Andrey has translated portions of the “Stories of the History of the USSR” by T.S. Golubeva and L.S. Hellerstein.
Download a PDF copy of the entire book or read the translations below. Click the arrows to expand each section. Corresponding pages from the full PDF appear at the bottom of each translated chapter.
Table of Contents
Stories about our Motherland in the distant past 9
1. Ancient Slavs 9
2. In ancient Kyiv 12
3. Rus' fights against the Mongol-Tatar invaders 17
4. The defeat of the German knights (*the Battle on the Ice on 5 April 1242, between the Russian forces, led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, and the forces of the Livonian Order and Bishopric of Dorpat) 21
5. Ancient Moscow 25
6. Battle of Kulikovo (*between the armies of the Golden Horde, and various Russian principalities, on 8 September 1380) 28
Stories about our Motherland under serfdom 32
7. Moscow is the capital of the Russian state. 32
8. Journey beyond Three Seas (*a Russian literary monument in the form of travel notes, made by a merchant from Tver, Afanasiy Nikitin during his journey to India in 1466–1472) 36
9. Beginning of printing in Rus' 38
10. Serfs 40
11. Forever with the Russian people (*Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Hetman of the Zaporizhian Host, on behalf of the Zaporizhian Host, promises the Russian Tsar "to serve honestly and faithfully in all of Your Tsar's matters and orders to Your Tsar's Majesty forever", as a result, Ukraine becomes a part of Russia) 44
12. Russian explorers and sailors 47
13. Northern War (*the Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire) 52
14. Formation of the Russian Empire 55
15. Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov 58
16. Inventor of the steam engine 61
17. Peasant War 63
18. Talents in bondage 67
19. Siege of Siege of Izmail
(*Part of Russo-Turkish War 1787–1792) A. V. Suvorov 70
20 - 21. Patriotic War of 1812 73
22. Decembrist uprising 80
23. The first railways 83
Stories about our Motherland under the capitalist order 86
24. The fall of serfdom 86
25. Russia becomes a capitalist country 90
26. The situation of the peoples in Tsarist Russia 94
27. Revolutionary Workers 98
28. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 102
29. V. I. Lenin - Founder of the Communist Party 105
30-31. The first revolution in Russia 108
32. The people overthrow the tsar 114
The Great October Socialist Revolution and the Civil War 119
33. The Bolsheviks are preparing a socialist revolution 119
34-35. Great October Socialist Revolution 122
36. Ring of Fire 127
37. The defeat of the White Guard army of Kolchak 130
38. "Everyone to fight Denikin!" 133
39. "The glory of these days will not cease..." 136
40. Communist Subbotniks (*days of volunteer unpaid work on weekends, 'subbota' =Saturday ) 139
Building socialism in the USSR 143
41. Formation of the USSR 143
42. Lenin is dead, but his work will live forever! 146
43 - 44. Industrial construction sites of the first five-year plans 149
45. Organization of collective farms 157
46. USSR is a socialist country 161
Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union 165
47. Attack of the fascist invaders on the USSR 165
48. “Everything for the front! Everything for the Victory! 169
49. Battle for Moscow 172
50. Hero Cities 175
51. Battle of Stalingrad 179
52. Behind enemy lines 182
53. Young heroes of the Great Patriotic War 185
54. Struggle for the freedom of peoples 188
55. Great Victory 191
Soviet people are building communism 196
56. From socialism to communism 196
57. Miraculous Power 200
58. Advanced collective farm 203
59. Great achievements of the Soviet people 206
60. Going ahead 209
61-62. Our Motherland in the struggle for peace and friendship between peoples 211
63. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union leads us to communism 217
26. The situation of the peoples in Tsarist Russia (94)
The Russian Empire was vast. The tsar, landlords and capitalists owned untold riches. They kept everything in their hands: arable lands, forests, coal and oil, precious furs, gold and diamonds, factories and mines
Many different peoples inhabited Russia. The peoples of Transcaucasia and Central Asia had an ancient history. Cities like Yerevan and Tbilisi. Samarkand, Bukhara, emerged more than two thousand years ago. The peoples of Transcaucasia and Central Asia created a highly developed culture in ancient times. The great Tajik scientist Ibn Sina (Avicenna, as he was called in Europe) lived about 1000 years ago. He was a mathematician, astronomer, skilled physician and poet. His works were translated into many languages of the peoples of Europe and Asia.
Almost 900 years ago, the great Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli wrote the poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin. Even now millions of people in our country and around the world read it with admiration, because Rustaveli's beautiful poems sing of love for the motherland, friendship, loyalty and courage — something that is especially dear to people. But by the time Transcaucasia and Central Asia became part of Russia, their economy was more backward than in the central regions of Russia.
Meanwhile in the north, in Siberia and the Far East, before the arrival of the Russian people, the local peoples did not know metal. All weapons and tools - knives, bows, arrows, needles - were made from stone, bone, wood.
Local residents learned from Russian peasants how to cultivate the land, raise livestock. Instead of bows and arrows, hunting rifles appeared. The extraction of gold, iron and other minerals began. Cities and workers' settlements arose. In Siberia and the Far East, as well as elsewhere in Russia, a working class emerged. In joint work and struggle against common enemies, the friendship of working people of different nationalities grew stronger.
The multinational Russian state was created over several centuries. One peoples joined Russia voluntarily, others were conquered by the tsarist troops. Accession to Russia was for many peoples a salvation from the devastating invasions of foreign conquerors. Thus, the reunification of Ukraine with Russia saved the Ukrainian people from enslavement by the Polish lords. The peoples of Transcaucasia, having joined Russia, got rid of the devastating raids of the Turkish and Iranian invaders.
With the development of capitalism in Russia, plants and factories began to grow faster. They began to build railways from St. Petersburg and Moscow to the west, to the Caucasus, to Central Asia, they started from their native Siberia. Residents of remote outskirts, where there were few plants and factories, now bought fabrics, shoes, metal products made at factories in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kyiv and Riga. The peoples of Russia have learned a lot from each other. The books of great Russian writers, the works of leading scientists became available to educated people of all the peoples who inhabited Russia.
But there was a lot of hardship in the life of the non-Russian peoples of the Russian Empire. No wonder V. I. Lenin called it a prison of peoples. The Caucasus, Central Asia and other national outskirts were ruled by Russian officials appointed by the tsar. They contemptuously called all non-Russian people "inorodtsy" (aliens) [this is a simplified explanation of this term; it is a special category of people within the law of the Russian Empire, resembling a separate estate: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%98%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B4%D1%86%D1%8B] . The recalcitrant tsarist officials were subjected to the most severe punishments. So, after one of the uprisings of the Uzbek peasants, by order of the royal governor, several kishlaks (villages) were destroyed, and the inhabitants were either killed or expelled from their native places.
The tsarist government, Russian capitalists and landowners plundered the wealth of the peoples of the national outskirts. They seized the best lands, exported copper and iron ore, oil, cotton, gold, valuable furs and other riches. In Transcaucasia, Central Asia and Kazakhstan, few factories were built. It was more profitable for capitalists from the central regions of Russia to bring finished goods, sell them here at a high price, and export raw materials from here.
There were very few schools in the national outskirts of Russia, and it was mainly the sons of the rich who studied there. It was beneficial for the tsarist authorities to keep the people in darkness and ignorance, to support superstitions and ancient harmful customs. In Central Asia, for example, a woman was in the complete power of her husband or father. She had to obey a man in everything, she had no right to even go outside without permission. If the husband and wife walked together, then the man walked in front lightly, and behind, at a distance of 6-8 steps, a woman timidly followed him with heavy luggage. A woman did not dare to walk next to a man, she did not have the right to appear on the street with an open face. A thick black net made of horsehair covered her face. This ancient custom humiliated and insulted the woman.
The national outskirts had their own rich - landlords and capitalists, who acted in concert with the tsarist government and officials, because they themselves were oppressors. With their help, the tsarist government kindled enmity between different peoples. Priests set people of different nationalities and different faiths against each other. A bloody battle between Azerbaijanis and Armenians took place on the streets of Baku for four days. Shots were fired, houses were on fire, bleeding, people were dying. And the tsarist policemen stood at their posts as if nothing had happened, as if everything was calm in the city. Let them fight and beat each other. It is beneficial for the tsar.
The tsar, landowners and churchmen were afraid of the unification of working people of different nationalities and therefore tried to pit them against each other. But it was not always possible. Many times Russian and non-Russian peasants and artisans fought together against their enemies. Remember the uprisings of Stepan Razin and Emelyan Pugachev. Their troops included Russian, Tatar, Bashkir, Chuvash, and Mordovian peasants.
The fiery lines of the poems of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Nekrasov, the poems of Georgian, Uzbek, and Kazakh poets called to the struggle for freedom, for the happiness of the peoples.
"Arise, fallen slaves!" -
wrote A. S. Pushkin.
"The host rises innumerable,
The strength in it will be invincible!” —
N. A. Nekrasov dreamed of a people's revolution. An angry voice of T. H. Shevchenko thundered from Ukraine:
“... then rise ye up
And break your heavy chains
And water with the tyrants' blood
The freedom you have gained.
And in the great new family,
The family of the free,
With softly spoken, kindly word
Remember also me. ”
The working people - workers and peasants - of different ethnicities of Russia had common enemies: the tsar, "their own" and Russian landowners and capitalists. When the Russian workers and peasants rose up to fight against the oppressors, the working people of the oppressed peoples of Russia fought hand in hand with them for the common cause.
27. Revolutionary Workers (98)
The transition of Russia to the capitalist order led to the emergence of the working class. Workers toiled together in capitalist factories, were closely linked together by work and life. In this they differed from the peasants who worked alone on their piece of land.
The peasants had property - some land, livestock, simple tools: a plow or an ard, a harrow, a scythe. The workers had no such property. They lived only on their earnings. The number of workers grew. Many peasants went bankrupt, went to the city and became workers.
The workers began to fight against their oppressors. Those who were the first were the most courageous, resolute, courageous of them. They were revolutionary workers. One of the first workers-revolutionaries was Pyotr Alekseevich Alekseyev.
Pyotr Alekseev was born into a poor peasant family even before the fall of serfdom. When the boy was 10 years old, his father brought him to St. Petersburg and sent him to work in a factory. From that time on, the working life of the future revolutionary began. 16-17 hours of work every day, abuse and beatings of masters - such was the childhood of Pyotr Alekseyev. Only as an adult did he learn to read and write. Tired Pyotr returned from work and sat down at the book. In books, the young worker was looking for answers to the questions: “Why is life so unfair? Why do some not work and live in contentment and luxury, while others, working to exhaustion, remain poor and powerless?”
Soon Pyotr got acquainted with revolutionary students and began to take from them revolutionary books banned by the tsarist authorities. At his factory, he organized an underground workers' circle. The workers wanted to know why injustice exists, how to change life. At one of the secret meetings of the revolutionaries, Pyotr Alekseyev was arrested.
He spent two years in prison. Alekseyev decided that at the trial he would not defend himself, but would accuse the tsarist government and the capitalists. "I am a worker. I must say everything that has grown to the working heart. I must shout to all of Russia: the working class
And so the trial of the revolutionaries began in St. Petersburg. The guests of honor, generals, senior officials are sitting in the large hall - all in uniforms with gold embroidery. And upstairs, on the balcony, a simple audience: men in shabby jackets, women in headscarves. At the back of the hall, there are 50 people on benches, 50 revolutionary defendants. Gendarmes with drawn sabers guard them. The eighteenth day of judgment is coming. The prosecutor, the defense lawyers, and the witnesses have already spoken. The defendants are speaking today.
“Defendant Pyotr Alekseyev, your last word,” the judge announces. A short, broad-shouldered young man stands up. He has black hair, a pale face, and a thick curly beard. The eyes look resolutely and firmly. Alekseyev is speaking about the condition of the workers. They have nowhere to look for help. They can only rely on themselves. The judge interrupts Alekseyev, but he does not pay attention to the judge's shout. Stretching out a strong fist in the direction of the tsar's portrait, the revolutionary loudly, for the whole hall, finishes: "Russia's working people can rely only on themselves and no-one else, except the young intelligentsia...Only they ... will march alongside us, without flinching, until the mighty hand of millions of working people is raised, and the yoke of despotism, ringed by soldiers' bayonets, is scattered to dust."
Pyotr Alekseyev's speech was printed in a secret printing house and quickly spread throughout the country. V. I. Lenin called this speech "the great prophecy of the revolutionary worker."
For the first time in Russia, the words of a worker were loudly heard, calling his fellow workers to fight. Alekseev's activity was dangerous for the government, his words were dangerous. That is why the verdict of the court is so cruel: 10 years of hard labor, then exile. Pyotr Alekseev died in exile. But there were new workers' revolutionaries. There were more and more of them. The working class rose up to fight. A few years later, an unprecedented strike broke out in Russia.
On January 7, 1885, at the weaving factory of the millionaire Morozov in Orekhovo-Zuevo, the day began as usual. At 5 o'clock in the morning the workers came to the factory and started to work. Suddenly, a long and drawn-out beep burst into the room, drowning out the noise of the machines. The whole factory immediately plunged into darkness. These are the worker boys, climbing on each other's shoulders, closing the main gas tap. There were shouts: "Finish the work!" The iron stairs rattled from the clatter of hundreds of running people.
Everyone gathered in the factory yard. There are joyful smiles on the faces of the workers: for the first time in many years, people were not afraid to organize in an organized way against the rich owner, who tortured them with overwork and fines. Thus the largest strike in Russia began.
Its organizer was the worker Pyotr Anisimovich Moiseyenko. It was he who persuaded the workers to rise up to fight. It wasn't easy. Many were afraid of the owner, and doubted success. On several occasions the workers met in secret and discussed how best to proceed.
In order not to draw attention to themselves, they chose a teahouse away from the factory as a gathering place. They met for the last time on the eve of the strike: it was necessary to finally draw up demands on Morozov. “We all sat down at the table,” Moiseenko later recalled. - We ordered tea, brought bread rolls. The comrades all came, and there were about 70 of us.”
The workers made their demands. The main ones were: to abolish fines and increase wages. Morozov refused to comply with the demands of the strikers and called in the troops. By the end of the day, the soldiers arrived. Several people were arrested. Then a crowd of thousands gathered in the streets, demanding the release of their comrades. The troops cordoned off the streets and workers' barracks. Arrests began, which lasted for several days. More than 600 strikers were thrown behind bars. A week after the start of the strike, the workers returned to work.
The Morozov strike was suppressed, the tsarist government, frightened by the organized action of the workers, was forced to make concessions and limit fines.
The main thing was that the workers felt the power of joint organized action. Strikes began to break out more frequently. Now, many plants and factories were on strike in different cities of the country.
28. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (102)
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin became the leader and teacher of the working class, the working people of the whole world in their resolute struggle against the capitalist order.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Ulyanov) was born on April 10 (22), 1870 in the city of Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk). Already in childhood, Vladimir Ilyich's enormous abilities manifested themselves. He studied well and graduated from the gymnasium with a gold medal. From childhood, Vladimir Ilyich read a lot. Even then, he was attracted by books that told about the hard lot of the working people. Vladimir Ilyich knew about the life of working people not only from books. He saw it in his hometown and in the village, where the Ulyanovs frequented. This was also told at home by father and older brother Alexander.
Alexander was a revolutionary. He fought against the tsar. With a small group of comrades, he prepared the assassination of the tsar.
The plot was discovered. Alexander was executed. Vladimir Ilyich was 17 at the time. He loved his older brother very much. But he realized that it was necessary to fight not alone, like his brother and his comrades, but to rouse the workers, the entire working people, to the struggle.
Already in his youth, Vladimir Ilyich studied the works of the great revolutionaries Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Marx and Engels lived and worked at a time when capitalist orders were established in the countries of Western Europe and in the USA. The working class rose up to fight. But what was the reason for their plight, how to fight, the workers did not know. The doctrine of the struggle and victory of the workers of all countries was created by Marx and Engels. In their writings, they proved that the capitalist order would be destroyed by the proletarian revolution. Communism will replace capitalism. There will be no oppressed and oppressors, all wealth and power will belong to the working people. But for this it is necessary to wage a long, stubborn struggle against the capitalists. And the main force in this struggle is the working class. For the struggle of the workers to lead to victory, they must unite. Marx and Engels were the first in history to create a communist party; which included the workers of Britain, France, Germany and some other countries. This was in the middle of the 19th century. The great revolutionaries appealed to the workers of all countries: "Workers of the world, unite!", which has been the slogan of communists all over the world for more than 100 years. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is the great successor of the teachings of Marx and Engels. He began the revolutionary struggle at Kazan University, where he participated in student demonstrations. For this, he was arrested and expelled from the university. During the arrest, the policeman said to Lenin: “Well, why are you rebelling, young man, it’s a wall! Lenin replied: “Yes, a wall, but a rotten one, just poke it, and it will fall apart!” Vladimir Ilyich called the tsarist order a rotten wall, which had to be destroyed by the power of the working people.
Lenin in the workers' circle
A clean room in a house on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. In the middle of the room is a table covered with a white tablecloth. Notebooks and books are neatly arranged on it. The windows are tightly hung: an underground working circle has gathered. The owner of the room, revolutionary worker Ivan Vasilyevich Babushkin, is also here. There is a knock on the door. A young man enters the room. This is Lenin. He came to conduct a lesson in this workers’ study circle.
Two hours of classes pass unnoticed. Vladimir Ilyich talked to the workers, simply and clearly explained to them how to fight the capitalists. The workers received leaflets from Lenin with questions and tasks: how many days a year they work, what kind of earnings workers of various professions have, how a capitalist profits from fines, and many others. These tasks taught the workers to observe factory life, to talk with their comrades. At the classes of the circle, leaflets were compiled that called on the workers to fight. Here is one of them: “What can we do, comrades? Who can help us? Where is our protection? We ourselves are both our help and our protection. Each of us individually is like a straw, but all of us together are a force ... Let everyone fight in alliance with comrades for a just cause, for a better life." There are more and more work circles. They are organized in different cities of multinational Russia: in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga, Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Kazan and many other places.
In December 1895, the police managed to track down and arrest Lenin. But even from prison, he continued to lead the workers. Vladimir Ilyich sometimes wrote letters to his comrades with milk between the lines of the books he had read. The "inkwells" were made from bread. When the peephole in the prison cell opened, he ate the inkwell. In one letter from prison, Lenin wrote: "Today I ate six inkwells." This meant that the warder often interfered with Vladimir Ilyich.
By order of the imperial authorities, Lenin was exiled for three years to Siberia, to the village of Shushenskoye. After exile, Lenin went abroad to continue the revolutionary struggle.
29. V. I. Lenin - Founder of the Communist Party (105)
Separate, albeit numerous, workers' circles that existed in Russia were loosely interconnected. They could not rouse the workers and peasants of a huge country to fight against the oppressors.
V. I. Lenin taught the workers that freedom can be won only by the stubborn struggle of the entire working class, the entire peasantry, all the working people, no matter what language they speak. To do this, they needed to create their own revolutionary party.
V. I. Lenin proposed that all work on organizing the party be carried out through the newspaper. But it was impossible to publish a workers' revolutionary newspaper in Russia because of police persecution. Therefore, V. I. Lenin and his fellow revolutionaries began to publish a newspaper abroad. The newspaper was called Iskra ( the Spark). Its slogan was the words: "From a spark a flame will flare up." Iskra was a true friend, adviser and organizer of the workers. It spoke about the work, life and struggle of workers in Russia and in other countries, and it was the only newspaper where workers could write about their needs and aspirations. The newspaper wrote about how important it is for the workers to create their own party, what kind of party this should be in order to lead the people to the revolution
It was very difficult to smuggle Iskra across the border and distribute it in Russia. The newspaper, printed on tissue paper, had to be folded into suitcases with a double bottom. Sometimes newspapers were sewn into waterproof bags. These bags in the holds of ships were taken to a prearranged place off the coast of Russia, where they were thrown into the sea. Underground revolutionaries fished out bags, brought them ashore and secretly distributed the newspaper throughout the country. Those who distributed and read Iskra were threatened with prison and hard labor. But this did not stop the workers. Iskra was their favorite newspaper; they copied it by hand and passed it to each other.
The people who smuggled and distributed Iskra were brave, courageous Leninist revolutionaries. Ivan Vasilyevich Babushkin, Nikolai Ernestovich Bauman and others transported Iskra to Russia many times, deceiving detectives and gendarmes. Bauman was very resourceful and courageous. He often ferried suitcases with a double bottom, sometimes wearing a "shell" under his clothes. Newspapers were tightly packed into this shell, and then the lean, slender Bauman turned into a stout man. Arriving at the place, he quickly "lost weight".
One day, Bauman was arrested and put in prison, where other revolutionaries were kept. He decided to organize their escape. For many days, secretly from the guards, the prisoners wove a long rope ladder.
The most difficult thing was to get the iron hook from the will. Bauman found a way out. During a visit, he was given a huge bouquet of flowers, in which a hook was hidden. Bauman deftly picked up the heavy bouquet and carried it to the cell. So the prisoners got the hook they needed. The revolutionaries managed to escape from prison.
V. I. Lenin and his comrades, united around the Iskra newspaper, prepared a congress of representatives of the revolutionary workers' organizations of Russia. This was already the second congress of the party. The first one took place in 1898 in Minsk. It was not possible to create a party at the first congress. The Central Committee, elected at the congress, was soon arrested.
The second congress of the party gathered in July 1903 in Britain, in London. The congress was held abroad, because in Russia the revolutionaries were persecuted by the tsarist police.
At the congress the first program of the party was discussed and adopted. The program determined the main tasks. It was necessary to unite the working class of Russia and, under its leadership, rouse the people to fight against the oppressors. It was necessary to overthrow the power of the tsar, the landowners and capitalists, to establish the power of the workers and peasants in order to build socialism.
Only a strong, united party could rouse the workers and peasants to the revolution. That is why Lenin and his supporters demanded that every person joining the Party should devote all his strength and abilities to the cause of the working class, to the cause of the revolution. Each member of the Party must actively participate in revolutionary work and obey the decisions of the majority. Without this, there can be no consolidated, fighting organization.
Among the congress delegates there were people who considered these requirements for a party member to be optional. The congress was divided into supporters and opponents of Lenin
When they began to choose the leaders of the party, the majority voted for Lenin and the Leninists. Since then, Lenin and his supporters have been called the Bolsheviks, and the party - the Bolsheviks. Later, the Bolshevik Party was called the Communist Party. The Bolshevik Communist Party led the workers and working peasants to the revolutionary struggle. The workers of other countries already had their own parties. But such a strong, fighting party as Lenin created in Russia did not exist in any country.
32. The people overthrow the tsar (114)
The Bolsheviks continue to fight
After the defeat of the first revolution in Russia, the Bolsheviks continued the revolutionary struggle. They were even more persistent and skillful in preparing the working class for new revolutionary battles. Lenin led the Bolshevik Party from abroad. The tsarist government was not able to stop the revolutionary struggle with any cruel executions and reprisals.
The revolutionaries had to fight the enemies in very difficult conditions. The Bolsheviks of the underground did not have a permanent place of residence, they lived under false names, often moved from city to city. Every minute they were threatened with arrest, prison, hard labor. In the struggle and severe trials, the iron guard of the Bolsheviks was tempered and strengthened.
Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky was a faithful Bolshevik-Leninist. He began the revolutionary struggle as a very young man. F. E. Dzerzhinsky spent almost a quarter of his life (11 years) in prisons and hard labor. In 1905 he led the struggle of the Polish workers. (*From the end of the 18th century, most of Poland was part of the Russian Empire.)
After the defeat of the revolution, Dzerzhinsky was arrested. He spent a year and a half in solitary confinement in one of the worst prisons in Russia. “For the fifth time I am celebrating the New Year in prison,” Dzerzhinsky wrote in his diary. It is often hard here, even scary... But if I had to start life anew, I would start it the same way.” In exile and hard labor, Dzerzhinsky remained a staunch and courageous man, devoted to the cause of the revolution. He always supported his comrades, helped them, and often saved them from death.
When one of the exiles was threatened with the death penalty, Dzerzhinsky, who had prepared a passport and money for his own escape, without hesitation, gave it all to him. Dzerzhinsky himself fled without documents and money in order to continue the revolutionary struggle again.
In the cities of Ivanovo, Shuya, and Vladimir, the young Bolshevik "Comrade Arseny" Mikhail Vasilievich Frunze was well known and loved. He participated in an armed uprising. After the armed uprising was crushed, Frunze was arrested.
The tsarist court sentenced him to death. But even in prison, on death row, Frunze did not lose courage. He studied English and Italian at the time. Even the prison guards admired the resilience of the young revolutionary. The indignation of the workers forced the tsarist court to reconsider the verdict. The death penalty was replaced by six years of hard labor. Even there, Frunze continued the revolutionary struggle.
In the deep underground, in prison cells, in hard labor, in exile and abroad, the Bolsheviks: Dzerzhinsky, Kalinin, Kirov, Ordzhonikidze, Sverdlov, Stalin, Frunze, and many others — fought for the working cause.
In 1914 the First World War began. This war was fought between the largest capitalist countries: Germany and its allies against England, France and Russia. They wanted to seize foreign lands and wealth. Never before had the world known such a great and bloody war. Gradually, dozens of countries entered this war, including the United States and Japan. Millions of armies fought on numerous fronts. The governments of the warring countries used hitherto unknown weapons: combat aircraft, tanks, submarines. Tsarist Russia participated in this predatory war.
The war was a disaster for the people. Workers and peasants were taken into the army. Millions of soldiers died at the front. Industry, transport, agriculture fell into decay. Famine began in the country. But the capitalists, landlords and rich farmers profited from the war. The tsarist government purchased weapons, boots, overcoats from manufacturers, and food for the army from landowners and wealthy farmers. Mediocre tsarist generals were losing battles.
More and more soldiers' lives were taken away by this war, which was unnecessary for workers and peasants.
The people no longer wanted to shed their blood for the interests of the rich. The Bolsheviks boldly acted at the front and in the rear. They urged the soldiers to turn their weapons against the tsar and organized strikes in the factories. A new revolution has begun in Russia. At the end of February 1917, the entire workers of Petrograd went on strike. (*This name came to refer to Saint Petersburg in 1914.)
The workers of the Putilov plant were the first to start. At the call of the Bolsheviks, workers from other plants and factories in Petrograd went on strike. The strikers took to the streets. Thousands of women workers joined the demonstration.
Late at night, the Bolshevik Committee met in a small house. “We can no longer wait and keep silent. It's time for an open fight. Tomorrow we march. We need to seize weapons warehouses, disarm the policemen,” the committee decides.
The capital has risen. Again, as in 1905, the tsar sent troops against the workers. But the soldiers did not shoot at the people. The army went over to the side of the revolution. The first, together with the insurgent people, was the Volynsky regiment. This happened on the morning of February 27th. An officer came to the barracks. "Hi, brothers!" he greeted the soldiers. In response, instead of the usual: “Good morning, Sir!” - there was a loud "hurrah!". "Attention!" the officer shouted in a rage. Nobody listened to him. The regiment went out into the street. Soldiers from other regiments joined it.
They walked towards the center of the city. Columns of armed workers moved from the outskirts across the bridges, across the ice of the frozen Neva. There were red banners and slogans above the heads of the people: "Down with the tsar!", "Down with the war!" A burst of a song came:
Whirlwinds of danger are raging around us, O'erwhelming forces of darkness assail, Still in the fight see advancing before us, Red flag of liberty that yet shall prevail.
Then forward you workers, freedom awaits you, O'er all the world on the land and the sea. On with the fight for the cause of humanity. March, march you toilers and the world shall be free.
The tsarist government was in continuous session. The ministers listened in horror as the shots fired in the streets. Suddenly the light went out. When it lit up again, some of the ministers embarrassedly crawled out from under the table.
By the evening of February 27, the insurgent people became the master of the situation in the city. Prisons and police stations were destroyed, weapons warehouses were seized. There were rallies everywhere. The workers and soldiers organized councils (Soviets) , which expressed the will of the people. Tsar Nicholas II sent troops from the front against Petrograd, but they also went over to the side of the insurgent workers and soldiers. The tsar and his family were arrested. The autocracy collapsed like a rotten tree.
The second revolution in Russia won within a few days. But power in the country was seized by the bourgeoisie, which created the Provisional Government.
33. Great October Socialist Revolution and Civil War
The Bolsheviks are preparing a socialist revolution
On the evening of April 3, 1917, workers in Petrograd met Lenin. After 10 years of forced absence, he returned from abroad to Russia.
Columns of workers, soldiers and sailors are marching along the wide avenues to the Finland Station. Revolutionary songs are loud. The wind shakes the red banners. The square in front of the station is already filled with people, and people keep coming and going in an endless stream. Two armored cars enter the square. The long-awaited locomotive whistle sounds, and the train slowly approaches the platform.
A few minutes later Vladimir Ilyich appears on the square. He is greeted with a mighty "Hurrah!". Workers lift Vladimir Ilyich onto an armored car. Lenin delivers a short welcoming speech, which ends with the words: "Long live the socialist revolution!"
Only a month has passed since the February Revolution. Many still believed the Provisional Government, expecting that it would help the people: give land, put an end to hunger and war. But the Provisional Government defended the interests of the landowners and capitalists. It did nothing and did not want to do anything for the people. The predatory war continued, the people were starving. The landlords continued to own land, the capitalists owned factories and plants. Nothing has changed in the life of the peoples who inhabited Russia. Ukrainians, Belarusians, Uzbeks and others were still oppressed by their own and Russian rich.
Only the power of the workers and peasants themselves could fulfill all the demands of the people. In order to establish it, it was necessary to make a socialist revolution. The Bolsheviks spoke at workers' meetings, campaigned among the soldiers. Bolshevik newspapers and leaflets urged the workers, soldiers and peasants not to trust the Provisional Government, but to take power into their own hands, take the land from the landowners and immediately stop the predatory war.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin explained in the Bolshevik newspapers to the workers, peasants, and soldiers what must be done in order for the socialist revolution to triumph. Vladimir Ilyich often spoke to workers and soldiers. Thousands of people listened to him. One worker, who then attended many meetings and listened to the speeches of different people, said that he had never heard such an orator as Lenin: “His words united people and opened the way for how and what to do for every worker.” The Bolshevik Party grew and strengthened every day. In just six months, its ranks have grown tenfold.
The Provisional Government regarded Lenin as its most dangerous enemy. It ordered the arrest of Lenin. A secret order was even given to kill Vladimir Ilyich. The Bolshevik Party decided to hide their leader. As under the tsar, Lenin was forced to hide. He lived and worked not far from Petrograd on the shore of Lake Razliv.
Lenin lived in a hut. Next to the hut there was a large stack of hay, on cold nights it served Vladimir Ilyich as a "bedroom". A small area was cleared out near the hut, where there were two stumps - a “table” and a “chair”. Here Lenin worked. He jokingly called the clearing his "green office".
Here, on the deserted shore of the lake, Lenin was not cut off from the workers and from the party. Every day, loyal people delivered Petrograd newspapers and letters from comrades to Vladimir Ilyich. Sometimes comrades sent by the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party came to him on a boat disguised as summer residents.
In August, the Central Committee of the Party decided to send Vladimir Ilyich to Finland. It became dangerous for Lenin to hide near Petrograd.
From Finland, Lenin continued to direct the preparations for the socialist revolution. At the direction of Lenin, the Bolsheviks created Red Guard detachments at factories and plants. The most class-conscious and devoted to the revolution workers joined them. Lenin considered the selection of commanders of the Red Guard to be a very important matter. They had to not only be proficient with weapons, but also be able to lead battles on city streets.
The Bolsheviks did a lot of work in the army. Soldiers and sailors have long been sick of the predatory war. Under the influence of Bolshevik agitation, they drove out the hated officers and elected Bolshevik commanders. More and more soldiers and sailors went over to the side of the Bolsheviks.
At the call of the Bolshevik Party, the peasants seized the landlords' lands. The workers of almost all of Russia went on strike. “All power to the Soviets! Of bread! Peace! they demanded. Together with the Russian workers and peasants, the working people of the oppressed nationalities of Russia rose up to fight for their liberation.
The socialist revolution was drawing near.
By decision of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, Lenin secretly returned to Petrograd in early October. He came to the city not in a railroad car - it was dangerous - but on a steam locomotive.
A few days after Lenin's return, a meeting of the Central Committee was held. At the suggestion of Lenin, it was decided to start an armed uprising in the coming days. Under the leadership of the Bolsheviks, the workers, peasants and soldiers were ready to rise up in arms to overthrow the Provisional Government and establish the power of the Soviets.
34-35. Great October Socialist Revolution
Smolny, the headquarters of the revolution
The building of the Smolny Institute, where the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party was located at that time, became the headquarters of the uprising. There, leaving a secret apartment, on the evening of October 24, V. I. Lenin went, accompanied by a faithful Bolshevik comrade. Through dark, deserted streets Ilyich made his way to Smolny. The tram Lenin had to take turned into the depot. He had to walk. Passers-by had no idea that the short man in a flat cap walking towards them was the leader of the Great Socialist Revolution that had already begun.
Detachments of Red Guards, soldiers, and sailors approached Smolny. In the square in front of the building there were motorcycles, passenger and armored cars, saddled horses, bonfires and torches burning. It was never before so lively and crowded in the halls and corridors of Smolny: the rumble of voices did not stop, the clang of weapons, clear words of military commands were heard.
Dzerzhinsky, Sverdlov, Stalin, Podvoisky and other Bolsheviks were at Smolny.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, arriving at Smolny, took the leadership of the armed uprising into his firm hands and brought it to a victorious end.
According to the plan of the armed uprising, which was developed in advance by Lenin and his closest associates, first of all it was necessary to capture the bridges. The bridges across the Neva are movable, and the Provisional Government could cut off the working outskirts from the city center. By the evening of October 24, the bridges were in the hands of the rebels.
It was very important to take the telegraph, telephone exchange, railway stations, power stations and keep them at any cost. If these important points were in the hands of the insurgent workers and soldiers, the Provisional Government, seated in the Winter Palace, would be cut off from the whole country. It would not be able to call troops to help itself. Even in Petrograd it would not be in a position to issue orders if the insurgents occupied the telegraph and telephone exchanges. Revolutionary detachments moved around the city. In the cold air, the song was heard:
"Let's overthrow the age-old oppression Forever with a mighty hand And hoist the Red Banner of Labor Over the earth"
By the evening of October 25, the whole city was in the hands of the rebels. The Provisional Government had only the Winter Palace.
The Storming of the Winter Palace
The Provisional Government fortified the Winter Palace. Its wide corridors, marble staircases, spacious halls were occupied by detachments of officers and students of military schools devoted to the bourgeoisie. They guarded the Provisional Government. Fortifications were erected on the square in front of the palace. But nothing could save the Provisional Government. From all sides, more and more detachments of Red Guards, soldiers and sailors were marching towards the Winter Palace. The cruiser Aurora entered the Neva river. The barrels of his powerful guns were directed at the palace.
At 9:40 p.m. on October 25, the Aurora shot rang out. This is the signal to storm the palace. Detachments of the Red Guards go on the offensive. Under rifle and machine-gun fire, they cross the wide Palace Square, break through the fortifications to the gates of the palace. Heavy cast-iron gates hold back the attackers. More pressure... The gates trembled, and an avalanche of attackers broke into the palace. But the officers still resisted. They fired from the stairs, from behind the columns and marble statues that adorned the royal palace.
The fight continued. Here is the room where several frightened people are sitting. These are the ministers of the Provisional Government. Red Guards and sailors burst into the room. 2:10 a.m. The bourgeois Provisional Government was arrested. Power passed into the hands of the workers and peasants.
The socialist revolution has won.
The day of October 25 (Julian calendar) /November 7 (Gregorian calendar), 1917, went down in history as the day of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
Power to the Soviets! The land to the peasants! Peace to the nations!
On the evening of October 25, when shots were still ringing near the Winter Palace , the Second Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies opened in the huge hall of the Smolny Institute. Delegates of the working people came to the congress from all over the country, from cities and villages, from the front. The mood of the delegates is upbeat and solemn. Sailors girded with machine-gun belts, soldiers with rifles rise to the podium. They talk about the battles at the Winter Palace. With a storm of applause, the delegates greet the message: “The Winter Palace has been taken! The Provisional Government has been arrested!” The congress proclaims Soviet power—the power of the workers and peasants.
On October 26, at 9 p. m. , the second session of the congress opened. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin took the podium. Applause mixed with cheers and cries of joy. People were standing on the windowsills, on chairs, to see Lenin. Caps flew to the high ceilings.
The delegates greedily hang on to Lenin's every word. Lenin is speaking of what is dear to all working people. Peace! For three years, the working people, exhausted by the war, have been waiting for it. But only the new government, that of the workers and peasants, from the very first day of its existence, called all peoples to peace. The congress adopted the Decree on Peace.
From the rostrum of the congress, Lenin proclaims the Decree on Land. From now on, all landlord, tsar's, monastic and church lands become the property of the Soviet state and are transferred to the peasants. Peasants had been fighting for land for centuries. The Soviet government gave away the land free of charge and forever to those who worked on it.
Morning has come. The congress elected the first Soviet government headed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, "Long live the revolution!", "Long live socialism!" could be heard under the arches of the hall. The Second Congress of Soviets finished its work.
Soon Soviet power was established throughout the country. In difficult conditions, the Soviet government had to begin its work. There was devastation in the country: many factories, plants, railways did not work. There was not enough bread. The capitalists closed their factories, broke machines, smuggled money and jewelry abroad. Many officials did not want to serve the new government. They either did not appear at all in their institutions, or they confused matters so much that it was very difficult for an inexperienced person to figure it out. The capitalists and officials hoped that the Soviet government would perish, because it would not be able to govern a vast country without knowledgeable people. But they miscalculated.
V. I. Lenin made an appeal: “Comrade workers! Remember that you yourself now govern the state.” Workers, sailors and soldiers responded to the call of Vladimir Ilyich. Gradually, the work of institutions, transport, mail, telegraph, and telephone began to improve. The Soviet government adopted decrees on the transfer of factories, plants, banks, railways, and mines to the state. The values of the country passed into the hands of the state of workers and peasants. New owners — the workers of these enterprises — came to factory offices.
The Bolshevik Party sent workers, soldiers, and sailors to the villages to help the peasants seize land from the landowners.
Soviet power destroyed national oppression. All the peoples of Russia received the same rights.
The decrees of the Soviet government removed churchmen from any participation in the administration of the state and the upbringing of children in schools.
All the power and wealth of the country passed into the hands of the working people. Now the workers and peasants began to manage the state themselves, to build a new life. The age-old dreams of the working people of the country came true.
The Great October Socialist Revolution was the first revolution in the world that brought workers and peasants to power. The October Revolution showed the workers of all countries, the oppressed peoples of the world, how to fight the oppressors for a happy life.