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Review of the political state of the USSR
Review of the political and economic state of the RSFSR in February 1922
TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE RCP
In January, the internal situation of the Republic is presented in the following form.
February gives a slight deterioration in workersʹ sentiments in comparison with the previous months of the winter of 19211922. The reason for this is the growing food crisis by spring, as in previous years. However, a characteristic feature of the reporting month is that outbreaks of discontent and indignation, covering from time to time one or another industrial center of the Republic, are inevitably short‐term and in no case have a tendency to territorial spread. In addition to the aforementioned exacerbation of the food crisis, exacerbation, which naturally entails a decrease in ration rates, interruption of their delivery, etc., the most significant reasons affecting the mood of workers and causing the aforementioned deterioration of their moods are: the rapid rise in market prices, disrupting all attempts to establish a solid living wage,
The calming down of the Moscow and St. Petersburg workers, which began in mid‐January and we noted in the previous survey, under the influence of the above reasons, from the beginning of February [was replaced] by a new wave of discontent. Of the major disturbances that have occurred during this time at the enterprises of both capitals, it should be noted: disturbances at the St. Petersburg Baltiysky 1 and Pipe factories 2, large strikes at Moscow Bogorodskaya 3 and Trekhgornaya 4 and a rather persistent fermentation among Moscow printers.
Disturbances and discontent on the ground, as mentioned earlier, are sporadic and short‐lived. Of the particularly long and stubborn unrest, it is necessary to single out only the 110‐day strike of the Bryansk state plant provoked by the monarchists and the unrest at the Zlatoust plant in the 5th Ufa province, which ended with the closure of the plant and the announcement of a new recruitment of workers. The strike at the Bryansk State Plant is the only case of workersʹ unrest in February that was politically charged and led by members of an anti‐Soviet organization.
Throughout February, the central issues of concern to the village continue to be the collection of the tax in kind 6 and preparations for the spring sowing campaign.
The collection of the tax in kind, including the taxation of hidden arable land and the collection of an additional tax, is coming to an end throughout the territory of the Republic. The number of provinces that have completed the campaign is increasing every day. And, however, the difficulties with which we have to finish collecting the tax in kind are increasing every day.
This is quite natural. Everything that the peasants ʺwantedʺ to do, everything that could be knocked out of them without the use of extreme measures, all this has already been taken, and now we have to take from the peasants what they do not want and in fact cannot give. Because of this, the collection of residues takes place in an atmosphere of extreme mutual bitterness, sometimes leading to completely undesirable phenomena. The most sharp and acute issue of taking these remnants from the peasants is in Siberia, where the fulfillment of 100% of the tax in kind threatens the peasants with hunger and sheer ruin. The state information reports of the Cheka for the second half of February contain extensive reports from our Siberian authorities about the consequences of attempts to force Siberian peasants to surrender 100% of the tax. A similar kind of phenomenon is observed in a number of other provinces of the Republic, for example, in Altai, Perm, Aktobe, Murmansk and Oryol provinces. In all of these and in many other provinces, the peasants surrender all available grain reserves, including sowing seeds, as tax. In some places the peasants are forced to buy grain to pay the arrears due. In all these areas, peasants are mass slaughtering livestock. The mood of the peasants is almost universally suppressed, in places embittered. Added to all this is the extremely incorrect and tactless behavior of the food workers in the field. In the same Siberia, it turns into mass atrocities, sometimes reaching absolutely incredible proportions. It must be pointed out that such phenomena make the peasants angry to the extreme with the onset of spring, a period always alarming and dangerous in the sense of the development of banditry and insurrection, and can put us in the face of terrible facts.
The spring sowing campaign in the field is just beginning. Almost everywhere there is a tendency of peasants to expand the cultivated area, which, however, is hindered by the lack of seeds felt in many places and, to an even greater extent, by the lack of living and dead implements needed by peasants for agricultural work.
The substitution of guzhpovnostnost ‐ guznalog 7 was greeted by the peasants in general with sympathy.
The situation in the starving areas continues to be dire. The area affected by hunger is increasing, the number of hungry is growing every day. The mood of the starving population is desperate. In hungry areas, the development of banditry, mainly of a criminal nature, is noted.
The food crisis, which has now aggravated, adversely affected the mood of the Red Army.
They are worst of all, of course, in areas affected by famine, especially in southern Ukraine. The most peaceful areas are the central provinces.
In the south of Ukraine, the discontent does not stop all month, and only in Crimea, in connection with the arrival of food routes there, the situation in military units by the end of February is somewhat improving. The situation is very unfavorable among the troops stationed in the Far North of the Republic and in the Transcaucasus.
The situation is complicated by the development in the last desertion there, so strong that sometimes it is necessary to eliminate create extraordinary troika 8.
The situation in the capitalʹs garrisons is generally satisfactory, only in Moscow towards the end of the month an acute crisis of uniforms begins to be felt, a phenomenon characteristic of this period, however, for the entire Republic.
The mobilization of young communists everywhere went with great enthusiasm and had a very favorable impact on the mood of the Red Army. The week of the ʺproperty of the Red Army soldierʺ was generally colorless and had no political consequences.
In the Petrograd district, banditry has almost been eliminated. In the first half of February, the main forces of the gangs operating in Karelia left for Finland. In Karelia there are only small gangs that are on the eve of complete liquidation. Within the Gdovskiy u. Petrograd province. on the basis of additional tax collection and abuse of local food agencies, general discontent is observed and criminal banditry is developing.
In the Western District, there is a revival of the activities of criminal gangsters, which are increasing in numbers over the reporting period. Bavds are most active in Vitebsk province, in the area of Nevelskoye and Gorodokosy u. bavda increased to 50 fighters. A special detachment of ʺfightersʺ armed with blunt axes, brutally cracking down on local citizens and Soviet workers, was selected from the ʺProfessorʺ gang. In Vitebsk and Senninsky u. new gangs appeared, organized exclusively from local residents. In the northern part of Borisov u. Minsk province. foreign agitators appeared, preparing the local population for the spring uprising. Ukrainian gangs appeared: Savinkovskaya 9 under the command of Dergachev‐Grozny and anarchist ‐ Medvedevʹs gang. There is a lull in the Oryol District. According to unverified information, the leader of one of the well‐known gangs, Utkin, was killed.
In the Volga District, the Serov 10 gang continues to be considered one of the most serious ones, concentrating its forces in the city of Uilsk, Ural province. The Revolutionary Military Council of this gang issued a declaration to the local population on the organization of power by the Council of 5 and 3, elected without class distinction. The declaration annuls all orders of the Soviet government and introduces new provisions based on the principles of the achievements of the February revolution. The gangs appropriated the name ʺFirst Ataman Division of the Insurgent Troopsʺ. Since the end of the peace talks, the gangs have been preparing intensively for military action. The headquarters is located in the city of Uilske, occupied by gangs.
In the Urals District, due to hunger, criminal banditry of local significance is increasing.
There is a lull in the Kiev district. One of the reasons is the lack of directives from abroad. During the reporting month, there are up to 12 bandit leaders who surrendered. In Volynsk, Kiev, Podolsk and some other provinces, it is mainly the bands of Petliura 11 that operate. According to information from the captured bandit, Petlyuraʹs gangs have established contact with Odessa, Nikolaev and Yekaterinoslav, from where they receive weapons and combustible materials.
In the Kharkov district, banditry has noticeably decreased. Bandits and their leaders voluntarily surrender. Ivanovʹs gang, operating in Nikolaev province, on February 12, during a raid on Cape Troitskoye, among 9 people, killed a military instructor and oneparty comrade and took with it a member of the volost tax committee Eliseev.
In the Crimea, on the basis of hunger, banditry is developing strongly and many small gangs have appeared throughout the territory, which continuously raid the local population. The mood of the population in the cities is depressed, and in the villages there is a murmur against the Soviet regime, considering it the cause of the famine. There is a noticeable revival among the white officers, they spread provocative rumors about the impending uprising and the fall of Soviet power, at the same time they form gangs that rob the peasants under the guise of Cheka employees.
In the North Caucasus District, banditry continues to develop. In the area of Makhoshevskaya, the headquarters of the Kuban Insurgent Army 12 appeared, which is doing a lot of organizational work to unite small bands. The staff includes generals Marchenko, Lukoyanov, cornet Likhbaba, centurion Zakharchenko and four unknown persons.
In the Transcaucasian district, banditry has decreased, apparently due to snow drifts, but, undoubtedly, it will develop again at the first opportunity, since the bandits enjoy the sympathy of the local population. In the region of the Mountain Republic 13 in the Shatoevsky region, an intensive preparation of the population for the uprising is underway; the leaders of last yearʹs uprisings, Sheikh Aksaltinsky and Prince Dashinsky, are taking part in this work. According to available information, 12 villages are already ready for the uprising. In Chechnya, white officers and Turkish agents are conducting intensified anti‐Soviet agitation.
In Siberia, banditry is on the same level as last month. More significant ones are formed at the expense of small gangs. In the center of the bandit groups of the Yakutsk province. banditry takes on a monarchist character, and in Altai the movement is led by white officers and Social Revolutionaries. Cases of gang attacks on detached companies of red units are not uncommon.
Turkestan Basmachi have 14 Enver Pasha and other Turkish officers who are popular among Muslims as their leaders. The main attention has to be paid to the Bukhara movement under the slogan of the formation of an independent Turkmenistan. This movement attracts the entire population of Eastern Bukhara to its side. It is difficult to say whether this is the ultimate goal of the movement, the participation of Enver Pasha suggests that the main goal is PanIslamism 15, the unification of all Islam. The leaders of the movement are taking measures to unite the Basmachs of Fergana and Bukhara. The activities of the Basmachi are revitalized: there are raids on our garrisons and small units, cases of robberies and murders of residents have been recorded, but the Basmachi are avoiding collisions with our large units.
In Khiva, the gang of Dzhunaid Khan 16 attracts attention. The latter is very popular among the well‐to‐do population. In the city of Urgench, a secret meeting of bays was held, at which it was decided to help Djuna‐id‐khan with weapons, uniforms and supplies. The gang is constantly increasing through mobilization, and in the near future Dzhunaid Khan intends to bring it up to 1,500 sabers.
In the general picture of banditry in the RSFSR, it is necessary to state the growth of the rebel movement, especially in Siberia, Crimea, Turkestan and the North Caucasus. The closeness of spring threatens the intensification and development of banditry and requires extreme vigilance and effort to fight it.
WORK OF COUNTER‐REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATIONS
The activity of anarchist groups during February increased significantly compared to the previous January. Particularly strong is the recovery in the south, mainly in Ukraine and in Crimea, where it is expressed in the organization of acts of terrorism, expropriations, arson, and so on. N. Places groups have clandestine print shop, keep in touch with Makhno 18 and the Petlura organizations. The groups working in the central provinces showed almost no activity during the month.
In Minsk there is a federation that has a connection with Smolensk and conducts a rather lively activity, expressed in the organization of lectures, agitation among workers, etc. In the Poltava province. liquidated anarcho‐bandit group, which carried out raids and committed murders of responsible co‐workers.
The departure of a group of Mensheviks led by Dan 20 abroad will undoubtedly strengthen the foreign agitation of the RSDLP party. On the territory of the Republic over the past February, a weakening of propaganda work and an increase in organizational work are planned. The liquidation of the Bureau of Social Democratic Youth in Moscow increased the conspiracy of the party, which is also noted in the provinces as a result of the struggle of the GPU organs with local groups of Social Democrats.
The slogans advanced by the party are extremely variegated. Thus, the Mensheviks of Georgia at the Rabipros congress ended the congress with exclamations ʺLong live the Constituent Assembly!ʺ 21 while the Mensheviks of the central provinces are pushing for the independence of the trade unions. There is a tendency to hold a referendum on the issue of wages and to immediately establish a subsistence level (Moscow).
A characteristic feature of the Menshevik party is ambivalence in its work: since the Mensheviks consider themselves members of the legal party, they intensify their organizational activity, confident that they will not bear responsibility for this; on the other hand, carrying on anti‐Soviet activities, they intensify their secrecy measures to the extreme, carefully covering up the traces of their work.
Right SR 22
The activities of the Right Social Revolutionaries during February are concentrated mainly in the southern and southeastern regions of the Republic. In the South, the greatest activity is being developed by the Baku organization of the AKP, which is working to create collectives in factories and plants, which in some places they have already managed to do.
Southeastern organizations are preparing a regional militarypolitical congress in Voronezh. Other organizations are conducting petty agitation and trying to distribute their literature.
The connection of Western organizations, as well as the Central Committee of the AKP with abroad, was discovered, carried out through the Savinka agents.
On the part of the Social Revolutionary organizations of the central provinces, there is a desire to penetrate into cooperative institutions and into local bodies of the Peopleʹs Commissariat for Land.
Left SRs 23
During the reporting month, the Left Social Revolutionaries were almost never active, only in Vitebsk province. some revival of the activity of maximalists can be noted 24.
The revival of the work of the monarchists, noted in the January review of the Cheka, continues in February. In particular, this revival is observed in foreign monarchist groups and organizations.
In January, a congress of the most prominent monarchists took place in Wiesbaden (Germany). The congress was attended by 25 Kokovtsev, 26 Urusov, 27 Guchkov, and others. It was decided to submit a memorandum to Poincaré 28 on behalf of the entire united Russian emigration (up to the SRs inclusive) protesting against the participation of Soviet Russia in the Genoa Conference 29. At the time of the conference, the presence of the largest monarchist figures in Genoa was deemed necessary. The mood of foreign monarchist groups in connection with the opening at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian department headed by the former Russian ambassador Palaeologus 30 cheerful and confident. The activity of monarchist groups in Bulgaria revived, where they organized the ʺSalvation of the Motherlandʺ military squad, which aims to organize terror in all forms. Special courses have been opened for training vigilantes. The first batch of vigilantes who graduated from the courses have already left for Soviet Russia to organize uprisings and prepare the ground for the expected landing of the Wrangel army 31 in the regions of Odessa and the Caucasus coast. German monarchist group contacted Stinnes 32, who created at his firm a special Russian department in charge of political and economic issues relating to Russia. The department is headed by the former Vilna prosecutor, the monarchist Ackerman. All over Germany, Russian counterintelligence cells have been organized, headed mainly by monarchists. The cells are subsidized by the German General Staff, as well as by Russian and German monarchical circles. It is necessary to note the change in the tactics of the German‐Russian monarchist groups. Hopes for a speedy restoration [of the monarchy in] Germany are not being justified, so it was decided to make Russia the center of attention. Wrangel moved his headquarters to Sofia, where his units were being pulled together. It is assumed that the command of his army will pass to the former Don ataman Krasnov 33.
During the reporting period, the cadets did not show active activity on the territory of Soviet Russia.
The central issue that worries the mass of the Orthodox clergy is the question of confiscating church values in favor of the starving. The clergy did not show active counter‐revolutionary activity anywhere. Among the activities of other groups of clergymen, it is necessary to note the discovered connection of Baptists 35 with the ARA 36 organization. Baptists living in starving areas receive a huge amount of food from America.
Deputy Chairman of the GPU Unshlikht 37
Head of the Information Department of the GPU 38 Ashmarin