Shmidt, Petr Petrovich

Shmidt, Petr Petrovich

 

Born Feb. 5 (17), 1867, in Odessa; died Mar. 6 (19), 1906. Russian revolutionary democrat. One of the leaders of the Sevastopol’ mutiny of 1905.

Shmidt came from a family of naval officers. His father was a naval officer and a member of the dvorianstvo (nobility). Shmidt graduated from the Naval School in St. Petersburg in 1886 and served on the Baltic and in the Pacific. He entered the reserves in 1898 as a lieutenant and sailed on merchant marine vessels.

Recalled to active duty in 1904, Shmidt was named commander of the destroyer No. 253 of the Black Sea Fleet in January 1905. During the first stage of the Revolution of 1905–07, he organized in Sevastopol’ the Union of Officer-friends of the People and then helped form the Odessa Mutual Aid Society for Merchant Seamen, one of the first labor organizations in maritime shipping.

On Oct. 20 (Nov. 2), 1905, Shmidt was arrested for speaking at meetings of sailors, workers, and soldiers, for taking part in a political demonstration, and “for an ‘insolent’ speech about defending, arms in hand, the liberties promised by the Manifesto of October 17” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12, p. 111). The workers elected Shmidt a deputy for life in the Sevastopol’ soviet of workers’ deputies. They achieved his release from prison on November 3 (16), and he was granted retirement with the rank of captain second class on November 7 (20).

When the Sevastopol’ mutiny began, the military organization of the Social Democrats proposed that Shmidt be the military leader of the uprising. Although Shmidt held no firm political views, the organization considered him a sincere revolutionary; he was knowledgeable in military affairs and was respected and liked by the sailors.

Shmidt went aboard the cruiser Ochakov on November 14 (27), and the red flag and the pennant of the fleet commander were raised. He was arrested on November 15 (28). After a trial that lasted from Feb. 7 to Feb. 18 (Feb. 20-Mar. 2), 1906, Shmidt was sentenced to death. He and the other leaders of the mutiny were shot on the island of Berezan’.

Shmidt was named an honorary member of the Sevastopol’ soviet of working people’s deputies in 1926. A museum named in his honor was opened in Ochakov in 1962, and a monument was erected on Berezan’ in 1972.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Voisko i revoliutsiia.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12.
“Iz zapisok P. P. Shmidta.” In Sevastopol’skoe vooruzhennoe vosstanie v noiabre 1905 g.: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow, 1957.
Popov, M. Ia. “Leitenant P. P. Shmidt.” Ukrainskii istoricheskii zhurnal, 1967, no. 2.
Samolis, G. V. Muzei Shmidta v Ochakove. Odessa, 1968.

G. V. SAMOLIS

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