Nation-Soldier: By PhD Ovez Gundogdiyev — For centuries of the history Turkmen people experienced development and collapse, created powerful empires and experienced downfall of these empires. But during the last centuries Turkmenistan was cut into pieces. In XVIII century great Turkmen Mahtumkuli called: «Turkmens! If we could live amicably … Take, yomud, goklen, yazir and alili — henceforth we should unite into one family.» ….
In the beginning and middle of XIX century preconditions for unification of Turkmen tribes and creations of the state were formed, but Turkmenistan faced new problems. From the 60th the Tsarist Russian assumed an offensive on Central Asia. Covering of those events in the Soviet literature has created a picture of irreconcilable enmity of Turkmen tribes among themselves. However military actions shows that Turkmens have managed to be united in an anti-Imperial coalition. In fight at Chandiria (1873) imperial troops were resisted with the incorporated armies of alili, emreli, karadashli, chovdir, goflen, yomudov and teke tribes.
In August of 1879 Akhal-Ttekinsk expedition was under the way. Advanced detachments of the Russian army were almost approaching to Akhalu when General-Major Lamakin took command over the army. Hurrying up to become a hero, on August 28 he started storm of fortress in Geoktepe, where inhabitants of Akhala have gathered. The imperial armies gave up and left Geoktepe next morning. The failure of the 1-st Akhal-Takinsk expedition is obvious. Thousands of Turkmens were killed — mainly, as a result of artillery fire, but the Russian army as well has lost 176 person that never ever happened during Central Asian campaign.
In January of 1880 General Michael Skobelev was appointed as the chief of the second Akhal-Tekinsk expedition. One of his first steps was establishment of base in settlement Bami (100 kms from Geotepe). After the July 1, 1880 offensive on fortress he wrote in reports that not only tekints, but gokelns, nokhums, yamuds were defending the fortress. At the end of 1880 Skobelev moved armies to Geoktepe. After 20-day’s siege in January 12, 1881 the Russian army has started another storm of a fortress. Walls of the fortress were punched by artillery shells and mines. Part of Turkmen army escaped, while the main part of defenders died in a fortress. Geoktepe was plundered, and then was completely destroyed. For barbarous methods of war Skobelev was withdrawn from Turkmenistan.
Writer Evgeny Markov, visited Turkmenistan in 1900, and compared Geoktepinsk fortress with ancient Sparta, which replaced its walls with bravery of its sons». He was admired with Turkmens, naming them «eagles», «leopards», «lions». He wrote about Turkmens: «all of them are mostly athletes of huge growth, wide-shouldered, dry, brawny.» There are many admiring statements about Turkmens.
Tsarist Empire officers admired with courage of our ancestors. Being on a crossroads of the most important trading and military ways, Turkmenistan for the centuries-old history experienced campaigns of Kira and Dair, Alexander the Great and Selevkidov, Chingis Khan and Timur. It is not strange that nation who were forced to defend itself almost for centuries, became nation — soldier?