Rosalia Samoilovna Zemlyachka was a Russian revolutionary, Soviet politician and statesman. She was a senior military commissar in the Red Army during the Civil War in Russia.
Rosalia Zalkind was born on April 1, 1876, in Mogilev. She was born in the family of a successful Kyiv merchant Samuel Zalkind. Her father was one of the richest people in Kyiv, owned a beautiful and large tenement house and one of the largest haberdashery stores. Rosalia was the darling of the family, her parents did not look for souls, she did not know any hardships and deprivations. The family traveled regularly, and as a child, she managed to live in almost all countries in Europe. But, despite the atmosphere of a seemingly carefree childhood, Rosalia was a rather strange child.
After graduating from the Kyiv female gymnasium, Rosalia decided to move to Europe. Her family was rich, so the choice of the daughter was approved. She entered the medical faculty of the University of Lyon in France but soon returned.
In 1896, Rosalia Zemlyachka revolutionary returned to Kyiv, wherein the underground she began to publish the newspaper Iskra, the party’s propaganda press organ.
Zalkind was an excellent agent: plying between Kyiv and Europe, she shipped materials abroad for the next foreign edition of a newspaper banned in the Russian Empire. To preserve secrecy, she had to resort to various tricks and tricks: so, she invented to keep thin sheets of paper under the amalgam of the road mirror.
In 1903, Sergei Witte, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, argued that about half of all members of revolutionary parties were people of Jewish origin, although this figure seems to be too high for modern historians - probably, the number of Jews ranged from 15% to one third, whereas in the minds of ordinary people their role in the revolution significantly exceeded the real facts.
After the final liquidation of the Pale of Settlement during the First World War, a huge number of inhabitants of the "townships" began to move from the western provinces to the center of the country and concentrating mainly in large cities. In the first weeks of Soviet power, Lenin organized the "call" into the party of new members - and "thousands of Jews rushed to the Bolsheviks." Already at the end of 1917, a special Jewish department of the Commissariat for Nationalities Affairs was created, and in 1918 it was transformed into a separate “Jewish Commissariat”, which, in fact, was an independent ministry.
As in the case of many Russian revolutionaries, Zalkind was not officially employed anywhere until 1917, and the vigorous activity attracted the attention of the police - they were sent to Siberian exile. There she managed to get married, however, her husband soon died. The reasons for such a hasty marriage are not entirely clear: whether it was dictated by the ideas of a common cause with a fellow revolutionary, or out of pity.
In her further travels, Zalkind visited Europe, including Munich, where, probably, her first meeting with Lenin took place. In 1905, she returned to Moscow, finding herself in the thick of the events of the December uprising. By the way, precisely these days, the future "fury of the red terror" acquired the first shooting skills - on the royal troops.
The countrywoman had tremendous experience in the military cell of the party, and therefore, after the Bolshevik coup, at the end of 1918, the leadership decided to use its combat potential and composure in practice - she became the head of political departments, first of the 8th, and then the 13th armies of the Southern Front. Earlier, a demoralized army, in a catastrophic and seemingly hopeless situation, turned into an almost exemplary fighting cell. All this is largely due to the hard personal discipline of Zemlyachka: her working day could last up to 20 hours, she did not spare herself and demanded the same dedication from her subordinates, not thinking about the ethics or fairness of certain actions, but guided by the considerations that the goal justifies any means.
Loud glory brought Zemlyachka events in the Crimea in 1920. After the departure of Wrangel's army, the peninsula was given into the hands of the most faithful, who proved their loyalty and inflexibility in battle, to the commanders, Rosalia Zemlyachka and Bele Kun, the Hungarian revolutionary who made an unsuccessful attempt to proclaim the Hungarian Soviet Republic (the communist radical government lasted 133 days). As the chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Crimea, they proposed the appointment of Leon Trotsky.
During the first winter, 96 thousand people were shot out of the 800 thousand inhabitants of the Crimea. The bloody venture lasted several months. On November 28, the “News of the Provisional Sevastopol Revolutionary Committee” published the first list of shot white officers - 1,634 people, on November 30, the second list - 1202 people. In a week alone, in Sevastopol, Bela Kun shot over 8,000 people, and such shootings went all over the Crimea, machine guns worked day and night, and when the ammunition began to end, Zemlyachka said: "It’s a pity to waste cartridges on them, to drown them in the sea." Those sentenced to destruction were loaded onto huge barges that were flooded in the Black Sea.
Between 1921 and 1939, Rosalia Zemlyachka successfully supervised the work of government agencies throughout the country. The peak of her career came in the period of mass party cleansing. In 1939, during the mass repressions, she was appointed deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. However, gradually, her positions began to weaken. After working in this position until 1943, Zemlyachka became deputy chairman of the Party Control Commission under the Central Committee of the Party. The Soviet leadership recognized her as a distinguished member of the party, noting a special zeal in the fight against "enemies of the people."