Alexander von Benckendorff and the Crimean War of

Alexander von Benckendorff and the Crimean War of 1853-1856

Count Alexander Khristoforovich Benckendorff (June 23 [July 4] 1782 - September 11 [September 23] 1844) - Russian statesman, military leader, cavalry general;  the first Chief of Gendarmes and the Head (Head Controller) of the Third Section of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery from 1826 to 1844.

The combat officer who participated in many battles.

After the Decembrist uprising (1825),  Benckendorff on June 25, 1826 was appointed Chief of the gendarmes, and on July 3, 1826, he was appointed the Head (Head Controller) of the Third Section of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery.

In the book "Crimean War", Eugene Tarle mentions Benckendorff: “When the vacancy was released after Benckendorff, Orlov with pleasure became the chief of the gendarmes in 1844.”

Other references (except a one more, an indirect) about Benckendorff in this book by Tarle, it seems, are absent.

However, Tarle quite often mentions all sorts of embezzlement, financial abuse during the war (1853-1856). Abuses led to starvation, lack of uniforms, ammunition, other military equipment in warring Russian units.

What, in general, could the Corps of gendarmes and the Third Section do for the success of the Russian Empire in the Crimean War of 1853-1856?

Logically reasoning, they could deal with issues of espionage and of financial abuse (in the broad sense, including a shortcomings of military supply).

However, to do this, apparently, was not so simple.

In the book by Tarle we find such (perhaps the only) mention of the military court. “... Mayran mistakenly mistook the “regular” bomb for a signal shot. ... Mayran’s column ... was subjected to terrible defeat and could not survive even during a full quarter of an hour .... “Death under Russian bullets saved him from a military court,” they later said in an allied camp. ”(Eugene Tarle "Crimean War").

The armed forces, according to Western traditions, had considerable autonomy.

For example, Christopher Hibbert writes: “Lord Raglan, hearing about this, made a strict suggestion to everyone, but even he could not do anything with the current system. He could not order naval officers or put them on trial of a military tribunal, since they were subordinate to another department.” (Hibbert, Christopher. The Destruction of Lord Raglan: A tragedy of the Crimean War 1854–55). [the reverse translation from Russian]

Crimes with a participating of military personnel were subject to special military courts.

What could a "regular officer" do when faced with a financial abuse? The sending of the report to the higher level would put him in an ambiguous position, and, possibly, would led to ostracism.

The superior military authorities did not have the motives and energy (and time) to deal with the system (that has developed, it can be said, for centuries).

The “supervisory authorities” from the outside had very limited powers for involving in such cases.
Someone was enriching, and someone (on the front line) felt a lack of food, a lack of the required cash payments, a lack of uniforms, ammunition ...

So, even if Count Benckendorff wished to deal with financial abuses during the Crimean War, he could have discovered a lack of competence for a such a struggle.

As for espionage, the following words of Evgeny Tarle can be quoted: “Alexander II was to make many fatal mistakes in his policy regarding Prussia (and then the German Empire), and the subsequent generations of Russian people paid for these errors with a rivers of blood  ... Berlin, under a noise of the war, It has long been a center of anti-Russian intrigue and espionage. Such was the only “support” of Russia. ”(Eugene Tarle“ Crimean War ”).

Somehow the the respected historian Tarle's thought develops ...

Here we have to stop and to keep silence. Even if we are talking about Alexander ... Khristoforovich.

In general, not so much could Alexander Khristoforovich Benckendorff do for Russia's victory in the Crimean War of 1853-1856.

Moreover, he died in 1844 ...

The  regime of Nikolai Pavlovich effectively worked with Pushkin, Lermontov, other writers and other intellectuals.

But to win the Crimean War it was difficult for the regime of Nikolai Pavlovich. A lot of energy needed to spend for an attention towards Pushkin, Lermontov. And Gogol was working, also ...

To finish the Crimean War was not entrusted to a personnel diplomat. It's strange - they orientated in the situation, they received salary and awards ...

Orlov (successor Benckendorff, as the Head of the Third Section), was appointed by Emperor Alexander II to lead the Russian delegation at the Paris Congress in February - March 1856. The Paris Congress worked out the political system of Europe following the unsuccessful for Russia Crimean War. Orlov signed the Treaty of Paris on March 18 (30), 1856, with conditions acceptable to the Emperor.

Maybe was needed to made a research of the Minister Nesselrode? ...

October 5, 2019 09:09

Translation from Russian into English: October 5, 2019  18:48.
Владимир Владимирович Залесский “Бенкендорф и Крымская война 1853-1856 годов”.