The Kronstadt Izvestia (1921)

In early 1921, the rebellious soldiers and sailors of Kronstadt began publishing their own newspaper, also titled Izvestia. These extracts from the first week of March are typical of its content, condemning the Bolsheviks for their tyranny and calling for another revolution:

[From Izvestia, March 3rd 1921]

To the populace of the fortress and town of Kronstadt.

Comrades and citizens!

“Our country is enduring a difficult moment. Hunger, cold and economic ruin have held us in an iron vice these three years already. The Communist Party, which rules the country, has become separated from the masses and shown itself unable to lead her from her state of general ruin. It has not faced the reality of the disturbances which in recent times have occurred in Petrograd and Moscow.

This unrest shows clearly enough that the party has lost the faith of the working masses. Neither has it recognised the demands presented by the workers. It considers them the plots of a counterrevolution. It is deeply mistaken.

This unrest, these demands, are the voice of the people in its entirety, of all labourers. All workers, sailors and soldiers see clearly at the present moment that only through common effort, by the common will of the labourers, is it possible to give the country bread, wood, and coal, to dress the barefoot and naked, and to lead the Republic out of this dead end.”

[From Izvestia, March 7th 1921]

“Field Marshal Trotsky is issuing threats against Free Kronstadt, risen up against the three-year autocracy of Communist commissars. This newly appeared Trepov threatens the toilers who have thrown off the shameful yoke of the Communist Party’s dictatorship with armed destruction.

He threatens the murder of the peaceful populace of Kronstadt. He gives the order “don’t spare the bullets” – but he will not have enough of them for the revolutionary sailors, soldiers and workers.

Naturally, he, dictator of a Russia raped by the Communists, does not care what becomes of the labouring masses, so long as power is in the hands of the [Bolsheviks]. He has the shamelessness to speak in the name of long-suffering Russia and promise mercy. This is he, bloodthirsty Trotsky, Marshal of the Communist oprichnina, extinguisher of the spirit of freedom, spiller of rivers of blood for the autocracy of the RCP, who dares speak so to those who are strongly and boldly holding aloft the red banner of Kronstadt.

The Communists hope to renew their despotic rule at the price of the blood of toilers and of the sufferings of their arrested families. They hope to force the sailors, soldiers and workers to again profer their neck so that the Communists may seat themselves the better. With this, they hope to continue their stinking policies, which have plunged all Laboring Russia into the abyss of total destruction, hunger and cold. Enough! You will deceive the labourers no more! Your hopes are futile, Communists, and your threats powerless.

The ninth wave of the Labourers’ Revolution has arisen and will wash the stinking slanderers and tyrants, with the defilement brought by their actions, from the face of Soviet Russia. We will not be needing your mercy, Lord Trotsky!”