Grigorev Rebellion

Grigor’ev Rebellion


an anti-Soviet kulak-Socialist Revolutionary (SR) bourgeois nationalistic rebellion in May 1919 in the southern Ukraine. Its leader was N. A. Grigor’ev, a staff captain in the tsarist army and a supporter of the Central Rada and later of Hetman Skoropadskii. From December 1918, he was ataman of Petliura’s forces.

Because of the successes of the Red Army and considering the changes in the mood of the Ukrainian peasantry in favor of Soviet power, Grigor’ev changed sides, announcing that he and his detachments, which consisted of peasants from the southern Ukraine, were going over to the side of the Red Army. On Feb. 18, 1919, he was appointed commander of the 1st Trans-Dnieper Ukrainian Soviet Brigade, which was later re-formed as the 6th Ukrainian Soviet Division. However, he continued to call himself the ataman of the Kherson and Ta-vria partisans. Anarchists, SR’s, and followers of Petliura became entrenched on Grigor’ev’s staff.

During March-April 1919. the 6th Ukrainian Soviet Division participated in battles by Soviet troops for the cities of Nikolaev, Kherson, and Odessa. However, at the beginning of May Grigor’ev moved the division on his own authority to the region of Elizavetgrad, and on May 7–9 he refused to carry out the order of the Soviet command to move the division to the Rumanian Front. Relying on the local kulaks and large military forces (up to 20.000 men, more than 50 guns, 700 machine guns, and six armored trains), he raised an anti-Soviet rebellion in the rear of the Red Army, which was fighting against the troops of A. I. Denikin in the Donbas. In a so-called Universal (a manifesto) he proposed slogans for the Ukrainian nationalists, including “Power to the Soviets of the Ukrainian people without the Communists,” “the Ukraine for the Ukrainians,” and “Free grain trade.” The rebels managed to occupy Cherkassy. Uman’, Kremen-chug, Ekaterinoslav. and Elizavetgrad and later Kherson, Nikolaev, and other cities.

The Grigor’ev Rebellion covered a large territory of Kherson and Ekaterinoslav provinces (with a center in the town of Aleksandria). This was due to the strong kulak influence in the Ukrainian countryside and vacillations of the middle peasants, who were dissatisfied with the food requisitioning. Grigor’ev established a terroristic kulak dictatorship in the Ukraine. The organizers of the rebellion counted on linking Grigor’ev’s actions with the actions of other kulak atamans, such as N. I. Makhno and Zelenyi. The Grigor’ev Rebellion helped Denikin’s troops to start an offensive in the southern Ukraine and prevented the prompt transfer of Red Army troops to the Rumanian Front to support the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. The Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and the Ukrainian Soviet government carried out decisive military and political measures to end the rebellion. By the end of May Soviet units under the command of K. E. Voroshilov, P. E. Dybenko. A. I. Egorov. M. K. Levandovskii, and A. Ia. Parkhomenko had suppressed the revolt. During June-July they defeated the remnants of Grigor’ev’s kulak bands. Grigor’ev himself escaped to the Makhno forces. He was murdered on July 27, 1919. by Makhno. who considered him a rival.


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