Alexey Petrovich Ermolov (1777 - 1861)

Alexey Petrovich Ermolov (1777 - 1861)

“Better from Terek to Sunzhi I will leave
desert steppes, rather than in the rear of our fortifications, I will suffer robberies. "

The name of the outstanding Russian commander and statesman, Alexei Petrovich Yermolov, is inextricably linked with the fate of our Fatherland in the 19 century. The study of the life and work of A.P. Yermolov on author's monographs and numerous publications, the general’s own notes, causes independent thinking modern historians to become increasingly interested in the fate of this glorious commander, his feats of arms to the glory of Russian weapons, its military and administrative measures in the Caucasus to strengthen the power of our native country.

The unjust disgrace of the commander by the authorities during his lifetime, and then the total silence on the role of the personality of General Yermolov in the Russian military stories during the Soviet era and in modern Russia, one cannot help but leave bitterness and offense in one’s soul. There is a desire to remind at least briefly of the current generation about life and its great merits for Russia.

Alexey Petrovich was born in the heart of our Motherland, the city of Moscow, was descended from an old, but rather poor noble family of the Oryol province. In his character, fatherly and maternal principles clearly manifested themselves, giving him a special look from his early years - pride, independence and at the same time modesty, seriousness. Raised in the spirit of respect and even admiration for all Russian - language, customs, history, Yermolov never boasted of his noble origin. He subsequently received his home education, he supplemented with great erudition. In an effort to give his son a good education, his father identified him from the age of seven in a university noble boarding school. 5 January 1787 year In the tenth year of life, Alexei Yermolov was enlisted as a non-commissioned officer in the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment. In September of the following year, he was promoted to sergeant, and soon both to officers, and by the year of 1791, he already had the rank of lieutenant. Having been appointed to the post of senior adjutant under the prosecutor general in St. Petersburg, whose father was his office, the young officer continued to persevere in his education, worked under the guidance of the famous St. Petersburg mathematician Lyaskovsky. After passing the exam brilliantly, in August 1793 of the year he was transferred to the captains of artillery with the rank of a junior teacher in the Artillery engineering gentry corps.

He received his baptism of fire under the authority of the legendary Russian commander Suvorov. From the first days of the Polish 1794 campaign, the young man was constantly looking for an opportunity to distinguish himself, to show skill and courage. It was these qualities that Captain Yermolov showed, commanding his battery during the assault on the outskirts of Warsaw, for which he was awarded the Order of St. George the fourth class. Then he went only 18-th year.

Yermolov received the second military award in the Caucasus in the war with Persia for excellent zeal and merit during the siege of Derbent fortress in August 1796, where he commanded the battery. He was awarded the Order of Prince Vladimir of the Fourth Degree with a bow. The second military order he earned in 19 years. Being with the rank of lieutenant colonel, he was among the many officers of progressive European views who suffered from the self-will of the new emperor Paul I. In 1798, along with other officers - members of the political circle, dissatisfied with the new order in the army, his brother was arrested from the first marriage of mother AM Kakhovsky. And at the end of the same year, for bold correspondence with his brother, he ended up in the Alekseevsky district of the Peter and Paul Fortress and Yermolov. After some time, he was sent to exile in Kostroma, which could be arbitrarily long. After the death of Paul I, Alexander I, who became emperor in 1801, the very next day, granted freedom to all "prisoners of conscience", including and Yermolov. The arrest, imprisonment in the Alekseevsky Ravelin and the reference left a strong imprint on his personality and his whole life, taught him to be extremely cautious and secretive, which, however, quite got along with his sharp, caustic aphorisms that contributed to his popularity, especially among the officer youth, who saw in him a man of independent views, despising flattery and servility. Now he lived with one thought - to devote himself to Russia and his people.

In the battles of the Russian army with Napoleon 1805 — 1807, the leadership talent of the artillery officer Yermolov was tempered. For valor in the war with Napoleon 1805, he was awarded the Order of St. Anne II degree. In the second war with Napoleon, in the battle of Preussis-Eylau in 1807, the brilliant actions of Colonel Yermolov, where he commanded dozens of horse artillery guns, which provided a turning point in the battle in favor of the Russian army, drew the attention of Russian military leaders. After the war 1806 — 1807, Yermolov returned to Russia with a reputation as one of the first gunners of the Russian army. He was justly appreciated by such generals as Kutuzov and Bagration, other prominent commanders. Being after a military campaign on vacation with parents in Orel, A.P. Yermolov received news of the production of major generals and the appointment of horse guards as an inspector. In this new rank he went to 1809 year to inspect the horse artillery in the Moldavian army. In 1811, Yermolov joined the command of the Guards Artillery Brigade in St. Petersburg, and in March 1812, on the way to the western borders of Russia, he received the highest command to be the commander of the Guards Infantry Division. Thus, by the beginning of the Patriotic War with Napoleon, 25-year-old Yermolov is already a brilliant military general, a gentleman of many well-deserved military awards.

The epoch of the Patriotic War with Napoleon is one of the most glorious pages of Russian history. Mass heroism, readiness for self-sacrifice of Russian soldiers, officers and generals became the most important factor of victory in this war in order to save the Fatherland. It is noteworthy that among the heroes of the war a special place belongs to General Yermolov. At the very beginning of the hostilities, Alexander I appointed Major General Yermolov to the post of Chief of the General Staff of the Western Army, commanded by Secretary of War Barclay de Tolly. Since that time, Yermolov - a direct participant in all more or less major battles and battles of World War 1812, both during the offensive of the French army, and during its expulsion from Russia. In heavy battles near Smolensk for the difference and especially for participating in the battle of Valutina gora on 7 in August, as a result of which the enemy was unable to capture an important section of the junction and cut off part of the 1 Army, Ermolov, according to Barclay de Tolly, was later produced lieutenant generals. Since 17 August, Yermolov becomes de facto chief of staff of Kutuzov. In the battle of Borodino, the general was at the very Kutuzov. He received adjutants with reports and reported everything important to the commander-in-chief. At the critical, decisive moment of the battle, he made an outstanding feat. Finding along the way with the reserve during the 2 Army, that the French took over Kurgan height and captured the Raevsky redoubt, Yermolov instantly decided to restore order here, knock out the enemy from the redoubt that dominates the whole battlefield and is rightly called the key of the Borodino position. He unfolded the units retreating from a height and personally led the attack himself, with the saber raised, he first ran to the steepness. Many soldiers, overtaking Yermolov, rushed up to the bayonet attack. Battery Rajewski was repelled. The loss of strategic height shook the entire offensive power of the enemy. After the battle of Borodino, Alexei Petrovich was awarded the Order of St. Anne 1 degree. According to the apt expression of Yermolov, in the battle of Borodino, "the French army hurt itself about the Russian." He believed with conviction that in the battle of Borodino, the entire Russian army crowned itself with immortal glory. Yermolov played a decisive role in stopping Napoleon’s attempt to retreat to Kaluga. After three days of fierce fighting for Maloyaroslavets, the French army had no choice but to turn off the Kaluga road and retreat to Mozhaisk, Vyazma, on the ashes of the burned cities and villages of the old Smolensk road, where he was awaited by the famine and the Russian partisan detachments. Having accepted the proposal of the Chief of Staff of the Army Yermolov, Kutuzov began his famous parallel pursuit, which led the French Army to a catastrophe. After the battle of Red, Yermolov was promoted to lieutenant general.

Brilliant abilities and military prowess showed Lieutenant-General Yermolov in foreign campaigns of the allied forces. For some time Yermolov commanded artillery in all armies. In the 1813 campaign of the year, he participated in the battles in Dresden, Lutzen, Bautzen, and Kulma. The 1814 campaign of the year began beyond the Rhine, within France. Especially distinguished Ermolov in the battle for Paris. At the personal order of Emperor Alexander I, Yermolov, at the head of the Guards infantry, attacked Belleville, the eastern gate of Paris, and forced the French to capitulate. Alexander I congratulated Yermolov on the brilliant success of the Allied Guard, handing him the signs of St. George of the 2 degree. The emperor entrusted Ermolov to write the text of the manifesto on the capture of Paris. 19 March 1814. Allied forces solemnly entered Paris. Alexey Petrovich received the post of head of the guard corps. The authority of Yermolov has increased so much that his candidacy was considered as the most likely to become the Minister of War. In April, the 1816 of the year was followed by a rescript of Alexander I about the appointment of Yermolov as governor of the Caucasus. The emperor hoped that a talented and energetic general and statesman is able to accomplish the tasks of strengthening Russia's position in the Caucasus. At the same time, the research literature suggests that Alexander I was also pursuing the goal of removing a general who is very popular in the advanced circles of Russia to the Caucasus.

AP Yermolov left for the Caucasus with the authority of the commander of a separate Georgian corps, managing the civil part in Georgia, the Astrakhan and Caucasus provinces, and also as an ambassador extraordinary in Persia. The difficult diplomatic mission of Yermolov was that, in response to the territorial claims of the Persians, the Russian emperor, exhausted by the lengthy wars in Europe, in order to preserve peace, allowed the return of some of the recent conquests to Transcaucasia to Persia. Ermolov decided to head the embassy himself in order to prevent any concessions. As a result of his principled and flexible position, the diplomatic four-month mission ended with the fact that on August 16 he received a document in which it was announced that the Shah’s affection of the Russian sovereign preferred to the benefits that he could receive from the acquisition of land. Diplomatic relations were established between Russia and Persia. 8 February 1818, an extremely gracious rescript Ermolov for the successful execution of the diplomatic mission entrusted to him, was made to the generals from the infantry. The plan for military and administrative activities in the Caucasus included the subordination of the mountain peoples of the North Caucasus and the completion of the formation of the administrative structure in the Caucasus. The control center of a huge region was the ancient capital of Georgia, Tiflis. The most brutal and treacherous of the Caucasian peoples lived in Chechnya, with their raids and robberies they instilled fear in the surrounding areas and kept under control the entire movement along the Georgian Military Highway. Therefore, Yermolov began with Chechnya. In 1818, he pushed the Chechens across the Sunzha River, in the lower reaches of which he founded the first Russian fortress, the Terrible. With inexorable consistency, Yermolov systematically moved on the warlike mountain tribes. 25 May 1818, the troops crossed the Terek. Surprisingly, speaking of the conquest of the Caucasus, everyone will immediately remember A.P. Ermolov. He did not start the Caucasian war, he did not finish it, but nevertheless the name Yermolov turned out to be the most brilliant here. An explanation of this can be found in the book of the remarkable Russian historian, Lieutenant General V.A. Potto “The Caucasian War”: “The era of Yermolov was for the Caucasus primarily an era of complete change in domestic policy. Our traditional relations to the conquered khanates and mountain peoples were false at their very foundation ... All our relations with the small Caucasian possessions were in the nature of some kind of peace negotiations and treaties, and Russia was always like a dannic. Most of not only Dagestani and other Khans, but even Chechen elders, simple and rude burglars, Russia paid their salaries, supporting their greed in them and arousing envy and desire in others to make Russia pay tribute to them ... With the advent of Yermolov in the Caucasus, all this has stopped. The principle of Yermolov was that gold was not a guard against the enemy, but a lure of it, and he began to give the price only to iron, which made him appreciate more than gold. “I want,” he said, “that my name guards with fear our borders stronger than chains and fortifications, so that my word would be a law for Asians, or rather inevitable death. Indulgence in the eyes of Asians is a sign of weakness, and I am sternly implacable out of philanthropy. One penalty will save hundreds of Russians from death. ” In these words, the whole system Yermolov. He looked at all the peaceful and non-peaceful tribes that inhabited the Caucasus Mountains, if not as citizens of Russia, then sooner or later they had to make them, and in any case demanded unconditional obedience from them. And the old system of bribery and scuffing in his hands was replaced by a system of strict punishments, harsh measures, reaching cruelty, but always consistently connected with justice and generosity. Yermolov, fully comprehending the inevitability of future events, was the first to embark on the real path of relations to the Caucasian peoples - the military path, the path of open struggle, the outcome of which for Russia could not be doubted. He consciously set himself the task of conquering the Caucasus Mountains and, knowing full well the nature of the theater of the forthcoming military operations, created a new expedient program of them. “The Caucasus,” he said, looking at the mountains that were rising in front of him, “is a huge fortress protected by a numerous half-million garrison. We must storm it or seize the trenches. The assault will be expensive, so lead the siege. ” And in these words the whole essence of the leading activity of Yermolov.

Political and strategic objectives dictated the need to include in the composition of Russia the mountain belt separating Russia from the Transcaucasian lands that voluntarily joined and joined it. Strengthening the east of Russia, the commander in chief drew attention to the west. To protect Kabarda, which voluntarily became part of Russia back in 1557, from the attacks of the “Zuban” highlanders and Turkish troops, he set up fortresses in the valleys of the Baksan, Chegem, Nalchik and other rivers. At the same time, he transferred the Georgian Military Road to the left bank of the Terek, which allowed to provide proper communication with the South Caucasus. The Russians received, as Yermolov wrote, “free entry to Georgia, which cannot be taken away”. In addition to military operations, the general took up the construction of medical and health institutions in the Caucasus, followed by the creation of the now famous resorts - Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk, Zhepeznovodsk and Yessentuki, essentially built by the hands of Russian soldiers. A.P. Yermolov remained a historical epoch for the Caucasus; a monument to the great commander adorned the center of the city of Grozny until the 1921 year. According to A.S. Pushkin, "The Caucasian Territory, the sultry border of Asia - is curious in all respects. Yermolov filled him with his name and beneficent genius ...".

During the interregnum 1825, Mr. Yermolov did not hurry with taking the oath of the Caucasian corps to Emperor Nicholas I. At the same time, he patronized the Decembrists exiled to the Caucasus. Since 1826, the government began collecting information on the activities of A.P. Yermolov. During the Russian-Turkish war 1826-1828. General I.F. was sent to the Caucasus to command the troops "under the command of Yermolov". Paskevich (the favorite of the new emperor), who actually had to dislodge A.P. Yermolov. In 1827, for contacting the Decembrists, AP Yermolov was recalled from the Caucasus and dismissed. Upon his retirement, A.P. Yermolov arrived in the ancestral village of Lu-Kyanchikovo near Orel, where he later settled with his sons. He lived here under the supervision of the Zemstvo police. There he was often visited by one of the best friends of the general, the poet and hussar, the hero of World War 1812, Denis Davydov. In 1831, Yermolov arrived in Moscow. The popularity of the former proconsul of the Caucasus was extremely great in all sectors of society. Secret gendarmes agents denounced that the Yermolovs were constantly visited by the military who came to Moscow, that one could observe sympathetic attitudes towards him not only among the nobles and officials, but also among trade people. Emperor Nicholas I was forced to reckon with public opinion and, in order to stop talking about Yermolov that was unfavorable for the government, he decided to use it in the service. By order of the emperor Ermolov was introduced to the State Council. In 1837, in connection with the celebration of the 25 anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, Yermolov was given the rank of artillery general. However, after familiarizing himself with his duties in the State Council, Yermolov became convinced that he was "here a completely superfluous person." In 1839, he insisted on his return from the capital to Moscow and did not take part in the meetings of the State Council. During the 30-year stay in Moscow, which Yermolov called the "Moscow seat", he devoted a lot of time to putting in order his notes about the wars with Napoleon, about the 1812 Patriotic War of the year and foreign campaigns, about the time of his stay in the Caucasus. From these materials he composed a consistent story about his life. In connection with the difficult situation in Crimea during the Crimean War in January 1855, a manifesto on the general state militia was issued. And in February, 1855, the honored commander Yermolov, Muscovites elected the head of the militia of his province, the same honor was given him in six other provinces. Until his death, Yermolov was keenly interested in the events taking place in the world.

A.P. Yermolov passed away on 11 on April 1861 of the year in the 85 year of life. He bequeathed to bury him in Orel, near the grave of his father, "as simple as possible." Moscow, on the other hand, accompanied him for two days, and the inhabitants of Orel, upon the arrival of the body in their homeland, arranged for the hero-countryman a grandmothering dirge. He was buried with all the honors at the church wall at the Trinity cemetery, next to the grave of his father. The streets in Moscow, Orel, Pyatigorsk were named after Yermolov.

The heroic biography of A.P. Yermolov is a model of selfless service to the Motherland and his people, a worthy example for the education of patriotism and the best human qualities of our contemporaries.

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    1. Vladimir SU
      July 28 2012
      I remember his portrait on the pediment of the headquarters in Khankala, in 2005.
      The hero, the defender of Russia's interests, is handsome, as is his last name ...

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