Alexander Antonov (politician)
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|Born||Aleksandr Stepanovich Antonov
Moscow, Imperial Russia
|Died||24 June 1922
Shybriay, Tambov Governorate, Russian SFSR
Aleksandr Stepanovich Antonov (1888 – 24 June 1922) (Russian: Алекса́ндр Степа́нович Анто́нов) was a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, who later became one of the leaders of the Tambov Rebellion against the Soviet regime.
Life and politics
Born in Moscow, Antonov grew up in the much smaller town of Kirsanov. Later he studied in the Tambov Real Institute (Realnoe Uchilische) until he was expelled for revolutionary proclamations. He was afraid to return home after that and found a job as an apprentice in the local train construction plant.
He had been member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party since 1904 when he was only 16. His fellow party members included the famous Maria Spiridonova, Yuriy Podbelskiy, and several others. Taking example from his party protégés, he joined them in their terrorist activities, actions that included assassinations, robberies, and other sorts of expropriation. Soon he was arrested and put on trial for the robbery of a postal train wagon, which carried all kinds of valuables. Antonov was given 20 years of katorga spending them first in the Schlisselburg fortress and then in Vladimirsky Central.
The manifest of amnesty by the Russian Provisional Government liberated him from prison. He returned to Kirsanov by train and was met and well accepted back by his former colleagues, locally known as krasnobandochniki. In the local library, he was given a banquet as a great martyr for the cause of Revolution. At first, he came back to the plant where he started his career, but soon was elected to the post of the head of the Governorate Militia (police), a predecessor of the militsiya. With the assistance of fellow workers and the local administration, he declared martial law which for a time dealt with the high crime rate that was developing in Tambov. He stayed on this post and after the coup of 1918, became the first head of the Governorate Militia in Soviet Tambov. Antonov also managed to disarm the Czechoslovak legions causing havoc on the local population.
Seeing all of the chaos caused by the Bolsheviks, Antonov quit the Socialist Revolutionary Party, an event which was widely publicised and criticised. He also asked the Governorate Executive Committee (Administration) to give him the position of a head of the District Militia (Uyezdnoy) in Kirsanov. With the help of the workers of the Uyezd department of militia, he was approved for the transfer.
There he organised and became one of the leaders of the Tambov Rebellion against the Soviet regime. On 24 June 1922, cornered by a Cheka detachment near the village of Shybriay near Borisoglebsk, he was killed in a firefight against the Cheka along with his brother, Dmitriy. Documents state that he fought to the end, never laying down his weapon. Antonov was buried in Tambov, along with the other members of his group and his brother Dmitriy, near the walls of the male monastery Kazan Mother of God on the fifth day after he perished.