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(en) puerto real cnt.es: Kronstadt, we do not forget: 30, 000 anarchists killed by Lenin and Trotsky - Kronstadt's rebellion against Bolshevism - joselito (ca, fr, it, pt) [machine translation]
Mon, 9 Sep 2019 08:43:12 +0300
On March 7, 1921, 30,000 thousand anarchists were exterminated on the orders of Lenin and
his repression chief, Trotsky. ---- The Russian revolutionaries were betrayed by the
Bolshevik party, which gave a coup d'etat within the Revolution. ---- The Krondstat
rebellion was the symbol of popular resistance against the totalitarianism that was being
imposed, it was the collision between two ways of understanding communism that came from
behind, the libertarian and antiauthoritarian (anarchist) and authoritarian and centralist
(Marxist) ). ---- We reproduce an article by El Refractario that recalls these events that
are now 92 years old, thus inaugurating a section of ephemeris that we will be inserting
in EL GOMERU because, "he who forgets his past is obliged to repeat it". We also invite
you to read in PDF the books of Paul Avrich: Kronstadt 1921 and Alexander Berkman, ABC of
Libertarian Communism that dedicates a broad chapter to this rebellion.
After the October Revolution of 1917, with the coup of the Bolshevik Party taking over the
power of the State, two revolutionary positions moved the spirit of the proletarians. On
the one hand, the thesis of the Bolsheviks in favor of a centralized conception of power
and the submission of all economic, political and social devices to the discipline of the
party and the State were framed. In front of them was a federalist conception of society
where proletarians and peasants would directly lead their lives and manage politics, the
economy and the social. This would be the socialism of action, THE ANARCHISM. Along with
the Russian civil war (1918-21) that was taking place, the Bolshevik government proceeded
to purge the elements hostile to its policy, including the Anarchists.
As a result, along with economic measures that were implemented since the so-called war
communism, there were several uprisings resulting from this malaise. In this panorama, the
Kronstadt uprising takes place (which together with Makhno's ideal are the struggles for
Kronstadt protested the lack of freedom and opportunities offered by the Bolshevik
government. Their demands were limited to requesting free soviets, freedom of the press
and assembly for all socialist groups and the freedom of social-revolutionary and
anarchist political prisoners. They also called for the Bolsheviks not to exercise more
power over the proletariat but for the workers themselves to direct and manage their
production and life. Kronstadt's motto was: Long live red Kronstadt with the power of free
soviets! A soviet was formed in the battleships Petropavloks and Sevastopol, having the
most prominent anarchist sympathizers Petrichenko and Perepelkin. As you can see their
demands were fair, framed within the socialist and libertarian project.
Read Kronstadt 1921 by Paul Avrich
But nevertheless, in front of the aforementioned benevolent theses, a bureaucratic-state
apparatus was raised that under the layer of socialism stifled the true revolution.
The Bolshevik government, especially with Trotzky and Zinoviev at the head, set up a
defamation campaign against Kronstadt with the aim of attacking the revolution.
Trotzky, leader of the Red Army and commissioner of Foreign Affairs, in 1917 affirmed that
Kronstadt was "the flower and cream of the Revolution", for four years after crossing it
out as "the anti-revolutionary scoundrel."
It began to be affirmed that Kronstadt was going to sell Russia to the white armies of the
Tsar, that the uprising was led by Tsarists and that it was only a counter-revolutionary
maneuver of social-revolutionaries and Mensheviks against Bolshevik Russia. It was all a
campaign of lies in fear of the true revolution that would definitely dethrone the new
czars. Under a false negotiation plan the attack was brewing. At Trotzky's words "we will
crush you like partridges," Petrograd anarchists Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Perkus
and Petrovsky sent a letter to Zinoviev for action.
But nothing is possible. The entire Bolshevik party agrees that Kronstadt had to be
crushed. And that attack had to be immediate, because if it came to the time of the thaw
it would be impossible to attack. Thus, on March 7, 1921, at 6:45 p.m., Trotzky,
Toutjachevsky and Dibenko gave the order to bomb. Although Kronstadt resisted, on March 18
the Bolsheviks definitely take it.
It was the failure of the revolution. The true counterrevolutionaries were those who
claimed to defend the Soviet revolution. After the failure of Kronstadt the repression
continued and, with the arrival of Stalin to power a few years later, it multiplied. Pages
as bright as Kronstadt's were only written with the Makhno epic in Ukraine and especially
with the Spanish Social Revolution of 1936.
That Kronstadt is not forgotten. That those fighters were not counterrevolutionaries as
the Marxists present them, but fighters for an ideal of justice. In the minds of many,
examples such as the Kronstadt revolution continue and will remain dormant.
History: Kronstadt's rebellion against Bolshevism
On March 7, 1921, howitzers began to fall on Kronstadt, a city that Trotsky had dubbed
"the pride and glory of the Russian Revolution." The artillery attack prepared the assault
of more than 50,000 soldiers that the Bolshevik government had concentrated in Petrograd
to drown in blood the according to the Bolsheviks "treason, warped by tsarists, French
spies and Finnish money."
What was Kronstandt?
A fortified city and naval base, ordered to be built by Tsar Peter the Great in the 18th
century and on Kotlin Island, in the Gulf of Finland. He defended access to Petrograd,
located 30 kilometers away, and to the northern part of the country. It was the core of
the Russian fleet of the Baltic Sea, the most numerous and important. Surrounded by strong
secondary and naval batteries, it communicated in winter through paths drawn on the thick
layer of ice that covered the gulf. The most emblematic construction of the city was the
Plaza del Ancla, prepared for military parades and later used for huge assemblies, capable
of holding 30,000 people, almost the total population at the time at hand. It was
inhabited by sailors in the Baltic fleet, residents of large barracks; by the garrison
soldiers, mostly gunners; by several thousand workers in the arsenals and auxiliary
industries and by officials, merchants, artisans and their respective families.
Sailors Traditionally sailors were recruited among the most skilled workers, the most
politically advanced. They also had the facility to know other countries and the
difference between their regimes and the brutal oppression of the Tsarist monarchy, they
could establish contacts with the ideas and programs of emigrated Russian and foreign
political groups and they could also circulate, despite the severe discipline and
vigilance , forbidden literature in your country. On the other hand they were contagious
about the proximity of St. Petersburg, then Petrograd, where the political and
intellectual life was intense and the activity of revolutionary groups was developed among
the workers and the numerous university students causing periodic demonstrations and tumults.
The awareness and commitment of the Kronstadt sailors was evident in the serious revolts
of 1905, 1906 and 1990, severely repressed, and especially in the revolution of 1917.
Bolshevik groups, revolutionary socialists, anarchists, maximalists and trade unionists,
well organized, exerted a profound influence on the population and the unleashed energy
placed Kronstadt at the forefront of the revolution, helping the Bolsheviks to take power
and deserve all kinds of praise from the new leaders.
The general context
At the beginning of 1921 the civil war could be terminated. The white armies had been
defeated, the Menshevik government of Georgia was subdued and the last remnants of the
Ukrainian anarchist militias were beating desperately, with their leader, Nestor Makhno,
wounded and cornered. However, a deep economic crisis was spreading across the country;
communications were not restored properly, the industry was paralyzed and agricultural
production had declined dramatically.
During the war the Bolshevik government had promoted an economic policy of tight state
control, the so-called War Communism. Public life was practically militarized and
subjected to all kinds of controls and in economic aspects this control was suffocating.
The main instruments of this policy were the zagraaditelnye otriady, armed detachments
that made the requisitions and confiscations, often true plundering, to the peasants and
surrounding the cities to avoid uncontrolled commerce, their actions were often brutal and
arbitrary; In addition, an effective political police had been organized to terrorize
dissidents and discontents, the Cheka, who did not doubt the murder and torture.
The situation of the peasantry was similar to the Tsarist feudal slavery, especially in
state farms, the Kolzsjos; industrial workers were forced to strenuous working hours,
given the sharp fall in their wages, which however did not provide them with sufficient
means of subsistence. The unions were also controlled and the protests were repressed as
acts of treason.
With the end of the war one would expect the change of this policy, but this did not
occur. Riots and strikes spread spontaneously through the main cities, especially Moscow
and Petrograd in demand for economic improvements and the return of freedoms achieved at
the beginning of the revolution. The response of the Bolshevik government was the dispatch
and deployment of troops, freed by the cessation of fighting, and a carte blanche for the
performance of the cheka, as happened in Petrograd.
Kronstadt had already had friction with the Bolshevik government. It was one of the first
cities to name its Soviet, its own militia and its popular committees to autonomously
organize life on ships, factories, food distribution, agricultural use of the surrounding
The axis on which the Kronstian society revolved was the Plaza del Ancla, headquarters of
massive and active assemblies.
The centralized bureaucracy orchestrated by the new power collided with this system of
life, the signing of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, between Lenin and the German government,
which meant the renunciation of the extension of the revolution, irritated the population.
The sailors also saw catastrophic the military reorganization decreed by Trotsky to set up
the Red Army and that abolished the power of the assemblies on the ships and reinstated
the previous discipline and hierarchy, precisely the revolution had been possible by the
arrest and execution of good Part of the former officers.
The charism of the Bolsheviks declined and thousands of sailors left the party. The
Kronstadt Soviet emptied of Bolsheviks and welcomed a greater number of leftist socialists
With the end of the war the sailors obtained permits and were able to verify on the ground
the ravages that the War Communism caused throughout the country.
On the occasion of the strikes and riots in Petrograd, Kronstadt sent a delegation to the
city and, despite the obstacles that interposed, he was able to verify in all its
harshness the conditions in which the workers lived and the repression that was unleashed
on them .
The fact that the strikers were threatened with the march of the Kronstadt sailors on
Petrograd to restore order greatly irritated the 32 displaced delegates.
On February 28, tense meetings were held aboard the battleships Petropavlovsk and
Sevastopol, anchored in Kronstadt, which issued a joint resolution of 15 points. This
resolution will be endorsed on March 1 by a large assembly in the Anchor Square; the
arrogance and threats of the Bolshevik speakers, especially the predecessors Kalinin,
president of the Republic, and Kuzmin, chief commissar of the fleet, made the endorsement
The resolution contains the bases and program of the rebellion. It requires the immediate
and widespread holding of elections to replace all local soviets with free soviets;
freedom of speech and press for all, especially leftist anarchists and socialists; freedom
of assembly of labor and peasant unions; freedom for imprisoned revolutionaries; closure
of the offices of the Bolshevik party held by the State; suppression of zagraaditelnye
otriady and its confiscations; matching food rations; abolition of permanent communist
military detachments in factories or military units ...
Finally, the break with the authorities was consummated when an interim revolutionary
Committee, Revkon, was appointed while elections were held for the new Soviet and the
arrest of the most prominent Bolsheviks.
A newspaper began to be printed, Izvestiia, whose headline underlined "All power to the
Soviets and not to the parties." However, until the first gunshots were exchanged,
Konstradt always thought that the agreement with the Bolshevik leaders was possible
The Bolshevik reaction
The government of Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev was not going to consent to the desire of
the Kronstians to lead this "Third Revolution." Firstly, it was about isolating the
movement by disappearing the dozens of delegates from the information commissions that
left Kronstadt and making various accusations massively disseminated by its propaganda
apparatus: plot of tsarist officers, deception of spies from foreign countries, delivery
of the city to the Finnish army ...
The fear of the extension of the movement and the arrival of spring, which would allow, at
the beginning of April with the melting of the gulf, the mobility of the fleet; determined
them to crush Kronstadt militarily as soon as possible. Thus they decreed the arrest of
all the relatives of the Kronstians as hostages, executed those responsible for the air
squad, who sympathized with the movement and concentrated huge amounts of weapons and men
As revealed by the last prisoners of the Red Army, captured by the Kronstians on March 17,
no less than 80,000 riflemen, several thousand riders, 4 armored trains, dozens of mobile
batteries ... constituted the formidable military device launched against Kronstadt.
The fall of Kronstadt
The city was not an easy bone to crack, its solid walls, its powerful artillery and the
resolution of its inhabitants extended the siege for 11 days. On March 7 began the cannon
of the fortress. The Kronstians relied on a generalized Petrograd uprising, but the
presence of the exercise made it impossible.
The attack was spilled on the Kursanty, fanatical cadets of the Red Army officer academies
and on the Cheka detachments. The situation of many of the assailants was incredibly dramatic.
As on other occasions, the shock troops were mainly Mongolian and Asian who barely
understood Russian; if a unit refused to attack it was disarmed and its members sent to
prison; if he hesitated, a fifth of his troops were executed.
The Kronstadt artillery cracked the gulf ice and waves of assailants perished in the icy
water; but if they tried to back off the kursanty they were machine-gunned in the back.
Finally, the constant influx of attacking reinforcements and the progressive weakening of
Kronstadt's resources caused a massive attack of soldiers wrapped in white shrouds on
March 17 to penetrate the fortress.
The melee lasted until March 18 when the city was fully occupied. Some groups of
Kronstians managed to make their way to Finland and others dispersed throughout the region
but the vast majority of the defeated were executed by the cheka or sent to concentration
camps in the icy Arkangelsk and Turkestan region.
The annihilation of Kronstadt was the example of what the leaders of the Bolshevik party
understood by dictatorship of the proletariat, was the finding of how the new bureaucracy
betrayed revolutionary ideals in their eagerness to retain power and eliminate all dissent.
But the Kronstadt rebellion is also an example of how human beings are able, in
exceptional circumstances, to face oppression and risk their lives for a better world.
Published by Evgeny Pashukanis
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