E.A. Preobrazhensky Autobiographical Sketch. Part 2. of 5. with link to complete text.

“In October, after the publication of our famous manifesto, I was involved in a struggle with the pogrom thugs in Oryol and then I was sent to the Bryansk plant. I remained there until the middle of Novem­ber, when, on the suggestion of N. M. Mikheyev, who was working in Moscow, and with the agreement of the Moscow Committee, I moved to Moscow where I was made propagandist for the Presnya district. I worked here permanently until the rising [the Russian Revolution of 1905] and during it attended District Committee meetings, which directed the Presnya insurrection and gave command of our forces to Sedoy. My functions consisted mainly of organising meetings of strikers at their factories even when under artillery fire from the Vagankovsky cemetery. When Presnya was ablaze and surrounded by the Semyonovsky Regiment, I hid my Browning [sidearm] in the water-closet of my room, slipped through the soldiers’ cordon at night, went to Oryol for a few days and then returned to Moscow to put myself at the disposition of its Central Committee, which was led at that time by Rykov.” …[continued below]

This is the second installment in my scan digitization and referencing of an English translation of the autobiography of E.A. Preobrazhenksky.  Preobrazhenksky a leading figure in the Russian Revolution and later of the ‘left’ opposition to Stalin, a collaborator of both Lenin and Trotsky, joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903 at the age of 17. This segment picks up in 1905. In the prior section he describes, at the age of 18, being involved in both student political cells and in the organization and education of industrial workers in the Bryansk Oblast (District).

It is from the 1969 book Makers of the Russian Revolution originally published in French and edited and annotated by  Georges Haupt and Jean-Jaques Marie

The scan and OCR is from the English translation Cornell University Press 1974.

The book provides profiles of leading figures of the Russian Revolution including many of the original Bolsheviks. The editors produced the work using as much original and autobiographical material as was available to them. The book is available used for about 20.$ US.

EAP Autobiography complete PDF follow this link for the complete PDF format Scan.

Link to the 1st installment

II. From the Autobiography of E.A. Preobrazhenksy

In October, after the publication of our famous manifesto, I was involved in a struggle with the pogrom thugs in Oryol and then I was sent to the Bryansk plant. I remained there until the middle of Novem­ber, when on the suggestion of N. M. Mikheyev, who was working in Moscow, and with the agreement of the Moscow Committee, I moved to Moscow where I was made propagandist for the Presnya district. I worked here permanently until the rising [The Russian Revolution of 1905] and during it attended District Committee meetings, which directed the Presnya insurrection [1] and gave command of our forces to Sedoy. My functions consisted mainly of organising meetings of strikers at their factories even when under artillery fire from the Vagankovsky cemetery. When Presnya was ablaze and surrounded by the Semyonovsky Regiment, I hid my Browning in the water-closet of my room, slipped through the soldiers’ cordon at night, went to Oryol for a few days and then returned to Moscow to put myself at the disposition of its Central Committee, which was led at that time by Rykov.

Rykov offered me the choice between the two organizations which had suffered the greatest losses, Kostroma, or Perm in the Urals. I chose the Urals, and within five days I had reached there and been introduced to the Perm Committee. One of the permanent workers on its staff was Klavdiya Timofeyevna Novgorodtseva, and we were also visited from time to time by Yakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov who was patching up the whole Urals Party organization after the January defeat. After working in Perm for two and a half months, I was denounced by an agent provocateur called Votinov and on 18 March was arrested with other comrades. This was the first time I had been in prison. After five months and a four-day hunger strike, I was released for lack of evidence with Bina Lobova, Liza Kin and others, but we were kept under police supervision. When I came out of prison and set off through the town with a little bundle of things under my arm, I was met by Aleksandr Minkin, who brought me up to date with Party affairs and suggested that I resume work. The very next day I took part in discussions with SR[2]s on the other bank of the Kama, and the usual routine of underground work was under way again. In view of the collapse of the regional organization, I set out for Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Ufa to re-establish contacts, and arranged a regional conference for the autumn in Vyatka. I myself was not able to attend. Having been sent to St Petersburg by the Perm Committee to buy Brownings to arm detachments of workers, I was betrayed by the agent prococateur Foma Lebedcv (whom I recognised by chance in Oryol in 1919 and who was later executed in Perm). I was arrested at the Kazan station and sent back to Perm. For the second time I was put in prison there, and then I spent eight months in the notorious penal battalions. When, however, the case concerning our group was transferred to the Kazan Court of Justice, I was again released for lack of evidence.

I went to the southern Urals where I worked mainly in Ufa at the Sima plant and in Zlatoust. We succeeded in re-forming the Urals regional organization, one of whose most prominent activists was Nikolay Nikandrovich Nakoryakov (pseudonym ‘Nazar’). At the excellent clan­ destine printing-press in Ufa, we renewed publication of our local paper Uralsky Rabochy, and in addition brought out the Krestyanskaya Gazeta and the Soldatskaya Gazeta. In 1907 I represented the Urals at the All­ Russian Party Conference in Finland, [3]where I first met Lenin.


[1] The 1905 Revolution culminated in the resistance and eventual defeat of an armed workers insurrection in the  Moscow district of Presnya. 1905 was sometimes called the “dress rehearsal” for the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The insurrection was never more than defensive. Barricades were built, but behind them men had almost no arms—perhaps 200 pistols and some hunting rifles to defend a line over ten miles long, against some 100,000 regular troops. Behind the 200 with pistols was a larger number with improvised cold arms, and five or six thousand ready to take up the arms of those who fell. Much of Moscow’s population, especially its workingmen, aided with food, barricade construction, information, and sanitary support. The barricades were little more than obstructions to prevent cavalry charges. Fighting was hit-and-run, from doorways and windows and rooftops around corners and out of courtyards through which retreat was secure. Men fought in detachments of twos and threes and fives and tens, avoiding pitched battles, vanishing swiftly, giving the impression of great numbers. However once it had become clear that the troops would not join and that the general strike in Saint Petersburg had failed, not for a moment was there any doubt of the outcome. Still, for more than a week, in the Presnya District the insurrection held out.   [ From Three Who Made a Revolution Bertram D. Wolfe]

[2] Social-Revolutionary Party

[3] The Third Congress of the RSDLP (2nd All Russian) held in Kotka (Finland) on July 21-23 (August 3-5), 1907. According to historical records Preobrazhensky would have been one of nine Bolshevik delegates in attendance.  Follow this link for the Draft Resolution on Participation in the Elections to the Third Duma proposed by Lenin and adopted by the congress which included 26 delegates in total.

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News and political commentary from the point of view of the social interests of the international working class.
This entry was posted in Autobiography of EA Preobrazhensky serialized excerpts, E.A. Preobrazhensky, Soviet/Bolshevik history and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to E.A. Preobrazhensky Autobiographical Sketch. Part 2. of 5. with link to complete text.

  1. Pingback: E.A. Preobrazhensky Autobiographical Sketch. Part 3. of 5. with link to complete text. | Rawlin'sView Blog

  2. Pingback: E.A. Preobrazhensky Autobiographical Sketch. Part 4. of 5. with link to complete text. | Rawlin'sView Blog

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