Ethiopia is a potential ally
Interest in Ethiopia in the Russian Empire intensified in the second half of the XIX century, which was associated with the transformation of Russia into a major world power and the desire to take part in world politics, enlisting connections with new allies, including on the African continent. Naturally, the ideological justification of Russia's political interests in Ethiopia was the religious community of the two states. On the other hand, Ethiopia, which at some time became one of two African countries that were not subjected to colonization (the second, Liberia, where African American repatriates from the United States and the West Indies were allowed to create their own sovereign republic), needed a strong ally from among European powers that could help her strengthen the army and preserve political sovereignty. Moreover, in 1880 - 1890 - s, under the leadership of Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia not only defended its own political independence, but also strengthened as a centralized state, carried out expansion in the nearest regions to establish hegemony over the more backward feudal possessions and tribes.
As noted by the Russian historian K.V. Vinogradov, “Ethiopia also sought to ensure the inviolability of its borders and, fearing external threats mainly from England and Italy, tried by all means available to it to enlist the support of the Russian Empire, which had no direct state colonial interests in Africa and acted as a political opponent of these states "(Cited by: Vinogradov KV Problems of military-political and cultural-religious interaction of Ethiopia and Russia in the new time. Abstract of thesis. ... Candidate of History. Sciences. Krasnodar, 2002).
It should be noted here that the Ethiopian emperors (neguses) tried to contact Russia as early as the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries, but then their attempts were unsuccessful. The situation began to change as Russia strengthened its position in world politics, including in the East. When is Russian diplomacy supported by the army and fleet, began to triumph over the Ottoman Empire, seeking to improve the situation of the Slavic peoples of the Balkans and, at the same time, all peoples professing Eastern Christianity, increased interest in Ethiopia. Church circles insisted especially actively on the development of cooperation with Ethiopia. Indeed, in Ethiopia there lived a large number of followers of Eastern Christianity, who were considered religiously close believers (although they were not Orthodox, but followed the Miaphysitic rite). Orthodox hierarchs hoped to bring the Ethiopian church, like other East Christian churches, under the control of the Russian Orthodox Church, which also required a stronger presence of the Russian Empire in East Africa.
Ashinov and his "New Moscow"
Late XIX - early XX centuries. - The time of development of Russian-Ethiopian relations. They were initiated by several Russian missions to Ethiopia, or, as it was then called Abyssinia, but individual historical personalities made a much greater contribution to the development of bilateral relations. A native of the Terek region, Nikolai Ivanovich Ashinov (1856-1902) was rather an adventurous man than a jealous public interest. However, it turned out that he was one of the initiators of the Russian penetration into Ethiopia.
Ashinov, who lived in Tsaritsyno, appeared in St. Petersburg and actively exaggerated the theme of the need for an East African, and specifically, the Ethiopian expansion of the Russian Empire. By the way, both English and French military and diplomatic circles paid attention to Ashinov as a specialist in the "Eastern Question". Thus, the French invited Ashinov to Algeria, hoping that he would be able to create a Cossack detachment and bring him to North Africa for the French service. The British, in their turn, offered Ashinov to conduct anti-Russian agitation among the tribes of Afghanistan for a certain reward. However, Ashinov, though he was an adventurer, but not without a patriotic component. Therefore, he did not accept the offers of foreign agents and continued to convince the Russian authorities of the need for the Ethiopian expedition. In 1883 and 1885 He twice visited Ethiopia, after which he began to propagate at the royal court the idea of creating a Cossack settlement on the Red Sea coast. Thanks largely to Ashinov’s mediation in 1888, the Ethiopian delegation arrived at the celebration of the 900 anniversary of the Baptism of Russia.
In the same year 1888, the Ashins, together with Archimandrite Paisiy, began preparations for an expedition to Ethiopia. According to Ashinov’s plan, a detachment from 150 of the Terek Cossacks and 50-60 of Orthodox monks and priests was to arrive in East Africa under the cover of the “spiritual mission”. His task was to form on the territory of Ethiopia a Cossack army subordinate to the Ethiopian Negus, but at the same time maintaining autonomy and being an instrument of Russian influence in the region. The Cossack colony was to receive the name "New Moscow".
On a private steamer 10 December 1888, the expedition left Odessa. Initially, the Cossacks and priests behaved discreetly and preferred not to leave the cabins so that no one would know about the plans of the expedition. However, as we approached the Red Sea coast, the situation changed. 20 December 1888 expedition arrived in Egyptian Port Said, and 6 January 1889 arrived in Tajur. When the ship entered the waters of the Red Sea, controlled by Italy, the Italian colonial authorities sent him a canon boat. However, the fact that the Italian officers and sailors saw a ship moving towards the ship on the deck brought them into complete delight. They understood that the Russian ship was not a serious military and political threat - a banquet table was set on the deck, singers performed, and a lezginka danced with daggers.
The detachment stopped at the abandoned Turkish fortress Sagallo, which was located on the territory inhabited by Somali tribes. Today it is the state of Djibouti, and in that historical period this territory was under the influence of France. This explains the appearance of three French ships with a military detachment at Sagallo - literally three weeks after the fort chose the Ashins with their people. The French demanded that Ashinov immediately surrender and remove the Russian flag. Ashinov refused to remove the flag, after which the French troops began to shoot at the fortress. Five people died, and the Ashinov himself was seriously wounded in his leg. The French command arrested all Russian subjects and deported them to the territory of the Russian Empire. However, hundreds of Cossacks and Highlanders still managed to leave and then get to Russia on their own, through the mediation of the Russian consul in Egypt.
Not pleased with the similar activities of Ashinov and Emperor Alexander III, who did not want deterioration in relations with European states. The Russian government announced that the expedition of Ashinov and Paisia was of a private nature and the official Russian authorities have nothing to do with it. Therefore, Ashinov was exiled for three years under police supervision in the Saratov Governorate, and Archimandrite Paisiy was sent to the Georgian monastery. Thus ended the first attempt at Russian penetration into Ethiopia and the creation on its territory of a Russian colony.
Mission of lieutenant Mashkov
However, the unsuccessful expedition of Ashinov and her negative perception by the tsarist government did not mean that the Russian Empire abandoned its plans to establish allied relations with Ethiopia. Almost simultaneously with the adventurous campaign of Ashinov, the official Russian envoy, Lieutenant Viktor Fedorovich Mashkov (1867-1932), went to Ethiopia. Also a Cossack by descent, a native of Kuban, Mashkov graduated from the Pavlovsk Military School and served in the 15 Kuban Infantry Regiment. He was long and thoroughly interested in Ethiopia, respectively, and was an ardent supporter of the development of Russian-Ethiopian political, economic and cultural ties.
Back in 1887, Second Lieutenant Mashkov sent a letter to the Minister of War, P.S. Vannovsky, in which he insisted on the need to develop Russian-Ethiopian ties and equipment for the expedition to Ethiopia. The Minister of War handed over a second lieutenant’s letter to N.K. Girsu. However, the latter’s response was evasive in nature — the government was afraid to send a second expedition to Ethiopia, since it was during this period that Nikolai Ashinov made a similar offer. Nevertheless, in 1888, being already a lieutenant, Mashkov got an audience with the Minister of War and managed to convince him of the need for his trip to Ethiopia. The Minister of War, in turn, reported on Mashkov's idea to the emperor. Welcome was received. However, the government, as in the case of the expedition of Ashinov, did not want to give Mashkov’s official status. Therefore, the lieutenant was temporarily dismissed from military service, and went to Ethiopia as a correspondent for the newspaper Novoye Vremya. But the money for the expedition, in the amount of two thousand rubles, the state still allocated to him. Mashkov's companion was Montenegrin Sweet Zlatichan.
Arriving in February 1889 in the port of Obock, Mashkov hired a conductor and guards and set off in a caravan towards Ethiopia. However, he was not allowed to go further than Harar - a special permission from the Ethiopian emperor was required to visit inland Ethiopia. Mashkov, who had run out of money by that time, had to seek help from the local Greek diaspora. For three months the envoy stayed at the Shoah, after which he was accepted by the new Negus Menelik II, who had just ascended the throne. At the court, Menelik Mashkov stayed for a month, during which time he managed to win over the sympathies of the Ethiopian Negus and eventually the monarch handed him a letter and gift. weapon for the Russian emperor. Reaching Russia, Mashkov was honored with the reception of Alexander III himself, to whom he personally delivered the message and gifts to Menelik II.
Here we should briefly dwell on the personality of the new Ethiopian emperor. Menelik II (1844-1913) before ascending the imperial throne bore the name of Sahle Mariam. By birth, he belonged to the Solomon dynasty, which had ruled for many centuries in the country, erecting its kind to the biblical king Solomon. But Sahle Mariam’s father was not the Negus, but the ruler of Shoah, Haile Melekot. In 1855, Haile Melekot died and Sahla Mariam inherited the throne of Shoah. But during the war with the Ethiopian emperor Theodros II Sahle Mariam was captured and imprisoned in the mountain castle of Magdal. In 1864, Theodros II gave his own daughter Atlash as a nobleman. But in 1865, the imperial son-in-law fled to the Shoah. In 1889, as a result of the internecine struggle, Sahla Mariam came to power in all of Ethiopia. This was facilitated by the death of the reigning Emperor Yohannis V in a battle with the followers of the Sudanese Mahdi. 9 March 1889 Sahla Mariam was crowned under the name Menelik II.
From the very beginning of his reign, Menelik II began to pursue a balanced policy aimed at preserving the political independence of Ethiopia and the development of its economy. First of all, Menelik sought to improve the Ethiopian army, as well as expand the territory of the country and strengthen central authority over numerous provinces, which in addition were inhabited by diverse ethnic groups practicing various religions. Menelik II was friendly to the Russian Empire, counting on its support in the confrontation with the British and Italian colonizers. It was during his reign that the rapid development of Russian-Ethiopian military-political and cultural ties occurred.
Since Ethiopia interested the Russian emperor, and the Negus letter was required to respond, Mashkov was to make a second expedition to East Africa. This time, Mashkova was accompanied by an old satellite, Sladko Zlatichan, and relatives — the bride Emma and brother Alexander. In Ethiopia, the Russian representatives expected the most cordial welcome. Almost every day Mashkova was taken by Negus Menelik. The emperor of Ethiopia sought to convince the Russian envoy of the need to send Russian military instructors to the country - knowing full well the danger of the situation in the environment of the colonial powers, Menelik wanted to maximize and modernize the army. For this, he needed the help of the Russian Empire, which the Ethiopians hoped for as an Orthodox state, besides, it had no colonies in Africa and was deprived of overt colonial appetites. During his stay in Ethiopia, Mashkov not only dealt with political issues with the emperor and Ethiopian officials, but also traveled around the country, visiting its sights and studying the life of the local population, nature, history and culture of the ancient land.
In March 1892, the Mashkov expedition departed for Russia. The Russian envoy carried with him the answer of Negus Menelik, in which he assured the Russian emperor that he was not going to accept the Italian protectorate under any circumstances (Italy, having seized part of the Red Sea coast, had long wanted to “take over” Ethiopian territory). In St. Petersburg, Mashkov was again received by Emperor Alexander III, and then heir to the throne, Nicholas II. However, the military ministry was still skeptical about Mashkov’s activities. In the end, the lieutenant had to resign. However, he was accepted into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sent to Baghdad as part of the Russian consulate. Then Viktor Mashkov worked as a consul of Russia in Skopje, after the revolution he remained in exile in Yugoslavia, where he died in 1932.
War with Italy and "Count Abay"
Mashkov’s mission came just in time for the deterioration of relations between Ethiopia and Italy. Recall that back in 1889, Negus signed the Uchchal Treaty with Italy, by which Ethiopia recognized Italian sovereignty in Eritrea. However, Italy demanded more - the establishment of a protectorate over all of Ethiopia. Menelik flatly refused to accept the conditions of the Italian side, at the same time embarking on modernizing the country's economy and, most importantly, strengthening and improving its armed forces. In 1893, he announced the dissolution of the Uchchalsky Treaty with 1894. The war with Italy became inevitable. The situation was aggravated by the fact that Italy was supported by Great Britain, which did not want to spread French or, especially, Russian influence to Ethiopia. At the same time, France was selling weapons to Negus, and the Russian Empire officially supported Ethiopia in the confrontation with Italy.
In March, a Russian expedition led by Nikolai Leontyev (1895-1862) arrived in Ethiopia on 1910. A graduate of the Nikolaev Cavalry School, Nikolai Stepanovich Leontyev came from a family of nobles in the Kherson province. After receiving military education, he served in the Life Guard Ulansky regiment. In 1891, he went into reserve with the rank of lieutenant and was assigned by the captain to the 1-umansky regiment of the Kuban Cossack army. The purpose of the expedition equipped by Leontiev was to establish diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Russia and to offer military organizational assistance to the Negus. The expedition consisted of a 11 man, and Captain K.S. Zvyagin Visiting the courtyard of Menelik II, Nikolai Leontiev brought a Negus reply message to St. Petersburg.
When the First Italo-Abyssinian war of 1895-1896 began, Esaul Leontyev again went to Ethiopia - this time at the head of Russian officers and medical workers - volunteers. It was, perhaps, the first in the history of the detachment of Russian soldiers-internationalists in distant African land, who took part in the anti-colonial struggle of the local population against the expansion of European powers. Leontyev and his associates became reliable military advisers and instructors of the Ethiopian army. Negus Menelik II on all major military issues consulted with Nikolai Leontyev and other Russian officers. Nikolai Leontyev carried out many special assignments of Negus Menelik II, in particular, he traveled to Rome 1896 in August, then went to St. Petersburg and Constantinople.
It was Nikolai Leontyev who convinced Menelik of the need to use tactics tested by the Russians during the war with Napoleon 1812. Luring the enemy deep into the territory, especially considering the difficult Ethiopian climate for Europeans and completely unfamiliar terrain, was supposed to help weaken the enemy army and its gradual "exhausting". The guerrilla war on its territory ideally responded to the specifics of the Ethiopian army, especially if we take into account the lack of weapons and modern training on the one hand, and excellent fighting qualities for melee combat and guerrilla operations on the other. Having exhausted the enemy, he should have delivered a decisive blow.
However, the help of the Russian Empire was not limited only to sending military advisers. In November, 1895 was carried out a clandestine operation to supply a large shipment of weapons to Ethiopia. The Russian ship was carrying the 30 thousand guns for the Ethiopian army, 5 million rounds of ammunition, artillery shells and 5 thousand sabers. Nikolai Leontyev was directly involved in the creation of the armed forces of Ethiopia. After the Italian-Abyssinian war, which ended on October 26 with the defeat of Italy, Italy’s recognition of Ethiopia’s independence and the payment of a contribution to Addis Ababa, Leontyev set about creating new types of units in the Ethiopian army. In February 1896, he formed the first battalion, the service in which was organized according to the classical standards of the Russian army. The basis of the battalion was a company of Senegalese shooters under the command of Russian and French officers hired by them in Saint-Louis.
In addition to participating in the creation of the Ethiopian army, Leontiev played an important role in the development of East Africa. In particular, he led one of the expeditions to Lake Rudolph. In addition to 2000 Ethiopian infantry and cavalry soldiers, this campaign involved Russian officers and Cossacks. Having lost 216 people killed, the detachment went to the shore of Lake Rudolph. Lieutenant Masterpiece, who was wounded in this campaign, raised the Ethiopian flag over the lake. The trust of Negus Menelik II to Nikolai Leontiev was so great that in Ethiopia the title of earl was specially introduced, which previously did not exist in the country, and was awarded to Leontyev, here referred to as the “Count Abai”. In the summer of 1897, the city of Menelik II appointed the “Count of Abai” the Governor-General of the equatorial provinces of Ethiopia, conferring on him the highest military rank of “dejazmegi”. Thus, the Russian officer not only contributed to the establishment of bilateral relations between Russia and Ethiopia, but also made an enormous contribution to the modernization of the Ethiopian armed forces, making a great military and political career at the court of Negus Menelik II. Later, with the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war, Leontyev returned from Ethiopia to Russia and took an active part in the hostilities, commanded the intelligence of one of the regiments of the Kuban Cossack army. He died from the consequences of injuries received during the war five years later - in 1910, in Paris.
Bulatovich, Artamonov and even Gumilyov ...
Besides the historical period that the activities of Nikolai Leontyev at the court of the Ethiopian Negus Menelik II, is staying in Ethiopia and another famous Russian traveler Alexander Bulatovich. It was this man who made the famous camel ride on the Djibouti-Harar route, and then became the first European traveler to cross Kaffa, a difficult and dangerous Ethiopian province. A native of Orla, Alexander Ksaveryevich Bulatovich (1870-1919) was a hereditary nobleman, the son of Major-General Xavier Bulatovich. After graduating from the Lyceum, he served as a titular adviser in the office, which was in charge of educational and charitable institutions, but this activity was not an adventurous young man's liking and 28 in May 1891, he enrolled as a volunteer in the Gusar Life Guards. After a year, 16 August 1892, he received the title of cornet.
In 1896, Mr. Bulatovich, like some other Russian officers, set about trying to help the people of Ethiopia fighting with the Italian colonialists. He joined the Russian Red Cross Mission in Ethiopia and quickly became one of the trusted assistants of Negus Menelik II. It was in this capacity that he covered the distance between Djibouti and Harr on camels in three days. Together with two postal carriers, Bulatovich followed a desert desert area. On the way back Bulatovich was attacked by nomads from the Somali Danakil tribe, who took away all things and mules. However, this time Bulatovich was lucky - he was discovered by a detachment of Nikolai Leontyev. As a military adviser, Bulatovich helped Menelik in conquering the warlike tribes that lived in southern Ethiopia. For valiant service Bulatovich was awarded the highest award of Ethiopia - the golden shield and saber. Bulatovich subsequently published memoirs about his stay in Ethiopia, which is one of the most valuable sources on the history and ethnography of Ethiopia at the end of the 19th century (Bulatovich A. With the troops of Menelik II. Diary of a hike from Ethiopia to Lake Rudolph. SPb., 1900. Reprinted in the book. "With the troops of Menelik II. M., 1971).
After returning from Ethiopia, Bulatovich continued military service for some time, participating in the rank of lieutenant in suppressing the Iheituan uprising in China. In 1902, he was promoted to the rank of captain, commanded a squadron of the Life Guards Hussar Regiment, but in 1903, he retired from military service and took monastic vows under the name of Hieromonk Anthony. In this capacity, Bulatovich re-visited Ethiopia, attempting to create there a monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church. During the First World War, Hieromonk Anthony served as an army priest, for which he was awarded a pectoral (priestly) cross on the St. George ribbon. Killed in 1919 year, during the Civil War, trying to protect a woman from the attack of bandits.
Thus, at the end of 1890's. The Russian Empire establishes official allied relations with Ethiopia. The official Russian mission is stationed in Addis Ababa. In 1897, Colonel Leonid Artamonov was appointed head of her convoy, another very interesting figure in Russian-Ethiopian relations at the turn of the century. Unlike most of the heroes of our article, Artamonov, on the contrary, was not an adventurer, but a conscientious soldier of the imperial army. Leonid Konstantinovich Artamonov (1859-1932) graduated from the Kiev Military Gymnasium, Konstantinovsky and Mikhailovsky Artillery Schools. He began to serve as lieutenants in the 20 Artillery Brigade in 1879. He participated in the Akhal-Tekinskaya expedition of 1880-1881, after which he studied at the Nikolaev Academy of Engineering and the Nikolaev Academy of the General Staff. The service of Artamonov took place, for the most part, in the south of the Russian empire - in Central Asia and Transcaucasia. He managed to visit reconnaissance missions in the Ottoman Empire (in 1888), Persia (in 1889 and 1891) and Afghanistan (1893).
In 1897, Leonid Artamonov, a 38-year-old colonel a year earlier, was appointed head of the convoy for the Russian mission in Addis Ababa. In parallel, his competence included the provision of military advisory assistance to Emperor Menelik II. The mission itself was headed by an experienced Russian diplomat, full state adviser Peter Mikhailovich Vlasov, who previously worked in Persia.
At this time, the interests of the European powers, first of all, Great Britain and France, clashed because of contradictions around the control over the areas of the headwaters of the White Nile. In July, 1898 occurred the famous incident in Fashod, when a detachment of 8 officers and 120 soldiers under the command of Major Marchand occupied the Fashod locality in the headwaters of the Nile. The British leadership responded with outraged statements and France was forced to retreat, not wanting a direct conflict with Great Britain. Marchand's detachment was withdrawn from Fashody back to the territory of the French Congo. In return, France received some territorial concessions in the Central African region. Claimed to control the territories in the upper reaches of the Nile and Ethiopia. In 1898, Leonid Artamonov as a military adviser to Menelik II became one of the leaders of the successful campaign of the Ethiopian army to the White Nile under the leadership of dudyazmacha Tasama.
Between the end of the 1880's. and until the beginning of the First World War, an impressive number of Russian citizens, including officers and Cossacks, who served as volunteers and military advisers to the Ethiopian army, clergymen, travelers, visited Ethiopia. In particular, the eminent Russian poet Nikolai Gumilev visited Abyssinia. In 1908, twenty-two-year-old Gumilyov, who had been fond of African subjects since childhood, made his first trip to Ethiopia. Little is known about him, but there is reliable information about the admission of Nikolai Gumilyov at the court of Menelik II. At least, Gumilyov himself left an essay “Did Menelik die”, dedicated to the Ethiopian emperor.
The second expedition of Nikolai Gumilev to East Africa, undertaken by him in the 1913 year, was much more productive. Unlike the first trip, the poet coordinated his second journey with the Academy of Sciences. He planned to cross the Danakil desert, but the Academy of Sciences did not want to sponsor such an expensive and dangerous route and Nikolay Gumilyov changed plans. Arriving in Djibouti, he was on a train, and then, after his breakdown, on a rail car, he crossed the route to the city of Dire Daua, from where the caravan moved to Harar. In this Ethiopian city, Nikolai Gumilyov had a personal acquaintance with the Tafari race, who was then governor of the province of Harar. Subsequently, the races of Tafari will become the emperor of Ethiopia under the name Haile Selassie I, and will enter world mass culture as an object of worship for the Rastafarians, followers of the religious-political subculture that appeared in 1920-1930-s in Jamaica and subsequently covered not only African-American and Afro-Cririans. but also the "white" world. After visiting Harer, Gumilyov embarked on a journey through the territory of residence of the Gaul people who professed Islam. 1 September 1913 g. Gumilyov returned to Russia. African wanderings made a great impression on him and became one of the sources of poetic inspiration.
Russian-Ethiopian relations were seriously violated by the Russian-Japanese, and then the First World War. The beginning of the Russian-Japanese war brought about the curtailment of Ethiopia’s military aid. Moreover, many Russian officers and Cossacks rushed from Ethiopia, serving at the court of Menelik II and providing serious assistance to the Negus in the modernization of the Ethiopian army. The professional soldiers, who were pulled into Ethiopia by the spirit of adventurers, could not stand aside when their own homeland entered the war. The beginning of World War I had an even greater negative impact on Russian-Ethiopian ties, as was the revolution that followed World War I. Subsequently, already in the middle and second half of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union provided serious assistance to Ethiopia. But that's another story.