ERMOLAEV A.N., USKOV I.Yu. The Beginning of the Russian Civil War: Events in the City of Mariinsk on May 25, 1918

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.4.12

Alexey N. Ermolaev

Doctor of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Chief Researcher,

Laboratory of the history of South Siberia, Federal Research Centre of Coal and Coal Chemistry of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Sovetsky, 18, 650000 Kemerovo, Russian Federation;

Professor of the Department of Russian History,

Kemerovo State University,

Krasnaya St, 6, 650000 Kemerovo, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6903-5883

Igor Yu. Uskov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Senior Research Science Laboratory of the History of South Siberia,

Federal Research Centre of Coal and Coal Chemistry of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Sovetsky, 18, 650000 Kemerovo, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7781-2187


Abstract. Introduction. The article is devoted to the reconstruction of the events that took place in the city of Mariinsk on May 25, 1918. On this day, the Czechoslovak Corps, which was located at the railway station, rebelled. In historiography it is believed that the uprising of the Czechs and Slovaks provoked a large-scale civil war in Russia.

Methods and materials. The main sources for the study were the materials of the periodical press of that time. The newspapers “Siberian Life” and “Voice of the People” published articles by correspondents who directly observed the events taking place in the city or received information from direct participants in the uprising. In addition, archival materials were used, in particular, a telegram from a member of the executive committee of the Mariinsky Soviet of Deputies, Kolesnikov.

Analysis. It was established that at the end of May 1918, there were three military and political forces in the city of Mariinsk: a local Red Guard detachment; a Red Guard outsider (the so-called partisans) that arrived from the cities of Western Siberia; and a Czechoslovak Corps. During the conflict that occurred between the two Red Guard units the local Red Guards were disarmed. After that the partisans began to rob local residents and apartments of railway workers. To calm them down, the troops of the Czechoslovak Corps intervened. They quickly disarmed the partisans and took control of the city. Analysis of the telegram of Kolesnikov, a member of the executive committee of the Mariinsky Council of Deputies, showed that it is a copy of the original and contains several significant errors. In particular, the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps took place on the evening of May 25, and not in the morning, as indicated in the telegram. The Mariinsky events became known in Moscow on the same day. The Chairman of the Supreme Military Council, L. D. Trotsky, took advantage of this to issue a brutal order for the disarmament of the Czechoslovak Corps and the physical destruction of those Czechs who would not surrender to Soviet power.

Results. To some extent, the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps was forced. It was a response to the unrest that arose in the city after the conflict between two Red Guard detachments. The central Soviet authorities in Moscow took advantage of this and ordered the actual extermination of the Czechs. This was the impetus for the emergence of large-scale military operations and Civil War in Russia.

Authors' contribution. A. N. Ermolaev identified historical sources, deciphered the text of the telegram, designed the text of the article. I. Yu. Uskov participated in the deciphering of the text of the telegram and the preparation of the text of the article.

Key words: the Russian Civil War; the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps; the Red Guard; Mariinsk; the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies.

Citation. Ermolaev A.N., Uskov I.Yu. The Beginning of the Russian Civil War: Events in the City of Mariinsk on May 25, 1918. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 128-139. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.4.12.

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The Beginning of the Russian Civil War: Events in the City of Mariinsk on May 25, 1918 by Ermolaev A.N., Uskov I.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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