Flawed patriot. The deeds and sins of Anton Denikin

The commander of the Volunteer army of General Anton Denikin, 1918 or 1919. © /

Public Domain

“A wild Orgy of some kind of sadism, the authorities, who showed all the rulers Rasputin purposes, by early 1917 led to the fact that the state was not a single political party, no class, no class that could rely on the Imperial government. Enemy of the people thought he was all: Purishkevich and Chkheidze, the United nobility and the working groups, Grand Dukes and any educated soldiers.”

Proponents of the Russian Empire, destroyed by the the Bolsheviks, after reading these lines, will be furious. Who of the Bolshevik agitators, or of their historical heirs so shamelessly slandering the monarchy?

This “accuser” is actually none other than one of the leaders of the White movement General Anton Ivanovich Denikin. In his “Essays on Russian troubles” that’s the way he described the situation in the country ahead of the February revolution.

In Soviet historiography, the role Denikin were evaluated by far — tsarist General, who violently tried to restore the old regime. In the post-Soviet period there is a new portrait of Denikin — a “heroic fighter for Russia, faithful to duty and oath, the servant of the king, father of soldiers”.

Father Denikin went from serfdom to major

The image of Denikin for a century the most familiar thanks to the propaganda stamps, for which a real person is almost not visible.

His real life was not the same as appears to many, and the views of the General in pre-revolutionary Russia were deprived of the enthusiastic illusions.

Some biographers ironically notice Denikin, the white General was closer to the proletariat than many of the Bolshevik leaders.

This is true. His father, Ivan Efimovich, a serf, were given their master to the army. After 22 years of military service, after going through Hungarian and Crimean war, Ivan Denikin managed to pass the exam for officer rank, and was promoted to ensign.

In retirement, he was released with the rank of major, at the age of 62 years. And 64 Denikin, Sr., settled near last deployment near Warsaw, he married 28-year-old Polish girl Wrzesinski. In 1872 Denikins have a son, who was named Anton.

The Parents Of Anton Denikin. Source: Public Domain

The future General started with tutoring

The family lived on a small military pension of Ivan Efimovich, and these funds are barely enough. When Anton was 12 years old, his father died and his mother became very difficult. The boy began to earn money by tutoring, helping with school second-graders. Anton dreamed, like his father, to become a soldier. In 1890 he graduated from high school and was enrolled as a volunteer in the 1st infantry regiment. Soon he was admitted in the Kiev infantry cadet school, from which two years later was released with the rank of Lieutenant.

The young Lieutenant was waiting for service in the boondocks of the Empire, but stubborn Denikin wanted to cheat fate. In 1895, after a long preparation he was admitted to the Academy of the General staff.

It was very difficult: after covering the exam, he was discharged, but received the right to re-sit and was able to return to the Academy.

The young officer Anton Denikin, presumably 1893. Source: Public Domain

“Do not ask for mercy. Achieve what is rightfully yours”

In 1899 he graduated from the Academy and received the rank of captain. But then he recalled who he was in the Russian Empire: officer of the province, devoid of connections and rich relatives, has been removed from the lists of graduates, added to the General staff.

He had a right to file a complaint and have used them. In the proceedings of Denikin he hinted — General should not be accused of injustice. Was offered this option: the captain takes the complaint, and instead writes a plea for mercy, after which he immediately enrolled in the General staff.

“I do not ask for mercy. Seek only what belongs to me by right” — cut Denikin and was sent to serve back to Poland.

Two years later, Denikin wrote a letter to the war Minister Alexei … with a request once again to reconsider the case. Maybe this day … awakened conscience, or maybe he was amazed by the stubbornness and arrogance of an obscure captain, but the question is revised, and in the summer of 1902, Denikin was appointed as an officer of the General staff.

Anton Ivanovich always belonged to those who need it more than others. In 1904, after falling from his horse, he received a serious leg injury, but despite her achieved sent to the Russo-Japanese war. He was assigned to the rear, but Denikin made his way to the front.

For the difference in the battle was promoted to Colonel and awarded the order of St. Stanislaus 3rd class with swords and bows and St. Anne 2 nd class with swords.

The commander of the 17th Arkhangelsk infantry regiment Colonel Denikin in dress uniform. Source: Public Domain

“Mediocrity remained in their places, ruined and troops, and operations”

After the Russo-Japanese war he was appointed chief of staff of the 57th reserve infantry brigade in the city of Saratov. The service in the Saratov left time for literary experiments, which Denikin”s talent manifested itself even in his youth.

Superiors for that Denikin did not complain. But the First world war he met with the rank of major General and the post of quartermaster General of the 8th army. In August 1914 made the transfer from the headquarters to the front, taking command of the 4th rifle brigade.

But no rewards, which against him did not skimp of power, not forced him to remain silent about the other side of the war.

“Mediocrity still remained in their places, destroyed, and troops and operations. At the same Brusilov General D. consistently changed treemy one cavalry and three infantry divisions, until they finally calmed down in German captivity. And worst of all, that the whole army knew the failure of many of these chiefs and was amazed at their purpose…”, — wrote Denikin in “Essays Russian troubles” — the Spring of 1915 will remain forever in my memory. The great tragedy of the Russian army — the retreat from Galicia. No bullets, no shells. Every day, bloody battles, day in and day heavy transitions, endless exhaustion — both physical and moral; the timid hope, hopeless horror… Remember the battle of Przemysl in mid-may. Eleven days of fierce battle, the 4th infantry division… Eleven days terrible roar of the German heavy artillery, literally rips whole rows of trenches with their defenders. We almost did not answer — nothing. Shelves, exhausted to the last degree, fought off one attack after another with bayonets, or shooting at close range; the blood was shed, the ranks thinned, grew burial mounds… Two regiment almost destroyed — one by fire…

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When, after three days of silence, our only six-inch battery, she brought up fifty shells, this was reported by telephone immediately, all regiments, all companies, and all hands breathed style a sigh of joy and relief…”

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“The Emperor never loved anybody, except the son”

No reverence to Nicholas II , General Denikin had not experienced neither before the revolution nor after: “the Emperor has never loved anyone, except my son. This was the tragedy of his life — a man and ruler.”

Taking the February revolution, Denikin accepted the offer to become chief of staff at newly appointed Supreme commander of the Russian army General Mikhail Alexeev.

The fate of Nicholas II in “Essays Russian troubles” Denikin wrote: “August 1, 1917, the Imperial family was sent to Tobolsk, and after approval in Siberia, Soviet power, the Emperor and his family were moved to Yekaterinburg, and there, being exposed to an incredible mockery of the mob, torture and death and his family has paid for all voluntary and involuntary transgressions against the Russian people. When during the second Kuban campaign, at station Tikhoretskaya, having received news of the death of the Emperor, I commanded the Volunteer army to serve memorial services, this fact has led to violent condemnation in the democratic circles and the press… have Forgotten the wise word: “vengeance is mine I will repay”…”

Denikin has emphasized many times that he was not interested in the fate of the monarchy or the king — General cared about the fate of Russia.

The rapid expansion of the army he considered ending, and demanded the strengthening of the discipline. Not finding the support of the Provisional government, Denikin resigned as chief of staff, and was appointed commander of the southwestern front.

Believing that anarchy is heading not only the army but also the country as a whole, but joined the rebellion Kornilov. After the failure of Denikin”s speech was dismissed and the other generals placed under arrest.

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Commander of the Armed forces of South Russia

After the October revolution, Denikin fled to Novocherkassk, where he joined the process of creating a Volunteer army.

In the autumn of 1918 Anton Denikin became commander of the Volunteer army. In early 1919, he managed to unite all the white forces in southern Russia. His new position was called “chief of the Armed forces of South Russia”.

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For Denikin was not a principled struggle for the Supreme power — the General acknowledged Supreme ruler of Russia Kolchak. Thus in 1919, the Admiral has experienced a period of decline, while Denikin made the most progress. By the end of the summer of 1919, under his control were the territory of 16 to 18 provinces and regions, with a population of 42 million.

20 Sep 1919 fell Kursk, October 6 — Voronezh, October 10 — Chernihiv, October 13 — eagle. Denikin approached Tula and Moscow was already preparing for the evacuation of the Bolshevik government.

But the resources of Denikin”s army was completely exhausted — Tula is not obeyed. And then the cavalry corps of Semyon Budyonny at the station Castorina routed the main striking force of white cavalry of Mamontov and Shkuro. The volunteer army was rolled back, losing all that had been conquered earlier.

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“Opens gloomy abyss of moral decline: violence and robbery”

Denikin admitted that in the occupied territories white quite quickly lost support. And in “Essays Russian troubles” General honestly wrote that trying to deny some modern historians: “the Army is slowly steeped in small and big sins, abrasivi thick shadow on the bright face of the liberation movement. It was the flip side of the struggle, its tragic… Troops were poorly equipped with supplies and money. Hence the natural striving for self-supply, to use the spoils of war. Enemy warehouses, shops, carts, property of the red army dealt randomly, without a system. The army concealed the reserves from the Central organ of the logistics corps from armies, divisions — of corps, regiments from divisions… the Limits of the basic needs of the army, the legal rules defining the concept of “spoils of war”, legitimate techniques requisitions — all this aside, got slippery shape, refracted in the minds of the military masses, touched by the whole people of ailments. Everything is perverted in the crucible of the Civil war, exceeding in hostility and cruelty all war international.

The spoils of war, has for some from below one of the engines to other top — one of the demagogic methods to bring traffic sometimes inert, oscillating weight.

About the troops, composed of mountaineers of the Caucasus, do not want to say. Dozens of years of cultural work is still needed in order to change their domestic skills… If regular units of the pursuit of prey phenomenon was acquired, for the Cossack troops — historical tradition, going back to the days of the Wild field and Zaporizhia held a red thread through the subsequent history of the war and modernized in the forms, but not in spirit…

And it has the death knell sounded caused on don glee telegram of General Mamontov, who returned from Tambov RAID: “Send a Hello. Taking family and friends with rich gifts, the Treasury 60 million virtually any for the decoration of churches — valuable icons and Church utensils…“

Beyond where it ends “spoils of war” and “requisition”, a dark abyss of moral degradation: violence and robbery”.

Command of the Volunteer army, the leaders of the white movement in Russia during the Civil war, generals: (left to right) Afrikan Bogaevsky, Anton Denikin, Pyotr Krasnov and Ivan Romanovskiy. Photo: RIA Novosti

Resignation and emigration

The retreat turned into a panic, culminating in the so-called catastrophe of Novorossiysk in March 1920, when the white part of my back to the sea, were evacuated to the Crimea only in part. The rest were killed or were held captive by the the Bolsheviks.

Denikin occupied by military Affairs, while, did not notice that behind him, the growing discontent. The opposition in the camp of the whites United around Peter Wrangel. Enlisting the support of representatives of the foreign powers who supported the White movement, they demanded the resignation of Denikin and the transfer of power to Wrangel.

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Anton Ivanovich Denikin has never tried to shift the responsibility for their own failures on others. On 17 April 1920 he resigned, handing over all authority to Pyotr Wrangel. The same evening, on Board the British destroyer Denikin left Russia.

In London, where he arrived Denikin, he was treated with respect, but the idea of continuing to support the White movement lost popularity in the UK. In the summer of 1920 in protest against the policy of the British government on the normalization of relations with Soviet Russia Denikin went to Belgium.

Here he focused on the literary work came to writing his main work — “Essays on Russian troubles”.

After several years of wandering in Europe General settled in Paris, where he continued to write historical works and journalistic articles. In the environment of emigration, Denikin was a mixed reputation, but, nevertheless, listened to him.

General Denikin and his daughter Marina in France, sèvres, 1933. Photo: Public Domain

“The overthrow of Soviet power and protection of Russia”

In 1933, after the arrival in Germany of the Nazis, part of the Russian emigration went to cooperate with them, hoping by their help to overthrow Bolshevism in Russia. Denikin was a categorical opponent of such cooperation.

After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis actively offered Denikin work together. The last of The main leaders of the White movement, remained alive by the time were considered by the Nazis as the best candidate at the head of the Russian collaborators.

Denikin from this role declined. In conversations with friends he expressed confidence that the Red Army, defeating the Nazis, the overthrow of the Bolsheviks in Russia, and establish a new system.

These expectations of the General was detached from reality, but he, to his credit, unlike many colleagues in the White movement, cooperation with the Nazis did not mess.

In Moscow, his position is praised in lists of the people who was hunted by the Soviet secret service in the late war, the name of Denikin did not appear.

Nevertheless, growth of Pro-Soviet sentiment in France is so worried the General that in December 1945, he moved to the United States.

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About the last fifteen years of the life of Anton Ivanovich, writing is much less obvious, so as not to spoil his biography.

The fact that Denikin protesting against the Nazi occupation of the Soviet Union, has not objected to the occupation by the us.

In 1946 he was sent to the governments of the US and the UK, the Memorandum “Russian question”.

“If only Councils will be able to use the atomic bomb at the appropriate scale, the possession of these weapons will result in immediate and frankly inhuman act of the Soviet Union. The attack will be made without a Declaration of causes, without warning, without opportunity or incitement to appeasement by the Western democracies, and even in spite of the complete capitulation to Soviet demands,” prophesied Denikin. Considering that the US and Britain in this regard needs to strike a crushing blow on the Soviet Union, the General was given recommendations for subsequent occupation of the USSR: “In the case of the occupation of Russian territory immediately install the Russian government and to encourage the creation of a Russian lands temporary Central government authorities, formed from the citizens of Russia, with possible participation of especially-selected immigrants… Provisional military government should be formed exclusively under the auspices of a disinterested and benevolent of the great powers”.

Unknown, any more advice would be reached Anton Ivanovich if in August 1947, his earthly existence would not have been interrupted by a heart attack.

In 2005 the remains of Anton Ivanovich Denikin were solemnly reburied in Moscow, in the necropolis of the Donskoy monastery.

Vladimir Putin laying flowers at the grave of the Russian commander Anton Denikin in the cemetery of the Donskoy monastery. Photo: RIA Novosti/ Alexei Nikolsky

The ceremony of reburial of Denikin spoke only good, as is common at such events. But for the sake of historical truth to overdo it with the flow of oil is not worth it. Denikin was a man of his era, with their advantages and disadvantages. And the Great Patriotic war was won and sent a man into space people, which Anton Ivanovich lost.

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