To the 150 anniversary of the beginning of the Polish uprising 1863 of the year
The uprising of the gentry that began in Warsaw on January 23, which was trying to restore Rzecz Pospolita, then spread to the territory of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. In analyzing those events, in no case can one simplify both the causes of the uprising and the general situation in the Russian Empire and the world at that time.
By the beginning of 1863, the situation in Warsaw and in the Kingdom of Poland as a whole was very similar to the situation in the late Polish People's Republic since Jaruzelski and Solidarity, and the situation in the Baltic republics before the collapse of the USSR. The first concerns management and control more, and the second concerns attitudes towards the center and Russians in general.
The defeat of Russia in the Crimean War of 1853-1855 played a very negative role. Russia clearly did not have time - the world was moving forward: the leading countries of Europe began large-scale rearmament of the army and fleet. Armored ships were already replacing sailing ships, smooth-bore guns were replacing arms - rifled. The introduction of machinery and machine tools into the industry has sharply accelerated. In Russia, with all this, there were serious problems that were aggravated by the empty treasury and the unresolved serf question, which clearly hampered the development of the country.
In Poland, all this was closely monitored and believed that the weakening of Russia, its problems in relations with Europe provide the Poles historical the opportunity to restore the Commonwealth.
The peasant reform of 1861, which abolished the serf system, brought even more problems. But the problem of reform was that the noble landowners, who played one of the main roles in the Russian imperial court, obtained financial guarantees for themselves. The peasants, having received personal freedom, were partially deprived of the lands that they cultivated while in a serf position. In addition, the peasants had to pay the landowner a ransom for the land. This ransom was very large and served the sole purpose - to compensate the landowner for the loss of monetary dues or income from corvee. The landowner could put the money from the repurchase in the bank and live on the interest without losing anything. This could not be said about the peasant. For example, in case of 10 rubles a rent the peasant should have paid 167 in rubles. In other words - almost 17 years to pay the same dues, but also to work out another panchin or to additionally pay for using the land of the landowner (the one that went to the peasants after the liberation was not enough). Even taking into account the fact that the state lent these ransoms to 80%, payments for farmers were often overwhelming. All this met with great resistance from the peasants — peasant revolts and ferments began throughout the Russian Empire.
The reform of 1861 of the year was halfway and extremely controversial, since it deprived the peasants of their money for many years and all other problems were added to the estate, internal destabilization of Russia.
Under these conditions, Petersburg tried to solve the problem of Poland with admonitions and appeals in the style of speeches and actions of M. Gorbachev in the Baltic States.
The results of such activities appeared fairly quickly. By January, 1863, Warsaw was already difficult to manage - the orders of the central authorities were performed poorly, the police did not control the situation, prayers in churches often ended with processions and demonstrations. In the apartments of Russian residents, windows were periodically beaten, patrols passing through the streets were insulted, and Russian soldiers and even officers could just spit at the meeting. Police stations and troop locations were periodically stoned. Poles pointedly used everywhere only Polish, even in cases where the law was to be used Russian. Such forms of expressing hostility towards Russians and adherence to the ideas of Posopolita, such as special outfits and brooches among the ladies, became especially popular. Even pupils from various educational institutions often swaggered by burning Russian and German books (part of Poland was controlled by Prussia). The Catholic clergy openly called for the restoration of the Commonwealth. There was talk that the abolition of serfdom occurred solely out of Russia's fear of the victorious England and France, and under their dictation. It got to the point that even during his visit to Warsaw of Alexander II to meet with the Prussian king in October 1860, part of the Polish nobles pointedly chose to leave the city rather than accept the invitation of the emperor to visit him. Those who went to the ceremony were doused with oil, thrown in mud and even beaten.
Russian officers and soldiers received on this occasion only instructions in the style of "not to succumb to provocations" ...
Unrest in Ukraine to the west of the Dnieper, in Belarus and Lithuania was everywhere where the Poles, making up just 5-10% of the population, nevertheless represented up to 90% of the local nobility and practically controlled these territories in parallel with the central government.
It cannot be said that in Petersburg they did not understand what was happening, however, as in the times of the late USSR, there was no intelligible policy towards Poland. Some influential officials believed that Poland had nothing to do with being incorporated into Russia and it could have been separated into a separate state. But this would inevitably lead to a conflict with Prussia and Austria, which also controlled the Polish territories. Therefore, instead of somehow reacting to what is happening, Alexander II and his administration at first preferred to have a conversation with the Polish nobility, hoping to reach an agreement with him.
In 1861, Adam Czartoryski died in France, who was a close relative of the last king of the Commonwealth Stanislav Augustus Poniatowski. He led the Polish uprising of the year 1831, and in 1834, he was proclaimed in exile as the “king of the Commonwealth”. His place was formally taken by his son, Vladislav Chartaryi, who in France headed the Polish emigration. In 1862, 400 of Polish military instructors was already trained in Italy with his assistance. Now it would be called the camp of training militants. In addition, many Poles had the experience of serious hostilities, participating in the campaign "thousands of Garibaldi" in 1860.
In May, 1861 was the second person in the Kingdom of Poland, Count A. Velepolsky, an aristocrat close to Alexander II, with whose assistance the Russian emperor hoped to normalize the situation in Poland. From the very beginning, Velopolsky led the matter to the wide autonomy of Poland, hoping for a peaceful gradual restoration of the Kingdom of Poland.
With him, in almost all state administration bodies, Russians began to be replaced by Poles. Moreover, all 49 Russian teachers of the Kingdom of Poland have lost their jobs. From now on, teaching was conducted only in Polish.
Petersburg looked at it with the silent hope of loyalty in exchange for concessions.
27 May (9 June) 1862, the emperor's brother, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, was appointed vicar of the Kingdom of Poland. He decided to confide in local affairs mainly to A. Velepolsky, he did little, taking rather a wait-and-see attitude. The situation is rapidly going towards a denouement.
Russian troops were stationed in Warsaw, but there was no clear plan of action, as in August 1991, of the units entered into Moscow by the Emergency Committee.
In order to somehow defuse the situation, it was decided to recruit individuals to the army on special lists, which, first of all, included the most active young opponents of the Russian presence in Poland. Initially, the set was to be held on 13 (25) in January, but it began on 3 (15) in January. It was on this day that the Poles planned to begin a large-scale performance, and the recruiting recruitment that had begun suddenly made its own adjustments to what was happening.
Total planned to recruit more 8 000 recruits. But the lists that went to the police, which consisted of Poles, quickly became known, and since the end of 1862, Polish young people began to leave the cities, heading into the woods.
The local authorities received letters from the Polish underground threatening and demanding that they do not recruit and support Russians. In response to complaints about receiving such threats and letters, Konstantin Nikolaevich decided to simply ignore all this. The troops present in the Kingdom of Poland set up winter quarters, dispersing them to about a dozen people in different localities. All this later played a fatal role.
The recruitment in Warsaw itself was relatively quiet, but eventually it failed - 1 was delivered to 657 people, but only 559 was accepted for recruits, and 149 people were left in reserve - the rest simply did not fit for health reasons and other reasons.
The numerous Jewish population feared that in the event of an uprising, the nobility could suffer both themselves and their property and warned the Russian authorities that the Poles were preparing to speak, but the authorities did not take it seriously.
Payback for carelessness came on the night of 10 (22) on 11 (23) of January 1863 of the year - Russian garrisons were attacked throughout the Kingdom of Poland. Dispersed sleeping soldiers were cut straight asleep, in some cases simply burned along with the buildings from which they were fired. In addition to the garrisons, Orthodox monasteries were attacked and plundered, and the monks were assaulted and harassed. Martial law was introduced throughout the Kingdom of Poland.
At the same time, agitation began among Russian soldiers in order to instill in them the idea that both the Russian soldier and the Pole needed one thing - the will, and their enemy was the same - the Russian emperor. By the way, Russian liberals also behaved in a rather peculiar way. Back in the summer of 1862 in London, A. Herzen’s Kolokol magazine posted a letter from some anonymous Russian officers, in which, addressing Konstantin Nikolayevich, they warned him against solving the problem by armed means and immediately scared that the rebels and will turn bayonets against him.
However, the Polish nobility initially overestimated their strength and capabilities - one thing to do with impunity to spit and throw stones at soldiers who suffer because they are “not ordered to answer” and quite another to face the armed people who protect their lives. If the liberal Russian society in Russia itself was sympathetic to the revolutionaries in Warsaw, the officers and soldiers, who had fully experienced insults and humiliation, were determined. Already the first skirmishes showed the complete superiority of the Russians in combat training. The attackers were bad fighters and did not cause serious damage to the Russian garrison. On the first night, no more than one and a half hundred Russian officers and soldiers were killed and captured. At the same time almost 250 rebels themselves were captured. Polish peasants who were forced into insurrection were allowed to go home.
In all the following days and weeks of the active phase of the uprising, Russians practically won victories everywhere - it affected both the best military proficiency and the poor armament of the Polish insurgents. The detachments of the insurgents were headed by civilians - gentry, graduates of seminaries, raznochintsy and even priests, which also did not contribute to military success. But the Russians at first made serious mistakes - for example, they did not pursue the retreating, and those then quickly restored their troops.
In order to somehow compensate for the negative effect of their defeats, the rebels actively spread rumors about convincing victories, seizure of artillery and other successes, allegedly hidden by the royal authorities.
The insurgents switched to guerrilla warfare tactics, focusing on the communications of railways and telegraph lines, ambushed and unexpected attacks. The authorities made another serious mistake by diverting parts of the border guard closer to the large garrisons, thereby exposing the border and losing control over the situation on its part.
Shlyakhta was counting on the support of Polish peasants and came up with the idea of restoring the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth within 1792, stating her claims to the lands of Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine, which they considered their own, and where the Polish nobility played the leading role.
This is far from a unique case in the practice of that time on the territory of Russia - in the same Finland, despite the predominance of the Finnish population, the Swedish aristocracy occupied the dominant position, in Germany and Estonia - the German one.
Commonwealth, as is known, was a state consisting of two parts - the Polish kingdom itself (or the Crown), as well as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Russian Federation (Principality). At the same time, the Crown played a leading role, so the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, being Lithuanians and Russians (descendants of Russians of Polotsk, ancestors of modern Belarusians), adopted Polish language, manners and even the Catholic faith long ago and was part of the Polish world, unlike ordinary people. It was from the Polish gentry that the Lithuanian Provincial Committee (LPK) was formed on the territory of the Western Territory, which was headed by Kastus Kalinovsky. Kalinowski is now considered a national hero in Belarus. Meanwhile, Kalinowski himself about the Belarusians had the most vague idea, and the LPK’s appeal to the population sounded as follows: “Brothers! Kingdom rebelled. Our everywhere beat Muscovites. The blood that flows over the Neman calls us to arms. After all, for us the hour of struggle with the invaders for our sacred rights, for our freedom is coming! Let's speak together and together, but God will help us! God save the Poland! ”
Kalinowski was a supporter of the republic and restrictions on the rights of large landowners, but he also advocated the restoration of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but as a federation of the Crown and ON. Not everyone liked this in Warsaw, since ON and Vilna were traditional competitors of the Polish capital and the Crown within the Commonwealth speech. The so-called underground Polish national government even dismissed Kalinowski from the rebel control in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and he, though not without displeasure, was forced to submit.
At this time, in Warsaw and Vilna, the division of the insurgents into "white" and "red" was clearly delineated. Both those and others wanted the restoration of the Commonwealth, but the “whites” represented the interests of the large and medium Polish gentry, and the “red ones” - the minor gentry and the commoners. "White" feared excessive radicalization of the peasant masses, fearing for their position and property, so they relied more on diplomatic support from Britain and France, and the "red" were more inclined to revolutionary actions.
At the beginning of February, the 2-I Guards Infantry Division arrived in Vilna.
Residents of the city immediately noticed the changes in the behavior of the Russian military — now they always had firearms or knives at the ready. Spitting at officers and soldiers or insulting them was simply not safe.
Proclamations sent out by the forestry complex, as well as in Poland, among the peasants found a weak response, despite promises of land and will.
Then the insurgents in Warsaw and Vilna switched to a different tactic - intimidation and terror. They took away food from the peasants by force, killed those who refused to join the ranks of the rebels. At the first stage, the effect of terror was such that the peasants were even afraid to talk to the authorities, fearing that they would be dealt with for this. Here is what Konstantin Nikolayevich himself wrote about these atrocities against the peasants: “Their atrocities, especially the peasants,” he reported to the emperor of 2 (14) of May, surpass all imagination! They hang them up and cut mercilessly, even wives and children. Through these peasants are completely terrorized ... General impunity also comes from universal terrorism. ” According to eyewitnesses, in response to the support of the Russian military, Polish peasants and peasant women were hanged, sometimes according to 2 and according to 4, a person was tied together in a “brotherly” embrace. There were cases of reprisals with children. It is clear that such actions did not cause the Polish peasants anything but hatred and fear.
An additional problem was the relationship of peasants and landlords in Belarus. The landowners were mostly Poles and insurgents, and the peasants were their opponents. At the same time, the tsarist government even supported the Polish gentry out of a sense of estate solidarity.
Meanwhile, the Belarusian peasants themselves began to rise in the struggle against the Polish gentry. In April 1863, after the killing of Russian soldiers, Belarusian peasants in Vitebsk province burned down and destroyed the estates of the Polish gentry around 20 and defeated several detachments of the rebels. In the Slutsk district, the peasants gathered a thousand detachment to defend against the nobility.
To the despondency of the Polish gentry, a similar situation developed in Ukraine, in the Baltic States, and even in Poland itself. Near Kiev, peasants, armed only with axes and stakes, killed a whole detachment of armed Polish gentry. When the insurgent Poles under the command of Count L. Plater killed Russian soldiers and captured vehicles moving from the Dinaburg fortress to Drissa, the Old Believers, armed with sticks and clubs, attacked the insurgents who were trying to escape. The first time the attack was repulsed, but the second time the Old Believers celebrated their victory and, taking the nobility captive, surrendered them to the authorities. The Belarusians and Latvians followed the example of the Old Believers and also actively began to catch the rebels in the surrounding forests.
In Poland itself, the peasants practically did not join the ranks of the rebels. Here is what one insurgent wrote to his friend: “News from Poland is extremely sad. Everything written in the newspapers is a perfect lie. The insurgents have no guns; there are no peasant peasants in the camp and they act in complete harmony with the Russian government. ” Thus, in the village of Klut vorde Konské, up to 3 thousands of Polish peasants gathered to fight the gentry. Sometimes the authorities were even handed over by the priests who had instigated the uprising.
Speeches against the insurgent nobility of the Polish, Belarusian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Latvian peasants took on such a scale that they were like a rising anti-feudal war, which was not at all part of the plans of the tsarist government.
The rebels relied on the help of England and France. Periodically, even rumors were spreading that France had already entered the war and landed landings. Of course, the matter did not come to this, but the situation was difficult - Russia, as it happens in our time, was under serious diplomatic pressure. On the territory of Austria in Galicia were created entire camps for the rest and training of the Polish rebels. Only Prussia came out in support of Russia, which, fearing the spread of the uprising to its Polish territories, decisively blocked the Prussian-Russian border. During the fighting, Russian troops sometimes crossed the borders of Prussia and Austria, and if there was complete mutual understanding with Prussia, it was more difficult with Austria.
The Vatican also sided with the rebels and in 1863, the canonized Uniate bishop I. Kuntsevich, who was killed by the Vitebsk citizens in 1623, for mockery and mockery of the Orthodox.
A. Herzen behaved rather unattractively, who in the pages of Kolokol actively supported the rebels and wished the Russian troops defeat in the same way as the Bolsheviks, borrowing his rhetoric, would later wish to defeat Russia in the First World War. “Bell” and Herzen paid a serious price for this — if in the 1862 year, the magazine’s circulation was from 2 500 to 3 000 exelections, then since 1863, it has decreased to 500 and has never risen higher, having only existed 5 years.
Britain and France began again to threaten Russia with war, although in practice they didn’t want it either, hoping to simply force Petersburg to make concessions. Russia did not have allies in Europe then — at best, it was possible to count on the neutrality of Prussia and Austria. However, Russia was preparing for a possible intervention.
The threat of a new war, as well as the facts of the mockery of the captured Russian officers and soldiers, who were sometimes tortured to death, mocked and tried to force to take communion with a priest in the Catholic rite, caused outrage among a significant part of Russian society. Poland’s claims on the lands of Belarus and Ukraine were also perceived as overt aggression. In general, the Russian society 1863 of the Year was ready to defend their homeland even in the event of a new big war. The sympathies of even the liberal circles of St. Petersburg and Moscow to the rebels were rapidly melting.
Without external support, the insurgents were doomed, having no support even among their own peasantry. The European powers were limited to sending menacing diplomatic notes.
1 (13) in May, General M.N. was appointed head of the Vilna Governor-General. Muravyov is a resolute and strong-willed person who immediately declared the need to protect Belarusian peasants from the arbitrariness of the Polish landowners. The first thing he did was to free those Old Believers from the Dinaburg Prison, who had been sent there for ... fighting against the insurgent gentry.
Muravyov, not being a bloodthirsty man, nevertheless, understood the need for decisive and tough measures - for example, May 24 (June 5) 1863, Vilnius, were shot by a priest and a gentleman who read a manifesto with the aim of inciting the population to revolt.
These and similar measures, which contrasted sharply with the inaction of the authorities before that time, quickly led to the result - it became much calmer in Vilna.
Then the insurgents' supporters set about frank terror. But Muravyov did not make concessions. 177 priests were expelled from the governorship-general, 7 priests were shot. M.N. Muravyov in modern Belarusian historiography is called the Hangman, but it does not mean that from May to September 1863, when he was executed, 31 people were executed. The number of people the rebels often killed in just one day. In total, under Muravyov, 128 people were executed, of whom 47 was for killing people, 11 was for playing the role of executioners. Most of the executed hands were stained with blood. And this is not a rant. The hands of these officially instigated executioners or “gendarmes-hangers” executed about 600 a man from among peaceful citizens, officials, Orthodox priests, peasants and burghers, accused of sympathy for Russia.
The rapprochement of Russia with the United States contributed to the prevention of war in Europe - during the war of the North and the South Russia defiantly supported the North unlike England, sending a squadron to the shores of San Francisco. The United States, in response, supported Russia in the Polish question.
By February, 1864, the situation in Warsaw, Vilna and throughout the whole West of the Russian Empire came to a relative norm. Austria closed all camps on its territory and banned any insurgent activities in Galicia. Alexander II announced an amnesty to all participants in the events, which the nobility mainly took advantage of, seeking to preserve the position and property. But still, many of the participants in the events had to make compensation payments. However, it was better than losing everything. Polish aristocrats departed from insurgent activity, trying to shift all the blame on raznochintsy and intellectuals.
The fate of K. Kalinowski was tragic. In the summer of 1863, he was returned to the leadership of the uprising in Belarus and Lithuania, and in October of the same year he was seized in Vilna and hanged on 10 in March of 1864. Kalinowski fought for the restoration of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and therefore has very little to do with the heroics of the Belarusian people themselves.
The lessons of the 1863 uprising of the year are valuable because in retrospective terms one can see many of the challenges that the USSR failed to cope with and which, in my opinion, present problems for present-day Russia.
For those interested in the uprising, I can recommend in more detail an extensive and in-depth monograph by the associate professor of the Faculty of History of Moscow State University. Mv Lomonosov, Candidate of Historical Sciences Oleg Rudolfovich Ayrapetov "Kingdom of Poland in the politics of the Empire in 1863-1864 ..", dedicated to the 150 anniversary of the Polish insurrection 1863 year. This monograph is published on the website "Western Russia".
How gentry from Russia were separated
- Andrey Gerashchenko