«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

Abdurakhman Aitiyev and his struggle

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Abdurakhman Aitiyev and his struggle
Abdurakhman Aitiyev was a true fighter for Soviet power, a fiery revolutionary

His enemies remembered him as an impartial and cruel executioner of the Bolshevik regime, while his friends remembered him as a brave and courageous fighter for social justice. Aitiyev, like most people of that time, was both. Qazaqstan Tarihy website will tell about a man whose life came at a cruel and romantic time of faith in the ideals of the revolution, which demanded blood: both someone’s else and his own.

Abdrakhman was born in the family of poor countryman Aytey Kulmagambetuly in 1886. The place of his birth is considered the village Sugurbay, which belonged to Terektinskaya bolost of Ural Province. Little is known about the early childhood of the future revolutionary. Historians agree that by the age of fifteen young Aitiyev had graduated from Russian-Kazakh parish school in Karobe, after which in 1904 he became a personal courier and stoker of the supreme biy (magistrate) of the first section of Ural district. Before the beginning of his revolutionary way, Aitiyev was an inspector’s interpreter, a senior clerk at the justice of peace, a volost clerk, a head of fight horses section, a hired village clerk, a member of the society for animals and birds protection, as well as a member of the society for strengthening the air fleet. Besides, Aitiyev was actively engaged in agriculture in his native village, and in 1913 he was awarded by Largo-Kalug Ignaityev for census conduction. 

It is known that Abdrakhman Aitityev was acquainted with Bakhytzhan Karatayev, a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Empire of the II convocation from Ural region, who in 1910 helped Aityev to obtain the land by resettlement quota in Terektinskaya parish.

In Uralsk, he together with Bekshe Kisakov was elected a volost governor of Karaobinskaya parish and was a member of the Revolutionary Committee Presidium for a short time, established by Mensheviks and Fair Russia supporters. On March 20, 1917, Aitiyev was elected as a scribe of the Presidium of the Civil Committee of Uralsk, and in April he became one of the organizers of the First Congress of Kazakhs of Ural region. He sharply criticized the actions of Khalel and Zhakhansha Dosmukhamedov, who were engaged in lobbying for the interests of Alash in West Kazakhstan, and advocated the immediate return to Kazakhs of those lands, which were under the control of the Cossacks and Russians.

In the summer of 1917, Aitiyev became a member of the Land Board of the Karaobinskaya Parish and headed the militia of the Board. As the new head of the police, he organized the fight against grain speculators in the parish. The same summer he was invited as a delegate to the Second Congress of Kazakhs of the Ural region in the strengthening of Oiyl. At the same time, he began to feel sympathy for revolutionary ideas: he began to visit the underground Marxist circle, joined the Council of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies of Uralsk and eventually joined the party.

The Cossacks of the Urals region did not recognize the Soviet power, so during the Civil War they joined the White Guards. As for Aitiyev himself, he gladly accepted the October Revolution and actively contributed to the penetration of its ideas into his native Uralsk. On March 6, 1918, Aitiyev organized and became a member of delegates to the Congress of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies of the Urals Region. At this Congress he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee of the Council. On the instructions of the leadership in the middle of March he was sent to the region to attract people for military service. This saved him from being arrested by the White Guard troops who had carried out a coup in Uralsk on March 29, 1918. On the same day the military field court of the Ural Cossack military government sentenced Abdurakhman Aitiyev to be shot in absentia.

At that time Aitiyev lived in the house of his friend Hakim Begebasov in the village of Zhympity of Karaobinskaya parish. In the summer of 1918, Abdurakhman Aitiyev went to the station Zhuryn (Temir district), where he met with Mustafa Shokai, who had left Turkestan. Here he started to organize units of the Red Army, worked in the agitation unit of Aktobe Front of the Red Army.

From mid-1918 to October 1921, Abdurakhman Aitiyev took part in military operations in West Kazakhstan. From August to December 1918, he was one of seven members of the combat intelligence group of Bogdanov underground detachment established by the Revcom of Urals region and the top leadership of the Red Army. Later, in January 1919, he headed the special department of the 3rd Brigade of the famous 25th rifle division of Chapaev, which made him the third man in the division after Chapaev himself and Commissar Furmanov. Researchers believe that the main work of special departments during the Civil War was to shoot, suppress and pillage, thereby hinting that Aitiyev was indeed one of the creators of those atrocities committed under the banner of the Red Army.

Before his appointment as a Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz ASSR (Kazakh ASSR), Aitiyev was in the thickest of battles with the opponents of the Soviet power. In addition to serving in the ranks of the 25th Rifle Division, he successfully headed the conscription unit of the Ural Revcom (February 1919), organized the Kazakh Horse Army (March 1919), headed the secret and operational department of the Cheka of the Ural region (May 1919), headed the Ilbishinsky Revcom (August 1919), was engaged in the liquidation of the Western Wing of Alash Orda government. In the latter position he was engaged in recruitment of former Alashkorda followers to the Kirvoenrevcom. He succeeded in enticing Berkingali Atshybayev, Karim Zhalenov and Aspandiyar Kenzhin, who were taken into custody by Semipalatinsk Revcom and the special department of the 5th Army. From April 1920 to October 1921, Abdurakhman Aitiyev served as the Chairman of Akmola Provincial Revolutionary Committee.

Chairman of Akmola Gubrevcom is another important milestone in Aitiyev's career life. That summer, cholera epidemic started in the region.  

"The city of Petropavlovsk and its county are considered unfavorable for cholera. Cholera has reached a huge size with a 50% mortality rate. To combat the epidemic, the Cheka has organized, under my chairmanship, all civil-military personnel have been mobilized. A hundred-bed barracks are being equipped, the necessary material has been reserved, a reservoir is being built, and vaccination against cholera is going on at an increased rate. The entrance to the cholera epidemic for sackers from the Samara and Chelyabinsk provinces has been closed. Those who have already entered these provinces have been expelled by coercive measures. A sanitary detachment has been organized. We are experiencing an acute shortage of medical personnel."

А. Aitiyev, June 22, 1921.  

On May 8, 1921, Abdurakhman Aitiyev was appointed chairman of the commission on establishing the northern borders of Akmola province. In this position he managed to include the territories of Belovskaya, Bugrovskaya, Krasnoyarskaya and Nalabinskaya volosts into Akmola Province. 

 "Taking into account the insistence of the population of the eastern parishes of Ishim district on the disastrous situation of this district after the February uprising, poor service by Ishim authorities in administrative and economic relations, inoperative local authorities, as well as in order to preserve political stability, the administrative meeting of Akmolgubrevkom recognized the need to take these parishes into the province and to accept and establish a revolutionary order here. The established district council has already begun to implement the necessary measures." 

 In October 1921, Abdurakhman Aitiyev was appointed Commissar of the NKVD of the Kyrgyz Republic (KazASSR). The post-war period is always accompanied by destruction. This was also the case in Kazakhstan, where famine prevailed after the Civil War. Akmola province, where the bread production of the region was concentrated, did not want to part with the bread in favor of hungry peasants of Volga region. Aitiyev resumed the flow of food to Russia with harsh, verging on cruelty, shooting and pillaging. Nevertheless, those, he saved from hunger, were grateful to him.

Hunger has also triggered an influx of refugees from the hungry Volga region, and mortality has increased due to various diseases and an unprecedented increase in crime in the region. Initially, through the efforts of Abdrakhman Aitiyev, a starving aid organization was established to which voluntary donations were directed. Later, when the donations failed to meet the demand of the people, the forced removal of valuable items from churches and mosques began. This enterprise was a success. During 1922, 5 canteens were opened in Petropavlovsk alone, which fed about 600 thousand people. Crime, by the way, was also defeated: thieves and crooks were shot without trial.

Epidemics of typhus, anthrax and cholera were also defeated, not without the help of the People’s commissariat of internal affairs. It was through the efforts of Aitiyev that sanitary-epidemiological measures were implemented: cordon off quarantine zones, a ban on leaving diseased regions. The secretary of KazCEC Smagul Saduakasov wrote:  

"Militia in the steppe is everything. There is no fact in the public life of the Kazakh population, which is not contributed by the police, and there is no case that does not depend on the police. There is a talk about getting surplus appropriation system, getting workers by mobilization, resolving land issues – they address to the police everywhere. Recently, the police in the steppe have been interfering even in marriage law." 

 Speaking of marriage law, it is impossible not to mention Aitiyev’s role in the abolition of kalym, the ban on polygamy and levirate. These laws came out thanks to the initiative of Abdrakhman Aitiyev. At the same time, the initiative of the People’s commissariat made it possible to make Friday a day off instead of Sunday. He also initiated the creation of holidays in Kazakhstan: Uraza-ait (3 days), Kurban-ait (3 days) and Nauryz (1 day).

Abdrakhman Aitiyev served as People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the autonomy for almost two and a half years (from October 1921 to January 1924). Georgy Korostelev, responsible secretary of Kyrgyz regional committee of RCP wrote about him: 

 "Politically stable, there was no hesitation from Bolshevism. Energetic, persistent in carrying out the decisions taken. Has organizational skills."

 After leaving the post of People’s Commissar, Aitiyev continued to work in the bodies of the CEC until in January 1925 he was appointed to the post of Deputy People's Commissariat of Labor of the Kyrgyz SSR (KazASSR), where he headed the department of labor protection. In the same year he was sent to head the Kazakh department of the All-Union joint-stock company ‘Kozhsyrye’. At the same time, Aitiyev gave lectures on the revolutionary movements in Western Kazakhstan at the regional Soviet Party school.

Alongside with this, Aitiyev took an active part in the state construction of the republic. He voted for moving the capital of the autonomy from Orenburg, but not to Alma-Ata, but in favor of Akmola.

In November 1928, Aitiyev was appointed Chairman of the Board of Kazgostorg. At this time Aitiyev received an "anonymous complaint", the author of which, as it turned out later, became his deputy Deyev. As a result of this complaint, Aitiyev was "exiled" to the Kazakh Agricultural Institute to the position of Vice Rector of the administrative and economic affairs. This happened in October 1930.

The decline of Abdurakhman Aitiyev's political career took place during the reign of Filipp Goloshchekin. Being committed to the policy of bloody communism, largely due to which Aitiyev began to flourish, even he was not ready to take the tough measures that Filipp Isayevich took against the people exhausted by hunger and disease. It is also possible that Aitiyev's political weight did not give Goloshchekin any peace. In any case, in February 1931, Aitiyev was appointed director of the Central Museum of Kir-ASSR (KazASSR). A little over a year later, in April 1932, he took over the leadership of the Central Council of the Osoaviachim of Kir-ASSR (KazASSR). In May 1933, Aitiyev became a consultant to the Commissar of KASSR, and in February 1934, he became the director of Alma-Ata State Reserve. As the director of the reserve, Aitiyev was briefly expelled from the party.

Further in Aitiyev's work book was the note of the director of Akkol resort and the position of the teacher in the factory school of the railway department of the town of Aulie-Ata (now Taraz).

In the last years of his life Abdurakhman Aitiyev was seriously ill. His daughter Rosa, named after Rosalia Luxemburg, and his son Telman (after Ernst Telman) told the story: 

 "Severely ill, bedridden, he did not lose strength of mind, if possible, was engaged in creativity: he wrote essays on the history of Kazakhs and unshaken faith in the future of Kazakhstan. In 1935, the film ‘Chapayev’ was released on the screens of the country. With Chapayev, his father in Lbishchensk near Uralsk fought off fierce attacks of the Belokazaks together to the last cartridge. Then he miraculously remained alive, and died. And we, children, went to watch this movie several times. Every time my dad kept asking if his name was mentioned. When we denied it, he was distressed..."  

A seriously ill old man was visited by former employees. They were looking for "counter-revolutionary" documents and banned books in the house of the former chief, but they could not find anything that could link a weak revolutionary to the enemies of the people. But at the same time, they took away from the Aitiyev family a name blade for courage and bravery during the Civil War unique books on history, received from the hands of the governor of Uralsk back in 1904.  

Abdurakhman Aitiyev died on November 16, 1936. Thirty years later, in 1966, his widow Kulshan died. According to the recollections of the children, she asked before her death: 

 "Let the party membership card left with me and play Marseillaise."  

Perhaps this is exactly what the true fighter for Soviet power and ardent revolutionary Abdurakhman Aitiyev failed to say.    

Dana Tugambekova