The decision to create Akmola fortification

Formally, the history of the steppe military fortress, which later was to become a trade crossroad in the steppes of Saryarka, the center of the virgin land and the capital of sovereign Kazakhstan, began with an administrative royal reform: in 1822 Alexander the First adopted the Charter of Siberian Kirghiz. The Middle Zhuz, traditionally wandering on the territory of Akmola, was included in the newly formed Omsk Region and divided into administrative districts and auls. In 1824, the first two district orders were opened – Kokchetav and Karkaraly.

Due to lack of funds, the opening of other external districts was postponed for some time. In 1829, sultan Konyrkuldzha Kudaymendin, the great-grandson of Semeke Khan, the ruler of the Middle Zhuz, appealed to the Russian government for the protection of his villages from the raids of predatory gangs and the formation of an order in the Karpykov and Kuandyk volosts managed by him. In addition, with the request for the protection of trade caravans coming from Turkestan to the frontier sites and back, other sultans and tsarist officials repeatedly applied. On this issue, Sultan Gubaidulla Valiyev, who headed the Kokchetav order, addressed the administration of Western Siberia in 1829.

The chief of staff of the Separate Siberian Corps, Major General S. B. Bronevsky, also in September 1829, in his report to Omsk, stated that “in the Karpykov volost, managed by Sultan Konurkulzhey Khudaimendin, they want to open a district at the Ak-Mola boundary.” Soon the issue of the construction of the Akmola fortification was resolved. On May 28, 1830, a detachment of F.K. Shubin, consisting of 200 people with wagons, came out of Petropavlovsk to build a district order. Sultan K.Kudaymendin that summer wandered with his auls in the natural boundary Karaotkel. The detachment of F.K. Shubin arrived here, becoming the first camp at the mausoleum of Biy Niyaz. Here, on the famous hill with a lonely mazar, surrounded by a May flood, elders of local clans were invited to discuss the issue of the location of the administrative center of the future district – Akmola fortification.

Aksakals urged Shubin to build an outpost on Karaotkel, the most convenient for communication between the inhabitants of both banks of the Ishim. The officer listened, and on June 18, 1830, a document was drawn up, with the signatures of literate people and tamgas – illiterate elders, aksakals. It was a kind of acknowledgement of the sultans and foremen of the Kazakh volosts.The name was not changed, and in all the papers of the tsarist administration the place appeared as Akmola, Akmolinsk. And this day can with good reason be considered the birthday of the future capital of Kazakhstan. Then the inhabitants of the fortress were only 313 people.

Construction of the steppe outpost

The construction of the fortress was complicated by the lack of building materials, they had to be brought from Petropavlovsk and Omsk. After Shubin’s detachment completed the construction of facilities necessary for the center, on August 22, 1832, the Akmola order and the outer district were officially opened. Influential sultan Kudaymendin of the Konyrkuldzh region was elected senior sultan, who later became the most respected and trusted by the tsarist colonial administration. The elder sultan, volost sultans, foremen, Kazakh assessors and biys took the oath on the Koran. The holiday ended with the distribution of gifts, mass treats and horse races-baiga.

The festivities were accompanied by baiga, wrestler contests, aytys of akyns. An artillery salute was fired with 31 volleys from all guns. For the construction, a separate team of 52 officers and soldiers was formed under the command of engineer-lieutenant Popov. In 1835, there were 15 Kazakh volosts in the district with a population of 71,262 people and one Russian settlement with 9 wooden houses. In 1840, a closed field fortification was built, which according to the plan had the shape of a polyhedron with five towers. In the north of the bastion fortifications, a central tower was built.

Its lower part, equipped with a large embrasure for the gun, was from adobe. Today, this tool is stored in the Presidential Cultural Center in Astana. The upper walls of the tower were built of pine logs, holes were built-in them for shooting – small loopholes. From military and strategic point of view, the bastion was favorably located and well protected. The south side of the fortification was adjacent to the Ishim River, in the west and north of it stretched reeds overgrown with reeds, in the east – the steppe. Over time, retired soldiers, small traders and artisans settled on the western side; they formed a group of buildings called Slobodka. Over time, people settled around the fortifications, and areas of the future Akmolinsk began to form. Up to the Soviet days, old memorable names were preserved.

The “fortress” was located within the modern streets of Zheltoksan and Kenessary, the “Central Tower” stood at the gate of the modern Central Stadium named after K.Munaitpassov. The growing fortification in 1845 became the Akmola stanitsa. At the same time, 100 cossack families were resettled to Akmola from the military line of the Orenburg-Petropavlovsk-Omsk fortification. They formed the stanitsa settlement or the village “Kazachye” under the eastern wall of the fortress. Akmolinsk is the crossroads of trade routes Akmolinsk, as a transit point connecting Russia with Central Asia, has always been very convenient for the development of commerce, industry and culture. This was the reason for the choice of a place for a steppe outpost. Merchants from Siberia, the Urals, and Central Asia moved here. Over time, a small military fortification turned into a small town. Speaking in modern language, Akmola began to have investment appeal. Already in 1863, 51 people were registered as permanent residents of the Russian citizens of the merchant class, 340 were foreign citizens. The total number of merchants reached 1,236 people. The city status was assigned to Akmola village by the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire dated May 7, 1862. In 1868, by the highest decree, a vast Akmola region was formed, consisting of five counties: Akmola, Kokchetav, Petropavlovsk, Omsk, Atbasar. In accordance with the requirements of the time, the coat of arms of the region was approved. Residents of Astana will never see the original of the first coat of arms: the repository of Heroldia, where it was located, was closed in 1917. Only a copy of a graphic image of an invaluable historical relic has survived: the green shield depicts the Niyaz biy mausoleum with two pointed towers and a silver dome, with a crescent of gold in the middle. With the arrival of merchants, new trading premises, manufactories and banks opened. The population of Akmolinsk constantly grew.

A total of 5,172 people lived in Akmola in 1869, and already in 1910 the population was 13,000 people of different nationalities. Significant changes in the life of Akmola were made by the urban reform in the framework of the Russian reforms. So, in 1870, a city duma appeared in the city with its executive body – the city government. Elections of members elected to the Duma for a four-year term were made on the basis of the property qualification by secret ballot. Most of the members of the city duma were representatives of the merchants. Industry of Akmolinsk was of a handicraft nature. In 1913 there were 9 brick factories in the city, 2 tanneries, etc., altogether – 40 enterprises with a total number of 208 workers. In addition, there were more than 100 windmills in the city. Looking ahead, we say that in 1916 the population of the entire region was over one and a half million people. Indigenous people and representatives of other Asian nations numbered about 228 thousand and about 1 million were immigrants from Russia and Ukraine. Akmola merchants, whose activities occurred in the 70s of the XIX century, developed trade relations with Bukhara, Kokand, Turkestan. In 1897, the city was not yet large: 9707 people lived in it – 5,105 men and 4,602 women.

There were 3,020 Kazakhs, 4,619 Russians, 1,035 Tatars, 223 Mordovians, 205 Germans, 173 Jews, 101 Ukrainians, and others. Only 7 residents of the city had higher education, and only one woman among them. Literate people accounted for only 22.5% of the total number of Akmolins. Such were the results of the first General Population Census of the Russian Empire, found by the oldest archivist of the capital, Nikolai Ivanovich Baychikov. Gradually, the city began to be built with stone houses, many of which are still preserved in the old center of the capital. Gradually, the urban education system began to expand. In 1898 there were 3 urban, 12 parochial schools and several agricultural schools in the region. In the development of education, an important role was played by the carriers of the new progressive thought — political exiles. According to incomplete data, from 1882 to 1906, 45 people were exiled here. The level of their education allowed them to enter the service in various institutions of the town.

Akmolinsk on the eve of revolution

On the old Dumskaya street (later Komsomolskaya, still later Zheltoksan) the building of the City Government was located, which was assigned an important political, social and economic role in the life of the city. It was from here that all the affairs of Akmolinsk were managed. After the February Revolution and the transfer of power to the Provisional Government, members of the council formed a county executive committee in Akmolinsk, which, however, did not last long. The initiative Bolshevik group headed by T. I. Bochk formed the Akmola city council on December 27, 1917, and at the first district congress of workers, peasants, soldiers and Muslim members on March 2, 1918, the council of Akmola district was elected and a decision was made to establish a single Soviet power.

After the congress was closed, the participants went to the city government and solemnly cut down a pillar with a double-headed eagle. Constant change of power is one of the components of the troubled times. Kolchak came, and the council renewed its existence. The city mayor was merchant S.А. Kubrin, who fell ill with typhus, died in the fall of 1919. On November 24, 1919, before white-striking ataman Dutov left Akmolinsk forever, the merchants and local intelligentsia staged a farewell ball in the building of the Council, which was freed from the headquarters.

And on the evening of the next day, November 25, the avant-garde of the Kokchetav group of troops appeared on the north-western outskirts of the city – the 1stAkmolinsk and 2ndKustanai rifle regiments of the Separate Steppe Brigade of the 59thDivision, headed by G. Y. Neiman. The new power – the headquarters of the 59thInfantry Division – took over the administration (commander K.I. Kalinin, who was also the head of the Kokchetav group of forces). Later, various Soviet institutions were housed here, including the city and regional libraries.

Akmolinsk during the World War II

In October 1939, Akmolinsk was defined a regional center. This did not happen by chance: by the beginning of World War II, it was already a fairly large city with a widely represented industry. Six enterprises operated here, three of them were of republican significance, and three other – of local and cooperative industry. The total number of people employed there was 801 people. By that time, 32.5 thousand citizens lived in Akmolinsk. With the transfer of the new status to Akmolinsk, new attractive prospects opened up for the city.

The Akmolinsk region as a whole after the revolution, during the first five-year plans, developed as an agricultural region. Large industrial enterprises appeared here only during the World War II with the redeployment of plants from the republics of the Soviet Union that were subjected to the Nazi occupation. The entire adult population was trained for air and anti-chemical defense, and men aged 16 to 50 years old – compulsory military training. The statistics of those years testifies: by the beginning of 1945, more than 10 thousand of Akmolinsk residents passed the norms of the PSP, 9172 people were trained in military affairs.

The headquarters of the local air defense were established and self-defense groups were prepared, OSOAVIAHIM (Society for the Promotion of Aviation and Chemical Defense) and the Red Cross actively worked. Akmola played an important role in the formation of Kazakhstani military units. Here 310, 387, 29 rifle and 106 cavalry divisions were completed. Of the 9783 Akmola citizens who went to the front in all the years of the war, 7414 did not return. Thirty-eight Akmola soldiers were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, seven were awarded Orders of Glory of three degrees. The restructuring of the industry on a war footing, redeployment of large-scale industries, a huge flow of evacuees – all this affected the development of the economic potential of the city.

The number of industrial enterprises increased two and a half times. The so-called plants of union importance appeared – the famous “Kazakhselmash” and No. 317. In 1944, 2800 people worked at 16 enterprises. The North Kazakhstan city became the second home for the deported peoples. The Akmola City Party Committee and the executive committee of the Council of Workers’ Deputies addressed issues of labor and household equipment of special settlers, regulated recruits, distributed cattle and benefits to migrants from the North Caucasus, opened educational and cultural institutions for them.

But, in addition, it was necessary to still solve the issue of evacuees from the occupied regions of the USSR. In the first year alone, about 30 thousand people arrived in the Akmolinks region, who, despite the conditions of wartime, needed to be provided with housing and medical care. During the war years, the Akmolinsk people directed all forces to help the front. They collected funds for the defense fund of the country: 3 million 719 thousand rubles were collected for the construction of a tank column and an aviation squadron, 5 million 666 thousand rubles of cash lottery were sold, packages with products and warm clothes were sent to the front. Another important task of the rear was to help war invalids and families of military personnel.