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October, 1917: a look from Menshevist emigration

oktyabr 1917: a look from Menshevist emigration

foxes: the ship by which it returned was seized by the Algerian pirates, and the emigrant necessarily was waited again by slave destiny, this time in Haifa. From there Baranshchikov managed to run on the Greek vessel to Constantinople. Here, to keep life, it had to accept Islam and even to arrive on service the Janissar. At last, good luck ulybnu-

las to the exile — he deserted and in 1787 returned home.

Thus, the history of the Russian emigration of the 18th century consisted of separate, but very bright episodes of long stay abroad of the Russian state of his certain citizens.


1. A.B. Davidson, V.A. Makrushin. Image of the far-away country. M.: Science, 1975. 423 pages
2. S.R. Dolgova. Career of F.V. Karzhavin. L.: Science, 1984. 245 pages
3. F. Efremov. Ten years' wandering. M.: Geografizdat, 1952.
4. KretininG.B. Under the Russian crown, or Russians in Konigsberg. 1758 — 1762. Kaliningrad: Kalingradsky book publishing house, 1996. 176 pages
5. National history. The history of Russia from the most ancient times to 1917. Encyclopedia. M.: Scientific publishing house Big Russian encyclopedia, 1994. T. 1. 688 pages
6. National history. The history of Russia from the most ancient times to 1917. Encyclopedia. M.: Scientific publishing house Big Russian encyclopedia, 1996. T. 2. 656 pages
7. V.P. Petrov. Russians in the history of America. Washington: Prod. Russian - America. east. islands, 1988. 263 pages
8. Russia and Africa. Documents and materials. 18th century — 1960 M.: IVI RAS, 1999. T. 1. 425 pages
9. Russia and France. The 18-20th centuries M.: IVI RAS, 1998. Prince 2. 237 pages
10. Russian state archive of ancient acts (R1ADA), f.239, op. 1, 23628.
11. RGADA, t. 461, op. 1, 2778.
12. RGADA, t. 461, op. 1, 2224.
13. RGADA, t. 461, op. 1, 2453.
14. RGADA, t. 461, op. 1, 1896.
15. RGADA, t. 466, op. 1, 1362.
16. RGADA, t. 469, op. 1, 69.
17. Russian State Historical Archive (RSHA), t. 1088, op. 20, 681.

UDC 360.01

The I OCTOBER, 1917:


A.Yu. Gavrilov,

candidate of historical sciences, associate professor, director of Institute of service, FGOUVPO branch "Russian state university of tourism and service", Moscow,

The article presents assessments from Menshevik emigrants relating to the events in Russia in October 1917 and the Bolshevik policy in the early post revolutionary years. The Menshevik analysis is objective, thorough and comprehensive, leading to noteworthy conclusions.

To the events which were taking place in Russia in October, 1917 and Bolshevist policy estimates, data the Russian Mensheviks emigrants are provided in article in the first postrevolutionary years. Estimates of Mensheviks differ in objectivity, depth of the analysis and generalizations, originality of conclusions.



Before speaking about Menshevist estimates of "a military and communistic experiment", it is necessary to address the reasons which generated Civil war and the system of military communism. Estimates by Mensheviks of October, 1917 later after the revolutionary events allow to reveal several years dynamics of these representations and also their communication with internal and external factors of development of revolutionary process.

On the eve of the revolution fifth anniversary the editorial office of the Menshevist "Socialist bulletin" wrote that "if Bolshevist dictatorship is our shameful present, then communistic revolution is already our past which is generally liquidated by our dictatorship". However, in the Menshevist press also not so pessimistic estimates of results of revolution met. In particular, the attention also was paid to "incompleteness of the Russian revolution and suspense of the main her question — a protection of an agrarian revolution from restoration feeble efforts" [15, page 1, 4].

Attempts to understand the causes of revolution led Menshevist emigration to a conclusion that "the October revolution resulted and could result only from active elements of the proletariat the slogans of the Bolshevism". Five years later after the revolution the Mensheviks continued to claim that they refused overthrow of the power of Bolsheviks not to enter civil war with "that considerable part of the proletariat which supported this government". At the end of 1922 the Mensheviks in the weight considered policy of refusal of armed struggle with the Soviet power in the years of Civil war only true. Moreover, after transition to the New Economic Policy Yu.O. Martov supported P.B. Axelrod with his negative relation to a revolt against Bolshevist dictatorship. He considered that at the developed political environment "elimination of the Bolshevism by an armed revolt will happen at such ratio of forces which will provide fruits of such overthrow of the Bolshevism not for the proletariat and democracy, and behind a bourgeois counterrevolution". March proceeded from a real ratio of forces, but not from basic rejection of the idea of a revolt [8, page 4, 5; 9, page 3; 15, page 2].

However Martov criticized Axelrod for underestimation of the valid influence of Bolsheviks on wide groups of the proletariat and his organic communication with significant forces of the worker

class. According to the leader of the left Mensheviks, in October, 1917 the Bolsheviks expressed quite lawful indignation of broad masses of the proletariat of policy which objectively went, eventually, the interests of the Russian revolution, but not the military interests of the Entente. But from recognition of a role and historical inevitability of an October revolution and progressiveness of one its part, by no means, according to Martov, reconciliation with the Bolshevism which used trust of masses in own interests [9, page 3 — 4 did not follow].

March did not doubt that Bolsheviks could keep in power only because, like Jacobeans, undertook and resolved a task of radical elimination of social bases of the old monarchy. At the same time they used the dominant position for implementation of communistic revolution which in character was "rustic and petty-bourgeois". At the same time, according to Martov, Bolsheviks carried out the historical mission worse, than Jacobeans because "the limitation of methods peculiar to them and utopianism leveling" the purposes of the poor were added with "double utopianism of the organization of communistic economy on the basis of these poravnenny poor". For the peasantry the leveling agrarian mode and "perhaps smaller social inequality at preservation of the shattered independent economy" became a social utopia. Whereas the utopia of the proletariat consisted in the aspiration to overthrow a private property on means of production "at such stage of social development when for similar transformation is not present in cash neither technical, nor economic, nor social prerequisites", i.e. it was the utopia of immediate and full communism. Originally the Bolshevism which rose at the head of revolution thanks to transition to its party of peasants, adapted to their utopian expectations. However between two types of utopianism the Bolsheviks chose communistic utopianism, as led the country to economic accident. In turn, "the utopianism of the pursued social tasks" and sharp opposition of interests of workers and peasants became the reason of the terrorist mode and party dictatorship [10, page 2, 3; 9, page 3 — 5].

More favorable for the proletariat, than "compulsory organized" economy,

there would be the state capitalism with broad social policy [9, page 6]. But can be considered as social only that revolution which


October, 1917: a look from Menshevist emigration

seeks not only to discharge the become obsolete class of political domination, but also to deprive of it a role in the national economy which he retains by means of the government seized by it. In this sense the February revolution of 1917 was social, but overthrow of absolutism and noble domination was from the very beginning made under the sign of "political domination of the proletariat". Martov explained these the aspiration of revolution to move apart its bourgeois-democratic framework and "to impose a hand" on capitalist property.

At the same time authors of "Bulletin" urged to be exempted from "fetishism of formal democracy" that allowed some part of party to enlist in "counterrevolution" all October revolution because she rejected universal suffrage [11, page 3, 4; 10, page 2, 3; 15, page 4].

However, arguments of opponents of Martov on the right also had the evidential logic. In particular, emphasized with S. Ivanovic that revolution was "the entertainment which is not polishing blood and not professional inclination, but a serious inevitable crisis" to which it is necessary to be ready in "a vseoruzhiya of the clear aims, clear, corresponding to the historical moment, the socio-political program and sober, public forces considering a ratio, tactics". The author considered unacceptable for social democrats "to do" revolutions and to prepare armed revolts, putting in this regard Bolsheviks on one shelf with blanquists. At the same time he criticized also the line of official Menshevism of which the hope for replacement of revolution with evolution was characteristic. According to Ivanovich, the one who "broadcasts about impossibility in Russia of revolutionary overthrow of the Soviet power that thereby prophesies to Russia death". For it ways of development of Russia were strictly predetermined: "either revolution, or intervention: there is no third way". At the same time the author repeatedly explained: "We do not do revolution, but we revolutionize consciousness of masses" [5, page 130 — 134].

Menshevist authors kept positive estimates of the February revolution as continuations of the revolution of 1905 setting tasks as destructive (destruction of autocracy and landowner land tenure), and creative (statement of the democratic republic). According to Mensheviks, the main razrushi-

telny tasks of revolution were carried out irrevocably. But "payment was that more that unorganized, politically uncivilized weight bore to the power party in which the greatest socio-political illusions were combined with the greatest illegibility in means — Bolshevik party" which erected the building of the party dictatorship. At the same time Mensheviks emphasized the dual nature of the Bolshevist mode. On the one hand, utopian dictatorship of Bolsheviks was revolutionary as "strengthened noted gaining revolution and, anyway, directed fight of the masses defending these gains". On the other hand, it was deeply reactionary as "means of terror and violence tried to overcome, for the sake of the utopian purposes, immutable laws of economic development" [18, page 1, 2].

By February, 1921 it was obvious to the Mensheviks who rallied around the Sotsialistichesky Vestnik magazine that "Bolshevist dictatorship did not create in Russia of socialist production". And could not create it as the level of development of productive forces from the very beginning outlined narrow borders for socialism, and the Soviet bureaucratic system did not give the chance to keep the being available development potential. Nevertheless Bolshevist dictatorship managed to hold on the whole three years because along with "the carried-out persistently utopian task", also "the necessary business" was created. First, the new power protected the land bought by peasants and freedom from landowners. Secondly, she created the Soviet officials — in fact, a new petty-bourgeois city layer which "holds down a hoop of the state organization atomized rural hundred-million Russia". Moreover, acting through the Soviet officials, according to the editorial the magazine, the new "city democracy" forming a social base of "new Russia" was created. Thereby the historical role of dictatorship of Bolsheviks came down to gain by "new city and rural democracy of new situation in the society revolutionized from top to bottom". In this regard it quickly approached "apogee of the progress" therefore Menshevist publicists wrote about signs "witherings of this dictatorship" and internal decomposition of ruling party [17, page 1, 2].

All policy of Bolsheviks since the October revolution was represented men-



to shevika "continuous attempt "to deceive history" in their aspiration "to get the finished communistic system... in the country which 80% of the population represent continuous country weight" [21, page 4]. The Bolshevist policy was constructed on idea of a possibility of immediate and full implementation of socialism, "is imbued with utopian belief that all task consists in immediate carrying out by all means the fullest nationalization, the most absolute monopoly, the fullest nationalization" [1, page 4, 5].

At the same time Bolsheviks killed three years with the agrarian and food policy at peasants any incentive to increase in performance of agriculture. It was caused by their aspiration to turn the peasant into "the proletarian attached to the earth making the surplus value" which is appropriated by the state that on it to support the Red Army — "the tool of preservation of the power and the lever of world revolution". Whereas, according to Mensheviks, the economic crisis could be overcome by "only such policy which basis the raising of performance of the Russian agriculture is" [20, page 1].

R. Abramovich opposed attempts of Bolshevist leaders (including Lenina) to announce policy of military communism the conscious and considered derogation from a certain correct line under pressure of external circumstances. Till March, 1921 about it there was no word. On the contrary, the Soviet heads claimed that their policy is "only socialist" and "truly communistic". Abramovich saw no reason to explain military communism with sabotage of the propertied classes or military need. Bolsheviks, on his strong belief, obeyed not to military need, but psychology of the soldier, having focused entirely on consumption and not caring for production in the city and the village. The interests of war, according to Abramovich, did not demand an allotment, monopoly, Narkomprod's policy, requisitions, poor committees and prodotryad. On the contrary, exactly this policy "drove peasants to Denikin and Wrangel's embraces". The author criticized also statements for efficiency of an allotment in the absence of allegedly goods for exchange. There lasted old stocks expropriated in 1917 — 1918 for three years. Besides, blossoming of a narkomprodovshchina and militarization fell for the end of 1920 — the beginning of 1921, i.e. on the post-war period. Military communism

was not and it is imposed from the outside. This policy, on Abramovich's belief, was dictated by the interests of party dictatorship and bureaucracy [1, page 4, 5].

Similarly and D. Dalin characterized communism as the system of collectivism, "who is born from violent destruction of capitalist economy and almost does not allow transitional measures". For it the business card of communism in policy — need of "party dictatorship and suppression of any freedoms" [3, page 2]. For Yu. Martov the Bolshevist dictatorship as "the state organization unknown in the history" was required to lay the foundation of a communistic system in the country where the proletariat made "insignificant minority of the population". It was "pressing" for the purpose of overcoming historical inertia of the social environment. At the same time dictatorship expressed itself spontaneous moods of urban population and, partly, the proletariat in favor of immediate elimination of social inequality [12, page 3]. Moreover, according to the editorial "Messenger", in the Soviet Russia never was dictatorships of the proletariat, and "was and there is a dictatorship of party over the proletariat". Of course, there was also a privileged social status of the proletariat, but on a phase of economic ruin the privileges came down to situation "the least hungry among hungry" [19, page 1]. Such is there was a social price of attempts of the embodiment of a communistic utopia in reality.

How the fate of the Russian revolution at peak of "military communism" seemed to Mensheviks? First of all, they considered defeat of revolution from the outside improbable that "crusade" against the Bolshevism got beaten. According to them, also the spontaneous performance of the peasantry was improbable. However, by Mensheviks it was not excluded possibility that if this movement accepts scope of "the All-Russian Makhnovism", then Bolshevist dictatorship will not be able to keep. But it opened a way to counterrevolutionary dictatorship. In turn, the revolt against utopian policy in the party and bureaucracy would bring to "power oligarchies of property and new social privileges". An objective opportunity to recover from crisis seemed in socialism victory in the advanced countries of the West. Besides, cash "though weakened, the semi-proletariat of the large industry" created the factor, capable, according to Menshevist emigration, to prevent a social celebration "old and but -


October, 1917: a look from Menshevist emigration

howl the bourgeoisie and antidemocratic oligarchical state forms" at elimination of Bolshevist dictatorship [17, page 2].

Mensheviks emigrants in the estimates proceeded from obvious communication between refusal of the system of terror, basic change of "a policy course towards return to "freedoms" and to amateur performance of masses", "improvement" of government and, respectively — successful economic creation. Just the communists concerned by preservation of the party and power did not want to see this communication [23, page 3]. Also received in reply "terrible caution" as a revolt in Kronstadt which in the Menshevist press was estimated as the movement directed not against revolution and the power of workers, and only against the communistic government. Mensheviks considered the cause of a revolt the economic bankruptcy of the Bolshevist mode which developed into "unprecedented fuel, transport and food crisis". An exit from a crisis situation, besides a gap with all previous policy, seemed in the agreement "other socialist parties on the basis of the statement of the power of workers" [2, page 1 — 2]. And "the initiative of resolute fight against the set mode proceeding from that masses which still were a Bolshevism stronghold" was considered as the main lesson of Kronstadt [7, page 3].

March one of the first paid attention to paradoxicality of the Russian situation when "the beginning of elimination of the utopian mode was undertaken by the dictatorship which set this mode". If in 1917 — 1920 the Bolshevist dictatorship expressed "utopian aspiration of a considerable part of the proletariat to immediate establishment of social equality", then since 1921 she, on the contrary, began to fight against it. It is clear, owing to this fact further elimination of a utopia encountered absolute obstacles. Evolution of Russia towards socialism, according to the leader of Mensheviks, was possible only if "the European West, acting through its most advanced countries, costs on the eve of the large socialist transformations connected with transition of the power to hands of the proletariat". Separately from Europe the socialization of society in Russia could not be solved. There were also internal obstacles in a way of development of revolution: the New Economic Policy from the very beginning entered an irreconcilable contradiction with policy of the superstructure created for carrying out absolutely opposite communistic tasks. From -

here a political conclusion, important and deadly to the power, about loss by dictatorship in new conditions of the justification followed. However Martov was very careful in conclusions. He did not doubt falling of political communist regime, but did not undertake to guess how this transition will be made and what forces will get domination in the state because it depended on a number of factors [12, page 4; 10, page 4, 7, 10].

Even in March, 1922 the Mensheviks emigrants recognized that revolution costs at the crossroads when "democratic elimination of the Bolshevist period of the Russian revolution becomes a matter of life or death of workers of masses and, first of all, working class" [18, page 3]. On "crossroads" there was also a party of Mensheviks. Yu. Martov in April, 1922 recognized existence in RSDRP of the group opposing the Central Committee line on transformation of Bolshevist dictatorship into the socialist power based on "the agreement of the proletariat with the peasantry". For the leader of Mensheviks was obvious that "fight against Bolshevist dictatorship and Bonapartism" has to include the slogans of "the democratic power of workers" and "a united revolutionary front in Russia" [13, page 6 — 8].

March in article "Our Platform" published at the beginning of October, 1922 remained at former positions in assessment of the October revolution of 1917, regarding it as a revolution stage, "at the heart of bourgeois, despite the slogans of communism and dictatorship of the proletariat which are put forward by it". Even seizure of power by the proletariat is not capable, in itself, to overcome limitation of development of productive forces of the country. Only at coincidence of the Russian revolution to revolution in the West, on Martov's belief, the foundation of socialization of the Russian economy could be laid. But the ended first stage of world crisis of capitalism rejected the European proletariat from positions 1918 back — 1919. From here followed that recovery of the destroyed national economy of Russia will be forced to be carried out "mainly on the capitalist beginnings". Besides, if in the years of Civil war the political line of party of Mensheviks was under construction of recognition of Bolsheviks by the defender of bases of revolution from restoration, then in the fall 1922 of a frame of this support were "extremely narrowed". But at the same time Martov remained the firm opponent of "revolutionary overthrow of the Soviet power" [14, page 4 — 6].



Foreign delegation of the Central Committee RSDRP of the beginning a campaign against the Zarya magazine in spite of the fact that in Russia, according to L. Isaev, the position of the Central Committee RSDRP had very many opponents. The Menshevist Central Committee expelled from Maslov's party, but could not exclude Axelrod who fell with sharp criticism upon a number of provisions of the Central Committee, "beginning from the notorious "agreement with Bolsheviks" in the Russian scale and finishing the shameful comedy of "united front" in scale international". Isaev quite sharply estimated RSDRP exit from the II International [6, page 110 — 111].

However Martov was afraid of that "a harmful role" which dictatorship is capable to play if it manages to inspire in "dark groups of the proletariat and peasantry" belief that their interests can be protected from encroachments of the propertied classes by method of police guardianship of "the strong power". Yuli Osipovich did not doubt that in the country with "century tradition of slave belief in the beneficial government", eventually, anti-proletarian elements will use a peculiar revival of a legend of "the rustic tsar". In the long term the nation, "outgrown bourgeois democracy", would receive "in an award dictatorship komyacheek", but the nation which did "not grow" to bourgeois democracy, "it will be fated to admire the bonapartistsky tyrant" [12, page 7].

For the similar conclusions there were bases, considering value in development of the Russian revolution of a personal factor, i.e. communication of stability of the Bolshevist mode with "the identity of the chairman of Council of People's Commissars". So, F. Dan believed that "the sharpness of the contradictions which ripened under a roof of the Bolshevist mode", reached already that degree when "only inertia of historically dead tradition embodied in the identity of "leader" maintains unstable balance" the Soviet power. In turn, "directly Lenin's leaving" will start fight of cliques in the Communist Party. However, It is given

was sure that any of them will not be able to play a role of "an iron hoop" because it does not possess that "charm and trust" which all gave Lenina its previous activity. Including "communistic dictatorship" at the New Economic Policy "historical absurd", he saw an exit from the situation or in bonapartistsky dictatorship, or in democracy [22, page 3].

The analysis of materials of the emigrant press allows to say that the Mensheviks who rallied around "The socialist messenger" opposed Bolsheviks with "an open visor", without hiding for a nonpartisanship position. The social democracy which tactical slogans were "Freedom of Elections to Councils" and "Down with Dictatorship of Bolsheviks" [16, page 2, 3] threw down an open challenge to communistic ideology and practice.

Even more hard line on the despotic mode was taken by the editorial board of the Zarya magazine estimating a Bolshevist revolution of 1917 as a counterrevolution. Recognizing that "any despotic mode can keep very long", the social democrats who rallied around the magazine were sure that "the Bolshevist power the goner in this world". In the calculations they recognized that "the mode sticking on distribution and squandering to it to the created benefits has to turn out a complete fiasco" [24, page 223, 224].

In the theoretical constructions and practical offers the right Mensheviks referred to authority V. Zasulich. In February, 1918 in body of the Moscow group of social democrats "Our life" V. Zasulich wrote about incompleteness of political revolution of 1917 which suddenly "the counter-revolutionary coup overtook" Bolsheviks. Reasonings Zasulich about danger of blossoming of militarism around the world were a powerful and relevant argument for the right wing of RSDRP, "which will remove in a foggy distance any possibility of socialism" [4, page 285, 286].


1. R. Abramovich. Retreat or straightening of the line//Socialist messenger. 1921. No. 11. Page 3 — 5.
2. Terrible caution//Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 4. Page 1-3.
3. DalinD. Crisis of the New Economic Policy//Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 15. Page 2, 3.
4. V. Zasulich. Socialism of Smolny//Dawn. Body of a social democratic thought. 1922. Berlin. No. 9/10. Page 285, 286.
5. Ivanovich Sr. It is necessary to choose//the Dawn. Body of a social democratic thought. 1922. Berlin. No. 5. Page 130-135.
6. L. Isaev. Letters on tactics//Dawn. Body of a social democratic thought. 1922. Berlin. No. 4. Page 107-111.


Children of the Russian military emigrants in the 1920-1930th years...

7. Kronstadt//Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 5. Page 2 — 6.
8. Kuchin G. (Oransky). About our party//the Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 18. Page 3 — 5.
9. L. Martov. Concerning the letter of comrade P.B. Axelrod//the Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 8. Page 3-6.
10. L. Martov. On the way to elimination//the Socialist messenger. 1921. No. 18. Page 2-4.
11. L. Martov. Decomposition of the state or its gain?//Socialist messenger. 1921. No. 14/15. Page 3, 4.
12. L. Martov. Dialectics of dictatorship//Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 3. Page 3-7.
13. L. Martov. To a question of problems of party//the Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 7. Page 6-8.
14. L. Martov. Our platform//Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 19. Page 3-8.
15. Some results//Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 17. Page 1-4.
16. Continue//the Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 8. Page 1-3.
17. Ways of revolution//Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 2. Page 1-3.
18. The fifth anniversary of revolution//Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 5. Page 1-3.
19. The Russian worker under "the state capitalism"//the Socialist messenger.1921. No. 19. Page 1-4.
20. "Agreement with the peasantry"//Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 6. Page 1-4.
21. Socialism and classes in Russia//the Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 6. Page 4-7.
22. Mode disease//Socialist messenger. 1922. No. 13/14. July 20. Page 1.
23. Economy and policy//Socialist messenger. Body of Foreign delegation of RSDRP. 1921. No. 1. Page 1-3.
24. Anniversary of the Russian counterrevolution//Dawn. Body of a social democratic thought. 1922. Berlin. No. 8. Page 223, 224.

UDC 904



S.A. Sotnikov,

candidate of historical sciences, associate professor, FGOUVPO "Russian state university of tourism and service" Moscow,

In the 1920 s and 1930 s children of the Russian military migrs along with their parents shared the hardships of civil war and exile, many of them experienced orphanhood and starvation. Community of the Russian military emigration made great efforts to rescue the children, offering the upbringing and education, resulting in an efficient system of educational institutions and extra-curricular educational and sports organizations. The education system transferred the corporate military traditions and ideology of the military emigration to several generations of Russian young people abroad.

Children of the Russian military emigrants in the 1920-1930th divided burdens of civil war and exile with the parents, and many learned bitterness of orphanhood, hunger and other deprivations. The community of the Russian military emigration made considerable efforts on rescue of children, their education and education. Rather effective system of educational institutions and nonlearning educational and sports organizations which activity caused transfer of corporate military traditions and ideology of military emigration to several generations of the Russian youth abroad was created.

Robert Hill
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