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The "Russian" Civil Wars, 1916—1926Ten Years That Shook the World$

Jonathan Smele

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190233044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190233044.001.0001

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White Thrusts, Red Ripostes

(p.105) 3 1919–20
The "Russian" Civil Wars, 1916—1926

Jonathan D. Smele

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the course and failure of the major attacks on the Soviet state that were launched by the White Armies during 1919–20, paying particular attention to those emanating from South Russia (under the aegis of General A.I. Denikin, especially the Armed Forces of South Russia) and Siberia (under the aegis of Admiral A.V. Kolchak, especially the Russian Army), but dwelling also upon White operations (and Red Army counter-attacks) in North Russia and North-West Russia. Regarding the latter, the debilitating impact upon anti-Bolshevik efforts in the Baltic region of the conflict between pro-German and Latvian and Estonian forces during 1919 (the Landeswehr War) is highlighted, as is the hugely positive influence upon Red efforts of the Soviet Commissar for Military Affairs, L.D. Trotsky.

Keywords:   A.V. Kolchak, A.I. Denikin, White Armies, Siberia, South Russia, North-West Russia, North Russia, Landeswehr War, L.D. Trotsky

Both of the major White leaders of 1918–20, Admiral A.V. Kolchak and General A.I. Denikin, elaborated political programs in 1919 that might—despite the generally held perceptions of the Whites as “reactionaries”—broadly be described as “liberal.” In their pronouncements, Kolchak and Denikin committed themselves, repeatedly and clearly, to resuscitating local governments, to respecting the right of the non-Russian peoples to self-determination (short of secession), to respecting the rights of trade unions, and to radical land reform and vowed that, upon victory in the civil war, they would summon a new national assembly to determine the future constitution of the Russian state. Kolchak, whose Omsk government was more stable, rooted, and fully developed than the rather nebulous and peripatetic Special Council that advised Denikin, tended to take the lead in such matters,1 but both the main White military camps had stout phalanxes of Kadet auxiliaries to add flesh to the bones of their declarations on politics and to staff their press agencies, advisory councils, and bureaus of propaganda.2 Moreover, there is little doubt that, personally, both Denikin and Kolchak held genuinely progressive views on a range of issues, including the necessity of radical land reform in Russia—the key issue of the previous century—and that both were entirely sincere in their protestations that they had no personal desire to hang on to political power for a moment longer than it would take to drive Lenin from the Kremlin. Also, although the document that established the Kolchak dictatorship (p.106) (“The Statute on the Provisional Structure of State Power in Russia”) made no provision for its termination, the admiral put on public record, in a speech at Ekaterinburg in February 1919, for example, a solemn (if yet slightly indefinite) pledge that he would not retain power “for a single day longer than the interests of the country demand,” and asserted that “in the future the only admissible form of government in Russia will be a democratic one.” And, “once the normal conditions of life have been established, once law and order rule in the country,” he promised, “then it will be possible to set about the convocation of a National Assembly.”3 These declarations reaped some rewards: in May 1919, for example, the Big Four at Paris were sufficiently impressed with Kolchak’s democratic credentials that they would consider recognizing his regime as the government of all Russia.4

But however well drafted—and there was never a shortage of Kadet lawyers in Omsk or Ekaterinodar to do such a job—or well intentioned, there was always something flimsy, half-baked, and unconvincing about White politics; and a lingering sense prevailed that neither Denikin nor Kolchak was much interested in the details of the political concerns that had been agitating Russia since—and, indeed, long before—February 1917. Moreover, however egalitarian were the personal beliefs and intentions of the major White leaders, who were far from the clichéd caricatures of pince-nez-adorned, sadistic fops of Bolshevik propaganda,5 this could not disperse the stench of restorationism that suffused their camps, which were heavily populated with the former elite of the Russian Empire or would-be elitist arrivistes who craved such status. British officers with the mission in South Russia, for example, who had been invited to a banquet held by the local branch of the Union of Landowners at Novocherkassk, soon sensed that they were among “a hot-bed of monarchists” and were deeply embarrassed when one of the guests (a cousin of Nicholas Romanov) ordered the orchestra to play “God Save the Tsar,” the old imperial anthem that had been banned since the February Revolution.6

Consequently, although Denikin’s land laws and labor legislation might have promised fair treatment to peasants and workers, the populace of the territory occupied by the Volunteers invariably felt the whip and wrath of returning landlords and factory bosses who had been driven out by the widespread seizures of private property that had accompanied the spread of Soviet power in 1917–18, and who now sought revenge and recompense.7 The same rule applied in the east, as Kolchak’s forces advanced from Siberia (where large, landed estates were almost unknown) across the Urals to the Volga region (beyond which they became general)—despite the fact that Kolchak himself (p.107) was clearly committed to a progressive land reform resembling that attempted in Russia in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution and that Omsk’s Ministry of Agriculture was teeming with former associates of the reforming prime minister of those days, P.A. Stolypin.8 Most telling of all was that Kolchak’s “Decree on Land” was not issued until April 1919, when his army’s move towards European Russia necessitated such action.9 Similarly, on the second great issue of the day—national self-determination—he also remained silent until the spring of 1919, when the focus of Paris on the Whites’ intentions prompted action—or, at least, more promises.10

A variety of explanations might be adduced for such prevarication. A generous reading of White policy would emphasize that the movement was genuinely committed to a stance of non-predetermination—one that, disinterestedly, inhibited (even forbade) the introduction of significant reforms during the armed struggle: such acts, according to the doctrine routinely espoused by the Whites (even as they lambasted the similarly hamstrung Provisional Government of 1917 for its inertia), would have to await the decisions of a new constituent assembly (Kolchak, as quoted above, preferred to term it a “national assembly”) once the Bolsheviks had been defeated. A less generous exposition of the “White idea” could cite cynical distortions and maskings of their true aims by the Whites, in order to secure peasant recruits to man their armies and Allied weapons to equip them, while attempting to hoodwink any too trusting members of the national minorities into accepting that promises of self-determination emanating from Omsk and Ekaterinodar were real.11

The Whites’ variously evasive and contradictory stance on the nationalities question was particularly damaging to their cause given that, especially in southern and north-western “Russia,” they tended to be operating from bases in lands where Russians were in a minority and non-Russians were using the post-imperial and post-world war hiatus to fashion their independence. Thus Denikin would occasionally sing the praises of self-determination, yet more often espouse the cause of a “Russia, One and Indivisible,” while engaging in a prolonged border war (the “Sochi Conflict”) with the Democratic Republic of Georgia,12 while also directly insulting the Ukrainians (as we have seen).13 He would also offer up such alarming suggestions regarding the proper delineation of a new Polish–Russian border that Piłsudski would call a halt to his army’s operations in the spring of 1919 and then enter secret peace talks with Moscow that would facilitate the redeployment of 40,000 men from the Red Army’s Western Front to its “Southern Front, Against Denikin” in the fall of (p.108) that year.14 Another instructive example was the case of Daghestan and its neighbors in the Caucasus, who had united in an autonomous Mountain Republic. This regime had initially been dissolved by the Bolshevik-dominated Terek Soviet Republic at Vladikavkaz in the spring of 1918, but had re-established itself as Soviet power crumbled in the North Caucasus later that year, then had repulsed a new Soviet offensive in April 1919, only to find that when Denikin’s forces subsequently occupied the North Caucasus and then Daghestan, it had to flee again—this time from the Whites.15

In Siberia, Kolchak had less immediate concerns with the non-Russian nationalities, who were not present in sufficient numbers within his realm to cause harm (although the desertion from his front line around Ufa, in February 1919, of 6,500 Bashkir combatants who had despaired of their treatment by the Whites was a sizable blow and left a big hole in the front line).16 However, as Supreme Ruler his pronouncements on the issue had national and international connotations and consequences, and here it was revealing that Kolchak should choose the case of Finland, which was already independent and certainly unrecoverable, to dig in his heels: when General Mannerheim, in July 1919, offered a deal whereby his 100,000-strong army would capture Petrograd for the Whites in return for some not inconsiderable but hardly outrageous returns (recognition of Finnish independence, the secession to Finland of Pechenga, self-determination for Karelia, free navigation through Lake Ladoga for Finnish merchant vessels, etc.), Kolchak adamantly refused to agree a deal. His advisor, George Guins, would plead with him that “the prime aim must be the defeat of the Bolsheviks and only second the putting back together of Russia,”17 but the admiral would not recognize the logic of such an approach. For Kolchak, Russia could not be saved from the Bolsheviks if it was in pieces, because Russia in pieces was not Russia.

So, both generous and cynical approaches to White politics have elements of truth to them. Over and above such considerations, however, it has to be conceded that—for what they regarded as the purest of motives—the White leaders disdained all politics: their contempt for what they, as officers, regarded as an unwholesome and ungentlemanly pursuit was at least honest, if misguided, and was certainly reinforced by the depressing experience of 1917, when all of Russia seemed to have turned into a vast, endless, clamorous, and pointless political meeting.18

The Whites’ distaste for politics, and especially class-based politics, knitted perfectly with the claim of their Kadet allies to be, as a party, “above class” and “above politics” (although, again, a cynic might point out that the Kadets were (p.109) calculating here that there was no strong bourgeois class in Russia that might support their liberal platform) and with that party’s historical tendency to place nation above all else. Moreover, the particular circumstances of post-world war Europe at the moment, over the winter of 1918–19, that the White movement reached maturity strongly reinforced this predilection. The White leaders were all too well aware that although there were ranks of irreconcilable anti-Bolsheviks in and around the governments in London, Paris, and Washington, there were many Allied politicians who did not fear the Soviet government, or who hoped to use Russia’s discomfort to their own countries’ advantage, or who were genuinely overwhelmed by war-weariness. In these circumstances, the end of the world war might not prove advantageous: consequently, a Kolchak supporter in the Russian Far East recorded his impressions of the sight of British Tommies celebrating the armistice to have been “not particularly joyous,” as civil wars waged on in Russia; the admiral’s secretary, the aforementioned Guins, would reflect that the collapse of Germany had been “fatal to the anti-Bolshevik struggle”; and one of his generals would assert that from 11 November 1918 onwards “Kolchak had no Allies.”19 Consequently, if Kolchak and his supporters were to win what they desired above all else—the admittance of Russia to the family of Allied “victor nations,” a seat at the forthcoming peace conference, and the opportunity to ensure their country was properly rewarded for the very considerable part it had played in the world war—the lesson was clear. A few days after having assumed the mantle of “Supreme Ruler” in November 1918, Kolchak spelled that lesson out:

The day is dawning when the inexorable course of events will demand victory of us; upon this victory or defeat will depend our life or death, our success or failure, our freedom or ignoble slavery. The hour of the great international peace conference is now near and if, by that hour, we are not victorious then we will lose our right to a vote at the conference of victor nations and our freedom will be decided upon without us.20

Kolchak’s calculations were correct. In November–December 1918, nothing was done by the Allies to dissuade Romania from snatching Bessarabia from its German occupiers (to reverse the settlement of the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812).21 Then, at meetings during 12–19 January 1919, in Paris, the Council of Ten established that no Russian representatives would be afforded a seat among them. Days later, in accordance with a scheme devised by Lloyd George and Robert Borden, the Prime Minister of Canada, an invitation was sent out by radio (from a transmitter atop the Eiffel Tower) suggesting that all warring parties in “Russia” should meet at a separate peace conference at Prinkipo, off (p.110) Constantinople, in the Sea of Marmara. When informed of the latter, Kolchak was aghast and spluttered, “Good God! Can you believe it? An invitation to peace with the Bolsheviks!”22 Had he been told some weeks later, in early March 1919, that a senior American diplomat, William C. Bullitt, was at that moment being entertained in Moscow, was parlaying in a semi-official manner with Lenin, and was offering very generous terms to end the intervention, Kolchak’s language might have been less temperate.23 Indeed, such news might have occasioned one of the violent fits of anger in Kolchak that his advisors had learned to fear, as the admiral slashed at his furniture with a penknife, smashed items on his desk and threw them around his office.24 Then, in April, news broke of a scheme approved in Paris for supplying food relief and medicine to the peoples of Russia, including those in the Soviet zone. Kolchak’s precise response to news of this initiative of Fridtjof Nansen is unrecorded, but he would probably have found himself in unusual accord with Trotsky, who, surveying the scene on 13 April 1919, commented that “We have before us a case of betrayal of the minor brigands by the major ones.”25

In the light of all this, it seems sensible to conclude that analyses of the Whites’ defeat in the civil wars that focus on their tardy, half-hearted, and haphazard attempts to win political support are—however accurate in such a portrayal—ultimately misguided. “All for the Army,” as the mantra went at Omsk, was probably a reasonable response to the circumstances of the time; and, from the moment he took power, Kolchak set about putting that imprecation into action.

Kolchak’s Spring Offensive

Admiral Kolchak’s deep concerns regarding the impression his ambitiously redubbed Russian Army’s battlefield performances might have in the conference chambers and chancelleries of the Allied capitals had their most striking impact upon the timing of the White advance from the east in 1919. In essence, Kolchak’s spring offensive was scheduled for the earliest possible moment, following the pause (of roughly December–March) demanded by the Urals–Siberian winter, by which time a planned levy of the entire male population of Siberia of the 1897–1900 age group might have put a million men at his disposal.26 Unsurprisingly, in the chaotic situation of 1918–19, less than 10 percent of that number actually materialized, to be added to the 50,000 or so fighters already in the field. Moreover, no time was allowed prior to the commencement of active operations in March 1919 to train these raw (p.111) recruits effectively, still less to inculcate in them any notion of the aims of the White movement, while the uniforms and weapons supplied for them by the Allies were too often delayed en route along the congested, single-tracked railway line from Vladivostok to the unfeasibly isolated Urals front, or disappeared into the black hole of Siberia’s booming black market. General Knox, head of Britmis and notional Chef d’Arrière of White forces in Siberia, was apoplectic at this combination of carelessness and corruption. After several months of argument, he did at least prevail upon Kolchak’s commanders to begin building and training five reserve divisions in the rear, but the orders for this would only be issued after the offensive had begun.27

Clearly, Kolchak’s planned offensive was also going to get underway before any simultaneous and combined attack from Denikin’s forces in South Russia could be arranged: having been repulsed one more time from Tsaritsyn in January 1919, the Don Army had retreated to its home territory, while the Volunteers were fully engaged in consolidating their hold on the North Caucasus. This lack of coordination has generally been deemed to have been fatal to the White cause, as it allowed their opponents to re-deploy their forces, from east to south, along internal lines of communications, to face successive rather than joint offensives. What caused such disjunction, however, is a matter of debate. Poor communications are often cited, usually with a reference to the fate of General A.N. Grishin–Almazov—ambushed by a Red flotilla on the Caspian, as he attempted to ferry documents from Ekaterinodar to Omsk—adduced as proof.28 But this is not a convincing argument as, although the Reds’ unbroken hold on the entire length of the Volga down to Astrakhan separated Kolchak from Denikin, the two White leaders and their staffs were fully able to communicate by telegraph and frequently did so (to arrange a joint political offensive against the Prinkipo Proposal in February 1919, for example). Similarly, analyses that suggest that Kolchak refused to wait for Denikin because of some alleged desire to win the “race to Moscow” take no account of the admiral’s selfless character, or of evidence in the discussions and orders of the White command in Siberia that make it entirely clear that the Russian Army decided not to wait for Denikin simply because its leaders entirely failed to appreciate that it might be necessary to do so. In coming to that decision, the aforementioned Colonel Lebedev, Kolchak’s parvenu chief of staff, seems to have been most culpable, but he did not act alone.29 Baron A.P. von Budberg, a senior army bureaucrat attached to Omsk’s stavka, wrote a diary of his experiences of this time that alternately seethes with anger and gawps in disbelief at the manner in which Kolchak was (p.112) enchanted by a starry-eyed carapace of youthful advisors who would repeatedly reassure him that the “gang of criminals and adventurers” currently squatting in the Kremlin would soon be ousted, that the Red Army consisted of nothing but “the dregs of society” and would soon be swept away to allow him to “enter Moscow to the accompaniment of church bells.”30

A further repercussion of all this was that if it was deemed unnecessary to unite with Denikin, other options opened up for the strategic weight and direction of Kolchak’s advance. Clearly, it would not be toward the south if combination with Denikin was not required. But nor would it be toward the north—the direction favored by an unlikely alliance of General Knox (who envisaged a move from Perm′ through Kotlas to Vologda, where a union with Allied forces in North Russia might be effected), General Gajda (who envisaged further laurels for his Siberian Army if the bias was toward an advance from his trophy city of Perm′), and the newly elevated General Lebedev. Indeed, according to one wry observer of the Omsk scene, the main reason for Kolchak’s stavka favoring the northern direction “was the possibility of avoiding union with Denikin, because the infants who occupy senior posts [at Omsk] are terrified that they would be replaced by more senior and experienced specialists” should Kolchak’s forces unite with those of Denikin.31 Personal factors may have played a part here too, as the blunt Knox, who felt he knew more about the Russian army than most Russians (and, after almost a decade in the country, he might well have done) and the pushy Gajda (who had entered the world war as a Feldscher in the Austrian army), both clearly irritated Kolchak. But most important again, was that some sort of victory was urgently required, in the very shortest possible time, in order to impress the Allies. Thus when Kolchak’s offensive came, it would be a general one, along the entire front, with such bias as there was favoring the center and a push back through Ufa toward the middle Volga and the most direct route to Moscow.32

The order of battle of Kolchak’s forces in early March 1919 consisted of, from north to south: Gajda’s Siberian Army of around 45,000 men (supported by the Siberian Flotilla on the upper Kama river), with its headquarters at Ekaterinburg; General M.V. Khanzhin’s 42,000-strong Western Army, based at Cheliabinsk, which was to be reinforced by a new corps under Colonel V.O. Kappel′ as the offensive progressed; and the Southern Army Group of Ataman Dutov (from May 1919 the Southern Army, of some 25,000 men, under General G.A. Belov). South of the Dutov–Belov group were stretched troops of the Orenburg and Urals Cossacks, numbering another 20,000 fighters, who were held up before the Red occupation of Orenburg but whose (p.113) extreme left flank bulged forwards almost to the banks of the lower Volga. Facing them along the Reds’ Eastern Front (again from north to south) were around 120,000 men of the 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 1st, and 4th Red Armies, who were numerically weaker but had many more artillery pieces, were reinforced by the Volga–Kama Military Flotilla, could summon many more reserves from the Soviet center, and had an ally in the forces of the Turkestan ASSR (concentrated on the Aktiubinsk Front and pushing northwards along the railway towards Orenburg). It might have been of significance too that of Kolchak’s chief commanders during the advance, only Khanzhin was a full general of anything but the most recent vintage in March 1919: Gajda had the rank of lieutenant-general (since January 1919), but a mere eighteen months earlier could only boast of the rank of captain in the army of Montenegro, which he had been awarded in 1915; Dutov had the rank of major-general, but had commanded only a regiment in 1917 (albeit with some distinction); Belov had gained the rank of major-general only as recently as 15 August 1918; and the hapless Lebedev had been made major-general by Kolchak only in January 1919. Of course, the introduction of new blood into the commanding staff was not necessarily a bad thing and some of these men were of proven talent—Gajda, for example, had greatly distinguished himself in the Battle of Zborov (1–2 July 1917) against the Austrians, and, as commander of the Eastern Group of the Czechoslovak Legion, had performed miracles in clearing the Bolsheviks from Omsk, Novonikolaevsk, and Irkutsk in May–July 1918, before going on to secure the vital circum-Baikal tunnels of the Trans-Siberian Railroad—but time would tell that they were not necessarily the best new blood the Siberian forces had to offer and that commanders overlooked by Kolchak because of their previous associations with Komuch (notably Colonel V.O. Kappel′) might have been wiser choices to lead the advance.

From 4 March 1919 onwards, with skis and sledges employed to make progress through the deep snow still lying in the Urals passes, the offensive commenced along the entire front and was, initially, successful beyond even the predictions of Omsk’s optimists during its first month: the Western Army took Ufa from the 5th Red Army by 16 March, then Sterlitamak (6 April 1919), Belebei (7 April 1919), and Bugul′ma (10 April 1919), bringing Khanzhin within striking distance of the Volga crossings at Samara and Simbirsk. Meanwhile to the south, Dutov’s Cossacks captured Orsk (9 April 1919) and pushed on toward Orenburg and in the north the Siberian Army captured Sarapul (10 April 1919) and closed on Glazov. At this point, however, impetuosity and hot-headedness took hold: instead of digging in on the river Ik and (p.114) sitting out the worst of the spring thaw, when snowmelt transformed roads into rivers, the Western Army pushed on (taking Buguruslan on 15 April 1919), as Kolchak, on 12 April 1919, ordered that all Red forces east of the Volga were to be eliminated. By this point 180,000 square miles of territory (populated by some five to seven million souls souls) had been engulfed by the Siberian Whites, together with at least 20,000 prisoners and many guns and armored trains.33 It seemed impressive but not everybody was fooled: “Don’t think that our successful advances are a result of military prowess,” an officer warned the Kadet Lev Krol′, “for it is all much simpler than that—when they run away we advance; when we run away they will advance.”34 Moreover, Khanzhin’s vanguard had lost touch with its supply trains and commissaries and—forced to live off the land like occupiers, not liberators—were the living, breathing, and all-consuming contradiction of the crudely reproduced leaflets they distributed among the villages promising the hungry Urals that “Bread is Coming!” from Siberia.

It would soon be time, as Krol′ had been warned, for the Siberian Whites to run away. The Red Eastern Front, erroneously set up by its commander Colonel S.S. Kamenev to absorb a strong push from the Siberian Army (and in general deprived of manpower and other resources, as the Red command prioritized the Western Front and Ukraine over the winter of 1918–19), had been forced to fall back before Khanzhin’s initially rampant Western Army (which had a 4:1 local advantage in men and artillery over the opposing 5th Red Army around Ufa). But in April 1919, new reserves (many of them from central Russian Bolshevik and trade union organizations) were poured into that sector, swelling a Maneuvering Group under the hugely talented Red commander M.V. Frunze which, as the spring floods receded in May, would push northwards from Buzuluk to bite into the side of the White salient formed by Khanzhin’s over-extended advance: Belebei was duly recaptured on 15 May, and on 7 June the charismatic Komdiv V.I. Chapaev led the 25th Rifle Division in an audacious storming of the Belaia river to break into Ufa on 9 June 1919, where they found huge supplies of oil and grain. To the north, Gajda’s Northern Army was still advancing at this point, capturing Glazov in early June, but, with its left flank now exposed by the sudden disintegration of the Western Army, was forced to turn and flee, abandoning Glazov on 13 June, reaching Perm′ (their point of departure in March) by the end of June and surrendering the key Urals city of Ekaterinburg on 15 July 1919 to the vanguard of the 2nd Red Army that had advanced 200 miles in less than four weeks.35 At this point Trotsky and Glavkom Vācietis argued for calling a halt, (p.115) but were overruled by Lenin and, at the instigation of Eastern Front commander S.S. Kamenev, the pursuit of the Whites beyond the Urals was continued.36 Soon thereafter, in July 1919, Kamenev replaced Vācietis as glavkom and the latter was given three months in prison to reconsider his strategy.37

Over the coming months, Kolchak made several attempts to staunch the wounds inflicted upon the Russian Army, but to no avail. First Kappel′’s Volga Corps was thrown into the fray, followed by General Knox’s still skeletal reserve formations from the rear; but, utterly unprepared, both forces melted away overnight, as thousands of White conscripts deserted to the oncoming Reds, many of them sporting their newly issued British uniforms and holding their newly acquired Remington rifles from the United States.38 Others went over to the partisan forces that by the summer of 1919 had made much of the Siberian rear a no-go area for the Kolchak authorities beyond the narrow and fragile ribbon of the Trans-Siberian Railroad (which was still policed by Czech and other Allied troops, though they were more motivated to protect it as their own escape route to the east than by any will to maintain Kolchak’s lifeline from the Pacific Coast).

Next, having on 23 May 1919 added the portfolio of minister of war to his résumé, Colonel Lebedev oversaw a complete restructuring of the remaining forces of Kolchak’s Russian Army into a White Eastern Front in June–July.39 Then, at Cheliabinsk in July, he attempted to set a trap for the Reds, but the pincers of his uncoordinated counter-attack failed to meet and the helterskelter retreat was resumed.40 After this debacle—which was doubly embarrassing as it coincided with the Omsk Diplomatic Conference, at which Allied representatives gathered at Kolchak’s capital to consider how their governments might best aid the admiral—Lebedev was sacked in August, but this could not alter the verdict of the Allied delegates that Kolchak was now a lost cause. (For several of them, it was their first venture from Vladivostok into darkest White Siberia.) To confirm that conclusion, another effort to check the Red advance between the rivers Ishim and Tobol′, masterminded by Kolchak’s new commander-in-chief General Diterikhs, was similarly botched in early September 1919, as key army groups (notably the Siberian Cossacks Corps of Ataman P.P. Ivanov-Rinov) failed to move on the field of battle quite as smoothly as they did on paper.41 Diterikhs’s services were then also briskly dispensed with, but Kolchak’s capital, Omsk, could not be saved by his pugnacious successor, General K.V. Sakharov, despite the latter’s fashioning of the optimistically monikered “Moscow Army Group” from the remnants of the White Eastern Front: depleted forces of the Reds’ 27th Rifle Division, who (p.116) had advanced 150 miles in two days, entered and captured the city early on 14 November 1918, before half the defending garrison was even awake—or, rather, half of those garrison units that remained in Omsk, for by that point “Devil Take the Hindmost” had replaced “All for the Army” as the Whites’ slogan of the hour. Fleeing officers were particularly anxious to remove telltale signs of their status in case they were apprehended by the Reds, with the result that Omsk’s streets “were so thickly littered with epaulettes as to suggest the idea of fallen leaves in autumn,” according to a British witness.42

Sakharov was then arrested by the exasperated General A.N. Pepeliaev on 9 December 1919, and replaced as commander by General Kappel′, but by then the remains of Pepeliaev’s own 1st Army had mutinied around Tomsk, while their former commander, General Gajda—who had been sacked in early July 1919 for having criticized Lebedev’s direction of the Spring Offensive and refused to recognize the authority of General Diterikhs, and for allegedly harboring SRs in his army43—had placed himself at the head of a mutiny against Kolchak at Vladivostok (the Gajda putsch) that had been organized by local SRs and encouraged by British diplomats. Likewise, General B.M. Zinevich, suddenly elevated to the post of commandant of the region’s largest industrial city, Krasnoiarsk, when his predecessor (General Markovskii) fled, also led its garrison in revolt in support of a nebulous SR–Menshevik organization, the Political Center, which was emerging from the underground in towns all along the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Meanwhile, the remnants of the Southern Army and its Urals and Orenburg Cossack auxiliaries were by now cut off from the main White force: some fled south towards the Caspian (and ultimately Persia), while others followed Dutov toward Semirech′e (and ultimately Chinese Turkestan).44

Over the summer and autumn of 1919, extensive government reshuffles removed from office the members of Kolchak’s cabinet most despised for their scheming (Mikhailov, jointly Minister of Finance and Minister of Trade and Industry), corruption (N.S. Zefirov, Minister of Food), and inertia (General N.A. Stepanov, Minister of War). Prime Minister P.G. Vologodskii, Minister of Justice G.G. Tel′berg, Foreign Minister I.I. Sukin, and Minister of Marine Rear Admiral M.I. Smirnov were also removed, “as men too unpopular and too closely connected to the very acme of tyranny, the Supreme Ruler,” noted Kolchak’s secretary.45 But reshuffling such a depleted deck was ultimately unimpressive to either domestic or foreign observers (and certainly no further rumor of recognition was reported from Paris): the new government named itself the “Cabinet of Solidarity,” but looked more like a cabinet of mediocrity, (p.117) to which the addition of a few figures of reputed “national standing” who had arrived from South Russia added little luster.46 Meanwhile, an array of popular assemblies—a State Economic Conference and a Zemskii Sobor′ (“Assembly of the Lands”) among them—summoned by the admiral to broaden the support of his regime and to demonstrate its democratic credentials, either were stillborn or became centers of opposition to the regime.47 The Omsk government itself then hurriedly retreated to Irkutsk, where, in a neat and vengeful reversal of Omsk’s own mistreatment of the Ufa Directory in October–November 1918, it found itself first snubbed by the revivified local socialist organizations that it courted and was then forcibly removed from power by an uprising of the Political Center across the New Year of 1919–20.48 White Siberia, clearly, was descending into chaos, as the Supreme Ruler and his forces set out eastwards from Omsk in an operation, the Great Siberian (Ice) March, that was flattered with onomastic echoes of the Volunteers’ heroic campaign across the Kuban of two years earlier, but was actually a humiliating and unremitting Via Dolorosa for the Siberian Whites and engraved memories only of horror, not glory, in the consciousness of those who survived it to drag themselves into Transbaikal in early 1920.49

There, at Chita, the unedifying prospect of being incorporated into the Far Eastern (White) Army of Ataman Semenov, whose murderous and tyrannical warlord regime at Chita had done so much to besmirch the White banner over the previous year, proved too much for some White leaders (Generals Diterikhs, Khanzhin, and Voitsekhovskii among them), who swiftly moved on toward the Maritime Province or Manchuria. Those who remained would receive their campaign medal for the Siberian Ice March, but their award’s outward resemblance to that representation of a sword on crown of thorns sported by the pervopokhodniki struck a false note at heart. Among the posthumous recipients of the Order of the Great Siberian (Ice) March were some of the latest fallen heroes of the White movement in the east, including General Kappel′, lost to frostbite in the east Siberian taiga, as his force was obliged to forge a route around the Red uprising at Krasnoiarsk in January 1920. His followers, in another echo of the branding of the “colorful regiments” of the Volunteer Army, now dubbed themselves the “kappelevtsy.”50 But—emblematically of the chaos now descending upon White Siberia—when he found out that Semenov was welcoming the kappelevtsy into his army, General Sakharov refused to serve alongside them, regarding the division as the bearers of the “democratic spirit” of the ranks of Komuch’s People’s Army, in which their units had been born. Sakharov found even more repugnant that Semenov had named another unit after General Pepeliaev, the very man who had arrested (p.118) him in December 1919, and moved promptly into emigration. There, Sakharov would fire off a series of histories of the civil war in the east, excoriating the Allies, the Czechs, the SRs, and Pepeliaev for the fate of White Siberia—even as Pepeliaev remained in the field, engaged in partisan warfare against the Reds in the frozen taiga of Iakutia until June 1923. This was a fitting testimony for the fissile history of the Whites in the east.51

In sharp contrast to the sniping of the Whites—and despite the earlier tussle over strategy and command involving Trotsky, Vācietis, and S.S. Kamenev—following a July 1919 overhaul of the RVSR, which introduced more order into its proceedings by trimming its membership and formalized a closer supervision of its staff, the Red Army’s command became increasingly harmonious, effective, and efficient. As priority shifted over the summer of 1919, to meet the growing threat from the Whites in the south (necessitating the creation of a new South East Front in September 1919), and weight was given too to the Turkestan Front (including the transfer to it of the 1st and 4th Red Armies in August 1919), Red commanders of the Eastern Front had every right to complain of shortages of men and supplies. Yet they still bettered their opponents. Indeed, the advance on the Eastern Front in the second half of 1919 exemplified the strengths of the Red Army’s soldiering—and particularly its ability to mix precocious but untutored talent with experience. At komandarm level, the 26-year-old future marshal of the Soviet Union M.N. Tukhachevskii (5th Red Army), who had a 1914 rank of sub-lieutenant and little experience of fighting in the Great War (having spent most of it as a POW in Bavaria’s Ingolstadt fortress, alongside none other than Charles de Gaulle), and the Bolshevik ensign G.D. Gai (1st Red Army) vied in heroics with the seasoned genshtabisty F.M. Afanas′ev (2nd Red Army), M.I. Alafuzo (3rd Red Army), and V.S. Lazarevich (4th Red Army). At the level of front commander, the inexperienced but brilliant Mikhail Frunze kept up the momentum of the counter-offensive against Kolchak before being transferred to the command of the Turkestan Front. Illustrating the Reds’ flexibility, Frunze was replaced on the Eastern Front (on 15 August 1919) by his polar opposite, General V.A. Ol′derogge (a veteran of service with the imperial army in the Russo-Japanese War), who would push eastwards to Krasnoiarsk before the front was disbanded on 15 January 1920—the day on which a train carrying a very special passenger steamed into Irkutsk station.

(p.119) Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak was to be among those Siberian Whites who did not reach Transbaikal. On 4 January 1920, in an obscure railway siding at Nizhneudinsk in Eastern Siberia that must have evoked memories of the one near Pskov that had witnessed the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917, Kolchak had stood down as supreme ruler, passing authority in South Russia to General Denikin and command of the Far East to Ataman Semenov. But although vouchsafed passage to the Far East by the Allies—the former Supreme Ruler’s train henceforth sported the flags of the Allied powers and was guarded by a Czech battalion—on arrival at Irkutsk both Kolchak and the remainder of the Imperial Russian Gold Reserve that was aboard his echelon were traded like so much war booty to the Political Center, the new SR–Menshevik insurgent authority around Baikal, by the Czechoslovak Legion. The nominal commander of the Legion, General Maurice Janin, shamefully refrained from interfering in this business (and, in truth, could probably not have persuaded the otherwise stranded and vulnerable Czechs to act otherwise). In return, the Legionnaires received guarantees of their own safe passage to the east, which they further buttressed by securing a truce with pursuing Red forces at Kuitun on 15 February 1920. Following a brief interrogation by the Political Center and the Bolshevik revkom that soon succeeded SR–Menshevik rule at Irkutsk,52 Kolchak was executed by Cheka firing squad on the morning of 7 February 1920 to dissuade White units approaching from the west from attempting to rescue him, and his body submerged beneath the ice of the river Ushakovka outside Irkutsk prison. Such was the tawdry and ignoble end of the White movement in Siberia, although a lengthy coda remained to be played out in the Far East.53

Denikin’s Moscow Offensive

The chief reason for the inability of General Denikin to move his forces toward a union with Kolchak’s Russian Army in the spring of 1919 was that he was still engaged in a general restructuring of the White armies in South Russia (to incorporate their Cossack allies) and had also fully to secure their rear and their base territory in the North Caucasus.54 Regarding the latter, the 11th and 12th Red Armies (constituting the Caspian–Caucasus Front, from 8 December 1918) had been mortally weakened by the Volunteers’ second Kuban campaign and were (with Tsaritsyn under siege) almost completely isolated from Moscow, but, despite the ice in the northern Caspian rendering temporarily useless the Astrakhan–Caspian Military Flotilla, Red forces in the (p.120) region could be resupplied to some extent by camel train from the Bolshevik stronghold of Astrakhan (where successive pro-White rebellions involving the Astrakhan Cossack Host were suppressed by Soviet forces in January–February and August 1918 and March 1919). This Red threat to the White rear was only nullified by a new campaign in early 1919 that sent White forces under General Wrangel and Generals A.G. Shkuro and V.L. Pokrovskii (both of whom were noted for their utter ruthlessness in dealing with the enemy) down the railway line parallel to the northern slopes of the Caucasus range to capture Kislovodsk, Piatigorsk (both 20 January 1919), Grozny (5 February 1919), and—after a brief siege—the capital of the Terek Cossack Host, Vladikavkaz (10 February 1919). In this campaign, the Whites had sometimes uncertain allies among the so-called Mountain Peoples of the North Caucasus, but Soviet forces, which were already disorganized and poorly disciplined, faced a temporarily more devastating foe in the typhus epidemic that decimated the 11th Red Army (although as a sign of its indiscriminate fickleness, the typhus then infected and almost killed Wrangel).55 An early Soviet account estimated that in its 250-mile retreat from Kizliar to the Red haven of Astrakhan, the 11th Red Army suffered 25,000 casualties.56

Wrangel’s glittering success in the south-east, against what had once been a 150,000-strong Red force (albeit now reduced to a vagrant and diseased rabble), was not repeated to Denikin’s north. A Don Cossack offensive did reach Liski (just 80 miles south of Voronezh) in November 1918, and Tsaritsyn remained under siege until January 1919, but Moscow was now throwing men and supplies at the Southern Front (which reached a strength of 120,000 men with almost 500 guns and 2,000 machine-guns by February 1919) and had salved the command irritations enflamed by voenspets–commissar friction during the Tsaritsyn affair both by recalling Stalin and other troublesome commissars and replacing the voenspets at the center of the dispute, General P.P. Sytin, in November 1918. Sytin’s immediate successor as front commander, Colonel P.A. Slaven, might have caused a disaster when he deserted to the Whites, but his successor (from 24 January 1919), the exceptionally able Colonel V.M. Gittis, organized a successful offensive from January 1919 against the Don Army. By April 1919, forces of the Southern Front (chiefly the 8th, 9th, 13th Red Armies and the 2nd Ukrainian Soviet Army) had recaptured Rostov-on-Don, and forced the rivers San and Manych, and were advancing on Bataisk and Tikhoretsk in the northern Kuban. The Cossacks’ plight, though, at least had the advantage of forcing a unified command upon anti-Bolshevik forces in the south: with the Germans evacuating and their (p.121) Ukrainian puppet Hetman ensconced in a sleeper berth on the express train to Berlin, the Don Cossacks had no choice but to switch their orientatsiia toward the pro-Allied Volunteers, even if this compromised their urge for autonomy.57 Consequently, at a meeting at Torgovaia stanitsa (Sal′sk, 100 miles south-east of Rostov) on 8 January 1919, the Don Army’s leadership agreed to its forces’ subordination to the Volunteers’ command. General Krasnov, now an awkward reminder of the Cossacks’ recent past as the Kaiser’s ally (or “whore,” as, according to Krasnov, Denikin preferred bluntly to phrase it)58 did the honorable thing and resigned as Host ataman on 19 February 1919, to be replaced by the pro-Volunteer pervopokhodnik General A.P. Bogaevskii.59 Similar arrangements were then made with the host governments of the Kuban and Terek Cossacks; and thus were created the Armed Forces of South Russia, with General Denikin as main commander-in-chief.

This organizational success was augmented by other developments that, by the summer of 1919, had swung the fortunes of war in the anti-Bolsheviks’ favor in the south. One important factor was the arrival at Novorossiisk of the first consignments of Allied aid—contingents of weapons that would eventually amount to almost 200,000 rifles and 500 million rounds of ammunition, over 1,000 heavy guns and 6,200 machine-guns, as well as around sixty tanks and 168 aircraft (together with vital training crews and engineers and spare parts, those associated with armory located at the Taganrog “Tankadrome”).60

Another bonus for the Whites was that even as Red forces moved south, in January–April 1919—far from their Moscow central command (where the RVSR had to deal simultaneously with the advance of Kolchak and the Red Army’s efforts to push into the Baltic and Ukraine), away from their bases and into the very hostile Cossack lands—the local Bolsheviks again engaged in ultra-radical policies that turned the populace against them. This time, added to the usual ultra-Bolshevik agenda of forced requisitions and Cheka expeditions, was a round of “de-Cossackization” that had resulted in the mass execution of at least 8,000 Don Cossacks within a few weeks of an order from the Bolshevik Central Committee of 24 January 1919 that called for “merciless mass terror” against the Don Host and implied the extermination of its military and political elite.61 A new uprising of the Don Cossacks began immediately across the northern Don territory (centered on Veshenskaia stanitsa, under Coronet P. Kundinov), in the rear of the Southern Front. There, from 11 March 1919 onwards, an estimated 30,000 insurgents created havoc in the rear of the 9th Red Army, while receiving supplies dropped by air from Denikin’s British planes, and tied down a similar number of Red troops in a hastily assembled counter-insurgency force that took several weeks to crush the (p.122) “Veshensk Rebellion.” Meanwhile, the Don Army of General P.Kh. Popov extended is sphere of operations further and further northward.62

Also a factor here was that the Whites were relieved of any meaningful pressure on their left flank, in south-eastern Ukraine. There, the disorder engendered to the west by the Hryhroriiv uprising had been echoed with a turn against Moscow among the Bolsheviks’ other main Ukrainian ally, Nestor Makhno’s Revolutionary Insurgent Army. Makhno and his anarchists—although, contrary to legend, no strangers to military hierarchy—chafed under the discipline demanded of them as a constituent force of the 14th Red Army by the commander of the Southern Front, Colonel Gittis, and resisted the extension of formal Soviet power into their own home region (the so-called “Free Territory”) around Guliai-Pole (the birthplace, in Ekaterinoslav guberniia, of Nestor Makhno, Petr Gavrilenko, Semen Karetnikov, Fedor Shchus′, G.S. Vasilevskii, B.V. Veretel′nikov, and several other senior Makhnovist commanders). Consequently, in May–June 1919, White forces commanded by the energetic and unpredictable General Shkuro were able to burst through the Makhnovist lines.63 Trotsky immediately declared Makhno to be an outlaw and there ensued another of the series of Soviet–Makhno conflicts that dotted the calendar of the civil war in this region.64

Despite these factors favoring the Whites, the Reds retained a numerical advantage over their opponents on the Don of something like 2:1 (c.90,000:c.45,000 troops) in June 1919, and enjoyed very tangible advantages in artillery and machine-guns, but what they still lacked in this very mobile war were large and effective cavalry formations. At this point, the cavalry was still distained by the Bolsheviks, as both an allegedly obsolete form of military organization in the age of the airplane and the tank and, as the most elitist corps of the former imperial army, the most likely breeding ground of counter-revolutionaries. The Whites, by contrast—and perhaps by deliberation—idolized the cavalry and one of their most effective and experienced horse commanders, General V.Z. Mai-Maevskii, as commander of the Azov and then the Don Group of the AFSR and then (from 10 May 1919) commander of the Volunteer Army itself, utilized comparatively small forces of them (in combination with the dense network of railways in the Don region and concentrated aerial surveillance) in a series of brilliantly executed coups to scatter Red forces across the Don in May–June 1919.65

In comparison to Lieutenant-General Mai-Maevskii, who had commanded the 1st Guards Army Corps in 1917, Red komandarmy on the Southern Front at this juncture were severely lacking in experience. Some had (p.123) huge promise, especially the Red commanders Tukhachevskii (8th Red Army, 24 January–15 March 1919) and A.I. Egorov (10th Red Army, 26 December 1918–25 May 1919), but most others—A.E. Skachko (2nd Ukrainian Soviet Army, 7 April–7 June 1919), T.S. Khvesin (8th Red Army, 15 March–18 May 1919), V.V. Liubimov (8th Red Army, 3 April–8 May 1919), P.E. Kniagnitskii (9th Red Army, 23 November 1918–6 June 1919), and I.S. Kozhevnikov (13th Red Army, 6 March–16 April 1919)—were of mettle to match only their less than elevated status as junior officers and NCOs in the tsarist army. They tended, rightly, to be removed from their army commands during or soon after the reversals suffered on the Southern Front in the summer of 1919 and none of them would ever rise again to such an exalted post. Moreover, any good work the Red komandarmy of the Southern Front may have done in the first half of 1919 was probably undone, as the second half of that year dawned, by the desertion to the Whites of another of their number, Colonel N.D. Vsevolodov. Vsevolodov only commanded the 9th Red Army for ten days (6–16 June 1919) before his flight, but he had been its chief of staff for six months prior to that (29 October 1918–20 April 1919) and had probably been relaying information across the lines before his sudden disappearance.66

With the Red Army’s Southern Front in disarray and much of its immediate rear in flames, Denikin’s forces finally struck in June 1919 (just as Kolchak’s Russian Army was abandoning the Urals). In the west, White cavalry overran much of Southern Ukraine, as far as the lower Dnepr and the city of Ekaterinoslav (which fell to General Shkuro’s merciless “White Wolves” on 29–30 June 1919), while General N.N. Shilling’s 3rd Army Corps (the former Crimean–Azov Volunteer Army) cleared the Reds from the Crimea and moved across the Perekop isthmus into northern Tauride. In the center of the AFSR front, meanwhile, Mai-Maevskii’s Volunteer Army smashed the Reds’ hurriedly improvised Khar′kov Fortified Region and, on 27 June 1919, occupied Khar′kov itself—the major industrial city of eastern Ukraine, a key railway junction and capital of the (chiefly phantom) Ukrainian SSR—while the Don Army (under General V.I. Sidorin) united with the Cossack rebels at Veshenskaia to expel Soviet forces from the entire Host territory by the end of June. Further east, after a series of initially repulsed northward advances from the Manych, the Kuban Cossacks of the Caucasian Army (commanded by the inspirational General Wrangel) finally, with the aid of British aircraft and tanks, broke through the barbed-wire-ringed defenses of Tsaritsyn, and occupied the long-besieged “Red Verdun” on 30 June 1919, snaring 40,000 prisoners (p.124) and more than 2,000 railway wagons of stores and munitions in the process.67 Trotsky’s imprecation in May 1919 that “This spring and this summer we must finish with the Southern Front for good and all” had been spectacularly ineffective.68

On 3 July 1919, having attended a victory parade of Wrangel’s forces outside the Kazan′ Cathedral in central Tsaritsyn, General Denikin then delivered one of the most fateful orders of the entire civil war. According to the main commander’s Order No. 08878, better known as the “Moscow Directive,” the AFSR was instructed to move on to a general advance, along the network of railway lines converging on the ancient capital—a strategic offensive aimed at “the occupation of the heart of Russia, Moscow.” To that end, the Volunteer Army was to progress on a line through Kursk, Orel, and Tula to Moscow; the Don Army was to pass through Voronezh and Riazan′ to Moscow; and the Caucasian Army was to move in a loop from Tsaritsyn through Saratov, Nizhnii Novgorod, and Vladimir to Moscow.69 Posters and banners urging forces “To Moscow” suddenly sprang up across the White territory. To some, including Wrangel, this smacked of recklessness, but Denikin was probably right to gamble on a repeat of the sort of impulsive victory the Volunteers had already pulled off—by sheer force of will, time and time again, and against numerically superior forces—before the Red Army’s rich and populous base territory could produce numbers of recruits and weapons that no amount of appeals to the “White idea” could out-gun.

Interestingly, Denikin’s order made no mention of operations west of the River Dnepr, which he clearly intended to act as a defensive barrier on the left flank of the AFSR (and perhaps as a cordon against the Ukrainian anarchy that seemed to infect all who came in contact with it), but it was in the nature of the civil-war chaos that it was beyond the Dnepr, in right-bank Ukraine, where many initial AFSR successes actually came. As the Red Ukrainian Front shattered and the 14th Red Army disintegrated, White forces captured Poltava (29 July 1919), Kherson, and Nikolaev (18 August 1919). On 23 August 1919, assisted by marines landed by the Black Sea Fleet, White forces also captured the key port of Odessa and on the same day entered the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.70

A second impressive White operation launched in these weeks was also absent from the Moscow Directive (which might suggest that Denikin’s control of the AFSR was less complete than he might have wished): on 10 August (p.125) 1919, taking advantage of a gap in the Southern Front at Novokhopersk, between the 8th and 9th Red Armies, General K.K. Mamontov launched an immensely damaging excursion of Cossack forces (the 4th Don Cavalry Corps) into the rear of the Red lines (the “Mamontov Raid”), capturing Tambov (18 August 1919, almost netting Trotsky himself in the process), wrecking lines of communication to the Reds’ Southern Front and forcing the Soviet authorities to declare a state of siege across a broad region encompassing Riazan′, Tula, Orel′, Voronezh, Tambov, and Penza gubernii. For one day (11–12 September 1919), Mamontov even occupied the city of Voronezh, where his larcenous troops made merry and looted everything they could carry, as they had throughout the operation.71

Meanwhile, further east, Wrangel’s Caucasian Army (manned chiefly by Kuban Cossacks) pushed north from Tsaritsyn, up the Volga through Kamyshin (captured by forces commanded by General V.L. Pokrovskii on 28 July 1919) to a point just 60 miles short of Saratov in the first days of August. But, hampered by the absence of a railway line along the Volga, the Caucasian Army, which was in dire need of supplies and reinforcements, could get no further in a sector that was also being rapidly reinforced by the Reds with units switched from the Eastern Front (notably, most of the complement of the former 2nd Red Army). The Caucasian Army was also in desperate need of reserves and re-provisioning, but got scant help from the Kuban—despite a series of urgent appeals from Wrangel to Ataman V.G. Naumenko and even a personal emergency begging mission to Ekaterinodar by Wrangel that it must have pained the haughty baron terribly to undertake.72 Consequently, by the end of August, Wrangel’s forces were back in Tsaritsyn. Faced thereafter with a special “Striking Group” of Red Forces commanded by the voenspets Colonel V.I. Shorin (reconstituted as a new South Eastern Front from 27 September 1919), the Caucasian Army might have lost Tsaritsyn too had Shorin not been obliged to divert troops westward to deal with the Mamontov Raid, and would never again make significant northward progress (although it would not surrender Tsaritsyn until 2 January 1920). Wrangel’s force’s intermittent contacts on the left bank of the Volga with outliers of Kolchak’s fugitive Urals Army only sharpened a bitter sense of what might have been had the southern and Siberian White armies been able to combine effectively.

With its left flank fanning out across Ukraine and its right flank stalled on the Volga, the AFSR’s double-pronged spearhead was now formed by the Volunteer Army and the Don Army. Their departure north was delayed by a series of Red counter-attacks in August–September and, as the juncture (p.126) between them was levered open in August, by a 100-mile thrust to Kupansk (captured on 25 August 1919) launched in mid-August by a Red strike force consisting of the 8th Red Army and parts of the 13th Red Army under Lieutenant-General V.I. Selivachev, former commander of the imperial Russian 7th Army in 1917. But Selivachev’s group of forces progressed no further than Kupansk and the entire Red front seemed in disarray at this point, as Trotsky, Lenin, S.S. Kamenev, the RVSR and its Field Staff, and the Bolshevik Party leadership all proposed conflicting schemes and choices of commander to deal with the AFSR.73 So, in late September, Denikin’s great Moscow offensive got underway, with its spine along the Khar′kov–Kursk–Orel–Tula–Moscow railway and its mailed fist consisting of the crack divisions of the Volunteer Army—notably its “colorful units” (the Drozdovtsy, Kornilovtsy, and Markovtsy), named for the fallen heroes of 1918.74 Kursk was captured on 20 September 1919, with Red units deserting en masse to Mai-Maevskii’s forces, and on 14 October 1919, the city of Orel fell to the Kornilovtsy, placing the White vanguard just over 200 miles from Moscow, primed to advance further and anticipating the opportunity to rearm en route, as their forces passed through the city of Tula, home of the arsenal founded by Peter the Great 200 years earlier. On the Volunteers’ right flank, meanwhile, General Shkuro captured Voronezh on 30 September 1919 and welcomed the Don Army into the city a few days later.

The North West Army, the Landeswehr War, and the Siege of Petrograd

Denikin’s now converging thrusts toward Moscow seemed all the more inexorable and irresistible because they coincided with another White advance, by the North West Army on Petrograd—precisely the sort of combined and synchronous operations that had eluded the AFSR and Kolchak’s Russian Army six months earlier. The North West Army (which until 1 July 1919 was called the Northern Army Corps) was created on 19 June 1919, in Estonia, on the basis of the former Pskov Volunteer Corps (numbering perhaps 6,000 men in total) and other White units operating in the Baltic region, many of which had initially been sponsored, armed, and uniformed by the local German forces.75

The Pskov Volunteer Corps had been created at its namesake city, from September 1918 onwards, by Captains V.G. von Rozenberg and A.K. Gershel′man (local representatives of an underground officer organization in Petrograd) and was then commanded by General A.E. Vandam (from October 1918), Colonel A.F. Dzerozhinskii (January–May 1919), and Major-General (p.127) A.P. Rodzianko (from 1 June 1919). By late November 1918, with the encouragement and assistance of local German forces, it had registered some 4,500 volunteers—about half of them officers of the imperial Russian Army (some of them repatriated from German POW camps), the rest consisting of students and other elements—but was nevertheless forced out of the city by the Red Army, as the Germans withdrew after the armistice. Most of the Corps then moved on to Estonian territory. Although the Pskov Corps was now formally subordinated to the Estonian Army, as the Russian Whites found themselves in the uncomfortable position of fighting the Bolsheviks on the nationalists’ side during the Estonian War of Independence, the Estonian authorities regarded them with suspicion bordering on hostility (and rightly so, as most of the White officers of the Pskov Corps were firmly opposed to Estonian independence). Consequently, the Estonians insisted, on 4 December 1918, that the Corps’ complement should not exceed 3,500 men, although by the time of its offensive in May 1919 it probably numbered some 4,500 once again. Its chief components were the 1st Pskov Volunteer Rifle Regiment, the 2nd Ostrovskii Volunteer Rifle regiment, the 3rd Rezhitsk Volunteer Rifle Corps, and the Independent Detachment of S.N. Bułak-Bałachowicz (which had deserted from the Red Army near Luga in November 1918), each of which mustered some 800 men. On 1 June 1919, the Pskov Rifle Corps was named as an Independent Corps of the Northern Army. On 19 June 1919 the Corps left the Estonian Army, and from 1 July 1919 it formed the kernel of the new White North West Army.76

Command of the North West Army was then taken by General N.N. Iudenich, one of Russia’s most successful commanders of the world war, whose tenure as commander of the Caucasus Army had witnessed the notable victory over the Turks at the Battle of Sarıkamış (December 1914–January 1915). On 5 June 1919, Iudenich (who had previously been working underground against the Bolsheviks in Petrograd before fleeing to Finland, in October 1918, to found the anti-Bolshevik Russian Committee in Helsinki) had been named by Admiral Kolchak as main commander of forces on the North West Front.77 An initial move against Petrograd, in May–June 1919, however, achieved little success, despite the arrival of Iudenich during its prosecution: the Northern Corps undertook an offensive from 13 May 1919, capturing Gdov (15 May 1919), Iamburg (17 May 1919), and, once more, Pskov (25 May 1919), but were then driven back from Luga and Gatchina in early June and finally evacuated Pskov on 28 August 1919. Apart from the superior strength of local Red forces, this failure was caused chiefly by the grave distractions (p.128) being created in the rear of the North West Front by White units that were nominally subordinate to its command. The very weakly developed White political authorities in the region (the North West Government, chaired by the oil baron S.G. Lianozov, who also served also as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance in that cabinet, bearing witness, perhaps, to the dearth of political talent available to Iudenich) proved also to be entirely incapable of motivating the local population to support the anti-Bolshevik drive.78 That, however, did not prevent the ever-optimistic Whites from fashioning a very short-lived (and Kadet-dominated) Petrograd Government in October 1919, ready to assume control of the city once the Bolsheviks had fled.

In theory, the North West Front included also the rogue Western Volunteer Army that had been created by the unpredictable General P.R. Bermondt-Avalov, who, in the course of the civil wars, was a cuckoo in several other forces’ nests. In the spring and summer of 1919, certainly, Bermondt-Avalov seemed more interested in allying with German formations in the Baltic theater, loosely united as the Baltische Landeswehr, notably those of General Rüdiger von der Goltz (the Iron Division), who arrived from his previous service in Finland to drive the Latvian national government of Kārlis Ulmanis out of Riga on 22–23 May 1919, establishing there the short-lived pro-German puppet regime of Pastor Andrievs Niedra, before turning north to attack Estonia—all part of the so-called Landeswehr War. Soon, though, outnumbered by the 8,000-strong Estonian 3rd Division (incorporating the Latvian Northern Brigade of Jorģis Zemitāns), commanded by General Ernst Põdder, which could also deploy armored trains captured from the Red Army and the battle-hardened partisan unit founded by Julius Kuperjanov, the Bermondtians were put to the sword. After a major battle on 23 June 1919, the Estonians also recaptured Cēsis (Wenden) from von der Goltz and the Germans hastily began to retreat towards Riga. On 3 July 1919, with Estonian and Latvian forces at the gates of Riga, a ceasefire was hastily imposed by the Allies and German forces were ordered to leave Latvia—although many surreptitiously joined the Bermondtians, who remained in the field and even captured part of Riga again in November 1919, before being forced to disperse by the Allies.79

While this distraction was being played out in his rear, Iudenich set about expanding and restructuring the other, marginally more controllable, forces at his command. Thus, from 24 August 1919, the North West Army consisted of the 1st and 2nd Army (Rifle) Corps (commanded by General A.P. von der Pahlen and General E.K. Arsen′ev respectively) and the 1st (p.129) (Independent) Infantry Division. By October 1919, this had expanded to two rifle corps, five infantry divisions, and other smaller units (totaling some 18,500 men in the active army and 50,000 in all), supported by four armored trains, six tanks, two armored cars, and six aircraft. The North West Army also had operational command of some small sections of the White Fleet (flotillas on the River Narva and Lake Chud, for example). One in ten of the complement of the army were officers, including fifty-three generals.

Despite the failure of its May–June 1919 offensive, Iudenich’s force had at that point moved beyond the Estonian border to occupy a strip of chiefly Russian-populated territory east of the River Narva and Lake Chud. It had the advantage that the Red Army was facing revolts within its own forces and had to deal also with the troublesome presence of the Royal Navy in the Baltic and even in the Gulf of Finland.80 The North West Army also had at its back the Estonian Army of General Johan Laidoner. The Estonian forces remained generally inactive on the anti-Bolshevik front, but were, at least—in comparison to Denikin’s struggles with the Georgians around Sochi and the Mountaineers in the North Caucasus—not overtly hostile (and, indeed, were only too glad to help usher the Russian Whites as far as possible off Estonian territory). Iudenich was thus able to launch a strategic offensive on 12 October 1919, capturing Luga (16 October 1919), thereby cutting Red communications to Pskov (which Estonian forces, now commanded by the talented General Jānis Balodis, entered on 20 October), and even investing the Petrograd palace suburbs of Gatchina (16 October 1919) and Tsarskoe Selo (20 October 1919), which were only 25 and 12 miles respectively from Nevskii Prospekt and the beckoning Winter Palace itself. The commanders of the armies of both Kolchak and Denikin had imagined at various points that they could hear the tolling of the Kremlin bells in Moscow, but Iudenich’s men really could see the autumn sun glinting off the great golden dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral in central Petrograd, whose defenses had been depleted by the dispatch to other fronts of many of its Bolshevized workers and sailors.81

With the arrival of Trotsky’s train in the revolutionary citadel of Petrograd on 17 October 1919, however, the Whites’ fortunes changed forever. In energetic collaboration with Colonel V.M. Gittis (now commander of the Western Front) and komandarm Colonel S.D. Kharlamov and General N.D. Nadezhnyi—all of them the sort of tough and experienced voenspetsy that Trotsky had long favored—a hurriedly reinforced 7th Red Army (with a strength of 40,000 men, 453 field guns, 708 machine-guns, six armored trains, and twenty-three aircraft) was able to halt the advance of General D.R. Vetrenko’s 3rd Division (p.130) of the North West Army before it severed the vital artery of the Moscow–Petrograd railway. Soviet forces then initiated an immediate counter-offensive, on 21 October 1919, that rapidly overwhelmed their opponents, who were inferior in numbers and arms. As Iudenich’s shattered forces limped back across the Estonian border, they were disarmed and interned by their unwelcoming hosts.82 This final development coincided with the arrangement of a Soviet–Estonian ceasefire (5 December 1919) and a formal armistice on 31 December 1919 (there had actually been no fighting to speak of between the two sides for six months), which led swiftly to the subsequent Treaty of Tartu (2 February 1920), bringing an end to the civil-war hostilities between the two countries and sealing the independence of Estonia. That settlement was, in turn, succeeded by the equally quite uncontentious treaties of the RSFSR with Lithuania (Treaty of Moscow, 12 July 1920), Latvia (Treaty of Riga, 11 August 1920), and Finland (Treaty of Tartu, 14 October 1920) that brought to a close the civil wars and wars of independence in the north-west.83

Here we might briefly pause to consider the role that Leon Trotsky, the architect of the Red Army, had played in all this. The dramatic arrival of his train at Petrograd during the days of Iudenich’s offensive might have been the war commissar’s finest hour as an inspirer and organizer of the Red Army. A contemporary testament, from his friend Karl Radek, does a good job of conveying the awe in which Trotsky was subsequently held by some elements of the party (and suggests the origins of more jealous functionaries’ subsequent resentment of such a star). Radek—who, of course, should not be mistaken for a typical Bolshevik, but was nevertheless (despite his cultured individualism) representative of one strand of Bolshevism—in a work devoted to “The Organizer of Victory,” proposed that “L.D. [Lev Davidovich] Personified the Revolution.” In 1923, he wrote:

It was only a man who works like Trotsky, a man who spares himself as little at Trotsky, who can speak to the soldiers as only Trotsky can—it was only such a man who could be the standard bearer of the armed working people. He has been everything in one person. He has thought out the strategic advice given by experts and has combined it with a correct estimate of the proportions of social forces; he knew how to unite in one movement the impulses of fourteen fronts, of the ten thousand communists who informed headquarters as to what the real army is and how it is possible to operate with it; he understood how to combine all this in one strategic plan and one scheme of organization, And in all this splendid work he understood better than anyone else how to apply the knowledge of the significance of the moral factor in war.84

(p.131) The emphasis of “the moral factor,” here, was an interesting aspect of Radek’s analysis. We will return to that. In general, though, Trotsky’s transformation from a propagandist, with a few months’ experience as a war correspondent in the Balkans in 1912,85 to the organizer of a multi-million-strong army was remarkable. He was not immune from strategic mistakes: his baiting of the Germans at Brest-Litovsk in February 1918 bought little time, angered the German military, and might have led to their deciding to topple the Soviet regime rather than treat with it; and in June–July 1919, had he been allowed to curtail the Red Army’s advance across the Urals, Kolchak’s forces might have been able to regroup and join forces with Denikin during the latter’s Moscow offensive. But Trotsky’s ability to inspire loyalty, his ability to choose wise advisors, and, perhaps above all, his willingness to modify his principles (in particular with regard to the creation of a traditional army staffed by tsarist officers) more than compensated for that. As the voenkom himself put it:

Without constant changes and improvisations the war would have been utterly impossible for us … I do not want to say that we always succeeded in this. But as the civil war has demonstrated, we did achieve the principal thing—victory.86

Also in his arsenal Trotsky had the mobile command and propaganda center to which he and others simply referred as “the train” (formally known as the Train of the Chairman of the Revvoensovet of the Republic). This remarkable institution was formed in Moscow on 7 August 1918, during the great crisis on the Volga. It initially consisted of two armored engines and twelve wagons and was immediately dispatched for Sviiazhsk, on the Volga Front, with a unit of Latvian Riflemen on board. In the course of the civil wars, the train made thirty-six such visits to the various Red fronts and traveled at least 75,000 miles. The train, recalled Trotsky, initiated changes at the front, regulated them, and tied the front to the rear: “The train earned the hatred of its enemies and was proud of it.”87 As the insightful and cultured A.V. Lunacharskii put it, in his collection of candid pen-portraits of his comrades, this was something that Lenin simply could not have done. Although he was soon back at work after the assassination attempt of August 1918, Lenin was never again fully fit and:

could never have coped with the titanic mission, which Trotsky took upon his shoulders with those lightening moves from place to place, those astounding speeches, those fanfares of on-the-spot orders, the role of being the unceasing electrifier of a weakening army, now at one spot, now at another. There is not a man on earth who could have replaced Trotsky in that respect.88

(p.132) The train, from which Trotsky and his reputation became inseparable, was in action against White forces on thirteen occasions during the civil wars, suffered fifteen casualties (and fifteen more “missing”), and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for its part in deflecting the North West Army’s advance on Petrograd of October 1919. However, its role was not chiefly to fight. Rather, the train provided a secure and mobile base for the central army command and was an inspirational symbol of Bolshevik authority. As Trotsky put it in his memoirs: “The strongest cement in the new army was the ideas of the October Revolution, and the train supplied the front with this cement.”89

North Russia

Iudenich’s efforts might have borne richer fruit had Petrograd been seriously and simultaneously threatened from the north in 1919. But, although Allied forces and their Russian and Karelian allies were advancing down the Murmansk–Petrograd railway to Medvezhia Gora (Medvezh′egorsk), on the northern shores of Lake Onega, and then on toward Petrozavodsk by late May 1919, although a Finnish unit had at the same time crossed the border and was closing on the same city by June, and although (also in May–June) British marines (with a small fleet of well-armed monitors and gunboats) undertook offensives up the rivers Vaga and Northern Dvina toward Kotlas, as other interventionist forces (including US detachments) sortied down the railway from Arkhangel′sk towards Vologda, none of this seriously threatened Petrograd or offered succor to Iudenich.90 Indeed, it was not intended to do so. The Finns (in their so-called Aunus Expedition, one of several campaigns known collectively as the Kinship Wars) were seeking to detach southern (Olonets) Karelia from Soviet Russia and knew that such an outcome would hardly be countenanced by the Whites, while the British offensives and the 8,000-strong North Russian Relief force that arrived in May–June 1919 were intended only to push the Bolsheviks back, so as to facilitate the complete withdraw of Allied forces that had been agreed upon in April 1919, got underway in June of that year and was completed with the evacuation of Arkhangel′sk (26–27 September 1919) and Murmansk (12 October 1919). Even the construction by the British of a seaplane and motor-boat facility at Medvezhia Gora seems not to have been intended to facilitate a further White advance on Petrograd, but only to ensure that the collapse of the Russian Whites—although it would certainly come—would not come until at least a decent interval had elapsed since the hurried departure of their erstwhile “allies.” The abandoned Russians (p.133) were hardly fooled: Colonel L.V. Kostandi, chief of operations on General Miller’s staff, returned his British service awards to the Allied commander, General Edmund Ironside, while the fighter ace Major A.A. Kazakov, the most notable Russian pilot of the era, in an act of protest deliberately smashed his British plane into the ground on 1 August 1919, killing himself instantly in a suicidal act of protest against the perfidy of the Allies.91

The last chapter of the northern saga of the civil wars closed with the evacuations of Arkhangel′sk and Murmansk by their last, desperate White defenders in early 1920, but it had always been the strangest of the theaters of struggle. It boasted by far the greatest concentration of Allied troops of the intervention (if one discounts the peculiar Japanese presence in the Far East) and, in the towering and bluff commander of Allied British forces, General Edmund (“Tiny”) Ironside, had a figurehead that no Bolshevik propagandist of anti-imperialism could have better caricatured.92 White forces in the north were also well served by General Miller: his anti-revolutionary credentials (involving almost being lynched by soldiers in April 1917, for banning those under his command from sporting red ribbons) might have been at least matched by those of Admiral Kolchak (who had thrown his Sword of Honor into Sevastopol′ harbor rather than surrender it to Red sailors in July 1917) and was bested by Kornilov (who had deserters illegally hanged in June 1917), but no other White or nationalist soldier was better qualified militarily than Miller, who had commanded the 26th Army Corps of the Russian Army at the peak of his long career. Yet, in this sparsely populated polar wilderness, where many potential peasant conscripts were Karelians and shied away from the Russian incomers (or even sought union with Finland), Miller was all too often the epitome of the general without troops. Although the Whites would claim a complement of more than 50,000 in late 1919 (after the Allies had departed and the situation was rendered entirely hopeless), Miller’s Northern Army rarely mustered more than 5–10,000 volunteers, as men were rounded up and pressed into service, received their rations and uniforms, and then routinely disappeared back into the taiga. This necessitated such local innovations as the Slavo-British Legion, which is now chiefly remembered for all the wrong reasons—as the only unit of the civil war in which Russian conscripts mutinied against and then killed four of their British officers.93

Miller’s counterpart on the other side of the front was the commander of the 6th Red Army A.A. Samoilo, who, being also a veteran genshtabist (and chief of staff of the imperial Russian 10th Army in 1917), would have been well known to the White leader. Their subsequent fates evoke the diverse (p.134) paths available to those who survived the civil wars. Far from settling down to an uncomfortable life as a Paris taxi driver or doorman, Miller devoted himself to the White cause, becoming head of the movement’s army-in-exile, ROVS, from May 1930, only to be abducted by Stalin’s NKVD in September 1937 and smuggled back to Moscow, where he was subsequently executed. For his part, Samoilo, like most other voenspetsy, was retired from his command after the civil war and moved into education work. But unlike most voenspetsy, he was not done away with in the OGPU’s Operation “Spring” of 1930–31, or in the army purges of the 1937–38, but survived, was made lieutenant-general of aviation of the Soviet Army in 1940, at longlast joined the Communist Party in 1944, and in retirement, during Khrushchev’s post-Stalin thaw, was even allowed to write his memoirs.94

The Collapse of the AFSR, October 1919–April 1920

What proved to be the turning point for the Reds on the Southern Front against Denikin came when Glavkom Kamenev and Trotsky put together a new striking group, featuring strong contingents of the Red veterans of the Latvian and Estonian Riflemen, which drove into the left flank of the Volunteer Army, almost cutting off the Kornilovtsy and facilitating the Reds’ reoccupation of Orel on 20 October 1919, thereby denying White forces the opportunity of re-equipping at Tula. At the same time, the Volunteers were hit on the opposite flank by an impressive raid launched by a new Red phenomenon—S.M. Budennyi’s 1st Cavalry Corps (from 19 November 1919, the 1st Cavalry Army, or Konarmiia), the result made flesh of Trotsky’s summons of six weeks earlier, “Proletarians, To Horse!”95 This unexpected transformation of “Communists into cavalrymen,” as Trotsky put it (although, in truth, the cavalrymen themselves were overwhelmingly of Cossack not proletarian origin), forced General Shkuro to surrender the key city of Voronezh to Budennyi on 24 October 1919, effectively severing the Volunteers’ communications with the Don Army to their east and with their main fortified rear on the Don. When the Konarmiia then pushed on to capture the railway junction at Kastornoe (on the Voronezh–Kursk line), disaster loomed for the Whites—and loomed larger when Khar′kov fell as early as 11 December 1919. Until this point, the Volunteers’ 150-mile withdrawal had been relatively orderly, but beyond Khar′kov, with the railway lines crammed with typhus-ridden civilian refugees and military casualties, a further headlong 300-mile flight began that by the first week of 1920 saw the remains of the force that had been, just two (p.135) months earlier, so close to capturing Moscow streaming across the frozen river Don and once more into the North Caucasus.96

In rapid pursuit was the Konarmiia, now boasting more than 15,000 horsemen supported by eight armored trains and its own squadron of aircraft. It and other Red forces, now vastly outnumbering and out-gunning their opponents, captured Rostov-on-Don and Novocherkassk on the same day, 7 January 1920, but were then briefly delayed as the ice on the Don began to break up.97 Meanwhile, the left flank of the AFSR also recoiled from the 12th and 14th Red Armies, as Kiev fell on 16 December 1919 and Odessa on 7 February 1920.98 The attempted White evacuation of the latter—the third such awful hemorrhage the great port had suffered during the civil wars—was a shambles, with the local commander General Shilling (formally governor-general and commander of the Military Forces of New Russia and Crimea) drawing universal criticism for abandoning tens of thousands of retreating AFSR forces and civilians to the Reds.99 About 27,000 stranded Whites in right-bank Ukraine, cut off from any hope of escape via the Black Sea ports, then embarked in late January with their commander, General N.E. Bredov, on a painful 300-mile forced march northward along the left (Russian, now Soviet) bank of the Dnestr, having been forbidden to cross to the sanctuary of the formerly Russian (now Romanian) right (Bessarabian) bank by the nervous authorities in Bucharest. As if that was not humiliation enough, the survivors of the “Bredov March” were interned in Poland, when forced across its border by a Red Army that Piłsudski was still, in naked self-interest, refusing to fight.100 The only saving grace for the AFSR was that General Slashchov’s 3rd Corps of the Volunteers had cut through Makhno’s insurgents in Northern Tauride to reach and then hold the Perekop isthmus, thereby safeguarding the Crimean peninsula as a haven for the fleeing Whites.

As might be expected, the victors of this very dramatic turnaround won the most enduring laurels of the civil war. And none was more laurelled than Semen Budennyi: the son of a landless peasant from the Don Cossack lands, he became one of the five inaugural Marshals of the Soviet Union in 1935 and (unlike the other four) remained of untarnished reputation in the USSR. Despite a very mixed (some would claim disastrous) record of command early in the Second World War, he was wheeled out on parade to display his ever more extravagant moustaches and rekindle memories of glorious times, almost until the day of his death in 1973. Conversely, the White collapse sowed discord among the White leadership and a sense of disorientation, as participants in the retreat tried to keep track of kaleidoscopic changes in command—and (p.136) even of where Denikin and his stavka were actually located, as headquarters shifted almost weekly (from Taganrog, to Rostov, to Tikhoretskaia, to Ekaterinodar, and finally to Novorossiisk in the first weeks of 1920). One of Denikin’s first reactions to the sudden collapse was to replace General Mamontov at the head of the Don Army with General S.G. Ulagai, thus infuriating the Don Cossacks (who were already deserting en masse to the Reds, as the latter approached their home territories). In December 1919, Denikin then transferred General Wrangel to the command of the Volunteer Army (replacing the now permanently drunk Mai-Maevskii, who was retired). This was far too late for Wrangel to effect the sort of concentrated Cossack push against Moscow that he had long favored over Denikin’s multi-pronged Moscow Directive, and the baron was quick to remind Denikin of this—in a typically tactless letter he sent to his commander in mid-February 1920. Although a recent biographer of Wrangel has highlighted that the baron subsequently censored the letter for publication in his memoirs, omitting passages that he deemed to have been too personal in their attacks on Denikin—expunging, for example, a description of Denikin as a man “poisoned by ambition and the taste of power, surrounded by dishonest flatterers” and one who was “no longer preoccupied with saving the country, but only with preserving power”101—Denikin would, of course, have seen the original version and was consequently enraged. Moreover, and most disloyally, the contents of the letter had been leaked by Wrangel to the press and were published widely. One can sense the rage bubbling beneath the surface of Denikin’s outwardly calm reply of 25 February 1920:

Dear Sir, Peter Nikolaevich!

Your letter has come just at the right time—at the most difficult moment, when all my spiritual strength must be concentrated on preventing the collapse of the front. I hope that you are satisfied.

If I still had a vestige of doubt concerning your role in the struggle for power, your letter has eliminated it completely. It does not contain a single word of truth. You know this. It presents monstrous accusations, which you do not believe yourself. They are obviously made for the same purpose for which your preceding pamphlet-reports were reproduced and circulated.

You are doing everything you can to undermine the government and bring on disintegration.

There was a time when, suffering from a grave illness, you said to [your chief of staff] Iuzefovich that this was God’s punishment for your inordinate ambitiousness. May He forgive you now for the harm you have done to the Russian cause.

A. Denikin102

(p.137) The extent, beyond talk and denunciations, of Wrangel’s “conspiracy” against Denikin remains obscure. Wires were certainly crossed at a very confused and nervous time, and the fact that several key commanders were sending Denikin telegrams at this time urging him to make Wrangel commander of the Crimea need not necessarily have portended any coup. Moreover, Wrangel certainly had nothing to do with a rogue White band of deserters and various malcontents under a Captain Orlov, who at this time were advancing from the central mountains of the Crimea towards Sevastopol′ and issuing proclamations in which Wrangel was hailed as “our new leader” and calling upon “officers, Cossacks, soldiers and sailors” to join in the cry of “Long live General Wrangel—the strong man with the mighty soul!”103 But that could have not failed to confirm further in Denikin’s mind that he was under a concerted attack from his (in)subordinates. Consequently, in the midst of all this, Wrangel was removed from his active command (2 January 1920). He was subsequently accused of conspiring against the AFSR leadership and, on 28 February 1920, was obliged to leave Russia for exile in Constantinople.104

There was still some time for the playing out of feuds in the Red ranks also, as delays in crossing the Don and the Manych enflamed those anxious for a quick kill and made vulnerable those who, for various reasons, had earned the enmity of the man of the moment, Budennyi. Thus, first Colonel Shorin was dismissed as head of the South East Front, which finally took Tsaritsyn only on 2 January 1920, having been set that task back in August 1919. Then, the charismatic cavalryman B.M. Dumenko, a rival to Budennyi as the “first saber of the republic” and chief inspirer of the liberation of the Don over the previous months, was arrested and shot for involvement in the death of his military commissar.105

Moreover, the Reds were not without broader tribulations of their own: by early 1920 the forces in the south-east were very far from their home territories, were occupying generally hostile Cossack lands (and were poised to attack more of the same), and were exhausted after their 450-mile counter-thrust against the Whites. Even Budennyi no longer seemed invincible, as his typhus-ravaged force lost most of its artillery in a disastrous effort to storm the Manych, leading to fulminations from Lenin in Moscow regarding the poor state of the troops on the Caucasus Front and “the flabbiness of the over-all command” and panicky predictions that Rostov, Novocherkassk, and even the Donbass might soon be surrendered to the Whites.106 Denikin, therefore, ignored murmurings that he should resign and recall Wrangel, while making more changes and concessions to local sentiments in a last-ditch effort to shore up his regime. (p.138) It was, thus, the ataman of the Don Cossack Host, General A.P. Bogaevskii, who was chosen to replace the disgraced Volunteer General Lukomskii as head of the Government of the Main Commander of the AFSR (itself merely a new version of the Special Council, but with appropriately repositioned deckchairs), while it was the commander of the Don Army, General V.I. Sidorin, who took command of the front. But this was all to no avail: a general All-Cossack Supreme Krug gathered in January 1920 (with representatives of the Don, Kuban, Terek, Astrakhan, and other hosts) was not in the mood to bargain with the AFSR commanders over more promises of land reforms and national assemblies. Indeed, the Supreme Krug looked very much like a revivification of the separatist United Government of the South Eastern Union of Cossack Hosts that the Volunteers had been struggling to keep in abeyance ever since arriving in the south-east two years earlier.107 It was clear that Denikin’s heavy-handed treatment of the Kuban Rada back in November 1919 (when he had arrested ten of its members and forced Ataman A.P. Filimonov to resign) had not expunged from it all thoughts of separatism, while his sudden dismissal of the much-loved (if insubordinate) General Shkuro from command of the Kuban Army at the end of February 1920 won him few friends in Ekaterinodar (even if Shkuro had actually spoken out there quite often against Kuban separatism). Around this time, as a British officer noted, the Cossack ranks within the AFSR suddenly began to thin out:

Gradually their forces were drifting away to their villages, disappearing in ones and twos and groups during the night, or simply turning away in front of the despairing eyes of their officers and shuffling off sometimes as a complete squad, company or even regiment, sick of the fighting and the mismanagement and the overwhelming strength of the Reds. There was nothing anyone could do to stop them.108

To make matters worse, just as Kolchak’s Siberia had sprouted a number of anti-White SR organizations as the Russian Army collapsed in late 1919 (the Political Center, the Committee for the Convocation of a Zemskii Sobor′, etc.), in early 1920 an unexpected second blossoming of the democratic counter-revolution overran much of the rear of the AFSR, especially in the wooded hills of the coastal Black Sea region of the North Caucasus, where there lurked thousands of deserters and refugees from all sorts of civil-war armies that were being loosely organized by fugitive SRs (notably V.N. Samarin-Fillipovskii and Colonel N.V. Voronovich, the former a long-standing SR and the latter an officer of the tsarist era with SR sympathies) and around the picturesque resort town of Sochi further south. This self-styled “Green” movement (p.139) was coordinated from November 1919 onwards by a united Black Sea Liberation Committee.109

For the White movement in 1920, then, February may have been the cruelest month. On a single day, 7 February 1920, Supreme Ruler Admiral Kolchak was executed at Irkutsk, while the last White toe-hold in Ukraine was lost with the botched evacuation of Odessa. Meanwhile, the internment of Iudenich’s forces in Estonia was completed, as was that of the Bredovtsy in Poland. On 10 February 1920, Red forces captured Krasnovodsk (today’s Türkmenbaşy), on the shores of the eastern Caspian, consolidating Soviet power in Central Asia and forcing onward the withered remnants of the 15,000 Urals Cossacks who had departed southward from Gur′ev on 5 January 1920.110 Finally, on 19–21 February 1920, 1,000 White soldiers were evacuated from Arkhangel′sk, leaving tens of thousands more to their fate.111 Denikin did manage a brief resurgence, and Don Cossack forces recaptured Rostov on 20 February 1920, but it was a false dawn and, for the remainder of that bitter and fateful month, his forces retreated toward the Kuban. Harried, however, by a newly reorganized, 160,000-strong Caucasian Front of the Red Army (commanded by the energetic and now near ubiquitous Tukhachevskii)112 and with the 1st Cavalry Army pressing in along the Tsaritsyn–Ekaterinodar railway on their right flank, there was nothing Denikin’s forces could actually do when they got to the Kuban other than abandon its capital, Ekaterinodar, without a fight, on 17 March, and then strike out for the last remaining port in anti-Bolshevik hands, Novorossiisk. Their fading hope was of evacuation by sea, before that city fell either to the Reds advancing on it along the Rostov railway from the north or to the SR-insurgent forces of the Black Sea Liberation Committee approaching it from the south (who had captured Tuapse, 75 miles south of Novorossiisk, on 17 February 1920).

Novorossiisk in February 1920 was inundated by “a sea of wounded, sick and refugees,” according to one eyewitness:

It was freezingly cold … Bodies lay in all sorts of corners, while the hospitals were besieged by sick, frozen and hungry people for whom nothing could be done, so that those stricken with typhus remained just where they happened to fall. One Russian colonel lay for a fortnight in the cupboard where he had crept when he was taken ill … The whole foreshore was packed with people, carts and animals—whole families on their knees, praying for help, while the criminals of the underworld came out and in the confusion preyed on the elderly and defenceless … Young girls—some of high birth—prostituted themselves to earn enough money to pay the passage for themselves and their families to the ruthless and money-grabbing barge captains … It was a sick, desperate, terrified city …

(p.140) If the other [surrendered] towns and cities to the north had been disasters, Novorossiisk was the worst of the lot as the wreckage of a whole nation funneled down to the sea and the only remaining seaport in the area.113

About 35,000 White soldiers and casualties did eventually find berths on Russian and Allied vessels by the last days of March, but almost as many again (and untold numbers of civilians) were captured in the port when the Red Army arrived on 26–7 March 1920, in time to begin a desultory shelling of the departing vessels (which included the battleship HMS Emperor of India, the destroyer HMS Stuart, and the commandeered German transport ships Hanover and Bremerhaven, the French cruiser Waldeck-Rousseau and the USS Galveston). Having reached the docks, the Red soldiers could only stand and stare mutely at the bodies of hundreds of dead horses slaughtered there by their heartbroken Cossack masters. In the water floated the already bloated corpses of more dispatched mounts and many human suicides; beneath it were to be found the sunken skeletons of numerous British-supplied tanks, aircraft, and other stores for which the evacuation fleet had no capacity.114 This was only the beginning: 60,000 more Whites were surrounded and captured at Sochi in April 1920, by which time the SR forces there had also been tamed and purged,115 while a guerilla war in the Kuban region initiated by White fugitives who adopted the grandiose title of the People’s Army for the Regeneration of Russia, commanded by General M.A. Fostikov, achieved little more than providing an excuse for further Red retributions and massacres.116


(1.) And, after all, Kolchak was “supreme ruler,” a position recognized by Denikin’s Order No. 145 of 30 May 1919: Denikin, Ocherki russkoi smuty, vol. 5, pp. 97–8; N.I. Astrov, “Priznanie gen. Denikinym adm. Kolchaka: prikaz 30 maia 1919g.—No. 145”, Golos minuvshago na chuzhoi storone, vol. 14, no. 1 (1926), pp. 210–21. The White leaders General Miller in North Russia and General Iudenich in the north-west did likewise.

(2.) The best work on the subject—Rosenberg, Liberals in the Russian Revolution—demonstrates that, in general, the political parties of the Right having disintegrated in 1917, the once radical Kadets shifted their center of gravity to the right in the course of the civil wars and became the “leadership corps” of the White regimes in Siberia and South Russia. The most considered Soviet work on the subject goes so far as to conclude that their rightward progress was so extreme that the Kadets, in fact, forfeited all their liberal credentials and fully embraced the cause of counter-revolution and reaction: Dumova, Kadetskaia kontrrevoliutsiia i ee razgrom. Members of the party were certainly deeply involved in bringing Kolchak to power in 1918 and in sustaining the Supreme Ruler in 1919. On 5 Feb. 1920, it was more than symbolic that the most senior Kadet in Siberia, V.N. Pepeliaev, was executed alongside Admiral Kolchak at Irkutsk. The Kadets’ role in Kolchak’s information services can be traced in E. V. Lukov and D.N. Shevlev, Osvedomitel′nyi apparat beloi Sibiri: struktura, funktsii, deiatel′nost′ (iiun′ 1918—ianvar′ 1920 g.), Tomsk: Izdatel′stvo Tomskogo Universiteta, 2007.

(4.) United States, Department of State, Documents Relating to the Foreign Policy of the United States: 1919 (Peace Conference Papers), Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1939–40, vol. 5, pp. 497–8, 528–30; vol. 6 pp. 73–5. Although, tellingly, these considerations were also in large part prompted by the success on the field of battle that Kolchak’s forces were enjoying in April–May 1919: Smele, Civil War in Siberia, pp. 211–13.

(5.) It is worth recalling here that Kolchak and Denikin hailed from relatively lowly backgrounds, as had Alekseev and Kornilov before them: none of them were of noble birth—indeed, Denikin’s father had been born a serf—none of them had a vested interest in property, and all owed their military positions to the relatively meritocratic ethos of the late-Imperial Russian Army and Navy.

(6.) H.N.H. Williamson, Farewell to the Don, London: Collins, 1970, pp. 63–7. Precisely parallel (p.303) scenes were witnessed by British officers in Siberia in Oct. 1918, where the scandals usually involved Ataman I.N. Krasil′nikov of the Siberian Cossack Host (one of those subsequently responsible for the arrest of the Directory and the elevation of Kolchak): Smele, Civil War in Siberia, p. 82.

(7.) This was admitted by Denikin’s closest advisors: compare the terms of Denikin’s decrees on land and labor policy (available in English in Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, vol. 2, pp. 482–4) to the reports of their implementation recorded in Lukomsky, Vospominaniia, vol. 2, pp. 185–92. For a fuller discussion of how Denikin’s policies were frustrated by his subordinates, see Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 1919–1920, pp. 86–109. A prize example here was that Denikin would introduce a law on the eight-hour day only on 12 Dec. 1919, as his forces were in full flight from the industrial centers of Ukraine and Russia—and even then including in the small print a provision allowing factory owners annually to impose on their workers 400 hours per man of compulsory overtime, thereby rendering the entire exercise meaningless. In towns seized by the Volunteers the ritual of public floggings of union “trouble-makers” became the norm.

(8.) Smele, Civil War in Siberia, pp. 274–89. Also, Stolypin’s Minister of Agriculture, A.V. Krivoshein, was influential among the Whites in South Russia in 1919. See A.K. Krivoshein, Aleksandr Vasil′evich Krivoshein: Sud′ba rossiiskogo reformatora, Moscow: Moskovskii Rabochii, 1993.

(9.) Jonathan D. Smele, “‘What Kolchak Wants!’ Military Versus Polity in White Siberia, 1918–1920,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 4, no. 1 (1991), pp. 52–110. It should also be mentioned here that the impressively successful manifestation of the democratic spirit that pertained among Siberia’s peasantry, the almost universally engaged cooperative movement, was treated with self-defeating and shabby hostility by Kolchak’s government. See Smele, Civil War in Siberia, pp. 424–49.

(10.) Ibid., pp. 289–96. It is now possible to trace in precise detail the political discussions within the White camps and their legislative outcomes through: E. V. Lukov and D.N. Shevelev (eds), Zakonodatel′naia deiatel′nost Rossiiskogo pravitel′stva admirala A.V. Kolchaka: noiabr′ 1918 g.—ianvar′ 1920 g., 2 vols, Tomsk: Izd-vo Tomskogo Universiteta, 2002–3; and Zhurnaly zasedanii Osobogo soveshchaniia pri Glavnokomanduiushchem Vooruzhennymi Silami na Iuge Rossii A.I. Denikine. Sentiabr 1918-go—dekabr 1919 goda, Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2008. See also O.A. Kudinov, Konstituttsionnye proekty Belogo dvizheniia i konstitutstionnopravovye teoriu rossisskoi beloemigratsii (1918–1940 gg.), ili Za chto ikh rasstrelivali i deportirovali (dlia tekh, kto khochet poniat′ smysl prava). Monografiia, Moscow: Os′-89, 2006, pp. 12–25.

(11.) It is nowadays almost impossible to find new works published in Russia that are anything but worshipful of Kornilov, Kolchak, Denikin, and the other White leaders. One notable exception is P.A. Golub, V zastenkakh Kolchaka: pravda o Belom admirale, Moscow: Izdatel′stvo Patriot, 2010. Golub took his title from a pamphlet published in 1920 by the SR central committee member D.F. Rakov, who was arrested and imprisoned during the Kolchak coup of Nov. 1918.

(12.) Peter Kenez, “The Relations between the Volunteer Army and Georgia, 1918–1920: A Case Study in Disunity,” Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 48 (1970), pp. 403–24.

(13.) See: Anna Procyk, Russian Nationalism and Ukraine: The Nationality Policy of the Volunteer Army during the Civil War, Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1995.

(14.) Peter S. Wandycz, “Secret Soviet–Polish Peace Talks in 1919,” Slavic Review, vol. 24, no. 3 (p.304) (1965), pp. 425–49. Denikin was well aware of what his principles had cost him: in his Kto spas′ Sovetskuiu vlast′ ot gibeli? Paris: Maison de la Presse, 1937, he asked “Who saved Soviet power from death?” and gave the unequivocal answer that it was Piłsudski.

(15.) Alex Marshall, The Caucasus under Soviet Rule, London: Routledge, 2010, pp. 51–128. Moreover, the direct corollary of this was to cement (on 16 June 1919) a full military alliance against the AFSR between the Azeri and Georgian republics, which felt themselves to be next in line: Yilmaz, “An Unexpected Peace.” Only the presence of the British in the region prevented these allies from attacking Denikin’s forces in Daghestan, but they were sorely provoked: at one stage Denikin insisted that all trade on the Caspian had to be carried on Russian vessels and that the Azeri merchant fleet should be confined to port. This instruction, Baku was informed, was based on Article VIII of the 1828 Russo-Persian Treaty of Turkmanchai (http://www.hist.msu.ru/ER/Etext/FOREIGN/turkman.htm). Interestingly, Moscow agreed that the relevant terms of that agreement (which had brought to an end the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28) should be annulled in the Soviet–Persian Treaty of 26 February 1921 (http://www.worldlii.org/int/other/LNTSer/1922/69.html). Denikin enjoyed rather better, but far from harmonious, relations with Armenia, which was involved in extensive territorial disputes with both Georgia and, especially, Azerbaijan: Artin H. Arslanian and Robert L. Nichols, “Nationalism and the Russian Civil War: The Case of Volunteer Army–Armenian Relations, 1918–1920,” Soviet Studies, vol. 31, no. 4 (1979), pp. 559–73. On the Terek Republic, see Alex Marshall, “The Terek People’s Republic, 1918: Coalition Government in the Russian Revolution,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 22, no. 2 (2009), pp. 203–21.

(17.) G.K. Gins, Sibir′ soiuzniki i Kolchak: povorotnyi moment russkoi istorii, 1918–1920gg. (Vpechatleniia i mysli chlena Omskogo pravitel′stva), Peking: Izd. “Obshchestva Vozrozhdeniia Rossii v g. Kharbine,” 1921, vol. 2, p. 375.

(18.) On the Weltanschauung of the Whites and its origins in the pre-revolutionary military caste see: Peter Kenez, “The Russian Officer Corps before the Revolution: The Military Mind,” Russian Review, vol. 31, no. 3 (1972), pp. 226–37; Peter Kenez, “A Profile of the Pre-Revolutionary Officer Corps,” Californian Slavic Studies, vol. 7 (1973), pp. 128–45; Peter Kenez, “The Ideology of the White Movement,” Soviet Studies, vol. 32, no. 1 (1980), pp. 58–83; and Leonid Heretz, “The Psychology of the White Movement,” in Brovkin (ed.), The Bolsheviks in Russian Society, pp. 105–21. Also illuminating in this regard is Paul Robinson, “‘Always with Honour’: The Code of the White Russian Officers,” Canadian Slavonic Papers, vol. 41, no. 2 (1999), pp. 121–41.

(19.) N.A. Andrushkevich, “Poslednaia Rossiia,” Beloe delo, no. 4 (1928), p. 109; Gins, Sibir′, soiuzniki i Kolchak, vol. 2, pp. 61–2; D.B. Filat′ev, Katastrofa belogo dvizheniia v Sibiri, 1918–1922gg. (Vpechatleniia ochevidsta), Paris: YMCA-Press, 1985, p. 116.

(20.) K.S. Burevoi, Kolchakovshchina, Moscow: Gosizdat, 1919, pp. 20–21.

(21.) This incensed White supporters around Europe. See The Case for Bessarabia (preface by P.N. Miliukov), London: The Russian Liberation Committee, 1919; and The Roumanian Occupation in Bessarabia, Paris: Lahure, 1920. For a more balanced view, see Sherman D. Spector, Rumania at the Paris Peace Conference: A Study of the Diplomacy of Ioan C. Bratianu, New York: Bookman Associates, 1962.

(22.) Gins, Sibir′, soiuzniki i Kolchak, vol. 2, p. 88. Although the Supreme Ruler would have taken (p.305) some comfort from the fact that Prinkipo was chosen as a venue for the mooted conference because Clemenceau refused even to contemplate inviting a Bolshevik delegation to Paris.

(23.) On the Bullitt Mission, see The Bullitt Mission to Russia: Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, New York: W.B. Heubsch, 1919.

(25.) How the Revolution Armed, vol. 2, p. 493. On the Nansen scheme, see Herbert Hoover, The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1, London: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 411–20.

(26.) Although the moderately more clement conditions further south allowed for campaigning in January 1919, during which month the 4th and 1st Red Armies captured the Cossack capitals of Orenburg and Ural′sk.

(31.) Ibid., vol. 14, pp. 242–3.

(33.) Ibid. pp. 308–12.

(35.) The best treatments of these events were penned by a Red commander of the time: G.Kh. Eikhe, Ufimskaia avantiura Kolchaka (mart–aprel′ 1919g.): pochemu Kolchak ne udalas′ prorvat′sia k Volge na soedinenie s Denikinym, Moscow: Voenizdat, 1960; and G.Kh. Eikhe, Oprokinutyi tyl. Moscow: Voenizdat, 1966. A generally reliable account too is L.M. Spirin, Razgrom armii Kolchaka, Moscow: Voenizdat, 1957.

(37.) On Vācietis’s fate, see above (Chapter Two, n. 132)

(38.) General Knox received a sarcastic telegram from the Red command, thanking the British for this unexpected contribution to the defense of the Soviet republic. See L.H. Grondijs, La Guerre en Russie et en Sibérie, Paris: Éditions Bossard, 1922, p. 528.

(39.) The chief constituents of this Eastern Front were: the 1st Army (created from the northern group of forces of the former Siberian Army), commanded by General A.N. Pepeliaev (the younger brother of Kolchak’s last prime minister); the 2nd Army (created from the southern group of forces of the former Siberian Army), commanded by Lieutenant-General N.A. Lokhvitskii (to 1 Sep. 1919) and then Major-General S.N. Voitsekhovskii; the 3rd Army (from the Volga, Urals and Ufa groups of forces of the former Western Army), commanded by General K.V. Sakharov; and the Independent Southern Army (called the Orenburg Army after Sep. 1919), commanded by Major-General G.A. Belov and (from Sep. 1919) Ataman A.I. Dutov. For more details, see: “Vostochnyi front Admirala A.V. Kolchaka,” http://east-front.narod.ru/index.htm; and E.V. Volkov, N.D. Egorov, and I.V. Kuptsov, Belye generaly Vostochnogo fronta Grazhdanskoi voiny: biograficheskii spravochnik, Moscow: Russkii Put′, 2003.

(41.) A general problem for Kolchak, which manifested itself in the failed Ishim–Tobol′ operation, was that he could not draw upon the phalanxes of Cossack cavalry that were available to Denikin in South Russia. In the world war, the Don Cossack Host had mobilized 100,000 fighters, the Kuban Host 89,000, and the Terek Host 18,000. By contrast, the Siberian Cossack Host had mobilized only 11,500 men. The Orenburg Host and Urals Host had mobilized (p.306) more (30,000 and 13,000 men, respectively), but remained isolated from Omsk throughout 1919 and were only loosely incorporated into the Russian Army and the White Eastern Front. (Indeed, so distant were they from Kolchak’s capital that the Urals Army passed into the operational control of General Denikin from June 1919.)

(43.) For Gajda’s critique of the offensive—specifically, the “anti-democratic” spirit of the White officers—see Ronald I. Kowalski, The Russian Revolution, 1917–1921, London: Routledge, 1997, pp. 119–21. See also [N.S. Kalashnikov], “Itogi vesennogo nastuplenie,” Sibirskii arkhiv, vol. 2 (1929), pp. 81–7.

(46.) Among the new arrivals, drawn from Denikin’s surfeit of political advisors, were P.A. Buryshkin (a leading figure in the former right-liberal Progressist Party), the Kadet A.A. Cherven-Vodali, and S.N. Tret′iakov (formerly head of the Moscow Stock Exchange).

(48.) Ibid., pp. 570–80, 608–26; and G.A. Vendrykh, Dekabr′sko-ianvarskii boi 1919–1920 gg. v Irkutske, Irkutsk: Gosizdat, 1957. Many of the leading figures of the Kolchak government were subsequently captured by advancing Soviet forces. They were tried at Novonikolaevsk in May 1920 and several of them were subsequently executed. See V. I. Shishkin (ed.), Protsess nad kolchakovskimi ministrami: mai 1920, Moscow: Mezhdunarodnyi Fond “Demokratiia,” 2003.

(49.) A collection of memoirs of this episode is available in Velikii Sibirskii lednoi pokhod, Moscow: Tsentropoligraf, 2004. An impressive semi-fictionalized memoir is: Olga Ilyin, White Road: A Russian Odyssey, 1919–1923, New York: Holt, 1984.

(50.) S. S. Balmasov et al. (eds), Kappel′ i kappel′evtsy, Moscow: Posev, 2003.

(51.) As too was the fact that when the commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, General William S. Graves, wrote a book that was overtly critical of Kolchak’s forces (America’s Siberian Adventure, New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1931), Sakharov immediately challenged him to a duel!

(52.) The record of Kolchak’s interrogation was preserved and subsequently published in English (with extensive and very useful annotations) as Edna Varneck and H.H. Fisher (eds), The Testimony of Kolchak and Other Siberian Materials, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1935. Unfortunately, Kolchak was executed before the interrogation could be completed and only that portion of his life prior to the Omsk coup of November 1918 was properly investigated.

(53.) Smele, Civil War in Siberia, pp. 551–667. The Czechs certainly acted dishonestly in this affair, but their lack of regard for Kolchak is understandable, given the constant abuse of them as “half-Bolsheviks” that he had voiced over the previous year.

(54.) The following is drawn chiefly from: Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, pp. 161–77; Kenez, Civil War in South Russia, 1919–1920, pp. 27–44; and M.A. Kritskii, “Krasnaia armiia na iuzhnom fronte v 1918–1920 gg,” Arkhiv Russkoi revoliutsii, vol. 18 (1926), pp. 254–300.

(55.) Anthony Kröner, The White Knight of the Black Sea: The Life of General Peter Wrangel, The Hague: Leuxenhoff Publishing, 2010, pp. 125–34; P.N. Vrangl′, Vospominaniia, Frankfurt: Posev, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 69–123. See also Alex Marshall, The Caucasus under Soviet Rule, pp. 111–18. (p.307)

(56.) N.L. Ianchevskii, Grazhdanskaia bor′ba na Severnom Kavkaze, Rostov-on-Don: Sevkavkniga, 1927, vol. 2, p. 69

(57.) For an examination of the Don Host’s aims and self-perceptions in this period, see Peter Kenez, “The Ideology of the Don Cossacks in the Civil War,” in R. Carter Elwood (ed.), Russian and East European History: Selected Papers from the Second World Congress of Soviet and East European Studies, Berkeley Slavic Specialists, 1984, pp. 160–84.

(58.) P.N. Krasnov, “Vsevelikoe Voisko Donskoe,” Arkhiv Russkoi revoliutsii, vol. 5 (1922), pp. 204–5.

(59.) A Don Cossack Host krug (council) had already dismissed or forced the resignation of a number of Krasnov’s pro-German and unabashedly autonomist advisors (among them the popular commander of the Don Army, General S.V. Denisov).

(60.) The memoirs of Brigadier Williamson, whose role was to oversee the distribution of British supplies to the AFSR, are full of asides regarding how recklessly and inefficiently the Russians used the matériel they were given, however. Not all of this can be accounted for by prejudice. See: Williamson, Farewell to the Don, passim.

(61.) V.L. Genis, “Raskazachivanie v Sovetskoi Rossii,” Voprosy istorii, vol. 1 (1994), pp. 42–55; Peter Holquist, “‘Conduct Merciless Mass Terror’: Decossackization on the Don in 1919,” Cahiers du Monde Russe, vol. 38, nos 1–2 (1997), pp. 127–62; and Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution, pp. 166–205. That the Don Cossacks had been among the first to rise in arms against Soviet power in October 1917 was a lesson not forgotten and frequently cited by the Soviet leadership. Any commander who forgot this could expect the sort of treatment meted out to the Red Cossack F.K. Mironov, who, having already been temporarily exiled to the Western Front in the spring, was lucky to escape execution for criticizing Soviet policy towards the Cossacks in August-September 1919 (although this did not save him from execution in 1921). Swain, Russia’s Civil War, pp. 93–96, 110–13. On Mironov, see also Sergei Starikov and Roy Medvedev, Philip Moronov and the Russian Civil War, New York: Knopf, 1978; and V. Danilov and T. Shanin (eds), Filipp Mironov: Tikhyi Don, 1917–1921 gg., Moscow: Mezhdunarodnaia Fond “Demokratiia,” 1997.

(62.) Brian Murphy, “The Don Rebellion, March–June 1919,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 6, no. 2 (1993), pp. 315–50; and A.V. Venkov, Veshenskoe vosstanie, Moscow: Veche, 2012. The events of the “Veshensk Rebellion” form a particularly dramatic section of the narrative of M.A. Sholokhov’s epic novel The Quiet Don (1926–40).

(63.) On Shkuro, see: Vitalii Baradym, Zhizn′ Generala Shkuro, Krasnodar: Sov. Kuban, 1998; and his memoirs, A.G. Shkuro, Zapiski belogo partizana, Buenos Aires: Seiatel′, 1961.

(64.) See Trotsky, How the Revolution Armed, Vol. 2: 1919, pp. 277–81 and 294–6 (“An End to Makhnovism”); and Peter Arshinov, History of the Makhnovist Movement, 1918–1921, London: Freedom Press, 1921, pp. 120–32. On Makhno, see below, pp. 188–91.

(65.) Mai-Maievskii’s performance only narrowly outshone that of Wrangel, who organized a brilliant cavalry thrust across the river Manych on 17–18 May 1919, capturing 15,000 prisoners and forcing the retirement of the 10th Red Army toward Tsaritsyn.

(66.) Very embarrassing to Trotsky was that a week before Vsevolodov’s spectacular departure he had boasted that “For every traitor we have now hundreds of former officers who have bound their fate with the Red Army and are working honourably and successfully. Our recruitment of military specialists has been completely justified”: “Denikin’s Offensive”, How the Revolution Armed, Vol. 2: 1919, p. 325.

(67.) Allied contributions to the Tsaritsyn campaign are captured in Marion Aten and Arthur (p.308) Orrmont, The Last Train over Rostov Bridge, New York: Julian Messner, 1961, and feature briefly in H.A. Jones, Over the Balkans and South Russia, Being the History of No. 47 Squadron, Royal Air Force, London: Edward Arnold, 1923. On the vital contribution of tanks and aircraft to Wrangel’s victory, see also T.G. Ageeva, Kavkazskaia armiia P.N. Vrangelia v Tsaritsyne, Volgograd: Volgogradskoe Nauchnoe Izdatel′stvo, 2009, pp. 86–132.

(68.) “Our Southern Front” (11 May 1919), How the Revolution Armed, Vol. 2: 1919, p. 253.

(70.) Forces of the Ukrainian Army had actually moved into Kiev a day before the Whites arrived, but immediately withdrew. Aware that a Denikin victory would be fatal to the cause of Ukrainian independence, in these same days Petliura’s mission in Warsaw was arranging an armistice with Poland.

(71.) On the “Mamontov Raid,” see Erik Landis, A Civil War Episode: General Mamontov in Tambov, August 1919, Pittsburgh: Center for Russian and East European Studies/University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2002. It was at this point that peasants began to refer to the southern Whites as the Grabarmiia (from Grabovaia armiia, the “Pillaging Army”)—a play on the proper abbreviated name of the Drobrovolnaia armiia (Volunteer Army), the Dobrarmiia. See Kröner, The White Knight of the Black Sea, pp. 171–2.

(72.) Ibid., pp. 163–4. With Denikin having moved his staff and government from Ekaterinodar to Taganrog, the pro-Ukrainian separatists in the Kuban Rada (chiefly Cossacks of the Black Sea section of the Host, the descendants of the deported Zaporozhians of the 1790s), were gaining the upper hand, obliging Naumenko to resign, in impotent protest, on 14 Sep. 1919. On the genesis of separatism among the Kuban Cossacks, see Ja-Jeong Koo, “Universalising Cossack Particularism: ‘The Cossack Revolution’ in Early Twentieth Century Kuban,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 25, no. 1 (2012), pp. 1–29.

(73.) Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, pp. 176–7; Swain, “Trotsky and the Russian Civil War,” pp. 99–103; and Swain, Trotsky, pp. 113–15. Voenspets Selivachev seems to have paid with his life for his failure, although official records stated that he died of typhus on 17 Sep. 1919.

(74.) R. G. Gagkuev (ed.), Drozdovskii i Drozdovtsy, Moscow: Posev, 2006; R. G. Gagkuev et al. (eds), Markov i Markovtsy, Moscow: Posev, 2001; and E.E. Messner, Kornilovtsy: 1917—10 iuniia 1967, Paris: Izd. Ob″edineniia chinov Kornilovskogo Udarnogo Polka, 1967.

(75.) Prominent among the latter was the volunteer detachment of Russian officers (the Libau Volunteer Detachment) organized by the eminent Baltic German nobleman Colonel Prince A.P. Liven.

(76.) On the early history of White formations in the north-west, see “Antibolshevistkaia Rossiia: Istoriia Severo-zapadnoi armii (1918–1920 gg.),” http://www.antibr.ru/studies/ao_szarm_k.html. On this theater of the war in general see the encyclopaedic Reigo Rozental′, Severno-zapadnoi armiia: khronika pobed i porazhenii, Tallinn: Argo, 2012, from which much of what follows here was drawn.

(77.) On Iudenich’s career, see: A.F. Medvetskii, General ot infanterii General N.N. Iudenich v gody obshchenatsional′nogo krizisa v Rossii (1914–1920 gg.): monograficheskoe issledovanie, Samara: PGATI, 2005; N. Rutych, “Iudenich Nikolai Nikolaevich: General ot infanterii,” in N. Rutych, Belyi front general Iudenicha: Biografii chinov Severno-Zapadnoi armii, Moscow: Russkii Put′, 2002, pp. 18–118; and A.V. Shishov, Iudenich: general suvorovskoi sholy, Moscow: Veche, 2004.

(78.) In truth, the government had only been created to appease Allied missions in the region. (p.309) On the North West Government, see Piontkovskii (ed.), Grazhdanskaia voina v Rossii (1918–1921 gg.), pp. 605–28. Also Vasilii Gorn, Grazhdanskaia voina na Severozapade Rossii, Berlin: Gamaiun, 1923.

(79.) Bermondt-Avalov retired to Germany, where he became an active figure on the extreme right of émigré politics, notably as a member of the pro-Nazi Russian National Liberation Movement, before moving on, via Italy, to Belgrade in 1936. Apparently (and rather characteristically), he had fallen out with the German Nazis and been deported by Hitler’s government. Following the 1941 coup in Yugoslavia that was led by the anti-Axis Dušan Simović, Bermondt-Avalov then emigrated to the United States. On the Landeswehr War, the colonel’s own memoirs are highly partial, but still useful: Pavel Bermondt-Avalov, Im Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus. Erinnerungen von General Fürst Awaloff, Oberbefehlshaber der Deutsch-Russischen Westarmee im Baltikum, Glückstadt, Hamburg: Verlag J.J. Augustin, 1925.

(80.) Red defenses in the region had been softened up by a serious revolt of the garrison at the fortress of Krasnaia Gorka, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, in June 1918, and by the Royal Navy’s successful coastal motor boat raids against the Baltic Fleet in June and August 1919, featuring the Victoria Cross-winning exploits of Captain Augustus Agar. See Augustus Agar, Baltic Episode: A Classic of Secret Service in Russian Waters, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1963; and Harry Ferguson, Operation Kronstadt, London: Hutchinson, 2008. The Allied presence in the region is usefully discussed in a range of chapters collected as: V. A. Shishkin (ed.), Interventsiia na Severo-Zapade Rossii v 1917–1920 gg., St Petersburg: Nauka, 1995.

(81.) If the Whites had actually been able to hear the Kremlin bells, they would have been enraged: in 1918 those in the Spasskaia tower, which had formerly pealed “God Save the Tsar”, had been re-set to play the “Internationale.”

(82.) Karsten Brüggermann, Die Gründung der Republik Estland und das Ende des “Einem und unteilbaren Rußland”: Die Petrograder Front des Russischen Bürgerkrieges, 1918–1920, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2004; N.A. Kornatovskii, Bor′ba za Krasnyi Petrograd, 1919, Leningrad: Izd-vo “Krasnoi Gazety,” 1929; and A.V. Smolin, Beloe dvizhenie na severozapade rossii, 1918–1920 gg., St Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 1999. White views critical of Iudenich’s generalship include the memoirs of the man he ousted as commander of the North West Army: A.P. Rodziainko, Vospominaniia o Severo-Zapadnoi Armii, Berlin: Presse, 1920; and Hilja Kukk, “The Failure of Iudenich’s North-Western Army in 1919: A Dissenting White Russian View,” Journal of Baltic Studies, vol. 12, no. 4 (1981), pp. 362–83. The latter cites the debilitating internecine rivalries that bedeviled a force top-heavy with tsarist generals, but crucial to the North West Army’s failure were local variants of the atamansh-china that more famously damaged White efforts elsewhere: Colonel Bermondt-Avalov, as we have seen, crowned a long career of insubordination by refusing to divert his Germanophile Western Volunteer Army from its efforts to conquer Latvia to join the advance on Petrograd; while, as the advance collapsed, the equally ungovernable General S.N. Bułak-Bałachowicz attempted a coup against Iudenich at Tallinn. On Bułak-Bałachowicz see Richard B. Spence, “Useful Brigand: ‘Ataman’ S.N. Bulak-Balakhovich, 1917–1921,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 11, no. 1 (1998), pp. 17–36. See also Gleb Drujina, “The History of the North-West Army of General Iudenich,” Stanford University PhD Thesis, 1950. An additional factor was that the Finns remained neutral. Had General Mannerheim not been defeated by Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg in independent Finland’s first presidential election in July 1919, this might not have been the case. (p.310)

(83.) The Bolshevik Central Committee had agreed as early as 11 Sep. 1919 that formal peace terms should be proposed to Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania. See Alfred E. Senn, “The Bolsheviks’ Acceptance of Baltic Independence, 1919,” Journal of Baltic Studies, vol. 26, no. 2 (1995), pp. 145–50.

(84.) Karl Radek, “The Organizer of Victory,” in Leon Trotsky, Military Writings, London: Pathfinder Press, 1971, p. 17. On Trotsky as an inspirer, see Neil M. Heyman, “Leon Trotsky: Propagandist to the Red Army,” Studies in Comparative Communism”, vol. 10, nos 1–2 (1977), pp. 34–43.

(85.) Neil M. Heyman, “Leon Trotsky’s Military Education: From the Russo-Japanese War to 1917, Journal of Modern History, vol. 45, no. 2 (1973) (microfiche supplement), pp. 71–98.

(87.) Ibid., pp. 433, 437.

(88.) A.V. Lunacharsky, Revolutionary Silhouettes, London: Penguin, 1967, p. 68.

(89.) Trotsky, My Life, pp. 427–39. By late 1919, the configuration of Trotsky’s train had developed to embrace two separate echelons that included several armored wagons (with turrets and embrasures for machine-guns and cannon), flatbed trucks to transport armored cars and other vehicles (including Trotsky’s own command car, a Rolls-Royce that had been commandeered from the tsar’s garage), a telegraph station, a radio station, an electricity-generating wagon, a printing house (with presses), a library, a secretariat wagon, a kitchen, a bath wagon, and even a special wagon for transporting a small aircraft. Also on board were a special guard unit of some 100 elite troops (mostly Latvians), who dressed in a special red uniform and hat of Red Army style, as well as cooks and other staff, mechanics, technicians, political agitators, and secretaries. By 21 January 1921 there were 407 people attached to the institution of “the train,” doing eighty different jobs. On the impact of Trotsky’s train upon the theaters of war in which it appeared, and upon its general operation, see: Robert T. Argenbright, “Honour Among Communists: ‘The Glorious Name of Trotsky’s Train’,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 11, no. 1 (1998), pp. 45–66; and N.S. Tarkhova, “Trotsky’s Train: An Unknown Page in the History of the Civil War,” in Terry Brotherstone and Paul Dukes (eds), The Trotsky Reappraisal, Edinburgh University Press, 1992, pp. 27–40.

(90.) Equally, that on 21 Mar. 1919 a North Russian patrol under Captain Alashev encountered units affiliated to Admiral Kolchak’s Northern Army at the unfeasibly remote village of Ust′-kozhva, near Pechora (about 750 miles north of Ekaterinburg) did not presage the union between the Whites in Siberia and those in the North of which General Knox and others had long had dreamed.

(91.) British forces were withdrawn at the same time from Transcaucasia (19–20 Oct. 1919), leaving only a token contingent at Batumi. A month later, on 29 Nov. 1919, the Soviet diplomat M.M. Litvinov met the British representative James O’Grady in Denmark, initiating the discussions (buttressed by an agreement on 20 Jan. 1920 by the Allied powers to lift their economic blockade of Soviet Russia) that would lead, through an agreement on the exchange of prisoners of war (the Copenhagen Agreement, 12 Feb. 1920) to the Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement of 16 Mar. 1921 and, in due course, London’s full recognition of the Soviet government on 1 Feb. 1924.

(92.) Ironside had seen action in the South African War of 1899–1902, as an intelligence officer, subsequently operated underground, disguised as a Boer, in German South West Africa (work that, it has been suggested, inspired the character of Richard Hannay in the novels of John Buchan, notably The Thirty-Nine Steps), and during the First World War rose to the (p.311) command of the 99th Infantry Brigade on the Western Front (Sep. 1918). Ironside was raised to the peerage in 1941, choosing the title Baron Ironside of Archangel.

(93.) They killed four Russian officers too. See Christopher Dobson and John Miller, The Day We Almost Bombed Moscow: The Allied War in Russia, 1918–1920, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986, pp. 210–12.

(94.) A.A. Samoilo, Dve zhizni, Moscow: Voenizdat, 1958; and A. A. Samoilo and M.I. Sboichakov, Pouchitel′nyi urok: Boevye deistviia Krasnoi Armii protiv interventov i belogvardeitsev v Severe Rossii v 1918–1920 gg., Moscow: Voenizdat, 1962. Miller had earlier left his own brief version of events: E.K. Miller, “Bor′ba za Rossiiu na Severe, 1918–1920 gg.,” Belo delo, vol. 4 (1928), pp. 5–11. See also V. I. Goldin and John W. Long, “Resistance and Retribution: The Life and Fate of General E.K. Miller,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 12, no. 2 (1999), pp. 19–40. The best English-language treatment of the civil war in this theater remains unpublished: John W. Long, “Civil War and Intervention in North Russia, 1918–1920,” Columbia University PhD thesis, 1972. Excellent introductions, though, are: David Footman, “Murmansk and Archangel,” in David Footman, Civil War in Russia, London: Faber & Faber, 1961, pp. 167–210; Liudmila G. Novikova, “A Province of a Non-Existent State: The White Government in the Russian North and Political Power in the Russian Civil War, 1918–20,” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 18, no. 2 (2005), pp. 121–44; and Liudmila G. Novikova, “Northerners into Whites: Popular Participation in the Counter-Revolution in Arkhangel′sk Province, Summer–Autumn 1918,” Europe–Asia Studies, vol. 60, no. 2 (2008), pp. 277–93. In Russian: V.I. Goldin, Interventsiia i antibol′shevistckoe dvizhenie na Russkom Severe, 1918–1920, Moscow: Izd-vo Moskovskogo Universiteta, 1993; and Liudmila Novikova, Provintsial′naia “kontrrevoliutsiia”: Beloe dvizhenie i Grazhdanskaia voina na russkom Severe, 1917–1920, Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2011.

(95.) “Proletarians, To Horse!” (11 Sep. 1919), How the Revolution Armed, Vol. 2: 1919, pp. 412–14, which seems to have resulted from a report Trotsky had received presenting a very critical review of how the Reds’ lack of cavalry had handed success to the Whites in the Mamontov Raid: see V. P. Butt et al. (eds), The Russian Civil War: Documents from the Soviet Archives, London: Macmillan, 1996, p. 63. Trotsky’s words provided, in turn, the inspiration for Aleksandr Apsit’s lithograph “Na konia, proletarii!” which Stephen White deemed to be “among the finest examples of heroic-revolutionary poster work of the whole civil war period” (although he misdated it to “early 1919”): White, The Bolshevik Poster, pp. 29, 31.

(96.) With Trotsky preoccupied in Petrograd and Glavkom Kamenev sometimes sidelined by the Soviet leadership, much of the initial impetus for this can be credited to Stalin, as chairman of the Revvoensovet of the Southern Front, and to front commander A.I. Egorov. (See Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, pp. 203–4.) Neither’s civil-war reputation has been much gilded by non-Stalinist historians, but it is worth remembering that this was a partnership that lasted as long as Stalin’s soliciting of Egorov’s complicity (which the latter was happy to grant) in the framing of his fellow marshal of the Soviet Union, M.N. Tukhachevskii, in May–June 1937. After that, though, Stalin appears to have tired of sharing the monopoly of glory he was demanding as “architect of the civil-war victory”: Egorov was arrested as a spy in March 1938 and subsequently executed.

(97.) This was a surprise, as just a few days earlier the ice had been thick enough for 6-inch howitzers to be dragged across it, guided by a trail of bonfires: Williamson, Farewell to the Don, pp. 239–40.

(98.) Following this third Soviet invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian SSR was resurrected, under (p.312) the Ukrainian Bolshevik G.I. Petrovskii. Having learned some of the lessons of previous failures to Sovietize the country, Petrovskii’s regime sought coalition with individual Borotbisty, although their party was forced to disband and their efforts to forge a truly independent existence for the party they formed together with local Bolsheviks, the Ukrainian Communist Party (Borotbists), was stymied by the Komintern’s rejection of its application to join it. Nevertheless, the Ukrainization of local life made great strides in the 1920s. See Jurij Borys, The Sovietization of Ukraine, 1917–1923: The Communist Doctrine and Practice of National Self-Determination, Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1980.

(99.) See F. Shteinman, “Otstuplenie ot Odessa,” Beloe delo, vol. 10. Moscow: Rossiiskii Gos. Gumanitarnyi un-t, 2003, pp. 313–29.

(100.) See the account by General B.A. Shteifon: B.A. Shteifon, “Bredovskii pokhod,” Beloe delo, vol. 10. Moscow: Rossiiskii Gos. Gumanitarnyi un-t, 2003, pp. 1–298.

(102.) Ibid., vol. 1, p. 302.

(103.) Alexis Wrangel, General Wrangel, 1878–1929: Russia’s White Crusader, London: Leo Cooper, 1987, p. 144.

(104.) Together with Wrangel were dismissed and exiled his alleged co-conspirators Generals A.S. Lukomskii and P.N. Shatilov and the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral D.V. Neniukov, and his chief of staff, Admiral A.D. Bubnov.

(105.) On the Dumenko affair, which remains to be fully explained, see V.D. Polikarpov, “Tragediia komkora Dumenko,” Don, no. 11 (1988), pp. 142–8. Also V.V. Karpenko, Komkor Dumenko, Saratov: Privolzhckoe Knizhnoe Izd.-Vo, 1976.

(107.) Although, formally, the Supreme Krug abolished the dormant United Government, there was the implicit suggestion that it, the Supreme Krug, had replaced it.

(110.) At most, 215 Urals Cossacks made it as far south as the Persian border by 20 May 1920, although others give a figure of 162. On this extraordinary campaign see the account of their Ataman: V.S. Tolstov, Ot krasnykh lap v neizvestnuiu pal′ (pokhod ural′tsev), Constantinople: Tip. izd. Tv.-a “Pressa,” 1921. Also L.L. Masianov, Gibel′ Ural′skogo kazach′ego voiska, New York: Vseslavianskoe Izd.-vo, 1963.

(111.) Among the latter was the aforementioned Colonel Kostandi, who chose not to board General Miller’s ship during the evacuation but to remain at Arkhangel′sk to negotiate a peaceful transfer of the city into Bolshevik hands, as the 6th Red Army approached. This he did, but his fate was to suffer immediate imprisonment and then execution a year later at the hands of the Cheka in Moscow.

(112.) On Tukhachevskii, see Neil Harvey Croll, “Mikhail Tukhachevsky in the Russian Civil War,” University of Glasgow PhD Thesis, 2002. Also B.N. Sokolov, Mikhail Tukhachevskii: zhizn′ i smert′ ‘Krasnogo marshala’, Smolensk: Rusich, 1999.

(114.) Émigré eye-witness accounts of the bedlam on the docks of Novorossiisk—for example N.S. Karinskii, “Epizody iz evakuatsii Novorossiiska,” Arkhiv Russkoi revoliutsii, vol. 12 (1923)—are barely reflected in the most famous Soviet-era painting of the scene, I.A. Vladimirov’s (p.313) Flight of the Bourgeoisie from Novorossiisk (1920), in which slightly flustered officers and gentlemen carrying samovars and trombones patiently endure the sort of mildly disorderly queue found daily at Russian tram-stops. They were poorly reflected too in British War Office accounts of the events of 26–7 March 1920, which even the fusty official History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1919–1959, Glasgow University Press, 1963, describes as “matter of fact.”

(115.) Colonel Voronovich escaped abroad, initially settling in Prague. He subsequently published a collection of materials on the Black Sea insurgency: N. Voronovich (ed.), Sbornik dokumentov i materialov. Zelenaia kniga: Istoriia krest′ianskogo dvizheniia v Chernomorskoi guberniia, Prague: Izd. Chernomorskoi Krest′ianskoi Delegatsii, 1921.

(116.) E. Zhulikova, “Povstancheskoe dvizhenie na Severnom Kavkaze v 1920–25 godakh (dokumental′nye publikatsii noveishaia otchestvennaia istoriografiia,” Otchestvennaia istoriia, no. 2 (2004), pp. 159–69. See also Alex Marshall, The Caucasus under Soviet Rule, pp. 157–60.