Revolutionary committee

Revolutionary committee (revoliutsiinyi komitet, or revkom). A temporary body of local government set up by the Bolsheviks during the revolutionary period (1918–20). Introduced in October 1917 in Russia, such committees were assigned the task of preparing an uprising against the Provisional Government. In Ukraine the committees appeared from late October to November 1917, in Kharkiv, Kyiv, and the Donbas. The revolutionary committees worked closely with the local soviets and Red Guards and sometimes served as local police forces for the revolutionary tribunals. The revkomy often dealt brutally with ‘class enemies’ and opponents of Soviet rule. In December 1919 the All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee was created to co-ordinate Bolshevik activity throughout Ukraine and organize the Red Army. The body was also supported by the Borotbists. As the Communist Party consolidated its power and introduced Soviet rule, the revolutionary committees were disbanded. Because of strong resistance to the Soviets, in Ukraine some revkomy continued to operate until mid-1921.

Revolutionary committees were created also by other parties. In December 1918 the Borotbists organized military-revolutionary committees to overthrow the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic, and an All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee was created by the Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers' party in Right-Bank Ukraine in 1919 to fight the Bolsheviks.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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