PHILIP MIRONOV AND THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR by Sergei & Roy Medvedev Starikov

PHILIP MIRONOV AND THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Beyond his execution by the Cheka in 1921 and posthumous rehabilitation in 1960, little is known about the charismatic Civil War Don Cossack leader Philip Mironov. Misunderstood by Trotsky, misrepresented in Fedin's An Unusual Summer, deleted from later editions of Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don, and maligned by his more famous contemporary, Marshal S. M. Budenny, Mironov sank into oblivion. Now, his Cossack veteran colleague Sergei Starikov and dissident Soviet historian Roy Medvedev have set out to rescue him. Mixonov played a decisive role in campaigns against the White Volunteer Army--one of its commanders, Krasnov, reputedly said, ""I have many officers, but not one Mironov."" But in 1919 the Bolsheviks, fearing the Cossacks' reputation as the Tsar's ""janissaries"" and disregarding the loyalty of Mironov and his compatriots, initiated a brutal policy of ""decossackization."" Mironov was checkmated: ""if you go to the right you'll be killed; if you go to the left your horse will perish; and if you go straight ahead, both you and your horse will perish. . . . What to do? What to do?"" Intransigent, he was arrested, condemned to death, and then pardoned in recognition of past service. ""Decossackization"" ended and Mironov went on to serve the Bolsheviks for two more years until his forthrightness once more brought him trouble. The authors' description of Cossack society and Civil War events on the Don is slightly marred by their insistence on the inexact Soviet rich, middle, and poor peasant typology. Otherwise they have done well. Unusually thorough translator's notes are accompanied by a useful glossary and list of abbreviations and acronyms. Specialists should welcome the release of this study, but lacking a thorough grounding in Soviet history the general reader may find it heavy going.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1978
Publisher: Knopf