1947: 60 years ago, on August 8 1947, Anton Ivanovich Denikin, Russian officer, general, military journalist, historian, died in the hospital of the Michigan University, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. His father was a serf and lived on Volga, not too far from my home town. In 1834, Ivan Yefimovich Denikin was recruited to the army and had to serve there for 25 years. In 1856 he became an officer. In 1869, he retired and left to Poland, which was a part of Russia. Three years later, in 1872, Anton Denikin was born. Since 1882 till 1890 he studied in a school at Lovich, where he demonstrated exceptional skills in mathematics. After school, he joined the army as a volunteer, in 1890 he entered a military college and two years later became an officer. Being a minor commander, he attempted to avoid the usual corporal punishments in his detachment and to make soldiers understand the orders and to fulfil them consciously. Unfortunately, the detachment soon became one of the worst in the regiment and then, as Denikin recalled later, sergeant-major Stsepura meddled. He came to the soldiers, shown them a huge fist and said: "This is not captain Denikin!" Denikin became interested in military journalism, wrote articles about the life of the army and published them under the name I.Nochin. In 1899, he graduated from the military academy of the General Staff.
During the Russo-Japanese war, he was awarded two medals and became a colonel. Some people say that there is a hill in Manchuria was named Denikin hill after the battle of Tsinhechen. During the first World War, general-major Denikin commanded a brigade in the 8th army, where among his colleagues were also Lavr Kornilov, Alexey Kaledin and some other officers who would become the leaders of the White Guard during the Civil War.
When the first revolution in the February 1917 began, Denikin was at the Romanian front. He wrote later: "I accepted the Russian liberalism without any party-line dogmatism, which led me to the following three fundamental ideas: 1. constitutional monarchy, 2. radical reforms and 3. peaceful ways of the country's revival." Together with the general Kornilov he demanded from the Provisional Government to restore the discipline in the army. Denikin did not participate in the Kornilov's failed coup, but he supported Kornilov. He was arrested and put to a jail in Bykhov together with Kornilov, Alexeyev, Lukomsky, Romanovsky, Markov and many others. They escaped from Bykhov and fled to Don, where he helped general Alexeyev to create the Volunteer Army, the kernel of the future White Guard. When Alexeyev died, Denikin replaced him as the commander of the Volunteer Army in October 1918.
The co-operation between the White Guard and the cossacks has never been good. The cossacks allied with the Germans and were quite egocentric in their intentions. Denikin and other officers, who spent years fighting with the Germans, preferred to have the countries of the Entente as their allies — Britain and France. The fall of Germany strengthened Denikin's position and on January 8, 1919 he was proclaimed the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia.
In the end of 1918 and beginning of 1919 the Volunteer Army pushed the bolsheviks from the Northern Caucasus and saved important cities of Novocherkassk and Rostov. In May-August they took Kharkiv, Central Ukraine, Voronezh, Kursk and Oryol regions. Denikin announced that he opposes the idea of "predetermination", which means that he refused to make any decisions on the political status of Russia after the end of the Civil War. He was convinced that only the Constituent Assembly has the right to make such decisions. Even being a monarchist, he preferred the integrity of Russia to the restoration of monarchy. He opposed all separatist movements, especially in Ukraine and among the cossacks. This made the hopes of a joint antibolshevist front unreal. In the autumn of 1919 the bolsheviks began a successful counter-attack and forced Denikin to evacuate the army to Crimea. Feeling that he is losing the war made him to resign on April 4, 1920. Many of his fellows accused him of liberalism and he was replaced by baron Pyotr Vrangel.
Denikin left Russia with his family and 13 pounds in his wallet. They went to Britain. He spent some years in Europe, where he wrote the monumental The Russian Turmoil. During the Second World War Denikin opposed some of the emigrant circles who called for cooperation with the German Nazis. Denikin hoped that after the Red Army wins the war against Hitler, they will start the war for the liberation of Russia. In 1945, when the allied began to transfer Soviet prisoners of war to the USSR, Denikin preferred to move to the USA. He wrote a letter to president Eisenhower, asking not to give away the former participants of the anti-bolshevik movement to the USSR, but to no avail. In 1946, he wrote another document, titled "The Russian Question", where he warned the governments of USA and UK not to follow the Hitler's way, who fought with the Russian people instead of fighting with the communism.
His daughter Marina became a Russian citizen in 2005. On October 3, 2005, the remains of Anton Ivanovich Denikin were re-buried at teh Donskoy monastery in Moscow. A month later, Marina Denikina died at her home in Paris.