Yermolov continued to squeeze the ring around the Caucasus "fortress". But before the victory was still far away. After the defeat of Adil Khan, the influential Surkhay Khan Kazikumyksky was defeated. He gathered a detachment in 6 thousand people and decided to attack the Russian fortifications near his possessions. Up to this point, he was considered one of the most loyal feudal lords of Russia. 19 December 1819, Khan's troops attacked the Chirakh military post. In Chirakh there was a garrison of two companies of the Trinity Infantry Regiment under the command of Staff Captain Ovechkin.
The fortifications at the post were small, so a significant part of the garrison was located in the village, in the unfortified barracks. At night, the Khan's warriors attacked the barracks, 80 fell to a fierce massacre of Russian soldiers, and the 50 man, led by Ensign Shcherbin, was able to pave the way to the mosque with bayonets and barricade themselves there. The remaining soldiers, led by Ovechkin, could not help them, since they were blocked and reflected the attacks of hundreds of Khan's warriors. Russian soldiers in the mosque stubbornly repelled the attacks of the enemy all day, they had no water and food, and the cartridges were coming to an end. When almost all the defenders fell, the mountaineers broke into the building, Scherbin with the last soldiers entrenched in the minaret. Russian warriors lasted two more days. Then the Khan's warriors were able to make a tunnel and undermined the tower. Heroes have died the death of the brave.
Chirakh post continued to fight. His garrison numbered only 70 soldiers, some of whom were already wounded. By the end of the third day of the siege, reinforcements arrived under the command of the general, Baron Wrede. It came all 150 soldiers. But their appearance forced Surkhay Khan to lift the siege and retreat. He received news of the defeat of Adil Khan's troops near the Levashes and decided not to risk in vain. A few Russian detachment could be the vanguard of the main forces of Yermolov. However, the Khan army could not escape with impunity. A detachment under the command of Madatov overtook the enemy, and in the battle of Khozrek the Surkhay Khan army was completely defeated.
The forces of Kazikumyk Khan were located in a field fortification, which was adjacent to the hill. Russian troops fired at the enemy, disrupting his order. The Khan's cavalry ran, pursuing it, the "Tatar" cavalry (Azeri and Dagestan militia) captured part of the village. In some trenches, the Khan's warriors resisted, but Russian infantry columns could not stop. Fortifications took by storm. In one of them 180 of the khan soldiers was killed. Resistance was broken. The Khan infantry, seeing that their cavalry was running, and the Russians were cutting off the only way to salvation, also ran. The warriors tried to hide on the mountain, which was located behind the fortifications. The narrow paths could not accommodate all the fugitives, and the Russian riflemen, and the artillery which came to the rescue, which beat the grapeshot, caused great damage to the enemy. Surkhay Khan was one of the first to escape, leaving troops without command.
In 1820, Yermolov eliminated the Kazikumyk Khanate. In 1821, the Avar Khan suffered a final defeat. On the coast of the Caspian Sea, the construction of the Stormy Fortress (present-day Makhachkala) was completed. They continued to crowd the Chechens. As Yermolov wrote: “My favorite Chechens are in a pressed position.” A significant part of the Chechens had to hide in the forests, an epidemic began in the winter. From lack of food, pastures were cut off, the death of cattle began. The highlanders were threatened with hunger. Part of the villages for Sunzha took the oath of allegiance to Russia. So, in October 1820, a delegation from the society of the village of Germenchug arrived in the fortress of Grozny with a message about its submission. Acknowledged the Russian government and the highland Dagestan village of Kubachi, which was famous for its chasers. Work continued on the construction of glades to reach the most remote "nests". Yermolov ordered to cut a clearing in the forest, which was located in the gorge of Khan-Kala, where the shortest road to the large Chechen villages passed. For the message of Grozny with Terek, a redoubt was set up near the village of Old Yurt. A major role in these hostilities was played by General Nikolai Grekov.
The situation in Georgia, Kabarda and Abkhazia
Simultaneously with the attack on Gorny Dagestan and Chechnya, the tsar governor had to take measures to suppress the separatist actions in the Georgian regions - Imeretia, Guria and Mingrelia. However, it did not come to a large-scale performance. The case was limited to indignation. Only in Guria, Colonel Puzyrevsky was killed on the forest road and they attacked a military post in Chechtauri. Lt. Gen. I. A. Velyaminov responded with the destruction of several villages and the destruction of Prince Abashidze’s family castle. Prince Abashidze, with the support of several hundred Turks and from the Akhaltsikh pashalyk, proclaimed himself king of Imeretia.
At the same time, Russian positions were strengthened in the north-western part of the Caucasus, primarily Kabarda. Yermolov used a proven method: from Vladikavkaz to the headwaters of the Kuban River, a new chain of fortifications was stretched - Nalchik, Chegemskoe and others. The fortifications, as a rule, blocked the exits from the mountain gorges formed by the river valleys (Malki, Baksana, Chegem, Nalchik). In 1823, the Kabardian princes, in retaliation for the eviction of villages between the river Malka and Kuban, made a raid and destroyed the Russian village of Krugloleskoe. Yermolov suppressed the rebellion and responded with a very tough measure at the time - he freed Kabardian peasants from serfdom. They got freedom. Kabardian princes lost their property. From this point onwards, Kabarda, like North Ossetia, remained completely calm. The front of the Caucasian War was divided into two separate theaters: Chechnya and Dagestan in the east and Prikubansk Circassia in the north-west. It was a great strategic success in the war.
In addition, the final reconciliation of Kabarda allowed the Caucasian commander-in-chief to create a reliable communication with Transcaucasia. The Georgian Military Road was moved to the left bank of the Terek. The old road, which was unsafe due to the private raids of small parties of mountaineers, was abandoned. Traffic on the new Georgian-Georgian road has become safe. A new path from Ekaterinodar was laid to Vladikavkaz, covered from the left flank by the Terek, from the right - by a number of fortifications.
In 1820, the Black Sea Cossack army was assigned to the composition of the Separate Georgian Corps (up to 40 thousand people). The Georgian corps was transformed into a separate Caucasian corps. However, the subordination of Yermolov to the Black Sea Cossack army, settled on the banks of the Kuban, did not bring peace in the western North Caucasus. Circassians continued to disturb the Russian limits. They were sucked by the Ottomans. Turkey sought to maintain its presence in the Caucasus and, if possible, oust the Russians, regain lost possessions. Self-interest was mixed up, one of the channels of the slave trade passed through Anapa and Istanbul. For centuries, thousands and tens of thousands of highlanders and Slavs went to the markets of the Middle East. It is clear that by the beginning of the 19 century, the volume of this disgraceful fishing has drastically decreased, from the full-flowing river to the streamlet, but still remained. The Turkish Pasha in Anapa constantly pushed the Circassians of the Pukban to attack neighboring areas. In the area of the river Kuban there was a continuous raid war. On the Circassian raids, the Cossacks responded with raids on the left bank. In October, 1812, a large army of Circassians invaded the lands of the Black Sea army, but was defeated. In 1823 — 1824 Russian troops organized several punitive campaigns against the Zucban highlanders.
In 1821 and 1824 Russian troops made two expeditions to Abkhazia. In 1821, Prince Safar Bey Shervashidze died. In 1809, he signed the “Most Requested Requesting Points”, where he asked the Russian Emperor Alexander Pavlovich to take Abkhazia under his protection. The Abkhaz prince gave himself and "everything in Abkhazia into hereditary citizenship ... the monarch of All-Russia." In 1810, the request was granted. During the Russian-Turkish war (1806-1812), representatives of the pro-Turkish party were expelled from Abkhazia. After the death of the prince, unrest began in Abkhazia, the leader of the opposition, which was oriented toward Turkey, was Aslan Bey. Ermolov ordered Major General Pyotr Gorchakov to restore order in Abkhazia. A Russian general with a detachment in 600, a man of infantry and 2 guns, was supposed to lead the Abkhazians into obedience to the new owner of it, appointed by Alexander II, Prince Dmitry Shervashidze (son of the deceased ruler). The Russian detachment moved to Sukhum-Kale and 13 in November, near the village of Kodor, defeated the troops of Aslan Bey, who fled to the Ottoman Empire.
Safar Bey was succeeded by his son Dmitry, but he soon died, the power went to the second son - 15-year-old Mikhail. The prince lived in Tiflis and returned to Abkhazia in 1823 year, guarded by two jägers' mouths under the command of Captain Morachevsky. However, a rebellion began in Abkhazia, organized by pro-Turkish leaders. Water again mutilled Aslan Bey. Before 1824, Prince Mikhail Shervashidze was besieged by the Abkhaz in his residence Souksu. In 1824, a detachment led by Gorchakov came to his aid. Prince Gorchakov, having a detachment in 1400 under his command at the 3 guns, spoke on July 1. On July 8, Russian troops reached the Kodor River and 10, with the support of the bridges "Orpheus" and "Mercury", attacked the rubble laid along the coast near the mouth of the river and blocked the way to Souksu. Capturing debris at the mouth of the river. Kodor, Gorchakov learned that the rebels blocked the rubble all the way along the seashore. In order not to waste time on clearing the way, the general put a man on the 800 ships, and threw them by sea to the Eylagu tract, seven versts from Souksu. Russian troops successfully landed, waited for reinforcements from Sukhum-Kale - 250 people, and 24 July hit the enemy. The rebels suffered a defeat and lifted the siege of Souksu. Aslan Bey fled to the Circassians in the Pukban. Russian power in Abkhazia was completely restored. It was a serious blow to Istanbul, the Ottomans hoped with the help of the Highlanders of the Caucasus to regain their influence in the region and press the Russians.
Continuation of the war in Chechnya
In 1820, Muridism began to spread in Dagestan and Chechnya, which called for the revival of Islam and the fight against the "infidels." Yermolov, visiting Cuba in 1824, ordered Aslan Khan Kazikumukh to conduct the investigation and stop the unrest, but distracted by other matters, could not follow the execution of this instruction. Therefore, the main preachers of Muridism, Mulla-Mohammed, and then Kazi-Mulla, continued to incite hatred towards “infidels” in the mountain tribes in Dagestan and Chechnya and proclaim the inevitability and closeness of Gazavat, holy war. In addition, the economic situation of the Chechens was greatly complicated by the inability to continue the raids in the same volume and the loss of a significant part of the herds (as punishment they were cut off from pastures).
In 1825, Chechnya broke out. Initially, the rebels were successful; they captured several weak fortifications, with a few garrisons — a post on the Terek, Ammir-Aja-Yurt, the Evil Trench, and Barrier Camp. Then Chechens and Kumyks besieged Gerzel-aul, which was located halfway between the fortresses of Sudden and Grozny. The commandant of the Grozny fortress, General Nikolai Grekov, and the new head of the Caucasian line, Dmitry Lisanevich, having learned of the desperate situation of the Gerzel-Aul garrison, immediately rushed to the rescue of their comrades. Moreover, the detachment they had was small - three companies of rangers, 400 Cossacks and 6 guns. With a quick hit, they rescued Gerzel-aul. The highlanders fled.
Lisanevich decided to establish a search, as not all local residents participated in the attack. To find out who was guilty and who was not, General Lisanevich ordered to gather local elders and respected people. The fear of the Russian troops was so high that everyone, even the well-known enemies of the Russians, appeared. In Gerzel-aul, 318 local elders were gathered. The Greeks, who knew the customs of the local people better, were against the event. But Lisanevich insisted on his. On July 18, during polls of elders, the Kumyk mullah Ochar-Khadzhi (according to another source, Uchur-mullah or Uchar-Gadzhi) rushed to Lisanevich’s legs and hit him in the stomach with a dagger. The unarmed Grekov, who was closest, rushed to the rescue, and was struck on the spot. The enraged soldiers killed all the highlanders. Lisanevich soon died. Thus, the Russian Empire lost at once two prominent figures and heroes of the Caucasian War - Dmitry Tikhonovich Lisanevich and Nikolai Vasilyevich Grekov. It was a bereavement. On the Caucasian line, in the midst of the highlanders' uprising, not a single general remained.
Yermolov, who had not yet recovered from his illness, had to leave Tiflis and leave for the scene. The uprising in Chechnya was led by Beybulat Taimiyev (Taymazov), he was a former lieutenant of the Russian army. He formed a detachment of 2 thousand people and made a series of daring raids. He even tried to take the Groznaya fortress with a sudden blow and capture General Yermolov as a prisoner from the village of Kalinovskaya. Yermolov responded with a series of serious military expeditions, during which "non-peaceful" auls Atagi, Urus-Martan and others were taken and ravaged. January 30 On the Argun River, an army of Lezgins and Chechens was defeated. Beybulat Taimiyev was crushed and fled to Persia, where he found a warm welcome and refuge. There he even met with the Shah of Persia, who promised Chechens military assistance from Iran. Indeed, at this moment Persia, with the diplomatic and military-material support of England, was intensively preparing for war with Russia, and pinned great hopes on the uprising of the highlanders in the Russian rear.
By February 1826, Chechnya was "pacified". The actions of the Russian troops were so successful and effective that when the Second Russian-Persian War began in the summer of 1826, the Chechens did not dare to raise a new uprising and strike the rear of the Separate Caucasian Corps. Although at the first stage of the war the superior forces of the Persian army achieved a number of successes. In the Caucasian War, there was a pause. In the mountains it was still restless, before the world was still far away. Muridism strengthened its position. The garrisons in the Russian fortifications were in constant readiness. In Cherkessia, the war continued along the banks of the Kuban. For complete “reconciliation” of the North-Western part of the Caucasus, Yermolov had neither the means, nor the resources, nor the time (he would soon be dismissed). The Caucasus was preparing for a new war, already under religious banners.
Yermolov not only led military operations and besieged the “fortress” of the Caucasus, but also noted a number of successful decisions in the civilian sphere. One by one in the North-subservient Russia of Russia, he liquidated the Sheki, Karabakh and Shirvan khanates. Their rulers were too crafty policy, more than once were noted in treason. Karabakh and Shirvan became Russian provinces and received appropriate administrative management. Only in Talysh possession on the shore of the Caspian Sea was power retained, since Yermolov was confident of his loyalty.
Yermolov wanted to liquidate the Khanate from the very beginning of his appearance in the Caucasus, wrote about this from Persia to Prince Vorontsov: “... They are tormented by the Khanate, ashamed of their being. Managing the khans is an image of the initial formation of societies ... a model of all the ridiculous, villainous autocracy and all the debauchery destroying humanity. ”
Severe to the enemies of the Fatherland, the robbers, Alexey Petrovich was the "father" for junior commanders and soldiers. He banned the exhaustion of troops by senseless shagging, drill, improved the food supply of troops - increased the meat and wine portion. Introduced more appropriate terrain elements of clothing and uniforms: allowed to wear hats instead of heavy shirts, instead of heavy packs of bull leather, canvas bags, in winter, instead of coats, coats. In the places of deployment of troops built solid apartments. On the money saved by him from a trip to Persia, he built in Tiflis a hospital for lower ranks. He led a simple, ascetic way of life.
Alexey Petrovich Yermolov was loved and respected by the troops. He was loved by both ordinary soldiers and officers, generals. He addressed the soldiers "my comrades." Thus, in one of the orders it was said: “You were terrible in the face of the enemy, and many thousands did not stand up to you, scattered and escaped you with escape. The region has been conquered, and the new subjects of our great Sovereign thank for their generous mercy. I see, brave comrades, that the impregnable mountains may not be subject to you, the roads are impassable. I will say the will of the emperor, and the obstacle will disappear before you. " In relation to the troops, Yermolov continued the traditions of Suvorov and Kutuzov, who considered it their first duty to take care of the soldiers who then served 25 for years.
Under the direction of Yermolov, the network of communications expanded, the Georgian Military Highway and other means of communication were modernized, and their safety increased. The head of the imperial administration patronized the development of the regional economic life, especially mining. Under the general, the development and mining of gold-bearing, silver and lead ores began in the Shchekino province, in the Lezgin village of Khno and other places. On his initiative in 1824, a mineralogical expedition was sent to Imeretiya. In Tiflis, quite large enterprises were opened for that time: a mint, a copper foundry and a powder factory. It is not by chance that one of the brightest statesmen of the empire, Finance Minister Kankrin, who did a lot of useful things to improve the financial system of Russia, said in a conversation with the emperor when speaking about the activities of Yermolov in the Caucasus: “Although Yermolov never imagined himself to be an administrator, he understood the needs of the region and much, he did in the Caucasus, very well; it was not necessary to destroy what was done by him, but only to supplement ... ".
Ermolov devoted time to beautification of Tiflis, Derbent, Shemakhi. In Tiflis opened an officer's club with a large library. A headquarters was built in the capital of the Caucasian governorship under him (he is the governor’s house), a parade ground was set up, an arsenal, an Armenian gymnasium, the Caravanserai and other stone buildings and structures were restored. In 1820, at the headquarters of the corps in Tiflis, the first newspaper was published in Georgian. In the Caucasian mineral waters, in Pyatigorye, medical institutions were built. Building hydropathic, Yermolov primarily cared for the wounded and sick soldiers. The city of Pyatigorsk was founded. The resort business has been developed. From the fortress of Sour grew the city of Kislovodsk. Spas, even during the war, began to attract more and more people from Russia. The village of Essentuki, Zheleznovodsk appeared. There was a cultural, economic growth of the region.
The vicar promoted the influx of Russian settlers. Cossacks from the Don, residents of Poltava, Chernihiv and other Little Russian provinces were attracted. On his initiative, 1817 migrants from German Württemberg were settled in Georgia in 500. An ad hoc committee was set up to help displaced people.
According to the researchers, the main reason for the resignation of Yermolov was the uprising of the "Decembrists". The Caucasian commander-in-chief was delayed for a few days with bringing the troops to the oath to Nicholas, which aroused suspicion in the capital. In addition, his unquestioning authority in the Caucasus and the former “free-thinking” confirmed the “danger” of the general. In the Caucasian Corps, the Decembrists exiled "to the front line", demoted from officers to private soldiers, were well treated. There were denunciations of Yermolov, so supposedly there existed a secret “Caucasian society”, which was part of the organization of the “Decembrists”. Later, these rumors were not confirmed. But the deed was done. Ermolov was under suspicion.
However, Yermolov was such a large military and political figure that he simply could not be removed. Using the failures of small Russian troops at the initial stage of the war with Persia (Yermolov warned of an impending war and offered to strengthen the Caucasian corps), the emperor sent his favorite I.P. Paskevich to him in early August. It was a famous commander, hero of World War 1812 of the year. Paskevich formally submitted to the governor, but received command of the troops of the Caucasus region. A conflict arose between them; Adjutant-General I. I. Dibich was sent to resolve it. He supported Paskevich. 3 March 1827, Yermolov resigned "due to domestic circumstances." 27 March general was relieved of all posts.
Ermolov in the Caucasus proved to be both an excellent commander and an effective civilian manager. Alexey Petrovich (Russia), in a strategic sense, saved the mountain peoples of the Caucasus, helped them to preserve themselves, their cultural identity (customs, faith). In another case, they were threatened with a deplorable fate - the continuation of mutual slaughter and the gradual loss of their own identity as part of regional empires - the Persian Power and the Ottoman Empire. In the same Turkey, they would be "mountain Turks", like most of the Kurds. Christian nations, Armenians, Georgians, Ossetians, were threatened with genocide. In the future, the Caucasus would fall under the influence of the British Empire, which had a strong position in Iran and Turkey.
Militarily, Yermolov began a difficult and long-lasting Caucasian war, which is often blamed for him. But the beginning of this war was inevitable. Actually, it was already going on, just Yermolov set about the “surgical operation” in order to make the Caucasus once and for all Russian. The tactics of Yermolov were quite reasonable: gradual pressure on the highlanders, the creation of bases and bridgeheads for further advancement into the mountains; immediate and tough response to their robbery, insurrection; deprivation of their economic base. All this forced the Caucasian tribes to abandon the former way of life (predatory raids, robberies, the slave trade, mutual slaughter) and become peaceful inhabitants of the empire, rising culturally, socially and economically.
In the civil administration, Yermolov pursued a quite logical line - the liquidation of the khanates, the gradual introduction of the administration common to the whole empire. In this regard, modern Russia can take its experience in service, eliminating the ethnic state formations that become the basis for the possible collapse of the state. In the resettlement policy - strengthening the Russian presence in the Caucasus, which strengthened the order in the region, increased its cultural and economic level. In economics, the Caucasian governor laid the foundations that in the future will lead the region to prosperity - the development of the mining industry, the transport and cultural-social infrastructure, the sanitary-resort area.
Monument Ermolov in Orel.