Table of contents:
- Thorny path from underground revolutionary to statesman
- The price of trust, or how did Stalin thank Gamarnik for his loyalty and service?
- How could a commissar of the 1st rank be among the "conspirators"?
- How did Jan Gamarnik's life end, and what "title" was he posthumously awarded?
Unswervingly devoted to Lenin's cause, Jan Gamarnik endured everything - underground work, arrests, combat participation in the Civil War. He was trusted to develop industry in the Far East and organize collective farms in Belarus. Smart and decisive, he was not afraid of God, the devil, or Stalin - and this was a fatal mistake that took the life of the legendary "chief commissar".
Thorny path from underground revolutionary to statesman
The revolutionary events of 1905-1907 affected Ukraine more than other national regions of the Russian Empire. They did not bypass Odessa, where at that time, 11-year-old Yakov lived with his parents and sisters. What was happening around - workers' riots, Jewish pogroms, police actions when putting things in order - made an indelible impression on the boy, which in fact influenced his entire subsequent life.
After graduating from high school with a silver medal, Yakov left his family and went to the provincial town of Malin. There he got a job as a tutor in order to save money and fulfill his dream - to enter St. Petersburg University, and after graduating from it, become a psychiatrist. However, already in the first year, the young man lost interest in medicine and transferred to Kiev University, choosing the specialty of a lawyer.
As a student, Gamarnik, who has been fond of Marxism since the age of 17, met members of the Bolshevik underground, Nikolai Skripnik and Stanislav Kosior. It was under their influence that Yakov, who changed his name to Yang, joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party and, on the instructions of the Ukrainian leadership, began to engage in agitation at the Arsenal plant.
The charisma of the orator-propagandist and active participation in party affairs helped the young man stand out among the revolutionary youth, and in 1917 became the head of the Kiev committee of the RSDLP (b). The victory of the October Revolution in St. Petersburg and Moscow led to an aggravation of the political situation in the periphery, where the authorities stubbornly refused to recognize the new system. Jan and his associates had to remain underground and lead the cells of the Bolsheviks, being in an illegal position until 1919.
During the Civil War, Gamarnik was a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the 12th Army (Southern Group of Forces) and participated in the leadership ensuring party activity in the capital of Ukraine and the province. After the approval of Soviet power in the Yana region, he was sent to the Far East, where until 1928 he resolved issues of industrial development, being the first secretary of the regional committee.
A new round of political career was the appointment of an already experienced manager to Belarus, where Yan Borisovich served for nine months as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks), helping to resolve collectivization issues. In 1929 he was summoned to Moscow to receive a new, more responsible and high position.
The price of trust, or how did Stalin thank Gamarnik for his loyalty and service?
Gamarnik was a staunch supporter of J. V. Stalin and always supported him from the stands, harshly criticizing the representatives of the right-wing opposition. Appreciating such loyalty and taking into account the merits of the past, the head of the young Soviet state entrusted 35-year-old Yan with the post of head of the Political Directorate of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army (RKKA).
At the same time, the faithful Stalinist was promoted to the post of first deputy people's commissar of defense of the country. In 1935, Gamarnik was awarded the highest military rank of the country - army commissar of the first rank.
How could a commissar of the 1st rank be among the "conspirators"?
Until 1937, Stalin had no complaints about Gamarnik: in 1936, the chief commissar supported the shooting of Kamenev and Zinoviev, and in February 1937 he was among those who voted to expel Nikolai Bukharin from the party. The old Bolshevik objected to the course of collectivization and industrialization in the USSR, insisting on the development of light industry and private land ownership of the peasants.
Gamarnik made a fatal mistake when he stood up for the disgraced MN Tukhachevsky, with whom he became close in Moscow, finding in him a like-minded person in the technical reconstruction of the army. Upon learning of the plans against the marshal, the commissar expressed his opinion to Stalin, calling Tukhachevsky a talented military leader and declaring that the accusations against him were untenable. An attempt at such a defense ended with the fact that on May 20, 1937, Yan Borisovich was removed from the leadership of the Political Directorate, and 10 days later he was removed from his post as Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, accusing him of being in touch with Yakir - he was accused of "participating in a military-fascist conspiracy."
It is significant that after the death of his lawyer, Tukhachevsky was the only one of those arrested who testified against Gamarnik. Under pressure from investigators, the marshal admitted that he was involved in subversive activities in the Far East and that he had been one of the conspiratorial leaders since 1934.
How did Jan Gamarnik's life end, and what "title" was he posthumously awarded?
The stress of the fast-paced events took its toll on Gamarnik's health. He suffered from diabetes for a long time, and the stress of recent days almost brought the Commissioner to a hypoglycemic coma. For this reason, Yan Borisovich was at home when the head of affairs of the People's Commissariat of Defense I. V. They were authorized to convey the order of the People's Commissar of Defense: to deprive the disgraced commissar of his regalia and dismiss him from the ranks of the Red Army.
Gamarnik realized that the subsequent arrest was inevitable. And after him a show trial and a verdict: at best, camps for many years, at worst - a quick execution. After the departure of the representatives of the supreme leadership, the main ideologist of the Red Army, who did not have time to deprive the car and the driver, went to admire the spring forest and shot himself.
The next day, a small note appeared in Soviet newspapers stating that Ya. B. Gamarnik committed suicide, fearing revelations related to his anti-Soviet activities. Posthumously, the former underground worker who took part in the Civil War and promoted the ideological cohesion of the army was declared an "enemy of the people", accused of espionage, connections with the military of a hostile state and subversive work against the USSR. on the available documents, dropped the unfounded charges, finding Yan Borisovich completely innocent.
In general, post-revolutionary Russia was a country with an uncertain future. This is especially felt on a selection of photographs of those years.