Breaking Stalin

Breaking Stalin

Chapter X-The Kremlin is taken and lost

It was October 26th, Kolya and Ivan stood silently among the others on the newly formed Military Revolutionary Committee.  Kolya couldn’t help but feel uneasy, standing safely in their new headquarters at the hotel Dresden.  He wanted to be out on the streets with the other revolutionary forces.  They were just hearing the report of the day’s activities from the newly elected military leader Usievich.
“We have taken Marx’s advice, “Defense is the death of an uprising.”  Some of our MRC forces have infiltrated the Kremlin.  They have taken up watch on the walls, but have since been surrounded by Ryabtsev’s men.  On the other hand, our red guards have blockaded bridges and streets surrounding the Garden Circle, preventing Ryabtsev and his men from receiving aid from the outside.  We just received a message from Colonel Ryabtsev calling on our total surrender and disbandment of our troops or he will attack the Kremlin.”
Many of the committee shook their heads sadly.  “But his cause is lost, he cannot carry on this battle, surely he must know that Petrograd has fallen.”
“I don’t know what he knows, but he is still in command of the strongest troops in Moscow.  Our contingencies are a trained militia of peasants at best, not a crack force of highly trained veterans.”
“But we hold the numbers.”  One committee man blurted out.  Another committeeman, a Menshevik, quickly silenced him.
“And how many socialists must die for our victory to be assured?  Yes we outnumber them, and yes we have the Kremlin, but our force in the Kremlin stands little to no chance.  It was built with secret tunnels known only to those crack troops that protect it.  Our men would be slaughtered in a matter of hours.  And yes we have them surrounded, but we cannot attack them, we have to wait for them to be drawn out to attack us, crossing the bridge into Zamoskvorechye is suicide, and if we wait too long, who knows if we will receive reinforcements or if they will?”
His last words cast a brooding silence over the room.  Ivan glanced at his friend, who was deep in thought.  A door burst to the right of the committee and a man came running in holding out a letter to the elderly Usievich.  He opened it scrutinously and looked up with a defiant yet empty look on his face.
“They’ve broken off negotiations and declared martial law.”  He shook his head sadly as the door opened again and the same messenger entered carrying another message.
“And they’ve opened fire on the Kremlin.”  The room was dreadfully silent as if each man contemplated the failure of one thing together.

“Well what are you waiting for?  Battle stations, prepare for the worst, we must hold them!”  A few moments later the room was empty, and Kolya and Ivan found themselves jogging towards the city center, towards Krymsky Bridge, where some of the bloodiest fighting would soon take place.

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