Civil War: Politics after October

  • Evan Mawdsley
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History book series (SREEHS)


Even in Petrograd the new government needed firm support if it was not to drown in a wave of counter-revolution, anarchy, and crime. This support was provided by the sailors, together with Red Guards and pro-Bolshevik soldiers. Detachments of sailors were available when the Military-Revolutionary Committee wanted them. Sailors were called in to protect the Winter Palace and the Tauride Palace; the commandant of the Smolny was a sailor from the Diana named Pavel Mal’kov. On 20 November the Naval Revolutionary Committee issued instructions to another detachment of sailors to go to the Ministry of the Interior and arrest or dismiss those civil servants who refused to accept Soviet power. An example of the sailors’ role in the preservation of public order was given in a report of the M.R.C.’s ‘Commissar for the Struggle with Drunkenness and Gambling’:

[On 27 November] the staff was set up in the premises occupied by the Helsingfors [sic] sailors (2nd Baltic Fleet Depot), from which orders for the destruction of liquor would be issued. Machine-gunners were summoned from Strel’na, and Helsingfors sailors were put on duty. Then the silver of Countess Bobrinskaia, 54 Galernaia [St], was removed to the State Bank; it had begun to be looted and was protected by the sailors. The liquor in this house had been destroyed earlier by the sailors before my assignment.


Soviet Government October Revolution Plenary Meeting Russian Revolution Soviet Power 
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© Evan Mawdsley 1978

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  • Evan Mawdsley

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