Kornilov Freed from Prison


December 2 1917, MogilevSince being fired by the Bolsheviks by telegram, General Dukhonin at Stavka was in a very tenuous position.  He had the support of the western Allies, and, at least in private, many of his fellow generals, but this did not matter much if his orders could not be followed.  He ordered the front commanders to do their best to stop desertions or fall back to shorter lines if this became impossible. He tried to bring in reliable troops to defend Stavka, but the Bolsheviks controlled the railways and made sure they never arrived.  He considered relocating Stavka to Kiev, but was dissuaded by the commander there, who recommended that he not abandon Mogilev.  

On December 2, he freed Kornilov (imprisoned since his botched coup attempt), along with several of his subordinates, including Anton Denikin, hoping that they could rally anti-Bolshevik elements in the army. This proved the last straw for the local Bolsheviks, who arrested Dukhonin as soon as they found out.  Dukhonin had apparently realized this, and had said “I have signed my death warrant” when he freed Kornilov. Krylenko, Dukhonin’s replacement, arrived the next day and quickly secured Stavka for the Bolsheviks.  Dukhonin was handed over for an interrogation, which quickly got out of hand.  Apparently despite Krylenko’s best efforts, the soldiers there killed Dukhonin by bayonet and then used him for target practice.

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