A detachment of the Red Guard, formed in the Crimea in 1919.
A detachment of the Red Guard, formed in the Crimea in 1919.
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Organization of power in the Crimean Soviet Republic (part one)

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The question of the creation of the Crimean Republic was raised almost simultaneously by the Crimean, Ukrainian and Russian leaders. It was considered at the plenum of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) on April 13 and at a meeting of the organizing bureau of the Central Committee on April 20 [1] . Decisions made were most likely not recorded. At least so far they have not appeared in scientific circulation.

At the same time, there were active negotiations between the Central Committee of the RCP (B) and the party and Soviet workers of Ukraine, who were in charge of the Crimean regional committee of the party. From these negotiations it can be concluded that in principle the issue of creating a buffer Crimean republic by the Ukrainian government was received positively. Chairman of the People’s Commissar of the USSR H. Rakovsky telegraphed to G. Chicherin about the need for the formation of the Crimean Soviet Republic in connection with the international situation in Crimea [2] . On April 17, the commander of the Ukrainian Front V. Antonov-Ovsienko in a telegram to the commander of the 2nd Ukrainian Soviet Army A. Skachka reported: ” A government is being formed in the Crimea[3]. At the same time, in a telegram to the chairman of the Simferopol Military Revolutionary Committee, E. Bagaturyants (Laura), he noted: “ The general situation requires the immediate creation of an independent Crimean government, but strongly connected with the military. Red Army should provide the strongest support[4] .

Pavlo Dibenko
Pavlo Dibenko

At a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (B) on April 23, 1919, the issue of Crimea was third on the agenda. V. Lenin, J. Stalin, M. Krestinsky, M. Kalinin, I. Smilga and E. Sklyansky took part in the discussion. The adopted resolution stated: “ 1. To recognize the creation of the Crimean Soviet Republic as desirable. 2. Ask comrade. Rakovsky: whether the Central Committee of the Communist Party has the appropriate staff to hold the post of chairman of the Crimean People’s Commissar. In particular, what is the opinion of the Central Committee of the Communist Party on the candidacy of Comrade Artem » [5] .

Fearing manifestations of separatism on the part of the local population (and, above all, the Crimean Tatars), Lenin attached great importance to the selection of the leadership of the Crimean Republic. Member of the Central Committee of the RCP (B) H. Rakovsky was responsible for the restoration of Soviet and party bodies in the Crimea. He was instructed to select candidates for positions in the People’s Commissariat of Crimea and to coordinate the borders of the newly formed republic. He was assisted by L. Kamenev, the extraordinary commissioner of the Defense Council of the RSFSR, and K. Voroshilov, a member of the Central Committee of the CP (B) U and People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs of the USSR. On April 24, a telegram signed by L. Kamenev and M. Muranov was sent to the Central Committee of the CP (B) U asking Artem to visit their train to discuss the expediency of appointing him to the post of head of the Crimean government. In discussing the candidacy was rejected Artem [6] .

The search for a candidate to replace the head of the newly created republic continued. In a telegram sent to Moscow on April 26, L. Kamenev reported: “I saw a representative of the Crimea. Be sure to share your thoughts on the Crimean government, as it should see Dybenko and other Crimeans. Rakovsky from Odessa, it turns out, recommended Dybenko as chairman. I find this to be an inadmissible mistake. The preliminary impression is that it is much better to directly join Crimea to Moscow and in any case send Joffe there as prime minister[7] . Following this, in a telegram to Lenin and Stalin, L. Kamenev reported: “He agreed with Rakovsky that Joffe was not needed here. He is needed in the Crimea, where there are absolutely no people and no head. Send Joffe to Crimea soon to organize power. It connect Christie took him from Lunacharskoho[8] .

Decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) of April 23, 1919
Decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) of April 23, 1919

On the same day, L. Kamenev went to Katerynoslav, where he held talks with the commander of the Ukrainian Front V. Antonov-Ovsienko and Y. Gaven. In a telegram dated April 27, he told Lenin and Stalin in Moscow: ” Through a personal examination, negotiations with Gaven, Antonov, I was convinced that the government should consist of no more than seven people, including two Tatars, Dybenko, Gaven and three others. There is no need to introduce more Tatars, and they do not have at least a few suitable people. Due to the chaos of the relationship between civilian and military, the creation of power is necessary as soon as possible. Please immediately agree to the stated plan. Waiting for reply. Muranov and Voroshilov completely agree ” [9] .

Lenin did not agree to appoint Joffe head of the Crimean government. In a telegram dated April 28, Kamenev, he said: ” Joffe is not required in the Crimea and Ukraine in the government in office, who chooses to work against Rakowski independence, and in the Crimea shall find another, but certainly not Dybenko[10] .

A detachment of the Red Guard, formed in the Crimea in 1919.
A detachment of the Red Guard, formed in the Crimea in 1919.

On the same day, a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (B) took place under the leadership of V. Lenin. It discussed a number of issues related to the future of Ukraine and Crimea. CC CP (B) were asked to discuss “the question of under what conditions, when and in what form can be carried merger Ukraine with Soviet Russia” [11] . The issue of the composition of the Crimean government was also considered, after which the following decision was made: “At the head to put comrade. Christie, then introduce two Muslims and no more than two Russians. Given Rakovsky’s persistent proposal to include Dybenko in the Crimean government with the appointment of his People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, allow him to do so, but be sure to explain to Dybenko that the Central Committee agrees to this at Rakovsky’s request and his responsibility . To take from Dybenko a subscription on unquestioning obedience to all resolutions of the Central Committee and instructions of the general military command ” [12] .

  1. Notices of the CPSU Central Committee. – 1989. – № 12. – P. 152.
  2. Zarubin AG, Zarubin VG No winners. From the history of the civil war in the Crimea. – P. 502; Garchev PI, Ovod VV On the creation of the Crimean Soviet Republic in 1919 // UIZh. – 1992. – № 4. – P. 24.
  3. Antonov-Ovsienko VA Notes on the Civil War. – M., 1933. – T. 4. – S. 58; Garchev PI, Ovod VV The work is specified. – P. 24.
  4. State Archives of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (hereinafter – DAARK). – F.-P. 150. – Op. 1. – Ref. 51. – Arc. 34.
  5. Garchev PI, Ovod VV The work is specified. – P. 24.
  6. Only there.
  7. Cit. for the book: Garchev PI, Ovod VV The work is specified. – P. 24-25.
  8. Cit. for the book: Garchev PI, Ovod VV The work is specified. – P. 25.
  9. Cit. for the book: Garchev PI, Ovod VV The work is specified. – P. 25.
  10. Lenin VI Full collection tv – T. 50. – K., 1975. – S. 294.
  11. Cit. according to the book: Kulchytsky SV Communism in Ukraine: the first decade (1919 –– 1928). – K., 1996. – P. 87.
  12. Cit. for the book: Garchev PI, Ovod VV On the creation of the Crimean Soviet Republic in 1919 // UIZh. – 1992. – № 4. – P. 25.

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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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