V. I. Lenin

Protest to the German Government

Against the
Occupation Of The Crimea[1]

May 11, 1918

Written: 11 May, 1918
First Published: Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 358-359
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

May 11, 1918

In connection with the wireless message from the Commander-in-Chief of the German troops in the East.

The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs considers it necessary to express its emphatic protest to the German Government:

1) On no occasion nor in any document has the German Government made any statement to us alleging that our fleet has taken part in fighting against German troops in the Ukraine.

2) Consequently the statement to this effect in the wireless message of May 11, 1918, is clearly untrue and is not confirmed in the acts of the German Government.

3) If part of the fleet considered itself attached to the Ukrainian fleet, it remained in Sevastopol.

3 his) If our fleet left Sevastopol this happened only after the Germans’ offensive and the attack on Sevastopol; consequently, in this case clearly the Brest Treaty was violated by the Germans and not by us.

4) The facts prove, therefore, that we firmly stand by the Brest Treaty, but that the Germans have violated it by occupying the entire Crimea.

5) They have occupied it solely with German troops, removing therefrom all Ukrainians.

6) They have ’occupied the Crimea after the German Government in its wireless message of the month of .... 1918,[2] had quite precisely stated that it considered the Crimea not to be part of the territory of the Ukraine.

7) The German Ambassador Mirbach has stated to our Commissar for Foreign Affairs that Germany is not claiming new territorial acquisitions.

8) If at the present time the German Government has adopted a different position and is presenting demands for the Crimea or part of the Crimea or other territorial acquisitions, we consider that complete clarity in this matter is absolutely necessary, and we state again officially that for our part we insist on the conclusion of a precisely formulated peace with Finland, the Ukraine and Turkey, which is waging war in defiance of the Brest Peace Treaty.

9) We once again insistently request the German Government to inform us whether it holds the view that peace with the Ukraine, Finland and Turkey is desirable, and what steps it has undertaken or will undertake with this aim.

10) On the question of the Black Sea fleet we agree to give any new guarantees of its non-intervention in the war or of its disarmament (concerning which Ambassador Mirbach made an official statement to us yesterday, May 10, 1918), provided the German Government informs us of the exact terms of a complete peace, i.e., peace with Finland and the Ukraine and Turkey, and provided this peace is concluded, on which we insist.

11) Nor do we in any way refuse to return the fleet to Sevastopol if this port-in accordance with Mirbach’s statement of May 10, 1918, in a conversation with the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs-is not annexed in one form or another and is not occupied by Germany, and a clearly defined peace with the Germans, constituting part of the Finnish, Ukrainian and Turkish armies, is concluded.


[1] Protest to the German Government against the Occupation of the Crimea was written by Lenin in the spring of 1918, when the German imperialist forces occupied the Ukraine and,in violation of the Brest Treaty, marched into the Crimea as far as Sevastopol, where the Black Sea fleet was stationed. On the instructions of the Soviet Government some of the ships were moved on April 29-30 to a new base at Novorossiisk. Only the ships that refused to obey the inetruction to move and those that could not be moved for technical reasons remained in Sevastopol. On May 11 the German Command sent an ultimatum demanding the return of the fleet to Sevastopol on the grounds that the withdrawal of the Black Sea fleet from Sevastopol was an infringement of the Brest Treaty, and threatening to continue its offensive along the Black Sea coast.

Lenin’s protest formed the basis of the Note sent by the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs to the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs on May 13, 1918.

[2] This refers to the German Government’s radio-telegram of March 30, 1918, which declared that the Ukraine consisted of nine gubernias, including Taurida Gubernia but not the Crimea. The German occupation of the Crimea was therefore in contradiction to the official declaration of the German Government.