Upper Don uprising

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Upper Don uprising
Upper Don uprising

Video: Upper Don uprising

Video: Upper Don uprising
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For three months, the insurgent Cossacks led by Pavel Kudinov repulsed the attacks of the 8th and 9th armies of the Red Southern Front. The rebellious Don Cossacks pinned down significant forces of the Red Army, facilitating the offensive of the White Cossacks. This allowed Denikin's army to occupy the Don region and threaten to enter the central provinces of Russia.

Split of the Cossacks. Decorating

The attitude of the Bolsheviks to the Cossacks was ambivalent. On the one hand, negative, since the Cossacks were considered "executioners, oprichniks, criminals" of the fallen tsarist regime. The Cossacks were a privileged estate, they had land and privileges. At the same time, the Cossacks were professional military, well trained, organized and with their own weapons, that is, they posed a threat. On the other hand, they wanted to attract the Cossacks to their side, since they were a special part of the peasantry. They could be used in the fight against the enemies of the Soviet regime.

The Cossacks themselves also hesitated, in their ranks there was a split in relation to the Soviet regime. Initially, the bulk of the Cossacks, especially the young, front-line soldiers, were on the side of the Bolsheviks. They supported the first decrees, returned to a peaceful life, nobody touched their land. The Cossacks believed that they would be able to maintain neutrality and would not interfere in the war between the Whites and the Reds. That the repressive policy of the Bolsheviks was directed only against the rich classes - the bourgeoisie, landowners, etc. At the same time, some of the Cossacks had strong independent sentiments that one could live separately and richly, avoid general collapse and chaos, war. They wanted to spit on the "united and indivisible" Russia, became active separatists. It is clear that in the conditions of the general Russian turmoil it was a utopia, which cost the Cossacks very dearly.

As a result, the Cossacks became “grass on the battlefield”. Kaledin, Alekseev and Denikins opposed the Bolsheviks, with the neutrality of the bulk of the Cossacks on the Don. Whites and White Cossacks were beaten. The volunteers retreated to the Kuban. Kaledin died. The Don region was occupied by the Reds. Among them were many Red Cossacks under the command of the military sergeant major Golubov.

It is worth remembering that during the turmoil, various dark, asocial and criminal personalities come up to the top. They use the general chaos, anarchy, collapse to rob, kill, and satisfy their dark needs. A criminal revolution is taking place. Bandits and criminals “repaint” as red, white, nationalists in order to gain power, to use it in their own interests. In addition, many revolutionaries, the Red Guards, sincerely hated the Cossacks, the "tsarist guardsmen."

Therefore, when the Reds occupied the Don region, it was automatically considered hostile, enemy territory. Various negative excesses began to take place - the Red Terror, repressions, murders, unjustified arrests, robberies, requisitions, the seizure of elements of the control system and land by newcomers. Punitive expeditions.

All this caused active resistance of the Cossacks, who were a military estate, that is, they knew how to fight. On this wave, the Cossack Republic of Krasnova was created. At the same time, she was hostile to the Russian civilization, the people, as she was oriented towards the West, Germany. Krasnov asked the German emperor to help in the dismemberment of Russia and the creation of a separate state - the "Great Don Host". Krasnov also claimed the neighboring cities and regions - Taganrog, Kamyshin, Tsaritsyn and Voronezh. Krasnov also supported the "independence" of other parts of Russia - Ukraine-Little Russia, Astrakhan, Kuban and Terek Cossack troops, the North Caucasus. The course towards "independence" led to the collapse of Russia. The Krasnovites declared themselves a "separate" ethnic group from the Russians. That is, half of the population of the Don region (Russians, but not Cossacks) were removed from government, their rights were infringed upon, they were people of the "second class".

No wonder that the Cossacks also split. There was no united front of the Cossacks against the Bolsheviks. So, despite all the excesses, 14 Cossack regiments fought on the side of the Red Army in mid-1918, and among the Cossacks were such talented Red commanders as Mironov, Blinov, Dumenko (from the Don peasants). A the Krasnov government arranged its own decossackization - the Red Cossacks, with the aim of eliminating the supporters of the red government on the Don. Those who sympathized with the Soviet government were expelled from the Cossacks, deprived of all rights and benefits, confiscated land and property, deported outside the Don region, or sent to hard labor. All Red Cossacks who joined the Red Army and were captured were executed. Up to 30 thousand Red Cossacks with their families were subjected to the policy of "white" decossackization. In total, during the policy of Krasnovshchina from May 1918 to February 1919, according to various estimates, from 25 to 45 thousand Cossacks, supporters of Soviet power on the Don, were destroyed.

It is also worth remembering that you yourself White Cossacks, who fought in the army of Krasnov, and then Denikin, behaved in the territory of neighboring provinces, in particular, in the Saratov and Voronezh provinces, as foreign enemies. Whites and Cossacks were not knights without fear and reproach. They were "products" of decay, the death of the Russian Empire. The Cossacks were participants in the White Terror. Cossack units robbed, raped, killed, hung and flogged. Behind the Cossack regiments were huge carts, the Cossacks plundered Russian villages as if they were walking not through Russia, but through a foreign land. In Denikin's memoirs, they look like a gang of marauders, not "warriors of Holy Russia." Russian townspeople and peasants who were “liberated” from Soviet power were robbed, raped and killed. The Cossacks also acted against their own peasants, "nonresident" on the territory of the Don region. It is clear that all this prompted a tough response, when the flywheel of the terrible civil war turned back and the Don army collapsed, it began to retreat. The spontaneous response of the Red Guards and the Red Army resulted in revenge, too, against all the Cossacks, indiscriminately.

You also need to know that In the leadership of the Bolshevik Party there was a wing of internationalists-cosmopolitans, agents of Western influence. They led to the cause of the collapse, the destruction of Russian civilization, the "world revolution" on the basis of the death of Russia. The Cossacks, personifying the ancient Russian traditions of warriors-tillers, aroused their hatred. Trotsky and Sverdlov initiated the process of decossackization. Trotsky wrote about the Cossacks:

“This is a kind of zoological environment … The cleansing flame must pass throughout the Don, and fear and almost religious horror must strike all of them. The old Cossacks must be burnt in the flames of the social revolution … Let their last remnants … be thrown into the Black Sea …"

Trotsky, however, demanded that the Cossacks arrange "Carthage".

In January 1919, the chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Yakov Sverdlov, signed a directive on decossackization. The tops of the Cossacks, the wealthy Cossacks were subject to total destruction, terror was used against those who took any part in the struggle against Soviet power; a food appropriation policy was introduced; in the Cossack region settled the newcomer poor; carried out complete disarmament, shooting everyone who did not surrender their weapons; to prevent new uprisings, they took hostages from prominent representatives of the villages. When the Vyoshensky uprising began, these instructions were supplemented by the demands of mass terror, with the burning of the insurgent villages, ruthless executions of the insurgents and their accomplices, and the mass taking of hostages; mass resettlement of the Cossacks inside Russia, replacing it with an alien element, etc. A little later, when the uprising began, the Soviet leadership recognized the fallacy of a number of revolutionary measures. So, on March 16, 1919, a plenum of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) was held with the participation of Lenin, who decided to suspend the planned measures of merciless terror "in relation to all Cossacks in general who took any direct or indirect participation in the struggle against Soviet power."

Upper Don uprising
Upper Don uprising

Upper Don uprising

The first wave of terror and robberies passed through the Don, when the Cossacks themselves opened the front and went home. Red troops entered the Don, they requisitioned horses, food, spontaneously let the enemies of Soviet power (or whoever seemed to be such) "at the expense". First of all, the officers were killed. Then the regular Red troops settled on the banks of the Seversky Donets, the front stabilized.

The organized decossackization was much worse. Commissar Fomin, who had raised the uprising against Krasnov, was replaced in February 1919. There were many internationalist revolutionaries among the representatives of the new authorities. Cossack regiments that had gone over to the side of the Reds were sent to the Eastern Front. Began mobilization, now the Cossacks were driven to fight for the Reds. They removed the red Cossack commander Mironov away (later he opposed the policy of decossackization and Trotsky). After that, a full-scale decossackization began. The very word "Cossack", the Cossack uniform was forbidden, weapons were confiscated, for failure to surrender - execution. The villages were renamed into volosts, farms into villages. The Verkhne-Don district was liquidated, and the Vyoshensky district was created in its place. The property of the "rich and bourgeois" was confiscated. The settlements were lined with indemnities. Part of the Don lands was planned to be isolated into the Voronezh and Saratov regions, they were going to be populated by newcomers. In some places, they began to free land for settlers from the central provinces.

Terror and repression became not spontaneous, but well-organized, systematic. Any "accomplice" could get hit, not just officers, gendarmes, chieftains, priests, etc. And the split went through many families, one son, brother could fight for the Whites, the other for the Reds. But it turned out that the family was "counter-revolutionary."

The Cossacks could not resist and rebelled again. A spontaneous uprising began in March 1919. They immediately rebelled in several places. The Cossacks of the three farms drove the Reds out of Vyoshenskaya. The mutiny was raised by five villages - Kazanskaya, Elanskaya, Vyoshenskaya, Migulinskaya and Shumilinskaya. Hundreds of farmsteads were formed, commanders were elected. We carried out a full mobilization of all who could bear arms. At first, the slogan of the rebels was this: "For Soviet power, but without the communists!" It looked like Makhno's program. Military officer Danilov was elected chairman of the executive committee, and cornet Kudinov was the commander. During the World War, Pavel Kudinov was awarded four St. George's Crosses, in 1918 he was the head of the machine-gun team of the 1st Vyoshensky Cavalry Regiment of the Don Army. After the uprising against Krasnov, he became Fomin's assistant.


Source of the map: A. I. Egorov. Russian Civil War: The Defeat of Denikin

On March 20, 1919, after defeating the punitive detachment, the Vyoshensky regiment captured several guns and took Karginskaya. Then the Cossacks defeated another red detachment and occupied Bokovskaya. At first, the Reds did not attach much importance to the uprising. The weapons of the Cossacks have basically already been taken away. There were many similar uprisings throughout the country. Usually they were quickly crushed, or the rebels dispersed themselves. However, the Cossacks were a military class, they quickly organized themselves. New villages revolted, almost the entire Verkhne-Don district. Fermentation began in the neighboring districts - Ust-Medveditsky, Khopersky. At the beginning of the uprising of the Cossacks there were about 15 thousand people. Kudinov reorganized the insurgent army, uniting hundreds of stanitsa into 5 regular cavalry divisions and one brigade and regiment. By May, Kudinov's army numbered about 30 thousand people.

The rebels had to fight off their weapons in battle. At first they fought with melee weapons, checkers and pikes. Then, during the battles, 6 batteries were created from captured cannons, and 150 machine guns were captured. There was no ammunition, they were captured, made in an artisanal way, but they were sorely lacking. The red command, realizing the threat, began to remove regular regiments from the front, to surround the area from all sides. They pulled up detachments, detachments of internationalists, sailors, cadets, communists, and reserve units. In total, 25 thousand people were put up against the Cossacks with overwhelming firepower (in May the uprising was already tried to suppress 40 thousand soldiers). The Cossacks were saved by the fact that they were underestimated, the red troops were pulled up and brought into battle in units, in different areas, which allowed the rebels to repulse the attacks.

The Upper Don uprising was doomed to defeat. The rebels asked for help from the white command. However, the Don and Volunteer armies were tied by heavy battles on the flanks - Tsaritsyn and Donbass directions, so they could not immediately help. In March, the Eastern Front of the Don Army collapsed, the Cossacks fled to the steppe, beyond the Manych. The Grand Duke fell. The Reds forced the Manych and by the beginning of April occupied the Torgovaya, Atamanskaya, advanced units reached the Mechetinskaya. Between the Don and the Kuban was a narrow, 100 km, strip with a single branch of the railway. To stabilize the front in the east, the white command had to transfer troops from the western sector of the front, although the situation in Donbas was also difficult. Only in May did the Don army establish contact with the rebel army using airplanes. Aircraft, as far as their weak capabilities, began to bring ammunition.

In May, the Red Army, having concentrated a strong strike force, launched a decisive offensive. The Cossacks fought back desperately, but there was very little ammunition. On May 22, the rebels began to retreat along the entire right bank of the Don. The population also fled for the Don. On the left bank of the Don, the Cossacks set up the last line of defense. Only the offensive of Denikin's army saved the rebels from complete destruction.

For three months, the insurgent Cossacks led by Pavel Kudinov repulsed the attacks of the 8th and 9th armies of the Red Southern Front. On May 25 (June 7), the rebels united with the Don Army. Over the next two weeks, through the joint efforts of the Don and the rebel armies, the entire territory of the Don region was liberated from the Red Army. On May 29, the troops of the Don Army took Millerov, on June 1 - Lugansk. After that, Kudinov resigned from his command. The 8th Red Army was pushed back to the north, in the Voronezh direction, the 9th Red Army - to the northeast, to the Balashov direction. The insurgent army was disbanded, its parts were poured into the Don army. The white command treated the rebels with distrust, like the former Reds, so the rebel commanders did not receive serious posts in it.

Thus, the rebellious Don Cossacks fettered significant forces of the Red Army, facilitating the offensive of the White Cossacks. This allowed Denikin's army to occupy the Don region and create a threat to enter the central provinces of Russia, an attack on Orel and Tula.


Pavel Nazarevich Kudinov, commander of the insurgent troops of the Upper Don District in 1919