Various Subjects

Cossacks, Form Up in a Soviet Column!

(In connection with the forthcoming Cossack congress)

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

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The hour has come for the Cossacks themselves to decide their own fate for a long time to come. Up to now they have for too long let others think and act for them. Korniov, Kaledin, Krasnov, Dutov, Kolchak, Denikin took decisions for the Cossacks and forced the mass of the Cossacks to carry out these decisions. Today all these counter-revolutionary war-lords by the grace of the landowners and capitalists have been defeated. Their attempts to enslave Russia with the aid of the Cossacks they deceived have come to naught. Nothing is left of Kolchak’s army. Of Denikin’s only wretched fragments remain. But Soviet Russia exists, and the many-millioned masses of working Cossacks exist. No, after everything that has happened, after all the deceptions perpetrated by the counter-revolutionary Tsarist generals, after the rivers of blood that have been shed because of them, after the ruining and devastation of the Cossacks’ stanitsas, their districts and regions, the last, the twelfth hour has struck for the Cossacks: they must think hard and make a firm choice of the road they mean to take.

The workers’ and peasants’ Soviet power has shown the whole world its strength. But, though it is strong, the Soviet power has no thought of abusing its strength. The mass of the Cossacks are working people. Although there is also much ignorance among them, and many wrong views, it is possible for an ignorant working man to be enlightened, and for one who has been deceived to learn the truth.

There is no salvation to be found for the Cossacks along the road of further armed struggle against the Soviet power. The Soviet power is too strong, with the strength of the armed millions of workers and peasants. Salvation for the working Cossacks lies in complete and honest reconciliation with the Soviet power. This road is fully open to the Cossacks.

Our country now wants peace more than anything else, so as to devote all its strength to intense economic work. Anyone who continues to prevent the peasant from returning to the field and the worker to the lathe will draw upon himself the sharpest hatred of all the working people. If any group of Cossacks now rejects the outstretched hand of the Soviet power, this group will be ground to dust.

Through its Cossack Department, the All-Russia Central Executive Committee is convening an All-Russia Congress of Working Cossacks. [March 1-4, 1920] This is a great event, a great thing. The Soviet power is opening a wide gateway before the Cossacks, and saying: ‘Whatever you may have done in the past, if you have now realised that you are the brothers of the workers and peasants, then welcome – Cossacks!’ All the preparation for this congress must proceed under that sign: complete reconciliation, fraternal unity between the working Cossacks and the working class and peasantry of all Russia.

It is the responsibility of the advanced workers in the Cossack regions and, in the first place, of the conscious Cossacks, to develop extensive agitational and organisational work, so as to draw into the Cossack congress the real lower ranks of the Cossacks, freeing them from the spiritual oppression of the counter-revolutionary Cossack officers and kulaks.

On the Don, on the Kuban, on the Terek, in the steppes of Astrakhan, on the Ural, in the steppes of Orenburg and in Siberia, everywhere the honest working Cossack must be drawn into electing representatives to attend the Cossack congress. Through all stanitsas and farmsteads the new command must ring out: ‘Cossacks, form up in a Soviet column!’

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Last updated on: 27.12.2006