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

Living for the Kyrgyz account

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There were so-called “Kyrgyz capitals of unknown purpose” at the dawn of the twentieth century in Semey region, and throughout the entire territory of the Steppe fringe. The imperial officials actively used these funds: they lent them to the third parties, ennobled their land holdings with them, gave interest-free loans to various societies. However, these capitals were rarely used for the needs of the local population, in fact, the population, that collected these funds themselves. Qazaqstan Tarihy portal will tell you what Russian officials spent Kazakh capital on

An agronomist, Konstantin Werner, who served under the Steppe Governor-General (1890-1893 years) once, wrote: “... kyrgyz are being robbed on a legal basis. At the expense of fees from them, they give benefits, build theaters, raise the children of officials, etc”. Later, after the death of Werner, in 1903, the “Historical Vestnik” newspaper published an article dedicated to the memories of the agronomist, where it was said that very soon an expression “Living on the Kyrgyz account” would acquire the same meaning as “Living on the Sheremetyevo score” among other things. The last expression most often meant excessive “Hospitality”, that was often used by officials who wanted to enrich themselves.

The fifteen years have passed since the moment when Konstantin Werner wrote about this fact until 1908, when the Siberian press was seriously interested in the question of what needs the money of Kazakhs was spent on. But Kazakh capitals continued to serve the needs of outsiders. There was said in the newspaper “Siberian Questions” that the steppe governor-general, who was in charge of the Kazakh capital of Semipalatinsk region in 1895, without interest in the 12 years, gave about six thousand rubles to the West Siberian department of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society. Thus, the regional treasury had lost at least 2,880 rubles by the end of 1908, if we count only at 4% per annum.

Another steppe governor-general, also without a percentage of the same capital, gave 25,000 rubles for the construction of a house to the Akmola governor for the 47 years, in 1903. So, through simple calculations, it turns out that the treasury has lost about 47 thousand rubles (4% per annum).

Another case tells about the fate of Karpovskiy village. In Semipalatinsk region, there was once a village called “Karpovskiy”, named and created in honor of the governor of Semipalatinsk Karpov. By the way, the village was abandoned by the settlers who lived there in 1908. Under Karpov, the settlers were kept there by force, for which the village was built up abundantly, including the construction of a church, ditches, and dams for irrigating the tillage. And the Kazakh capital sponsored the development of this settlement, from which 300 rubles were spent only on the furnishings of Karpov`s sergeant major government.

As you know, the reports of the steppe general-governorship in those years were not subject to the publication, and there were no traces of this capital in the governor's reviews of Semipalatinsk region. Therefore, in 1908, the Kazakhs of Semipalatinsk region, in their petitions to the emperor, asked to name the amount of this capital and use it as a payment for the education of Kazakh children in Russian schools, as well as for the creation of boarding schools in Omsk and Semipalatinsk gymnasiums. However, this request, like many other requests and wishes of the Kazakh people, was not satisfied at all. Strictly speaking, the Kazakhs learned about these capitals only when the administration gave them to someone.

On June 19, 1908, an article was published on the pages of the newspaper “Siberian Life”, that stated: “Six months ago, the Сity Department and the parents` association at the women's gymnasium filed a petition with the proper authorities for the permission to make a loan from the spare Kyrgyz funds for the construction of the building for the female gymnasium. They promised to give money, but they are still not giving it. The parents` association telegraphed the steppe governor-general at only one time, who notified the committee through the regional administration that he had made a corresponding submission to Petersburg. After that, the committee telegraphed to Mr. Chairman of the Council of Ministers, but he has not received an answer yet. The city hopes that the newly appointed governor of Troinitskiy city will help to finish the construction of the building of the female's gymnasium ...”. But as of the end of 1908, the matter did not get off the ground.

There was said in the article “Nobody's Money” of the newspaper “Siberian Questions” that over 700 thousand Kazakhs lived in Semipalatinsk region. At the same time, only a few Kazakh boys studied at the local male gymnasium, and there was not a single representative of the indigenous population at the female gymnasium. In addition, the scholarships were not paid to the Kazakh children, despite the fact that the administration of Semipalatinsk city and the parents` association, by the way, consisted of the local intelligentsia, hunted for the money of the Kazakh people.

“... There is no doubt that the female's gymnasium is a useful institution. But why should it be built on Kyrgyz capital, when there won't be a single Kyrgyz girl for a long time to come?...”

A local population was greatly interested by the issue of Kazakh capital and its outflow. And they saw the root of the problem in the abuses of the local administration, that lent the capital of Semipalatinsk region to the third parties. Meanwhile, the correspondents of the “Siberian Questions” newspaper still did not know whether the Kazakhs were able to bring the authorities to justice.


Author: Ayan Aden