CANFIELD F. SMITH (Birmingham, Ala., U.S.A.) Atamanshchina in the Russian Far East* For those familiar with the Russian language, the term atamanshchina con- notes in one word what it takes several words in other languages to describe. The suffix "shchina" generally means "the evil deeds of ' the name that pre- cedes it, as used in Pugachivsh china, referring to the widespread and bloody rebellion of Emel'ian Pugachev during Catherine the Great's reign, and Ez- hovshchina, the worst period of the purges of the late 1930s directed by se- cret police chief N. I. Ezhov. Any cursory study of the atamansl during the civil war will show that such a title is well deserved. Characteristically they were cruel cutthroats whose methods of maintaining "order" drove many peasants into the arms of the Bolsheviks. As a case study of the atamans, this article focuses on the strip of land along the Trans-Siberian Railway east of Lake Baikal where the worst of them were active.2 It is restricted to the 1917 to 1920 period since most had been defeated by 1920 and the nature of the struggle there changed. Certain non-Cossack leaders are included because they conform to the characteristics
Russian History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1979
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