Friday, 19 February 2010

From Battleship Potemkin to a chip shop in Dublin

"We remained outside the port for three days. We needed supplies, water and coal, and the people of the city had given these to us. The nobles, against whom we were fighting, had fled from the city. There was no point therefore to bomb and kill our working brothers”.

We arrived at Odessa by the Black Sea, returning from the mutiny on the Potemkin which in part reflected the conditions of Tsarist Russia. This first mutiny woke up the people who were sleeping. The revolt started at lunchtime, at 12 o’clock. There were maggots in the food. The meat was rotten and the bread was hard. The officer had ordered the cooks to cook it nevertheless. At that time no one could speak up or contradict an order. They would be immediately arrested and put shore, where they would be sentenced to 30 days in prison. But Varukinciuk, a sailor friend of mine, had the courage to protest against these living conditions to an officer whom he found on the bridge at the time.

This man, a real tyrant, a Polish man, suddenly took out his pistol and left Varukinciuk laid out on lifeless. This was the beginning of the rebellion and the crew mutinied. Matiuscenko took command of the mutineers and ordered them immediately to force open the armory on board and to take possession of the arms and munitions. Some officers opposed this and a scuffle broke out with continuous gunfire in which the some ended up in the sea, alive or dead."

- the extraordinary life of the late Ivan Beshoff, last surviving sailor of the Battleship Potemkin Revolt.