File No. 861.00/3259
The Russian Embassy to the Department of State
The afternoon papers of November 21 contain an Associated Press report from Vladivostok stating that through a coup on the part of the Council of Ministers of the government of Omsk, Admiral Kolchak [Page 439] has become virtual dictator and commander of the army. It was further stated that two members of the Directorate, Mr. Avksentiev and Mr. Zenzinov, who opposed Admiral Kolchak’s dictatorship, had been arrested. This move was assigned to “extraordinary danger, menacing the state.”
While this cable appears to render correctly the facts as they had been interpreted in Vladivostok, direct information received by the Embassy throws a different light on the whole situation. Following is a paraphrase of Mr. Sookine’s cable, dated Omsk, November 15 [sic]:
During the night of November 18 three military officers, one of whom was Ataman Krasilnikov, illicitly acting on their own behalf, arrested Messrs. Avksentiev, Zenzinov, Argunov, as well as Mr. Rogovski, Assistant Secretary of the Interior. The coup was committed with no participation whatever of the government and with its entire disapproval. The cause seems to be certain weakness exhibited on the part of the Ufa Directorate, which did not entirely respond to the aspirations of the country for firm power and which, through lack of energy, rendered possible such independent action by dissatisfied groups. In order to prevent further disorder and to uphold the principle of orderly and firm power, the Council of Ministers were urged to take extreme measures. By their decree, Admiral Kolchak was vested with supreme power. There have been no changes within the Council of Ministers, which fact emphasizes continuity of authority. By order of Admiral Kolchak the offenders have been turned over for trial. Such action by a military organization is most emphatically condemned by the authorities who in no way express tendencies of military-reactionary character. The first aim is to be the eradication of the very possibility of reiteration of such action and the abolishment of politics from the army. Admiral Kolchak appears to exemplify the endeavor to consolidate and strengthen the successes attained up to this day by the national movement, and to put an end to outbursts of illicit action on the part of certain military groups.
It appears that the three officers who undertook the coup were the same which exhibited their reactionary tendencies a few days ago at the banquet in honor of the Allied troops. The whole incident is very similar to what happened some time ago in Archangel.