Political reforms in conditions of the romanian front armies’ politicization (january-october 1917)

Vitaliy Solovyov

Abstract


Introduction. Nowadays Ukrainian diplomacy hopes to use Romania as additional support and lobbyist in the question of Euro-Atlantic integration. At the same time, an example of recent Ukrainian-Romanian economic disputes (2004-2008) clearly demonstrates that political orientations’ concurrence does not guarantee protection against national interests’ conflict. Therefore, an objective coverage of disputable moments of common Ukrainian-Romanian history is of great importance, and one of such moments is the period of revolutionary changes in the Russian-Romanian Front armies.

Purpose. The purpose of this article is to examine main essence and nature of political reforms in Russian army and to establish their influence on Russian-Romanian relations.

Results. Having analyzed the sources, one can suggest that Russian military and political authorities tried to restrict political influence of the army on domestic and foreign politics through political life of the army organization and strict regulation.

May 1, 1917 mutual celebration by Russian military committees and Romanian workers led to a number of uncontrolled excesses, which greatly exacerbated Russian-Romanian relations. The latter caused the institutionalization of Soviets’ and committees’ system by the Provisional Government. The Romanian Front political system had been already formed during the first front-line congress that took place in Odessa on May 10, 1917. The congress resulted in organization of strict hierarchy of the Romanian Front Soviets and committees, and key positions in them were taken by the government coalition representatives.

Russian army preparations for a new summer attack showed that the effect of the introduced governmental measures was minimal. The final discipline crash forced the Provisional Government to cancel part of political freedoms and to introduce military tribunals at the beginning of July 1917. More than 1,500 judgments were issued in the Romanian front area in the period from August to September, 1917. However, such measures met the partial resistance of the committees and military personnel. And, finally, the "repressive measures" of restoring an order just aggravated the soldiers-officers relations, totally undermining the Russian army fighting efficiency, which resulted in a series of excesses that significantly worsened the Russian-Romanian relations.

Originality. The main features and directions of the revolutionary reforms in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th Russian armies of the Romanian Front have been studied for the first time and their negative impact on Russian-Romanian relations has been shown.

Conclusion. Despite the fact that the whole political power in the Romanian front area was in the ruling political parties’ hands, they failed to completely subordinate to their control all political processes in the Russian armies of the front. The defeat of Russian armies of the South-Western Front, which coincided in time with another political crisis, forced the ruling Russian political elite to take drastic measures towards order restoration in the army. However, in practice this only accelerated disintegration of Russian troops.


Keywords


Romania, Russia, Romanian Front, Revolution, Soviets, Committee.

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