Semireche Cossack Host

Semirech’e Cossack Host


a cossack unit in prerevo-lutionary Russia, based in Semirech’e Oblast (now the greater part of Kirghiz SSR, as well as Alma-Ata and Taldy-Kurgan oblasts and part of Dzhambul and Semipalatinsk oblasts, Kazakh SSR), with its center in Vernyi (now Alma-Ata).

The host was formed in 1867 as part of the Siberian Cossack Host. The Semirech’e Cossack Host was headed by an appointed (nakaznyi) ataman, who was also the military governor of the oblast; from 1882 he was subordinate to the Steppe governor-general and from 1899 to the Turkestan governor-general. In the early 20th century the host was made up of one cavalry regiment (four troops) and one guards platoon in peacetime and three cavalry regiments and 12 detached troops in wartime. The lands of the Semirech’e Cossack Host totaled 744,000 hectares, including 71,000 hectares under cultivation. The cossack population was about 45,000 (1916).

The host supported tsarism in its colonial policy in Kirghizia and Kazakhstan and fought in the conquest of Middle Asia and in World War I. In the Civil War of 1918–20 the affluent elite of the Semirech’e Cossack Host fought against Soviet power. After the defeat of the White Guards in Semirech’e, the host was abolished in April 1920.