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Alikhan Bukeikhan: prison epopee

21 October 2014
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Alikhan Bukeikhan: prison epopee
Little-known pages from the life of the leader of movement "Alash".

Alikhan Bukeikhan carried the fight against a colonial policy of imperial Russia only within the existing laws, having passed through prisons and links. Together with representatives of the advanced Russian intellectuals and progressive parties he aimed to reform the colonial metropolis in an authentic constitutional and democratic federal state.

What is hidden behind the photo?

In the history of the countries of the Eurasian continent hardly there will be other example when the leader of national liberation movement of the multimillion people, the eminent public figure, and the former deputy of the supreme legislative body of the government voluntary was to serve prison sentence. The black-and-white, but turned yellow over time Alikhan Bukeykhan’s photo which was accidentally found in the West Siberian Department of Imperial Russian Geographical Society (WSDIRGS) in Omsk State Museum of History and Regional Studies (OSMHRS) is just the impartial certificate of this fact. Under the photo it is written: «Pavlodar prison, 1908».

Historical value and uniqueness of this photo still that in it the leader of Kazakhs is depicted not somewhere, for example, on vacation, in the company of the colleagues scientists on WSDIRGS to what, by the way, other documentary photograph found in the same place where they are depicted at the time of celebration of 25-year anniversary of this society [photo No. 1], in 1902, or in a circle of the colleagues on movement «Alash» [photo No. 2] or Constitutional democratic party «National freedom» of [photo No. 3] testifies that would look naturally and logically, and at the time of stay in prison. Very curiously and that on it the Kazakh national leader is depicted in clothes, unusual for it, — in a traditional Russian country shirt, on top by which it is put on easy Kazakh chapan (caftan or coat worn over clothe) and in a hat [photo No. 4].

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Alikhan Bokeikhan in the company of the colleagues-scientist on WSDIRGS

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A.Bokeikhan with colleagues on “Alash” movement 

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Among members of Constitutional democratic party "National freedom"

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Alikhan Bokeikhan       

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The leader of “Alash” in Butyrsky prison 

Author thanks the scientific expedition in detection of this and other historical documents. This scientific expedition which conditionally can be called Omsk, in addition to OSMHRS the research was conducted in Omsk State Archive, Regional library named after A.Pushkin, Museum Of Art and so on. The doctor of historical sciences, the director of scientific center of the humanitarian researches «Eurasia» Ziyabek Kabuldinov, the candidate of historical sciences, the ethnographer Sulushash Kurmanova, the PhD doctoral candidate of the Eurasian National Unviersity named after L. Gumilyov Erkin Rahmetullin and author of this text as the principal of expedition took part in this work.

As for the documentary photograph and especially short record under it, there is an explicit mismatch either with the location, or with date. After all judging by archive materials, and also personal memories of the leader of movement «Alash», he got into the Pavlodar prison at the beginning of the 1906, and on April 30 the same year was released due to election in electors in the Tokraunsky volost (area) to become the deputy of the first State Duma. And in the 1908 he already was kept in Semipalatinsk prison.

At that place where Bukeikhan was depicted for history? Let to understand it by being guided only by primary sources. At first let’s briefly recall its prison epic which each stage has instructive history, the most important, shows a real face of the Kazakh national leader, hidden, but indeed noble features of his character, depth and scale of his personality as politician, the tireless fighter for freedom and impendence of the depressed people, the authentic leader of the nation ready in critical hour to sacrifice a personal liberty, wellbeing and own life.

Throughout all the scientific-journalistic and political activities both in case of tsarist, and Bolshevist «dictatorship of the proletariat», Bukeikhan was exposed to different persecutions. During the period from 1896 to 1917 it visited imperial prisons (Omsk, Pavlodar and Semipalatinsk) three times. Later, in the 1919 was arrested together with all delegation of the government of «Alash-Orda» under the decree of «the Supreme governor» admiral Kolchak (again Omsk). In the indications to the investigator of Oms State Political Administration (OSPA-NKVD) in November, 1930, Alimkhan Ermekuly (Ermekov), the former deputy of Bukeykhan stated: «The member Alash-Ordy Akpayev was sentenced to death „for concealment of the weapon for the purpose of preparation of Bolshevist revolution“. The chairman of Alash-Orda Bukeikhan (Bokeikhan in original sources) was arrested in Omsk during his negotiation». During the Soviet period the leader of «Alash» three times «visited» NKVD in Karkaraly and Orenburg (in 1922), two times in Moscow dushegubka (gas wagon) «Butyrka» (in 1926 and 1937) [photo No. 5].

Diligent publicist

According to Sergey Shvetsov’s, Alikhan for the first time got into tsarist torture chambers approximately in 1896–1897, «being single bright» the political analyst of the Omsk newspaper «Stepnoy Kray». In the memories published in the 1930 in Northern Asia log it claimed that the police arrested for the publication of anti-governmental material and placed in a jail all editions, but for a while. Alikhan did not mention the first prisoner experience anywhere.

Two subsequent arrests were inseparably linked with revolutionary events of 1905–1907 in Russia and his role in them. So, in article published in the Omsk newspaper «Irtysh» edited by it in the 1906 he wrote: «The royal decree… stirred up on February 18, 1905 all Kazakh (in original „Kyrgyz“) the steppe groaning under an inexplicable arbitrariness of an russification policy and its illiterate performers from the studied less cadets, seminarists, psychopaths and alcoholics, say, of the " people of Tashkent of a preparatory class» who left Russia because of tasty mutton of the Kazakh steppe».

It is necessary to add Alikhan Bukeikhan’s words with important historical facts. Exactly in Kazakhstan, turned to colony, the Russian vicars became rich and had a good career. A.Bukeikhan in one of his article wrote following about them: «Our area is peaceful, the valorous hero of Russian-Japanese War Kuropatkin, apart from Sukhotin’s generals (the governor general of Steppes of 1901–1906), Romanov (the military governor of Akmolinsk area in 1903–1906) and Galkin (the military governor of Semipalatinsk area in 1903–1908), which «reign» in the Kazakh steppe, could envy to its patience.

After publication at the end of 1905 «The manifesto on October 17» which granted to all people of the colonial empire the political rights and freedoms, and also declared convocation of the State Duma, in the Omsk newspaper «Stepnoy Kray» Alikhan appeared with the loud article «All secret will become explicit». It contained such lines: «Do not multiply the crimes, grave-diggers of a mandative system. Your days are numbered. I will revenge upon you in the Russian representative assembly [State Duma]!" In the second article which quitted is slightly later in „A Semipalatinsk leaf“, it already openly threatened the colonial and retaliatory authorities with the forthcoming convocation of the State Duma: "False informers, blind tyrants, remember… tomorrow day of exposure and your mean lie will come. You will appear before the impartial court of the free Russia… You do not hurry to pay in revenge to the Kazakh people for its good. Get up, executioners, there is an independent court of the free Russia!"

From prison to state duma

In 1906, the popular Kazakh poet rebel Mashhur-Zhusup Kopeiuly (Kopeev) composed verses which were included into the poetic collection published in Kazan. They caused the negative response from the colonial power. One stanza of this poem was found in gendarme provincial control in archive of Kazan, and in translation into Russian. I will tell at once: the translation is not ideal. Probably, it belongs to the person who has little knowledge in Kazakh language, but is clearly is not to the poet. And still the main message of the text is quite clear:

The husband who says that will light the lamp for the nation,
Precisely prophet dostokhvalny intercessor,
Name, to [which] — ALIKHAN.
If collect all letters [together],
Then it will be a name of falcon, known to the nation — ALIKHAN!

And soon in secret correspondence of Omsk gendarme control with department of police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in St. Petersburg Alikhan Bukeykhan already figured as „main principal of all religious political movement of the Kazakh population in Steppes“. This correspondence was followed by its secondary arresting and insulation in the Pavlodar prison without the relevant resolution of court, and only based on certain „intelligence“. Alikhan Bukeikhan resisted to a similar arbitrariness of colonial administration only in a legal framework, appealing only to „The manifesto on October 17“. Moreover, being under arrest, he refused escape.

In the article "Kakitay" (the Kazakh newspaper, No. 105, 18 of February of the 1915) Alikhan Bukeikhan told how, before and after his arrest, friends from Semipalatinsk, Pavlodar and even residents of the Cossack settlement of Yamyshevsky offered him escape. But he, to their considerable surprise, resolutely refused this invention, having declared: „Let myself alone sit in prison, rather than the people will suffer from retaliatory group because of my escape!“ And in article „Dzyan-dzyuna of the Kazakh steppe“, Bukeikhan explains one of the reasons of the arrest: „My arrest has character of personal revenge from the general Sukhotin who more than once served as a favorable material for my correspondence in days of freedom when suggested to prosecute it for violations of 1 point of the manifesto on October 17“.

However, there was other reason of arrest, much more important what the leader of the Kazakh area slightly mentioned in the same article: "Then I planned by Kazakhs as the candidate for the State Duma".

The letter of the chief of Omsk gendarme control of April 10, 1906 also testifies to it: "Due to absence of opportunity so far to certify secret-service instructions on unconditional accessory it to criminal community testimony, to present to him, to Bukeikhanov, any charge from the legal point of view was not possible.

On such provision of case of Bukeikhanov me it is reported on the Top military commander of the Siberian Military Region [it is the governor general of Steppes Nikolay Sukhotin — author’s comment] who prolonged, despite of case, the power period of the maintenance of Bukeikhanov under guards about three months. Also in a type of an extreme conspiracy of the last and his persistent desire to have impact and to take possible active part in carrying out questions in the State Duma, the Top military commander showed willingness in case if Bukeikhanov’s case will be stopped by Public prosecutor’s supervision as 1035 St. Lips. Angle. Court., to channelize this business administratively, with unconditional expulsion of Bukeikhanov from Steppes limits as in the general judgment, not excepting persons of Public prosecutor’s supervision, Bukeikhanov is represented certainly the dangerous, but smart and dexterous propagandist.To the explained I add that on an order of the Top military commander Siberian Military Region of Bukeikhanov will be transferred for detention, until final clearing up of his case, from Pavlodar to Omsk prison. The colonel (the signature is not legible)".

From Alikhan’s letter directed to Alexander Kolyubakin to St.-Petersburg it is clarified that it besides shall arrive to congress Constitutional and democratic (or cadet) party, planned for the beginning of January of the 1906. However, as it is marked in this letter: „I instead of congress got to prison, as the candidate for the State Duma“. At the same time Alikhan was sure that, despite all attempts of the authorities, by all means will become the deputy about what he hinted in the letter: "We will meet in the State Duma".

By the way, this secret letter and article attached to it "Dzyan-dzyuna of the Kazakh steppe" have entertaining history. Article was written in the Pavlodar prison, Alikhan planned to publish it in one of the Petersburg newspapers and therefore transported to Kolyubakin, one of founders and leaders of a cadet party. Here is quote: "From the enclosed 14-page letter which I ask to print in "Our life" (the Petersburg liberal newspaper) or other such newspaper, you will see my misadventures“. However the letter fell into hands of imperial secret police and more than hundred years later it was revealed the famous historian Bolatbek Nasenov in military and historical archive of Russia in Moscow.

On April 15 the 1906, as it was marked in the official report of Omsk gendarme control, the leader „Alash“ was transferred from Pavlodar to Omsk prison, from where, on a secret intention of the authorities, shall follow in the link on so-called to „an administrative order“, i.e. according to the instruction of the steppe governor general. But the idea failed: On April 30 Alikhan was released due to election in electors in the native Tokraunsky volost, and at the end of June he was solidly elected the deputy of the State Duma of 1st convocation from Semipalatinsk area.

Came to prison voluntarily…

In Semipalatinsk prison Alikhan had more freedom, and there he, most likely, had opportunity if not to invite the professional photographer, precisely friends with the camera moreover every day within eight months to drink kumiz (mare milk) and to eat fresh mutton meat instead of a prison food.

In December 1907, he already in the status of the former deputy of the 1st State Duma was condemned by the solution of Special presence of the St. Petersburg trial chamber by three months of imprisonment and deprived of electoral rights for signing and distribution of "The Vyborg appeal".
Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize it, the electoral rights of the Kazakh leader and all his compatriots, it was deprived half a year ago — the new electoral law better known as the „third of June revolution“ developed by the prime minister Pyotr Stolypin and published in day of dissolution of the State Duma ІІ convocation, on June 3, 1907 deprived the 5-million Kazakh people of the parliamentary and Duma tribune. Thereby the colonial empire had an opportunity to dispose of primordial Kazakh lands at discretion, in other words — to realize "Stolypin land reform" duet to the Kazakh land.

It is worth to say that the sincere service to interests of the people, implicit observance of party discipline Alikhan Bukeikhan can be an example for the modern politicians and public figures. One more bright to that the certificate is that fact that in January of the 1907 he voluntary refused to stand in deputies of the State Duma 2nd convocation though it was absolutely confident in the success as it was a year before chosen in the Russian parliament, having collected 175 electoral vote from 176. And the 176th voice belonged to him as to the elector from the native Tokraunsky volost.

At the end of October, 1906 the party of "National freedom' where all Russian Muslims included and I am the member of it, decided that the former members of the State Duma from a batch of "Narodnoy svobody" ("National freedom") deprived for signing and distribution of "Vyborg vozzvanie" ("the Vyborg appeal“), the electoral rights, did not propose for the second time the candidature in members of the State Duma as it, in case of mass re-election of the former members of the State Duma who signed "the Vyborg appeal“ will lead to the inevitable cassation of these choices from the government power and can prevent timely convocation of the State Duma".

Having voluntary been in Semipalatinsk prison on a verdict of court and will of the batch, Alikhan Bukeikhan, according to the documentary photograph and on hand-written memories of Smakhan Tore Bukeikhan’s, his younger brother, clearly "did not suffer from inaction and loneliness".

In addition to his family and relatives, his friends and colleagues on "Alash" movement — Turaul, (Turaul, Turash), Shakarim and Kakitay — son and two nephews of Abay and many others came to visit him. Moreover, the bay-businessman, famous in the Kazakh steppes, Medeu Orazbayula’s patron from Tobykta’s family, having decided that Alikhan — "the person necessary to Kazakhs", disposed to deliver near prison, in the town of Shagyl, a yurta where held ten mares with foals and every day cut a one-year-old ram. And the leader "Alash", according to his friends, "unwell" in prison conditions, received every day a daily portion of fresh kumiz and freshly cooked lamb.
The Semipalatinsk stage of "the prison epic" slightly opens one more little-known if not absolute unknown, the page of multi faced activities of the Kazakh national leader, in particular, his role of the teacher and mentor of new generation of fighters for freedom and independence.

Teacher, on your name…

Alikhan Bukeikhanov in addition to his activities had pedagogical experience in 1895–1897. He worked as teacher of mathematic in Omsk school for Kazakh children. Also until 1906–1908 was the member of society "support for educational institutions" in Omsk, he was the member of its examinational commission.

However, it seems that he disregarded of pupils of gymnasiums, teacher’s seminary and other educational institutions of all Steppes — Pavlodar, Karkaralinsk, Semipalatinsk, and also the Kazakh students trained in St.-Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and other cities of the empire. Pupils and students in general the Kazakh youth saw in it the leader of the nation and were pulled to it. For example, here that Halel Gabbasuly in the evidences given to the investigator of OSPA14 IN November 1928, declared: «I started participating in revolutionary movement from the 5th class of a gymnasium in 1905.

In the Semipalatinsk gymnasium there was a revolutionary society led by Dosmagambetov. The society helped political exiled.
A. Bukeikhan educated young colleagues and adherents on «Alash» movement and also personal examples. He imparted them sincere love to the people, its original culture, language, awaken national consciousness, feeling of devotion and correctness to ideal and the purposes of national liberation movement.

Most likely, he was the quite good teacher and the mentor who besides was able to trust responsible tasks of national scale to his pupils. For example, five years later Halel Gabbasuly became one of Alikhan’s deputies during the stay of his head of autonomy "Alash" in 1917–1920. Other his deputy, Alimkhan Ermekuly (Ermekov), the member of the government of «Alash-Ordy» and Kazakh the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the first Kazakh professor of mathematics, in the written indications of October 27, 1931 expressed even more definitely: "I consider him by the right as my teacher".

By the way, Alikhan Bukeikhan spent in Semipalatinsk prison not three months as that was required by the resolution of the St. Petersburg trial chamber, but whole eight months, according to the Smakhan Tore’s memories. He also claimed that thanks to efforts of friends and colleagues these eight months for Alikhan passed as eight days.

However, the first political exile to far Samara was expected him. After this exile he will return to his native steppes only after February revolution of 1917, to recreate and head the modern democratic Kazakh state «Alash» which in December of current year turned to 97.


Sultan Khan Akkuly
The director of Scientific Research Institute «Alash» in ENU named after L. Gumilyov

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