Russia : Documentary on How the Russian Empire was Built
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Siege of Pleven|
|Part of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)|
| Russian Empire
|Commanders and leaders|
| Tsar Alexander II
Grand Duke Nicholas
Prince Carol I of Romania
|Osman Nuri Pasha|
|Casualties and losses|
|40,000 killed or wounded||10,000 killed or wounded
The Siege of Plevna, or Siege of Pleven, was a major battle of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), fought by the joint army of Russia and Romania against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman defense held up the main Russian advance southwards into Bulgaria, encouraging other great powers of the time to actively support the Ottoman cause. Eventually, superior Russian and Romanian numbers forced the garrison to capitulate.
In July 1877 the Russian Army, under the command of Grand Duke Nicholas, moved toward the Danube River virtually unopposed, as the Ottomans had no sizable force in the area. The Ottoman high command sent an army under the command of Osman Nuri Pasha to reinforce Nikopol, but the city fell to the Russian vanguard in the Battle of Nikopol (16 July 1877) before Osman reached it. He settled on Plevna, a town among vineyards in a deep rocky valley some twenty miles to the south of Nikopol, as a defensive position. The Ottomans quickly created a strong fortress, raising earthworks with redoubts, digging trenches, and quarrying out gun emplacements. From Plevne (Plevna) Osman’s army dominated the main strategic routes into the heart of Bulgaria. As the Turks hurried to complete their defenses, Russian forces began to arrive.
Gen. Schilder-Schuldner, commanding the Russian 5th Division, IX Corps, received orders to occupy Plevna. Schilder-Schuldner arrived outside the town on 19 July and began bombarding the Ottoman defenses. The next day his troops attacked and succeeded in driving Ottoman forces from some of the outer defenses; however, Osman Pasha brought up reinforcements and launched a series of counterattacks, which drove the Russians from the captured trenches, inflicting 4,000 casualties at a cost of 1,000 of his own men.
Osman Pasha strengthened his defences and built more redoubts, his force growing to 20,000 men, while the Russians obtained reinforcements from the army of Prince Carol of Romania (later king Carol I of Romania), who made the stipulation that he be given command of the joint besieging force. Gen. Nikolai Kridener also arrived with the Russian IX Corps. On 31 July Russian headquarters ordered Kridener to assault the town, attacking from three sides, with every expectation of a Russo-Romanian triumph. General Schakofsky’s cavalry attacked the eastern redoubts, while an infantry division under General Mikhail Skobelev assailed the Grivitsa redoubt to the north. Schakofsky managed to take two redoubts, but by the end of the day the Ottoman forces succeeded in repulsing all the attacks and retaking lost ground. Russian losses amounted to 7,300, and the Ottomans’ to 2,000.
After repulsing the Russian attacks, Osman failed to press his advantage and possibly drive off the besiegers; he did, however, make a cavalry sortie on 31 August that cost the Russian 1,300 casualties, and the Ottomans 1,000. The Russians continued to send reinforcements to Plevna, and their army swelled to 100,000 men, now personally led by the Grand Duke. On 3 September Skobelev reduced the Turkish garrison at Lovech, guarding the Ottoman supply lines, before Osman could move out to relieve it (see main article: Battle of Lovcha). The Ottoman army organized the survivors of Lovech into 3 battalions for the Plevna defenses. Osman also received a reinforcement of 13 battalions, bringing his total strength to 30,000—the highest it would reach during the siege.
In August, Romanian troops led by General Alexandru Cernat crossed the Danube and entered the battle with 43,414 men.
On 11 September the Russians and Romanians made a large-scale assault on Plevna. The Ottoman forces were dug in and equipped with German Krupp-manufactured steel breech-loading artillery and American-manufactured Winchester repeaters and Peabody-Martini rifles. For three hours they poured murderous fire into the waves of advancing Russians. Czar Alexander II and his brother Grand Duke Nicolas watched from a pavilion built on a hillside out of the line of fire. Skobelev took two southern redoubts. The Romanian 4th division lead by General George Manu took the Grivitsa redoubt after 4 bloody assaults, personally assisted by Prince Carol. The next day, the Turks retook the southern redoubts, but could not dislodge the Romanians, who repelled three counterattacks. From the beginning of September, Russian losses had amounted to roughly 20,000, while the Ottomans lost only 5,000.
Growing Russian and Romanian casualties put a halt to frontal assaults. Gen. Eduard Ivanovich Todleben arrived to oversee the conduct of the siege as the army chief of staff. Todleben had proven command experience in siege warfare, having gained renown for his defense of Sevastopol (1854–1855) during the Crimean War. He decided on a complete encirclement of the city and its defenders. Osman requested permission from his superiors to abandon Plevna and retreat, but the Ottoman high command would not allow him to do so. By 24 October the Russians and Romanians had closed the ring. Supplies began to run low in the city, and Osman finally made an attempt to break the Russian siege in the direction of Opanets. On 9 December the Ottoman forces silently emerged at dead of night, threw bridges over and crossed the Vit River, attacked on a two-mile front, and broke through the first line of Russian trenches. Here they fought hand to hand and bayonet to bayonet, with, at first, little advantage to either side; however, outnumbering the Ottoman forces almost 5 to 1, the Russians eventually drove them back across the Vit, wounding Osman in the process (he was hit in the leg by a stray bullet, which killed his horse beneath him). Rumours of his death created panic. After making a brief stand, the Ottoman forces found themselves driven back into the city, losing 5,000 men to the Russians’ 2,000. The next day Osman surrendered the city, the garrison and his sword to Romanian Col. Mihail Cerchez. He was treated honorably, but his troops perished in the snows by the thousands as they straggled off into captivity.
“Plevna is one of the few engagements which changed the course of history” A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918, (Oxford 1954) p. 245. The Siege of Plevna seriously delayed the main Russian advance into Bulgaria, but its end freed up Russian reinforcements, which were sent to Gen. Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko, who then decisively defeated the Ottoman forces in the fourth battle of Shipka Pass. The siege was widely reported on and followed by the public in Europe and beyond. Although the declining Ottoman Empire was by this time often regarded as “the sick man of Europe”, the Ottoman Army’s five-month-long resistance in the face of overwhelming odds earned a degree of admiration, which may have contributed to the unsympathetic treatment of the Russian Empire at the Congress of Berlin. The siege of Plevna also signalled the introduction of the repeating rifle into European warfare. Russian troops at Plevna were largely armed with the M1869 Krnka, a single shot lifting breech block conversion of the muzzle loading M1857 rifled musket even though some units had been reequipped with the more modern, but still single shot, Berdan rifle. The old Krnka was soundly outperformed by the more modern single shot Turkish Peabody-Martini rifles and it became clear that the new Berdan rifle had also been rendered obsolete even as it was being introduced into service, outclassed by the Turkish Winchester repeaters. Reports of the heavy losses suffered by the Russian army at the hands of the Turks at Plevna forced armies across Europe to begin the process of either reequipping with repeating rifles or finding a way to convert their existing single shot rifles into magazine fed weapons.
Rasputin was a notorious figure in the court of Czar Nicholas II due to his magnetic personality and relative success in treating the czarevitch’s hemophilia. His appointees filled high positions, and those who opposed him were dismissed. A semiliterate peasant, Rasputin gained a reputation as a holy man, preaching a doctrine of salvation that mixed religious fervor with sexual indulgence. In 1916, a group of right-wing patriots plotted to kill him. What happened when they tried to poison him? More… Discuss
FROM VALENTINA: “This is Chopin’s response to Liszt’s “Funerailles” ( I know, I know, Liszt wrote it AFTER Chopin died – so let’s say it was Liszt’s response to Chopin’s Fantasy) The same plan – starting with a funeral introduction , same f -minor, same abundance of octaves… But Funerailles is a great piano war-horse, favorite of any “virtuoso” with a decent octave technique – sure and cheap way to impress and thrill the audiences. Fantasy in comparison is a poor cousin , underappreciated and often misunderstood : the worst offenders are often female pianists ( LOL, huuuuuge grin goes here ) playing it in overly sentimental and romanticized way – complete with hands flailing , eyes rolling and hair flying 🙂 Guys just can’t do it 🙂
How did it happen? Liszt was a great self-promotion and marketing guy – he discovered a neat trick of “programming” in music , forcing music “to tell a story”- and listeners suddenly thought ” Gee, now we understand what this music is about , how cool !” This was his trademark -but it was certainly not his invention. In fact , most if not all music has a “program” , something composer thought of when composing and something we think of when we listen .It can be something very concrete and extremely detailed ( Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique for example)- or just a vague hint of an idea that makes us think further ( Beethoven 5th Symphony ).The problem with detailed programs is that music can become “dated” , tied to a certain event that might be of no importance to future listeners. People can relate in perpetuity to ” the fate knocking on the door” of the 5th symphony. But we can never again ( hopefully ) feel what French audience must have felt on Berlioz’ premiere during the third movement with its guillotine strike. I bet their hair was standing up and Goosebumps were covering the listeners who still remembered Terror some years before…I think that even watching Avatar in 3D is nothing in comparison to that experience 🙂
Chopin was much more subtle in his “programs”-he catered to more sophisticated smaller audience of salons rather than big concert halls. These people knew the historical context and could understand him without need to spell it out . In order to fully appreciate his music we must know at least a bit of history too. Then it becomes clear that Chopin was so different from a stereotyped effeminate ,sickly romantic virtuoso image. He was a true titan, not in body but in spirit – singlehandedly ( with few brethren poets ,artists etc.)keeping the whole people from oblivion and cultural destruction. For his people , his country, was at this time a mere geographic term . Formerly a proud and powerful nation ,one of Europe superpowers, Poland has fallen so low because of internal discord that it was picked piece by piece by strong and brutal neighbors until it disappeared. New “owners” were bent on wiping national identity and pride to secure their new acquisitions. They would have succeeded was it not for Chopin. You know that musicologists call him a first” national” composer. For a good reason – he created an epic of his nation in music just as Homer created his in Odyssey or Virgil in Aeneid… And we are not only talking about things like Polonaises or Mazurkas fitting into this “national” category. Fantasy is a prime example of thinly veiled national music. Why? Bear with me while I take you through last foray into history. Chopin and his family ended up in a part of Poland that was grabbed by Russian Empire. He traveled abroad with Russian passport ( Chopin , a Russian composer ? LOL) and he had to lie on his exit visa application ( yes, I am serious ) that he is in transit to New World, Americas. He lived for almost whole his life with a stamp ” in Transit”. The single event in history that changed his life was Polish uprising of 1830-31, a noble but doomed to fail attempt by patriots to overthrow occupying forces ( Revolutionary Etude was written the night he got the news of Russian Cossacks entering Warsaw , he didn’t know if his family even survived all carnage and rape ) . The rebels was brutally destroyed and all the hope of freedom was lost. Chopin realized that he will never see his native land – or even his family. All his life he was carrying in his soul – and in his music – the memory of this event and of its unsung heroes. Fantasy is an ode to all those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom.”
Alexander III was tsar of Russia from 1881 until his death in 1894. As ruler, he sought to counteract what he considered the excessive liberalism of his father’s reign and pursued a reactionary policy that promoted Russification and the persecution of religious minorities. Still, economic policy during Alexander’s rule enabled rapid industrial development and allowed Russia to begin building the Trans-Siberian Railroad. To which of Alexander’s relatives was his wife, Dagmar, originally engaged? More…Discuss
Henryk WIENIAWSKI: Scherzo-Tarantelle, in G minor Op.16 (1855)
Ruggiero RICCI, violin – Joanna Gruenberg, piano (rec: 1980)
full CD: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=…
Catherine II was empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. The daughter of a German prince, she was chosen at 14 to be the wife of the future czar, Peter III. In 1762, conspirators led by her lover staged a coup and proclaimed her empress. Peter was murdered shortly thereafter. As czarina, she increased Russia‘s power by skillful diplomacy and by extending its frontiers into central Europe. She was a patron of the arts and corresponded with many of the prominent minds of her era, including whom? More… Discuss