V. I.   Lenin

Revolutionary Days



The Battles on the Barricades[1]

As we have seen, most of the correspondents’ reports refer to the barricades on Vasilyevsky Island, and partly in Nevsky Prospekt. The official report published on Monday, January 10 (23), reads: “The mob threw up barricades with barbed wire entanglements and red flags on the Schlüsselburg Highway, then at the Narvskaya Zastava, on the Troitsky Bridge, at the Alexandrovsky Gardens, and at the public gardens in Nevsky Prospekt. Stones were thrown and shots fired at the troops from the adjoining houses. The crowd disarmed the police. Schoff’s armoury was looted. In the first and second areas of Vasilyevsky Island the mob cut the telegraph-wires and knocked down the telegraph-poles. A police station was smashed up.”

A French correspondent telegraphed at 2:50 p.m. on Sunday: “Shooting is continuing. The troops, apparently, have lost their head completely. Crossing the Neva, I saw several signal lights and heard volleys of rifle shots. On Vasilyevsky Island the barricades are illumined with bonfires kindled by the strikers. This was as far as I could get. A sinister bugle sound is the signal to fire. A battalion of soldiers with bayonetted rifles atilt charged a barricade made of piled up sleighs. A real massacre started. The bodies of about a hundred workers were strewn over the scene of battle. Some fifty wounded prisoners were escorted past me. The officer threatened we with his pistol and ordered me to be off.”

Correspondents give very few details of the barricade fighting. This is understandable, because they tried to keep more or less at a safe distance from the danger spots.   As for the participants in the barricade fighting, probably only very few survived. There is even a report that the barricades were subjected to artillery fire, but it does not seem to have been confirmed.

Published according to the manuscript


[1] The article “The Battles on the Barricades”, devoted to the beginning of the revolution in Russia, was written for Vperyod, No. 4, but was not published. It first appeared in 1934 in Lenin Miscellany XXVI.

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