Monument to the first government of the Republic of Tavrida in Alushta on the mass grave of members of the People's Commissar and other figures of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tavrida, who were shot on April 24, 1918
Monument to the first government of the Republic of Tavrida in Alushta on the mass grave of members of the People's Commissar and other figures of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tavrida, who were shot on April 24, 1918
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Formation of the Republic of Taurida

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The winners constantly felt a “staff shortage.” Therefore, they appealed to the central government for help with people, party and propaganda literature, money. As early as February 29, 1918, a telegram was sent to O. Stasova from “Comrade Chairman of the Sevastopol Council of Deputies O. Aleksakis,” in which he requested: ” Send as many executives as possible, as well as literature .”

Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo

This position of Slutsky caused sharp dissatisfaction of Lenin. In a letter sent on March 14 to the Extraordinary Commissioner of Ukraine S. Ordzhonikidze, he wrote: “I beg you to pay serious attention to the Crimea and the Donetsk basin in order to create a united battle front against the offensive from the West. Convince the Crimean comrades that the course of events imposes a defense on them, and they must defend themselves regardless of the ratification of the peace treaty. Let them know that the situation of the North is significantly different from the situation of the South, and given the war, the actual war between the Germans and Ukraine, helping Crimea, which (Crimea) the Germans can eat in passing, is not only an act of neighborly duty but also a requirement self-defense and self-preservation. It is possible that Slutsky did not understand the complexity of the situation, he bends some other simplified line – then he should be besieged decisively, referring to me. Immediate… creation of a united front of defense from the Crimea to Great Russia, involvement of peasants in the cause, decisive and unconditional re-faceting of our units,who are in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian way – this is now the task. … Explain all this, comrade Sergo, to the Crimean-Donetsk comrades and achieve the creation of a united defense front».On March 11, 1918, a group of new workers, led by A. Slutsky, who had hitherto worked in the Petrograd Committee of the RCP (B), arrived in the Crimea from Moscow to “strengthen” the local party organization. As it turned out, Slutsky was one of those who overestimated the effect of signing the Brest Peace. Thus, during one of the delegate meetings of the Black Sea people, he confidently stated: “ The Germans cannot come to the Crimea, because we recognize the Brest Treaty; if due to some misunderstanding they still come here, it is only necessary to show them the Brest Treaty, and they will leave immediately .

Anton Iosifovich Slutsky, Chairman of the People's Commissar of the Republic of Tavrida
Anton Iosifovich Slutsky, Chairman of the People’s Commissar of the Republic of Tavrida

On March 21, a meeting of the Tavriya Provincial CEC of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies took place. There were six issues on the agenda:On March 15, 1918, a meeting of representatives of the Soviet UPR, the Donetsk-Kryvyi Rih Republic, and the Crimea took place in Katerynoslav (the latter was represented by A. Slutsky and M. Khatsko), whose participants discussed the prospects of creating a “single line of defense” against German troops. It was deemed expedient to wage an open war against Germany only in those provinces that were part of the Soviet UPR. Others, including Crimea, were to be unofficially assisted by all means in this war, while demonstrating compliance with the terms of the peace treaty that the RSFSR had signed with Germany and Austria-Hungary.

On March 19, at a meeting of the CEC councils of the Tavriya province, a decree was adopted to declare the territory of the Tavriya province “as part of the Simferopol, Feodosia, Yalta, Yevpatoria, Melitopol, Berdyansk, Perekop and Dnieper counties of the Tavriya Republic of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies». As we can see, the Crimean Bolsheviks included in the proclaimed republic a number of territories that at that time were already recognized as part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. This provoked a protest from the Kharkiv government, as well as dissatisfaction from Moscow itself, which rightly feared that the Germans would use this fact to intensify efforts to absorb Crimea. Therefore, the RSFSR SNK had to “correct” the Crimean Bolsheviks, explaining to them which territories could be attributed to the Taurida Republic and which could not. To this end, a meeting of the CEC councils of the Tavriya province was convened again. S. Novoselsky and O. Kolyadenko were sent to Moscow to receive instructions from Lenin.

 

  1. short report of the delegation from Moscow;
  2. the construction of power in the Soviet Republic of Tauris;
  3. next tasks;
  4. about the Council of Five;
  5. on the Congress of the Don Republic;
  6. on the division of responsibilities of the CEC for the appointment of those who are not members of the Council of People’s Commissars.
Memorial sign at the place of execution of members of the first government of the Republic of Tavrida
Memorial sign at the place of execution of members of the first government of the Republic of Tavrida

A. Slutsky was the first to speak about the conference in Katerynoslav and the decisions that were made during its work. Then S. Novoselsky took the floor, saying: “The Soviet People’s Commissar of the RSFSR, thanks to the attack on Ukraine and the emergence of hostilities between Ukrainian Soviet troops and Haidamaks, proposed to preserve the Crimean and Black Sea Fleets to declare an autonomous republic in Crimea, which will be part of the RSFSR .” The Soviet of People’s Commissars hoped that ” Germany, which has an agreement with the RSFSR, will not occupy Crimea if it is not part of Ukraine.». The speaker also said that Moscow insisted on the creation of a republic only within the “neutral zone”, ie including the Crimea from Perekop – “thus forming an integral part of the RSFSR.” After a long discussion, the CEC members decided to proclaim the Republic of Taurida within the borders proposed by Moscow.

The next day, the CEC of Soviets of the Tavriya Province issued a decree declaring the territory of the Crimean Peninsula as part of the Simferopol, Feodosia, Yalta, Yevpatoria, and Perekop counties the Socialist Soviet Republic of Tavrida.

Mandate of the People's Commissar of Finance of the Republic of Tavrida Oleksiy Kolyadenko, March 24, 1918
Mandate of the People’s Commissar of Finance of the Republic of Tavrida Oleksiy Kolyadenko, March 24, 1918

On April 11, the SNC of the Republic of Tavrida specifically considered this issue and decided: “ 1) we do not recognize any separation of counties and believe that all counties form a single whole of the Republic of Tavrida; 2) to mobilize free agitation forces and send them to explain the political situation and the need to evacuate bread products; 3) to help these counties by all means possible “.It should be noted that although Moscow corrected the “mistake of the Crimean comrades” by excluding Ukrainian territories from the Republic of Tavrida, this decision was not accepted in practice by part of the Crimean leadership. After the proclamation of the Republic of Tavrida, within only the peninsula, the CEC of Soviets and the SNC continued to govern the northern counties of the former Tavriya province. This is unequivocally evidenced by documents. On March 28, A. Slutsky sent a telegram to all local revolutionary committees, in which it was categorically stated: ” The decree on borders should be considered as repealed .” On April 6, a directive was sent to local authorities stating: “Although by decree Melitopol, Dnipro and Berdyansk counties did not enter the borders of the Republic of Tavrida, but due to their wishes and their natural connection with other territories of Crimea, they are actually part of the Socialist Republic of Tavrida .

As for the assistance promised by the government of the Republic of Tavrida to the mainland counties, nothing was provided to them except party literature and activists who were to teach local staff what to do. On the other hand, Crimean leaders did not lag behind in pumping bread from mainland counties. In March-April, 6 million poods of bread were exported from Dnipropetrovsk, Berdyansk and Melitopol counties to Russia. However, the Bolsheviks exported bread not only from Northern Tavria, but also from the island of Crimea.

Monument to the first government of the Republic of Tavrida in Alushta on the mass grave of members of the People's Commissar and other figures of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tavrida, who were shot on April 24, 1918
Monument to the first government of the Republic of Tavrida in Alushta on the mass grave of members of the People’s Commissar and other figures of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tavrida, who were shot on April 24, 1918

In addition to bread, large stocks of canned food, cheese, jam, jams and other products intended for long-term storage were exported from the Crimea to the Center.The figures given by witnesses to those events vary widely. According to Yu. Gaven, dated 1930, from mid-January to mid-April 1918, 5.5 million poods of bread were exported from the Crimea to Moscow and Petrograd. However, in memoirs published in 1933, he already mentions a much smaller figure – during the same period, “at least 3.5 million poods” were removed from the peninsula. L. Garcheva notes that the figure of 5 million poods of bread mentioned by Yu. Gaven is more reliable.

Intensive pumping of food has led to a sharp decline in sown areas, a great shortage of food, and thus – to the threat of famine in the Crimea.

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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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