Maria Bochkareva - Russian Joan of Arc

In the archives of the Office of the Federal Security Service of the Omsk region remained Indictment Mary Leontyevna Botchkareva. 36 tattered leaves - the last point in the life "Russian Joan of Arc ... Meanwhile, during the lifetime of the glory of this amazing woman was so great that it could be envy of many stars of modern politics and show business. 

Reporters vied took her interview, Russia's magazines published enthusiastic articles about the "woman-hero". But, . alas, . after several years of all this splendor in the memory of compatriots have remained only contemptuous lines Mayakovsky's "fool bochkarevskih", . senselessly trying to defend the last residence of the Provisional Government on the night of the October Revolution ...,
. The real fate of Mary Botchkareva akin to adventure novels: the wife of a drunkard-worker, a friend of a gangster, "helpers" in a brothel
. And suddenly - a brave soldier, soldier, a noncommissioned officer and officer in the Russian army, one of the heroines of World War. A simple peasant girl, only to the end of life has taught the basics of literacy, happened in my lifetime to meet with the head of the Provisional Government п-.пг. Kerensky, the two supreme commander of the Russian army - A. A. Brusilov and L. G. Kornilov. "Russian Joan of Arc" officially accepted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and the English King George V. 

Mary was born in July 1889 in a peasant family. In 1905, she married 23-year-old Athanasius Bochkareva. Married life almost immediately had no luck, and without regret Bochkareva parted with a drunken husband. Soon after Mary met her "a fatal love" in the face of a certain Yankel (Jacob) Buka, which is on the documents listed as a peasant, but in fact hunted robbery gang hunghutz. When Jacob finally arrested, Bochkareva decided to share the fate of the beloved and went after him on stage in Yakutsk. But in exile Jacob continued his earlier works - was buying stolen goods, and even participated in the attack on the mails. To Buka not sent even further (in the Kolyma), Maria agreed to cede harassment Yakut Governor. Unable to survive the betrayal, she tried to poison himself, and then told all Buka. Jacob barely tied in the governor's office: to kill the seducer, he did not have time. As a result, Jacob again condemned and banished to a secluded Yakut village Amga. Maria was here the only Russian woman. But the old relationship with her lover has not recovered ... 

August 1, 1914 Russia joined World War. The country embraced the patriotic sentiments. Maria decided to break with Yankel and go to a soldier in the army. In November 1914, in Tomsk, she turns to the commander of 25 th Reserve Battalion. He invites her to go to the front as a nurse, but Mary insists on its. Importunate petitioners give ironic advice - apply directly to the emperor. In the past eight rubles Bochkareva sends a telegram to his Majesty, and soon, much to our surprise, gets permission to Nicholas II. She enlisted in the hired soldiers. By an unwritten rule, the soldiers gave each other nicknames. Remembering the Bouquet, Mary asked to call himself "Yashka." 

"Yashka" fearlessly walked in bayonet attack, pulled the wounded from the battlefield, was wounded several times. "For outstanding courage, she received a George Cross and three medals. She was assigned the rank of junior and then senior non-commissioned officer. 

February Revolution turned the familiar to the world of Mary: the positions were rallies, began fraternization with the enemy. Due to an unexpected acquaintance with the Chairman of the Interim Committee of the State Duma M. V. Rodzianko, who came to the front to speak, Bochkareva in early May 1917 was in Petrograd. Here she is trying to implement a sudden and bold idea - to create special units from female volunteers, and together with them to continue to defend the Fatherland. Botchkareva initiative was approved by the Minister of War Alexander Kerensky and the Supreme Commander Alexei Brusilov. In their view, the "female factor" could have a positive moral influence on the decaying army. 

Botchkareva responded to the call more than two thousand women. By order of Kerensky's women soldiers identified a separate room at the Commerce Street, a detachment of ten experienced instructors to train their military ranks and the use of weapons. Originally expected, even that the first detachment of women volunteers for the front as nurses leave the wife Kerensky - Olga, who gave the commitment in case of need to stay all the time in the trenches. "
 .Maria has established strict discipline in the battalion: the rise at five, classes until ten at night, a short rest and a simple soldier's meal.

. "Intelligent person" soon began to complain that Bochkareva too rough and "beats the muzzle, like a real sergeant of the old regime". In addition, she forbid her to organize a battalion for all boards and committees and to appear there party agitators. Supporters of "democratic transition" has been accessed even by the commander of the Petrograd Military District, General P. A. Polovtsev, but in vain: "She (Bochkareva), fiercely and expressively waving his fist, said that disgruntled let cleaned out, that she wants to be part of a disciplined". Eventually, the battalion being formed all the same split - with Botchkareva remained about 300 women, while the rest formed an independent battalion of shock. Ironically, it is this part of the shock troopers who dropped Botchkareva "for the behavior of light", and became the basis of women's battalion, which is October 25, 1917 defended the Winter Palace. That their captured a rare picture that is stored in the collections of the State Museum of Political History of Russia.
. June 21, 1917 at St. Isaac's Square in a solemn ceremony of a new military unit for a white banner with the inscription "The first female military command the death of Maria Botchkareva"
. On the left flank of the detachment in a new form of warrant officer was agitatedMaria: "I thought that all eyes were fixed on me alone. Archbishop Veniamin of Petrograd and Archbishop of Ufa instruct our battalion died way Tikhvin. It happened, in front - the front! "Finally the battalion was a solemn march through the streets of Petrograd, where he was greeted by thousands of people. 
June 23 unusual military unit went to the front. Life is at once dispelled the romance. Initially, at the barracks of the battalion had even put the clock: an unbridled soldiery pestered "the women" with explicit proposals. Combat Battalion received the baptism in fierce fighting with the Germans in early July, the seventeenth year. In one report of the commander stated that "detachment Botchkareva behaved heroically in battle," set an example "of bravery, courage and peace". And even General Anton Denikin, is skeptical about such "surrogate army", admitted that the female battalion bravely went on the attack, "not supported by other parts of. In one battle Bochkareva concussion and was sent to Petrograd hospital. After recovery, she was ordered to the new Supreme Commander Kornilov to review women's battalions, which had nearly a dozen. Review Moscow Battalion showed their complete deactivation. Upset Mary returned to his unit, determined for itself "more women at the front not to take, because the women I have been disappointed."

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