The Mutiny of ex-General Kozlovsky and the Vessel Petropavlovsk

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Author(s) Leon Trotsky
Written 2 March 1921


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Pravda, No.47
Keywords : Kronstadt

The fullest account of the Kronstadt events is given by Paul Avrich, in Kronstadt (1970). – B.P. [See also[1]Note 1b]

The role played in the revolt by General A.N. Kozlovsky, commanding the artillery of Kronstadt fortress, has certainly been exaggerated in Soviet accounts, but Francis Wyndham goes too far in the opposite direction when he writes of ‘a mythical General Kozlovsky’! (F. Wyndham and D. King, Trotsky, A Documentary, 1972, p.84) Kozlovsky’s actual activities are described by Avrich, op. cit., pp.99-102, 138-139.

Already on February 13, 1921 a telegram from Helsingfors, dated February 11, appeared in the Paris newspaper Le Matin, reporting that a sailors’ revolt against the Soviet power had broken out at Kronstadt. The French counter-intelligence service [sic] had only slightly anticipated events. Within a few days the events expected, and undoubtedly also prepared, by the French counter-intelligence service actually began. White-Guard leaflets appeared in Kronstadt and Petrograd. In the course of arrests some notorious spies were detained. At the same time the Right SRs began an intense agitation among the workers, exploiting the difficult situation where food and fuel were concerned. On February 28 disturbances began on the vessel Petropavlovsk, continued on March 1. The same resolution was passed by a general meeting. On the morning of March 2 the group of the former General Kozlovsky (commanding the artillery) already appeared openly on the scene.

Ex-General Kozlovsky, together with three officers whose names have not yet been established, came out openly as mutineers. Under their leadership the commissar of the Baltic Fleet, Comrade Kuzmin, was arrested, along with the chairman of the Kronstadt Soviet, Comrade Vasilyev, and a number of other officials. Thus, the significance of recent events was made quite clear. Behind the SRs, this time too, stood a Tsarist General.

In view of all this, the Council of Labour and Defence decrees that:

  1. Ex-General Kozlovsky and his accomplices are pronounced outlaws,
  2. the city and province of Petrograd are placed under a state of siege, and
  3. all power in the Petrograd Fortified Area is transferred to the Defence Committee of the City of Petrograd.

Moscow, The Kremlin, March 2, 1921

  1. b. The disturbances at Kronstadt began on February 28, 1921. On March 1 a meeting was held at Kronstadt which was attended by between twelve and fourteen thousand Red Army men, sailors and workers. Present at this meeting were the Chairman of the All-Russia CEC, Comrade Kalinin, and the Commissar of the Baltic Fleet, Comrade Kuzmin, who had both come specially to Kronstadt.