Sveaborg Uprising of 1906

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sveaborg Uprising of 1906


an armed uprising, during the Revolution of 1905–07, of sailors and soldiers garrisoned at the fortress of Sveaborg (present-day Finnish name, Suomenlinna) in the Baltic Sea. The uprising was planned by the Finnish Military Organization of the RSDLP as an integral part of a general uprising of the Baltic Fleet.

The preparations for the Sveaborg Uprising were directed by the local Social Democratic military organization with the participation of the Bolshevik sublieutenants A. P. Emel’ianov and E. L. Kokhanskii. The Sveaborg organization of the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) proposed that the preparations be conducted jointly. The two groups, however, were not able to reach an agreement. The SR’s insisted on beginning the uprising immediately, whereas the Social Democrats believed that further preparation was necessary.

On July 15 (28) disturbances broke out spontaneously among the sailors of a mine company. The SR’s took advantage of this opportunity to call for an uprising. The St. Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP sent to Sveaborg a delegation consisting of R. S. Zemliachka, M. N. Liadov, and A. G. Shlikhter to arrange a postponement of the uprising. If a postponement were to prove impossible, the delegation was to take part in leading the uprising. The delegation arrived at the height of the uprising and was unable to enter the fortress.

On July 17 (30), by order of the commanding officer of the fortress, the sailors in the mine company were arrested. This act caused the garrison to rise the following night. Seven of the ten artillery companies took part in the uprising. They were joined by the sailors of the Sveaborg Port Company Command and the 20th Naval Barracks on the Skatudden Peninsula. More than 2,000 persons participated in the uprising.

The Social Democratic organization, headed by Emel’ianov and Kokhanskii, tried to give the uprising an organized character. The slogans used called for the overthrow of the autocracy, the granting of freedom to the people, and the transfer of the land to the peasants.

The rebels captured Aleksandrovskii, Artilleriiskii, Mikhai-lovskii, and Inzhenernyi islands and began an artillery bombardment of Komendantskii and Lagernyi islands, where troops loyal to the tsarist government were located. The workers of Helsingfors (Helsinki) declared a general strike in support of the uprising. Detachments of the Finnish Red Guard (about 200 men) joined the revolutionary forces. The rebels, however, undertook no further offensive operations. Aware that an uprising was imminent in Kronstadt (seeKRONSTADT UPRISINGS OF 1905 AND 1906), they awaited the arrival of revolutionary ships of the Baltic Fleet.

On July 19 (August 1) the armor-clad Tsesarevich and the cruiser Bogatyr’, which were equipped with long-range large-caliber artillery, arrived at Sveaborg. The fleet command, however, had ordered the arrest of the revolutionary sailors, and the ships consequently did not join the uprising. They remained beyond the range of the fortress’s guns and subjected it to bombardment. At the same time, government troops that had been moved in from St. Petersburg and other points began an attack from Helsingfors and Lagernyi Island. On July 20 (August 2) the military council of the rebels decided to discontinue the hopeless struggle.

Approximately 1,000 soldiers and sailors were court-martialed. On August 10 (23) the leaders of the uprising—a total of 43 persons, including Emel’ianov and Kokhanskii—were shot. The others were sentenced to hard labor, imprisonment, or service in disciplinary companies.


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Lenin, V. 1. “Pered burei.” Ibid., vol. 13.
Pertaia konferentsiia voennykh i boevykh organizatsii RSDRP. Moscow, 1932.
Revoliulsiia 1905–1907 gg. v. Rossii: Dokumenty i malerialy: Vtoroi period revoliutsii, part 2, book 1. Moscow, 1961.
Naida, S. F. Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v tsarskom flote, 1825–1917. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Korablev, Iu. Revoliutsionnoe vosstanie na Baltike v 1905–1906 gg. Leningrad, 1956.
Derenkovskii, G. M. “Vseobshchaia stachka i Sovety rabochikh deputatov v iiule 1906 g.” In the collection lstoricheskie zapiski, vol. 77. Moscow, 1965.


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