105th Anniversary of tragic events at Lena goldfields

Miners struck at the Lena gold fields in eastern Siberia to protest terrible working & living conditions. Strike leaders were arrested and troops fired on a peaceful strikers’ march, killing over 200.




"Lena shootings - Lenin pointed out - was an occasion to move the revolutionary mood of the masses in the revolutionary upsurge of the masses."

Bolsheviks in their newspaper "The Star" from April 19, 1912 wrote:

"Everything has an end - come to an end and patience of the country. Lena shooting has broken the ice of silence and - moved off the river popular movement. Moved off! .. All that was evil and pernicious in the present regime, all the ills suffering Russia - all gathered in one fact, the Lena events. "




"The Lena shooting merely served as a signal.

The economic actions of the workers are being followed by their political actions.

The strikes over wages are being followed by protests, meetings, and political strikes in connection with the Lena shooting."

STALIN: Works, Vol. 2, 1907 - 1913

They are Working Well....

April 17, 1912

After the Lena shooting—strikes and protests all over Russia.

After the Lena shooting—strikes and protests all over Russia.

After Minister Makarov's "explanations" in the Duma—a demonstration in the capital of Russia.

The government wanted to drive Russia into the clutches of sanguinary "orders."

But Russia proved to be stronger than the government and decided to go its own way. . . .

Let us cast another glance at the history of the Lena events.

A strike of 6,000 workers was proceeding at the Lena goldfields. The strike was peaceful and organised. The mendacious Rech can, of course, speak of a "spontaneous riot" on the Lena (see No. 103). But we judge, not by what the mendacious Rech says, but by the "report" of the eyewitness Tulchinsky. And Mr. Tulchinsky asserts that on that day the workers behaved in an exemplary manner, that the workers had "no sticks or stones." And then the hellish conditions of labour in the goldfields, the very modest demands of the workers, their voluntary abandonment of the demand for an eight-hour day, the workers' readiness to make further concessions—all this is the familiar picture of the peaceful Lena strike.

Nevertheless, the government found it necessary to shoot down the workers, peaceful unarmed workers with their tobacco pouches in their hands and with petitions in their pockets for the release of their arrested comrades. . . .

Proceedings have not been taken against Treshchenko —is it not clear that he was acting on orders from above?

It has been decided to take proceedings against the workers and not against Treshchenko—is it not clear that somebody was thirsting for the proletariat's blood?

They wanted to kill two birds with one stone on the day of the shooting. First, to satisfy the voracious appetites of the Lena cannibals. Second, to intimidate the workers of other towns and localities, as much as to say— bear the yoke of capital uncomplainingly, otherwise we shall do to you what we did to the Lena workers.

The result was that neither of these objects was achieved.

The Lena cannibals have not been satisfied, for the strike in the goldfields is continuing.

As for the workers of other towns, far from being intimidated, they have risen in strike after strike in protest against the shooting.

More than that. St. Petersburg, the capital of Russia, responded to Makarov's "explanations" by a demonstration of thousands of students and workers.

The most sensitive section of Russian society, the students, extended a hand to the most revolutionary section of the Russian people, the proletariat, and hoisting the red flag they proclaimed: Yes, "so it was," but it must never be so again!

From a peaceful economic strike on the Lena to political strikes all over Russia, and from political strikes all over Russia to a demonstration of many thousands of students and workers in the very heart of Russia— that is what the representatives of the government have achieved in their struggle against the workers.

Yes, the "old mole" of the movement for emancipation, the far-sighted Russian government, is grubbing well"!

Two or three more "feats" like this and it will be possible to say with certainty that nothing will remain of Minister Makarov's bluster except a miserable recollection.

Go on working, gentlemen, go on working!


The St. Petersburg Zvezda, No. 31, April 17, 1912





Demonstration in St Petersburg Against the Lena Massacre in Siberia, April 1912













Corpses after Lena Massacre














Economic and Political Strikes

May 1912





The Revolutionary Upswing

Sotsial-Demokrat No. 27, June 17 (4), 1912.





17 April 1912

4 (17) April 1912, during a strike at the fields of the Lena gold-mining partnership "Lenzoloto", located near the town of Bodaybo, Irkutsk Province, along the Lena River and its tributaries, Vitim and Olekma, government troops opened fire against the workers. The tragic events were made part of historical literature and nonfiction under the name "The Lena Massacre."

In April 1912, all Russian newspapers responded to the tragic events that occurred in Siberia in the Lena goldfields, located deep in the taiga, nearly 2, 000 miles from the Siberian railway. The reasons for the strike, according to one version, had been extremely difficult working and living conditions, to the other - the rivalry between shareholders of the London Society «Lena Goldfields Co., Ltd.», headed by various international banks, which owned approximately 70% of the "Lenzoloto."

The miners who worked in the goldfields, called their life "a free penal servitude." They often worked knee-deep in icy water, and their working day lasted for 10-12 hours. In addition, a part of workers' wages was issued in the form of vouchers that could be realized only in the shops of the company, often in return for poor-quality goods. The immediate reason for the strike was the fact that workers had been given horse meat in the guise of beef (according to another version it was rotten meat).

In the early days of the strike, the workers elected the Central Strike Committee and the Central Office. To comply with the order, elders were chosen in the workers’ barracks. 3 (16) March, 1912 the participants of the strike adopted a petition to the administration, which contained the demands of the 8-hour workday, higher wages and a separate payment for overtime work, the abolition of fines, prohibition of dismissal during the winter months, the improvement of living conditions and medical service, dismissal of a number of administration officials. The administration of "Lenzoloto" had agreed to consider the petition, provided the resumption of work from 6 (19) March. Otherwise it expressed the intention to dismiss and evict the workers.

Attempts of the governor of the Irkutsk, F. A. Bantysh, to resolve the conflict between the administration of mines and the strikers had not given a positive result. On the night of 4 (17) April, by order of the gendarmerie captain N. V. Treschenkov, 11 members of the Central Office were arrested. On the same day, several thousand workers went to Nadezhda Mine with a written petition to the provincial prosecutor asking for the release of prisoners. On the approaches to goldfield the workers were met by over 100 soldiers, who, on the orders of the gendarmerie captain, opened fire on the crowd. Official information on the number of victims of the shooting is not available; various sources claim from 83 to 270 killed, and 100 to 250 wounded.

The rumor of the Lena events quickly spread in Russia. State Duma deputies have made a request to the Government. The causes and circumstances of the event of 4 (17) April 1912 were investigated by a government commission headed by former Minister of Justice, S. S. Manukhin along with the commission headed by the leader of the parliamentary faction of the Trudoviks, A. F. Kerensky, created by groups of liberals and socialists of the State Duma. Both commissions recognized the conditions in the mines incompatible with human dignity, and the use of weapons - not provoked by the actions of workers who persecuted solely economic goals. The primary responsibility for the incident was assigned to the company management, local authorities and personally captain Treschenkov, who was dismissed from service in the gendarmerie, demoted to the ranks, and enlisted in the foot militia of the St. Petersburg province. 7 (20) June 1913 was published an official government report on the Lena Massacre.

Kerensky later recalled: "As a result of an open investigation, the monopoly position of the company was liquidated and its administration completely reorganized. Slums, where the workers and their families lived, destroyed, and in their place built new houses. Wages were increased significantly and working conditions improved.”

The bloody drama on the Lena goldfields in April 1912 provoked wide public resonance. The strike lasted until August 1912, after which more than 80% of the workers left the mines, and mass rallies and protests began all over the country, attended by over 300, 000 people. Liberal and socialist parties had accused the Russian government of the tragedy.

The Bolsheviks led by Lenin saw a wave of public protest as evidence of "a new revolutionary upsurge" in Russia.

In 1967 in the village of Aprilsk, Bodaibo District, Irkutsk Region has been erected a monument to the victims of the Lena Massacre.


April 17 (April 4, Old Style), 1912 there was a mass shooting of strikers in the Lena goldfields in Siberia. Now, as 100 years ago, the workers also shot, only this time for the black gold in Zhanaozen.  

Then and now it has been implicated in foreign companies.
In 1912, it was an English company "Lenzoloto", and in our case it
Mangistau Chinese state company CITIC headed by Yuan Mu and KazMunaiGas with large participation of foreign capital.


How it all began

Over a hundred years ago, in the depths of Siberia, Russian soldiers
team Russian officer began firing their rifles in the peaceful unarmed
workers. Why and where did it happen?
North of Lake Baikal in the Lena River flows right Vitim river. 280 kilometers from the mouth is the village Vitim Bodaibo. It is the center of Russia's largest gold-bearing area. During the period from 1844 to 1926 in the Lena-bearing of the region was produced more than 600 tons of gold. Lena gold mining partnership ("Lenzoto") was the largest enterprise.
B 1896 in the Lena goldfields based on existing "Lensky
gold-partnership" of the same name created by society "Lenzoto" Stingy mines y individual companies and entrepreneurs.
Difficult conditions of life and labor, exploitation, injustice workers
called a strike, which in March 1912 resulted in a strike (over 6
thousand workers). April 17. 1912 occurred the tragedy rocked the Russian proletariat - workers troops shot their way to Nadezhdinskoye mines to defend their rights.

In 1911, 52 mine worked, mined a lot of gold, and income "Lenzoto" were great. Irkutsk governor Bantysh wrote: "Lenzoto" ... watered, feeds, teaches, treats, and executes pardons thousands of people ... "All in all mines by 1912 employed about 11,000 workers. Worked and they lived in a very heavy, sweat shop. Few withstood more than two or three years. Working day lasted 11.5 hours and 16 hours per day; season from April 1 to October 1, the output given one or two per month. Daily wage workers was 1 rub. 35 kopecks. to 2 rub.75 cop. at a higher discharge. A peck of meal cost 4 rubles. 40 kopecks., Sugar - 10 rubles. Often workers fined - from 3 to 25 rubles. per offense. Work in the mines was carried out continuously, day and night, summer and winter.
(Salary was low Osowa its shape was natural - food and things of the
shops on the "passbook" products - the lowest quality, housing
conditions are extremely bad).

Hard work in appalling conditions in the absence of means of labor protection. In mine water accumulates, workers were constantly wet. Only in the years 1910-1911 mountain supervision allowed for 896 accidents 5442 working in the mines. All mines was one doctor. Workers lived in barracks, slept on the benches. In the barracks was one oven - in the winter it was cold; year-round in the oven to cook, heated water; in the summer it was hot barrack. Barak was the kitchen, laundry, airing working clothes and footwear. Baths were primitive, needing a lot of people bathing, it turned out, the workers emerged in the bath every month.

This is very similar to the modern working position "Kazakhmys"
corporation, where over the past year has been more than 200 accidents in the workplace. The same situation at the company "Arcelor Mittal Temirtau", "Kazzinc", "Kazkhrom" and other companies. Oilers KazMunaiGas in Mangistau also do not see overalls, working in oil, herbs drive-by gases and hydrogen sulfide.


Starting strike

Lena goldfields workers as well as our oil repeatedly protested against harsh conditions of their lives. So, in 1888 "was plentiful strikes." In 1901, 1,700 workers went on strike. Total from 1900 to 1905 was ten strikes. Constantly growing discontent of the workers' Lenzoto "order reigned in the mines could occur at any moment. In February 1912 it happened.

February 25, 1912 at Priiskovaya kitchen was issued bad meat. St. Andrew's mine workers decided not to go to work until the authorities did not give promises to feed their normal meat; required to remove the kitchen elder. Priiskovaya administration refused. Gathered together, the workers decided to strike. He was elected a strike committee at various times it consisted of 15 to 100 workers deputies. At the meeting the requirements were developed:

  • nutrition, housing,

  • 8-hour working day,

  • Sunday - day off

  • increase prices up to 30%

  • cancellation penalties

  • improved medical care,

  • sick pay.

Requirements statement ended with the workers: "We want to strike wore peace-loving nature, and therefore declare that if punitive measures will be applied to our authorized, then we remove all the workers with work." (Workers' demands were published in the book "The Harbinger of revolutionary storms," ​​electronic version of which is available on the website http://express.irkutsk.ru/ ).

By March 4 the strike joined by workers of almost all mines "Lenzoto." Administration chief Priiskovaya management refused to comply with demands of the workers. March 21 Minister of the Interior sent a telegram Makarov chief military command Bodaibo that he refused "to contribute military force local authorities."


Arrest and execution of the strike committee procession of workers at the mine Nadezhinskogo

On the night of 3 April 4 were arrested many members of the strike committee. At a meeting of the working mine Feodosievsky morning April 4 was elected the new strike committee of eighteen people.
Spontaneously occurred in the mines workers' meetings at which
resolutions were passed on the release of Deputies, as well as the
issuance of family ration and issuing all previously earned money.

Transfiguration prosecutor stated that he does not recognize the
deputies, while the workers themselves, individually, do not file his
statement that deputies are transmitters of the workers' demands. These statements are called "conscious notes." Workers decided to go along and give these notes to the prosecutor. Nazarbayev prosecutors are very similar to the royal in these matters.

April 4 at the Alexander mine gathered a group of MPs, elders and workers. Bolshevik deputies believed that workers should not hold processions. After that came with the lower operating mines, all gathered about two thousand people. MPs Revolutionaries claimed that his superiors did not recognize them and have to go to all the people Nadezhda.

Bolsheviks said that there jobs waiting for the soldiers who have the power to force them to mine gold. However, the majority did not listen to warnings. They said: "The soldiers in the peaceful people will not shoot." By working Nadezhdinskoye moved column, stretching nearly two miles.
At this time, the Nadezhda were Transfiguration prosecutor, judge Hitun mining engineer Tulchin, the police chief Treschenkov captain,
commanded the soldiers captain Sanzharenko. There were 110 soldiers and 30 guards.

Treschenkov soldiers said: "The workers are here to disarm you." At his command the guards and soldiers lined up on the People's House to the railroad.

Evening column workers came to the village of Nadezhda. Near the bridge over the creek Akanak workers stopped approached them engineer Tulchin and began to talk. Until the soldiers were about 300 steps. Suddenly there was a rifle volley and then the second. The soldiers and guards fired haphazardly. Soldiers spent 865 rounds guards - 120. Across the road lay dead and wounded workers. Total killed about 270 people and injured about 250. After cartridges considered more accurate than the battered people.

Soldiers shot and workers who were trying to help wounded comrades. Only two hours later came the carts, which began to take away the dead and wounded.
As it is very similar to the shooting of striking workers and residents
in Zhanaozen, where police shot at those who tried to help the wounded rally participants.


The strike continued

The shooting shocked and stunned workers, but not intimidated. Decided to continue the strike. By the same requirements added a new - found guilty in the shooting.

The authorities demanded the complete suppression of the strike. Other deputies were arrested. Issuance of products was reduced. Mines administration decided to take out all the strikers from the mines, and before that to evict from the barracks. Workers sent a telegram about the incident in St. Petersburg, Irkutsk on April 5 and later.

The Russian proletariat had a strike, protests against the killing of workers in the Lena goldfields. They were held in St. Petersburg, Kiev, Riga, Saratov and other cities from 8 to 30 April. May 1 strike involved 300 - 400 000 workers.

April 11 Minister Makarov, responding to a request by the State Duma of the Social Democratic faction about the shooting, said: "So it was and will continue."
This royal minister also reminds us of the bloody executioner - General Kasymova, has personal designation Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Devotee nuker Elbasy also spoke to journalists that will again fire on
the workers, if they come out with new rallies and kept his word! December 18 two days after the shooting in Zhanaozen massacre occurred on Shetpe station.

June 4 Lena mines to investigate the events came to the commission
headed by Senator Manukhin and commission lawyers of five people with AF Kerensky chairman (Became prime minister in 1917). Workers' strike was suspended, workers come to work.

June 26 at a meeting of workers (three thousand) discussed a new contract with the working conditions "Lenzoto."
After discussing the daily workers decided that this contract there are
no significant changes in the mines and order remains the same. Adopted a resolution on the impossibility to sign a contract and the inability to remain in the mines.
Shishkin MP said: "... Now we see that in Russia there are no laws to judge the rich work here ... where was shed innocent blood of our comrades, we can not. Maybe the time will come when this inhuman slavery capital disappears and we achieve our truth. "


The defeat of the strike and the new rise of the labor movement in Russia

June 28 miners at the call of the strike committee stopped working. July 4, the evacuation from the mines on the rivers and Lena Vitim on ships, barges, boats. Took away a lot of sick and wounded. Just left about 11,000 people.

Moving took place in difficult conditions, barges and boats were dirty, leaking, people were crowded.
From marinas Lena people went across the steppes on carts and walked in the summer - that in the heat, the rain, in September - in the cold. On the way to Irkutsk from Bodaibo died many wounded, sick, elderly and children. How much - no one thought ...

Thus ended the tragedy of the mines "Lenzoto." It stirred the whole working world.
It was a unique and unprecedented mass protest against predators
working capital against the unjust social order, against the anti-people
The arrival of thousands of miners in the bearing of the proletarian
centers of the country, live eyewitness accounts of atrocities in
tsarist Vitimsky Territory of the heroic struggle of the workers for
their rights contributed to the growth of political consciousness of the
It became increasingly clear that the resurrected revolution strangled
five years ago, is resurrected with new forces, new proletariat.

"Lena shootings - Lenin pointed out - was an occasion to move the revolutionary mood of the masses in the revolutionary upsurge of the masses." Bolsheviks in his newspaper "The Star" from April 19, 1912 wrote: "Everything has an end - come to an end and patience of the country. Lena shooting has broken the ice of silence and - moved off the river popular movement. Moved off! .. All that was evil and pernicious in the present regime, all the ills suffering Russia - all gathered in one fact, the Lena events. "
Indeed, after so many years of repression and reaction, this shot was a huge impetus to the development of a new revolutionary workers'
movement and the revival of the RSDLP.

More than a hundred years have passed since then, both in mines Vitimskoye heard volleys of soldiers who served the king. Very changed country and our people became another. Remained alive participants in those events.
But the memory of the people who courageously fought against the
oppression of capital, against the autocracy, still alive among the
It may be more epic Vitim serve as an example to the current working
class in its struggle with the new "masters of life" exploiters of
others' labor in the XXI century.

The analogy between the tsarist punitive and Nazarbayev executioners obvious - both then and now authorities defended capital and the bourgeoisie tried to brutal methods to suppress peaceful demonstrations and strikes of workers. However, then it was all over as a result of five years of the 1917 revolution. Zhanaozen
shooting as Lenski, plays the same historical and political role - there is breaking consciousness of millions of oppressed and downtrodden

According to the new date of execution of the calculation should probably celebrate on April 17.



List of Literature:

Аксёнов Ю. С. Ленские события 1912. М., 1960; Кудрявцев Ф. А. Дневник ленской забастовки 1912 г. Иркутск, 1938; Лебедев М. И. Воспоминания о ленских событиях 1912 года. М., 1962; Ленские прииски. Сборник документов. М., 1937; Ленские события 1912 г. Документы и материалы. М., 1925; Ленские события. Статьи и материалы. М., 1938; Мунгалов Н. Н. Ленские золотые прииски (1846-1920 гг.) Исторический очерк. Бодайбо; Иркутск, 2006; Он же. Ленский расстрел 1912 г. Бодайбо; Иркутск, 2008; Невский А. Ленские события и их причины. СПб. 1912; Разумов О. Н. Из истории взаимоотношений российского и иностранного акционерного капитала в сибирской золотопромышленности в начале XX века // Предприниматели и предпринимательство в Сибири в XVIII — начале XX века: Межвузовский сборник научных статей. Барнаул, 1995. С. 139—153; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://new.hist.asu.ru/biblio/predpri/B-9.html; Хаген М. Ленский расстрел 1912 года и российская общественность // Отечественная история. 2002. № 2; Черепахин Г. В. Воспоминания о ленских событиях // Горнорабочий. М., 1927. С. 21—23.






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Волин , И.
     Ленский расстрел : кровавые события на Ленских золотых приисках 17 апреля 1912 г. / И. Волин ; Истпарт. Комис. по истории Октябрьской революции и РКП(б). - Вятка : Труженик, 1924. - [2], III, [5], 21, [1] с. ; 17. - Библиогр. в конце кн. .
1. Народ (коллекция). 2. Ленский расстрел -- 1912.
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вижение. 3. Рабочее движение. 4. Ленские события 4 апреля 1912 г.