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The Yaroslavl mutiny of 1918 in memoirs of eyewitnesses

a. E. Kidyarov


Work is presented by department of history of Russia of the Kostroma state university of N.A. Nekrasov.

The research supervisor - the doctor of historical sciences, professor A.M. Belov

In article memoirs of eyewitnesses of the Yaroslavl mutiny of 1918 are analyzed. The question how use of these documents promotes understanding nature of the Yaroslavl events of 1918 and also reaction of the population to them is considered. Introduction to scientific turnover of this group of sources allows to specify an overall picture of the Yaroslavl revolt of July, 1918

A. Kidyarov


The article presents the memoirs of eye-witnesses of the Yaroslavl riot in 1918. The author examines in what way these documents help to understand the character of the events in Yaroslavl in 1918 and the population&s reaction to them. Bringing this group of resources into usage can help to define the general picture of the Yaroslavl riot of July 1918.

One of bright events of the Civil war in Russia was the Yaroslavl mutiny of 1918 prepared by members of the Union of protection of the Homeland and freedom under the leadership of B. Savinkov. When studying July events of 1918 the researchers have now an opportunity to lean on a wide range of historical sources. In our opinion, a valuable source on stories of the Yaroslavl revolt are memoirs of the ordinary citizens of Yaroslavl who became eyewitnesses of a mutiny. They not only contain the actual material helping to recreate a complete picture of events of the Yaroslavl revolt but also allow to understand mood of the population in days of a mutiny.

A number of the remained documents demonstrates that for some time prior to the July events in the city signs of the prepared revolt were already noticeable. In particular, emergence of considerable number of visitors of officers in days before the mutiny is noted. So, prodovolstven-

the ny commissioner of Yaroslavl A. Okhapkin noted: "Preparation for a mutiny white was known weeks for two or for three, i.e. there was very noticeable an arrival of a large number of officers from the different cities, and in at one time one of military... reported... that something in Yaroslavl is created wrong, i.e. some unknown military people concentrate..." [4, page 165]. The member Revtribunala K. Te-rentyev also demonstrates: "In my opinion, there were quite enough rumors, and all of us had to hear in turns what to communists will get soon, but measures for some reason were not undertaken..." [4, page 44-46]. However for most of ordinary citizens of Yaroslavl the performance of members of the Union of protection of the Homeland and freedom in the morning on July 6, 1918 was unexpected and made an indelible impression. This feeling of suddenness is reflected in memoirs of eyewitnesses. "Day came to an end on July 5th in a usual order, classes in all institutions came to an end at the scheduled time, serving quietly ra-

The Yaroslavl mutiny of 1918 in memoirs of eyewitnesses

could not stop on houses, - E. Losinov remembered. - Quietly there passed night and a part of morning of hours to 9, only with the begun traffic rumors began to rush that on the station there is some firing, but did not pay special attention to themselves yet. Suddenly hours in 10 at once in several places in the center already the cities cracked machine guns, and at 11 o'clock or about that the first cannon shot was distributed... the inhabitants who were pouring out from all houses saw that on blue of the sky at bright sunlight the powder cloudlet, approximately over Vlasyevskim Square appeared. From this point in all ends of the city the brisk firefight began, inhabitants did not know what to do, and rushed about here and there, and, above all, did not understand in what business" [5, page 487].

Risen sought to involve volunteers in the ranks. Many ordinary participants of a revolt, arrested after suppression of a mutiny, pointed that they them forced to adjoin an anti-Soviet performance, threatening with violence. So, the father of one of participants of a revolt demonstrates: "the armed White Guards were. detained the son... and together with others forwarded to the headquarters... then somewhere directed, but he came back home, then again was detained and. appointed to mail. It could not leave as he was repeatedly twice detained, arrested and threatened to shoot" [2, page 1, 2]. In another matter we read: "According to G.F. Balashov's testimony, he is stopped on July 9th white in Tveritsakh, taken away to the headquarters, armed and sent to the station Filino as the fighter.... It was taken by White Guards, but not itself was to them." [1, page 15]. Nevertheless memoirs of eyewitnesses help to see more difficult picture. As E. Losinov notes, "grants, in particular monetary were promised volunteers and their families, life of the volunteer was insured, as well as the family received the known reward published in the stuck appeals for wound" [5, page 489]. Risen tried to appeal also to consciousness of citizens. I. Kostylev describes the following case: "... One approaches me

from White Guards also suggests to join the ranks of a White Guard with words: & #34; What do not you such young go to protect Yaroslavl from the enemy? & #34;. I nothing told it, was turned back back to the basement and did not leave any more" [3, page 43].

At the same time among adjoined a revolt eyewitnesses representatives of the intellectuals, officers, students and grammar-school boys are marked out. According to E. Losinov, "the honor afterfeast on ranks renewed, and all had shoulder straps and distinctions". White Guards as a distinction carried St.George's Ribbons [5, page 489; 6, page 9].

Considerable attention in this group of sources is paid to those deprivations to which the population of Yaroslavl underwent during heavy fighting between the risen and red troops directed to suppression of a mutiny. Memoirs reflect experience of the tragedy endured by ordinary citizens. As a result of intensive firing of the city by artillery of red the fires which every day all amplified began. Situation was aggravated with a summer heat and lack of a rain. "Except fear the inhabitants had to suffer also hunger, and more I am eager - there was no water, - the eyewitness of events of a mutiny N. Babin remembers. - Behind water ran on long distances - on wells and to Volga, risking life, being under bullets. Many died only for a water bucket" [3, page 45]. After insurgents were pushed aside from the bridge through Volga and from the pumping station, the city lost water. Fire fighting stopped. A. Bozhevikov noted: "the .golodny, exhausted and deprived of the dwelling and property inhabitants accommodated who where could, who under the open sky who took refuge in houses and basements" [3, page 117; 5, page 494]. Eyewitnesses demonstrate that in the city marauders who plundered the left houses arranged with inhabitants hiding places used a difficult situation and robbed corpses of the killed. "These predators divorced too decently, there were cases of a special arson of the houses thrown by inhabitants to the purpose to use property, or subsequently invaluable things in

it were to the earth untouched, and the best were dug" [5, page 489].

Documentation of the headquarters of a revolt demonstrates that the civil self-government organized by insurgents tried to adjust normal work of municipal economy, helped wounded [5, page 40, 47, 48]. It is confirmed also by memoirs of eyewitnesses. So, it is noted that "wounded and the killed were taken away immediately in cars (sanitary with red crosses) and took away to the downtown on Varvarin-skuyu Street where the infirmary was temporarily organized" [5, page 488].

On memoirs of eyewitnesses, in food benches bread and other products (millet, fish, oil) by cards was given. "... I had to get out of the basement and to go to buy some bread on B. Liniya where there was a turn not in one thousand people, - A. Bozhevikov remembered. - In benches of bread was not enough, it was necessary to stand for two days, and besides being exposed to firing from the flying by shells and bullets ready to kill each minute" [3, page 118]. At the same time citizens had a tendency to self-organization. The inhabitants who were taking refuge in basements of houses chose heads who, risking life, "went to turns and received under firing products in a day for all basement" [5, page 489].

The lack of authentic and accurate data on succession of events led to emergence of various rumors which were constantly disturbing the population. "Rumors rushed one another more all the time, it is more fantastic, for example, that already the infantry from 10.000 British, for which already in one of offices of the Headquarters, in Gosud approaches the city. Bank on Var-varinskaya Street, the dinner is cooked" [5, page 489]. "... There were rumors that white the city is taken... also rumors went that white Kostroma, Rybinsk and even Moscow are taken and that Bolsheviks give up everywhere without resistance as a hand to white is lended by the Anglo-French troops", - A.K. Bozhevikov demonstrates in the memoirs [3, page 118].

Suppression of a mutiny by red troops was followed by repressions not only against direct participants of a revolt,

but also against those who only caused suspicion. I. Kostylev noted: "Who was suspicious, sent that to a railway embankment for payment. After that us dismissed on houses, I go back home, and there and did not wait for us live, thought that we were driven on execution" [3, page 46].

It is interesting to note that, according to eyewitnesses, "inhabitants in all the time of a mutiny had waiting mood, nobody knew who goes against the Soviet power" [5, page 489]. It should be noted, suppression of a mutiny by Bolsheviks made a considerable impression on citizens. So, A. Okhapkin notes noticeable change in mood of inhabitants after defeat of a revolt. If prior to July events it was poisoned "thanks to Menshevist eserovsky demagogical propaganda" to such an extent, "that Red Guards could not alone and unaided appear in cases, i.e. workers were extremely incited against the territory. Guards * and Bolsheviks", after suppression of a revolt the situation changed. "Now how was reflected in mood of the population, it is necessary to tell that it is better than any propaganda. And that became so appeasable that it was not necessary to observe any more what was before a mutiny, i.e. goes earlier and learned that the party member, the member of council, do not talk nonsense, go, and... at worst will beat" [4, page 172].

The appeal to memoirs of eyewitnesses of the Yaroslavl mutiny promotes awareness of difficult nature of the Yaroslavl events of July, 1918. These materials contain a set of the bright details allowing to present in detail life of citizens of Yaroslavl in days of a revolt. Being more free from ideological estimates, than official documentation, memoirs of ordinary citizens help to avoid unilateral approaches in understanding of nature of the Yaroslavl events. Certainly, memoirs of eyewitnesses differ in subjectivity and have fragmentary character, however their use in total with other documents promotes formation of more reliable picture of the Yaroslavl mutiny.

* So in the text.


1. State Archive of the Yaroslavl Region (SAYR). T. 102. Op. 2. 13.
2. GAYaO. F.R. 601. Op. 2. 14.
3. The branch of State Archive of the Yaroslavl Region is the Center of documentation of the contemporary history (FGA YaO are CDNI) F. 394. Op. 1. 63.
4. FGA YaO are CDNI. T. 394. Op. 1. 64.
5. Yaroslavl revolt. 1918. M.: MFD: Continent, 2007. 704 pages
6. Yaroslavl revolt. July, 1918. M.: Crops, 2007. 112 pages


1. Gosudarstvenny arkhiv Yaroslavskoy oblasti (GAYaO). F. 102. Op. 2. D. 13.
2. GAYaO. F. R. 601. Op. 2. D. 14.
3. Filial Gosudarstvennogo arkhiva Yaroslavskoy oblasti - Tsentr dokumentatsii noveyshey istorii (FGA YaO - TsDNI) F. 394. Op. 1. D. 63.
4. FGA YaO - TsDNI. F. 394. Op. 1. D. 64.
5. Yaroslavskoye vosstaniye. 1918. M.: MFD: Materik, 2007. 704 s.
6. Yaroslavskoye vosstaniye. Iyul& 1918. M.: Posev, 2007. 112 s.
Michael Davis
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