The Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly as a Left-Democratic Alternative to the Communists and the Whites in the Civil War
The Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly (Komuch) was an option in the Civil War that was essentially distinct from both the Soviet and the White alternatives. Komuch differed from the Soviet and the White authorities, as it was characterised by a combination of advanced socioeconomic policy and a dogmatically principled commitment to parliamentary democracy. In the event of the military victory of such a power, the success of the social democratic model was not guaranteed (as the history of Europe during the interwar period demonstrated), but Russia’s chances of moving along a path that combined a social state and democratic institutions would have increased markedly. While criticising, and in many respects rightly so, the military policy of the Bolsheviks, the Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks had to partially restore market capitalist relations. Their successful development was possible with the cooperation of the government and the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie demanded the dismantlement of “socialist conquests”, which Komuch was not going to do – both for ideological reasons and because the capitalist economy had begun to disintegrate during World War I and the Revolution. Komuch’s path involved the combination of a market economy (not necessarily just capitalist), state regulation, and broad social rights. After the Bolshevik promises, the workers and peasants took it quite calmly, fearing the possible cancellation of the social gains of the Revolution and expressing dissatisfaction with violations of promised civil rights. But the bourgeoisie, convinced of the “inconsistency” of dismantling institutions that infringed on the right of private property, stood in sharp opposition to Komuch, betting on its opponents in the anti-Soviet camp. At the same time, Komuch did not have time to build a state system for monitoring compliance with social rights and had to rely on the activity of trade unions, which, due to their social function, were critical of the government – in this case, Komuch. Komuch followed the law regulating the socialisation of land adopted by the Constituent Assembly and proposed a relatively successful version of regulating the food supply for the cities. Initially, the people’s army created by Komuch was also successful (enjoying support from the Czechoslovak Corps). However, Komuch faced a blockade by the Provisional Siberian Government. It was the opposition of more right-wing forces in the rear that predetermined the defeat of the Komuch alternative.
Garmiza, V. V. (1970). Krushenie eserovskikh pravitel’stv [The Collapse of the Socialist-Revolutionary Governments]. Moscow, Mysl’, 294 p.
Grazhdanskaya voina na Volge v 1918 g. [Civil War on the Volga in 1918]. (1930). Coll. 1. Praga, Obshchestvo uchastnikov Volzhskogo dvizheniya. 286 p.
Kalyagin, A. V., Paramonov, V. N. (1998). Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskaya politika Samarskogo Komucha (torgovo-promyshlennyi aspekt) [The Socio-Economic Policy of the Samara Komuch (Commercial and Industrial Aspect)]. In Vestnik Samarskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [website]. No. 1.
Kondrashin, V. V. (2009). Krest’yanstvo Rossii v Grazhdanskoi voine: k voprosu ob istokakh stalinizma [The Russian Peasantry in the Civil War: On the Origins of Stalinism]. Moscow, ROSSPEN. 575 p.
Lapandin, V. A. (2003). Komitet chlenov Uchreditel’nogo sobraniya: struktura vlasti i politicheskaya deyatel’nost’ (iyun’ 1918 – yanvar’ 1919 gg.) [Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly: Power Structure and Political Activity (June 1918 – January 1919)]. Samara, Samarskii tsentr analiticheskoi istorii i istoricheskoi informatiki. 212 p.
Lapandin, V. A. (2006). Eserovskie politiko-gosudarstvennye obrazovaniya v Rossii v gody Grazhdanskoi voiny: istoriko-bibliograficheskoe issledovanie otechestvennoi literatury 1918–2002 gg. [Socialist-Revolutionary Political and State Formations in Russia during the Civil War: A Historical and Bibliographic Study of Russian Literature in 1918–2002]. Samara, Samarskii tsentr analiticheskoi istorii i istoricheskoi informatiki. 196 p.
Maiskii, I. M. (1923). Demokraticheskaya kontrrevolyutsiya [Democratic Counter-Revolution]. Moscow, Petrograd, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo. 360 p.
Pereira, N. G. O. (1996). Sibir’: politika i obshchestvo v Grazhdanskoi voine [Siberia: Politics and Society in the Civil War.]. Moscow, Institut rossiiskoi istorii. 197 p.
Popov, F. G. (1972). 1918 god v Samarskoj gubernii. Khronika sobytii [1918 in Samara Province. Chronicle of Events]. Kuibyshev, Knizhnoe izdatel’stvo. 325 p.
Praisman, L. G. (2015). Tretii put’ v Grazhdanskoi voine. Demokraticheskaya revolyutsiya 1918 goda na Volge [The Third Way in the Civil War. The Democratic Revolution of 1918 on the Volga]. St Peterburg, Izdatel’stvo imeni N. I. Novikova. 530 p.
Rat’kovskii, I. S. (2017). Khronika belogo terrora v Rossii. Repressii i samosudy (1917–1920 gg.) [Chronicle of the White Terror in Russia. Repression and Lynching (1917–1920)]. Moscow, Algoritm. 464 p.
Shubin, A. V. (2018). 1918 god. Revolyutsiya, krov’yu omytaya [1918. Blood-Washed Revolution]. Moscow, Akademicheskii proekt. 598 p.
Terekhin, F. (1924). Krasnaya armiya v Kazani s momenta formirovaniya do naleta chekhov [The Red Army in Kazan from the Moment of Formation to the Czech Raid]. In Bor’ba za Kazan’. Sbornik materialov o chekho-uchredilovskoi interventsii v 1918 g. No. 1. Kazan, Istpart, pp. 19–36.
Trukan, G. A. (2000). Antibol’shevistskie pravitel’stva Rossii. [Anti-Bolshevik Governments of Russia]. Moscow, Institut rossiiskoi istorii. 255 p.
Zhober, V. P. (Ed.). (2016). Skitaniya russkogo ofitsera. Dnevnik Iosifa Il’ina. 1914–1920 [Wanderings of a Russian Officer. Diary of Iosif Ilyin. 1914–1920]. Moscow, Knizhitsa, Russkii put’. 480 p.
Zhurnaly zasedanii, prikazy i materialy Komiteta chlenov Vserossiiskogo Uchreditel’nogo sobraniya. Iyun’-oktyabr’ 1918 goda [Minute Books, Orders, and Materials of the Committee of Members of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly. June-October 1918]. (2011). In Arkhiv noveishei istorii Rossii. Vol. 11. Moscow, ROSSPEN. 631 p.
Znamenskii, N. (1924). Vremya chekhov [Time of the Czechs]. In Bor’ba za Kazan’. Sbornik materialov o chekho-uchredilovskoi interventsii v 1918 g. No. 1. Kazan, Istpart, pp. 113–179.