Dowbór-Musnicki Revolt of 1918

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Dowbór-Muśnicki Revolt of 1918

 

an anti-Soviet revolt in Byelorussia of the Polish I Corps of Legionnaires, which had been formed by the bourgeois Provisional Government in July 1917.

In August 1917, General J. Dowbór-Muśnicki assumed command of the corps, which was composed of Polish units—three infantry divisions, cavalry, and heavy artillery (about 25,000 men). After the October Revolution the command of the corps refused to carry out the decree of the Soviet regime on the democratization of the army and intensified its chauvinistic propaganda. The command actively collaborated with counterrevolutionaries from the Don, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia, with representatives of several capitalist countries and with Polish bourgeois circles in Russia and abroad who wanted to create a bourgeois Polish state that would include Byelorussia.

Dowbór-Muśnicki concentrated his units in the Rogachev-Zhlobin-Bobruisk region and began a revolt on Jan. 12 (25), 1918. The efforts of the Soviet command to end the revolt peacefully proved fruitless, and on January 21 (February 3), A. F. Miasnikov, the commander of the Western Front, ordered the disbanding of the corps and the demobilization of its soldiers and officers. The Revolutionary Field Staff of the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander in Chief directed the suppression of the Dowbór-Muśnicki Revolt, appointing two of its members, I. I. Vatsetis and I. P. Pavlunovskii, commanders of army groups composed of Latvian rifle detachments, revolutionary sailors, and the Red Guard. On the night of January 31 (February 13) the revolutionary troops routed the Polish 1st Division and occupied Rogachev. By the middle of February, after fierce battles, the Polish 2nd and 3rd divisions had retreated toward Bobruisk and Slutsk. But on February 18 the Austrian and German troops, in violation of the cease-fire, began an offensive. Taking advantage of the offensive and assisted by detachments of the Byelorussian Rada, the rebels captured Minsk on the night of February 19. German troops entered the city on February 21. Under an agreement with the German command the Polish units remained in Byelorussia as occupation troops. In May 1918 the German command disbanded the Polish corps.

REFERENCES

Dokumenty i materialy po istorii sovetsko-pol skikh otnoshenii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1963.
Pobeda Sovetskoi vlasti v Belorussii. Minsk, 1967.