Libmonster ID: MD-934
Author(s) of the publication: M. S. FRENKIN

In Soviet historiography and in the works of some Romanian historiographies1 in recent years, a certain place has been given to the development of the question of the influence of the Great October Revolution on the rise of the revolutionary movement in Moldova in 1917-1918 and the participation of Romanian workers in defending the gains and supporting the Great October Socialist Revolution. The assistance of the Russian revolutionary soldiers to the just struggle of the working masses of Romania directly on the territory of Moldova has not yet found proper coverage in the literature. The plight of the Romanian peasantry, its revolutionary and anti-war aspirations were noted by many contemporaries. John Reed, who visited Romania as a war correspondent, also wrote about this. Prominent figures on the staff of the Romanian Front, for example, the White Guard General Vinogradsky, noted the impact of Russian revolutionary soldiers on the Romanian peasantry. Even representatives of the Kaiser's and bourgeois press (G. Velburg and others) openly emphasized the hatred of the Romanian peasants for their oppressors-the Boyars .2

The purpose of this article is to show the active support and broad assistance of the Russian revolutionary soldiers of the armies of the Romanian Front during the preparation and conduct of the Great October Revolution to the working masses of Romania, especially the peasantry, in their struggle against the bourgeois-landowner reaction and for their social and political rights. This cooperation and assistance testified to the international friendship of the Russian and Rumanian peoples, which was especially evident in the revolutionary movement of the front-line units.

After the February bourgeois-democratic Revolution, V. I. Lenin pointed out: "Russia is now the freest country in the world

1 M. Roller. Revolutionary Struggle of Romanian Sailors in late 1917-Early 1918. Voprosy Istorii, 1956, No. 11; A. N. Glugovsky. The Great October Socialist Revolution and the Rise of the Revolutionary Movement in Romania in 1917-1918 "The world-historical significance of the Great October Socialist Revolution", Moscow, 1957; V. M. Rozhko. A battle-hardened friendship. Chisinau. 1965; V. N. Vinogradov. Two appeals of the Roumanian social-Democrats to revolutionary Russia. Voprosy istorii, 1967, No. 12; M. G. Bujor. Lupta pentru apararea revolutiei ruse (1917 - 1919). In cul. Contribuii la studiul infkientei Marii Revolutii Socialiste din Octombrie in Rominia. Bucuresfi. 1957; C. Cusnir-Michailovici. Miscara muni-titoreasca din Rominia inte anii 1917 - 1921. Crearia Partidului Communist din Romlnia. Bucuresti. 1961; "Marea revolufie Socialists din Octombrie si Romania. Culegere de studii". Bucureti, 1967; "Analele institutului de studii istorice si social-politice de pe linga CC al PCR", 1967, NN 3, 4, 5 (articles by P. Constantinescu-Yas, V. Liveanu, N. Copoi, I. Popescu, V. Kerestesiu and others are of particular interest).

2 John Reed. Along the Front, Moscow-L. 1928, pp. 291, 292, 293, 295, etc.; Winogradsky, general. La Guerre sur le front oriental. En Russie - en Roumanie. P. 1925; Gerhard Velburg. Rumanische Etappe. Der Weltkrieg wie ich ihn sah. B, - Leipzig. 1930, S. 27.

page 29

of all the warring countries " 3 . The revolutionary movement that developed in the Russian troops of the Rumanian Front, located mainly on the territory of royal Rumania, was confronted with its socio-economic system, with the rule of the boyars, semi-feudal orders in the countryside, national oppression, etc. This determined the specifics of the revolutionary movement on this front in comparison with other theaters of military operations.

The February Revolution and the subsequent political changes in Russia and its army (the organization of committees, the removal of reactionary officers, a wave of rallies, etc.) caused fear and confusion in the camp of Rumanian reaction. The presence of Russian revolutionary soldiers in Iasi and the growing revolutionary movement in the front-line units gave rise to a "sense of great danger"in the Romanian oligarchy .4 Already in March, reports from the headquarters of the Romanian Front stated that " the Romanian government and the upper classes are extremely concerned about the events in Russia, which make a huge impression on the Romanian peasants and soldiers, who have hitherto been hunted down, humiliated and have no rights." The ruling circles of royal Romania were seriously concerned about how to keep the Romanian people from revolutionary actions. The Romanian Prime Minister believed that the people "need to say something now to calm them down." To this end, Minister-President Bratianu and the King made promising statements, including on the allocation of land to Romanian peasants. It was a certain political maneuver. Such false promises were widely advertised, as the Romanian rulers were aware that "the Russian revolution... it can aggravate class relations in Romania." This was also pointed out by one of the country's most prominent political figures, T. Ionescu, who headed the conservative - democratic (bourgeois-landlord) party .5

The reactionary officers of the Roumanian army, who often reflected the position of the pro-German circles of the Roumanian oligarchy and consisted in their vast majority of landowners, were so afraid of the Russian revolution that they began to think of a plot to break the kingdom from its alliance with Russia. Treason and the transfer of a number of officers to the enemy's camp (General Socek, Colonel Sturdza, etc.) were widespread at the front .The command of the Romanian Front was extremely concerned about this situation and even prepared a plan for the withdrawal of Russian armies from Romania across the Prut River. 6

The awakening of Russian soldiers to political life and their frequent revolutionary actions also frightened the Allies. The head of the French military mission in Romania, General Vertelot, and his colleagues from other military missions in Iasi were alarmed by the participation of the masses in the revolution and the soldiers ' actions at the front. Under pressure from the Entente missions, the assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Romanian Front, General V. V. Sakharov, issued an order in early April prohibiting "processions" with red flags on the territory of the kingdom, especially with the words "to Romania"7 .

The revolutionary movement in the armies of the front, in spite of the aspirations of the command and the efforts of the defense committees, broke out of the framework assigned to it by the compromisers (SRS and Mensheviks) and, overcoming the obstacles created by the defencists, began to develop rapidly. It is a clear evidence of this process and an important milestone on the path of revolutionary development.

3 V. I. Lenin. PSS. Vol. 31, p. 114.

4 N. Basilesco. La Roumanie dans la guerre. P. 1919. T. I, pp. 312, 313.

5 AVPR, f. Politarkhiv, 3911, ll. 9, 10 vol., 11 vol., 13, 14, 17, etc.

6 Ibid., f. of the Diplomatic Chancellery of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff, d. 15, ll. 15, 107, 108, 115, 121, etc.; f. Politarkhiv, d. 3947, ll. 112, 112 vol.; TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 50, ll. 12, 13, etc. etc.

7 TSGVIA, f. 2015, op. 1, d. 57, l. 268; f. 2139, op. 3, d. 54, l. 169, etc.

page 30

The movement of the soldiers ' mass was a grandiose May Day rally of soldiers of the garrisons of Yass and the suburb of Sokoly on the Place de la Concorde. The result of this rally was the release, at the request of the Romanian Social Democrats, of their activist M. G. Bujor and other Romanian revolutionaries held in prison. Subsequently, the army compromisers "justified themselves" by saying that all this had happened "against the will of the Iasi Executive Committee of Soldiers 'and Officers' Deputies. " 8

The terror of the Romanian oligarchy, carried out in the area of the immediate deployment of Russian troops, objectively could not but affect the interests of Russian revolutionary soldiers and, of course, caused their protest. The murder of the Romanian social Democrat M. Wexler by the Romanian Okhrana, the arrest of an active figure of the Romanian social democracy A. Dobrogeanu-Gerya, and the death sentence of several Romanian social Democrats accused of "espionage" for provocative purposes added fuel to the fire. Russian revolutionary soldiers ' protests against the reaction prevailing in Romania became more frequent. Even then, the Mensheviks were forced to state the existence of a brutal terror of the Romanian Siguranza and noted that "even the old Russian dungeons would have shuddered at the facts of Romanian reality." 9

In response to the increased activity of Russian revolutionary soldiers, envoys from France, Britain, the United States, Italy and representatives of the Entente military missions visited the assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Romanian Front, Gen. D. G. Shcherbachev, who succeeded Sakharov, and declared a collective protest against the actions of Russian soldiers, especially against the May Day demonstration. 10 Any manifestation of the revolutionary activity of Russian soldiers, in particular the organization of soldiers ' rallies, was considered by the royal authorities as interference in the internal affairs of Romania. It is characteristic that even the active performance of soldiers directly in the units of the 103rd Infantry Division in May 1917 was considered by the Romanian authorities as a protest against the existing order in the kingdom. It came to direct interference of the boyar government in the internal affairs of Russia. Thus, General Coanda, the representative of Romania at the headquarters, insisted that the Russian command should not send revolutionary-minded soldiers to the Romanian front .11

The Provisional Government condemned the May Day events in Iasi, but the Minister of War, A. I. Guchkov, tried to reassure the soldiers of the Romanian front with false assurances that the royal government had begun reforms "in a democratic spirit." The front command considered it necessary for a member of the State Duma to come to Iasi to agitate the soldiers about the "harm" of revolutionary actions on the territory of Romania. The Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander - in-Chief, General M. V. Alekseev, in connection with the revolutionary actions of Russian soldiers in Romania, pointed out to General Shcherbachev the need for "gradual removal from Iasi of the most politicized (i.e. revolutionary) elements" of the Iasi garrison. The compromise committees also called on the soldiers to refrain from demonstrations and rallies on the streets of Iasi and on Romanian territory altogether .12

However, the calls of the command and compromisers did not affect the soldiers. On June 6, in the city of Romana, where the army congress of the 9th Army was held, soldiers of the garrison staged a protest demonstration against political prisoners.

8 Ibid., f. 2003, op. 1, d. 1149, ll. 301, 301 vol.; f. 2085, op. 1, d. 153, l. 17, etc.

9 Ibid., f. 2015, op 1, d, 57, ll. 375, 377.

10 Ibid., f. 366, op. 1, d. 147, l. 309.

11 "Revolyutsionnaya stavka", 30. I. 1918; TSGVIA, f. 2003, op. 1, d. 1149, l. 415, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 146, l. 72; d. 147, l. 309.

12 TSGVIA, f. 366, op. 1, d. 3, ll. 8, 14, etc.; f. 2085, op. 2, d. 171, ll. 3, 4; AVPR, f. Politarkhiv, d. 3982, ll. 35, 35 vol., 37.

page 31

murder, capital punishment, and national persecution in Romania. More than 8,000 soldiers took to the streets. According to the press, the demonstration took on an "international dimension". The city's population reacted to the demonstrators with obvious sympathy. Speeches were delivered in Russian, Romanian and French, and revolutionary slogans were proclaimed at violent rallies. Russian soldiers called on Romanian workers and soldiers to fight for the formation of the Romanian Republic 13 . Under pressure from the mass of soldiers, the Congress adopted a number of decisions in defense of the Romanian Social Democrats. In particular, they stated that if the mass persecution and executions of Social Democrats continued, it was necessary to start an immediate search and audit of Romanian prisons, because it was impossible to recognize as normal a situation in which "in the area of the Russian armies, the Romanian government considers itself entitled to decide purely military matters alone." The Congress insisted on publishing the materials of the "trial" in Bakeu, branded the authorities ' mockery of the country's population a disgrace, and pointed out that there was no reason "to consider the patience of the Russian soldier, with whom he had endured violence against civilians so far, inexhaustible." A proclamation was also issued calling for an end to "slavery and the persecution of nations." 14

In an effort to weaken the growing revolutionary movement of the soldiers ' masses, General Shcherbachev and the Provisional Government's frontline Commissar Tiesenhausen visited Prime Minister Bratiana and were forced to ask for the annulment of the sentence. On June 7, the Council of Ministers of Romania overturned the death sentence of the Romanian Social Democrats15 . Thus, Russian revolutionary soldiers, loyal to the principles of internationalism and class solidarity, saved their lives.

The fact that the reactionary policy of boyar Romania and the murders committed by the Romanian reaction stirred up the broad masses of soldiers is also shown by the resolution of the Odessa Regional and front-line Congress of Rumcherod, adopted under pressure from the front-line soldiers, against violence and cruelty on the part of the Romanian oligarchy. At the same time, the Congress stated that the events in Romania "pose a certain danger to the Russian revolution as well." 16 Revolutionary actions of Russian soldiers against the Romanian reaction became more frequent. The Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks of the 9th Army, in an effort to prevent them, decided to take the soldiers ' movement under their political control and created a "Special Commission on Rumanian Affairs" under the army Committee in Romana. The Commission on Romanian Affairs was also organized under the CEC of Rumcerod, and its branches were formed under the other army committees of the front .17

However, the scope of the compromise commissions was too narrow for the revolutionary activity of the soldiers, and the latter often acted without waiting for instructions from above. Thus, on June 23, soldiers of the 4th Siberian Army Corps of the 6th Army released "Potemkinets" G. V. Cheluzny, who was arrested by the royal gendarmes allegedly for espionage,from prison in Galac. The soldiers also demanded the release of other political prisoners. In this regard, two delegates of the soldiers ' committee in Sokoly and a delegate from the Iasi garrison were sent to Galac. The Romanian authorities were forced to allow them to inspect the prison 18 . At the end of June, Russian revolutionary soldiers often besieged the Romanians-

13 TsGAOR of the USSR, f. 6978, op. 1, d. 583, l. 122 and others; TSGVIA, f. 366, op. 1, d. 3, l. 6; f. 2085, op. 1, d. 149, l. 62; op. 2, d. 173, l. 46.

14 TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 149, ll. 1, 9, 62; f. 2489, op. 1, l. 332; AVPR, f. Politarchiv, d. 3947, ll. 142-143.

15 TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 2, d. 173, l. 46; f. 2139. op. 3, d. 54, l. 386.

16 "Proceedings of the Odessa regional and Frontline Congress", 20. V. 1917. Rumcherod is the CEC of the Soviets of the Romanian Front of the Black Sea Fleet and the Odessa District.

17 TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 263, ll. 7, 13; f. 2126, op. 5, d. 5, l. 133.

18 Ibid.

page 32

Russian prisons and released political prisoners, as evidenced by the reports of Romanian military commanders .19

Although the Romanian government did everything possible to prevent the establishment of ties between Romanian and Russian soldiers, these contacts still occurred. There were more than a million Russian troops in Moldova, and there were many revolutionary-minded soldiers. Their demonstrations and rallies were a kind of revolutionary school for Romanian soldiers and peasants. Noteworthy in this respect is the rally at Vaslui station (in the area of the 4th army's deployment), which was also attended by Romanian soldiers. The Bolshevik soldiers called for an end to the imperialist war. One of them emphasized in his speech that if the soldiers "had listened to Lenin's advice, there would have been peace long ago." 20 The thoughts expressed by the speakers sunk deep into the soul of the Romanian soldiers. The rapprochement between Russian and Romanian soldiers took place on the basis of the growing movement of the Romanian peasantry in the areas where the Russian army was stationed, which the Russian revolutionary soldiers assisted 21 . The elected soldiers ' organizations were sympathetic to the Romanian peasants and protected them not only from the oppression of landlords, but also from the actions of undisciplined soldiers who caused damage to the peasant economy. For example, the division committee of the 61st Infantry Division of the 9th Army expressed "complete condemnation" of the soldiers who allowed the destruction of crops in the villages of Katarji and Independenza, noting in the protocol that the inhabitants of the Romanian villages "are already ruined and impoverished by the war" 22 .

As the representative of the Romanian Siguranza R. Voinescu stated in his information to the front headquarters, Romanian peasants, " especially women, together with Russian soldiers, prevent and hinder the forced transfer of landowners to agricultural work in the fields." Siguranza accused Russian soldiers of the 22nd Infantry Reserve Regiment (4th Army), stationed in the villages of Semionesti and Saboani, of organizing resistance to the actions of Romanian gendarmes who sent peasants to forced labor in the fields of the landowner. Russian soldiers said that the gendarmes had nothing to do in the villages, they should be sent to their positions. The resistance of the Romanian peasantry to the forced labor of landlords in the latifundia and the protection of local peasants by Russian revolutionary soldiers were quite widespread .23 There were also spontaneous manifestations of protest (the destruction of estates), but still the main form of Russian soldiers ' actions was conscious and active assistance to the Romanian peasants in their struggle against the landlords. To the east, west and south of the Galac - Birlad railway, in the districts of Feltesti, Vladesti, Oancea, latifundia owners left their estates in fear of peasants and soldiers .24

Russian revolutionary soldiers were agitating against the landlords among the Rumanian peasantry and agricultural workers. For example, a soldier of the 26th sapper battalion (6th Army) P. Korlik in June called on agricultural workers and peasants of the villages of Vladesti and Branesti to give up their work in favor of landlords and tenants. Korlik and other Russian soldiers convinced the peasants to stop forced labor in the fields of the landowner D. Velimaros (Vaslui district)25 .

19 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d. 149, ll. 22, 22 vol. and others.

20 Ibid., d. 147, ll. 309, 311.

21 For more information, see: M. S. Frenkin. Revolutionary Movement on the Romanian Front (1917-March 1918). Moscow, 1965, pp. 182, 183.

22 TSGVIA, f. 2126, op. 5, d. 16, l. 13; f. 2391, op. 1, d.3, l. 18 vol.

23 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d. 141, ll. 658 vol., 659, etc.

24 Ibid., f. 2139, op. 5, d. 7, l. 85 vol., etc.

25 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d, 263, ll. 23, 46, 47, etc.; d. 266, l. 906; op. 2, d. 141, l. 113.

page 33

The Romanian government feared the revolutionizing effect of the agitation of Russian soldiers among the peasants. A representative of Siguranza reported to the counterintelligence department of the front headquarters in June that the ideas spread by Russian soldiers "stir the minds of the inhabitants" of the country. Revolutionary soldiers and advanced officers in the Targul-Frumos area convinced the peasants that war was not necessary, that "only the Yass gentlemen wanted war," and that the working people should demand peace. They explained to the peasants that the government's promises to grant them land were a hoax. Soldiers 'agitators infiltrated many Romanian villages, criticized the monarchist regime, and, as Siguranza pointed out," carried out propaganda among the people, calling on them to divide the landlords 'lands." 26

The assistance provided by Russian revolutionary soldiers to the Romanian peasantry and agricultural workers was a manifestation of internationalism and was, in fact, an integral part of the revolutionary movement at the front during the peaceful period of the revolution.

The political situation on the Romanian front in July - August was complicated, as the Commissar of the Odessa Military District N. I. Harito noted, by the "Romanian question", that is, on the one hand, by the growth of the revolutionary movement in the armies of the front and, on the other, by the struggle of the progressive forces of the Romanian people against the rule of the oligarchy. The lively activity of the Romanian Social Democrats was accompanied by an increase in the terror of the reactionary ruling circles. Russian revolutionary soldiers took an active part in spreading the proclamations of the Romanian social-democracy, and at every opportunity released the arrested Romanian agitators. The proclamations contained accusations against the "boyar class", which" brought the peasantry to complete impoverishment, seizing their land", and indicated that" the victory of the Russian socialist proletariat " would bring freedom and new life to the Romanians of the kingdom and Transylvanians. Similar proclamations were distributed by Russian soldiers in Targu-Okna, in the district of Tekuchi, in the city of Piatra, etc. In the Suceava district, Russian soldiers urged the peasants to break their bonded contracts with the landlords, talked about the need to raise the wages of farm labourers, and gave, as Siguranza's reports indicate, "advice of a political nature." Such agitation was carried out by Russian soldiers everywhere .27 Romanian citizens were harassed and arrested for associating with Russian revolutionary soldiers. The Romanian reaction was particularly wary of the population's contact with the Odessa Bolsheviks and proletarians. The representative of Siguranza Ionescu, in a report to the front headquarters, pointed out that the Odessa revolutionaries were "conducting anti-government agitation among the population of the country", and insistently demanded the use of decisive measures in order to "prevent the uprising caused and encouraged by Russian soldiers" .28

The command of the Romanian front did everything in its power to strengthen the position of the Romanian government and its army, assuming in the future to rely in the fight against the Russian revolutionary soldiers on the Romanian divisions reorganized by the French mission of General Vertelo and to stop the revolutionary movement in the front units with the help of the royal troops. In this respect, the efforts of General Shcherbachev and his staff to ensure the victory of the Russian-Romanian forces in the battles of Maraşesti in July (August) 1917 are characteristic. In political terms, this victory inspired the Romanian reaction, and

26 Ibid., op. 1, d. 141, l. 659, etc.; op. 2, d. 124, part II, l. 725.

27 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d. 149, l. 34, etc.; op. 2, d. 124, ch. II, ll. 752, 770, 868, etc.; d. 142, ch. II, ll. 1025, 1047, 1090; d. 173, l. 89; f. 2126, op. 1, d. 617, ll. 298, 299 vol., 299-6 vol.

28 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d. 147, l. 124; op. 2, d. 124, part II, l. 868; AVPR, f. Politarkhiv, d. 3947, l. 171. .

page 34

Together with the counter-revolutionary command of the Romanian Front, it was able to increase pressure on Russian revolutionary soldiers in order to isolate them from the growing revolutionary movement in Moldova. In August, after the end of the fighting at Maraşeşti, the Russian reaction and the front command further strengthened their support for the Romanian oligarchy, as the command hoped to use the strengthened and reorganized Romanian divisions to fight the revolutionary soldiers. Poklevsky, the Russian envoy to Romania, wrote to Petrograd that it was now impossible to quarrel with Romania, since "the Romanian army can provide us with substantial assistance." 29

Due to this circumstance, the front staff tried by all measures to stop the actions of the Bolsheviks and revolutionary soldiers of the 9th Army, the Suceava garrison and the garrison Council, who helped to print and distribute the revolutionary proclamations of the Romanian social democracy. With the help of revolutionary soldiers, the Romanian Social Democratic Committee was organized in Suceava, which was responsible for printing revolutionary proclamations (the committee included I. Manes, Andrienu, Hotis, etc.). The proclamations issued by the committee were widely distributed by soldiers of Russian units in the Suceava region, in Romana and its environs, in Bacau, Piatra, Targu Okna, Tecuci, Iasi and other locations of Russian units. To prevent the gendarmes from tearing down the posted proclamations, they were guarded by Russian revolutionary soldiers .30

As mentioned above, the plight of the Romanian peasantry aroused the sympathy of the Russian revolutionary soldiers. They were hostile to the owners of the Romanian latifundia, who brutally exploited the peasants and farm labourers .31 Russian soldiers stationed in the villages of Semionesti, Geroesti, Saboani, Trifesti, Elisabet-Doamna, etc., prevented the forced withdrawal of peasants to work in the field, explaining to them that they should receive appropriate pay for their work and that working hours should not exceed 8 hours. Russian revolutionary soldiers even patrolled the exits of villages in order to prevent the forced employment of peasants and farm labourers (in the Kovurlui, Roman, Bakau and other areas).32 . The headquarters of the Romanian Front was flooded with complaints and demands from the Romanian civil and military administration in connection with the increased activity of Russian army soldiers. For example, the Romanian authorities demanded the immediate arrest of a Russian junior non-commissioned officer of the Piatra garrison, N. Karnavol, for telling residents about the need to create a Romanian Republic. The Romanian authorities insisted on stopping the agitation of soldiers of the 118th Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division, who called on Romanian soldiers and peasants to fight for peace .33 Despite the measures taken by the command, the revolutionary activity of the soldiers grew. More far-sighted generals, while noting the "persistent trend" of increasing Russian soldiers ' actions in defense of the Romanian peasantry, saw the reason for this phenomenon in serious class contradictions, which were particularly acute in the Romanian countryside. 34

The eve of the Proletarian Revolution was marked by the growth of Bolshevik influence in the armies of the Romanian Front. The commander of the 7th Army Corps of the 6th Army in a report dated October 6 reported:: "Growth of pain-

29 TSVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 149, l. 74; "Revolyutsionnaya stavka", 30. I. 1918

30 TSGVIA, f. 2085, on. 1, d. 149, ll. 26, 107, 171; f. 2251, op. 3, d. 4, l. 32, etc.

31 Often forced labor in the fields of landlords was not paid at all, or this payment was scanty (AVPR, f. Politarkhiv, d. 3947, l. 171; Novaya Zhizn, 8.VII. 1917).

32 TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 149. l. 133 and others; d. 254, l. 75; op. 2, d. 124, part II, l. 2025.

33 Ibid., op. 1, d. 149, ll. 96, 94, 134; f. 2126, op. 1, d. 617, l. 218.

34 A. I. Verkhovsky. On the difficult pass, Moscow, 1959, p. 124.

page 35

the Bolshevik ideas inspire the soldiers with the hope that power will pass to the Soviets, which will lead to an immediate conclusion of peace." Reports from formations of all the armies of the front indicated similar political sentiments .35 On the eve of October, the involvement of the soldiers ' masses of the Romanian Front in the broad agrarian movement of the local population served as a link between the peasantry and the soldiers. This was especially evident in the 6th and 8th armies of the front.

During October, the soldiers of the 4th and 9th armies moved to the armed defense of the Romanian peasantry from the oppression of the royal administration. In the village of Liveni (Dorokhoi district), soldiers of the 7th mortar artillery division with weapons in their hands confronted gendarmes who tried to send peasants to forced labor and mobilize their draft power. In the village of Enureni in the commune of Sediu Mitropolei, Russian soldiers did the same. In the Co-Vurluy district (Iasi department), soldiers of the Russian 29th and 30th regiments persuaded the peasants to stop working in the landowners ' fields, since "all this work is only for the benefit of the landowners." Systematic orders issued in October to the armies of the front with a categorical ban on such interference by Russian soldiers indicate that these phenomena are widespread .36

Due to the growing actions of the revolutionary soldiers on the side of the peasant masses of Moldova, the Russian command was urgently forced to create three rear posts in the district of Covurlui (in Pecea, Faltesti and Oncea) to protect the Romanian landowners and fight the revolutionary soldiers. Officers from the 47th Army Corps were sent there for joint operations with the Romanian armed forces. The command was particularly concerned about the situation in the area of Porum Negru (Dorokhoi district), where Russian soldiers successfully agitated against the landlords, for the seizure of land from them and the transfer of it to local peasants .37

The increased revolutionary activity of Russian soldiers in Romania explains the convening in October of a special meeting of the army committee of the 9th Army to discuss the situation. The compromisers who dominated the committee were rushing about in search of means to reduce the revolutionary activity of the soldiers. At the meeting of the committee, Soldier Kaganov proposed a resolution of a revolutionary nature. The compromisers maneuvered and postponed its discussion. In his speech, Kaganov exposed the Romanian reaction and its black deeds. He said that the Romanian government is arbitrary and violent towards the poor classes, allowing landlords to exploit peasants and farmhands, and entrepreneurs to exploit workers; he pointed out the existence of national oppression in the country. Kaganov noted that before the war, the Romanian Social Democratic Party was active in the country, "but during the war it was dispersed-some were called up for service, others were arrested, others were executed," and demanded the intervention of military electoral organizations to support the Romanian Social Democrats. "It is the duty of socialists," Kaganov declared, " to support the proletariat of all countries." Even earlier, the army committee of the 9th Army, under pressure from outraged soldiers, discussed the issue of the brutal massacre of civilians by the Romanian reaction in Botushany .38

On the eve of October, and especially after the victory of the armed insurrection in Petrograd, the growing influence of the Bolshevik Party among the front-line soldiers and the wider penetration of the party's slogans into the masses led to the rise of the Bolshevik Party.-

35 TSGVIA, f. 2003, op. 1, d. 54, l. 63, etc.; f. 2126, op. 1, d. 607, l. 338.

36 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d. 148, ll. 140, 151, 499, 528, 725 vol. and others; op. 2, d. 141, l. 475.

37 Ibid., op. 1, d. 148, l. 554, etc.; op. 2, d. 154, l. 151.

38 Ibid., f. 2139, op. 1, d. 1879, ll. 209, 359 vol.

page 36

Lenin noted that since the autumn of 1917, "a broad river of revolt of the peasants, from whom the land had hitherto been tricked, has spread throughout Russia."39 Lenin also noted that the peasants' struggle has been intensified in all forms of struggle and their active participation in the agrarian movement of the peasantry, including in Moldova . The sharp upsurge of the agrarian movement in Russia, which turned into peasant uprisings, was immediately reflected in the mass of soldiers and peasants in all theaters of military operations, including on the Rumanian front.

A.V. Lunacharsky, in his report on the activities of the workers 'and peasants' government, emphasized that the victory of the Bolsheviks at the Extraordinary All - Russian Congress of Peasant Deputies in Petrograd (11-25.XI) was a celebration of the revolution, since "the soldiers and peasants were fraternized on the same program, and nothing can now defeat their powerful alliance."40 Despite the specifics of the Rumanian Front (its remoteness from major industrial and political centers, the isolation of most of its military formations from the territory of Russia, the long-term dominance of compromisers in the elected soldiers ' organizations, the complexity of the national question, the counter-revolutionary activities of the Central Rada and Sfatulcarii), the mass of soldiers at the end of November decisively turned towards the Bolsheviks. The creation of an independent Bolshevik committee of the RSDLP in the 8th Army at the beginning of October, which published its own newspaper, Krasnoe Znamya; the victory of the Bolsheviks of the 4th Siberian Army Corps of the 6th Army, which expressed support for the armed uprising in Petrograd at the end of October; and a similar position of the Bolsheviks soldier of the 29th Army Corps of the 9th Army. The growing activity of the Bolsheviks directly in the units stationed on the territory of Romania led to the strengthening of the revolutionary movement of the soldiers of these formations.

In Galac in November, soldiers hung posters with Bolshevik slogans " Down with the war!", " Long live the brotherhood of peoples!", calling for the alienation of landlords ' land. On November 12, a large meeting of Bolsheviks (500-600 people) was held in the Popandopulo hall, where the participants adopted a resolution on supporting the Council of People's Commissars and its head, V. I. Lenin. The Bolshevik A. S. Krusser, who presided over the meeting, delivered a fiery speech about the support of the People's Council of People's Commissars and the need for peace. The srs ' speeches were interrupted by soldiers. The Bolshevik word, despite the opposition of the command and the compromisers, also penetrated into Iasi. The Bolsheviks who arrived here managed to speak at a meeting of soldiers of the 257th Samara squad. At a rally in the Regal Theater, the Bolsheviks made speeches in support of the proletarian revolution .41

After the victory of October, Russian soldiers ' support for the Romanian peasantry and the latter's clashes with the Romanian gendarmes became widespread. Russian soldiers increased their activity in all departments of the kingdom (Iasi, Suceava, Botusany, Bacau, etc.), as reported by the Romanian praetor of the Royal gendarmerie and the military commandant of the Iasi district. Sometimes the Romanian peasants appealed to the company and regimental committees, asking for protection from the arbitrariness of the landowner and gendarmes. As reported by the army press, Romanian peasants in conversations with Russian soldiers complained that the landlords cut off their allotments, prevented grazing. Summing up a certain political result:

39 V. I. Lenin. PSS. Vol. 34, p. 284.

40 "Red Banner", 28. XI. 1917.

41 TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 141, ll. 602, 608; d. 263, ll. 159, 161.

page 37

According to complaints, Russian soldiers noted that in Romania "one word, as we recently had in Russia" 42 . In November, it came to the destruction of the boyar estates and the distribution of food supplies from the landlords to the Romanian peasants. For example, after destroying the estate of the landowner B. Chisman, the soldiers distributed 600 tons of potatoes to the peasants. Soldiers of the 761st infantry regiment did not allow the gendarmes to send the peasant T. Maro (Pascani commune)to forced labor .43

A characteristic feature of the actions of Russian revolutionary soldiers on the territory of Moldova after the victory of the Great October Revolution was that their actions were dominated by political motives. Even the Romanian authorities stressed that the clashes between the Royal gendarmes and Russian soldiers of the 272nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Army in the area of Piatra Neamcu were politically motivated. The anti-war aspirations of the revolutionary soldiers were also expressed in the release of arrested Romanian soldiers, in preventing the conscription of recruits. In Bacau county, revolutionary soldiers released arrested Romanian soldiers .44 Now more and more often the headquarters of the Romanian Front received complaints from the royal authorities about the distribution of proclamations of the Romanian Social Democrats by Russian soldiers. At a meeting of the revolutionary soldiers of the 26th Army Corps (9th Army) held in the Botusan region, calls were made for a revolution in Romania. The kingdom's gendarme department accused Russian soldiers of inciting the Romanian population to "rebel against the landlords and the authorities." Among the revolutionary soldiers of the Romanian Front, the idea of a revolution in royal Romania was very popular. Already in the summer, and especially in October 1917, in a number of places, the electoral committees, under pressure from the soldiers, came into contact with the Romanian revolutionary activists. For example, in the 9th Army, an international committee was created to conduct revolutionary propaganda among Romanian workers and soldiers. The committee included the chairman of the Bolshevik Committee of the 9th Army, soldier P. I. Zuev. However, the political heterogeneity of the committee's composition (it also included Mensheviks) prevented this body from becoming a front-line body .45

Despite the royal authorities ' strenuous attempts to portray the growth of revolutionary sentiment in Romania solely as a result of the activities of Russian revolutionary soldiers, the situation in the country strongly refuted these fabrications. On November 12, the Odessa Section of the Romanian Social Democrats adopted a resolution revealing the reactionary nature of the Romanian oligarchy and approving the activities of the RSFSR Council of People's Commissars and, in particular, its struggle for peace. In their proclamation, the Romanian Social Democrats called the royal government an "enemy of the people." 46

The commander-in-chief of the Austro-Hungarian forces on the Eastern Front, Archduke Joseph, recognized that the broad masses of the Romanian army were striving for peace. At the end of November 1917, he noted that a revolutionary movement was spreading in Moldova, and the internal political situation of Royal Romania was critical. In the Romanian army at that time, mass desertions began (the 12th and 8th divisions). This spoke of the political immaturity of the Romanian soldier's army.

42 "Warrior-citizen", 22. XI. 1917.

43 TSGVIA, f. 2085, op. 1, d. 148, l. 516 vol.; op. 2, d. 145, ll. 321, 331, 354 vol., 433, etc.

44 Ibid., op. 1, d. 266, ll. 30, 30 vol., f. 2121, op. 2, d. 4, ll. 3, 7, 12; f. 2126, op. 1, d. 613, l. 54.

45 Ibid., f. 2085, op. 1, d. 148, l. 130, etc.; op. 2, d. 145, l. 321 vol.; M. S. Frenkin. Op. ed., p. 280.

46 "Izvestiya Voenno-Revolyutsionnogo komiteta VII armii", 10. XII. 1917;" Izvestiya Kishinevskogo Soveta rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatsii", 27. X (9. XI). 1917.

page 38

a mass that followed the passive path of struggle. After the victory of the armed uprising in Petrograd, General Averescu, describing the situation in the Romanian army, said:"It cannot be guaranteed that over time there will not be a tangible effect from Russian revolutionary propaganda." 47

The Russian revolutionary soldiers actually provided international assistance to the broad strata of the Romanian people, including material support for the ruined peasantry. In November, the corps committee of the 26th Army Corps of the 9th Army created a commission to find funds for the maintenance of Romanian peasant refugees. In the conditions of the famine blockade of the Russian armies of the front, organized by the royal command and the Ukrainian Central Rada, the revolutionary soldiers provided food aid to the Romanian population. For example, in connection with the plight of the peasants of d. At the beginning of December 1917, the divisional committee of the 37th Infantry Division decided to issue "two whole rations and a cauldron" to refugees from the divisional infirmary, and at the end of December it was decided to issue two soldiers ' rations to each family .48

In order to prevent the assistance provided by the revolutionary soldiers to the Romanian peasantry in their just struggle, and to stop the activities of the Romanian social Democrats, the royal government, in agreement with General Shcherbachev, divided the territory of Moldova into 8 military - administrative zones, each of which was guarded by the forces of one Romanian division. Shortly after the Armistice of Focca, the Romanian command waged a fierce struggle against Russian revolutionary soldiers and organized a starvation blockade of the front armies, which particularly affected the situation of the 4th and 9th armies located on the territory of Romania and cut off from Russia. The Armistice of Foccia, concluded with Germany and its allies, was used by the command of the Romanian Front and the royal Government to implement their far-reaching political plans in the fight against the revolutionary movement at the front and for the subsequent occupation of Bessarabia. The anti-Soviet nature of the truce immediately became clear. December 23, 1917 Shcherbachev officially informed General Mackensen that both the Russian and Rumanian troops under his command did not recognize the Council of People's Commissars and that the final question of peace would be decided by the supposedly future Constituent Assembly .49 To the Romanian leadership, Shcherbachev declares that he intends to announce the cessation of hostilities himself and thereby, by means of a truce, wants to "avoid receiving orders from those whose authorities do not recognize", that is, from the Council of People's Commissars .50 With the conclusion of the Armistice of Focsha, General Shcherbachev also pursued other goals directed against the proletarian revolution: the Russo-Rumanian reaction created a favorable environment for strengthening the combat capability of the royal Rumanian army in order for the latter to go on the offensive against the Russian revolutionary soldiers of the disintegrating Rumanian front.

The active entry of the royal government into the struggle against the Russian revolutionary soldiers was also dictated by domestic political motives: the growth of anti-government sentiment in the Romanian military units and the growing discontent of the Romanian peasantry, which was being revolutionized by the Russian units. Soon

47 Archduke Joseph. The World War as I Saw It (in Hungarian) pp. 719, 721, 749; Mareal A. Averescu. Note Zilince din Razboiul (1916 - 1918). Bucuresti, s. a., p. 256.

48 TSGVIA, f. 2139, op. 1, d. 1879, l. 513; f. 2367, op. 1, d. 7, ll. 5 vol., 11, etc.

49 "Osterreich-Ungarns letzter Krieg (1914 - 1918)". Wien. 1937 - 1938, S. 736.

50 M. S. Frenkin. Op. ed., pp. 235-237.

page 39

Royal Rumania conspired with General Kaledin on the Don. At a meeting of the Romanian government on December 20, 1917, at the direction of the Entente powers, it was decided to provide military assistance to the Ukrainian Central Rada in its struggle against Soviet Russia. Royal Romania supported the counter-revolutionary Sfatulceri and other nationalist groups on the territory of Bessarabia .51 All this was intended to create favorable conditions for the capture of Bessarabia by the royal troops and eliminate the revolutionizing influence of Russian soldiers on Romanian and Moldavian workers and contacts between them.

Fear of the growth of the revolutionary movement in Moldova and of the possibility of new demonstrations by the peasants, who were deeply impressed by the fact that the Bolsheviks actually handed over the land to the peasants of Bessarabia, led to the acceleration of the previously thought - out plan for the occupation of this region by the royal troops. The defeat of a number of units of the 4th Army Corps of the 6th Army in January 1918 in a two-day battle near Galac and the revolutionary soldiers of the 2nd Army Corps of the 4th Army in the battle of Falticeni (they fought with the royal troops for an armed withdrawal from Romania to Russia) made it easier for the Romanian oligarchy to capture Bessarabia: we have now failed to provide effective assistance to the workers of this region 52 . This defeat and the accelerated disintegration of the front armies (especially the 4th, 9th, and 6th) cut short the revolutionary soldiers ' efforts to help the working masses of Romania.

Thus, during the period of preparation and implementation of the proletarian revolution in Russia, the revolutionary movement became widespread in the armies of the Romanian Front, in particular in the formations stationed in Moldova held by Russian and Romanian troops, which led to political contacts between Russian revolutionary soldiers and Romanian workers and soldiers. The rapprochement between the soldiers 'revolutionary active of the front, led by the Bolsheviks, and the Romanian soldiers 'and peasants' masses took place on the basis of the growing agrarian movement in Romania, the struggle of the Romanian peasantry for land, against forced labor in the boyar latifundia, which found broad effective support of the Russian revolutionary soldiers.

The assistance of Russian revolutionary soldiers to the Rumanian workers was carried out in various forms. Assistance in the political education of the masses was of great importance: meetings and demonstrations in support of the Romanian revolutionaries, the release of political prisoners from prison and saving many of them from the death penalty, agitation for the republic, participation in the printing and distribution of proclamations of the Romanian social democracy, etc. The rallies and demonstrations held by Russian revolutionary soldiers in Romania became a real political school for the Romanian soldiers and peasants.

An obstacle to the further development of revolutionary events, both at the front and among the Rumanian workers, was the active alliance of the Rumanian Front headquarters, headed by General Shcherbachev, with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and bourgeois nationalists, the royal administration and the Entente forces entrenched in the army committees. This obstacle became especially noticeable after the battles of Maraşeşti.

51 A. Marghiloman. Note politice. Vol. III (1916 - 1917). Bucuresti. 1927, p. 265.

52 C. Kiritzescu. Roumanie dans la guerre mondiale (1916-1919). P. 1934, pp. 380, 383; Archduke Joseph. Decree, op. cit., p. 749; Maresal A. Averescu. Op. cit., pp. 262, 269; "Class Struggle", 1932, N 7-8, p. 73; TSGVIA, f. 2126, op. 1, d. 45, l. 384; d. 149, l. 191 and others; M. S. Frenkin. Op. ed., pp. 235, 236, etc.

page 40

Victorious October strengthened the influence of the Bolshevik active in the front armies and brought qualitatively new changes to the struggle of both Russian revolutionary soldiers and the Romanian workers (armed defense of the Romanian peasantry from the encroachments of landlords and the royal administration, increased agitation on the part of revolutionary soldiers for the confiscation of boyar lands, and even direct participation of revolutionary soldiers in agrarian actions). The political motives of the Russian revolutionary soldiers ' ties with the working people of Romania were sharply strengthened (support for the October Revolution, the struggle for peace, the creation of international committees, the struggle against national oppression, extensive material assistance to the working people, support for Romanian social democracy with the active participation of the Bolsheviks of Odessa, etc.).

The growing authority and influence of Russian revolutionary soldiers among the working people of Moldova during the proletarian revolution is also evidenced by the appeals of Romanian peasants to the Russian army grassroots committees (company and regimental) with a request for protection. However, the further development of revolutionary events both at the front and in Romania was hindered by the collapse of the Romanian Front and the Truce of Foccia, which was used by the front command and the royal government to implement counter-revolutionary measures to combat the proletarian revolution at the front and in the rear, as well as to implement the occupation of Bessarabia by the Romanian reaction.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LMoldova LWorld Y G


Maria GrosuContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

M. S. FRENKIN, ASSISTANCE OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIERS TO THE STRUGGLE OF THE ROMANIAN WORKERS IN 1917 // Chisinau: Library of Moldova (LIBRARY.MD). Updated: 12.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 17.07.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - M. S. FRENKIN:

M. S. FRENKIN → other publications, search: Libmonster RussiaLibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Maria Grosu
Komrat, Moldova
26 views rating
12.06.2024 (35 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
21 minutes ago · From Maria Grosu
6 hours ago · From Maria Grosu
9 hours ago · From Maria Grosu
20 hours ago · From Maria Grosu
Yesterday · From Maria Grosu
Yesterday · From Maria Grosu
Yesterday · From Maria Grosu

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

LIBRARY.MD - Moldovian Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Libmonster Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: MD LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

Moldovian Digital Library ® All rights reserved.
2019-2024, LIBRARY.MD is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of Moldova


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android