Kiev Bolshevik Uprising

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Ukrainian theatre, part of the October Revolution
Date November 8, 1917 – November 13, 1917
(Kiev Bolshevik Uprising)
Location city of Kiev
Result Victory of the Kievan revolutionary committee, defeat of the Kiev Military District
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Kievan Committee of the Bolshevik Party
Flag of Ukrainian People's Republic 1917.svg Tsentralna Rada
Kiev Military District
Commanders and leaders
Georgiy Pyatakov
Jan Hamarnyk
Volodymyr Zatonsky
Lieutenant-General Kvetsinsky
6,000 (Bolshevik supporters)
8,000 (Central Rada supporters)
Casualties and losses
Military dead:
Military wounded:
Military missing:
Military dead:
Military wounded:
Military missing:
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The Kiev Bolshevik Uprising (November 8–13 (October 26–31 by old style), 1917) was a military struggle for power in Kiev after the fall of the Russian Provisional Government due to the October Revolution. It ended in victory for the Kievan Committee of the Bolshevik Party and the Central Rada.

Chronology of events

On November 7, 1917 the news about the anti-tsarist, revolutionary activities in Petrograd that day caused questions to be asked regarding the political control in the city and Ukraine in general. In order to gain control over Ukraine, three major factions competed with each other, they were the following: the Ukrainian Central Rada, the headquarters of the Kiev Military District (KMD), and the Kievan Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Worker's Party (Bolsheviks) 10 members of which joined the Central Rada previously.[1] The best chances that the Central Rada was that it consisted of representatives from 19 political parties including the Bolsheviks. The last one did not have a wide influence in Ukraine with about 10% of support from the total population. Prior to such turmoil, the Central Rada was in a conflict with the Provisional Government from which it was requesting a full autonomy of Ukraine as part of the Russian State. That was the reason for it to take the actions using the circumstances of political chaos which engulfed the city.

On November 8 with the initiative of the Central Council of Ukraine the Regional Committee in Protection of Revolution in Ukraine was created which was intended to be a temporary government in Kiev. It consisted of representatives from different political parties, councils, and the city Duma. The Committee was meeting in the building of the Pedagogical museum. The headquarters of the KMD was supporting the Russian Provisional Government and did not trust the State Committee as it included the Bolsheviks. On November 9 the Central Rada finally defined its negative position in relation to the Petrograd coup, condemned the Bolshevik's actions, and declared that "it will decisively fight against all attempts to support such uprising in Ukraine. Rada expressed its agreement for the creation in Russia homogeneous socialist government with the representatives of all socialist parties.

The Kievan Bolsheviks headed by Georgiy Pyatakov (active member of the Central Rada) firmly stood on the Lenin's principles and they did not agree with the position of the Central Rada. The same day they left the State Committee for the protection of the revolution and held a joint meeting (congress) with representatives of worker's and soldier's deputies councils, trade unions, factory presiding committees (fabzavkom), and military units (in the building of the Bergonie theater). And although it was clear that the possible seizure of power by one will lead the disagreement with other political forces, the split in society, and the civil war they accepted the resolution for the support of the Bolshevik Revolution in Petrograd and declared the power of Soviet government. With their next decision the congress elected revkom consisting of such Bolsheviks as Jan Hamarnyk, Oleksandr Horwits, Andriy Ivanov, Isaac Kreysberg, Volodymyr Zatonsky, Ivan Kulyk, and others to whom was planned to transfer the power. All of them also initiated the January Uprising couple of months later to support the sack of Kiev by the advancing Bolshevik forces from Russian SFSR and installation of the Soviet government in Ukraine.

In response to the Bolshevik activities the military forces of the KMD were ordered to liquidate the Bolshevik center on November 10, 1917. They surrounded Mariyinsky Palace where was located the local revkom and thrashed the building of the Kievan Duma Executive Committee and the Bolshevik Committee. Almost all the members of the Kievan Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Worker's Party (Bolsheviks) and the revkom (14 people) were arrested. The same day ceased to exist the State Committee for the protection of the revolution as the commander of the KMD, Mikhail Kvetsinsky, refused to take orders from it. On November 10 all the functions of the liquidated State Committee for the protection of the revolution were transferred to the General Secretariat.

Bolsheviks answered by reinstating the revkom the next day (Volodymyr Zatonsky, Andriy Ivanov, Ivan Kudrin, and others). They initiated military operations against the forces of the KMD. At the same time the VII session of the Central Rada was taken place, the deputies of which formed a committee that would find ways to stop mayhem in Kiev. The seesion also sanctioned all the power in Ukraine to be transferred to the Central Rada. The committee decided that all the power in the city will transfer to the Ukrainian Central Rada that will cooperate with the City Duma and the soviets of the workers' soldiers' deputies. For the next couple days street firefights filled some parts of the city (Pechersk, Demiivka). On November 13 the headquarters of the Kiev Military District (KMD) that was located on the Bankova Street signed a cease-fire agreement with the Kiev revkom and soon withdrew out of the city. Since that time the Kiev Military District was virtually liquidated.[2]

On November 16, 1917 at the joined meeting of the Central Rada and the Executive Committee of the soviets of the workers' soldiers' deputies in Kiev have acknowledge the Rada as the regional council in Ukraine. Soon, on November 20, the III Universal of the Ukrainian People's Republic which declared Ukraine an autonomous part of the Russian state with the capital in Kiev was officially enacted.

See also


  1. Orest Subtelny, History of Ukraine
  2. In 1921 the new Soviet KMD was installed in its place, the last commander of which refused to pledge allegiance to Ukraine and the District was dissolved in 1991.

Further reading

  • Kiev. Historical encyclopedia. 1917-2000.
  • Doroshenko, D. Історія України 1917—1923" (History of Ukraine 1917-23). Vol I. "Доба Центральної Ради" (The times of the Central Rada). Uzhhorod 1932.

External links