The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 1, 1918

How the Revolution Armed



Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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ORDER NO.32, Sept. 14, 1918

TELEGRAM, Sept. 11, 1918


ORDER, Sept. 12, 1918




ORDER NO.56, November 3, 1918

ORDER NO.60, November 15, 1918



August 8, 1918

The fight with the Czecho-White-Guards is dragging out too long. Slovenliness, negligence and faint-heartedness in our own ranks are our foes’ best allies. Anglo-French agents are roaming around everywhere scattering gold to right and left. They are bribing all the officers who are for sale. They are inciting the railway workers and the officials of the postal and telegraph services to commit sabotage. Their hired agitators are everywhere penetrating into Red Army units, bringing confusion and trouble.

An end must be put to this. The country needs calm and it needs grain. The Czecho-White-Guards are depriving it of both. They must be destroyed.

Allies, direct and indirect, of the Czechoslovaks – counter-revolutionaries, agitators and saboteurs – must be ground to dust. Leaving for the Czechoslovak front, I send my greetings to all those who, in the army, on the railways, in grain-procurement or in the postal and telegraph services are honesty and valiantly defending the freedom and independence of the working class and the working peasantry.

Honor and glory to the valiant fighters.

At the same time, I issue this warning: no quarter will be given to the enemies of the people, the agents of foreign imperialism, the hirelings of the bourgeoisie. In the train of the People’s Commissar for Military Affairs, where this order is being written, a Military Revolutionary Tribunal is in session, consisting of Comrade Smidovich, chairman of the Moscow Soviet of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, Comrade Gusev, representing the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs, and Comrade Zhigmund, representing the People’s Commissariat of Communications.

The Military Revolutionary Tribunal has been given unlimited powers within the zone of the railway line, which is placed under martial law.

Comrade Kamenshchikov, whom I have charged with the defense of the Moscow-Kazan line, has arranged for the setting up, at Murom, Arzamas and Sviyazhsk, of concentration camps for the imprisonment of suspicious agitators, counter-revolutionary officers, saboteurs, parasites and speculators, other than those who are to be shot at the scene of their crimes or else sentenced by the Military Revolutionary Tribunal to other punishments. I warn responsible Soviet officials in all areas where military operations are in progress, and in the zone of military movements, that we shall be doubly exacting towards them. The Soviet Republic will punish its negligent and criminal servants no less severely than its enemies. The country’s terrible situation obliges us to take terrible measures.

The Soviet Republic is in peril! Woe to those who, directly or indirectly, aggravate its peril!

Published in Izv.V.Ts.I.K., no.171, August 11, 1918

Semigallia (in Lettish, Zemgale) is a part of Latvia, around Mitau (in Lettish, Jelgava).]

From the People’s Commissar for Military’and Naval Affairs to the Chairman of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Soldiers’ and Cossacks’ Deputies

During the enemy attack on Kazan some units behaved unworthy, like cowardly mercenaries and not like revolutionary soldiers of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.

If we now find ourselves obliged to take Kazan, at the price of effort and sacrifice, it is because there were units which surrendered that city without a fight.

An investigation is being carried out, and all the guilty will be punished in proportion to their crime against the Soviet Republic.

However, besides the incapable units there were others which showed a high degree of warlike valor during the defense of Kazan. First place in this category is held by the Fifth Lettish Semigallian Soviet Regiment, for its conduct in the course of the two-day defense of Kazan.

According to reports I have received, all the most important attacks made by the enemy were beaten off by units of this regiment.

In the field and then in the city, during the street fighting, the riflemen and commanding personnel of the Fifth Lettish Semigallian Regiment fought with the same self-sacrifice and heroic courage, regardless of heavy losses in dead and wounded. Thanks to this it was possible to hold Kazan for two days, which was very important, for if Kazan had fallen to the enemy on August 5, he would on August 6 also have taken the bridge over the Volga, and Sviyazhsk station. Loss of the Volga bridge and of Sviyazhsk station would have entailed grave consequences for the subsequent course of operations.

Of the commanding personnel, the following behaved with valor: the commander of the Kazan division, Comrade Slavin The name-index says of Slavin that he ‘deserted to the Whites.’ However, Trotsky refers to him without hostility in My Life, and Larissa Reissner likewise in Sviyahsk. In The Trotsky Papers there is a message from Trotsky to Lenin, dated January 22, 1919, stating that Slaven (as the name, which is Lettish, should be written) has been, at his own request, released from his command of the Southern Front. A note in a Soviet publication of 1959 (Sotsialishcheskaya Sovetskaya Respublika Lazvii v.1919 g. i inosatrannaya interventstya, ed. J. Krastins) says that ‘in 1921 he returned to bourgeois Latvia, was arrested, and died in prison.’]; General Staff officer Pelrov; the commander-in-chiefs aide-de-camp, Dylan; the commandant of the front staff, Remer; and the military leader Avrov, who personally led the street fighting. Avrov died the death of a hero.

On the basis of reports by participants in the battle, and, in the first place, by commander-in-chief Vatsetis English books about the Civil War give the Lettish surnames Vacietis and Lacis as ‘Vatsetis’ and ‘Latsis’, a transliteration from Russian.], I consider it necessary to mention here also the courage and devotion shown by the following Communist revolutionaries: the former commissar of the Fourth Army, Comrade Levin, who fought in the street battle to the last moment, and the brothers Mezhlauk.

Without prejudice to the question of how the feats of arms of the individuals mentioned, and of others whose roles are yet to be established, are to be honored, I nevertheless consider it a matter of justice to request the Central Executive Committee forthwith to award the Fifth Semigallian Regiment a special banner of honor. [Provisions for awarding ‘banners of honor’ to particular regiments were instituted by order of the People’s Commissar for Military Affairs on August 3, 1918. The decoration called the Order of the Red Banner was created by the All-Russia CEC on September 16, 1918.] in the name of the highest institution of the Soviet Republic.

August 13, 1918


No.18 – 1918

It has been reported to me that the Petrograd guerrilla detachment has abandoned its position.

I order Commissar Rozengolts [83] to verify this.

The soldiers of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army are neither cowards nor scoundrels. They want to fight for the freedom and happiness of the working people. If they retreat or fight poorly, their commanders and commissars are to blame.

I issue this warning: if any unit retreats without orders, the first to be shot will be the commissar, and the next the commander.

Soldiers who show courage will be rewarded for their services and promoted to posts of command.

Cowards, self-seekers and traitors will not escape the bullet.

For this I vouch before the whole Red Army.

Published in Izv.V.Ts.LK., no.173, August 14, 1918



Citizens of towns temporarily captured by the Czechs and White Guards are still subject to the laws of the Soviet Republic.

None is to dare to offer coercion by the conqueror [as] justification for acts of treason against the power of the workers and peasants.

Anyone who, during the rule of the Czechs and White Guards, has collaborated with them will be shot.

The property, movable and immovable, of participants in the bourgeois revolt, and of their accomplices, will be confiscated.

Out of this property compensation will be paid to the families of workers and peasants who fell under the blows of the counter-revolutionaries, and also to all working people generally who suffered by the bourgeois revolt.

August 15, 1918


When I visited yesterday the headquarters of the flotilla, on the steamship Ilya Muromets, I was astonished at what I saw. There were numerous outsiders walking about on the ship, as though it were a thoroughfare, the sentries were not checking passes, and indeed there were no passes to check. Anyone who wanted could come aboard, talk about whatever he liked, and leave when he saw fit. Everything else presented the same spectacle. Nobody knew who was in command of the vessel. It was impossible to discover who was in charge of the boats that served for communication. Somebody was being sent some where as a result of an order that nobody knew anything about. The messengers left their launch somewhere or other, hoping that somebody else would bring it back. There was no organization, no sense of responsibility. On this ship which serves as the workplace of the naval staff there were numerous women and children present.

No serious, businesslike work at all can be done under these conditions. Still less is it possible to safeguard any naval secrets. While I was visiting the ship, Commissar Markin summoned the mechanic, who could not get the engine to work. ‘It’s always the same with us,’ said Commissar Markin: ‘when it’s a question of retiring, the ship’s engines work splendidly, but when we have to move up to battle stations the machinery at once goes on strike.’

Comrade sailors! This state of affairs is intolerable. Like this, the fleet has no combat-efficiency, it is not viable. And it is with good reason that everyone remarks that our new Volga flotilla works very, very slackly, lazily, without vigor and without success. When there is no proper order at the center there can be no solid, vigorous work done on the vessels, either. And yet we are waging a serious struggle, a great struggle, truly a fight to the death. If we do not take Kazan now, the enemy will take Nizhny-Novgorod from us and link up with the Anglo-French bandits on the Archangel littoral. They would then have formed a common front. Our task would then be made very much more difficult. And then, we can say without a shadow of doubt, the Germans would start to advance from the West and from the South, so as not to let the Czechoslovaks and the British and French establish a lasting front on Russian soil. We workers and peasants, soldiers and sailors of the Soviet Republic find ourselves between two fires: the British and French, with the Czechoslovak and White Guards, in the North-East, and the Germans in the West and South. Our young republic will perish between these two fires. The most savage bourgeois tyranny will reign in our towns and villages, and all the conquests won by such great sacrifices, including the lives of many sailors of the navy will be lost for decades.

Comrade sailors! I call on you all to think about the situation which now prevails in our country. If we take Kazan, we thereby break the enemy front. Simbirsk and Samara will fall by themselves. The insignificant Anglo-French expeditionary force will give us no cause for alarm. The Germans will have no reason to advance, since no new front will have been formed in Russia. All our country’s interests demand that we strain every nerve to take Kazan.

Comrade sailors! Pull yourselves together! Throw out what ever self-seekers there may be among you, sweep away slovenliness, imprecision and negligence. Everything must be put on a war footing. Do not waste a single minute. Do not retreat one inch. Seize everything possible from the enemy. Wage the struggle boldly, courageously, with the spirit of attack. Nothing venture, nothing win.

I grasp your hands fraternally, comrade sailors!

August 19, 1918


August 24, 1918

Soldiers of the Fifth Army, sailors of the Volga Flotilla! We have received joyful news. The soldiers of the Soviet Second Army have drawn close to Kazan from the north-east. [84] The Czecho-White-Guards of Kazan tried to give battle, but the Soviet forces beat them back, went over to the attack, captured two armoured cars and a machine-gun, knocked out two guns, forced the enemy to flee, and occupied the villages of Kindery and Koshchakovo. Thus, the heroic forces of the Second Army are now within twelve versts of Kazan.

It is now your turn, soldiers of the Fifth Army. You must move up to meet the Second Army, and, between you, crush the Kazan counter-revolution in a vice of steel.

Soldiers of the Fifth Army! Sailors of the Volga Flotilla!

The taking of Kazan means the liberation of the workers and peasants of Kazan.

The taking of Kazan means the beginning of the death-agony for the bourgeois swine on the Volga, in the Urals and in Siberia.

The taking of Kazan means a merciless reckoning for the enemies of the revolution.

The taking of Kazan means, for you, well-deserved rest and reward for all the brave and firm warriors of the revolution.

The enemy akeady senses that his doom has come. Get ready! The moment for the decisive onslaught is here. At the first order from your commander, Comrade Slavin [85] you will go forward as one man and deal the death blow to the weakened enemy.

Commanders! Commissars! Soldiers! Sailors! Everyone to his post!


To the mutinous forces in Kazan fighting against the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, we the deceived Czechoslovaks, to the deceived peasants, to the deceived Workers.

What are you fighting for?

The landlords, the capitalists, the old officers want to recover their power and their wealth. The French and Japanese stock-exchange speculators want to recover their profits. But what about you Czechoslovaks, you workers and peasants?

You have been deceived. You are cannon-fodder. You are shedding workers’ blood for the interests of the rich.

There is no hope of salvation for the rebel White Guards. Kazan is surrounded on all sides. Our forces, on land, sea and air, are incomparably greater than yours.

Your leaders, having seized the people’s gold, are hastening to quit Kazan. They feel that they are doomed.

Czechoslovak soldiers! Peasants and workers!

Do you want to die with them?

I declare to all:

The Soviet power is making war only on the rich, the aggressors, the imperialists.
To the working people we extend a fraternal hand. Everyone of you that comes over voluntarily to our side will receive from us full pardon and fraternal welcome.

Dozens of men from your ranks have already come over to us. None of them have suffered. They are all unharmed and at liberty.

In the name of the Council of People’s Commissars I give you a last warning.
Come over, all of you, to the side of the Soviet forces!

Sviyazhsk, August 26, 1918.
The date is given at the end of the order as ‘August 26’, but appears in the list of contents as ‘August 27’.]


To the peasants and workers of Kazan province

The enemies of the working people the landlords, capitalists, officers and their hirelings, the Czechoslovaks, are attempting to mobilise the working population of Kazan province to fight against the workers and peasants.

I hereby give notice, so that no one may later plead ignorance of the revolutionary laws and decrees of the Soviet power, that:

  1. Anyone who submits to mobilisation by the Czechoslovak White Guards and joins the army of the enemies of the people commits a very grave crime against the state.
  2. All workers and peasants who have joined the enemy’s army under duress must immediately come over to the side of the Soviet troops: by so doing they will be guaranteed a full pardon.
  3. Those peasants and workers who have sold themselves to the White Guards and who do not voluntarily lay down their arms will be shot, along with the officers and the sons of the bourgeoisie and landlords. All their property will be turned over to the wounded and maimed Red Army men and the families of fallen soldiers of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Army.

Workers and peasants of Kazan province! The word of the Soviet power is firm. Its punishment is severe. Do not give a single soldier to the corrupt White Guards! Give everything to the defense of the Soviet power!

August 27, 1918


Workers of Kazan! Honest citizens! Your city is now in the hands of the Czechoslovaks and White Guards.

The Czechoslovaks are mercenaries in the service of the French bourgeoisie. The bankers, stock-exchange speculators and usurers of Paris want to get from the Russian people the tens of milliards of roubles that the Tsar borrowed from them. The British beasts of prey want to seize Russia’s northern coast. The Japanese are trying to cut Siberia off from us. Finally, the French, British and American capitalists want to force exhausted Russia to involve herself again in the war with Germany.

This is why they have begun to fight against workers’ and peasants’ Russia.

The foreign capitalists have put the Czechoslovaks and Tsarist officers on their payroll. French capital reigns in Kazan, Simbirsk and Samara. The Fortunatovs and Lebedevs [86] are merely wretched and criminal imbeciles who play the role of a false signboard.

Workers of Kazan! The hirelings of foreign capital have temporarily cut you off from workers’ and peasants’ Russia. They lie to you and deceive you with their newspapers and leaflets. They tell you that the Soviet troops have been broken and scattered. In reality, workers’ and peasants’ regiments are hastening from all parts of Russia to free the Volga region and the Urals from the domination of the Czecho-White Guards. Kazan is now surrounded by a ring of revolutionary troops.

Workers and peasants! The Soviet troops will not let the Russian White Guards sell you to foreign capital. We will not let the landlords take the land from the peasants. We will not let the degenerates of the Romanov dynasty take power into their hands. We will not let the Czechoslovak mercenaries rule the roost on Russian soil. Kazan will soon be torn from the hands of the counter-revolution and the Czechoslovak bands.
Be prepared, workers and honest citizens of Kazan! The moment is near when our foes will be crushed and working people’s Kazan will be restored to the family of Soviet Russia.

Down with the Czechoslovak, Anglo-French, Japanese and other bandits!

Death to the White Guards!

Destruction to the traitorous bourgeois of Kazan!

Long live Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviet Russia!

Grazhdanskaya Voina (organ of the 5th Army), no.2, August 28, 1918


August 30, 1918

Traitors are penetrating into the ranks of the workers’ and peasants’ army and trying to bring about victory for the enemies of the people. They are followed by self-seeking deserters. Dishonest cowards are frequently quitting the battlefield at the moment when the final blow has to be dealt to annihilate the enemy. The Soviet power has warned all self-seekers that it will not joke with them. The fate of the working class is at stake. The brave and honorable soldier cannot give his life twice – for himself and for a deserter. The overwhelming majority of the revolutionary soldiers have long been demanding that traitors be dealt with ruthlessly. The Soviet power has now passed from warning to action. Yesterday twenty deserters were shot, having been sentenced by the field court-martial of the Fifth Army.

The first to go were commanders and commissars who had abandoned the positions entrusted to them. Next, cowardly liars who played sick. Finally, some deserters from among the Red Army men who refused to expiate their crime by taking part in the subsequent struggle.

Every honorable soldier and sailor will read the sentence of the court with complete satisfaction. No quarter must be given to traitors to the workers’ cause.

In publishing for general information the sentence of the Revolutionary Field Court-Martial, I at the same time express my firm hope that the Central Soviet power will soon introduce a special revolutionary decoration for honorable and courageous warriors. It is necessary that everyone should distinguish between brave sons of the revolution and miserable cowards.

Long live the valiant soldiers of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Army!

Down with self-seekers! Death to deserter-traitors!


The Fifth Army has been assigned the task of taking Kazan.

Our enemy is trying to break through from Kazan to Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Vyatka and Vologda, to link up with the Anglo-French troops, and to crush the heart of the workers’ revolution – Moscow.

But before Kazan stand the workers’ and peasants’ regiments of the Red Army. They know what their task is: to prevent the enemy from taking a single step forward: to wrest Kazan from his grasp: to throw back the Czech mercenaries and the officer-thugs, drown them in the Volga, and crush their criminal mutiny against the workers’ revolution.

In this conflict we are using not only rifles, cannon and machine guns, but also newspapers. For the newspaper is also a weapon. The newspaper binds together all units of the Fifth Army in one thought, one aspiration, one will.

Foward to Kazan!

August 1918


The revolt of the bourgeoisie and officers at Yaroslavl was crushed by the Soviet forces without mercy. Hundreds of the rebels were slaughtered or drowned in the Volga. More than 350 captured White Guards were shot after the revolt had been putdown. The attempts by the bourgeoisie to force the workers and peasants back into slavery brought down stern punishment upon the conspirators.

Remember Yaroslavl, you counter-revolutionary bandits of Kazan, Simbirsk and Samara!

The ignorant, deceived, bewildered soldiers and Czechoslovaks may yet hope for pardon if they repent in time and lay down their arms. But you, bourgeois conspirators, foreign agents provocateurs and White-Guard officers will be exterminated, every one of you. The Soviet power will, with a red-hot iron, teach bourgeois adventurers not to raise rebellions against the workers and peasants.

Remember Yaroslavl, you hirelings of the bourgeoisie!

August 1918


You must get out of the city for the time being. After the seizure of Kazan by the Czech-White-Guard bands, the city has become a nest of counter-revolution.

This nest has to be destroyed. In the event of further resistance, the counter-revolutionary parts of the city will be razed to the ground.

Our gunners operating on land and on the river, and also our airmen, will do their utmost to avoid damaging the dwellings and districts of the poor. But in a savage battle all sorts of accidents may occur.

We warn the working population of Kazan of the imminent danger.

Everyone who can had better get out of Kazan during these days of imminent ruthless settlement of accounts with the bandits.

It is necessary to remove your children from the town as soon as you can.

We advise the working population of Kazan to seek refuge on Soviet territory. We offer fraternal hospitality to all working and needy people. Within a few days the working population of Kazan will be able to return to a city cleansed of vermin, along with the Soviet troops.

Woe to the black nest of counter-revolution in Kazan!

Long live Red workers’ Kazan!

August 1918


Our soldiers say that in some villages of Kazan province the peasants are receiving them in an unfriendly way, and in certain places with absolute hostility. Why is this? It is understandable where the kulaks are concerned. They know that now the revolution is bringing their doom. But, likewise, the middle peasantry, sometimes under the influence of these same kulaks, is showing enmity to the workers’ army. This is because the Kazan peasant lives in the backwoods, in ignorance, cut off, not knowing what is going to happen to him tomorrow. It was the same in the Ukraine. When the bourgeois troops of the Rada, together with the German bands, moved against the Ukrainian towns and villages, the Soviet forces fought against this invasion. But in many places the peasants held aloof, saying: ‘This is not our business. It’s no concern of ours.’ There were not a few cases when the peasants acted against the Ukrainian Soviet troops and supported the Ukrainian bourgeois troops. The German troops occupied the Ukraine. The land was given back to the landlords. The old police authorities had their powers restored. The old taxes were reintroduced. The peasants set up a howl. All over the Ukraine, the peasantry now rose in rebellion. With rifles and machine-guns, and sometimes with knives and pitchforks, the Ukrainian peasant rose against the German violators of the Ukraine. Rivers of blood flow. The Ukrainian peasant scratches his head and says to himself: ‘There now, I’m wise after the event, I ought to have supported the Soviet troops at the right time. If I had, fewer sacrifices would have been needed now.’

The Kazan peasant ought now to look at the Ukrainian peasant and learn his lesson: tomorrow they will set the land lords and policemen on your back once more and you will have to take up your pitchfork, your scythe, your knife... Would it not be better to unite now with the Soviet forces and support them in their struggle? That is the only way to safeguard land and liberty for the peasants.

September 1918


Panic is herd-like, blind, senseless fear. One or two shots, an obscure rumour – and panic breaks out. ‘They are outflanking us ... – and the unit retreats in senseless terror. Why did we lose Kazan at the beginning of August? Because certain units were seized with ignorant, shameful panic, and fled before insignificant enemy forces. [87] Kazan could have been held on August 5 with very few casualties. But now we are having to take Kazan with a much greater expenditure of forces and lives.

The ignorant, unconscious, cowardly, bad soldier is subject to panic. And he is more likely to perish than anyone else, for senseless fear is a bad counsellor. A man in the grip of panic rushes headlong, without thinking, and often runs into real danger and perishes. The conscious, courageous soldiers does not give way to panic. He weighs all the circumstances, preserves the necessary calm, and therefore often saves his life even under the most difficult conditions. More cowards die than brave men.

There are soldiers who spread panic. They are the ones who always pass on alarming gossip and who are the first to raise the cry: ‘They have outflanked us ... We must retreat.’ Because of such worthless creatures thousands of men sometimes retreat before a few dozen.

The Czechoslovaks number 22,000 in all. The White-Guard officers are also not very numerous. We could have settled with them in a couple of days if our young units had not been seized by that vile disease, panic. We must put an end to it once and for all. Commissars, commanders, advanced soldiers, Communist agitators, all must declare relentless war on panic. Away with panic! Stern punishment for those who sow panic!

September 1918


By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and the Peoples’ Commissariat for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army and the Red Navy, September 10, 1918: No.32

The tenth of September will be a red-letter day in the history of the socialist revolution. Kazan has been wrested by units of the Fifth Army from the clutches of the White Guards and Czechoslovaks. [88] This is a turning-point. The advance of the bourgeois army has at last met with a proper rebuff. The enemy’s morale has been broken. After Kazan will come Yelaterinburg, Simbirsk, Samara and all the other towns of the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia which have temporarily been captured by the enemies of the worker masses.

Soldiers and sailors! The month of fighting before Kazan passed under my eyes. The enemy, with his officer battalions, had the clear advantage in organisation and skill. Our young units, which had never before been under fire, failed sometimes in the first days to show the necessary staunchness. Cases were seen of causeless panic and senseless retreats. But the first failures did not break our morale. The most conscious soldiers and sailors united more closely and helped to establish firm discipline in the ranks of the Fifth Army. Amid universal contempt, self-seekers were subjected to stern punishment. Commanders, commissars, soldiers, sailors, all acted as one. And, inmiediately, there was a turn. After experiencing the blows we dealt them, the Czecho-White Guards began to say: ‘These are not Red Army men, they are Germans.’ The Tsarist officers, who are used to being beaten by the Germans, now think that anyone who beats them must be a German.

Soldiers and Sailors of the Fifth Army! You have taken Kazan. It will be counted to your credit. Those units or those individuals who have especially distinguished themselves will be rewarded accordingly by the workers’ and peasants’ power.

Here I wish to proclaim, before the country and before the international proletariat: the entire Fifth Army has honorably done its duty. In the name of the Council of People’s Commissars I say ‘Thank you, comrades.’

Published in Izv.V.Ts.LK., no.199, September 14, 1918


SEPT. 11, 1918

To the Chairmen of the Soviets of Petrograd and Moscow, Gomrades Zinoviez and Kamenev, September 11, 1918

The capture of Kazan is your victory, not only because it is a victory for the working-class over bourgeois gangs, but also because the decisive role in this victory was played by the heroic workers of Petrograd and Moscow, who march in the front ranks and showed, in the most difficult circumstances an example of courage and indestructible loyalty.

Long live the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets of Workers’ Deputies;

Published in Izv.V. Ts.I.K., no.197, September 12, 1918


Speech in Kazan Theatre on the day after the taking of Kazan, September 11, 1918.
The beginning of this speech was not taken down. The partial shorthand report which has survived is reproduced here. – L.T.]

We value science, culture, art, and want to make them accessible to the people, along with all their institutions – schools, universities, theatres and the rest. But if our class enemies should again try to show that all these are for them only, and not for the people, we should say: ‘Perish science and art, perish the theatre!’ Comrades, we love the sun that gives us light, but if the rich and the aggressors were to try to monopolize it we should say: ‘Let the sun be extinguished, let darkness reign, eternal night

Precisely for that it was that we fought under the walls of Kazan, for that it is that we are fighting on the Volga and in the Urals – to settle the question whether homes, palaces, cities, the sun and the heavens are to belong to the working people, to the workers, the peasants, the poor, or to the bourgeois and the landlords who, having got astride the Volga and the Urals, are trying once more to get astride the working people.

The SR papers are right when they say that a working class which has taken power, which has tested and understood what that means, will not surrender power without a bitter fight.

‘Workers,’ say our enemies, gloatingly, ‘you have taken power, but where is your land flowing with milk and honey?’ The workers, however, fully aware of their historical rightness, answer them: ‘Yes, we have taken over the dreadful heritage left to us by the autocracy and by the four years of world slaughter that have exhausted the country. It is true that the working class is experiencing difficulties, but it is also true that work for the transformation of the country is very difficult work. The propertied classes ruled for thousands of years and inflicted many wounds, and the working class has had to heal these wounds in the course of a few months. Give us time: we shall cope with everything – and without having recourse to the means recommended by the Russian bourgeoisie, landlords and ex-officials, namely, the Constituent Assembly.’

‘The Constituent Assembly!’ It was under this slogan that yesterday the bourgeoisie was trying, before the walls of Kazan, to oppose the workers and peasants who were giving their lives in the fight against this slogan.

A Constituent Assembly is an aggregate of classes and parties, that is, it is made up of representatives of all the parties, from the landlords to the proletariat. And so we ask this question: ‘Who will rule in the Constituent Assembly? Are they not proposing to us to form a coalition – and this is the only thing they can now propose – a joint government, extending from Lebedev on one wing to Comrade Lenin on the other?’ I think, comrades, that this item will not appear on our historical program. Besides, our enemies themselves do not, in practice, want a coalition with the proletariat, for when Lebedev was preparing the Constituent Assembly, along with his mate Kerensky, Comrade Lenin was in a hut in the forest, where he had to hide himself, like a hermit, for several weeks, and we others lay in the Kresty prison in Petrograd. [89] No, there was no question of a coalition then, even when those who preach the idea of a constituent assembly were in power. Let us allow that there could at that time be no coalition with the Communists, but only with the other, respectable parties, parties of govern ment, patriotic parties: the Cadets, the Right SRs, the Mensheviks, and, perhaps, even the Left SRs. Were all these moral, respectable parties able to form a coalition? That is the point, namely, that coalition is contrary to the laws of the class struggle.

A Constituent Assembly does not rule, it is a ministry that would rule. A ministry made up of whom? Of all the parties except the Bolsheviks. A coalition of all the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties against the working class and the village poor – that is what the Constituent Assembly means. But only forces that have weight count in the scales of history: on the one hand, the working class, which is strong in its labor, its skill, its numbers and its role in the economy; on the other, the landlords, so long as they hold the land, the capitalists and bankers, so long as they possess capital – these classes also have great importance: and between them, like cockroaches in cracks, huddle the Right SRs and the Mensheviks, who say: ‘Why, workers, do you fight the capitalists, and why, peasants, do you fight the landlords? We, the Right SRs and Mensheviks, will stand in the middle and, by means of a coalition, will reconcile you with your class enemies: there is no need for civil war.’ But the working class has rejected this lying and play-acting. The bourgeoisie itself compelled it to! The compromisers blame the Bolsheviks for kindling civil war, but when this civil war develops into a war of the propertied against the propertyless, the Right SRs and the Mensheviks always prove to be on the side of the propertied. Did they rise in protest against civil war when workers were being shot in Kazan, when the bourgeois groups were consolidating their power in this way? No, they did not.

There are two civil wars, or, more properly, two poles of civil war. That civil war which the landlords, the old officials, the old generals, bankers and capitalists are waging against the working masses is a dishonorable civil war: and there is the other civil war, which we, the workers, having stood up and straightened our backs, are beginning to wage against the oppressors, against the aggressors, and which is a sacred civil war. This war we waged yesterday and we will wage it tomorrow and today – we have shown this by the capture of Kazan!

The capture of Kazan! How are we to evaluate this gratifying fact?

The internal class struggle in the Soviet Republic has been complicated and has assumed the form of a protracted, authentic war because the resistance of the Russian bourgeoisie has been joined by foreign intervention, by the attack and invasion of foreign imperialism, in the form of the European and American landing and of a network of conspiracies. At the start, having landed a small expeditionary force of two or three thousand British and French at Murmansk and Archangel, the imperialist burglars calculated that the broad masses of the people would begin to flow over to their side. They did not reckon with resistance from the revolution, given the difficult situation the Russian workers were in. But the bearer of the revolution, the hungry proletariat of Moscow and Petrograd, said to them: ‘I am today eating an eighth of a pound of bread, and tomorrow I shall not have even that, but I shall just tighten my belt, and I tell you plainly – I have taken power, and this power I shall never surrender!’ And when the imperialists met with their first rebuff after their unexpected attack on Archangel, the whole bourgeois press of Britian and Prance spoke up, saying that the entire enterprise in the North was an adventure.

Meanwhile, the British plenipotentiary Lockhart and the French General Lavergne, who were in Moscow, raised a revolt in Yaroslavl and Vologda, and organized a plot in Moscow. Everything was ready, with only one ‘trifle’ to be settled: what was to be done with Comrade Lenin – was he to be sent under escort to Archangel, or to be shot on the spot?

The Yaroslavl and Moscow revolt not only took place at the bidding of the Allied imperialists and with their money, they also laid down the time-table for these revolts. And when General Lavergne summoned Savinkov and told him: ‘We need a revolt on the Volga on such-and-such a date,’ and Savinkov replied: ‘That would be a risky undertaking – at present it would be premature,’ Lavergne answered him more or less like this: ‘Have we not created all your organisations for you?’ – that is, haven’t I paid you? It was as though Lavergne had said: ‘A donkey should know his master’s crib – Savinkov should know what his master’s orders are.’ And, at the direct command of the French General Lavergne, Savinkov organized the revolt in Yaroslavi which destroyed part of the town and cost the lives of many workers. He shot them down there no less savagely than happened here in Kazan. Hardly had these events occurred than the revolt of the Czechoslovaks followed them up in Siberia, at Chelyabinsk – and Samara and Simbirsk were seized. It hadn’t worked at Vologda and Yaroslavl, so now from Kazan the wave rolled towards Nizhny-Novgorod, in an attempt to link up with the Anglo-French front. The entire bourgeois press was already trumpeting the triumph of this maneuver. That is why our capture of Kazan means more than merely the liberation of one workers’ city – the capture of Kazan means the collapse of a diabolical plan in which representatives of the American, French and Japanese stock exchanges are taking part, and in which the Russian bourgeoisie is involved, tens and hundreds of blue-blooded conspirators: a plan the aim of which was to put all the key points in our country at the disposal of Anglo-Franco Americano-Japanese imperialism, that is, to act in Russia as they acted in any colony. And this plan has been ruined by the capture of Kazan! There will still be fighting, and hard fighting, but we may hope that there will now be no link-up between the Czechoslovaks and the Anglo-French forces! Besides, nature herself leaves only a month, or six weeks, no more than that, for the enemy schemes to be realised: our northern seas are beginning to freeze up, Mother Volga too will start to freeze, and they will be left as tiny handfuls, scattered among different towns without a proper link between them, isolated and doomed!

For them, the capture of Kazan is like a sharp knife. The capture of Kazan will be followed by the capture of Samara, Simbirsk, Chelyabinsk and Ufa, and Yekaterinburg and Oren burg will be freed, which means that the Volga, the Urals and Siberia will be restored to the family of Soviet Russia. This does not, of course, mean that all danger is past. There is no greater danger for the revolutionary class than resting on its laurels and supposing that the successes achieved will ensure complete victory. There would have been no Czechoslovak mutiny if, after October, we had kept up the muscular tension with which we fought the bourgeoisie during the October revolution. But it is the working class’s misfortune that it underestimates the strength of its enemies. How many of our worst enemies were set free by the workers of Petrograd and Moscow after the first revolt! That very same General Krasnov who now rules on the Don, who has there shot, hanged and cut to pieces thousands, many thousands of workers, was taken prisoner in Petrograd in October of last year and good-naturedly released by the Petrograd workers. And all the Right SRs who are now ministers in the Ukraine or ministers of the Siberian government in Samara, all these Lebedevs, Fortunatovs and the rest, were also in the hands of the working class. Those hands held them – and let them go: without respect, with contempt, but they let them go. Now these men have organized a conspiracy against the workers, and are shooting and hanging them. And now, when the workers are accused of harshness and of waging civil war, we say, on the basis of experience: the only sin that would now be unforgivable in the Russian working class would be to show mercy and soft-heartedness towards its class enemies. We are fighting for the greatest good of mankind, for the rebirth of the entire human race, for its emancipation from oppression, from ignorance, from slavery. And everything that stands in our way must be swept aside. We do not want civil strife, blood, wounds! We are ready to join fraternally in a common life with all our worst enemies. If the bourgeoisie of Kazan were to come back today to the rich mansions that they abandoned in cowardly fashion, and were to say: ‘Well, comrade workers’ – or if the landlords were to say: ‘Well, comrade peasants, in past centuries and decades our fathers and grandfathers and we ourselves oppressed, robbed and coerced your grandfathers and your fathers and yourselves, but now we extend a brotherly hand to you: let us instead work together as a team, sharing the fruits of our labor like brothers’ – then I think that, in that case, I could say, on your behalf: ‘Messrs landlords, Messrs bourgeois, feel free to come back, a table will be laid for you, as for all our friends! If you don’t want civil war, if you want to live with us like brothers, then please do ... But if you want to rule once more over the working class, to take back the factories – then we will show you an iron fist, and we will give the mansions you deserted to the poor, the workers and oppressed people of Kazan.’

In the struggle which has begun, it is the task of the conscious workers to bend down to their brothers who are in the darkness of ignorance (there are still not a few of them) to bend down and explain to them the meaning of what has happened, to raise them up, to show them that this is not a fight between parties, not a fight over trifles, but a fight to decide whether the worker is to live as absolute master of the Russian land or to lie prostrate like a corpse on which the vultures of world imperialism will gather to tear him to pieces. You must show that we want a Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviet Republic to be established in the land of Russia, so that the working people may rule here and so that it may be made impossible for the rule of the capitalists and landlords to be re-established here. This is the simple idea which, expounded in a working-class way, must be grasped by every backward workers and every peasant.

Like everything done by the Russian revolution, our first successes against the Czechoslovaks played an enormous revolutionary role in France and Britain: an offensive by the workers against the imperialists has begun in those countries, and a split has begun to appear among the imperialists: a section of them has started to declare that this senseless offensive, this wretched, risky adventure, must cease. This was happening before the capture of Kazan.

It is therefore beyond doubt that the news of the capture of Kazan will bring about a very big split among the bourgeois imperialists of Britain, and they will start to beat retreat, having seen that the land of Russia does not lie helpless in temptation’s path, that it is not for any highway robber from among the imperialist brigands to pocket the land of Russia. It is now a workers’ and peasants’ country, and is defended by its workers’ and peasants’ army. Soviet Russia will give a decisive rebuff to the imperialists. Into Soviet Russia, as into a hornets’ nest, you will no longer thrust your thieving hands. The heroic capture of Kazan is a warning to all imperialists! But it is necessary that this warning shall not remain isolated, that it shall be given a firm and vigorous continuation. Mobilisation is under way here in Kazan province. The workers of the city of Kazan have the duty of being the first to join the workers’ and peasants’ Red Army. We must create a public opinion such that whoever now dodges or hides from military service is seen as a traitor to the cause of the working class, and just as in the old days we dealt harshly and sternly with strikebreakers who curried favour with the capitalists, so now we must deal with those workers who fail to support the workers’ and peasants’ army and help the counter-revolution. All honest Soviet citizens have the duty of defending the country.

We are accused of being bad patriots. Yes, comrades, so long as the bourgeois stood at the head of our country and landlord-bureaucrats drove the grey-clad cattle, the Russian soldiers, to shed their blood for their interests, so long were we bad patriots for their profits, for we were always patriots for the working class. But now it is the working class and the poor peasantry who rule in our country. This is now a different country, on whose soil, steeped in the violence, slavery and sweat of many generations, the working class has, for the first time in world history, risen to its full height and said: ‘I am the master here and there is no other master but me.’ And for this Russia we have the most ardent feelings, and for it we are prepared to lay down our lives and to shed our blood to the very last drop.

The terrible danger is helping us to create a strong army not in days but in hours. The mobilisation is, judging by the latest reports, everywhere proceeding splendidly: a mass of telegrams is coming in, requesting permission to carry out mobilisation of two, three, four and more age-groups. We cannot remain in our Kazan bivouac, we must push on! Other places call to us, places where the White Guards still rule. And we proclaim from here, in the name of the revolution at large: ‘Comrades of Simbirsk, Samara and other towns! We remember you, we are not holding back for one moment, we are all ready to go forward with combined efforts to help you, so as to free our Soviet Russia from the black tyranny of the bourgeois counter-revolution, we are all ready to give our lives for the life of the working class.’

And, in the name of the revolution, I call on you, comrades, to join with me in one cry: Long live Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviet Russia!
Long live the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army!

ORDER OF SEPT 12, 1918

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and the People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army and the Red Navy, September 12, 1918

In my order No.33 I expressed my appreciation of the valiant contribution made by the Fifth Army to the capture of Kazan. But also taking part in the heroic struggle before Kazan was a detachment of the Second Army, which attacked from the North-East, under the command of Comrade Azin. Until lately, this detachment was without regular communication with the Fifth Army. I now perceive, from reports and from all the circumstances of the action, that the Second Army detachment, overcoming all difficulties and hardships, fought with truly revolutionary heroism. I consider it my duty to bring this to the notice of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Red Army Men’s and Cossacks’ Deputies.

Published in Izv.V.Ts.I.K., no.199, September 14, 1918


Czechoslovak soldiers, workers and peasants! You were promised help from Britain, France, America and Japan, but they deceived you. The British and Japanese bourgeois need your blood in order to subjugate the working people of Russia and squeeze gold out of them. The Russian White-Guard officers hide behind your backs and force you to die for the cause of the bourgeoisie.

You have now seen how strong the Red Army is. We have taken Kazan and Simbirsk, and tomorrow we shall take Yekaterinburg, Samara and all the other towns that the bourgeoisie has temporarily seized with the aid of your blood.

You are all giving your lives for the interests of the rich, the bankers and the kings. They are cheating you. Rub your eyes:

Live Russian workers and peasants are fighting for their freedom and power against the Russian and foreign bourgeois. Do not stand in our way!

Solemnly I declare to you, before the working class of all countries: ‘Every Czechoslovak soldier who voluntarily lays down his arms will be pardoned and given the opportunity to Live in Russia on an equal footing with all the working citizens of the Soviet Republic.’

Czechoslovak soldiers! Remember that you yourselves are mostly workers and peasants. Arrest your counter revolutionary officers, unite with the workers and peasants of Soviet Russia – in this lies your salvation!

September 13, 1918


In Kazan the White Guards and Czechoslovaks seized part of the gold which is the public property of the Russian Soviet Republic. The seizure of this gold was carried out on the orders of the French, British, Japanese and American capitalists. After the October Revolution the Russian people refused to make payments to foreign usurers for the loans contracted by the Tsars. In order to extract their profits from the Russian workers and peasants, the foreign beasts of prey, acting through the Czechoslovak mercenaries and White Guards, seized part of the gold which belongs to the Russian people. The robbers are now trying to carry off the gold they have seized, through Siberia to Japan and America and through Archangel to France and Britain.

This must at all costs be prevented.

The gold which has been stolen from the Russian people must be restored to them intact.

Protection of this gold in the area where the Czechoslovak and White-Guard revolt is going on is the responsibility of all honest workers and peasants.

They must save it from being carried off and plundered.

The conspirators, who have long since run out of bank notes, may try to pay their bills with this gold.

Anyone who accepts gold in payment for work or for produce will be considered an accomplice in the robbery.

The conscious workers, the peasants and, in general, all the honest citizens in the localities temporarily held by the rebels bear the responsibility of maintaining secret surveillance of all the criminals now engaged in transport, concealment or plundering of the gold.

After the Volga, the Urals and Siberia have been cleansed of the White Guards and Czechoslovaks, all who have been guilty of plundering the gold reserve will be identified. Their property will be confiscated and they themselves will be subjected to the severest punishment, up to and including death by shooting.

Izv.V.Ts.I.K., No.199, September 14, 1918


What is there to be said about the victory? Victories do not require cornmentaries they speak for themselves. Many people think that the victory came unexpectedly. That is not so. Soon after my departure for the Eastern Front I telegraphed to Comrade Lenin that our units would fight magnificently and be victorious, provided only they were ensured a minimum of organisation and competent leadership. From the example of the Fifth Army I was able to follow, day by day, how the young, freshly-knocked-together units were becoming more united and growing in strength. The Communists constituted the soul, in the true sense of that word, of every company and every regiment. Certain detachments of Communists gave examples of incomparable devotion. In my first days at the Fifth Army front I heard complaints about the Bryansk regiment, which had retreated without justification. Throughout the subsequent operations the Bryansk regiment was among the most heroic, and the commander spoke of it with sincere enthusiasm. As soon as our units felt that they were linked together, and each one acquired confidence that there would be no withdrawals either on its right or on its left, that the command was pursuing a definite, thought-out plan, then all the true qualities of a revolutionary army – enthusiasm, elan, heroism showed themselves to the full. We are now forging on the anvil of war an army of first-class quality. It can be said that if the Czechoslovaks had not existed, they would have had to be invented, for under peacetime conditions we should never have succeeded in forming, within a short time, a close-knit, disciplined, heroic army. But now this army is being formed before our eyes. We need reinforcements. These reinforcements must be sent to us from the same localities from which the basic units have come, so that the worker or peasant from Tula may reinforce his own Tula regiments, the men from Vladinir may go to the Vladimir regiment, and so on. Reinforcement, like formation, will with us take place directly under the enemy’s fire. In this way it will prove sounder. Through this feverish activity of formation, carried out amid the actual fires of struggle, more and more capable and vigorous soldiers are emerging and will continue to emerge, and to them we shall be able to entrust positions of command. The elan shown by the revolutionary worker-soldiers and their warlike vigour are making a big impression on many of the old officers, and we are obtaining, in them, commanders who are completely reliable and vitally bound up with the Red Army. After incredible efforts, privations and losses, the Red Army units entered Kazan in perfect order. The White Guards had scared the inhabitants with a prospect of butchery, mass extermination, and so forth. In fact, the arrival of the Red Army men signified the establishment in the city of a regime of strict discipline and suppression of drunkenness and gangsterism. At huge meetings in the city theatre and in the square in front of the theatre the proletarian masses of the population of Kazan greeted with stormy revolutionary enthusiasm the restoration of Soviet power in their city, and promised to support the Red Army by reinforcing it with new regiments from Kazan. Neither was the capture of Simbirsk a matter for surprise. The commander of the First Army, Comrade Tukhachevsky, had undertaken to capture Simbirsk not later than September 12. He honorably fulfilled his obligation. He informed me of the taking of the town in a telegram which read: ‘Order carried out. Simbirsk taken.’

The surest way to develop and complete this victory is not to slacken pressure on the enemy. For this purpose we need reinforcements from within the country, and for that, in turn, we need widespread and intense agitation among the masses of the workers and the village poor. The working people in the most out-of-the-way corners of Soviet Russia must understand that this war is their war, and upon its outcome depends the fate of the working masses of Russia, and, to a significant degree, of the whole world.

September 1918


By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and the People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army and the Red Navy, November 3, 1918, No.56, Tsaritsyn

Among the counter-revolutionary troops fighting against us there are Czechoslovak units. They consist mostly of deceived Czech workers and peasants who hope that the Anglo-French imperialists will secure the independence of their homeland, Bohemia. The independence of Bohemia has now been proc laimed in Austria itself, thanks to the revolution which is developing there.

Through the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs I have raised the question of enabling all those Czechs who so desire to return to their homeland, which is now passing through a period of revolutionary upsurge. The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs has in his turn informed the Czech Government that the Soviet Government, despite all the successes won by our arms on the Volga and in the Urals, wishes for nothing so warmly as for the cessation of bloodshed, and is therefore ready to offer unarmed Czechoslovaks a full guarantee of security in proceeding through Russia to their liberated homeland. The Soviet Government has proposed to the Government of Bohemia that negotiations be begun with a view to determining all the conditions for the return of the Czechoslovaks to their homeland.

I order the Revolutionary War Councils of all the armies on the Eastern Front to take measures to bring to the notice of the Czechoslovaks these steps we have taken, as well as the great changes that are now occurring in Austria-Hungary. I most strictly order that all Czechoslovaks taken prisoner be spared. Anyone responsible for shooting captured Czechoslovaks will be liable to the severest punishment.

The moment has come when the Czechoslovaks, deceived and sold to the British, French and Russian imperialists, must understand that their salvation lies in alliance with the Russian Soviet power, which can alone facilitate their return home.


November 15, 1918

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and the People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army and the Red Navy, November 15, 1918, No.60. Moscow

In connection with my order concerning the deceived Czechoslovaks who are now fighting against the Soviet forces, I have received a statement from the Serbs who are in Russia and a considerable section of whom have been drawn by the imperialists into struggle against the workers’ and peasants’ power. In answer to the questions put to me, I declare that the order concerning the Czechoslovaks applies in full likewise to the Serbs, the Poles and the soldiers of other nationalities recruited by Anglo-French and Japanese imperialist agents.

I issue a strict order to the Revolutionary War Council of the fronts to see to it that rank-and-file soldiers who are taken prisoner by us, or who voluntarily give themselves up, are not subjected to shooting or any other penalties, and to take steps to make widely known among the Serbian soldiers the revolutions which are developing in the Balkans the establishment in Serbia of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, and also the fact that the Soviet power in the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic is prepared, for its part, to facilitate the unhindered return of soldiers of Serbian nationality to their homeland, on condition that they immediately lay down their arms.


82. After taking Syzran and Simbirsk, the Czechoslovaks began a vigorous advance aimed at capturing Kazan. Apart from the importance of this city as the administrative centre of the territory, its loss meant that the operations of the First and Second Red Armies were separated from each other, the last crossing-point over the Volga (the former Romanov Bridge) was lost, and, finally, it became possible for the enemy to develop operations in a northerly direction so as to link up with the Allied expeditionary force. Consequently, the attention of the front and of the centre became concentrated on the struggle waged by our troops around Kazan between August 1 and 7. Despite the considerable energy shown by the Commander-in-Chief, Comrade Vatsetis, who had been appointed after Muravyov’s adventure, the fight for Kazan ended unsuccessfully for the Red forces. The Czechoslovaks occupied the city on August 6. The very feeble fighting-capacity of our guerrilla detachments, the inadequacy of reinforcements, and, at the last moment, a partial betrayal by the headquarters staff, which it had not been possible to replace after the killing of Muravyov – such were the general causes of the rapid fall of Kazan.. The situation at the front became so serious that on August 7 Comrade Trotsky went in person to Sviyazhsk. [Sviyazhsk is the last-but-one railway station immediately before Kazan, coming from the Moscow direction.] Feverish activity began, with a view to establishing order among the detachments and units. The liquidation of what remained of guerrilla-ism, the punitive work of the tribunal, the intense political activity, all found very successful reflection in the state of the troops. An intense mobilisation of Communists was carried out in the rear, and this provided the front with a number of responsible Party comrades. All the subsequent orders, down to the taking of Kazan by the Red forces (September 10) describe this period of rapid growth, both in quantity and quality, of the forces of our armies on the Eastern Front.

83. On August 11 Comrade Rosengoltz was appointed a member of the Revo1utionary War Council of the Kazan Sector of the Eastern Front. The War Council for that sector, which was formed on the same day,constituted at the same time the command of the Fifth Army. The army Commander was Comrade Maygur, the commissar Kobozev, the chief of staff Comrade Blagoveshchensky, the commissar at headquarters Comrade Gusev. Immediately after it was organized, the headquarters of the Fifth Army began preparing the operation for the recovery of Kazan.

84. On August 24 the right-flank group of the Second Army, under Comrade Azan’s command, advanced from the North-East upon Kazan.

85. On August 18 Comrade Slavin was appointed to command the Fifth Army, with Gusev as commissar and Andersen as chief of staff.

86. Fortunatov and Lebedev were both prominent members of the Samara Government. After the capture of Samara by the Czechoslovaks, the SR party and some members of the dissolved Constituent Assembly took power there. The first order issued by this Committee for the Constituent Assembly (Komach) read: ‘In the name of the Constituent Assembly, Bolshevik authority in Samara and Samara province is declared overthrown. The organs of local self-government – the municipal Dumas and Zemstvo boards – which were dissolved by the Bolsheviks are restored, and are invited to resume work immediately.’ The military headquarters of Komach consisted of Colonel Galkin; the military commissar of the Romanian front, Bogolyubov; and Fortunatov, a member of the Constituent Assembly.

87. At the fall of Kasan the panic was so great that Commander-in-Chief Vatsetis, accompanied by six Red Army men of the Fifth Lettish Regiment, had to fight their way out of the city, and survived only by good luck.

88. On September 10, by combined and co-ordinated operations of the right- and left-bank groups of the Fifth Army, part of the Second Army under Comrade Azan’s command, and the Volga Flotilla, and after heavy fighting, Kazan was taken by our forces. The rout of the Czechs before Kazan was of decisive importance for subsequent operations, not only on the middle Volga but also on the Kama, for the Second Army, which rapidly cleared the River Vyatka and began to threaten the enemy group operating in the Simbirsk Samara area. On September 12 Comrade Gaye’s Iron Division, part of Tukhachevsky’s First Army took Simbirsk, after which the whole Volga was quickly cleared of the Whites, who withdrew eastward.

89. After the July days (July 3-5, 1917) the Provisional Government proceeded to arrest the most prominent Bolsheviks. Comrades Lenin and Zinoviev went into clandestinity, and lived for several weeks in the forest near Sestroretsk (a country-cottage locality not far from Petersburg), with only a haystack to shelter them at night. A little later, Comrade Lenin hid himself in Finland disguised as a stoker, and then, at the end of September, he returned to Petersburg. Comrade Trotsky was arrested immediately after the July days, and put in the Kresty prison.

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Last updated on: 16.12.2006