December 4 - 75 years since the death of an outstanding Russian military leader
Warlord largest in new stories military theorist, journalist and teacher, military geographer and orientalist, full member of the Russian Geographical Society, Hero of Labor - it's all about him, about Andrei Evgenievich Snesarev.
There are a lot of white spots in our history. But such an unimaginable amount as "at dusk of stagnation" was hardly ever observed. I assumed this before, but I clearly understood it when exactly 25 years ago I received a journalistic task from the editorial office of a military newspaper, where I worked then, to write about Snesarev. "Tricky Ulysses" - Politburo member A. Yakovlev was preparing Gorbachev to carry his legs from Afghanistan. And Snesarev just claimed that no conqueror in the world would ever conquer this mountainous country. I was instructed by the KGB general and Andropov’s personal friend Vyacheslav Kevorkov: “Please note: there are very few materials about this tsarist general. But here's his daughter's phone. Maybe she saved something from her father's legacy. If yes, then try to treat him critically ... ".
In the encyclopedia "Civil War and Military Intervention and the USSR" I found about him: "... Owls. warlord. From the family of the priest. He graduated from Moscow University and the Academy of the General Staff. Member of World War 1, Lieutenant General. In 1917, he was elected commander of the 9 Army Corps. In May, 1918-th voluntarily joined the Red Army, was the military leader of the North. Caucasian Military District. In September-November, the 1918-th Head of the Western Defense Region, in November 1918-th-May 1919-th commander of the Western (since March, Lithuanian-Belarusian) army. Since July, 1919-th chief of the Academy of the General Staff of the Red Army. Then on the scientific and teaching work. " I re-read in the same encyclopedia all the events in which Snesarev was otherwise supposed to take part, and ... did not find any traces of his participation. In the large and sufficiently detailed article “Defense of Tsaritsyn”, which includes three detailed schemes, the name of Snesarev was not mentioned at all! And this, I remember, took the annoyance! In fact, a few years ago I graduated from the military academy, but it turns out that I don’t know the history of our army, which had already reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and TASS special war correspondent under the USSR Ministry of Defense! What then to speak about people, from the army far. Yes, none of them had a clue who Snesarev was.
But he was one of the few military leaders, who didn’t just cross Stalin in some way. Andrei Evgenievich literally clashed with Joseph Vissarionovich while developing and conducting, perhaps, the largest defensive operation in the Civil War.
This fundamental military conflict later decided the fate of the general, determined his oblivion for many decades.
I met with Eugenia Andreevna Snesareva, with whom she was friends until her death ...
Before telling about the Tsaritsyn tragedy, it makes sense to at least briefly tell about the record of Snesarev. This is interesting and purely human, and also because such information will enable us to deeper understand the meaning and scale of the collision between the Russian and the Soviet military intelligentsia and Stalin.
Origin Snesarev, as already mentioned, is really from the family of the priest. But he categorically refused to follow in his father's footsteps and entered Moscow University. In 1888, he finishes it brilliantly by defending a thesis on infinitely small quantities. Some teachers advise him to improve in this noble field, other mentors just as convincingly incline him to linguistic activity. It’s no joke: a young graduate of a Moscow university can speak and write in several languages fluently. (Subsequently, he will master fourteen languages!). But what about the vocal abilities of a young man? After all, together with Sobinov, he took lessons at the Moscow Conservatory, brilliantly performed the best vocals, and the Bolshoi Theater Directorate considered the question of enrolling Snesarev into the troupe. He even had a debut there. But the young man decides everything in his own way and, driven by patriotic feelings, enters the infantry school. Seven years he served in the combat unit, then he was enrolled in the Academy of the General Staff. In the 1899 year, Snesarev ordered A. Kuropatkin sent to India for a few months, where he met and met Lord Curzon. Up to the First World War, A.E. Snesarev is studying the Central Asian theater of operations. It happens in Afghanistan, in the Pamirs, in England. He writes books, articles, speaks in public, lectures, and edits the journal “Information Concerning Countries Adjacent to the Turkestan Military District”.
In 1904, he marries. This fact could not be highlighted. But, first, in the long years of imprisonment, Evgenia Vasilyevna Zaitseva will become his guardian angel, will save much of her husband’s creative heritage, raise and raise six children! And, secondly, it is painfully an eloquent stroke in the biography of my hero. Imagine a handsome officer, a soul of a refined society; a person who has already acquired a European name in mathematics, orientalistics, geography, and military affairs. And now imagine what party such an officer could make up for himself in the high society of St. Petersburg. But Snesarev finds a bride in provincial Osh. This is the daughter of the captain, the head of the Khorogosky border unit. Just all his life he acted sincerely, in accordance with his conscience, decency of the true Russian intellectual.
From the first days of the imperialist war, Snesarev at the front, in the army of General A. Brusilov. War skillfully, bravely. This is evidenced by a number of high awards, primarily the Order of St. George 3-th and 4-th degree.
... One morning, soldiers in the trenches of the first line saw an approaching cloud of yellow gas: the enemy launched a gas attack. Panic broke out in the trenches. The Russian soldiers did not yet have the means of chemical protection. Only Snesarev was not taken aback: he gave the command to make fires on the parapet and lie down at the bottom of the trenches. A cloud of agents, raised by smoke, passed over the trenches. And not one hit!
The authority of Snesarev among the soldiers was so high that in the summer of 1917, the delegates of the soldiers' committee of the 9 Army Corps unanimously elected him as their commander. This is the only time that the Tsarist Lieutenant General has such confidence.
After the October Revolution, by a special decree, all the major scientists of the Russian state were taken to personal records and divided, depending on their scientific merits, into groups. Andrei Evgenievich was assigned to the highest category under the letter “A”. He is appointed a member of the Central Commission for the Improvement of the Life of Scientists, established by order of V.I. Lenin. Bad, poor, but the life, life of Snesarev and his family in the country shocked by the revolution were established. The main question remained open: with whom should he, the lieutenant general caressed by the tsarist regime, swear allegiance to this regime? “It is difficult to immediately understand everything that happened,” he confessed in a letter to his colleague, “but if the Russian people followed the Bolsheviks, then I’m with him. After all, the people are not mistaken. ”
“Sim makes sure that this bearer Andrei Evgenievich Snesarev really is a military leader of the North Caucasian District Commissariat for Military Affairs. The Council of People's Commissars invites all government and Soviet organizations and institutions to provide the designated person with all possible assistance in all matters related to their position. Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars V. Ulyanov (Lenin) ”.
So Snesarev entered a new, most vivid period of his life. Tsaritsyn's defense was his Toulon, although Stalin’s comrades-in-arms did everything possible and impossible to attribute exclusively to the leader all the merits in her organization. Arriving in the city on the Volga, Snesarev made sure that neither the district nor the front existed. 29 reported to Moscow in May: “On the protection of the Gryaz-Tsaritsyn railway (this was the main task of the district), and in Tsaritsyn there are no more than 6 thousands of fighters with several guns and cavalry squadrons: the troops actually sit on the road, in the cars. There is no connection between them. The plot north to Aleksikovo is not protected at all; ammunition is running out; the majority of commanders, in spite of their ardent desire, cannot lead the units correctly ”.
In conditions of complete confusion, Andrei Evgenievich takes measures to organize defense.
It fights against attempts to revive the general election of commanders and to concentrate command and control in the hands of the committees. In a short time competently and thoroughly strengthens the front line, creating a stable defense on the approaches to Tsaritsyn. Thus, it preserves the food and oil arteries, preventing the White Guard armies of the south and east from joining. All these were the actions of a deep strategist and tactic who relied on his own vast experience, on the advanced conclusions and recommendations of military science at that time. He tried by all means to justify the high confidence of the young republic, fully aware of the importance of the task entrusted to him.
“Tsaritsyn’s defense,” said Snesarev, speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the Council with the participation of party, trade union, and military organizations, “in view of its present significance, it’s a matter of common cause. There can be no dispute as to whether or not to protect the city, the whole question is: what forces are needed to protect it and how to use them? ”
And here Stalin arrives in Tsaritsyn with the mandate of "the general head of food business in the south of Russia."
The actions of Snesarev and other military specialists with positive results were attributed to the leader from now on, and, conversely, the results of the defeat were on the conscience of military experts whom Stalin contemptuously called "shoemakers." This is not surprising: Voroshilov was his adviser and mentor for the Tsaritsyn epic, whom Snesarev described in the report to L. Trotsky, Chairman of the Supreme Military Council, “t. Voroshilov as a military commander does not possess the necessary qualities. He is not sufficiently imbued with duty and does not adhere to elementary rules of command of the troops. "
The result at any cost - this was the main goal of Stalin. He acted accordingly: “I will correct these and many other shortcomings on the ground,” Stalin wrote to Lenin. - I take a number of measures and I will take, up to the displacement of the destructive business officials and commanders, despite the formal difficulties that I will break if necessary. At the same time, it is clear that I take upon myself all the responsibility to all higher institutions. ”
Alas, the arguments and arguments of Snesarev in favor of thoroughly strengthening the defense and building up efforts for the subsequent offensive, Stalin did not want to listen. His plan was declared "sabotage" on the grounds that he bears the "seal of defencism". I did not bother to prove myself, but, not being embarrassed in strong Russian expressions, I put "these shoemakers" in my place. Most were silent, and Snesarev fought back. How it looked in detail, now no one will know. But the fact is that Stalin has since openly neglected the military director. In the headquarters, and then in the city, rumors suddenly spread: the apartment of Snesarev was a spy nest, he himself was a protege of foreign intelligence, the head of an underground White Guard organization. Before Stalin's arrival, nothing like this was observed. Incidentally, Snesarev walked freely through the front-line units in the Tsar's general's uniform, without causing the usual at the time of the hatred of the soldiers to the "goldsters".
He was remembered and loved since the war for intelligence, courage and justice. To the remarks about the insecurity of wearing the general's uniform, Snesarev calmly replied: “Shoulder straps are a sign of military merit. Besides, nobody degraded me. ”
After some time, Snesarev was forced to change clothes, only this step of the rumors did not diminish. Objective and efficient reports regularly flew to Moscow: “In my opinion, the military instructor Snesarev very skillfully sabotage the task of cleaning the Kotelnikov-Tikhoretskaya line. In view of this, I decided to personally go to the front and get acquainted with the situation. He took with him the commander of Voroshilov, a technical detachment. We managed to do all this despite Snesarev, who, against the expectation, also went to the front. ” "The line, of course, can be cleaned in a short time, if behind the armored train to move the twelve-thousandth army standing under Gashun and bound hand and foot by the orders of Snesarev." “Now there are two requests: the first is to remove Snesarev, who is unable to, cannot or does not want to wage war against counterrevolution, with his fellow countrymen - Cossacks (Snesarev is from Old Kalitva, Voronezh province - M. 3.). Maybe he is good at war with the Germans, but in the war with counter-revolution he is a serious brake, and if the line has not yet been cleared - by the way, because, and even mainly because Snesarev is slowing things down. The second request - give us urgently eight pieces of armored vehicles. ”
Lenin understood: no warrior could win a war. Therefore, he showed restraint regarding these messages.
However, when Snesarev issued a military order in which Voroshilov’s group (he already called himself “commander of the front”) was assigned a supporting role, Stalin intervened so that the “traitorous” order would not enter into force. First they arrest the staff of the district headquarters - the closest aides of Snesarev, and then the military director himself. These "shoemakers" were planted in the hold of the barge and began to act "with all the revolutionary determination."
The conflict between Stalin and Snesarev (the so-called “barge case”) was dealt with by a special inspectorate of the Supreme Military Council, which confirmed the legality of most of the actions of the district commander, and most importantly, saved him from physical violence. Snesarev was urgently recalled to Moscow, where his activity was assessed positively and appointed first as chief of defense of the Western District, and later as commander of the Belarusian-Lithuanian army.
As you know, the defense of Tsaritsyn ended well. But success came only when they began to act in Snesarevsky - to establish discipline, to remove arbitrary commanders, to teach people to observe subordination, strict subordination, strict execution of orders. At the same time, about 60 thousand Red Army soldiers were killed under the city on the Volga. To a large extent, these losses were the result of rash, hasty actions of Voroshilov, Budyonny, Kulik, Shchadenko, Minin. By the way, the first three were then marshals, the fourth - the colonel-general. And only Minin, who asserted that “philosophy, as an instrument of exploitation, should be thrown overboard,” retired in the 1927 year and died a retired all-union figure in the 80 years. These were the opponents of Snesarev ..
Undoubtedly, in their youth, they all had the ardent desire to accomplish the revolutionary task as quickly as possible, but they did not have military knowledge, and they thought of learning from such generals as Snesarev below their “proletarian dignity”.
From such people, by the way, the arrogant went for a walk: we didn’t finish the academies ... This complacency of ignoramuses cost our people dearly afterwards.
In August 1919, A.E. Snesarev was recalled from the army and appointed head of the Academy of the General Staff of the Red Army. The newly built military science building, hastily, was still far from being completed, and remaining, figuratively speaking, in the forests required painstaking completion and decoration. Andrei Evgenievich took up this work with enthusiasm and zeal. He had to fight on two fronts: with the Proletkultists, who zealously refused to "lecture scholasticism", and with some of the old professors who opposed the renewal of programs and teaching methods. He wrote about this: “I was ready to follow the path of replacing the bad with the good with the new, even with the dubious past, even with such a dubious new, but I could not sacrifice a good and definitely necessary past in favor of the seductive future, which had not yet been tried.”
Snesarev for the first time raised the question of a deep scientific understanding and study of the tactics and strategy of the Civil War. In 1920, the academy began to lecture on this crucial area. According to Snesarev, they were too “encyclopedic”, common, but they marked a new step in the development of military history science. Among the first professors who read this course was the head of the academy itself. He began to teach another new course - "The Psychology of War." Served with articles on tactics and strategy. Developed and delivered lecture courses - “Fire tactics”, “Modern strategy”. He reviewed the books of I. Vatsetis on the history of military art, A. Svechin - on strategy, B. Shaposhnikov - on the General Staff. Snesarev was a member of the military-historical commission on the generalization of the experience of the First World War and the chairman of the Main Military-Scientific Editorial Board. Peru Snesarev in those years belong to the translations of the military theorists Schlieffen, Berngardi, Kul, Schwarte, Kühlmann, Falkengein, with his prefaces and footnotes.
Total for tactics and strategy saved 30 printed works of the scientist. In 1921, he gave a report on the “General Headquarters and His Appointment”, emphasizing the need for special training for those assigned to work in such a responsible military establishment.
I am aware that the listing of Snesarev's scientific works is not the most interesting reading for an uninformed person, but I ask you to believe that each of these works, by its value and significance for professionals, has not lost its value to this day. In them, Andrei Evgenievich foreshadowed many of the theoretical propositions later expressed by Vatsetis, Svechin, Shaposhnikov. Many of his views significantly or completely coincide with the provisions developed at the end of 1920-x - mid-1930-s in the works of Frunze, Tukhachevsky, Isserson, Triandafillov and included in the treasury of Soviet military theoretical thought. But he also dealt with the problems of Oriental studies, military geography and military economy. Thus, in the difficult struggle and intensive scientific activities, there were “years of quenching, excitement and trial, years of construction and the creation of norms”. Only the first floor of the academic building was erected, which, of course, was far from perfect. But looking back at the time spent by Andrei Evgenievich in such a responsible post, one can say with confidence: he did everything in his power that was determined by his upbringing and education for the development of Russian, Soviet military science. When the title of Hero of Labor was introduced in 1928, one of the first was awarded to Professor A.E. Snesarev. Then he became a member of the Academy of Sciences.
But in the 1930 year, an eminent scientist is accused of counter-revolutionary activities. It is followed by an arrest in cases of the so-called “Russian National Union” and “Spring”. In total, according to some information, more than 3 thousand people were arrested. Among them - A.A. Svechin, P.P. Sytin, F.F. Novitsky, A.I. Verkhovsky, Yu.K. Gravitsky, V.A. Olderogge, V.A. Yablochkin, N.V. Sollogub, A.A. Baltic, MD Bonch-Bruevich, N.A. Morozov, A.E. Gutor, A.Kh. Bazarevsky, MS Matiyasevich, V.N. Gatovsky and others. This, however, is a separate issue, but here I want to emphasize that not all of those arrested were members of the Red Army. Moreover, not all were officers of the old army. Many defendants (AA Svechin, AL Rodendorf, and others) were liberated in 1932 and reinstated in command posts in the Red Army, although in both of these cases everyone was sentenced to “capital punishment”.
From the memoirs of Snesarev's daughter, Evgenia Andreevna: “Mom wrote petitions to all instances. From the Central Executive Committee no answer came. Voroshilov refused to accept her. Budyonny said on the phone: he could not help. Uborevich wrote: "Because it is impossible to help, your request remains without consequences."
Mom sent a telegram and then a letter to Stalin. We received no answer. Dad was sent to the Solovki camp. He meekly carried his heavy cross. My mother and I often visited him. Mom got her father transferred from an island prison to the mainland where he had the opportunity to work. Dad began to write the book "What do the battlefields say" and "Fire tactics." Hurried to work. His 70 anniversary approached, his health deteriorated, and his life was disastrously promoted. After the first paralysis, they were taken over by a commission chaired by the famous neuropathologist Orshansky. Verdict: the patient needs special care. For several months, the pope lay in the Leningrad prison hospital. There he was recognized as disabled (his arm and leg did not move) and “prematurely conditionally” released from custody. At home he suffered three more strokes and, not having lived three years before the end of his prison term, died in a Moscow hospital. ”
I tried to find the personal file of Lieutenant-General A.E. Snesareva. Unsuccessfully. In addition to certificates of release from prison and on rehabilitation in 1958, there is nothing in the Moscow military registration and enlistment office.
The works of the military scientist were more fortunate. In the archive of Orientalists of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR there is a fund №115 from documents and materials saved by the scientist's wife. Here about 400 storage units. Since the name of Snesarev was forgotten for many years, his works were not required even during the entry and long-term stay of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. You look, a timely appeal to Snesarev would save us from this catastrophic mistake ...
Our world is on paradoxes. Here is one of them. The Military Academy of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, the foundation of which was laid by Andrei Yevgenyevich Snesarev, a brilliant scientist, commander and military encyclopaedist, for a long time (until 1992) bore the name of KE Voroshilov, a man who had nothing to do with military science. If I began to list the forms of saving memory of Clement Efremovich, I would not have enough space. And the name of Snesarev in our Armed Forces is not immortalized. There is, however, a gravestone on the Vagankovsky cemetery with the inscription: “Professor, Commissar A.E. Snesarev. 1865 — 1937. From the Ministry of Defense of the USSR ".