Kuban Cossack regalia - the soul and body of the Great Kuban army, the valor of victories and the spirit of history. The history of their wanderings is full of exciting adventures.
(Original Post from Lebed.com )
This exclusive article, kindly provided to our publication by the Ataman of the Cossacks of America and Canada, the Cossack General Sergei Vladimirovich TsAPENKO, is sure to arouse great readers' interest and once again open the glorious page of the history of the Cossacks.
Banners, standards, royal letters, mace, feathers, commemorative bowls, cups, saucers, award pipes made of precious metals, nominal, donative weapons of the emperors ... All these commemorative awards and items symbolized significant milestones in the history of the Kuban Cossack army and were kept, according to routine , in the military cathedral. Only the mace was a sign of the ataman power - and the military seal was invariably at the military headquarters.
On commemorative, jubilee celebrations for the army and Russia, at military parades, banners, awards took an appropriate place, arousing the pride of the seasoned and the admiration of young Cossacks. Respect for national shrines and symbols at all times and for all peoples is the highest criterion for citizenship, patriotism and moral culture of the people.
The carrying out of the Regalia was especially solemn on the day of the oath of the military chieftain. Then all the kuren atamans gathered in the military town and, with feathers in their hands, greeted the head of the army. All the banners of bygone times surrounded the sworn oath, and, shaded by the eldest of them, he swore an oath: to lead the army along the path of duty, honor and common good.
Caring for the preservation of the Regalia was a sacred military duty. For the Regalia was the soul of the army, and therefore, for the Russian man, the Cossack, it was the army itself. Where there were Regalia, there was an army, the Kuban Cossacks rallied there, and it was so during the entire existence of the army, so it was in the vague years of the Regalia's wandering far from the Motherland, full of unforeseen dangers and twists of fate.
1. Military regalia in the village of Bryukhovetskaya
At critical moments, first of all, measures were taken to save the relics. Throughout the history of the Kuban Cossack army, they twice left the place of their permanent storage - the Military Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky, and both times - during the civil war. The last time was really the last. Since then, the Regalia have not seen their homeland.
On February 28, 1918, Filimonov, the ataman of the Kuban Cossack army, and the Kuban government, without risking resisting the Reds, left Yekaterinodar without a fight. On the eve of the retreat, they took care of the rescue of the Regalia. They decided to entrust their fate to the Cossacks of the village of Bryukhovetskaya. On a dead February night, accompanied by an officer's convoy, boxes with Regalia (they were transported in coffins) were delivered to the village.
Initially, the boxes with the Regalia were kept under the supervision of the village chieftain I.S. Shevel. When the Reds approached Bryukhovetskaya, Shevel summoned one old, reliable Cossack from a remote farm and, as he later recalled, in 1939, one of the leaders of the foreign Kuban Cossacks, General SP Zvyagintsev, invited him to take on the sacrificial feat.
Late at night, an old Cossack drove up on a cart to the ataman's house. Covertly loaded boxes and hid the load in straw. Even the household was not privy to this secret: a dangerous load would cost a head. After some time it was moved far beyond the farm. One box was buried in the middle of the gate. The ground was frozen only from above, and then it was soft and loose. The rest of the boxes were buried in the field in different places. The snowstorm that had begun swept away the tracks. Soon the Reds appeared on the farm. They asked about “mysterious coffins”, dug up the straw, searched the huts ... The Cossacks were silent.
Soon White recaptured Yekaterinodar. General V.G. Naumenko, the future chieftain of the Kuban Cossack army abroad, at the head of the Kornilov regiment, was the first to break into the city. The regional government, the chieftain, and the military headquarters returned. The Cossack Regalia was delivered and installed in its original place. Fortunately, the dampness had little effect on them; only two of the highest letters from the box buried in the gati suffered. The feat of the Cossacks of the village of Bryukhovetskaya was not forgotten: they were honored in their native village, promoted to officer ranks, and their merits were immortalized by a special order of the ataman (No. 896 of July 27, 1919).
2. Beginning to go abroad
However, the “hundred days” of the Kuban Cossacks came to an end: the Reds were advancing. The obvious outcome of military events predetermined the decision of the old chieftain Bukretov. Nobody, including the chieftain, had any hopes for a speedy return. Orders were given to send the Regalia overseas.
To accompany them, a commission of five people was appointed: Lieutenant General P.I. Kokunko - the chairman of the commission and its members: Major General S.P. Zvyagintsev, Colonel V.P. Bely, military sergeant Y.V. Semikobylin and a member of the regional and legislative council, patriarch of Kuban history, professor of the Kuban Polytechnic Institute F.A. Shcherbina. These people were responsible for the safety of the Regalia.
They were also given the right to choose the country where the cargo was to be exported. We chose Serbia. The choice was determined by the warm relations that Russia and the troops had with this fraternal Slavic country. Twelve massive, iron-lined boxes taken from the military headquarters on covered wagons, accompanied by armed guards, were taken to the railway station and loaded into a carriage. Outside, posts were posted to control all approaches,
On February 20, 1920, a train with the Regalia and the accompanying commission set off for Novorossiysk. From that day on, full of dangers and anxieties of wandering in a foreign land began, left without a Fatherland, abandoned, forgotten, betrayed by the country of the Kuban Cossacks, who inevitably followed their Regalia, shrines, personifying for them all the irrevocably gone glorious past of the Kuban Cossacks, a failed future and a woeful present.
The regalia were taken away from the Kuban! Now it is difficult to understand with the mind, and even more with the heart, what this meant for the Kuban Cossacks. This meant the end of that Kuban Cossack army that they knew, breaking it off from its native land, moving it somewhere into the unknown, almost into oblivion. The regalia have been taken out, what should the Cossacks do in the Kuban now? It is not long and their turn, soon they will go into exile, into foreign, unknown, incomprehensible countries, into oblivion.
With all sorts of complications, constantly being in danger of losing the Regalia as a result of theft, attack, including the Reds, the commission with its priceless cargo for the entire Kuban arrived first in Novorossiysk, then on the old steamer "Constantine" - to Constantinople (Turkey), then to Thessaloniki (Greece), and from there by train on April 5, 1920 arrived in Belgrade (Serbia). And the fighting Cossack Kuban, bleeding at that time, for the most part, did not know that her soul had already flown away ...
Who are they - those to whom the chieftain and the Kuban Rada entrusted military shrines, who are the Guardians of the Regalia, who had the dangerous honor of accompanying and protecting them?
Pyotr Ivanovich Kokunko is the chairman of the commission, or deputation, as it was sometimes called, to save the military Regalia. An old, once gallant general, a dashing grunt. Participated in the years 1914-1915 in the battles on the Turkish front. Among his awards is a large, bejeweled octahedral star - the award of the Persian Shah. A tall, once mighty, but now still quite strong Cossack, more recently - ataman of the Yeisk department of the Kuban region, the General Staff, Lieutenant General. Tall, noticeably stooped, he wears a Circassian coat with sparkling shoulder straps, with two oblique rows of gazars, a long dagger in a silvered sheath, and a general's cloak over the Circassian coat.
SP Zvyagintsev - a participant in two campaigns of the Volunteer Army in the Kuban, known among the Cossack environment for his personal courage, high discipline; in 1919, as part of the Kuban government, he was engaged in military issues.
Colonel V.P. Bely and military petty officer Y.V. Semikobylin, both of the closest circle of the military chieftain, career officers, have been in critical situations more than once, when life hung in the balance.
A purely civilian among them - Fyodor Andreevich Shcherbina, the most respected public figure in the Kuban, Kuban historian, publicist, bearer and passionate preacher of the ideas of Cossack identity and democracy. As a talented statistician economist, Zemstvo Russia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries knew him well.
3. Cossack shrines in Belgrade
Despite the previously announced telegraphic request, no free space for the boxes with the Regalia was found in Belgrade, and they were piled in the courtyard of the Russian embassy. At the request of the delegation, the commandant of Belgrade ordered the establishment of a post with them, where an armed guard was on duty around the clock. However, it was necessary to find a reliable, permanent home for the Regalia.
The Cossack delegation was recommended to the Military Geographical Institute, whose director, Colonel S.P. Boshkovich, a man of high culture, took an active part in the device and the subsequent fate of the military Regalia. The commission appointed and headed by him accepted the boxes with the priceless cargo for safekeeping.
It was then, having received the corresponding receipt on the receipt of the cargo and made sure of its reliable placement, the members of the delegation breathed freely for the first time after leaving Yekaterinodar. The regalia were saved from plunder, desecration, destruction, and they were safe and sound in the hands of the Slavic brothers, who took a genuine part in the fate of their exiled neighbors and with reverence for their main shrines. The director of the Military Geographical Institute, the officers and employees subordinate to him, by the nature of their work, were especially aware of the value and significance of the Regalia transferred to him.
A year later, the institute was transferred to the city of Zemun (now it is one of the main industrial areas of Belgrade and the area of the capital airport Surcin). The boxes with the Regalia were also transported to Zemun. Six years later, in 1927, the institute, and with it the Regalia, returned to Belgrade and settled in the Kalemegdan fortress. Outside the ancient walls of the fortress, the Regalia were housed in a dry, warm room along with the institute's especially valuable property; a sentry was assigned to the room.
Everything seemed to be settled, the Regalia were no longer in danger, they were located in a safe place; Kuban Cossacks-emigrants gradually settled in various countries and cities, including Serbia, and, from time to time, getting together, continued to hope for a return to the old days, to the former Russia and dream of returning to their native Kuban, of returning the Regalia to its original place - in the military cathedral. Life in a foreign land somehow got better, although everyone believed that this was all temporary, that the USSR would soon fall and they would return, and the same homeland as before would welcome them with open arms. The thoughts of the Cossacks did not belong to the present, they got bogged down in the past, trying to imagine their bright future on its basis. Thoughts were eager to return to the Motherland, the Kuban, but the Motherland was no longer there, it disappeared, perished, sunk into oblivion, and it was impossible to comprehend.
And although the Regalia were no longer in immediate danger, the commission to rescue them did not consider their duties to be exhausted. The temporary state of the Regalia was confirmed, in particular, by the agreement of November 26, 1938 on the surrender and acceptance of the Regalia to the Museum of the War Ministry of Yugoslavia, which stated that “Regalia of the Kuban Cossack Host /… / were transferred to the Yugoslavian Military Museum for safekeeping until the restoration of national power in Russia or the restoration of the entire Kuban Cossack army, which will be recognized by the Yugoslavian state ”.
On the island of Lemnos, where at first after the civil war a large colony of Kuban Cossacks settled, the Rada, having gathered, of course, not in full force, elected Vyacheslav Grigorievich Naumenko as a military ataman. Soon V.G. Naumenko, like many Kuban residents who left the rocky island, settled with his wife and daughter in the city of Kraljevo, 160 kilometers from Belgrade, where he entered to serve at a military airfield. From there, he periodically traveled to the Cossacks and his Headquarters, located in Belgrade.
Gradually, the composition of the commission for the rescue of the Regalia decreased. In 1922 he left for Prague and died there in 1936 F.A. Shcherbina. In 1924, the military sergeant YV Semikobylin moved to the French city of Lyon. Major General S.P. Zvyagintsev was appointed assistant to the military chieftain. Only Lieutenant General P.I. Kokunko and Colonel V.P. Bely remained.
Between P.I. Kokunko and V.G. Naumenko, there were disagreements arising from the chairman of the commission not recognizing the legitimacy of the power of the military ataman, elected by the incomplete Rada, and therefore unwilling to obey him in anything, especially in terms of orders concerning the Regalia. Due to the opposition of the chairman, the composition of the commission was never replenished until the death of its chairman. PI Kokunko died on June 10, 1939 at the age of 88.
After the conclusion of the agreement of November 26, 1938, it became possible to provide proper care for the Regalia, which legally passed into the temporary possession of the military museum. The Cossacks themselves did not have enough funds for this and they limited themselves only to the fact that twice during the Regalia's stay in Belgrade (in 1924 and in 1930) they opened the boxes to inspect, ventilate and dry the contents.
Now, after eighteen years of storage in wet boxes, the Regalia have been put in order and exhibited with artistic and aesthetic taste in decorated rooms at the expense of the military museum and its employees. Thanks to the caring hands of military specialists, things acquired their original brightness, turning into exhibits of great attractive force, designed to serve as the basis for the unity and consolidation of the Cossacks.
This significantly expanded the possibilities of educational influence on the Cossacks, as well as a wide acquaintance of the population with the history of the army. From the pages of their magazine, the military leadership addressed the Cossacks of all ages and political views with an appeal to rally around the shrines:
“YOUNG COSSACK GENERATION, OUR CHANGE AND HOPE - go and take a look at the monuments of glory of your native army! Among them, you will feel and absorb into your souls and hearts the pride of belonging to a well-deserved army, whose glory you will see in every fold of old battle banners, on every sheet of the highest letters, celebrating the merits of the troops, in every thing carefully preserved.
THE MIDDLE GENERATION AND OLD COSSACKS - ... "free" and "involuntary", all of you, who inscribed with your sweat and blood, like your ancestors, bright pages in the history of the army - go to your Regalia. And you will see your shrines in a setting appropriate for them now and, perhaps, finally stretch out your hands to each other in order to go together in concert to meet the coming trials.
ALL YOU, DESPAIRED, FALLED IN SPIRIT - go to the military museum. There you will learn that the army did not always survive the bright days, but even in the darkest ones they left them with honor. It will come out, God willing, and now! ”
Participants in the rescue of regalia: V.G. Naumenko - in the center, on the right - N.G. Nazarenko, on the left - M.I. Zaretsky. Photo: Germany, 1944
4. During the Second World War. Wanderings in Europe
The regalia safely stayed in Kalemegdan until World War II, namely until the German attack on Belgrade and the bombing of the city on April 6, 1941, when the museum was partially looted. Some of the valuables stored in the museum, including those belonging to the Kuban Cossack army, have disappeared. A document on the missing items was issued by the Serbian Government listing and assessing the missing items (currently in a museum in Hovell).
Being at the time of the bombing in Kraljevo, the military chieftain V.G. Naumenko, after the death of P.I. Finally, he received a letter from his Chief of Staff, General Solomakhin, informing him that the Regalia had survived. Only silver disappeared, i.e. trumpets and timpani, which, apart from material, were not of great importance.
VG Naumenko managed to get to Belgrade only by June 14, 1941. There he immediately got in touch with the German General Mel (head of all museums in Germany) and together with him on June 26 examined the Regalia. There were: all 90 banners, all Diplomas, 4 dishes, a chandelier, some maces, feathers, the uniform of Emperor Alexander II and Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich, but without full gazyrs; from the dagger of the Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich only a scabbard. There was no eagle on the chieftain's rod. Found 2-3 folders in a gray cover. The rest, including the timpani and silver trumpets, as well as nothing from the property of the Guards Division, was not there. Thus, the main letters and banners have survived.
Through Mel, he also hoped to speak with the German commander-in-chief in Belgrade, General Schroeder, about the issuance of the Regalia. However, complications arose caused by the manifestation of the activity of the "self-appointed", or "free Cossacks" - the separatist Cossack movement that arose in Prague in the twenties, whose representatives stood for the creation of an independent state "Cossack", in contrast to their opponents (the Kuban Cossack army and , in particular, V.G. Naumenko), who advocated the restoration of the former position of the Cossacks as part of a strong, united and indivisible Russia.
The leader of the “Cossacks” V. Glazkov, who proclaimed himself a common Cossack leader, with the arrival of the Germans declared all his adherents a “Cossack Party of Nationalists”, equal to the National Socialist Party in power in Germany, and began to express loyalty to Hitler, decorating the pages of his newspaper “ Cossack Messenger ”by his portraits (for which he was even called“ Cossack Fuhrer ”). His representative in Belgrade P. Polyakov, immediately after the occupation of the city by the Germans, came to them and, introducing himself as such, presented his claims to the head of all the Cossacks in Serbia. Thus, there was a real threat that the Regalia would fall into the hands of the “Cossacks” hostile to the Kuban Cossacks, who had patrons in the German leadership.
On June 28, 1941 V.G. Naumenko with several Cossacks examined the Regalia in more detail. In addition to those already established, several more minor losses were revealed, but some of the lost ones were found: the blade of Holovaty's checker (without scabbard and head), a box with the Military Choir's library, files on awarding crosses to the Salvation of the Kuban and 3 albums of the Yekaterinodar regiment. VG Naumenko was very upset about the loss of part of the Regalia. He wrote in his diary: “The Regalia lie like a stone on my heart. In fact, I was unable to save them! I'm the main culprit! "
In the meantime, the “self-styledists” began bombarding the Gestapo with denunciations of V.G. Naumenko, with the main emphasis on the fact that he was an ardent Anglophile, hoping that he would be arrested as such, and the Regalia, having passed into their possession, would raise their importance in the eyes of the Cossacks, most of them are extremely unfriendly. However, their efforts were not crowned with success, the authority of the military chieftain was not undermined, but the small number of Cossacks standing behind V. Glazkov was established.
The regalia were returned to the Kuban Cossack army. Some of them were placed in the Headquarters, which occupied a large apartment with constant security, and the rest were placed in boxes in the building of the Museum of the Russian House. Life in Belgrade somehow got into a rut and the Cossacks continued their activities, establishing links between the settlements of the Kuban stanitsas in different places, ”publishing the monthly“ Information ”.
On April 16, 1944, the Allies bombed Belgrade, and from that day on, the bombing became permanent. Fearing for the fate of the Regalia, General Naumenko decided to move them to the basement of the Russian House building, which is more capital than the Headquarters building, but even there the danger for the Regalia to be destroyed remained. By the fall of 1944, it became clear that Belgrade would be abandoned by the Germans, and there were indications that it would be occupied by Soviet troops. Taking out the Regalia became the main concern of the military chieftain. However, he did not want to send them away into the unknown, and he could not leave with them, since most of the Cossacks who entered the Cossack units still remained in Serbia, as well as their families, and his departure would be equal to fleeing from a sinking ship. As a result, he remained in Belgrade until all the bridges over the Sava and Danube rivers were blown up; the pontoons were constantly exploding from bombs thrown into the rivers. Accordingly, trains stopped running. VG Naumenko notes in his diary: “In the city there is jubilation among the Serbs, among the Russians there is a mood close to panic”.
Finally, the ataman managed to get cars for transporting the Regalia across the Sava (fortunately, by the time of transportation, a bridge had been established) to the railway station in Zemun. Having left on September 6, the cars with the Regalia, the chieftain and his family ended up in Zemun, and from there they arrived by train to Vienna. From here the chieftain went to the Main Directorate of the Cossack troops in Berlin, and the carriage with the Regalia, staff officers and the chieftain's family went to the southwest - to the Austrian city of Villach on the northern slope of the Alps. The regalia were placed in the Willach city museum. However, by the end of October 1944, the danger again began to threaten the Kuban shrines: Villach was located near the border of Yugoslavia, and there Tito partisans acted very bravely, even beginning to cross the Austrian border.
Naumenko decides to arrange the Regalia in Dresden, which has never been bombed before. On the way to Dresden, the Regalia were nearly destroyed. The train carrying them was attacked from the air. Since the train was carrying ammunition, the entire train set on fire and a captain from the Cossack division of General von Pannwitz N.G. Nazarenko, the future son-in-law of the ataman, together with other Cossacks who accompanied the Regalia, began to throw boxes with the precious cargo entrusted to them from the carriage of the stopped train under fire. ... As a result, several boxes were badly damaged as they fell, but the Regalia themselves survived.
Ultimately, after several more overloads caused by damage to the rails, the Regalia were safely transported to the town of Dipoldiswald, not far from Dresden. In the Dipoldiswald there was a military museum taken out of Dresden and the Regalia were also placed here. The damaged boxes were replaced with new ones and the Regalia were put in order.
However, the front line was approaching: Soviet troops were advancing. General Naumenko and N.G. Nazarenko, who arrived in Dipoldiswald on February 10, 1945, decided to send the Regalia to the west, closer to the Swiss border, to the city of Kempten in Bavaria.
Taking out a car for sending the Regalia, the military chieftain V.G. Naumenko ended up in Dresden on February 13, 1945 and got into a horrific bombing of the city by the Allied aircraft. Miraculously surviving, he and a group of Cossacks accompanying him returned on February 15 to his already desperate daughter in Dipoldiswald. In that bombing, 150,000 people died in one night.
On February 19, 1945, a train carrying a carriage with Cossacks and Regalia left for Kempten. And again the fate of the Regalia hung in the balance. What did not happen to the long-suffering train along the way: long downtime at stations, numerous bombings and fights boiling around, stray bombs exploding around and only by a lucky chance do not touch the carriage with the Regalia! Once at night, when everyone was asleep, and the train was on the brakes, another train ran into it, crashing into it with such force that the train with sleeping Cossacks and Regalia was thrown 80 meters along the way.
Finally, on March 7, 1945, the Cossacks arrived in Kempten. The boxes with the Regalia were temporarily stored in the premises of the Kempten customs. Kempten was also constantly bombed, but it was difficult to get the Regalia out of here, since the area was heavily loaded with both refugees and troops.
Having hardly obtained a car, on April 23, 1945, the chieftain sent his family and a group of Cossacks with the Regalia to the city of Royte, while he himself remained in Kempten on business. (This was done just in time, since on one of the events the next, after the departure of the Regalia from Kempten, the day of the bombing, the building of the Kempten customs office, where the boxes had been lying before, was destroyed to the ground.) The regalia were unloaded about two kilometers from Reite on some separate courtyard, where there was not even a barn for the escort to spend the night. I had to sleep sitting and lying on the boxes. The next day, N.G. Nazarenko obtained permission to place the Regalia in the pavilion of the Krona hotel, and those accompanying them in its rooms.
On the night of April 25, the chieftain with the staff officers left Kempten on foot, bypassing the mined bridge, which could be blown up at any moment. Only on April 27 did they arrive in Royte. Torn to pieces between the duties of the military chieftain and the keeper of the Regalia, V.G. Naumenko decides to join the Cossack units of Domanov and Pannwitz, which should gather in the Salzburg region, and leave the Regalia with General Shelest and N.G. Nazarenko.
Fortunately for him, the ataman did not manage to get to his own people, since the movement on the roads was stopped for residents, the border between Austria and Bavaria was closed, and there was no information about the whereabouts of the Cossacks. On the way, in Sindeldorf on May 16, 1945, when the chieftain, already realizing the impossibility of getting to his own, was returning back to Kempten (it was impossible to return to Reuth), the Americans captured him and sent him to a camp near the town of Oberammergau. Therefore, he did not experience the tragedy of June 1, 1945, when, having committed a great betrayal, the British in the city of Lienz in Austria partly exterminated and partly surrendered to the USSR more than 30,000 unarmed Cossacks. 19 days after being sent to the camp, having received a pass to Kempten with great difficulty, General Naumenko continued his journey with the Cossacks.
On June 9, 1945, the chieftain arrived in Kempten, but the Cossacks who were in Kempten did not know anything about the fate of the Regalia and the Cossacks who remained with them in Royt, since the border with Austria was closed. N. Nazarenko, who unexpectedly returned from Royte, said that Royte was occupied by the Americans, some of the Cossacks had been arrested by them, and the Regalia had been moved from the pavilion to the building of the Krona Hotel. On June 17, news came from Royte that the Americans had taken the Regalia to an unknown destination. The regalia are gone! The chieftain was in despair and constantly reproached himself for his departure from Royte.
The ataman and his entourage were completely unaware of the fate of the Regalia until the fall of 1945, when the camp in which they were located was transferred from Kempten to the town of Füssen a few kilometers from Reut in Austria, and then, when Naumenko settled in the Memingen camp , also near Reite. The head of the Füssen camp, a Frenchwoman, M. Froger, who knew from her former settler ataman that he was looking for Regalia, unexpectedly summoned him to her place and reported that the Regalia had been found. She, being in Roit, found boxes with them in one monastery there, and two of them were open.
On June 19, 1946, a year after the disappearance of the Regalia, the Cossacks regained them. As far as it was possible to establish, the Americans, having placed them in a monastery and leaving Royte, did not tell the French who came instead of them about the Regalia, as a result of which they were forgotten. The abbot of the monastery informed the French captain, who was in charge of them, about them, and he decided that this was good, plundered by the Germans in Russia, which was to be returned to the USSR. The French Major Gouverner, Count of Pertuis, who accidentally told Mme. Froger, learned about this, and she, knowing that the Cossacks were looking for their Regalia, told Ataman Naumenko. Major Gouverner, not particularly sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, decided to give them to him and the Cossacks. Which he did, having previewed their documents. The Cossacks took boxes with their relics to Memingen and put them in N.G. Nazarenko's room. Already on June 20, a commission was appointed to check the Regalia, which immediately proceeded to inspect them. Everything was OK.
The regalia were transported to the Otoboyern monastery, two hours' drive from Memingen, for safekeeping. Thus, more or less ensuring their safety, Naumenko began to look for ways to send them to America, away from the USSR. By July 21, 1949, the proper documents were drawn up with great difficulties and on July 22, the boxes with the Regalia were taken out.
On August 5, 1949, the Regalia was sent from Bremen on the Havman steamer to Philadelphia. The chieftain with his family followed them. They arrived in Boston on August 30, 1949. Ataman was immediately taken into custody on suspicion of collaborating with the Nazis. The reason for the arrest was the denunciation of the enemies of V.G. Naumenko. Three months later, a court hearing was held, the inquiry did not establish corpus delicti in the actions of the ataman during the Second World War. He was released from custody and he and his wife were allowed to live in the United States. The Naumenko couple settled in a Catholic monastery near New York. As a military chieftain, he began to establish contacts with the Kuban people, corresponded, and published the monthly magazine "Kazak". Together with the ataman of the Central Kuban Cossack village in New York, military sergeant-major Boris Ivanovich Tkachev, he was looking for opportunities for the proper storage of the Regalia. With funds raised from the Cossacks for $ 20,000, a three-story brick mansion of fifteen rooms was purchased near the center of New York, which became the Kuban military house. This is where the Regalia was placed.
General Naumenko, already at an age, decided to resign atamanhood and devote the rest of his life to writing for the benefit of his descendants. He trained in his place the military foreman B.I. Tkachev, who in 1958 was elected ataman of the Kuban Cossack army. Naumenko was awarded the title of Honorary Cossack of the Kuban Army and was elected Honorary Chairman of the Commission for the storage of the Regalia.
On March 4, 1961, the military commission for the storage of the Regalia, since 1953 headed by the former head of the Kuban Alekseevsk military school, General O.I. Lebedev, checked the presence and condition of the Regalia, banners, and other symbols displayed in the museum and stored in storerooms. The open banners were placed under plastic frames. Regalia insured for $ 10,000.
On October 30, 1979, at the age of 97, the former military chieftain, General Vyacheslav Grigorievich Naumenko, died. What did this man, this Cossack not experience! But he never lost his presence of mind, no dangers could break his courage and confidence in victory over his enemies. Thanks to him, a real Russian Cossack officer, the Kuban Cossack army survived, survived with dignity, without losing the banners, without losing the soul. Eternal memory to him for this and a deep bow from all the Cossacks!
Nowadays, Alexander Mikhailovich Pevnev is the military chieftain of the Kuban Cossack army abroad. The regalia were transported to the Museum built in Howell (New Jersey), where they are to this day.
6. The Kuban Cossacks are reviving
In 1989, in the homeland, which seemed to have forgotten the Cossack past, in Krasnodar, the creation of the “Kuban Cossack Club” named after Bursak began the revival of the Kuban Cossack army. The Cossacks, seemingly destroyed forever, sunk into oblivion, as many dreamed, showed themselves in the conditions of weak-willed and uncomplaining Russia so actively, so irresistibly, as if rebelliously calmed down for up to an hour, somewhere until now just waiting for a signal to break the dam oblivion.
The history of the revival of the Kuban Cossacks is a separate story, glorious for its victories and defeats, for its terrifying difficulties, difficulties associated with the almost severed connection of times, the forgetting of native traditions, with the need to snatch grains of Cossack memory and spirit right from under the inexorable wheels of history. A new, insurmountable, as it still seems, threat rolled over the country, all the more insurmountable as it was not perceptible for the majority. The nation lost its inherent features, the youth renounced their ancestors. It became the main task, the question, whether the Cossacks should be or forever go to the pages of history textbooks, the restoration of the lost people's memory, keeping the youth tempted by all the temptations on the path of saving loyalty to traditions. This task continues to this day. The fidelity of its staging is confirmed by the frequent appearance among the Cossacks of those who, even though they descend from their Cossack ancestors, have lost the feelings of the Cossack brotherhood and, imbued with new trends, led by Mamon and their own interests, commit acts for which then all the Cossacks who are under the special sight of the public pay off. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the stage of the revival of the Kuban Cossacks took place under the guidance of a professional historian, military chieftain V.P. Gromov.
The task of educating the younger generation of Cossacks is a prerequisite for solving the next most important task - determining the place of the Cossacks in modern Russia. And indeed: there will be no Cossacks, many will breathe easier: there will be nothing to actually check the impossibility of the existence of Russia without the historical backbone of its statehood - the Cossacks. All the way: from the creation of the “Kuban Cossack Club” (September 1989) - to the Kuban Cossack Rada (October 1990) - to the All-Kuban Cossack Host (October 1992) and, finally, to the Kuban Cossack army (1997-1998), - the Kuban Cossacks grew stronger in spirit and strengthened their identity and unity.
The reviving Army began a new page in its history, acquired new (new in this capacity) Regalia: the icon of our Lord Jesus Christ, presented to the Army by Patriarch Alexy II, the icon of George the Victorious, presented to the Army by the Metropolitan of Yekaterinodar and Kuban Isidor, the Gospel of the last koshevoy ataman of the Zaporizhzhya Sich Peter Ivanovich Kalnyshevsky, a mace, two feathers, a reliquary with the relics of the saints of the Kiev Caves ascetics Nikon Tamansky, Nestor the Chronicler and Ilya Muromets. And all the time the Cossacks remember that no matter how tremendous progress has been made, there will be no peace of mind for the future, there will not be an end to the stage of revival, until the past merges with the present, until the Kuban Cossack army has the materialized essence of its history and glory - its historical Regalia. Their return to the Kuban in the Army is considered the most important task at this time. The soul must return to the resurrected body.