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Sep 14, 2021
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Cossacks against aul

“Kazakhstan for Kazakhs! Kazakhstan without Cossacks! ” – to the 30th anniversary of the events in Uralsk

On September 15, 1991, a skirmish took place in Uralsk, which in part can be considered the key to understanding modern processes in Kazakhstan.

Today semi-official Kazakh publications call those events “The performance of Kazakh youth against Russian Cossack separatists in Western Kazakhstan”, and political scientists are convincing that then “Uralsk was saved from the” Russian spring “of 2014”

Let’s remember in order.

The restoration of the Ural (Yaitsk) Cossacks proceeded in parallel with the formation of Kazakh “aul-nationalism”, which relied on students of humanitarian faculties and the intelligentsia. The crystallization of “aul-nationalism” was accelerated by the December events of 1986, the notorious “Zheltoksan” (protests in Alma-Ata against the appointment of Gennady Kolbin as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR, suppressed by the authorities).

On the eve of the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, the natspats were represented by the organizations “Azat” and “Kazakh tili” (“Kazakh language”), as well as a number of small structures. As for the Ural Cossack army, it was the third restored Cossack community in the USSR, quite numerous and active.

Actually, the public activity of the Cossacks became the main irritant of the local “aul-genosse” Amanzhol Zinullin and Orynbai Zhakibaev, who enjoyed unlimited support from the authorities. The first serious conflict arose around the return of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior to the faithful, initiated by the Cossacks, which was fiercely opposed by the city authorities. In the fall of 1990, the temple was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Uralsk

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Uralsk

By this time, the indefatigable Zhakibaev had already reported to the KGB of the Kazakh SSR that the Cossacks were training, creating combat squads, and at a rally on August 27, 1990 in Uralsk, on the Yemelyan Pugachev square, a resolution was allegedly adopted demanding to invalidate the transfer of the Ural region to composition of Kazakhstan in 1920. That is, the Cossacks were proclaimed separatists even before the collapse of the USSR.

The Cossack community in the then ethnically Russian Uralsk was very authoritative. So much so that on September 4, 1990, the City Council adopted a resolution “On the socio-political situation in the city of Uralsk,” which provided for office work in the city in Russian. At the same time, the Uralians actively criticized the then adopted law “On languages”.

The reason for the nationalist outburst was the announcement of the 400th anniversary of the creation of the Ural Cossack Host in the spring, made by Ataman Kachalin, deputies Avilov, Markin and Vodolazov, writers and historians. However, the holiday, which was planned as an Orthodox historical one, was given a political coloring. The authorities suggested omitting the theme of the 400th anniversary of the Cossacks’ service to the Russian Tsar and holding an ethnic holiday of the peoples of the Urals. The Urals refused.

Then the mobilization of the Kazakhs began. From mid-summer 1991, especially after GKChP “, local national patrons began to spread rumors that hundreds of Cossacks from Russia were ready to support the Urals, after which “Kazakh lands will go to the northern neighbor according to Solzhenitsyn’s plan”… Nazarbayev appealed to Yeltsin, calling the actions of the Cossacks “Provocative, demonstrating blatant disrespect for the state sovereignty of the Kazakh SSR”, although personally Nursultan Abishevich was also invited to the Cossack holiday. Political scientist Seidakhmet Kuttykadam writes in his book “Kazakh Drama on Stage and Behind the Scenes” that Nazarbayev “Gave an unspoken command not to interfere with the trip of Kazakh national-patriots to this city. As a result, the provocation failed “

Today there is information that the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kazakh SSR Mikhail Isinaliev was involved in organizing the confrontation with the Cossacks. “Under the event” the organization “Attanayik Zhaiykka” was bungled (On horses, forward to Yaik!). Groups of Kazakh youth from almost all regions began to arrive in Uralsk, students were removed from traditional agricultural work and sent to Uralsk. They pinned special hope on the southerners, western Kazakhs and Almaty residents. Even Zhasaral Kuanyshalin, known for his caricatured “hunger strike” in a yurt near the Central Department Store in Alma-Ata, came to Uralsk.

Activists of the Azat movement at a meeting of the headquarters to counter the celebration of the anniversary of the Ural Cossacks

Activists of the Azat movement at a meeting of the headquarters to counter the celebration of the anniversary of the Ural Cossacks

Orynbai Zhakibaev, Bakhytzhan Adilov, Munaydar Balmolda, Dauren Satybaldy Aisulu Kadyrbaeva supervised the arriving “aul-nationalists”. Oral Saulebaev took over the general management. The atmosphere was fueled by outright absurdities, the author of which is considered the head of the region, Nazhmeddin Eskaliev.

Nazhmeddin Eskaliev, then head of the Ural region

Nazhmeddin Eskaliev, then head of the Ural region

For example, among the Kazakhs they talked about the “tank regiment of General Makashov” that was standing on the border waiting for a throw to Uralsk and Guryev, although Makashov was no longer in command of the Volga-Ural military district.

By the way, Eskaliev admitted: “We gave the command to bring five to six hundred strong young horsemen from each district of the Ural region to Uralsk”, he also admitted that the military commissar of the region Kuspan Mukatayev was engaged in the delivery and placement of Kazakh youth.

It is known that the “go-ahead” for the protest was received from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR. The authorities of Kazakhstan found an excuse and decided to teach the Cossacks a lesson by pressing the organizations of the Siberian and Semirechensk Cossacks and the emerging Russian communities.

National patrols rally in Uralsk

National patrols rally in Uralsk

The Kazakhs who arrived in Uralsk began to organize rallies on September 13, the Azat newspapers and leaflets were distributed. The station was picketed, where delegates from Russia came, including the chairman of the Union of Atamans of Russia, Alexander Martynov. Russians were not allowed into hotels.

Munaydar Balmolda recites his poems at a rally against the celebration of the anniversary of the Cossacks on September 14, 1991

Munaydar Balmolda recites his poems at a rally against the celebration of the anniversary of the Cossacks on September 14, 1991

The holiday began with a prayer service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, after which events were planned in the recreation center of local factories. At the same time, some young people who arrived from Alma-Ata and pulled white headbands over their heads, began to “shake” the Kazakh rally on Abay Square (then still Lenin). The technologies of modern provocations were being worked out even then.

The crowd began to chant: “Kazakhstan is for the Kazakhs! Kazakhstan without Cossacks! ”, There were calls to let the Russians bleed. Kazakh activists pelted the car of Bishop Anthony of the Urals and Guryev, who was driving from the prayer service, with tomatoes and manure.

The nazpaths are thirsty for blood

The nazpaths are thirsty for blood

About one and a half hundred fighters, already pumped up with alcohol, water and weed, arrived at the venue of the Great Cossack Circle in the Palace of Culture of the Voroshilov plant (today “Zenith”). The Kazakhs tried to break into the hall of the Palace of Culture, the Urals prepared to defend themselves; support for the Cossacks was expressed by the workers of the Ural factories, 4 thousand Russian peasants. It fell to the riot police to restrain the passions of the parties.

OMON between Cossacks and Kazakhs

OMON between Cossacks and Kazakhs

The peak of the confrontation was the rumor spread among the Kazakhs that the Urals were going to celebrate in the Khan Grove (Khan Togai), where, according to legend, they raised the new Bukeevsky khan to a white felt mat.

Ural Cossacks at the holiday (video fragment)

Ural Cossacks at the holiday (video fragment)

The recreation center has already surrounded about 10 thousand people who were thirsty for blood. The city was saved from blood (although there were clashes) by the chief of militia, Colonel Vladimir Shumov, who took the leaders of the crowd into the hall of the Palace of Culture in order to demonstrate the absence of “separatist actions”. After a while, the Cossacks left the DK in formation and left the area.

Kazakhs – witnesses and participants in those events – wrote later that they “kicked the Cossacks, shook the dust out of them” (from Nurlybay Sisenbai’s book “1991, kyrkuyek. Oral okigalary” (September 1991. Ural events), although this lie is refuted by police reports And it is not known what the violent provocation would have turned for the Kazakhs and Kazakhstan. As a result, only guests of the city left Uralsk, while the Cossacks remained and even celebrated, albeit with less resonance, the 401st anniversary of their troops.

On October 25, 1991, a special commission headed by Adviser to the President of Kazakhstan Serik Abdrakhmanov began to work on the “Ural case”, but the results of the trial did not satisfy either the Cossacks or the National Patrons. The authorities could not ban the Cossacks and did not want to punish the Azat people. This situation persists after 30 years.

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