Kaledin Revolt

Kaledin Revolt


(Russian, Kaledinshchina), a counterrevolutionary rebellion in the Don region from October 1917 to February 1918, initiated by the Don Cossack Host government headed by Ataman A. M. Kaledin.

Receiving a telegram on Oct. 25 (Nov. 7), 1917, from the Menshevik minister of justice N. N. Maliantovich on the armed insurrection in Petrograd and then an order from the chief of staff at General Headquarters, General N. N. Dukhonin, on the need for a struggle against Soviet power, Kaledin declared that he would “offer full support, in close alliance with the governments of the other cossack hosts,” to the Provisional Government. Until its restoration, he continued, he would take into his own hands all power in the Don region. Establishing ties with the Ukrainian Central Rada and the Kuban’, Terek, and Orenburg host governments, Kaledin sought to overthrow Soviet power and create a provisional counterrevolutionary government of Russia. Counterrevolutionary elements, including the Constitutional Democrat (Cadet) and monarchist leaders P. N. Miliukov, P. B. Struve, and M. V. Rodzianko, converged on the Don from all parts of Russia and began to gather around Kaledin. On November 2(15), Generals L. G. Kornilov, M. V. Alekseev, and A. I. Denikin began to organize the Volunteer Army in Novorcherkassk. In December in Novocherkassk a governing center for the counterrevolution was created, the so-called triumvirate of Alekseev, Kornilov, and Kaledin. Imposing martial law, Kaledin moved in late November to occupy proletarian centers and eliminate the Soviets. On Dec. 2 (15), after a sevenday battle, the insurgents occupied Rostov.

The governments of the United States, Great Britain, and France, seeing the Kaledin Revolt as the major national force of counterrevolution, expressed their readiness to offer financial aid and sent their representatives to Novocherkassk. “The civil war which was started by the Cadet-Kaledin counterrevolutionary revolt against the Soviet authorities, against the workers’ and peasants’ government, has finally brought the class struggle to a head and has destroyed every chance of settling in a formally democratic way the very acute problems with which history has confronted the peoples of Russia” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 35, p. 164). The Kaledin Revolt had developed into a serious threat to the existence of the Soviet republic. On November 25 (December 8) the Council of People’s Commissars appealed to toiling cossacks to oppose the counterrevolution. Compulsory military service for cossacks was abolished and a number of privileges were granted to them. To carry on the struggle against Kaledin and the Central Rada, the Southern Revolutionary Front was established; it had its headquarters in Kharkov and was under the command of V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko. On Dec. 25, 1917 (Jan. 7, 1918), the Soviet troops began a coordinated offensive from Gorlovka (a detachment under R. F. Sivers), from Lugansk (under lu. V. Sablin), from the direction of Millerovo (under G. K. Petrov), and from the stanitsa (large cossack village) of Tikhoretskaia (under A. I. Avtonomov). They were supported by uprisings among the workers and toiling Cossacks. A major role in liquidating the Kaledin Revolt was played by the Don Cossack Military Revolutionary Committee (chairman, F. G. Poltelkov; secretary, M. V. Krivoshlykov). The committee was founded at a congress of cossack veterans of World War I in the stanitsa of Kamen Kamenskaia held on Jan. 10–11, (23–24), 1918. On February 24 and 25, revolutionary troops liberated Rostov and Novocherkassk. The remnants of the counterrevolutionary cossacks, headed by Ataman P. Kh. Popov, fled into the Sal’sk steppes, and the Volunteer Army under General Kornilov retreated into the Kuban’ region. In the Don region the Don Soviet Republic was formed as part of the RSFSR. Lenin regarded the annihilation of the Kaledin Revolt as the first victory over counterrevolution in the Civil War (ibid., vol. 45, p. 168).


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 35.
Antonov-Ovseenko, V. A. Zapiski o grazhdanskoi voine, vol. 1. Moscow, 1924.
Oktiabr’skaia revoliutsiia na Donu: Sb. st. Rostov-on-Don, 1957.
Berz, L. L, and K. A. Khmelevskii. Geroicheskie gody: Oktiabr’skaia revoliutsiia i grazhdanskaia voina na Donu. Rostov-on-Don, 1964.
Polikarpov, V. D. “Kaledinshchina i ee likvidatsiia.” Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal, 1968, no. 3.