The Science Work
Site is for sale:
Category: History

Anti-patriotic sentiments of the Cossacks of the South of Russia during collectivization as expression of a social protest

UDK 947.084.62 (470.6)


© 2009 A.P. Skorik

Southern Russian state technical university (NPI), 346428, Novocherkassk, Prosveshcheniya St., 132, ngtu@novoch. ru

South-Russia State Technical University (Novocherkassk Polytechnical Institute), 346428, Novocherkassk, Prosvescheniya St., 132, ngtu@novoch. ru

On the basis of a wide complex of historical documents one of not enough lit phenomena in the history of the Russian Cossacks - growth of anti-patriotic sentiments in the Cossack environment which happened in the first half of the 1930th under the influence of the continuous forced collectivization and accompanying its "dispossession of kulaks" and repressions is analyzed. Author's judgment that distribution of such moods in the conditions of collectivization demonstrated only crisis of the Cossack mentality, but not its destruction is proved.

On the basis of a broad range of historical documents one of the least covered phenomena in the history of Russian Cossacks, i.e. the growth of antipatriotic attitudes in the Cossack environment in the first half of1930ies under the influence of total collectivization and repressions accompanying it, is analyzed. The author states that the spread of such attitudes in conditions of collectivization gave evidence of the crisis of the Cossack mentality, not its destruction.

The continuous forced collectivization, contrary to official assurances of the authorities about its support "from below from the million mass of peasants" [1], from the very beginning led to global social opposition of the Stalin mode and most of residents of the Soviet village. Large-scale application of the state violence in relation to all dissidents and opponents of "collective-farm construction" (obvious and imaginary), unreasonably high procuring plans, closing of churches, universal distribution of "excesses" which during collectivization were not an exception, but the rule at all prohibition caused to admit "fists" to collective farms rapid strengthening of country protest activity. If in 1929 the bodies of OGPU recorded in the Soviet village about 12.8 thousand various protest actions, then in 1930 - already about 32 thousand [2]. In the south of Russia implementation of the forced collectivization along with the peasantry was actively and strictly opposed by Cossacks of Don, Kuban and Terek.

However the country and Cossack protest against collectivization was initially weakened by social-class stratification of country people and nearby the purposeful preventive measures which are carried out by Bolsheviks (arrest and elimination of irreconcilable opponents of the Soviet power, disarmament of the village, especially Cossack villages, etc.). The gender balance of dissatisfied mass of the village when isolated a considerable part of socially active men was as a result strongly undermined. Therefore the protest capacity of the village was not used fully, and the breaking-out country-Cossack performances and revolts were suppressed with the Soviet power as soon as possible. And the rigidity shown by the power at suppression

these revolts and the readiness which is repeatedly shown by the Stalin mode to apply repressions against all the opponents (both real, and potential, and imaginary) seriously weakened determination of villagers to oppose openly collectivization. Representatives of regional administration of the North Caucasian edge of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) in 1934 said about it with the disarming frankness: "Class enemy... perfectly understands that if he - separate units - openly acts now, then he perfectly knows that we banished the class enemies, we banish and we will banish in places of confinement as Nary, Siberia, etc., was shot, we shoot and we will shoot therefore he acts slowly" [3]. Considering these historic facts, S.A. Kislitsyn reasonably claims that, "despite the arisen confrontation of the population of the Cossack regions with the authorities which developed into terrorist performances, in general the mass revolt of the Cossacks against collectivization did not take place" though "bodies of OGPU expected such broad performance and prepared for it" [4].

Being afraid openly to oppose the Stalin mode, without trusting in a possibility of a victory over the powerful repressive and retaliatory device, many peasants and Cossacks nevertheless did not wish to reconcile with collective farms and lived with belief on future changes to the best. In these conditions in the Soviet village of the period of collectivization the hopes for foreign intervention finding expression in the numerous rumors circulating among country people widely extended.

Most of peasants and Cossacks dissatisfied with collectivization passively expected foreign military invasion, but the active opponents of the Stalin mode and collective-farm system who did not prove yet goto-

curled to resolute actions in case of the beginning of intervention. In 1930 the employees of OGPU noted that "in activity of a kulachestvo and counterrevolutionary elements in the village recently the insurgent line of fight against installation on a resolute performance by the time of the intervention expected by them" appears [5] more and more distinctly. And later these anti-patriotic expectations remained, and the specified trend distinctly is traced in historical sources up to the end of 1930 - the beginning of the 1940th that demonstrated maintaining social tension in the collective-farm village, though in much weakened (in comparison with the beginning of decade) a look. Therefore, it is possible to speak about the independent historical plot requiring research attention of professional historians.

In the Soviet historiography the problem of the positive relation of a considerable part of the Soviet peasantry and Cossacks to foreign intervention during "collective-farm construction" was practically not lit; even in special work of D.L. Golinkov about activity of an anti-Bolshevist underground it was only for a moment mentioned existence of such anti-patriotic sentiments [6]. During the Post-Soviet period when researchers got access to earlier closed materials (and an opportunity to cover before the tabooed topics), this problem received some reflection in collections of documents and a number of scientific works [7]. However it is necessary to recognize degree of scientific readiness of a subject within the southern Russian regional historiography as obviously insufficient that it increases its scientific-theoretical relevance and turns into a demanded object of research attention.

Judging by that surprising frequency of the available mentions in the complex of historical documents studied by us, the Soviet village of an era of collectivization in literal sense raved foreign intervention, expecting the fastest military invasion into own country (!) from outside Great Britain, Japan, China, Poland, Germany. And the choice in national consciousness of the concrete foreign power for a role of the probable interventionist, as a rule, was caused by with what state the USSR clashed at present. At the same time it is necessary to emphasize that in the Cossack villages of the South of Russia expectations and the hopes for the future foreign intervention were especially strong. The called inverse expektation of Cossacks thoroughly were fed present spiritually - moral communications with the abroad. Many stanichnik consisted related to Cossack emigrants and as it was noted in reports of OGPU, kept with them in "written contact" [8].

In 1929 in letters of the "Soviet" Cossacks sent to relatives emigrants abroad (most often to Czechoslovakia and Poland), calls for help appear: "Come to us and help us, and we will help you and we will expel the communist, and you -

we take the narodist"; "My God merciful, where our saviors? Go rather, any price, and that is farther neither you, nor we will already not be necessary..." [9, page 112, 114]. It is possible to present only hypothetically with what mental anguish Cossack emigrants who nothing really could help the relatives and stanichnik subjected to "a great change" in the native land read these letters.

Secondary emergence after civil war of steady inverse expektation in the Cossack environment is historically distinctly traced from the beginning of holding collectivization. Many peasants and Cossacks of the South of Russia then seriously trusted in a possibility of foreign intervention as since 1927 when the Soviet-English tension was fueled, mass media in the USSR began to force a war psychosis strongly. Military hysteria was useful and necessary for I.V. Stalin who could justify with the ghost of the future war, in particular, the drastic measures concerning the village. But as the back in this case universal distribution of rumors about the forthcoming invasion of interventionists acted, and these rumors were very undesirable to the Stalin mode. First, in most cases distributors of such rumors with conviction spoke about inevitable defeat of the USSR and desire of most of the Soviet citizens to help interventionists with overthrow of the Bolshevist mode. So, one of the Kuban Cossacks directly told in 1931 that "there was Russia invincible, and now if also China came or who yes nibud, bulls are glad, ABBA to knock over the power" [9, page 179]. Secondly, distribution of similar rumors in a certain measure interfered with speeding up of collectivization in the south of Russia as waiting for "invasion of capitalists" there are a lot of peasants and Cossacks did not hurry to join collective farms.

Opponents of collectivization quite often used this quite powerful argument, declining the doubting stanichnik to the social decision not to join ranks of the collective-farm peasantry. On the ideologized messages of the Soviet press, during implementation of collectivization of St. Poltava in Kuban (future "chernodosochny" village) "the counterrevolutionary kernel" acting through prosperous Cossacks purposely warned both stanichnik, and non-residents: "Do not go to collective farm, there contention and death, and our Cossacks will come, at all to you not to sdobrovat!" [10]. It seems, similar eloquent preventions, and even direct threats did not remain unaddressed people: the population trusted rumors more, than laconic and always optimistic (that already in itself raised doubts in sincerity) to official media. Moreover, often rumors formed public opinion, influenced prevailing mood of villagers of the USSR and including the South of Russia. As in a year of "a great change" tersky Cossacks expressively wrote, "we also do not know what is created in our Union. Among Cossacks and men only rumors go" [9, page 112].

In process of expansion of "collective-farm construction" the rumors about the forthcoming war fatal to communists, more and more amplified. One of the Don Cossacks told relatives abroad in 1931: "At us strongly say that Europe will go war on us soon, so many also do not want to work. They say, though God would give rather" [9, page 224].

Often the belief in fast intervention gave vital forces to active opponents of the Bolshevist mode and collective farms who sought to create the kept dark armed organizations aiming to strike a blow in the back of the Soviet power and subjects to facilitate performance of aggressive tasks of probable army of invasion (at the same time it is unimportant to what state it would belong). The history of the "secret organization" of A.S. Senin's Cossack captain which arose in Veshensky district - a prototype of a sholokhovsky Cossack captain of Polovtsev from "Virgin Soil Upturned" is indicative in this relation. When at the beginning of 1930 Senin selected supporters in the organization, the resident of the farm Gorbatovsky of the Khopyor district T.S. Bagrov told him that to Don from abroad "on airplanes" already there arrived the former ataman of the Veshensky district Alferov, the white officer Matasov and a certain pilot running with Wrangel in 1920 "for holding organizational actions and to assume the management of events". So Senin quite with conviction spoke to the adherents: "It is important to begin, and by this time the abroad will support us" [11].

If to trust certificates of quite informed plenipotentiary of OGPU in the North Caucasian edge E.G. Evdokimov, the Kuban Cossacks were distinguished by the same anti-patriotic, defeatist sentiments. So, he unambiguously claimed that hopes of members arisen in 1932. "The union of Kuban and Ukraine" "were based upon the assumptions of intervention possible shortly, were supported by those friction which arose between the Soviet Union and Japan in the Far East" [12].

Social hopes for foreign military intervention really gave to Cossacks - opponents of collectivization, new vital forces and psychological confidence in allegedly forthcoming victory over the Stalin mode and a collective-farm system. But it is obvious that hopes of this sort at the same time distinctly demonstrated the prevailing disbelief of Cossacks in own forces: most of them perfectly understood that without the active help of far, but desired "abroad" they will not be able to overcome Bolsheviks in any way. Therefore that flashing rage with which one of the Don Cossacks in 1931 wore in the letter of the relatives emigrants for sluggishness in intervention expansion is quite clear: "That you. (the curse follows. - an edition) and in 1931 you will do nothing?! Newspapers write about intervention, about the Pope - all on paper, and in practice there is nothing!" [9, page 196].

But also furious appeals, and desperate hopes anti-Soviet (more precisely, antibolshevistsk) adjusted

parts of the Cossacks of the South of Russia were vain: "abroad" did not wish to come to the rescue of the peasants and Cossacks opposing violent collectivization. It, however, did not prevent representatives of the Soviet and party management to say categorically that the western countries not only developed plans of the invasion into the USSR dated for collectivization but also took a number of concrete measures with the purpose to damage to "collective-farm construction". K. Radek in January, 1934, surveying recently taken place events, claimed: "The collectivization wave went for a wave of industrialization. The world bourgeoisie was deeply disturbed and, without hoping that the five-years period itself will go bankrupt, undertook setting of intervention. 1930-1931 passed in the atmosphere of enormous military danger. Is not subject to any doubt that when archives of the international diplomacy and the main thing - archives of the General Staffs are revealed, will become clear that we in 1930-1931 were in direct military danger" [13].

In full consent with the stated Radek's position the first secretary of Azovo-Chernomorsky regional committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) B.P. Sheboldayev also claimed in 1935: "It is incontestably proved that according to direct instructions of counter-revolutionaries from abroad, the village top - White Guards, atamans, fists - was included into collective farms with the purpose to spread out them from within, to prepare a revolt and to organize hunger" [14]. As we see, Sheboldayev very skillfully used tense the relation of the USSR and "the capitalist countries", trying to dump on the "counter-revolutionaries" who were and inside, and out of the Soviet Union, even fault for Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933

And the facts allow to claim that authorities in the south of Russia (as, however, and the government of the USSR) were not limited only to a talk about probable intervention, but took a number of the concrete preventive measures aiming to reduce the probability of internal armed rebellions in case of expansion of foreign invasion. It is represented to us that considerably deportation of the population of the "chernodosochny villages" inhabited generally by Cossacks is explained by fear of intervention (quite probable, even according to the authorities). The vast majority of them were Kuban (13 villages from 15 "chernodosochny" [15]), and Kuban caused special concern as the boundary region in authorities; Cossacks, naturally, were considered as "the fifth column" and the ready armed replenishment for foreign interventionists. Not accidentally the chairman of the North Caucasian krayispolkom V.F. Larin, speaking at the first regional congress of collective farmers-drummers in February, 1933, mentioned: "Kuban, truly, is closer to the sea that facilitates communication with foreign White Guards and the Kuban fists" [16].

Thus, in the period of the forced collectivization of hope of Cossacks of the South of Russia for foreign intervention (and return together with interventionists of Cossack emigrants) did not justify themselves. Stalin ofi-

tsialno declared the end of collectivization in the main grain regions of the country at the beginning of 1933, and the rumors circulating on the southern Russian villages and villages about allegedly preparing foreign military intervention and remained rumors.

But as in the first half of the 1930th the level of material security of collective farmers remained extremely low, and their legal status - restrained, the social discontent in already collectivized village did not fall down. Therefore a talk about approaching (and even already allegedly begun) war did not stop. So, in St. In the Ekaterina's spring of Azovo-Chernomorsky edge 1934 the group of 8 people led by the former podhorunzhy V.I. Bonda-renko which employees of OGPU accused of "distribution of rumors about fast war with Japan and inevitable death of Sovvlasti in the current year" and "introduction of insurgent moods" [17] was liquidated. And in other settlements of Azovo-Chernomorsky edge at the same time statements that "war on a nose, Cossacks with Japanese will come and will disperse all collective farms were recorded, will hang not only communists, will get also to collective farmers", "it is rather war, we to them (to communists. - Ampere-second.) we will remember, millions of arrested expect this moment" [18].

Even in the second half of 1930 - the beginning of the 1940th, despite the general organizational and economic strengthening of a collective-farm system and improvement of living conditions in the village, among a certain part of the Cossacks hopes for future war which will return former, dokolkhozny orders remained. Generally such hopes were expressed by Cossacks of advanced ages who could not reconcile up to the end to vital loss of both own economy, and the natural right independently in any way to manage on the earth (as one of tersky Cossacks in 1939 spoke, "it is necessary war because it is impossible to live, and us even more zakobolit that" [19]). In 1936, strangely enough, the campaign "for the Soviet Cossacks" was an incitement to a talk about the coming war. It was designed to strengthen finally the pro-Soviet moods in the mass of the Cossacks, to attract Cossacks on the party of the Soviet power. However it began so suddenly that at many Cossacks doubts in stability of foreign policy position of the Soviet Union were born and respectively hopes for foreign intervention revived. It is a lot of Cossacks of Don, Kuban and Stavropol Territory during discussion of a campaign "for the Soviet Cossacks" could not restrain and frankly expressed on the fact that they think of the Soviet power and for whom are going to battle in the coming war: "the .dolzhna to be war with foreigners. but kind of the war did not turn out in the USSR.", ".det approaches closer war. Now and to Cossacks all rights are granted, are afraid that they in case of war did not do something in the back. but we will beat all the same communists" [20].

Hopes for interventionists as liberators from a collective-farm system and the Stalin mode were expressed in the same time and by many Cossacks of the Upper Don districts, in the second half of the 1930th which were in

administrative submission of the Stalingrad region. Here it was already accurately told about the one whom exactly Cossacks see as interventionists liberators: "Rather fascists would finish Spain and undertook the USSR, would unyoke"; "At least rather Germany and Italy began war against the USSR and crushed it"; "There will be a war soon. We will organize here, in the back, revolts rather to overthrow the Soviet power" [21, page 191]. If to trust staff of bodies of state security, in some cases business was not limited to words. So, according to the statements of bodies of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the Stalingrad region, in 1937 they liquidated "the counterrevolutionary insurgent organization" as a part of 300 people which covered 16 Cossack districts of the area [21, page 191].

And in the Ordzhonikidzevsky region at the end of 19381939 the similar organization as a part of 41 people accused that they prepared "violent overthrow by the armed way of Owls authorities" [22] was liquidated. At all doubts in reality of these of "the counterrevolutionary insurgent organizations" (which were probably a fruit of imagination of the investigators seeking to toady to the administration and to quicker cook up accusatory affairs on ill-wishers of the Soviet power) obviously that a number of Cossacks was ready very resolutely and in case of war really would support interventionists.

By the end of the 1930th in view of extremely aggravated international situation of hope for future war among a part of the Cossacks who did not reconcile to a collective-farm system turned into almost strong confidence. So, at the beginning of 1940 the staff of Arzgirsky regional department of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the Ordzhonikidzevsky region reported that there is a number of persons which "express hopes of return of a capitalist system by means of intervention" [23]. It is indicative that in the fall of 1939 during the German-Polish war in St. Kar-ginsky Shelkovsky district of the same edge Cossacks, without being thawed any more, joyfully said: "Here ours will come, and then we will revenge" [24]. Really before return of "ours" there was not a lot of time. But they returned as a part of Hitlerite troops, and by the vast majority of Cossacks of the South of Russia were apprehended not as "liberators", and as helpers of the enemy any more.

Thus, it is possible to note that the forced collectivization which was followed by repressive anti-Cossack actions seriously deformed the strong feeling of patriotism peculiar to Cossacks as to members of social corporation of soldiers farmers, defenders of the fatherland. Many of them in the conditions of Stalin lawlessness and revelry of violence forcedly turned the looks on "abroad", expecting interventionists and Cossack emigrants as probable liberators from collective farms and the Bolshevist mode. However it is possible to speak only about significant deformation of the Cossack patriotism, but not about its total destruction. Most of Cossacks of the South of Russia remained faithful to the military traditions of protection of the Homeland. Improvement played the positive role in a certain measure here

lives in the village as a result of organizational and economic strengthening of a collective-farm system in the second half of the 1930th. Cossacks of Don, Kuban and Terek with all evidence proved the fidelity to traditions of protection of the Fatherland against overseas aggressors in days of the Great Patriotic War when the vast majority of the Cossack population of the South of Russia selflessly protected the country from Hitlerite aggression.


1. History of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks). Short course. M, 1950. Page 292.
2. An editorial parenthesis to the collection of documents//the Tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession of kulaks: dock. and materials: in 5 t. / V.P. Danilov [etc.]. M, 1999. T. 1. Page 8-9.
3. State archive of the contemporary history of Stavropol Krai (GANI SK). T. 1. Op. 1. 42. L. 68.
4. The Don Cossacks in the past and the present of a general edition of Yu.G. Volkov. Rostov N / D, 1998. Page 317.
5. Tragedy of the Soviet village. M, 2000. T. 2. Page 787.
6. D.L. Golinkov. The crash of an anti-Soviet underground in the USSR: in 2 princes the 2nd prod., ispr. and additional M., 1978. Prince 2. Page 266-267.
7. T.I. Slavko. The Kuban Cossacks in special exile in the Urals: forms of a national protest in the 1930th//the Kuban Cossacks: three centuries of a historical way: materials Mezhdunar. nauch. - prakt. konf. St. Poltava Krasnodar Krai, on September 23-27, 1996 Krasnodar, 1996. Page 229-231; Sh. Fitzpatrik Stalin peasants. The social history of the Soviet Russia in the 30th years: village. M, 2001. 421 pages; God burden. Tragedy of the Cossacks. Part I: How to teach a dog is mustard. 1924-1934/sost. V.S. Sido-

Came to edition

ditch. Rostov N / D, 1994; Krasnodar Krai in 19371941: dock. and materials / sost. A.M. Belyaev, I.Yu. Bondar, V.E. Tokarev. Krasnodar, 1997; Tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession of kulaks: dock. and materials: in 5 t. 1927-1939/sost. V.P. Danilov [etc.]. M, 1999-2006; The Soviet village eyes of Cheka - OGPU - People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs: dock. and materials / sost. L. Borisova [etc.]. 2001-2005.

8. Center of documentation of the contemporary history of the Rostov region (CDNI RO). T. 166. Op. 1. 22. L. 103.
9. God burden / sost. V.S. Sidorov. Rostov N / D, 1994.
10. Radin Sabotazh Ave in Poltava//Socialist agriculture. 1933. On Jan. 9
11. A.I. Kozlov. M.A. Sholokhov: Times and Creativity. On FSB archives. Rostov N / D, 2005. Page 259.
12. GANI SK. T. 1. Op. 1. 3. L. 10.
13. Radek K. We were in time - they were late//the Hammer. 1934. On Jan. 28
14. B.P. Sheboldayev. The Cossacks in collective farms//the Collective-farm way. 1935. No. 11. Page 3.
15. Oskolkov.H. Tragedy of "chernodosochny" villages: documents and facts//Izv. higher education institutions. Sowing. - Kavk. region. Societies. sciences. 1993. No. 1-2. Page 12-13.
16. CDNI RO. T. 7. Op. 1. 1372. L. 56.
17. In the same place. T. 166. Op. 1. 112. L. 142 - 143.
18. In the same place. 113. L. 56.
19. GANI SK. T. 1. Op. 1. 753. L. 126.
20. Tragedy of the Soviet village. M, 2002. T. 4. Page 726727.
21. T.A. Pavlova. The relation of the Cossacks of the Stalingrad region to war with fascist Germany and his behavior in the conditions of the German occupation//Clio. 2004. No. 4.
22. GANI SK. T. 1. Op. 1. 512. L. 66-72.
23. In the same place. 753. L. 56.
24. In the same place. 754. L. 24.

On June 7, 2008

Sarah Taylor
Other scientific works: