a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants, established as a result of the actual seizure of power in Novorossiisk by the soviet of workers’ deputies from Dec. 12 to 25, 1905.
The Novorossiisk soviet was elected during a political strike from December 8 to 10; its chairman, the Bolshevik Nikolaev (Bernshtein), was a member of the Black Sea committee of the RSDLP. On the appeal of the committee, the Soviet proclaimed a people’s government and a struggle against the autocracy “even to the point of an armed uprising.” Striving to unite all revolutionary forces, the Bolsheviks adopted the tactic of a “left bloc,” which included the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks; therefore, there were representatives of other parties, in addition to the Bolsheviks, in the soviet. A large number of the soldiers and cossacks of the local garrison, influenced by the revolutionary agitation, disobeyed their orders and refused to fight against the revolution. A decree of the soviet on December 14 closed government institutions except for banks, partially halted a strike at public service establishments, revived trade, introduced an eight-hour workday, and created workers’ committees to handle the hiring and firing of workers. The soviet disarmed the police and armed the workers’ militias in Novorossiisk and took control of rail and sea transport. Workers’ militias were also organized in Sochi, Gagra, and Tuapse. Levying taxes on the bourgeoisie and government officials, the soviet organized aid for the strikers, freed political prisoners, and created a people’s court. It also initiated the News of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, a total of four issues of which were published.
On December 24 the tsarist government sent a large punitive detachment to Novorossiisk, with an ironclad offshore providing naval support. To avoid unnecessary bloodshed and to preserve the revolutionary forces, the soviet decided not to offer resistance, and it ceased functioning on December 25. Troops entered the city on the same day, and a state of martial law was declared in Novorossiisk. Numerous arrests were carried out. The Black Sea committee of the RSDLP went underground. A military court sentenced seven leaders of the Novorossiisk Republic to death, with the sentences later commuted to hard labor. In addition, 13 revolutionaries were sentenced to various terms of hard labor.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12, pp. 229–30.
Sokol’skii, V. D. “Novorossiiskaia respublika.” Sovet rabochikh deputatov Novorossiiska v 1905 g. Moscow, 1963.
Bodianskii, S. A. “Novorossiiskaia respublika (Vospominaniia uchastnika sobytii).” Prometei, vol. 7, Moscow, 1969, pp. 272–84.
F. E. SAULEVICH