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Civil war in Kuban of 1917-1921: periodization problem

zovm.C. Modernization of Russia and a country question in Kabarda and Balkaria in the 60-70th of the 19th century: Avtoref. yew.... edging. east. sciences. Nalchik, 2002; Hubulo-va S.A. The peasantry of the North Caucasus at the end of XIX - the first quarter of the 20th century: ethnodemographic and social and economic aspects of development. Avtoref. yew.... Dr.s east. sciences. Vladikavkaz, 2003.

24. V.N. Ratushnyak. Current problems of history and historiography of the North Caucasus. Krasnodar, 2000.
25. E.G. Bitova (Muratova). Social history XIX of Balkaria centuries (rural community). Nalchik, 1997.

Kabardino-Balkarian state university On December 23, 2005

© 2006 N.A. Pocheshkhov


One of important is the question of chronology and a periodization of civil war in Russia. The periodization is necessary as the organizing and ordering scheme of systematization of knowledge, without it understanding of essence, dynamics and features of succession of events is impossible. At the same time statement and the solution of this problem are complicated by short duration, in scales of history, process. And though formally the periods of war differ, but in essence they are in many respects identical and separate only certain in many respects conditional events. To reveal the leading trends in the course of civil war, the basis for a periodization, apparently, it is necessary to be turning points when owing to many reasons the ratio of forces of the fighting parties sharply changed.

Especially heated debate raises a question of time of the beginning of civil war as any given its decision predetermines assessment of the reasons, the nature and consequences of war. By consideration of the matter it is important to understand interrelation of such phenomena in the history of Russia as revolution and civil war. It is difficult to carry the concepts "revolution" and "civil war" to the category of exact definitions with accurately outlined, concrete contents.

Throughout rather long time at the heart of the history of intervention and civil war, its periodization the Stalin concept of three campaigns of the Entente stated to them in article "New Campaign of the Entente to Russia" (1920) lay. Such approach was fixed further in "A short course of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks)" and was obligatory up to the middle of the 50th [1].

In the Soviet historiography the opinion was approved that already February revolution of 1917 was essentially civil war, i.e. not the just collateral investigation of revolution, and opposite - its most znachitel-

ny and decisive component. The main argument was the fact that since February the race for power accepted the armed character. Quite so V.I. Lenin and other Bolsheviks understood civil war, considering it as the sharpest form of class fight. After February, 1917 I. Lenin claimed that the first civil war in Russia came to an end, i.e. He regarded the February revolution as the first civil war, at the same time calling it the beginning of civil war [2].

The similar point of view finds support and in a modern historiography. In particular, Yu.A. Polyakov [3] considers that, since February, 1917, in Russia the civil opposition more and more escalated, developing from revolution into large-scale confrontation, covering considerable territories, involving the huge mass of people that inevitably poured out in large-scale front, fighting.

At the same time many historians adhere to the point of view that a turning point was the capture of the government by Bolsheviks on October 25-26, 1917 which gave a decisive impetus to the beginning of the White movement. The beginning of civil war contacts this event them. It is really difficult to deny that after October, 1917 in Russia there was a revival of archaic technologies of dominion on a new round of historical development (revival the practician of noneconomic coercion to work (labor mobilization), forms of collective responsibility (zalozhnichestvo, responsibility of relatives), requisitions of property, etc. Moreover, similar technologies of the power become total that could not but lead to sharp aggravation of social and economic contradictions. It is well-known that there were differences in intensity of revolutionary actions between the central Russia and its outskirts. Events of February and October in Petrograd and Moscow did not lead there at once to mass armed conflicts, rather outskirts became the first of those who plunged into open full-scale fight.

The question of chronology of the end of civil war is represented not less difficult. At assessment of this event there is, still, no uniform point of view. In particular, V.I. Lenin in April, 1918 said that civil war is generally finished, but in several months he noted that bitter class struggle was started, there is a civil war, distributing these statements to events until the end of 1920 [4]. Today the question remains up to the end not solved: some historians define a chronological framework of civil war from summer of 1918 to fall of 1920 while others consider that it is necessary to reckon since February, 1917, and to connect end with events of October, 1922

Each of these positions has the argument. Speaking about the first, it should be noted that here it is about the period of intervention and civil war when the military component becomes the defining question. The second point of view is connected with the concept "civil war" as

violent overthrow of the power, the aggravation of civil opposition which entailed the subsequent escalation.

The internal periodization of history of civil war also continues to keep variable character. It depends on the criteria which are the cornerstone of a periodization (armed struggle, changes in the ratio of political forces, military construction, etc.). At the same time in researches there are different approaches: the phases, the periods, stages different from each other both in fight forms, and on character and the purposes of the parties are allocated.

Any of the existing periodizations can be accepted as rather conditional, allowing to organize only the studied events in the logical sequence and stage-by-stage completeness. Proceeding from the existing periodization of civil war in Russia, taking into account specific features of its development in Kuban, it is expedient to allocate the next periods of civil war in this region.

The first period of civil war (November, 1917 - February, 1918) differed in relative speed and ease of establishment of the power of Bolsheviks and elimination of armed resistance of their opponents (in Petrograd, in Moscow, in Ukraine, to Dona, in Kuban, etc.). Presence at Bolsheviks of a wide social support [5], support of their policy population bulk was characteristic of this period: they resolutely liquidated private land tenure, gave the earth to the order of peasants, started a country conclusion from world war, introduced working control in the industry, recognized the right of the people of the former empire for finding of the state independence.

At the same time the first postoctober months anti-Bolshevist forces (voluntary officers, Cossacks of rear parts, the cadet) had no little considerable social support therefore their attempts to organize resistance at the front and in the Cossack areas were rather feeble. The Kuban Cossacks, tired of war, as well as Don, did not want to be at war against the new power. Not kept to Dona, Volunteer army which made in February the known campaign into Kuban appeared in a hostile environment of the local country community and the revolutionary parts of old army, the so-called front Cossacks which returned from the front.

During this period the Bolshevist power did not test serious consequences of foreign intervention yet. The armed struggle of the Entente and Fourfold union which escalated to a limit on the Western front, and on the other hand - underestimation of danger of the Bolshevism in government circles of Great Britain, France and the USA, did not allow them to give support to anti-Bolshevist forces in Russia immediately.

However the first months of civil war showed to Bolsheviks need of creation of the centralized retaliatory device (The All-Russian extraordinary commission on fight against a counterrevolution,

speculation and sabotage) and the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army completed on a voluntary basis from workers and peasants. The first parts of the Red Army managed to establish the Soviet power in Kuban, to hold Ekaterinodar who the Volunteer army tried to take. These events show "vpisannost" of Kuban in events of civil war in the country clearly.

The second period (March - November, 1918) is characterized by basic change of a ratio of social forces within the country that could not but affect a socio-political situation in the Kuban region. Dispersal of in public elected Constituent assembly (on January 6, 1918) brightly found aspiration of Bolsheviks in any ways to hold the seized power. Even stronger the conclusion of the Brest peace treaty worsened the attitude of different groups of the population towards Bolsheviks (on March 3, 1918). The conclusion of separate peace with Germany, a concession it the considerable territory and payment of big sums of money were apprehended as violation by Bolsheviks of their promises to make "the universal democratic peace without annexations and contributions" as treachery of national interests of Russia.

But the sharpest growth of hostility to Bolsheviks among the country population caused their turn in food policy. Having received landowners' estates, peasants, first of all zernoproizvodyashchy provinces, considered unfair maintaining the grain monopoly entered by Provisional government. Low prices at which the state bought up grain in the conditions of depreciation of paper rubles and increase in prices did not allow peasants not only to get profit on its sale, but even to pay back costs of its production. The prosperous top of the village waited from Bolsheviks of permission of free trade.

Sale of bread was sharply reduced, on the cities the spontaneous hungry revolts directed against local bodies of the Soviet power swept. For the solution of sharply aggravated food problem in May, 1918 the national commissariat on food was given emergency powers on purchase of bread: free trade was forbidden, punitive measures against the persons hiding grain "surplus" and refusing to sell grain to the state at the established low prices were entered i.e. food dictatorship was entered. In addition to these official measures in May the workers of the large cities which are most suffering from hunger on own initiative began to form the armed groups and to send them to villages behind food.

In June the government started the organization of committees of the poor which became extraordinary authorities in the village. With their help the Bolsheviks tried to expand a social support of the new power in the village. However, having removed sharpness of a food problem, poor committees pushed away from the Bolshevist power of middling persons: as a result middling persons under -

held a kulachestvo. At this conjuncture, at all it is contradictory - st of the estimates existing in historical literature, dictatorial methods of carrying out food policy were the only way of rescue of the population for hunger.

The political situation in the country more and more became tougher. In response to acts of terrorism of Social Revolutionaries in September red terror was announced. Cheka and its local bodies arrested and declared hostages of the famous political and public figures, generals and officers, representatives of the nobility, the bourgeoisie, the intellectuals and clergy. Red terror became not only mass means of destruction of all "klassovo alien elements", but also intimidations of all population. In September the All-Russian Central Executive Committee made the decision on transformation of RSFSR into "the uniform military camp", i.e. was declared transition of the country to a new stage of race for power officially.

For Kuban this period, first of all, was characterized by turn of the Cossacks and a considerable part of the peasantry against Bolsheviks that allowed the White movement to expand considerably in this region a social support and an economic basis. After collums the Volunteer army of A.I. Denikin was joined by thousands of Kuban Cossacks stirred to action against Councils. By November, 1918, relying on support and direct participation in war of the prosperous country and Cossack population including Kuban, the White movement grew from podpolno - a guerrilla state in the small, but regular and well organized armies which secured the areas of the North Caucasus, the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia rich with human and economic resources.

Alignment of forces on the international scene from March to November, 1918 did not undergo significant changes. Occupied with war on the Western front, the countries of the Entente and the Fourfold union had still no opportunity to interfere actively with the civil war in Russia. However they took the first steps in this direction: established by forces of the fleet blockade of Russia and began intervention, having started disembarkation of landings in ports for the purpose of class of bases in the outskirts of Russia. The German troops threatened the Soviet Russia from the territory of the Baltics, Belarus, Ukraine and the Don region, however their offensive opportunities were limited to military operations on the Western front. The main rate summer of 1918 of the government of the Entente was made on the risen Czechoslovak building announced by a part of the French army. By the end of summer the Soviet Russia appeared in an environment of troops of various anti-Bolshevist governments (democratic and Cossack) and also the Entente countries.

In July - October Kuban became the arena of the large-scale military events which were taking place in the North Caucasus, the Lower and Middle Volga: parts of the Don army attacked Tsaritsyn, the Volunteer army conducted operations on occupation of Kuban and all North Caucasus, a part National

army and the Czechoslovak case tried to establish control over the Volga region. Successful operations of the Red Army allowed to win Central Volga area, to protect Tsaritsyn and not to allow association of anti-Bolshevist forces of the South and the East of Russia. However Volunteer army, having crushed local Red Army formations, occupied Kuban and Black Sea Coast with Novorossiysk.

In November - December, 1918 there were events which led to new aggravation of Civil war and expansion of scales of military operations during its third period (November, 1918 - March, 1919). Failures on Middle Volga of troops of the Provisional All-Russian government created in September, 1918 in Ufa, progress of Volunteer army in the North Caucasus and disappearance of illusory hopes for large-scale participation of troops of the Entente in war against Bolsheviks accelerated process of establishment of white military dictatorships in the east and the South of Russia.

In November, 1918 as a result of the revolution made by officers-monarchists all completeness of the power was concentrated in the hands by the Minister of War admiral A.V. Kolchak who proclaimed himself the Supreme governor of Russia and the Supreme Commander the Russian army. In January, 1919. The Don ataman P.N. Krasnov in connection with defeats Donskoy armies at the front and leaving from the South of Russia of the German interventionists supporting him was forced to recognize domination of the general A.I. Denikin. The Don and Voluntary armies were united in Armed forces in the south of Russia (VSYuR) under A.I. Denikin's command.

As a result in Ekaterinodar government and central governments on a sample of the pre-revolutionary ministries were created, in the busy territory the provincial administration and the judicial system was restored, laws of the Russian Empire and Provisional government found force.

At the same time these months moods of the average peasantry considerably changed. Though a considerable part of country people, first of all Cossacks and prosperous peasants, enjoyed disposal of Bolsheviks, but in the conditions of exasperation of war did not want to sacrifice life and property. Therefore the mobilization and requisitions which were carried out by the anti-Bolshevist authorities took place with great difficulties, generating robberies, floggings and even executions of those who evaded from mobilization and resisted requisitions. All this caused negative reaction of both the peasantry of the Volga region and Siberia, and the South Russian Cossacks. Business reached revolts and mass desertion of the mobilized peasants, leaving of the whole parts from the front.

Not better the situation in the territories controlled by the Soviet power was. In January, 1919 the surplus-appropriation system was entered: the amount of food and fodder grain necessary for the state a razverstyva-elk between zernoproizvodyashchy provinces (in them - between counties, volosts, villages and farms) and forcibly got at

peasants, it is formal - for a payment at low prices, actually - mostly without any payment.

The fourth period of war (March, 1919 - March, 1920) differed in the greatest scope of armed struggle and basic changes in alignment of forces in Russia and beyond its limits which predetermined at first progress of white armies, and then their defeat.

Introduction of a surplus-appropriation system took place with great difficulties: often not only "surplus", but also a part of the grain necessary for livelihood of family and sowing were taken away from peasants without payment or for the depreciated money. Sometimes in exchange for bread to peasants manufactured goods necessary for them were given (agricultural tools, fabrics, footwear, kerosene, matches, etc.), however because of extreme limitation of the state stocks the exchange for manufactured goods was a rarity. In real practice coercive measures were widely widespread on withdrawal of bread and fodder, especially in a front-line strip.

Aggravation of armed struggle in the conditions of the going deep economic crisis forced the Soviet government to take the military and economic measures directed to further blasting a private property, restraint of elements of the free market and use of poor resources, first of all for supply of the Red Army. Since summer of 1919 rates of nationalization sharply increased in the industry: passed all large, average and partially small enterprises into the property of the state and its centralized management. Rapid inflation and disintegration of a monetary system became one of the most burning issues that inevitably generated the speculation which became the main means of survival of most of citizens (meshochnichestvo). The only way of rescue the population for hunger and cold there was a naturalization of economic communications and the salary. The natural ration (first of all, in the form of bread) by the end of 1919 reached 80% of salary and allowed to support half-starved existence of workers and to supply army.

Due to the acute shortage of labor the government became wider to practice compulsory attraction to labor and performance of various duties of able-bodied population (for preparation of firewood, repair of the railroads, transportation of goods, etc.). In January, 1920 SNK RSFSR adopted the resolution on introduction of a general labor service.

During 1919 the surplus-appropriation system, nationalization, curtailment of the commodity-money address and other military and economic measures were summarized in the policy which received the name of "military communism" on a number of external "communistic" signs (leveling wages in kind of work, lack of trade and money).

Considerably situation in the territories which are under control of the Soviet power differed from the back of counterrevolutionary armies. So, the main direction of domestic policy of the governments of Denikin on Ku -

baths there was a restoration of a private property and freedom of trade that at first sight was equitable to the interests of both large owners, and the center of the city and village, first of all peasants. However in practice this policy not only did not suspend crisis in economy, but accelerated its complete collapse.

For payment of maintenance costs and supply of army, financing of transport, military production and extraction of fuel the white governments without any restrictions printed and released tens of billions of paper rubles that inevitably led to their depreciation. Peasants did not want to sell the products for the depreciated paper rubles. The upper and average bourgeoisie practically made nothing for production restoration as it did not promise fast profit, and sent the capitals to speculative frauds, acquiring fabulous profits on export abroad of raw materials (grain, wool, etc.) and deliveries to army of food and regimentals. The similar policy of the bourgeoisie looking at army as the sphere of the favorable application of the capital led to failure of supply of army. As a result bodies were forced to provide themselves by robbery and violent requisitions of food, fodder, clothes, etc. at peasants and citizens that cynically was called as "self-supply at the expense of the grateful population".

While very foggy projects of a land reform the local military and civil authorities were discussed helped the landowners and their managing directors who came back to the manors to beat out from peasants of "shortage" (debts on the rent) for 1917-1918. All these phenomena nullified A.I. Denikin's attempts and his governments to win round peasants of the southern and central regions of Russia foggy promises "to satisfy land hunger", led to mass desertion and the insurgent movement in the back, having undermined fighting capacity of denikinsky armies.

Restoration of landowner land tenure, violent mobilization and requisitions, white terror - all this caused sharply negative reaction of the peasantry and a part of the Cossacks. Hopes to get rid with arrival white of a surplus-appropriation system and terror of the Bolshevist authorities quickly were replaced by embitternment, determination force to assert the rights. As a result to fall of 1919 in mood of the main part of the village there was a change in favor of the Soviet power. It was brightly shown in failure of mobilization in white armies, desertion growth, in spontaneous revolts and growth of the "green" insurgent movement. On fight against "green" A.I. Denikin was forced to distract significant forces from the front. However, being at war against white and landowners, insurgents did not sympathize with communists at all and wished return of the Soviet power without Bolshevist domination in Councils and dictatorial methods of management. Remaining alien to the Bolshevism, peasants in practice chose the Soviet power

as smaller of the evils, as a guarantee from return of landowners, as force capable to establish "the world and an order" in the country.

Situation on fronts during this decisive period of civil war radically changed in favor of the Red Army. Despite considerable number of deserters, mobilization went to the Red Army much more successfully, than in 1918, tens of thousands of deserters since summer returned to army voluntarily, big groups and the whole parts of white came over to the side of red - from the mobilized peasants and captured Red Army men put in a system. As a result the "military and communistic" policy allowed the cut-off blockade from foreign markets of the Soviet Russia better to arm and supply the Red Army.

Decisive military events in March, 1919 - March, 1920 took place in the east and the South of Russia. In particular, in October - November there was a fundamental change on the Southern front which was ordered by A.I. Egorov. In January - March, 1920 of army of the Caucasian front under M.N. Tukhachevsky's command occupied Don, Kuban and Black Sea Coast. The main outcome of this decisive period of civil war was strengthening of Bolshevist dictatorship and its armed forces, liquidation of the strongest public entities of the White movement (military dictatorships of Kolchak in the east and Denikina in the south of the country) and defeat of their armies.

The fifth period of civil war (April - November, 1920) includes military operations against the Polish army and elimination of the remains of counterrevolutionary forces in the south of Russia including in Kuban. To summer of 1920 the civil war on the most part of the territory of Russia ended, but the situation in the south of the country still remained tense. In political moods of peasants, the main part of the population of the Kuban region there was the next change. The most able-bodied and politically active part of the village began to demand resolutely cancellation of a surplus-appropriation system and recovery of freedom of trade. The discontent of peasants developed into revolts. Country insurgent groups were created (on Bolshevist terminology - "gang") which broke holding a surplus-appropriation system, killed Bolsheviks, the Soviet and food workers, militiamen.

The discontent of country weight with a surplus-appropriation system and dictatorship of Bolsheviks extended to the Red Army which 90% were made by peasants. Despite promotion and repressions, anti-Bolshevist moods grew in parts. Especially quickly they extended among the Cossacks who were serving in white armies and came over to the side of red. In such situation use of parts of the Red Army for fight against country revolts became dangerous to the Bolshevist authorities, party promotion and repressions in army were strengthened.

Significantly alignment of forces outside Russia changed in favor of Bolsheviks. For the countries of the Entente became obvious that the white movement does not enjoy national support in Russia and therefore not a way -

but to overthrow the Soviet power. The general P.N. Wrangel to whom A.I. Denikin in April, 1920 gave the commander-in-chief post by Armed forces of the South of Russia did not manage to achieve from allies of rendering financial support to its troops. In such situation the white parts, despite the bans of the commander-in-chief, returned to application of violent mobilization and requisitions, taking away from peasants food, horses and other property that led to growth of hostility of the South Russian peasantry to white and, respectively, to growth of his sympathies for the Soviet power. Nevertheless in January, 1920 at the initiative of Great Britain the Supreme Council of the Entente made the decision on lifting the siege and resumption of trade "with the population of Russia". In May, 1920 in London, negotiations which were completed in March, 1921 with signing of the trade agreement began Soviet-British trade (in fact political).

The sixth - finishing - the period of civil war (December, 1920 - March, 1921) includes, considering specifics of the Kuban region, armed struggle with the developed insurgent movement directed against "military communism". In country scales there was a statement of the Bolshevist power in the armed way almost throughout the former Russian Empire at this time.

Country revolts in the Cossack areas of Don and Kuban reached the greatest scope in the winter - spring of 1921. Most of insurgents was made by the peasants and Cossacks who underwent war, as in white troops, and the Red Army. The most popular slogans of insurgents were: "Down with a surplus-appropriation system!", "Long live free trade!", "For Councils without communists!". The ideology of rebellion denied "dictatorship on the right" (white generals) and "dictatorship at the left" (Bolsheviks) and was aimed at search of "the third way" (neither capitalism, nor communism) and "a true narodopravstvo".

Strengthening of economic ruin, growth of mass discontent of peasants and workers, increase of the insurgent movement, revolts and strikes, difficulties of use of the Red Army for fight against the people - all this showed to the most realistically conceiving leaders of Bolsheviks including to V.I. Lenin that preservation of a surplus-appropriation system creates deadly threat of the Bolshevist power. Replacement of a surplus-appropriation system prodnalogy in March, 1921 and the permission of freedom of trade which followed it led to narrowing of a social base of the insurgent movement that can be considered as completion of civil war in the region.

Certainly, during civil war the general phenomena as for Russia, and Kuban were shown. So, events of World War I were equally hard shown both in the center, and in Kuban, in demographic and economic consequences. Along with it, the class and ethnic, national, confessional specifics of the region had noticeable impact on a situation. In Kuban various forms of civil war received manifestations. Revolts, large were the most characteristic

the large-scale military operations with participation of regular armies (XI, IX Red Army, Volunteer army), actions of "green" groups in the back of the existing governments. at the same time it is important to p to consider

that Kuban not simply regional concept is a territory of historically developed community of the people who passed within the century including and an event of civil war through large-scale socio-political collisions. There passed only several decades (since 1864) as this territory was a part of the Russian Empire and in terms of historical prospect only it began to develop in uniform socio-political space, keeping the hidden internal tension.


1. Yu.I. Korablev. Civil war of 1918-1920: new approaches//Pages of history of the Soviet society: Facts, problems, people. M, 1989. Page 63.
2. V.I. Lenin. Half-N of SOBR. soch. T. 31. Page 351.
3. Yu.A. Polyakov. Civil war in Russia: emergence and escalation//National history. 1992. No. 6. Page 33.
4. V.I. Lenin. Half-N of SOBR. soch. T. 36. Page 233, 234; T. 34. Page 280.
5. TsDNIRO. T. 12. Op. 1. 261, NN. 1, 1 about.

Adygei state university On February 28, 2006

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