Sotheby's Parke Bernet, New York, 14 December 1981, lot 240
Sotheby's New York, 22 October 2002, lot 313
Mironov fought with distinction in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) and First World War. Following the Revolution, he supported the idea of democracy in the form of the Soviet Republic, was an active opponent of the policy of the Red Terror, and clashed with Leon Trotsky. He was sentenced to death in 1919 for disobeying military orders, but grudgingly pardoned by Trotsky for his past accomplishments. In a letter to Lenin, Mironov wrote on 31 July 1919: “In the practice of the present struggle, we have the opportunity to see and observe the confirmation of an insane theory: ‘For Marxism the present is merely the means, and only the future can be the goal.’ If this be so, then I refuse to participate in such an endeavour, when all the people and everything they have earnt are regarded as a means for the purposes of a future both distant and abstract. Is modern humanity not a goal, not a people, does it not want to live, is it devoid of its senses, that with its suffering we wish to pay for the happiness of some distant humanity? No, it is time to stop the experiment!”
The following year, for personal bravery in battle and good governance of troops, Mironov was awarded the highest military medal, the Order of the Red Banner, as well as an honorary revolutionary weapon, a sword with a gilded hilt. In 1921, however, his fortunes changed yet again. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in a counterrevolutionary conspiracy and executed on 2 April. Researchers R. A. Medvedev and S. P. Starikov assert that Trotsky himself gave the order to execute Mironov, citing anti-Cossack sentiment as well as personal rivalry. Trotsky said of him, “Why did Mironov temporarily join the revolution? Now it is quite clear: personal ambition, careerism, the desire to climb up atop the backs of the labouring masses.”
Mironov’s life is the subject of Anatoli Znamenski’s popular novel Red Days and inspired the 1990 Igor’ Tal’kov song 'The Ex-Staff Captain', as well as the character Migulin in Yuri Trifonov’s novel The Old Man. In 1960, Mironov was posthumously “rehabilitated” by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court for lack of evidence regarding his crimes.
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