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Batoum


Governors    EN GR

Author: TCHKOIDZE ΕΚΑ
Translation: SPANOU THALEIA

The position of the governor-general of Batum’s oblast was abolished in 1883. In 1878-1883 there were only two such governor-general.

1. Konstantin Vissarionovich Komarov (Константин Виссарионович Комаров), (1832-1912), the first governor-general in the years 1878-1881.

K. Komarov, a Russian General of aristocratic origin, was born in the Guberniia of Vitebsk (Витебская губерния) on 5 October 1832. [1] Having a military father he also received a military training. In the years 1852-1854 he studied at the Imperial Military Academy in St. Petersburg (in Russian Петербургская Императорская военная Академия). He actively participated in the Crimean War in the period 1853-1856. Since 1857 he had been transferred in Caucasus and from 1859 to 1864 he participated in the last phase of the Caucasian Wars, [2] where he was awarded his first medals. [3] He particularly excelled in the last Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). [4] He was the same one who conducted battles for the liberation of Batoum, for which he was honored with a special medal (of the 1st category of St. Stanislav орден св. Станислава 1-й степени 1878). During the same year, at the liberation of Batoum he was appointed its governor-general. However, according to the testimony of the famous British Consul Sir Alfred Biliotti (1833-1915), Komarov was not in the Russian army during its first entry in Batoum. [5] He arrived there a bit later, on 30 August. [6] K. Komarov during his stay in Batoum didn’t demonstrate a particularly friendly attitude towards the locals. [7] He made particular efforts to establish the non-Georgians, Russians preferably in Batoum. [8] The dispute between the local population and the military authorities was increasingly growing and becoming dangerous. For the elucidation of the case, since 1881, from the Viceroy of Caucasus a special committee had been sent, which remained in Batoum for 7 days and confirmed the unacceptable behavior of the officials to the locals. [9] The hostility of K. Komarov towards the local population and his difficult nature forced the Viceroy of Caucasus, M. N. Romanov, to remove him from his position and transfer him elsewhere. [10] However, although there were problems, K. Komarov was awarded in 1881 the first class medal of St. Anna (орден св. Анны 1-й степени) and was transferred at the disposal of the General Feld Marshal of the Caucasian army (главнокомандующий Кавказской армии). He should be Komarov the author of the document (14/01/1881) [11] where he documents in 5 grounds that it was still early a self- administration to be given to Batoum. [12]

In the following years K. Komarov had been a military member in various parts of the empire. In 1891 is designated as commandant of the castle of Warsaw (in Russian комендант Варшавской крепости). In 1902 he was appointed member of the Military Committee. Since 1908 he had been commandant of the castle of St. Petersburg (комендант Санкт-Петербургской крепости). In 1910 he was appointed General-Adjutant of the Emperor (генерал-адъютант к Его Императорскому Величеству). He died on 18/12/1912.

2. Alexei Michailovich Smekalov (Алексей Михайлович Смекалов (1838-1890), second and last governor-general of Batoum in the years 1881-1883.

Smekalov had to take on the difficult task of the approach of local population, since his predecessor had not left the best impressions. The authorities when they chose him for this position they based a lot on the positive aspects of his character (experience, great tact as governor, kindness). On his face they had placed great expectations. [13] Although he was Russian and a senior military officer, he knew and appreciated the Georgian culture, something very rare in the Russian Empire. Therefore, Smekalov is regarded a positive presence in Batoum’s history, on the development of which he had made enough effort. Generally, he was appreciated in Georgia. [14] As a Governor it seems that he had the good mood to approach and deal with the problems of the local population. [15] However, the situation was now so difficult, that imposed radical changes in the administrative system and not the mere replacement of an unsuitable Governor. [16]

In 1856 he graduated from the Military School (Кадетский корпус) of Moscow. In 1861 was appointed in Tbilisi and so he was actively involved in the last phase of the Caucasian Wars. [17] Towards the end of his career he acquired the office of General-Lieutenant (1886).

After the abolition of the post of Military Governor in Batoum (1883) Smekalov was transferred to the same post in Kutaisi [18] (01/07/1883-11/02/1887). He died in Vladikavlaz or in Grozny [19] (Northern Caucasus) in 1890. Smekalov married twice (1868 and 1888), as he widowed in 1882. From his first marriage he had four children. Probably his family lived and his descendants still live in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.  [20]

 


[1] See analytically the details on his biography in the following websites: http://funeral-spb.ru/necropols/komendantskoe/komarov_kv/ Also http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/347249 and in Russian wikipedia the template «Комаров, Константин Виссарионович».

2] These wars are divided into three phases: 1rst phase (1817-1829), 2nd phase (1830-1856), 3rd phase (1856-1864). For the role of the senior Georgian military officials in the subjugation of the Caucasian tribes see А. Н. Петров, «Русская военная сила» [A. N. Petrov, “Russian Military Power”], 2nd vol. Imperial Russia from 1689 to 1891, (Moscow: 1892), p. 306 and p. 307-310.

[3] See details on http://funeral-spb.ru/necropols/komendantskoe/komarov_kv/

[4] ო. თურმანიძე, რუსული მმართველობის სისტემა და მხარის კოლონიზაცია [O. Turmanidze, “The system of the Russian administration and the colonization of the region”] in Essays on the history of Southwestern Georgia, p. 57. See all the details (chronological and military) on his role in this war http://funeral-spb.ru/necropols/komendantskoe/komarov_kv/ for his accomplishments he was called “hero of Kars” http://funeral-spb.ru/necropols/komendantskoe/komarov_kv/.

[5] ფ. ქარდავა,ბათუმი ხელიდან ხელში - ბრიტანული არქივებიდან [P. Kardava, “Batoum in several hands”], available in Georgian in http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com (under the category “From the British Archives”).

[6] ს. მესხი, წერილები აჭარაზე [S. Meskhi , Publications on Adjara], რ. სურმანიძე [R. Surmanidze ed.-comments-remarks-indexes], (Batoum: 2000), p. 126.

[7] He expressed the general mood of the official Russia which considered the local population as “barbarians and fanatics”. O. Turmanidze, “The system of the Russian administration”, ibid, p. 62.

[8] O. Turmanidze, “The system of the Russian administration”, ibid, p. 59.

[9] ვ. სიჭინავა, ბათუმის ისტორიიდან (რუსეთთან შეერთება და სოციალურ-ეკონომიური განვითარება 1878-1907 წლებში) [V. Sitchinava, From the history of Batoum’s integration with Russia and socio-economic development 1878-1907], (Batoum: 1958), pp. 81-82.

[10] V. Sitchinava, From the history of Batoum, ibid p. 82. Although there is evidence presenting him as a generous and fair man. A. Frenkel describes a very interesting incident. K. Komarov not only defended with a touching willingness a local woman but he also offered her generously help. А. Френкель, Очерки Чурук-Су и Ватума [A. Frenkel, Essays on Churuk-Su and Batoum], (Tbilisi: 1879), p. 81.

[11] The document is signed by the military Governor of Batoum without being mentioned by name.

[12] Indicatively we will refer to the third reason which according to the document is the unstable and diverse population consisting not only of many nationalities/religions, that although they are not hostile, they are certainly not friendly to each other. CSHAG, Archive 416, Directory 3, File 820, lists 4-6. From the style of the document is evident that the author didn’t harbor very friendly feelings towards the locals.

[13] ტ. კოპალეიშვილი, „საქალაქო თვითმმარველობის გამოცხადება ბათუმში 1888 წ. [T. Kopaleishvili, Proclamation of the self-administration of the city of Batoum in 1888], საისტორიო მაცნე (Istoricheskii vestnik) 11 (2002) ბსუ- State University of Batoum, p. 71.

[14]რ. მსხილაძე, ლიბერალი გუბერნატორი [R. Mskhiladze, “Liberal Governor”], Newspaper აჭარა (Atchara), 15-16/09/2011, n. 106, available on the website http://gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1177:2011-09-18-15-02-17&catid=102:1516-106&Itemid=143

[15] In his article «Batoum and its people”, S. Meskhi mentions an incident. As soon as Smekalov arrived in town, he gathered the local aristocracy to ask if people were happy with the new regime. Someone by the name Beg replied that everything was fine and well and if anything, an amazing thing they learned from Russians the word: “tomorrow”. Smekalov laughed at Beg’s sagacity who concluded with his funny comment: “we pray to Allah not to learn the word “the day after tomorrow” in your hands”. ს. მესხი (S. Meskhi), Essays on Adjara, p. 181. It seems that the word завтра (tomorrow) had tired and annoyed in general the local population, “some officials like Paternoster have learned by heart and repeat “tomorrow-tomorrow”. Newspaper დროება (Droeba), 16/01/1882, n. 10, p. 3.

[16] V. Sitchinava, From the history of Batoum, p. 82.

[17] R. Mskhiladze, “Liberal Governor”, newspaper Atchara, 15-16/09/2011. A little is known about him, as there is no template either in the Georgian, or in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Some information we drew from the website of the imperial Russian army http://regiment.ru/bio/S/373.htm, which however mentions nothing about his activity in Georgia. According to these information, Smekalov before his appointment in Batoum participated in the campaigns of the Russian Empire in Central Asia in 1866 and 1871, and in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. While according to the report of the Georgian newspaper Atchara, Smekalov excelled in the Caucasian wars. R. Mskhiladze, “Liberal Governor”, 15-16/09/2011. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Smekalov had taken an active role in Georgia and the Caucasus’ wider area.

[18] O. Turmanidze, “The system of the Russian administration”, p. 57.

[19] Both cities are mentioned in Northern Caucasus, Vladikavkaz on http://regiment.ru/bio/S/373.htm, while Grozny in the publication of the newspaper Atchara, R. Mskhiladze, “Liberal Governor”, 15-16/09/2011.

[20] R. Mskhiladze, “Liberal Governor”, newspaper Atchara, 15-16/09/2011.


References

English language

 

Websites:

http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/347249

http://funeral-spb.ru/necropols/komendantskoe/komarov_kv/

http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com

http://regiment.ru/bio/S/373.htm (website of the Russian Imperial Army)

Archival sources:

CSHAG: Central State Historical Archive of Georgia, Archive 416, Directory 3, File 820.

Newpapers:

Newspaper დროება (Droeba), 16/01/1882, no 10.

Newspaper აჭარა (Atchara), 15-16/09/2011 n. 106, available in http://gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1177:2011-09-18-15-02-17&catid=102:1516-106&Itemid=143

Bibliography:

- ფ. ქარდავა,ბათუმი ხელიდან ხელში - ბრიტანული არქივებიდან“ [P. Kardava, “Batoum in several hands”], available in Georgian in http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com (in the category from “From the British archives”).

- ტ. კოპალეიშვილი, „საქალაქო თვითმმარველობის გამოცხადება ბათუმში 1888 წ.“ [T. Kopaleishvili, “Proclamation of the self-administration of the city of Batoum in 1888], საისტორიო მაცნე (Istoricheskii vestnik) 11 (2002) ბსუ- State University of Batoum).

- ს. მესხი, წერილები აჭარაზე [S. Meskhi, Publications on Adjara], რ. სურმანიძე R. Surmanidze (ed.-comments-remarks-indexes), (Batoum: 2000).

რ. მსხილაძე, „ლიბერალი გუბერნატორი [R. Mskhiladze, “Liberal Governor”], Newspaper აჭარა (Atchara), n. 106, 15-16 of September, 2011, available on the website http://gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1177:2011-09-18-15-02-17&catid=102:1516-106&Itemid=143

- (А. Н. Петров), (генерал-майор), «Русская военная сила» A. [N. Petrov, “Russian Military Power”], 2nd vol. “Imperial Russia from 1689 to 1891”, (Moscow: 1892).

- ვ. სიჭინავა, ბათუმის ისტორიიდან (რუსეთთან შეერთება და სოციალურ-ეკონომიური განვითარება 1878-1907 წლებში) [V. Sitchinava, From the history of Batoum’s integration with Russia and socio-economic development 1878-1907], (Batoum: 1958).

- ო. თურმანიძე, „რუსული მმართველობის სისტემა და მხარის კოლონიზაცია“ [O. Turmanidze, “The system of Russian administration and the colonization of the area”] in Essays on the history of Southwestern Georgia.

- А. Френкель, Очерки Чурук-Су и Ватума [A. Frenkel, Essays on Churuk-Su and Batoum], (Tbilisi: 1879).


Ελληνική γλώσσα (in greek language)

 

Websites:

http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/347249

http://funeral-spb.ru/necropols/komendantskoe/komarov_kv/

http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com

http://regiment.ru/bio/S/373.htm (ιστοσελίδα του ρωσικού αυτοκρατορικού στρατού)

Archival sources:

ΚΚΙΑΓ: Κεντρικό Κρατικό Ιστορικό Αρχείο της Γεωργίας, Αρχείο 416, Κατάλογος 3, Φάκελος 820.

Εφημερίδες:

Εφημερίδα დროება (Droeba), 16/01/1882, # 10.

Εφημερίδα აჭარა (Atchara), 15-16/09/2011 αρ. 106, διαθέσιμο στο http://gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1177:2011-09-18-15-02-17&catid=102:1516-106&Itemid=143

Bibliography:

- ფ. ქარდავა,ბათუმი ხელიდან ხელში - ბრიტანული არქივებიდან“ [P. Kardava, «Το Βατούμ σε διάφορα χέρια»], διαθέσιμο στα γεωργιανά στο http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com (στην κατηγορία «Από τα βρετανικά αρχεία»).

- ტ. კოპალეიშვილი, „საქალაქო თვითმმარველობის გამოცხადება ბათუმში 1888 წ.“ [T. Kopaleishvili, «Ανακήρυξη της αυτοδιοίκησης της πόλης στο Βατούμ το 1888»], საისტორიო მაცნე (Ιστορικό μηνύτωρ) 11 (2002) ბსუ- Κρατικό Πανεπιστήμιο του Βατούμ).

- ს. მესხი, წერილები აჭარაზე [S. Meskhi, Δημοσιεύματα για την Ατζαρία], რ. სურმანიძე [R. Surmanidze επιμ.-σχόλια-παρατηρήσεις-ευρετήρια], (Βατούμ: 2000).

- რ. მსხილაძე, „ლიბერალი გუბერნატორი“ [R. Mskhiladze, «Φιλελεύθερος Κυβερνήτης»], Εφημερίδα აჭარა (Atchara),αρ. 106, 15-16 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2011, διαθέσιμο στο διαδίκτυο http://gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1177:2011-09-18-15-02-17&catid=102:1516-106&Itemid=143

- A. N. Petrov, (генерал-майор), «Русская военная сила» [А. Н. Петров, «Ρωσική Στρατιωτική Ισχύς»], τ. 2ος «Αυτοκρατορική Ρωσία από το 1689 μέχρι το 1891», (Μόσχα: 1892).

- ვ. სიჭინავა, ბათუმის ისტორიიდან (რუსეთთან შეერთება და სოციალურ-ეკონომიური განვითარება 1878-1907 წლებში) [V. Sitchinava, Από την ιστορία του Βατούμ (ενσωμάτωση με τη Ρωσία και κοινωνικοοικονομική ανάπτυξη 1878-1907], (Βατούμ: 1958).

- ო. თურმანიძე, „რუსული მმართველობის სისტემა და მხარის კოლონიზაცია“ [O. Turmanidze, «Το σύστημα της ρωσικής διοίκησης και ο εποικισμός της περιοχής»], στο Δοκίμια για την ιστορία της ΝΔ Γεωργίας.

- А. Френкель, Очерки Чурук-Су и Ватума [A. Frenkel, Δοκίμια για το Churuk-Su και Βατούμ], (Τιφλίδα: 1879).


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