Medals of the era of Alexander II: from Gunib to Kokand

A legacy to his eldest son, Nicholas I left a war-ravaged, but still at war country, surrounded by an “iron curtain”, with a lot of unresolved internal problems. If the next king was a man like Nicholas himself, God knows that already in the middle. XIX century would be with Russia. But the enemies, especially the British and French, did not have enough cohesion. If militaristic sentiments were strong in London (in particular, Prime Minister Henry Palmerston advocated dismembering the Russian Empire), then in Paris, Emperor Napoleon III had enough moral revenge for his uncle Bonaparte’s failures: having strengthened his personal prestige inside France, he was in a hurry for the soonest to peace

Played into the hands of Russia and the charm of the new sovereign. An important success of his foreign policy was, for example, the secret agreement on an alliance with the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm VI, who Alexander II was the mother's nephew. The king, by the way, despite such a close relationship, acted like a pig.

Fast forward to May 1818 of the year. The Prussian monarch Friedrich Wilhelm III walks with his sons in Moscow building up after the devastation. On the king and his eldest son, the namesake, Russian uniforms and blue ribbons of the Order of St. Andrew's shoulder. The family came to Pervoprestolnaya, by the way, on the occasion of the birth of Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich, the future Alexander II, in order to show deepest respect: thanks to Russia, who defeated Napoleon, French possessions returned to them under the wing of the Prussians.

Medals of the era of Alexander II: from Gunib to Kokand

Friedrich Wilhelm was graciously forgiven for the unpleasant fact that at the request of Bonaparte he sent Prussian troops on a campaign in Moscow. Well, it's a thing of the past. Chatted, it means the Germans in the streets. They marveled and sang. In the end, they expressed a desire to look at the city from some place higher. They were advised to go up to the observation deck of Pashkov’s house (this palace was also badly damaged in a fire, but was rebuilt at the expense of the state). So they did. And it was exactly where Bulgakov’s Woland would then look at Moscow with his colorful eyes that not literary, but quite real characters played a small political comedy, which immediately turned into almost historical joke.
There are several versions of what happened. Retell one. Throwing a glance at the panorama, the Prussian king started a tear, went down on one knee and, addressing his sons, pathetically exclaimed in the expressive language of Friedrich Schiller and Johann Goethe: “On your knees! Here it is, our savior! She did not spare herself, but she saved the world! ”

Then this scene was depicted, of course, by painters; the hottest heads even suggested setting a kneeling sculptural group on Pashkov’s house. However, carried by. Otherwise, I would have had to throw off the bronze sausages from the observation deck: a few days after the death of Tsar Nicholas I, in March 1855, Alexander Nikolaevich received a message from another Friedrich Wilhelm, the oldest German prince once standing there with his father in his lap: if you don’t accept the ultimatum made by Austria, Prussia will open hostilities on the side of the anti-Russian coalition.

But let's continue about Alexander. Unlike his father, whose training was imprudently entrusted to the stupid Matvey Lamzdorf, the prince was originally raised as the heir to the throne. And what a team of educators got here! The famous liberal Count Mikhail Speransky taught the future Tsar Liberator legislation, the history was taught by Konstantin Arsenyev, the founder of Russian statistics, the basics of the economy - Count Yegor Kankrin, the reformer of the empire's monetary system. And in Russian, the young poet Alexander was instructed by the outstanding poet of his time, Vasily Zhukovsky. He was also entrusted with the general management of the educational process.

Although Nicholas I was not a liberal, he valued freethinkers in his own way. Sometimes he lost his temper, shouted, demanding that his son not be shoved, for example, by the "godless" Faust, but he realized that Zhukovsky was still better than Lamzdorf.

When the crown prince grew older, they began to actively involve him in solving the most serious issues; after reaching the age of majority, they were introduced to the Senate and the Synod, then to the State Council and the Committee of Ministers, sent on a voyage across Russia in the 1837 and across Europe in the 1838 – 1839 years.

It was during the Patriotic War that Lamzdorf used a gun shot to keep his august students away from the battlefields. Alexander, at the age of eighteen, was promoted to major general, and at twenty-six, to full generals. He is in charge of the Guards infantry.

In the Crimean War, too, did not sit idle: the heir was assigned a strategically important area - Petersburg, of which he commanded a garrison. True, Alexander did not have a commanding talent. But we will return to this topic.

Anyway, his rule turned out to be quite successful just in terms of military successes. After reconciliation with Europe, all the force came over the Caucasus and Central Asia. To begin with, it was necessary, of course, to thoroughly shake up the army, reducing its strength to a reasonable one, replace the recruitment set that became anachronistic with universal military service, and pay attention to re-equipment and re-equipping of troops.

Modernization has just begun, and its first results were not long in coming: Chechnya and Dagestan were finally conquered. Here in the summer of 1859, Imam Shamil, with the few remaining murids loyal to him, was besieged in the Avar aul of Gunib and forced to surrender. True, before the mountaineers laid down weapon, they put up fierce resistance in their almost impregnable position.

Visiting modern Dagestan and visiting Gunib, we more than once rose above the current village, to where the sanatorium for patients with bronchopulmonary pathology is now located. The air here and with healthy people work wonders. Rising up, you do not feel the slightest shortness of breath. That is, if you go along the road, and not climb the almost steep mountain slopes that surround the Gunib Plateau on three sides.

However, it was for them that the soldiers of the Absheron regiment had to climb, before the dawn of August 25, climbed to the plateau from the south side. If Shamil had more people, the Russians would never have succeeded in such a maneuver. But there were not enough people at the guard posts (along with the men, women were also kept here), so the Apsheronians were noticed when it was too late.

Soon and from other sides, soldiers rose to the plateau. A decisive attack followed. The highlanders gave their lives dearly. In the end, they would have been killed by every single one if the Russian command most of all did not want to take Shamil alive: the captive imam meant more than the dead, because in the latter case, the resistance in Dagestan would continue under the leadership of some new leader.

At about five in the afternoon the desired happened: Shamil surrendered to captivity. Halfway from the village up to the sanatorium, there is still a stone, on which, taking the surrender of the imam, the commander of the Caucasian army, Prince Alexander Baryatinsky, sat in the shade.

Shamil and his sons were sent first to Petersburg, where they went to look like a curiosity, and then to Kaluga for permanent residence, and there the leader of the rebellious highlanders took an oath of allegiance to Russia. They say that, on the way to the Russian capital, Shamil, unable to withstand the long and shaking road, exclaimed in their hearts: that, he said, he knew that Russia was so big, I would never have fought with it. But this is probably still a historical anecdote - the Avar was definitely not a savage in geography.

The silver medal "For the Conquest of Chechnya and Dagestan" was awarded to generals, officers and soldiers of the Caucasian Army, local police, officials, priests and doctors. On its obverse side is the emperor's monogram under the crown, on the back side there is a circular inscription reproducing the name. The center shows the last three years of hostilities: 1857, 1858, and 1859. Ribbon medals combined, Georgievsko-Aleksandrovskaya.

In 1864, the Caucasian War ended with the final conquest of the Circassians, accompanied by the extermination and mass eviction of this people to Turkey. Participants in the fighting on the side of Russia received the silver medal "For the Conquest of the Western Caucasus" (and many to her also the cross "For service in the Caucasus": officers - silver, lower ranks - bronze). The medal (the author of the stamp - Nikolai Kozin) on the front side carries the profile of Alexander II, and on the reverse side - a circular inscription-name and the years of the final period of the war: “1859 – 1864”. The ribbon is the same as that of the predecessor medal.

In view of the coming peace in a few years, Alexander’s trip to the Caucasus became possible. For those accompanying and meeting the emperor, a special medal “Caucasus 1871 Year” was struck on the tape of the Vladimir Order. Its design, however, is unremarkable: the autocrat's profile, only turned to the right, with an explanatory inscription on the obverse, an inscription-name on the reverse, under a tiny five-pointed star.

In January, the 1863 of the year Poland was again stirred up, but it was rather quickly calmed down - no major military events happened here. Therefore, they decided not to spend silver, limiting themselves to distribution, according to merit, of the medals "For the pacification of the Polish insurrection" (the double-headed eagle on the obverse and the inscription-name with the date on the reverse) of light or dark bronze. There is a remarkable medal ribbon - black-orange-white, corresponding to the colors of the old flag of the Russian Empire.

The Poles, however, shed their blood and Russian blood for a reason. The peasant reform carried out soon in the Polish regions was much more liberal than the one that affected the Russian provinces of the empire itself. The medal "For the labor of peasants in the Kingdom of Poland" is also unique - not round, but with the imperial crown protruding from the rim (again, the work of the medalist Nikolai Kozin) Behind the crown was attached medal ear. On the front side are profiles of two kings, Nicholas and Alexander, in profile. What does Nikolai have to do with it? Why, 26 of May (June 7) 1846 of the year was promulgated his decree weakening serfdom in Poland. The date of this event, as well as the date of the release of the new decree on the structure of Polish peasants, are given both in the main Julian and the Gregorian calendar adopted in Poland and then in Soviet Russia. So with the date, neither the old nor the new style is not mistaken: "February 19 / March 2 1864 of the year."

Such a grand event as the abolition of serfdom, of course, could not remain without a reward. The only strange thing is that the only medal awarded "19 February 1861 of the Year" was the king. The medal, of course, is gold with an “all-seeing eye” and a date on the front side and the already familiar biblical inscription “DON'T NAM, DON'T NAM, - AND NAME IS YOUR ADMIR” on the back. The tape, of course, Andrew. Although some sources listed as Alexandrovskaya.

The officials who worked on the implementation of the reform initiated by the tsar were relied on another medal - "For the labors to free the peasants." It was of two types - gold and silver, but of the same design. On the front side there is a portrait of the king, the inscription above along the side - “THANKS”, below is the historical date. On the back, in five lines: "FOR - WORK - BY - LIBERATION - PEASANT". This medal, already on the ribbon of the Order of Alexander, later (under Nicholas II) received the right to carry the descendants of the awarded. In total, not many of her impressions were made: 250 gold and 1500 silver.

By the 70-th years of the XIX century, the Russian Empire subjugated the two largest Central Asian states - the Bukhara and Kokand khanates. Next in line was the last independent possession - Khiva, surrounded on all sides by the lands of Russia and its vassals. From here, from Mangyshlak, Orenburg, Fort Petrovsky, Dzhizak and Krasnovodsk, in the desert with rare wells that had to be taken in combat, at the end of February 1873, Russian troops moved in converging directions to Khiva.

Started in a harsh winter, the hike ended in the scorching heat. Not all units have reached their intended goal. So, for example, Krasnovodsky detachment of Colonel Vasily Markozov was forced to turn back, because, according to the recollection of an eyewitness, “all the thermometers burst”. Other parts safely reached the capital of the Khanate. Khivans capitulated. But because of the confusion that reigned in the city, the Shahabat Gate in the northern part of the city remained locked, while the adjutant general Konstantin von Kaufman’s troops had already begun to enter Khiva from the south. The officer of the General Staff Mikhail Skobelev, seconded to the Orenburg detachment, rushed into the attack with two mouths, first ascended the rampart, drove the stunned Khivans off of him and held the fortifications until all the city’s defenders laid down their arms. So the star of the future Turkish crusher began to rise.

For reconnaissance in the desert, Skobelev was awarded the Order of St. George Class IV, and in addition, he received, like all his colleagues, a silver medal "For the Khiva campaign": the emperor's monogram under the crown - on the obverse, an inscription corresponding to the name, crossed oak and laurel branches and year - on the reverse. Ribbon Georgievsko-Vladimirskaya.

Under a commercial agreement with Russia, the Kokand Khanate from 1868 of the year became actually a state dependent on the empire. The stupid Khudoyar Khan was even produced in the “lordship” and handed him the diamond marks of the Order of Saint Stanislav of the I degree. Hurry up. In the Khanate, popular uprisings flared up every now and then. In the spring of 1875, the local nobility rebelled against him, who at the same time called for a gazavat against the Russians.

Getting out of besieged Kokand, Khudoyar, with a gradually melting detachment of supporters and the Russian embassy, ​​at which Skobelev was stationed, struggled through to the Khojent, which was controlled by the imperial troops. Kokandians followed him. Their detachments attacked postal stations arranged by the Russians, killing and taking prisoners of random traffic. They dealt with the prisoners later without the slightest pity. Although sometimes met strong resistance. So, at the post station Murza-Rabat, which is on the highway from Tashkent to Samarkand, the retired soldier Stepan Yakovlev was a yamschitsky headman. He barricaded the station yard prudently, while he sat down on the tower at the gate. When the robbers approached, the veteran opened fire on them with a rifle. For almost two days the coachman defended his station, and then the Asians set fire to it. Yakovlev rushed at them, crushing the skull with his butt, but in the end was hacked. His head was taken to Kokand for public viewing. Twenty years later, a granite obelisk with a marble cross was installed on the site of the heroic death of Yakovlev.

In August, the 50-thousandth army of Abdurakhman Avtobachi rose to Khujand, but was defeated with heavy losses. Kaufman vigorously pursued the retreating. Soon they made peace, violating which the Kokands themselves signed the death sentence to their khanate: formally independent ownership was abolished, its territory became part of the Turkestan Governor-General as the Ferghana region. Skobelev became the military governor here.

Avtobachi, the leader of the insurgency, was sent to Russia, and distinguished by the particular cruelty of his associate Pulat-bek, who publicly punished Russian captives, was executed on the square in Margilan.

The successes of Russian weapons were marked by the medal "For the Conquest of the Khanate of Kokand", identical to the previous one in everything, including the medal ribbon. The only difference is in the inscription and dates (“1875 – 1876”) on the reverse. Yes, there are no branches.
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  1. +3
    18 September 2016 07: 39
    Thank. The material is very interesting and detailed. It will be interesting for lovers of the history of the Reward system of our Motherland. Many books published on this topic are very colorful. But they do not give detailed information at all, but are practically reference literature.
  2. +1
    18 September 2016 07: 50
    True, Alexander had no military talent.
    ... When the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna reproached the son of Alexander II for getting rid of his faithful paternal companions, he answered kindly - ironically: “Dad was a genius and he needed only diligent performers, and I was not a genius, as was Dad: I need smart advisors. "
  3. avt
    18 September 2016 10: 03
    As a legacy to his eldest son, Nicholas I left a war-ravaged, but still warring country, surrounded by the Iron Curtain, with a mass of unresolved internal problems.
    wassat Nashalnik, mana, cocoa, iron curtain wassat ????? Churchill’s speech doesn’t let go of the campaign and stick in about and without reason ??
  4. Cat
    18 September 2016 13: 29
    "If there were strong militaristic sentiments in London (in particular, Prime Minister Henry Palmerston advocated the dismemberment of the Russian Empire)."
    The same thing since the time of Stefan Batory. Karl 12, Napoleon, Hitler, and even then an incomplete list of "well-wishers".
  5. +1
    18 September 2016 14: 08
    The liberal thoughts of some comrades are not letting go. It seems like an article about medals and in the same place: "A country ravaged by war." Well, again, Russia attacked someone. Although, at this time, Russia was at war with the two strongest world powers - the French Empire and Great Britain, reinforced by the troops of the Sardinian Kingdom and the Ottoman Port. At the same time, the two next most powerful European powers - the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia - adhered to a by no means friendly neutrality. Again alone against all of Europe. And the result: in the Baltic, the British were repulsed everywhere with great losses for the "impudent"; in the North Sea, the monks of the Solovetsky Monastery from the cannons of the times of "Ochakov and the conquest of the Crimea" were again hung on "enlightened navigators" in Kamchatka the invaders are utterly defeated; in the Caucasus, we beat the Turks in the tail and mane. And only in the Crimea, the invaders lost 4 commanders in chief and half of the united army during the weather. drove the Russian Army out of half of Sevastopol. And is this defeat? Oh well.
  6. 0
    16 November 2016 17: 57
    As a legacy to his eldest son, Nicholas I left a war-ravaged, but still warring country, surrounded by the Iron Curtain, with a mass of unresolved internal problems.

    And you blue uniforms ...
    And you, a loyal people to them


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