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450th Anniversary of the Don Army

15.01.2020

In 2020, the 450th anniversary of the Don Army is celebrated. The starting point for the creation of the Great Don Army is a letter to the Don Cossacks, sent by Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible on January 16 (January 3 according to the old style) in 1570.

The letter was sent to the Don with the boyar Ivan Novosiltsev, who went to Tsargrad via the Don and the Azov. The letter run that the Cossacks and chieftain Mikhail Cherkashin were ordered to obey Novosiltsev in all state affairs, "so that you would serve us ... and we want to favor you for your service." For the first time, a salary was promised to the entire Cossack army for the service of protecting the tsar's ambassador. This letter was the first official document recognizing the Don Cossacks as a military organization, and the history of the service of the Cossacks to the Russian state begins with it.

Mikhail Sholokhov, who knew well the glorious history of the Don Cossacks, sent letters to Moscow in June 1970: one to the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev, the other one to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR Gennadiy Voronov. In them, the writer suggested celebrating a glorious date. “There is no doubt that the Don region and white emigrants will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Don Army,” - Sholokhov writes to Voronov. – “And what about us? Will the true heirs of the Don region remain silent and pretend not to remember the past or honor the history of the Motherland? The Don area has given Russia Yermak, Pugachev, Razin, Bulavin and many other glorious sons. This anniversary should be celebrated though modestly, but with dignity... "

In these letters, the writer also beat the alarm about the fate of the former capital of the Don Cossacks - stanitsa Starocherkasskaya. “The people of the outskirts of Russia, who used to inhabit it, have stood on the borders of their homeland for centuries, and it is necessary to preserve for history and posterity at least what remains despite our neglect of the monuments of our native country. Why don’t you, Gennady Ivanovich, send the authoritative State Commission of Historians to Starocherkassk, which would establish what objects and values ??need restoration and preservation. After all, the Ukrainians did something similar in the former Zaporozhian Sich, and we, it turns out, are basted? After all, you are not only the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, but also a Russian person.” The writer insistently solicited the authorities of the country to create a museum-reserve in the former capital of the Don Cossacks, which was done in accordance with the decree of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR of December 30, 1970.

After the death of the writer in 1984 in his homeland there was organized the National Sholokhov Museum-Reserve. From the first steps of forming a museum, one of its main tasks was to study and preserve the Cossack culture, moral principles and spiritual traditions of the Don Cossacks. So, in the historical and literary exposition “Mikhail Sholokhov. Time and Destiny”, the section “Cossacks at the Turn of the 19th – 20th Centuries” was opened, telling about the life, customs, traditions of the Don Cossacks, and the history of the Upper Don. The life and work of the great writer are inextricably linked with these concepts.

In 2005, the “Stanitsa Stable” was opened in the museum, where you can learn about the traditions of Don horse breeding and Cossack life, see real Don horses, try yourself as a rider, take a walking trip on the “ruler”, bedar, sleigh or “cart” of the Civil War time, watch workshops on feeding, saddling and cleaning horses, horse riding, as well as take part in "gathering Cossacks for service."

Since 2014, the stable has been hosting a literary and ethnographic festival “The horse is the dearest for the Cossack. Vyoshenskiye Shermitsii”. Holding it became a reflection of the growing interest in the military pages of the Cossacks history that from ancient times was famous for valor, military spirit, fearlessness in battle and the martial art of dashing riders. An important role at the festival is given to various types of equestrian competitions: "smooth races", show jumping, off horse riding skills. Guests of the festival, under the supervision of an instructor, can try their hand at owning a lance and a whip, learn the technique of landing in the saddle, show the ability to throw a spear, shoot from a bow, air gun, rattle the sabre.

In 2006, in the village of Kruzhilinsky, where the writer was born, the "Cossack Farmstead of the late XIX - early XX centuries" was founded In the farmstead there is a Cossack house with a “bakery” (summer kitchen), a glacier, a barn, a stable, cattle bases, agricultural implements. The base contains horses, bulls, cows, sheep, goats and poultry. Farmstead gives an idea of ??life, the way of economic life of the Cossacks described by Mikhail Sholokhov in the novel "And Quite Flows the Don".

Since 2010, the literary and ethnographic festival "Kruzhilin Toloki" has been held here. ("Toloki" is a good Cossack custom to help neighbors free of charge, and then rest together). At the festival guests learn more about the traditions and customs of the Cossacks: together with the characters of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” they plow, sow and harvest, "shake the meadows", conduct a Cossack circle and the ceremony of "initiation into Cossacks." Everyone can try to turn up the soil with a plow on bulls, mow and make hay, grind flour with millstones, master the potter's wheel, etc.

 In 2004, the Mill complex became toe part of the museum-reserve in stanitsa Karghinskaya. Before the revolution it belonged to the rich Cossack Timofey Karghin. Until 1918 it was a farm Karghin. Here, the would-be writer lived in 1910-1926, his literary work began here and the idea of ??the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” was born. Sholokhov described the mill in one of the episodes of the novel. Currently, the complex has become an interesting reconstruction of the farmstead of a prosperous Cossack.

Since 2014, the literary and ethnographic festival “Karghin Fair on Intercession Days”, dedicated to the feast day of the Protection of the Holy Virgin, has been held on the territory of the mill complex. Here another side of the pre-revolutionary life of the Don Army Region is revealed to the visitor, that is traditional fairs. Merry-go-rounds, circus performers, a puppet theater, an attraction of strong men, a photo studio, performances by folklore groups - all this is can be found side by side with the sale of various goods at the Karghin fair. Local residents and numerous guests become participants in an interesting event, where you can make purchases and plunge into the world of the past.

 

Valery Emelyanov