Military Review

Russian samurai Ryabov

Hero of the Russian-Japanese War

The hunter-scout Vasily Timofeevich Ryabov was born in 1871, he grew up in the village of Ivanovka, Penza district of the Penza province. Almost a century and a half has passed, but his memory has remained for centuries.

Russian samurai Ryabov
The shooting of a military intelligence officer Vasily Ryabov. Artist A. Vavilin

After his dismissal from active military service in the reserve Ryabov settled in the nearby village of Lebedevka. Brave, smart was a man, he loved the theater, his wife, although he was beating to the hops. And I could use someone else's good. There was such a thing ... But he redeemed all sins with his feat.

From the beginning of the war, Ryabov was enlisted as a volunteer in the 284-th Chembarsky infantry regiment, in whose ranks he took part in hostilities on the territory of Manchuria. He served in the hunting team, as they called the volunteer intelligence officers. With the help of gestures, facial expressions, and gait, he could copy the Chinese, and this often made fun of his comrades.

After the battle at Liaoyan, in the autumn of 1904, information about the disposition of enemy units became extremely necessary for the Russian command. 14 (27) September 1904 of the year Vasily Ryabov volunteered to go on reconnaissance, disguised as a Chinese peasant and tied a braid to his head.

The Japanese did not solve the Russian intelligence officer, and Ryabov was already returning to his. However, a passing officer ordered him to water the horse. Ryabov, who did not know Chinese, did not understand, probably, the meaning of the order or did not exactly follow it. Then an annoyed Japanese tugged at his braid, which ... was torn off. So it all opened.

Monument to the Russian soldier Vasily Ryabov and natives of the Akkerman district

A military intelligence officer was tried as a spy and sentenced to death. Vasily Timofeevich took his death proudly, with the name of the Motherland on his lips, remaining true to the military oath. The courage of the Russian soldier made such a deep impression on the enemies that they began to consider him a "Russian samurai."

A day later, the 1-th Orenburg Cossack regiment stumbled upon a letter thrown to a lone oak in neutral territory. It read:
“Reserve soldier Vasily Ryabov, 33 of the year, from the hunting team of the 284 Infantry Regiment of Chembarsky, a native of Penza province, Penza district, Lebedyivka village, dressed like a Chinese peasant, 17 of September 1904 of the year was caught by our soldiers within the front line. According to his oral testimony, it turned out that he, according to a wish expressed by him, was sent to us for reconnaissance about the location and actions of our army and made his way into our September 14 chain through Yantai, in the south-east direction. After consideration of the case in the established order Ryabov was sentenced to death. The last was made 17 September rifle shot.

Bringing this event to the attention of the Russian army, our army cannot but express our sincere wishes to a respected army, so that the latter would bring up more such beautiful, deserving full respect of the soldiers, like the so-called Ryabov. Sympathy for this truly brave, full of his duty, an exemplary soldier reached the highest limit.

Respectfully. Captain of the Japanese Army Headquarters. ”

Attached to the letter was a note in Chinese, which warned the locals against its destruction and the scheme of the area where the execution took place, and the remains of the hero rested.


Emperor Nicholas II learned about Penza intelligence officer and established a committee to perpetuate the memory of the hero by the highest order. Donations began to flow in from all over Russia. Pupils of gymnasiums sent from four to twenty-five kopecks. As a financial aid to his family, 7 thousand rubles and 2569 rubles for building a school were collected by subscription.

At the direction of the Sovereign, the family of Ryabov was given a thousand rubles, and his children were placed in state educational institutions.

The reconnaissance warrior was forever enlisted in the lists of the 284-th Chembarsky regiment, as stated in the order: “In edification to posterity”. After merging it with the 216-Insarsky regiment - in the list of 5-th company of the 2-th battalion.

The newspaper "Penza Provincial Gazette" 15 of October 1904 of the year wrote: "In the village of Lebedevka a Zemskaya school, in which he once studied Ryabov, is located right in the impossible building. Should:

1) Rebuild this school.

2) Open a good reading library at the new school in memory of Ryabov.

3) Break a decent kindergarten in college and put up an inexpensive monument in it ... ”

A committee was set up to organize the school-monument. Donations came from all over the country. The grand opening took place on 9 May 1909. The gable of the building was decorated with a sign: “Primary school in memory of the hero Vasily Ryabov. Killed 14 September 1904 of the Year for Faith, King and Fatherland. ”

September 1 The 1909 of the Lebedev Zemstvo School was organized by a funny company, which consisted of 25 students. Her goal was to train the younger generation in military gymnastics and the military system.

The commander of the amusing company was commanded by a non-commissioned officer of the 177 th Izborsk regiment, and it was maintained at the expense of the Lebedev rural society.

October 6 1909, the ashes of a soldier Ryabov were transported from Manchuria and buried with military honors in the village of Lebedevka near a school built in memory of Vasily Timofeevich.

The train with the hero’s remains at all stations was met by crowds of people with icons and flowers, starting from Chita. In Penza, the coffin was met by a military band with a half-man from the local garrison, priests, and many civilians.


14 May 1912, in the days of the celebration of the 100 anniversary of the accession of Bessarabia to the Russian Empire, the grand opening of the monument to the intelligence officer took place. On the same days, Jewish Street (now Kirov) was renamed V. Ryabov Street.

In 1912, in the city of Akkerman (now Belgorod-Dniester, Odessa region of Ukraine), an eight-meter obelisk was erected by donations from citizens.

This is how a contemporary described this day: “In the morning the city took on a festive look. Boulevard, public institutions and private houses are colored with flags. Already from 7 in the morning, the streets began to be filled with people who had flowed out of the suburbs of Shabo, Turlaki and Daddy.

At 10, a cathedral prayer service was served and at 11 hours, a procession from the cathedral moved to the site of the monument.

At this time, pupils and pupils of local educational institutions accompanied by the heads and teachers of these institutions began to flock to the site where the monument was erected.

The following places arrived here and occupied the places established according to the ceremony: gymnasiums for women and men, teacher’s seminary, men’s 5-class city school with their own orchestra and all local men’s and women’s public schools.

Pupils of female gymnasium with flowers in their hands.

Here also awaiting the arrival of the procession were militia warriors.

At 11 hours the chimes of bells rang out and soon a procession appeared ... "

Before the eyes of those present, there appeared an elegant obelisk of black marble with an icon, in front of which an inextinguishable lamp was lit and under it was taken into the text: years. "

Even lower: “Constructed with the donations of the residents of the city of Akkerman and Akkermansky Departure, the Main Chamber of the Russian People's Union of the Archangel Michael and the city of Yekaterinoslav”.

“At the end of the consecration of the monument and numerous solemn speeches, a ceremonial passage of troops past the monument took place,” said the same eyewitness. - The command of the parade was received by the military commander, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Fedorovich Morozovich, himself a member of the Russian-Japanese war, the first to pass by the monument. He was followed by deputies from the district - a colonel and retired officers in military and civilian uniform, a company of George Knight and the wounded, a battalion of militia warriors, military command teams, guards, Bayramchansk merry, female and male educational institutions, and female educational institutions were included in the fence the monument and covered flowers with its foot ”.

In 1971, the 100 anniversary of the birth of Vasily Ryabov was celebrated. His relatives came to the celebrations in Belgorod-Dnestrovsky. Someone from the party chiefs ordered, just in case, to remove from the monument the references to the Black Hundreds. It is said that the director of the local history museum itself chisels the seditious inscription in which the People’s Union named after Michael the Archangel was mentioned.


Back in the years of the First World War about the heroism of a soldier, several propaganda films were shot. The Skobelev Committee and the “Gomon” Society released on the screen the “military story” - “The feat of the private Vasily Ryabov” (director A. I. Ivanov-Guy). Its premiere took place on November 18 1914. A little later, a picture by A. O. Drankov “The heroic feat of Vasily Ryabov” was published.

In Soviet times, Ryabov was remembered during World War II. In 1943, the Stalin Standard Banner wrote about him. In the same year the book of the writer S. Ulybin “The feat of Vasily Ryabov” was published.

Under Khrushchev, the district authorities recommended that Ryabov’s countrymen find a “more suitable” hero. To the credit of the Lebedevites, they did not deny Vasily Timofeevich. And he was carefully tended behind the grave, even having built an obelisk with golden letters.

And in 2002, a new rural school (the old one burned down in 1929) opened a museum stories the village, one of the expositions of which is dedicated to the hero of the Russian-Japanese war.

Two years later, on October 10, 2004, in Lebedevka, they laid flowers at the reconstructed monument. The name of the hero was returned to the local school - the main, now a branch of the secondary school in the village of Voskresenovka.

It became a tradition every year, May 6, on the day of the Great Martyr George the Victorious, to serve a memorial service at the tomb of the hero in the village of Lebedevka. Pupils lay flowers to her. So in fact, a live connection of times and generations.

Reconstructed monument on the grave of Vasily Ryabov in the village of Lebedyovka, Penza Region

... The first Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was considered the main military cathedral in Russia. Among the numerous marble slabs on which the names of the generals and officers who died in various wars were carved, there was only one memorial plaque dedicated to ordinary soldiers. There were only seventeen names on it. And among them - the name of Vasily Timofeevich Ryabov.
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  1. svp67
    svp67 20 September 2013 09: 06
    there was only one memorial plaque dedicated to ordinary soldiers. There were only seventeen names on it. And among them - the name of Vasily Timofeevich Ryabov.
    But is it time to bring her back? ...
  2. Igarr
    Igarr 20 September 2013 09: 22
    Good article.
    Really interesting - now the return to the soldiers and heroes of the First World War begins.
    And the Russo-Japanese War was the war of 1904-1905? Who do we remember? Rudnev, Makarov, Rozhdestvensky?
    Where are the soldiers? And the sailors?
    Remember you, Vasily Timofeevich Ryabov, my fellow countryman for my grandmother and mother.
    1. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 20 September 2013 19: 28
      Quote: Igarr
      Really interesting - now the return to the soldiers and heroes of the First World War begins.

      I agree with you - about the heroes of "Attack of the Dead", about the exploits of the Black Sea sailors, about the Russian shock (before the start of the revolution) units, about the III cavalry corps and many others. forgotten and not remembered.
    2. Aryan
      Aryan 21 September 2013 14: 24
      Everlasting memory...
      I would like to say a few words about the mentioned monument in Belgorod-Dniester
      this city is located in Ukraine in Odessa region
      and not far from there is also the village of Lebedevka
      named in memory of another hero
      already World War II
      pilot who died in those parts
      and there the nature of the Bessarabian steppe is very similar to that
      as seen in the photograph with the grave of Vasily Ryabov
  3. yan
    yan 20 September 2013 09: 45
    Thanks to the author for the information, and if you collect stories about the exploits of Russian soldiers in the pre-revolutionary period in one collection.
    1. Vasily T.
      Vasily T. 20 September 2013 11: 16
      +, and make films.
      1. Ruslan_F38
        Ruslan_F38 20 September 2013 15: 00
        The textbook should be published with the stories of the exploits of such heroes and studied in school, the younger generation should know the true heroes of this country and be equal to them.
  4. albai
    albai 20 September 2013 10: 39
    That's how the exploits of ordinary Russian soldiers increased the glory and valor of the Russian Army !!! It has always been and will be.
  5. Raptor75
    Raptor75 20 September 2013 10: 59
    Japanese respect. They fight with dignity, and respect the courage of the enemy.
    1. Tyunik
      Tyunik 20 September 2013 13: 56
      That was at the beginning of the war. And then, closer to its end, they lost their nobility.
      1. smile
        smile 20 September 2013 14: 19
        The Japanese used such noble gestures for educational purposes primarily their soldiers.
        And nobleness ... yeah, Japanese nobleness is such an interesting thing ... which did not stop them from being an absolute beast with the defeated and peaceful ... by the way, I somehow read a Japanese poem (something like that) of the 16th century, glorifying the inventiveness of a young samurai who vilely killed an enemy sparing him in the back ... A few pages of absolutely serious admiration for this inept, but resourceful comrade. I was stunned! Imagine an epic about Ilya Muromets, stabbed in the back of Nightingale the Robber. who defeated him in a fair fight, but spared and left to live ... I can’t imagine such a thing ... but for the Japanese, this is the norm. They admire the boy’s ingenuity ... such a nobleness ... no, they are indeed from monkeys other than our ancestors ... :)))
        1. cumastra1
          cumastra1 20 September 2013 17: 41
          The Japanese have a completely different concept of good and evil. winners are not judged, at least by some meanness of accomplishment, but victory, and at the same time - tremendous sentimentality (by the way in the style of Hitler). During World War II, the Japanese made films that the Americans called very pacifist.
          1. smile
            smile 20 September 2013 20: 35
            I communicate with some Japanese, so that I agree with you. To hell with him and Hitler ... but their sentimentality is not even sentimentality, it is something else ... in principle, to my shame, I did not fully understand ... :))) And this is doubly insulting. in view of the fact that I personally know a Japanese woman who understands Russian culture two orders of magnitude better than me, an ardent Russian patriot and believes that besides the Japanese on earth there are only one Russian people ... and furiously (in Japanese, bursting into a nightingale, incessantly apologizing and resting like a spear against a boar) proving. that we are very similar ... :))) Even the sound "L" pronounces almost correctly ... :)))
            But I didn’t know about films, I would have to ask them to search ..... but in general, their cinema puts me in a hurry ... not for normal people ... :)))
    2. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 20 September 2013 19: 29
      Quote: Raptor75
      Japanese respect. They fight with dignity, and respect the courage of the enemy.

      You are wrong - the attitude of the Japanese towards civilians and prisoners exceeded the cruel actions of the fascist SS units.
  6. goldfinger
    goldfinger 20 September 2013 11: 37
    It is painfully sorry for Russia, then our common Motherland, which our ancestors madly lost in 1917. But rather, they lost to world Zionism!
    1. Avenger711
      Avenger711 20 September 2013 13: 51
      They didn’t lose it, but threw it away, because it was time to throw it away and build a new one, many times better.
      1. jasper
        jasper 21 September 2013 13: 55
        lover of the Russian Genocide?
    2. smile
      smile 20 September 2013 14: 24
      C'mon, Russia, that the Bolsheviks began to collect at 17 the liberals destroyed in February of the same 17, and there are princes and counts, and even unhappy Jews among them didn’t smell, all the Jews at the same time were destroying fresh water supplies, so that you couldn’t use the water supply system ... :)))
      1. Blackgrifon
        Blackgrifon 20 September 2013 19: 31
        Quote: smile
        that the Bolsheviks began to collect at 17

        Yeah - collected - SOLD by the Bolsheviks - one Brest peace says a lot.
        1. smile
          smile 20 September 2013 20: 46
          The Brest peace was concluded when the Germans, who could not be stopped by the weakly and easily armed and actually destroyed by order No. 1 of the Provisional Government, were the army. The former army began to evaporate, like urine in the Sahara. The new one, the backbone of which was half the General Staff and almost half of the officer corps of the Republic of Ingushetia supporting the Bolsheviks, has not yet been created. The Germans entered Russia like a knife under a rib ... wherever they visited, all sorts of independents supported by the Entente arose ... Under these conditions, the Brest Peace was concluded ... we paid ... expensive ... but saved Russia. After half a year, the Brest Peace was canceled. Have you forgotten about this, or are you intentionally silent?
          And then we threw out the invaders, crushed the independents organized by the Germans and the Entente, gave the Poles their teeth, sorted out the different Western creatures of the Russian white movement and total banditry ... we couldn’t return everything .... but we could ... what was enough ...
          1. jasper
            jasper 21 September 2013 13: 56
            Yeah current, this order of Krasnyuk Eser Kerensky (a friend of the Ulyanov family) just copied a similar decree of Soviets
  7. dropout
    dropout 20 September 2013 11: 42
    The article clearly shows how competently military-patriotic education was organized in tsarist Russia. In the USSR, this tradition was continued (he himself once ran into "Zarnitsy"). It is imperative to revive these traditions in any way.
  8. Uncle
    Uncle 20 September 2013 13: 28
    A hero, because a Christian who is afraid only of God, and is not afraid of death and torture. Even if he did not live as a Christian, he received death with the name of Christ on his lips, already a martyr worthy of the kingdom of God.
  9. knn54
    knn54 20 September 2013 13: 31
    He is not a samurai, he is a Russian commando!
    1. I am
      I am 20 September 2013 16: 51
      No. He is simply a SOLDIER who has fulfilled his duty to the Motherland !!!! And that's it !!!
      1. nnz226
        nnz226 20 September 2013 17: 31
  10. galiullinrasim
    galiullinrasim 20 September 2013 18: 15
    yeah the film - will take you Mikhalkov such a film that then you will turn your nose back like a penalty
  11. George
    George 20 September 2013 19: 19
    Thank you for the article.
    Then it was reported about the last minutes of the Russian soldier’s parting with life and the message ended like this: “Those present could not hold back from hot tears. The sympathy for this mu sincerely brave one full of feelings of duty to about a mu soldier reached the highest limit

    The last words "For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland!"
  12. Klim podkova
    Klim podkova 20 September 2013 23: 19
    In each city, in each village there is a monument either to those who died during the liberation of the city / village from the Nazi invaders, or to the natives who had left and who did not return from the fronts of the Second World War. But how many of you have seen monuments to soldiers who died in World War I? Forgotten war!
  13. SlavaP
    SlavaP 21 September 2013 00: 20
    Eternal memory to the Heroes of Russia!
    Yes, in Britain there are monuments to those who perished in the 1 World at every step. And before the LAST of the warriors (around 2009) left, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2 personally congratulated each of them on Armistice Day (November 11)
  14. Spike
    Spike 23 September 2013 00: 28
    Real Russians do not give up !!!