Yenisei Cossacks in the Russian Civil War
The Yenisei Host was formed in 1917 from the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk
Regiments. Tiny and spread out over a huge distance (it is 800 km from
along the Yenisei river around Krasnoyarsk east to Irkutsk and
Lake Baikal, with no direct links) it had no significant political
The Yenisei area initially was not much affected by the revolutions as
it was too far north, away from the railway and industry.
Irkustsk and Krasnoyarsk themselves went Soviet, but that did not
countryside very much. The Cossacks themselves were firmly
counter-revolutionary, but in
insufficient numbers to make any difference outside their own stanitsas
When the Czechs revolted they conquered Irkutsk fairly quickly in their
desperate attempt to get the Lake Baikal tunnels before they could be
destroyed. There seems to have been no Cossack involvement at this
time. A White government was set up in the town. Krasnoyarsk fell
eventually, when the Siberian Host cleared the area. From
this period they were loyal to the
Provisional Siberian Government, the Ufa Directory and then Kolchak in
White Cossack regiments were raised from the Yenisei, rising to a
Yenisei Brigade, and also a separate Irkutsk Regiment.
There may have also been a Khakas unit recruited in the area, led by a
Khakas speaking Cossack. A Khakas Inorodski (non-Cossack) Divizion
have served with the Siberian Cossacks, rather than Yenisei.
While not initially very revolutionary, the excesses of the Siberian
regime soon led to growing partisan groups in region: two of the more
famous partisan groups were those of Pėtr Shchetinkin and Alexandr
Kravchenko. The Yenisei
Cossacks raised were busy fighting on these internal fronts,
but sent a couple of sotnias to help clear the Perm area early
on, before the partisan menace grew.
Following the collapse of Kolchak's army in late 1919, the Yenisei and
Irkutsk areas were
swamped by a massive wave of partisans in winter 1919/1920. The Red
followed soon afterwards. The Yenisei Brigade retreated east, and make
it relatively unscathed. The Irkutsk Cossack Regiment seems to have
been destroyed at Yansk.
Far Eastern Army in Chita still included the Yenisei Cossack Brigade
some 700 strong, in two regiments and a battery. Some then 450 reached
Primorye with Ataman Kazantsev, half on foot, as the Yenisei Cossack Divizion
Eventually they were absorbed into the Composite Cossack
Regiment as their strength dwindled.
Some other Yenisei served with General Bakich in China and Ungern-Sternberg in Mongolia.
The uniform of the Yenisei was yellow
therefore resemble TransBaikal Cossacks in every respect.
the units had a cipher of "И" for the Irkutsk and "К" for the
Krasnoyarsk branches, but the situation in 1918 is not clear. When in
the Far East, the cipher became "E" for
Volkov, S.V. "Encyclopedia
of the Civil War: the White Movement
", Neva, 2002
Sheksheev A., "The
Antibolshevik Movement in the Yenisei Cossack Host
Antibolshevik Movement in the Irkutsk Cossack troops. A brief
" at a-pesni.golosa.info
Tarasov M, "The Yenisei
Cossacks in Mongolia During the Civil War Period
of Siberian Federal University, at
> Amur Host