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Drunk riots and race for power in 1917.


Drunk riots into which many "revolutionary movements" often develop and made on this soil mass violence and captures with the depressing constancy characterize "first floors" of elements of national life in "times of troubles" of national history.

The distemper of 1917 is not an exception. Vocabulary of the revolutionary press had pronounced alcoholic focus: "public fermentation", "mass turbidity", "intoxication democracy", "drunk waste", "drunk revelry", "revolution degree", "revolutionary hop", "intoxicated freedom", "a bitter hangover", etc. "Russia is drunk again, only not with wine, but freedom" 1 - similar phrases newspaper headings dazzled and texts of editorials, not to mention reports from places and the more so feuilletons are crowded. As expression of the highest praise to any given political leader served the epithet "sober" or "soberminded", as a last resort "sobered up" or "made sober". But even at the same time, as a rule, it was noted that in current state all the same any sober word does not reach national consciousness.

Alcoholic formulations were used also for the review of political events. "It seems, our intoxication came to an end in the German self-race under the name "bolynevilovshchina"", - in article "Hangover" the Samara cadet newspaper "Volzhsky Den" prematurely stated. Also estimated July events in the capital: "The cruel hangover began... Groaning and being scratched, we begin "to select" in mind in what this reckless drunk revelry" 2 cost the country.

But, business, certainly, at all not in vocabulary. The distemper from the very beginning de facto cancelled the royal Prohibition. Already on February 28, in revolutionary Petrograd, professor B.V. Nikolsky it is perspicacious wrote down: "... Everywhere there is a same: curiosity, the cheerful feeling of full impunity constrained by secret fear, occasionally drunk and festivities, festivities and festivities. In a word, anarchy looks at itself and is surprised. Perish the thought, when bread-netvinaipoprobuyetkrovi..." 3. And it is valid, democracy proclaimed soon was apprehended as, including, an opportunity to satisfy the collected thirst. All large number of "revolutionary actions" was made with the purpose to take control of alcohol. But it is known that, having dispersed melancholy, it is difficult to stop fun. And a bigger number of actions was made, anyway, under the influence of alcohol.

In state-of-the-art reviews of Head Department for militia of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Provisional government are expertized stage-by-stage development of "democratic changes" into typical forms of "destructive behavior of masses": various "excesses", captures, self-courts, riots, and, at last, actually antistate performances. The riots which covered as a result all "democratic" Russia, gradually turning into one "the All-Russian disorder" mixed in the most fancy way former social groups in "masses". They "united rabble-rousing chernosotenny elements of pre-revolutionary time with followers of the most extreme left currents. The political organizations cease to own moods of masses, and it generates anarchy at the left and counterrevolutionary moods on the right..." Experts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs noted that warehouses of alcohol and wine cellars become favourite objects of "revolutionary performances" of the masses which were disappointed in policy. The soldiers sent to suppression very often willingly adjoin the committing excesses crowd. The tendency to draining in one inflamed mass of both peasants, and soldiers, and workers is designated. "In increasing frequency defeat goes to wine warehouses, and the drunk crowd the excesses terrorizes the population of the cities. At the same time agrarian movement gains the nature of food excesses and, being thrown to the cities, merges with the soldier's rabble-rousing movement in one wide stream" 4.

The value of drunk riots in the Russian political process between February and October, 1917 is still not studied. The drunk riots which swept after seizure of power by Bolsheviks, registered in historical literature mainly in the context of fight against them of the new mode are better known and studied. In some works it is possible even to find quite strange statements, as this phenomenon appeared only with October, and before kind of and did not exist at all: "From the beginning of the October revolution the new phenomenon - "drunk riots" 5 entered everyday life of Russians.

In the present article the attempt to look at a problem through a prism of a question which is considered to be the basic in revolution - a question of the power becomes, - on the example of mass city Samara riots in May, 1917. These events are well covered by the remained archival documents, including unique attestations of eyewitnesses collected at the time by the Samara istpart, materials of periodicals of various party and public orientation.

From May 1 to May 3 in Samara the grandiose drunk disorder did not cease. To few sober citizens surrealistic pictures of deification of domestic "democracy" opened truly. Huge crowds both -

citizens, zumevshy from thirst, were smashed by wine shops, warehouses, cellars, pharmacies. Drank everything that burns, and had a snack on stolen in the same place. Saw from barrels until reveled was not dragged by more sober - to take its place. From bottles not to spend time, directly on the place beat off necks. In a terrible second-hand market the people cut to themselves lips and hands, but did not cease to drink, having a shower bath wine and blood. Life of the city was completely paralyzed. On streets violent were unsteady and half-dead rolled.

At the extraordinary connected meeting the Councils of working, military and country deputies adopted the resolution on acceptance of drastic measures, the curfew was entered. Warehouses of the Zhigulyovsk brewery and a number of wine cellars were flooded by means of city fire brigades. Many from obsessed with Bakhus rushed by swimming to the formed foam streams and greedy drank, some choked and sank in muddy intoxicated pools. Long were not stopped trying to try whether the wine spreading on a pavement is strongly diluted. Alcoholic beverages which sufferers did not manage to reach yet everywhere were destroyed by groups of the armed workers of the Pipe plant. Only in one of shops - the merchant Pyatov - 10 thousand bottles of wine and 20 50-bucket barrels were destroyed.

The pipe plant had reputation of a bastion of the local Bolshevism. And, really, the leading role in arms of working groups and the organization of suppression of disorders was played by Bolsheviks.

Despite patrol of streets by the armed groups and arrests of the most active fans to drink for free and to brawl with all the heart, the rabble-rousing bacchanalia continued three days. Crowds with shouts "The death of the bourgeoisie!", "Let's drink everything at bourgeoises!". "Let's beggar them!", etc. continued to look for treasured bottles, without looking on any admonitions of the authorities "to protect the won democratic freedoms". Paraphrasing the known statement of I.S. Turgenev that Venus de Milo nesomnenny the principles of the French revolution, it is possible to note that the bottle turned out for crowds of garrison soldiers, local workers and provincial peasants who arrived to the city on search of the better lot where "nesomnenny", than "the principles of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution".

Results of "sad events" as the Samara newspapers called riots, were unfavourable. Damage more than in one million rubles was caused to the city. On streets, pink streams flowed, nalakavshiyesya the dirty diluted wine various pets of residents of Samara and "certain inhabitants" rolled nearby.

Then, as usual, search of enemies, guilty persons in all incident began. The Bolshevist "Volga truth", on the usual usage, accused of all the Black Hundreds, security guards disguised as a soldier's uniform of policemen, gendarmes and other "servants of an old regime" whom, say, similar joined criminal and to that "dark elements".

Other enemies were specified in order No. 137 of May 3 of the chief of the Samara garrison: "The people who are hating Russia and, undoubtedly, being in the service of our enemies got into field army with the persistence characterizing our opponents and, apparently, fulfilling their requirements, preach need to end war as soon as possible. Along with it in the country there is a strengthened appeal to disobedience and disorder... Do not trust the traitors preaching riots, disobedience... the authorities represented by Provisional government..." 6.

And in an appeal of Councils "To soldiers, workers and citizens" of May 3 it was said: "Those who drank did not consider who accustoms to drinking him and why. But we considered. From 18 soldiers arrested for instigation to disorder 12 - the disguised civilians, shady characters who are carrying on rabble-rousing propaganda... The same who pushed you, argued differently: your alcoholism for them was only means to take control of you and to use for the mean purposes" 7.

"The Volga day" published on May 2 article "Whose hands business?". "Who needs it? - the newspaper questioned. - Free citizens of free Russia cannot arrange disorder and be engaged in disgusting alcoholism. There is someone else's work. Someone needs to cause disorders among us, it is necessary to seed contention and, maybe, to cause bloody collisions. For this purpose haters of freedom used the best weapon - they showed to crowd a bottle. They believed that the crowd will not resist temptation and will be ready to do anything, if only to reach a bottle. Alas! These calculations partly came true. The crowd rushed on wine, and got out from where people invited soldiers: "Take, companions!". They needed to involve by all means in disorder of army... Who were persons who organized yesterday's alcoholism? Lump needed drunk disorder? If it is impossible to call these people by name if they hid from us enough, then it is possible to tell with confidence that these people are Svoboda's Enemies!".

Most three streets suffered from riots: Samara, Factory and Noble. About it verses under the name "Speeches and Results" were published in number of "The Volga day" of May 3 behind the signature "Fellow countryman":

Every evening "somebody gloomy", On a granite pedestal,

Near a "royal" figure, Spoke... "Capital"...

On a breast tapes redden,

Flags of class struggles.

From crowd an applause - Solidarity of beliefs. "Somebody" pours about the reasons Going to depth and eternity.

About the known sizes which were infinity, Having spread out to the elements "Essence of Terrible Process". "We, - shouts, - intellectuals, Representatives of progress! Collisions of psychology,

In terms of science!."

Also goes on, goes on, poor,

Az yes beeches, az yes beeches!

And in speeches showing playfulness,


He preaches sobriety Up to alcohol of requisitions.

I the crowd listens to it,

All trembles with delight... "Requisition!" - appeals,

And madly claps.

From a pedestal "somebody" safely,

Around looks at crowd And the crowd was stunned,

Understands nothing,

About the worker, about the soldier,

"Somebody" continues speeches...

And in the end result Everywhere the sobriety spreads.

And treated kindly by success of the Illegible instant,

"Somebody" called to go on milestones of "Historical shift",

On the road proletarian,

German democracy,

The shift happened on Samara,

On Factory, on Noble!

At last, on May 4 "The Volga day" in the editorial "Rabya an eructation" called responsible for disorder by "enemies of the new mode": "Ran up them much, and everywhere where they ran, the distemper began. At the front they shouted: "Down with war!", went to fraternize with Germans, instigated also others with them to go. In the cities began to instigate on robberies, in villages on sections, without waiting for the Constituent Assembly. But the sober people neither on robberies, nor will not go for riots..."

So, cadets unambiguously pointed to Bolsheviks and Social Revolutionaries as main responsible for the mass "democratic shift" raging on streets of Samara 1917

But originally nevertheless city newspapers of all party colors, having shown rare unanimity, accused of the incident of certain "former gendarmes" and "Black Hundreds" (this label was used by both Bolsheviks, and Social Revolutionaries, and other socialists, and even cadets).

Bolshevist charges of the organization of riots of "policemen and gendarmes" were slander. In November, after the Bolshevist revolution in the capital, the eserovsky "Earth and will" wrote about "The Volga truth": "... Long ago it is already known - and it is in the order of things, - that in all Bolshevist Pravdas there is everything, except the truth truth..." 8 Of 234 detainees did not appear any of the former police officers. Commanders of the companies created from ranks and gendarmes sent to the editorial offices of newspapers angry letters in which condemned riots and expressed readiness to defend young free Russia from everyones on it posyagatelstv9. However, representatives of other parties called "gendarmes of our days" Bolsheviks. For example, in November "The earth and will" in article "Their Tactics" claimed: "Their tactics - an unscrupulous lie and treachery. Their tactics - gendarme reading "blue uniforms and eyes" in the hearts of the opponents. "Put" them - a criminal adventure. Their "means" about - autocratic and police latching of a mouth and night "raids"... their newspaper - "gendarme and Volga truth", etc. 10 Same newspaper in article "Provocation" "congratulated" Bolsheviks on the fact that "autocracy lessons in rabble-rousing and provocative policy are apprehended by them well".

"Black Hundreds" were accused of riots by both socialist, and liberal newspapers: from February to October practically all political forces

called the enemies "Black Hundreds". Most often so called again Bolsheviks. On memoirs of one of the Samara Bolsheviks who joined the armed working group in May, 1917 when it and his companions were "to stop disorder", the crowd accused them of "chernosot-nichestvo" and wanted to arrange over them mob killings. Eventually "red guardsmen Black Hundreds" were arrested and sent in uchastok11.

In the absence of documentary proofs of the one who organized riots (if they were organized) it is necessary to ask a question: what political force could use their "fruits"?

Already in the first number Pravdas (on March 5, 1917) it was proclaimed: "A problem of the moment is education of proletarian and democratic guard which together with revolutionary troops at the right time could protect gaining revolution". On March 21-22 the letter was published in the Pravda first Lenin "From it is far" where it was emphasized that "the only guarantee of freedom and destruction of a tsarism up to the end is arms of the proletariat". On April 28 "News of the Petrograd Council of working and soldier's deputies", and the next day and the Pravda, published two drafts of the charter of Red guard. And drunk riots were the universal and trouble-free tool of the organization by Bolsheviks of this "guard".

The Samara Bolshevik I.E. Lebedev remembered the report at a city party conference of V.V.Kuibyshev who arrived from the VII All-Russian (April) conference of Bolsheviks: "By this report which stated Lenin fixation on transition to socialist revolution it was done away with the ambiguities in tactics questions existing in our Samara organization in March-April, 1917. We are delegates of a conference - were inspired with the prospect of implementation of completeness of the power of Councils of proletarian dictatorship disclosed before us and with redoubled zeal got down to business reconquest of mass of workers and soldiers at compromisers" 12.

On April 18 (on May 1 on N of the article) at celebration of the International day of solidarity of workers the Samara Leninists actively agitated against Provisional government, demanded to delegate "all power to Councils". On April 23 on a meeting of workers of the Pipe plant the Bolsheviks continued to bombard vigorously masses appeals not to trust Provisional government and to rally around Councils. On April 26 Bolsheviks of the Latvian area at the meeting adopted the resolution demanding immediate transition of the power to Councils.

To start broad and obvious formation of Red guard the occasion was required. And on May 1 it turned up: as a result of instigation

"unidentified provokers" the "rabble-rousing and drunk" movement flashes. Bolsheviks reacted immediately: formation of fighting teams from workers-bolynevikov of the Pipe plant began. The Volzhskoye Slovo newspaper close to Social Revolutionaries reported about creation of Red guard in number of 1,200 people led by the mechanic of the Pipe plant Bolshevik P.G. Sidelnikov. On May 5 "News of Council of working deputies" to a bottom sewed to give a denial: "the issue of Red guard was not even discussed", and "teams of working militia were created for counteraction to drunk disorder and are temporary". But on May 6 the order of Councils of working, military and country deputies created the headquarters for protection of the city given special powers into which disposal "fighting teams of special function" went. And on May 17 at a meeting of Council of working deputies under the chairmanship of Kuibyshev "the commission on the organization of Red guard" was organized.

The Samara events gave echoes on all province. On May 4 drunk riots happened in Buguruslan, July 15 - in Novouzensk, August 24 - in Nikolaevsk, etc. Drunk riots preceded also final registration of Red guard in October, 1917: On October 2-3 - in Buzuluk, October 3 - in Nikolaevsk, October 10-11 - in Bugulma... And everywhere they were suppressed with Red guard and Revolutionary-military committees. They were specially created in view of that, armed, and after "restoration of an order" remained up in arm. It is characteristic that in October the Bolshevik of A.B was appointed the chief of Red guard of Samara. Gavrilenko who in May, 1917 "became famous" for an active role in suppression of "a drunk revolt": in particular the fact that beat the arrested participants and witnesses of disorder for what it was excluded from the structure of Council of workers deputatov13.

"Resolute participation in elimination of the drunk riots which burst in Samara on May 14-16 (N. Sr. - P.M)" was the first independent political performance of Red guard, - the Bolshevik Yu. Milonov who was personally participating in these sobytiyakh14 remembers. "These working teams should be considered as initial cells of future Red guard...", - the colleague on weapon V.M. of Zubkov15 echoes it. And the Samara Bolshevik Malinkov specifically asks about a source of weapon and accurately answers it: "From where took weapon? From the headquarters of protection at the moment when in the city robberies and riots" 16 began.

The policy of the Provisional government which became according to K.N. Sokolov, the law professor and one of the brightest cadet publicists, "a political corpse long before "surgery

on October 25"" 17, was obviously fateful attempt to stretch the solution of essential tasks of the power in "the legal peace evolutionary way", ignoring the raging sea of orgiastic national elements, in the country where in "political thinking" of masses the anti-evolutionary, inversion model of the solution of any questions undividedly dominated. "Diarchy" turned back anarchy, democracy degenerated in an okhlokratiya, the crowd replaced authorities.

Unlike the amorphous opponents, Bolsheviks quickly reacted to the slightest changes of a situation. Not connected by moral restrictions, they did not disdain to use any circumstances and means. ". If to speak about our advantages, then it is necessary to refer our ability to grab quickly an essence of things and to instantly write the necessary resolution to their number. If here spoke about fluctuations, we if had them, were called by time conditions as, for example, such moment when they threatened us with execution for printing of articles", - old Samara Bolshevik I.G. of Birn18 demonstrates.

Other prominent Bolshevik A.H. Mitrofanov was frank, remembering those events: "I to you will give such example: at the Pipe plant there was an explosion. Many workers died, and their funeral, but a funeral church had to take place. Before us there was a question: whether to see off to us workers to the priest or not, and we decided that to spit to us on priests, and went to acquire the Bolshevist capital acting through workers. Such examples many companions working at the plants could bring..." 19

And further: "Here it is necessary to dismember two moments: creation of the operating asset of our fighting fist, we prepared for a revolt. How the fist was formed? It seemed to much that this fist was created spontaneously, grew after the October revolution. I personally think, the organizational root was put in May. The second to what moment the creation of our Red guard belongs? Undoubtedly, its rudiments were before the October revolution... I know that in Saratov, for example, there was a little differently: the issue of a possibility of the power was discussed when actually workers already had the power and therefore there gaining the power took place differently, namely - it was bloody. We did not have it because we from the main kernel began to create Red guard. We, Bolsheviks, went ahead, and we were followed by weight.," 20

That seizure of power in Samara was reasonable in the opinion of masses, leaders of the Samara Bolsheviks Kuibyshev and A.A. Maslennikov at a meeting of city committee of RSDRP (b), October 22, offered the simple, but effective plan: at first to close bourgeois newspapers, to impose the bourgeoisie with compulsory "loan", to arrest the provincial commissioner Vremen -

leg of the government and chief of garrison, etc. "Counteraction from the bourgeoisie will raise energy in masses and then, having for itself the majority... Bolsheviks will manage to announce dictatorship.," 21

Responsibility for explosion in "White House" where the Samara Councils, happened in December because of "fighting teams" of Bolsheviks and extremists sat, Leninists also easily shifted to Social Revolutionaries, "bourgeoises", etc. Having declared martial law "for the period of elimination of a plot of enemies against gaining revolution", used also this incident for strengthening of the seized power and destruction political protivnikov22. Soon after that one and a half hundred armed men crushed the headquarters of city militia and destroyed everything dela23 which safety probably strongly disturbed them.

The ingenuity of Leninists in preparation for capture of the power, against the background of insolvency of other political parties and divergence of local bodies Temporary the governments, allowed them to advance constantly, to tactically beat the opponents and competitors. One more worker of the Pipe plant so narrates about a postoctober way of a dovooruzheniye of the Samara Leninists: "To get rifles and grenades business was difficult. Of course, also did not dream of machine guns. But on that we and Bolsheviks to overcome any obstacles. Elections to the Constituent Assembly were outlined, and Bolsheviks raised a question of protection of polling precincts. The city council and City Duma (Bolshevist) charged this mission to workers and soldiers. Agreed with regimental soldier's committees about a pozaimstvovaniye of rifles for workers and a vyda of the line of commissioners from soldiers, got a large number of grenades. And on the election day in the Constituent Assembly on selective points we, Red guard, it is proud, up in arms, brought protection. The bourgeoisie raged, but could make nothing. We were already armed. We held this weapon in reliable hand" 24.

If almost all political forces of the country tried to stop a storm, then Bolsheviks looked for it. Situation of which extremists dream - "the worse, the better" - was the main tactical reference point of Leninists between February and October. The Samara Bolsheviks of it did not hide: "If suyaedeno to shed not guilty human blood, then this blood will not irrigate fields on which there will ascend roses of bourgeois desires subsequently" 25.

Riots terrorized the inhabitant, and still A. Tokvil noted that the fear operates revolutions. Bolsheviks managed to mobilize both extremes of mass consciousness in the interests: and aspiration to anarchy, and desire of the firm power. 1917, some of participants of events, already

then it became clear that "a revolt - not the antagonist of the power, and a convulsive rush from the power which ceased to frighten to the power which will inspire a fear shiver anew. Here Lenin's genius was shown. Nobody as he, understood so acutely that absolute, like divine, he will receive the power, having unbridled elements of a revolt... Lenin well knew that only the weight which flew into the rage which lost any tracks of public consciousness can be turned into obedient herd of the dictator. He knew that through a revolt it will come to the iznemozhenny and devastated state on which it will be the easiest possible to build the kingdom. His genius was that he understood that chaos will reign from now on, and chaos made the tool..." 26

Use of riots, action according to the scheme "disorder-the organization of Red guard-preparation for a revolution", became one of the sample, well fulfilled receptions of the Bolsheviks applied not only in the Samara province. Drunk riots bared its powerlessness and disorganized it, they gave to Bolsheviks the chance to arm under the pretext of establishing order and to leave weapon waiting of "the last and decisive battle". And suppression of riots became a safe rehearsal of future armed actions, allowed to win the political capital at the population against the background of falling of prestige of the power, accustomed the population to organized violence, gave visibility of legitimacy to anti-government protests, prepared consciousness of masses for future revolution.

1 Simbirsk national newspaper. 1917. May 11.
2 Volga day (Samara). 1917. July 18.
3 Tsit. on: P.Sh. Chkhartishvili. The Black Hundreds in 1917//history Questions. 1997. No. 8. Page 133.
4 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 1791. Op. 6. 401. L. 47, 52, 151ob., 152, 153ob.
5 See: M.V. Savchenko. The provincial chronicle of revolutions of the beginning of the 20th century in Russia: alcoholic aspect (On materials of the Penza province)//Conferences on department of history of MSU ( savchen.htm).
6 GASO. T. 813. Op. 1. 6. L. 149.
7 Volga day. 1917. No. 94.
8 Earth and will (Samara). 1917. 2 noyab.
9 Volga day. 1917. No. 95, 98.
10 Earth and will. 1917. 2 noyab.
11 GASO. FP. 3500. Op. 1. 210. L. 56-58.
12 GASO. FP. 651. Op. 5. 45. L. 3.
13 News of the Samara Council of working deputies. 1917. May 31.
14 GASO. FP. 651. Op. 5. 38. L. 57-58.
15 GASO. FP. 3500. Op. 1. 200. L. 42.
16 GASO. FP. 3500. Op. 1. 197. L. 8.
17 K.N. Sokolov. Tragedy of preparliament//Field. 1917. No. 46. Page 722.
18 GASO. FP. 3500. Op. 1. 205. L. 16.
19 In the same place. L. 10.
20 In the same place. L. 11.
21 GASO. FP. 3500. Op. 1. 205. L. 10.
22 GASO. T. 1000. Op. 2. 5. L. 50-50ob., 55ob.
23 See: I.I. Blumenthal. Revolution of 1917-1918 in the Samara province: Chronicle of events. T. 1. Samara, 1927. Page 347.
24 GASO. FP. 651. Op. 5. 78. L. 49.
25 News of the Samara Council of working deputies. 1917. June 29.
26 Tsit. on: A.A. Kara-Murza. Russians about the Bolshevism: Experience of the analytical anthology. SPb., 1999. Page 16-17.
Jose Ingram
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