The Betrayal of Admiral Kolchak on 15 January 1920

In January 1919, the Supreme Leader of the White Government, Admiral Alexander Kolchak was forced to hand over power to General Anton Deniken when he was held up in his train by the Czech Legion 280 miles from Irkutsk.  The Allied commander, General Maurice Janin guaranteed the safe conduct of the Admiral and his carriages were coupled to the train of the 6th Czech Regiment.  If he could just reach Lake Baikal, he believed he would be safe because the railway line from there was still controlled by the US and Japanese forces.

However, the train took seven days to reach Irkutsk, by which time the Bolsheviks had taken the city and the British and French diplomatic delegations had escaped to the east.  On 15th January, his carriages were surrounded by a hundred revolutionary soldiers with machine guns and the Czechs handed the Admiral over to the Red Commissars.  That night, Kolchak spent his first night in captivity, although he must have felt he had been a prisoner for much of the previous month.

IMG_4665Admiral Kolchak (fur hat) with Captain Francis McCullough (right) who ran the White Government’s Propaganda in Omsk

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