A military story On the Occasion of 143 years since the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.
In the fall of 2018, the Historical Museum in Burgas, obtained copies of documents related to one of the Russian officers, from Colonel Lermontov's Flying squad- Mikhail Lazarevich Kalantaevsky. The documents were provided by Irina V. Samsonova, a journalist and writer with a well-intentioned interest in Bulgaria and the Bulgarians, a member of the Union of Journalists in Moscow. Hristo Nikolov, chairman of the Society of Russophiles in Nessebar, initially approached Irina Samsonova with a request to find information about the officer who liberated Pomorie and Nessebar on February 7 and 8, respectively, at the end of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Irina Valentinovna made an inquiry to the Russian State Military Historical Archive (RGVIA) and received an official report on this participant in the war. Copies of his complete official file and correspondence between the military departments regarding the illness and dismissal of the officer were also provided. The documents are extremely interesting, reflecting the time and the people who lived at the end of the 19th century. Although few in number, and strictly subject to military style, they reveal the difficult path of a man whose life as a soldier is destined from birth.
Mikhail Lazarevich Kalantaevsky, lieutenant colonel of the 37th Dragynski Regiment of the Military Order, was born in 1833 in the Markovka (sloboda Markovka), Voronezh province, Boguchar uyezd, Markovskaya volost. Sloboda, as a settlement unit is a special type of settlement, whose inhabitants were freed from serfdom at the time of its founding and, as they became statesmen-they are in the service of the government. Each such village carries out a specialized activity directly assigned by the government - weapons, blacksmithing, falconry, military, etc. Such a military village is also the Markovka sloboda.
At the age of 19, Mikhail Kalantaevsky, is entering as a soldier in the Finnish 37th Dragynski of the Military Order Regiment after training in the Voronezh Military Battalion. Voronezh Military Battalion educates minors and minor sons of lower military ranks, obliged to serve in the armed forces of the Russian Empire. Gradually, the ranker rose to the rank and in 1865 was sent to the headquarters of the 13th Cavalry Division as a senior adjutant. By 1873 he had passed the ranks from lieutenant to captain and was a cavalier of the orders "St. Stanislav ”and“ St. Ana." In 1876 he was promoted to the rank of major. At the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 he was appointed as a commander of the 2nd Squadron in the 37th Dragunski Regiment, crossed the Danube and followed the movement of troops to Tarnovo and through the Balkan Mountains to the south. He was included in the outposts for guarding the Stara Planina passes near Elena, Tvarditsa, Bebrovo, and during the formation of Colonel Lermontov's Flying Detachment he traveled with him to Sliven, Yambol, Karnobat, Aytos and Burgas. He remains in our city (Burgas) until the conclusion of the San Stefano Contract - from February 19 to May 28. The Major Kalantaevskyi was perceived as the liberator of Pomorie and Nessebar, because by order of Colonel Lermontov, on February 7 and 8 he was sent there at the head of a squadron to protect the bulgarian population from the attack of irregular Turkish soldiers. In the spring, on May 29, 1878, by order of Colonel Lermontov, he was again sent to Nessebar and stayed there until September 2. At that time, Major Kalantaevskyi was 45 years old. He received several honors for bravery in the battles against the Turks. His home town is more than 1700 km away from these places ...
He returned to Russia in the spring of 1879. He served in the army for several more years and in 1881 became a lieutenant colonel. In 1882 he felt ill and was taken to hospital. One year later (1883), according to a letter from the commander of the 37th Dragynski Regiment, Colonel Dubovsky Report, that he was fired because of the sick, and his pension was transferred to the Moscow State Military Hospital. At the discretion of the heads of the military departments, Mikhail Lazarevich's relatives were not able to provide the care that the patient needed, so he was left in the hospital. According to medical evidence, Lieutenant Colonel Kalantaevskyi suffers from a mental disorder. At that time, he was 50 years old without being injured and without having created a family of his own. We do not have a picture of him, nor how he ended his life.
There are hardly any in Russia, but a memorial sign with his name has been placed in Nessebar, more as an excuse that his human existence was not in vain ...
"Before us is the fate of Mikhail Lazarevich Kalantaevskyi - a country boy who began his service as a regular soldier, grew to the rank of lieutenant colonel, holder of orders of bravery and honors for military service. And such a bitter fate at the end of life ... ", Irina Samsonova shares with sadness.
I would paraphrase the sentence by Pierre Vernio - "War is like Saturn, it devours its own children"!
That story deals with popular historical circumstances. However, they are only an occasion. The idea is to look for the place of the individual and his micro history in the large-scale event. We believe that in this way, outstanding, individual experiences give face to the Great History.
Materials provided by the Russian State Military History Archive, with the mediation of Irina Samsonova, a member of the Union of Journalists in Moscow - RGVIA, f. 400, op. 12, d. 13633. Also a publication by Irina Samsonova on that subject in https://proza.ru/2018/01/21/1654
Ivanka Deleva - Chief of Department "History", Regional Burgas Museum