History of liberation movement in Kuban

XVIII - early XX centuries

Resettlement of the former Zaporozhian Cossacks from Ukraine to Kuban did not solve all contradictions between them and the Russian authorities, but transferred contradictions to a new home. The first known conflict in new lands — the Persian riot occurred in 1797. Reasons for it were poor provision of the Cossacks during the war with Persia, in which Russia threw them, and abuse from the Cossack foremen. Former Sich Knights could not accept the fact, that from now on contrary to their long-standing democratic traditions, command was formed from the outside. The reign of the immigrants in Ekaterinodar (now — Krasnodar) did not last long, and as a result, the uprising was brutally crushed by the tsarist government.

Kuban Cossacks - deputies of the first State Duma of Russia: N. Kochevsky, P. Grishai and K. Bardizh
F. Shcherbina - politician, historian of Kuban

Further, although the descendants of the Zaporozhians — the Black Sea Cossacks continued to serve Russia, but they did this, as many researchers have noted, without much zeal, mindful of insults. The tsarist government, which also did not have full confidence in them, ultimately united the Black Sea Cossacks and the more loyal Line Cossacks into the common Kuban Cossack Host. By the end of the XIX — beginning of the XX centuries Ukrainian national liberation movement began to penetrate into Kuban. Many future leaders of the independent Kuban were among the «unreliable» in the eyes of the tsarist government, and the Kuban Cossacks during the Revolution of 1905-1907 were the least loyal to the tsarist autocracy.

XX century

As a result of the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918, the Kuban People’s Republic was formed. Among the leaders of the young state were such prominent figures as M. Ryabovil, historian F. Shcherbina, L. Bych, K. Bardizh and others. Compared to many other parts of the former Russian Empire, economic situation in Kuban was quite stable, which was facilitated by competent management of Kuban people themselves, freed from the imperial reign. The first constitutional document was adopted, and Kuban delegations participated in international negotiations. However, the new republic could not survive due to the internal contradictions and the external pressure. The planned alliance with Ukraine against the Bolsheviks did not work out, and the Denikin regime, which became an ally in its place, behaved on our land as usual Russian invaders. The liquidation of the independent Kuban leadership did not bring special profit to the Denikin dictatorship: in 1920 they had to leave the region to «mercy» of the Soviets.

M. Ryabovil - Chairman of the Kuban Rada (Parliament)
Variant of the coat of arms of the Kuban People's Republic

The fall of our republic did not mean the end of liberation struggle. Partisan squads operated for a long time, inflicting damage on the new invaders — the Bolsheviks. So, the famous squad of V. Ryabokin’ fought until 1925. The Soviet government could not forgive the Kuban people for love of freedom and organized the terror in the 1930s. Through repressions, a policy of population replacement, artificial hunger and forced Russification it was able to break the willful Kuban region, the consequences of which we have now. During the Second World War, the Cossack Rebel Army acted on the territory of Kuban, they fought against both the Nazi and Stalinist occupation regimes and continued to resist the Soviet government until the early 1950s.

The revival of the Kuban identity began in the late 1980s and 1990s, when «glasnost» came and the Soviet empire was already breaking apart. During these years there were made attempts to restore the Cossacks, there were discussions about autonomy, and short-term Cossack republics were formed. However, as in previous times, betrayal became a barrier for liberation. The newly-born «foremen» received preferences from the federation and, although a couple of decades there were increased interest in our national culture, political activity was weak.

XXI century

In the modern Putin’s Russia we are witnessing the imperial revenge and the complete failure of building of the federalism on a democratic basis. The Russian occupation of the part of the Ukrainian lands raised in some Russian regions questions about their own self-determination. An attempt to hold a March for the federalization of Kuban in 2014 ended in persecution of the political activists by the authorities. However, it is naive to believe that repressions will stop the natural process of the collapse of the next «evil empire»: by the beginning of 2019, our movement «Independent Kuban» was organized by enthusiasts on the basis of the online communities dedicated to themes of the Kuban history and culture — so far we are the only one political project which openly speaks about necessity of secession of Kuban from Russia and creation of its own sovereign state.

Dmitry Dorovskikh

ideologist of the movement

Eugene Bursanidis

ideologist of the movement

Eino Talvinen

co-administrator, external affairs coordinator, member of the Free Idel-Ural movement and the Open Russia organization

...And all the supporters of the Kuban independence