“Lavrenti Beria of the 19 Century”: Why Count Arakcheyev continues to be blackened

It's hard to argue with the classics ... Especially with the great ones. It is even more difficult to try to contradict what “everyone knows”, in other words, to historical cliches tightly driven into the consciousness and memory of dozens of generations. And yet ... Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Count Aleksey Arakcheev this year, it is time to finally admit: in his case, we are dealing with one of the most prominent Russian military and state figures, slandered in the most merciless way and smeared with dirt on the most makovka.

What actually happened in his life, one who served the Fatherland, having in his coat of arms the motto: “Betrayed without flattery”? And what in his work caused that terrible wave of hatred that haunted the count during his lifetime and continues to blacken this image centuries after his death?

"Take me to the cadets!"

The accusatory definition made by me in the title of the article belongs, alas, to the light of Russian poetry, Alexander Pushkin. It is taken from the epigram which this piite devoted to Count Arakcheev. Materina, by the way ... Another classic of Russian literature, the writer Saltykov-Shchedrin, created the count in an even more repulsive way, who brought him up in his History of a City under the name of the most terrible of the mayors there - the terrifying Ugryum-Burcheev. However, the count got not only from one writing fraternity. Historians unanimously branded him a "reactionary", a "tyrant", "a maniac obsessed with drill." Even the corresponding term was mutilated: "Arakcheevschina." By that, of course, I had in mind the tendency to “despotic arbitrariness” and “planting of a rude military”, attributed to the count during his lifetime and thousands of times inflated when he could no longer demand satisfaction. Well, and, of course, the notorious military settlements, for which the liberals of the Russian Empire and the communist propagandists of the Soviet Union anathematized Arakcheev as a friendly choir. Yes, and their current followers, as a rule, do not bother to go deep into details and doubt “authoritative opinions”, continuing to chop off their shoulders, drawing the image of this man in the blackest colors.

How would he really be - the artillery general Alexei Arakcheev, the favorite of the two emperors, who headed the Ministry of War of the Russian Empire during the Patriotic War of 1812? In order to understand this, it is necessary to go back almost a quarter of a millennium back to his childhood and youth. The Arakcheevs were, of course, noble. However, to call him not only rich, but at least prosperous, no one would turn his tongue. It so happened that men of this kind, generation after generation, performed military service, and not court service. The great-grandfather of the future Minister of War went through the fighting all the campaigns of Peter I, and his grandfather completely laid his head on the battlefield. Father, however, was not marked by anything like that, but served, moreover, in the most elite Preobrazhensky regiment. However, the Arakcheyevs did not get the worldly goods that shed blood for the Fatherland. According to some reports, at the time of Alexey’s birth and maturity, they were the owners of ... 20 peasant “souls”. By noble standards - rogues. It is not surprising that he received primary education from a village clerk, and the cadet corps, the admission to which should have cost two hundred full rubles, seemed to Alyosha an unattainable dream. And yet, his father took him to the capital, where he tried to find the means necessary for the device to determine the fate of his offspring. It almost came to begging! From the St. Petersburg Metropolitan, who was famous for his charity, the family was awarded three rubles. Silver, really ...

Desperate to collect an unbearable amount, Arakcheev Sr. went straight to the director of the St. Petersburg gentry artillery and engineering cadet corps, Petr Melissino. According to some statements, Alexei collapsed at the feet of a brilliant general, who at that time was considered the best artilleryman of Russia, begging: "Take me to the cadets!" One way or another, the issue was resolved positively. And, I must say, Melissino did not regret it even once - the young Arakcheev from the very beginning showed not only remarkable abilities for the “military-mathematical sciences”, which, as you understand, were specialized subjects for future “gods of war”, but also incredible absolutely discipline for the noble offspring. Already at 15 he became a sergeant and began teaching junior artillery and arithmetic, and received his first officer rank at 18. After completing his studies, he was left in the building for administrative and teaching work, and soon became an adjutant of the same Melissino. However, the real career for Lieutenant Arakcheev began from the moment when he was recommended to the emperor Paul I, the future heir to the throne, who took the young talent into his own “Gatchina army”. There, Arakcheyev “took off” at the speed of a cannonball from the commander of an artillery company, which had the status of almost “amusing,” to the commandant of Gatchina and the head of all the “armed forces” of the Heir. Further, Pavel waited (albeit briefly) for the throne, and Arakcheeva - many years of service to the Fatherland in the highest military and administrative posts.

Beria of the nineteenth century?

You can consider me rampant, but studying the biography of Arakcheev, I could not help but feel a certain similarity of his life story to the fate of Lavrenty Pavlovich. Exactly the same ability to create an ideal order out of chaos, to drag on absolutely impossible things, the absolute trust of the ruler of the country and the unwillingness to use this trust for his own selfish gain. Ruthlessness to subordinates, but above all - to himself, absolute devotion to his homeland and his work. The same evil hissing behind his back during his life, and a bucket of dirt - after death ... And, by the way, about the same kind of activity. Like Lavrenty Pavlovich, a century and a half later, Arakcheev put a lot of effort into creating and introducing the most modern types of weapons in the Russian army, organizing their production and mastering by troops. Well, perhaps, adjusted for its time, when the most formidable means of destruction were smoothbore guns, and not rockets and the atomic bomb. Nevertheless, it was thanks to Arakcheev that, before the Patriotic War itself, Russian artillery was withdrawn into an independent branch of the armed forces, and it was significantly strengthened technically, financially, and personnel. It was he who created the Special Artillery Committee. Without all these innovations, our army would have had a solo in the battles with Napoleon, who was rightly considered the number 1 artilleryman in the world. And, by the way, in 1812, not being a Minister of War, Arakcheev remained "on the cutting edge".

In his own words, “the whole war went through his hands”, and, above all, “the secret and autocratic orders of the sovereign”, as well as “the most important reports”. Apparently, during this difficult time, Alexander I also entrusted the leadership of intelligence to Arakcheev. No, after all, amazing similarity! Like Beria, Arakcheev did not personally heroes on the battlefields. However, he was engaged not only in supply and maintenance, as some write, but also directly supervised the hostilities. It was his planned campaign of the Russian army on the ice of the Gulf of Bothnia and the appearance of our regiments on the territory of hostile Sweden that led Russia to a brilliant victory in this war. Some spiteful critics today write that the appearance of Arakcheev at the theater of war simply “coincided” with the successes of Russian weapons. Well, yes, of course, it did ... And the Emperor just got the idea to remove the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called from his own chest and send it to the Minister of War to commemorate these "coincidences." We wouldn’t rave already ... By the way, Arakcheev refused the highest monarchal mercy, believing that he did not deserve it! The tsar, still wishing to note the merits of the count, gives the troops orders to render honors to him, which are appropriate only to a member of the reigning family. Generally speaking, the outstanding modesty of Arakcheev, his lack of slavishness and honesty, which, in the opinion of many "very smart" contemporaries, reached a pathology that was already perfect, was a topic for a completely separate discussion. Perhaps the second such individual, who literally fought off numerous awards and awards!

Pavel made General and Count of Arakcheev. Alexander, during the reign of which he accomplished much more for the country, literally showered him with a hail of all kinds of incentives, quite, we note, well-deserved. However, the recipient himself does not think so! In 1807, he refuses the order of St. Vladimir, in 1810 - he declares a second time that he is not worthy of the order of St. Andrew the First-Called. In 1814, the Emperor tried to produce him as Field Marshal. Where there! Arakcheev kicks back from this. Perhaps the most revealing episode came out with a “portrait of the imperial person to wear it around the neck,” among other things, studded with diamonds, which is your raisin roll. Nothing to laugh! This, if anyone does not know, was not a trinket, but a serious state award. In order to be honored with this, many high-court courtiers for years, as they say, crawled along the parquet belts on the parquet floor. No, the portrait of Arakcheev accepted with all respect befitting the occasion. There is even his own written image with one on his neck. That's just the count previously ... digging out all the diamonds from there, which he returned to the Sovereign: “This, they say, is superfluous. Your face is more valuable to me. ” After that, the fact that Alexander, leaving the capital, regularly left Arakcheeva “blank forms” of his own decrees with the highest signature on it, looks completely normal. No, you can imagine how it was possible to turn around! Millions from the treasury steal. Generalissimo galaxy shut up. Enemies (of which the count had more than enough) to forever be put into Siberia! Even the largest detractors of Arakcheev agree on one thing - he did not use a single such decree to his personal advantage.

Mushtra and fruit

Alas, it so happened that Count Aleksey Arakcheev went down in history not as a brilliant and honest leader, not as one of the undoubted fathers of the victory over the Napoleonic Horde, but as the creator of military settlements. These were at first liberal, and then Soviet historians, with unanimity unseen in other matters in the vast majority of their works, they always represented directly the embodiment of absolute Evil, almost a branch of hell on earth. Some call the prototype of these "sinister formations" the estate of Arakcheev himself - the village of Gruzino in the Novgorod region, which was granted to him by Emperor Paul at one time. Already there this monster showed the world his true face! Demolished, villain, every single crooked peasant's huts with rotten corners and eaves - and built instead of them stone houses, stretching along perfectly straight streets. Who settled there? Yes, the same peasants, villain! Okay, he set up his own estate in the center of the village and the temple is luxurious. Well, there still a pond started up with swans - like a normal bar. So he, after all, the fanatic also thought of starting a school for rural children! Free, huh ... Yes, in addition, he made a hospital, didhtura of the most absentee from Pitemburkha himself, and ordered him to treat the same blue-legged men. Again, for free. In a word, he was fierce, aspid, mercilessly. I fought with rods, with whips, but what about! And, most importantly, for no reason: just think, the little man went to sell the landlord hay to the city and drank there purely. Not like a horse with a cart - he took everything off himself, like Adam, he turned back naked. And this satrap is a whip ... True, for hard work he could give a simple peasant a generous one and a ruble. Well then it was necessary to work!

About the same "brutal" order "brought Arakcheev in the military settlements that began to be founded in 1817. I’ll clarify right away - contrary to common speculation, the idea of ​​creating them did not belong to the Count at all, but specifically to Alexander I, who wanted to somehow reduce the treasury’s exorbitant expenses for maintaining a huge army. It was necessary to simply dissolve it from half ?! Well, well ... Before you judge and judge, let's remember the military realities of that time. The army was purely professional and it was simply impossible to mobilize dozens, or even hundreds of divisions, in the event of the defeat of personnel units. Even if there is a multimillion population in the rear. "Peaceful" peasants did not know which side they were taking up the gun, and there was no question of guns. Let me remind you that the soldier served 25 years, and no general military service existed even close. It was the fear of losing the army that made Kutuzov surrender Moscow ... And leaving the country without protection after a terrifying foreign invasion was hardly a good idea. But to feed all this horde of servants came out extremely expensive. So the idea was born to create a kind of symbiosis in the style of "people and army are one." Soldiers live in newly-built villages, at that time fashionable. They help with household chores providing them with food for peasants, and, most importantly, all together master the art of war. Well, something like that, in the most general sense. It should be noted that in all such settlements there were hospitals (with mandatory physical examinations of all living), schools, churches. Living and social conditions there were incomparably higher than in the average Russian villages of that time.

So what was so across the souls of the villagers? "Inhuman conditions"? "Exhausting drill"? "Officers atrocities"? Bullshit. It is worth starting to get acquainted with historical sources, and not with the snotty liberal writings, and it turns out that the peasants were engaged in “shagistiki” (that is, military training) once a week, they were very punished with punishment and, basically, in the case, and had more rights than the "ordinary" serfs. So why did they plump into the legs of the Empress driving along the highway and roared the belugas: “Deliver us, mother, from these settlements!” Let me assume, the answer here is brief, it lies in only one word: order. Already Arakcheev always demanded it from everyone, without making distinctions in ranks and ranks. Instead of a relatively free life, the settlers were suddenly forced to live by the rules - clear, unambiguous, and the same for everyone. You won’t sit on the mound, you won’t scratch your belly, you won’t have enough “bread wine” when you like. Longing aah! Fucked? Yes, they fought! And what do you think, in other places of the Empire of serfs at this time, the landowners regaled themselves with gingerbread cookies and greeted them by the hand? Hold your pocket wider. But the settlers were exempted from recruitment, state taxes and many other duties! Yes, in addition, they had a “social package”, which the other classmates did not even dream of. Find data on the availability of medical care in the Russian village and literacy in it as of the beginning of the twentieth century (a century later) - you will be horrified. Yes, at least read the same Bulgakov. It is not surprising that some time later, the peasants, figuring what was happening, literally broke into “settlers”. Families, almost whole villages! Arakcheyev’s order to accept “into the ranks” of two hundred such volunteers at once was preserved.

Of course, military settlements were not an ideal model for the organization of society. Rather, a social experiment may not be the most successful one. However, another thing is known for certain - the Emperor planned to use the money saved in this way for nothing more than redeeming peasants from landowners with land! In fact, the destruction of serfdom, as such. And Aleksey Arakcheev was an ardent supporter of Russia's deliverance from this terrible and heinous remnant, which, in the end, had ruined the Empire. That's what you need to talk about, remembering this man today! And also about the fact that in all his life he did not take a single “offering” that was shoved into him in great numbers. And others punished mercilessly for bribery. And equally - for neglect of life, health and life of soldiers. For example, his true “punitive” order was again preserved in one of the military settlements. What flew to the local authorities? Yes, their sentries stood in heavy frost without sheepskin at the posts, which led the count to great displeasure. Monster and satrap, definitely. Yes, Arakcheev was not a meek angel and a gentle creature. He was rude, sometimes cruel. However, all his actions were aimed at fulfilling the duty, for the good of the homeland - such as he was seen by the Emperor and himself. Anyone who drove in the tail and mane, tearing like goat goats, gouging, do not care and bribe takers. This, you see, is no longer a despot and tyrant, but a zealous servant of the Fatherland, an effective leader of the type that our country lacks to this day.

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, by the way, the death of Arakcheev, who passed away with truly soldierly words: “Damned death!”, Mourned quite sincerely. Grown up, probably ... It's time for us to grow up. It's time to learn to distinguish truth from lies and pay tribute to the slandered and forgotten best sons of Russia.
Photos used: https://regnum.ru/
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  1. ustal51 Offline
    ustal51 (Alexander) 12 October 2019 09: 28
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    Thanks to the author for identifying the differences between an effective manager and an effective manager ...
  2. Mihail55 Offline
    Mihail55 (Michael) 12 October 2019 10: 44
    • 2
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    Very timely article! Thank you, Alexander! How many more blank spots in our history ...
  3. SERGEY SERGEEVICS 12 October 2019 18: 32
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    Count Aleksey Arakcheev was an outstanding person. Which in the first place was sincerely devoted to his country and his cause, made a huge contribution to the development of military affairs and brought benefits to his homeland.
  4. boriz Offline
    boriz (boriz) 12 October 2019 21: 41
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    Great article. I have nothing against Arakcheev, a worthy man in his place. But, in my opinion, Lavrenty Palych was a larger person.
  5. Dart2027 Offline
    Dart2027 13 October 2019 20: 51
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    As practice shows, if someone is scolded for being a satrap and a despot, they must very carefully understand what he "raped".
  6. valeriy7 Offline
    valeriy7 (Valery) 13 October 2019 21: 21
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    There are no truths about Arakcheev in either Soviet or Russian history textbooks, and there are very few articles that write the truth about a person. So people can’t add up an objective opinion about a person.