National Center


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National Center

 

a counterrevolutionary underground organization established in Moscow in the spring of 1918 with branches in Petrograd and other localities in Soviet Russia.

The National Center was composed chiefly of members of the disbanded anti-Soviet Right Center, an organization that consisted of representatives of the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats) and of monarchist, commercial and industrial capitalists’, and landowners’ organizations. In addition, members of the counterrevolutionary Union for the Rebirth of Russia, including a number of right-wing Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) and Mensheviks who supported the war with Germany, “joined [the National Center] in order to maintain liaison and contacts.”

As envisioned by its founders, the National Center was to become a headquarters directing the activity of all right-wing forces that were fighting against Soviet power. The organization was financed by the Entente powers and was closely allied with A. V. Kolchak, A. I. Denikin, and N. N. Iudenich, as well as with underground military and espionage organizations operating behind the Soviet lines.

In 1919 the National Center and the Union for the Rebirth of Russia merged into the Tactical Center, which was to direct the subversive activity of all the counterrevolutionary forces in Soviet Russia.

The National Center was headed by the Octobrist D. N. Shipov (chairman before 1919) and by the Cadet N. N. Shchepkin (chairman during 1919). Also included in the leadership were M. M. Fedorov, who represented the commercial and industrial interests, the Cadets N. I. Astrov, A. A. Cherven-Vodali, V. A. Stepanov, and V. I. Shteiniger, and the prominent church leader A. V. Kartashev.

In June 1919 the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (VChK) executed a traitorous group of military specialists affiliated with the National Center; the military specialists had fomented a mutiny by the garrison of Fort Krasnaia Gorka and were preparing a mutiny in Kronstadt itself (the affair of A. Iu. Rybaltovskii, chief of staff of the Kronstadt Fortress). Between July and November 1919, the VChK eliminated the Petrograd branch of the National Center, which was headed by Shteiniger, as well as the espionage network directed by the head of British intelligence in Russia, Paul Dukes, who was in contact with Shteiniger’s group. In August and September 1919, the VChK disbanded the headquarters of the National Center in Moscow, headed by Shchepkin, as well as an associated organization, the Headquarters of the Volunteer Army of the Moscow Region; the latter’s leaders included the former generals N. N. Stogov and S. A. Kuznetsov.

REFERENCES

Sofinov, P. G. Ocherki istorii Vserossiiskoi Chrezvychainoi komissii (1917–22). Moscow, 1960.
Iz istorii VChK (1917–21): Sb. dokumentov. Moscow, 1958.
Golinkov, D. L. Krakh vrazheskogo podpol’ia. Moscow, 1971.

D. L. GOLINKOV

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