For a better understanding I suggest you start with General overview and timeline.

Although Russia one could argue, had been in a state of civil war for at least several months before and arguably for an entire year, it was the treaty's of Brest-Litovsk that the Central Powers concluded first with the Ukrainian National Republic (27 January 1918) and then Soviet Russia (3 March 1918) that largely determined the actual fighting during the Civil War in 1918.

During the last fortnight of May, the Mensheviks, Right SRs and Kadets all held party conferences which rejected the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, while a Social Revolutionary appeal called for an immediate armed uprising against the Bolsheviks. On 18 May some 400 Constituent Assembly deputies met together and condemned the treaty, declaring that the state of war with the Central Powers continued to be in place.

What is commonly known as the Russian Civil War should also rather be seen as a whole series of overlapping and mutually reinforcing conflicts: a rapidly escalating struggle between the armed forces of Lenin’s Bolshevik government and its counter-revolutionary opponents.

By the terms of Brest-Litovsk (Article 5), the Germans had expressly forbidden Russia from fielding an army (“Russia will, without delay, carry out the full demobilization of her army inclusive of those units recently organized by the present government.”) Still, the Germans had chosen to look the other way as Trotsky assembled the Red Army, seeing it as a useful bulwark against the Allied incursions in Siberia and at Murmansk. So long as the German army, 1 million strong, remained in the East, the Bolsheviks had not really been masters of their own house.1

The first and most critical result of the German collapse on the western front was therefore simple: the Red Army could be expanded without German interference. As early as October 1, 1918, after he learned of the Allied breakthrough at the Siegfried line, Lenin ordered general conscription to begin, with the aim of building an army of 3 million men by spring 1919. It was an ambitious goal, not only logistically but also politically, as an army of that size could only be recruited among the peasant population, which remained mostly hostile to Lenin. An army of millions would also need officers to train and command it, who could only be found among veterans of the Imperial Army. Trotsky had already begun enlisting Tsarist officers in the Red Army in spring 1918, but only about eight thousand had signed up so far; Lenin’s proposed army would require ten times that many. Moreover, many of Trotsky’s early officer recruits had enlisted in the hope of fighting the Germans (then carving up Ukraine, White Russia, the Baltics, and Finland)—only to discover, by fall 1918, that their most likely opponents would be either Russia’s former allies, or worse, their fellow Tsarist officers in the Volunteer Army.2

Even so, the German collapse made Trotsky’s task, in political terms, a bit easier. In spring and summer 1918, the Allied landings at Murmansk, Vladivostok, and Archangel had been small-scale and, in theory at least, friendly. Only after the Czechoslovak rebellion and Boris Savinkov’s uprising at Yaroslavl in July had relations between the Entente powers and Moscow tipped over toward outright hostility, and even then it stopped short of armed combat. The November 1918 armistice, ending the world war, tore off the mask of friendliness. Any continued Allied military presence in Russia would be ipso facto hostile, which the Bolsheviks could plausibly describe to peasant recruits, or to ex-tsarist officers, as a foreign invasion. True, officers irredeemably opposed to Bolshevism could still join the Volunteer Army, and more than fifty thousand did. But for some patriotic officers, it now appeared that the Bolsheviks, for all their strange economic policies, were fighting for Russia, while their enemies were collaborating with foreigners. Small wonder that thousands of veteran officers joined the Red Army that winter, with as many as 75,000 serving by summer 1919, including 775 generals.3

The strategic picture facing Moscow in November 1918 was menacing, but far from hopeless. Finland and the Baltic states were lost, along with the Transcaucasus; but the embryonic states in these areas were mostly wrapped up in their own affairs, having no aggressive designs on Russian territory. In Ukraine, the situation was fluid. The Germans were withdrawing very slowly (concerned about Bolshevik penetration, the Allied Supreme Command had stipulated in the November 1918 armistice that German troops should leave only “as soon as the Allies shall think the moment suitable, having regard to the internal situation”). The western Allies, pursuant to the Mudros armistice they signed with Turkey on October 30, now controlled the Black Sea, which enabled a British-French landing at Novorossiisk, in the Kuban area in the rear of the Volunteer Army, on November 23. The Volunteer Army itself was entrenched in the north under the protection of the Kuban Cossacks, but General Denikin’s cool relations with the Don Cossack ataman, General Krasnov, complicated any advance farther north. While still under German patronage, Krasnov’s Don Cossacks had attacked Tsaritsyn, on the lower Volga, repeatedly in fall 1918, only to be beaten off in a brutal series of battles best remembered for the quarrel between Stalin, who had unleashed a reign of terror against ex-tsarist officers, and a furious Trotsky, who recalled Stalin to Moscow. Britain and France did control Russia’s Arctic ports of Murmansk and Archangel, with more troops (including 5,000 Americans) landing there all the time. Still, Archangel was 770 miles from Moscow along a jerry-built railway very easy to sabotage, and Murmansk another 500 miles farther still. In Siberia, there were 70,000 Japanese and 7,000 American troops on the ground. But most of them were stationed in the Far East between Vladivostok and Harbin, 5,000 miles from Moscow.4

The most serious threat to the Bolsheviks came from Samara, 650 miles southeast of Moscow, where the in part one mentioned Komuch, an organization that claimed the mantle of the deposed Constituent Assembly, was issuing its own decrees under the protection of the Czechoslovak Legion. This would-be Russian government controlled, at its peak in late August 1918, Samara and Ufa provinces, in which lived about 12 million people, mostly Socialist Revolutionary (SR)–voting Russian peasants. Owing to the existence of a rival “Siberian Provisional Government” at Omsk, its authority did not extend farther east, but the territory Komuch controlled was more strategic, straddling the Volga River basin from Nizhny Novgorod to the Caspian. Komuch had even articulated a serious agricultural policy, turning over the land to peasant communes and freeing up grain prices. Komuch had begun recruiting its own “People’s Army,” although this numbered fewer than thirty thousand by the end of summer 1918, a force still overshadowed by the Czechoslovaks. Even so, Trotsky had sent his best troops, the Latvian Rifles under General Jukums Vacietis, to deal with Komuch, and arrived himself in August 1918 to take personal charge of a new “Eastern Army Group.” On August 27, Trotsky narrowly escaped capture at Sviazhsk, in a close-run battle that turned out to be the high-water mark for the Czechs. Kazan fell to the Reds on September 10; Simbirsk, on September 12; and then Samara, on October 7. The Czechoslovak troops, unsure what or whom they were fighting for, were demoralized by these defeats. By the time the armistice was signed in November ending the world war on the western front, the Czech-Komuch Alliance was in disarray. What remained of Komuch and the Siberian Army, as we have seen at the end of the link here:, retreated east to Ufa and Omsk.5

Like the departure of the Germans from Ukraine, however, the disintegration of the Czech Legion removed a buffer between Moscow and the Allies. The shift from Samara to Omsk also changed the political complexion of the resistance in Siberia, weakening the hand of the radical Left SRs who, after breaking with the Bolsheviks in the botched uprising of July 1918, had fled east and come to dominate Komuch. But with Komuch haven't been able to secure authoritative power a compromise of right-wing anti-Bolsheviks and Social Revolutionaries at the so-called Ufa State Conference convened formed a five-man Directory.

But although the Ufa State Conference duly convened (from 8 to 23 September 1918)-and, compared to its raucous and divisive precursor at Moscow in August 1917, convened in apparent harmony-it, its outcome, were a sham. There were reported to be 160-70 delegates present, from a variety of political parties, social organizations, and local and minority-nationality authorities, but neither of the chief protagonists was sincere in its offerings: both Komuch and the Provisional Siberian Government (PSG) had been forced to the negotiating table by the Allies' threats of withdrawing support and by fears aroused upon the advance of Soviet forces across the Volga in September 1918 (see below). What emerged from the conference a coalition regime, the Ufa Directory, claiming all Russian authority was hailed as a triumph for the Union of Regeneration, good sense, and good compromise, but it was none of these. For Komuch and its allies, the SRs elected as members of the Directory (N.D. Avksent' ev and V'M. Zenzinov) had long since sacrificed their bonafide's as party members (and even as socialists) in favor of their predilection for coalition with the Kadets (both, ofcourse, were founder members and mainstays of the Union for the Regeneration of Russia-URR), while the very existence of the regime was an affront to Komuchs claim to be the true government of all Russia, on the basis of the democratic credentials of its members accorded by their election to the Constituent Assembly in 1917.6

Needless to say, the extreme Right and the military looked upon the whole affair with a mixture of disdain and alarm, but even eminent Kadets who had been committed to the creation of a coalition directory were dismayed by this one: for them, there were too many members (five, not the three his party had endorsed by joining the National Center and the Union of Regeneration), noted N.L Astrov, and its military member had insufficient power (and was, to compound the sin, the notorious friend of the socialists V'G. Boldyrev, not a hardliner, such as General Alekseev, that he had been promised). Finally, and most damningly, Astrov charged, the Ufa conference had admitted the possibility of a reconvention of the Constituent Assembly of 1917: "I shall not enter into a debate as to whether that assembly was good or bad:' he remonstrated in a letter from South Russia, abruptly refusing to accept the seat on the Ufa Directory that had been reserved for him, "I shall merely point out that it simply does not exist and to build an all-Russian government on the basis of it is the grandest of illusions.7 He had a point.

So, just as in February 1917, in Petrograd, nobody had got the revolution they wanted, in September 1918, at Ufa, nobody got the counter-revolution they wanted. But time was now moving faster: the progeny of February, the Provisional Government, lasted eight months; the offspring of Ufa, the Directory, lasted barely eight weeks. Its demise was definitely hastened by the Directors' decision to relocate immediately to Omsk, the capital of the PSG and the headquarters of the Siberian Army. It's SR members were not so naive as to fail to recognize that this relocation was implicitly perilous: "We must put our heads in the lion's mouth:' N.D. Avksent' ev informed critics of the move. "Either it will eat us or we will. choke it.8 But, given the situation at the front, where Soviet forces were approaching the western slopes of the Urals by late September 1918, it was probably necessary. Yet nobody was surprised when, on 18 November 1918, the Siberian lion duly swallowed the meek Directory in a coup d'etat organized by local Kadets, Cossacks, and leaders of the Siberian Army (with at least the tacit encouragement of the British Military Mission at Omsk).9 In its stead was established a military dictatorship led by a "supreme ruler," 10 Admiral A.V. Kolchak, which promised the restoration of order, the merciless expunging of Bolshevism in all its forms from Russian life, the reestablishment of a "Russia, One and Indivisible;' and a prioritization of the needs of the army.11

This was just the sort of menu for which the Russian military and political Right had been hungering since the abortive Kornilov coup of August 1917. Whether it was a recipe for either political or military success remained to be seen, but in the short term, at least, the signs were positive: the abducted Directors meekly accepted their fate (and in the case of the socialists were quietly ushered into exile); swayed by their pro-Kolchak commanders, the men of the Czechoslovak Legion (who were generally supportive of the Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries (PSR) and socialism in general) declined to intervene again in Russian politics in order to resurrect the Directory; the dregs of Komuch (in the guise of a Congress of Members of the Constituent Assembly) were mopped up and imprisoned at Ekaterinburg or fled; a Bolshevik-inspired uprising against the new Kolchak government, in mid-December 1918, was a shambles, with the local party subsequently decimated; and, after an initial bluster of protest, Ataman Semenov, now based threateningly astride the Trans-Siberian Railroad at Chita, reluctantly subordinated himself to Kolchak.12 The accession of the Supreme Ruler was immediately greeted with great warmth by the heads of Cossack hosts East of the Urals, by the command of the Siberian Army, local councils of trade and industry, including the 'krug' (assembly) of the Don Cossack Host.13

Earlier, after dramatically resigning his command in June 1917 by throwing his sword overboard, Kolchak had escaped Russia, visited the Admiralty in England, and then traveled to the United States, where he gave lectures at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. A fervent Anglophile, Kolchak was liked and trusted by the British, especially Major-General Alfred W. F. Knox, the head of the British military mission in Siberia. In an eerie replay of the odd diplomacy of the Rasputin affair, a conspiracy was hatched in Omsk by a combination of ex-tsarist officers and Siberian Cossacks, which, on the night of November 17–18, 1918, brought Admiral Kolchak to power as “Supreme Ruler” of a new “All-Russian Provisional Government,” with “warm approval” expressed by (and possibly the covert support of) Major-General Knox and the British military authorities in Siberia.14

The Kolchak coup in Omsk, coming hard on the heels of the western armistice, clarified the political stakes in the Russian Civil War. Previously a confusing, multiparty conflict, the war now appeared to be a bilateral affair pitting pro-Bolshevik “Reds” against right-leaning “Whites,” who were backed by the Western “imperialist” powers. (The term “Whites” was a Red insult, as this color of the French Bourbons implied a reactionary attachment to the monarchy. None of the “White” leaders, who all pledged to restore the authority of the Constituent Assembly (not the tsar), ever accepted the term. Still, with apologies to the Whites, it is a useful shorthand. After General Alekseev, the titular head of the Volunteer Army, died of natural causes in October 1918, Kolchak was unrivaled as the political leader of the Whites. While posing as a simple patriot who disavowed partiinost’ (party politics), Kolchak summed up his war aims as an uncompromising “struggle against Bolshevism.”15

If the emergence of Kolchak as supreme ruler brought clarity to the political goals of the White armies, it did little to clear up the military chain of command. The area between Omsk and the Volunteers in the North Caucasus was Red-controlled, which meant that communications between Kolchak and Denikin needed to be routed by way of Vladivostok—and the Allied Supreme Command in Paris. Nor were the Allies agreed on which front to prioritize. The British were all in with Kolchak, but the French wanted to focus on Ukraine. The Americans were cool on Kolchak, too, owing to Woodrow Wilson’s reservations about the anti-democratic coup in Omsk (the president also believed, erroneously, that the Whites planned to restore the Romanov monarchy).

Nor was it clear where the Whites, cut off from Russia’s industrial centers, would obtain arms. The most logical supplier was the United States, which meant shipping weapons all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Vladivostok, and then thousands of miles along the Trans-Siberian. But Kolchak’s government had little money of its own, and the Czechoslovaks refused to hand over the Kazan gold reserves he might have used as security. In the end, the only weapons Kolchak could afford were British army surplus—600,000 rifles, 6,831 machine guns, 192 field guns, and 500 million rounds.16

The Bolsheviks enjoyed a more unified command and more favorable geography. Moscow was ideally located in strategic terms, at the center of a ramshackle but still functioning hub-and-spoke railway network from which troop trains could be dispatched northwest to Petrograd, northeast to Archangel, south toward the Don region, or east to the Urals and western Siberia. Ruling over central European Russia, the Bolsheviks could also recruit soldiers from a homogeneous population of “Great Russians,” even as their White opponents, operating on the periphery of the old tsarist empire, had to rely on Cossacks, Ukrainians, Estonians, Finns, and other minorities of uncertain loyalties. The Red Army also inherited the bulk of the old Tsarist Army arsenal, including 2.2 million rifles, 18,036 machine guns and 3 billion clips, 430,000 midrange or light guns, 500 Vickers heavy guns, 1.56 million hand grenades, and 167,000 officers’ pistols and revolvers. The Bolsheviks also controlled the arms factories of Tula. Although production capacity was now severely limited, these factories were still critical assets.17

Despite laboring under material disadvantages, both Denikin and Kolchak put together real armies during the winter lull in fighting between November 1918 and March 1919. The departure of the Germans from the Don basin helped, by costing the Don Cossacks their patron and forcing their Ataman Krasnov into an alliance of convenience with Denikin. On January 8, 1919, Krasnov accepted Denikin’s command, instantly enlarging the Volunteer Army by 38,000 men. By mid-February 1919, Denikin’s “Southern Army Group” counted 117,000 men, 460 guns, and 2,040 machine guns. The departure of the Germans from Ukraine and the collapse of their puppet Hetmanate in Kiev (replaced by a short-lived “Ukrainian People’s Republic”) opened up a new front for operations for Denikin, who could now outflank the Reds to the west and maybe even link up with the Polish army forming, led by Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, under Allied auspices. While this was bad news for the 30 million people of Ukraine, whose second dawn of independence would last less than two months, it was good news for the Whites.18

On paper, Kolchak’s Army was even stronger than the Volunteers. By February 1919, Kolchak had 143,000 men under his command, enough to outnumber the Red Eastern Army Group, which counted only 117,600 (although the Reds had another 150,000 or so in reserve east of Moscow, in case of a White breakthrough). The Red Eastern Army Group was superior in both artillery (372 guns to 256) and machine guns (1,471 to 1,235), but owing to British aid, the Whites had enough stocks to sustain an offensive, if not indefinitely. The critical factor in western Siberia, where the armies (unlike in south Russia) were already poised in striking range of one another, was timing. After Lenin’s October 1918 call for three million soldiers, it was only a matter of time before the Reds could overwhelm the Whites by force of numbers. To have any chance of a decisive victory threatening Moscow, Kolchak would have to strike quickly.19Kolchak, a navy man, entrusted army operations planning to D. A. Lebedev, a former Stavka staff officer. But Lebedev had little material to work with, as there were fewer experienced officers in western Siberia than in the Don region—or in central Russia, where the Reds had an almost infinite supply of ex-tsarist officers to draw from. Only one of the veterans in Omsk, M. V. Khanzhin, had ranked as high as general. There was the self-declared “General Gajda” of the Czech Legion, but he was a Habsburg war prisoner with no command experience other than in the railway skirmishes of 1918.20

Despite these myriad deficiencies, the Siberian People’s Army acquitted itself well in Kolchak’s offensive, which began in mid-March when the Siberian winter began to ease (though crucially, before the ground had thawed out). In the first month, the Siberian Army, advancing along a 700-mile-wide front between Perm and Orenburg, pushed the Reds back nearly 400 miles, nearly to the Volga River. The Whites captured Ufa with ease, even while a southern army pushed southwest into the steppe above the Caspian, targeting Astrakhan. By the end of April, Kolchak’s armies were threatening to retake Samara and Kazan. Meanwhile, a cascading series of anti-Bolshevik peasant uprisings in the rear of the Reds seemed to herald a major strategic breakthrough. In Omsk, the atmosphere was euphoric, with bold talk of linking up with the Allies at Archangel or Murmansk. The Japanese liaison officer to Kolchak, General Kasatkin, even offered to send Japanese troops to reinforce his armies (for a price, of course, which included territorial concessions in the Far East). In panic, Trotsky ordered all available reinforcements to the eastern front.21

Trotsky’s panic was short-lived. By May, Kolchak’s eastern offensive had run into the same problem that bedeviled armies invading Russia from the West: the rains came, and the roads turned to mud. Meanwhile, Trotsky reorganized the command structure of Eastern Army Group, making two inspired appointments. M. N. Tukhachevsky, a high-born tsarist officer famous for escaping from a German fortress-prison, was made commander on the central front, while M. V. Frunze, a low-born Communist who had directed operations in Turkestan in 1918, was put in charge of the southern army group on the lower Volga. On April 28, Frunze struck at a vulnerable hinge point between the White central and southern armies at Sterlitamak, on the Belaya River, capturing prisoners and, significantly, a White operational directive from Omsk. Learning that his right flank was safe, Frunze pushed forward. By mid-May, he had punched a substantial gap in between the two White Siberian armies.22

Frunze’s coup came at a critical moment in the Russian Civil War. In the burst of optimism that had followed Kolchak’s early victories, the Western Allies had begun drawing up conditions for continuing to supply his armies, not realizing how precarious his strategic position actually was. Despite energetic lobbying at the Paris Peace Conference by such old-regime diplomats as Izvolsky and Sazonov, the Whites simply had no diplomatic leverage, as they discovered when their request for a role in the postwar Ottoman Straits regime, pursuant to the initial Sykes-Picot Agreement, was summarily dismissed. As the Bolshevik regime, despite having defaulted on all treaty and financial obligations to the Allies, was making no such demands regarding the Ottoman settlement, the Allies had even allowed President Wilson, against the fervent objections of Sazonov and Izvolsky, to send a mission to Moscow in March 1919, led by William Bullitt. (Bullitt’s subsequent recommendation, that Allied diplomats meet Bolshevik representatives for formal peace talks on Prinkipo Island in the Sea of Marmara south of Constantinople, was vetoed by the French.)

To remind Kolchak who had the leverage, the Allied Supreme Council in Paris informed him, on May 26, that the Allies would continue to supply his armies only if he immediately convened a new Constituent Assembly and joined the nascent League of Nations (in both cases to appease Woodrow Wilson); if he agreed to honor all debts contracted by tsarist Russia (to satisfy the French); if he recognized the independence of Poland and Finland, and accepted mediation on the status of the new states in the Baltic region (to please the British). Kolchak, barely holding on against the Red tide, was forced to agree to these onerous terms, although he summoned enough patriotic stubbornness to insist that Finnish independence could be recognized only by the Russian Constituent Assembly if it ever reconvened. To reassure Woodrow Wilson in particular, Kolchak declared, on June 4, that “there cannot be a return to the régime which existed in Russia before February 1917.”23

While the Allies were putting the squeeze on Kolchak, the White position in western Siberia was falling apart. As seen on the map at the end of the previous part, the Reds stormed into Ufa on June 9, pushing the Whites back to the Ural Mountains. Serious dissension was now brewing in the White command, with “General” Gajda, in charge of the northern front between Ufa and Perm, complaining that Lebedev had starved him of resources. Owing to the leverage still enjoyed by the Czechs—although they were no longer fighting at the front, they still held most of the Kazan gold reserves—Lebedev was forced to sack Khanzhin, the Whites’ only experienced corps-level commander from the world war, and put Gajda in charge of the entire central and northern sectors. It was a poor decision. By the end of June, the Whites had fallen back to Ekaterinburg. In mid-July, Tukhachevsky’s Fifth Army captured Zlatoust and, on July 24–25, Cheliabinsk, driving a deep gap in the White Center. Farther south, Frunze was pushing east along what is now the border between Russia and Kazakhstan, threatening to outflank the entire White army on the right.24

If there was a silver lining in Kolchak’s reverses, Trotsky’s heightened focus on the eastern front did open up room for Denikin in the south. In mid-June 1919, just as the Siberian Army was falling back to the Urals, the Volunteers advanced into the Donbass region. Kharkov fell on June 21, opening up the path through central Ukraine to Kiev. On Denikin’s right flank, a Caucasian Army, commanded by Baron P. N. Wrangel, a highly decorated cavalry officer of Baltic German stock, crossed the Kalmyk steppe and closed on Tsaritsyn, where the Reds had spent all winter digging trenches and erecting barbed wire. Deploying two British tanks, Wrangel’s army breached these defenses and crashed into Tsaritsyn on June 30, capturing some forty thousand Red prisoners. Wrangel’s was a signature victory in the Civil War.25

Timing did not favor the Whites, however. Far from coordinating his advance with Kolchak—a virtual impossibility, owing to the lack of a direct telegraph connection—Denikin’s Volunteers had reached the Volga at Tsaritsyn at a time when Kolchak’s forces were retreating all across the line, their own high water mark, less than 50 miles from the Volga east of Saratov, having been reached nearly two months earlier. It was a similar story in Ukraine, where France’s own limited intervention had petered out long before Denikin finally went on the offensive in June. Because France had sustained such terrible losses on the western front, the sixty-five-thousand-odd “French” expeditionary force, which was commanded by Franchet d’Espèrey, and had landed at Odessa and on the Crimean Peninsula in December 1918, consisted mostly of Greek, Romanian, and French colonial troops from Senegal, none of whom had shown much enthusiasm for fighting in Russia’s Civil War. In the first week of April 1919, a disgusted Franchet d’Espèrey simply evacuated the lot of them, along with forty thousand “White” civilians, including Grand Duke Nicholas—the first of many waves of Russian émigrés to leave via the Black Sea and Constantinople (where there was soon a large Russian colony, the glamorous women of whom titillated Muslim men not accustomed to seeing unveiled women in public).26

The French withdrawal from Crimea was hardly an encouraging omen for the Volunteer Army as it poured into Ukraine. The Allied Supreme Command in Paris had some hope that Pilsudski’s new Polish army might put pressure on the Red Army from the West. The Poles indeed fought a series of small border engagements with the Red Army in spring and summer 1919 in Lithuania and White Russia. But for Polish nationalists to cooperate with Denikin’s Volunteer Army of Russian patriots and Cossacks would require something of a political miracle. True, Kolchak had promised to recognize an independent Poland; but he had clearly done so under duress, and Denikin, fighting under the well-publicized slogan “Russia, one and indivisible,” had made no such promises regarding Poland. Pilsudski therefore remained distinctly cool to Allied requests that he coordinate his operations with the Volunteer Army.27

The diplomacy of the war was still more complicated in the Baltic theater. Here, just as in Ukraine, the Germans had withdrawn their troops slowly after the armistice, owing to Allied concerns about Bolshevik encroachment. The Germans also had troops in southern Finland, operating under the aegis of Carl Gustav Mannerheim’s Finnish Army, which caused the Allies to view Mannerheim’s “White Finns” skeptically and even, at one point in April 1919, demand that Mannerheim calls off an offensive in Karelia just as he neared Petrograd. In Lithuania and White Russia, the Reds moved into Vilnius and Minsk after the German withdrawal in early 1919, only to lose these cities to Pilsudski’s Polish army in April and August 1919, respectively. In Riga, veterans of the Latvian Rifles, after doing such great service to Lenin in 1918 by seeing off the Czech threat in Perm province and crushing the Left SR uprising in Moscow, returned home in triumph in January 1919, helping to establish a “Soviet” (that is, pro-Moscow) Latvian government.

The situation in Estonia was the most bewildering of all. After the armistice, the Red Seventh Army invaded from Petrograd, galvanizing resistance from a motley assortment of Estonian patriots, German soldiers who had never withdrawn, Baltic German locals, freed German prisoners of war, “White” refugees fleeing Petrograd, and tsarist officers returning east from German captivity. For a time, this anti-Bolshevik “Northern Corps” was commanded by a German general, Count Rüdiger von der Goltz. Nikolai Yudenich, the conqueror of Erzurum and (despite his notorious and now overweening corpulence) one of tsarist Russia’s greatest war heroes, then arrived in late April and fashioned Northern Corps into a “Northwestern (NW) Army” of 16,000, augmented by 20,000 ostensibly allied Estonian allied Estonian troops, who were commanded independently by General Johan Laidoner. On May 13, Yudenich’s NW army crossed into Soviet Russian territory and swiftly captured Pskov.28

By summer 1919, despite Kolchak’s reverses in western Siberia and the French withdrawal from Ukraine, the Bolshevik regime appeared to be in serious danger. The threat from the east had receded, but there were at least four active military fronts, two threatening Petrograd, and two Moscow. Mannerheim’s White Finns threatened Petrograd from the northeast, while Yudenich’s NW Army was encamped at Pskov, less than 200 miles from the city’s southwestern perimeter. There were no armies this close to Moscow, but Pilsudski’s Poles were at Minsk, just a simple rail connection away, and Denikin’s Volunteers were advancing north of Kharkov on a broad front less than 300 miles south of Moscow, approaching Kursk and Voronezh. If these four armies achieved even a modest level of cooperation, Lenin’s regime would not likely last out the year.

Once again, the Bolsheviks were fortunate in their enemies. In May 1919, Yudenich and Mannerheim came to an agreement, in principle, to coordinate a joint attack on Petrograd. But these plans ran aground owing to diplomatic complications. Some of the difficulty was rooted in Kolchak’s stubbornness over Finnish independence, although Yudenich himself agreed to this condition on June 19. Four days later, Kolchak sent a telegraph to Mannerheim, requesting that his Finns attack Petrograd and even consenting to a Finnish occupation of the city, so long as Russian troops were present. But the British refused to cooperate with Mannerheim’s Finns, whom they viewed as pro-German. The British Foreign Office took a blinkered view of Yudenich, too, owing to the “German” origin of his NW Army. In the British cabinet, only the minister of war and munitions, Winston Churchill, favored greater cooperation with Mannerheim and Yudenich, and he was overruled. With his Russian interventionist policy discredited owing to British hostility, Mannerheim was forced to stand for election in Finland in July 1919, and he lost. Having dodged a bullet in Finland, on August 31 the Bolsheviks offered peace—and diplomatic recognition—to Estonia. General Laidoner then chose to stand down his Estonian army, refusing to fight alongside Yudenich.29

Pilsudski, for his part, was content to observe the unfolding conflict from Warsaw, holding Vilnius and Minsk as bargaining chips. The longer the Russian Civil War continued, the better for Poland, as whichever side emerged triumphant would be all the more exhausted in case Pilsudski chose to fight to adjust Poland’s borders eastward (the “Curzon line” drawn up by Britain’s foreign secretary, Lord George Curzon, had drawn Poland’s eastern frontier along the Bug River from East Prussia to Galicia). Although willing to parley with both Lenin and Denikin, Pilsudski had concluded, by September 1919, that it was “a lesser evil to help Soviet Russia defeat Denikin,” and so he decided not to engage the Reds during Denikin’s fall offensives. Pilsudski secretly informed Moscow of his decision in early October, which allowed Trotsky to transfer forty-three thousand troops south to face Denikin.30

In the absence of diversionary help from the French, Poles, Estonians, or Finns, and with Kolchak’s Siberian army reeling, Denikin’s Volunteers would have to fight on their own as they slogged their way north. On July 3, Denikin issued Secret Order No. 08878, stating his goal as “the occupation of the heart of Russia, Moscow.” This “Moscow directive” envisioned an advance along three fronts, with Wrangel’s Caucasian Army targeting Saratov, Penza, Nizhny Novgorod, and ultimately Moscow from the east, while V. I. Sidorin’s “Don army” would march on Voronezh and Ryazan. The main thrust, led by the original Volunteer Army, would target the war factories of Tula by way of Kursk and Orel, even while dispatching rearguard troops to secure the Crimean ports abandoned by the French and, possibly, Kiev.31

As Denikin’s armies marched into the heart of Ukraine, the Russian Civil War approached its sinister climax. The Volunteers quickly captured Red-held territory. But Denikin’s supply lines were soon stretched to the breaking point, and they were thinly guarded. Ukrainian peasants were no more well disposed to the Whites than they had been to the German occupiers or the Reds, who had set grain requisition quotas even higher than the Germans had. The posture of most Ukrainian peasants was “a pox on all your houses,” with farmers hiding their produce underground to deny them to marauding armies. By the time the Whites moved in, there were half-dozen partisan armies operating in Ukraine, ranging from right-populists led by the Cossack hetman Semen Petliura to the far-left anarchists led by Nestor Makhno, a kind of T. E. Lawrence of the Russian Revolution, who blew up troop trains and robbed the survivors. Given an army commission by Trotsky in December 1918, Makhno had turned against the Reds. On August 1, 1919, Makhno issued his own Order No. 1, which called for the extermination of the White Russian “bourgeoisie” and of Red commissars.32

The one thing Ukrainian partisans had in common was xenophobia, encompassed in slogans like “Ukraine for Ukrainians” and “Ukraine without Moscovites or Jews.” Long before the Whites had moved in, pogroms had erupted in the old Pale of Settlement on both sides of the shifting military lines. The Terek Cossacks, notorious Jew-haters, reached western Ukraine in October 1919 and crashed into Kiev, Poltava, and Chernigov. In a single pogrom in Fastov, outside of Kiev, 1,500 Jews were slaughtered, including 100 who were reportedly burned alive. Denikin, concerned about the erosion of discipline, condemned such atrocities and even tried, on several occasions, to convene courts-martial. Still, the evidence is abundantly clear that thousands of his troops, including regulars, officers, and Cossacks, indulged in terrible pogroms.33

As ugly as the situation was in Denikin’s rear, the vistas opening up in front of him seemed endless. On August 10, a flying brigade of eight thousand Cossack cavalrymen, led by General K. K. Mamontov, captured Tambov and Voronezh, inducing panic in Moscow. On September 12, Denikin ordered all his armies, “from the Volga to the Romanian border,” on the offensive, with Moscow the objective. Kursk fell on September 20, and there were signs of collapsing Red morale, with some units deserting en masse to the Whites. On October 13–14, the Volunteer Army conquered Orel, only 250 miles from Moscow, and less than half that distance from Tula and its munitions factories.

Meanwhile in Pskov, Yudenich had launched his own assault on Petrograd on October 12, not so much in coordination with the Volunteers as in defiance of the British, who had demanded, on October 6, that he transfer his forces to Denikin’s front. The British did contribute six tanks, along with their British crews, to NW Army, along with naval support. Other than this, Yudenich’s NW Army, now seventeen thousand strong, was on its own: Laidoner’s Estonians refused to fight. The British tanks were rendered useless after the Reds blew up the bridge over the Luga River. Nonetheless Yudenich reached Gatchina, only 30 miles from Petrograd, on October 16. In the next five days, NW Army rolled into Pavlovsk, Tsarskoe Selo, and finally Pulkovo, just 15 miles from the capital. Covered by the British fleet, a detachment of Yudenich’s marines also landed at Krasnaya Gorka, opposite Kronstadt, northeast of Petrograd. In Paris, Sazonov made one last desperate plea for Finnish intervention to help Yudenich, proposing to Allied diplomats that they could use the “Brest-Litovsk” gold the Bolsheviks had shipped to Germany (now in Allied hands) to pay for it. In this aim he was supported by Mannerheim himself, who, after being ejected from power in July, had gone to Paris to lobby with everyone else. Would the Allies back Yudenich when it counted?"34

It was a moment of truth for the Bolshevik regime. Lenin, more worried about Moscow, wanted to abandon Petrograd and reinforce the southern front against Denikin. Zinoviev, the Bolshevik Party boss in Petrograd, suffered a “nervous collapse” when he heard of Yudenich’s approach. And so it was left to Trotsky to save the city. Arriving in Petrograd on October 17, the commissar of war ordered that the “capital of the revolution” be defended “to the last drop of blood.” Demonstrating real physical courage, Trotsky went to Pulkovo, abandoned the armored train car he usually traveled on, and rallied Red troops on horseback. With reinforcements pouring in from Petrograd, Trotsky pushed NW Army back to Gatchina on November 3, and then into Estonia. The only mercy for Yudenich was that Lenin, following the advice of Foreign Minister Georgy Chicherin, ordered Trotsky not to pursue Yudenich beyond the border, so as to drive a wedge between accommodationists and “inter-ventionists” in London (Chicherin mentioned Churchill by name, displaying a keen grasp of British cabinet politics).35

Almost simultaneously with Yudenich’s comeuppance, the Reds turned the tide against Denikin. Reinforcements had been pouring in all through September and early October to plug the gap north of Orel. The most important units dispatched south were the Second and Third Latvian Brigades. On October 18–19, just as the Volunteers were approaching Tula, the Latvians smashed into Denikin’s left flank, in brutal action that saw the Latvians lose nearly 50 percent of their men, including 40 percent of their officers. That same day, a Red Cavalry Corps, commanded by Semen Budennyi, surprised General Mamontov’s increasingly disorderly Cossacks—weighed down by war booty—above Voronezh, threatening to encircle the Volunteers from the southeast. Denikin was forced to retreat to Kursk and then, in early December, to Kharkov. Red Moscow was safe.36

Such was the conclusion of British prime minister Lloyd George, who now abandoned Britain’s commitment to the Whites so swiftly that he shocked even Chicherin and Lenin, who had expected a proper cabinet row over the matter. Without giving prior notice to his colleagues of a change in policy, Lloyd George simply announced, at the lord mayor’s banquet at London’s Guildhall on November 9, that Britain was giving up. “Russia is a quicksand,” he intoned darkly: it was time for Britain to escape before she was sucked in further. The coming winter months, he suggested, would give all sides time to “reflect and reconsider.” When the text of this historic speech was published and transmitted to Russia, the effect on White morale, a British journalist accompanying Denikin’s army later wrote, “was electrical.” Within days, “the whole atmosphere in South Russia was changed… Mr George’s opinion that the Volunteer cause was doomed helped to make that doom almost certain.”37

But it was not over quite yet for the Whites. In December 1919, Denikin transferred General Wrangel to the command of the Volunteer Army (replacing the now permanently drunk Vladimir May-Mayevsky, who was retired). This was far too late for Wrangel to effect the sort of concentrated Cossack push against Moscow that he had long favored over Denikin's multi-pronged Moscow Directive, and the baron was quick to remind Denikin of this in a typically tactless letter he sent to his commander in mid-February 1920. Although a recent biographer of Wrangel has highlighted that the Baron subsequently censored the letter for publication in his memoirs, omitting passages that he deemed to have been too personal in their attacks on Denikin-expunging, for example, a description  as a man "poisoned by ambition and the taste of power, surrounded by dishonest flatterers" and one who was "no longer preoccupied with saving the country, but only with preserving power"38 Denikin would, of course, have seen the original version and was consequently enraged. Moreover, the contents of the letter had been leaked by Wrangel to the press and were published widely. One can sense the rage bubbling beneath the surface of Denikin's outwardly calm reply of 25 February 1920.39

The extent, beyond talk and denunciations, of Wrangel's "conspiracy" against Denikin remains obscure. Wires were certainly crossed at a very confused and nervous time, and the fact that several key commanders were sending Denikin telegrams at this time urging him to make Wrangel commander of the Crimea need not necessarily have portended any coup. Moreover, Wrangel certainly had nothing to do with a rogue White band of deserters and various malcontents under a Captain Orlov, who at this time were advancing from the central mountains of the Crimea towards Sevastopol' and issuing proclamations in which Wrangel was hailed as "our new leader" and calling upon "officers, Cossacks, soldiers and sailors" to join in the cry of "Long live General Wrangel-the strong man with the mighty soul!"40 But that could have not failed to confirm further in Denikin's mind that he was under a concerted attack from his (in)subordinates. Consequently, in the midst of all this, Wrangel was removed from his active command (2 January 1920). He was subsequently accused of conspiring against The Armed Forces of South Russia (AFSR) leadership and, on 28 February 1920, was obliged to leave Russia for exile in Constantinople. 41

There was still some time for the playing our of feuds in the Red ranks also, as delays in crossing the Don and the Manych enflamed those anxious for a quick kill and made vulnerable those who, for various reasons, had earned the enmity of the man of the moment, Budennyi. Thus, first Colonel Shorin was dismissed as head of the South East Front, which finally took Tsaritsyn only on 2 January 1920, having been set that task back in August 1919. Then, the charismatic cavalryman B.M. Dumenko, a rival to Budennyi as the "first saber of the republic" and chief inspirer of the liberation of the Don over the previous months, was arrested and shot for involvement in the death of his military cornrnissar.42

Moreover, the Reds were not without broader tribulations of their own: by early 1920 the forces in the south-east were very far from their home territories, were occupying generally hostile Cossack lands (and were poised to attack more of the same), and were exhausted after their 450-mile counter-thrust against the Whites. Even General Budennyi no longer seemed invincible, as his typhus-ravaged force lost most of its artillery in a disastrous effort to storm the Manych, leading to fulminations from Lenin in Moscow regarding the poor state of the troops on the Caucasus Front and "the flabbiness of the over-all command" and panicky predictions that Rostov, Novocherkassk, and even the Donbass might soon be surrendered to the Whites.43 Denikin, therefore, ignored murmurings that he should resign and recall Wrangel, while making more changes and concessions to local sentiments in a last-ditch effort to shore up his regime.

It was, thus, the ataman of the Don Cossack Host, General A.P. Bogaevskii, who was chosen to replace the disgraced Volunteer General Lukornskii as head of the Government of the Main Commander of the Armed Forces of South Russia-AFSR (itself merely a new version of the Special Council, but with appropriately repositioned deck chairs), while it was the commander of the Don Army, General V.I.Sidorin, who took command of the front. But this was all to no avail: a general All Cossack Supreme Krug gathered in January 1920 (with representatives of the Don, Kuban, Terek, Astrakhan, and other hosts) was not in the mood to bargain with the AFSR commanders over more promises of land reforms and national assemblies. Indeed, the Supreme Krug looked very much like a revivification of the separatist United Government of the South Eastern Union of Cossack Hosts that the Volunteers had been struggling to keep in abeyance ever since arriving in the south-east two years earlier.44 It was clear that Denikin's heavy-handed treatment of the Kuban Rada back in November 1919 (when he had arrested ten of its members and forced Ataman A.P. Filimonov to resign) had not expunged from it all thoughts of separatism, while his sudden dismissal of the much-loved (if insubordinate) General Shkuro from command of the Kuban Army at the end of February 1920 won him few friends in Ekaterinodar (even if Shkuro had actually spoken out there quite often against Kuban separatism). Around this time, as a British officer noted, the Cossack ranks within the AFSR suddenly began to thin out:

Gradually their forces were drifting away to their villages, disappearing in ones and twos and groups during the night, or simply turning away in front of the despairing eyes of their officers and shuffling off sometimes as a complete squad, company or even regiment, sick of the fighting and the mismanagement and the overwhelming strength of the Reds. There was nothing anyone could do to stop them.45


February 1920

To make matters worse, just as Kolchak's Siberia had sprouted a number of anti-White SR organizations as the Russian Army collapsed in late 1919 (the Political Center, the Committee for the Convocation of a Zemskii Sobor', erc.), in early 1920 an unexpected second blossoming of the democratic counter-revolution overran much of the rear of the AFSR, especially in the wooded hills of the coastal Black Sea region of the North Caucasus, where there lurked thousands of deserters and refugees from all sorts of civil-war armies that were being loosely organized by fugitive SRs (notably V.N. Sarnarin-Fillipovskii and Colonel N.Y. Voronovich, the former a long-standing SR and the latter an officer of the tsarist era with SR sympathies) and around the picturesque resort town of Sochi further south. This self-styled "Green" movement was coordinated from November 1919 onwards by a united Black Sea Liberation Cornrnittee.46

For the White movement in 1920, then, February may have been the cruelest month. On a single day, 7 February 1920, Supreme Ruler Admiral Kolchak was executed at Irkutsk, while the last White toe-hold in Ukraine was lost with the botched evacuation of Odessa. Meanwhile, the internment of Iudenich's forces in Estonia was completed, as was that of the Bredovtsy in Poland. On 10 February 1920, Red forces captured Krasnovodsk (today's Tiirkmenbasy), on the shores of the eastern Caspian, consolidating Soviet power in Central Asia and forcing onward the withered remnants of the 15,000 Urals Cossacks who had departed southward from Gur' ev on 5 January 1920.47 Finally, on 19-21 February 1920, 1,000 White soldiers were evacuated from Arkhangel'sk, leaving tens of thousands more to their fate.48

Denikin did manage a brief resurgence, and Don Cossack forces recaptured Rostov on 20 February 1920, but it was a false dawn and, for the remainder of that bitter and fateful month, his forces retreated toward the Kuban. Harried, however, by a newly reorganized, 160,000-strong Caucasian Front of the Red Army (commanded by the energetic and now near ubiquitous M.N. Tukhachevskii) 49 and with the 1st Cavalry Army pressing in along the Tsaritsyn-Ekaterinodar railway on their right flank, there was nothing Denikins forces could actually do when they got to the Kuban other than abandon its capital, Ekaterinodar, without a fight, on 17 March, and then strike out for the last remaining port in anti-Bolshevik hands, Novorossiisk. Their fading hope was of evacuation by sea, before that city fell either to the Reds advancing on it along the Rostov railway from the north or to the SR-insurgent forces of the Black Sea Liberation Committee approaching it from the south (who had captured Tuapse, 75 miles south of Novorossiisk, on 17 February 1920).

Denikin’s retreat turned into a general evacuation of “White Russia,” with civilian émigrés from the northern cities, joined by local Kalmyk, Tatar, Cossack and Circassian notables who had collaborated with Denikin, fleeing on foot with whatever they could carry. “The exodus of the Russian people,” as one White officer called it, “reminded me of Biblical times.” In March 1920, Entente journalists recorded tearful scenes at Novorossiisk, as crowds of refugees tried to evacuate on the last British and French ships before the vengeful Reds closed in. Crimea, protected from the mainland by the easily defended Perekop Isthmus, was safe for now, guarded by a small rump army of Whites led by General Slashchev (who would soon surrender his command to Wrangel). But it could not be long before this last beachhead, too, was breached by the advancing Red armies.50

In Omsk, meanwhile, Kolchak and what remained of the Siberian Army had been hanging on for dear life after the fall of Cheliabinsk in late July 1919. Instead of pursuing immediately, Tukhachevsky and Frunze had paused to wait on reinforcements, knowing that time was on their side. As the thinning White armies retreated toward Omsk, the front contracted to about 200 miles from north to south. By October, the Reds enjoyed a two to one advantage in manpower (about 100,000 to 50,000) at the front, with massive Red reserves in the rear. On October 14, just as the decisive battles were being joined on the northwestern and southern fronts, Frunze, who had taken over the overall command of Red Eastern Army Group, ordered Third and Fifth Armies to attack. The Whites fell back behind the Ishim River at Petropavlovsk, and then evacuated farther east when the Reds crossed the river, the last natural barrier before Omsk, on October.51

Refugees now streamed into Omsk in terror of the advancing Reds, swelling the population of this provincial capital from 120,000 to over half a million. As one English officer recalled the scene: “Peasants had deserted their fields, students their books, doctors their hospitals, scientists their laboratories, workmen their workshops… we were being swept away in the wreckage of a demoralized army.” On November 14, the Reds conquered Omsk without a fight, and the White exodus continued east into the vastness of the Siberian winter. The Trans-Siberian was clogged with bedraggled refugees, with thousands succumbing to typhus in the cramped, unsanitary railcars. The Czechoslovak Legion, hopeful of avoiding the epidemic, began halting the eastward movement of trains from Omsk, stranding even “Supreme Commander” Kolchak, who had planned to set up a new government in Irkutsk. For most of November and December 1919, Kolchak was held ransom by Czechoslovak guards at Nizhneudinsk, prior to being handed over to a Bolshevik Military-Revolutionary Committee in Irkutsk on January 21, 1920. The details of the negotiations remain murky, but the upshot is that the Czechoslovaks, directed by the French General Maurice Janin, turned over Kolchak and 285 tons of the Kazan gold reserves to the Bolsheviks in exchange for their freedom.  Both the Czech Legion and Japanese militarists have been accused of stealing some of the gold. What really happened is explained by Oleg Budnitskii. On the night of February 6– 7, 1920, Kolchak was shot following a “trial” reminiscent of the one given the tsar in Ekaterinburg, and his body was pushed under the ice of the Ushakovka River. So ended the White movement in Siberia.52

In the Baltics, the Bolsheviks played a more subtle game. By not pursuing Yudenich into Estonia, Trotsky had levered Lloyd George into a policy of accommodation, just as Chicherin had promised Lenin. Toward the end of October 1919, the British fleet began easing up on the Baltic blockade of Soviet Russia, stopping only ships with actual weapons aboard while letting dual-use items through. On November 20, Lloyd George informed the House of Commons that the blockade would be lifted in even this form as soon as the winter snows melted. Wired to the world, this declaration was music to Bolshevik ears— and to interested parties in Stockholm, where lucrative Soviet orders for everything from field and machine guns to locomotives, armored cars, and aero-engines were on hold.53

To capitalize on Lloyd George’s stunning announcement, in December 1919 Lenin sent his roving trade commissar, Leonid Krasin, to Estonia, to negotiate peace terms. Because Petrograd’s ports on the Gulf of Finland were ice-bound for much of the winter— they had also been severely damaged during the revolution— access to the great Baltic port of Reval (Tallinn) was critical. Krasin did not disappoint. By the terms of the Tartu (Dorpat) Treaty, ratified on February 2, 1920, Estonia granted official recognition to Soviet Russia, the first country to do so since Germany in the now-defunct Brest-Litovsk Treaty, while guaranteeing unlimited Soviet Russian use of her rail network for commercial freight. The treaty even created “special zones” in Estonian ports, use of which would be set aside exclusively for the Bolsheviks.54

In the end, while some have argued that the loyalty of peasant recruits to Lenin’s regime was weak, the salient fact was that in a war against a world of enemies— from White armies supported by the Entente powers, to Finns, Poles, Cossacks, and partisans— the Reds had won.

Some have also argued that it was in recognition of this military verdict that the British Blockade was lifted and on 16 March 1921 the Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement was signed. Both sides agreed to refrain from hostile propaganda. It amounted to de facto diplomatic recognition and opened a period of extensive trade. 55


1. “Treaty of Brest-Litovsk,” signed on March 3, 1918, article 5, reproduced in Wheeler-Bennett, Forgotten Peace, 406.

2. Citation and figures in Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 51–53.

3. Figures in Stephen Kotkin , Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, 2014, vol. 1, 297.

4. Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 2, 6–7, 20–21, 233. Armistice terms: cited in Evan Mawdsley, “Sea Change in the Civil War,” in Historically Inevitable?: Turning Points of the Russian Revolution,2016, 200–201. On the Stalin-Trotsky feud, see Kotkin, Stalin, vol. 1, 300–307.

5. Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, 1987, 67–68; and Serge P. Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 2000, 80–81,

6. Only three of the eight members of the SR Central Committee present at the State Conference voted in favor of the Ufa agreement (although, once it had been agreed, most of them reluctantly accepted it, as did a Siberian conference of SRs in late September). See Scott Smith, Captives of Revolution: The Socialist Revolutionaries and the Bolshevik Dictatorship, 1918-23, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011, pp. 146, 153.

7. See A.P. Iziumov (ed.), "Ufimskoe gosudarstvennoe soveshchanie," Russkii istoricheskii arkhiv, no. 1 (1929), pp. 274-5.

8. L.A. Krol', Za tri goda: Vospominaniia, vpechatleniia i vstrechi, Vladivostok: Tip. T-va izd. "Svobodnaia Rossiia," 1921, p. 140.

9. On the Omsk coup, see Jonathan D. Smele, Civil War in Siberia: The Anti-Bolshevik Government of Admiral Kolchak, 1918-1920, 1997, pp. 50-107.

10. The title of "supreme ruler" was adopted over the more blunt "dictator;' according to one of Kolchak's closest confidants, 1.1. Sukin, so as "to maintain the decorum of the civic spirit": V.V Zhuralev, ''Prisoiv takovomu lirsu naimenovanie verkhovnogo pravirclia': K voprosu 0 titule, priniatom admiralom AV Kolchakom 18 noiabria 1918 g.,Antropologicheskiifirum, no. 8 (2008), pp. 353-86.

11. In Aug. 1917, Kolchak, whom (as one of Russia's few successful commanders of the First World War) many had favored for the role of military dictator that was subsequently assigned to Kornilov, had been dispatched on a pointless mission to the United States by Kerensky to get him out of the country. He returned to the Far East in Oct. 1917 and offered his services to the British, who sent him to assist General Khorvath's efforts in Manchuria. However, despairing of reining in Ataman Semenov and of bringing any semblance of order to the anarchic anti- Bolshevik formations in the region, Kolchak subsequently retired to Japan. There he met General Alfred Knox of Britimis, who promptly ferried what he called "the best Russian for our purposes in the Far East" (National Archives,WO 33 962/186, Knox to the Director of Military Intelligence, 31 Aug. 1918) to Omsk. There, on 4 Nov. 1918, he became Minister of War and Marine in the government of the Directory (which had co-opted, en bloc, the cabinet of the Provisional Siberian Government).

12. On the consolidation of the Kolchak regime in late 1918, see Smele, Civil War in Siberia, pp. 108-23,188-99.

13.V.V. Zhuravlev (ed.), Privetstvennye poslaniia Verkhovnomu Praviteliu i Verkhoonomu Glav-nokomanduiushchemu admiralu A. V. Kolchaku. Noiabr' 1918-noiabr' 1919 g.: sb. dokurnentou, St Petersburg: Izdatel'srvo Evropeiskogo universitera v Sankt-Peterburge, 2012, pp. 18-19, 181.

14. Citations in Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 2, 33–34 and 34n55. Conclusive evidence of British involvement has never emerged, although Knox was rebuked by the Foreign Office on December 1, 1918, for his “highly indiscreet… recent activity in political matters.” For interpretations downplaying Knox’s involvement, see Mawdsley, “Sea Change in the Civil War,” and Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 39–42. For a more critical account: Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 113–225.

15. Cited in Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 2, 30.

16. Figures in Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, 144, 167.

17. “Svodnaia Vedomostraskhoda artilleriiskago imushchestva na grazhdanskuiu voinu/s 1/II–18–IV 20 g.,” in RGAE, 413-6-5, 82; and “VedomostPredmetam Artilleriiskogo Imushchestva Podlezhaschikh Zakazu,” October 7, 1920, in The Russian State Economics Archive, RGAE, 413-6-10, 155 and back, 156 and back.

18. Figures in Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 155; and Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, 163–164.

19. Figures in Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 171–173.

20. Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, 144–145.

21. Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 173–179; and Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 77–178.

22. Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 198–1200.

23.For White negotiations in Paris: Uget’ to Sazonov, March 24, 1919, in the Girs Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, box 1, folder labeled “Telegrams. From March 14, 1919, to April 22, 1919”

24. Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 202–204.

25. Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 82–83.

26. Figures in ibid., 74–75. On the White émigré phenomenon in Constantinople, see Nur Bilge Criss, Istanbul Under Allied Occupation 1918–1923.

27. On these fractious negotiations, see Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 3, 20–23; Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 88–89; Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, 205.

28. Ibid., 116–119.

29. Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 2, 258–265. On Laidoner breaking with Yudenich, see McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, chap. 6.

30. Cited in Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 90–91. On Pilsudski and the Polish border question, see Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 3, 20–21.

31. Cited in Mawdsley, Russian Civil War, 172–173.

32. Vladimir Brovkin, Behind the Front Lines of the Civil War, 106–112.

33. Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 106–108, and Werth, “Dirty War,” 95–96; and Oleg Budnitskii, Russian Jews Between Reds and Whites, 1917–1920, trans. Timothy Portice, 257 and passim.

34. Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, 283–285.

35. Ibid., 285.

36. Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 127–129; and, on Mamontov’s raid, M. Beller and A. Burovskii, Grazhdanskaia Istoriia bezumnoi voiny, 348 and passim. Oleg Budnitskii, in Russian Jews Between Reds and Whites (271) argues, plausibly, that Mamontov’s force was weakened owing to his troops’ penchant for pogroms and looting.

37. Citations in Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Accord, vol. 2, 306; and, for British journalist, Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 129.

38. Vrangel', Vospominaniia, 1924, vol. 1, pp. 296-302.

39. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 302.

40. Alexis Wrangel, General Wrangel, 1878-1929: Russia's White Crusader, London: Leo Cooper, 1987, p. 144.

41.Together with Wrangel were dismissed and exiled his alleged co-conspirators Generals A.S. Lukomskii and P.N. Shatilov and the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral DV Neniukov, and his chief of staff Admiral A.D. Bubnov.

42. On the Dumenko affair, which remains to be fully explained, see YD. Polikarpov, "Tragediia komkora Durnenko," Don, no. 11 (1988), pp. 142-8. Also V.V. Karpenko, Komkor Dumenko, Saratov: Privolzhckoe Knizhnoe Izd-Vo, 1976.

43. Meijer (ed.) The Trotsky Papers, vol. 2, pp. 39,61.

44. Although, formally, the Supreme Krug abolished the dormant United Government, there was the implicit suggestion that it, the Supreme Krug, had replaced it.

45. Hudleston Noel Hedworth Williamson, Farewell to the Don,1970, p. 249.

46. See: Landis, "Who were the 'Greens'?",2010, pp. 43-6; Karmann, Der Freiheitskampf Der Kosaken,1985, pp. 549-52; andGeoffrey Swain, Russia's Civil War,2008, pp. 128-32.

47. At most, 215 Urals Cossacks made it as far south as the Persian border by 20 May 1920, although others give a figure of 162. On this extraordinary campaign see the account of their Ataman: V.S. Tolstov, Ot krasnykh lap v neizvestnuiu pal' (pokhod ural' tseu), Constantinople: Tip. izd. Tv.-a "Pressa," 1921. Also L.L. Masianov, GibeI' Ural'skogo kazach'ego voiska, New York: Vseslavianskoe Izd.-vo, 1963.

48. Among the latter was Colonel L.V. Kostandi, who chose not to board General Miller's ship during the evacuation but to remain ar Arkhangel'sk to negotiare a peaceful transfer of the city into Bolshevik hands, as the 6th Red Army approached. This he did, but his fare was to suffer immediate imprisonment and then execution a year later at the hands of the Cheka in Moscow.

49. On Tukhachevskii, see Neil Harvey Croll, "Mikhail Tukhachevsky in the Russian Civil War;' University of Glasgow PhD Thesis, 2002. Also B.N. Sokolov, Mikhail Tukhachevskii: zhizn' i smert' 'Krasnogo marshala', Smolensk: Rusich, 1999.

50. Mawsdley, Russian Civil War, 223–224.

51. Petroff, Remembering a Forgotten War, 223–231.

52. Ibid., 250–253; and Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 117–119. On the Czechs and the gold: see Budnitskii, “Kolchakovskoe zoloto,” in Diaspora IV (2002), 458, and Den’gi russkoi emigratsii. For contemporary accounts and rumors: “Tell of Kolchak’s Gold,” New York Times, September 30, 1919; “8 American Officers Reported Captured,” New York Times, January 30, 1920 (which discusses Lake Baikal). On the estimated figure recovered by the Bolsheviks (285 tons), see “Russia’s Gold Reserve,” in State Department Reports on Russia, National Archives Annex (NAA), M 316, roll 119.

53. See report from Lucius von Stoedten, the German Minister in Stockholm, October 16, 1919, in Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes (Political Archive of the Imperial German Foreign Ministry). Berlin, Germany, R 11207.

54. Timothy Edward O'Connor, The engineer of revolution: L.B. Krasin and the Bolsheviks, 1870-1926,1992, 231–232. 

55. For details see Christine A. White, British and American Commercial Relations with Soviet Russia, 1918-1924 (1992).







shopify analytics