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Impact of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 on the discussion in the Russian periodical press in the state of the army and its logistics
Material posted: Publication date: 31-10-2016
It is well known that during the last Russo-Turkish war surfaced many shortcomings in the organization of army rear, in General, of the army and of warfare. All this could not pass the public opinion. Wrote prominent Russian researcher O. V. Orlik, "In the course of the war destroyed jingoistic sentiment inherent in the first large part of the officers, the army increasingly began to manifest oppositional and even revolutionary views." The public mood was reflected in the pages of periodicals.

For example, monitoring known domestic AA Alapaev in the articles of the correspondent of "Herald of Europe", E. I. Utin, aimed at the Balkan theatre of war, armed conflict with Turkey was portrayed not as easy as it seemed to autocracy. Obsolete weapons, lack of ammunition, lack of organization of headquarters, the lack of secured rear, theft quartermasters, poor performance of technical services, communications, mail, Telegraph, the negligence of military medical administration, the incompetence of many commanders, the numerous and senseless human sacrifices, etc. – all this found reflection in the publications of duck1.

Publicists of "Bulletin of Europe", journal traditionally part of the liberal press, he has stated manifested during the war, the overall lack of order in the army2, bad connection between parts of the military, overall, a bad system of military device3. E. I. Utin, in the midst of troops besieging Pleven, also wrote about the absence of "head case", the overall coherence and coordination in the army.

Comparing the Russian-Turkish and Crimean wars, internal browser "Bulletin of Europe" L. A. Polonsky expressed the opinion that if 1853-1856 lack of service troops and a bad device management army ("especially on the part of care for the sick and wounded") was, according to General Bogdanovich is only a secondary reason for the defeat in the 1877-1878 aforementioned disadvantages "presented in the relation is the reverse of what is defined for the Crimean war her respected historian", i.e. were the primary cause of failure4.

In the newspaper "the Voice" (also referred to the print of the liberal direction) also tried to generalize as manifested in the war disadvantages: if the acquisition and reached Russia in the war the results do not meet "expectations, should we not look for the reason for this frustration somewhere closer, in themselves, in the hyperbole of military success, purchased at the cost of unparalleled courage and self-sacrifice of the Russian army"5. Comparing the rating of the Russian public opinion the Russian-Turkish war with a reflection of the Franco-Prussian campaign of 1870-1871. the German Newspapers, the publishers of "the Voice" say: "Open another Russian newspaper, talk to the majority of the Russian people – near the gnashing of teeth about the results of the Berlin meeting, as the results only by the occasional diplomatic missteps, you will read and hear a sharp expose extreme abuses and confusion in the quartermaster part, in the railway and postal orders, without which it is impossible the correct conduct of war in our time, will meet with news of the sad confusion of all the administrative part of the army, smote her in the midst of the most brilliant victories. In 1870 and 1871, the years, German Newspapers are all, without exception political shades not happened to report such facts, but rather had only to marvel at the fabulous precision and health of all military and civilian units of the army"6.

The criticism of the system of logistic supply of troops and related the many abuses of commissaries and contractors in varying degrees, are reflected on the pages before us publications7. Writers "Voice" and "Bulletin of Europe" in this case, as has already been mentioned in the previous paragraph, disillusioned with the existing system of contract, offered to carry out the supply of the army forces of Zemstvos under the control of the public8. It is also possible that this idea of wider involvement of public forces to the organization of military logistics, the journalists came, watching the unprecedented momentum that took the war to collect donations for the army and the red cross: "By the end of 1877 was collected about 10 million rubles. These funds were created hospitals, military hospitals, was formed by sanitary trains and troops"9. In one of the rooms Moscow Gazette, the newspaper of the conservative movement, publicist A. Zisserman based on their own experience of service in the Caucasus, shared the point of view of "Voice" on the imperfection of the uniforms of our troops in the war and, especially, about the dangers of the lack of soldiers coats10.

Disadvantages of weapons of Russian troops was reflected in the pages of "the Bulletin of Europe"11. In one of the January numbers of the "Moscow news" published an article by M. A. Savel'eva "Letter to the publisher" where the author expresses the opinion that the last Russo-Turkish campaign is still more than the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871. "proved how important the outcome of the battle has firearms in General and artillery in particular"12. Saveliev makes a prediction about a further decrease in the values of bladed weapons on the battlefield and the growing role of firearms, artillery and fortifications13. Journalists of Moscow newspaper believed that the Russo-Turkish war taught not to spare cartridges "no in peace time for a thorough training of the soldier, nor in battle"14. "But why would having scoresare weapons, asked journalists, – if to think only about saving bullets and all means to achieve to make the fire chain more rare"15. In another article, "About the battle of Plevna" contains criticism of the interaction of the armed forces during hostilities, but at the same time it is stated that in the second half of the campaign officers have used the experience of her first months and acted "much systematicae and Sobranie with the conditions of modern warfare"16.

Liberals "Bulletin of Europe" also highlighted the backwardness of the Russian military thinking from the achievements of world art of war in the tactics of warfare, which was confirmed at Plevna (in particular, slightly below contained a hint of lack of use in combat firearms)17.

On the pages of periodicals was drawn to the poor equipment of troops entrenching tool18 and the need for training of troops "zemlerobstva", the construction of field fortifications19, it was noted the superiority of the Turkish troops over the Russian army in the art of fortification and artillery20. Writers of "the Voice" wrote on overdue the results of the war the need for changes in cavalry and artillery21.

The Russo-Turkish war revealed the weaknesses of military hospitals. As he wrote to O. V. Orlik: "the works of famous Russian doctors (had been at the front), the cost of the country and penetrating her in the most remote places, staffed by doctors, not only contributed to the dissemination of advanced medical knowledge, but also the excitement of public opinion, the growth of opposition to autocratic order. Throughout the war, there was the issue of medical personnel in the army"22.

And conservative and liberal publications have raised the question of poor household furnishings, supplies and the low effectiveness of Russian military hospitals, significantly inferior to foreign hospitals in Romania, and in particular the red cross hospitals23. What would a "mobile military hospitals without the assistance of the hospitals of red cross society" asks one of Ferris, L. A., polonskii24. Writers Moscow newspaper because of the news about the poor condition of military hospitals was proposed to divide the latter into two categories – easily wounded with their speedy evacuation to Russia and severely injured. The last category of hospitals was supplied with all the necessary better than the first and have more numerous medical персоналом25. The journalists of "the Moscow sheets" when it was proposed to establish a normal hospital supply by attracting a broad public charity, called from the pages of his газеты26. Journalist of "Vestnik Evropy" AA Gene in his article noted the lack of stage in the hospital pharmacy, bandages27, noted the unsatisfactory preparation of health personnel in these health centres28. He also noted the importance of the presence of private medical institutions in war29. In one of the rooms of the Moscow newspaper published an article indicating "on some deficiencies and inconsistencies in the evacuation of the sick and wounded" with a wish to correct them in the future30. "The voice" established the fact that insufficient aid to the wounded on the battlefields of31.

"Moscow news", comparing the levels of organization of military mail in the Russian army in 1877-1878, and in the Prussian army in 1870-1871., leads to disappointing conclusions about the lack of coherence and efficiency of our postal Affairs in contrast to the German32. About the abuse and troubles in the activities of the Russian military addresses mentioned in the pages of "Voices"33. The same newspaper wrote about the war revealed the shortcomings in the organization of transport of troops by rail34. Periodicals had seen on their pages so many questions on the results of the Russo-Turkish war that identified deficiencies in the transport of troops by rail was given a relatively small place in the press. Meanwhile, well-known Soviet historian of the economy of tsarist Russia A. P. Pogrebinsky noted that weakness and "poor performance of rail transport with particular force effect during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, the Imperial government, in preparation for a new war, "did not take into account the lessons of the Crimean war,"35. Even in the official publication of the Committee of Ministers noted that the weakness of the Russian Railways "with particular clarity affected in the period of political complications, 1876-1878., when we had to mobilize our troops. Almost complete unpreparedness of the national rail ways to the fulfilment of this difficult and responsible tasks was one of the main reasons that led the government to doubt the normality of the existing train order"36. After the Russo-Turkish war the war Department was constantly put before the Imperial government the question of the expansion of the network of strategic Railways37.

The journalist "the Moscow Vedomosti" A. Zisserman noted the urgent political and military need for a speedy establishment of railway communication with the South Caucasus (the Caspian sea), considering this event as an issue "of paramount public importance and urgency" after "the Turk is our neighbour in Asia Minor were the protectors of Turkey, Affairs in Central Asia evidently leads us to the direct neighborhood with the same ubiquitous "British interests" and when...the decision of the fatal issue is coming with quick steps, and the warnings and instructions fault no." Thus, continuing to count and in 1879 the Eastern question unresolved and being in expectation of a possible new conflict (now with the European coalition), they advocated the need to strengthen the position of the Empire in its strategic region38.

By observation of the famous Russian historian N. And. Tsimbaev, publicists Moscow newspaper on the eve of the Berlin Congress to the most pressing issues for the country brought the need to enhance their position in the Black sea basin to such an extent to be quiet for the economic future of the entire Russian South39. For these purposes, Moscow journalists felt the need to revive the black sea fleet, making it strong enough to ensure reliable protection of the black sea coast40. Presumably to implement the same plans in the Moscow newspaper eventually began to appear articles that discussed the possible role of torpedoes in guarding the sea coast41.

After the war, the press also touched on the issue of financing for the construction of the Navy. "The voice" thought that if in war-time "donations for cruisers" is quite justified by the emergency situation, in time of peace "it would be wrong to expect that the needs of the Navy must be addressed is not about the right of consumable budget, but what about donations"42. "Moscow news", on the contrary, in response to these arguments, implying that the priority in the construction of military courts should be given private donations: "the Government for a lot of things can not take from their funds, while the efforts of individuals, guided by faith, knowledge and experience, outline ways and not pave the road to state"43.

In addition, journalists of the Moscow editions pay attention to the fact that if the rearmament of the army and, in General, the upgrading of its material part was not completed by the war, the newly introduced universal military service (1874) "it is already enough to be utilized by the people" and reform that brought to an end44. In one of the rooms in January of 1878 they were also a little controversy with the "Voice", or rather his publicist E. L. Markov, allowed the possibility of introducing repurchase of military service. Moscow conservatives believed such unacceptable45.

Publicists of "Bulletin of Europe", in addition to all the above, criticized applied to the case plan for the war on the Balkan theatre of war, believing that producing an incorrect calculation of the forces of the enemy, the command was allocated for a campaign beyond the Danube to the insufficient number of troops, the miss the most, according to journalists, the possibility of a quick victory over the enemy46: "the Calculation was that with a 200-thousand army, we quickly go back in the summer to Adrianople, and when this calculation was error per 100 thousand people, it was taken into account the possibility of the resumption of a strong offensive in the spring of"47. "Was based, complete thought publicists, – the original is based on incorrect information about the properties of the Turkish armed forces? Allowed this account the possibility of a quick solution to the war brave the onslaught of the forward part of the Danube army in 200 people? we can't answer these questions otherwise than in the affirmative, as this was justified by the facts,"48.

Thus, from the foregoing it is quite apparent that the lessons of the Russo-Turkish war most directly caused the Russian printing wide discussion and criticism of the organization of military Affairs and warfare in the last campaign. It is noteworthy that in contrast to the debate on the issues of political order and the economy, the opinions of conservative and liberal publications on the organization of military Affairs in the last war often not only not opposed to each other, but actually going in one direction. "Moskovskie Vedomosti", traditionally placing a high value on foreign policy and being after the Russo-Turkish war in anticipation of a new conflict over the unresolved Eastern question, were no less liberal press are interested in improving the military unit of the Empire, and therefore, carefully and critically applied to the study of the experience of the last campaign.

While agreeing in General on any question of publication in different directions sometimes differed from each other by the tone of the narrative: opinions of conservatives differed with optimism, intention to smooth the corners, on the contrary, the liberals did not hesitate to exacerbate the issue. Few questions on the Russian military system between the conservative and liberal agencies have been controversy. The first question concerned the principles of financing the construction of the Navy, the second – the possibility of repurchase from performance of military duty.

The list of sources

  1. Lapaev A. A. Russo-Turkish война1877–1878 in the magazine "Herald of Europe" // history of the USSR. 1984. No. 4. P. 144.
  2. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 1. S. 396, 399.
  3. Ibid. S. 399-400.
  4. Ibid. P. 399.
  5. "The voice". 1878. July 2.
  6. Ibid. The 4th of July.
  7. Ibid. March 26; "the Moscow Vedomosti". 1878. July 30, 23 October; "Herald of Europe". 1878. kN. 3. S. 388, 390.
  8. "The voice". 1878. March 26; "the Bulletin of Europe". 1878. kN. 3. S. 390.
  9. Konstantinov, F. T., Koren'kov, A. M. Friendship, time tested. M., 1978. P.37.
  10. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. January 12.
  11. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 1. Pp. 396 – 398.
  12. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. January 12.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid. 1879. June 20.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid. 1878. April 6.
  17. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 3. S. 387.
  18. Ibid. S. 388.
  19. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1879. 30 Oct.
  20. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 3. S. 388.
  21. "The voice". 1878. 3 Mar.
  22. Orlik O. V., Representatives of the progressive intelligentsia...p. 92.
  23. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. 5 Jan.
  24. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 3. S. 388.
  25. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. 5 Jan.
  26. Ibid.
  27. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 7. S. 297.
  28. Ibid. S. 300.
  29. Ibid. P. 318-321.
  30. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. June 2.
  31. "The voice". 1878. July 1.
  32. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. July 10.
  33. "The voice". 1878. The 4th of July.
  34. Ibid.
  35. Pogrebinsky, A. P. essays on the history of Finance in pre-revolutionary Russia of the XIX – XX centuries M., 1954. S. 97.
  36. CIT. in: ibid.
  37. Ibid. S. 100.
  38. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1879. September 19.
  39. Tsimbaev N. And. The liberation of Bulgaria and the Russian society // Russia and the liberation of Bulgaria. M., 1982. P. 173-174.
  40. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1878. March 1.
  41. Ibid. 1879. July 24.
  42. "The voice". 1878. The 4th of July.
  43. "Moskovskie Vedomosti". 1879. March 5.
  44. Ibid. 1878. 21 Aug.
  45. Ibid. 1878. January 15.
  46. "Herald Of Europe". 1878. kN. 1. S. 395, 399; ibid. kN. 3. P. 386 – 387.
  47. Ibid. kN. 3. P. 386.
  48. Ibid. S. 387.

Suchalkin Eugene


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