Features of the civil war in Kazakhstan

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Features of the civil war in Kazakhstan
Features of the civil war in Kazakhstan

The victory of the October Revolution and the advent of Soviet power provoked active resistance from representatives of the overthrown classes in all regions of the country. The irreconcilable opposition of the main political forces in the spring of 1918 led to open large-scale military clashes. Society was choked with "red" and "white" terror. The fratricidal war that began became a struggle for power between the two warring camps and was, in fact, a continuation of the October uprising of 1917, to summarize briefly.

On the territory of Kazakhstan, the Civil War unfolded with active actions of the main all-Russian fronts (Eastern and Southern), and most of its regions were engulfed in a conflict of opposing forces. In addition, the situation was greatly aggravated by foreign interventionists who provided considerable support to the counter-revolution.

Kazakhstan on the eve of the Civil War

News of the February Revolution and the overthrow of the monarchy with enthusiasmaccepted by the Kazakh people. The change in the political system in Russia gave hope for the weakening of the colonial policy of its outskirts. In Kazakhstan, during this period, workers', soldiers', peasants' and Kazakh Soviets were formed with a predominant number of representatives of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. In some places, youth organizations have formed that have rallied the Kazakh intelligentsia and young students in their ranks.

Active national movements resulted in numerous congresses of the Kazakh intelligentsia, where the delegates expressed their hope for the emerging possibility of national self-determination and the termination of the resettlement policy. At the next meeting, held in the city of Orenburg, it was unanimously decided to form the political party "Alash" (similar in ideology to the Russian party of cadets). By April 1917, the Shura-i-Islamiya party was formed in the south of Kazakhstan, which was personified by some representatives of the Kazakh bourgeoisie and the clergy, supporting pan-Islamist positions and loyally perceiving the Provisional Government.

At the end of 1917, the delegates of the Orenburg All-Kazakh Congress proclaimed the territorial-national autonomy of Alash. The formed government of Alash-Orda, chaired by A. Bukeikhanov, categorically did not recognize the Soviet Power. By that time, it had already been suppressed by the Cossacks in a number of cities. It was in this ambiguous situation that Kazakhstan entered the Civil War.

on the eve of the war

First outbreaks in Kazakhstan

The administrative center of the Turgai regionin Kazakhstan he was one of the first under the millstones of the civil war. At the end of November 1917, the chieftain of the Orenburg Cossack army A. Dutov managed to overthrow Soviet power in the city of Orenburg and seize the revolutionary committee under the leadership of S. Zwilling, a delegate of the II All-Russian Congress of Soviets. The fight against the imposed system was organized in Semirechye as well. A separate government was founded by the council of the Semirechesky Cossack army. White Guard officers and cadets began to flock to the city of Verny (Almaty).

During the same period, another hotbed of the Civil War in Kazakhstan was formed in Uralsk. The formed military government overthrew the local Soviet and established its power in the city. It is worth noting that the military governments became the main forces of the counter-revolutionary movement on Kazakh soil. They were strongly supported by the White Guard officers, and also relied on local cadets, socialist-revolutionaries, Mensheviks, leaders of the Alash, Shura-i-Islamia and other political movements.

Kazakhstan during the Civil War

Rebellion of the Czechoslovak Corps

The activation of anti-Soviet forces in the country by May 1918 led to an even greater aggravation of the political situation. The Czechoslovak corps, formed before the revolution from prisoners of war of Czechs and Slovaks, became the main blow of the rebels. The completed 50,000-strong legion simultaneously captured a number of cities in Siberia, the Urals and the Middle Volga region - the length of the entire Trans-Siberian Railway. Together with the counter-revolutionaries, its individual units captured the cities of Kazakhstan: Petropavlovsk, Akmolinsk,Atbasar, Kustanai, Pavlodar and Semipalatinsk. The capture of the highway served as an obstacle to strengthening the positions of Soviet power in the north of Kazakhstan.

As a result, the following Kazakhstani regions were under the rule of the Whites: Ural, Akmola, Semipalatinsk and most of Turgai. In July, the Cossack chieftain A. Dutov managed to capture Orenburg, cutting off Soviet Turkestan from central Russia.

During the Civil War in Kazakhstan, the Soviet government was able to hold on to a significant part of the Bukey Horde, in the southern regions of the Turgai region and mostly in the territories of the Semirechensk and Syrdarya regions.

white terror

Aktobe Front

After the capture of Orenburg and the blocking of the railway line between Kazakhstan and Central Russia, the Red Army had to retreat along the road to Aktobe. In order to prevent further advancement of the Whites to the south of the region, the Aktobe Front was organized under the command of G. V. Zinoviev. The subsequent situation was further aggravated by foreign interventionists: British troops were noted in Iran and the Trans-Caspian region. There is a serious threat of conquest of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

It should be noted that during the years of the Civil War in Kazakhstan, it was the Aktobe Front that was assigned one of the important roles: it repeatedly stopped and rejected the offensive of the White Guards breaking through to the southern regions and Central Asia. In 1919, after the liberation of Orenburg, Orsk and Uralsk, his troops were merged with the troops of the Eastern Front. ATSeptember of the same year, the Aktobe Front was disbanded.

features of the civil war

Fighting in the Semirechye region

Active hostilities were deployed in the summer and autumn of 1918 in the Semirechensk region of Kazakhstan. The civil war in this region was particularly fierce. The counter-revolutionaries sought to occupy the Ili region and the city of Verny in order to further advance to the south of Kazakhstan and to Central Asia. They had already taken the village of Sergiopol (now Ayagoz), the villages of Urdzharskaya and Sarkandskaya, the city of Lepsinsk. To stop the advance of the White Guards in this direction, the Semirechensky Front was organized, the main parts of which were located in the village of Gavrilovka (Taldykorgan), under the command of L.P. Emelev.

In early September, Soviet troops managed to defeat the enemy at the Pokatilovskoye station and liberate Lepsinsk, and then take the village of Abakumovskaya (the village of Zhansugurov), where they went on the defensive and held it until December. In the following months, the front line did not change significantly.

Since June 1918, the Cherkasy defense area was located in the White Guard rear, without the liquidation of which they could not break through to the city of Verny. In order to break the resistance, the division of Ataman B. Annenkov was transferred from the city of Semipalatinsk. During July and August 1919, the troops of the Semirechye Front repeatedly tried to come to the aid of the Cherkassovites, but were unsuccessful. After the October fierce battles, the Whites managed to capture the Cherkasy region, and the troops of the Semirechenskyfront returned to their previous positions: the Ak-Ichke canal and settlements - Gavrilovka, Sarybulak and Voznesenskoye.

civil war in Kazakhstan

In the battle for Turkestan

The Turkestan front was officially formed as the main one in the Red Army by August 1919. It was formed by renaming the Southern Group from the Eastern Front. However, in fact, it has already been operating since February on the territory of Kazakhstan.

During the Civil War, the geographical and socio-economic nature of the Turkestan district ruled out the possibility of the formation of clear front lines. On a vast territory, the opposing camps tried, first of all, to occupy important administrative centers and regions that were separated from each other by desert and mountain ranges. As a result, major armed clashes were observed in outbreaks in different parts of Turkestan. With a stubborn and protracted struggle, fronts of local importance were organized, such as the Trans-Caspian and Ferghana.

In the Trans-Caspian region in the early summer of 1919, the troops of the Turkestan Front defeated the White Guard formation of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia. By autumn, having crushed the Southern Army of Admiral Kolchak, they managed to break through the blockade of Turkestan. The liberated Central Asian Highway opened the long-awaited access to the food resources of this region.

In September, units of the 4th Army of the Turkestan Front fought against the Ural Cossack formation of General Tolstov and Denikin's troops in the regions of the Ural River and the lower Volga.As a result of the offensive Ural-Guryev operation, which lasted from November 1919 to January 10, 1920, the Ural White Cossacks and the troops of Alash-Orda were defeated. Then the troops of the Turkestan Front liquidated the White Guard forces in Semirechye.

Semirechye front

Eastern front of the civil war in Kazakhstan

In November 1918, units of the Red Army of the Eastern Front launched a counterattack against the Ural White Guards and the Cossack troops of ataman A. Dutov. Already in January 1919, Orenburg and Uralsk were liberated by them, which restored the connection between Kazakhstan and Soviet Russia. Nevertheless, in the spring of that year, an unexpected blow from the Entente was de alt by the troops of Admiral A. Kolchak. Its defeat was one of the most important moments of the Civil War.

In Kazakhstan, the mission to crush the Kolchak troops was assigned to the Northern and Southern groups of the Eastern Front under the command of M. V. Frunze. On April 28, the Soviet troops launched a counteroffensive, and by the end of spring the strategic initiative was already in their hands.

In the summer of 1919, the main forces of the army of A. V. Kolchak on the Eastern Front suffered heavy losses, which gave a favorable environment for the liberation of all of Kazakhstan. In autumn, the Fifth Army of the Eastern Front under the command of M.N. Tukhachevsky cleared Northern and then Eastern Kazakhstan from Kolchak. In November, the revolutionary committee returned Soviet power to Semipalatinsk. The Semipalatinsk region received complete liberation in the spring of 1920, at the same time the Semirechensky Front was also abolished. Hewas the last on the territory of Kazakhstan.

Partisan movement

During the years of the Civil War, Kazakhstan distinguished itself by the large scale of the partisan movement and the popular uprising. Akmola and Semipalatinsk regions became their main centers.

People's resistance against the Whites and interventionists began in the first months of hostilities. It disorganized the rear of the enemy in every possible way with sudden blows, destroying his communications and intercepting the convoys. Examples of the heroic struggle of the working class are the Kustanai district, the Trans-Ural side, the participants in the Mariinsky uprising and the legendary Cherkasy defense. Detachments of A. Imanov fought desperately in the Turgai steppe, and operations were carried out under the command of K. Vaitskovsky in the East Kazakhstan region. Also, large partisan detachments were formed in Semirechye and other areas.

The partisan detachment of the northern Semirechye, which called itself the "Mountain Eagles of Tarbagatai", brought a lot of anxiety to the White Guards. The detachment was formed in the summer of 1918 from the Red Guards of the settlements of Sergiopol, Urdzhar and nearby villages who went to the mountains. In the spring of 1920, the "Mountain Eagles of Tarbagatai" joined the Red Army, reorganized into a cavalry regiment.

partisan detachments

Features of the Civil War in Kazakhstan (1918-1920)

The completed connection of Turkestan with Russia in the early autumn of 1919 actually led to the final victory of the revolution in this region. A significant part of the representatives of the Kazakh intelligentsia of Alash-Orda went over to the side of the Soviet government.The recognition of socialist ideas in the poor strata of society, the concentration of important resources in the hands of the Bolsheviks and the softening of the policy towards the national outskirts played a decisive role.

Historians identify the following features of the Civil War in Kazakhstan:

  • economic backwardness of regions;
  • lack of a common front line, which complicated the coordination of military operations;
  • sparsely populated region;
  • guerrilla resistance;
  • unequal balance of power in favor of supporters of the counter-revolution;
  • small proportion of the working class;
  • deployment of Cossack troops (Orenburg, Uralsk, Omsk, Semirechye);
  • proximity of external borders, which allowed the Whites to receive support from abroad.

It is worth noting that the military maneuvers of this war differed significantly from previous periods and were marked by a kind of creativity that broke all sorts of stereotypes of command and control and military discipline.

consequences of the war

Results of the Civil War

The civil conflict of society has greatly depleted the state in economic and demographic terms. And its main result was the final consolidation of the power of the Bolsheviks and the laying of the foundations of a new political system with the dominance of a one-party system.

If we talk about the consequences of the Civil War in Kazakhstan, as well as throughout the country, it brought irreparable material and human losses, which affected the subsequent years for a long time. The ongoing policy of the region did not contribute to the growth of the underminedproduction. Of the 307 nationalized enterprises, 250 did not function. The mines of the Dzhezkazgan and Uspenskoye fields were sunk, and out of 147 oil wells in the Embensky district, only 8 remained operational.

The situation with agriculture was even worse: the area under crops was significantly reduced, the livestock industry was in a deplorable state. The general decline, ruin, famine and disease led to pestilence and mass emigration of the population. Further mobilization of the region's resources by non-economic and forceful methods has repeatedly caused uprisings of the masses.


The victory of the Bolsheviks in a war unparalleled in history was determined by a number of factors, the most important of which is the political cohesion of the working class. The development of the situation was also affected by the fact that the uncoordinated actions of the Entente countries failed to deliver the planned strike against the former Russian Empire.

If we talk briefly about the features of the Civil War in Kazakhstan, then first of all it is necessary to note the competent interaction of military operations that took place on the main fronts of the country with the operations that unfolded on the Kazakh battlefields. It is also worth paying tribute to those who stood behind all the virtuoso maneuvers of the Red Army, inflicting defeat on the enemies: M. V. Frunze, M. N. Tukhachevsky, V. I. Chapaev and talented commanders I. P. Belov, I. S. Kutyakov, A. Imanov, and others.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that a serious contribution to the victory over the enemy of the Red Army was made by national formationsKazakhstan. As the front lines approached, the number of volunteers who joined the Soviet troops and partisan detachments increased. The desperate struggle of the Kazakh people against the interventionists and the Whites was of an anti-colonial and national liberation nature.

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