Today the name of Lieutenant Schmidt is known to many, even to people with little knowledge of Russian history. "Children of Lieutenant Schmidt" were mentioned in the novel by Ilf and Petrov "The Golden Calf", and relatively recently the famous KVN team from Tomsk appeared under the same name. The debut of the "children" of one of the heroes of the first Russian revolution took place in the spring of 1906, when, by a court verdict, Pyotr Petrovich Schmidt, who was at the head of the sailor's mutiny on the cruiser Ochakov, was shot. The loud trial of the revolutionary, which everyone knew about, attracted numerous swindlers and fraudsters, whose heyday fell on the 1920s.
The name of Schmidt has been preserved in history, but not many people know about him. Glorified as the hero of the first Russian revolution, decades later this man moved to the periphery of history. The attitude towards his personality is ambiguous. Usually, Schmidt's assessment directly depends on a person's attitude to revolutionary events in Russia. For those people who consider the revolution a tragedy of the country, this character and the attitude towards him are often negative, those who believe that the collapse of the monarchy in Russia was inevitable, treat Lieutenant Schmidt as a hero.
Pyotr Petrovich Schmidt (February 5 (12), 1867 - March 6 (19), 1906) - Russian naval officer, revolutionary, self-proclaimed commander of the Black Sea Fleet. It was Pyotr Schmidt who led the Sevastopol uprising of 1905 and seized power on the cruiser Ochakov. He is the only naval officer who took part in the revolution of 1905-1907 on the side of the socialist revolutionaries. It is worth noting that Lieutenant Schmidt was not actually a lieutenant at that time. In fact, this is a nickname that is firmly entrenched in history. His last naval rank was Captain 2nd Rank. The rank of junior naval officer "lieutenant", which did not exist at that time, was invented and "assigned" to him in order to support the class approach and explain the transition of the nephew of the full admiral to the side of the revolution. By the verdict of the court, Peter Schmidt was shot 110 years ago, on March 19, 1906, in a new style.
The future famous, albeit unsuccessful revolutionary, was born into a family of very high origin. He was the sixth child in the family of a respected nobleman, hereditary naval officer, rear admiral and later mayor of Berdyansk Peter Petrovich Schmidt. His father and full namesake was a participant in the Crimean War and a hero of the defense of Sevastopol. His uncle was no less famous person, Vladimir Petrovich Schmidt rose to the rank of full admiral (1898) and was a knight of all orders that were at that time in Russia. His mother was Elena Yakovlevna Schmidt (nee von Wagner), descended from an impoverished, but very noble royal Polish family. As a child, Schmidt read the works of Tolstoy, Korolenko and Uspensky, studied Latin and French, played the violin. Even in his youth, from his mother, he inherited the ideas of democratic freedom, which later influenced his life.
In 1876, the future "red lieutenant" entered the Berdyansk men's gymnasium, which after his death will be named in his honor. He studied at the gymnasium until 1880, after graduating from it, he entered the St. Petersburg Naval School. After his graduation in 1886, Peter Schmidt was promoted to warrant officer and assigned to the Baltic Fleet. Already on January 21, 1887, he was sent on a six-month vacation and transferred to the Black Sea Fleet. The reasons for the leave are called different, according to some sources it was associated with a nervous fit, according to others - because of the radical political views of the young officer and frequent quarrels with the personnel.
Peter Schmidt has always stood out among his colleagues for his eccentric thinking and versatile interests. At the same time, the young naval officer was an idealist - he was abhorred by the harsh morals that were prevalent in the navy at that time. The "stick" discipline and beating of the lower ranks seemed to Peter Schmidt something monstrous and alien. At the same time, he himself, in relations with his subordinates, was quickly able to gain the glory of a liberal.
At the same time, it was not only a matter of the peculiarities of service in the navy. Schmidt considered the very foundations of tsarist Russia to be unjust and wrong. So the naval officer was instructed to very carefully choose his life partner, but Schmidt met his love literally on the street. He saw and fell in love with a young girl Dominika Pavlova. The main problem here was that the beloved of the naval officer was a prostitute, which did not stop Schmidt. Perhaps, his passion for the work of Dostoevsky also affected. One way or another, he decided to marry the girl and engage in her re-education.
Young people got married as soon as he graduated from college. Such a bold step practically put an end to his military career, but this did not stop him. In 1889, the couple had a son, whom their parents named Eugene. It was Evgeny who was the only real son of "Lieutenant Schmidt". Together with his wife, Schmidt lived for 15 years, after which their marriage broke up, but the son remained to live with his father. The father of Peter Schmidt did not accept his marriage and could not understand, having died soon after (1888). After the death of his father, the patronage of the young officer was taken by Vladimir Petrovich Schmidt, a war hero, an admiral, and for some time now a senator. He managed to hush up the scandal with the marriage of his nephew and send him to serve on the gunboat "Beaver" of the Siberian flotilla of the Pacific squadron. Uncle's patronage and connections helped Peter Schmidt almost until the Sevastopol uprising in 1905.
In 1889, Schmidt decides to retire from military service. On leaving the service, he refers to a "nervous illness." In the future, with every conflict, his opponents will hint at his mental problems. At the same time, Peter Schmidt could indeed undergo a course of treatment in the private hospital of Dr. Savei-Mogilevich for the nervous and mentally ill in Moscow in 1889. One way or another, after retiring from service, he and his family went on a trip to Europe, where he became interested in aeronautics. He even tried to make a living conducting demonstration flights, but in one of them he was injured on landing and was forced to give up his hobby.
In 1892, he was again restored to military service, but his character, political views and worldviews became the cause of frequent conflicts with conservative colleagues. In 1898, after a conflict with the commander of the Pacific Squadron, he applied for a transfer to the reserve. Schmidt was dismissed from military service, but did not lose the right to serve in the commercial fleet.
The period of his life from 1898 to 1904 was, most likely, the happiest. During these years he served on the ships of ROPiT - the Russian Society of Shipping and Trade. This service was difficult, but very well paid. At the same time, employers were satisfied with the professional skills of Peter Schmidt, and there was no trace of the "stick" discipline, which he simply hated. From 1901 to 1904, Schmidt was the captain of the passenger and merchant steamers Igor, Polezny, and Diana. During the years of his service in the merchant marine, he managed to earn respect among his subordinates and sailors. In his spare time, he tried to teach sailors to read and write and navigate.
On April 12, 1904, due to martial law, Russia was at war with Japan, Schmidt was drafted from the reserve to active service. He was appointed a senior officer on the Irtysh coal transport, which was assigned to the 2nd Pacific Squadron. In December 1904, a transport with a cargo of coal and uniforms left after the squadron that had already left for Port Arthur. A tragic fate awaited the Second Pacific Squadron - it almost completely died in the Battle of Tsushima, but Peter Schmidt did not take part in it. In January 1905, in Port Said, he was decommissioned from the Irtysh due to an exacerbation of kidney disease. He started having kidney problems after an injury he received while doing aeronautics.
Schmidt began his propaganda activities in support of the revolution in the summer of 1905. In early October, he organized in Sevastopol the "Union of Officers - Friends of the People", and then took part in the creation of the "Odessa Society for Mutual Assistance of Merchant Marine Seamen". Carrying out propaganda among officers and sailors, he called himself a non-partisan socialist. The Tsar's Manifesto of October 17, 1905, which guaranteed "the unshakable foundations of civil freedom on the basis of the real inviolability of the person, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and unions," Peter Schmidt meets with genuine jubilation. Dreams of a new, more just structure of Russian society were about to come true. On October 18, in Sevastopol, Schmidt, along with a crowd, went to the city prison, demanding the release of political prisoners. On the outskirts of the prison, the crowd comes under fire from government forces: 8 people were killed, about 50 were wounded. For Schmidt, this is a real shock.
On October 20, at the funeral of the dead, he takes an oath, which later became known as the "Schmidt Oath". For giving a speech in front of a crowd, he was immediately arrested for propaganda. This time, even his well-connected uncle could not help his unlucky nephew. On November 7, 1905, Peter Schmidt was dismissed with the rank of captain of the 2nd rank; the authorities were not going to try him for seditious speeches. While still under arrest on the battleship "Three Saints", on the night of November 12, he was elected by the workers of Sevastopol as a "life deputy of the Soviet", and soon, under pressure from the broad public, he was released from the ship on recognizance not to leave.
Already on November 13, a general strike began in Sevastopol, in the evening of the same day, a deputy commission, which consisted of soldiers and sailors delegated from various branches of the army, including from 7 ships of the fleet, came to Peter Schmidt with a request to lead the uprising in the city. For such a role, Schmidt was not ready, but, having arrived on the cruiser Ochakov, whose crew was the core of the rebels, he quickly became involved in the mood of the sailors. At this moment, Schmidt made the decision, which became the main thing in his life and preserved his name to this day, he agrees to become the military leader of the uprising.
The next day, November 14, he declared himself the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, giving the signal: “I am in command of the fleet. Schmidt ". At the same time, the Ochakov team manages to free some of the previously arrested sailors from the Potemkin battleship. But the authorities did not sit idly by, they blocked the rebellious cruiser and urged him to surrender. On November 15, the red flag was raised over the cruiser and the ship took its first and last battle in these revolutionary events. On other warships of the Black Sea Fleet, the rebels did not manage to take control of the situation, so "Ochakov" was left alone. After 1, 5 hours of the battle, the uprising on it was suppressed, and Schmidt and other leaders of the rebellion were arrested. The restoration of the cruiser from the consequences of this battle lasted more than three years.
The trial of Pyotr Schmidt was held behind closed doors in Ochakov. An officer who joined the insurgent sailors was accused of preparing a mutiny while on active duty. The trial ended on February 20, Pyotr Schmidt, as well as three sailors of the instigators of the uprising on "Ochakov" were sentenced to death. The verdict was carried out on March 6 (March 19, new style), 1906. The convicts were shot on the island of Berezan. The commander of the execution was Mikhail Stavraki, a childhood friend and fellow student of Schmidt's at the school. Stavraki himself 17 years later, already under Soviet rule, was found, tried and also shot.
After the February Revolution in 1917, the remains of the revolutionary were reburied with military honors. The order for the reburial of Peter Schmidt was given by Admiral Alexander Kolchak. In May of the same year, the Minister of War and Naval Minister of Russia, Alexander Kerensky, laid the St. George cross on the grave of Schmidt. At the same time, the non-partisanship of "Lieutenant Schmidt" only played into the hands of his glory. After the October Revolution of the same year, Peter Schmidt remained in the ranks of the most revered heroes of the revolutionary movement, being among them all the years of Soviet power.