Telegram to the Revolutionary Military Council of the 5th Army, January 21, 1920

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 21 January 1920

First published in part in 1958 in the book: V. T. Agalakov, Iz istorii stroitelstva Sovetskoi vlasti v Vostochnoi Sibiri. 1919–1926 (From the History of the Building of Soviet Power in Eastern Siberia, 1919–1921). Published in full in 1960 In the book: Irkutskaya partiinaya organizatsiya v vosstanovitelny period (1920–1926) (The Irkutsk Party Organisation in the Restoration Period (1920–1926)). Printed from the typewritten copy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, pages 334b-335a.

R.M.C. 5

I approve your proposal in regard to a buffer state.[1] Only it is essential to lay down firmly that our representative, or preferably two representatives, at the Political Centre should be informed of all decisions and have the right to attend all conferences of the Political Centre.

Second—serious measures of control should be taken over the disarming of the Czechoslovaks.[2]

Third—it will be very difficult for us for transport reasons to move the Czechoslovaks out.


Chairman, Council of Defence[3]

January 21, 1920

  1. This refers to the stand taken by the Siberian Revolutionary Committee and the Revolutionary Military Council of the 5th Army in the talks which took place on January 19, 1920, with a delegation from the “Political Centre”, which was formed from representatives of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Zemstvo members and co-operators at an all-Siberia conference of Zemstvos and towns held in Irkutsk on November 12, 1919. When, on January 5, 1920, Irkutsk passed into the hands of the insurgent workers, soldiers and peasants, the “Political Centre” announced that it had assumed power in the city. The real organs of power in Irkutsk, however, were the headquarters of the armed workers’ and peasants’ detachments and the Military Revolutionary Committee, which acted under the leadership of the Irkutsk Committee of the RCP(b). The question of doing away with the “Political Centre” was not raised at once, since it was trusted to some extent by a section of the population and had the support of considerable forces of the interventionists in Irkutsk Gubernia and the Trans-Baikal area. The “Political Centre” aimed at the creation of a “democratic” bourgeois state in Eastern Siberia. At the talks with the Siberian Revolutionary Committee, its delegation proposed that the further advance eastward of the 5th Army should be halted and that a buffer state should be set up in Eastern Siberia, but the Siberian Revolutionary Committee insisted on its own conditions, namely, that the Red Army advance to Baikal and a buffer state be organised in the Trans-Baikal area.
    Meanwhile the balance of forces in Irkutsk underwent a radical change, one which was not to the advantage of the “Political Centre”. On January 21, 1920, all power in Irkutsk passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Committee.
  2. This refers to the troops of the Czechoslovak Corps, which in 1918–19 were used by the Entente imperialists and the Russian whiteguards as a strike force against the Soviets, and now were retreating under the blows of the Red Army. On January 19, 1920, the Czechoslovak Corps command announced that it was ceasing military operations and was ready to enter into negotiations for a truce with the Soviet army command. Soviet envoys went to Taishet railway station to present the terms for a truce but the White Czechoslovak command refused to negotiate. The truce was not signed until February 7. See also Note 72.
  3. The telegram was signed also by L. D. Trotsky, Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council.—Ed.