Articles about Kobrin: As a part of the Russian Empire

In the county of the Western edge

In September, 1801 the Kobrin County was included in structure of the neogenic Grodno province and in the form of such territorial unit existed till 1921. The 19th century began. The tsarism made different attempts to strengthen the decaying autocratic and serf system. On the other hand, the commodity-money relations opening the way of a capitalist way of production developed. In Russia considerable trade and economic activity was observed at this time, there was a uniform market that was not in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Therefore familiarizing with such large economic potential, with the adjusted system of barter favorably affected development of again included western territories. But more and more the serfdom which remained here and supported by new administration obstructed the further traffic. The first decade of a new century was characterized by considerable military-political events and active participation in them of Russia that so far distracted public opinion from this question. Kobrin located near the western border soon appeared in a zone of military operations.

In 1812 the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte concentrated at the western boundaries of Russia. Waiting for invasion the main forces of the Russian troops settled down in three possible directions of the movement of Napoleonic armies, being based in Vilensky, Grodno and Volynsk provinces. But it suited the French emperor who sought to crush them separately. Retreat began. Being to the south of Kobrin, near Lutsk, the army under A. P. Tormasov's command appeared in the back at the coming opponent.

Tormasov received the order to work when parts of the case Zh. Already occupied by Rainier Brest, Kobrin and Yanov, intending to develop approach to the South. For the purpose of a disorientation of the enemy it sent separate parts in the direction of several settlements, and itself with the main forces moved on July 11, 1812 from Ratno through Dyvin on Kobrin where the fourthousandth group of Saxons of the general Klengel, the ally of French the day before entered. Klengel occupied approaches to the city on roads from Brest, Dyvina and Antopol, having placed reserves in the market and with the bridge through Mukhavets. The Spassky monastery was turned by Saxons into a powerful redoubt on a case of street fights.

Tormasov's troops began attack with the Brest direction, then from Antopol (Pinskaya is dear), and a cavalry, having forced Mukhavets is lower on a current, reached Pruzhanskaya Road and rushed on the northwest suburb of the city. So on July 15, 1812 Kobrin fight was developed.

Klengel's parts hasty receded to the city center and the Spassky monastery where especially persistent fights ran high. Battle went also on the bridge. The Russian artillery well-aimed fire beat out the opponent from the main strong points, at the same time many buildings, the fire an okhvatiya the city lit up. Also the monastery was strongly destroyed. Saxons fell into a stalemate and gave up. 2 generals, 76 officers and 2382 soldiers were taken prisoner. This first clear victory within Russia over aggressors could not but affect moral spirit of the people and army in that hour, heavy for the Fatherland.

The general Tormasov decided to develop success and, continuing approach, Pruzhan reached. But here towards to it other ally of Napoleon, the general Schwarzenberg acted. Having used a superiority in strength, it pressed the Russian parts which after battle at Gorodechno left on July 31, 1812 Kobrin and departed to Volhynia. In the cities of the southern part of the Grodno province divisions of cases of Rainier and Schwarzenberg were placed again.

Further military operations were not resumed here until the end of war. When retreat of Napoleonic troops began, to places of dislocation of army of Tormasov more significant forces of P. V. Chichagov were tightened. At the beginning of October they cleared southwest Belarus of aggressors. And in November, 1812 on Berezina French suffered okonchayelny defeat.

War brought to Kobrin considerable destructions, and to inhabitants — the big victims. From all urban development only 79 houses escaped. Gradually the city began to build up. Its development was favored by the long peace period. First of all it affected an increase in population: in 1817 1,7 thousand people, in 1857 — 4,3 thousand lived here. The statistics of post-war decades noted primary occupation of inhabitants such crafts as production of clothes and footwear, bread baking, plotnichesky and joiner's business, pottery. Everywhere, and especially in the market, various benches, small workshops in which household inquiries of citizens were realized were placed. Became smiths and tinmen more. There were even rather big enterprises: three brick-works (on the northern suburb of the party over the river), six tanning, two brewing, one copper-smelting. In the city and nearby mills - wind, water and horse were seen.

In the same years Kobrin began to be allocated as considerable knot of highways. Interest of the government in their laying was explained first of all voyenno-strategi-by the chesky purposes. Emergence of more convenient communications directly promoted also economic relations of the city with distant and near settlements. By the beginning of the 20th years to Kobrin ways from Kovel, Dubna, Brest, Slonim, Pruzhan, Pinsk met. On the western suburb where Brestskaya Street came to an end (nowadays Soviet), the building of post station was built. Near it usually changed horses at passable office crews, there was a hotel. And in the center there was a post expedition submitting to the Grodno provincial post office. In 1846 through Kobrin the highway Moscow — Warsaw at which construction for a bridge embankment through Mukhavets used sand of the castle hill lay.

The same year the reconstruction of the Royal channel begun in 1839 ended. This waterway for some time was forgotten. Now on all its extent deepened the course, straightened some sites, and, above all — thanks to construction of vodovodny channels (Beloozersky, Orekhovsky and Tureky) strengthened water supply. Seven dams provided constant depth of 2 meters. From now on the channel began to be called as Dnepro-Bugsky. Towards Baltic on it hundreds of rafts of the Polesia tree (an oak, a pine) went, in the opposite direction vessels carried industrial products, fabrics, salt. On Kobrin pier on barges loaded bread, a brick, a bone, tar, bars and boards, alcohol.

Kobrin became active shopping center. To the middle of the 19th century six fairs to which there came inhabitants not only this county, but also from next, and also from the Minsk and Volynsk provinces, from more remote places of Belarus and Russia worked here.

In 1845 the city received the new coat of arms — a plow in a green field of a board that symbolized agricultural nature of occupations of the population of the Kobrin County.

And still at favorable, apparently, development Kobrin was a classical sample of the provincial town shipped in dozing existence. For this purpose there were enough reasons, main of them — impossibility of providing increasing population with the stable income in conditions of feudal orders. What - that the simplest types of crafts provided a living wage only to part of citizens, the others were forced to be engaged intensively in truck farming and even agriculture, growing up everything that was usual on country fields. There was not always enough bread therefore potatoes which appeared here at the end of the 18th century were the known help. Most of inhabitants stayed on the verge of poverty. On average one beggar fell on hundred people.

Medical care was absolutely insufficient. One city and one military and time hospitals accepted mainly wealthy patients or military personnel.

Catastrophic consequences had the frequent fires which were breaking out almost annually. The city consisted generally of wooden structures, posrednevekovy dense on narrow streets. The nobility and prosperous citizens lived in stone houses and not too cared for a condition of fire-prevention protection. However and they periodically became the victims of the fiery elements covering the whole quarters. But no serious measures against threat of the fire were undertaken. Thereof the housing stock grew unevenly, with considerable recessions.

The imperial administration turned attention to destiny of such towns a little as Kobrin. Her main care was the prevention of "mutinies" in the Western region — the Belarusian provinces quite so began to be called at Nicholas I. After revolt of 1830 — 1831 there passed the wave of repressions here and russification of this region amplified. The select committee for the western provinces directed the planting of the Russian noble land tenure and officials which amplified after abolition in 1839 of an uniatstvo and a complete recovery of the spiritual power of Orthodoxy.

Gradually there was life in the district city of Kobrin, the godforsaken place which was considered for service. The current of everyday life was broken only by emergence of the military divisions passing through the city or which were late in it on a billeting. So, in May, 1813 there arrived here the Irkutsk Hussars in which the recent student of the Moscow university a cornet Griboyedov served.

A.S. Griboyedov (1795 — 1829) went the volunteer to army, Patriotic war of 1812 hardly began. He did not happen to participate in battles. The regiment at first was formed, then moved on the West as a part of a reserve, in addition Griboyedov got sick and caught up with the colleagues only in an early autumn of 1813. In Kobrin the staff of a regiment which was ordered by the general A. S was placed at this time. Kologrivov. To it the lagged behind cornet as the aide-de-camp also got. Separate squadrons of the Irkutsk regiment lodged in the next cities and places from Kobrin, in Brest, Drogichin, and at future poet an opportunity to get acquainted closer with this edge opened. In literary works which will appear later from - under its feather will look through some types and even names of locals and colleagues on a regiment. For example, the hussar N. A. Shatilov was known to all Kobrin society for the adventures, the gambler and the expert is weaved. He without special work can be recognized in Repetilov, one of heroes of 'Woe from Wit". In Kobrin, and then Brest where Griboyedov's service, perhaps proceeded, the poet saw lines future Skalozubov and Famusov among officers and local noblemen-landowners inviting them on a visit. But here he became friends also with worthy, interesting people. S. N. Begichev, also Kologrivov's aide-de-camp, future Decembrist, the first judge of griboyedovsky talent became his closest friend. The military service on the Brest region came to an end for A.S. Griboyedov in March, 1816.

In 1814 on Kobrin's streets F. N. Glinka (1786 — 1880) who was coming back from abroad, the poet and the publicist, the eminent person of society of Decembrists passed. The participant of war of 1812, Fedor Glinka imprinted its events in "Letters of the Russian officer" where, by the way, there are interesting data on Belarus, in particular the description of a way Brest — Pinsk. The Belarusian cities through which the way of the author including Kobrin, did not heal war wounds yet lay were poorly populated, quite often right there behind a village fence the well-known Polesia bogs began. These supervision were the cause for writing of the next lines: "This edge should be drained at first, then to occupy, and then to educate".

Level of literacy of the Belarusian population and at that time, and by the end of the 19th century remained low. In 1857 in Kobrin there were only two lowest educational institutions — parish schools (elementary schools with a one-two-year course) in which about hundred boys were trained. On census of 1897 the number of competent citizens reached only 41%. Educated people joined ranks of inhabitants only through visitors officials and officers.

Backwardness in economic and cultural development of the main part of the population of the Western region concerned tsarism a little. The concern caused first of all increase of social and political activity of a numerous small shlyakhta and the raznochinny intellectuals. Spontaneously also the country movement accrued that forced the imperial authorities to go in 1861 for cancellation of a serfdom. At the same time, to avoid discontent of peasants of the western provinces with true results of reform and use with liberation movement of this situation, the government hurried to cajole the population some privileges. And still it was not succeeded to prevent revolt. In 1863 it was started anew in Warsaw, in the center of a so-called Kingdom Polish, belonging to Russia, then developed in Grodno, Vilensky, Minsk and other provinces.

In May, 1863 the insurgent group was created in Kobrin. Representatives of the local intellectuals and patriotically adjusted shlyakhta entered it. Soon command of group Romuald Траугутт (1826—1864), rather poor landowner from a manor accepted the Island of the Kobrin County. The participant of the Crimean war (1853 — 1856), he shortly before revolt retired in a rank of the lieutenant colonel of the Russian army. Military experience put forward it in number of the most active heads of the national liberation movement at once. Insurgents acted in a forest zone in the beginning in the east of the county where they managed to strike to imperial chasteners a number of notable blows. But then they were forced to recede in remote pinsky bogs because of the suffered losses and R. Traugutt's wound. In July to Traugutt it was necessary to leave reserved these edges. Soon it appeared in Warsaw where in September, 1863 received dictatorial powers on the management of all revolt. However the movement already exhausted, too inconsistent were ultimate goals at revolutionary-democratic part of its participants and at the big land-owners seeking to keep lands and the power over peasants. Revolt got beaten. In Warsaw R. Traugutt was seized and on August 5, 1864 it is executed.

According to the personal order of the vilensky governor general Muravyev active participants of revolt of 1863 — 1864 underwent cruel punishments, many appeared on gallows, the majority were banished to Siberia. Executions were carried out also in Kobrin — in the field, adjoining kitchen gardens down the street of Bolotskaya (nowadays Red Army), are approximately on a site from Kobrinki's small river to the former foundry.

Moderate part of the shlyakhta which avoided repressions as well as to some representatives of its subsequent generation, it will be necessary only to indulge in nostalgic memories of heroic affairs. Works of the Polish writer Maria Rodzevichuvna (1863 — 1944) whose almost all creative life passed in Grushov's manor of the Kobrin County will be in this way created. However, the most part of its books has progressive, democratic character, sings of work of simple people, beauty of the Polesia nature. They are created by the writer in the most fruitful for her years: "Devaytis" (1889), "Grivda" (1891), "From a solitude" (1895), "On hills" (1896), "Heather" (1903).

To the reform of 1863 which laid the foundation to the capitalism period in Russia in economic and social development of Kobrin there were certain changes. Considerably population grew, having reached 10,4 thousand inhabitants in 1897. In 1882 the movement on a site of the Polesia railroad Pinsk — Zhabinka opened. In Kobrin there was a railway station, and the city in a bigger degree joined economic life of the country. However, the railroad reduced value of a water Dnepro-Bugsky way. Nevertheless and on the channel timber rafting continued, steamships towed barges with freights. In 1897 the Kobrin river pier accepted more than four hundred vessels, thanks to construction of 21 folding dams the system of regulation of water level improved.

The market – old Kobrin's center. Beginning of the 20th century. A view from present Liberty Square on Sovetskaya Street.

"The memorable book of the Grodno province for 1908" provides statistical data on the Kobrin County for the beginning of the 20th century. According to them, the county won first place on the number of country people in the province and penultimate — in a city way. The quantity of country people exceeded possibilities of its land use. The earth rose in price from 36 rubles for tithe in 1885 — 1890 to 100 — 120 rubles in 1905 — 1906. Poverty became the constant phenomenon in country families of the majority of villages of the Kobrin County. Every fourth yard was horseless. The agrarian overpopulation, impossibility to find work in the city forced villagers to leave these places and even to emigrate out of borders of the Russian Empire. Only in 1906 the county to the USA and Canada was left by about one and a half thousand people.

There were many human resources and in the city, its industry — 22 small enterprises at which 103 persons worked could not absorb their quantity. The matter is that absence in the territory of southwest Belarus of raw materials for development of large-scale industry resulted in prevalence of the small semi-handicraft enterprises here. The sawing and brick "plants" which had 8 — 10 workers were considered as the largest. There were, however, still seasonal enterprises at landowners in neighboring manors, but also they did not resolve an issue.

For citizens often small kitchen gardens served not so much as help, how many the only source of existence. Many hoped for casual earnings on buildings, loading and unloading works, carrying, on the income from small trade.

As for cultural life in Kobrin, and here its inhabitants could not brag of special achievements so far. Outstanding monuments of architecture were not intended to be built, except for the stone Alexander Nevsky Cathedral constructed in 1868. The cathedral was put on the place of a mass grave of the Russian soldiers who died in Kobrin battle of 1812 at the expense of residents of the county, first of all — the peasants "grateful" for release from a serfdom.

In connection with century of Patriotic war of 1812 in many places of Russia monuments in honor of this anniversary began to be erected. On July 15, 1912 near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral laying of the monument devoted to a significant victory of the Russian troops over parts of the general Klengel took place. And in September the monument appeared before citizens in the form of the granite rock which the bronze eagle who stuck paws into a laurel wreath crowned. The letter "N" in a wreath designated a name of Napoleon. At the bottom of a pedestal — four large-caliber mortars cast in kutuzovsky times towered pyramids of kernels, such which these guns once scorched nearby. The memorial board said:" To the Russian soldiers who won the first victory over Napoleon's troops within Russia on July 15, 1812". Boards with explanatory inscriptions about participants of battle and about the descendants who built a monument were strengthened from pedestal sides. In such look it staid only three years. During World War I the Germans occupying Kobrin removed an eagle and sent to melting, broke memorial boards. Subsequently only the frontal board which was set up into place at the restoration which is carried out already to Soviet period was found.

Would be, of course, incorrect to consider that Kobrin district at that time did not grow remarkable people. Just it is necessary to find for them still, quite often happens that the person shows the outstanding qualities far from the homeland. Yulian Fomich Krachkovsky (1840 — 1903), the native of the village of Ozyata of the Kobrin County who became the famous Belarusian and Russian ethnographer, the teacher and the historian is an example of it. Yu. F. Krachkovsky, having finished a theological seminary in St. Petersburg, refused church career and began to teach Russian. In 1888 — 1902 he headed the Vilensky commission for analysis and the publication of ancient acts. It possesses several interesting works on ethnography of the West Russian edge.

... And still Kobrin "was famous" for the grandiose fires about which notes even in the capital press were printed. In 1863 the Gostiny dvor in the market with all goods which were there burned down. Fire did not spare also state buildings in the center — the house of the district nobility and noble guardianship, district office on military duties, tens of other constructions. In 1895 the flame instantly absorbed two quarters, having destroyed 310 houses. And the next year the fire completely incinerated three streets, at the same time 210 houses burned down and different property for 214 thousand rubles, homeless there were more than two thousand inhabitants. Despite evidence of UA constancy of disaster, the government almost did not show care of fire safety of the citizens. Besides, when Kobrin inhabitants decided to create independently fire protection and developed the charter of "Free fire society", and then sent it to the statement in I Will wag, the governor general who was afraid in general of any associations moreover "manumissions" wrote the negative instructions. Of course, the similar attitude towards national needs caused reciprocal discontent and indignation.