West Siberian Revolt of 1921

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

West Siberian Revolt of 1921


a counterrevolutionary insurrection prepared by the Socialist Revolutionary “Siberian Peasant Alliance” (established in May 1920 in Omsk) for the purpose of overthrowing Soviet power, convening a Siberian Constituent Assembly, and forming an anticommunist government.

The primary motive forces behind the West Siberian Revolt were the kulaks and remnants of the Kolchak and cossack officer cadres. The West Siberian Revolt was stirred up by the slogans “Down With the Surplus-appropriation System!” and “Soviets Without Communists.” Initially a significant part of the middle peasantry, dissatisfied with the surplus-appropriation system and certain extremes in its administration, joined the rebels. The revolt, which began on Jan. 31, 1921, in the northern volosts (small rural districts) of Ishim District in Tiumen’ Province, involved by the middle of February nearly all of Tiumen’ Province, a large part of Omsk Province, Kurgan District in Cheliabinsk Province, and the Kamyshlov and Shadrinsk districts in Ekaterinburg Province. During a three-week period the insurrectionists cut off railroad links with Central Russia, raided food stores, and killed approximately 5,000 Communists and Soviet workers. They formed several divisions (with up to 100,000 men through forced mobilization of peasants), which entered into four “fronts”; the divisions were headed by “commander in chief” V. A. Rodin, a Socialist Revolutionary and former lieutenant in the Kolchak army.

A plenipotentiary troika (triumvirate) composed of I. N. Smirnov, chairman of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee; V. I. Shorin, assistant commander in chief for Siberia; and I. P. Pavlunovskii, chairman of the Siberian Cheka, was established on Feb. 12, 1921, to direct the liquidation of the West Siberian Revolt. Units from four infantry divisions, several cavalry and infantry regiments, and four armored trains were transferred to Siberia. Special purpose units were widely used in combating the West Siberian Revolt. The Omsk-Tiumen’ and Omsk-Cheliabinsk railroads were cleared of rebels by late February and early March. Replacement of the surplus-appropriation system with a produce tax, based on a decree of the Tenth Congress of the RCP (Bolshevik) was of decisive significance in alienating the middle peasantry from the kulaks and eliminating the West Siberian Revolt. By late March and early April the principal hotbeds of the West Siberian Revolt were liquidated. In early June the region along the lower course of the Ob’ was liberated.


Bogdanov, M. A. Razgrom zapadno-sibirskogo kulatsko eserovskogo miatezha 1921 g. Tiumen’, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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