The Cossack Economy in the Context of Developing Urban Environment on the Cusp of the XIX-XX Centuries (Based on the Data Provided by the Siberian Researcher G.Ye. Katanayev)

This article is devoted to examining the peculiarities of the Cossack land use in the context of the emerging urban environment. The cities of pre-revolutionary Kazakhstan are notable for a number of specific features, such as the poor development of the urban lifestyle, urban infrastructure, and urban economy, based mainly on agriculture. Uniqueness of urban construction on the national outskirts of the Russian Empire, including the north of Kazakhstan, consisted in the weak distinction between a city and a rural settlement, which was due to evolution of serf localities into the later urban ones. The Cossacks played a significant role in the formation of the urban environment, reserving the right to the closed nature of their class and the opportunity to be engaged in traditional ways of economy. The G.Ye. Katanayev treatise “The Kirghiz Issue in the Siberian Cossack Army” published in 1904 is a valuable source of history of the economic development of the city and the steppe, contacts with the Cossacks and peasant settlers. The Siberian historian, having carefully investigated the problems of land management of the Cossacks, seeks not only to justify their way of life but also to make the disputed territories legitimate for them. Issues of land relations addressed the interests of the local population that are shown in the book as observations and some recommendations of the ideologist of the Cossack army. The work deals with reasons and consequences of creating the “ten-verst corridor” by the tsarist administration in order to further allot the Irtysh riverfront to the Cossacks. The book also comprises the facts of cultural interaction between the Kazakh ethnic group and the Cossacks of the Siberian Cossack Army. The author of the article also draws upon the researches preceding the main one used and archival materials of the Historical Archive of the Omsk Region. Considering the problems of land development is important for covering the issues related to the settlement, reclamation of Siberia and the legal confirmation of these processes.


Issues related to the history of forming the Cossackdom on the territory of Kazakhstan, to their sociopolitical and economic status are gaining the relevance and assuming the political content nowadays. Investigating history of the predial system of the Cossacks in the Kazakh steppes, based on the works by G. Katanayev, is of absolute scientific value, as it enables us to understand the complex process of interaction between the Kazakhs and the Cossacks, and the influence of the land issue on the civilizational changes that took place in the Kazakh society. Over the past few decades, this range of problems has sparked the interest of both domestic scholars and researchers from near abroad [1]. This is despite the fact that imperial and Soviet historiography widely covered the activities of the Cossacks. Modern researchers, however, are engaged in familiarizing themselves with the accumulated data concentrated in the archives of Kazakhstan and Russia. The events of the colonial period are being reinterpreted and reconceptualized. The historiography of the issue is continuing to be updated.


During the study, descriptive and historical methods have been applied in accordance with data of the investigated problem. The opinions of various authors have undergone comparative analysis. In addition, archive data provided by G.Ye. Katanayev have been also put to partial use. Studying the methods and tools of land management of the Cossacks in the region, as well as taking into account its specific features, it is possible to depict the development of Siberia at large and, at the same time, to determine and better understand its certain aspects and details. Putting into comparison and drawing a parallel between the conclusions and definitions made by G.Ye. Katanayev and other researchers of the past and present, we can see a change in covering the subject of research due to the fact that new knowledge on the topic appears. It is also necessary to take into consideration both the ideology of the period in question and the period of publication. All this enables us to highlight the most important aspects for solving the problem. In the case in point, this refers to understanding to what extent land regulation was fair at that time and how it affected the economy of the region and specifically the management of the local population.

On the cusp of the XIX-XX centuries, the steppe zone of southern Siberia appeared to be a region of close interaction between the local Kazakh population and the increasing class of Cossacks, as well as the arriving peasantry.The administration strove to pursue a policy of appeasing the mutual relations of ethnic groups and the Cossacks, since the state course of the land invasion became not openly military but gradually agrarian.In their turn, the Cossack elite also contributed to not just expansion into the steppe, but the legally fixed ownership of these territories. At the same time, in order to confirm its political presence, Russia provided conditions for the development of cities, which were not only to grow into administrative centres, but also to foster the development of regional and international trade. The Cossacks, who were involved in the process of urban construction, nevertheless, considered the issue of land management to be relevant for themselves, forthe transition to the merchant class, as well as to the bourgeoisie, was insignificant.As service class people who had to do their constant job, to be distracted by various duties, and to follow the orders of the administration, the Cossacks tried to seize the land and to enlarge their farmsteads.This specific aspect is the high point of the works by the Cossack historian G.Ye. Katanayev, in which analyzing the findings of the official research conducted: the expedition of F.A. Shcherbina, the survey data of the uyezd heads of the Semipalatinsk region, and the materials collected by him personally as the Chairman of the Military Economic Board, he justifies the allotting to the Siberian Cossack Army the lands from the “cabinet” reserves, that is, previously appropriated from nomads and declared the property of his imperial Majesty.

Results and Discussion

Studying land management issues in the Steppe Region is important for understanding the problems related to identifying the economic situation of the Kazakhs, Cossacks, and migrant peasantry in the Steppe Region. The increasing influence and interference of the administration with the colonization process required scientific justification of invasion of new territories and legitimacy of their ownership.Within recent years, there have been several treatises published where the activity of the Cossacks is considered in different aspects. For instance, the researcher K.S. Bizhigitova made an attempt to analyze the moral state and the influence of this factor on the behavioral motives of the Cossack class and came to an interesting conclusion. In her opinion, the Cossacks, having fulfilled the main mission of the “pioneers” in moving forward to the east, could not exert an overwhelming cultural influence on the local population, but oftentimes they themselves became the object of reverse impact [2]. Special attention of scholars is drawn to the issues related to the agrarian policy of tsarist regime on the national borderlands. The subject matter affected many aspects of the Kazakh life during the colonization period: the social image of the Kazakh society took a dramatic turn, the traditional economy underwent changes, the relationship between the Kazakhs and the Cossacks was formed, etc., whereas the key point of these changes was the agrarian policy, ways and methods of its implementation on the national outskirts. The Cossackdom formed on the territory of Kazakhstan had a hand in active strengthening of Russia in the national border districts and demanded significant benefits and advantages from the tsarist regime. Russia was willing to ennoble the Cossack class that allowed them to abuse their power at the local level, engendering discontent among the indigenous population [3; 167].

Expropriation of land in favour of the Cossacks caused a justified protest of the local population. In the legal context, the territory of Kazakhstan did not belong to the empire until the end of the XVIII century. The Kazakhs were not de jure subjects of Russia, but formed a part of the state under the terms of a protectorate, which did not enable the latter to manage the Kazakh lands [4; 258]. According to the Ukrainian scholar V. Gribovsky, the borders between Russia and the Kazakhs were determined depending on which area of the steppe the Russian administration could reserve for themselves with a particular control system [5; 54].

The largest work containing the most characteristic of all the activities of G.Ye. Katanayev providing an insight into the problem of land regulation is the treatise “The Kyrgyz question in the Siberian Cossack Ar- my”[6]. In this book, G.Ye. Katanayev justifies his theses about the “historical right” of the Siberian Cossack army for the lands occupied by them, including the lands of the so-called “ten-verst corridor”. He also specifies how the Kazakh population should be provided with land.The essence of the review consists in “clarifying the question that emerged then and was partially predetermined already, under these conditions, of finally assigning to the Siberian Cossack army the vast lands of the “ten-verst corridor” inhabited by the Kirghiz, which at that time was only in the “temporary” use of this army”[6; I (preface)].

Elucidation of the role of the Siberian Cossacks as an instrument of “state construction” in the steppe part of the Russian Empire of the day makes only a part of the book by G.Ye. Katanayev. Its second point is the materials of the Cossack land use and its history, which the Siberian ideologist of the Cossackdom collected for purely pragmatic purposes — legal confirmation of the lands occupied by the Siberian Cossack army, since most of them had been traditional Kazakh nomad territories before that. The data collected by G.Ye. Katanayev are a valuable source for the study of agricultural and property relations in the area of contact of the Kazakhs with the Cossacks and the peasants migrants. The named work of G.Ye. Katanayev sets forth this problem and completes the author's long-term search for allotting the ten-verst corridor to the Cossacks.

A well-known expert on the land issue Timofey Ivanovich Sedelnikov wrote: “When the Kirghiz were granted citizenship in 1731, the Russian government obviously had the vaguest idea of their land and economic regulations”[7; 30]. In the documents of that time, not a single word is mentioned about the proprietary right of Kazakhs for the land, which would legally imply granting them the powers of ownership, use, and management of land, and of which the determining power is the right to manage the land. In the granted letter of Anna Ioannovna, it is said that “the Kirghiz are received into allegiance on an equal basis with the Bashkirs, and the Bashkirs own land on the right of patrimonial property»[7]. All these concepts appeared in the legislative acts of the tsarist government only since the second half of the XVIII century, and even then — only in relation to the Cossacks settled on the Siberian lines.

In the instruction of Catherine II dated December 31, 1765, the commandants of the border fortresses were first told “not to let the coming Kirghiz to our fortifications closer than ten versts to the steppe side and forty versts inside the line of fortification”. This launched the beginning of the “ten-verst corridor”, is well- known in the following century.The newly arrived inhabitants of this corridor of military settlements with a total width of 40–50 versts, spreading from the Zverinogolovskaya fortress on the Tobol river to Bu- khtarminskaya one on the Bukhtarma river, that is, for 2 thousand versts along the perimeter of the Kazakh steppe, at first did not have any “solid” land management here and used arable land and hayfields within the mentioned corridor solely on the instructions of the local military authorities.No difference was made between the land located on the “inner” and “outer” sides of the fortified line at that time. Only in 1773 by the Decree of Catherine II, it was ordered to allot “the Cossacks having colonized the Irtysh line and other settlers 6 dessiatinas for each male head”. However, according to G.Ye. Katanayev, this was not fulfilled. The rest of the land of the fortified corridor (except for the above-mentioned 6-dessiatina plots), was only the approach area of this line, which was used by the entire population living around it. Then, there was an exception remaining in effect for almost the entire XVIII century, which concerned two categories of the population adjacent to the fortified line. These were the peasants of the Tobolsk and Tomsk provinces, who were strictly banned to travel to the Kazakh steppe for one reason or another and, consequently, to appear within the entire corridor of military fortifications. It was also forbidden for the Kazakhs to appear there, who were in urgent need of using the lands of their former nomad territories occupied by the Siberian line[6; 4].That meant that the Russian authorities were already in fact full owners of the Kazakh lands, alienated for the fortified line, and this situation did not change until the end of the tsarist regime. By the end of the XVIII century, it became impossible to control the pursuit of the Kazakhs to use the specified territory only by armed force. To reduce the tension on the steppe border, the tsarist government on July 15, 1788, in a “personal” decree addressed to the commander of the Siberian Line, Lieutenant General Ogarev, announced “migration of the Sultans and Leaders of the Kirghiz-Kaisak Middle Horde to the inland of Russia.” The Kazakhs, who had been received into the Russian “allegiance”, were allowed to pass through the military-Cossack corridor to the Kulundin steppe for “permanent nomadism”. On July 23, 1798, a decree was issued to grant asylum to the Sultans and Leaders entering into the Russian allegiance with their kibitkas and to enable them to nomadise between the fortresses of Semipalatinsk and Omsk.These regulatory acts of the tsarist government marked the beginning of the formation of the right-bank volosts of the pre-revolutionary Semipalatinsk region, which in the transcription of G.Ye. Katanayev sound like: Terengulskaya, Baskudukskaya, Mar- aldinskaya, Urukovskaya (of Pavlodar district); Seitenevskaya, Malybaevskaya, Bish-Karagayskaya, and Akkumskaya (of Semipalatinsk district) [6; 5]. The G.Ye. Katanayev’s work illustrates how the Cossack authorities regulated land relations with the Kazakhs in the area of the military-linear corridor on the left and right banks of the Irtysh river, charging them the so-called “maintenance fee”. After 1808, when the formation of the Siberian Linear Cossack Army was officially formalized, the “maintenance fee” was collected not in favour of the dragoons, already withdrawn from Siberia at that time, but for completing the staff of the 10 horse regiments of the newly formed Cossack army. The entire line was divided into several maintenance distances or sections with the appointment of special “remount officers” whokept records of the Kazakh cattle that were allowed “inside the line”,and their owners were issued written “passes” or tickets indicating the period of such admission. These measures, according to G.Ye. Katanayev, weakened the need of the Kazakhs of the Irtysh region for the territories for free nomadism, but only until the time of migration from the steppe to the Irtysh river of “Bayanaul and part of the Akmola Kirghiz”[6; 8]. On June 13, 1821, all the measures outlined were fixed by a “nominal” decree in the name of the Siberian General Government “On the allocation of land on the inner part of the Siberian lines to the nomadic Kirghiz-Kaisaks”. The very name of the Kazakhs by Russians was later changed: in accordance with the “Charter on the Siberian Kirghiz” and “The Institution for the Administration of Siberia” dated June 22, 1822, it was enacted “to call Kirghiz- Kaisaks of the Middle Horde the Siberian Kirghiz to distinguish them from the other Kirghiz”.In this way, the tsarist government assumed the “Kirghiz steppe of the Siberian department” when the first practical attempts to “separate” the ten-verst corridor in favour of the Siberian Cossack army began.

The question of the “historical right” of the Siberian Cossack army for the Kazakh lands occupied by them and the justification of such a “right”, including the ten-verst corridor, was of paramount importance to G.Ye. Katanayev. The Cossack historian can be considered to interpret his work as a significant practical contribution to the well-being and subsequent prosperity of the Siberian Cossack Army. Therefore, he based his conclusions on very serious and theoretically grounded arguments trying to prove that the Siberian Cossacks gave Russia hundreds of times more lands than they had left in use and that they “deserved” land augments with all their military service staining them with their blood. In his opinion, the available land “surplus” should be transferred not to the peasant settlers and not to the “steppe Kirghiz”, but to the military reserve for future generations of the Cossacks.We should appreciate not the conclusions of the Cossack historian and patriot of his class, but the rich factual data on land and other socio-economic issues collected by him in this work, which covers these aspects of the history of not only the Russian Cossacks, but also the Kazakh people on the cusp of the XIX-XX centuries.

The key work in the field of socio-economic history, “The Kirghiz Issue in the Siberian Cossack Army”, was preceded by his other works, in which G.Ye. Katanayev presents the arguments of his main trea- tise[8]. He returned to this problem later in 1918, when the fate of the whole of Russia was on the line, and he was rather interested in the fate of the Cossacks and their land use in such a changeable time [9]. In Soviet period, it was believed that the leading features of these investigations in the works of G.Ye. Katanayev were the generalized presentation of the data, lack of analysis of social processes, etc. We can say just the opposite — this work is distinguished by a detailed presentation of the material and a multidimensional analysis of socio-economic processes occurring in the contact zone of the Kazakh and Russian-Cossack ethnic groups. We managed to find archival materials of the Cossack researcher, which were preliminary in preparing the above-mentioned works. These are several cases from the personal fund of G.Ye. Katanayev in the State archive of the Omsk region, which have not yet been made public, as we believe, in the studies of historians not only of Kazakhstan, but also of Russia, viz.: “On the Cossack Rental Lands”, “On the History of the Service Cossacks: on the land plots of the Cossacks and the Kirghiz”, “Note of the Military Economic Board on Land Management and the Economic Situation of the Siberian Cossack Army”, “Regulations on the Allotting Land Plots to the Cossacks of the Biysk Line”, “On Measures to Support the Starving Popula- tion”,“Extracts from Government Orders with Information on the Economy and Farming of the Ka- zakhs”[10]. Before turning to the documents of the cusp of the XIX-XX centuries, G.Ye. Katanayev described in this work the prehistory of the “struggle for land in the Kirghiz steppe”. The first attempt to reserve the left-bank meadows of the Irtysh river and the most valuable parts of the territory, which in historical sources was called the “ten-verst corridor” for the Kazakh nomads, was made in the 30s of the XIX century. Then, due to the taxation of the Kazakhs of the Middle Zhuz, by virtue of the “Charter of the Siberian Kirghiz” dated 1822, some of the Kazakh volosts began to refuse to pay the “maintenance fee” to the army, irrespective of the yasak, they paid to the regional administration of the newly formed Omsk region. As the commission chaired by Colonel Liventsov, a constant opponent of G.Ye. Katanayev in land issues, found out in 1885, the boundary line marked by Kokoulin departed from the villages and the post road not by 10, but by much more versts, going into the depth of the steppe near Petropavlovsk even up to 30 versts. Nevertheless, G. Katanayev writes in this work, “since that time, calm in the land use of the army and the Kirghiz in the said area was established for a long time”[11; 8].

In 1846, a new Regulation on the Siberian Cossack Army was introduced, according to which it was ordered to enroll in the Army about 6 thousand heads of peasants from peasant settlements adjacent to the Cossack line, and to endow them, like the former Siberian Cossacks, with not six dessiatinas, but 30 dessiatinas per male person of land “capable of farming and cattle breeding”.Where was it supposed to find the specified “supplement” of the Cossack land property?In the same way as before: to withdraw the free state lands in the inner side of the line and in the steppe according to “convenience”.This “convenience” of the Kazakh land assumed that, according to the same Provision dated December 6, 1846, 400 dessiatinas were allocated to the personal lifetime possession of each staff officer of the army, and 200 dessiatinas of the “convenient” land were allocated to the chief officers. The ten-verst corridor was not mentioned in the specified Regulation, but it was implied among those lands that were conferred on the Army. All these obtainments made it possible to divide the entire Siberian Cossack army into 9 regimental districts and from now on all issues of the land management of the Cossacks, and later the Kazakhs, were called land surveying of a particular regimental district. Regarding the entire non-Cossack population living on military lands, the categorical decision was taken to evacuate them under Paragraph 7 of the same Regulation of 1846. The actual withdrawal of the promised lands to the Cossacks began in 1854. From the right flank of the line at the Zverinogolovskaya fortress to Omsk, up the Irtysh river in the area of the villages of Zhelezinskaya, Peschanka and Kor- yakovskaya, the Cossacks were additionally “provided” left-bank meadows, that is, the same lands of the ten-verst corridor, since on the right bank of the Irtysh river, there were no convenient lands sufficient to bring the Cossack allotments to the 30-dessiatina norm. The “Kokoulin border” was changed in 1857, and the corridor was raised to 277 thousand dessiatinas [6; 9–11]. Similar changes in the “Kokoulin border” took place in other regimental districts, where it was also ordered to “increase the number of lands of the ten-verst corridor to certain figures”. In 1858–1859, the Boundary Party of the Siberian Cossack army was instructed to reinforce the Kokoulin’s borders by procuring “cuts of land” to this edge in such a way that the norm of 277 thousand dessiatinas, specified in the ten-verst corridor of the regimental district were met. G.Ye. Katanayev comes to the conclusion that as a result of these measures, the Kazakhs who had been living in the places of the “cuts” since 1839, that is, for 20 years, found themselves inhabiting the army land with all the ensuing consequences.In particular, they began to pay a “maintenance fee” in favour of the army, and later they were forced to pay a rent to them for living on the occupied lands of the 10-verst corridor. If the Kazakhs did not want to rent land directly from the Army, they were forced to deal with the tenants of these lands, which often cost them even more.The Siberian authorities were aware of injustice caused by the situation. Therefore, in order not to constrain the Kazakhs in their land use, and to mitigate their abrupt transition from free residence on regional lands (Semipalatinsk region — L. M.) to living on the same lands that had already become army land on the paid-for basis, they allowed to live them without any payment. The Governor-General of Western Siberia, in order to quieten down the Kazakhs, by his order dated November 18, 1858, proposed to consider them free of any payment to the army, as if they did not live on army land, but on the regional one. However, they attached serious conditions to such a privilege, viz. determined the limit of further settlement of the Kazakhs to their relatives already living on army land, as well as prohibited further ploughing the land and establishment of new wintering grounds. Thus, even in this case, the Kazakhs were forced to move even deeper into the steppe from the “military” to the “regional” lands, alienating all new territories from the nomads. A similar trend was stimulated by the subsequent Governors-General of Western Siberia after Gasfort. For instance, in 1862 — Dugamel, and in 1867 — Khrushchev successfully insisted that in the area of the Army and in the ten-verst corridor, the Kazakhs “did not start new nomad camps and arable lands” and did not “make capital improvements to the existing wintering grounds”. Therefore, until the last third of the XIX century the Kazakhs had almost no wintering grounds here [11; 13].

The second category of lands of the Siberian Cossackdom was made by officer landholdings — the so- called “officer plots of land”, which, according to the decree dated May 7, 1877, brought out prosperity of Cossack officers and officials from the ordinary Cossacks all the more. Later, as a private property these officers’ plots of land became the object of purchase and sale: they were rented out and even subleased.

G.Ye. Katanayev points out that the third category of lands is the land of the “military reserve”. According to the law dated April 21, 1869, all the lands that remained free from allotments to the Cossack villages and officers’ plots and excessive in the Cossack yurts during the separation were transferred to the military reserve. The Military Economic Board assigned these lands in addition to the village allotments in case of population growth or leased them to private individuals, including the Kazakh population of the adjacent volosts.

Contrary to the expectations of both the reformers and the official statisticians and historians of the Cossacks, the reform of 1861 did not lead to the anticipated results. First of all, it concerned the contacts of the Cossacks with the neighbouring nomadic population.G.Ye. Katanayev had to deal directly with this issue all the following years. After a part of the joint lands had been assigned to 30-dessiatina yurt Cossack plots, the latter became places of active settlement of the Kazakhs of the prelinear volosts. This was determined by the land abundance of the Siberian Cossacks, who just could not use the land due to lack of free hands available.

Therefore, they were willing to let the Kazakhs on the plots not only for overwintering, but also for summer camps, providing the Kazakhs with most of their hayfields on mutually beneficial terms. G.Ye. Katanayev notes in his treatise that the Kazakhs immediately appreciated the benefits of their new position, comparing on the one hand — the benefits of their stay on joint lands with the payment of “maintenance fee” to the army, and on the other — the benefits of a quiet stay and more durable use of the Cossack lands in their yurt plots. The latter option appeared to be more preferable. However, it should not be forgotten that they turned into almost free workers of the Cossacks, mowing grass for the Cossack cattle. At the same time, they acquired cheap hay for their own livestock, as well as convenience of exchanging their products at numerous fairs and concession stands on the Cossack line in the same towns and settlements. The Kazakhs moved to sedentary life and began to engage in grain farming. The Kazakh population was most actively getting domiciled on the line after the above-mentioned laws on Cossack land management dated May 7 and June 9, 1877, when the lands of the left bank of the Irtysh river were in vast numbers withdrawn from the Cossacks and transferred to officers, officials, and their widows, orphans in hereditary possession. A part of the land that was until that time at the direct disposal of the military administration within the military reserve and the ten-verst corridor passed into the same hands. However, in the first half of the 1880s, at the initiative of Colonel Liventsov being the governor of Akmola at that time, a sharp polemic began with the Military Economic Board of the Siberian Cossack Army about the legality of transferring land from the ten-verst corridor to private hands. But the Governor-General of the Steppe Region, G.A. Kolpakovsky, put an end to it with his power, allowing officers to be given not only plots from the military reserve, but also from the lands of the ten-verst corridor.Georgy Yefremovich believes that due to the inability, remoteness from the permanent place of residence on the line and service, most of the new owners of the plots began to offer them for rent at extremely low prices, to the only potential users of the plots — the Kazakhs. Thus, it paved the way for solid settlement of the ten-verst corridor by the Kazakhs of the prelinear volosts, and only much later there were newer tenants represented by rich Cossacks, peasant farmers, manufacturers, and land speculators[11].

It should be noted that the Siberian Railway opened the way to the Steppe Region not only to the poorimmigrants from Central Russia. It was also attractive for large industrialists who wanted to invest their capital in the development of butter production, leather processing, sheep farming, and breeding of pedigree cattle, as well as horse husbandry.G.Ye. Katanayev saw in these newcomers representatives of the economic and cultural principles of a new type, which turned out to be absolutely undeveloped among the Cossack population. He is also peremptory towards Russian peasants when it comes to protecting the land rights of the Cossacks, protecting their land ownership on the Biysk Line spreading to the East from the Bukhtarma River through the lands of the Altai Mountain District. Land disputes between the Cossacks and the peasants by the end of the XIX century grew into conflicts in connection due to resettlement. G.Ye. Katanayev was the initiator of the “regulating” relations with the settlers, and in fact — of protecting the Cossack land ownership from the newcomers. He did not appeal to any of the Siberian representatives of the highest authorities, but directly to the “highest” name.

G.Ye. Katanayev’s arguments are so frank and informative for characterization and typology of the tsarist colonial policy in Kazakhstan that we present them here in full. Considering the Siberian Cossack army as a special “state institution”, the Cossack administrator believes that without the land reserves of the army, which the Kazakhs lay claims to, it will be impossible to increase its numerical strength “by resettling Russian people from the inner provinces of Russia to their lands, if the needs of the state require it”. On other points of the Kazakhs’ stay on the ten-verst corridor, in case of its transfer to their full use, G.Ye. Katanayev warns and at the same time, admonishes that one ought not to doom the great Russian navigable river to the eternal habitation of non-Russian nomads. One ought not to leave the Irtysh grasslands for the eternal and non-competitive use of nomads, since later it will be possible to exploit them more productively in the national interests.

The specific programme of the land management suggested by G.Ye. Katanayev was appreciated in the highest spheres: first in the Main Directorate of the Cossack Troops, then the Military Minister himself, “who ordered to immediately submit the issue of allotting the ten-verst corridor to the Siberian Cossack Army to the State Council of the Empire”. The Tsar allowed it and imposed on the decision “the most merciful resolution” that “the Army lands remained at the Army’s disposal forever” [11; 19].

Finally, on May 31, 1904, the issue was once and for all resolved in favour of the Cossacks. One and a half million dessiatinas of land making up the ten-verst corridor disputed until that time, were “granted to them as an exclusive, inalienable, eternal property”, in the words of G.Ye. Katanayev. For many decades, the Siberian army was able to provide for the land needs of many subsequent generations, at least 25–30 dessiatinas for each male person. It is common knowledge that it did not work out for “many subsequent generations”, but through no fault of G.Ye. Katanayev. The Cossack ideologue achieved land regulation in favour of the Siberian Cossack Army.


Thus, extensive documentary base of the heritage left by G.Ye. Katanayev necessitates to get familiar with it, in order to further compare and generalize the seemingly opposite judgments of the noble-bourgeois Russian historiography with the modern ideas of the historical science of Kazakhstan in the socio-economic area in the steppe region on the cusp of the XIX-XX centuries.

At the same time, the data collected by G.Ye. Katanayev enable us to interpret the features of the urban economy and the place of the Cossacks in it, taking into account the specifics of the bordering urban construction policy. Within the intensive development of cities in the late XIX – early XX centuries, the ideologist of the Cossacks managed to protect the rights of the army in land management, given that this class was required for the authorities not just as representatives of the guard, courier and other state services. After all, it was the Siberian Cossack army that founded the first fortresses on the Irtysh river, which turned into cities, too, not without their participation.Initially, these were the Cossacks forcibly removed to this area and later called “serf” Cossacks, then the city Cossacks (guardians of order). Over time, when the threat of an attack by the Dzhungars disappeared, they became Siberian line Cossacks. After having played their certain role in Russian history, the city Cossacks paved way for new service people. These were the closest “predecessors” of the Siberian Cossacks [12; 20].

The researcher of the topic of Kazakh-Russian relations N.E. Bekmakhanova notes that “this is one of the Eurasian features characteristic of the Russian Empire, which was located on the Asian and European continents with the multinational population. The relations between the Kazakhs and the Ural, and Siberian Cossack troops were not straightforward and only positive. The tension in the relations emerged due to the problem of land use, water use and the use of the Cossacks as a punitive force against the population of the Kazakh auls. The tsarist government acted as a judge in these relations, but many of their decisions remained controversial, contributing to the growth of tension in the adjacent Kazakh-Cossack territories” [13; 43–44].


The article has been prepared within implementing the grant project devoted to investigating “Cultural Environment of the Historical City: Transformation of Kazakhstani Urban Space on the Cusp of XIX-XX Centuries”. Agreement No. 266 for Implementing Research and Technical Projects on Grant Financing.



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Year: 2021
City: Karaganda
Category: History