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To a question of the course and the main stages of a revolt in Chechnya in 1877

 © 2007 of A.I. Ismailov


From all performances of the mountaineers passing in 60 - the 70th of the 19th century in the Northeast Caucasus, the revolt of 1877

was the largest and large-scale

The grandness of a performance, its influence on the international situation and in particular on political position of the region drew attention of all generations of historians. The pre-revolutionary historiography denied the national, liberating nature of a revolt. Influence of the Ottoman Empire, hostile eagerness to fight of representatives of clergy, fanaticism and love of freedom of mountaineers were considered as its main reasons. In works of that period there are no judgments of authors of any social and economic causes of a revolt [1, 2].

From the Soviet scientists of this problem in the works A.A. Takho-Godi, A.I. Ivanov, the local researcher T.T. Malsagova who characterized a revolt of mountaineers of 1877 as national liberation and progressive [3-5] concerned. The subject continues to draw attention and current researchers-caucasiologists as many aspects still need in-depth study and lighting.

In our work the attempt becomes, relying generally on archive materials, to study the course and the main stages of a revolt of mountaineers in 1877

The signal to a revolt was given in the mountains of Chechnya (Ichkeria) the very next day after declaration of war by Russia of Turkey. On the night of April 13, 1877 about 60 people from different settlements of the 2nd site of the Vedeno district gathered in forest thickets near the aul of Sayasan and took the oath "to break off any intercourses with the existing power" and "to declare itself independent" [2, page 15]. At the head of the movement there was a 27-year-old Chechen Ali-bek-Hagi Aldanov proclaimed the imam [6, l. 2-3].

In the very first days benoyevets, zandakovets and residents of other auls joined risen. By April 21 the revolt covered 47 auls of Ichkeria with the population in 18 thousand persons. Events and in Chaberloye [6, l were at the same time developed. 4, 7].

The situation for development of people's movement developed quite favorable. Regiments and battalions of royal troops were not completed; arrivals of the first parties of substitute soldiers expected only by April 25. The headquarters and one and all Cossack villages on the Assa and Sunzha Rivers, even located in the major strategic points as, for example, Umakhan-Yurtovskaya covering a crossing in the lower current of the Sunzha River remained absolutely unprotected.

At the correct organization risen could deprive first of all of communication Petrovsk and Temir-

Hang-Shura, Hasav-Yurt, Grozny and Vladikavkaz to block driving through post roads and to interrupt the message between the administrative centers, and then, having gone down on the plane, to interrupt railway traffic. Heads of a revolt, though understood benefits of the situation, but did not consider all details of a situation, did not develop a clear base for action, and, above all, did not manage to take in the hands crossings and communication what royal command so was afraid of.

On April 20 Alibeka-Hagi's groups went down on the river Aksay, winning round new auls and going to Gerzel-Aulu with the purpose to lift the population of the Kumyk plane. But on the night of April 21 they changed the direction and passed with the river Aksay from the aul of Ishkhoy to the river Gums down it to a current to the aul of Mayurtup. From there they intended to go down in the most populous points of Big Chechnya which population was ready to adjoin the movement and to occupy auls of the Shawl and Avtura [6, l. 7, 23].

On April 22 near Mayurtup there was a meeting risen with royal groups: umakhan-yurtovsky under the command of the colonel Milov and ersenoyevsky under the command of the colonel Nurid. Only superiority of arms and existence of artillery saved royal parts from defeat. Insurgents several times rushed to the attack, but were beaten off by gun and gun fire. The colonel Nurid took positions at the aul of Kurchaloy, and then - Germenchuk [6, l. 12-14]. Alibek-Hagi instead of immediately moving on the plane, went on April 26 to Umakhan-Yurtu, returned to Mayurtup from there and only on April 28 approached the Shawl. This delay was one of the largest mistakes made by the head of the movement which "made extremely strong moral impression on participating in it (a revolt. - A.I.) mountaineers, reduced his speed a little and cooled sympathy which was fed for it by residents of Big Chechnya" [2, page 18].

Meanwhile and royal troops were not in the best situation. "Scattered on enormous space between the Sunzha Rivers, Argun and Sulak to the Andi ridge, were chained to the strengthenings, without risking to move away from them, on the small number, on more or less considerable distance" [2, page 18].

Nevertheless royal command managed to bring from Vladikavkaz to Chechnya the Tamansky infantry regiment and under its convoy one thousand ranks of a stock. At the same time to Grozny all spare parts from neighboring villages were pulled together. Royal strengthenings were hastily put in order, garrisons amplified, equipments were stocked and the strengthened propaganda in favor of a royal pravitelst-was carried on

va among a top of the Chechen population. The tsarism knew on whom to stake for achievement of the purposes and in the calculations was not mistaken. So-called "influential natives and honourable persons" - foremen, mullahs, dealers and large landowners - took the fluctuating position in a start of motion. They sent deputations to the chief of area and gave the addresses addressed to Russian "padishah" with assurances of the faithful feelings. However openly they hesitated to resist to the movement, being not sure of tsarism forces. "Show force, and we yours", - were repeatedly said by them to royal command [1, page 12, 16]. By the end of April the tsar's authorities managed to concentrate significant forces on the plane and to cut a way risen.

For example, royal command was obliged by a victory under Shawls not to a change in mood of masses, and to open transition to the party of a tsarism of the shalinsky top which made sure of force of royal troops. In resolute days on April 27 and 28 the foreman of the Shalinsky aul of Borshchik Hambulatov brought together all mullahs, hajjs, ulama and others "honourable persons" of the aul and convinced them that for them it is more favorable to remain faithful to the tsarist government and not to let in the aul of the risen mountaineers.

Treachery of a shalinsky top was estimated by the Tsar's administration. In the telegram the chief of area told the commander-in-chief after the victory under Shawls: "Chechnya triumphs the rescue" [7, l. 17]. Borshchik "was granted a rank of the militia officer and lifelong pension is granted (about 400 rubles a year); besides, he was enlisted by the order of the chief of area in militia on an officer vakantion that added to it still up to 600 rubles in a year of contents" [1, page 24].

The second stage of the movement which proceeded until the end of July began with the middle of May, 1877. It was characterized by a new ratio of the fighting forces and new methods of fight.

By the specified moment the royal command managed to concentrate large military forces in Chechnya. In total at the beginning of May in the Tersky region 28 infantry battalions and teams in number of 24409 people, 16 Cossack hundreds as a part of 2261 people, 11 hundred of constant local militia and 104 tools were brought together. For military operations against risen the command allocated 84 companies and 8.5 Cossack one hundred at 32 tools [8, page 21-22]. Besides, now royal command could count on active support from the Chechen top which showed already during the first period of a revolt readiness to become on protection of interests of autocracy.

Preparation for approach was conducted within ten days. For the organization of groups from local militia and "a vrazumleniye of rebellious madmen" "honourable persons" of Chechnya headed by the general Artsu-Chermoyev were directed forward. Groups

militias were formed of princes, foremen and the "most honourable" people of auls [8, page 48].

May 10 began general offensive of royal troops at Ichkeria with three parties: from Grozny the column under the command of the top military commander of the Tersky region the general Svista went - it is new, from Hasav-Yurta the group headed by the colonel Batyanov and from Dagestan - a part under control of the colonel Nakashidze moved.

But while royal troops were going to pull together an iron ring around the risen auls of Ichkeria, the commander of the Kabardian regiment colonel Batyanov received news (on May 14) that (Dagestan) auls of Almak, Dylym, Kostala and Miatli rose [8, page 62-63]. He immediately reported about it to the chief of area: "Salataviya (the auls of Burtu-nay, Almak, Dyly) in a full revolt, I take measures, but do not count on my help in Ichkeria" [1, page 210].

Royal command had to change the action plan and to use the main forces against Sa-lataviya. The suppression of a revolt continuing all second half of May was carried out with extreme cruelty. The auls of Almak, Dylym and Burtunay with their farms were destroyed [7, l. 34 about.]. It is universal all inhabitants (to 3000 souls) were subject to eviction to the northern or average provinces of Russia. Especially hotly the chief of the Dagestan area prince Melikov insisted on it. For protection of such quantity moved big military force was required. After some fluctuations the local command decided to move 200 people from the most active participants of a revolt who were sent escorted by to depth of Russia [6, l. 33-34].

From this point cruel measures in relation to the risen mountaineers all amplify. Burning of auls, expulsion of the population, destruction of crops - here the main methods of fight which royal command applies with the ruthless sequence [6, l. 33-34].

Despite cruel repressions of royal command, the revolt does not calm down, and on the contrary, continues to develop, accepting the nature of truly people's liberation movement.

On June 3, 1877 the colonel Nurid informed the top military commander that the population of Chechnya broke into two parties: "One - wishing tranquility, another - demanding a revolt. The last party in the Shawl persistently demands connection with it of the first, reproaching for last treason by assistance to Russians" [8, page 13].

On June 6 the colonel Lokhvitsky reported from Shatoi: "Vigilantly watching moods of the population, I came to that conclusion that the revolt in the near future has to repeat, but in much bigger sizes, than was in May" [9, l. 238]. Under the influence of such messages the royal command decided to resume attempt to surround and capture leaders of a revolt by means of places -

ache militias. It was declared formation of groups of militia from hunters of Hasav-Yurtovsky, Vedeno, Argun and Grozny districts for the purpose of capture or extermination of Alibeka-Hagi and members of his groups. To hunters-militiamen about 10 rubles a month and, besides, fodder for horses were appointed. "The militia undertook to destroy not only the abreks who sat down at the forest, but also all auls". At the same time it was promised that "they will receive for each person caught or killed thus on 25 rubles remunerations. For the main abreks - Alibeka-Hagi, Sultan-Murada and Dadu Zalmayeva - for the first several thousands of rubles, and for the second and third - on some hundreds. In case of bringing of these abreks live the reward will be still increased" [8, page 65-66]. However, as it was noted in the official report of the top military commander of July 5, 1877 (No. 751), hunters were a little [6, l. 71 about.].

The general Svistunov had to confess that "capture or Alibek's extermination by inhabitants" - the impracticable idea as, he explained in the same official report, "it is necessary to recognize for the positive fact that one and all Chechen population if he not directly sympathizes and wishes success to Alibek then he sees in it unfortunate which should suffer for the sacred business of religion undertaken by it and to which therefore though secretly, each devout is obliged to help. At such provision of business it is necessary us by force of our troops and to constrain administrations only the mass of the population from obvious participation in business of a revolt. The mood of the population in general becomes very intense; it is harder and harder to constrain it" [6, l. 74-75]


at the beginning of July, 1877 in Chechnya spread rumors that Svaneti is in the secret intercourses with Abkhazians and Turks and that Turkey intends to set into the North Caucasus groups of mountain immigrants with the purpose to excite the general rebellion of the mountain people against Russia [6, l. 76-79].

At this turning point there was an open transition to the party of a tsarism not only all Chechen top, but also local Muslim clergy to which fanaticism official historiographers of a tsarism so often referred. "Honourable people Mekhketov (village of Makhkety. - And. I), - the chief of the Vedeno district colonel Avalov wrote the general Svistunov on July 4, - were to me with assurances that inhabitants will finish rebelled" [8, page 90].

One of royal historians who well studied the movement colourfully tells about a treacherous role of clergy: "Mullahs, hajjs and ulama many times gathered at the prince Eristov, were also to the chief of area. Conversations were conducted only because of the Quran which, thanks to dexterous dialectics of qadis, as well as possible served our purposes". "Yes the one who to the detriment of the neighbors raises a hand against strong will be damned",

- proclaimed, being guided by the Quran, spiritual authorities on edge, and soon across all Chechnya from height of mosques the powerful, hot sermon on this word of the prophet rang out. "The padishah of Russia is strong, our governor delivered to them is strong, and yes the madman daring to raise a hand against him will be damned", - ulama on skhodbishcha repeated [1, page 25]. "Alibeka party, - the colonel Avalov wrote on July 7, - burned the house of the Hatuninsky foreman and his relatives" [8, page 94]. On July 16 the colonel Lokhvitsky reported from the Argun district that Alibek arrested all foremen of Chaberloyevsky society [8, page 127]. Documentary material about a revolt is transferred by many facts of beating and murder of aulny foremen. In turn the royal command relying on large military forces and active support of all local nobility and clergy became on the way of ruthless terror.

Here several excerpts from orders of the top military commander gen. Svistunov which rather eloquently testify to the suppressions methods of mountaineers:

1. "Now there is one, - it is said in the letter to the colonel Avalov of July 3 (No. No. 106), - to work with force of weapon and not against the disappearing party, and against aulny societies" [8, page 89].
2. In the letter of July 9 (No. No. 125) besides the colonel Avalov it is offered the auls of Makhkety, Tau-zen and Hatuni which residents went to forests, "to ruin in the end, i.e. to take away from the people all means" [8, page 96].
3. In the letter of August 20 (No. No. 236) the chief of the Argun district was offered to declare to all settlements that "in a case not only acceptances of rebels by any aul, but the slightest in it a disorder or disobedience to the authorities, you will send to Grozny of amanat of such aul, and I will shoot them" [8, page 140]. At orders to the major general Smekalov, the main suppressor of the movement, the requirement steadily repeats: "For God's sake, only you do not depart back, and move ahead though gradually forward, ruthlessly destroying before themselves everything and all... Our forces all will arrive; only without regret you mow everything, beat and hang up ruthlessly" [8, page 194-195].

At the beginning of July residents of bassovsky auls (Bass River) rose. From all directions data on the expanding movement which in connection with the general retreat of troops on the Caucasian-Turkish front threatened to cover Ichkeria, Aukh, Big and Small Chechnya, Ingushetia and Kabarda [6, l began to arrive. 90].

On July 12 against bassovsky auls considerable groups of troops were set. But inhabitants with families and all personal estate disappeared in forests. The retaliatory expedition destroyed auls, and crops etched and trod. To Argun, considerable parts of local troops and troops of the Dagestan area under the command of the prince Nakashidze were thrown. "Suppression" of Argun occupied all second half of July and was carried out from a usual zhesto-

bone. The prince Nakashidze informed on the actions: "I do not warrant, but it seems to me that I created such panic on inhabitants that they will not try to repeat the disorders made by them" [8, page 171].

Other leader of royal retaliatory groups, the colonel Lokhvitsky, wrote on July 17: "Punishment to Chaberloyevsky society I think to make the following: 1) from all site, excepting Sharoyev-sky societies to collect a penalty now, believing on the yard on 5 rubles; 2) to itself Alibeka-Hagi and in rendering the help to it to arrest all main responsible in the invitation; 3) to arrest family and property of those persons which will not be with guilty; 4) to ruin to foundation of the settlement of Nizheloy, Rigakhoy and Nuy-Hui and 5) all site to oblige to make in the shortest time a wide glade from the Bo-soyevsky mountain to the river Sharo-Argun on space too 6 versts now" [9, l. 328-329].

Auls and crops of the Chaberloyevsky site were entirely destroyed; the same fate comprehended many auls of Shatoyevsky and Evdokimovsky sites. Inhabitants disappeared in forests.

Despite all cruelty of retaliatory expeditions, the movement accrued with an indefatigable force. The main blow was preparing in Ichkeria. Preparation was conducted here by the tsentoroyevsky inhabitant Suleiman and the brother Alibeka-Haji Alimkhan.

On August 10 Alibek-Hagi with the group appeared in Tsentoroy, and from there moved in Bena. The revolt quickly covered all Dargwa site. In the telegram of August 14 (No. 218) the general Svistunov told the colonel Milov: "Situation the most serious. All Ichkeria in a full revolt" [10]. In the commander-in-chief rate it wrote in the telegram of August 16: "Ichkerintsa... rose it is almost universal, find unprecedented impudence long ago appeared under the strengthening of Vedeno" [11]. Military operations against risen opened on August 14. This day the royal troops occupied the aul of Dyshny-Veden located at walls of the fortress and Gamerduk's heights dominating over Vedeno and Alibeka-Hagi occupied with groups, Sultan-Murada and Suleiman. According to the statement of the general Smekalov, mountaineers showed them persistent resistance. In the aul the risen mountaineers used each saklya, each cover and heroically defended positions, despite terrible gun-fire.

The nature of the retaliatory expedition undertaken by it is confirmed by orders of the general Svistunov. "Keep in mind, - he on August 18, - wrote the general Smekalov that our purpose has to be in sending from all auls of unreliable people and to banish them forever with families to Russia; capture of amanat has to make only a transitional measure. In general to gather much them it is constraining. Bena and Zandak it is necessary it is universal to move to Siberia, or if these rascals do not wish, to vymorit all in the winter as cockroaches and to destroy hunger. Zandakovsky amanat, a cat -

ry I ask to send all to the remote provinces, send here as soon as it is possible, they will need to appoint a reliable convoy. Thus their message not with connected, and literally with the hands twisted behind a back so that the palm of left had and it was tied strong to the shoulder right and vice versa. On the road not to untie under any pretext and in case of the slightest resistance of one immediately to kill all. Has to add: very much would wish that this last and happened" [12].

Destruction of auls and bread caused that "all Ichkeria with families and property moved to forests". "Thereof, - the general Smekalov wrote the chief of area, - any requirements turned directly to inhabitants become difficult: to speak and order there is nobody and there is nobody" [8, page 200]. Thus, could oppose to the regular royal army in 25 thousand people supported by a local top, which rose only weak separate groups in hundreds of people deprived of arms and food base.

September and October, 1877 were the last stage of rough handling of a tsarism with mountain Chechnya which lifted a banner of fight for national independence [4, page 291]. To the middle of October the revolt in Chechnya was finally suppressed. On October 16 the general Svistunov told the telegram to the commander-in-chief that the area is absolutely cleared of rebels and military operations stopped.

Thus, superiority of royal troops, separation of performances of mountaineers and dispersion of their forces, mistakes in the management of a revolt, demoralization owing to frequent failures led to defeat of mountaineers. As a result of a revolt hundreds of Chechens died, leaders of mountaineers were executed, thousands of fighters for freedom are banished to Siberia together with families, in souls of mountaineers the feeling of hopelessness and injustice dominated, they suffered significant material losses.


1. A.S. Ocherk of a revolt of mountaineers of the Tersky region in 1877. SPb., 1896.
2. P.I. Kowalewski. A revolt in Chechnya and Dagestan in 1877 - 1878. SPb., 1912.
3. A. Takho-Godi. To the fiftieth anniversary of a revolt of Chechnya and Dagestan in 1877//the New East. 1926. No. 12.
4. A.I. Ivanov. A revolt in Chechnya and Dagestan in 1877//Historical notes of Academy of Sciences of the USSR. M, 1941. Issue 10.
5. T.T. Malsagova Vosstaniye mountaineers in Chechnya in 1877. Grozny, 1968.
6. CGA RSO, t. Marching headquarters of troops of the Tersky region. 1877 - 1878, 18, l. 2-3.
7. In the same place, 4, Part 1, l. 17.
8. Materials for the description of the Russo-Turkish war 10. CGA RSO, t. Marching headquarters..., 3, Part 2, l. 3. 1877 - 1878 on theater Caucasian and Of Asia Minor 11. In the same place, 4, Part 2, l. 4.

with plans. Tiflis, 1910. T. 6. Part 1. Page 21-22. 12. In the same place, 7, Part 2, l. 19.

9. CGA RSO, t. Marching headquarters., 4, Part 1, l. 34 about.

Chechen state university On October 25, 2006

Thomas Hines
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