‘The reaction was rampant’: Lenin goes into hiding after July Days

At the end of June Ilyich went to the country for a few days’ rest with Maria Ilyinichna. They stayed with the Bonch-Bruyeviches in the village of Neivola, near station Mustamaki (not far from Petrograd). Meanwhile the following events took place in Petrograd.

The machine-gun regiment quartered in the Vyborg District decided to start an armed uprising. Two days before this, our Education Committee had arranged to meet the regimental Education Committee on Monday to discuss certain questions of cultural work. Naturally, no one came from the regiment. The whole machine-gun regiment had turned out. I went to the Krzesinska Mansion. On my way there I caught up with the machine-gunners. They were marching down Sampsonievsky Prospekt in orderly ranks. One incident impressed itself on my mind. An old workman stepped off the kerb and went towards the soldiers, bowing low to them and saying in a loud voice: “That’s it, boys, stand up for us working folks.” Among those present at the headquarters of the Central Committee were Stalin and Lashevich. The machine-gunners halted under the balcony of the Krzesinska Mansion, saluted, then marched on. Two more regiments marched up to the C.C. headquarters. followed by a workers’ demonstration. That evening a comrade was sent to Mustamaki for Ilyich. The Central Committee had given the slogan to keep the demonstration a peaceful one, but the machine-gun regiment was already throwing up barricades. I remember Lashevich, who was in charge of Party work in this regiment, lying on the sofa in the office of the Vyborg District Council and staring up at the ceiling for a long time before going out to the machine-gunners to dissuade them from taking revolutionary action. It was hard on him, but such was the decision of the Central Committee. The factory workers had walked out. Sailors had arrived from Kronstadt. A huge demonstration of armed workers and soldiers was marching to the Taurida Palace. Ilyich spoke from the balcony of the Krzesinska Mansion. The Central Committee issued an appeal to stop the demonstration. The Provisional Government called out the military cadets and Cossacks. Fire was opened on the demonstrators in Sadovaya Street.

Arrangements were made for Ilyich to spend that night at the Sulimovs’, in the Petrograd District. The safest place for Ilyich to hide in was the Vyborg District. It was decided that he would live with Kayurov, a worker. I called for Ilyich at the Sulimovs’, and we went together to the Vyborg District. The Moskovsky Regiment was passing down a boulevard. Kayurov was sitting in the boulevard, waiting for us. When he saw us he got up and walked ahead. Ilyich followed him, and I turned off to one side. The military cadets wrecked the editorial office of Pravda. A meeting of the Petrograd Committee was held during the day in the caretaker’s lodge of the Renault Plant, at which Ilyich was present. The question of a general strike was discussed. A decision was made not to call it.

From there Ilyich went to the apartment of Fofanova, in Lesnoi Prospekt, where he had an appointment with several members of the Central Committee. That day the workers’ movement was suppressed. Alexinsky, Vperyod-ist and former deputy of the Petrograd workers in the Second Duma, who had once been our close associate, and Pankratov, member of the S.-R. Party and an old Schlusselburger, spread a slanderous rumour to the effect that Lenin, according to information in their possession, was a German spy. They aimed at paralyzing Lenin’s influence. On July 6 [July 19 on the modern calendar] the Provisional Government issued an order for the arrest of Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev. The Krzesinska Mansion was occupied by government troops. Ilyich moved from Kayurov’s place to Alliluyev’s, where Zinoviev was in hiding. Kayurov’s son was an Anarchist, and the young people messed about with bombs; his house, therefore, was not quite a suitable place for hiding in.

On the 7th Maria Ilyinichna and I went to see Ilyich at the Alliluyevs’ place. It happened to be a moment of vacillation with Ilyich. He argued the necessity of making his appearance in court. Maria Ilyinichna warmly protested against it. “Grigory and I have decided to appear – go and tell Kamenev,” Ilyich said to me. Kamenev was staying at another flat not far away. I got up hastily. “Let’s say good-bye,” Ilyich checked me. “We may not see each other again.” We embraced. I went to Kamenev and gave him Ilyich’s message. In the evening Stalin and others persuaded Ilyich not to appear in court, and by so doing, saved his life. That evening our place in Shirokaya Street was raided. Only our room was searched. The raid was conducted by a colonel and another military man in a greatcoat with a white lining. They took some notes and documents of mine off the table. They asked me if I knew where Lenin was, and I gathered from that question that he had not given himself up. In the morning I went to Smilga, who lived in the same street. Stalin and Molotov were there. There I learned that Ilyich and Zinoviev had decided to go into hiding.

Ilyich and Zinoviev were in hiding at Razliv, not far from Sestroretsk, in the house of Yemelyanov, an old underground Party worker employed at the Sestroretsk factory. Ilyich retained a warm feeling towards Yemelyanov and his family till the very end.

 

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Lenin works near the hut were he lived while hiding out in Razliv after the July Days. It was here he began writing “The State and Revolution.” Today a museum is located at the site.

I spent all my time in the Vyborg District. The difference between the temper of the man in the street and that of the workers during the July days was very striking. The former could be heard muttering angrily in the trams and on every street corner, but as soon as one crossed the wooden bridge leading to the Vyborg District, one seemed to step into another world. I was up to my ears in work. Through Zof and others connected with Yemelyanov, I received Ilyich’s notes giving various instructions. The reaction was rampant. On July 9 [22] a joint meeting of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers and Peasants’ Deputies declared the Provisional Government to be “the government of salvation of the revolution.” On the same day the “salvation” began. That day Kamenev was arrested; on July 12 [25] an order was issued introducing the death penalty at the front; on July 15 [28] Pravda and Okopnaya Pravda were suppressed, and an order was issued banning meetings at the front; arrests were made among the Bolsheviks in Helsingfors, and the Bolshevik paper there, Volna (Wave), was suppressed. On July 18 [31] the Finnish Diet was dismissed, and General Kornilov appointed Commander-in-Chief; on July 22 [August 4] Trotsky and Lunacharsky were arrested.

Shortly after the July days Kerensky hit on a scheme that was calculated to improve discipline among the troops; he decided to make an example of the machinegun regiment which had started the demonstration in the July days by having it marched out, disarmed, into a square and there publicly degraded. I saw the disarmed regiment going out to the square. The soldiers were leading the horses by the bridles, and there was such smouldering hatred in their eyes, such resentment in their slow deliberate tread, that it was clear that no more stupid method could have been devised. As a matter of fact, the machinegun regiment sided wholeheartedly with the Bolsheviks in October, and guarded Ilyich at Smolny.

The Bolshevik Party went over to a state of semi-legality, but it grew in strength and numbers. By the time of the opening of the Sixth Party Congress on July 26 [August 8] it numbered 177,000 members – twice as much as at the All-Russian April Conference three months previously. The growth of Bolshevik influence, especially among the troops, was obvious. The Sixth Congress welded the forces of the Bolsheviks still closer.

The appeal issued in the name of the Sixth Party Congress spoke about the counter-revolutionary position taken by the Provisional Government, and about the impending world revolution and the battle of classes. “Our Party,” the appeal stated, “is entering this battle with its banner unfurled. It has firmly held this banner in its grasp. It has not lowered it before the oppressors and slanderers, before traitors to the revolution and flunkeys of capital. It will hold the banner aloft in the struggle for socialism, for the brotherhood of nations, for it knows that a new movement is rising and that the death hour of the old world is approaching.”

N.K. Krupskaya, “Underground Again,” Reminiscences of Lenin

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