Twice forgotten St. George post

Lipka Commemoration at the Monument to St. George’s Post

After the death of St. George’s post, the fallen heroes were buried in different places. One part of them, together with the commander Yefim Gorbatko, rested in the cemetery of the village of Neberdzhaevskaya. Others, as it later turned out, were less fortunate, they were buried in the Neberdzhaevskaya valley near the river, which later washed away the graves. Immediately after the funeral, the question of erecting a monument at the site of the post was raised, but for many years the place of the battle remained unnamed.

The sad fate of the Neberdzhaevsky monument

The history of the monument to St. George’s Lent is sad. After the funeral in 1862, the construction of the monument and the collection of money for its construction were entrusted to the military sergeant major Vasily Stepanovich Varenik. Vasily Stepanovich, it should be noted, got down to business with full responsibility. Throwing a cry for the Cossacks, the foreman began collecting funds. But the region was just beginning to settle down, new settlements of Cossack settlers appeared, who still had to establish a life for their families, so the amount collected was not even enough for a memorial plate befitting a feat.

But Vasily Stepanovich did not stop there. His enthusiasm was fueled by the fact that initially the governor of the Caucasus, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich Romanov, took part in this matter. Later, this participation will be indicated in the inscription on the monument. However, when the foreman turned to the command with a proposal to add military funds to the collected money, he was refused. No matter how much Vasily Stepanovich tried, everything was useless. Finally, he had to hand over all the collected money to the Army Board. Such injustice in relation to the fallen heroes is explained by the fact that the Caucasian war was rolling to an end, the state budget bore the burden of the development of the Caucasus, as well as the resettlement of some of the highlanders, who for the most part voluntarily left these lands and left for the Ottoman Empire.

It would seem that history was forgotten, but Nikita Ivanovich Vishnevetsky began the struggle to perpetuate the memory of the Cossacks. While still a 20-year-old sergeant, Vishnevetsky, having obtained permission from his superiors, arrives in Novorossiysk and, spending his own funds, conducts a survey of Circassians sailing to the Port, witnesses of the events at the St. George’s post. The future Major General Vishnevetsky is one of those almost forgotten personalities, thanks to whom the memory of the heroes of the Caucasian War has been preserved. He is the author of many essays, including the fate of the centurion Gorbatko and his brothers in arms. In the latter, he directly points out that “the only purpose of this article of mine is to raise once again the question of raising the monument.”

But the years passed, some wars were replaced by others, and Neberjay continued to preserve the terrible fate of the lonely fortification. By 1888, when Vishnevetsky once again raised the issue of the monument, the graves of the soldiers of the St.George post near the Neberdzhai River were already washed out, and the fortification itself was torn down, turning into an unprepossessing embankment. Only in 1900, the case of Nikita Ivanovich to perpetuate the memory of the Cossack scouts of the post ended in success. On September 4, 1900, in the presence of a large crowd of people, the long-awaited monument to St. George’s Fast was opened. By that time, Vishnevetsky was already a general, a historian and a well-known patron of the arts in Yekaterinodar.

Monument to Gorbatko and his comrades in the village of Neberdzhaevskaya

Here the author is forced to note the following fact. In many materials, the installation of the monument is dated to 1882. However, the most prominent initiator of the installation of this monument, General Vishnevetsky, who visited Neberjai more than once, claims in his essays that even in 1888 there was no monument yet, so the date of 1900 is rather correct.

Until 1920, young Cossacks took the oath at the monument on the site of St. George’s post. But the bloody wind of the Russian hard times blew out this glorious tradition, and the monument remained abandoned.

The doctrinaire of Soviet historiography

The author does not want to discredit the Soviet period of power in our state, but at the same time with enormous gains and indisputable successes, extremely specific problematic phenomena multiplied at that time. So, in order to strengthen the position of the new government, Soviet historians quickly hung the label of colonialism on the last stage of the Caucasian War, despite the fact that the hostile highlanders were financed by the capitalist opponents of the Soviet government from France, Britain, etc.

The doctrinaire impulses of Soviet historians of the Caucasian War reached the point of absurdity. Thus, the Soviet Caucasian scholar Leonid Ivanovich Lavrov was so imbued with the doctrines of his time that in his work “Ubykh” in 1937 he not only denounced tsarism and the Russian colonial (!) Troops, but also managed to weave Karl Marx and his ideology into his work, mentioning it more often than the name of Haji Berzek, the leader of the Ubykhs and the initiator of their resettlement to Turkey.

After such indoctrination, is it any wonder that some monuments to the heroes of the Caucasian War were literally rolled into concrete! For example, the monument to the heroic defense of the Mikhailovsky fortification and its main characters, Arkhip Osipov and Captain Liko, was not just blown up in Vladikavkaz: the valuable material of the memorial was later used to pave one of the stairs of the central park of culture and recreation.

In this situation, the only thing that saved the monument to St. George’s post was its location – a mountain gorge far from the main roads, hidden by rugged forests. The monument, happily forgotten at the direction of the new doctrinaires, wishing to curry favor with the authorities, quietly passed beyond the Markoth ridge.

Twice forgotten St. George post

The next time he was captured on film thanks to … the Germans. The Nazis decided that the place around the monument, on top of which the cross was erected, was just right for the burial of German soldiers. And a German cemetery appeared around the memorial to Russian Cossacks-Plastuns.

In 1943, our troops drove the Nazi invaders out of Novorossiysk and the entire Krasnodar Territory, and the monument again plunged into sad oblivion.

In 1954, the construction of the Neberdzhaevsky reservoir began, which Novorossiysk badly needed. A monument to the Cossacks also fell into the flood zone. It would seem that nothing more prevented from simply flooding this area, nothing and no one, except the builders themselves. Neberjai was erected by front-line soldiers who did not suffer from the doctrinaire of officials. Therefore, without unnecessary noise and public discussion, the monument was carefully moved from the flooded zone to a safe place, where it is now.

Graves in the old cemetery of the Neberdzhaevskaya stanitsa

As the author has already indicated, some of the Cossacks found their last refuge in the cemetery in the village of Neberdzhaevskaya. At the same time, a brave Cossack woman, Gorbatko’s wife, was buried separately from her husband, who was buried along with her comrades in arms. A special monument was also erected over their grave – a large metal cross, the only one in the entire Neberdzhaevsky cemetery of that time. But this monument not only shared the fate of the long-forgotten memorial in the Neberdzhaevsky gorge, it actually ceased to exist.

Local enthusiasts only after lengthy interviews with local old-timers were able to find the burial of the Cossacks. There was no longer a trace of the metal cross, only oak boards remained, which were installed on top of the grave, because because of the stony ground, the grave turned out to be shallow – no more than 70 centimeters.

In 2006, the restoration of the monument to the Cossack heroes began in the village of Neberdzhaevskaya. The monument was restored by different people. And the Cossacks, like Alexander Otrishko, and just local residents. Finances also attracted either their own or caring fellow countrymen.

Monument at the grave of Gorbatko’s wife

Simultaneously with the restoration of the monument, the process of adopting the law of the Krasnodar Territory No. 1145-KZ “On the establishment of holidays and memorable dates in the Krasnodar Territory” began. According to this law, the first Saturday of September is set as the date of the Lipka Commemoration. On this day, both in the Neberdzhaevskaya valley and at the memorial cross in the village of Neberdzhaevskaya, Cossack events are held in memory, to which both the ataman KKV and the delegation of Cossacks from Taman, Tuapse, Gelendzhik and, of course, Novorossiysk came. Young Cossacks from the cadet corps again reached for this place.

The author hopes that this time the glorious history of the Fatherland will not be used for political purposes by either the Left, the Right, the White or the Red.

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