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Nikolai Ilyich Podvoisky

Nikolai Podvoisky was an Old Bolshevik. During the Great October Socialist Revolution, Nikolai Podvoisky was Chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. He was a leading organiser of the October Rising, which was a coup de theatre as well as a coup d’etat.

Nikolai Ilyich Podvoisky was born 04[16] February 1880 in Kunashevka Nijinsky in Chernigov Province. The son of a priest, from 1894 he studied at the Chernigov Theological Seminary. For participating in revolutionary activities, he was excluded from it in 1901. In 1901-1905 he studied at the Demidov Lyceum in Yaroslavl. After the 2nd Party Congress he joined the Bolsheviks. In 1904-1905 chairman of the Bolshevik student committee and a member of the Northern Committee of the RSDLP.

In 1905, he was one of the leaders of the strike of the textile and of the Council of Workers' Deputies in IvanovoVoznesenske, and organizer of the fighting squads in Yaroslavl. During a workers clash with police, he was seriously injured. In 1906-07 he was in exile in Germany and Switzerland.

Back in Russia, he worked in St. Petersburg, then in Kostroma and the Baku Bolshevik organization. For revolutionary activities, he was repeatedly arrested, but after each arrest was quickly released. In 1907-08 he was one of the leaders of the publishing house "Grain" in St. Petersburg. In 1910-14 he participated in the organization and publication of "Star" and "Truth." In 1915-16 he was editor of the "security questions" magazine.

He was a member of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP, and a participant in the February Revolution of 1917. He was a member of the first legal Petrograd Council, and head of the military organization at Petrograd of the Bolsheviks.

He was one of the founders of the Red Guard military organization designed for the Bolshevik seizure of power. A delegate at the 7th (April) conference and 6th Party Congress, he made a report on the work of the military organization. One of the active organizers of the October uprising, he was a member of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee. He was one of the leaders of the storming of the Winter Palace. As commander of the Petrograd Military District, he actively participated in the elimination of the rebellion of Kerensky.

He showed great organizational skills, and from November 1917 to March 1918 was People's Commissar for the military. In his role as People's Commissar for Military Affairs, Podvoisky directly supervised the work on the demobilization and dissolution of the Russian army, the formation of the Red Army on a voluntary basis, participate in the development of government decrees of the RSFSR "On the equation of all troops in rights", "On the election early, and the organization of power in the army" and others.

Occupying positions of responsibility at the highest levels of military command, Podvoisky to deal with combat training, training of commanders, political, cultural and educational work among the Red Army, the transition to a militia system of the Armed Forces. Podvoisky - one of the founders of Soviet military pedagogy. With his participation the Ministry of War and Russian military educational institutions were reorganized.

John Reed, author of “Ten Days That Shook The World”, spoke of “Podvoisky, the thin, bearded civilian whose brain conceived the strategy of insurrection.” When (also in 1927) Sergei Eisenstein made “October”— the first film version of Reed's book — Podvoisky played himself. Vasili Nikandrov took the role of Lenin.

Podvoisky manages to describe the October Rising without mentioning either Leon Trotsky or Joseph Stalin.

But Trotsky relied heavily on Podvoisky\u2019s account in his own “History of the Russian Revolution”, where he described Podvoisky's role as follows: “The direction of [the Military Revolutionary Committee] ever since March had been in the hands of two old Bolsheviks to whom the organization was to owe much in its further development.

Podvoisky was a sharply outlined and unique figure in the ranks of Bolshevism, with traits of the Russian revolutionary of the old type—from the theological seminaries—a man of great although undisciplined energy, with a creative imagination which, it must be confessed, often went to the length of fantasy. The word “Podvoiskyism” subsequently acquired on the lips of Lenin a friendly—ironical and admonitory flavor. But the weaker sides of this ebullient nature were to show themselves chiefly after the conquest of power, when an abundance of opportunities and means gave too many stimuli to the extravagant energy of Podvoisky and his passion for decorative undertakings.

In the conditions of the revolutionary struggle for power, his optimistic decisiveness of character, his self-abnegation, his tirelessness, made him an irreplaceable leader of the awakening soldiers. Nevsky, a university instructor in the past, of more prosaic mould than Podvoisky, but no less devoted to the party, in no sense an organizer, and only by an unlucky accident made soviet Minister of Communications a year later, attached the soldiers to him by his simplicity, sociability, and attentive kindness. Around these leaders stood a group of close assistants, soldiers and young officers, some of whom in the future were to play no small rôle.

On the night of July 4th the Military Organization suddenly came forward to the center of the stage. Under Podvoisky, who easily mastered the functions of command, an impromptu general staff was formed. Brief appeals and instructions were issued to all the troops of the garrison. In order to protect the demonstration from attack, armored cars were to be placed at the bridges leading from the suburbs to the capital and at the central crossings of the chief streets. The machine-gunners had already, during that night, established their own sentries at the Peter and Paul fortress. The garrisons of Oranienbaum, Peterhoff, Krasnoe Selo and other points near the capital, were informed of tomorrow's demonstration by telephone and special messenger. The general political leadership, of course, remained in the hands of the Central Committee of the party.

In the summer-autumn of 1918 he was on the Southern Front, where he fought against the Don Cossacks. He was Involved in carrying out terror against them. He practised decimation (shooting percentage) among the Red Army. In December 1919-1923 he was the head of Universal Military Training (universal military training) and parts of special purpose (CHON), intended for punitive actions.

He was the author of Red Army symbol - a red five-pointed star ( "star of Mars") and initiated the creation of individual awards particularly distinguished themselves on the fronts of the Civil War - the Order of the Red Banner.

Because he led the October uprising, he thought of himself as a historical figure. Meanwhile, according to his folly, and inability to perform any useful work authorities always had difficulty - where to put him. Finally there was found for him a sort of sinecure - chief of universal education. It was the institution involved in military training of civilians. Podvoisky was very offended and felt discriminated against. When Sportintern was created, Podvoisky was put in charge 1921-1927, and that satisfied his pride.

After the Civil War was engaged in party work. A publisher before the revolution, he never lost his taste for the arts (after the Revolution, when Soviet Russia was wracked by famine and civil war, the Commissariat of Education gave Isadora Duncan a house and grounds to start a school of dance—Duncan had traded the Opera houses of Europe for a bare existence in Communist Russia. Podvoisky told her: “In your life you have known great theaters with applauding publics. That is all false. You have known trains du luxe and expensive hotels. That is all false. Ovations—false. All false. Now you’ve come to Russia… if you want to work for Russia… go alone amongst the people. Dance in little barns in winter, in open fields in summer. Teach the people the meaning of dance. Teach the children.

In 1935, not yet old, Podvoisky became a personal pensioner. he was engaged in advocacy and literary and journalistic activities. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In October 1941, after refusing to take his military service (he was 61 years old), Podvoisky volunteered digging trenches near Moscow. He escaped the repression and died in a sanatorium near Moscow.

In honor of his name to the square at the Moscow station in Yaroslavl Street in Tikhoretsk, Vinnitsa, Tambov (also Tambov Higher Military Command of the Red Banner of chemical protection to them. Podvoisky NI), Moscow, Kiev, Kursk, Nezhin, Odessa, St. Petersburg , Ufa, Yaroslavl school.

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Page last modified: 21-02-2016 20:06:12 ZULU