Major-general, a hero of World War 1.
The history of Ossetian participation in wars waged by Russia is full of heroism. As we follow events, we encounter the whole galaxy of courageous war generals. Among them worthy of special attention is a major-general Kazbulat Aslamurzaevich Esiev. The character and skills of this man were formed by the environment in which we was growing up. His father, Aslamurza Esiev, was a gifted man and influenced immensely his son’s personality. Kazbulat was 9 years when he was taken to Saint-Petersburg. He spent his young and adolescent years away from his homeland. Having finished his military education in Saint-Petersburg he began his service in Elizavetgrad hussar regiment in 1853 and served there for 6 years.
For private reasons he had to leave the service and get back home in 1860. In 1864 Aslamurza was enrolled in the Tersko-Gorsky irregular regiment, was a commander of the second sotnia. In late 1876 Aslamurza Esiev was made commander of the Ossetian battalion of the Tersko-Gorsky irregular regiment where he served during the course of the Russia-Turkey war as part of the Dunai active Army. The military record of Aslamurza Esiev reveals that he was a gifted military man. Commander of the Vladikavkaz regiment Levis wrote in his note to a brigade commander: “The Ossetians were fighting with their inherent bravery” and he underlined captain’s Aslamurza Esiev’s fighting for village Deli-Sula where he was the division’s commander. After his resignation in the rank of lieutenant colonel Aslamurza got settled in a mountainous village Karza, took up farming. Here, like in war years, his best character traits manifested themselves – kindness, humanity and purposefulness. He taught his fellow-villagers the art of gardening; having become a beekeeper he made them learn this as well giving out beehives absolutely free. He built a public mill which was used not only by his fellow-villagers in Karza but also by people from other neighboring villages. Aslamurza died in 1926 and was buried in the cemetery of the Karza village.
Aslamurza's influence in the family was enormous and that affected the life of all his 9 children who enjoyed excellent upbringing and education and inherited their father’s generous character traits. As an example it would be enough to describe one of his sons – colonel Kambulat Esiev. Highly educated and intelligent, he knew several foreign languages, was fond of literature, translated into Ossetian the works of Russian and French authors. His translation of the Ostrovsky’s “Groza” was staged in one of Tiflis theatres. Based on this family one could write an anthology of real men’s upbringing. In this anthology a special place would be granted to the eldest son of Aslamurza – Kazbulat who became famous as a war general.
Kazbulat was born on November 26th, 1865. He was educated in a high school in Stavropol and later in the Tiflis infantry cadet school. It would be wrong to think that Kazbulat’s regular promotions made his military life an easy one. In 1892 he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, in 1900 – to the rank of staff-captain. During the Russia-Japan war the Caucasian brigade included the Tersko-Kuban mountain regiment which had a special Ossetian sotnia. The majority of officers in this regiment were Ossetians, quite experienced in the battle. Here began the glory of Kazbulat Esiev whose military records repeated a phrase like this: “For bravery against the enemy, by the authority I was granted, I award you…” By 1907 he began his military service in the Eastern Siberia as a company commander in the 27th Eastern Siberia regiment, and 7 years later, in 1914, he is a colonel, commander of the 47th Siberian infantry regiment. In 1916 he was promoted to the rank of major-general and was appointed brigade commander. It is reasonable that this ascent was accompanied by military awards among which are: the Order of St.Anne (3rd degree), the Order of St.Stanislav (3rd degree), the Order of St.George, the Order of St.Vladimir, the British Order of George, one of the 4 British crosses which the Russian army soldiers were usually decorated with. However, the most precious award for Kazbulat was the soldier’s St.George cross with a laurel wreath – an honorable and rare distinction. Telling the story about Kazbulat Esiev, his bravery, courage and allegiance to do his duty I would like to stress that not only these features (typical of many other Ossetian generals as well) found him never-ending love and respect of the people. According to recollections of his contemporaries he was a type of person shining with kindness, mercy, love for their neighbors and readiness to help them anytime. He died during the World War I. A coffin with the general’s body was taken to his home village of Karza. Soldiers and officers following the coffin were in tears and seized by silent despair. This is one more evidence of how deep their grief was and how honored and loved he became in his country and across the borders.
Based on the book “Sons of Motherland” by G.T.Dzagurova
Translated by Andrei Varava