History does not tolerate the word “if”, but looking back, one can see what consequences this or that historical decision had. We have already talked about what lessons Komuch taught us, now let’s talk about Alexander Kolchak – especially since he is directly related to the Idel-Ural. Here’s what Region. Expert wrote about the reasons for Kolchak’s defeat.
The “Supreme Ruler and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Admiral Kolchak”, popular in the White movement, an unconditional monarchist, admiral, not tainted by the “sin of February”, after coming to power, proclaimed three priority tasks:
1. Strengthening and increasing the combat ability of the army,
2. Victory over Bolshevism,
3. “The revival and resurrection of the perishing state” (only after the “victory over Bolshevism”).
What does it mean to be a monarchist after the death of the tsar and all his heirs? This means that Kolchak was ready to take tactical steps, to go for different alliances, but strategically he wanted to “bring everything back so that everything was like before the revolution.” It means to return the tsar, to return the Russian empire. The tsar has already been killed, but it is necessary to strengthen the army in order to “defeat the Bolsheviks” with the help of this army, “to revive the perishing state” precisely in the form of an empire.
It was Kolchak’s corresponding monarchical attitudes that predetermined all the subsequent history.
… And here Zaki Validi appears in our article with his Bashkir government, regiments loyal to him, with a new republic, with the Bashkurdistan newspaper, which began with the words “Long live the United States of Russia!” Validi (Validov), together with the white ataman Dutov, KOMUC and others, was a member of the anti-Bolshevik armed opposition. This anti-Bolshevik opposition saw Russia as a federal bourgeois-democratic state. There was a time when three governments at the same time were located in Orenburg: the Bashkir, Kazakh and Ural Cossacks. And these governments were united by the ideas of creating three republics – Bashkir, Kazakh and Cossack …
“And what does Zaki Validi have to do with it, after all, the article is about Kolchak?” such a fair question may arise from the reader. The fact is that in the book Memoirs by Validi (published by the Kitap publishing house in 1994), interesting details of events directly related to one decision of Kolchak, which became one of the key ones in the history of the Civil War and all the subsequent history, have been preserved. So, December 1918, “In Kolchak’s message, it was categorically ordered to disband the troops of Bashkortostan and Kazakhstan, and to bring me and other Bashkir leaders to a military court. One of the documents contained statements directed against the movement for autonomy in Bashkortostan, Alash-Orda and Turkestan.”
Kolchak sent a secret order to Dutov to disband the Bashkir government and destroy Bashkurdistan. Information about Kolchak’s order fell into the hands of Validi, and he decided to go over to the side of the Bolsheviks, who, on the contrary, promised the establishment of the Bashkir autonomy.
The causal relationship here was as follows:
1) Kolchak adhered to monarchist views and wanted to restore the Russian empire.
2) Based on his views, he decided to arrest the Validi government and liquidate the Bashkir Republic, because, in his understanding, the Russian state should be unitary.
3) As a result, the White movement not only lost many combat-ready Bashkir regiments, but also received enemies presented by these regiments, who began to fight on the side of the Bolsheviks.
4) The Kazakhs, also because of Kolchak’s opposition to the creation of Kazakh troops and the Kazakh government, were forced to make an alliance with the Bolsheviks.
5) Due to the alliance of the Validi government with the Bolsheviks, as well as the need for the Kazakhs to agree to such an alliance, the balance of power changed, and the White movement began to suffer defeats.
6) As a result, Kolchak with the remnants of the troops loyal to him had to retreat to the East. Kolchak’s carriage was followed by a “golden echelon” under the Czech guard. In Irkutsk, the Czechoslovaks arrested Kolchak and handed him over to the rebels. Kolchak was killed in 1920 in Irkutsk, ataman Dutov – in 1921 in China.
Was there anything left that was not lost by Kolchak? It appears that no. Kolchak lost everything. The White movement and the anti-Bolshevik coalition lost everything. And all this was lost solely because of the chauvinistic views of Kolchak, his desire to see Russia as a unitary state and the shortsightedness caused by this. “Inflexibility” played a cruel joke on him. Kolchak showed “inflexibility” in the issue of the federalization of Russia, refusing subjectivity to the indigenous peoples of Russia, betrayed his allies presented by the Bashkir government of Validov, representatives of the Alash-Orda, disbanded Komuch.
… But there was a completely different scenario as of mid-1918: Kolchak resists the temptation to disband Komuch, does not issue orders to dissolve the Validi and other governments, proclaims the “United States of Russia” as the federal state. But the sad irony of history was that the admiral wished to revive the empire as the “prison of nations”. And in the end – he himself ended up in prison before the inevitable execution… Will the current Russian politicians make conclusions from this experience? I would like to hope, but alas, today even the most popular emigrant oppositionists remain in the mental prison of the “united Russia”…