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565 Ab Imperio, 3/2006 зепиана”, дискурс Мазепы, исто- рико-культурный контекст мазе- пинской эпохи. С другой стороны, при чтении книги иной раз очень не хватает генетического анализа данного дискурса и изучения связи идеологического контекста с поли- тическими процессами конца ХVII – начала ХVIII века. Возможно, это и не входило в задачу составителей сборника. Значит, перед авторами открываются новые исследова- тельские перспективы. Anatol SHMELEV Jamie Bisher, White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian (London: Routledge, 2005). 452 pp. Bibliography, Index. ISBN: 0-71465690 -9. Jamie Bisher’s monograph describes the activities of the Siberian and Far Eastern atamans (Cossack leaders) during the Russian Civil War. Ostensibly supporting the antiBolshevik (White) forces in the Civil War, many of the atamans more often conducted themselves like brigands, contributing to lawlessness rather than fighting it, and ultimately adding fuel to the fire of the Red guerilla forces in Siberia and the Far East. Covering the period 1917–1921, the author devotes most of his attention to a description of precisely what it was that made the atamans, and particularly their most famous representative , Siberian Cossack host ataman Grigorii Mikhailovich Semenov, so odious to the population. This is a fascinating tale well told. While there is a mass of detail, up to and including the exact time (to the minute) of Semenov’s arrival in New York in 1922, the detail is unobtrusively presented in a text that reads in part like a thrilling novel with footnotes. Such were the lives of the Far Eastern atamans during the Russian Civil War: they invite investigation into every move and word (no matter how minor), because in these very details one discovers international intrigue, robbery , murder, espionage, and all the elements that make up a fascinating story. What is unsettling about this story is that the victims were real and the acts of the perpetrators all too often heinous. One of the most important questions raised by this book is contained in its title: White terror. It brings to mind General Aleksei Budberg’s (a minister of war in the Siberian government) famous phrase that ataman Grigorii Semenov and the other atamans were “Bolsheviks under a white sauce.” How typical was their terror for the White movement as a whole, and for Admiral Alexander Kolchak’s army in particular? Gen- 566 Рецензии/Reviews eral William Graves, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, had insisted that the atamanshchina was something rather standard and attributable to Kolchak. But in fact, Kolchak had no effective control east of Lake Baikal, and the atamans were always under the wing of the Japanese. Kolchak had a tense and unfriendly relationship with the latter, but was forced to treat with them due to his own weak position . The fact that Semenov could and did hold up and pillage railway shipments of supplies to Kolchak (and gold bullion headed east) is indicative of his insubordination, and ultimately of his effective undermining of the White movement, which he professed to uphold. Though Bisher is in no way a fan of ataman Semenov and documents his cruelties in great detail, there is no escaping a trace of historical revisionism that the author imbues in his work. Semenov and his ilk, described earlier in a negative light by historian N. G. Pereira, get a second reading from Bisher, who finds in them some element of populist – if not popular – appeal. At least in his early days, Semenov “realized that the salvation of democratic Russia was at stake, not merely primitive retribution” (P. 48). This begs the question of Semenov’s commitment to a democratic Russia and what he understood the term “democratic” to mean. The other atamans – Aleksandr Dutov, Ivan Kalmykov, Boris Annenkov – get short shrift in relation to Semenov, which is unfortunate, because they each deserve independent investigation, and the interplay among them is an important component of the complexity of the Civil War in the Far East. At the same time, the role of the Japanese military in propping up the atamans, and the broader geopolitical nature of Japanese involvement in Siberia, are inadequately described. This is an important aspect of events that can only be illuminated by access to Japanese archives. Even so, the volume devotes much attention to useful and hitherto largely ignored background detail on regional history and politics, which in turn helps to create a nuanced picture of events. Bisher does a commendable job in examining the early years of the atamans’ activity, especially during the First World War, and also in tracing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 565-567
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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