February 7 in Russian history

1238: Batu Khan captures Vladimir. Only three months earlier, the knyaz of Vladimir Yuri, son of Vsevolod (known as Bolshoye Gnezdo, the Big Nest) refused to send troops to help knyaz of Ryazan, Yuri Igorevich. Tens of Russian knyazes competed for their own lands and refused to co-operate to save the country. Ryazan was completely destroyed in December, 1237. Vladimir lost the key ally on the South. Now, on the 5 February, Batu Khan camped near the walls of Vladimir. Knyaz Yuri left the city to his sons Vsevolod and Mstislav and the chieftain Pyotr Oslyadkovich and left to gather an army that would be able to withstand the Tatars. Batu Khan offered Vladimir to surrender, promising to spare the life of another Yuri's son, Vladimir Yurievich, who was captured a week ago in Moscow. The leaders of the city refused and Vladimir Yurievich was killed with swords. Vsevolod and Mstislav attempted to offer a ransom and went out of the gates with rich gifts, but Batu Khan ordered to kill them, too. They were killed in front of the Golden Gates of Vladimir, the main gates of the city. On February 6, the Tatars were preparing the attack and on February 7 they broke the walls, entered the city, sacked and burnt it. The citizens of Vladimir attempted to hide in the Uspensky cathedral with its thick stone walls, but the Tatars put huge fires around the cathedral and all the people died. A month later, knyaz Yuri and his new army lost the battle on river Sit'. I visited Vladimir this summer and saw these Golden Gates (I am still writing a story of this trip and will post it as soon as I finish it). The Uspensky cathedral was rebuilt and it still exists. The remains of the city walls are there, too.

1920: Bolsheviks executed one of the leaders of the White Guard, the Supreme Ruler of Russia, Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak. A brilliant naval officer, participant of polar expeditions, geographer, commander of the Black Sea fleet, he became a prominent political figure, a leader of the counter-revolutionary movement. In 1918, he was appointed the military and naval minister of the so called Siberian government of Russia in Omsk. Two months later, he organized a coup and proclaimed himself the Supreme Ruler of Russia. In 1919, his troops began to lose the war to the Bolsheviks and Kolchak attempted to move his government to Irkutsk. Part of the railroad from Omsk to Irkutsk was controlled by the Czech Legion, who promised him safe passage, but instead they arrested him. The French representative of the Entente in Siberia, Maurice Janin, who controlled the Czech Legion, handed him over to a leftist organization called Political Centre in Irkutsk. The organization was created by bolsheviks especially to give impression that Janin contacted SRs, not bolsheviks. Immediately after they got Kolchak, the Political Centre was disbanded and Kolchak became a prisoner of Cheka. As a payment for Kolchak, bolsheviks allowed Janin to take a large amount of gold from Siberia. The White Army troops led by Vladimir Kappel attempted to save Kolchak, but the Bolsheviks executed him on a direct order from Moscow after two weeks of "investigation". His body was thrown into a small river Ushakovka.

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