6.28.2009

Potemkin postscript

The mutiny on the battleship Potemkin was put down on 27 June 1905. A failure, it was of course, later memorialized by Sergei Eisenstein and Soviet Russia. Most of the mutineers ended up in Romania, but a few returned to Russia.


The fortress where the imprisoned sailors were held -- despite a sign to the contrary, no tours are given.


Those that did return, and weren't either executed or pardoned, were imprisoned. At least some were sent to the fortress in Zaqatala, Azerbaijan. Part of a chain of forts built during the Russian advance south, it was a very small piece in the much greater game for dominance of the Middle East played against Britain. It would also serve as a linchpin in the defense against Sheikh Shamyl, the last of the great Caucasian guerrilla fighters against that implacable Russian advance. The mountains of the Caucasus -- the dreary and picturesque mountains of Lermontov, which sheltered dozens of unique tribes -- was far from the sea.


The grave of Stepan; I can't make out his last name -- in a lonely corner of the Heydar Aliev park in Zaqatala.