Autonomy is not just words
Adygea received the first number in the list of Russian regions not so long ago, when the letter designations of the republics, territories and regions were changed to digital ones. However, the first “alphabetical” number, it seems, to a large extent reflects the primacy of autonomy in the degree of loyalty and political reliability.
In a series of publications “Secrets of deportations” (“Secrets of deportations. Part 1. Ingush and Chechens”, “Secrets of deportations. Part 2. Karachais”), the authors of “Military Review” deliberately left Adygea outside the brackets. It is not by chance that Adygea has been considered the support of the regime in the region since the times of the USSR. Nonsense? Not at all. First of all, because it was in the Soviet period that this people first received national-administrative autonomy. This is a fundamental difference from the long period of Adygea’s stay in the Ottoman Empire, and then, already from the beginning of the 19th century, in the Russian Empire.
Moreover, as part of the USSR, the Adyghe autonomy has repeatedly expanded its territory, which in the conditions of the North Caucasus has a very special significance. The Soviet Circassians got the opportunity to preserve and enhance their history, culture, their language, which have become compulsory disciplines in the region in the field of education.
That is why it is not at all surprising that at the fronts, as well as in the partisan detachments of the Great Patriotic War, natives of Adyga and local residents showed unparalleled heroism. In those years, not only the mountains of South Adygea, but also its soldiers and partisans themselves became an immortal obstacle for the Nazis. They tried in vain to break through Adygea to the Black Sea coast of the North Caucasus and North Abkhazia.
Who remembered the deportation?
There was deportation in the history of Adygea, but not under Soviet rule, but back in the 19th century, immediately after the end of the more than 40-year Caucasian war. In it, as you know, the Circassians were by no means in the last place among the fighters for freedom from the “White Tsar”. It is for this that they paid for the deportation to Turkey of at least 40 thousand compatriots.
Taking into account the historical memory of the Circassians, already during the Great Patriotic War in Berlin and Ankara it was believed that the war with Russia and the expulsion to Turkey left a significant mark on the political consciousness of the people. Moreover, by the beginning of the Soviet period in Adygea itself there were no more than a quarter of the Adygs scattered around the world.
However, thanks to the carefully calibrated Soviet policy specifically in Adygea, the hopes that its inhabitants would form the vanguard of the Islamic-nationalist SS battalion or the Wehrmacht failed. But even the option of including units from the Circassians in the composition of the Turkish troops, preparing for the invasion of the Caucasus in 1941-1943, was considered.
Everything happened exactly the opposite: on the eve of the invasion of the Wehrmacht in the summer of 1942, it was the Circassians who practically destroyed the oil and gas fields in the territory of Adygea. At the same time, part of the mining equipment was even evacuated to the Turkmen port of Krasnovodsk, where from 1942 to 1946. worked Tuapse oil refinery.
By the way, a number of oil and gas production facilities in Adygea have not been restored until now. But among them there are quite numerous wells and deposits of “white” oil – an almost complete analogue of high-quality gasoline. Such deposits are also found in nearby Khadyzhensk, Apsheronsk and Neftegorsk. This, by the way, led to the fact that in Adygea it was not required, and even now it is not required to create large oil refining facilities.
Hitler in April 1942 broadcast: “If I do not get oil from Maikop, Grozny or Baku, I will be forced to end this war.” But it did not happen: only Romanian oil and synthetic fuel from the coal of Silesia and the Ruhr “saved” the Nazis.
But the Nazi and Pan-Turkist strategists did not take into account that after 1917, Moscow’s policy towards the Circassians, at the initiative of the People’s Commissar of Nationalities Joseph Stalin and the Bolshevik curator of the Caucasus, Sergo Ordzhonikidze, radically changed. Considering the political geography of Adygea, the country’s leadership, we repeat, decided to pursue a course for the most favorable possible for the Adygs.
For example, the Adyghe-ethnic groups that were on the Black Sea coast were not only not resettled or deported: they were allowed to settle in Adygea itself. Until 1938, Adyghe schools remained in those areas of the coast, newspapers were published in the national language. And collectivization both there and in Adygea itself took place more formally than actually.
Perhaps that is why the Circassians did not help the invaders find the shortest mountain routes to Sochi, Tuapse and Adler. Again, everything turned out the other way around: the overwhelming majority of the local population helped partisans, special units of the NKVD, or independently created partisan groups. Pan-Turkist propaganda also provoked a backlash in Adygea: Turkish emissaries worked in Adygea at that time, but most of them were identified by local residents.
It is worth recalling that out of a relatively small number of residents of Adygea (about 160 thousand in 1941), during the Great Patriotic War, 52 servicemen of this autonomy became Heroes of the Soviet Union, and 15 thousand Adygs were awarded orders and medals for military and labor exploits.
Now one can only regret that in the popular, thousands of copies of the guide to the resort capital of the Caucasus (“Sochi: city guide”, Krasnodar, 1962) does not say a word about the role of Adygea and the Circassians in the successful defense of Sochi, Tuapse, and indeed the entire Black Sea coast of the RSFSR. There is also no story about strengthening the defense capability of the northwestern borders of neighboring Georgia, about the active actions of partisans in the Russian Black Sea region …
Soon after the war, on December 5, 1949, the bureau of the USSR State Planning Committee approved the project submitted by the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR for the construction of a new Transcaucasian steel highway Adygea (Khadzhokh) – Krasnaya Polyana – Sochi with a length of almost 70 km.
The corresponding decision noted:
“Due to the growing congestion of the routes of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasian railways along the Black Sea coast, blockages may soon arise both on these routes and on the approaches to them from the side of adjoining railways. In addition, there are only two operating between the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. from each other, there are steel lines along the coast of the Black and Caspian Seas, which no longer meets the growing needs for transportation between these regions. “
This decision confirmed, first of all, the fact that the Soviet governing structures favored the Adyghe autonomy, which was then part of the Krasnodar Territory of the RSFSR. True, the construction of that road, begun in 1951, was interrupted in March 1953, as allegedly “premature and costly.” Then construction was resumed in 1972 and 1981 (in the direction of Adler, adjacent to Georgia), but both times it was canceled almost two or three weeks after the start of work. This was not least due to the position of the Georgian authorities.
The leadership of the Georgian SSR, very “influential” in Moscow, lobbied from the beginning of the 70s for the projects of a new Transcaucasian railway. to Georgia through Checheno-Ingushetia and along the Georgian Military Highway (i.e. through North Ossetia). In 1982, the second option was chosen, construction began in 1984. But soon Tbilisi was worried about the “excessive penetration” of the RSFSR into Georgia, and a year later the construction was stopped.
It remains to recall the borders of Adygea, which, unlike a number of other regions of the North Caucasus, did not become a problem. So, with the formation of the USSR, Adygea for the beginning (1922-1928) was united with the kindred Circassia – within the framework of the borders where the Russian-Adyghe war was going on. Then they decided that such a “scale” of the autonomous region would be an unsafe reminder of the former borders of this region-ethnos.
Therefore, in 1928, it was decided to separate Adygea from Karachay-Cherkessia by the territory of the Krasnodar Territory (Shedok – Psebay – Krasnaya Polyana region). And at the end of the 30s, this Autonomous Region, with its capital in the city of Koshekhabl (central region of Adygea), was included in the Krasnodar Territory. The territory of the region then amounted to no more than 5.1 thousand square meters. km.
Already in the second half of the 1930s, along with the increasingly active development of the local economy and social sphere (for example, the state, for example, since the late 1920s even subsidized citrus and tea growing, experiments with cotton growing and the cultivation of olive trees), on the initiative of Stalin, territorial increments of the Adyghe Autonomous Okrug.
First of all, she received the large neighboring city of the Krasnodar Territory, Maikop, which became the capital of Adygea in April 1936. And in February 1941, the mountainous Kamennomostsky district of the same region with the center in the city of the same name, bordering Abkhazia, became the Adyghe. The stone bridge was soon renamed in the Adyghe style – Khadzhokh. By the way, large reserves of high-quality gold-bearing ore, silver, chromium, vanadium were explored in this area even before the war. But they are not being developed to this day.
Finally, at the end of April 1962, the entire Tula region of the Krasnodar Territory with the center of the same name (southeast of Maykop) was included in Adygea. However, the Russian population, prevailing in the districts transferred to Adygea, was not evicted from there to maintain the ethnopolitical balance in this AO. Therefore, today the share of Russians and Russian-speaking in the total number of residents of Adygea is about 60%, Circassians and related ethnic groups – over a third.
As a result, the territory of the Adyghe Autonomous Okrug increased to almost 8 thousand square meters. km. It remains so today. In addition, in the late 1960s, the republic gained direct access to one of the largest in the south of the RSFSR, the Krasnodar reservoir, located off the Kuban coast of the Enem (western) region of Adygea. And by 1963, one of the so-called trans-North Caucasian steel highways (TSKM) began to pass through the same Enem.
Is it any wonder that the rates of economic growth in this region and the rise in the cultural and educational level of the population here were among the highest in the North Caucasus until the early 1970s? It is clear that measures similar to those described above were aimed primarily at making the Circassians from once “selfless” opponents of Russia to become her strong allies.