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Lepsinsk village.

Trip to Lepsinsk settlement.

"Looks like an emerald in a silver frame of mountain snows"

Stepan Makarov.

Tour from Almaty to Lepsinsk.

The name Lepsinsk today will not tell us anything - only the historians of the White movement should know that this is the last residence of the Orenburg ataman and governor-general of the Semirechensk Territory A.I.Dutov.
From January 1920 until the departure of the Dutovites in the spring of the same year to Xinjiang, Lepsinsk was the capital of the White Semirechye. During the formation of the Semirechensky front, the leading centers of the white units were also located in individual settlements of the northern districts of the region - in Uch-Aral (the headquarters of Ataman B.V. Annenkov), Sergiopol (the Semirechensky Military Government), the village of Urjar (the governing bodies of General Bakich, and after the capture of Kopal - the command and control bodies of the Semirechensk Cossack Brigade of General Shcherbakov, deputy military chieftain).
In Lepsinsk itself, with Dutov, there was a detachment of the convoy and local Cossacks-Semireks. There, probably, there was a sacred relic of the Orenburg Cossack army - the Tabyn icon of the Mother of God. Lepsinsk is a small Cossack town in the Semirechensk region, the center of the county of the same name.
He grew up from the village of Lepsinskaya, founded by Siberian Cossacks - migrants from the Biysk and Kuznetsk lines - in 1855 in the Chubar-Agach valley, near the Chinese border - in the very center of the Russian Dzungaria.
It was famous for its healthy climate and landscape reminiscent of the Swiss Alps, mountain honey. Cossack apiaries and huts were scattered over all the adjacent gorges - "cracks". The town got its name from the name of the Lepsa River, whose origins are in the heights of the Dzhungar Alatau.
During the domination of the Dzungars, there was the headquarters of one of the Kalmyk khans. With the defeat of the Khanate in 1758 by the Manchu-Chinese troops, the empty lands of Semirechye began to populate the Kirghiz-kaisaks of the Middle and Big Hordes.
For the first time, Russia made an attempt to firmly establish itself in the region in 1825, when, at the request of the Sultan of the Great Horde, Syuk Ablaykhanov, a guard post was formed in the Karatal tract and "some buildings" were erected.
However, due to the protest of the Chinese side, all structures were demolished already in 1826. And only in 1831, on the approaches to Semirechye, the first Russian fortification was laid - Ayaguz, later Sergiopol.
In 1847, an intensive Cossack colonization of the region began, which was described in some detail in 1908 by the historian NV Ledenev in his "History of the Semirechensk Cossack Host". This is how he describes the history of the founding of Lepsinsk:
"For settlements on the Lepse River in 1855 - 1856, it was brought down to install two hundred Siberian Cossacks from the 6,7,8 and 9 regiments of the Siberian linear Cossack army and 200 peasant families. The first batch of Cossack settlers arrived on 06.18.1855.
The place for the settlement was elected, about 40 versts from the headwaters of the Lepsa river, the valley of this river that has greatly expanded here.The Cossacks who settled here founded a settlement, first called the Lepsinsky settlement, then, after a while, the Verkh-Lepsinsky village, and then, much later, simply Lepsinsky".
The names of the first commanders of the Siberian Cossack detachments who settled on the river are known. Lepse - military sergeant major Tychinsky, cornet Laptev and Aleksandrov, commander of the Verkh-Lepsinsky detachment, Esaul Ivanov.
Largely due to its isolation from the main post roads and a dead-end location, the village, in the local Lepsa, retained its original patriarchal appearance 150 years later: the same solid wooden huts built in the Siberian traditional style, covered with iron, with carved porches and shuttered, and nearby are two-story, typically Semirechye Cossack and merchant estates (of which many have survived in the historical parts of Kopal, Sarkan, Talgar, Issyk, Kaskelen and Almaty), shady poplar gardens, irrigation ditches along the streets, a cemetery on a hillock and a squat Orthodox the temple in the form of a ship is a typical appearance of the Semirechye Cossack settlements.
Like all Asian towns, Lepsinsk was divided into the city itself (where state institutions were located, the temple and all trade was concentrated), a Cossack village and a Tatar settlement (where local Muslims lived - Tatars, Sarts, Kashgharts, Kyrgyz-Kaisaks, Chala-Cossacks). 
The vast majority of the townspeople and stanitsa were the Slavic population - the Semirechye Cossacks and burghers, mainly ethnic Great Russians and Little Russians, there were also Kalmyks, Jews, Germans, Poles. After the defeat of the Cherkassian peasants, the Semirechensky front was successfully displaced to the south, from the line of Art. Aksuiskaya - st. Sarkanskaya - to the pickets of Ak-Ichka, Sary-Bulak - with. Gavrilovskoe.
The villages of Abakumovskaya, Arasan and Kopal were liberated, but there was no longer any strength to advance deeper into the region, towards Verny. Organized resistance in the rear of the Reds did not exist - the Zailiysk villages were defeated, and individual centers in the Issyk-Kul and border areas could not change the situation that had arisen.
Taking into account the current situation, the remnants of the Orenburg army, led by General Bakich, crossed the border in the Bakhtov area, to the Chinese city of Chuguchak; a part of the Ataman Annenkov's Partisan Division moved to the border through the Dzungarian Gate and the Selke (Cholak) pass.
Leaving Lepsinsk due to the danger of encirclement at the end of March 1920 and joining up with the remnants of Shcherbakov's detachment (defeated near the station Arasan), the Dutov men went along the Sarkan gorge and through the Kara-Saryk pass in the region of the river. Borotola to China.
This is how the history of the Russian Cossack emigration in Xinjiang began. The bulk of the Semirechye Cossacks remained at home, having experienced the full brunt of decossackization, evictions, executions and "land and water reforms."
Until the beginning of the 30s, rebel detachments still operated in the Lepsin mountains, and in the city itself there was an underground White Guard organization headed by Sushkov (defeated by the Chekists only in 1928). That was the end of the history of Bely Lepsinsk...

Arrival of the bride to the groom's house. Lepsinsky district, Semirechensk region. 1898. K.N. de Lazari.Nikolsky temple of Lepsinsk.

All-Kazakh newspaper. "Stanitsa". A. Ushakov.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.