Central Committee of the Caspian Naval Flotilla

Central Committee of the Caspian Naval Flotilla

 

(Tsentrokaspii), the highest elective organ of the Caspian Naval Flotilla, organized in Baku in the first half of 1917. The first congress of flotilla sailors, held November 3 (16), hailed the October Revolution and instructed the Tsentrokaspii to support the Baku soviet of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies. However, the committee leadership, which included the officer and Constitutional Democrat I. Turkiia and the right-wing Socialist Revolutionary Iuzbashev, did not carry out the congress’s order. After the suppression of the counterrevolutionary Musavat rebellion (from Mar. 30 to Apr. 1, 1918) by sailors and revolutionary troops, in which Tsentrokaspii remained neutral, a new Bolshevik committee of 12 members was elected, including A. R. Kuz’minskii (chairman), P. Kozlov, N. Nikitin, P. Pendiurin, S. Storozhuk, and the nonparty sailors V. Antiufeev and P. Golovushkin, who were sympathetic to the Bolsheviks. After the temporary collapse of Soviet power in Baku on July 31, 1918, the committee ceased to exist officially.

Using the name “Tsentrokaspii” as a cover in order to deceive the Baku proletariat, the Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and bourgeois nationalists created a third government on Aug. 1, 1918. Now openly counterrevolutionary, the new government bore the titles “Dictatorship of the Tsentrokaspii” and “Presidium of the Provisional Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies” and functioned as an obedient instrument in the hands of the British interventionists. It existed until mid-September 1918, when Baku was occupied by Turkish troops.

A. A. MAKOVSKII

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