Issue 11 of "Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt". Includes open letter to workers of the world about the situation in Kronstadt and a call to break away from the Bolsheviks. Translated by Scott Zenkatsu Parker and edited by Mary Huey. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mhuey/
Sunday, March 13th, 1921
ORDER OF THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE
Left at liberty, the Communists are abusing the trust which the Prov. Rev. Com. 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 11th, 1921, Fortress of Kronstadt
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 11th until 12:00, March 12th
There was calm until 10 A.M.
From 10 A.M. 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 12th
Around 1 P.M., raids by the adversary's airplanes began, with bombs being thrown on the town. There was artillery fire by the adversary until 7 P.M., 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 R.C.P.
TO THE WORKERS OF THE WORLD!
The following broadcast was sent by the Prov. Rev. Com.:
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 letting 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 R.C.P., 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 with the bourgeoisie but also with 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.
(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 Rev. Com.
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 writer 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 SATIRE
AN 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 R.C.P. 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 R.C.P. 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.
We, Communists of the collective of the Naval Hospital, ask that you no longer consider us members of the R.C.P. 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 Rev. Com.
Long live Soviet Power!
Long live the real fraternal union of workers and peasants!
A. IUNKER, A. ILYIN, former members of the R.C.P.
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 R.C.P., 220) N. Starshinov, seaman, 221) also M. Maksimov, 222) N. Omelchuk, member of the R.C.P., 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.
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 14th, work is to be carried on from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M.
1. A. FEDOROV, President of the Revtroika
A. SKVORTSOV, Secretary
--The Revtroika requests that representatives and secretaries from the uchkoms assemble by 2 P.M. on March 13th 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.
* The meaning of the reference to these two towns is not clear. (trans.)