a text he had written in praise of bourgeois engineers and other specialists, showing his hand:
“The bourgeois specialist who knows his job is ten times more useful to us than the conceited Communist who is only able to shout slogans and write twaddle.”
In Kronstadt, it had always been popular for the revolutionaries to oppose themselves to the bourgeoisie. We can imagine how they must have felt to see Lenin side with the bourgeoisie over them in the capitalist press.
Kronstadt Izvestia 11: Sunday, March 13, 1921
ORDER OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE No 6
Left at liberty, the Communists are abusing the trust which the Provisional Revolutionary Committee has shown them. They have been discovered attempting to send light signals to the enemy.
Because of this, the Prov. Rev. Com. asks all Kronstadt citizens to vigilantly watch for enemies of the people, to urgently bring to the attention of the Rev. Com. all occurrences of signals being sent, and to restrain the guilty parties until authorities arrive.
Traitors and spies are warned that they will be dealt with on the spot, without any court, by the laws dictated by the moment.
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
ORDER ON THE DEFENSE OF THE NAVAL FORTRESS OF KRONSTADT No. 3 (COMBAT)
March 11, 1921, Fortress of Kronstadt § 1
I order that the adversary’s airplanes not be fired upon from small arms and machine guns, either by individuals or crews. Such fire, being completely without purpose, cannot cause damage to the airplanes and is a useless waste of bullets.
OSOSOV, for the President of the Prov. Rev. Com.
SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense of the Kronstadt Fortress
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
From 24:00, March 11 until 12:00, March 12
There was calm until 10 am.
From 10 am on there were occasional artillery exchanges and raids by the adversary’s airplanes, which threw out several bombs.
The bombs caused no damage in the town.
From 12:00 through 24:00, March 12
Around 1 pm, raids by the adversary’s airplanes began, with bombs being thrown on the town. There was artillery fire by the adversary until 7 pm, to which the artillery of the fortress responded energetically.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Military Revolutionary Committee
SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense
YOU WON’T INTIMIDATE THEM!
The Bolsheviks continue to throw bombs from airplanes. They think that they will intimidate the populace. Their only means of action is lead.
They have nothing else left. They are washed out. The blood of peaceful citizens, women, and even children they obviously don’t value at all.
All the citizens of Kronstadt have been welded into a single mass by their anger. Just one feeling burns in their souls, a feeling of hate for the oppressor Communists. The residents of the town do not face current events passively, as the Bolshevik newspapers slander, but with a great enthusiasm. All citizens divide the burden of the struggle which which has been raised by the garrison and workers of the rebellious town. They all await a new, bright life, free from any yoke.
You can’t intimidate them with airplanes.
The innocent victims lie on the heads of the Communists. But the populace remains calm, and doesn’t give in to outbursts of purposeless anger against the insane oppressors. The populace bears itself heroically and selflessly.
Airplanes won’t intimidate them!
IT IS NECESSARY TO BREAK AWAY
The Communist Party has swelled greatly in numbers since it took power in its own hands, but it was lost a great deal in quality because of this. It sucked in a huge mass of people who entered it with the goal of receiving a cushy job. Self-seekers among the hangers-on finally brought us to the point where the ideological element in the party, which sincerely wanted to serve the laborers, became powerless to do anything. Besides that, during these 3 years the party leaders have become separated from the working masses, and long ago brought corruption and ideological confusion into the party.
The Tenth Party Congress, which was to have gathered in March, would undoubtably have recognized these differences of belief. The party might have split if its upper reaches wouldn’t change their policies, which have led to complete contradiction with the entire worker and peasant masses. But events don’t wait. The long muffled dissatisfaction of the masses has burst out, and has taken the character of a people’s movement.
Besides that, in order to come to deal with with the masses’ demands for new elections to the Soviets, which do not now express the will of the laborers, and about changing the policy toward the peasantry, the Communist bureaucrats decided to put the movement down with martial law and with executions of workers and peasants. Such a situation among the upper reaches of the party, which have placed in motion every possible repression and lie to hold on to power, cannot be made right by a lone person devoted to the ideal of Communism. Every honest Communist must break away from those who cannot find any other language for the workers and peasants than the language of cannons and bombs.
And how should this breaking away be done? Some comrades have done this by leaving the party completely, and becoming non-party comrades. But there are those who are tied strongly to the idea of the Communist Revolution, and who have drawn the Marxist worldview deeply into themselves. Such comrades, maintaining their party membership, must loudly declare that they will not take moral responsibility for that which the upper reaches of the party have done against the workers and peasants. The must honestly help in making right those deficiencies with which our Soviet Russia is so rich. Comrade Palanov has already acted in this way. I add my voice to his. May other comrade Communists also speak out like this.
M. KOPILOVICH, candidate member of the RCP (Communist Party of Russia).
TO THE WORKERS OF THE WORLD!
The following broadcast was sent by the Provisional Revolutionary Committee:
To all… to all… to all…
to the Workers of the world!
The airborn Communist predators have begun to envy Wilhelm’s laurels. They hover over Kronstadt like kestrels, throwing bombs and killing the peaceful populace, our wives and children. But this will not stop us from fighting to the end for the holy interests of the laboring masses. May the workers of the world know that we are struggling for the true power of the laboring people, while bloody Trotsky and well-fed Zinoviev with their champions are struggling for the power of the Communist oppressor Party.
May the workers of the world know that these criminals are hiding the truth from the people, and putting out the slanderous lie that tsarist generals lead us. It has been twelve days now since this handful of true hero proletarians, these workers, sailors, and soldiers, isolated from the whole world, took on themselves the whole weight of the blow struck by the Communist Party butchers. But we are cheerful. We will bring the cause which we have begun to a victorious end, or die with the cry, “Long live freely elected Soviets.”
May the workers of the world know this.
Comrades, we need your moral support. Protest against the oppressor commissarocrats. Remember the innocent victims of Louvain [Belgium] and Reims [France]. Then, Imperialism was defending its power over the people, and now that same power over the people is being defended by the Communist Party, which has raised its hand against revolutionary Kronstadt!
We send damnation to the butchers!
With comradely greetings,”
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
I, an old seaman of the 1904 recruitment, having suffered all the bitter parts of life and currently an insignificant workingman for the good of the laborers, pass through the current moment with deep sorrow in my heart. For three years, the suffering worker, peasant and every kind of honest toiler believed in a bright future, believed in the leaders of the Communist Party who stand at the front.
But a split is occurring in the heights of the party, and it is echoing everywhere. The party has occupied itself with politics at the time when the end of the Civil War demands that it direct its work only into the channel of economic life, the channel of reconstructing the economy of the destroyed country.
In the localities, outrages have been committed by the proteges of the commissars and of other responsible workers. Complaints have been brought from far and wide against individual members of the party. The grumbling got stronger, and finally the suffering worker and peasant would not put up with it and revolted openly. The ruling party did not justify the faith of the masses, and Kronstadt broke away first.
Away with you, torture chambers and tortures! Enough of spilled blood; honest citizens don’t want it! These are practices of butchers from the tsarist time of the past. In a free country they must not be. The peasant will understand that it is necessary to give the city bread even without commissars, and the worker in turn will strive to give the peasant everything necessary from his own production. The power which the laboring class has won for itself won’t be given away to anyone. The laboring class will make it stronger, and direct it into a new channel of life.
Soviet power must be the expression of the will of all the laboring masses, without the rulership of any kind of political party. A great cause is being carried out, and Kronstadt has made the start, as vanguard of the Revolution. It let all the Republic understand that it is impossible to continue like this. There are no stinking plots against Soviet power here. All the laboring masses of Kronstadt see this. There are no White Guards at the head of the movement here, but only selfless citizens who have taken on their own shoulders the responsibility of carrying the cause to the end, with the slogan, “Victory or Death.”
No one wanted blood, and all the rumors let out by the Communists that this is an open uprising against Soviet power aren’t founded on anything. Life goes on normally. The call to bloodletting is being made by the upper reaches of the party in the person of Trotsky.
Blood has been spilled.
For what? For the dominion of the party?! No, enough of politics and blood. Leaders of the Communist Party, realize what you are doing! If you haven’t come to an understanding among yourselves, fight however you want, but leave us in peace. We, the lowly, don’t want that. We want to build our lives, to set right the country’s destroyed economy so that the children won’t be able to say of their fathers that they didn’t do anything for the good of the younger generation.
Let us build our lives!
And you must give up your position to the laboring people without any bloodletting. Give your place at the wheel of government to the laborers. I openly declare, as a rank and file Communist, that our children must not perish under bombs thrown from airplanes by Trotsky’s order.
Having respect for the idea of Communism, like every other pure idea, I as a rank and file member of the party, given to the service of the entire laboring class since a young age, openly say, “let all laborers breathe free.”
There must not be any more of the dominion of any kind of party. Our Soviets must be the expressors of the will not of parties, but of the electors. It is necessary to create the will of the laboring masses. They seek truth, freedom, and a better life, without oppression, torture chambers, executions, and tortures.
I remain in spirit with the pure idea of Communism, since every pure idea is faith in a better future, and no on has the power to kill it. At the same time, I declare that after three years in the party, I have seen the entire unfairness of the upper reaches of the party, which have contracted the disease of bureaucratism and become separated from the masses. Therefore, I take the stamp of party membership from myself, and in general do not intend to enter any other party from this time on. I worked, and want to continue to freely and honestly work, for the good of all the laborers of Soviet Russia, like every honest citizen.
KURASHEV, Director of the Town Finance Department,
former worker in the Naval Artillery Laboratory
NEWS FROM PETROGRAD
At the Tenth Congress of the RCP, now taking place in Moscow, the Control Commission made a report on its activity. Of 200 cases investigated by the Commission, 50 turned out to be of criminal character. The cases involved occurred due to the workers responsible using their position for personal comfort. The Commission raised the question before the Central Committee of the necessity of carrying out the most merciless struggle with the unbelievable excesses which responsible figures are allowing themselves.
What a great group, there’s nothing to say!
The following order was issued by the Commander of the Baltic Fleet in connection with presently occurring events.
“A strict revolutionary order is to be enforced on all ships, and in all units and institutions of Baltflot. A decisive struggle is to be carried out against any and all instances of violating order and discipline. No kind of assembly is to take place in ships, units and institutions. Access by outside persons to ships, units and institutions without permission of the commissar is categorically forbidden.”
“All commanders and commissars are ordered to be at their places. The Revolutionary Tribunal of Baltflot is ordered to punish those guilty of violating this order with all the severity of wartime law.”
THEY ARE TAKING AWAY RUSSIAN GOLD
In relation to the arrest of Russian gold located on the steamship Ankon), the news agency Gavas reports that 160,000 rubles in gold were hidden in the cabin of a member of the Russian trade mission. After the arrest, the gold was handed over to the care of an Italian bank.
It is impossible to find the words to suitably thank those kind Kronstadters who, despite the meaningless ration received both earlier and now, are tearing the last crumbs from themselves every day and bringing us at the forward outposts a dinner of soup and even bread. There have even been occurrences when bread received by coupons in the stores was given to soldiers on their way to the forts, at the same time blessing them, making the cross and giving them the very best wishes.
We bless the kind Kronstadters, and believe that the great holy cause will be taken to its end.
You, and with you also we, must show the laborers of Russia and the entire world that Kronstadters are able to fight not only against the bourgeoisie but also against any and all enslavers of the laborer’s will, even if they come from the left.
Long live the power of true Soviets, and not parties!
ANDREEV, soldier of the 560th Infantry Battalion
The people of Kronstadt are trying in all ways to come to the aid of the comrade soldiers who are defending the rights of the laboring people. Yesterday, Boris Scheglov, clerk of the Port Transport String, gave the manager of the building of the Prov. Rev. Com. two pairs of boots for the brother warriors.
FROM THE AGITATION CENTER OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
We, revolutionary seamen, soldiers, and workers of Kronstadt have swept the hated Communist yoke away with a comradely blow, and have sworn to be victorious or die. There can be no compromise with the oppressors.
We will keep our vow. The much suffering Russian laboring people, tortured by the Cheka, starved, carrying more than four years of cruel war, await us as deliverers, holding out their dry and calloused hands.
We see that the Communist authorities deal cruelly with anyone who speaks a word of sympathy toward us. We did not only decide to struggle with our enemies with bayonets and cannons, but also with the word. We are dedicating all our strengths so that our word, our press, might freely uncover all the crimes of the Communist Party and all the horrors of the torture chambers of the Cheka. We want to uncover everything that the oppressors resorted to in trying to seat themselves securely and safely on the throne.
But the Bolshevik authorities, the power of sticks and bayonets, does not allow us to speak freely with our deceived brothers. In defending ourselves, we all remember that it is our fraternal blood, the blood of deceived toilers which is pouring, and not that of commissars and party leaders. They are far away, separated from the carnage they have made. On soft couches, they discuss how to better deceive the whole laboring people, and choose which military unit to send to certain death against Kronstadt.
In answering their cannons, we did not abandon the matter of propaganda, and we have taken all measures so that our press might be spread not only in Kronstadt but also among the adversary’s troops. Comrade seamen, sacrificing themselves, cross the firing lines. So that there would be less blood spilled, and so that not a single confused soldier would remain with the deceiver Trotsky, it is necessary to expand agitation even more. It is necessary to increase the the number of cadres in the army which propagandizes the idea of the power of laboring people.
Everyone in who’s heart burns a holy hatred against the crimes committed by the Communists, come with identification from the revolutionary troikas to the Agitation Center of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee (House of the People). Come speak to Comrade Perepelkin, to be enlisted in the ranks of the agitators.
We believe that our call will receive a warm answer.
PEREPELKIN, Director of the Agitation Center of the Prov. Rev. Com.
TO YOUTH! (Voice of the Young Proletarian)
Comrade young proletarians!
Comrade members of the Communist Youth League, each of us well knows the situation which has formed in the Republic, and in particular in Kronstadt. Each of us has seen and heard everything.
Comrades! After the October Revolution, when power fell into the hands of the now bankrupt Communist Party, many of us with our passionate youthful hearts, as is always the case with youth, aspired to something bright and new, to something which was to give us and our fathers and mothers a bright laboring life. We thought that the Communist Party would bring us to that bright future, and we strived for the party. For three years, we with our fathers and brothers spilled our young blood for the Communist Soviets.
For three years, we lived in expectation of an improvement in our lives. But after all three years of struggle, cold, and hunger we saw that our lives were not improving but worsening. We were convinced once and for all that the Communist Party, with all its commissars who feast during plague, chekists, and anti-profiteer troops, would lead us to certain death.
Every aware comrade cannot and must not blame the Communist Party, as such. They will blame those Communists who, being in power, abused the people’s faith, and who, seeing their distress, mercilessly robbed them. The patience of the laboring masses has been exhausted. The workers and sailors of Peter raised the banner of revolt against the oppressors, the Communists and chekists who have been set up by the Communist Soviets.
This uprising was put down by cadets and Communist forces, and hidden from us. We fed only on rumors. But these rumors, speaking of base acts by the Communist Party, which considers itself the expression of the people’s will while at the same time executing masses of hungry and cold workers who have rebelled, were, as we all know, confirmed by our delegation of seaman. And Kronstadt arose.
At our giant meeting of the garrison and workers, and afterwards at the Conference of Delegates, the banner of uprising was lifted not by generals but by seamen, sailors, and workers. Only sailors, workers, and soldiers sit in our Revolutionary Committee.
Kronstadt will again be “Red,” the Communists write in their base and lying organs. We answer that our heroic Kronstadt was, is, and will always be Red.
With their endless lying leaflets and articles, they haven’t closed but just still more opened our eyes to their crimes.
Comrades! The author of these lines, although not having joined the party, was and remains a Communist by conviction. But the acts of our Communist Party: executions of workers; murder of peaceful residents with bombs; deception of the people with words and press, are shameful and it is time to put an end to them!
To a unification of strengths. We must all, from the smallest to the greatest, rise in a comradely way to the defense of our dear freedom against the strong paws of the bureaucrat Communists.
Comrades, young proletarians, and in particular members of the Communist Youth League, whose eyes the Communist Party has closed for three years, all as one to the aid of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee!
All for free Red Soviets!
I. DVORIAN, long-time worker in the Russian Communist Youth Organization
Comrade women! Your brothers, husbands and sons, our great warriors for liberation from the Communist yoke, are selflessly standing in defense of Kronstadt, risking their life every minute.
Comrade women! Support our warriors. Be ready to lighten the sufferings of the wounded, which there isn’t a single armed struggle without, with female sensitivity and a caring female hand.
Enlist in the Red Sisters of Compassion. May our defenders feel once more time that they are not forgotten, that the thankful people of Kronstadt remember and care for them.
Forward to the defense of Red Kronstadt, warriors with the red banner of Labor, women with the red cross.
It is possible to enlist at the Department of Health.
A SMALL SATIREAN OVERHEARD CONVERSATION
“Hello hello! Comrade, give me Petrograd, Smolny… Smolny?… This is Trotsky.”
“Hello comrade, this is Zinoviev. How are things?”
“Great… We’ve succeeded in duping a whole herd of soldiers to believe that Kronstadt is destroyed, and that all that’s left for them is to occupy the outposts and guard positions.”
“They went. Oh, but the traitors from the Krasnogorsk bakery refused to give them bread for the road… They say they need it themselves…”
“And what of it?”
“Nothing… I convinced them; issued them each 2 pounds of unground wheat. They broke, and I sent Dulkis and Razin with them, in the rear with machine guns.”
“Stupendous… When do you think you’ll take Kronstadt?”
“Devil only knows. Our detachments surrender, but for some reason the Petropavlovsk doesn’t want to, even though I asked them to very strongly. There’s just no kind of mutuality… even out of conscience.”
“What’s this, comrade, talking about conscience? Look, a pig gets conscience after its been hit with a nice thick stick, doesn’t it?”
“Oh, they’re devils, but seriously… and not with a stick, but with twelve-inchers [cannons]… What’s up with you?”
“Its all right with us. The workers are striking, the seamen and soldiers are unrestful, the populace is starving… In any case, the Tsar’s train is at the ready, in case we have to make a quick get away.”
With that, the conversation was cut off.
A TELEPHONE OPERATOR
LEAVING THE PARTY
All those leaving the ranks of the RCP are directed to turn in their party booklets and identifications to their electoral troikas. Those leaving the party in the future and giving declarations are directed to do so right now.
We, Communists of the collective of the Naval Hospital, ask that you no longer consider us members of the RCP. It has bred bureaucratism and careerism anew, and doesn’t want to listen to the voice of the people, but has sent deceived sons of the Republic against Kronstadt, saying that bands of White Guards are bossing us. But we ourselves see who specifically overturned the commune’s power. It was our own comrade sailors, soldiers, and workers.
Comrade Communists, it is time to come to your senses!
Enough of being passive about the current moment. In a comradely way, work together with our Revolutionary Committee.
Long live Soviet Power!
Long live the real fraternal union of workers and peasants!
A. IUNKER, A. ILYIN, former members of the RCP.
Declarations have also arrived from the following:
210) V. Zaitsev, serviceman, 211) also V. Kashabin, 212) Zhazhmorskaya, employee of the Naval Hospital, 213) also Zavodchikova, 214) also V. Baranov, 215) O. Vinogradov, sldr, 216) A. Skorodkov, sldr., 217) M. Lavrov, sldr., 218) A. Berezkin, member of the Union of Water Transporters, 219) V. Montiev, member of the RCP, 220) N. Starshinov, seaman, 221) also M. Maksimov, 222) N. Omelchuk, member of the RCP, 223) also V. Velikanov, 224) also Ia. Miagkov, 225) also Ermolaev, 226) G. Katachev, sldr., 227) E. Nikolaev, sldr. 228) V. Zakharov, artisan of the Galvano-Plastics Workshop of the Kronstadt Port, 229) N. Savelchikov, employee of the Department of the People’s Education, 230) A. Borodavsky, telegraph operator; military seamen of the Machinists School: 231) Bogdanov, Ivan.
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
Yeast is issued by Rudkevich the yeast maker by children’s cards of series B, for bread coupon No 11.
Citizens who have registered their cards at store No 18 must receive meat and fatty products at store No 19.
LEVAKOV, for the President of the Administration of Gorprodkom
The Central Troika of the Bureau of Trade Unions directs that the 8 hour working day be reinstituted, since the 6 hour working day was introduced only because of lack of heating material. The moment we are living through urgently demands that all forces be strained for the fulfillment of works of military character. Therefore, the Central Troika of the Bureau of Trade Unions directs that from March 14, work is to be carried on from 9 am until 5 pm.
A. FEDOROV, President of the Revtroika
A. SKVORTSOV, Secretary
—The Revtroika requests that representatives and secretaries from the uchkoms assemble by 2 pm on March 13 at the trade union offices to receive new identifications. Attendance is mandatory for all.
—The Union Vsemediksantrud [All Medical and Sanitation Labor] announces that the last day of issue of onions to members of the union will be the 16th.
—The Housing subdepartment instructs all uchkoms to give exact information to the subdepartment within a week on all free apartments and rooms, and also on apartments subject to consolidation.
ROSCHIN, Director of the Housing subdepartment
Lost: produce card letter B, No 36802, belonging to citizen Stepanova.
“On the morning of the 14th, under cover of darkness, fresh Bolshevik detachments advanced into a hurricane of artillery and machine-gun fire and were forced to withdraw, leaving scores of dead and wounded on the ice. This, however, was the last of the small-scale attacks. For the next 72 hours, though air and artillery operations continued as before, all ground activity ceased as the Communists prepared an all-out effort to take the rebel citadel by storm.”
Paul Avrich, Kronstadt 1921
“Quiet today. No shooting heard. We seem to be getting used to this continuous cannonading, though every shot means the killing and maiming of our brothers. Dostoevsky was right: man [sic] is a scoundrel—he gets used to everything.”
-Alexander Berkman, diary entry from March 14, 1921
Kronstadt Izvestia 12: Monday, March 14, 1921
The Revtroika of the Naval Hospital informs citizens that March 14 at 8 pm, in the hospital chapel
REQUIEM SERVICES WILL BE PERFORMED FOR THE FALLEN DEFENDERS OF THE APPROACHES TO KRONSTADT.
BODRY, President of the Revtroika of the Naval Hospital
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
from 24:00, March 12 until 24:00 March 13
About 3 am, a party of the adversary tried to attack from the South, but was driven off by our fire.
From 3:30 am there was calm.
About the 12th hour, an adversary flying machine flew over the town and threw out bombs.
From 12 am until 9 pm, the adversary carried an artillery fire on our batteries.
Krasnoflotskii fired several heavy rounds at the town, but thanks to the fire of our artillery, it was soon forced to cease fire.
Over the course of the entire day, the adversary’s airplanes flew over Kotlin [the island on which Kronstadt is located] and threw bombs at the town. Thanks to the energetic work of our anti-aircraft batteries against the airplanes, substantial harm was not inflicted on the town.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Rev. Com.
SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense of the Kronstadt Fortress
TO LIVE WITH WOLVES IS TO BE LIKE A WOLF
It was reasonable to expect that at the great moment of the laborer’s struggle for their violated rights, Lenin would not be a hypocrite, and would speak the truth. Somehow, in the opinion of the workers and peasants, the concept of Lenin on the one hand and Trotsky and Zinoviev on the other came to be different. If they didn’t believe a single word from Zinoviev and Trotsky, faith in Lenin was still not lost.
On March 8, the 10th Congress of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia] opened, and Lenin is repeating the usual Communist lies about rebel Kronstadt. He declared that the movement is occuring under the slogan of “free trade,” and then added, “it was for Soviets, and against only the dictatorship of the Bolsheviks,” not forgetting to implicate, “White generals and petty bourgeois anarchist elements.”
We see that Lenin, speaking filth, has become confused, and lets slip the truth that at its root the movement is a struggle for Soviet power and against the party dictatorship. In his nervousness he declared, “this is a counterrevolution of a different type. It is extremely dangerous, no matter how insignificant their corrections in our policy seem at first glance.”
And there is something to fear. The blow of the revolutionary people of Kronstadt is strong, and the ringleaders of the arrogant party feel that their autocracy has come to an end.
Lenin’s unlimited nervousness slips through all through his speech on Kronstadt. The words “dangerous” and “danger” are repeated over and over. He says, “in order to end this petty bourgeois danger, incredibly dangerous to us since it doesn’t unify the proletariat but divides it, we need maximum solidarity.”
Yes, it has become necessary for the head Communist to tremble, and to call for “maximum solidarity,” since not only the Communist dictatorship but also the party itself have shown signs of breaking.
Could Lenin have spoken the truth in general? Not so long ago at a discussion meeting about trade unions he said, “I am deathly fed up with this, and apart from my disease I would be glad to quit it all and run away wherever I could.”
But his confederates do not allow him to run away. He is held as their prisoner, and must slander just like they do. And also, the party policy is such that its realization is prevented by Kronstadt, which is demanding not “free trade” but true Soviet power.
The Petrograd Pravda for March 11 prints a letter from Zinoviev to the non-party comrades. This unrestrained boor expresses his sorrow that there have come to be few worker-Communists in Petrograd factories, and that therefore, “it is necessary to the Communists, come of it what may, to draw honest non-party workingmen and women into Soviet work.” That Communists have become few in the factories is understandable; everyone flees from the party of traitors. It is also understandable that the chekists want to shut the non-party workers’ mouths with every kind of truth and untruth, by involving them in join work.
This provocateur writes, “Let’s, in an organized way, arrive at a systematic method of drawing non-party comrades to work.” But what honest worker will join that gang of thieves, commissars, and chekists? The workers well understand that these new gendarmes need to choke their grumbling with any concessions, to lull them from their vigilance, in order to squeeze them still stronger afterwards with their iron tongs. The workers see how they are revenging themselves on their non-party comrades in Kronstadt.
“Recently,” Zinoviev sobs on, “there was a major misunderstanding between us and the Baltic Factory. But if the Baltic Factory were to be first to carry out the given plan, and showed an example to the others, then many mistakes would be forgiven it.”
Here again speaks the provocateur. Of course, in those days the Communists assured us in their broadcasts to the Kronstadt workers that all was well in Peter, and that the Baltic factory was working. Now, suddenly, there are “major misunderstandings,” and invitations to show an example “to other factories.” Unrest has begun in other factories too. So when was Zinoviev trying to deceive us, then or now?
In order to obtain the Baltic workers for their use, the Communists promise them all the blessings of the world.”We will assign the workers to the jobs most important at the current moment: produce, heating, control over Soviet institutions and the like. We will give non-party workers the opportunity, through their representatives, to take the most active part in the purchase abroad, for gold, of produce for the Peter workers, in order to make it through the difficult months. We will put the question of the struggle with bureaucratism in our institutions on a practical footing. We will scold and criticize each other, and come to a full and fundamental understanding.
This is how sweetly Zinoviev sings, lulling the workers, drawing their attention away from the sound of the bombardment directed against their Kronstadt brothers. Why have the Communists been silent up to now? Why haven’t they done this during their almost four year rule?
Very simply, they couldn’t do this before, and they can’t do it now either. We know the value of their promises, and not just promises but agreements (a bunch of paper). No, the worker won’t sell his freedom and his brothers’ blood for all the gold in the world. Let Zinoviev give up this empty fancy of, “coming to an understanding.” Now, when the Kronstadt brothers have risen to the defense of true freedom, the workers can give the Communists only one answer. “Get out of power as quickly as possible, you butchers and provocateurs, while it’s still possible to run away, and don’t fool yourselves with vain hopes.”
MEETING OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
At the March 13 meeting of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, the report of the General Meeting of Communists imprisoned in the Naval Investigative Prison was heard. It included a request to the Prov. Rev. Com. to allow Zosimov, former Commissar of the Battleship Brigade, to leave for Moscow to attend the meeting of the regular session of the V.Ts.I.K. [All-Russian Central Executive Committee], in order to illuminate the true lay of matters in Kronstadt.
After an exchange of opinions and a discussion from all sides, the Prov. Rev. Com. decided to consider Zosimov’s trip to Moscow unnecessary, since the truth about the events happening in Kronstadt should be well known to the government of the R.S.F.S.R. and the V.Ts.I.K. from our broadcasts. Because of their fear of the people’s masses, the Communists have not been publicizing these.
Also, Zosimov’s release might be interpreted by the government of the R.S.F.S.R. as a sign of weakness by the Prov. Rev. Com., and of a desire to come to a compromise. There can’t even be talk of this, in view of the strongly expressed desire of the laboring masses of Kronstadt to forever liberate Russia from the power of the Communists.
HOW THEY LIE
We print word for word a group of notices printed in the March 11 number of Petrogradskaia Pravda.
Internal War in Kronstadt
At 8 pm, the Committee of Defense received the following report from Tukhachevsky, Commander of the Army, in Oranienbaum. “Heavy small arms and machine gun fire is heard from Kronstadt. In Oranienbaum, columns are seen making an attack from Kronstadt toward the Mine Casting Workshops, which are located somewhat northeast of fort Konstantin. The attack is apparently being made either against fort Konstantin or against independent units which have risen against the Kronstadt White Guards, and are fortified in the region of the Mine Casting Workshops.
Fire in Kronstadt
During our capture of one of the numbered forts, a strong fire was noticed in Kronstadt. The town was cloaked in thick smoke.
An Attack by Cadets
On March 8, one of the cadet detachments made an attack on one of the forts located on Kronstadt’s northern side. The cadets, first stuck to their knees in snow, then splashing through the water which covers the ice in places, moved forward daringly and decisively. The officers, commissars and Communists were in front. Fire from the forts could not stop the attackers, despite cruel machine gun and artillery fire from the neighboring forts.
The fort was taken so swiftly, and so unexpectedly for its defenders, that they abandoned the fort leaving completely loaded weapons and a half-cooked meal. During our control of three of the mutineers’ forts, a great quantity of cannon-wadding, 40 cases of munitions and other military property was captured in one of them.
More on the Leaders and Inspirers of the Mutiny
One of the deserters who left Kronstadt on the night of March 7 reports on the attitude and carriage of the White Guard officers as follows. “Their attitude is highly “playful.” It doesn’t, of course, bother them that they have started a bloody affair. They dream of the blessings which will fall to their part in the event that they control Petrograd. ‘We will take Petrograd. We’ll get no less than half a pood [1 pood is equal to 16.38 kg.] of gold to a mug. If it doesn’t come off, we’ll go to Finland. They’ll take us in there with pleasure,’ these lords declare.”
They feel like they are lords of the situation, and in fact they are. They carry themselves with the “free seamen” like in the old, tsarist times. “The present tone is one of command, completely unlike with the Communists,” the sailors say on this account. The only thing lacking is the gold epaulets.
We bring to the attention of the lord White Guard officers that they will hardly be successful in running off to Finland, and instead of gold they will each receive a nice portion of lead.
And Krasnaia Gazeta reports, “two sailors arriving in Reval report that 150 Bolsheviks have been killed in Kronstadt.
ORANIENBAUM. A store of provisions was destroyed by successful strikes of our artillery.
ORANIENBAUM. The sailors on the ships are isolated from the shore, and suppressed by the White officership. Increasingly, notices of approaching aid, printed several times a day in different forms, are spread about the town.”
Even better is the report of Makhovik.
The Union of Printers has received the following letter in response to gifts taken by working women, members of the union, to the comrade soldiers who are defending the Peter proletarians from the White Guard adventurers.
TO THE UNION OF PRINTERS
Universal thanks to you for the presents to your red units, who have already taken three forts. I send you greetings in all our names. Today was heated. I think that everything will be liquidated tomorrow.
Warm greetings to all unions.
DURMASHKIN, Secretary of the Politotdel of the Military District 3/9/21
This is how history is written. This is how the Communists think to hide the truth from the people with slander and deceit.
A LITTLE FARTHER
A little farther…
We are at the threshold.
Without stormy days
In bloody drunkeness
We move toward the goal—
The lighthouse is seen.
Manacles are off,
Armor is on
Ice is melted.
Roar of the storm
And banner of purple—
The people have risen.
From the gloom of the crypt,
Where we rotted blindly
Until these days
We went out to the light,
Set fire to the rocket—
The mutiny of fires.
A little farther…
We are at the threshold
Without stormy days
Passing the shoals
We move toward the goal
The lighthouse is seen.
THEY REFUTE THE SLANDER
The Helsingfors newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reports:
“March 9, a broadcast from Kronstadt was captured in Reval, saying that Kronstadt is not now in need of produce aid, and refuting the provocative rumors that it has turned to Finland for support.”
WHY THE POPULACE HUNGERED
By direction of the Prov. Rev. Com., searches were carried out in the apartments of several commissars. Large reserves of produce were found in each of them. These were taken away, and given to the Produce Committee for distribution among the populace.
In this way, from the wife of commissar Ilyin (Shirokaia Street 19) were taken: 1 pood of meat, 1 pood of dried bread, 30 pounds of salt, and 10 lb. of fish. The following was left her: 1 1/2 pood of flour, 4 poods of potatoes, 2 poods of liver, 15 pounds of meat and other produce. Items taken were: 12 pairs of new shoes, a jacket, and a leather skirt. 2 jackets were left her.
From Dulin, Commissar of the Detachment of Special Purpose, the following were taken: 1 pood 9 lbs. of meat., 1 pood 28 lbs. of salt, 165 boxes of matches, 14 1/2 lbs. of loose tea, 1 pound of brick tea, and 4 poods 33 lbs. of dried bread. Also taken were: buckwheat, oat flour, millet, wheat, wheat flour, soap, kerosine, and even 1 pood 3 lbs. of nails.
Dulin was arrested.
Life was pretty good for the lord commissars.
The following donations have arrived for the warriors at the front: from E. Zavgorodin, a two day ration of bread and a pack of makhorka; from S. Ivanov, a stoker on the Sevastopol, a soldier’s overcoat; from O. Tsimmerman, a woman employee of the Rev. Com., cigarettes; from S. Putilin, one pair of boots; from A.L., clerk of the Port Chemical Laboratory, one pair of boots.
It is now three years that the populace of Soviet Russia has languished under the Communist yoke. These arrogant beasts’ bloodthirsty leaders have pitilessly poured, and pour now, the blood of the laborers. The servitors of the Communist autocracy, hiding under the traitorous mask, “Power of the Laboring People,” have deceived, and try to still deceive, the workers and peasants with their lying slanderous speeches. And besides that, the blood of deceived toilers pours on endless fronts.
Everyone knows how they take almost the last chicken from a soldier’s family, but the fattened commissars, having fortified themselves with a solid ration, look out for themselves, and do their stinking business in the rear. They yell from their bloody scaffolds, “all land to the peasants, and the factories and plants to the workers.” But at the same time, the Communists have built communal farms, occupying the best pieces of land, and put a still heavier and stronger land-owner on the neck of the most impoverished peasant.
The worker has become a night animal instead of a factory owner. He cannot work where he wants, and cannot refuse to work beyond his strength. Anyone who speaks a word of truth they shoot, leave in prison to rot, or torture in the Communist torture chambers.
Worker and peasant, languishing under the Bolshevik yoke, it is time for you to wake from your lethargy! Form true Soviets.
Look, with one blow, revolutionary Kronstadt has knocked down the stranglers of the will of the laboring people. Power has truly passed into the hands of the laborers.
When the rebellious proletariat demanded the liberation of its brothers who were languishing in the prisons, bloody Trotsky opened fire on Red Kronstadt. Having dressed deceived soldiers in white shrouds, he sent them with rifles in their hands to strangle our truth. But truth is not for Trotsky to strangle. All laboring Russia and all the world knows that we struggle for the laborers’ liberation from the despotic power of the usurper Communists.
All the world knows that Kronstadt can’t bear to listen anymore to the moans of its repressed and ruined brothers. However Trotsky might try to strangle the free idea of Kronstadt, he will soon be forced to dress himself in the same white shroud in which he dressed the unfortunate soldiers whom he deceived and drove out with machine guns to die without glory on the ice at the approaches to Kronstadt.
We have decided to be victorious or to die under the ruins of glorious Kronstadt. May we be judged by the workers of the world. We stand firmly at our posts, and having raised the banner of liberty, we are certain of victory.
Long live the Soviets!
Damnation to the stranglers of liberty, the Communists!
APPEAL TO WORKERS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS
On March 2, we, the people of Kronstadt, threw off the damned Communist yoke and raised the red flag of the Third Revolution of Laborers.
Soldiers, seamen, and workers, revolutionary Kronstadt calls you. We know that they lead you into delusion and don’t tell the truth about events here, where we are all ready to give our lives for the holy cause of liberating the worker and peasant. They try to convince you that white generals and priests are with us. In order to put an end to this once and for all, we bring to your attention that the Provisional Revolutionary Committee consists of the following fifteen members.
- Petrichenko—a senior clerk on the battleship Petropavlovsk;
- Yakovenko—a telephone operator at the Kronstadt Regional Communications Service;
- Ososov—a machinist on the battleship Sevastopol;
- Arkhipov—a machinist foreman;
- Perepelkin—an electrician on the battleship Sevastopol;
- Parushev—an electrician foreman on the battleship Petropavlosk;
- Kupolov—a senior doctor’s assistant;
- Vershinin—a seaman/combatant on the battleship Sevastopol;
- Tukin—an artisan in the Electro-Mechanical Factory;
- Romanenko—a watchman in the repair docks;
- Oreshin—Director of the Third Labor School;
- Valk—an artisan in the Sawmill;
- Pavlov—a worker in the Mine Workshops;
- Boikov—Director of the Transport String at the Admin. of Construction of the Fortress;
- Kilgast—an ocean navigator.
These are our generals: the Brusilovs, Kamenevs, and the rest, and it is the gendarmes Trotsky and Zinoviev who hide the truth from you. Comrades, look about and see what they have done to you, what they are doing to your wives, brothers, and children. Are you really going to suffer and perish under the yoke of the oppressors?
DOWN WITH COMMISSAROCRACY!
Capturing power, the Communist Party promised you all the blessings of the laboring masses. And what do we see in fact? Three years ago, they told us, “When you want, you can recall your representatives. You can newly elect the Soviets.” But when we, the people of Kronstadt, called for new elections to the Soviets, free of party pressure, Trotsky the newly appeared Trepov gave the order, “don’t spare the bullets.”
Soldiers, you see how valuable your lives are to the Communists. They send you across the ice barehanded to take Red Kronstadt, stronghold of the Laboring Revolution. They send you to take impregnable forts and ships, whose armor twelve inch shells can’t pierce.
We called for a delegation of Petrograd toilers to be sent, so that you might learn what kind of generals are with us, and who commands us. But there is no such delegation. The Communists fear that a delegation would learn the truth and tell it to you. They tremble, feeling the earth shake under them.
But the hour has rung. Off dirty paws, stained with the blood of our brothers and fathers! The laborers’ spirit of freedom is still strong. They won’t let the vampire Communists enslave them again, sucking out the last drop of blood from the tortured proletariat.
Toiler, did you really overthrow tsarism and throw down Kerensky in order to put the Maliuta Skuratov oprichniks, with Fieldmarshal Trotsky in the lead, on your own neck?
No! A thousand times no!
The work hardened hand is heavy, and the base oppressors who have destroyed millions of toilers’ lives to capture power will not withstand it.
Damnation to the hated Communist yoke!
Down with the party yoke!
Long live the power of workers and peasants!
Long live freely elected Soviets!
THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE OF KRONSTADT Kronstadt, March 13, 1921
Passed March 12 by the General Meeting of soldiers of the Transport String of the Naval Fortress of Kronstadt.
We, the soldiers of the Transport String of the Naval Fortress of Kronstadt, having listened with attention to the report of Comrade Perepelkin, member of the Prov. Rev. Com., about the current moment, find all the actions and measures taken by the Prov. Rev. Com. to be correct, and appropriate for the state of war.
We give our entire support to the defense of the interests of the laboring peasantry and workers, and detach 50 people from our crew to carry out combat service under the complete command of the Prov. Rev. Com. This will not sap the ability of the Transport String to do special urgent work. At the first call by the Prov. Rev. Com., we will all answer as one, and will be ready to go any time of day or night.
Long live the Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt!
Long live the revolutionary seamen, soldiers, and workers of Kronstadt!
Down with commissarocracy!
Down with the predatory beast Trotsky!
FEDOROV, President of the Assembly
A. IVANOV, Secretary
LEAVING THE PARTY
All those leaving the ranks of the RCP [Communist Party of Russia] are directed to turn in their party booklets and identifications to their electoral troikas. Those leaving the party in the future and giving declarations are directed to do so right now.
In December of 1919, when Yudenich was approaching Petrograd, Sotnikov, former Aide to the Commissar of Construction of the Fortress, gathered all the comrades of fort Krasnoarmeiskii. After a lying speech, he ordered all the non-party comrades to choose one of two things, either the party or the left flank, where the 55 people executed by the butcher Razin in the Krasnogorsk events were buried. Under such a threat, I was forced to become a member of the RCP.
But as the saying goes, “you won’t be nice by force.” Even though I was counted on paper as being in the RCP, in spirit it wasn’t so.
In 1920, I was thrown behind bars by the beast Sitnikov [sic] because I dared to ask the truth, why the Finns were bringing every possible kind of produce over the border to lord Gromov, the little Kronstadt tsar.
On leaving prison, I couldn’t flee the party since everything was under surveillance. But at last there has come a free time, when the yoke of commissarocracy has fallen, and I may freely stand up in the ranks of free workers and peasants.
The Communists told us that they were put in power by the people, and that they stand for the people. But who really put them in power? They told us that it is necessary to endure, and to carry on through hunger and cold for the good of our past achievements. But just as soon as these “apostles” had returned to their homes, everything appeared there, except birds’ milk.
Not so long ago they reminded us of the year 1905, when the hungry workers who went to ask Nikolai for bread were fed with lead. But look what they themselves gave the workers when they dared to ask for bread. They treat them to bullets, prisons, and so on. It has become several times worse than under Nikolai.
After the October Revolution, all these “apostles” with the souls of traitors stripped everyone on the sidewalks of their fur coats, or stole produce down to the very crumbs if they found someone with it. But now look at these thieves. Each of them has several fur coats, all their hands are hung about with gold, and their suitcases are stuffed with toys from Nikolai’s time, produce, and so on.
And all the same such scoundrels yelled, and still yell, that they are struggling for the freedom which they are strangling with bullets and prisons.
And so comrades, I am quitting this bloody traitorous party, and joyfully entering into your free ranks.
Long live the free peasant and worker!
V. IAKOVLEV, sldr. of the Training Crew of the 4th Division
I make this declaration to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee and the citizens of the town of Kronstadt so that you would not consider me to be a sympathizer with the Communists. I have been on guard of the just, Civilian Court since the 1st Revolution, as the People’s Judge who is elected independent of party membership. Due to the distortion of the fundamental declaration of the Republic Constitution by the Communist Party, in 1921 I was forced to secure “political reliability” and support in my struggle for the people’s citizens’ rights against the arbitrary rule of the chekists and other oprichniks, in order to have the strength to repulse the dominance of criminal Communists over individual private citizens who came for legal help.
Now, when this dominance threatens the entire people’s mass with bloody horrors, and comes from the central Communist authorities, I am leaving the party. It has not justified my faith, and I want to be in the ranks of the first warriors of the 3rd Revolution.
ALLIK, People’s Judge of the Third District of the Town of Kronstadt
Paul Avrich claims that on March 15, speaking at the the Tenth Party Congress, Lenin acknowledged of the Kronstradt rebels that, Bolshevik propaganda notwithstanding, “They do not want the White Guards, and they do not want our power either.”
The full significance of the ‘liquidation’ of Kronstadt was disclosed by Lenin himself… At the Tenth Congress of the Communist Party, staged in Moscow while the siege of Kronstadt was in progress, Lenin unexpectedly changed his inspired Communist song to an equally inspired paean to the New Economic Policy. Free trade, concessions to the capitalists, private employment of farm and factory labor, all damned for over three years as rank counter-revolution and punished by prison and even death, were now written by Lenin on the glorious banner of the dictatorship. Brazenly as ever he admitted what sincere and thoughtful persons in and out of the party had known for seventeen days: that ‘the Kronstadt men did not really want the counter-revolutionists. But neither did they want us.’ The naive sailors had taken seriously the slogan of the Revolution: ‘All power to the Soviets,’ by which Lenin and his party had solemnly promised to abide. That had been their unforgivable offense. For that they had to die. They had to be martyred to fertilize the soil for Lenin’s new crop of slogans, which completely reversed the old.”
-Emma Goldman, “Living My Life”
Kronstadt Izvestia 13: Tuesday, March 15, 1921
MANDATORY DECLARATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION
In view of the approaching thaw, due to which water has formed on the streets, I direct all UCHKOMS to see to enlisting citizens to work on cleaning ice from the sidewalks, and also cleaning the drainage gratings in the middle of the street. Cleaning is to take place March 15, in the morning.
KASUKHIN, Assistant Director of the Department of Administration
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
from 24:00, March 13 through 12:00, March 14
Over the course of the night, the adversary’s parties tried to attack twice, but were repulsed by our fire. After 4 am, there was a calm on the front.
from 12:00 until 24:00
About 13:00 the adversary began artillery fire, to which our artillery gave an energetic response. Firing continued with pauses until 18:30, after which a calm set in.
The adversary’s airplanes did not fly during the entire day.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Military Revolutionary Committee SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense
THE TRADING HOUSE OF LENIN, TROTSKY, AND CO.
The trading house of Lenin, Trotsky and Co. has done well. The criminal, autocratic policies of the ruling Communist Party have led Soviet Russia into the abyss of beggary and ruin.
Enough of this, it’s time to rest. But apparently the toilers still haven’t spilled enough blood and tears. This is a moment of historic battle, daringly raised by Revolutionary Kronstadt for the rights of the laboring people which have been desecrated and trampled by the Communists. And now the flock of ravens has flown together for its 10th Party Congress, and is reaching agreements on how to continue their Cain-like business even more slyly and effectively.
Their shamelessness is complete. They speak of concessions with complete calm. They have become used to it. Lenin even talks like this, “We have started to develop a beginning for concessions. The degree to which this will be successful doesn’t depend on us, but we must achieve it.” He further admits that the Bolsheviks have brought Soviet Russia to ruin, “for we cannot reconstruct the country without technology from abroad, to somewhat catch up with other countries in economic terms. The situation has required us to buy abroad not only machines, but also coal, which we have much of.”
Lenin consoles us, “Such sacrifices will be necessary in the future also, in obtaining items of broad use, and for the collective farms.”
Where is the economy made right, for the good of which the worker was turned into a slave in a bureaucratic factory and the laboring peasantry into hired hands on Soviet farms?!
But this is still not enough. Lenin, talking about agriculture, promises even more “blessings,” under the further “ownership” of the Communists, as he himself puts it. “And if it is possible to sometimes reestablish large scale farming and industry, then it will only be by the path of placing new sacrifices on any producer, giving him nothing.”
That is the kind of “blessing” which the head of the Bolsheviks promises to all who will continue to submissively carry the yoke of commissarocracy. The peasant was right who said at the Eighth Congress of Soviets, “everything’s going all right, only… land’s ours, but grain’s yours; water’s ours, but fish’s yours; forest’s ours, but the wood’s yours.”
But the toiler doesn’t have to worry. Lenin promises, “to make a number of concessions to the smallholder, to give him known limits of a free economy.” Like the old “kind” landowner, he intends to make a few petty concessions in order to squeeze even harder later with the tongs of party dictatorship. This is clearly visible from the phrase, “of course, you won’t achieve it without compulsion, for the country is terribly impoverished and tired.”
It’s clear. You can take even the last shirt from the beggar.
The mission of peaceful construction Lenin understands to be, “with concessions at the top and taxes at the bottom.”
WHAT THE COMMUNE GAVE
“Comrades, we will build a beautiful new life,” the Communists said and wrote. “We will destroy the entire world of oppression, and build a bright Socialist heaven,” they sang to the people.
But what in fact came of it? All the best houses and apartments are taken by departments and subdepartments, and their bureaucrats have set themselves up spaciously, comfortably, and warmly. The number of available apartments was reduced, and workers live in the very same places where they lived before, just more run-down and more crowded.
The houses are reaching old age, and the stoves are almost ruined. Broken windows aren’t fixed. Roofs are bursting and just about to begin leaking. Fences are strewn about. Waterpipes are half ruined. Toilets don’t work. Apartments are flooded with refuse. Citizens see to their needs in strangers’ courtyards. Stairways are unlit and filthy. Courtyards are like pigsties. Garbage cans and cesspools are overfilled. The streets are dirty; the sidewalks haven’t been cleared and slippery. It’s dangerous to walk.
In order to receive an apartment it is necessary to have pull in the housing department; otherwise, don’t even think about it. Only the select have spacious and comfortable apartments.
The matter of food is even worse. Irresponsible and incapable workers have ruined hundreds of thousands of food items. They distribute nothing but frozen potatoes. Meat is rotten in spring and summer. They didn’t used to give to swine what citizens have received from the builders of “heavenly” life.
Honest Soviet fish (herring) saved the day, but recently there isn’t even that.
In order to receive these pathetic scraps it was necessary to serve hours at the fronts.
Soviet stores turned out to be worse than the factory stores of unpleasant memory, where the owner-manufacturers dumped every kind of trash, and the enslaved workers couldn’t say a word.
In order to destroy home life, our rulers introduced communal cafeterias… And what came of it?
The food there was even worse! Produce was plundered, and the citizens were given the remains. Children’s food was somewhat better. But what was given to the children was still not enough, and most important, there wasn’t enough milk. In their time, the Communists took all the milk cattle from the laboring populace to their farms. Half they destroyed. Milk from the surviving cattle went first to administrators and employees, and only the scraps to the children.
But the worst of all was the clothing and shoe situation. People wore only what was stored away earlier. If anything came in for distribution, then it was very little. (Now, for example, one of the unions is issuing buttons, and they have to make it 1 1/2 buttons per person. Isn’t it funny?) Shoes were especially bad. The path to heaven may be short, but all the same you won’t get there without soles on your shoes.
There were, however, channels in which all that was needed flowed freely. People close to the Communist Party, and those with power, had everything. They had their own cafeteria, special rations, and a special orders table for their service, distributing blessings by the good will of a woman commissar.
But people knew that the “commune” sapped, and in the end destroyed, productive labor. Any inclination and interest to work fell away. Cobblers, tailors, water carriers and others who had earlier worked by handicraft, quit and went away, someone here and someone there. They became port guards and watchmen, joined the ranks of the departmental workers, and so on.
This is the heaven which the Bolsheviks took on themselves to build. In place of the former regime there arose a new regime of excess, vileness, “comradeship,” selfishness, thievery and speculation. It is a horrible regime, where it’s necessary to hold out your hand to the authorities for every little piece of bread and every button. It’s a regime where you don’t even own yourself, and there’s no way to be your own master. It’s a regime of slavery and humiliation.
This is the kind of hell we lived in for three years. But that was still just the blossoms, and we will rescue ourselves from the berries.
EVENTS IN PETROGRAD
Through March 12
A state of siege has been declared. Guards on the bridges have been increased. Guard posts have been placed at busy crossings, controlling the movement of automobiles and horses. Movement is forbidden after 9 pm The theaters are closed.
—The mood of the workers is one of sympathy toward the people of Kronstadt. The workers are expectant. The electrical station and water supply work industriously. All other factories are either striking or “Italianing” [sit-down striking, after the form of Italian labor protestors].
—The mood of the army units is not favorable to the authorities. Therefore they aren’t sent to the front, but are held in barracks and not issued weapons. Due to the danger of active interference by the sailors, a partial transfer has been begun to the Black Sea. To the front are sent exclusively cadets, and independent units quickly thrown together from members of regional and suburban soviets.
—Produce situation. The entire amount on hand in the Petrograd storehouses at the beginning of March amounted to 23,000 poods (a meaningful part being frozen meat). Of that, 22,000 poods have now been requisitioned for the needs of the Petrograd garrison; 1000 poods are left for high Soviet employees. There are no reserves for the populace. The steam grainmill Mordukha stands empty.
—Hostage arrests are being carried out in Petrograd and its surrounding areas. About 20,000 persons have been arrested by now. (The figure is not confirmed.)
—The March 4 session of the Petrosoviet. The Kronstadt events are the main issue of the day. Zinoviev calls for the presentation of two ultimatums: 1) to the people of Kronstadt, 2) to the striking Petrograd factories, and the Baltic in particular. (After a number of speakers testified, the second ultimatum was not presented.) By far the most conspicuous speech was that of Filippov. Its contents in short: “Having fought in the July and October days of 1917 for the dictatorship of the working class, we got a dictatorship of the ruling party.” After Filippov’s speech, time was limited to seven minutes, and about 20 speakers were deprived of speech. None the less, seaman Emelianov was able to read the Kronstadt resolution. The disorders among the Petrograd seaman and the unsucessful attack on [fort] Totleben were explained with factual reports.
—Wounded from the Kronstadt front are beginning to arrive in Petrograd. Many of them are self inflicted. For example, of 100 people wounded in Sestroretsk, 60 were self inflicted.
—On the 10th, more than 100 people from the Naval Academy refused to go to the front. They were sent to the tribunal [court].
A SMALL SATIRE
In the empire Eresefeser [RSFSR]
There once appeared a strange SR
(a spy also, and Menshevik)
Who spoke with tongue both spry and quick,
And a former priest (and general)
Who quickly built a fine scandal.
Very nicely lived the folk:
In the baths washed without soap,
Warmed in winter without wood,
And fattened up on fatless food.
Never rushing, in good measure,
Folks would eat their frozen taters,
And with tasty “Soviet ham”
Indulge themselves, just now and then.
For a pair of wooden soles,
Three whole years they worked their doles,
Though tied in knots like broken shoots,
They never did obtain the boots…
Life, that is, flowed beautifully,
Without grumbling, patiently.
But the terrible dream is broken,
Entire, the garrison has woken,
Holding meetings, shouting solutions,
Scribbling up resolutions.
Then arrived himself Kalinin,
Tongue as soft and slick as linen,
He sang to them like honeyed wine,
But success he didn’t find.
Every heart was set aflame,
And the poor Communards, what a shame…
The few remaining “hearty souls,”
Were just like crabs upon the shoals,
And running heels were all that was seen,
Of those from the feared Cheka machine.
Fearing terrible retribution,
Flight’s the commissar’s solution,
But the politruk [head of the politotdel] didn’t have the chance,
And now he sits without his pants,
Right there down in the old cell block,
With the Communists, a regular flock.
And they’ve even, scandal of all scandals,
Dressed themselves in plain bast sandals.
Gotten all upset and glum,
Trotsky sends an ultimatum,
“If this disorder you don’t douse,
Then, like a bunch of foolish grouse,
A loyal host having gathered round,
I’ll give the order to shoot you down.”
But our boys, firm and plucky,
Select a Committee and revtroiki,
Shoulder to shoulder now they sit,
Before a fire they have lit…
So wait a bit, for the moment when
The “mighty leaders” make their ends,
Like little bugs, on weapon pins.
HOW THEY LIE
Krasnaia Gazeta reports in the March 12 edition:
—Oranienbaum, 11th. There are confirmed reports that there is a rebellion by seamen in Kronstadt.
—Oranienbaum, 12th. Yesterday, individuals were noticed making their way across the ice from Kronstadt to the Finnish shore. It was also noticed that crossings were being made from Finland to Kronstadt. This all points to an undoubtable connection with Finland.
—Oranienbaum, 12th. Red pilots who were over Kronstadt yesterday report that there are almost no people to be seen in the streets. There are no guards or communications. Also, no communication with Finland is visible.
—Oranienbaum, 11th. Deserters from Kronstadt report that the sailors’ mood is one of demoralization. Faith in the sailors by the mutiny leaders has fallen so low that they are no longer allowed to service the artillery. The artillery is serviced exclusively by officers, in whose hands actual power is located. The sailors have been removed from almost all positions.
Firing in Kronstadt
By reports received today, frequent small arms and machine gun fire is occurring in Kronstadt. This gives basis to think that there is an uprising in Kronstadt.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE FEEDING OF HORSES
The besieged condition of the town of Kronstadt forces our produce organs to widely use stores of buckwheat and millet husks and oat chaff for foraging horses. Feeding horses with substitutes can support the horse and protect the transport we need if they are used especially skillfully. Horses eat husks and chaff badly; they often sicken, and it is not rare for them to die. In order that this doesn’t happen, and that the noted substitutes will be useful to us, the following is recommended:
- Feeding horses with substitutes: begin using buckwheat and millet husks and oat chaff immediately, while stores of other forage are still not exhausted. Changing one feed for another in a horse’s ration requires time. The horse must be continuously prepared and accustomed to the new feed.
- Change the horse over to feeding on hulls and chaff by degrees, starting the daily ration with 1/2, and only after several days (usually two weeks) bringing it to the standard norm. The horse can’t forget oats and take to hulls quickly, and will be hungry and nervous for a long time. Giving hulls immediately and in large quantity, without preparation, will necessarily bring a dangerous colic in the horse.
- Do not give dry hulls and chaff. The horse eats them badly in such a form, and the dust which flies up irritates the horse’s nose and throat and brings out a cough in the horse. Before giving the chaff and hulls to the horse, it is absolutely necessary to moisten them in water for 12-18 hours, or to steam them with boiling water. It is possible to use the method of “self-warming,” or fermentation, of the hulls and chaff. That is done like this: Dig a pit of the size necessary, line it with boards, and divide it into 4 sections with a partition. This is done because the fermentation of the chaff usually takes 3 days, and therefore if there are 4 sections it is possible to have a self-fermenting fresh feed every day, readily eaten by horses. Before lining the pit, the hulls and chaff are usually moistened with not particularly cold water, and then are pressed thickly into the pit. A bit of hay dust quickens the fermentation process, and a small amount of salt improves the taste. The size of the pit is dependant on the daily demand for chaff; 1 cubic arshin [1 arshin is equal to .71 meters] gives around 100 pounds of self-fermented chaff.
- It is necessary to shake the feed chaff and husks through a sifter to remove earth and small stones, for if these are added, the horse gets a sore mouth, eats it badly and often sickens.
- Don’t give the horse clay or moldy husks and chaff in its feed. When such substitutes are used in case of special need, it is absolutely necessary to add a small quantity of salt to the feed.
- It is good to give chaff and husks in mixture with other feed, with added oats, hay dust, twigs and a small quantity of salt.
- As possible, don’t give the horse chaff and hulls on an empty stomach. Best of all in the morning is to give the horse a little hay, and only then chaff and husks.
- Every 2-3 days, add some soda with wood charcoal to the chaff and husks. This will protect the horse from sickness.
- When feeding the horse with substitutes, don’t burden it with work. Don’t keep it wet and in the wind. Increase the horse’s supervision and care.
By following all the offered rules, you will meaningfully lighten the effect of feed substitutes on the horse, and help us to preserve it for our bright future, when economy and labor will develop without the threat of cannons, and without substitutes for the people’s will and power.
The veterinary doctor
NEWS FROM PETROGRAD
In Petrograd, the entire militia has been placed on a barracks footing, and is carrying out increased work to protect the city, the electrical station, train stations, factories and other sites. As regards the militia women, they are carrying out guard duties protecting institutions and factories. Thus, on guard of the Putilovsky Factory there are now exclusively women on duty.
The trial court of the Petrograd Revolutionary Military Tribunal heard the matter of Mikhail Iakovlevich Bulanov, sldr. of “I” Battalion, who was accused of leaving his battalion without permission while it was moving into attack, and of spreading rumors which might have brought sedition and panic in the soldiers’ ranks.
Bulanov refused to fight against his brother Kronstadters. The tribunal sentenced M. Ia. Bulanov, 20, to execution. The sentence was carried into fulfillment.
The following donations have arrived for the defenders of the approaches to Kronstadt: From I. Pervushin, 1/2 lb. of makhorka [cheap tobacco] and 2 boxes of matches; from Comrade Arkhipov, a pair of boots; from Comrade Kiselnikov, 3 packs of cigarettes, 3 boxes of matches and 1 pair of Russian high boots.
From Onisimov, 1 pair of old boots, 1 pair of underwear, 2 tobacco pouches, 1/4 lb. of makhorka and 2 boxes of matches; from Tsiplenkov, 1 pair of green cloth trousers and 1/2 lb. of makhorka; from Ignatiev, 1 pair of boots, 3/8 lb. of makhorka and 2 boxes of matches; from Mikhailov, 1 pair of underwear, 1 seaman’s duck blouse and 3/8 lb. of makhorka; from Bekker 1 pair of boots, 3/8 lb. of makhorka and 1 box of matches; from Yakushkin, 1/4 lb. of first quality tobacco; from Gurov, 1/4 lb. of makhorka; from Riumin, 1 pair of Russian uniform boots and 3/8 lb. of makhorka; from Grigoriev, 1 pair of boots; from Fadeev, 1/8 lb. of makhorka; from Bobyliev, 1 pair of trousers, 1 sailor’s flannel blouse, 1 service cap, and 1/8 lb. of makhorka; from Veidekis, 1 pair of Russian boots and 1/4 lb. of tobacco; from Stogov, 1 pair of underwear, 1 1/2 lb. of cereals and 1 can of pickled cabbage; from Bomkov, 1 pair of old boots and 1 quilted skirt; from Komarov, 1/4 lb. of makhorka and 1 box of matches; from Okosov, 1/8 lb. of makhorka; from Scherbakov, 1/8 lb. of makhorka; from Kulgas, 1/8 lb. of makhorka; from Romanov, 1/4 lb. of makhorka and 1 box of matches.
For issue to the garrison units and town residents of the fortress of Kronstadt.
A. Bread issue to army units, the fleet and workers from March 15 through 21 inclusive.
- 1/2 lb. of bread or 1/4 pound of biscuit a day. 2. 1/4 lb. of canned meat a day. 3. 3/8 pound of meat a day.
To the civilian populace:
To children of series A.
- A 1 pound tin of canned milk through April 1. 2. 2 lbs. of flour through April 1. 3. 1 lb. of wildfowl through April 1. 4. 3 eggs through April 1.
To children of series B.
- Half a pound of barley a day. 2. A quarter pound of wildfowl a day. 3. A quarter pound of meat a day. 4. A quarter pound of cheese through April first.
To children of series C.
- A half pound of barley a day. 2. A half pound of meat a day. 3. 1 pound of caviar, one time.
To adults of letter B.
- 1 pound of oats a day. 2. 3/8 lb. of meat a day. 3. One pound of caviar, with a quarter pound one time.
Besides this, to children of all series is additionally issued a quarter lb. of table butter, and a half pound of sugar, and to adults a quarter pound of salted butter, and a half pound of sugar.
PETRICHENKO, President of the Rev. Com.
SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense of the Fortress of Kronstadt
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
It is announced that bread for March 14 was issued from stores No 1, 4, 25, 11, 12, 14, 19 and 31. Those who didn’t receive any are directed to receive it today at those same stores.
For March 15, a half pound of bread is issued by adult cards of letter A for bread coupon No 18.
—Today, 3 lbs. of oats are issued by adult B cards for bread coupon No 22, counted against the bread norm for March 15, 16, and 17.
—3 pounds of barley is issued by children’s B and C cards, counted against the bread norm for the six days from March 15 through 20: by B cards for bread coupon No 12, and C for bread coupon No 22.
Issue of the declared produce will take place for 4 days.
Issue of remaining produce counted against the bread norm will be announced specially.
Due to the new allotment, today is the last day for all old issues, announced before March 14, with the exception of meat. The last day of meat issue is Wednesday, 3/16.
TUKIN, President of the Administration of Gorprodkom
—The Committee of the Union of Metal Workers notifies comrade workers that cigarette papers and “Baker” brand powder are issued to members from the union store.
—A purse with the documents of citizen Natalia Bunakova has been lost. Personal identification and a night pass are in it.
—The Administration of the Union of Workers in Education and Socialist Culture informs that there will be a General Meeting of members of the union at 4 pm on March 15 at the 3rd Labor School. Attendance is mandatory.
—Personal identification No 44 in the name of seaman M. Kreinin has been lost. Please consider it invalid.
All military units, worker’s associations and institutions can receive ‘Izvestiia of the Revolutionary Committee’ and pamphlets at Sevtsentropechat, in accordance with the worked out norm.
On March 16, a meeting of the Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) passed a Resolution On Party Unity addressing the uprising:
The fact that the enemies of the proletariat take advantage of all deviations from a strictly consistent communist line was seen most clearly in the example of the Kronstadt uprising, when the bourgeois counterrevolution and White Guards in all the world’s countries immediately manifested their readiness to accept even slogans favouring a Soviet system, if only the dictatorship of the proletariat could be overthrown in Russia; when the Socialist Revolutionaries and the bourgeois counterrevolution in general made use, in Kronstadt, of slogans allegedly favoring an uprising in favor of a Soviet system but opposed to the Soviet government in Russia. Such instances fully prove that the White Guardists are striving—and are able—to assume the guise of communists and even to assume positions to the ‘left’ of communism, if only they can weaken and overthrow the bulwark of the proletarian revolution in Russia.
This resolution concluded by further centralizing power in the Central Committee to expel any member from the Party on any pretext:
“In order to ensure strict discipline within the party and in all Soviet work, and to achieve maximum unity while eliminating all factionalism, the Congress gives the Central Committee full powers to apply all measures of party punishment up to and including expulsion from the party in cases of violation of discipline or of a revival or toleration of factionalism.”
At the same time, Trotsky made a statement to the London Daily Herald, repeating the previous allegations that the uprising was simply the work of “counter-revolutionary generals.”
“If the liquidation of the Kronstadt mutiny is taking some time, this is because, in the measures we are adopting, we have had and are having not only to spare our units unnecessary losses but also to spare in every way possible the peaceful population and the garrison of Kronstadt, which is not participating in the mutiny. Our losses due to the guns of Kronstadt have so far been insignificant.”
In fact, the Bolsheviks had already suffered a large number of casualties—and they were hardly careful to spare “the peaceful population and the garrison of Kronstadt,” which were indeed taking part in the mutiny.
Trotsky concluded by asserting that “The historical assignment of the SRs and Mensheviks consists in trying to put the Russian counter-revolution in the saddle, as the agent of world imperialism.” Any communist or socialist who was not a Bolshevik was effectively an accomplice of world imperialism.
At the same time, Red Army shells were falling in Kronstadt near the cemetery where the rebels were performing burial rites for their fallen comrades.
Kronstadt Izvestia 14: Wednesday, March 16, 1921
Today, March 16, at 4 pm, after a burial service in the Naval Cathedral,
THE FIRST SACRIFICES IN THE STRUGGLE
FOR FREEDOM OF THE LABORERS
will be committeed to earth in a fraternal grave on Revolution Square.
Killed on March 8: Aleksandr Kapralov, Mikhail Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Danilov, Zakhar Klimenkov, Stepan Mischenko, and one worker and four soldiers whose names have not been discovered.
Died from wounds: Foma Shaposhnikov, Petr Fedorov, Iakov Arkhipov, Semen Drozdov, Feodosii Khatko, Sergei Nechaev, Mikhail Bystrov, Aleksandr Pospelov, Ivan Pakhtalov and Stepan Kevshin.
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
From 24:00, March 14 through 12:00, March 15
Around 6 am, the adversary’s intelligence made an attempt to approach our guard line, but was dispersed by fire. Prisoners were taken by us.
Around 11 am, the adversary began occasional artillery fire.
For the time from 12:00 noon until 12:00 midnight, March 15
From 2 pm on, there was occasional artillery firing. Around 5 pm, firing ceased. After 6:30 pm, the enemy apparatuses [airplanes] carried out three raids. One bomb was thrown, but didn’t cause any harm. The apparatuses flew away after the very first shots by our anti-aircraft batteries.
OSOSOV, Vice President of the Prov. Rev. Com.
SOLOVIANOV, Head of the Defense
SOCIALISM IN QUOTATION MARKS
Carrying out the October Revolution, the seamen, soldiers, workers, and peasants spilled their blood for Soviet power, for the construction of a Republic of labor.
The Communist Party well understood the mood of the masses. Having written deceitful slogans that stirred the masses on its banner, it drew them along behind it, and promised to bring them to a bright Kingdom of Socialism which only the Bolsheviks could build.
Naturally, limitless joy filled the workers and peasants. “At last, slavery under the yoke of land owners and capitalists would pass into the realm of legend,” they thought. It seemed that the time of free labor on the land and in the factories had come. It seemed that all power had passed into the laborers’ hands.
The children of the laboring people were drawn into the party’s ranks by sly propaganda, and held there with the chain of severe discipline. Feeling their strength, the Communists first removed from power the socialists of other movements. Then they shoved the workers and peasants themselves from the helm of the ship of state. At the same time, they continued to rule the country in their name.
The Communists exchanged the stolen power for the authority of commissars, and for arbitrary rule over the body and soul of the citizens of Soviet Russia. Contrary to common sense, and in defiance of the will of the laborers, there began the persistent construction of bureaucratic socialism with its slaves, instead of a free kingdom of labor.
Having let production fall into disarray under “workers’ control,” the Bolsheviks carried out nationalization of the plants and factories. From a slave of the capitalist, the worker became a slave of the bureaucratic institutions. Even that became too little. They planned to bring in the Taylor sweatshop system.
The entire laboring peasantry was counted with the kulaks, declared an enemy of the people. The enterprising Communists occupied themselves with destruction, and took to setting up Soviet farms, the estates of a new land owner, the state. That is what the peasantry received under Bolshevik socialism instead of free labor with liberated land.
In exchange for grain requisitioned almost bare, and cows and horses taken away, there were Cheka raids and executions. There’s a good exchange of products in the labor state: in exchange for bread, lead and bayonets.
A citizen’s life became impossibly boring and bureaucratic. It was life drawn by the powers that be. Instead of a free development of personality and a free laboring life, there arose a completely unprecedented slavery. Any free thought, any fair criticism of the actions of the criminal rulers was made a crime, punishable by imprisonment, and not rarely even by execution.
The death sentence, a desecration of human dignity, began to flourish “in the socialist fatherland.” This is that bright Kingdom of Socialism which the Communist Party brought us to. We have received bureaucratic socialism with Soviets full of bureaucrats, who obediently vote by the orders of a committee of the party of infallable commissars.
The slogan, “he who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat,” was turned inside out under the new, “Soviet” order to be, “all for the commissars.” And for the workers, peasants and laboring intelligentsia there remained labor, continuous and unenlightening, in prisonlike conditions.
It became unbearable, and Revolutionary Kronstadt first broke the manacles, and broke the prison bars, fighting for Socialism of another kind. It is fighting for a laboring Soviet Republic, where the producer will find himself the fully empowered master and commander of the produce of his own labor.
IN POWERLESS SPITE
In the proud knowledge of its power and with the strong desire to rebuild desecrated freedoms, Kronstadt threw off the Communist yoke. It refused to pay tribute in the lives, fortunes and welfare of its people to a bunch of lunatics.
Tortured Russia was forced to bear the nightmare of the All-Russian Cheka, the rivers of blood shed by innocents, sobs and moans in the village hut, thefts, and oppressions in the cities, and strangling of any thought or any living word, all for the good of the unbothered existence of the Kremlin khans.
But at the same time, these sufferings increased the fortress’s strengths ten fold from the very first moment of the formation of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. When Kronstadt, that veteran of freedom, answered the first shot of the socialist autocrats, there was a feeling as if along with a round from a gun barrel there shot out indignation and revulsion. It was felt that there will not be an end to this revulsion until the time when the chains of “Communist freedom” which entangle the laboring people have been torn away.
Kronstadt, in calm certainty that it was correct, said to its enemies, “Come and get it.” The jackals of the Communist pack bared their teeth, the leaders began to howl, and the ravens, smelling the kill beforehand, flew down from all sides to the Oranienbaum and Sestroretsk shores.
Loyal communards by good will, and the remaining soldiers deceived with tales of what is being created here and driven with machine guns, were expected to obtain the head of grey Kronstadt for the red headquarters at Krasnoflotskii in two shakes, as it was said in Petrogradskaia Pravda.
The quick accounting was not successful. Neither tsarist methods of repression using contemporary junker-cadets, nor the napoleonic heads of the central commands of all the fronts could help the situation.
In powerless spite, the jackals ran away with their tails between their legs. The ravens have flown off with wild croaking to the familiar nests of their secret police, sowing slander and lies in their Communist press, and shooting or putting in prison those who didn’t want and do not want to believe in Petrogradskaia Pravda.
Powerless spite: to hide the truth of free Kronstadt from you at the price of blood and lies.
Every new shot from the fortress brings closer the liberation of all the country’s laborers from the shameful Communist yoke.
THE REVTROIKA OF THE AIR DEFENSE
RED WREATH FOR A WARRIORS’ GRAVE
Today, one more grave mound rose on Kronstadt’s Anchor Square. The beginnings of the 3rd Revolution were laid in this square, and in it will be committed to earth the first warrior heroes for its slogans.
Brothers in spirit, they will lie in a fraternal grave. Twenty red coffins with our defenders’ bodies will be lowered into the earth. These red coffins are the symbol the the blood spilled in battle for the good of the laborers, and a symbol of the fire of Revolution, sweeping from its path all who raise their hand against the will of the laboring people, and lighting the torch of freedom.
Therefore, may their murderers know that in burying our red heroes, we have also dug a grave for them. We will bury the butchers there without a feeling of sorrow or sadness, but with damnation.
LEND A HAND, BROTHERS, AND FORWARD FOR FREEDOM!
The shadow of Protopopov crowns the insane heads of the bloodthirsty stranglers with Trepov’s laurels. Raising bridges, counting on starvation—Oh gendarme’s of Nikolai, you turn white before them. Lies in newspapers, provocation by Finland—Oh Gapon, how far they are ahead of you. Bands of chekists, cadet detachments—Oh berserkers of the Turkish sultans, you have risen from the dead.
There are machine guns at the crossroads; an icebreaker has passed down the Neva [in order to make the river uncrossable]. Workers of Petrograd! You have all been arrested. You are all being watched by the butcher Trotsky. Seaman and soldiers are locked in their barracks. This is a new kind of concentration camp for the proletariat.
When we, through our authorities, proposed that a delegation be sent to Kronstadt and impartially convinced that there are neither generals nor epaulets with us, but only the laboring mass, which has taken power in its own hands, we agreed that to the impartial non-party comrades would be added Communists, chosen by your authorities, they opened fire.
Why did they do this? The leaders of the authorities cannot not know the truth, and because they know, they are committing a crime. Their power is being destroyed. It slips from them. They must choke and strangle their adversaries, and the stronger they do so, the longer they will exist.
These political corpses have outlived themselves. They have died in Russia, for Russia, apart from Russia, but they still hold on, and in order to hold on they raise the bridges, send an icebreaker down the Neva, set up machine guns, arrest 20,000 people… But will they be able to arrest all of Russia?
And with all of this, they call themselves the power of workers and peasants.
Break the chains, brothers. The dawn of the 3rd Revolution is rising. The bright sun of freedom shines here in Kronstadt. The oppressors power tumbled down like a house of cards, and we, free, are building our Revolutionary Soviet.
Lend a hand, brothers, and forward for freedom and fortune, for power to Soviets, and not parties.
EVINKTIS, seaman of the battleship Sevastopol
LIST OF WOUNDED, KILLED, AND DIED OF WOUNDS
Brought to the Naval Hospital from March 10 through 14
KILLED: soldiers—Sergei NECHAEV and Feodosii KHATKO
DIED OF WOUNDS: Iakov ARKHIPOV
LIGHTLY WOUNDED: sldrs. - Fedor SHITEL, Andrei KOLIASA, Pantelei KARELIN, Georgii CHALENKO, and sailor Dmitrii CHERIUKANOV
HEAVILY WOUNDED: Iosif ERMOLAEV, Mikhail SOVRASOV
Yesterday, it was possible to see an interesting sight in the town. A directive was given by the Department of Administration, through the uchkoms, on cleaning the sidewalks of ice and snow. Under the thunder of cannons, citizens poured into the streets and took after the work in a comradely way. The necessary tools were found: shovels, crowbars, axes and the like. The populace answered in a comradely way to the laboring duty, which under the commissarocracy they did under the lash.
MEETING OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
March 14, a meeting of the Prov. Rev. Com. took place. Among other things, the following resolution was made.
1). About the Worker-Peasant Inspection;
Having heard the report of Comrade Romanenko about the unclear and undefined condition of the existing apparatus of inspection and control, it being an organ chosen by the former Soviet, and not answering to the spirit of the time, after an exchange of opinions it is resolved:
The Worker-Peasant Inspection of the former Kronstadt Soviet Department is to be eliminated. Worker control over civilian institutions is to be placed with the Soviet of Trade Unions, which is assigned to chose a set number of people from the memberships of all the unions. It also must take control of all matters left by the former Worker-Peasant Inspection.
2). About the Cultural-Educational Section of the former Politotdel;
It is resolved: The Revtroika is to be eliminated. All cultural-educational work is to be given into the authority of the Garrison Club.
All property and resources of the former Politotdel and its sections and sub-departments are to be transferred to the Garrison Club. The Garrison Club Revtroika is to take charge of all this, and to make a report on it to the Prov. Rev. Com.
3). About shock work on the repair of the water transport and liquid resources of the Kronstadt Port and Fortress.
It is resolved:
The Soviet of Unions is assigned to immediately call a Technical Conference of representatives from interested institutions. This Conference is assigned to urgently find out, jointly with a representative of the Prov. Rev. Com.: 1) the necessary number of working hands, 2) the amount of material needed, and 3) the amount of time need for completion of the shock work.
The following donations have arrived at the Fleet Department of Produce Distribution for the use of the defenders of true freedom:
March 14, from employees of the Prodbaza: Comrade Voevutsky, a new summer soldier’s blouse, 1/4 lb. of tobacco, and 1/4 lb. of makhorka [i.e., cheap tobacco]; Comrade Filippov, 1/8 of makhorka and one box of matches; from Comrade Mikhailov, 1/2 lb. of makhorka; from Comrade Alekseev, a new jacket, a pair of puttees, 1/4 of tobacco, and 3 boxes of matches; from Comrade Kuvaldin, high boots, wide summer trousers, 250 cigarette papers, 1/4 of tobacco, and 3/8 of makhorka; from Comrade Nikitin, 1 pair of underwear, 1 shirt, 1/8 lb. of makhorka, and a piece of gray soap; from Comrade Buman, a soldier’s blouse, a new sheet, wide trousers, a shirt, 1 pair of socks, 1/2 lb. of tobacco, 1/2 lb. of makhorka, 500 cigarette papers, and 10 boxes of matches.
March 15, from the employees of the Prodbaza of the Fleet Produce Administration: from Comrade Mokhov, 3/4 lb. of makhorka; from Comrade Kondrashev, 1 underwear, 1 shirt, 1/2 lb. of high grade tobacco, 3/8 lb. of makhorka, and 250 cigarette papers; from Comrade Baikov, 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of new pants, 1/3 lb. of makhorka, and 2 boxes of matches; Onuchin, 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of cloth trousers, and 1/4 lb. of makhorka; Poplavsky, 1 pair of boots, 2 sailors’ striped vests, 1 pair of underwear, 1 puttees, 1/8 of makhorka, 25 cigarettes, 2 boxes of matches, and 1 cloth sailor’s blouse; Artamonov, 1 pair of boots, 1 underwear, 1 black pants, and 1/2 of tobacco; Manivmon, 1 quilted trousers, 1 flannel sailor’s blouse, 1 sailor’s striped vest, and 3/8 lb. of makhorka; Ilyin, 1 set of worker’s clothing, 1 soldier’s hat, 1 pair of foot bindings, and 1/4 lb. of makhorka; Svirshevsky, 10,000 rubles, and 1/4 lb. of makhorka; Bek, 1 flannel sailor’s blouse and 1 second hand trousers; Shipelev, summer trousers, 1 set of worker’s clothing, 2 soldier’s hats, and 1/4 lb. of makhorka; Maltsev, 1/4 lb. of makhorka; Telenkov, 2000 rubles, 1 army soldier’s hat. and 1/4 lb. of makhorka.
The General Meeting of servicemen of the Administration of the 4th Division of Artillery unanimously resolved to extend a fraternal hand of aid to the defenders of free Kronstadt, and share an extra pair of boots. In the same day, the following made donations:
Nikitin B., Karpov I., Dvoinikov I., Sumin F., Sidorov V., Osipov V., Naumovich K., Panov V., Malyshev I., Uvarov M., Zubarev V., Veselov V., Kriuchkov M., Morokhin I., Elesin I., Vasiliev I., Vorobiev I., Mazul A., Ostaschev I., Povoliaev A., Parenkov N., Kirilov A., Govorlivykh A., Emelianov Kh., Ankudinov F., Stopin N., Zakharov V.
Donations continue to arrive.
On March 14, an unknown female citizen gave about 5-6 pounds of meat into the command of the President of the Revtroika of the Naval Crew of the First Command of Baltflot. At that time, the seamen had just set off for one of the numbered forts, and the meat was placed in their hands. The seamen give their heartfelt gratitude to the conscientious citizen. It is now known to all that this great-spirited, unknown woman shared this so valuable and tasty morsel with the seamen.
May the party of traitorous liars know this, may they tremble pathetically before the single, fraternal family of Kronstadt.
Crew of the First Command of Baltflot
A SMALL SATIRE: KRONSTADT CHASTUSHKAS
The all-Russian commune
Razed us to the ground,
The Communist dictatorship
Brought us to ruin.
We drove the landowners out,
And waited for freedom, land,
We shook off all the Romanovs,
And were blessed with Communists.
Instead of freedom and land
They gave us the Cheka
And planted Soviet farms
Hither and yon.
They take away bread and beast,
The peasant bloats from hunger,
They took a gray horse from Erema,
And a ploughshare from Makar.
There are no matches, nor kerosine,
Everyone sits with a torch,
Under the Bolshevist commune,
They only eat potatoes.
They sent to the village
Five arshins of red calico,
The commissars took it all away,
Not an inch for the middle peasant.
And throughout Russia
The peasant rose for land,
But everyone writes in Izvestiia,
“The kulaks have rebelled.”
The chekist rides out
Like a tsarist general,
Floods the land with blood,
He’s fleeced everything to the bone.
They’re bringing serfdom for us anew,
Hey, wake up peasants!
Only the Bolsheviks alone,
Eat and drink like the barons before.
Arise peasant folk!
A new dawn is rising—
We’ll throw off Trotsky’s fetters,
We’ll throw off Lenin the tsar.
We’ll overthrow the dictatorship,
We’ll give freedom to labor,
We’ll allot for labor
The land, factories and plants.
Labor will establish equality,
And with labor free forever
Fraternity of all people will come,
And otherwise never.
A RESOLUTION BY PRISONERS OF WAR
At a general meeting of 240 prisoners of war, being cadets, officers, and soldiers, taking place in the Army Stables, the following resolution was passed unanimously.
“On March 8, we, Moscow and Petrograd cadets, officers and soldiers, received an order to attack the town of Kronstadt. They told us that White Guards had raised a mutiny in the town of Kronstadt. When we came without a shot to the shores of the Town of Kronstadt, and having met the forward units of sailors and workers, we became convinced that there was no kind of White Guard mutiny in Kronstadt. On the contrary, the soldiers and workers had overturned the power of the commissarocracy. Right there, we voluntarily crossed to the side of the people of Kronstadt. We now ask the Rev. Com. of the Town of Kronstadt to add our strength to its army units, since we want to stand up as defenders of the workers and peasants, not just of Kronstadt but of all Russia also.
We consider that the Prov. Rev. Com. of the Town of Kronstadt has really taken the true path in the cause of liberation of all laborers, and that only with this slogan, “All power to Soviets, and not Parties,” is it possible to bring to an end the work which has been begun.
We promise to tell of anyone noticed propagandizing against the actions and orders of the Prov. Rev. Com. of the Town of Kronstadt, and to send them on the the Rev. Com.
At the General Meeting of the crew of fort Totleben Morskoi, taking place March 15, after the report of delegates from the Prov. Rev. Com., the following resolution was passed: “We the garrison of fort Totleben Morskoi greet you, comrade seamen, workers, and soldiers of the town of Kronstadt, in the great difficult hour of our glorious struggle against the hated Communist yoke. We are all ready as one to die for the liberation of our suffering brothers, the peasants and workers of all Russia, who are held in chains of damned slavery by deceipt and oppression. Protecting the approaches to Kronstadt, we will be faithful to our word to the end. We believe that soon we will smash to bits the circle of enemies around the fortress with a decisive attack, and bring freedom to every person of the suffering motherland, real truth and freedom.”
LEAVING THE PARTY
All those leaving the ranks of the RCP are directed to turn in their party booklets and identifications to their electoral troikas. Those leaving the party in the future and giving declarations are directed to do so right now.
Having discussed the current situation, we, members of the RCP, are disgusted by the shameless actions of the little bunch of Communist bureaucrats who strive to protect their power with arms, and to build prosperity for themselves on others’ misfortune. We openly declare that we did not enter the party in order to drown the world of laborers in blood, but to give all our strength and knowledge for the good of the laborers. This gang used our trust and wove itself a wasps’ nest. We consider such oppressors to be outside the law, and we will, equally with the toilers of the town of Kronstadt, defend the true path on which the revolutionary seamen, soldiers, and workers stand. As of this date, we do not consider ourselves to be members of the party, and give ourselves entirely into the command of the Revolutionary Committee.
Fedorov, Efimov, Berendakov, Kurochkin, Tikhomirov, Esh, Kuznetsov, Vishnevsky, Efimov, Storkhberg, Tmota and Tsepaev, employees of the Worker-Peasant Inspection
Declarations have also arrived from the following:
Seamen: 232) Kulakov Mikhail, 233) Burmistrov Aleksandr, 234) Lugovskoi Mikhail, 235) Dudkevich Arkadii, 236) Shabariv Ivan, 237) Romanov Sergei, 238) Mamchenko Pavel, 239) Baranon Kuzma, 240) Kotenkov Ivan, 241) Sviiazev Sergei, 242) Brauk Karl, 243) Vokovets Ivan, 244) Vinogradov Mikhail, 245) Senni Maksim, 246) Bogdanov Vasilii, 247) Terentiev Stepan, 248) Grafov Aleksei, 249) Krasnoshevsky Iosif, 250) Cheridnichenko Mark, 251) Lisitsyn Nikolai, 252) Sorokin Semion, 253) Diak Anton, 254) Bykov Grigorii, 255) Vlasov Dmitrii, 256) Sereda Andrei, 257) Buluev Andrei, 258) Ekimov Mikhail, 259) Morozov Aleksei, 260) Korliakov Grigorii, 261) Malaukhov Vasilii, 262) Prasolov Grigorii, 263) Butin Ivan, 264) Poliakov Gerasim, 265) Shatokhin Mikhail, 266) Saltykov Mikhail, 267) Iurchenko Mark, 268) Raskatov Vasilii, 269) Gusarov Mikhail, 270) Zhitnikov Aleksandr, [sic] 272) Protasov Ivan, 273) Sovolev Mikhail, 274) Markov Mikhail, 275) Kholodov Ivan, 276) Marinov G., 277) Sitnikov Andrei.
Candidate members of the RCP: I. Marklev; A. Utrimov, soldier of the 10th Battery; also N. Malafeev; Kondratenko, member of the RCP; S. Gorlov, sldr. of 4th Division; I. Kivikhin, employee of the Prodbaza; I. Grigoriev, sldr. of the Fortress Fire Crew; also I. Korotov; N. Andreev, member of the Admin. of the Union of Sewing Production; N. Tikhomirov, employee of the Watch Crew of the Kronstadt Port; Zavialov, sldr. of fort Totleben; also P. Ivanov; N. Platonov, seaman; F. Zhilin, master in the Naval Artillery Laboratory; Angileiko, Aide to the Commander of the Engineer. Work. Battalion; Nikiforov, Aide to the Director of the Transport String of the Admin. of Construction; I. Panfilov, sldr. of 560th Battalion; also D. Piskarev; N. Vinogradov; also Korshinov; A. Solonschikov, soldier of the Watch Crew of the Kronstadt Port; also I. Maksimov; K. Grigoriev, seaman; E. Khromov, member of the RCP; A. Krasikov, Head of the Admin. of the Commander of the Town of Kronstadt; E. Tikhomirov, seaman; Gamzov, employee of the Ship Department; also Leonenko; also Korotkevich; also Galakhov; also Blashek; also Bortnikov; also A. Beliaev; also E. Balaev; also I. Petrov; also Sterling; also Iampoltsev; also Petkevich; also E. Nikitin; also V. Egorov; also Karpovich; also Shulgin; also Vnukov, also I. Bykhov, sldr. of the Kotlin Railroad; also Brynsky; also Volkov; also Baranovsky; also M. Fedorov; also Grushechevich; also Kuzmin; also V. Romanov; also V. Zembal; also S. Afanasenko, militiaman; also N. Kraubner, serviceman of the Admin of Construct. of the Fortress; P. Ukhnalevich, member of the RCP; also 334) Popov.
PRODUCE FROM GORPRODKOM
Today, half a pound of bread is issued by adult cards of letter A for coupon No 17. March 16, 17, and 18, 2 lbs. of white flour is issued by children’s cards of series A from stores No 1, 5, 10, 13, 14 ,15, 25, and 30 (independent of registration) for produce coupon No 11, and a one pound tin on canned milk from stores No 5 and 14 for produce coupon No 12. Flour and milk will be issued for three days.
March 16 and 17, the haberdashery store (formerly belonging to Schukin) will be open from 2 to 7. It is incumbent on institutions and citizens having orders for good from the above named store to register them in the Department of Distribution of Gorprodkom, room No 19, and to receive the goods during the announced period.
AL. OKOLOTKOV, for the President of Gorprodkom
—The handicraft workshop of the Soviet of the People’s Economy accepts orders for bed linen and clothes, with trimmings supplied by the orderer.
—The Department of Social Security announces to citizens that textiles in the possession of the Department have all been distributed. Others who have turned in applications will be supplied first, upon receipt of textiles.
—Warrant No 12 of Comrade Nikitin, member of the Revtroika of the battleship Petropavlovsk has been lost. We ask that it be considered invalid.
The Administration of the Central Garrison Club brings to the attention of club members that lessons have resumed in all studios. It therefore addresses a request to all teachers, and also to club members to attend lessons as possible.
The Revtroika of the Prodbaza asks military units and the civilian populace to not throw away tins from preserves, since they can be used a second time for the same purpose. Please turn them in at the following addresses.
At Big Port, to Aramonov, the overseer of the warehouses, or on former Kniazheskaya Street at the Oprodkomflot Store. Receipt will take place from 10 am until 4 pm.
Before dawn on March 17, the final attack on Kronstadt got underway, involving fully 50,000 Red Army troops. The Kronstadt sailors fought valiantly, but they were dramatically outnumbered and the Red Army was willing to absorb a large number of deaths to recapture the outpost and put an end to the standoff. According to Paul Avrich, the American consul estimated Red Army casualties as high as 10,000. The fighting lasted all day and into the evening.
The next day, March 18, was the anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune.
Over 8000 of the rebels—including Petrichenko and ten other members of the Revolutionary Committee—escaped across the ice to Finland, more than half of the total number of fighters at Kronstadt. Others were not so lucky.
Ask by the chairman of the Revolutionary Tribunal why he had opposed himself to Soviet power, one defendant answered ironically: “What difference does it make to us ignorant people what kind of power?”
On March 31, 1921, having crushed their own equivalent of the Paris Commune, the Bolshevik authorities renamed both of the best-known ships that had participated in the Kronstadt uprising. Without a trace of irony, they renamed the Sevastopol, which had sustained Red Army strikes from three 12-inch shells that killed or wounded 102 rebel sailors, the Parizhskaya Kommuna (“Paris Commune”). Likewise, they renamed the Petropavlovsk the Marat after the murdered French revolutionary leader, Jean-Paul Marat.
Wherever you see a monument, you can be sure a slaughter took place.
The Kronstadt Uprising
- The Truth about Kronstadt and the Kronstadt Izvestia, translated by Scott Zenkatsu Parker
- The Bolshevik Myth (Diary 1920–22), Alexander Berkman
- The Kronstadt Rebellion, Alexander Berkman
- The Paris Commune and Kronstadt, Alexander Berkman
- Kronstadt Diary: February 26 - March 19, 1921, Alexander Berkman
- My Further Disillusionment in Russia, Emma Goldman
- The Guillotine at Work, Grigori Petrovitch Maximov
- The Kronstadt Commune, Ida Mett, 1938
- The Unknown Revolution, 1917–1921, Voline
- Kronstadt 1917-1921: The Fate of a Soviet Democracy, Israel Getzler
- “The Communist Leaders’ Role in the Kronstadt Tragedy of 1921 in the Light of Recently Published Archival Documents,” Israel Getzler
- The Role of M.N. Tukhachevskii in the Suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion, Neil Croll
- The Kronstadt Revolt: The Gulyai-Pole Connection, Vyacheslav Azarov
- Bloodstained: One Hundred Years Of Leninist Counterrevolution, Friends of Aron Baron, 2017
- Who Were the Kronstadt Rebels? A contemporary analysis of the political physiognomy of the revolt by a Russian anarchist based in St. Petersburg
- marxists.org reading list on Kronstadt
- Kronstadt as Revolutionary Utopia, 1921-2021 and Beyond—The recommended reading list for an online conference that took place in March 2021
- Izvestia de Kronstadt, Mars 1921—a French-language collection of the Kronstadt Izvestia
You can also find a wide-ranging assortment of materials in French about the Kronstadt uprising here.
The Russian Revolution
- April 2018: 100 Years since the Bolshevik Terror
- A Century since the Bolshevik Crackdown of August 1918
- Bolshevik Repression against Anarchists in Vologda
- Lenin Orders the Massacre of Sex Workers, 1918
- 1919: When the Bolsheviks Turned on the Workers—Looking Back on the Putilov and Astrakhan Strikes, One Hundred Years Later
- The Anarchists in the Russian Revolution, Paul Avrich
- The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control, Maurice Brinton
- The Russian Counterrevolution
- 1921-1953: A Chronology of Russian Anarchism
- Critique of State Socialism
- There’s No Such Thing as Revolutionary Government—Why You Can’t Use the State to Abolish Class
- Against the Logic of the Guillotine—Why the Paris Commune Burned the Guillotine… and We Should Too
- Critique of State Socialism—A comic juxtaposing Bakunin’s critique of statist revolutionary movements with the events that subsequently confirmed it
“Bolshevik theory seems to me to err by concentrating its attention upon one evil, namely inequality of wealth, which it believes to be at the bottom of all others. I do not believe any one evil can be thus isolated, but if I had to select one as the greatest of political evils, I should select inequality of power.”
-The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, Bertrand Russell, 1920
For Marxists who wish to know what their two great teachers might have said about the Kronstadt uprising and the fate of the Soviet Union, we quote the following passage from Friedrich Engels’ “The Peasant War in Germany”: “The worst thing that can befall a leader of an extreme party is to be compelled to take over a government in an epoch when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class which he represents and for the realization of the measures which that domination would imply.” For anarchists, of course, such aspirations to “domination” are anathema, historical determinism is absurd, and both are bound to lead to tragedies like the one that unfolded at Kronstadt. ↩
The POLITOTDELS were special units in the Red Army, factories, and rural production areas that dictated the proper implementation of Communist party policies. They guided the political and organizational leadership of all political organs and military units as well as intelligence and counter-intelligence work. ↩
Gorkommuna (Town Commune) and Gorprodkom (Town Produce Committee) were official organizations that supplied Kronstadt with produce. ↩