24/12/1918 Striking back against the Bolsheviks: Kolchak routs the Red Army and storms Perm #1918Live

With the defeat of Germany on the Western Front the main threat to the established order of Europe is now Bolshevism. Lenin and his Bolsheviks have taken power in Russia and overturned the prevailing order of society there, executing the royal family, seizing property and reversing traditional hierarchies. Across Europe and beyond the fear of those in power is that something similar might now happen in their own countries. Consequently their policemen are on guard for any sign of Bolshevik contagion spreading to their own disgruntled working classes.

The end of fighting on the Western Front and the Middle East has freed up large numbers of Allied troops. Large stocks of war materials are no longer needed for the struggle against Germany and Turkey. Could some of these soldiers and some of this materiel be sent to aid the White armies fighting against the Bolsheviks? Allied troops have already established themselves in ports on the periphery of the former Russian Empire: Archangelsk and Murmansk in the north, Vladivostok in the far east, and Odessa, Sevastopol and Novorossiysk in the south. The Allied forces thus far deployed are too small to seriously affect the outcome of the Russian Civil War, but White leaders hope that they are just the advance guard of larger intervention forces. Allied material aid to the Whites has also been relatively modest thus far, but again, the anti-Bolshevik leaders hope that more is on its way.

Trotsky‘s reorganisation of the Red Army had seen it win a number of victories but now perhaps the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Admiral Kolchak has reinvigorated White forces in the Siberian theatre, with his troops no longer needing the backing of the Czechoslovak Legion to take on the Red Army. Today Kolchak’s men capture Perm, an industrial city in the Urals. In the fighting large numbers of Red Army troops surrender to Kolchak; they appear to have been sent into the battle without adequate training or winter clothing. The Red Army troops appear also to be suffering from food shortages, a consequence of disorganisation in the Bolsheviks’ rear and the alienation of the peasantry by the Red Terror. This is all very promising for Kolchak, as it suggests that the Red Army might just be on the brink of disintegration.

image source:

Kolchak reviewing troops (Wikipedia: Russian Civil War)

13/6/1918 An inconvenient Grand Duke meets his end

When the Tsar abdicated, he named his younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, as his successor. Michael had no interest in the throne and declined to accept the crown. After the Bolshevik seizure of power he tried to flee to Finland but his escape was thwarted. Subsequently the Bolsheviks removed him to Perm in Siberia.

The outbreak of hostilities in Siberia between the Bolsheviks and the Czechoslovak Legion has made the local Bolsheviks nervous. The Czechoslovaks, now allied to the Komuch in Samara, are advancing on Perm: perhaps they will free the Grand Duke and make him the figurehead of a counter-revolutionary movement. To forestall this, the Bolsheviks hit on a simple solution. Together with Nicholas Johnson, an Englishman who is his last retainer, Grand Duke Michael is taken out to a remote forest location and shot. His killers loot his body of valuables and then bury it in an unmarked grave, hoping that it will never be found.

image source:

Grand Duke Michael and Nicholas Johnson (Wikipedia)