Mad Baron Ungern, legend and reality
More than 80 years ago, on September 15, 1921, in Novonikolayevsk (now Novosibirsk), Lieutenant-General Roman Fedorovich Ungern-Sternberg — one of the leaders of the White movement in Mongolia and Transbaikalia — was shot to death by the Extraordinary Tribunal.
Baron Ungern belonged to the warrior family of knights and ascetics, mystics and pirates, known since the days of the Crusades. Family legends lead him even further: to the beginning of the Great Migration of Nations, to the epoch of Attila and the Nibelungen, which became a heroic myth. This descendant of the Crusaders was born in the Austrian city of Graz on December 29, 1885 (at that time his parents traveled around Europe). He came to Russia only two years later; his family lived in Revel (now Tallinn). These were the Russified Baltic Germans who then lived in Austria-Hungary.
The fate of this historical character is full of paradoxes. If the plans of the general, truly Napoleonic, were realized, it is possible that in Eastern Siberia there could still exist an empire that he was trying to create.
Baron Robert Nikolai Maximilian, and in Russian - Roman Fedorovich, von Ungern-Sternberg. No one could have imagined that this scion of the European nobility set out to go in the footsteps of Genghis Khan, and in the conditions of the 20th century it would help Mongolia to defend independence from China. him in the Naval Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg. But here, too, he continued to walk in “penalty box” and was almost dismissed due to bad behavior. A year before the release, when the war with Japan began, Ungern enrolled as a private in an infantry regiment, determined to go to the front in Manchuria. He did not fight long with the Japanese, but still managed to get the rank of corporal and the soldier's light bronze medal, which became his first award for military distinctions. After the war, he returned home and entered the elite Pavlovsk infantry school. In 1908, Baron became an officer of the Trans-Baikal Cossack army and again went to the Far East. There he became a hardy and dashing rider, a desperate duelist. According to people who knew Ungern personally, he was distinguished by extraordinary perseverance, cruelty and instinct.
The name of Baron quickly became overgrown with legends about his various eccentric antics.So, once, having signed a bet with his comrades on the regiment, Ungern, without knowing the terrain, mounted, without roads, guides, provisions, and having only a rifle with cartridges, drove about six hundred miles through the taiga from Dauria to Blagoveshchensk and at the same time crossed by swimming on his horse across full-flowing Zeyu. In the stipulated time, the baron met and won the bet.
At the frontiers of Mongolia and China, the centurion Ungern, who from childhood had dreamed of the feats of arms and glory of his crusader ancestors, but had long been fond of the East and declared that he was a third generation Buddhist, tried to establish an order of Military Buddhists, even before the Great War fight the "evil revolution". In 1913, the ambitious baron found himself in the hilly steppes of Western Mongolia, where there were detachments of the legendary robber and a wandering monk, a connoisseur of Tantric magic of Tibet Jha-llama who fought with the troops of the Chinese Republican army for the city of Kobdo. But the Russian authorities forbid him to serve under the banner of Ja-lama consecrated with human blood, and about six months later Ungern, without acquiring the desired military glory, returned home.
The outbreak of World War I left the baron with the same enthusiasm and enthusiasm. Young Ungern, already in the Cossack regiment, came to the front, where he was noted for bravery and heroism. Soon he became friends with the future chieftain Semenov, who was later hanged in the USSR after World War II as an accomplice to the occupiers and the enemy of the Soviet people.
At war, the baron showed courage bordering on recklessness, was wounded five times, but every time he was face to face with death, he was forced to turn aside. One of the Baron’s colleagues recalled him: “In order to fight like this, one must either seek death, or know for sure that you will not die.”
At the front, Ungern, with his courage and fatalism, received five orders, including the officer cross of St. George for taking part in the tragic East Prussian campaign for the Russian army, and, in September 1916, the rank of captain for daring forays into enemy rear, but so and remained the commander of the Cossack hundreds: his superiors, General Krymov and Colonel Wrangel (the very one) were afraid to "raise" the desperate baron.
In 1917, for the beating of the curfew adjutant, who did not provide an apartment to Ungern, he was expelled from the army in the “reserve of ranks”.August of the same year, Ungern joined the Kornilov insurrection, and in the fall, after his suppression, together with other Cossack officers went to the East, to Baikal, then to Manchuria, becoming one of the main characters of the epic of his front-line friend ataman Semenov, who became ruler eastern outskirts of Russia.
After the October Revolution, together with Semenov, von Ungern finds himself in Transbaikalia, where they form detachments of Buryats and Mongols to fight the Reds. At the same time, the baron is actively engaged in diplomatic correspondence with the monarchists of Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, Manchuria, and China on the creation of a trans-Siberian empire. In the imagination of a person who is acquainted with the biography of Baron von Ungern-Sternberg, a truly surrealistic picture may emerge: a Russian nobleman of German blood, an anti-Semite by conviction and a sadist by nature, gathers an army of representatives of Asian nations to restore an empire in Russia.
The wild baron, made by Semenov to major general, established in Dauria a regime of personal power of the feudal type with a system of cruel punishments and executions for everyone, regardless of gender or rank.This territory, fenced off from the rest of the world by the barrier of superstitious, almost mystical fear of its owner, became, as it were, the first province of the future power of the East. Under the auspices of Semenov and Ungern, pan-Mongolist conferences were held in Dauria, the government of "Great Mongolia" was created, which was headed by Neisse-Heghen, the "living god" of one of the Lamaite monasteries. However, this “government” fabricated by “military Buddhists” had no real power.
In August 1919, at the next run into Harbin, the Dahurian baron married a Manchurian princess of “dynastic blood,” a relative of the overthrown emperors. This strengthened the authority of Ungern in the eyes of the Asians; Mongolian aristocracy brought him the title "Wan" - the prince of the 2nd stage. From the autumn of that year, the baron and chieftain began to prepare a campaign against Urga, the capital of Outer, or Khalkha-Mongolia, whose government declined to participate in the Pan-Mongol movement and, although not without pressure from the Peking authorities, called the Chinese occupation army into the country.
As a follower of Buddhism, the baron knew that it was impossible to attain liberation without a guru.Who was the spiritual mentor of Ungern, we do not know. However, evidence suggests that Roman Fedorovich never acted without consulting with the lamas who surrounded him. Even the formal numbers of the orders of the commander of the Asian equestrian division were carefully checked by the numerological calculations of the lamas. It is unlikely that a guru should be sought in the environment of von Ungern-Sternberg. The original spiritual master was most likely far from Ungern: perhaps in some Mongolian monastery, perhaps in Tibet in general.
Lama consultants, in all likelihood, were presented to Ungern by his “sensei.” It was the teacher’s order that explained that in the fall of 1920, the Asian equestrian division of Ungern fell from its “occupied” place in Transbaikalia and made its famous raid into Mongolia. It is known that the Mongol ruler and high priest, the “living Buddha” of the Mongols, Bogd Gegen VIII, being under Chinese arrest, secretly sent a message to the baron with blessing for the release of Urgi from the Chinese.
In August 1920, Ungern relocated his division from Dauria to the west - to the town of Aksha, from where a shorter and more direct route to Urga opened.However, the hatred of Bolshevism pushed him to increase the confrontation with the Reds. Baron began fighting against the troops of the Soviet Far Eastern Republic, but the balance of forces was already not in his favor. In early October, cramped by a numerically superior enemy, Ungern with a few hundred riders dissolved in the north Mongol steppes. For this condottier of the Civil War were criminals who, under no regime, could hope for mercy, the weak-willed, frightened escapes, and the conquistadors of Eurasia like himself, adventurers-dreamers, caressed by imperial winds.
The relationship between Semenov and Ungern in Transbaikalia was similar to the relationship between the Dalai and Panchen (or Tashi) lamas in Tibet. The first was the official head of secular power, the second - the keeper of the sacred doctrine. Ungern, of course, was not an authority for the Lamaist church, the doctrine he preserved was not so much religious as political with the prefix "geo". Its essence is a “crusade” against the West, the source of revolutions, by the forces of “yellow”, Asian, peoples who, like the white peoples, did not lose their age-old foundationsfor the restoration of the overthrown monarchies and the establishment on the whole Eurasian continent of a “yellow” culture and a “yellow” faith, Lamaist Buddhism, which, according to Baron, is called to spiritually renew the Old World. To this end, Ungern wanted to create a power that would unite the nomads of the East from the shores of the Indian and Pacific Oceans to Kazan and Astrakhan. Its original nucleus was to become Mongolia, the pillar and “center of gravity” —China, the ruling dynasty — the house of Tsina, swept away by the so-called Xinhai Revolution of 1911–1913.
The detachment of Ungern is materializing near Urga, to the amazement of the “Gaminov” of the Republican Chinese Republic who sat down in the capital of Khalkha. Two desperate assaults followed, but the forces were too unequal: the poorly equipped Ungernov division, which had fewer than 1,000 riders with 4 guns and a dozen machine guns, was opposed by a 12,000-strong, well-equipped and equipped expedition corps with mobile artillery and huge stocks of everything needed for the military campaign: from ammunition to food. In addition, up to three thousand Chinese colonists living in Urga were put under the gun. After suffering significant losses, Ungern retired to eastern Mongolia, where in the spring of 1920The guerrilla struggle with the Chinese occupiers unfolded and where the historical core of the empire of Genghis Khan was located ...
Under its banners, Russians, Buryats, and Mongols — princes with their warriors and simple arats, pastoralists, Buddhist priests and monks, flocked. Even the lord of Tibet, the Dalai Lama XIII, who declared the baron to be a fighter for the faith (the Chinese banned Lama services and arrested the “living Buddha” - the urginian high priest and ruler of Mongolia Bogd Gegen) sent him a group of his guards. The Mongols, who surrounded Ungern with honor and worship, called him Tsagan-Burkhan, “God of War”, and considered him the incarnation of Mahakala - Yidam, a Lamaist deity of six arms, cruelly punishing the enemies of the “yellow faith”.
Having replenished their regiments, the demonic baron returned to Urga and began its siege, despite the almost tenfold superiority of the Chinese in manpower and an incalculable advantage in the equipment of heavy weapons and other means of modern warfare. It would seem that under such conditions one cannot even think about success, but a good knowledge of the enemy was saved by the baron and his army. Using the mistakes of the enemy, Ungern conducted an exemplary campaign of psychological warfare in an Asian way and for some two months managed to demoralize him.The main error was the imprisonment of Bogd Gegen. The Chinese soldiers took him as a blasphemy and waited for the punishment of supernatural forces. Every night they looked at the giant bonfires, lit by the Cossacks of Ungern on the top of the sacred mountain of Bogd-ula, south of the Mongolian capital, believing that sacrifices were made there to powerful spirits who would punish the offenders of the “Urgin Buddha”. Lamas and scouts from the baron's camp spread rumors that were favorable to him in the city.
A strong blow to the morale of the “Gaminas” was a visit to Urga of Ungern himself. One sunny winter day, he appeared in the middle of the besieged capital, bristling with bayonets, machine guns and gun barrels outside the Chinese governor Chen I.’s home. After ordering one of the servants to hold the horse’s motive, the baron walked around the yard, carefully inspected it, pulled up friends and left the gate. Noticing the Chinese sentry who slept at his post at the prison, he treated him with blows from his tashur (reed cane), explained to the awakened soldier that he could not sleep on the guard and slowly left the city towards Bogd-uly. No chase "Gamina" did not have time to organize.The visit of the baron was considered a sign, a miracle, as well as the abduction - again in broad daylight, in full view of the whole city, by the Ungern agents, Buryats and Tibetans, the blind Bogd Gegen, right from under the nose of a whole battalion of Chinese guards. After that, one of the generals of the enemy, Guo Sunling, fled from besieged Urga, taking with him the most combat-ready part of the garrison - the three-thousand selective cavalry corps.
At dawn on February 2, 1921, Ungern went to the assault. The Chinese resisted violently - as only the doomed can resist, but the attackers were successful everywhere. The next day, the "Gamins" turned into a total escape. The Mad Baron got fantastic trophies, including a huge amount of gold and silver from the storerooms of the two banks located in Urga.
Urgu is the future capital of Mongolia - Ulan Bator. The division of Ungern liberates from the Chinese captivity and returns to the throne the monarch of Mongolia - Bogd-gegen Eighth. From him he received the titles of tsin-wang, prince of the 1st rank, and the highest, Khan, with the title “Revived state, the great bator, commander”, as well as the right to wear the Mongolian robe of the sacred yellow color.About Baron it began to make legends. The favorite oriental dress of the Russian general is kept in one of the historical museums of Mongolia.
The coronation of the Bogd Gegen is a bright, oriental action, which became the triumph of Ungern and the Mounted Asian division. The “god of war” actually became the military dictator of most of Khalkha-Mongolia.
In 1921 it became clear that the white case is lost. Ungern decided to intervene in Soviet Russia in the hope that the opponents of Bolshevism would go over to his side and help him establish a new Romanov empire from the Caspian to the Pacific.
However, the war with the Chinese was not over. The mass of republican troops and colonial refugees reached the Mongolian-Russian border and returned to Urga. On the Chinese side, there was a numerical superiority and a clear understanding that only victory would save them from dying in the hungry winter deserts. However, in the fierce battle of Choiri-Sume and several smaller battles, the baron's troops routed the “Gaminov” utterly. Few managed to escape, the occupation Chinese army ceased to exist. Ungern again received a large military booty - rifles, ammunition, artillery, several thousand prisoners and so on.After that, Beijing began to seriously fear that the baron would move to storm the Chinese capital: there were about 600 versts from the borders of Khalkha, where Ungern was staying with his horse-ridden victories, several day hops. However, instead of this, in early April, the baron returned to Urga and set about preparing his last expedition - to Soviet Russia, to Baikal.
The troops of Ungern, who, according to various estimates, ranged from four to five to ten thousand seven hundred and fifty sabers and bayonets — including subordinate detachments of Colonel Kazagrandi, Esaul Kaigorodov, Ataman Kazantsev, and other White Guerrilla groups — made their speeches in late May. With these insignificant forces, the Baron challenged the huge state, the regime that won the Civil War: the total superiority of the Reds, who was looking for achievement and death, was the least embarrassing. Ungern hoped to raise anti-Bolshevik uprisings in the Altai, in the upper reaches of the Yenisei, in the Irkutsk province, in Transbaikalia, hoping for the help of Ataman Semyonov, the Japanese imperial army.
"In his own mind, Baron Ungern was a genuine aristocrat, a knight, a descendant of the ancient princes,- tells professor of history from the University of Cincinnati Willard Sunderland (Willard Sunderland), author of the book about Baron Ungern. - According to him, proper order exists while the world is ruled by monarchs. If the monarch is cast out, then the highest duty of his loyal servants is to return him to the throne. ” However, Sunderland continues, after the initial success of the Asian division of Ungern began to suffer defeat from the numerically superior units of the Red Army.
In August 1921, V.I. Lenin in a special message noted that there was no doubt about the guilt of the counterrevolutionary and the Japanese spy. Lenin demanded to hold a public trial of Ungern "with maximum speed and shoot", which was done in September of the same year.
Semyonov and the Japanese did not render any support to the attackers. The Red Army, along with the revolutionary Mongolian units, occupied Urga and other important points on the territory of Khalkha, dealt a heavy blow to the White troops that had invaded Russia. Convinced of the futility of the struggle in the Baikal region, the Baron returned to Mongolia. But here too, the soil from under the feet of Tsagan-Burkhan is leaving: he understands that the country's scarce resources will not allow him to fight the Bolsheviks for a long time. Ungern decides to go to Tibet and with his army to enter the service of the Dalai Lama.For him, Tibet was the repository of sacred knowledge, somewhere there was located the legendary Shambhala, the "underground kingdom" of Agharti - a country of ancient magicians, from the depths of their caves ruling the world. Ungern felt himself an instrument of their universal will. However, the plan of the Baron was not implemented.
In the last year of his life, Ungern openly declared that his mission was the restoration of Genghis Khan’s empire. It is for this reason that in the summer of 1921 he set out on his Siberian campaign, his last raid. Interestingly, in a few months he told me that he had a premonition of his imminent death and almost called the exact time. Does this mean that Ungern was going to restore the empire of Genghis Khan in a fantastically short time? Or was it just a declaration, and the baron himself saw his destiny in death while embodying unrealizable ambition? Let's listen to Roman Fedorovich himself, who wrote in a letter to a Chinese general: “Now thinking about restoring kings in Europe is unthinkable ... For now, it is only possible to start restoring the Middle Kingdom and the peoples adjoining to the Caspian Sea,and then only begin the restoration of the Russian monarchy ... Personally, I do not need anything. I am glad to die for the restoration of the monarchy, if not of my own state, but of another. ”
Upon learning of his intentions, a group of officers of the Asian division plotted. Ungern's closest aide, General Rezukhin, was killed, he himself managed to escape, but the baron lost his power over his regiments. The conspirators who led them moved east to Manchuria, while Ungern went to the Mongolian division, the only unit whose loyalty could still be counted on. However, the Mongols, according to one of the versions of the events, disarmed and tied him, gave their bows to Tsagan-Burkhan and left it in the yurt, while they themselves rushed off to the steppe.
On August 22 a bound baron discovered a red junction. Horse scouts brought Ungern to the headquarters of the Soviet Expeditionary Force. Then he was transported to Verkhneudinsk, from there to Irkutsk, from Irkutsk he got to the capital of Siberia, Novonikolayevsk. Here, with a huge gathering of the public, on September 15 a trial was held. Baron was convicted on all counts and sentenced to death.In the evening of the same day, the infantry platoon carried out the sentence.
Trotsky, who headed the Revolutionary Military Council, wanted to hold a trial in Moscow, in front of "all working people." However, the “Red Siberians” persuaded their “elder brothers” to hold a tribunal in Novonikolayevsk (now Novosibirsk). It remains a secret why Trotsky and Lenin so easily abandoned the desire to show the “show” with the “bloody baron” on the “big Moscow screen”.
The legend of Ungern continued to exist: soon rumors spread among the Mongols that he allegedly survived and took refuge in a Buddhist monastery. In some Mongolian legends, the Russian baron has been featured for many decades under the name "God of War."
The personality of Baron Ungern is complex and ambiguous, she (and this is not a wit) is literally woven of contradictions. This man was born in the cultural center of Europe, but he acted mainly in Inner Asia; the enemy of emancipation in all its forms, liberated the whole country from the alien yoke; pupil of the European military school, revived the strategy and tactics of Genghis Khan; a pet of Western civilization, dreamed of flooding it with streams of yellow hordes.Purebred Teuton, he was endowed with features of a typical Russian autocrat, eastern satrap and clairvoyant; "The Last Knight", a native of the Middle Ages, is marked by an indelible stamp of "iron", the XX century; the monarchist reactionary, an irreconcilable fighter with the Revolution, was himself a passionary bearer of the revolutionary idea, only with the opposite sign, and raised a rebellion against the modern world.
Von Ungern-Sternberg became (could not help but become) a hero or an anti-hero of hundreds, if not thousands, of works: from poetic ballads and novels to movies and theater plays, from philosophical essays and academic studies to frivolous newspaper notes and dubious memoirs (recently there were even computer games, one of the main characters of which is Baron Ungern); most diverse writers — from Ossendowski, Nesmelov and Heydok, to Markov, Woods, Yuzefovich and Pelevin — addressed the image of the “Dahurian Crusader”. But all that is written about it is, like the tip of the iceberg, only part of Ungernian. The fact that the pen is not captured, is no less significant of its reservoir, replenished with new and new myths.
... Baron is remembered both in Europe and in Asia. He is still hiding in its vast expanses, waiting for the execution of the bequest terms. In the summer - in the hot winds, in the winter - in the prickly snowstorms, the figure of a gigantic, chained rider with a raven on his shoulder sweeps over the Gobi Desert ...
After the news of the execution of the Baron, the ruler of Mongolia Bogd Gegen ordered to conduct services in Ungern in all Mongol temples. True, not everyone believed that the Baron died. For example, many local Buddhist lamas laughed right at the news of the shooting: is it possible to kill Mahakala with an ordinary bullet?
So, it was rumored that the red caught a completely different person, similar to von Ungern-Sternberg, and the liberator of Mongolia himself went to one of the Tibetan monasteries, where he meditates and reads the so-called secret mantra leading to nirvana.
And some said that Ungern found his way to the mysterious country of Agharti and went there with his most loyal companions - to serve the "king of the world." The day will come when evil will finally reign in the world, and at that moment the Roman von Ungern-Sternberg equestrian division will take the stage to deliver a deadly blow to the forces of evil.By the way, the day of Unghern’s death was also analyzed by an astrologer in the same Indian journal from the 1950s. So, on September 15, 1921, according to the horoscope of Baron, in the so-called “house of death” four planets joined together: Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and the “ghost” Rahu. All this indicated, in the opinion of the astrologer, that von Ungern-Sternberg still left this world at that very moment. True, at the same time in the "house of enemies" the Sun and Mars, the main planet in the horoscope of Baron, joined. This combination said, according to the astrologer, that Roman Ungern did not passively accept death, but most likely died in battle.