Moscow Military Revolutionary Committee

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Moscow Military Revolutionary Committee


(Moscow MRC), the body of the Moscow soviet of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies responsible for directing the armed uprising in Moscow. The Moscow MRC, which was made up of seven members and six candidates, was elected on the proposal of the Moscow committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) by a joint plenum of the Moscow soviet of workers’ and the soviet of soldiers’ deputies on the evening of Oct. 25 (Nov. 7), 1917. The Bolsheviks were represented on the committee by A. Lomov (G. I. Oppokov), V. M. Smirnov, G. A. Usievich, and N. I. Muralov, all of whom were members, and by four candidates—A. Ia. Arosev, P. N. Mostovenko, S. Ia. Budzinskii, and A. I. Rykov, who was not in Moscow during the October days because he had gone to Petro-grad as a delegate to the Second Congress of Soviets. The Mensheviks were represented by M. I. Teitel’baum and M. F. Nikolaev, who were members of the committee, and the United Internationalists by I. F. Konstantinov (a member) and L. E. Gal’perin (Koniaga) and V. Ia. Iasenev (candidates). The Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) refused to join the Moscow MRC, and the Mensheviks declared that they were joining to counteract the Bolshevik seizure of power.

Because of its narrow composition, the Moscow MRC could not cope with the enormous range of questions confronting it. Therefore, more than 20 persons were coopted into the committee. Among the new members were a number of Bolsheviks: P. G. Smidovich and E. N. Ignatov, members of the Executive Committee of the Moscow soviet; A. S. Vedernikov, chief of staff of the Red Guard; G. N. Mel’nichanskii, M. V. Rykunov, and P. I. Kushner, representatives of the trade unions; S. A. Sava-Stepniak, representative of the provisional committee of soldiers’ deputies (the desiatki—military units consisting of ten men); and N. I. Plekhanov. The SR-Maximalist, S. L. Pupko, who later became a Bolshevik was also coopted.

The work of the Moscow MRC was guided by the Party Combat Center, which was elected by a joint session of the Moscow Regional Bureau, the Moscow okrug committee, and the Moscow Committee of the RSDLP(B) on the morning of October 25 (November 7). I. A. Piatnitskii, M. F. Vladimirskii, I. N. Stukov, V. N. Iakovleva, V. I. Solov’ev, E. M. Iaroslavskii, and B. G. Kozelev were members of the center, and I. S. Kizel’shtein and T. V. Sapronov were candidates. On October 26 (November 8), V. N. Podbel’skii was coopted as a member.

The Moscow MRC established a staff (Smirnov, Arosev, and A. M. Al’ter) for the operational military leadership of the uprising. From October 25 (November 7) to October 27 (November 9) military revolutionary committees composed almost entirely of Bolsheviks were organized in all the city’s districts. From the very beginning the Bolshevik nucleus of the Moscow MRC had to fight against the disorganizing activity of the Mensheviks, who rejected resolute actions against the counterrevolution. On October 27 (November 9) the Moscow MRC rejected the Menshevik demand for an agreement with the leading center of the counterrevolution, the Committee of Public Security. Subsequently, the Mensheviks left the Moscow MRC, as did the United Internationalists (October 31). As a result, the committee became more cohesive and more militant. But the cooption of several persons (Smidovich, Ignatov, and Kushner, for example) who held an unstable, vacillating position on the question of the armed uprising prevented the Moscow MRC from pursuing a consistently revolutionary line. As the agency directing the uprising, the committee also dealt, through its commissars, with such questions as the organization of the food supply, transportation, the work of communal enterprises, the financing of institutions, and the maintenance of order.

Although the Moscow MRC made several mistakes in the leadership cf the uprising (for example, the defensive, temporizing tactics that led to protracted fighting and high casualties), until November 3 (16) it handled the task of routing the forces of the counterrevolution, thus ensuring the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Moscow. On November 14 (27) the Moscow MRC gave up its authority and transferred it to the Moscow soviet.


Podgotovka i pobeda Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii v Moskve: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow, 1957.
Moskovskii Voenno-revoliutsionnyi komitet (oktiabr’-noiabr’1917). Moscow, 1968.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 3,book 1.Moscow, 1967.
Grunt, A. Ia. “Iz istorii Moskovskogo Voenno-Revoliutsionnogo komiteta (formirovanie VRK).” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 81.Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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