Nineth issue of "Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt". Includes explanation of how the Provisional Revolutionary Committee was formed. Translated by Scott Zenkatsu Parker and edited by Mary Huey. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mhuey/
Friday, March 11th, 1921
ALL POWER TO SOVIETS, AND NOT PARTIES
The Provisional Revolutionary Committee reports that today at 4 P.M., in the Garrison Club, there will be a meeting of the representatives elected on March 2nd, for the organization of new elections to the Soviets.
FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT
It is announced for your information that only those documents, giving the right of passage about the town after 11 P.M., are valid which have the seal of the battleship Petropavlovsk, "Commander of the Town of Kronstadt," or "Staff of the Kronstadt Naval Fortress." All other documents issued by whatever kind of unit or institution are considered invalid without the presence of the seals declared above.
ZEMSKOV, Commandant of the Town of Kronstadt
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
Over the entire course of the night of March 10th, the Communist artillery bombarded the fortress and forts with intensive artillery fire from the southern and northern shores, meeting an energetic repulse from our side. About 4 A.M., Communist infantry made the first attack attempt, from the southern shore, but was repulsed. Communist attempts to attack continued until 8 A.M., but all were repulsed by the artillery and small arms fire of our battaries and garrison units.
THE CONFUSION OF AUTHORITY
Kronstadt began a struggle with the Communist usurpers of power, who have taken for themselves the right to punish and pardon the peasants and workers, like grand lords. We have thrown out a call to all the laborers of Russia to struggle for freely elected Soviets. Our cry has been heard. The revolutionary sailors, soldiers and workers of Petrograd are already coming to our aid.
We have learned from deserters that in Petrograd Fieldmarshal Trotsky is already unable to raise a single combat detachment. He is forced to make do with gangs of chekists, murderers from the anti-profiteer detachments and other scum.
We also learn that for the Communist staff, simple Communists are already not enough for the attack on Kronstadt. They are calling for select berserkers.
The Bolshevik authorities feel the ground slipping from under their feet, and give the order in Petrograd to shoot any group of 5 people gathered in the street. The authorities are scared. They are beginning to act nervously, making mistake after mistake, and finally coming to the point where they shoot cannons at sparrows.
The people of Petrograd are putting on pressure from the rear. One more blow and the oppressors' power will fall.
HOW THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE WAS FORMED
On the first of March at two o'clock, by permission of the Ispolkom and not arbitrarily, a meeting of seamen, soldiers and workers gathered on Revolution Square. As many as 15 thousand people were present at the meeting. It occured under the presidency of Comrade Vasiliev, a Communist and President of the Ispolkom, and with the participation of Comrade Kalinin, President of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot, who had arrived from Petrograd.
The object of the meeting was to discuss a resolution passed previously at the General Meeting of the ships' crews of the 1st and 2nd Brigades. This resolution was on the current moment, and the question of how to lead the country out of the difficult state of general collapse and ruin. This resolution is now well known to all, and does not include anything that would hurt Soviet power.
In fact it was the expression of true Soviet power, of the power of workers and peasants. But Comrades Kalinin and Kuzmin, who gave speeches, did not want to understand this. Their speeches were not successful. They did not know how to speak to the masses, who were tortured to despair. And so, the meeting unanimously passed the resolution of the ships' crews.
The next day, by the permission and authority of the Ispolkom, in accordance with a decree published in Izvestiia, delegates from ships, military units, workshops and trade unions, two per organization, gathered at the House of Education (formerly the Engineering Academy). In all, more than three hundred people were gathered.
The representatives of authority had lost their heads, and several of them left town. Because of this it is completely understandable that the protection of both the delegates and the building itself from excesses from anyone's side had to be taken on by the crew of the battleship Petropavlovsk.
The Conference of Delegates was opened by Comrade Petrichenko. After the selection of a 5 person Presidium, he gave the floor to Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot. Despite the sharp definition of the garrison's and workers' attitude toward the representatives of power and the Communists, Comrade Kuzmin did not want to take it into consideration. The object of the Conference was to find an exit, to settle by peaceful means the situation which had formed. Specifically, the object was to create an organ, with the aid of which it would be possible to cary out new elections to the Soviets on a more fair basis, as outlined by the resolution.
And this was all the more necessary since the authority of the old Soviet, which was almost entirely filled with Communists, and had shown itself incapable of carrying out vitally urgent tasks, had in effect already ended. But instead of trying to calm the Conference, Comrade Kuzmin stirred it up. He spoke of the dual situation which Kronstadt occupied, of patrols, dual power, danger from Poland, of the fact that all Europe is watching us. He assured us that all was calm in Petrograd, pointed out that he was in the delegates' hands, and that if they wished they could shoot him, and concluded his speech with the declaration that if the delegates wanted open armed struggle, then it would happen; the Communists would not leave power voluntarily, and would struggle to their last forces.
After Kuzmin's speech, tactless and not bringing a single drop of calm to the agitated mass of delegates but just inciting it more, was a colorless speech by Comrade Vasiliev, President of the Ispolkom. This speech had a very undefined composition, and lacked purpose. The overwhelming majority of the Conference was clearly opposed to the Communists.
But none the less, the Conference did not lose the certainty that it was possible to reach agreement with the representatives of authority. This is supported best of all by the fact that the Conference President's call to enter into substantive work and make an agenda found unanimous support among the delegates.
It was decided to begin working out an agenda, but at the same time it became clear to everyone that it was impossible to trust Comrades Kuzmin and Vasiliev. It was necessary to temporarily restrain them, since the order to take the Communists' weapons away had not yet been issued, it was not advisable to use the telephones, and the soldiers, as was later shown by a letter divulged at the Conference, were afraid that the commissars would not allow meetings in the units and such.
Although the Conference did not hide its negative attitude toward the Communists, all the same when the question was raised after Comrades Kuzmin and Vasiliev and the Fortress Commander had been removed, it was decided to allow the Communists among the delegates to remain in the Conference, and to continue in the general work along with the non-party comrades. The Conference, despite the individual protests of several members who proposed restraining the Communists, found it possible to recognize them as the very same empowered representatives of units and organizations as the other members.
This too supports the fact that the non-party delegates of the laborers, soldiers, sailors and workers believed that the resolution which had been passed the previous day at the Garrison Meeting would not lead to a break with the Communists, like it had with their party. They believed that a common language could be found, and that they could understand one another.
After this, at the suggestion of Comrade Petrichenko, the resolution which had been passed the previous day at the Garrison Meeting was read, and also passed by the Conference with an overwhelming majority of votes.
And then, at that moment when it seemed the Conference would be able to enter into substantive work, there came the out of order declaration of a comrade delegate from the battleship Sevastopol saying that 15 carts of rifles and machine guns were moving toward the building.
This report, completely unexpected by the Conference, was later shown to be false, and was put out by the Communists in the hope of breaking up the Conference. But at the moment when it was made, the tense atmosphere, the clearly ill-disposed attitude of the representatives of authority, and the entire situation had well prepared the Conference to believe that it was actually so.
Never the less, the Conference supported the President's proposal to enter into discussion of the current moment on the basis of the resolution which had been passed. The Conference began discussing measures which would serve to actually carry out the resolution. A proposal to send a delegation to Petrograd was laid aside, in view of the possibility of its arrest. After this, proposals arrived from a large number of comrade delegates, suggesting that a Provisional Revolutionary Committee be formed from the Conference Presidium, and that it be appointed to attend to carrying out new elections to the Soviet.
At the very last moment, the comrade President reported that a detachment of two-thousand persons was moving toward the Conference. After this, the Conference, unrestful and upset, broke up in alarm and left the building of the House of Education.
With the closing of the Conference, and in connection with the report which had just been made, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee set off for the battleship Petropavlovsk with the object of finding protection. It had its residence there until the Committee's efforts had ensured order in the town in the interests of all laborers, seamen, soldiers and workers.
THE TRUTH ABOUT KRONSTADT
(Voice of a Communist)
he spontaneous striving of the broad laboring masses to make a reality of the bright ideals of the October revolution and of Soviet power has called forth an amazing rise in the spirits of those involved in the current revolutionary movement. From those few reports which make it through to Kronstadt it is possible to think that several of the Petrograd Communist comrades, maybe because they don't know the situation in Kronstadt, or maybe deliberately, are drawing the Kronstadt events in a completely different light.
To me personally, as a Communist, it is painful to hear my own party members repeat this slander, this fantasy, which the Petrograd papers write.
They are saying there that everything happening in Kronstadt is the work of White Guards and Entente spies with General Kozlovsky as head, and that Kronstadt has made an agreement with Finland and is ready to make war on Peter.
The movement which began in the Peter factories was unquestionably called out by lack of faith in the subverted Soviets, by the closing of factories and plants due to lack of heating material and the produce difficulties, and by the worker arrests connected with the movement. At that time, however, it was unnoticed in Kronstadt, which is better provided with heating material and produce, although there were rumors passed about what was happening in Petrograd.
These rumors took root on the Petropavlovsk. Her crew took up the demand to end arrests and release those already arrested, and added other demands.
Because of this, on March 1st, at the Garrison Meeting at Anchor Square, in the presence of Comrade Kalinin, President of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Comrade Kuzmin, Commissar of Baltflot, and almost the entire populace and garrison of the fortress, a resolution which had been worked out earlier was proposed, and passed unanimously (with the exception of Comrades Kalinin, Kuzmin and Vasiliev) without any kind of change at all.
The most fundamental and important point of this resolution was the demand for new elections to the Soviets, so that representatives from all left political parties, and anarchists also, could take part in them. This would have been done so that the Soviets would represent the actual power of the laborers themselves.
As for the other points of the resolution, like removing the anti-profiteer detachments, liberating political prisoners and so on, some of these demands have already been fulfilled under pressure from the masses. For example, there is an order by the Petrosoviet on removing the anti-profiteer detachments from all of Petrograd Province.
Based on this resolution, which had been affirmed by the entire populace and garrison of the fortress, the sailors of the Petropavlovsk proposed to the Presidium of the Soviet that it should be newly elected in the next couple of days. The next day, March 2nd that is, in accordance with an announcement by the Presidium of the Soviet, two delegates were chosen from each union and raikom, who were supposed to elect from among themselves a commission to hold new elections to the Soviet.
But in view of the fact that fully believable suspicions appeared among the gathered delegates, about a supposed threat of oppression by the Communists, and also in view of the threatening speeches by several delegates on the Communists' behalf, the Conference decided to elect a Provisional Revolutionary Committee, and to also appoint it to organize the elections to the Soviet and the protection of the town.
From all this, we see that there was no kind of White Guard organization in this case, and that there couldn't be any, because everything that happened unfolded on grounds of the dissatisfaction of the broad masses with the existing Soviets, the majority of the representatives in which are Communists.
And once this is so, once we see that they no longer trust us, we have to say right away, not losing a day, "Citizens! Take state control in your own hands, but give us the right to take part in this work also, on the same basis as others." We have to do this in order to not earn still greater hatred from the people's masses, whose representatives we called ourselves.
All the repressions, executions and destruction which are brought by the war which the Communists have set up lead only to anger.
I am certain that comrade Communists who entered the party not because of a desire for power, careerism or any other self interest will agree with me.
PALANOV, candidate member of the R.C.P.
TO COMRADE WORKERS AND PEASANTS!
Kronstadt has started a heroic struggle with the hated Bolshevik authorities for the liberation of the workers and peasants. But it was not Kronstadt who first spilled comradely blood.
Our enemies are deceiving you. They say that the Kronstadt uprising was organized by Mensheviks, SR's, spies of the Entente and tsarist generals. They assign the leading role to Paris! Idiocy! Our uprising was made in Paris like the moon was made in Berlin. It is all a blatant lie.
That which is now happening was prepared by the Communists themselves, by their three year work of blood and destruction. Letters from the villages are full of complaints and damnations of the Communists. Our comrades have returned from leave full of hate and anguish, and informed us of the horrors which the Bolsheviks have created across the entire face of the Russian land. And finally, we ourselves felt, saw and heard what was being done all around. From every direction, a great and terrible scream came from the villages and town of unbounded Russia. It lit a fire of indignation in our hearts, and caused us to raise our hands against the Communists.
We don't want to return to the old way. We are not servants of the bourgeoisie or hirelings of the Entente. We are defenders of the power of all laborers, against the unbridled, tyrannical power of some single party.
In Kronstadt there is neither Kolchak, nor Denikin, nor Yudenich. In Kronstadt are laboring folk.
The reason and conscience of simple Kronstadt seamen, soldiers and workers has at last found the path and the words which will lead us out of the dead end, and which tsarist generals could not find.
The Communists have taken this well into account. Wanting to sow discord and to save their skins, they try to pin an image of White Guardism on our uprising. They will not succeed.
n the beginning, we wanted to settle everything by peaceful means, but the Communists didn't want to concede. They cling to power more than Nikolai, and are ready to drown all Russia in blood in order to keep their autocratic power.
And now bloodthirsty Trotsky, that evil genius of Russia, drives against us our children and your brothers, who cover the ice before the strongholds of Kronstadt with hundreds of corpses. For four days already the battle has seethed, the cannons have thundered and fraternal blood has poured. For four days the Kronstadt heroes have triumphantly repulsed all the enemy's onslaughts.
Kronstadt stands firm. One and all are prepared to sooner die than concede. Trotsky hovers like a kestrel over our heroic town, but he will not take it. His arms are too short. Our enemies act with only cadets, Communist fighting detachments and deceived troops, brought from far away and driven forward with machine guns.
The soldiers are agitated and cross over to us. Only the Communists remain. They are forced to select units from the butcher chekists, heroes of the anti-profiteer detachments and other such villains.
The people of Peter are already renouncing them, and soon the Judases will run off to hang themselves.
Comrade workers! Kronstadt is fighting for you, the hungry, cold and bare.
While the Bolsheviks rule, it will never be your lot to see anything better. For three years they have fed you on frozen potatoes, spoiled herring and promises, and life is getting worse and worse.
But you put up with it all.
So tell us, in the name of what? Can it really be just so that the Communists might flourish and the commissars get fat? Or do you still believe them?
At an expanded session of the Petrosoviet, Zinoviev reported on the millions in gold which are being issued to buy produce, and figured that for every worker 50 rubles will arrive. So, if an old lord-land owner would sell his serfs for a thousand ruble banknote, Zinoviev wants to buy the Peter workers for 50 rubles. That, comrades, is the kind of price which the Bolshevik market puts on you.
But we believe that our enemies will attract only unaware and backwards workers with that kind of dodge. No kind of gold will be enough for them to buy the honest and daring toilers.
Do not be slow!
Break the hated chains of the new serfdom.
Comrade peasants, the Bolsheviks deceived and fleeced you most of all. Where is the land which you took from the land owners, and of which you dreamed for hundreds of years? It has been given away to communards or put under Soviet collectives, and you watch and lick your lips. Everything has been taken from you that it was possible to take. You have been subjected to wholesale pillage. You have been worked to exhaustion by the Bolshevik serfdom. They force you to do the will of the new lords with a hungry stomach, a pinched mouth, barefoot and naked, and without a whisper.
Comrades, the people of Kronstadt have raised the banner of rebellion, and are certain that tens of millions of workers and peasants will answer their call.
It cannot be that the dawn which has appeared here has not become clear for all Russia. It cannot be that the Kronstadt explosion has not made all Russia, and first of all Petrograd, shake and arise.
Our enemies have filled the prisons with workers, but there are still many daring and honest ones at liberty.
Arise comrades, to battle with the Communist autocracy!
--An order by the Defense Committee has been published in Petrograd forbidding street gatherings of more than five people under threat of being fired on.
--The mood in the city is one of depression.
--There are no complete garrison units. Rather, small detachments are formed from chekists, Communists and cadets.
--Garrison units are rebelling.
--A round fell on the Communist headquarters on the Oranienbaum shore, and destroyed a corner of the building.
--18 echelons have been hastily sent to the Polish border.
LIST OF THOSE KILLED, AND THOSE DIED FROM WOUNDS
FOR MARCH 8th, 9th, and 10th (UNTIL 12 NOON)
1) FROM KRONSTADT UNITS:
1) Aleksandrov, Mikhail, 2) Danilov, Aleksandr, 3) Klimenkov, Zakhar, 4) Mischenko, Stepan, 5) Pospelov, Aleksandr, 6) Pakhtonov, Ivan, 7) Kovshin, Stepan, 8) Shaposhnikov, Foma, and also 1 seaman, 1 worker and four soldiers whose names were not discovered.
2)FROM ATTACKING UNITS:
1) Cadets: Viasev, Semen, 2) Shamritsky, Ivan, 3 and 4) two cadets whose names were not made clear, and 5) Bachev, Aleksandr.
During the same period 2 seamen, 1 civilian and 31 soldiers were wounded.
HOW WE FEED THE COMMUNISTS
The following apportionment of produce has been confirmed for the arrested Communists and war prisoners, until the improvement of the produce situation in the fortress.
BREAD ALLOWANCE: 1/4 lb. of bread or 1/8 lb. of biscuit; 1/4 lb. of meat. HOT FOOD ALLOWANCE: 12 zol. [1 zolotnik is about 4.62 grams] of meat, 12 zol. of fish, 12 zol. of cabbage, 4 zol. of potato, 2 zol. of fats, 4 zol. of sugar, .72 zol. of coffee.
Tobacco-3 zol. of makhorka [low grade tobacco] and two boxes of matches per month.
ON COMMUNIST BEGINNINGS
In view of the fact that the provisionally arrested Communists aren't now in need of shoes, theirs have been taken, 280 pairs in all, and given for distribution to the troop units defending the approaches to Kronstadt. The Communists have been given bast sandals in exchange.
This is as it should be.
ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO THE GARRISON
For the month of March it is decided to additionally issue to the troop units of the garrison: 1/2 lb. of sugar, 2 lb. of cabbage, 1 1/3 lb. of potato, 50 cigarettes, 1/2 lb. of markhorka and 1 box of matches.
LONG LIVE RED KRONSTADT, WITH THE POWER OF FREE SOVIETS!
DOWN WITH THE COUNTERREVOLUTION OF LEFT AND RIGHT!
THEIR EYES HAVE BEEN UNCOVERED
The Provisional Revolutionary Committe and the editors of Izvestiia are swamped by Communists' declarations of departure from the party. There is such a mass of these declarations that due to the insufficiency of space in the newspaper, it is necessary to print them in small bunches in the order of arrival.
Those quitting the party are sailors, soldiers, deceived workers and that part of the intelligentsia which was foolish enough to believe in garish slogans and inflammatory speeches. What does this flight mean? Fear of revenge from the laboring people who have torn power from the bolsheviks? No. A thousand times no.
When it was noted to a woman worker appearing today with a declaration of departure from the party that there were many such as herself fleeing the party, she answered with indignation, "Our eyes have been uncovered, but we aren't fleeing." The bright red blood of laborers, coloring the icy cover of the Gulf of Finland for the benefit of some insane leaders who are defending their own power, has opened the people's eyes.
The bright red blood of laborers, coloring cover of the Gulf of Finland for the pleasure of the insane Communists, clinging to their power, opened the people's eyes. All who still possess even a spark of integrity, even a grain of truth in a tortured soul, are fleeing. They flee the gang of demagogues without looking back.
All that remains is the criminal. Commissars of all ranks, chekists and the "bigshots" who have fed well on the bill of the hungering worker and peasant, remain, with their pockets bulging from gold. They rob museums and palaces, the property which the people won with their own blood.
They still hope for something, but in vain. The people which in one instant dared to throw from itself the yoke of tsarism and the gendarmes dares to also throw from itself the feudal chains of the Communists.
The laboring people has recovered its sight.
LEAVING THE PARTY
In connection with the situation which has been created in Kronstadt I consider it imperative to declare (in particular to the crew of the battleship Petropavlovsk) that I have not taken part in the R.C.P. since August of 1920. Therefore, I ask that I not be counted as a member since the declared time, and that it not be assumed that I am among the usurpers of power who, instead of trying to come to well known compromises and avoid spilling human blood, are throwing bombs at children who are in no way guilty.
Comrade T. IA. BRATISHEVSKY,
seaman of the battleship Petropavlovsk, 8th Company
A half pound of bread is issued for March 11th by adult cards of letter A, for bread coupon No 22.
Today, March 11th, is the last day of issue of canned foods, meat, oats and wheat.
TUKIN, President of the Administration of Gorprodkom
Various letters are arriving at the Secretariat of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee without the signatures of their authors. The Secretariat brings to the general attention that such declarations will absolutely not be considered.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE TOWN OF KRONSTADT
Late payment of the 40 ruble fee is slowing payment of salaries to the presidents and secretaries of uchkoms, and therefore the Department of Administration instructs all control commissions to make certain that the noted fee arrives at the Department not earlier than the 15th and not later than the 25th. If this is not done, the commissions also, besides their presidents and secretaries, will be held responsible.
KASUKHIN, assistant to the head of the Department of Administration
The General Meeting of presidents and secretaries of uchkoms will take place on Friday at 1 P.M., in the House of Unions. Attendance is mandatory. New mandates will be issued.
The Union of Workers of the Commission of the Economy directs members of the union to receive their onions within a 2 day period, after which time no kind of issue will take place.
The Committee of the Union of Metal Workers and the Revtroika jointly direct all comrades free from guard duty to be at work at the whistle, so that the number of free comrades in the workshops will be known.
Lists of those not showing up at work without good cause should be sent to the union.
The Committee of the Union of Water Transport workers brings to the attention of all members of the union that issue of onions ends March 13th.
Issue of cigarette papers will occur at the union until March 18th.