A short biography of Siberian anarchist communist Ivan Sizikov
Ivan Sizikov was born in the village of Durnova Kasminsky, in the Kuznetsk district of Tomsk province, in Siberia. After graduating from high school, he worked on the railways. At the end of 1905 he was apparently arrested for taking part in a railway strike. Upon his release, he was sacked from his job.
He moved to Irkutsk province and managed to get a job as a railway telegraphist at Innokentievskaya station. He was conscripted in 1915 and was wounded three times, each time awarded with Crosses of Saint George.
In October 1917 he took part in the uprising in Petrograd and was wounded in street fighting. In early 1918 he returned to Siberia and lived in the village of Broyukhanovo near his own home village, working as a telegraphist on the Shestakovsky coal cut.
In October 1918 he organised a partisan unit in the upper Kara-Chumys river area and participated in the struggle against the Whites. In December 1919 he and his partisan detachment joined forces with those of the anarchist communists Ivan Novoselov and Grigori Rogov, and took part in driving out the forces of Admiral Kolchak from Tomsk province. In the same month, he proceeded to the village of Bachaty where a punitive detachment of Kolchak’s troops were quartered and where they had carried out killings of members of the underground. He appealed to the class interests of the rank and file of this detachment, who were persuaded to join his detachment. This contributed significantly to the defeat of Kolchak.
The forces of Rogov and Sizikov entered the city of Kuznetsk on December 8th. Uskov and Pyanov describe the sequence of events:
“On December 5 (or 6), a detachment of I.E.Tolmachev in the amount of about 100 people entered the city of Kuznetsk. The Tolmachevites shot the former Chief of the Kuznetsk garrison, Lieutenant General P.N. Putilov and the last Kuznetsk district military chief M.-I. F. Bedlo-Zvolinsky ...On December 9, GF Rogov arrived in Kuznetsk at the head of a two thousandth cavalry army, armed with 18 machine guns ...The city of Kuznetsk was subjected to a cruel pogrom: the cathedral and the church were burned down, all institutions were destroyed, the city archive was destroyed, warehouses and shops were emptied, hundreds of residents were robbed and killed.
The role of the organiser of the bloody bacchanalia, arranged in Kuznetsk, in historiography is assigned to G. F. Rogov, and the term rogovshchina became the personification of the marginalised behaviour of partisans during the Civil War... A different point of view is reflected in the memoirs of the former partisans of the detachment, in which it is stated that Rogov has brought order to the city, and the facts of robberies and riots associated with his name are refuted. Memories of local residents are cited as one of the proofs. The spread of rumours about Rogov's atrocities, perhaps, is a provocation of local townspeople and other persons hostile to the Soviet regime. It is difficult to give a balanced assessment of the December events in Kuznetsk due to the almost complete absence of documentary sources. It should also be borne in mind that several partisan detachments have visited the city in a week, in addition, criminals released from prison, as well as men from the surrounding villages, took the most active part in the robberies.”
The journalist Semyon Kaigorodov wrote:
“In early December 1919, military units revolted in the city of Kuznetsk. After killing several officers, the rebels began to plunder. The prison was destroyed, the political prisoners contained in it and the criminals simply fled, self-organising into gangsters...The bacchanalia of lawlessness lasted for several days, the city was destroyed. Formally, the revolutionary committee seized power in the city, but its position was very precarious. The Revolutionary Committee asked for help from the detachment of Grigory Rogov.
Later, when the Bolsheviks finally fell out with the anarchists, the Rogovites were credited with all the atrocities committed during several days of inter-rule. According to some reports, up to 700 Kuznetsk residents died during these events. Others say four hundred. And the writer Vladimir Zazubrin, having spent the entire hot period of the Civil War far from our places (he was treated for typhus with his wife's relatives in Kansk), wrote in his essay “Rough roads”, a few years later, this is what: “Out of four thousand inhabitants of Kuznetsk, two thousand fell on its streets."
This is how the legend of the "Rogov cleansing" was born, behind which there is hardly any truth. Former partisans recall that 12 people were sentenced to death, and they should have been condemned. But, I repeat, the bloody tale of Rogov attracted the attention of writers - not only Zazubrin wrote about him, but also Vyacheslav Shishkov in the story "Vataga", presenting the partisan movement as a wild Pugachevism..But here are the eyewitness accounts: a Kuznetsk resident Konovalov, “a ... a member of the Revolutionary Committee,” recalls this: “What they write and say about Rogov's outrages is fiction, slander. 12 people, the most bitter enemies of the people, were convicted and executed. .. Well, as for the robberies, then ... it was not the partisans who robbed, ...If it were not for the partisans of Rogov and Sizikov, the punishers (punitive detachment N.H.) would have destroyed us, the rebels, and half of the city's inhabitants”. Pinegin, the manager of the Kuznetsk district militia, agrees with Konovalov: “I was in Kuznetsk all the time and saw what was going on. A dozen and a half or two were killed under Rogov, those who should have been beaten long ago for murder, humiliation and mockery of the working people. "
When the Red Army arrived in the region, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities for burning a church in the village of Bryukhanovskoye that his detachment had occupied in December 1919. He was imprisoned at Novonikolaevsk and then Shcheglovsk, and was finally released in March 1920.
He then moved to live with his sister in the village of Gorskovo. Around this time, he declared himself an anarchist communist and participated with Novoselov and Rogov in the founding of the Altai Federation of Anarchists FAA). Sizikov signed the Appeal of the Combat Commission of the FAA, along with Novoselov and Rogov which states:
Comrades, peasants and workers.
Enemies of the revolution are telling you that White people are supposedly moving out of the taiga and want to enslave you - but this is a lie. There are no Whites in the taiga, they have all turned Red and are sitting in the cities in legislative institutions and issuing harsh laws for you. In the taiga, the same brothers, peasants and workers, are persecuted in the same way by the power of the soviets, which calls itself the power of the people, as by Nikolai, (the Tsar N.H.) Kerensky, Kolchak ... That is why we, workers and peasants, came out openly against lies and injustice. We stood up for the emancipation of the peasant, and we cannot oppress the worker, but we are fighting for complete emancipation, that is, emancipation of the working masses, for self-government of the people themselves in the localities.
In early May 1920 he took part in the peasant uprising in the Tomsk and Altai provinces.
After the crushing of the uprising by the Soviet authorities in summer 1920 Sizikov and the remnants of his detachment accepted the amnesty, as can be seen by the following document:
October 11, 1920 (Doc 185-I) Chairman of the Tomsk Gubernia Committee of Poznansky to the Chairman of the Sibrevkom Smirnov: “I received the following telegram from Shevelev-Lubkov, recruiting partisans to the front: “Tomsk, the pre-gubernial committee. For information, I inform you that in Shcheglovsk... I negotiated with Sizikov, it was suggested by me to go over to our side. My proposal was accepted by Sizikov. Sizikov appeared at the headquarters of the 104th brigade of the 35th division, which issued a mandate to proceed to Omsk. His detachment is still in the taiga. October 10, Member of the staff Shevelev-Lubkov.
Informing you about this, we ask, in view of your decision, to accept Sizikov (Novoselov's right hand) in an appropriate manner, not allowing reprisals to be applied to him. We believe that with his assistance it is possible to eliminate bloodlessly a large number of partisan groups, using them with great benefit for the fronts. It is necessary to warn the persons with whom he will have to deal, to treat him favourably.
Sizikov and his partisans joined the ranks of the Red Army and were sent to the Southern Front in Ukraine and south Russia. There they took part in the defeat of the White forces of Baron Wrangel. They were then transferred to Tambov province where they participated in the crushing of the Antonov peasant uprising.
At the beginning of summer 1921 Sizikov returned to the Kuznetsk district where he became an employee of the head of the Kuznetsk Military Committee, at the military registration and enlistment office in Shcheglovsk.
The local Chekists alleged that he re-established secret links with Novoselov, who was still operating with his partisan detachment in the taiga. As a result the Tomsk horse platoon of the Tomsk Cheka arrested Sizikov and his colleague O. I. Goncharov in the village of Kara-Chumysh on June 8th, 1921. They were taken to Bachaty and shot by the Chekists without trial on the night of June 9th.
It was the killing of his old comrade-in-arms that convinced Novoselov not to surrender to the Soviet authorities and fight on to the bitter end.
The shooting of Sizikov was shrouded in mystery for a long time and in fact the Soviet authorities buried his body in a mass grave with the bodies of the underground workers killed at Bachaty by the Kolchak troops in 1919. Their remains were reburied near the Bachaty station, and then in 1953 ended up in a park in the centre of the village under a memorial obelisk. Thus Sizikov, murdered by the Bolsheviks, was incorporated into Soviet martyrology!
Sources: material and photograph from Anatoly Dubovik at:
History of the Holy Trinity Church:
Dobruskina, Inna Andreevna. A guide to the two-volume "Siberian Vendee" 2006:
Uskov, I.Y., Pyanov, A.E. Partisan movement in Kuzbass during the civil war of 1917-1919:
Monument to an anarchist partisan: