Дата публикации: 07 декабря 2023
Автор(ы): L. B. ARISTOVA
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Источник: (c) Asia and Africa Today, No. 5,31 May 2015 Pages 67-70
Номер публикации: №1701946287



Candidate of Economic Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Yaitsk Cossacks, Ural Cossacks, Kordalba, Brisbane, "common Cossack village", Cossacks in the war with Japan, Russian diaspora in Australia

The beginning of the last century was marked by huge changes in the lives of not only millions of Russian people, but also a break in the destinies of entire communities that had been formed on the territory of Russia for centuries. One of these communities was the Ural Cossacks, a significant part of whom left their native places in the Ural River area and moved to other countries, mainly to Australia. Far from their homeland, they mostly managed to preserve their traditions and habits and, in spite of everything, good feelings for their abandoned native places, for their native people. During the Second World War, many foreign Ural Cossacks, as part of the allied armies, took part in the struggle against Japanese militarism, thereby providing modest but worthy support to the efforts of the Soviet people, who made a decisive contribution to the victory over the hated enemies of humanity.

The origins of the Ural Cossacks go back to the depths of the Middle Ages. The Cossacks called their military campaigns in the Volga and Caspian regions against the Turks, Persians, and Nogais "fishing". These were clashes for their territory, places of permanent residence and farming. Yaitsk Cossacks were fishermen, hunters, sowed grain, kept cattle, planted gardens, and there were doctors among them, but the basis of the community was made up of soldiers.1

The Cossacks had many encounters with Nogais, Bashkirs, and Kalmyks. The Kazakhs have lived side by side for more than 200 years, each on their own territory. In the XIX century. these were not just neighbors - the Cossacks came to the Kazakhs on trade business, but did not live among them. The Cossacks, due to their innate keen sense of justice, have always respected the customs and national traditions of the Kazakhs.2

The Yaitsk Cossacks were practically independent in the initial period of their history, and all relations with the Russian government were conducted through an Embassy order. The king asked for military campaigns to put up for service.-

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a certain number of Cossacks, guaranteeing them a reward. Peter I from 1721 began to conduct business with the Cossacks through the Military College, and the lands of the Ural (Yaitsky) Cossacks were then included in the Astrakhan Province, and then - in 1744 - in the Orenburg province.

The Cossacks defended their rights, but they were considered less and less. In the famous peasant uprising of the XVIII century, the Cossacks took the side of Pugachev. After the suppression of the uprising, the Yaitsk army was completely subordinated to the Russian government, and the army itself was renamed the Ural Army. The ataman was no longer elected, but appointed by officials from St. Petersburg.


1917 marked the end of the history of the Ural Cossacks. In 1918-1920, Red Army units repeatedly entered the territory of the Cossack army, and then entered Uralsk. Elected in March 1919, military ataman Vladimir Sergeevich Tolstov (1884-1956) was able to turn the tide of military operations in favor of the Cossacks for a while, but not for long. The arrival of the "Reds" was accompanied by mass shootings. Together with the Cossack army, the withdrawal of the military population began. It ended with the death of thousands of people.

The mass flight from Russia to Persia and China was described in detail in his memoirs by the already mentioned ataman V. S. Tolstov. The first edition of the book was published in Turkey. This is the only detailed source of information about that terrible time, where tragic events and human suffering are described by a person who witnessed and experienced it himself. Subsequently, another, more detailed book "From the Red Paws to an unknown distance" was published, which cited the memories of other witnesses of the tragic events.3 No one knew where their fate would take them.

According to the materials of the books, during the Civil War, the Ural Cossacks opposed the Reds, but not for the monarchy, not for the landlords - they were not here. Military operations, epidemics, famine in 1921-all this destroyed 3/4 of the local Cossacks.4

Back in March 1919, having gathered an army of 16,000 men, Tolstoy cleared a fairly large area of Reds. He withdrew his troops south to Guryev, then along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to Fort Alexandrov. Only about a quarter of them reached the Fort of 12 thousand people. The remaining Cossacks intended to cross to Persia (Iran) by sea. But the sailors took the money "for the crossing" from the Cossacks, but they did not fulfill their promises...

It was already 1921. The ataman with a small detachment went through the deserts of Turkmenistan to Persia. After Iran, most of the Uralians reached Iraq, which was then owned by the British. Ural residents were marked out in Basra in the camp of Russian emigrants. From there, a letter was sent to W. Churchill with a request to help the Urals go to the east. The answer was not very friendly, but still the steamer was provided. In October 1921, the Ural Cossacks arrived in Vladivostok, where they joined the Combined Cossack Brigade of the Far Eastern Army No. 5.

In November 1922, the Reds occupied the entire Far East, and the Urals moved to China. Some of them sailed to Australia via the Japanese port of Nagasaki in November 1923. Most of those who returned home were shot. Although all of them were initially guaranteed their lives by the Reds.

Many of the Cossacks who moved to China could not find a job there for a long time, they wanted to move to the United States or Europe, but the cheapest way was to get to Australia. That's basically where they went. The steamer took them to Brisbane on November 4, 1923. Of course, they did not expect that many of them would stay there forever.


At first, in Australia, the Urals worked almost exclusively on heavy work. V. S. Tolstov, even before the arrival of the main group of Cossacks, was able to organize his own farm, where he invited fellow countrymen to work. A. V. Bolkhovitinov, a Cossack from the Don Army who knew the Urals and came to Australia a little earlier, gave him money for "his own business". Later, in 1927, he opened a store in Queensland, and in 1934 left for America.6

Ural Cossacks from the Tolstoy farm worked there for many years, mostly growing vegetables. Soon the Kordalba estate, which is 380 km north of Brisbane, became the center of a Russian settlement, most of whose inhabitants were Cossacks.7 Gradually, the Cossacks began to buy their own farms, set up farms, and some bought houses in the city of Kordalba, which soon became almost Russian. In total, there were about one and a half hundred families of Russian emigrants in Kordalba.8

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A kind of social and cultural center for the Cossacks and other Russians who lived and worked in the town and its surroundings was the Potorochin farm. Cossack Alexander Yulianovich and his wife Ekaterina Fyodorovna bought a small house, which became a kind of" club " of the Ural Cossacks in Australia. Hospitable hosts wrote out books, including in Russian, records, and bought a gramophone. On Sundays, they were visited by Russians who worked nearby. People read, listened to music, played lotto and cards. Both single Cossacks and family Cossacks came, alternately arranged dinners and had fun as best they could.

In the early 1930s, a "common Cossack village" was established in Kordalba in order to support and preserve the community of Cossacks from the Urals. Now meetings were held both in the house and on picnics. Young Cossacks listened to the stories of the elderly about the old times and campaigns. Especially solemnly on November 21 of each year, the Ural Military Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated. Archangel Michael. Not only Cossacks were invited to the festival, but also all Russians who could come to Cordalba. At Christmas, they arranged a Christmas tree in the "public hall" rented for this purpose by the Cossacks.

By the 1940s, many Russians had moved to the rather large city of Brisbane, where they could then buy cheap land plots. There are not many Russians left in Kordalba, but they still remember the Ural Cossacks who lived there, who to some extent introduced them to a kind of traditional culture. Local residents note that there are numerous difficulties - ignorance of the language, hard work, etc. - they complicated the life of the Cossacks, but they did not give up on fate.

Over time, Ural residents have proved themselves worthy in various industries. So, I. M. Pastukhov, who lost his leg in a campaign in Persia, while in China, learned handicrafts - he made wicker baskets, trays, baby strollers, etc. The production was a success, and soon Pastukhov opened a handicraft shop.

Ural resident G. A. Mitryasov became a fairly well-known electrical specialist. He received a diploma from the Engineering Institute, went to work for an electrical engineering company. At the same time, he was elected ataman of the Brisbane General Cossack Village, which existed until the 1980s. 9

Although the Ural Cossacks who arrived in Brisbane in 1923 did not live in their own separate village, having left in search of work in Australia, they were still united by traditions, a certain community, caring for each other, and constant mutual assistance.


During the Second World War, many Ural Cossacks from Australia participated in the Allied army in combat operations against Japan, were awarded medals and orders.

It is fair to say that the attitude of the Ural Cossacks to the military events in Europe in the late 1930s was ambiguous. The Cossacks, who had suffered a lot of grief from the Soviet regime, believed that the enemy of my enemy could be useful. But war broke out, and Australia was mobilised. Many Ural residents, including V. S. Tolstov's son Sergey Vladimirovich (1921 - 2009), volunteered for the Australian Army.

At that time, Japan repeatedly carried out air raids on cities in the north-west of the country. By occupying the islands of Southeast Asia (Southeast Asia), the Japanese were threatening Australia. Tolstov Jr. was part of the Australian troops on the island of New Guinea (1941-1942)10. From 1943, he participated in military operations on the island of Bougainville (Solomon Islands). Here, as part of his unit, he fought with the Japanese army until the end of the war. According to his memoirs, the service took place in the most severe conditions (wet climate), when you had to lie in trenches in the rainforest for weeks. The Japanese were preparing a major offensive. But heavy rains came, the water level in the river rose, and a significant part of the Japanese weapons was carried away by the water.

In September 1945, Japan signed a treaty of surrender. But the war with the Japanese in the Solomon Islands lasted until the end of 1945. A descendant of the Ural Cossacks returned home with the rank of corporal in the Australian Army, having 4 awards. In 1975, he was awarded the jubilee medal in honor of the 30th anniversary of Victory in World War II. Among the Russian emigration abroad, he was an authority, a patriot of Russia and the Ural Cossacks. He worried about those who remained in Russia, and was interested in what was happening in the USSR after 1945.


Gradually, by the end of the 20th century, interest in Russians who left their homeland increased in Russia. In Moscow

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The Russkoe Zarubezhye house appeared with materials about compatriots living in many countries.

For a long time there was no information about the Ural Cossacks. Since 1991, the first trips and exchange of materials with Ural residents in Australia began. Grandson of Sergei Vladimirovich Tolstov, great-grandson of ataman V. S. Tolstov-Michael Tolstov (1950 - 2004) visited Uralsk and Lbishchensk, and later his father-son of V. S. Tolstov Jr.-Sergey Vladimirovich Tolstov also visited Russia. Since then, correspondence has been conducted with the Tolstovs through a group of Ural Cossacks, including P. K. Kirsanov and A. G. Tregubov. The Stary Uralsk Museum has published materials about the life of the Cossacks in Australia.

There is still a Russian club in Brisbane, and many people from Russia participate in its work. Unfortunately, the older generation of Ural residents was more united, and the younger generation is beginning to forget the Russian language. Many surnames disappeared with the death of people, Cossack women, after getting married, changed their surnames.

Today in Sydney, the Russian diaspora numbers 30 thousand people, a significant part of whom are descendants of Russian Cossacks. They live a full life in Australia. Many made every effort to learn English, received an education, getting out "in people". So, Mikhail Ovchinnikov is now the general director of the Kelso trading company.

Currently, a newspaper and three Russian-language magazines continue to be published. The Cossack theme occupies a significant place in them, but it is more correct to call them publications of the Russian emigration. Ural Cossacks do not forget their ancestral Cossack roots, traditions, customs, and Russian culture in the new conditions. Adversity did not break people, did not harden their souls. The Cossacks built and continue to build Orthodox churches and open Sunday schools. Russian schools are increasingly filled not only with Russian children.

The Cossacks in Australia have a good prospect. In 2010, the 60th anniversary of the General Cossack Village was celebrated. It is planned to conduct a census of the Cossacks, update the military regulations, create a museum of the Cossacks with relics preserved in exile.

The Cossacks are supported in their activities by the Russian Embassy in Australia. Communication with the Russian Cossacks has been established.

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren keep in their hearts the love for Russia passed down to them by their ancestors and, to the best of their ability, honor the traditions of the Ural Cossacks , an important part of the Russian people.

Tregubov A. G. 1 From Gugni to Tolstov. Atamans of the Yaitsky Cossack army. Uralsk, 2006, pp. 6-7.

2 Ibid., pp. 8-9.

Tregubov A. G. 3 Ural residents in Australia. Ural Library. Uralsk, 2007, pp. 5-6.

Chesnokov N. 4 Reprisal. Hunger. Ural Library. Uralsk, 2005, pp. 125-130.

Tregubov A. G. 5 Uraltsy... pp. 7, 113.

6 Cossacks in Australia-http // passion-don.org/vesseum/Ausnralia.html

Dmitrovskiy N. I. 7 Pokhod ural'skikh kazakov [7 Campaign of the Ural Cossacks]. 1997, N 12. p. 16-19; N 13. p. 10-13.

Chesnokov N. 8 Decree. Op. p. 15.

Tregubov A. G. 9 Ot Gugni... P. 124.

10 Ibid., pp. 20-22."

Опубликовано на Порталусе 07 декабря 2023 года

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