Philip Mironov and the Russian Civil Warby Sergei Starikov
He was an authentic hero of World War I and the Russian Revolution. He commanded a successful Red Army that treated prisoners mercifully, refrained from pillaging the countryside, and educated the people about the objectives of the Bolshevik regime. His eloquent advocacy of the ideas and aspirations of farmers and workers in the civil war period after World War I… See more details below
He was an authentic hero of World War I and the Russian Revolution. He commanded a successful Red Army that treated prisoners mercifully, refrained from pillaging the countryside, and educated the people about the objectives of the Bolshevik regime. His eloquent advocacy of the ideas and aspirations of farmers and workers in the civil war period after World War I helped to weaken the cause of the White armies.
Yet Philip Mironov has been systematically defamed in official Soviet history, and today his name is remembered by very few. This Cossack leader was distrusted and even despised by the more radical Communists, removed from his army command, and tried for treason. Leon Trotsky declared him a traitor and careerist who wanted “to climb upward on the backs of the toiling masses.” After being pardoned and “rehabilitated” (at least partly through Lenin’s personal intervention), Mironov continued in his independent ways until he was again arrested by the Cheka (Secret Police). While exercising in a prison courtyard in Moscow on April 2, 1921, he was mysteriously shot in the back and killed.
Drawing upon archives, reminiscences, and Mironov’s own brief, fragmentary, unpublished memoir, Sergi Starikov and the celebrated Soviet scholar Roy Medvedev have written a compelling book that helps explain the complex social processes of revolutionary Russia.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Mironov was a Don Cossack and that made him a person that the Communist Bolsheviks of Russia could not trust. Even as he fought for the Reds aganist the White Russians in the civil war of 1918 to 1921 he was belittled and plotted against. The favorite charge against him was that he was an "adventurist". In reality he was a patriot and had the best interests of the Russian people and especially the Cossacks of his region in his heart and mind. This excellent and easily read work by knowledgeable Russians, including the well-known scholar, Roy Medvedev, chronicles Mironov's story through his WW I battles to his final death by shooting in a Communist prison. With the opening of Soviet archives after the Stalin era first hand accounts of trials, speeches and letters from various protagonists in this story are presented. The tale can be easily followed and though for those less versed in the machinations of the Soviet system with its myriad of committees and abbreviations, the essence of what befell this patriot is clearly grasped. Treachery and rigid ideology are apparent in the conspiracy that took this man's life. And in it are the seeds for the further nightmares that occurred under the leadership of Stalin. With this story now widely read and studied it is no wonder that the Soviet Union collapsed and Communism ended up in the trashcan of history. Too bad it did not happen much sooner.