Order by the People's Commissar Military and Naval Affairs (August 1918)

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To the member of the Board of the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs Comrade Kedrov, to the Kazan Revolutionary War Council and to the Vologda Province Militia Commissariat, August 6, 1918

The circumstances under which Archangel was temporarily lost[1] show that certain representatives of the local Soviet power far from always display those qualities which are obligatory for every revolutionary occupying a post of responsibility: endurance, energy and courage.

It has again been confirmed that there are Soviet representatives who, at the first sign of danger, hasten to take to their heels, considering that their most important task is to save their own lives.

Creatures of this sort have nothing in common with the revolution. They are not fighters or Communists, but wretched Soviet careerists who have temporarily attached themselves to our great cause.

Any representative of the Soviet power who leaves his post at a moment of military danger without having done all he could to defend every inch of Soviet territory is a traitor. Treachery in wartime is punished with death.

I instruct you immediately to detain and arrest all those Soviet workers in Archangel who, according to evidence strictly verified by you, must be regarded as deserters, so that they may be brought to trial before the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal.

  1. Archangel was occupied during the night of August 2-3, 1918. The following is a summary of preceding events on the Northern front. On July 4 a British cruiser landed a party on Solovetsky Island and put the Russian wireless station out of action. On July 11 the British occupied Soroki (30 versts to the south of Kem) and began preparing to occupy Archangel.
    Nor were the White organizations dozing. With the help of the British counter-espionage center in Petrograd and also on their own initiative, White Guards of various political nuances had begun to assemble in Archangel already from May onward. The naval authorities entered into relations with the Allies, and a Volunteer partisan unit was formed from White officers. Colonel Potapov facilitated the freedom of action of this unit by his distribution of the forces of the Archangel garrison. Fleet Commander Veselago failed to take any measures to block the channel. On July 31 Onega was taken, on August 1 the island of Mudyug, and during the night of August 2-3 a White-Guard revolt broke out in Archangel, accompanied by a landing from the sea. With the direct assistance of the French ambassador, Noules, the American ambassador, Francis, and the Italian ambassador, Della Toretta, a Supreme Government of the Northern Region was formed, consisting of Chaikovsky (Popular-Socialist) [The Popular-Socialists were a right-wing breakaway from the SRs], Liathach (SR), Maslov (SR), Ivanov (SR) and Gukovsky (SR).