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Kronstadt rebellion

Kronstadt rebellion

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The Kronstadt rebellion (Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Кронштадтское восстание, Kronshtadtskoye vosstaniye) was one of many major unsuccessful left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks
Left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks
Left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks were a series of rebellions and uprisings against the Bolsheviks led or supported by left wing groups including Socialist Revolutionaries, Left Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and anarchists. Some were in support of the White Movement while some...

 in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. Led by Stepan Petrichenko
Stepan Petrichenko
Stepan Maximovich Petrichenko , was a Russian revolutionary, an anarcho-syndicalist politician, one of the main leaders of the Third Russian Revolution, the head of the Soviet Republic of Soldiers and Fortress-Builders of Nargen and in 1921, de facto leader of the Kronstadt Commune, and the leader...

 and consisting of Soviet sailors, soldiers and civilians, the rebellion was a major reason for Lenin and the Communist Party's decision to loosen its control of the Russian economy by implementing the New Economic Policy (NEP)
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

.

The rebellion originated in Kronstadt
Kronstadt
Kronstadt , also spelled Kronshtadt, Cronstadt |crown]]" and Stadt for "city"); is a municipal town in Kronshtadtsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located on Kotlin Island, west of Saint Petersburg proper near the head of the Gulf of Finland. Population: It is also...

, a naval fortress on Kotlin Island
Kotlin Island
Kotlin is a Russian island, located near the head of the Gulf of Finland, west of Saint Petersburg in the Baltic Sea. Kotlin separates the Neva Bay from the rest of the gulf...

 in the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 that served as the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet
Baltic Fleet
The Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet - is the Russian Navy's presence in the Baltic Sea. In previous historical periods, it has been part of the navy of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Fleet gained the 'Twice Red Banner' appellation during the Soviet period, indicating two awards of...

 and as a guardpost for the approaches to Petrograd
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, 55 kilometres away.

Economic background


By 1921 the Bolsheviks (named communists since 1918) were winning the Russian Civil War and although foreign troops were beginning to withdraw, Bolshevik leaders continued to keep tight control of the economy through the policy of War Communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

. As a result, the bolshevik economy started to collapse, although it had never truly recovered from the economic crises caused by World War I and the Russian Civil War. Industrial output fell dramatically; it is estimated that the total output of mines and factories fell in 1921 to 20% of the pre-World War I level, with many crucial items experiencing an even more drastic decline. Production of cotton, for example, fell to 5%, and iron to 2%, of the prewar level. This coincided with the terrible droughts of 1920 and 1921 and the frightful famine in 1921
Russian famine of 1921
The Russian famine of 1921, also known as Povolzhye famine, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a severe famine that occurred in Bolshevik Russia...

 and in the latter years
Soviet famine of 1932-1933
The Soviet famine of 1932–1933 killed many millions in the major grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union. These areas included Ukraine, Northern Caucasus, Volga Region and Kazakhstan, the South Urals, and West Siberia...

. This brought about large-scale discontent among the Russian populace, particularly amongst the peasantry, who felt disadvantaged by Communist grain requisitioning (forced seizure of large portions of the peasants grain crop used to feed urban dwellers) and as a result often refused to till their land. Peasant uprisings in February 1921 exceeded one hundred. The workers in Petrograd were also involved in a series of strikes sparked by the reduction of bread rations by one third over a 10 day period.

Petropavlovsk resolution


On February 26, delegates from the Kronstadt sailors visited Petrograd to investigate the situation. On February 28, in response to the delegates' report of heavy-handed Bolshevik repression of strikes in Petrograd (claims which might have been inaccurate or exaggerated), the crews of the battleships Petropavlovsk and Sevastopol held an emergency meeting, which approved a resolution raising fifteen demands:



On March 1, a general meeting of the garrison was held, attended also by Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin , known familiarly by Soviet citizens as "Kalinych," was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the nominal head of state of Russia and later of the Soviet Union, from 1919 to 1946...

 and Commissar of the Soviet Baltic Fleet Nikolai Kuzmin
Nikolai Kuzmin
Nikolai Nikolayevich Kuzmin was a Soviet political and military leader. He was the political Commisar of the Baltic Fleet during the time of the Russian Civil War....

, who made speeches for the Government. The general meeting passed a resolution including the fifteen demands given above. On March 2 a conference of sailor, soldier and worker organization delegates, after hearing speeches by Kuzmin and Vasiliev, President of the Kronstadt Executive Committee, arrested these two, and amid incorrect rumors of immediate attack approved formation of a Provisional Revolutionary Committee. The Government responded with an ultimatum the same day. This alleged that the revolt had "undoubtedly been prepared by French counterintelligence" and that the Petropavlovsk resolution was an "SR-Black Hundred" resolution. SR stood for Social Revolutionaries, a democratic socialist party that had been dominant in the soviets before the return of Lenin, and whose right wing had refused to support the Bolsheviks. The Black Hundreds were a reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 ultra-nationalist movement in Russia in the early 20th century, that were supporters of the House of Romanov and opposed any retreat from the autocracy
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 of the reigning monarch.

Suppression of the revolt



The Bolshevik government began its attack on Kronstadt on March 7. Some 60,000 troops under command of Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, commander in chief of the Red Army , and one of the most prominent victims of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge.-Early life:...

 took part in the attack. The workers of Petrograd were under martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 and could offer little support to Kronstadt.
There was a hurry to gain control of the fortress before the melting of the bay as it would have made it impregnable for the land army. On March 17, the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 forces finally entered the city of Kronstadt after having suffered over 10,000 fatalities. On March 19, the Bolshevik forces took full control of the city of Kronstadt after having suffered fatalities ranging from 527 to 1,412 (or higher if the toll from the first assault is included.) The day after the surrender of Kronstadt, the Bolsheviks celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

.

Although there are no reliable figures for the rebels' battle losses, historians estimate that 1,200 to 2,168 were executed in the days following the revolt, and a like number were jailed, many in the Solovki prison camp. Official Soviet figures claim approximately 1,000 rebels were killed, 2,000 wounded, and between 2,300 to 6,528 captured, with 6,000 to 8,000 defecting to Finland, while the Red Army lost 527 killed and 3285 wounded. Later on, 1,050 to 1,272 prisoners were freed and 750 to 1,486 sentenced to five years' forced labour.
More fortunate rebels managed to escape to Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, their large number causing the first major refugee problem for the newly-independent state. The refugees in Finland were later pardoned through an amnesty. Among them was Petrichenko himself, who lived in Finland and worked as a spy for the Soviet GPU. He was arrested by the Finnish authorities in 1941 and was expelled to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1944. Some months after his return, he was arrested on espionage charges and sentenced to ten years in prison. He died in Vladimir prison
Vladimir Prison
The Vladimir Prison, colloquially known as "Vladimirsky Central" , is a prison for dangerous criminals, about 100 miles northeast of Moscow in Vladimir, Russia. It was established in 1783. Most are serving a minimum of 10 years, and some are imprisoned for life...

 in 1947.

Although Red Army units suppressed the uprising, the general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs could not have been more forcefully expressed. Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 himself stated that Kronstadt "lit up reality like a lightning flash". Against this background of discontent, Lenin concluded that world revolution
World revolution
World revolution is the Marxist concept of overthrowing capitalism in all countries through the conscious revolutionary action of the organized working class...

 was not imminent and proceeded in the spring of 1921 to replace the War Communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

 with his New Economic Policy
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

.

International reaction to the rebellion


The anarchist Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

, who was in Petrograd at the time of the rebellion, mentions in her account that "the news in the Paris Press about the Kronstadt uprising two weeks before it happened had been stressed in the campaign against the sailors as proof positive that they had been tools of the Imperialist gang and that rebellion had actually been hatched in Paris. It was too obvious that this yarn was used only to discredit the Kronstadters in the eyes of the workers." Lenin's claim of an international conspiracy linked up with the Kronstadt events is claimed by marxist Abbie Bakan
Abbie Bakan
Abigail "Abbie" B. Bakan is a Professor of Political Studies at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her research focuses on employment equity, Marxist theory and "anti-oppression politics"....

 to be supported by the discovery of a handwritten memorandum preserved in the Russian Archive of Columbia University, dated 1921 and marked 'Top Secret'. The document is titled Memorandum on the Question of Organizing an Uprising in Kronstadt, and includes information about the Kronstadt rebellion. It also details plans regarding White army and French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 government support for the "Kronstadt sailors' March rebellion".

The memorandum was part of a collection of documents written by National Centre, which originated first in 1918 as a self-claimed 'underground organisation formed in Russia for the struggle against the Bolsheviks'. After suffering military defeat and the arrest of many of its central members, the group reconstituted itself in exile by late 1920. General Wrangel, with his trained army of tens of thousands ready and waiting, was their principal military base of support. This memorandum was probably written between January and early February 1921 by an agent of the National Centre in Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

.
However, reading the document quickly shows that Kronstadt was not a product of a White conspiracy but rather that the White "National Centre" aimed to try and use a spontaneous "uprising" it thought was likely to "erupt there in the coming spring" for its own ends. The report notes that "among the sailors, numerous and unmistakable signs of mass dissatisfaction with the existing order can be noticed." Indeed, the "Memorandum" states that "one must not forget that even if the French Command and the Russian anti-Bolshevik organisations do not take part in the preparation and direction of the uprising, a revolt in Kronstadt will take place all the same during the coming spring, but after a brief period of success it will be doomed to failure." [quoted by Avrich, Kronstadt 1921, p. 235 and p. 240]


Avrich rejects the idea that the "Memorandum" explains the revolt:
Nothing has come to light to show that the Secret Memorandum was ever put into practice or that any links had existed between the emigres and the sailors before the revolt. On the contrary, the rising bore the earmarks of spontaneity... there was little in the behaviour of the rebels to suggest any careful advance preparation. Had there been a prearranged plan, surely the sailors would have waited a few weeks longer for the ice to melt... The rebels, moreover, allowed Kalinin
Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin , known familiarly by Soviet citizens as "Kalinych," was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the nominal head of state of Russia and later of the Soviet Union, from 1919 to 1946...

 (a leading Communist) to return to Petrograd, though he would have made a valuable hostage. Further, no attempt was made to take the offensive... Significant too, is the large number of Communists who took part in the movement.(...)

The Sailors needed no outside encouragement to raise the banner of insurrection... Kronstadt was clearly ripe for a rebellion. What set it off was not the machination of emigre conspirators and foreign intelligence agents but the wave of peasant risings throughout the country and the labour disturbances in neighboring Petrograd. And as the revolt unfolded, it followed the pattern of earlier outbursts against the central government from 1905 through the Civil War." [Op. Cit., pp. 111–2]

Moreover, whether the Memorandum played a part in the revolt can be seen from the reactions of the White "National Centre" to the uprising. Firstly, they failed to deliver aid to the rebels or to get French aid to them. Secondly, Professor Grimm, the chief agent of the National Centre in Helsingfors and General Wrangel's official representative in Finland, stated to a colleague after the revolt had been crushed that if a new outbreak should occur then their group must not be caught unawares again. Avrich also notes that the revolt "caught the emigres off balance" and that "nothing . . . had been done to implement the Secret Memorandum, and the warnings of the author were fully borne out." [Paul Avrich, Op. Cit., p. 212 and p. 123]


US Senator Joseph I. France
Joseph I. France
Joseph Irwin France was a Republican member of the United States Senate, representing the State of Maryland from 1917–1923.-Early life:...

 was the first US politician to visit Russia after the Revolution and an advocate of cordial relations with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

; he had spent time in Russia negotiating with Lenin and other Russian officials to secure the release of Marguerite Harrison
Marguerite Harrison
Marguerite Elton Harrison was a reporter, spy, film maker, and translator who was one of the four founding members of the Society of Woman Geographers.-Biography:...

, a US spy. He attracted controversy by accusing Colonel Edward W. Ryan of the American Red Cross
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

 of fomenting the Kronstadt rebellion.

Composition of the garrison


Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

 criticized Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 for his role in the suppression of the rebellion, arguing that it made his later criticism of Stalinism hypocritical. Trotsky responded that Goldman's criticisms were mainly perfunctory, and that they ignored the differing social composition between the pro-Bolshevik Kronstadt Uprising of 1917 and the mainly "petty bourgeois" Kronstadt Uprising of 1921.
Defenders of the Bolshevik policy, such as Abbie Bakan
Abbie Bakan
Abigail "Abbie" B. Bakan is a Professor of Political Studies at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her research focuses on employment equity, Marxist theory and "anti-oppression politics"....

, have claimed that the Kronstadt rebels were not the same sailors as those who had been revolutionary heroes in 1917. In response, Israel Getzler presents detailed evidence that the vast majority of the sailors had been in the Navy since 1917:
that the veteran politicized Red sailor still predominated at Kronstadt at the end of 1920 is borne out by the hard statistical data available regarding the crews of the two major battleships, the Petropavlovsk and the Sevastopol, both renowned since 1917 for their revolutionary zeal and Bolshevik allegiance. Of 2,028 sailors whose years of enlistment are known, no less than 1,904 or 93.9% were recruited into the navy before and during the 1917 revolution, the largest group, 1,195, having joined in the years 1914-16. Only some 137 sailors or 6.8% were recruited in the years 1918-21, including three who were conscripted in 1921, and they were the only ones who had not been there during the 1917 revolution. As for the sailors of the Baltic Fleet in general (and that included the Petropavlovsk and Sevastopol), of those serving on 1 January 1921 at least 75.5% are likely to have been drafted into the fleet before 1918. Over 80% were drawn from Great Russia
Great Russia
Great Russia is an obsolete name formerly applied to the territories of "Russia proper", the land that formed the core of Muscovy and, later, Russia...

n areas (mainly central Russia and the Volga area), some 10% from the Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, and 9% from Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.
...
Nor, as has so often been claimed, did new recruits, some 400 of whom Yasinsky had interviewed, arrive in numbers large enough to dilute or even 'demoralize' Kronstadt's Red sailors. As Evan Mawdsley has found, 'only 1,313 of a planned total of 10,384 recruits had arrived' by 1 December 1920, and even they seem to have been stationed in the barracks of the Second Baltic Crew in Petrograd.


Tony Cliff
Tony Cliff
Tony Cliff , was a Trotskyist who was a founding member of the Socialist Review Group which went on to become the Socialist Workers Party...

 defends the Bolshevik policy, stating that "the number of industrial workers in Russia, always a minority, fell from 3 million in 1917 to 1,240,000, a decline of 58.7%, in 1921–22. So was there a decline in the agricultural proletariat, from 2,100,000 in 1917, to 34,000 only two years later (a decline of 98.5%). But the number of peasant households (not individuals which is many times greater) had risen with the parcelization of land from 16.5 million in early 1918 to over 25 million households by 1920, an increase of some 50%."

According to this view, the majority of the sailors in the Baltic Fleet stationed at Kronstadt were recent recruits of peasant origin. Stepan Petrichenko
Stepan Petrichenko
Stepan Maximovich Petrichenko , was a Russian revolutionary, an anarcho-syndicalist politician, one of the main leaders of the Third Russian Revolution, the head of the Soviet Republic of Soldiers and Fortress-Builders of Nargen and in 1921, de facto leader of the Kronstadt Commune, and the leader...

 was himself a Ukrainian
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 peasant. He later acknowledged that many of his fellow mutineers were peasants from the south, who were in sympathy with the peasant opposition movement against the Bolsheviks. In the words of Petrichenko: "When we returned home our parents asked us why we fought for the oppressors. That set us thinking."

Walter Krivitsky's concept of "Kronstadt"


In 1939, Isaac Don Levine
Isaac Don Levine
Isaac Don Levine was a Russian-born American journalist and writer.-Biography:Born in Mozyr, Russia, Levine came to the United States in 1911. He finished high school in Missouri, and found work with The Kansas City Star and later The New York Herald Tribune, for which he covered the revolution of...

 introduced Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers was born Jay Vivian Chambers and also known as David Whittaker Chambers , was an American writer and editor. After being a Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy, he later renounced communism and became an outspoken opponent later testifying in the perjury and espionage trial...

 to Walter Krivitsky
Walter Krivitsky
Walter Germanovich Krivitsky was a Soviet intelligence officer who revealed plans of signing Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact before defecting weeks before the outbreak of World War II....

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. First, Krivitsky asked, "Ist die Sowjetregierung eine faschistische Regierung? -- Is the Soviet Government a fascist government?" to which Chambers assented. "Du hast recht," he said, "und Kronstadt war der Wendepunkt -- You are right, and Kronstadt was the turning point." Chambers explained:
From Kronstadt during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the sailors of the Baltic Fleet had steamed their cruisers to aid the Communists in capturing Petrograd. Their aid had been decisive... They were the first Communists to realize their mistake and the first to try to correct it. When they saw that Communism meant terror and tyranny, they called for the overthrow of the Communist Government and for a time imperiled it. They were bloodily destroyed or sent into Siberian slavery by Communist troops led in person by the Commissar of War, Leon Trotsky, and by Marshal Tukhachevsky, one of whom was later assassinated, the other executed, by the regime they then saved.

Krivitsky meant that by the decision to destroy the Kronstadt sailors, and by its cold-blooded action in doing so, Communism had made the choice that changed it from benevolent socialism to malignant fascism.

Louis Fischer's concept of "Kronstadt"


The 1949 book The God That Failed
The God that Failed
The God That Failed is a 1949 book which collects together six essays with the testimonies of a number of famous ex-communists, who were writers and journalists. The common theme of the essays is the authors' disillusionment with and abandonment of communism...

 contains Louis Fischer
Louis Fischer
Louis Fischer was a Jewish-American journalist. Among his works were a contribution to the ex-Communist treatise The God that Failed, The Life of Lenin, which won a 1965 National Book Award, as well as a biography of Mahatma Gandhi entitled The Life of Mahatma Gandhi...

's definition of "Kronstadt" as the moment in which communists or fellow-travelers decide not just to leave the Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 but to oppose it as anti-communists
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

. Editor Richard Crossman
Richard Crossman
Richard Howard Stafford Crossman OBE was a British author and Labour Party politician who was a Cabinet Minister under Harold Wilson, and was the editor of the New Statesman. A prominent socialist intellectual, he became one of the Labour Party's leading Zionists and anti-communists...

 said in the book's introduction: "The Kronstadt rebels called for Soviet power free from Bolshevik dominance" (p. x). After describing the actual Kronstadt rebellion, Fischer spent many pages applying the concept to subsequent former-communists — including himself: "What counts decisively is the 'Kronstadt.' Until its advent, one might waver emotionally or doubt intellectually or even reject the cause altogether in one's mind, and yet refuse to attack it. I had no 'Kronstadt' for many years." (p. 204).

Others


Writers who subsequently picked up the term have included Clark Kerr
Clark Kerr
Clark Kerr was an American professor of economics and academic administrator. He was the first chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley and twelfth president of the University of California.- Early years :...

, David Edgar
David Edgar (playwright)
David Edgar is a British playwright and author who has had more than sixty of his plays published and performed on stage, radio and television around the world, making him one of the most prolific dramatists of the post-1960s generation in Great Britain.He was resident playwright at the Birmingham...

, William F. Buckley, Jr.
William F. Buckley, Jr.
William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for...

, and Norman Podhoretz
Norman Podhoretz
Norman B. Podhoretz is an American neoconservative pundit and writer for Commentary magazine.-Early life:The son of Julius and Helen Podhoretz, Jewish immigrants from the Central European region of Galicia, Podhoretz was born and raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn...

.

See also

  • Russian anarchism
  • Russian battleship Potemkin
    Russian battleship Potemkin
    The Potemkin was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the Imperial Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet. The ship was made famous by the Battleship Potemkin uprising, a rebellion of the crew against their oppressive officers in June 1905...

  • Hungarian Revolution of 1956
  • Spithead and Nore mutinies
    Spithead and Nore mutinies
    The Spithead and Nore mutinies were two major mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy in 1797. There were also discontent and minor incidents on ships in other locations in the same year. They were not violent insurrections, being more in the nature of strikes, demanding better pay and conditions...

  • Chilean naval mutiny of 1931
  • Royal Indian Navy Mutiny
  • Wilhelmshaven mutiny
    Wilhelmshaven mutiny
    The Kiel mutiny was a major revolt by sailors of the German High Seas Fleet on 3 November 1918. The revolt triggered the German revolution which was to sweep aside the monarchy within a few days. It ultimately led to the end of the First World War and to the establishment of the Weimar Republic.-...

  • HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (1909)#Mutiny in the Indies
  • Invergordon Mutiny
    Invergordon Mutiny
    The Invergordon Mutiny was an industrial action by around 1,000 sailors in the British Atlantic Fleet, that took place on 15–16 September 1931...

  • Revolt of the Lash

External links