Changing the attitude of the Crimean Tatars to the Bolsheviks
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Changing the attitude of the Crimean Tatars to the Bolsheviks

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Milli Firk’s attitude toward the Bolsheviks gradually began to change. The party recognized the need to restore the Soviets, albeit without the Bolsheviks with their “forced movement toward the triumph of communism.” In articles published in the Krym newspaper, the Soviet government looked like one with which it could cooperate in the future, but only if it “changes and gives people the rights and opportunities to express themselves freely.”

Considering the issue of cooperation with the Bolshevik Party, the authors of these articles reflected on the further tasks of the party. More often than not, they came to the following conclusions: “We need to change the means of combating Bolshevism in the direction from civil war to the arrangement of life on the principles that ensure the development of productive forces.”

A significant role in concluding an alliance with the Bolsheviks was played by the left wing of Millie Firk, who left the Kurultai in the autumn of 1918. Now she “went to the people,” calling for a struggle for Soviet power. After the arrival of the Bolsheviks in the Crimea in April 1919, the leaders of Millie Firk welcomed the establishment of Soviet power. On April 27, the Tauric Communist newspaper published an article on behalf of the party stating that Milli Firka had done considerable work among the Crimean Tatars, preparing “the Tatar masses of workers for the relevant meeting of the Bolsheviks, whose arrival we had predicted in five months six”.

The change in the attitude of the Crimean Tatars towards the Bolsheviks was also facilitated by the fact that in the winter and spring of 1919 the Bolsheviks were already different than a year ago. They drew conclusions from the mistakes made during the existence of the Tauride Republic. Yu. Gaven later wrote that when he arrived in Moscow in April 1919, he met with Lenin. «He asked me to inform him about the national composition of the Crimean population, about the national liberation movement of the Crimean Tatars, their aspirations, and about the most characteristic features of the revolutionary struggle in Crimea in 1917-1918. I briefly acquainted Ilyich with how the course of revolutionary events in Crimea brought the national question to the fore, told what mistakes were made by the Crimean Bolshevik organization (almost complete disregard for the national question) and what severe consequences these mistakes caused. Crimean workers, aggravation of national hostility, which led to the extermination of one nation by another, etc.). As a result of our conversation, Ilyich stated: “Your proposal (regarding the organization of the republic) will be sanctioned. Talk to Stalin at the People’s Commissariat for National Affairs on practical issues,which follow from this. You can see from everything that the Reds will soon clear Ukraine and Crimea of ​​the White Guards, and you will be able to return to the Crimea to carry out our tasks. ”».

The Ukrainian Directory, forced to fight both Soviet Russia and armed uprisings within Ukraine, was unable to pay attention to the question of Crimea’s accession. The Russian government has reacted differently to this problem. Immediately after the abolition of the Brest Peace Treaty, the Soviet of People’s Commissars sent its army to Ukraine “to help the fraternal Ukrainian people.” On January 3, 1919, Bolshevik troops occupied Kharkiv, and on February 5, Kyiv.

On January 6, the Ukrainian Soviet government began sending its agitators to Crimea to form guerrilla units. This work was performed successfully. The underground Crimean Regional Revolutionary Committee stated in a statement to Moscow: “ Fighting detachments are being organized throughout the Crimea, in all towns and villages. “We have the opportunity to buy weapons, machine guns and explosives .” An underground regional revolutionary committee was set up to prepare for an armed uprising. It was to help the Bolsheviks establish power on the peninsula. At the end of 1918 and the beginning of 1919, partisan detachments appeared in almost all Crimean cities.

In January-February 1919, the Crimean regional government again tried to mobilize the population into the Volunteer Army. However, these measures ended in complete failure. The inhabitants of Crimea did not want to join A. Denikin’s army. This was facilitated by Denikin’s own attitude to the future status of both Crimea and Ukraine in general. Witness of these events V. Gerasimenko described the policy embodied by Denikin as follows: “Going deeper into Ukraine in search of sympathy for the people who are accustomed to owning their own land, not the common land, trying to use the living forces of this population and get bread, Denikin, however, did not pay attention to the hurricane of national upsurge that swept across this great land. the whole Ukrainian national movement only as a cabinet-invented invention of a handful of intellectuals of foreign origin, Denikin caused an open confrontation with the Petliurists on the first day of the occupation of Kyiv over the raising of the flag over the city council building .

Such an attitude soon led to growing controversy between Denikin, who championed the slogan of a “united and indivisible Russia,” and the national aspirations of various political forces. The Bolsheviks, who made statements about the “right of nations to self-determination,” in turn attracted various sections of the population of the former empire who did not understand what was behind “self-determination” in the Bolshevik way.

Therefore, the Bolshevik guerrilla units received support from the local population. In February 1919, the situation on the peninsula continued to deteriorate. On February 13, the commander of the Crimean-Azov Volunteer Army, General Borovsky, reported to Denikin: “ All the data prove the energetic work of local and foreign Bolsheviks to organize an uprising inside Crimea. “Without a doubt, the main focus is Sevastopol .” On February 25, 1919, Denikin declared martial law in the Crimea.

The Crimean regional government also began issuing decrees banning freedom of assembly, introducing censorship, including preventive telegram reviews, and more. Minister of Justice V. Nabokov noted that he could only ” note with sadness that all members of the Crimean government devoted much effort to combating administrative repression in the days of tsarist rule, and now they have to apply them themselves .”

In March, the situation on the peninsula became even more threatening for the Volunteer Army. The population, which was disappointed in the governments of S. Crimea and A. Denikin, reacted favorably to the propaganda of the Bolsheviks. Strikes began at almost all large enterprises. They soon escalated into a general strike, which took place from 15 to 22 March.

The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Tetiana Bikova

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Scientist of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

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