The myth of the “Knights of Freedom”
190 years ago, 14 (26) December 1825, in St. Petersburg there was an uprising of the Decembrists. After the attempt to solve the case in peace failed, Nicholas I suppressed the insurgents' speech. Later, the efforts of Western liberals, social democrats, and then Soviet historiography created the myth of "knights without fear and reproach," who decided to destroy the "royal tyranny" and build a society based on the principles of freedom, equality and fraternity. In modern Russia, it is also pleasant to speak of the Decembrists from a positive point of view. They say that the best part of the Russian society, the nobility, challenged the “dark autocracy”, but was defeated.
However, in reality, things were different. The accession to the throne of Nicholas I was overshadowed by the attempt of the secret Masonic society of the so-called "Decembrists" to seize power over Russia. The Decembrists, hiding behind the slogans that were completely humane and understandable to the majority, objectively worked for the then “world community” (the West) and were primarily subordinate to the Masonic lodges of France. In fact, they were the forerunners of the Februarylists of the 1917 model who destroyed the Russian empire. They planned to complete the physical destruction of the dynasty of the Russian monarchs of the Romanovs, their families, and even to distant relatives.
True, in 1825, the "fifth column" in Russia was still insignificant and was a miserable handful of conspirators, Westerners, who worshiped the whole of Europe, underage, corrupted by the ideas of French philosophers and Western "freedom." Therefore, the “first revolution” in Russia, whose roots went to the West, was quickly suppressed.
Unfortunately, during the mutiny, one of the villains, Kakhovsky, killed the hero of World War 1812, the brilliant Russian commander, the governor of St. Petersburg, General M. A. Miloradovich. It should be noted that Russia in almost all periods stories favorably differed in terms of true philanthropy and mercy from Western countries. Only five of the rebels were hanged, the emperor graciously bestowed life on the rest.
About the origins of the movement
It is believed that the basis of the movement of the Decembrists was the ideology of education. Representatives of the Russian nobility, having been in Europe, including during the foreign campaign 1813-1814, imbued with the spirit of the French revolution, decided to throw off the "royal tyranny" and establish a more enlightened system in the Russian Empire.
Actually, there were no objective reasons for the revolt of the noble officers. Russia was on the rise of its military and political power, was considered the "gendarme of Europe." The Russian army was the most powerful force on the planet and recently defeated one of the best commanders in the history of mankind - Napoleon Bonaparte, triumphantly entered Paris. In the empire, against the background of the passionate rise after the victory over Napoleon's empire, the rise of Russian culture began - a surge of creativity in painting, architecture, literature, poetry and science. This was the beginning of the “golden age” of Russian culture.
"Golden noble youth" decided to act in the interests of serfs and workers? Outwardly, the Decembrists' convictions really were based on noble motives; they dreamed of eliminating “various injustices and oppressions” and bringing the estates closer together to increase social welfare in Russia. Examples of the dominance of foreigners in the highest administration (just remember the environment of Tsar Alexander), extortion, violation of the legal proceedings, inhuman treatment of soldiers and sailors in the army and on navy, the trade of serfs was worried about the lofty minds of young nobles who were inspired by the patriotic upsurge of 1812-1814.
However, the “great truths” of freedom, equality and fraternity, necessary for the good of Russia, were associated in their minds only with republican institutions and European social forms, which they were in theory mechanically transferred onto Russian soil. That is, the Decembrists sought to "transplant France to Russia." As later, Westerners of the beginning of the 20th century will dream of remaking Russia into Republican France or the constitutional English monarchy. The abstraction and frivolity of such transferring lay in the fact that it was carried out without an understanding of the historical past and national traditions, centuries-old spiritual values, and the psychological and everyday structure of Russian civilization. Noble youth, brought up on the ideals of Western culture, was infinitely far from the people.
Historical experience shows that in the Russian Empire, Soviet Russia and the Russian Federation, all Western borrowing in the sphere of social and political structure, spiritual and intellectual sphere, even the most useful ones, as a result, are distorted on Russian soil, leading to degradation and destruction. As Tyutchev quite rightly noted: “You can't understand Russia with your mind, you can't measure it with the common Arshin: It becomes special for her ...”.
The Decembrists, like the later Westerners, did not understand this. They thought that if the advanced experience of the Western powers in Russia was transplanted, the people were given “freedom”, then the country would take off and prosper. As a result, the Decembrists' sincere hopes for a forced change in the existing system, for the legal order, as a panacea for all ills, eventually led to confusion and the destruction of the empire. And the Decembrists objectively, by default, worked in the interests of the masters of the West. Any weakening of Russia, unrest in the territory of Russian civilization was in the interests of the West.
Thus, as far back as 1821, the Guards General Benkendorf openly presented the Tsar with a note entitled “On secret societies in Russia”. “In 1814, when Russian troops entered Paris,” wrote the general of the imperial suite, “many officers were admitted to the Freemasons and made connections with supporters of various secret societies. The consequence of this was that they were fed up with the disastrous spirit of the parties, got used to chatting with what they did not understand, and from blind imitation got the passion to start such secret societies in their ... ” Benkendorf informed Alexander that the members of illegal societies and organizations planned to smuggle portable printing houses from abroad, with the help of which they printed "libel" and caricatures of the reigning house, the existing system of state power and administration. Spreading campaign materials on "fluttering markets" and in other places of mass gathering of people, members of secret organizations intended to cause people to be dissatisfied with the autocracy and, eventually, to overthrow it.
The future gendarme no. 1 also warned the king that the “germ of the restless spirit” had penetrated deep into the army, especially the guard. The general was, unfortunately, right. Exactly four years later, this "restless spirit", wandering among a certain part of the privileged military, led to a bloody tragedy that took place on Senate Square. Unfortunately, Alexander did not dare to crush the infection in the bud, although he had all the information about the conspirators. Moreover, he left this problem to Nicholas.
Destruction of Russian statehood
When studying the program documents of the Decembrists, it can be found that there was no unity in their ranks, their secret societies were more like discussion clubs of refined intellectuals who passionately discussed pressing political issues. In this regard, they are similar to the Westernizers-liberals of the sample of the late XIX - early XX centuries. and the Februarynists of 1917, as well as the modern Russian liberals, who cannot find a common point of view on almost any important issue. The wishes of the nobles-conspirators were often the opposite.
The head of the Southern Society of the Decembrists, Colonel and Freemason Pavel Pestel wrote one of the program documents - “Russian Truth”. Pestel expressed the interests of the most radical part of the conspirators and proposed to establish a republic in Russia. In his understanding, Russia should have been a united and indivisible state. But he proposed to divide it into 10 areas consisting of 5 provinces-provinces; I wanted to move the capital to Nizhny Novgorod; transfer the highest legislative power to the unicameral Popular Assembly, consisting of 500 members; to transfer the executive power to the State Duma as part of the 5 man, who was elected for 5 years in the National Assembly; the supreme control authority was transferred to the Supreme Council from 120 people, its members were elected for life; Regional authorities were supposed to be transferred to regional, district, district and volost local assemblies, and local governments were to be exercised by local governments.
Pestel planned to abolish serfdom, transferring to the peasants half of the arable land fund, the other half was supposed to be left in the ownership of the landowners, which was to contribute to the bourgeois development of the country. Landowners had to lease land to farmers - "capitalists of the agricultural class", which should have led to the organization in the country of large commodity farms with a broad attraction of hired labor. “Russkaya Pravda” abolished not only the estates, but also the national borders - all the tribes and ethnic groups living in Russia planned to unite into a single Russian people. Thus, Pestel planned, by the example of America, to create a kind of "melting pot" in Russia.
To speed up this process, de facto national segregation was proposed with the division of the Russian population into groups: 1) the Slavic tribe, the indigenous Russian people (all Slavs were part of it); 2) tribes affiliated to Russia; 3) foreigners (nationals and non-nationals). Pestel proposed tough measures against a number of ethnic groups. Thus, the peoples of Central Asia were supposed to be transformed into the Aral Cossacks. Gypsy forced to accept Orthodoxy or evicted from Russia. Caucasian tribes split into small groups and resettle in the country. Jews had to change their attitude towards Russia and accept some kind of agreement or were subject to concentration in the ghetto, followed by eviction to Asia.
Thus, the Pestel program guaranteedly led to the collapse of statehood, chaos, conflict between classes and different peoples. For example, the mechanism of the great redistribution of land was not described in detail, which led to a conflict between the multimillion-dollar mass of peasants and the landowners-landowners of that time. In the conditions of a radical breakdown of the state structure, the transfer of the capital, it is obvious that such a "restructuring" led to a civil war and a new confusion.
Similar threats carried the draft program document of the Northern Society of the Decembrists - “The Constitution” by Nikita Muravyov. He proposed to establish a constitutional monarchy, with the possibility of introducing a republic, if the imperial family does not adopt a constitution. In the area of the state structure, Muravyov proposed to divide the Russian state into the 13 powers and the 2 regions, creating a federation of them. The conspirator proposed to create the Bothnian (Finnish) power with the capital in Helsingfors (Helsinki), the Volkhov — Petersburg, the Baltic — Riga, the Western — Vilna, the Dnieper — Smolensk, the Black Sea — Kiev, the Ukrainian — Kharkov, the Caucasus — Tiflis, the Zavolzhskaya — Yaroslavl, Kama — Kazan, Nizovaya - Saratov, Tobolsk - Tobolsk, Lenskaya - Irkutsk; The Moscow region with its capital in Moscow and the Don region is Cherkassk. Powers received the right of separation (self-determination). The capital of the federation, as well as in the Pestel program, was proposed to be moved to Nizhny Novgorod.
It is obvious that the decentralization of the Russian empire, envisaged by the Decembrists, led to a great confusion and a sharp weakening of the geopolitical, military-strategic positions of the empire in the world. It is not by chance that the conspirators entered into clear lines of death sentences not only the “intent on the regicide”, but also the intent on the “rejection of regions from the Empire”.
Thus, we see that the plans of the Decembrists are very clearly correlated with the plans of the separatists of the early 20th century or the 1990-2000. As well as the plans of Western politicians and ideologues who dream of dismembering Great Russia into a number of weak and "free" states.
Muravyov proposed to establish a bicameral "People's Chamber" ("The Supreme Duma" - the upper chamber and the "House of Representatives of the People" - the lower chamber), where the deputies were elected for 6 years on the basis of a large property qualification. This naturally led to the creation in the country of a regime of power by the rich — large landowners and representatives of the bourgeoisie. Muravyov was a supporter of the preservation of land holdings of landowners. The liberated peasants received only 2 tithing of land, that is, only a personal plot. This site, at the then low level of agrotechnologies, could not feed a large peasant family. The peasants were forced to bow to the landowners, the landowners, who had all the land, meadows and forests, turned into dependent farm laborers, as in Latin America.
Another program document of the Decembrists is the manifesto of Prince Sergei Trubetskoy. Prince Trubetskoy before the uprising was chosen as a dictator. It was this document that was to be signed by the surrendered emperor or Russian senators. This manifesto was created on the eve of the uprising, without lengthy preliminary preparation and comprehensive discussion. He would determine the fate of Russia in the coming years if the rebellion succeeded, before the Constituent Assembly was convened. The manifesto eliminated the "former government" and replaced it with a temporary one, until the Constituent Assembly elections. That is, the Decembrists created the Provisional Government.
Among the priority measures: the elimination of censorship, serfdom, recruitment and military settlements, freedom of religion, equality of all before the law, publicity of the courts and the introduction of a jury court, reducing the period of military service for the rank and file to 15 years. It was proposed to abolish all taxes and duties, to destroy the state’s monopoly on salt, on the sale of wine, etc.
Thus, the proposals of the Decembrists again led to the destruction of statehood. The state was deprived of a significant part of the proceeds to the treasury, and became partially incapable. The Decembrists offered to declare the right of every citizen "to do what he wants." And this is the simultaneous introduction of regional, district, county and parish local assemblies and boards. It is clear that in those conditions it would lead to anarchy. What would millions of peasants who have received "freedom" without land and the right to "do what he wants" to do? And with the simultaneous collapse of the sacred, time-honored royal power and the weakening of the army, the decentralization of the country. A similar example, we know from the history of 1917. Then, almost all the counties after the fall of the royal power and the expansion of the army were swept by agrarian unrest and the peasant war, in fact, began even before the war of whites and reds. That is, the actions of the Decembrists led to confusion and civil war, to the collapse of the powerful Russian Empire.
Three attempts to end the affair ended in blood
December 26 1825 gathered thousands of rebels on Senatskaya Square in St. Petersburg. Loyal to the government troops were drawn there, but Nikolai did not want blood. The hero of the Patriotic War 3 of the year and the Foreign campaign of 1812-1813, the governor-general of St. Petersburg Mikhail Andreevich Miloradovich was sent to the rebels. He was loved by the soldiers, he won universal respect for his courage, fearlessness. Miloradovich was a general of the Suvorov school - he participated with the great commander in the Italian, Swiss campaigns, distinguished himself in the campaigns of Kutuzov. He participated in dozens of battles and was not injured, although he did not bow to the bullets. The French nicknamed him "Russian Bayard". On this tragic day he is wounded twice, one wound will be fatal: Obolensky will hit him with a bayonet, and Kakhovsky will shoot him in the back, mortally wounding the hero of the empire. When the doctors take out a bullet that pierces his lungs, he will ask her to see it and, seeing that it is a pistol, he will be very happy to cry out: “Oh, thank God! This bullet is not a soldier! Now I am completely happy! ”
However, even after this tragedy, the murder of the hero of Russia, the emperor tries again to do without blood. He is directing another negotiator. However, the king’s next truce, a French aristocrat who faithfully served Russia, Colonel Stürler, was shot dead by Kakhovsky. The third herald of the world - Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, brother of the emperor, was also nearly killed by the Decembrists. Parliamentarians rescued the sailors of the Guards crew, who took weapon, outraged by the assassination attempt of an unarmed peace envoy.
After that, the emperor had no choice. The story included the words of Adjutant General Count Toll: "Your Majesty, order us to clear the square with a canister or abdicate the throne." Nikolai ordered to roll out the guns and open fire. The first volley was given over the people, so that the rebels would have a chance to obey. But the rebels began to prepare for the bayonet attack, the second volley dispels the Decembrists. Mutiny is suppressed.
The head of the Russian Empire, Nikolai, who was recorded in history as Palkin, showed mercy and philanthropy. In any European country for such a rebellion, many hundreds or thousands of people would be executed in the most cruel way so that others would not be discouraged. Would reveal all the underground, many have lost their posts. In Russia, everything was different: from 579 people arrested in the case of the Decembrists, almost 300 were acquitted. Only the leaders (and not all) were executed and the murderer - Pestel, Muravyev-Apostol, Ryleev, Bestuzhev-Ryumin, Kakhovsky. 88 people were sent to penal servitude, 18 to settle, 15 demoted to the soldiers. Corporal punishment was applied to the insurgent soldiers, they were sent to the Caucasus. The "dictator" of the rebels, Prince Trubetskoy, did not appear at all on Senate Square, was frightened, and stayed at the Austrian ambassador, where he was tied up. At first he denied everything, then he confessed and asked for forgiveness from the sovereign. And Nicholas I forgave him, the “tyrants” humane in our country, however, ruled.
It is clear that if Nicholas showed weakness and such people seized power, the French Revolution and its consequences could become “flowers”. As in France, there would immediately be a split into moderates and radicals (Jacobins). The struggle began within the movement of the Decembrists, which exacerbated the general unrest in the country. The Decembrists wanted to seize power, having a real "mess" of the most diverse ideas in their heads. There was simply no clear and coordinated follow-up program. In this regard, the conspiracy nobles were very much like the Februarylists in 1917 and modern liberals.
Unfortunately, in 1917, the situation was different, and the Februarylists seized power. The result was very sad: a bloody civil war, chaos and blood, a ruined economy, a lost war, the loss of vast territories, millions of dead and fleeing the country, crippled destinies of tens of millions of people. Only a new project - the Soviet one - saved the Russian civilization and statehood.
Nikita Muravyov and his associates planned to establish a limited monarchy in Russia. Another conspirator leader, Pavel Pestel, stood firmly behind the republic. And he spoke not only for the destruction of the institution of autocracy itself, but also for the total extermination of the entire imperial family. For the transition period they planned to establish a dictatorship. Pestel believed that at that time “merciless severity” was necessary against all troublemakers. This led to confusion, internal opposition. It is necessary to take into account the fact that any distemper in Russia led to external intervention.
The uprising of the Decembrists is the first major attempt at "perestroika" of Russia in the Western way, which led to unrest, civil war and intervention by external forces, dreaming of dismembering Russian civilization into parts and "devour" them, and not the revolt of the "knights of freedom" who dream of the ideal device of Russia.
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