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Reference:

The Significance of the Defense of Tsaritsyn in 1918. Economic and Military-strategic Aspects.

Shumakov Mikhail Dmitrievich

ORCID: 0000-0002-7286-2350

Postgraduate student, Department of Modern History of Russia, St. Petersburg State University

199034, Russia, Saint Petersburg, Universitetskaya Embankment str., 7-9

mishumakov@mail.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-868X.2023.10.38840

EDN:

QJTJQL

Received:

26-09-2022


Published:

31-10-2023


Abstract: The object of the study is the defense of the city of Tsaritsyn by the Red Army troops in 1918. The subject of the study is the economic and military-strategic importance of this city for the warring parties. The significance of revealing the significance of the defense of this city is due to the fact that I.V. Stalin took active steps to organize the defense of Tsaritsyn in the summer and autumn of 1918. In the following years, this issue acquired special political significance, including in connection with the confrontation between I.V. Stalin and L.D. Trotsky. Their confrontation also concerned the question of the expediency of Stalin's activities in Tsaritsyn and, more broadly, the importance of the defense of this city in general. In this study, the author tried to show that the defense of Tsaritsyn was of great economic and military-strategic importance at the time of the summer-autumn of 1918. Based on the sources associated with food supplies from the outskirts of Russia to its centers, the author emphasizes the food importance of the South of Russia and Tsaritsyn in particular, as the food and industrial center of this region. A separate aspect of the significance of Tsaritsyn is the factor of railways - Tsaritsyn was an important railway junction connecting three branches of railroads. This was important both in the light of the centralization and delivery of food supplies, and from the point of view of the transfer of armed forces. Finally, the author tried to combine economic and strategic importance in the framework of the study. The latter is represented by feedback from participants of various belligerents of the Civil War about the significance of Tsaritsyn.


Keywords:

Defense of Tsaritsyn, Stalin, Tsaritsyn, Civil War, Food supply, Tsaritsyn Railways, Economic significance of Tsaritsyn, Stalin in Tsaritsyn, Food exchange, The strategic importance of Tsaritsyn

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

The defense of Tsaritsyn has become an important page in the history of the Civil War in Russia, around which, nevertheless, there have been constant disputes for more than a hundred years. One of the main reasons for these discussions is the active participation of I.V. Stalin in the defense of this city during the summer and autumn campaign of 1918. The fact of Stalin's personal participation in the planning of defense is indisputable. But what exactly was this contribution? Did he contribute to the success of the defense, or on the contrary disorganized it? The very significance of Tsaritsyn in the Civil War is also controversial: was it an important stronghold of the Red Army, or was it just a secondary section of the front?

In his book about I.V. Stalin, L.D. Trotsky wrote: "The defense of Tsaritsyn could never have the same significance as the struggle for Kazan, from where the way to Tula and Moscow opens, or as the struggle for Petrograd, the loss of which would be a terrible blow in itself and would open the way from the north, the way to Moscow. Now many heroic episodes of the civil War have been forgotten: everything where Stalin did not participate has been forgotten; but the name of Tsaritsyn has been given a mystical significance" [25, p. 83]. Thus, L.D. Trotsky argued that the defense of Tsaritsyn was not decisive in the Civil War. It seems that this opinion is not so objective.

Determining the real significance of Tsaritsyn in 1918 will bring us closer to solving a number of important issues: about the reasons for Stalin's secondment to this city, about his personal role at this stage of the Civil War, about the legality of the decisions of the "Tsaritsyn troika" - Stalin, Voroshilov and Minin, including the refusal to leave Tsaritsyn in the midst of its defense and move to Kozlov, as Trotsky insisted at the time. This is the relevance of the study: the defense of Tsaritsyn became one of the most important stages in the biographies of Stalin and Voroshilov - figures who were destined to have a tremendous impact on issues of politics and military construction in the USSR. Tsaritsyn became the context of their formation as military leaders, which was taken into account later by the German command, which planned the attack on Stalingrad, and Soviet culture, which glorified the defense of Tsaritsyn and the participation of Stalin and Voroshilov in it.Proceeding from this, it seems that the clarification of the meaning of Tsaritsyn in 1918 brings researchers closer to understanding Stalin's role in the Civil War, and through this - to understanding his role in national history as a whole.

The chronological framework of the study is June - October 1918 - the time when I.V. Stalin was in charge of the defense of Tsaritsyn and the supply of food to industrial areas through this city.

The object of the study is the defense of the city of Tsaritsyn by the Red Army troops in 1918 . The subject of the study is the economic and military-strategic importance of this city for the warring parties.

The question of the significance of Tsaritsyn has been raised more than once in historiography. Among other problems related to the Civil War, it was considered already in the 1920s. Moreover, this question was considered both in the studies of Soviet specialists and in the environment of white emigration. The most fundamental works of Soviet historiography of this period, affecting the question of Tsaritsyn, are the studies of N.E. Kakurin and A.I. Anishev. N.E. Kakurin - colonel of the Imperial army, and later head of the Civil War History Department at the Headquarters of the Red Army.In 1925, he published the study "How the Revolution Fought", devoted to a general review of the course of the civil war. In the section devoted to the Southern Front in 1918, he emphasizes the importance of Tsaritsyn as the industrial center of the region and the importance of its strategic position [14].In the same year, 1925, A.I. Anishev's research "Essays on the History of the Civil War of 1917-1920" was published. This work also has the character of a general overview of the fronts of the Civil War, including the Southern Front that interests us. A.I. Anishev also mentions the importance of Tsaritsyn in this area: "Tsaritsyn played the role of a proletarian center that allocated a military headquarters to unite those detachments that came to Tsaritsyn from Ukraine, the Don, and the North Caucasus" [1, P.165].The works of the leaders of the white movement (some of their authors directly participated in the battles for Tsaritsyn) will be discussed in detail in the second part of the article.

The transition to new historiographical trends in Russian science has been outlined since the late 1920s. If before that Tsaritsyn was considered along with other issues of the Civil War, now it is awarded a number of specialized monographs that examine in detail its significance during the war and the general strategic situation that has developed around this city.

The issues of Tsaritsyn's defense were considered in sufficient detail by major historians of this time. Let us briefly describe the most significant studies of the 1930s and 50s . XX century .The Tsaritsyn defense was studied by a major Soviet historian Esther Borisovna Genkina in a monograph: "The Struggle for Tsaritsyn". The monograph clearly traces the characteristic features of Soviet historiography of that period: 1)Significant emphasis on the overall strategic importance of Tsaritsyn during the Civil War: "Tsaritsyn as the center from where the leadership of all the armies fighting in the south of the country came from."2) The thesis that I.V. Stalin made a decisive contribution to the positive outcome of the defense of Tsaritsyn from the troops of ataman P.N. Krasnov: "Comrade Stalin took the lead in the struggle for the entire Soviet South and the Caspian Sea" [9, p.12]. V.A. Melikov's monograph "The Heroic Defense of Tsaritsyn" [17] is in similar scientific positions.

During this period, there were also studies devoted separately to the South of Russia (primarily to the pre-Caucasian and Transcaucasian provinces) as a source of food.In this regard, it is necessary to note the monograph by P.G. Sofinov "The role of the Southern regions in the supply of food to the republic" [23]. In his work, the historian substantiates the thesis about Stalin's establishment of food supplies from Tsaritsyn to Moscow, which until then was in a state of crisis in the second half of 1950. once again, there is a change in Soviet historiography. The emphasis on the positive contribution of I.V. Stalin to the Civil War is removed, which also influenced the fact that interest in Tsaritsyn has also decreased - he is again considered as one of a number of sites of the Civil War (see the works of A.E. Antonov, Yu.E. Korablev, etc.), specialized research on related issues does not come out.

The same situation continues now: there are no specialized studies on the significance of Tsaritsyn, but in the latest works devoted to I.V. Stalin in the Civil War, such as the collection of V.L. Goncharov, the studies of A.Y. Pimenov [20], I.S. Ratkovsky [21], O.V. Khlevnyuk [27], D.V. Dubinin [11], - briefly describes the significance of this city.

In this article, the author seeks, taking into account a new range of sources, to put Tsaritsyn back in the center of attention and clarify its significance during the Civil War at the time of 1918, comprehensively considering this significance in economic and military-strategic aspects. First of all , it seems important to answer three questions: 1) Did Tsaritsyn have strategic and economic significance when the decision was made on Stalin's business trip to this city. 2) Did Tsaritsyn retain this meaning during the summer-autumn of 1918. 3) Did the participants of the Civil War take this meaning into account, or was the thesis about it formed by Soviet historiography of 1930-40?

In the final part of the introduction, we will briefly focus on the circle of sources used. In the first part of the study, which examines the economic significance of Tsaritsyn, the following sources were used: materials of the periodical press (first of all, issues of the newspaper Pravda containing publications on issues affecting Tsaritsyn), materials of the fund No. 558 of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the personal fund of I.V. Stalin, were also used. First of all, these are telegrams reflecting his interaction with other statesmen on the issue of transit of food cargoes to and from Tsaritsyn. To determine the potential volumes of food procurements in the South of Russia, statistical data from the collection of statistical and economic data on agriculture in Russia and foreign countries, compiled for ten years before 1917, were used. To determine the food calculations of the Soviet government, the work of N.A. Orlov, who was directly involved in these calculations, written in 1918, was used. The work also uses a number of memoirs and works of contemporaries of the events under study who took part in the Civil War on different sides, such as Kakurin, Krasnov, Denikin, Wrangel, Zaitsov, Trotsky, etc.

The significance of the defense of Tsaritsyn in 1918. The economic aspect.

During the Russian Civil War, Tsaritsyn was of economic value to the belligerents. Firstly, Tsaritsyn was important from the point of view of supplying the population of Russia with food. According to the collection of statistical and economic data on agriculture in Russia and foreign countries, published in 1917 in Petrograd, the Middle Volga region (which included Samara, Saratov, Simbirsk, Penza, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod and Ufa provinces) was distinguished by significant indicators of the collection of food loaves for 1915 [25, p. 10-15]. Moreover, the Saratov province, to which Tsaritsynsky Uyezd belonged, occupied a leading role in the collection of food crops in this region in 1915, 112,579 poods of food loaves were collected there from the total collection of 51 provinces of European Russia 2,933,122 poods [25, p. 10-15]. Thus, the Saratov province accounted for food production, almost twice the average share in the provinces of European Russia. It is also worth noting that a significant share of the collection of food crops in 1915 fell on the pre-Caucasian region (Tersk and Kuban regions, Stavropol province) 368,812 poods [25, pp. 42-43]. The main way to supply central Russia with food from this region, thanks to the railway network, lay through Tsaritsyn. If we add up the food collection data for the Saratov and pre-Caucasian provinces - that is, for regions directly connected to the Tsaritsyn road network, we get a total collection of 481,391 pounds. If we take into account that the total grain harvest in the Russian Empire in 1915 amounted to 3,731,028 pounds, then we can conclude that about 13% of all food loaves of the empire were collected from the 4 mentioned provinces.

For a greater probability of a correct result, let's take the average value for the last five years of measurements: from 1911 to 1915. Taking into account the data of the collection of static and economic data on agriculture in Russia, an average of 349,284 pounds of grain crops were collected in three pre-Caucasian provinces over five years. The average value for the Saratov province will be 91,179 pounds. Finally, the average harvest of grain crops in all provinces of Russia for five years amounted to 3,829,324 pounds. Taking into account the average values, the share of food collection in the four provinces directly related to Tsaritsyn to the total collections in the Empire decreases, but slightly - up to 11.5%.

It is impossible not to note the difficulties associated with the food crisis of 1917-1918. Here is a quote from V.V. Kondrashin's monograph: "The objective factor that aggravated, along with the Civil War and the loss of territories due to the Brest Peace, the food crisis in Soviet Russia was the shortage of bread in 1917 in the grain regions of the country, including the Volga region. As a result, in the winter and especially in the spring of 1918, serious food difficulties arose in the Volga villages, peasant farms experienced a shortage of seed grain. In particular, the grain harvest of 1917 in the Volga region turned out to be 55% lower than the average gross harvest for 1909-1913. Answering the questionnaire of the Saratov Gubprodkom in May 1918, 95% of the provincial councils complained of a lack of seeds for spring sowing" [15, pp.88-89]. Thus, in 1917, Russia is faced with a crop failure, which has exacerbated the food issue. The crop failure affected the Volga region in general and the Saratov province in particular. However, this only underlines the importance of Tsaritsyn as a link with the Lower Volga region, the Kuban and the North Caucasus [6, p.306].

It seems that these data correspond to how the situation was perceived by the direct participants of the events. From the correspondence of I.V. Stalin with other Bolshevik leaders, it can be concluded that his main attention in connection with the food issue was focused precisely on the Kuban and North Caucasus direction. In a telegram to Trotsky dated July 11 , 1918 Stalin expresses concern about the interruption of the Tikhoretsk railway line (exactly the line that connected Tsaritsyn with Kuban), as well as the inaction of the local military command on this issue [23].

In a telegram to G.K. Ordzhonikidze of July 17, 1918 I.V. Stalin raises this topic again: "The first question. The interruption of railway communication and the complete isolation, on the one hand, of Russia from the only grain region, which makes famine inevitable (keep in mind that the routes to Kizlyar, as well as to Petrovsk, are also interrupted)" [3, p. 44]. Apparently, in the first part of the sentence, Stalin speaks about all that the same lines Kotelnikovo Tikhoretskaya. Next, we are talking about Kizlyar and Petrovsk. Petrovsk is the former name of Makhachkala, changed in 1921 [13, p.165]. From the telegrams sent by Stalin to the Bolshevik leaders, it is clear what close attention Stalin pays to the KotelnikovoTikhoretskaya line, i.e. connections with Kuban, as well as railway lines to Kizlyar and Petrovsk, i.e. connections with The North Caucasus.

This brings our attention to the second aspect of Tsaritsyn's economic (and strategic no less) importance the railways, which turned the city into an important transit point and pushed its industrial development. The construction of the first railway in Tsaritsyn began in 1858 [4, p. 88]. This road connected the Volga and the Don, which created conditions for the development of Tsaritsyn. In 1871, the second railway was opened Tsaritsyn-Mud, so the city was connected to the central provinces of Russia [28, p. 247]. Thanks to the construction of the Mud-Tsaritsyn railway, salt production and oil refining began to develop actively in Tsaritsyn, and about twenty fish-smoking plants appeared [28, p. 247].

In 1897, the construction of the Tikhoretsk-Tsaritsyn branch of the Vladikavkaz railway, which connected the Volga region with the Kuban and the North Caucasus, was completed [28, p. 247]. Thus, three major railway lines of Southern Russia converged in the Tsaritsyn area. They ensured its connection with the most important grain-producing regions (Kuban, the North Caucasus, etc.), and with the lower Volga region, and with central Russia, turning Tsaritsyn into the economic center of the region. This conclusion is supported by the fact that it was in Tsaritsyn that the Extraordinary Regional Committee for Food and Supply of the South of Russia (Chokprod) was located the regional organization of the Supply Committee for the entire southeast of European Russia, at the same time one of the six largest food organizations in the RSFSR [18, p.202]. Previously, Chokprod was based in Rostov-on-Don, but after its capture by the troops of ataman P.N. Krasnov on April 25, 1918, Chokprod moved to Tsaritsyn [21, p.100]. This fact indicates that in conditions when Rostov-on-Don was lost, and even earlier Novocherkassk, it was from Tsaritsyn that it was most convenient to exercise control over the collection of food in the relevant region. Moreover, most of the transport route for the supply of bread to Central Russia turned out to be possible now only through Tsaritsyn [21, p.100]

It is worth noting that the construction of railways spurred the industrial development of Tsaritsyn.In particular, there is a significant number of enterprises that worked for defense. As of 1916, in Tsaritsyn there were: a workshop for the manufacture of hand grenades, cast-iron and cast-iron mechanical plants, blacksmith workshops, after 1916, industrial power plants came into operation [2, pp. 222-223]. In 1914, a huge gun factory was founded in Tsaritsyn, where, by the way, K.E. Voroshilov worked for some time in the same year [8, p.83]. This plant was built under a concession agreement by the British firm "Vickers Limited" [2, p.224].

Considering the fact that Tsaritsyn was in the center of hostilities in the summer and autumn of 1918, it is important to focus on the condition of these railways during this period. The ongoing battles could not have a positive impact on the stability of rail transport. The railway lines near Tsaritsyn were repeatedly interrupted. For example, on June 16, the line between Tsaritsyn and Moscow was interrupted near the Alexikovo station, but this did not become insurmountable obstacles - the supply of consuming provinces during this period continued along the Volga, and by June 21, the interrupted line had already been cleared of enemy troops [24, p.51]. But at the end of June, an even more serious difficulty followed - the Tsaritsyn-Tikhoretskaya line was interrupted by the Cossacks, i.e. Tsaritsyn's communication with the North Caucasus, from where the largest number of grain cargoes came. This led to a sharp decline in the shipment of bread from Tsaritsyn - by 98.5%, the decrease in the export of food as a whole decreased by 82% [24, p. 63]. But even during this period, Tsaritsyn does not lose its food value - the export of fish, salt and other products increases, the export of which did not depend on the connection with the North Caucasus [23, p.63]. In general, it is worth noting that, even despite the instability of railway communications, Tsaritsyn played a very significant role in supplying the RSFSR in the summer of 1918.

To determine this role, it is necessary to focus on the data on the export of food from Tsaritsyn during this period. The calculation of these data was undertaken by Soviet researchers. Back in 1940, E.B. Genkina made such a calculation for the first time in the monograph "The Heroic Defense of Tsaritsyn" [9]. Based on the statements of the Chokprod (an Extraordinary regional organization responsible for the procurement of food in the South of Russia), E.B. Genkina came to the result in 2,379 wagons with food supplies sent from Tsaritsyn to the consuming provinces in June 1918 [9, p. 94]. During the same three summer months, according to the documents of the Chokprod published by E.B. Genkina and N.S. Trusova in the collection of documents "Heroic Defense of Tsaritsyn", 3,521 wagons with food supplies were taken out of Tsaritsyn [24, p.64]. E.B. Genkina's data were clarified in P.G. Sofinov's article "The role of the southern regions in the supply of food to the Soviet Republic in the summer of 1918", published in the journal "Historical Notes" in 1949. P.G. Sofinov notes that E.B. Genkina used heterogeneous sources, which led to somewhat inflated indicators of food intake from Tsaritsyn [24, P. 58]. He himself, when calculating, relies on monthly pogubern records of the shipment of cargo from Tsaritsyn, stored in the Chokprod fund in TsGAOR (now GARF). This source gives the following indicators: in June, 2334 wagons of food cargoes were sent from Tsaritsyn (this figure takes into account not only bread - 61.7% of it, but also cattle and other food cargoes) or 1,931,144 pounds in weight terms at the rate of 20 pounds - 1 head of cattle [24, p.61]. In July and August, due to the interruption of Tsaritsyn's communication with the North Caucasus, grain receipts sharply decrease, but the shipment of food from Tsaritsyn as a whole was continued and amounted, according to the calculations of the same P.G. Sofinov, to 538 wagons for the last two summer months [24, p.63]. The share of bread in this batch was, however, very low - 4.9%, but the shipment of salt and fish was increased by 88.3% and 63,%, respectively [24, p.64]. If we go to the final figure of food cargoes harvested in the South of Russia, P.G. Sofinov calls the figure 4 809,440 pounds [24, p.66]. For the purity of the picture, on the basis of the same pogubernsky notes of Chokprod, given by Sofinov, we will highlight only those data that relate to food directly sent to the consuming provinces through Tsaritsyn. In this case, the final figure will be 2,270,011 pounds of food cargo for three summer months. Of this amount, the bread itself is 1,138,562 poods.The very great importance of these indicators becomes obvious if we consider that according to the data of the People's Commissariat of Industry, cited by P.G. Sofinov, from May to August (inclusive)in the entire territory of the Soviet Republic, free from interventionists and White Guards (with the exception of the south of Russia), 1,106,328 pounds of bread and grain fodder were harvested [24, p.67].

Finally, the economic significance of various regions of Russia in the calculations of the Soviet government (primarily in terms of the country's food supply) in 1918 can be judged by indirect data: for example, industrial goods sent to the regions of the RSFSR for exchange for food. In the study "Food work of the Soviet government", the historian and participant of the events under study, N.A. Orlov, provides, in particular, information on the distribution of metal cargoes across the provinces for exchange in the period from January to June 1918. Of the total number of cars in 1894, 351 cars were sent to the Saratov province (which included Tsaritsyn), and 169 cars were sent to the North Caucasus, connected to Tsaritsyn by railways. More wagons were sent only to Siberia 907 wagons [18, p. 203] Despite the fact that N.A. Orlov himself notes that not all receipts are indicated in these statistics, but only those that were sent according to the orders of the Food Exchange, these data clearly show which regions the Soviet government considered the most promising in terms of the receipt of food from them. A similar picture is shown by the plan of sending for the commodity exchange of fabrics one of the most important sources of commodity exchange, as N.A. Orlov notes [18, p. 224]. It was planned to send 46.3 million arshins of fabric to the Kuban, the North Caucasus and the Tauride province, and 10 million arshins to the southeastern and Lower Volga provinces out of the total amount of the plan for the RSFSR of 200.6 million [18, p.225]. Thus, the volumes of goods allocated by the Soviet government for the exchange of food in the village indicate the importance of the North Caucasus in food calculations, and hence Tsaritsyn, as a transit center through which this food could be obtained.

Let's summarize an interim result: according to statistical data collected in the last years of the existence of the Russian Empire, the North Caucasus and the Saratov province were distinguished by significant indicators of grain harvest. Given the number of goods allocated by the Soviet government for food exchange in different regions, it can be argued that these regions retained such importance in the food plans of the new government. The main link through which this food could be obtained, thanks to the network of railways and river routes, was Tsaritsyn. It is hardly a coincidence that Chokprod, the organization responsible for food procurement in the south-east of Russia, settled in Tsaritsyn. And although the importance of Tsaritsyn as a transit hub for food decreased with the course of hostilities, it still remained great in general during the period under review (summer 1918).

The significance of Tsaritsyn's defense. Military-strategic aspect.

Now let's turn to the military-strategic significance of Tsaritsyn during the Civil War. Of great importance in this matter are the memories of the commanders of the White Armies who fought the Bolsheviks in the Southern sector. P.N. Krasnov, the ataman of the AllGreat Don Army, mentions the importance of Tsaritsyn. In one of his books, he cites the arguments with which he tried to convince General A.I. Denikin to launch a joint offensive on Tsaritsyn: "The movement to Tsaritsyn, with the mood that was noticed in the Saratov province, promises complete success to the volunteers. /.../ Tsaritsyn will give General Denikin a good purely Russian base, cannon and shell factories and huge stocks of all military property, not to mention money."[16, p. 16] Krasnov, thus, emphasized the importance of Tsaritsyn as an important support for the anti-Bolshevik troops in terms of obtaining resources and attracting recruits. Krasnov also notes that General M.V. Alekseev agreed that the capture of Tsaritsyn could contribute to the creation of a unified anti-Bolshevik front, but, like General Denikin, refused to participate in the offensive on Tsaritsyn because of the need to assist the anti-Bolshevik uprising in the Kuban.

General P.N. Wrangel attached great importance to Tsaritsyn. Despite the fact that Wrangel was advancing on Tsaritsyn already in 1919, when Stalin had already left the city, it seems that the general's reflections on the strategic importance of Tsaritsyn also relate to the events of 1918. In his "notes" he wrote: "I/.../ still attach the first importance to the Tsaritsyn direction" [7]. Wrangel emphasizes the importance of Tsaritsyn in his telegram of May 24, 1919: "One cannot count on the enemy's illiteracy and disregard for the significance of Tsaritsyn. /.../ I fully take into account the importance of the success achieved on other fronts of the army and the desirability of its development, but I declare with conviction that if the Tsaritsyn operation is disrupted, the successes of other armies will be reduced to zero sooner or later" [7]. Wrangel here attaches even more importance to Tsaritsyn than Krasnov. He asserts the Tsaritsyn direction as the key in the offensive, because defeat on it threatens defeat in all areas of the offensive. Wrangel also reports that Tsaritsyn was called "Red Verdun" in the red camp [7], which underlines the fact that the strategic importance of Tsaritsyn was taken into account by both sides of the conflict.

Another officer of the Volunteer Army, A.A. Zaitsov, noted the strategic importance of Tsaritsyn. Back in 1916, A.A. Zaitsov was assigned to the General Staff, and already in exile he was the closest assistant to General N.N.Golovin for work at Foreign Higher Military Scientific Courses [22, p. 126], which indicates that he was not just a military man, but a specialist in military strategy, which makes his thoughts on strategy quite significant. In his work "1918: Essays on the History of the Russian Civil War," he writes: "Every advance of the Donets to the northeast, to join the Samara Front of the People's Army, was flanked by Tsaritsyn. The Red forces of the North Caucasus were also based on it. Tsaritsyn secured Astrakhan for the Bolsheviks, which separated the Ural Cossacks from the southeastern Cossacks." [12, pp. 192-193]. It follows from this that, according to Zaitsov, in order to connect with each other, the white armies needed to take Tsaritsyn. The combination of disparate white troops would significantly increase their combat capability.

A.A. Zaitsov notes that the significance of Tsaritsyn was also understood by the commanders of the Red Army [12, p. 193]. He refers to the opinions of L.L. Klyuev (in December 1918, he was appointed chief of Staff of the 10th Army, defending Tsaritsyn) and I.I. Vatsetis (from September 1, 1918, Commander-in-Chief of the RSFSR Armed Forces: ""Possessing Tsaritsyn / .../ the Reds ensured their dominance on the Lower Volga and thanks to this connection with Astrakhan and The North Caucasian Theater". [12, p. 193]. Here, again, the importance of Tsaritsyn as a link between central Russia and the North Caucasus and Astrakhan is emphasized.

The same thing was later written by the Soviet commanderin-chief Vatsetis: "If this city (Tsaritsyn) falls into the hands of the enemy, then this will give him the opportunity to interrupt red communications with Astrakhan along the Volga and by the Urbach-Astrakhan railway" [12, p. 199].

Much less information about the significance of Tsaritsyn in the Civil War is contained in the work of General A.I. Denikin "Essays of the Russian Troubles". This fact is quite understandable if we consider that, according to the memoirs of P.N. Wrangel, Denikin did not attach the Tsaritsyn direction of paramount importance. Nevertheless, A.I. Denikin, in his letter to General A.S. Lukomsky, who was with the All-Great Don Army, wrote that after the completion of affairs in the Kuban, the Volunteer Army would be transferred to Tsaritsyn [10, p. 251]. This suggests that Tsaritsyn acquired at least political significance in the eyes of Denikin in relations with the All-Great Don Army.

An important detail is that Stalin himself already in 1918 highly appreciated the importance of the defense of Tsaritsyn. In a conversation over a direct wire with Vasiliev, the commander of one of the detachments defending the approaches to Tsaritsyn, he pointed out: "either you will save Tsaritsyn, and then we will save the entire Southern Front, or you will remain deaf to the demands of the moment, and then the entire front will inevitably die" [5, p. 93]. Stalin actually calls Tsaritsyn here the central link of the entire southern front. This information is of particular value, since it was not expressed publicly, in order to achieve political goals, but in direct negotiations, and therefore had purely military operational goals.

Thoughts of this kind were expressed by I.V. Stalin in an interview with the newspaper Pravda in the same 1918. First, he mentions the importance of the Southern Front as a whole: "Already one strategic position between the Don counterrevolution and the Astrakhan-Ural-Czechoslovak gangs speaks of the importance of the Southern Front" [19]. He further emphasizes the central importance of Tsaritsyn on the Southern Front: "The point of the greatest shelling from the enemy is Tsaritsyn" [19]. Stalin mentions the importance of Tsaritsyn in negotiations with the most prominent party figures. For example, in a telegram to L.D. Trotsky dated July 11, 1918, a copy of which was intended for V.I. Lenin, I.V. Stalin writes: "Tsaritsyn is turning into a base of equipment, weapons, military operations, etc." [23].

Thus, many military leaders from both opposing sides of the Civil War noted the strategic importance of Tsaritsyn. The exceptions to the list are General A.I. Denikin, who, as noted, attached much more importance to the offensive on the Kuban, and L.D. Trotsky, who, it seems, deliberately sought to downplay the importance of Tsaritsyn, arguing on this issue with the Soviet historiography of the 1930s.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be concluded that in 1918 Tsaritsyn had an important economic and military-strategic importance. One of the key aspects of its significance is the fact that it was a railway junction connecting the PreCaucasus with the Volga region, and the Volga region with central Russia. Oil, fish, salt, coal, cotton, etc. were transited through Tsaritsyn [28, pp. 246-249]. In addition, through Tsaritsyn, which is fundamentally important for the problem under study, there were abundant receipts of bread and other food cargoes [5, p. 93]. Statistical data on the collection of grain crops in the last years of the Russian Empire suggest that there are real grounds for expecting large food receipts from the south of Russia and the lower Volga region in 1918. And the fact that the Soviet authorities really had such expectations can be judged, given the data on the distribution of goods for subsequent exchange across the regions of the RSFSR. From all this it can be concluded that in the conditions of the late spring of 1918, when the decision was made on a business trip to I.V. Stalin's Tsaritsyn, this city had a significant economic significance, which gives significance to this business trip itself.

This value remained for Tsaritsyn during the following summer months. Although its peak value as a transit center for food cargo falls in June, and after the arrival of food is sharply reduced (by 82.8%) [24, p.64] because the railway connection with the North Caucasus was interrupted, nevertheless, cargoes primarily with cattle, fish and salt continue to follow from Tsaritsyn. If we take into account the total food supplies from Tsaritsyn in the summer of 1918, then their weight among the preparations for the RSFSR as a whole for this period will be very high.

Tsaritsyn was also an industrial value. Although the productivity of the Tsaritsyn factories decreased during the First World War [2, p. 231-232], and the Tsaritsyn Gun Factory did not have time to earn in full force before the Civil War [2, p. 231], Tsaritsyn still represented the industrial center of the region, and, as a result, contained a significant proportion of the proletariat, which was one of the pillars of the Bolsheviks. "In Tsaritsyn, there were 35,000 workers per 200,000 inhabitants, about 7,000 of them metalworkers," as noted in the second volume of the History of the Civil War in the USSR [13, p. 85] This factor could not but play a role: by October 1917, there were about 1,000 members of the Bolshevik Party in Tsaritsyn [13, p. 52] - this allowed the city to become one of the centers of influence of the Bolsheviks in a vast and important region. In addition, Tsaritsyn factories and factories contributed to providing the army based there with some of the necessary materials of military significance [5, p. 113]. Finally, Tsaritsyn had military and strategic importance. It is this city that becomes "the center of the military administration of the North Caucasian Front: on May 27, the headquarters of the North Caucasian Military District, headed by General A. E. Snesarev, moves here" [21, p. 101]. This military-strategic importance of Tsaritsyn was recognized by the commanders of both the white and red armies. It is especially important to emphasize that this significance was recognized by the participants of the events even then, in the context of the fighting of 1918, and was not exclusively fabricated by the Soviet historiography of the 1930s and 40s. From all of the above, it can be concluded that control over Tsaritsyn was an important condition for the victory of one of the parties in the Civil War, both in economic and military-strategic aspects.

References
1. Anishev, A.I. (1925). Essays on the History of the Civil War. Leningrad: State Publishing House.
2. Bolotov, N.A. Nazarov, S.D., Shashkova, N.V. & Boldyrev, N.Yu. (2014). The Tsaritsyn economy during the First World War. PEOPLE AND PEOPLES OF THE VOLGA REGION DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR. collection of materials of the All-Russian scientific conference with international participation dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war. Shigabutdin Marjani Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan.Under the general editorship of L.R. Gabdrafikova, 220-235.
3. The Bolshevik leadership. Correspondence. 1912-1927: Collection of documents (1996). Moscow: ROSSPAN.
4. Verkhovskoy, V.M. Historical sketch of the development of railways in Russia from their foundation to 1897 inclusive. Issue 1. SPb.: Type. M-va Of Communication Routes.
5. Goncharov, V.L. (Ed.) (2010). The rise of Stalin. Defense of Tsaritsyn. Moscow: Veche.
6. Appeal. Truth. 108, 1918.
7. Wrangel, P.N. Notes. [DX Reader version]. Retrieved from http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/vrangel1/03.html
8. Gorky, M.(Ed.) (1943). The history of the Civil War in the USSR. Moscow: Politizdat.
9. Genkina, E.B. (1940). The Struggle for Tsaritsyn in 1918, Moscow: Politizdat.
10. Denikin, A.I. Essays of the Russian troubles. Paris; Berlin.: Word.
11. Daniyalov, G.D. (Ed.)(1967-1969) The history of Dagestan: in 4 volumes. Moscow: The main editorial office of Oriental literature.
12. Dubinin, D.V (2010). Military and political activity of I.V. Stalin during the Civil War: Abstract. diss. ... Candidate of Historical Sciences. Moscow: Moscow State University.
13. Zaitsov, A.A. (1934). 1918: essays on the history of the Russian Civil War. – B. M.
14. Kakurin, N.E. (1925). How the revolution fought. Moscow: State Publishing House.
15. Kondrashin, V.V. (2009). The Peasantry of Russia in the Civil War: on the question of the origins of Stalinism. Moscow: ROSSPEN.
16. Krasnov, P.N. (2007). The All–great army of the Don. Moscow: Algorithm.
17. Melikov, V. A. (1938). Heroic defense of Tsaritsyn. Moscow: Voenizdat.
18. Orlov, N.A. Food work of the Soviet government. Moscow.
19. Pravda. 235, 1918.
20. Pimenov, A.Y. (1994). I.V. Stalin on the fronts of the Civil War. The Tsaritsyn period (summer - autumn 1918): Abstract. dis. ... Candidate of Historical Sciences. Moscow: Moscow State University.
21. Ratkovsky, I.S. (2023). Stalin: Five years of Civil War and state Building (1917-1922). St. Petersburg: Peter
22. Rutych. (2002). N. N. Biographical directory of the highest ranks of the Volunteer Army and Armed Forces of the South of Russia: Materials for the History of the White Movement. Moscow: AST.Astrel. Russian Archive
23. RGASPI f.558. Inv. 1. C. 1812. Sh. 2.
24. Sofinov, P.G. (1949). The role of the Southern regions in the republic's food supply. Historical notes. Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 39-68.
25. Collection of statistical and economic data on agriculture in Russia and foreign countries. M-in agriculture. Department of Rural Economy and agricultural Statistics. – Petrograd: [Type. Is. F. Weisberg], 1907-1917
26. Trotsky, L.D. (1985). Stalin. Benson: Chalidze Publications.
27. Khlevnyuk, O.V. (2015). Stalin. The Life of one leader. Moscow: :CORPUS.
28. Shlevkova, T.V. (2003). Gryaze-Tsaritsyn railway and its influence on the economic development of Tsaritsyn in the second half of the XIX century. Economic Journal Moscow: Ippolitov Publishing House, 246-252.

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to the article The importance of Tsaritsyn's defense in 1918. Economic and military-strategic and aspects The title corresponds to the content of the materials of the article. The title of the article conditionally looks at the scientific problem, which the author's research is aimed at solving. The reviewed article is of relative scientific interest. The author did not explain the choice of the research topic and did not justify its relevance. The article does not formulate the purpose of the study, does not specify the object and subject of the study, the methods used by the author. In the reviewer's opinion, the main elements of the "program" of the study were not fully thought out by the author, which affected its results. The author did not present the results of the analysis of the historiography of the problem and did not formulate the novelty of the undertaken research, which is a significant disadvantage of the article. In presenting the material, the author selectively demonstrated the results of the analysis of the historiography of the problem in the form of links to relevant works on the research topic. There is no appeal to opponents in the article. The author did not explain the choice and did not characterize the range of sources involved in the disclosure of the topic. The author did not explain or justify the choice of the chronological framework of the study. In the opinion of the reviewer, the author sought to use sources competently, maintain a scientific style of presentation, competently use methods of scientific knowledge, observe the principles of logic, systematicity and consistency of presentation of the material. In the introduction of the article, the author limited himself to remarks that "the defense of Tsaritsyn has become an important page in the history of the Russian Civil War," and that "for more than a hundred years it has attracted the attention of historians," etc. In the main part of the article, the author duplicated the title of the entire article: "The significance of the defense of Tsaritsyn in 1918. Economic and military-strategic aspects", and explained to the reader why "Tsaritsyn represented economic value for the warring parties." The author thoroughly revealed the idea that Tsaritsyn "was important from the point of view of supplying the Russian population with food," etc. Then the author pointed out that the city was "an important transit point," noting that the construction of railways "pushed its industrial development." At the same time, the author was distracted by the description of the history of railway construction in the region, starting in 1858. The author reported that "it was from Tsaritsyn that it was most convenient to control the collection of food in the relevant region," but did not explain exactly what condition the local railway network was in in 1918. The author further stated that "the economic importance of the South of Russia in the calculations of the Soviet government ... can also be judged by indirect data: for example, industrial goods sent to the regions of the RSFSR for exchange for food," etc. Why this region of the Volga region is called the South of Russia in the article remains unclear. In the next story, the author focused on revealing the issue of "the military-strategic importance of Tsaritsyn during the Civil War." It should be noted that in the article the author limited himself only to 1918. The author cited the opinion of a number of anti-Bolshevik leaders about the importance of Tsaritsyn for the deployment of military operations. Then the author pointed out a similar opinion of the leaders of the Red Army Klyuev, Vatsetis, Stalin. The author summarized that "many military leaders from both warring sides of the Civil War noted the strategic importance of Tsaritsyn," and that "the exception to the presented list is General A.I. Denikin, who, as noted, attached much greater importance to the offensive on the Kuban, and L.D. Trotsky, who, it seems, deliberately sought to downplay the importance of Tsaritsyn, polemizing on this issue with the Soviet historiography of the 1930s." The author's conclusions are generalizing and clearly formulated. The conclusions do not allow us to evaluate the scientific achievements of the author within the framework of his research. In the final paragraphs of the article, the author reported that "in 1918 Tsaritsyn was an important economic center," etc., that "Tsaritsyn was also an industrial value," etc., and that "Tsaritsyn had military and strategic importance, which was recognized by the commanders of both the white and red armies." The author summarized that "control over Tsaritsyn was an important condition for the victory of one of the parties in the Civil War." The author does not mention the importance of other cities for achieving similar goals of the warring parties. In the opinion of the reviewer, the potential purpose of the study has been partially achieved by the author. Publication in this form cannot arouse the interest of the magazine's audience. The article requires significant revision, first of all, in terms of formulating the key elements of the research program and their corresponding conclusions.

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The importance of the defense of Tsaritsyn in 1918. Economic and military-strategic and aspects // Genesis: Historical research. The history of the civil war of the early twentieth century in Russia has attracted the attention of authors and readers for more than a century. The reviewed article correctly noted that the active participation of the future head of state I.V. Stalin in the military operations had a considerable share in this interest. In Russian literature, the military events near Tsaritsyn are covered in some detail and in detail, but the author set the task to "get closer to solving a number of important issues," including the reasons for Stalin's secondment to this city and his personal role at this stage of the Civil War. The subject of the study and relevance are correctly indicated. The scientific novelty lies in clarifying the meaning of Tsaritsyn in 1918, which "brings researchers closer to understanding Stalin's role in the Civil War." The author seeks to clarify the importance of the city during the Civil War in 1918, considering it in economic and military-strategic directions. For this purpose, the following questions have been put forward: did Tsaritsyn have strategic and economic significance when the decision was made on Stalin's business trip to this city; did Tsaritsyn retain this significance in the summer and autumn of 1918; did contemporaries take this significance into account or was it "formed by Soviet historiography of 1930-1940? The target setting is generally clear, but further The author expresses hope to clarify also the reasons for Stalin's secondment to Tsaritsyn, his personal role in the defense of the city. A brief description of the sources used and attracted is compensated by the wide involvement of published memoirs of prominent political figures, as well as statistical reference books of the Civil War era. The bibliographic list is quite complete, and almost a third of it consists of sources. The article is strictly structured in accordance with the objectives and contains two main parts: on the importance of the defense of Tsaritsyn in 1918 in economic and military-strategic aspects. The author rightly considers the construction of railways to be one of the circumstances of the rise of Tsaritsyn's role, which turned Tsaritsyn into a major railway hub connecting the Volga region, the North Caucasus and the Kuban with central Russia. This has largely become a condition for the development of the defense industry in Tsaritsyn. Further, a reasonable conclusion follows that the city played a very significant role in supplying the RSFSR in the summer of 1918. Another circumstance for the country as a whole was the large share of Tsaritsyn in the harvest of grain. Thus, the author proved that since the spring of 1918, the city had significant economic importance. The article concludes that control over the city was an important condition for victory in the Civil War in economic and military-strategic terms. The structure of the article corresponds to the content. The text is designed in a scientific style. The author defines the chronological framework of the article as follows: June October 1918, when the issues of defense and supply of industrial areas with food through this city were led by I.V. Stalin. But in reality, the presentation ends with the events of July, that is, the summer months. According to the author, defense became one of the most important stages of Stalin's biography, his formation as a military leader and his role in national history as a whole. There is no direct appeal to the opponents in the article, but the conclusions, the style of presentation, and most importantly, the relevance, will undoubtedly arouse the interest of the readership. I recommend publishing the article.
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