Third issue of "Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt". Includes details of Bolshevik Party members' actions and their treatment during the revolt. Translated by Scott Zenkatsu Parker and edited by Mary Huey. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mhuey/
Saturday, March 5th, 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 4th, at 6 P.M., 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 Prov. Rev. Com., 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 R.C.P., 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."
GERMAN KANAEV, red commander, son of a political exile in the Matter of the 193.**
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 R.C.P., 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 4th, 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 4th, 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.
* The lack of coherence in this text is reflected in the original. (trans.)
** "The Trial of the 193" was a famous trial of Populists (Narodniks) in the 1870's (see Troitskii, p. 203).