Kerensky-Krasnov Rebellion of 1917

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kerensky-Krasnov Rebellion of 1917


(Oct. 26–31 [Nov. 8–13], 1917), the first attempt by Russian and foreign counterrevolutionaries to seize Petrograd by force and overthrow the Soviet power proclaimed in Russia.

The rebellion was organized by the former minister-president of the bourgeois Provisional Government, A. F. Kerensky, and by the commander of the III Cavalry Corps, General P. N. Krasnov, in close cooperation with the counterrevolutionary Committee for the Salvation of the Motherland and the Revolution formed in Petrograd on the night of October 25 (November 7). After fleeing the Winter Palace on October 25 (November 7) for the headquarters of the Northern Front in Pskov, Kerensky on the morning of October 26 (November 8) gave the order to march on revolutionary Petrograd. However, only that part of the III Cavalry Corps stationed near the headquarters in Ostrov (about ten squadrons [sotnias] of the 1st Don and Ussuri Cossack Divisions) supported the organizers of the rebellion. Setting out from Ostrov for Petrograd on October 26 (November 8), Krasnov’s forces took Gatchina on October 27 (November 9) and Tsarskoe Selo on October 28 (November 10), reaching the closest approaches to the capital.

The defense of the capital was directed by the party Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars headed by V. I. Lenin. On October 26 (November 8), the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee ordered the railway workers to halt the troops’ advance on Petrograd, and this was done. On October 27 (November 9) the Military Revolutionary Committee ordered the Petrograd garrison to prepare for battle. Revolutionary regiments and detachments of Baltic sailors and of the Red Guard were sent to Krasnoe Selo and Pulkovo. On the night of October 27 (November 9), the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) and the Council of People’s Commissars created a commission headed by Lenin to direct the suppression of the rebellion. Lenin went to the headquarters of the Petrograd Military District, where the command of the revolutionary forces was located. In the name of the Council of People’s Commissars, Lenin appointed the chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee, N. I. Podvoiskii, commander in chief of the troops. On Lenin’s personal instructions, the central committee of the Baltic fleet (Tsentrobalt) sent warships and detachments of sailors to Petrograd. Together with the representatives of the Naval Revolutionary Committee, Lenin elaborated a plan for the disposition of ships on the Neva, so that their powerful artillery could cover the approaches to the city. In Kronstadt, supplementary detachments of sailors were formed.

On the night of October 28 (November 10), Lenin arrived at the Putilov Works to inspect the production and repair of ordnance and the preparation of an armored train for the struggle against the rebels. On October 29 (November 11) he met with members of the Military Revolutionary Committee and with agitators and addressed an assembly of representatives of units of the Petrograd garrison. Every plant, city district, and regiment was given a specific task in the defense of Petrograd. About 20,000 men were sent to dig trenches, and they soon created the Gulf-Neva defense line. Lieutenant Colonel M. A. Murav’ev, a Left Socialist Revolutionary, was appointed commander of all units around Petrograd, and V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko was chosen as his assistant. Colonel P. B. Val’den was appointed chief of staff and K. S. Eremeev, commissar. The Central Committee of the RSDLP (B) sent G. K. Ordzhonikidze, D. Z. Manuil’skii, S. P. Voskov, V. K. Slutskaia, and other party workers to join the troops.

On the night of October 28 (November 10), a rebellion of military cadets led by the Committee for the Salvation of the Motherland and the Revolution broke out, but it was suppressed on October 29 (November 11) and the morning of October 30 (November 12). On the morning of October 30 (November 12), Krasnov’s forces, consisting of nine understrength cossack squadrons (sotnias), 18 pieces of artillery, an armored car, and an armored train, began their attack near Pulkovo. After a battle that lasted many hours, they were halted. On the evening of October 30 (November 12), the revolutionary troops took the offensive and threatened to surround Krasnov’s forces. The latter abandoned Tsarskoe Selo and retreated to Gatchina. On November 1 (14), the revolutionary troops entered Gatchina. Kerensky secretly fled the city; Krasnov and his staff were arrested; and the rebellion was suppressed.


Bulygin, I. A. “Razgrom kontrrevoliutsionnogo miatezha Kerenskogo-Krasnova.” Istoriia SSSR, 1957, no. 5.
Lutovinov, I. S. Likvidatsiia miatezha Kerenskogo-Krasnova. Moscow, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.