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whole, and gave the necessary bably Askhabad also, and they driving-force and direction to thus have bases for propasuch military operations as ganda so much the nearer to were necessary to stem the Afghanistan and Persia, toadvancing tide of Bolshevism gether with direct railway pressing in from the east. communication right up to the This force was based on Merv, Afghan frontier: a situation and consisted roughly of a sufficiently alarming to any brigade of Indian troops. It one cognisant with the resident soon won for itself the con- people and the conditions now fidence and respect of all prevailing in Transcaspia. As parties; and so good a show- to the political wisdom or uning did the combined efforts of wisdom of withdrawing our workmen, volunteer army, and support, I cannot speak, but Turkomans and British In- it appears eurious that it dian contingent make, that should have been decided the Bolshevists were not able upon in face of the fact to establish themselves in that we were fighting the the Merv oasis, although a Bolshevists in North Russia small party had at one time and energetically supporting penetrated as far as Merv Admiral Koltohak and General and Askhabad. The opposing Denikin with supplies and forces were in contact in the material. From the domestic middle of the steppe, holding or home point of view there railheads about thirty miles was every reason for witheast of the Oxus, separated drawing our troops, who have from each other by about seven many of them spent two and miles of rolling grass and sand- more years fighting in Mesopodune through which the rail- tamia, and who were all due way runs. The Bolshevists and overdue for relief. I fear attacked several times, were that the smaller consideration soundly beaten and had begun outweighed the bigger one, and to lose heart, and it appeared that this error will cause us to be a simple matter to drive much trouble in the very near them definitely across the future. Bolshevism lives on Oxus; but high politics stepped success, and fresh fields of loot in, and it was decided to re- are continually necessary for move the British-Indian force it. These we have supplied by altogether from Turkestan. In throwing open the oases of my opinion this was a fatal Merv and the approaches to mistake politically. For it was the rich areas of Persia to their obvious to the men on the spot advance. The nature of the that, once the British went, the people we have abandoned does combination of workmen, vol- not fit them for a stout and unteers, and Turkomans must unsupported resistance, and I inevitably orumble. We went, take the view that Merv and and this has happened, and Askhabad and Southern TurkMerv is now in the hands estan as far as the Caspian of the Bolshevists, and pro- have definitely passed, or will
definitely pass under Bolshevist is an outline of the means to be control.
How will this affect us? and how will it react upon the Turkomans?
We are affected to the extent that the Bolshevists now have undisputed access to all the trade and caravan routes in to Balkh, Afghanistan, and Persia. They have, moreover, the use of all agricultural and irrigated land as well as the oil-wells on the eastern shores of the Caspian. They control a well-built, broad-gauge line running right down to Afghanistan at Kushk, and they have become the overlords of the Russian colony, a timid selfseeking population who will willingly subsoribe to any proposals likely to save their own skins and property. The exports of Persia from the northern territories will supply them with food and many necessaries, and the caravans that bring these supplies will prove ready channels for Bolshevist propaganda. Only recently we captured instruotions issued by the Bolshevists, laying down the methods to be employed in furthering their aims for world-revolution. All caravan haltingplaces, and all passes through the mountains, were to be furnished with agents for the spread of propaganda; pilgrimages were to be accompanied by preachers of Bolshevism; wells along the routes were to have their Bolshevist resident agents, and agents were to penetrate down to Mecca and waylay the pilgrims at all important centres. Such
The Turkomans as a whole had come to recognise the solid benefits of Imperial Russian rule, although not entirely won over to Russia. Some of the older men still remember the savage warfare that took place before Turkestan was finally conquered by Skobeleff; but Russia had handled them well and tactfully of late, and Turkoman chiefs held high positions in the Turkestan Army Corps. Russian education had been brought to bear upon the younger men, while the development of agriculture, especially that of cotton and silk production, has benefited the Turkoman enormously, and begun to turn him from a nomad into a keen business man and agriculturist, who regards the atrocities and the "I-take-all" principles of the Bolshevists with horror.
Upon the collapse of Imperial Russia, therefore, and the outbreak of Bolshevism, the Turkomans at once formed an army to defend their land, but were unable to do this entirely, and the Bolshevists penetrated as far as Bokhara, Tashkent, and Samarkand, looting and destroying as they went. The Turkomans of those districts, deprived of all outside support, retired to the oases and to old Bokhara, where the Bolshevists could not follow for want of a railway; others withdrew into the desert and others again farther west to Merv and Askhabad, and joined themselves to the nucleus of the
favour that the Turkomans had ever heard, and some four months' combined operations confirmed the reports and good opinions so formed: as long as our men were with them the Turkomans were perfectly happy about the Bolshevist situation, and great was their dismay when it was announced that the British troops were to be withdrawn. A number of the leading Turkomans as well as a deputation from Bokhara came down to Askha
Russian Volunteer Army. Here was collected a force of Turkomans sufficiently formidable when backed by the Russian Volunteer Army and the Indian Brigade to oppose any force that that the Bolshevists could send by the single line of railway available. It was while acting in co-operation with the British that the Turkomans learnt their respect and admiration for for Great Britain-so much so, that whenever trouble arose between the Allies, General bad to interview the Head of Malleson or General Beatty, respectively Head of the British Mission and Commander of the Indian Brigade, were always able to adjust all difficulties and hold the defence together. Out of the respect so engendered arose the desire of the Turkomans to be incorporated with the British Empire.
The British had long been known to the Turkomans as the greatest Mahomedan empire, the rulers of India, Egypt, and a great portion of Mahomedan Africa, and now the conquerors of the Turks, and our reputation for justice and broad-minded religious tolerance was thoroughly appreciated and enlarged upon by the pilgrims who annually visit Mecca and who there meet Mahomedans from all over the world, from whom they obtained this news. But until the Bolshevist menace presented itself the Turkomans had never actually come into touch with Great Britain. Actual contact with the British verified everything in our
our Mission, and to urge the retention of the British-Indian force.
The head-man, a gigantic Turkoman some six feet eight inches in height, crowned with a huge black sheepskin hat and dressed in a long flowing silk robe, made a most striking figure as he urged and pleaded for the continuance of our support. "Leave us a thousand men, only a thousand men, and we can hold the enemy." It was pointed out that our soldiers were due for rest and relief; and he continued, "Leave us 500 then: surely the great British Empire can spare 500 men to protect us." "It is impossible to leave 500 men" was the reply. He then made his final and most touching appeal: "Leave us at least one Englishman here; then my people will know that Great Britain will never abandon them, and we will continue to oppose the Bolshevists." On being told that even this was impossible, and that orders had been received for the withdrawal of all troops, the chief
made a despairing gesture and said, “In that case there remains no hope for us Turkomans. We shall not be able to hold out by ourselves, and we shall therefore return to our wandering life in the steppes and the deserts as before the Russians first came." This is actually happening now, The Turkomans are withdrawing from all contact with civilisation and are readopting their nomad life. The Bolshevists will benefit by the great irrigation works and silk and cotton cultivation of the Sarts, part of whom will no doubt become their helots, while the more virile sections will again become nomads. One large horde, numbering some 300,000, is withdrawing in a body towards Persia, and will probably go over into Persia. Now what would have been the position had we been able to support the Turkomans? We should have had to the north of Persia and Afghanistan a Mahomedan buffer State against Bolshevism, requiring a minimum of supervision and direction. The 2,000,000 Turkomans would have been fully equal to the task of keeping their frontier intact, and would have denied to Bolshevism all access to Afghanistan from the north. So great was our prestige with the Turkomans that it could not but have had a most favourable influence upon our dealings with Afghanistan, for there is much trade between Eastern Turkestan and Afghanistan.
tially civilised at present, but very amenable to civilisation ; and although not a great fighter when left to himself, he needs but direction and moral support to render him an efficient ally in his native country, country, where where his physical hardihood and knowledge of local conditions enable him to march and fight and live where other troops would starve. I do not suggest that Great Britain should seek to secure a suzerainty over Turkestan; far from it. All that would be necessary would be to give him moral, and it may be material, help in developing himself and his resources. Now that Russia is gone up in flames, Great Britain would have been in a position to influence not only all Persia, but also Turkestan, probably without employing a single soldier, had she continued to back the Turkomans during those critical days. We should have gained the lasting friendship of 2,000,000 sturdy Mahomedans (against whom we have never fought, and whom we should never need to fight). Their presence as a nation to the north of Afghanistan would have had a most beneficial and steadying influence on the Afghans, who could not but fail to be impressed by the cordial relations existing between Great Britain and their Mahomedan neighbours relations based upon no other foundation than mutual goodwill and confidence.
The Turkoman is only par- us.
This opportunity is lost to
As to the future of the Tarkoman race-I see three possible alternatives before it: a return to their original condition as it was before the Russians came and conquered the land, when the various hordes roamed the steppes according to the seasons, and were organised into separate tribes or clans rather than a homogeneous nation.
If this happens, the ultimate civilisation of the Turkoman will be put back to the distant future, and will probably call for reconquest by whatever power, be it Russia or China, who finally undertakes the venture; for by that time the Turkoman will have definitely relapsed into his primeval savagery, and will not readily yield himself to the suzerainty of others.
Another possible outcome may be the definite separation of the race inte two, the Sarts or sedentary hordes and the wandering hordes. The former, if adhering to their cities and agriculture and irrigated land, will inevitably drift under the sway of the Bolshevists and the successors of the Bolshevists, who will benefit by their industry; and it is possible that in the future they may be content to live as a servile race without individuality or self-government, the prey to any whim of their masters, but content that it should be so as long as they themselves are safe. From the little I have seen and the much that I have heard, I am inclined to the belief that this will be the fate of the
Sarts, and that they and the Amirate of Bokhara will cease to exist as political entities. Already the wandering Turkoman has a contempt for the Sart, and should the latter submissively accept the rule of the Bolshevik, a cleavage of the nation is assured.
The third alternative is an emigration of the whole race east into Chinese Turkestan, or west into Persia, or even south into the foothills of Afghanistan, but this latter contingenoy is improbable; in any case the existence of the Turkoman race as one nation under one nominal ruler is now doomed for many years, even if it should ever come together again, which is doubtful,
Thus the policy of non-support of the Turkomans has resulted in a cleavage of the race, the strengthening of the Bolshevist at a point where he was not strong, and the gift to him of easy means of access to territories where his frothy and dangerous propaganda cannot fail seriously to affect our Indian and Mahomed an empires.
Another point not to be overlooked is the loss of prestige to ourselves in the eyes of the Afghans, Turkomans, and Persians by our withdrawal, which no doubt has been magnified and exalted by the Bolshevists into a great viotory for themselves and their principles. It is not unreasonable to prophesy that during the next meeting of pilgrims at Mecca, one of the principal topics of conversation over the evening meal or