Region: Russia Area
Group: Russian Revolution
Classification: Revolutionary Army
Prior Regime: Provisional Russian Civil War Government
1917, Feb – Russian revolution, overthrow of Czar Nicholas II
1917, Oct – Bolshevik Revolution
1919, Jun – General Yudenich formed Army of the Northwest
1919, Oct – Northwest Army attacked Petrograd, and was defeated by Bolshevik Army
1920, Jan – Northwest Army disbanded
Following Regime: Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic
Scott Catalogue: (Russia, Army of the Northwest) #1-14
Pick Catalogue: (Russia, West Russia) #s201-210
The Russian Army of the Northwest under General Yudenich was a short-lived counter revolutionary army formed during the Russian Revolution. After the overthrow of the Czar of Russia in February 1917, General Nikolai Yudenich (a Russo-Japanese War hero, and the most successful Russian General in World War I), became dismayed by the revolution and was reluctant to cooperate with the Provisional Government. In May 1918, General Yudenich was relieved of his command and he moved to Petrograd.
After the October 1918 Bolshevik Revolution, he fled to Finland where he joined “The Russian Committee”, which had been formed to oppose the Bolsheviks. From there, he took command of anti-Bolshevik forces in the Baltic region, as commander-in-chief of the Northwest Army.
In June 1919, Yudenich begin consolidating his position by contacting Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak’s Provisional All-Russian Government based in Omsk, and was subsequently acknowledged as commander-in-chief of all Russian armed forces, operating against the Bolsheviks in the Baltic Sea and in northwest Russia. Kolchak also provided much-needed funds to pay and equip his forces. Also, Yudenich met with General Aleksandr Rodzyanko, the commander of the White Russian Northern Army (Russian Army of the North) in Tallinn and combined armies, appointing Rodzyanko as his aide.
Ultimately, Yudenich failed to establish an effective political regime outside the various White Armies, or to attract sufficient support from the Allies.
In August 1919, under pressure from the British government, Yudenich created the counterrevolutionary “Northwestern Government“. Being in Estonia, Yudenich agreed to serve as Minister of War for the new government. and spent the next three months organizing and training his army. By September 1919 Yudenich had a well-organized army of approximately 17,000 troops.
In the autumn of 1919, he masterminded the Whites’ advance to the outskirts of Petrograd, however, Trotsky pushed his forces back into Estonia where they were interned before being disbanded in 1920. Yudenich was briefly arrested by the Estonian government, but was allowed to settle into exile in France. Yudenich died at Saint-Laurent-du-Var, near Nice on the French Riviera, on October 5, 1933.
Like the other “White Generals“, Wrangel, Denikin, Miller, and Count Awaloff-Bermondt, the Northwest Army issued it’s own postage stamps. The stamps were a series of Russian stamps overprinted with the “Sev. Zap. Armia” in Cyrillic, which was the abbreviation for Severo-Zapadnaya Armia or Northwest Army. The stamps which were overprinted in Pskov, a Russian city close to the Estonian border, were issued on 1 Aug 1919, and were used until 15 Oct, 1919.
Both Scott and Michel number the issues in a separate section under Russia, while Stanley Gibbons includes them in North West Russia. These stamps, which are known to have inverted overprints, have been extensively counterfeited.
Yudenich’s newly forming “government” issued a series of 10 banknotes in Russian Rubles (25, 50 kopeks, 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 100, 500 and 1000 rubles). All of the notes included the signature of General Yudenich, as well as proximately the double headed eagle of the former Russian Empire.
Map at EmersonKent.com
Rossia.com section on Army of the Northwest Stamps