Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin Boldly Signed Highly Important 1919 Document, Also Signed By Czar Nicholas' Executioner!

Joseph Stalin Boldly Signed Highly Important 1919 Document, Also Signed By Czar Nicholas' Executioner!


The Russian language document is typewritten in purple ink on cream letterhead, bearing six handwritten inscriptions and signatures as well as two stamped seals. Expected wear including paper folds, some well-worn, and brittle or chipped edges. A piece of paper attached verso reinforces the main vertical fold. Some fading of the printed text, but the manuscript additions are clear, dark, and bright. Measures 8.75" x 10.875".

A remarkable Russian Civil War period mandate signed and hand-inscribed by future Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin (1878-1953). Also signed by Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926), the Director of the Cheka, or Secret Police, and by Alexander Beloborodov (1891-1938), who is today best remembered for ordering the executions of at least 9 members of the Russian Imperial Family. The internal memo dated January 20, 1919 was probably signed in Vyatka, then Soviet Headquarters. The fact that the mandate was signed by some of the Bolsheviks' top brass shows the extent of their concern about recent military losses. It was dated just weeks after the Red Army's disastrous defeats at Kungar and Perm in late December 1918.



The mandate was issued to Mikhail Barandokhin, a battalion commander of the Ural Region Cheka, by his superiors. Cheka was an acronym for the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, a secret police organization that implemented some of the worst atrocities of the Russian Civil War.


Alexander Beloborodov was the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Ural Regional Soviet. His inscription and signature can be found along the left margin of the mandate. It reads: "This mandate is confirmed. Comrade Barandokhin is given the right to mobilize all Soviet forces to establish communication and organize the arrears. Chairman of Ural Regional Soviet A. Beloborodov."


Joseph Stalin and Felix Dzerzhinsky had been dispatched by Vladimir Lenin to investigate the military losses at Perm and Kungar, and they weighed in on Beloborodov's decree. Stalin was one of Lenin's most trusted advisors, and had gained a reputation for ruthless administrative and military efficiency. Dzerzhinsky was a hard-boiled revolutionary, although a latecomer to the Bolshevik Party; he led the Cheka and served as the Chairman for the Commissariat for Internal Affairs between 1919-1923.


Joseph Stalin wrote the following message found along the document's right edge in flowing black script: "Mandate is confirmed [by] Commission of the Defense Council of the Republic. I. Stalin." Dzerzhinsky dated the document "20 / I 1919" and signed it "F. Dzerzhinksy" directly under Stalin's inscription and signature.


The mandate gave Cheka battalion commander Barandokhin an extraordinary amount of leeway, granting him authority to secure the interior of two districts of Vyatka government ("guberniya"). Stalin's and Dzerzhinsky's signatures had not been necessary; the two men represented a clearance far exceeding that of a normal battalion level mandate like this. Their involvement, however, shows how much importance Party leadership assigned to Barandokhin's mission. Every disposable military resource was needed to overturn the advancing White Army, as Vyatka was located just 500 km to the northwest of Perm.


This was just one of many reasons to act with urgency. In early January 1919, the Russian Civil War had been raging for two years, and the Red Army was losing. Bolsheviks faced not only White Army combatants, but also foreign armies recently liberated from World War I trenches. The Russian Revolution and subsequent in-fighting destabilized the European balance of power, and everyone had a stake.


Military commander Alexander Kolchak (1874-1920), a seasoned Imperial Admiral and powerful figurehead for royalists and other reactionaries, pushed his White Army westward through the Ural Region in late December 1918. Between 1918-1920, Kolchak led an alternate anti-Communist government called the Provisional All-Russian Government from Omsk in southeastern Siberia. Kolchak's White Army had captured Kungar on December 21, 1918, and Perm three days later. The 3rd Red Army suffered an estimated loss of 18,000 men.


Stalin and Dzerzhinsky, Lenin's 2-man commission, arrived in Vyatka in early January to assess the damage and make recommendations. There they found the 3rd Red Army reduced from 30,000 to 11,000 "weary and battered" soldiers, and immediately requested additional forces [January 5, 1918 telegram, Stalin's Collected Works, Vol. IV, 1917-1920]. To prepare for Kolchak's anticipated advance into the Vyatka Government territory, urgent measures needed to be taken, including authorizing Barandokhin's mission.


Barandokhin's battalion was originally subordinated to Perm Cheka and comprised of 630 men. In late January 1919, it was probably much smaller due to casualties sustained during the defense of Perm and Kungar. Barandokhin's battalion had retreated from Perm with the 3rd Red Army.


Stalin and Dzerzhinsky delivered their report to Lenin just one day before authorizing this mandate, on January 19, 1919. In that damning memo, the two commissioners argued that poor leadership, faulty communication, and gross mismanagement had resulted in the devastating loss of men, materiel, and territory at Perm. The commissioners concluded: "This exhausts the measures taken. They can by no means be considered adequate, because the weary units of the Third Army cannot hold on for long without at least partial replacement. It is therefore necessary to send us at least two regiments. Only then may the stability of the front be considered guaranteed. Apart from this, it is necessary: 1) To replace the army commander; 2) To send three efficient political workers; 3) To dissolve immediately the Regional Party Committee, Regional Soviet, etc., with a view to the speedy mobilization of the evacuated officials." [January 19, 1919 communication, Stalin's Collected Works, Vol. IV, 1917-1920].


The Bolsheviks had sufficiently regrouped by November 1919 to turn the tide against the triumphant White Army. Until the war's official end in 1922, the White Army would be on the defensive. Fighting continued in the Far East until 1923.


History tells us that each of these three signees--Stalin, Dzerzhinsky, and Beloborodov--led very interesting lives following their collaboration in 1919. Stalin's trajectory is the most impressive. He assumed control of the Communist Party following Lenin's death, and would serve as its General Secretary between 1922-1953, and its Premier between 1941-1953. In 1926, Dzerzhinsky died of a heart attack following a 2-hour-long speech delivered against Leon Trotsky and other Bolshevik iconoclasts. Beloborodov, whose regional authority enabled him to consign the Russian Imperial Family, Grand Duke Michael, and Princess Elisabeth of Hesse to death, later aligned with Stalin's enemy Trotsky, and was imprisoned and executed in the Purges.


Expert Evaluation


This mandate was examined by Yu. S. Beliankin, the head of the Rare Documents Research Department at the National Library of Russia. He stated in part:


"The examined mandate contains genuine signatures of I. Stalin and F. Dzerzhinsky dated January 20, 1919…The mandate is also signed by the Ural Soviet Chairman Alexander Beloborodov, one of the chief organizers of the execution of the Tsar's family, a Trotskyite later executed at Kommunarka Firing Range near Moscow. After the end of the Civil War, Mikhail Barandokhin returned to the place of birth (Perm?) and eventually lost his life during the Purges period…Documents like the one being expertly reviewed were rarely kept, and are particularly scarce in excellent or good condition. The submitted document could be considered a particularly valuable ("osobo tsennyi") document due to its historic value and valuable autographs."


An incredible Russian Civil War dated document which is among the best Stalin signed items ever offered to the public!



Item: 65448

Price: $19,000.00
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Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
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