Kronstadt Izvestiia #6, issued on International Womens Day, March 8 1921.
Sixth issue of "Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt". Includes list of names of those killed in the fighting. Translated by Scott Zenkatsu Parker and edited by Mary Huey. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mhuey/
Tuesday, March 8th, 1921
TROTSKY'S FIRST SHOT IS A COMMUNIST SOS
FROM THE PROV. REV. COM.
At 6:45 P.M., 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) 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
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 8th, 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 R.C.P 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.
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 R.C.P. 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 R.C.P. 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 13th, 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.
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 20th of this year.
No. in order - First and Family Names
1 Georgii Neiberg.
2 Mikhail Babkin.
3 Aleksandr Geroev.
4 Nikita Ivanichkov.
5 Prokopii Liakishev.
6 Petr Ulianov.
7 Sergei Veselov.
8 Nikolai Tsabatov.
9 Grigorii Lazarev.
10 Ivan Chaikin.
11 Moisei Ivanchik.
12 Ivan Shatov.
13 Ignatii Zhukov.
14 Aleksei Kruchkov.
15 Ivan Zhikorev.
16 Ivan Mikhailin.
17 Petr Kuibanov.
18 Ivan Karpin.
19 Matvei Gagarin.
20 Vasilii Gagarin.
21 Maksim Rodin.
22 Vasilii Levin.
23 Vasilii Talalaev.
24 Grigorii Danilov.
25 Petr Simanov.
26 Ivan Kuznetsov
27 Aleksei Kokorin.
28 Ivan Gryzunov.
29 Mikhail Sharapov.
30 Semen Anisimov.
31 Vasilii Shvagurtsev.
32 Ivan Vorobiev.
33 Vasilii Golubev.
34 Aleksei Klepin.
35 Vasilii Shapnev.
36 Nikolai Manuilov.
37 Aleksandr Fedotov.
38 Petr Larionov.
39 Ivan Derbyshev.
40 Ivan Filatov.
41 Mikhail Dunaev.
42 Nikolai Kolotushkin.
43 Vasilii Turkich, 6th battery.
44 Gerogii Vershinin, 5th battery.
45 Gennadii Feoktistov, 5th battery.
46 Pavel Potapov, 5th battery.
II SQU. MACH. GUN CREW
47 Vladimir Ivashkevich.
48 Pavel Sokka.
49 Vasilii Nazarov.
50 Fiodor Nagovitsyn.
51 Aleksei Ivanov.
SOURCE: report of the Commander of fort OBRUCHEV, No 624, of June 2nd, 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 Prov. Rev. Com. 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 R.C.P. 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 R.C.P., but as non-party comrades.
KRONSTADT IS CALM
Yesterday, March 7th, 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 P.M. Tyrants, of course, must fear their own laboring populace.
Passed by the general meeting of the united crews and garrison of fort Konstantin, March 7th, 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
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 11th; 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 11th, 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
* Maliuta Skuratov, also known as G. L. Skuratov-Belsky, was a leader of the Oprichnina under Ivan IV, "The Terrible" (see Wieczysnki ed., vol. 21, p. 55).
** Okhranniks were agents of the tsarist secret police, which was popularly called the Okhrana or Okhranka (Akhmanova et. al., p. 400).
*** Carbolic acid (phenol) was put in graves to avoid the spread of typhus and other diseases. (trans.)