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Historiography of the anti-Bolshevist insurgent movement in the Don region (1920 - 1922): results and research problems

 © 2007 of A.N. Hryshchenko


During 1920 - 1922 in the Soviet Republic a number of national performances against a Bolshevist political regime took place. Various these movements on scales, power and number of participants promoted certain changes in economic policy of Bolsheviks.

There was away from anti-Bolshevist fight also no Don region in which insurgent movement was an integral part of mass resistance. Fight of the Don Cossacks and peasantry against the Soviet power in 1920 - 1922 has the considerable scientific interest which at all is not conceding, suppose, to a problem of participation of these groups of the population in the civil war in the South of Russia.

The Soviet historical science long time treated the indisputable facts of anti-Bolshevist resistance in the society of the beginning of the 1920th within the theory of class fight and "elimination of exploiter classes". The appeared possibility of impartial and fuller research of the anti-Bolshevist insurgent movement in the Don region caused need to generalize and analyze the available experience of studying this problem in a domestic historiography to define a circle of the questions needing further scientific development.

The first attempts of judgment of the Don rebellion appeared at the very beginning of the 1920th. It were articles of the commanders and political workers of the Red Army trying to open essence and the reasons of rebellion [1]. In these publications attempts to define a role and the place of the insurgent movement in the history of civil war were made, the complex of the reasons and factors promoting its emergence was analyzed, ideological installations and social composition of groups were considered. The essential difference of rebellion from numerous criminal gangs in its anti-Bolshevist political orientation and an irregular, guerrilla form of fight was highlighted. However impartial, documentary valid conclusions of authors about differences of resistance of the population to "military communism" from the white movement and gangsterism did not gain recognition. In these articles which appeared even before completion of the movement, the Don rebellion was considered within all North Caucasian region. After that study it was interrupted for quite long time.

The first full and considerable work about the Don insurgent movement is article of the research associate of a partarkhiv of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) M.L. Ma-salovoy. The typewritten manuscript of its article "Gangsterism, Plots and Revolts in the Don Region in 1920 - 1922" dated on May 26, 1941 was found by the author in the Center of documentation of the contemporary history of the Rostov region. Probably, the beginning of the Great Patriotic War prevented its publication, but the remained archive copy allows with sufficient completeness to analyze the level of studying a problem during the specified period. Revealed and for the first time the contemporary records introduced for scientific use allowed the author to concentrate attention on rather detailed characteristic of the Don rebellion, laying aside questions of elimination it by the Soviet power. The author noted two sources of formation of the insurgent movement to Dona, on the one hand, "white gangsterism" represented by White Guard groups in a set extended after defeat of denikinsky army across all North Caucasus. With another - mass discontent the complexity generated "transition situations from war to the world" which was endured at that moment by all Soviet Republic. Ruin, a crop failure, discontent with a surplus-appropriation system, an economic crisis promoted emergence of gangsterism, and demobilization of the Red Army created for this purpose considerable human reserves. The author carries Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and "various counterrevolutionary and decayed elements" to number of organizers of gangs and revolts. She also highlighted that the bandits who flooded area by the end of 1920 were well obmundirovana and were armed with rifles, machine guns, hand-grenades, and large makhnovsky groups had also tools [2, l. 1, 3, 6].

Having analyzed propaganda designs of the makhnovsky groups appearing to Dona, the author established presence at them of a wide range of the proclaimed slogans - "from rabble-rousing and monarchic to anarchical". Also anti-Semitism, the anti-Bolshevism and appeals to the population not to carry out a surplus-appropriation system were characteristic of them. An ultimate goal of their fight were "free Councils", "Councils, but without communists" [2, l. 6, 7].

According to M.L. Masalova, the insurgent movement to Dona reached the culmination point by August 1, 1921 and continued to exist all second half of this year. The author allocated a number of characteristics of the movement and before

all that circumstance that many large groups were along with makhnovsky alien, others. They got into the area from the territory of Donbass, the Voronezh province and Kuban. The Don rebellion was distinguished by fragmentation, suddenness and unexpectedness of emergence, elusiveness of small groups which were hidden by local community and also "absence or almost lack of the centralized guide". She also saw absence in requirements of insurgent groups of area of slogans for creation "new (without communists) national councils" as it took place in the territory of Kuban. At the same time the author emphasized that work on integration of the Don gangsterism was conducted by the foreign counterrevolution related to interventionists, and Ukhtomsky and Nazarov's underground organization [2, l had to become the direct combiner. 14-16]. Thus, within the existing historiographic tradition the author managed to present an overall picture of the Don rebellion, having allocated a number of its intrinsic lines and features, having put thereby the main directions for a further research.

However during the post-war period in studying the anti-Bolshevist movement to Dona it is necessary to limit to a chronological framework since the beginning of 1960 until the end of the 1980th. Liberalization of public life, refusal of many dogmatic installations and provisions of Stalin time led to revival of a scientific thought, the conscious aspiration to more objective analysis appeared. The Soviet historians started detailed study and the analysis of anti-Bolshevist performances. If initially Don rebellion was considered in line with the general questions of civil war and socialist transformations in the village, then later this problem gained independent scientific value. In the early sixties V.I. Ivanov for the first time in a historiography rather in detail took up management questions from Donispolkom and local councils fight against rebellion in the Don region [3]. The author established that Councils on places in spite of the fact that representatives of the prosperous Cossacks often got into them, carried out the policy directed to suppression of the possibility of insurgent activity. So, across districts of area there passed successful actions for collection of arms from the population, for capture of deserters and criminal elements. During fight against the insurgent movement the local management participated in capture of hostages from among the prosperous population and also organized community defense volunteer squads from the poor and non-residents. V.I. Ivanov came to a conclusion about a significant and major role of Councils in fight against the Don rebellion.

Most fruitfully and deeply the problem of the anti-Bolshevist movement to Dona was developed in the 1970th. In B.I. Stepanenko's works and

R.G. Etenko took up important questions of his reasons and social composition, the characteristic slogans under which various insurgent groups acted are provided. Introduction to a scientific turn of new archival documents allowed authors to create the generalizing works opening military and tactical aspects of fight against rebellion on Don and Kuban [4] and the leading role in it the regional organizations of RCP(b) [5]. B.I. Stepanenko was offered a periodization of fight against the anti-Soviet movement in the Cossack areas, direct link of the underground White Guard organizations with reconnaissance bodies of the Russian army of Wrangel is revealed. An undoubted merit of the author is exarticulation of various currents in the anti-Bolshevist camp and restoration of a complete picture of military anti-insurgent warfares of the Red Army.

R.G. Etenko investigated activity of the Don and Kuban regional committees of RCP(b), having allocated the main directions and forms of this fight: economic actions were complemented with administrative and political measures, and the military operations were effectively combined with advocacy work [5]. These authors completely shared opinion on anti-Soviet kulak essence of the movement which initiator was the "international imperialism" operating by means of beloemigrantsky circles. At the same time R.G. Etenko proved the leadership in the movement from Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks whose activity especially amplified in 1921 - 1922 [6]. Thus, in the 1970th the significant step forward in studying rebellion of Don and Kuban is taken. During this period attempts of studying questions of the reasons of the movement, its driving forces and social composition were made, the ideological directions in the insurgent camp and work of party, Soviet and military bodies for suppression of anti-Soviet activity were investigated. However movement per se practically was not investigated at all, it served as a peculiar passive object to which efforts of public authorities were directed in works of the specified authors. A certain result to studying the insurgent movement of Don and the North Caucasus in the early twenties was brought at the All-Russian scientific conference on Cossacks history in the October revolution and civil war. On it, in particular, it was noted that "the history of fight against the armed counterrevolution in 1921-1922 is developed very shy" though fight was "exclusively persistent, intense and assumed during certain periods very wide scale"

Certainly, similar assessment of the being available situation promoted strengthening of attention of historians to the specified problem. The middle of the 1980th is noted by emergence of a number of articles disclosing certain aspects of the insurgent movement on Don and the North Caucasus. So, B.I. Stepanenko came

to a conclusion that insurgent fight in the Cossack areas of the South of Russia at the beginning of 1921 was it is untied with active and direct participation of the beloemigrantsky circles seeking to blow up from within situation in the Soviet Russia. For this purpose to Don, Kuban and Terek White Guard emissaries whose task was creation of the anti-Bolshevist underground centers from the separate organizations [8] here got. Further scientific development was received by the questions connected with "political gangsterism" in the North Caucasus [9].

Thus, the period since the beginning of 1960 until the end of the 1980th became exclusively fruitful in studying the insurgent movement on Don and the North Caucasus. The Soviet historians raised and solved a number of the fundamental issues important for understanding of the reasons, essence and consequences of rebellion of the South of Russia. However at the same time the obvious imbalance in works of historians which was a natural consequence of existence of historical events at final correctness of policy of the Soviet power was obvious. But, despite progress of the Soviet historiography, it is necessary to recognize that the insurgent movement, how many fight against it of various bodies of the Soviet power was studied not so much. At the same time rebellion received negative definitions, its antinational class essence was emphasized that eventually led to defeat of the movement and its crash.

New approaches were outlined in studying the anti-Bolshevist insurgent movement of the South of Russia in the early nineties. By that moment the domestic historiography already saved up considerable actual material, but still demanded further development questions of social composition of the movement and a political component, of heads of insurgent forces and specifics in various areas and areas. Researchers in the 1990th were engaged in all this. One of the first the insurgent movement of Don, Kuban and Stavropol Territory was studied by A.V. Baranov who called for revision of traditional estimates of the Cossacks and "white-green" rebellion. The author tried to reveal essence, forms and dynamics of political activity of the Cossacks of the North Caucasus on the basis of broad attraction of inaccessible earlier classified documents that allowed it to draw serious conclusions and generalizations. He emphasized that political activity of the Cossacks protection of the pre-revolutionary status and first of all was the cornerstone of ethnosocial integrity, self-government, land tenure and the military organization. For this reason it sharply negatively apprehended carrying out a political experiment and opposed it up in arms. The author warned against groundless transfer of insurgents in ranks of criminal elements as it would be obvious simplification of a problem, moreover, it noted various currents in

rebellion on political orientation: Cossack democratic movement of avtonomist; monarchic movement of officers and part of prosperous Cossacks; the country movement of eserovsky sense and the anarchical movement in districts of the Don region, adjacent to Ukraine, [10].

A.V. Baranov's conclusions about impossibility of implementation of the leadership in the insurgent movement in the south of Russia from beloemigrantsky circles are represented basic. He established that socialist parties of Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks not only did not head the insurgent movement, but also did not support him in mass number, despite obvious proximity and identity of ideological views and the slogans of insurgents and socialists. Characteristic of works of this author is the analysis of the insurgent movement of Cossacks and peasants as forms of independent activity of public forces as the armed opposition of authorities in power and its political policy [11]. However the insurgent activity in its works is considered within all North Caucasian region on the brightest and its indicative manifestations. The Don rebellion at the same time was not a subject of complete study.

In the mid-nineties of data on the insurgent movement to Dona for the first time appeared in the general works on history of the Cossacks of the South of Russia in Soviet period. Are represented proved the characteristic features of social psychological state of the Don Cossacks revealed by S.A. Kislitsyn which were the reasons of the insurgent belokazachy movement in the early twenties [12].

The most significant contribution to studying a problem was made by P.G. Chernopitsky's publications in which the author investigated the reasons of the Don rebellion and essence it defined as "a spontaneous performance against unreasonable violence and robbery" from the power and prodotryad. Also the periodization of the Don rebellion is offered them and political and ideological views of participants of the largest paramilitary groups are considered. Significant for complete understanding of structure and the nature of rebellion became the conclusion drawn by the author about lack of social-class stratification among the peasantry and Don Cossacks and about the all-country nature of anti-Bolshevist resistance [13]. In articles of this author the insurgent movement to Dona for the first time for long time was studied separately, outside the North Caucasian region.

Thus, it is possible to note that in the 1990th the considerable break in a research of a perspective of the anti-Bolshevist movement to Dona was made domestic historical science. Researchers started in-depth study of the reasons and factors of the insurgent movement, ideological bases of various political trends in it, activity of party and Soviet bodies in Don

areas. Conclusions about participation of the Cossacks and Don peasantry in the insurgent movement of the beginning of the 1920th underwent radical revision. During the specified period the idea of the nature of the anti-Bolshevist movement changed therefore "in researches of the Russian historians of the 90th years the tendency to refusal of use of the term "бандитизм" was obviously shown; concerning the armed antistate performances" [14].

During 2000 - 2004 the research of an insurgent perspective received a new boost and gained a number of distinctive features. The insurgent activity of the Cossacks which were the center and the leading force of the groups developing into large military-political formations was comprehensively studied. The research of the armed performances was conducted in four main directions of political trends [15]. New archival documents were introduced for scientific use.

Along with it historians from studying the insurgent movement "in breadth", i.e. in the territory of all North Caucasus or in one area, passed to the analysis it "deep into". In other words, now the movement or its separate aspects were investigated in a single territory, often within one department or the district. In N.V. Kratova, E.F. Zhupikova, A.A. Cherkasov's articles the attention is concentrated on the insurgent movement in the territory of Kuban, Black Sea Coast, Terek, the Stavropol province and national areas of the North Caucasus [16]. The existing A. Zhbannikov's publications about Ya.E. Fomin and actions of the group headed by it in the Upper Don district, about S.P. Tolstov [17], naturally, far do not exhaust extremely complex and multidimensional problem of the insurgent movement to Dona in the early twenties. Degree of study of the Don rebellion is much lower in comparison with readiness of a similar perspective for areas of the North Caucasus. It is possible to note with confidence that the insurgent movement to Dona continues to remain a slaboizuchenny problem to this day. The need for a research of this stage of the Don history is represented obvious.

In this regard primary relevant problems of further development of a problem of the insurgent movement is the question of its essence, character and features in relation to the Don region. The social composition of the movement at various stages of its existence needs more careful analysis. More detailed development waits for a question of ideological bases of the Don rebellion. This question - fundamental as support of various groups from the population depended on political overtones of appeals and slogans in no small measure.

The weighed analysis is demanded by questions of activities of the Don insurgents and their military organization. The major task - identification and calculation of total insurgent

groups and number of people in them that will allow to track dynamics of development of the movement step by step.

Undoubtedly, the positive fact was the publication of collections of documents and materials from the Central archive FSB of the Russian Federation [18] to whom the short biographic information about certain heads of insurgent groups is presented, however so far there were no significant works in which their activity in the general context of anti-Bolshevist fight would be considered. Such approach is represented very perspective.

Absolutely "a white spot" in a historiography continues to remain the anti-Bolshevist underground which is directly connected with rebellion in the Don region though the last often was an initiator of armed resistance, and in a row a case the underground organizations headed the spontaneous movement of a national protest, organizing it on a military sample and giving the corresponding ideological coloring. Studying this question will allow to display the history of the Don rebellion in fuller and complete look. It, certainly, will demand attraction of documents from archives of intelligence agencies.

The first significant step in this direction is taken only in the latest time. G.N. Boranova, having studied criminal case of Salvation Army Russia, restored activity of this organization from the moment of emergence and before defeat it DonChK in July, 1921 [19]. The author in detail lit the identity of K.E. Ukhtomsky and all leadership team of the organization, arrest, court and punishment over participants of "the second insurgent wave", convincingly proved that the person calling himself colonel F.D. Nazarov actually that was not but only appropriated the name, known to Don. This conclusion shows obvious insolvency of the statement which strongly took roots in the Soviet historiography about support by white emigration of the Don underground and rebellion. Besides, the author pointed to an unseemly role in "Ukhtomsky's business" agents provokers of DonChK. Thus, the organization was under control of security officers and was obviously doomed to a failure. The monograph by G.N. Boranova - a successful example of studying one of episodes of history of the Don underground, and work in this direction demands further continuation.

It was already noted above that actions of the Soviet power for liquidation of the insurgent movement to Dona are much better studied. However and here still there is a number of undeveloped questions. In particular, practical activities of the Don regional military meeting on fight against gangsterism and similar meetings in districts are not lit. Operational secret-service actions of public authorities of fight against insurgents did not find reflection in the available researches.

All questions stated above - are least studied, therefore, they have to be in the center of attention of researchers of a problem anti-

the Bolshevist insurgent movement in the Don region in 1920 - 1922. Thus, the carried-out historical analysis allowed to establish that at this problem, despite a number of the successful developments which are available, certainly, scientific potential and it, undoubtedly is still not exhausted, will find the researchers who concentrated efforts on all set of the questions which are so far insufficiently studied.


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3. V.I. Ivanov. The Soviet construction to Dona. 1920: Yew.... edging. east. sciences. Rostov N / D, 1962.
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On December 12, 2006

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