Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly


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Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly

 

(Komuch; Samara Uchredilka), a counterrevolutionary “government” that was formed in Samara (now Kuibyshev) on June 8, 1918, after the city was captured by the White Czechs. It declared that it was the supreme state authority and was acting provisionally in the name of the Constituent Assembly in the territory captured by the interventionists and White Guards until the new assembly could be convened. Initially, Komuch consisted of five socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) who had been members of the Constitutent Assembly dissolved by Soviet power (V. K. Vol’skii, chairman; I. M. Brushvit, P. D. Klimushkin, B. K. Fortunatov, and I. P. Nesterov, members); subsequently the committee was reinforced by members of the Constituent Assembly who came to Samara—chiefly SR’s. By late September it included 96 people. The Council of Directors of Departments, headed by E. F. Rogovskii, was the administrative body.

Coming to power with the aid of the White Czechs, Komuch declared the “reestablishment” of democratic liberties: the eight-hour work day was formally established, the convening of workers’ conferences and peasant congresses was permitted, and factory committees and trade unions were retained. As a cover for the restoration of the bourgeois-landlord system, on August 30 the so-called Soviet of Workers’ Deputies was created in Samara. It was made up of figureheads and was devoid of any power. Komuch repealed the decrees of Soviet power, returned factories, mills, and banks to their former owners, proclaimed freedom of private trade, and reestablished the zemstvos (local bodies of self-administration), city councils, and other bourgeois institutions. While paying lip service to the idea of the socialization of the land, Komuch gave pomeshchiki (landlords) the opportunity to regain the land confiscated earlier by the peasants, as well as the right to harvest the winter crops in 1917. In order to protect kulak and pomeshchik property, punitive detachments were sent into the villages first for recruitment and then for mobilization into the so-called people’s army.

As a result of armed support from the interventionists and kulaks and also of the shortage of Red Army forces, Komuch’s power spread in June-August 1918 to Samara, Simbirsk, Kazan, Ufa, and part of Saratov provinces. However, by early September, the peasants were already convinced of the counterrevolutionary nature of Komuch and turned their backs on it; peasant and worker uprisings took place. In September the people’s army suffered a number of defeats at the hands of the Red Army and abandoned much of the territory in which Komuch operated. On September 23, Komuch yielded its power to the Ufa Directory, elected at the so-called State Conference in Ufa. The powerless Congress of Members of the Constituent Assembly was formed within the directory. Meanwhile, the Council of Directors of Departments became a sort of Ufa oblast “government.” After Admiral A. V. Kolchak’s coup, these bodies were dispersed by General V. O. Kappel’ in late November 1918.

REFERENCES

Popov, F. G. Za vlast’ Sovetov: Razgrom Samarskoi uchredilki. Kuibyshev, 1959.
Garmiza, V. V. Krushenie eserovskikh pravitel’stv. Moscow, 1970.
Garmiza, V. V. “Rabochie i bol’sheviki Srednego Povolzh’ia v bor’be s Samarskoi uchredilkoi.” In Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 53. Moscow, 1955.

V. V. GARMIZA

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