Lamanov, Anatoli Nikolaevich 1889-1921

A short biography of Anatoli Lamanov, the voice and ideologist of the Kronstadt Revolt

Anatoli Lamanov was born on July 3rd 1889. His father was Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai P. Lamanov, equipagemeister (crew chief) of the Russian fleet at the major naval base of Kronstadt in 1913, his mother had populist sympathies and his elder brother was Piotr Lamanov, a lieutenant in the fleet, who also took part in the early revolutionary stirrings at Kronstadt during 1917 and commanded its naval forces.

As a third year student at the National University of Chemistry, he had gained much sympathy among the Kronstadter workers, sailors and soldiers for his visiting lectures in natural history, geography and technology during the war years. Unlike his older brother, who had links with the Social Revolutionaries, Anatoli appears to have had no direct connections with any political grouping.

He is described by the Englishman Morgan Phillips Price, Moscow correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, as having “long hair, dreamy eyes and the far-off look of an idealist” and as “earnest, friendly, somewhat enigmatic”.
He became head of the vocational training of the municipal department of education at Kronstadt. At the same time, he was elected to the Committee of the Movement by the employees of the Kronstadt chemical laboratory. He was Chairman of the Kronstadt Workers Soviet in March and April and from May onwards of its Workers and Soldiers Soviet. He gave many addresses at sessions of the Soviet. He was a leading light in the Non-Party Faction, alongside Ippolitov, Rivkin and Zverin. In August the Non-Party group joined the radical left and antiparliamentarian split from the Socialist Revolutionaries, the Union of SR-Maximalists, changing their name in the process. As Getzler says of the group: "... it rejected party factionalism, stood for pure sovietism and thus fitted admirably into Kronstadt's early revolutionary and markedly soviet landscape ..." (p. 37).

Lamanov was also editor of the Kronstadt paper, Izvestia .He was described by the wily Bolshevik F. F. Raskolnikov in his memoirs as being a “hundred per cent philistine” (philistine was a word much used at the time by Bolsheviks, especially by Lenin and Trotsky, to describe their political opponents). On the contrary, far from being a philistine, Lamanov was an untiring advocate of the democratisation (for want of a better word) of the revolution and alongside this of a mass educational and cultural initiative, including with the theatre: “ .. the theatre complements what we see and hear in life and read about in books; it injects new ideas into the minds of spectators, ideas that are new not because of their content, but because of their embodiment before us on the stage”.

The Soviet threw itself open to many speakers from all the revolutionary groups, Bolshevik, Socialist Revolutionary and anarchist alike.

The Bolsheviks were always a minority within the Kronstadt Soviet, although they made strenuous efforts to manipulate proceedings. Lamanov reminded the Bolsheviks that it was the people who had made the February Revolution not the party.

The Maximalists maintained a large number of delegates to the Soviet throughout its history, although Lamanov resigned from the Maximalists at the end of 1919. This was because he wanted to distance himself from the bombing of the Moscow Communist Party headquarters which he believed Maximalists to be involved in and which he condemned.

He applied to be a candidate member of the Bolshevik party at some point in 1920. He took no part in the initial stirrings of revolt and did not serve on the Revolutionary Committee during the uprising. However he continued to edit the Kronstadt Izvestia and put forward the slogans of “Third Revolution” and Communism without the “commissarocracy” in its pages. He announced his resignation from the Communist Party there in March, saying that he had always really remained a Maximalist all along. Thus the Izvestia became the mouthpiece of the Kronstadt insurgents, filling its pages with letters and statements from many of the rebels.

He was arrested on March 18th 1921 by Soviet troops. The rigours of Cheka interrogation seem to have broken him, as
he readily gave evidence against the other leaders of the revolt. He testified that “The Kronstadt mutiny came as a surprise to me. I viewed the mutiny as a spontaneous movement” but later in his testimony stated that the mutiny had been planned from the start by Left SRs!

Sentenced to death on April 20th by the Petrograd Cheka as a “counter-revolutionary” he was shot the following day and his body buried in Petrograd.

Nick Heath

Getzler, I. Kronstadt 1917-1921: The Fate of a Soviet Democracy
The Truth about Kronstadt:


Oct 9 2009 09:33

Great biography, thanks. I added some links to the text for further information, like the link to the rebels paper he edited.