Foreign Board

Foreign Board

 

(full name, Board of Foreign Propaganda of the Odessa Oblast Committee of the Communist Party [Bolshevik] of the Ukraine), an underground group formed in December 1918 on instructions from the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) to conduct revolutionary work among the Anglo-French intervention forces.

The work of the Foreign Board was directed by the Odessa oblast committee of the party, headed by I. F. Smirnov (pseudonym, N. Lastochkin). In January and February 1919 a number of Communists sent by the Central Federation of Foreign Groups under the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) arrived to work on the Foreign Board, which included V. A. Degot’, S. I. Sokolovskaia (“Elena”), M. A. Loladze, M. Ia. Shtilivker, Ia. L. Elin, K. G. Sadzhaia, A. Vapel’nik, A. Vinnit-skii, and I. Dubinskii; the Frenchwoman J. Labourbe; the Rumanian A. Zalik; the Serbians S. Ratkov, V. Dragan, and Zh. Stepanovich; and the Poles H. Grzelakowa, J. Wiemuth-Grzelak, and A. Zojko. The presidium of the Foreign Board consisted of Sokolovskaia, Labourbe, and Zalik. The board included French, Rumanian, Polish, Serbian, and Greek groups that conducted propaganda and distributed revolutionary literature among the foreign soldiers in their native languages. The board published the French-language newspapere Le Communiste and leaflets in five languages. Its work was conducted in the southern Ukraine, Bessarabia, and Rumania. Its leaflets reached as far as Salonika, Constantinople, and Marseille, the staging points for the intervention forces being sent to Russia.

As a result of the influence of the Foreign Board, the soldiers of the occupation forces refused to fight against Soviet Russia; mutinies broke out in their units and on board their ships. On Mar. 1, 1919, the interventionists and the White Guards shot several of the board leaders, including Labourbe, Elin, and Shtilivker. After Odessa was liberated by the Red Army on Apr. 6, 1919, the Foreign Board was revived under the province committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the Ukraine and included English, Bulgarian, Greek, German, Polish, Rumanian, Serbian, Turkish, and French national groups. They carried out their work on French ships, among the Entente forces in Bessarabia and Rumania, and among the soldiers of the international detachments of the Red Army, which were formed in the southern Ukraine. The chairman of the Foreign Board was one of its organizers—Degot’ (born 1889, died 1944; member of the Communist Party from 1904; fought in the Revolution of 1905–07; secretary of the Committee of the RSDLP [1909]; chairman of the Odessa Soviet [1918]; active in the Soviet government after October 1917). In August 1919, when Odessa was captured by Denikin’s forces, all the members of the Foreign Board went to the front, and it ceased to exist.

REFERENCE

Internationalisty: Trudiashchiesia zarubezhnykh stran—uchastniki bor’by za vlast’ Sovetov. Moscow, 1967.

M. E. RAKOVSKII and A. M. OREKHOV

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