The reverse side of the reforms of Alexander II
The transformations of Russia launched by Alexander II became truly grandiose - the liberation of the peasants, judicial, zemstvo, army reforms, a breakthrough in industrial development, and the reorganization of the educational system. But evaluations of these processes are usually one-sided. Bulging positive and useful, researchers rarely pay attention that the same reforms had a downside. In the muddy waters of drastic changes, a new generation of leaders, and not only patriots, spilled out to the country's leadership. Even when he was the heir to the throne, Masons began to attach themselves to Alexander; ordinary careerists and amateurs of profit did not miss their goal. In particular, D.A. Milyutin (Minister of War), A.A. Abaza (Minister of Finance), M.T. Loris-Melikov (commander of the Caucasus Army, later Minister of the Interior). Historical works praise them as the main initiators and agents of progress, who managed to raise Russia to a new level. Well, the liberals created such fame for them. This trinity actually played the role of major reformers.
But their true merits turn out to be dubious and ambiguous. And by itself, the period of reforms became, as it were, the first act of "restructuring." “Orality and publicity” were proclaimed - this was reflected in the rampant demagogy, the proliferation of the yellow press, the proliferation of “public” organizations of all kinds. Western ideas, views, evaluations were spread. Europe was declared an ideal role model with the rejection of all national, Russian. In the educational system, emphasis was placed on Western works, the role of Orthodoxy was undermined. And under the guise of a democratic talker, under the bursts of fanned sensations, the delyages were operating, knowing perfectly well what they needed. The liberation of the peasants and landowner property operations, the development of Siberia, the Far East, Central Asia were accompanied by an unprecedented scale of predation and "privatization."
Under indirect blows came the Church. Under various pretexts, she tried to reject property, closed parochial schools, their state funding ceased. On the other hand, free-thinkers, rogues, terrorists felt like a fish in water, the state’s revolutionary swing began. It is worth remembering the sale of Alaska along with the Pacific coast of America right up to California. It was the “first swallow” of the loss of Russian territories. All subsequent "progressive reformers" will do the same. To conclude the Brest, Riga Peace, give foreigners their bases in Austria or Finland, surrender Eastern Europe, sign the Belovezhsky Agreements ...
Can it be considered accidental that "rasskazachivanie" was not an invention of the Bolsheviks either? They were significantly ahead of the reformers 1860-s. At that time, the long Caucasian war ended, and high-ranking capital liberals began to argue that "the role and task of the Cossacks are already over." The then leaders did not dare to start a reckless break-up, but began to implement their course on the sly. In 1865, in St. Petersburg, a special committee was set up to review the Cossack legal provisions - it was announced that the welfare and “citizenship” of the Cossacks should be improved. Moreover, in different Cossack Troops of Russia, appropriate commissions were created from elected, authoritative Cossacks, they worked out their proposals, but ... the St. Petersburg Special Committee did not even consider them.
At the first meeting, Minister of War Milutin unequivocally outlined the task - if contradictions arise between military Cossack traditions and “citizenship”, priority should be given to “citizenship”. And then the liberal press joined in with a vengeance, raising a grandiose sensation. It inspired and imposed the installation that the “archaic” Cossacks did not fit into the models of the “modern” state of the European type, into the structures of European armies. The popular newspaper “Golos” directly “voted” - is it necessary to raise the question of the improvement of the Cossack Troops and the costs of such programs, if the question “about the necessity of the very existence of these Troops” is controversial, as “forces whose combat qualities cannot be perfect”?
To dare and abolish the Cossacks from Milutin and his ilk turned out to be a gut. Protests rose, and the king would not agree to that. They decided to recognize as unnecessary and disband only two small Cossack Troops - the Danube and Bashkir-Mescheryak. But the rest are scheduled to ruin gradually. Once General A.P. Yermolov intended to make the North Caucasus a single Cossack region. His projects were fully shared by the commander of the Caucasian army, who triumphantly ended the war with the mountaineers - General of Infantry N.I. Evdokimov (son of a soldier and Terek Cossack).
If for continuous settlement there was not enough hereditary Cossacks, the postscript was widely practiced. Friendly highlanders became the Cossacks - part of the Ossetians and Kabardians. Yermolov turned into the Cossacks of the peasants of the Caucasian province, retired soldiers, then resettled from Ukraine, from Central Russia. This did not cause the Cossacks to blur. The soldier who fought 25 for years in the Caucasus and then wished to stay here was a “ready” Cossack, like the local Russian peasants who lived with weapons in hand. And from other provinces invited volunteers - if under the bullets and raids of the highlanders they felt that the Cossack life was not for them, they could go back, no one held.
But Milyutin conceived Evdokimov's plans. He himself resigned and moved the mass resettlement of peasants to the Cossack regions. Now, the bullets did not whistle, there were no raids, and the peasants were freed from serfdom without land! Gushing stream. In 1868, laws were issued allowing foreigners to settle on Cossack lands, to acquire property. In this case, the Cossacks were given free access from the Troops. Do you want to refuse from official duties - please! Declare that you are no longer a Cossack!
In 1869, the “Provision on a land plot in the Cossack Troops” was adopted, in 1870, the “Provision on public administration in the Cossack Troops” - the village community was recognized as a whole estate, nonresident was given the right to participate and vote in village meetings. True, only in matters that concern them, but this meant all the issues of economic life. Well, the plots of officers and officials, previously given instead of salaries and pensions, turned into private property. They were allowed to sell to anyone. The aliens immediately began to buy them. The result became eloquent: while in 1864, in the Kuban and Terek, the number of nonresidents was 1 - 2%, then in 1878 - 18%, and in 1880 - 44%.
Reformed and administration. The posts of military atamans are now combined with the posts of heads of regions. In practice, this meant that the civilian commander was endowed with the title of chieftain. In the course of such transformations, Milutin deftly (and single-handedly) corrected the terminology. In his circulars, he explained that it was wrong to call the whole territory of a Cossack Army the “military land”. It should be called the land of the Kuban, Terek, etc. areas. And the category of "military land" include only those areas that are directly occupied by the Cossacks. If the area is inhabited by peasants or highlanders, the land is not “military”, it should be allocated to civilian administration.
As a result, the territorial integrity was preserved ... only two Troops! Don and Ural. Don was the biggest, and the local military ataman had already managed to get the rights of the governor before the reforms of Milutin. And in the Ural land were not fertile, non-resident here did not go. The areas of the rest of the Troops were crushed, the Cossack yurts were now interspersed with civil volosts. In some places, a direct “raskazachivanie” unfolded. The Black Sea region from Novorossiysk to Adler was separated from the Kuban Army, began to be settled by Armenians. The Stavropol brigade was also separated from the Kuban, the 12 villages of the Cossacks were transferred to the position of peasants. The same fate befell the Adagum regimental division. From the Orenburg Troops they tore off the western part of the Samara-Orenburg line, and the Cossacks were also “surrounded”. General civil courts, zemstvos were extended to the Cossack Troops.
Everything else, all these changes were superimposed military reform. At its core, it was important and necessary, the recruitment system was replaced by conscription. But in 1875, the Charter of universal service extended to the Cossacks. Although they themselves did not consider their service as a “duty”! They considered it a duty, their main destination! It was considered offensive to talk about “conscription”. However, in the new Charter, the Cossack Troops were not at all attributed to the main composition of the army. They were qualified as "auxiliary troops"! In the lists they squeezed in the middle between the military personnel of the reserve and the detachments of foreigners.
The service life of the Cossacks in the ranks was reduced from 12-16 to 4 years. And almost all the Cossack divisions were disbanded. Only one survived, 1-i Don. Other Cossack regiments were distributed to army-wide cavalry divisions. Now in each of them there were dragoon, ulansky, hussar regiments, and the fourth by number - Cossack. But Milutin's cavalry significantly reduced. 16 cavalry divisions remained in Russia. Thus, in the peacetime army there were only 20 Cossack regiments. A new position was introduced that the Cossacks should serve not all, but by lot. Those who have bypassed the lot will instead pay a special tax.
What should this lead to? Service in the general cavalry divisions, short and not for everyone, would gradually erase the characteristics of the Cossacks. It would dissolve among non-resident. Logically (according to the logic of the liberals) it should have happened so! Being a Cossack was not profitable from a material point of view! Why spend money on horses, uniform, weapons, although they may not be called into service? Why be distracted by the fees, military duties, if you can easily get out of the Cossack state and engage in their own economy, trade, start crafts? To live just as peasants live in the neighborhood. And if they still call (but the peasants were not called upon by everyone, but by lot), then they should serve without the hassle, with full state support. But ... the Masonic reformers did not succeed. The Cossacks acted different logic. They, in spite of everything, remained Cossacks! Cases of exit from the Cossacks were isolated. A further “raskazachivanie” crossed out life itself.
In the Russian-Turkish war 1877-78. Milyutin made an “evil genius”, almost leading Russia to a catastrophe. The reform of the army ended in 1875, the new system has not yet created the prepared reserves, the overwhelming majority of the troops consisted of soldiers of the 1 and 2 years of service. But the Minister of War in reports to the king diminished the strength of the Turks three times. Their combat effectiveness declared zero at all. Convinced that the war will be an easy walk. According to the plans developed by him, completely insufficient forces concentrated on the main directions. In addition, Milutin transferred the contract for supplying the current army to the merchant association “Kogan, Gregor, Gorvits and Co” - and on the 3 clause of this contract, the high command undertook to notify the suppliers about movements of units and formations in a week! If you call it a betrayal, then ... how else to call it?
The trouble was not long in coming. When the small Vanguard of Gurko crossed the Balkans, suddenly two “unrecorded” Turkish armies emerged! They were well trained, well armed — with Krupp guns, peabody rifles. Milyutin also sprayed the weakened Russian cavalry: the cavalry divisions were distributed by individual regiments to infantry formations. Meanwhile, the Turks created a new numerous cavalry just after the pattern of the Cossacks - bashi-bazouks. For this purpose they used Circassians and Chechens who had been departed or exported from the Caucasus. The state provided them with excellent horses, the latest Winchester store rifles. One army found itself on the Russian flank, taking Pleven, the other struck in the forehead, at Shipka ...
Rescued Russian Cossacks. It became a prepared reserve. At the expense of the Cossacks, natural riders, was able to quickly compensate for the blatant puncture with cavalry. Constituting the entire 2,2% of the country's population, the Cossacks gave 7,4% of its armed forces — put up 125 thousand soldiers. And the fights with bashi-bazouks, in spite of the numerical inequality, the enemy’s best weapons, the Cossacks invariably won. They did not forget how they smashed the same Circassians and Chechens in the Caucasus.
There were other factors that were not taken into account by the enemies of Russia - the unprecedented patriotic upsurge, valor and dedication of our soldiers. It took the Turks to take Shipka, as their three armies would have joined. The whole Russian grouping in the Balkans would be under the threat of defeat. Why, did not take! Were exhausted, filled up with corpses approaches to the positions - and not taken. But the blood of the soldiers who fell during the assaults of Plevna, flowed not only from Turkish bullets and shells. Did not the war ministry fool the enemy with egregious mistakes and false reports? And on whose conscience were the lives of frozen Shipka defenders? Milyutin's friends “Kogan, Gregor, Gorvits and Co” simply robbed the soldiers, did not put on sheepskin coats and coats for winter.
By the way, another reformer, Loris-Melikov, also showed himself not in the best way. He was appointed commander of the Caucasian army and languidly trampled on the spot. He allowed the enemies to gather superior forces, and as soon as they launched an offensive, he commanded a withdrawal. Only the heroic defense of the fortress of Bayazet by the Cossacks of the 1 of the Umansky Regiment and the battalion of the Stavropol Regiment prevented the invasion of Turks in the Russian Transcaucasus and the massacre of the Christian population. And the governor of the Caucasus, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich, straightened the situation and defeated the enemy, having received for it the order of St. George 1 degree.
Liberals played a dubious role in diplomatic battles. When the Russian troops entered victoriously in the suburbs of Istanbul, England, Austria-Hungary rose up. Germany insidiously set to play along with them. And the king's entourage began to push him to make concessions, positions in the Balkans and in the Caucasus surrendered.
After the war, the “rasskazachivaniya” projects no longer rose. Cossacks too vividly proved their right to exist. Some previous installations were canceled, new Cossack divisions began to be created. But the three reformers — Milyutin, Abaza, Loris-Melikov, in spite of everything, remained on top of the government, even drafted and imposed a “democratic” constitution on the tsar. When it became clear that revolutionaries were too loosening the foundations of Russia, Alexander II ordered one of the leaders, whom he considered his trusted friends, Loris-Melikov, to save the situation. It seems to be a fighting general, and at the same time a cultural, progressive one. He was appointed Minister of the Interior and Chairman of the High Commission against Terrorism.
However, the struggle he led somehow very much "progressive"! On the move, he abolished the Third Security Division (secret police), pardoned and released political prisoners from prisons, returned excluded unreliable students to universities. Results affected quickly. 1 March 1881 was on the capital street in the king's carriage flew a bomb. The Cossack of the convoy, Alexander Maleichev, rushed to her on the horseback, took the blast wave and shrapnel. Alexander II was a brave and noble man. Although the coachman demanded to rush immediately to the palace, the sovereign considered it his duty to linger and leave the crew. He interrogated a terrorist caught by passers-by, then bent over a dying Cossack. But nearby there was a killer understudy. I threw the second bomb ...
Alexander III ascended the throne, he sharply changed his father's policy. He proclaimed “Russia for Russians!”, Headed for the patriotic and Orthodox way of development. Under him, zealous perestroika had to resign. Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Dondukov-Korsakov, one of the main opponents of the “disclosure”, was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Caucasus. By the way, he was also a military general, and after the liberation of Bulgaria, he was the head of the first administration of the country, who was building up life and control. In the Caucasus, Dondukov-Korsakov revealed glaring facts. The civil authorities, under the jurisdiction of which the Cossacks fell, oppressed them in every way. They transferred all the Zemsky duties and taxes. Land and other disputes were invariably resolved in favor of the peasants - they took away from the Cossacks what they won by their labor and blood!
The commander-in-chief vigorously undertook to restore order, developed a project of "counter-reforms" approved by the king and distributed to all the Cossack Troops. By the way, for this, grateful Cossacks assigned Dondukov-Korsakov the title of “honorable old man of the village of Batalpashinskaya”. Until the end of his life, the prince was proud of this title, putting him on a par with the rank of cavalry general, doctor of law at Petersburg and Berlin universities. But it was no longer possible to straighten out what the reformers had done. You will not evict the mass of non-resident! And where? What are they to blame? Thus, in the Cossack Troops there remained “time bombs”, which had already worked in another historical period and with other generations of Russian destroyers.