The well-known robbery in Tiflis: banal criminal act or act of revolutionary fight?

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"If to you say that it isn't money, and in principle, - means, put in money", - one sharp fellow told. And though the author of an aphorism, the American caricaturist Frank Hubbard, for certain didn't know circumstances of a robbery of bank in June, 1907 in Tiflis, he hit directly the bull's eye. Still disputes on this "expropriation" of Bolsheviks don't cease. That it was: act of revolutionary fight or banal criminal act?

In 1906 the leader of RSDRP Vladimir Lenin, secretly from the majority of party, created "Board of three", or "Financial private group" as a part of Alexander Bogdanov (the party nickname "Anton"), Leonid Krasin ("Nikitich") and. Board task - a solution of the problem of financing of revolutionary activity of party.

Lenin's installations and Stalin's foggy role

In January - February, 1907 Lenin suggested colleagues to carry out "psychological preparation" for the forthcoming lifting of revolutionary activity (which faded over all country). It was for this purpose decided to carry out "expropriation of funds of the bourgeoisie".

The most reliable specialists in audit of contents of others pockets Bolsheviks had a group under the direction of 24 - summer Semyon Rubbed - Petrosyan, known polices under the pseudonym "Kamo".

Thanks to three-cool education, companion Kamo well acquired revolutionary operations of division and subtraction.

Between thorough Marxists from "Board of three" and the politized bear-hunters from the Caucasus the contract that money got by a robbery "had to be used in interests of a Bolshevist current" was signed. That is, "The board of three" had to accept stolen and allocate funds in the Bolshevist center (governing body of the Bolshevist organizations) which already redistributed them on the party organizations more openly. By the way, the Soviet historians suppressed not only activity of "The Bolshevist center", but even the fact of its existence.The word isn't present about it in "A short course of history of All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks)", edited by Stalin, in one of editions of the Big Soviet encyclopedia.

Leonid Krasin should develop operation of the next armed robbery "on behalf of the Central Committee RSDRP", Kamo - to direct execution. The most dark place in all this history - Iosif Dzhugashvili's role (the party nickname "Coba").

In the years of reorganization more than once it was claimed that "tiflissky organization экса and many others was developed by him" that "it the first threw a bomb in Tiflis". Why didn't remain any proofs? On it at Perestroika publicists the answer too was ready: in days of the management of party and the country Stalin destroyed all evidence of the participation in a bank robbery. Also I started covering up tracks from Kamo's elimination (already in Soviet period he was lost, having got under the car).

Stalinists approved the return. Stalin was aware of expropriation preparation, but direct part in it didn't take, they claimed. Its task allegedly consisted in exercising the most strict control of party over expropriators and over an expenditure of the expropriated sums.

But roles of other participants of events "are well registered".

Robbery from the third attempt

From Sofya Medvedeva's memoirs - Petrosyan, Kamo's wives: "Large sums of money if were stored in any establishments, with enormous and difficult protection. Expropriation should be made by all means in transit money - it became clear to Kamo and all companions at detailed clarification of the plan. There was a question: where and when? Thanks to Kamo's energy, the group began to receive soon systematic reports where and how many it is stored, from where and where what sums are transported … Three consecutive attempts were made. Just the first wasn't successful because Kamo was strongly wounded by become torn bomb".

The circular letter of Department of Police to chiefs of regional security offices (October, 1907) also confirmed the wound fact: "The right hand at "Kamo" is filled with splinters blown up caps at the time of bomb preparation, from same at it the right eye" suffered also.

Kamo's wife testifies: "The second attempt was successfully begun; fighters went in the train carrying money, but had to refuse expropriation at the latest moment. Conductors which had to spend after attack our companions through deaf mountain footpaths, were afraid and ran.In deep chagrin companions came back to Tiflis. All explosives and all money were spent for expedition. Meanwhile bombs could serve only two or three days. Then they, undoubtedly, would dampen and would be absolutely unusable. Fortunately, in evening of return of group the message arrived that mail sends tomorrow to the State Bank two hundred fifty thousand rubles. Quickly the decision which was crowned with success" was made this time.

About that the robbery prepares, the gendarme agency informed also. In two days after "экса" the manager of special department colonel Babushkin cabled from Tiflis to the capital: "In the last dates of May the Tiflissky security office had intelligence about arrival in Tiflis from the Kutaisi province of several natives for the purpose of mail robbery at transportation it from the station; there were even instructions that attack will be made on Garden or Mushtaidsky streets. These data in due time were reported verbally the general - to the governor and the chief of military protection, strengthening of the army dresses accompanying mail and bank and treasury transports" was a consequence of that.

Phaetons, Cossacks, bombs, revolvers

26 (13 on old style) June, 1907, approximately at ten o'clock 30 minutes, the cashier of Tiflissky branch of the State bank Kurdyumov and the accountant Golovnya took away at Tiflissky central post station two bales, filled by bank notes for the sum about 250 thousand rubles. Having sat down in a phaeton, they went to bank. Ahead and behind them caracoled on two Cossacks, afterwards I rolled the second phaeton with the security guard of bank and three soldiers, three convoy Cossacks brought up the rear. In other certificates it is claimed that the escort consisted of 7-8 people.

The route of collectors passed through Sololakskaya Street and Erivanskaya Square where the staff of the Caucasian military district settled down. Was considered that the road under windows of a military staff is safe.

Almost at the same time with crews of collectors on the square there were two more phaetons. In one the man in an officer form (it was Kamo), in other - two ladies sat. The phaeton with "officer" blocked a way to crews with money.

Further again Medvedeva's certificate - Petrosyan: "Forward Cossacks already turned on Sololakskaya Street. At Datiko's this moment I stepped forward. Strong wave of hands all threw the bombs.

Two, and two more explosions. On a pavement there were two policemen and one Cossack. Horses promptly carried protection on the parties.But the phaeton with money didn't blow up from a bomb, and the team incurred it to the Soldier's market.

It was turning point, and one only Bachua didn't become puzzled. Run it rushed across to horses and caught up with a phaeton at the end of the area. Without deliberating, without caring of itself, he threw a bomb under feet of horses. And by force of explosion it was thrown on the earth. Once again money could escape courageous fighters, but Chiabrishvili appeared in time in time. Having disregarded Bachua, it jerked from a phaeton the rich person and rushed to Velyaminovskaya Street.

Where there was at this time Kamo, the organizer and the inspirer? Kamo dressed in an officer form was on a phaeton when explosions were distributed. He had to receive money from fighters and transport them to a safe place... Having stood up on sitting, shooting from a revolver, without restraint swearing and shouting as the real army captain, he drove a horse to Velyaminovskaya Street. And here he incidentally came across Datiko. Kamo delivered money for Mikh Bocharidze's apartment, and from there, fixed into a sofa, they were transported to quite safe place".

Later on interrogation one of three survived guard, A. Zhilyaev, testified: "The first shell broke a body of a phaeton and threw out the cashier Kurdyumov on a pavement. Escorting Cossacks from explosion received heavy poraneniye... Malefactors, using the general panic... grabbed a bag with money and disappeared it isn't known where. From explosions of shells glasses of houses and shops on all Erivansk Square are beaten out... ".

Right after "expropriation" the manager of special department colonel Babushkin cabled from Tiflis in the Petersburg Department of Police: "Today in the 11th mornings to Tiflisa on Erivanskaya Square treasury transport in 350 thousand was showered with seven bombs and fired from corners from revolvers, two policemen are killed, three Cossacks are fatally wounded, two Cossacks, one shooter are wounded, from public the stolen money except for a bag with nine thousand withdrawn from circulation is wounded 16, not found yet, searches, arrests are made, all possible arrests are accepted".

Later the colonel will recover and will specify by the following telegram that robbers stole two hundred fifty thousand rubles.

Where money got to?

Right after a robbery the task to find out was set for an agency of police, whether is involved in a crime any of underground illegal groups. The government during that time already knew that revolutionaries can be engaged in a robbery:On March 20 (7), 1906 members of Just Russia - extremists "took cash desk" bank of the Moscow society of the mutual credit. It was appropriated, according to different data, from 800 to 875 thousand rubles.

Inconsistent reports followed that to "эксу" in Tiflis the same extremists that "took" bank in Moscow, and also group of the Polish party of socialists are involved. Illegal "the Tiflissky committee Russian социал - a democratic Labour party" condemned a crime as considered that "general predatoriness, general robbery" justify in the opinion of society of repression of the government. But it was the point of view of Mensheviks which only disoriented investigators.

Bolsheviks considered differently. Vladimir Lenin in the article "Guerrilla War" wrote: "The phenomenon interesting us is the armed fight. Large expropriations (Caucasian in more than 200 thousands of rubles, Moscow 875 thousand rubles) went on revolutionary parties first of all … The Marxist costs because of class fight, instead of the social world. During the known periods of acute economic and political crises class fight доразвивается before direct civil war, i.e. the armed fight between two parts of the people. During such periods the Marxist is obliged to stand on the point of view of civil war. Its any moral condemnation is absolutely inadmissible from the point of view of Marxism".

Only in one and a half months in police found out all subtleties of underground shades of revolutionaries. In the report of the chief of the Moscow security office in Police Department of August 16 (3), 1907 appeared: "Nowadays it is absolutely precisely found out, the robbery in Tiflis of 250 thousand rubles is made on June 13 by Bolsheviks of the Tiflissky organization Russian социал - a democratic Labour party, with assistance of members of some local organizations. There are data that Mensheviks assume to excite against participants of a robbery prosecution in friendly court for violation of party discipline".

Washing "under-the-counter cash"

By estimates of the resident of the Parisian network of department of police A. Gartinga, besides purely political resonance, "expropriation" had to provide financial needs of Bolsheviks of years on 5 - 6.

However for Marxists - robbers the problem was that from the expropriated money of 100 thousand were in 500-ruble tickets of two series, known the polices which numbers were immediately published in newspapers.Bolsheviks went round bank notes as a fox on a vineyard, without knowing how to drop to so relatives, a teasing crunch to notes …

All July and the first half of August, 1907 in Finland, on giving "VAZ" in Kuokkale where at that time there lived the leader of "Board of three" Lenin, there were continuous meetings. The issue, in what way to introduce money into legal circulation was resolved. Eventually, on "washing" humanists didn't invent difficult financial schemes. They decided to exchange money in foreign banks.

A. Gartinga's report in Police Department (of November 29, 1907) said: "In addition to the telegram from this number about alleged exchange by "Bolsheviks" of five-centesimal tickets on 100 thousand rubles expropriated in the past summer in Tiflis. According to information received, "Bolshevik" who was in Paris "Victor" living here under a surname of Cher Adolphus, already repeatedly assumed an assignment not only from социал - the democratic organizations, but even anarchical, on exchange of the expropriated money. It also managed to be done it, thanks to its communications in many country towns of Russia. At such exchanges ordinary revolutionaries got smaller part of the changed sum as the big left, with the assistance of "Victor", on a covering of commission expenses and satisfaction of persons, to this business of the involved.

For "Bolsheviks" now as it is authentically known, is available 100 000 rubles expropriated by Kamo in Tiflis which, probably, still remain at "Nikitich" in St.-Petersburg. Clarification of this circumstance proceeds. The device of an exchange of these two hundred five-centesimal credit cards is entrusted to called "Victor"...

"Bolsheviks" have two projects: the first is to make exchange in the same day in several cities of Switzerland where for this purpose "Victor" will send some authorized representatives, and other project - this money to exchange in the same day in several country towns of Russia".

On aiming of gendarme "mole" in the ranks of Yakov Zhitomirsky's Bolsheviks, the German police carried out on November 9, 1907 a search on Kamo's Berlin apartment. There a large number of the weapon, and also a suitcase with the double bottom filled with explosive, and literature of the revolutionary contents was found. The main expropriator was arrested.

During 1908 in the different ends of Europe in attempt to exchange notes 6 people were arrested. Four of them brought to trial.Two (Mikhail Litvinov and his wife) were sent out of borders of France. Future Foreign Commissar Litvinov was arrested when at him "on a pocket" as criminals spoke, I lay dozen 500-ruble notes of a series, wanted.

The remained money burned down hands of Bolsheviks. Eventually, notes entrusted Yakov Zhitomirsky for destruction who handed over them through the resident Gartinga in police department. But as usual emigrant gossips (said that Zhitomir pocketed money, instead of I destroyed them) went, the department of police returned backs with numbers of these notes to the agent, and they were shown them to party.

So anything, except arrests and strengthening of position of "mole", in Lenin's environment this history also came to the end.

The inability to operate and dispose of appliances not only at the time of the Soviet power, but also to it, modern Stalinists (site turn out a habitual stamp: "It is proved that "tiflissky expropriation" was the largest provocation of tsarism: having data on preparing expropriation of money, gendarme management developed the plan of capture of all involved to "эксам" persons by use of the marked 500-ruble bank notes. … In March, 1908 I.V. Stalin will be arrested for revolutionary antigovernmental activity also, but any charges on the issue of participation in a tiflissky raid on the post carriage to it won't be shown then, at the subsequent his arrests though the police made active attempts to find thieves of money".

However, despite the lack of proofs against future leader, Iosif Dzhugashvili why - that hastily left from Tiflis to Baku in two days after "expropriation".


250 thousand. It is a lot of it or a little?

By 1914 the colonel received in a month - 208 rub, the lieutenant colonel - 200 rub; the metallurgist - 35 rub, the smith - 2 rub the 30th cop, the bricklayer - 2 rub, the navvy - 1 rub the 50th cop, the unskilled worker - 1 rub 25 kopeks

The prices in Moscow - pound (400 гр. ) pork - the 20th cop, mutton - the 25th cop, 1 kg of granulated sugar - the 35th cop, pound is fresher than some sturgeon - the 60th cop, one chicken - approximately on 1 rub, 100 pieces of eggs - 3 rub

The Bolshevik - the underground worker received from party, according to certificates, "3, 5, 10, at most 25 - 30 rubles a month on life".


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