The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 3/The Czechoslovak record in Russia

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Aspersions on the Czechoslovaks who fought in Russia are answered by Mme. Catherine K. Breshkovsky, the venerable “Grandmother” of the Russian revolution. Mme. Breshkovsky came in close personal contact with the Czechoslovaks at Omsk, Ekaterinburg, Ufa, Samara and other East Russian and Siberian cities. She testifies enthusiastically to their discipline, courage and kindliness and to the affection in which they were held by the Russian populations which they rescued from the clutches of Lenine’s Red Guards.

It stands to reason that the Czechoslovaks were humane and considerate in their treatment of the Russian communities in which they operated. They were soldiers with the highest military ideals. They were intense patriots, fighting for the liberation of their own country from Austro-Hungarian oppression. They could never have remained in Russia—a handful of men, thousands of miles from any base of supplies—if they had not won the confidencec and support of the civilian population. They were not looters and mercenaries ,like the Red Guards. They were not fighting for plunder or power. They were not making civil war. Lenine foolishly prevented them from leaving the country. They stayed on and fought him because he had sold himself to Germany.

The Czechoslovak adventure in Russia was one of the great romances of the war. Only soldiers with clean hands and a spirit of chivalry could have carried that adventure through. The results of the campaign made by the Czechoslovaks speak for themselves. Hardly 100,000 strong, they conquered Siberia and drove the Bolshevists back to the line of the Volga. They contributed more than any other single factor toward saving Russia and Siberia from falling into the hands of the Germans. Mme. Breshkovsky says of them “Everywhere and in all circumstances I found them the same—noble, unselfish, strong in their duties and faith. . . . I always found them fine men, beloved and esteemed by all the Russians.”

She means, of course, by the real Russians, not the criminal and bloodthirsty followers of Lenine. Their work is to be judged not only by the friends but also by the enemies they made.


N. Y. Tribune, March 12, 1919.