Home History of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan in the Soviet Union Kazakhstan in the period of civil standoff To the question of study of Petropavlovsk-Ishim rebellion in years of civil strife

To the question of study of Petropavlovsk-Ishim rebellion in years of civil strife

One of the insufficiently explored problems in the history of modern Kazakhstan is peasant uprisings, which caused their causal consequences. Although, now these events are regarded as a tragic civil strife, but in most cases are considered only «on the same side", precisely «red". Meanwhile, along with the "white" terror, took place the terrorist "red" orgy. This can be attributed «the surplus proletarian "deducing village and the village on the brink of despair, hunger, armed suppression of peasant rebellions.

Insufficient knowledge about the problem shows the almost complete absence of any special publications, except for the monograph M. Bogdanov "The defeat of the West Siberian kulak social revolutionary rebellion in 1921", released 40 years ago. Noticeable the fact, that, until recently there were no documentary publications about the history of Ishim uprising, despite the relatively large number of surviving as official documents and periodicals of the period.

In fact, until the beginning of the 90s, Soviet historians had limited analysis of narrowed issues: the causes of the uprising, the size and composition of the class character and political orientation of the rebel movement, progress and results of fighting the insurgency. Emphasis on the military aspect of lighting events, while most of the problems reveal the socio-political and ideological essence of rebellion remained in the shadows.

Lack of pressure of dogmatic Marxist-Leninist methodology, with its principles of partisanship and class approach, historians access to previously secret documents of All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating and revolutionary tribunals, made in doubt about the concept of fundamental provisions Ishim- Petropavlovsk uprising, formed in Soviet historiography.

To confirm this, it should to focus on analyzing the causes of the uprising. Soviet historical science, the occurrence of this event is traditionally explained by the weakness of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" prosperity of the local peasantry and a high proportion of the kulaks in its structure, activities of counterrevolutionary forces, in particular the "Siberian peasant alliance" discontent of peasants violations during the surplus.

Modern historians of Siberia proved that no anti-Soviet conspiracy preceding rebellion existed, and supposedly existed unofficial organization has been falsified organs of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating. Thus, one of the key findings of Soviet historiography does not find real confirmation. It must be recognized as nothing more than a reflection of myth-making quality of the security organs.

At the same time talking about the weakness of local authorities, the prosperity of the peasantry and a large number of fists in the area of rebellion, we should note that, these are the conditions of the latter, but not its causes. In addition, references to these "reasons" not quite legitimate, because it does not explain why one rebellion swept areas, but did not cover other, more prosperous, where Siberian Revolutionary Committee expected rebellion, but did not wait.

At the present stage have been rose other causes of rebellion in comparison with the other existed in Soviet times. These include discontent of the peasants’ policy of "war communism" (requisitioning, mobilization and labor service) methods put it into practice, abuse and crimes of food workers, and as a direct reason to indicate an ad in the middle of January 1921 the surplus seed. This may also include and export of grain from granaries to rail for shipment to Russia. Therefore, logical that the initial focus of rebellion became settlements, where the food office and railway station.

One cannot be denied that on the territory covered by the uprising of the existed population in principle is the enemy of the Soviet regime. Significant proportion of them among the Cossacks had deprived by the Soviets special social status and lifestyle. This may explain the very high degree of involvement in the rebellion of Cossacks Petropavlovsk and Kokshetau counties for which the size of the surplus imposed on them was not as onerous as for the peasants. In addition, the implementation of it was actually sabotaged by Cossacks. Opponents of the Soviet regime were among the peasants, intellectuals, officials and businessmen. In the total weight percentage of their insurgency is not great, but they were aimed more decisively to fight the Communists and enjoyed prestige among the population by virtue of their position, literacy and so on.

Also, it should be mentioned that in late 1920 - early 1921, various forms of violence and arbitrariness of local authorities have achieved unprecedented scope, the complaints of the peasants, the Kazakhs, the Cossacks were bombarded with authorities. According to some of them, messengers cities of Central Russia surpassed the extent of cruelty Kolchak punishers. Documents show that the party and the Soviet leadership were adequately informed of the situation on the ground, but did not see anything in dominated iniquity condemned and dangerous. The use of violence was justified unconsciously peasantry because of its darkness is not willing to part with their belongings with their work with good, and  extra efforts of individual workers explained excessive zeal, caused by selfless devotion to the proletarian revolution.

Another important issue is the question of the origin and development of the Ishim – Petropavlovsk rebellion. Modern researchers prove the thesis that he wore a spontaneous character, denying approval of a particular area of the uprising. First lesions appeared around the same time independently of each other in various parts of Ishim, Yalutorovsk and Kokshetau counties. However, they can be distinguished only on the basis of the fact that the population living here openly opposed the government on certain reaction that followed, but there were some areas lacking communication with the provincial and district centers, and information about the uprisings in these places came very late.

Here, the question naturally arises is so insurgency simultaneously hit several adjacent counties and received widespread character? As mentioned above, Soviet historiography with the filing of security officers explained that the activities of the counterrevolutionary forces. From the standpoint of contemporary period it can be said that the different layers of the population of Siberia and Northern Kazakhstan were dissatisfied with the Bolshevik regime for different reasons. Throughout the 1920s - the beginning of 1921 is to expand and deepen resentment, sometimes breaking out. Autumn and winter of 1920-1921 marked a series of peasant protests, unauthorized non-party congresses, unrest, and small uprisings. The following can be highlighted: the population taken by the revolt in territory more often comes into conflict with the authorities than others. A striking example: three times (in August, November and December 1920) in the area of All Saints Peter and Paul County flared local uprising was sent a number of commissioners with inspections, but the findings have not been made. With the help of the armed forces dispersed the rebellious peasants, arresting dozens of “leaders” and “instigators” of the government resumed its previous policy.0020

At the same time, such a reaction has led to the fact that the population kept an anger against Communist repression and for the use of weapons, on the other hand - the repression were not so cruel to intimidate a population, as in Semipalatinsk and Altai provinces, where the suppression of uprisings number of dead, injured and arrested people were thousands. There was an explosive situation: people taken to the extreme, but not broken.

All other actions of the authorities were only seeds trapped in the fertile soil. New listing the surplus, coincided with intense export grain to the center, as well as the removal of seed grain for its supposedly greater safety in warehouses gave impetus not only, which was caused by spontaneous outburst, but also synchronized performances of the population of different regions.

As regards the nature of Petropavlovsk-Ishim uprising social composition of the rebels, then it is possible to say the following. As is known in Soviet historiography on the social composition of the participants in the uprising there was a range of opinions, from "purely peasant" to "pure White Guard and kulaks". Now it can be talk about the prevalence of peasants belonging to any and all social levels, the active participation of the Cossacks and the presence of intellectuals and officials of the rebels.

In addition, the Soviet historiography Ishim rebellion was characterized as anti-Soviet, and the counter-revolutionary White Guards, and all of these terms were used as synonyms in spite of a semantic difference. Soviet historians have recognized that the main slogan of the rebels was "Soviets without Communists!", but it was characterized as in the spirit of Lenin's estimates, like provocative.

Now one could be claimed that the rebels no single view of the future political and social order, but they were united in their rejection of the communist regime. Therefore, the main characteristic of the uprising must be the recognition of its anti-communist orientation, and in this sense it can be qualified as a counter-revolutionary.

At the same time, the suspect and the White Guard’s orientation of uprising, cannot claimed that in the ranks of the rebels was not the tsarist and Kolchak officers, but their number is not much, nominally. Just not true characteristic of the anti-Soviet uprising as, documents show otherwise. On the territory taken by rebellion Soviets continued to functioning, but as the embodiment of the main program slogan, without Communists.

It can said, that a full history of revolt will not be written without lighting hostilities parties against the civilian population. Soviet historians endowed rebels with all possible social and individual drawbacks, attributed to them inconceivable cruelty, at the same time "heroic" fighters and commanders Red Army described in a romantic way.

In fact, it is contrary to the real picture of events. Both sides had their heroes and cowards, cruelty also showed both sides. Yet the Communists in this went much further. This is indicated by the casualty figures rebels and their correlation with the loss of Soviet troops. According to the chairman of Siberian revolutionary committee N.Smirnov by March 1921 in Petropavlovsk County killed about 15,000, and in Ishim - 7000 peasants. The loss ratio of soldiers and insurgents is 1 to 15.

The reasons for this are not only that the weapon rebels were mostly peaks and forks, they had no experience with organized activities. It is also about politics of communists towards the insurgents and civilians. If violence and terror by the rebels had selective nature - against the Communists workers, security officers, otherwise behaved the opposite side. Orders of this period include the requirement of execution in place all captured with arms in their hands, and take to shoot hostages for damaging railways and telegraph lines.

Communists seems do not to wanted the termination of the uprising, on the peaceful negotiations  proposed not acceptable conditions, it all eventually led to huge losses, as among the rebels, and among the civilian population.

It was indicated that the attitude of the authorities has not changed, and after the 10th Congress of the RCP (b), where it was decided to replace the surplus tax in kind. Still, a means of resolving conflicts - military force, grain exports continued until the autumn of 1921, which eventually turned into a bad harvest, and in some areas of hunger and epidemics.

Analysis of rebellion will not be completed without the evaluation of its results and consequences. There is no doubt that, despite the distance from metropolitan centers that are supported dictatorship of the proletariat, Ishim uprising represented the communist regime a serious danger. Uprising cut regions of Central Russia from Western Siberia and Kazakhstan, which in this period were one of the main suppliers of bread. This forced the leadership of Soviet Russia to survive unpleasant 3 weeks in anticipation of food riots workers and soldiers.

In conclusion, it can be said that if the study of “Antonov” and the Kronshtadt rebellion culminated in the achievement of a qualitatively new level, the study of such a breakthrough Ishim rebellion has not happened yet. In explaining the central issues still dominates the position of Soviet historiography. To overcome these ideas and replace them with new ones need to do a lot of search and analysis


1.  M. Kozybayev, Kazakhstan at the turn of the century: Reflections and searches. A.,2000, page 30.

2.  M. Bogdanov “The defeat of the West Siberian kulak and Social  revolutionary party’s revolt in 1921” - Tyumen, 1961

3.  V. Shishkin “The role of the Siberian peasant alliance in the preparation of West Siberian rebellion in 1921” // Siberia at the turn of the 19-20 centuries. Novosibirsk, 1997. pp. 88-96.

4.  M. Bogdanov, Decree of essay, page 10.

5.  State Archive of North Kazakhstan – f. 55.- op.7-d.57-l. 41.

V. Stepanov

(North Kazakhstan State University named after M.Kozybaev) 


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