Military Review

General "Forward." Iosif Vladimirovich Gurko

Joseph Vladimirovich Gurko was born 16 July 1828, in the ancestral estate Aleksandrovka in the Mogilev gubernia. He was the third child in the family and belonged to the ancient noble family of Romeiko-Gurko, who moved to the west of the Russian Empire from the Belarusian lands. His father, Vladimir Iosifovich, was an extraordinary man of complex and brilliant fate. Starting service as an ensign of the Semenov regiment, he rose to the rank of infantry general. He fought in the battles of Borodino, Maloyaroslavets, Tarutino, Bautzen, commanded the troops in the Caucasus, participated in the liberation of Armenia, pacified the Polish revolt. Vladimir Iosifovich told his son a lot about his military campaigns, great battles, legendary commanders of the past and heroes of the Patriotic War. It is quite clear that from an early age the boy dreamed only of a military career.

Joseph began his studies at the Jesuit College School. In 1840-1841, a great deal of grief struck their family - Gurko's mother, Tatiana Alekseevna Korf, and Sofia's older sister, the beautiful and maid of honor of the imperial court, first died. Vladimir Iosifovich, having barely survived the loss, filed a resignation, justifying frustrated household chores and illness. However, the forty-six-year-old lieutenant-general never retired; on the contrary, 1843 was sent to the Caucasus into the thick of battles with the mountaineers. Joseph's older sister, seventeen-year-old Marianne, he had to be sent to her aunt, and his son to arrange in the Page Corps.

At the beginning of 1846, Vladimir Gurko was appointed head of all the reserve and reserve troops of the army and guards, and Joseph 12 of August of the same year successfully graduated from the corps and was promoted to cornet in the service of the Hussars. Marianne’s daughter had by that time married Vasily Muravyov-Apostol, younger brother sent to exile in Siberia Matvey and executed Sergei. The health of Vladimir Gurko, meanwhile, continued to deteriorate. He spent the autumn and winter of 1846 on the Sakharov estate, and in the spring 1847 went abroad for treatment. Joseph Gurko buried his father in 1852 year. The young officer received a number of estates as a legacy, but he was little interested in the farm, transferring them to full care by the manager.

Very quickly, Joseph Gurko became a first-class cavalry officer. 11 April 1848 has already fired him, and 30 August 1855 - to the captain. In the 1849 year, in connection with the beginning of the revolution in Hungary, Gurko, as part of his regiment, marched to the western borders of the Russian Empire, but did not have time to take part in the hostilities. When the Crimean War began, Joseph Vladimirovich tried all possibilities in order to get into besieged Sevastopol. In the end, he had to change the epaulets of the guard of the captain on the epaulets of an infantry major. It was at that time that he uttered the words that later became known: "To live with cavalry, to die with infantry." In the autumn of 1855, he was transferred to the Chernigov Infantry Regiment, located on the Belbek positions in the Crimea, but again did not have time to take part in hostilities - at the end of August 1855, after 349 days of glorious defense, Russian troops left Sevastopol.

In March, 1856 in Paris with the participation of Prussia and Austria signed a peaceful treatise, and six months before that - 18 February 1855 of the year - Nicholas I died of pneumonia, and Alexander II became his successor. Service Gurko, meanwhile, continued. With the rank of captain he returned to the hussar regiment, where he was given command of the squadron. In this position, he proved himself to be an exemplary leader, a strict but skillful tutor and teacher of subordinates. And these were not just words. The emperor himself paid special attention to the brilliant combat and combat training of the squadron Gurko during the next review of the troops. Shortly thereafter (November 6 1860) Joseph Vladimirovich was transferred to the post of adjutant to His Imperial Majesty.

In the spring of 1861, Gurko was promoted to colonel, and soon sent to the Samara province in order to monitor the progress of the peasant transformations conducted by Alexander II and personally report on the state of affairs to the king. Upon arrival at the 11 in March, Joseph Vladimirovich immediately joined the cause. At the most important moment of the reform, namely during the publication of the manifesto, he gave the order to print the necessary number of legislative acts in local newspapers. Gurko was at odds with the decisions of the local nobility, who in any case demanded that the authorities use military force against the peasants. Speaking an ardent opponent of the use of force, he argued that any “insubordination” of the peasants and suppression of peasant unrest can be settled by “simple explanations”. Iosif Vladimirovich personally visited all the most "problem" villages of the Samara province, conducting long conversations with the peasants, explaining and explaining to them the essence of the changes that had occurred.

The measures taken by Gurko regarding the caught peasant Modest Surkov, who “interpreted the manifesto” to the peasants for money, and private Vasily Khrabrov, who called himself Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and distributed rights and freedoms to the local peasants, are indicative. Joseph Vladimirovich came out resolutely against the death penalty of "interpreters". He said that death would raise them in the eyes of the peasants to the rank of national heroes, which in turn could result in large-scale speeches. Demonstrating himself as a far-sighted politician, Gurko put pressure on the investigative commission, ensuring that both “interpreters” in all the villages that they passed were publicly exposed, and then subjected to corporal punishment and sentenced to imprisonment.

A lot of forces occupied the aide-de-camp and the fight against the abuse of landowners in the Samara province. In his reports to the sovereign, he regularly reported on the almost universal abuses of power by landowners in relation to the peasants, among which the most common were excess turnover and corvee norms and the redistribution of fertile land. Acting on the situation, Gurko influenced the local authorities, for example, could order the grain to be given to peasants deprived of the landlords of all stocks. The case of the marshal of the imperial court of Prince Kochubei, who took away all the good land from the peasants, received wide publicity. Without being embarrassed in expressions, Gurko in the next report to Alexander II described the situation, and as a result the confrontation between the landowner and the peasants resolved in favor of the second.

The actions of Joseph Vladimirovich in the course of the peasant reform were favorably appreciated even by the opposition newspaper Kolokol by Alexander Herzen, who once said that “the agillabs of the adjutant Gurko are a symbol of honor and valor”. Konstantin Pobedonostsev reported to the tsar: “Gurko’s conscience is soldier’s, direct. He is not amenable to the action of political talkers, there is no cunning in him and he is not capable of intrigues. Also, he does not have noble relatives seeking to make a political career through him. ”

At the beginning of 1862, the thirty-four-year-old Gurko married Maria Salias de Tournemire, a born countess and daughter of the writer Elizaveta Vasilyevna Salias de Tournemire, better known as Eugene Tur. The young wife became a loyal friend of Joseph Vladimirovich, their love for each other remained mutual throughout their lives. It is curious that this marriage caused condemnation of the emperor, as the writer herself, nicknamed by her contemporaries as “the Russian George Sand,” and her family and comrades were considered too liberal for an promising outbuilding adjutant. Writer and journalist Yevgeny Feoktistov recalled: “For a long time, the sovereign did not want to forgive Gurko for his marriage. The young settled in Tsarskoe Selo, where Iosif Vladimirovich was content with a rather limited circle of acquaintances. He seemed to have become disgraced, and to the great surprise of his colleagues, who had no idea what happened between him and the Sovereign, he did not receive any appointments. ”

Over the next four years, Gurko performed insignificant administrative tasks. He also watched the recruitment sets held in the Vyatka, Kaluga and Samara provinces. Finally, in 1866, he was appointed commander of the fourth Mariupol hussars of the regiment, and at the end of the summer 1867 was promoted to major general with the appointment of an emperor to his retinue. In 1869, Gurko gave the Life Guards an equestrian grenadier regiment, which he commanded for six years. The generals rightly believed that this regiment was distinguished by excellent training. In July, 1875 Joseph Vladimirovich was appointed commander of the Second Guards Cavalry Division, and a year later he was promoted to lieutenant general.

In the summer of 1875, anti-Turkish uprisings broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and later in Bulgaria. For more than five hundred years, Serbs, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Macedonians and other peoples close in faith and blood to the Slavs, were under Turkish rule. The Turkish government was cruel, all unrest was punished mercilessly - the cities were burning, thousands of civilians were dying. Irregular Turkish troops, called bashi-bazouks, differed in particular bloodthirstiness and ferocity. In fact, these were unorganized and uncontrollable groups of bandits, recruited mainly from the warlike tribes of the Ottoman Empire in Asia Minor and Albania. Particular cruelty of their troops demonstrated during the suppression of the April Uprising, which broke out in 1876 in Bulgaria. More than thirty thousand civilians, including old people, women and children, were killed. The massacre caused a wide public resonance in Russia and European countries. In support of the Bulgarians expressed Oscar Wilde, Charles Darwin, Victor Hugo, Giuseppe Garibaldi. In Russia, special “Slavic committees” were formed, collecting donations to the rebels, volunteer detachments were organized in the cities. Under the pressure of Russia in 1877, a conference of European diplomats was held in Constantinople. She did not put an end to the atrocities and the genocide of the Slavic peoples, but allowed our country to achieve a tacit agreement between the European powers on non-interference in the imminent military conflict with Turkey.

The plan for a future war was drawn up at the end of 1876, and at the end of February 1877 was studied by the emperor and approved by the General Staff and the Minister of War. It was based on the idea of ​​a lightning victory - the Russian army had to cross the Danube on the Nikopol-Svishtov sector, which had no fortresses, and then split into several detachments with different tasks. Gurko at that time was already 48 for a year, but he was slim as a young man, strong and enduring, in a Suvorov manner unpretentious in everyday life. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, commander-in-chief of the Danube army, knew him well, since from 1864 he was the cavalry inspector general. It is known that he personally insisted on the appointment of Joseph Vladimirovich to the army, saying: "I do not see another commander of the advanced cavalry."

12 April 1877 Russia declared war on Turkey. 15 June advanced units of the Russian army crossed the Danube, and already 20 June Gurko arrived at the location of the army. By order of 24 June 1877, he was appointed commander of the Southern (advanced) detachment, receiving one rifle and four cavalry brigades, three hundred Cossacks with thirty-two guns and six Bulgarian militia. The task before him was set extremely clear - to occupy the city of Tarnovo and passes through the Balkans.

Joseph Vladimirovich, who had no military experience so far, brilliantly proved himself in the command of the Southern detachment. In the course of this operation, his remarkable military genius, which combined liveliness, intelligence and reasonable courage, manifested itself for the first time. Gurko loved to repeat to his commanders: “With proper training, a fight is nothing special - the same teaching only with live ammunition, which requires even more order, even more peace of mind. ... And remember that you are leading a Russian soldier into battle, who never lagged behind his officer. "
25 June 1877, approaching the Turnovo, Gurko made a reconnaissance of the area. Properly assessing the enemy's confusion, he did not hesitate turn the reconnaissance into a lightning cavalry attack and captured the city with one quick blow. The Turkish garrison retreated in panic, abandoning ammunition, weapon and ammo. News about capturing the ancient capital of Bulgaria for one and a half hours and only by the forces of one cavalry was enthusiastically met in Russia. Russian soldiers in the liberated Bulgarian settlements were greeted as liberators. The peasants called them to wait, treated them with honey, bread and cheese, the priests made the sign of the cross on the soldiers.

After the occupation of Tarnovo, the troops of the Southern detachment set about implementing the main task - the seizure of the Balkan passes. There were four passes through the Balkan Mountains, the most convenient of which was Shipka. However, the Turks greatly strengthened it and kept large reserves in the area of ​​Kazanlak. Of the remaining passes, only the most difficult was not controlled by them - the Hainokoy Pass. The southern detachment successfully defeated him and by July 5 defeated Turkish forces near the town of Kazanlak. Under the circumstances, the enemy entrenched on Shipka could be attacked simultaneously from the north and from the south (that is, from the rear), where the Gurko squad was located. The Russian troops did not miss this opportunity - after a fierce two-day battle, the enemy, no longer trying to hold their positions, retreated to Philippopolis (now Plovdiv) at night by mountain paths, dropping all the artillery.

The victories of the Southern detachment, which had three times fewer forces than the Turkish forces opposing them, caused a real panic in Constantinople. Many higher dignitaries of the Ottoman Empire were removed from their posts. The commander-in-chief of the Turkish forces on the Danube — the incompetent and aged Abdi-Pasha — was dismissed, and the Turkish general staff put in place a forty-five-year-old general Suleiman Pasha. It was a really worthy opponent, a commander of a new, European formation. For seventeen days, by sea and by land, having covered almost seven hundred kilometers, he managed to transfer a twenty-five-thousandth corps from Montenegro and threw it into stride on the move.

Gurko during this time received reinforcements in the form of a single infantry brigade, as well as permission to "act according to circumstances." Having set himself the task of not allowing the Turkish forces to the Hainokisky and Shipka passes, Gurko overcame the Lesser Balkans and July 10 near Stara Zagora, July 18 under Nova Zagora and July 19 near Kalitinov won several brilliant victories. However, in late July, large enemy forces approached the village of Eski-Zagry. This place was kept by a small detachment of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian militia under the leadership of Nikolai Stoletov. After five hours of fierce defensive battles, the threat of encirclement appeared, and Nikolai Grigorievich gave the order to leave the settlement. Unfortunately, the main forces of Joseph Vladimirovich failed to arrive in time for help - on the way to Stara Zagora they met with the troops of Reuf Pasha. The enemy was eventually crushed, but the time was gone, and Gurko ordered all units to withdraw to the passes. The victims were not in vain, the battered army of Suleiman Pasha licked his wounds for three weeks and did not move.

The second unsuccessful assault on Plevna and the inability to reinforce the Southern detachment with reinforcements served as the basis for the order of the Gurko detachment to move north to Tarnovo. Iosif Vladimirovich himself, who did not have the necessary reserves, not only for an offensive, but also for promptly countering the Turkish troops, said: “If Suleiman Pasha spoke against me with the whole army, I would resist to the last extreme. Thinking about what will happen here when I am gone leads to awe. My retreat will be a signal to the general beating of Christians. ... Despite the desire, I can not avert these atrocities, due to the fact that I can not crush the troops and send troops to each place. "

Gurko's forces joined the forces of General Fyodor Radetzky, holding the southern area of ​​the theater of operations. The command of the army in the person of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich appreciated the actions of Joseph Vladimirovich, assigning him the rank of adjutant general and awarding the Order of St. George of the third degree. However, immeasurably higher than all the awards was the honor and glory that he deserved from ordinary warriors. The soldiers believed in Gurko infinitely and called him "General" Forward. He amazed everyone with his endurance and indomitable energy, composure during battles, quietly standing under the bullets on the front line. Contemporaries described him like this: “Slim and thin with huge sideburns and sharp, gray, deep eyes. He spoke little, never argued, and seemed impenetrable in his feelings, intentions and thoughts. From his whole figure blew internal strength, formidable and authoritative. He was not loved by everyone, but everyone respected and almost everyone was afraid. ”

The southern detachment was disbanded, and in August 1877 Gurko left for St. Petersburg in order to mobilize his second Guards Cavalry Division. On September 20, he had already arrived with her at Pleven and was put in charge of all the cavalry of the Western detachment, stationed on the left bank of the Vita. Pleven, immoderately, blocked the way for Constantinople to the Russian troops. Three times the assault on the stronghold was unsuccessful, and the Russian-Romanian troops, according to the plan of Edward Totleben, who led the siege, surrounded the city from the south, north and east. However, in the south-west and west, the paths for the enemy were actually opened and ammunition and food supplies regularly arrived on the Sofia highway for Osman-Pasha soldiers. The reserve parts of Shefket Pasha, who guard the highway, were erected along it near five villages - Gorny Dybnik, Dolniy Dybnik, Telish, Yablonits and Radomirtz - powerful fortifications located at a distance of 8-10 kilometers from each other and consisting of a number of redoubts made forward trenches.

The task of blocking the Sofia highway was assigned to Gurko. He developed a plan according to which the combined forces of cavalry and guard should act. The headquarters approved his proposal, and Joseph Vladimirovich received under his command all guards, including the Izmailovsky regiment. This decision caused dissatisfaction with many military leaders. No wonder - Gurko's length of service was less than that of most division commanders, including the head of the Guards Corps. However, the complexity of the situation forced the commander-in-chief of the Danube army not to reckon with the pride of senior commanders who have experience but do not differ in the necessary qualities. Entering into the command of the Guard, Gurko told the officers: “I must declare to the Lord that I passionately love military affairs. My share was such happiness and such honor, which I never dared to even dream of - to lead the Guard into battle. ” He told the soldiers: “Guardsmen, they take care of you more than the rest of the army ... and now it's time for you to prove that you are worthy of these concerns ... Show the world that the spirit of the troops of Rumyantsev and Suvorov lives in you. Shoot a clever bullet - rarely, but accurately, and when you have to do it with bayonets, then punch the enemy. He does not tolerate our “cheers”.

The first blow to the enemy was struck at Gorny Dybnyak on October 12. This bloody battle took a prominent place in the annals of military art, because here Gurko used new ways to move the rifle chain before the attack - creeping and rushing. In a different way, Joseph Vladimirovich approached the attack of Telish fortifications. Seeing the futility of the assault, he ordered a powerful artillery preparation. The fire of the Russian batteries demoralized the enemy and on October 16, the five-thousandth garrison ceased resistance. And October 20 capitulated without a fight Dolny Dybnik. Despite the success of the operation, which ensured the complete blockade of Pleven, its price was enormous. Russian losses amounted to more than four thousand people. And although Alexander II, who was under Plevna at that time, awarded the general with a gold sword, studded with diamonds, and with the inscription “For Bravery”, Gurko himself was very upset about the losses suffered by the guard.

The supply of ammunition and provisions for the besieged city ceased, and the fortress’s fate was sealed. Gyaurko-Pasha, as the Turks called Joseph Vladimirovich, proposed a new plan to the command - to immediately go to the Balkans, force the mountains, break only the formed Mehmet-Ali army, and then unlock Shipkinskaya troops holding Suleiman-Pasha. Most members of the military council called the plan of Joseph Vladimirovich insane. In response, the general, not at all prone to pathos, uttered: "I will keep a report on my actions before history and the fatherland. " The disagreements went so far that, bypassing the immediate superiors, Gurko, who had the nickname “Thistle” in the headquarters, sent a memo to the emperor outlining the measures he proposed. It ended with the following words: “Ambitious plans are far from me, however, it doesn’t matter to me what the offspring will say about me, and therefore I inform you that you must immediately attack. If Your Majesty does not agree with me, I ask you to appoint to my position another superior who is better prepared to fulfill the passive plan proposed by the Stake. ”

As a result, it was decided that the Gurko detachment, having received reinforcements, would cross the Balkan Mountains and move along their southern slope to Sofia. In late October - early November 1977, the cavalry of Gurko occupied the city of Vratsa, Etropole and Orhaniye (now Botevgrad). By the way, a twenty-five-thousand-strong group was concentrated near the Bulgarian city of Orkhania, preparing to unblock the troops of Osman-Pasha. Gurko’s pre-emptive strike shook the enemy, the group commander was killed on the battlefield, and the Turkish troops, suffering heavy losses, retreated to Sofia. Like a year ago, the forward detachment of Gurko was enthusiastically received by the local population. The young Bulgarians asked for Russian troops, helped cavalrymen in reconnaissance, drank horses at the camps, chopped firewood and worked as translators.

General Joseph Gurko in the Balkans. P.O. Kovalevsky, 1891

Having achieved a number of successes, Joseph Vladimirovich was preparing to speak for the Balkans, but the commander-in-chief of the Danube army, being careful, kept his troops near Orhaniye before the fall of Pleven. Gurko's people waited for this event for more than a month with poor provision and in the conditions of the coming cold weather. Finally, in mid-December, the detachment reinforced by the third guards division and the ninth corps (about seventy thousand people with 318 guns) moved through the Balkans. They were met by snowstorms and terrible cold, snow-covered paths and icy descents-ascents - it seemed that nature itself was on the side of the enemy. A contemporary wrote: “To overcome all difficulties and not to retreat from the goal, we needed an invincible faith in our troops and ourselves, an iron, Suvorov will.” During the transition, Joseph Vladimirovich set an example of personal endurance, energy and vigor, sharing all the difficulties of the march along with the rank and file, personally commanding the ascent and descent of artillery, encouraging the soldiers, sleeping under the open sky, content with simple food. When, at one pass, Gurko was told that it was impossible to lift artillery even on his hands, the general replied: "Then we drag in with our teeth!" It is also known that when the grumbling began among the officers, Gurko, gathering all the guards' command, said ominously: “By the will of the sovereign, I am set over you. I demand unquestioning obedience from you and will force everyone to perform exactly and not criticize my orders. I ask everyone to remember this. If it’s hard for big people, I’ll take them to the reserve and go ahead with the little ones. ”

Most foreign military leaders seriously believed that military operations in the Balkans could not be conducted in the winter. Joseph Vladimirovich broke this stereotype. Overcoming himself and the struggle with the forces of nature lasted eight days and ended with the victory of the Russian spirit, also prejudging the outcome of the whole war. The detachment, being in the Sofia Valley, moved westward and after the fierce 19 battle of December, captured the Turks from the Turks. And on December 23 Gurko freed Sophia. In the order on the occasion of the liberation of the city, the warlord reported: "Years will pass, and our descendants, visiting these harsh places, will say with pride - the Russian army passed here, resurrecting the glory of the Rumyantsev and Suvorov miracle heroes!".

Following Joseph Vladimirovich, other detachments of our army made the transition through the Balkan Mountains. In early January, 1878, in a three-day battle near Philippopol Gurko, defeated Suleiman Pasha’s troops and liberated the city. This was followed by the occupation of Adrianople, which opened the way to Constantinople, and, finally, in February, the western suburb of Constantinople, San Stefano, was captured. In this place a peace treaty was signed, putting an end to the Turkish yoke in Bulgaria. Soon a new state appeared on all the maps of Europe, and in honor of General Gurko in Bulgaria three localities were named - two villages and one city. During this campaign in January 1879, Joseph Vladimirovich was awarded the Order of St. George of the second degree.

After the end of the war, the commander, who became very famous both at home and in Europe, took a vacation for a while. He preferred to rest in Sakharov with his family, which, it must be said, was rather numerous with him. At various times, six sons were born in the Gurko family, three of whom — Aleksey, Evgeny, and Nikolai — died or died while their parents were still alive. By the time of Joseph Vladimirovich's death, his three sons remained - Dmitry, Vladimir and Vasily. After the revolution, they all went into exile.

5 April 1879 after the sensational assassination attempt on Alexander II Gurko was appointed temporary military governor-general of St. Petersburg. His main task was to fight the terrorist actions of the populists. Uncompromisingly and rather rigidly, he put things in order in the capital. Evidence of this was a series of mandatory rules governing the circulation of explosives and firearms. Also, at the initiative of Joseph Vladimirovich, all the capital’s street sweepers were mobilized to serve in the police.

From the beginning of the 1882 of the year to July, 1883 Gurko served as interim governor-general of Odessa and commander of the local military district. His main occupation was the training and preparation of the garrison troops. In this post, Joseph Vladimirovich took part in the trial of Nikolai Zhelvakov and Stepan Khalturin, who killed Vasily Strelnikov, a military prosecutor and an active fighter against the revolutionary underground. Performing a direct order of Alexander III, he executed them.

Soon Gurko was moved to the post of governor-general, as well as commander of the Warsaw Military District. His goal was to restore order in the Highlands and the training of parts of the garrison. Reports from agents of neighboring countries intercepted and delivered to Gurko testified to the unfavorable situation in the international arena. The commander himself was convinced of the growing threat from Germany and Austria and, using his vast experience, conducted intensive training of troops. Iosif Vladimirovich paid much attention to the fortification defense of the district, strengthening the fortifications of Novogeorgievsk, Ivangorod, Warsaw, Brest-Litovsk, creating a line of new fortified points, covering the area with a network of strategic highways and establishing a close and lively connection between the fortresses and troops. The artillery of the district received a new vast range, and the cavalry, the object of Gurko’s special attention, was constantly in motion, carrying out tasks for speed, actions among the masses, reconnaissance, etc.

Gathering, exercises, live firing and maneuvers succeeded each other and were carried out both in summer and in winter. In the order for the district troops, Iosif Vladimirovich spoke out against the commanding persons concerned “from the formal side, not putting hearts to it, putting personal comforts above the assigned duties of leading the training and education of people”. Military experts noted non-standard methods of Gurko, and the tradition established in his training of troops remained until the beginning of the First World War. In addition, Joseph Vladimirovich pursued a policy in the Warsaw Military District to uphold the national interests of the Russian people. Fulfilling the will of Alexander III, he remained true to his personal views, adhering to non-violent principles in resolving conflict situations.

For many years the service has undermined the health of a combat general. 6 December 1894, sixty-six-year-old Joseph Vladimirovich, was dismissed on a personal request. For services rendered to the Fatherland and the throne, the emperor produced Gurko in the field marshal general. It is worth noting that Joseph Vladimirovich came from an ancient family, the owner of the highest awards of the empire, the son of a general from infantry, who achieved field marshal's title, surprisingly, he was not elevated to either princely or count's dignity. The main reason for this, obviously, was the straightness of his judgments. Ignoring the individual, in any situation “straight, like a bayonet,” Gurko boldly expressed his opinion. This character trait has repeatedly led to his conflicts with the Russian emperors.

Monument to Field Marshal Gurko

On the day of the coronation of Nicholas II in the spring of 1896, Gurko became a knight of the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, and was also appointed chief of the fourteenth rifle battalion, part of the fourth rifle brigade, which in 1877, under the command of Joseph Vladimirovich, was nicknamed “iron”. The last years of his life Gurko spent in the estate Sakharovo, located near Tver. The commander was seriously ill, his legs refused, and he could not move on his own. Nevertheless, he supervised the work on the improvement of the park - the alleys constituting the monogram of IVG were laid out of larch, birch and relict fir trees. The field marshal died of a heart attack on the night of 14 on 15 in January of 1901 at the seventy-third year of his life and was buried in a family crypt.

According to the materials of the book Mikhailov "Heroes of Shipka" and the site

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  1. navigator
    navigator 12 September 2014 12: 18
    He became famous for participating in a fraud fraud for the gods with Lidval
    1. rumel
      rumel 30 March 2020 12: 32
      It was not I. Gurko (who did not even delve into the economy of his estates and who died 5 years before the crisis of 1906) that was involved in the case of the supply of bread, but his son Vladimir. The very situation with public procurement (kickbacks, etc.) is typical of Russia, especially today. Alas ... And I. Gurko is a heroic commander!
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 12 September 2014 12: 21
    Surprisingly, it was not elevated either to princely or to count dignity..I didn’t hang out on tsar's parquet floors ...
  3. Vadim2013
    Vadim2013 12 September 2014 13: 58
    Thank you for the article. It is necessary to remember and know such generals who faithfully served the fatherland without guile.
  4. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg 12 September 2014 15: 50
    When he liberated Bulgaria in 1877-1878, the Bulgarians called their babies by the name of Gurko, in some places this name is still found today, although very rarely. The name of Yosif Vladimirovich is the village of Gurkovo in southern Bulgaria.
  5. Tsar Simeon
    Tsar Simeon 13 September 2014 00: 32
    Combat General, glorified Russian weapons in the war of 1877-78, for the liberation of Bulgaria.
  6. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 14 September 2014 13: 40