Konstantin Pakhalyuk: 'Savage Division' - amazing military formation of World War I era
Caucasian Native Cavalry Division or 'Savage Division' is one of the amazing military formations of World War I, chief specialist of the scientific department of the Russian Military Historical Society Konstantin Pakhalyuk said, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the panel session titled 'World War I - 105 years later: what should be remembered..."
The historian recalled that there was a patriotic upsurge in Russia in August 1914, attempts were made to raise various ethnic groups to defend the empire from the enemy, after all, it was Germany that declared war on the Russian empire. "Then, since the peoples of the North Caucasus were not officially mobilized, the idea of forming volunteer units and regiments came up. This was intended to symbolize the success of integrating the region into the all-Russian space, because the Caucasian war ended only in 1864, there were uprisings in the rear in 1877 during the Russian-Turkish war, and when 50 years have passed, the children, grandchildren of those who fought against the Russian Empire, stand up for the common fatherland. This moment was very important, first of all, in political terms," he said.
"Especially since this division was respected. It was commanded by the emperor's brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich. From the end of 1914 it took part in the hostilities. However, it specialized in separate reconnaissance and raids. It served as signals troops, execute orderlies' orders. Its participants had individual training, individual courage, so it’s not surprising it was the Caucasian Equestrian Division's specialty," the chief specialist of the scientific department of the Russian Military Historical Society emphasized.
According to him, when the whole imperial statehood started to collapse after the February revolution, the 'Savage Division' found itself in a rather difficult situation. "Many volunteer regiments participated in the Kornilov offensive against Petrograd. Petrograd was afraid that these regiments would impose a rather rigid system of government. Of course, the ways of those who served in this division diverged during the Civil War. Many of them fought for the white army, while others - for the red army. A completely different era was starting, when various political projects, both national and separatist, clash and cause the Civil War," Konstantin Pakhalyuk concluded.