Sunday, August 13, 2023

Russian Authorities to Block Commemorations of 1918 Izhevsk-Votkinsk Workers Revolt against Soviet Power

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 5 – Russian officials have announced plans to end all future commemorations of the 1918 Izhevsk-Votkinsk rising, the first mass working class revolt against the Bolsheviks that was suppressed by the Red Army but many of whose participants managed to escape and form one of the most valiant units of Kolchak’s anti-Bolshevik forces.

            Most of the participants in the rising were ethnic Russian employees of the arms factories that had long existed in these two Urals cities, but the revolt and its suppression had important ethnic consequences: it prompted the Bolsheviks to organize the Udmurt republic to split that Finno-Ugric nation off from the Russians.

            Although in Soviet times after the 1920s, officials played down the rising lest Soviet workers take heart from it, post-Soviet Udmurts have focused on it as a major reason why they must have a republic. They fear that if commemorations stop, soon officials will deny any rising took place and then use that as justification to do away with Udmurtia (  

            Since 1991, there have been a series of studies published in Udmurtia about the violence in 1918, but perhaps the most significant development was the discovery a decade ago of mass graves containing 7,000 workers who  were shot by the Bolsheviks for their part in the Izhevsk-Votkinsk rising (

            Scholars had long known how many people the Cheka and its allies shot in the Urals because in the 1920s these siloviki proudly published lists of their victims, but until 2008, no one knew precisely where the bodies were buried. Now, they do; but the Putin regime has decided that it has to throw the rug of secrecy over all of this.

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