The Russian Revolution, 1917: Eyewitness Account - Vol. 2

By N. N. Sukanov; Joel Carmichael | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 19
THE COALITION SPLITS UNDER STRESS

ALL over the country disorders, anarchy, seizures, violence, and 'republics' still continued; people took the law into their own hands, soldiers mutinied, and regiments disbanded.

In Petersburg, among other things, the anarchists were intensifying their 'activity'. They had a territorial base on the Vyborg Side, in the distant and secluded villa of the former Tsarist Minister Durnovo. They had seized this villa long before and held it firmly. This anarchist nest enjoyed an enviable reputation in the capital as a sort of Brocken, where the powers of evil assembled, witches' Sabbaths were held, and there were orgies, plots, dark and sinister and doubtless bloody doings. Of course no one doubted that Durnovo's mysterious villa was stocked with bombs and all sorts of weapons. The official and Soviet authorities understandably looked askance at this indecent spot in the heart of the very capital, but--without sufficient courage, they waited for an excuse and meanwhile were patient.

The anarchists had recently begun to find not a few supporters amongst the working-class masses densely settled throughout the Vyborg Side. At the same time they began to undertake offensive operations. Up to then in Petersburg they had tried to seize only dwelling-houses, from which they were quickly evicted. But on June 5th they decided to make an attempt to set up an anarchist régime in some industrial enterprise. For this experiment they chose the magnificent printing-plant of the muddle-headed yellow paper Russkaya Volya (Russian Freedom).

About seventy armed men appeared at the printing-plant, occupied all the entrances and exits, and told the local workers that from now on the plant was theirs. The workers, however, were not sufficiently sympathetic, and the authorities, in the person of some Ex. Com. members, turned up at the spot of the anarchist revolution.

The anarchists arrested the management, dismissed the

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