[ The Russian Revolution: the Assistant Minister of War addresses the Council of Peasants' Delegates. ] Account, in English, of a report by 'Colonel Iakubovitch' on the state of the Russian Army, in a speech to the Council of Peasants' Delegates.

Colonel G. A. Iakubovich [ G. A. Yakubovich; G. A. Iakubovitch ], Assistant Minister of War under Kerensky in the Provisional Russian Government of 1917 [ Russian Revolution ]
Publication details: 
'Council of Peasants' Delegates [ Moscow ]. 24 May 1917.
SKU: 19783

After the February Revolution and abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, Kerensky, as Minister of War, was the dominant figure in the provisional government that held power until overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. According to Semion Lyandres, 'The Fall of Tsarism', along with Lev Stepanovich Tugan-Baranovskii and G. N. Tumanov, Captain G. A. Iakubovich 'belonged to the troika of Kerenskii's most trusted military aides during his tenure in the Provisional Government'. 4pp., foolscap 8vo. First page headed: 'Council of Peasants' Delegates. | 24th. May 1917. | Speech of the Under Minister for War. | (Colonel Iakubovitch)'. Clearly an official British document, and apparently unpublished. Carbon typescript on four leaves, held together by a brass stud. Aged and creased, with last leaf detached from rest. With two hurried manuscript notes in blue pencil, difficult to decipher: the first at head of first page, 'Circulate 18/51 V'; the second at foot of last page: 'Return to Lt Reeves'. Divided into six sections, under headings: 'To refuse to advance is to wreck the revolution', 'Technique, foodstuffs and fodder', 'Disorder on the rail\ways', 'Ranks of the army filled', 'Entrenched soldiers and entrenched officers' and 'The ranks of the army require filling up'. The first section begins: 'I have come here to explain what the Provisional Government understands by the word “advance”. The Government has stated that it renounces all forms of annexation and contribution. But at the same time NOT TO ADVANCE IS TO WRECK THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND INJURE THE FREEDOM OF THE WHOLE WORLD. | Our enemies place a very low value on the strength of the Russian army and are convinced that the army has dissolved and is no longer capable of advancing. | At the War Ministry we have accurate information of the enemy's recent withrawals from our front. THEY HAVE WITHDRAWN NOT ONLY MEN BUT GUNS. And to what does all this lead. Once and for all you must realize that IF THE ALLIES ARE CRUSHED BY GERMANY THE LATTER WILL NOT FORGET TO SETTLE WITH US. How can we assist our Allies? Only by advancing.' The report includes references to: 'disgraceful incidents' on the railway ('Soldiers have thrown station-masters and railway servants out of the windows of moving trains'; 'Desertion' ('a symptom apparent to all. I cannot now give you the exact figures, but they run into several million'; 'soldiers who have dug themselves in at the rear'; 'soldiers who called up in 1914', who 'have not once been in the trenches'. It concludes: 'You see, comrades, what is now happening in the army. I will not attempt to prescribe a cure for this incredible complaint. Your wisdom will tell us what must be done, and the Minister for War awaits the voice of the representatives of the free land – the voice of the peasantry. (Storm of applause)'.?>