Seventh issue of "Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt". Includes a discussion on the reconstruction of the unions and a resolution put forward by deserting Red Army troops. Translated by Scott Zenkatsu Parker and edited by Mary Huey. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mhuey/
Wednesday, March 9th, 1921
Lenin said, "Communism is Soviet power plus electrification," but the people have become convinced that Bolshevist Communism is commissarocracy plus executions.
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
(March 8th, 1921)
Our artillery destroyed the railroad line near Martyshkino.
In Oranienbaum, fire broke out in the region of Kitaisky Dvorets.
Our artillery bombarded the northern and southern shores of the gulf. The adversary took heavy losses.
In the town, not a single building suffered from the adversary's bombardment. Windows in several houses were broken by concussion.
Gromov, former Commissar of the Kronstadt Fortress, was killed in a skirmish with our forward posts.
THEY ARE SHOOTING OUR CHILDREN
They don't have to get used to spilling the blood of innocents. They have already begun throwing bombs from airplanes over the dwellings of peaceful residents of Kronstadt. The first bomb was thrown March 8th, at a few minutes before six. It fell in the eaves of a house, and the whole matter ended with the ruin of the house's facade, and the breaking of glass in nearby houses. Wounded, fortunately lightly, was a boy of 13 years.
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF VICTORY?
With the adversary's first shots, the restraint and determination of our revolutionary garrison has all the more clearly appeared. It is bursting for battle, but it strikes its blows not just as they chance to fall, but where they are needed.
All are bursting to be armed, not excluding old men and young boys. The show of spirit is remarkable. The laboring populace and garrison have decided to fight to the end. All are inspired by the single thought of breaking up the last remains of the Communist yoke. There is no turning back. There is only the path forward--to Free Labor and Soviet power. The rebels' enthusiasm and restraint ensure our victory.
Kronstadt's red eagles are writing a bright new page in the history of Soviet Russia. Certainty in ourselves and selfless devotion to the laborers' interests--these are the strengths which guarantee our victory over Communist Fieldmarshal Trotsky.
It is different in the adversary's camp. As deserters and prisoners report, Trotsky employs the usual Communist means of convincing the laborers, he places machine guns in the rear of their attacking troops.
Against the rebels' enthusiasm, the adversary has placed the enthusiasm of the whip and firing squad.
HEAR THIS TROTSKY!
In their broadcasts, the Communists have slung tubs of mud at the leaders of the Third Revolution, who stand for true Soviet power and against the outrages committed by the commissars.
We have not hidden this from the Kronstadt populace, and have fully printed all their slanderous attacks in our Izvestiia.
We have nothing to fear. The citizens know how the revolution took place, and who made it. The workers and peasants know that among the garrison there are neither tsarist generals nor White Guards.
For its own part, the Prov. Rev. Com. sent a broadcast to Petrograd demanding that the hostages taken by the Communists - workers, sailors and their families, and also political prisoners - be freed from the overfilled prisons. In a second broadcast, we proposed that non-party delegates be sent to us in Kronstadt. They, being convinced on the spot of the true course of events, could open the eyes of Peter's laboring populace.
And what did the Communists do? They hid these broadcasts from the workers and soldiers. Units of Fieldmarshal Trotsky's troops which have crossed to our side brought us Petrograd newspapers, and there is not a word about our broadcasts in them!
Was it that long ago that these hucksters, used to playing with marked cards, were yelling that there shouldn't be any secrets from the people, even diplomatic?
Hear this Trotsky! As long as you are still running the people's court, you can shoot innocents in whole droves, but you can't shoot the truth. It will come out, and then you and your oprichnina will be forced to answer.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE UNIONS*
Under the Communist dictatorship, the mission of the trade unions, and of their administrations in particular, was reduced to a minimum. In four years of the revolutionary-trade union movement in Socialist Russia, our trade unions had no chance to be purely class organizations. This situation came about not by their fault, but purely thanks to the policy of the ruling party, which strived for a centralized, "Communist" development of the masses. Therefore, the work of the trade unions came down to nothing but completely unecessary correspondence, for the compilation of information about the number of members of one or another industrial union, specialization, party status and so on.
Relative to the economic-cooperative construction of the Republic and the cultural development of the trade union workers, nothing was undertaken. And that is completely understandable, since if the unions had been given the right of broad independent action, then the entire order of centralized Communist construction would have been destroyed, and together with it would have collapsed the need for commissars and politotdels.
These are undoubtably the situations which have made the working masses forsake the unions, since the latter had become a Communist gendarme yoke, holding down the laboring classes.
With the overthrow of the R.C.P. dictatorship, the role of the Trade Unions must fundamentally change. Therefore, the newly elected unions and administrations in the trade movement must fulfill the great combat mission of educating the masses in the cultural-economic construction of the country. They must pour a new, invigorating stream into their activity, and become the expressers of the people's interests.
The Soviet Socialist Republic may only be strong when its administration belongs to the laboring classes in the form of renewed trade unions.
We will undertake this cause, comrade workers! We will form new unions, free from all oppression. In them is our strength.
FIRST MARTYRS FOR THE 3RD REVOLUTION
(About the executions in Oranienbaum)
On March 2nd, a rumor was passed in Oranienbaum that Kronstadt had driven away Kalinin.
Sailors from Kronstadt had been arrested at the train station.
The First Aeronautic Naval Division has always stood on guard of the Revolution, and sensitively listened to the voice of the laboring people.
The Kronstadt resolution was delivered. In a moment, the news passed to all the seamen of the Aero. Div., and at 6 P.M. they gathered in their club to discuss the new situation. The Communists got nervous and called the Politodel, from which the R.C.P. organizer Perekhov and other Communists arrived. The division commissar was horrified when we elected Comrade Kolesov, Commander of the Aero. Nav. Division, as President, Comrade Balobanov as Secretary, and Comrade Romanov as Assistant Secretary of a Revolutionary Committee, and especially when the entire division unanimously supported the Kronstadt resolution.
The sailors rejoiced that power had passed into the hands of the laboring people. The Communists vainly attempted to provoke us, saying that we did not have the right to revolt against Communist Soviet power. The sailors, in revolutionary ecstasy, replied to this that death was better than the Communist yoke, and with the cry, "Long live the Kronstadt sailors, soldiers and workers," went to the hangar where the seaplanes were located.
In the hangar we gathered for a second time. Comrade Balabanov [sic] instructed that all seamen should be armed, but several, afraid of spilling blood, did not agree with this order, and as we will see below, paid cruelly for their love of peace and their trusting natures.
The seamen chose three delegates for communication with Kronstadt, and decided to set a division watch of 20 persons. At this time the Communists were listening in on us, and reported everything to the Politotdel, where a Communist committee of defense was gathered. Its president, commissar Sergeev, ordered military units to capture the rebel sailors, who had clearly crossed to the side of the White Guards. We went to our separate homes, since the Communists assured us that they wouldn't use any armed force or arrests against us.
Our delegates, sent to neighboring units with the Kronstadt fortress' resolution, were arrested by chekists on the way. Comrade Kolesov wasn't able to use the telephone (central reported that it was out of order) to communicate with Kronstadt and with other units. In fact, Sergeev, commissar of the Oranienbaum garrison, called the Petrograd Defense Committee and asked them to send an armored train with an echelon of cadets as quickly as possible, and urgently called for 3 batteries of light artillery, and a squadron of cavalry cadets. They armed all the Communists from head to toe, supplied them with revolvers and machine guns, issued each soldier 2 lb. of bread and 1 lb. of meat, and then sent them to the brigade headquarters. Then the Communists set about disarming the young seamen and the escort crew. They arrested the most untrustworthy, and sent them to the Cheka. Some who escaped from under arrest informed Comrade Kolesov of what was happening. He answered, "Let them make their arrests. We don't fear them, and won't make any opposition, since our forces are too small, just a 30 person guard."
At 5 A.M. on March 3rd, the armored train Chernomorets and an echelon of cadets arrived from Petrograd. At 7 A.M., just as it had begun to get light, the armored train came up to the building of the Naval Aeronautic Division and aimed its cannons and machine guns point blank. Cadets rushed at the seamen from all sides, and disarmed them. The infamous beast Dulkis, from the Kronstadt Cheka, pointed his revolver at Comrade Kolesov with the animal scream, "Don't move White Guard, or I shoot." After this, they arrested our commander and took him under guard to the Cheka, where they began to bring the sailors arrested in private apartments.
After several hours, the chekists set about the interrogations. After the interrogation of Comrade Kolesov and 44 seamen of the Aeronautic Naval Division, at 4 o'clock on March 3rd a company of cadets took them past Martyshkino for execution. Soon the crack of small arms volleys was heard.
The Communists of the Aero. Nav. Division made sure to immediately arrest the wives and relatives of the comrades who had been saved from the terrible clutches of the Cheka.
Cadets arrived from Orel, Nizhni Novgorod and Moscow. Three more armored trains came, and were put on the reserve tracks of the town of Oranienbaum. After this, heavy artillery and the Moscow Cheka arrived.
For whom were these armed forces and oprichniki? Clearly, for the workers, peasants, sailors and soldiers who had begun to want freedom for labor and fairness.
Execution did not scare us. We decided to be victorious, or to die the glorious death of a revolutionary seaman, who has proved that he is not a gendarme, and not a servant of the Cheka which protects the Communist Party autocracy which torments our wives and children in its torture chambers.
Down with the Communist oppressors, who rob our fathers!
Long live Soviet power!
ABUSE OF THE WHITE FLAG
A white flag raised during military action means a temporary ceasefire, to carry out negotiations between the adversaries. Thus it has always been, among all nations.
But it is not so with the Communists. They turn the flag of peace into a sign of betrayal, and under its cover carry out their stinking works. Yesterday, March 8th, soldiers with a white flag set out from Oranienbaum in the direction of Kronstadt. Taking the advancing soldiers as truce envoys, two of our comrades went out on horseback to meet them, having beforehand removed from themselves all weapons. One of them rode right up to the adversary's group, and the second stopped at a small distance.
Barely had our truce envoy said a few words when the Communists threw themselves on him, pulled him from the horse, and carried him away with themselves. The second comrade managed to ride away back to Kronstadt.
The example is worthy of attention, to once more be convinced of the methods which the Communists use in their struggle against the laboring masses.
HOW THE COMMUNISTS LIE
--Tukhachevsky, commander of the army operating against Kronstadt, told a reporter from Kransnyi Komandir, "We have received reports that the civilian population of Kronstadt is receiving almost no produce."
--The infantry regiment quartered in Kronstadt has refused to join the mutineers, and not allowed itself to be disarmed.
--The main instigators of the mutiny are planning to escape to Finland.
--A non-party sailor who escaped from Kronstadt reports that on March 4th, General Kozlovsky spoke at a sailors' meeting in Kronstadt. In his speech he called for strong authority, and decisive action against supporters of the Soviets.
--The mood in Kronstadt is one of demoralization. The masses of the populace impatiently await the end of the mutiny, and demand that the White Guard leaders be surrendered to the Soviet government.
This is what the Communists write about us. These are the means to which they resort, tring to blacken our movement before the laboring people, and by the same means to lengthen their own existence, if only by an hour.
S. KAMENEV FLED FROM ORANIENBAUM
A March 7th issue of Krasnyi Komandir, provided to us by prisoners, reports, "the Commander in Chief of all armed forces of the Republic, Comrade S. Kamenev, having arrived in Petrograd in connection with the events in Kronstadt, has returned to Moscow."
A COMMUNIST ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE THE FORTS
On March 6th, Comrade Afanasiev came to Comrade Ballot, a Communist, for some books. The latter attempted to convince him to escape from fort Rif to the Oranienbaum shore. In preparation, he had found out where the guards and machine guns were placed, and where crossing the sea would be least unpleasant.
He proposed that they dress all in white, since the night was light. (The conversation took place at two o'clock in the morning.) But of course, Comrade Afanasiev did not agree with him, arrested him and took him to the Provisional Revolutionary Committee.
Under interrogation, Comrade Ballot admitted that he wanted to escape to the Oranienbaum shore, and was searching for a companion so that it wouldn't be so boring. He says that he wanted to escape because he was afraid of execution. On him were found 28 thousand rubles, and identification papers.
On March 6th, a General Meeting of the crew occured at fort Krasnoarmeiskii, at which Communists were in attendance along with the others. After a report by Comrade Vershinin on the current moment and how things stand in Kronstadt, demoralization was noticed among the crew, since the Communists located there were zealously carrying on their malicious agitation. They were making the crew feel that they were still their lords, and did not intend to give up their place. After the slogan proposed by Comrade Vershinin, "Victory or Death," the crew came to the point of view, better death than surrender.
Then the Communists, 50 persons in number, attempted to escape from the fort, but were caught in a searchlight, restrained, disarmed and turned over to the authority of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt.
At the present time, a cheerful and excited atmosphere and complete support for revolutionary Kronstadt are noted at fort Krasnoarmeiskii.
A RESOLUTION BY DESERTERS
The truth about Kronstadt has already broken through all the obstacles set up by the high-handed Communists, and units of the adversary's troops surrender to us in droves. They are now being convinced that the soldiers, seamen and workers of Kronstadt are fighting against oppressors, fighting for true Soviet power. They see that it was not generals (of which, by the way, there are none here) but the tortured laboring people itself that overthrew the oprichnik-Communists.
We print below a resolution passed unanimously by 700 deserters.
"We, soldiers, peasants, workers, cadets and officers, having heard a report on the situation of Kronstadt, entirely give our support to the resolution of the Garrison Assembly of the town of Kronstadt, and express our faith in the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. We wish to go hand in hand with it, and at its first call we will enter anew into the ranks of the laboring masses, and will struggle against all Soviet bureaucratism and unfairness.
ALL POWER TO SOVIETS, AND NOT PARTIES
We, candidate members of the R.C.P. of the Union of Workers of the People's Communications, having discussed the current moment, arrived at the following conclusion: we entered the party with the goal of working for the good of the people, and stand entirely in defense of the interests of the worker and peasant masses. Therefore, at the present difficult time being suffered by the Republic, when all our strivings must be turned to the battle with destruction, cold and hunger, we unanimously declare that we do not stand for the authorities, but entirely for the rightful cause of the laborers. Therefore we, as honest workers, standing in defense of the interests and rights of the laborers, unanimously declare that we are under the command of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee, which has placed before itself the goal of forming Soviets of the purely laboring proletarian masses.
Long live Sovet power, true defender of the laborers!
town of Kronstadt, March 8th, 1921
PETROV, President of the Meeting
We, workers' representatives, at the General Meeting of the 6th Raikom of the Union of Metal Workers, having heard the truthful speech of a deputy from the Prov. Rev. Com. of the Fortress of Kronstadt, say, "We believe in you, we are with you. Go boldly forward on the shining path which you have marked. We will not leave you, and if necessary, we will die together with you for the good of our brothers the laborers."
ELECTIONS TO THE REVTROIKA AT THE WORKER-PEASANT INSPECTION
At the General Meeting of the workers of the Worker-Peasant Inspection, it was decided that since there are 4 subdepartments in Rabkrin [Worker-Peasant Inspection], just such a number of members should be elected, that is, 4 persons: Galkin, Morozov, Neveikin and Soloviev. Three of those elected, Comrades Galkin, Morozov and Neveikin, are to remain at the Rabkrin Department, and Comrade Soloviev is to be located at the Soviet of the People's Economy sub-department. Comrade Galkin was elected President of the Revtroika, and Neveikin Secretary.
Comrade Communists, come to your senses! Admit your unforgivable error before the non-party comrades. I too was a Communist, of the battleship Sevastopol's collective, and have now understood how we were deceived by our torture chamber bureaucrats. Comrade Communists, it is time to come to your senses! Enough of shooting our own fathers and executing brother peasants and workers by the order of some kind of Trotskies. We will throw away our deceiving slogan, "The dictatorship of the proletariat." We will join in a comradely family together with our Rev. Com., for the rightful cause.
Down with the oppressors' party!
Long live the worker and peasant!
KOSKIN, a Communist
LEAVING THE PARTY
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.
In view of the fact that in answer to the the comrade Kronstadters' proposal for delegates to be sent from Petrograd, Trotsky and the Communist leaders began to spill blood by firing the first rounds, I ask that from today I no longer be considered a member of the R.C.P. The speeches of Communist orators fogged my head, but today's practices of the bureaucrat-Communists have cleared it.
I ask that this declaration be printed in the press, and also ask the crew to accept me into its close family, that I may share in its sorrows and joys.
I bless the bureaucrat-Communists for the fact that they have uncovered their face, and in that way brought me out of delusion. I was a blind tool in their hands.
Former R.C.P. member No 537,575
Recognizing the critical situation which has been created by the actions of a shameless little bunch of Communists, who have woven themselves a thick nest at the top of the Communist party, and having entered the Communist party under pressure, as a rank and file working man, I look with horror on the fruits of their hands' work. The country, brought to ruin, can be rebuilt only by the worker and peasant, whom the Communist party, as ruler, has plucked to the last feather. Therefore I am leaving the party, and will give my knowledge for the defense of the laboring mass.
L. KOROLEV, Commander of the 5th Battalion, 4th Division
The bloody horror of Nikolai
We had not been able yet to forget,
When the commune's "holy" party
Began to spill our blood anew.
She promised us liberty,
She promised us the gift of fortune,
But this her own gift she changed
To bloody terror and nightmare.
Executions, torments, tortures,
Blood poured from under swords.
She gave us three years of suffering
Worse than the Tsar's butchers.
It has come true... By the Will of the people
The nightmare of oppression is broken,
Liberty has been returned
The mighty fire of uprising burns.
Grey Kronstadt, in past days
Moved ahead as a revolutionary.
It threw down Nikolai's weight
And will throw down the Communist yoke.
Seaman K. KOLODOCHKIN
We, Communists of the battleship Sevastopol, having discussed the current moment, arrived at the following conclusion: during the last three years of our party's existence, many self-seekers and careerists have poured into our ranks. Because of the above, these careerists have created a powerful bureaucratism in the country, and thereby have raised the workers and peasants against the party.
Our party has always placed as its purpose the struggle against all enemies of the proletariat and laboring class, and we now openly declare that we, as honest sons of the workers and peasants, will stand also in the future for the laborers' victories. We will not allow a single White Guard, either secret or open, to use the temporary, difficult situation of our Soviet Republic, and at the first attempt to raise a hand against Soviet power, we will know how the give the necessary repulse to the counterrevolutionary hydra of the Entente.
We have already declared and declare once again that we are under the command of the Kronstadt Provisional-Revolutionary Committee, which has given itself the goal of forming Soviets of the laboring and proletarian class.
Long live Soviet power, true defender of the rights of laborers!
We ask that this resolution be widely advertised in the press.
I. Petrov, Turk, G. Babanov, E. Soloviev, F. Bobor, Tikhomirov, A. Agafonov, Dialensky, G. Moshuanov, Kornoniushkin, Iu. Kentok, Kolomychenko, Chernov, I. Naumov, V. Ianishus, I. Semenov, N. Kitto, V. Lubkov, O. Svetlov, V. Tuzov, A. Etikson, S. Fetrovin, Fedorov, Busybin, Gant, Gavrilov
Declarations of departure from the R.C.P. also arrived from the following: 1) N. Ermolenko, seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 2) P. Tolbaev, candidate member of the R.C.P., 3) Zhukovsky, seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 8th Company, 4) I. Mischenkov, worker in the Port Galvanoplastics Workshop, 5) M. Petrov, member of the R.C.P., 6) G. Ivanov, soldier of battery No 5, 7) A. Buivolov, soldier of 3rd Division, 8) also A. Krutikov, 9) also T. Timoshin, 10) also P. Moiseev, 11) also V. Sapogov, 12) also B. Dziubinsky, 13) also A. Sokovtsev, 14) also I. Grishin, 15) also G. Semenov, 16) also E. Perezhogin, 17) G. Rebon, seaman of the Company of Seamen Specialists, 18) D. Chizhov, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 19) A. Tuzov, artisan of fort Petr I, 20) G. Zharov, member of the R.C.P., 21) I. Manziar, artisan of the Mine Laboratory, 22) I. Petrov, worker of the Support Crew of 3rd Division, 23) S. Savin, seaman of the Academic Mining Detachment, 24) G. Kurakin, clerk of the Support Crew of the 3rd Artillery Division.
Today a quarter pound of biscuit is issued by adult cards of letter A, for bread coupon No 24, counted against the bread norm for March 9th.
2 pounds of wheat is issued from stores No 5 and 14 by children's cards of series A, for produce coupon No 6, counted against the bread norm for March 8th through 11th.
One pound of fresh meat by adult cards of letters A and B and children's of series C for bread coupon No 25, and by children's cards of series B for bread coupon No 6, counted against the bread norm for March 8th through 11th.
1/16 lb. of yeast is issued by Rudkevich the yeast maker (corner of Lenin Blvd. and Saidashnaia) for bread coupon No 4 by children's cards of series C, for payment.
It is announced for the information of Uchkoms and building representatives, that citizens on naval rations must not be provided with goods.
LEVAKOV, member of the Revtroika, for the President of Gorprodkom
POZDNIAKOV, Head of the Subdepartment of Distribution
* Printed as a matter for discussion. (auth.)