Vladivostok Uprisings 1905, 1906, and 1907

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vladivostok Uprisings (1905, 1906, and 1907)

 

armed actions of sailors, soldiers, and workers in Vladivostok during and after the Revolution of 1905-07. Following the October All-Russian Political Strike of 1905 and the Manifesto of Oct. 17, 1905, mass organizations of workers, office workers, and the intelligentsia were formed without preliminary permission, and meetings, rallies, and demonstrations took place. The ban imposed on “junior ranks” attending meetings and rallies and leaving the barracks to go to the city aroused general indignation. On Sunday October 30, 2,000 sailors appeared in the streets; they were joined by 10,000 soldiers of the Khabarovsk Reserve Regiment (by the fall of 1905 the Vladivostok garrison numbered 60,000 men). The Social Democratic organization in Vladivostok at this time was weak and unprepared to lead the movement of the masses. The actions were spontaneous. The small military units called up by the garrison commander refused to shoot at the rebels, and some soldiers crossed over to the other side. On October 31 sailors, together with workers and the soldiers who joined them, destroyed the main guardhouse, the military prison, and the sentry house and liberated the prisoners. Encouraging the actions of the chernosotentsy (black hundreds) and criminals, who looted food and liquor stores and set houses on fire, the authorities tried to discredit the movement. At the same time military units that were revolutionary in spirit were moved out of the city. These and other measures made it possible to suppress the uprising.

The proclamation of martial law in Vladivostok and Primor’e on Nov. 6, 1905, and mass arrests roused new indignation among workers, soldiers, and sailors. The Executive Committee of the Ussuri Railroad Workers, which was formed in November 1905, virtually took the administration of the Ussuri Railroad into its hands. The Executive Committee of Junior Ranks of the Vladivostok Garrison, which was elected on December 6 to coordinate the actions of the navy and all army units, presented the commandant of the fortress with political and economic demands of the soldiers and sailors which were worked out at meetings held on December 7, 9, and 12. However, the commandant refused to reply to these demands. The 10th East Siberian Rifle Division and new cossack units were brought into Vladivostok. Revolutionary doctrines spread rapidly through the garrison. On Jan. 9, 1906, sailors of the Siberian Coastal Regiment seized the arms depot in Vladivostok. Despite the ban, a large meeting of port workers, sailors, and soldiers was held in the circus on January 10. The speakers appealed for the armed liberation of the prisoners. But representatives of the liberal bourgeois camp persuaded the participants to attempt the liberation of the prisoners by peaceful means. The peaceful demonstration was met with rifle and machine-gun fire by officers, cossacks, and those soldiers loyal to the government. The armed sailors and soldiers who participated in the demonstration returned their fire. The demonstrators lost 80 men in killed and wounded.

On January 11 artillery soldiers of the Innokent’evskaia Battery rebelled in Vladivostok. They were joined by almost the entire garrison of the city, including those soldiers of the 32nd Siberian Regiment who had fired at the demonstrators on January 10. The rebels were supported by the crews of cruisers and other naval ships. The sailors and soldiers of the railroad brigade compelled the Verkhneudinsk Cossack Regiment to leave the city. The rebels liberated the prisoners. Power in the city virtually passed into the hands of the rebels, who prohibited the publication of reactionary newspapers and maintained revolutionary order in the city. Ceremonial funerals of the victims of January 10 were held; the funerals turned into a revolutionary public demonstration with 30,000 participants. The Vladivostok Republic did not last long. On January 26 tsarist punitive troops entered Vladivostok and brutally suppressed the uprising. More than 2,000 people were tried and 85 persons were sentenced to death; 29 of them were executed and the rest condemned to hard labor.

In the fall of 1907 a third uprising broke out. The direct cause was the threat of execution of a group of mine soldiers arrested on May 31, 1907, and the brutal treatment of revolutionaries arrested on October 5. The Vladivostok Group of the RSDLP, which was formed in April 1907, argued that the local uprising in Vladivostok amid the conditions of the revolution’s defeat in the country would lead to new mass repressions and to the destruction of revolutionary organizations. The maximalist Socialist Revolutionaries, disregarding these arguments, called on the soldiers and sailors to act. At dawn of October 16 mine soldiers in the area of Diomid Bay staged an uprising. Workers and sailors in the military port also acted. These actions were suppressed, but on the morning of October 17 red flags were hoisted on the torpedo boats Skoryi, Bodryi, and Trevozhnyi. The torpedo boat Skoryi opened fire on the governor’s house and other administrative buildings. The authorities, having a considerable superiority of forces, suppressed the uprising this time too. All the workers of the military port were dismissed. The participants in the uprising were brought to trial by the Amur Military District Court (the court was in session from Nov. 12, 1907, to Mar. 13, 1908). Many participants in the uprising were sentenced to execution by firing squad and hard labor for various terms and sent to disciplinary battalions, military prisons, and so forth.

REFERENCES

Vysshii pod’’em revoliutsii 1905-1907 gg., part 2. In the series Revoliutsiia 1905-1907 gg. v Rossii: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow, 1955.
Vtoroi period revoliutsii, 1906-1907, part 1, book I . Ibid. Moscow, 1957.
Golionko, V. P. Ocherki revoliutsionnogo dvizheniia v Primor’e (1901-1916 gg.). Khabarovsk, 1940.
Naida, S. F. Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v tsarskom flote, 1825-1917 gg. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948. Parts 2 and 3.

G. M. DERENKOVSKII

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