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“Warsaw at His Majesty’s feet”: on the anniversary of the Polish uprising of 1830

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Late in the evening of November 29, 1830, groups of Polish students gathered in Warsaw in what is called the Lazienkow Forest, an artificially planted park. At the same time, the military units involved in the conspiracy were preparing for battle in the Warsaw barracks. Tonight will change their fate, theirs and the whole of Poland.

At 18 o’clock one of the leaders of the approaching uprising, second lieutenant of the Guards Grenadier Regiment Peter Vysotsky gave the officers the agreed order – “Brothers, the hour of freedom has come!”. And the mass of soldiers with bayonets poured into the cold November night.

The Polish uprising of 1830, which the Poles called the November Uprising, has been preparing for a long time. The Commonwealth ended in 1795 after the third and final division. The Poles only briefly acquired their own state during the Napoleonic Wars – the French emperor established the puppet Duchy of Warsaw from part of the former Commonwealth lands captured from Austria and Prussia. To what extent it could claim its status as an independent state is a moot question, but as early as 1813, six years after its founding, it was de facto purged by troops of the anti-French coalition. Later, by decision of the Congress of Vienna, these regions became part of the Russian Empire as the autonomous Kingdom of Poland.

The Polish semi-state retained the greatest autonomy. It had its own treasury, its own army and its own constitution. The highest body of self-government in the Kingdom of Poland was the local parliament – the Sejm. And most importantly, the rights of the Russian Empire on the territory of Poland were recognized by all European states.

In many ways, the catalyst for the future uprising was the accession of the monarch to the Russian throne. Nicholas I In 1825 Initially, the deceased Pavlovich inherits the eldest of the three brothers Alexander Ithere should have been a second brother – Constantine. But Konstantin Pavlovich had no great desire to rule the country, moreover, he was married to a Polish man and even sympathized with the Polish elite, who wanted the revival of the national state within the former borders of the Commonwealth of Nations. Constantine’s voluntary withdrawal from the line of the throne did not become a tragedy for Russia – probably the state only took advantage of his decision. As a result, the crown went to the third son of Paul I – Nicholas, and Constantine went to Warsaw as a Russian governor in Poland and the commander-in-chief of the army there.

Nicholas, I was a born autocrat and statesman, therefore he did not have any sympathy for Poland, saturated with the spirit of rebellion. Yet in the early years even he avoided tightening the screws. And only in 1829 Nicholas put the Polish royal crown on himself, which became a kind of trigger for the impending massacre.

It cannot be said that the November Uprising of 1830 was a surprise. The Poles not only did not hide their intentions, but also showed it in every possible way. Initially, they wanted to kill Nicholas during his coronation in 1829, but the plan was never implemented. At that time, the idea of ​​​​a full-fledged military insurgency had already matured. At the beginning of October 1830, the conspirators posted leaflets all over Warsaw stating that from the new year the Belvedere Palace (the residence of the governor Konstantin Pavlovich) would be leased to new tenants. Actually, this was a direct threat, but Grand Duke Constantine did not take any decisive action and limited himself only to trying not to leave the palace unnecessarily.

Despite the passivity of the governor, the rebels immediately got into trouble. On the night of November 29, detachments of rebel soldiers and Warsaw students easily captured the Belvedere Palace, from which Konstantin Pavlovich managed to leave in advance, but the attack on the barracks of the Guards Lancers, who remained loyal to Emperor Nicholas, was blocked. The Russian regiments stationed in Warsaw stood firm, but their colonels did not know what to do – they did not receive any orders, since their direct commander-in-chief, Grand Duke Constantine, fled and did not even make a timid attempt. organize resistance. Soon the Poles seized the city’s arsenal and gained access to much-needed ammo and weapons. As a result, the Russian regiments had to leave Warsaw in battle.

Later, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich explained his behavior by saying that the uprising was a direct conflict between Emperor Nicholas and his Polish subjects and did not want to join anyone else’s struggle. Moreover, rallying around himself the regiments leaving Warsaw, Constantine entered into negotiations with the rebels, agreed to disperse all the Polish units that remained under his command and remained loyal to the crown, after which he left Poland altogether and withdrew his troops from there. surrendered a number of cities to the rebels without a fight.

A real ethnic cleansing began in the Polish capital. Princess Nadezhda Golitsynathe prince’s wife Alexandra GolitsynaOne of the highest Russian officials in Warsaw recalled:

“The chief of police, who was defending the entrance to the Grand Duke’s office, was wounded by 15 bayonets. Other generals were killed, many were arrested, and we were not left alone until the border. They kept our captives locked up and allowed our servants to go out and fetch our belongings. They upset the whole order of life, they destroyed everything, but they sent a deputy to the ruler.

The news of the uprising came as an unpleasant surprise for Nicholas I. The emperor was enraged and accused his brother of first literally nullifying the rebellion and then allowing it to gain power. However, the empire always pays off its debts, and in the new year Russian troops were sent to rebellious Poland – a full-scale war began. And if at first the Poles were still accompanied by some success – for example, in the summer of 1831, the Russian army suffered greatly from the cholera epidemic, in which, among other things, the commander Marshal died. Dibic – then, over time, luck turned to the Russians’ side. At the beginning of September 1831, the Russians entered the Polish capital, about which the Marshal was located. paskevich It was briefly reported to Nicholas: “Warsaw at His Majesty’s feet.” The last centers of resistance in Poland were also crushed at the end of October. The bloody bacchanalia lasted a full year.

The Polish uprising had considerable repercussions in Europe. Some enemies of Russia saw it as an opportunity to weaken the eastern giant. The idea of ​​intervening in the conflict on the side of the Poles was especially popular in France, where one of the ringleaders was the already aged Marquis. Lafayette, who once participated in the US War of Independence on the side of the North American rebels. It was Lafayette and his comrades who in every possible way supported the idea of ​​​​sending French troops to Poland. And then, in the summer of 1831, while the uprising was still raging, before Warsaw had been taken, the Russian poet Alexander PushkinHe also writes directly to his enemy, who has come into conflict with the state many times. Iskender – however Benkendorfy is the omnipotent head of the III department, that is, the political police. He writes to her with a proposal to establish a patriotic magazine, which is much needed in the current difficult situation of the country:

“Now, when the old public enmity, which has only flared up with anger and long jealousy, unites us all against the Polish insurgents, resentful Europe is attacking Russia for the time being, not with weapons, but with crazy daily slanders … Let Russian writers repel the shameless and ignorant attacks of foreign newspapers”.

Benckendorff hesitates, distrusts Pushkin – too free-thinking, too annoying. And then that eternal rebel and belligerent duelist, this “major” Pushkin, writes an angry verse in which he addresses the French deputies who were deciding at that time whether to send troops to Poland:

Is it new for us to argue with Europe?

Has the Russian lost its habit of victory?

Are we few? Or from Perm to Taurida,

From Finnish cold rocks to fiery Colchis,

From the surprised Kremlin

To the walls of motionless China,

Shining with steel bristles,

Will not the Russian land rise? ..

This verse, which we know in full today with the title “Those who slander Russia,” was published on September 10, two days after the Russian troops entered Warsaw. France did not dare to send its troops to Poland.

Source: Riafan

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