V. I.   Lenin

Draft Decisions for the C.C. Politbureau on
Measures to Fight Mamontov

Written: Written at the end of August 1919
Published: First published in 1942 in Lenin Miscellany XXXIV. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 141b-143a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README



Draft Resolution of the C.C. Politbureau

Attaching serious importance to Mamontov’s[1] operations and considering the speedy destruction of his detachment an urgent matter, the Politbureau of the C.C. resolves;

1) once more to draw the attention of the People’s Commissars for Post and Telegraph and for Railways to the necessity of exerting every effort to improve post and telegraph connections in the area of Mamontov’s operations and speed up the transportation of troops in that area.

2) Comrade Trotsky to be charged with

  1. (a) drawing up a draft appeal by telegraph to Party organisations of the given area with a repeat appeal for more energetic actions;
  2. (b) taking part together with Comrade Lashevich (Lashevich retaining personal command) in all operations for routing Mamontov, to the extent of his complete liquidation, in order that the authority of the C.C. and the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic may be displayed in all these operations with greater speed and determination[2];
  3. (c) calling in volunteers against Mamontov from the gubernias of Tver, Kostroma, Yaroslavl and Ivanovo-Voznesensk.


Draft directives of the C.C. Politbureau to be drawn up at once.

It is considered politically essential

1) to speed up transportation of the Belebei Bashkir Division to Petrograd and effect this movement as energetically as possible;

2) Tula and the defence of the north generally against Mamontov being sufficiently covered, the 21st Division, in its known and greater part, is to be transferred to the Southern Front with the double objective of catching Mamontov from the south and taking part in the fighting on the Southern Front.


I propose the following addenda to the decision of the Politbureau (measures against Mamontov):

1) appointment of chiefs of every section (10 to 30 versts, etc.) in case of encirclement, of whom 1-2 to be Communists.

2) those refusing to leave the railway cars to be shot on the spot;

3) further draconian measures to tighten discipline.

The right of decision to introduce these measures to be given to Lashevich + Trotsky.

((Redirect before reaching Moscow.))

+3) Speed up dispatch of each troop train of the 21st Division to go into immediate action against Mamontov with the addition (if necessary) of Communists.


[1] Marnontov’s mounted corps was launched by Denikin for attacks behind the lines of the Soviet troops on the Southern Front. On August 10, 1919, Marnontov’s cavalry broke through the front in the vicinity of Novokhopersk and raided several towns and villages. This cavalry raid created a threat to the Soviet troops, made offensive operations difficult and interfered with army control and supply in a number of places. The Party and the Government took emergency measures to fight Mamontov’s cavalry. On August23 the Council of Defence declared martial law in Ryazan, Tula, Orel, Voronezh, Tambov and Penza gubernias, on the territory of which all power was vested in the Revolutionary Committees. These were responsible for organising defence against whiteguard attacks and suppressing counter-revolutionary actions. Lenin attached great importance to the organisation of Mamontov’s defeat. The latter’s corps was routed in October-November 1919.

[2] Lenin had repeatedly demanded that the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, headed by Trotsky, take drastic meas-ures to fight Mamontov’s troops. On September 16, 1919, Lenin wrote: “Inaction against Mamontov. Evidently, there has been one delay after another. The troops marching on Voronezh from the North were late. We were late in transferring the 21st Divi-sion to the South. We were late with the armoured cars. Late with communications .... Apparently our R.M.C.R. ‘gives orders’, without being interested in or able to follow up fulfilment. This maybe our common vice but in military affairs it simply means destruction” (see present edition, Vol. 35, pp. 420-21).

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