The Mysterious Ingush of the World War I, Khadyshko Arsamakov

  • 25/02/2024
This week, we will focus on another mysterious figure of the North Caucasian liberation cause during World War I. Khadyshko Arsamakov AKA Usden Hadji Murat Gasavat…
We encounter Khadysko Arsamakov's name in a secondary source for the first time in the two-volume work of Austrian historian Wolfdieter Bihl. His works are accessible through the following links in the footnote.[1] The information about Arsamakov in the archive records in Berlin and Vienna points us to some important information that we have never heard or read before about this period of Caucasian history.  Additionally, my recent work in the Haydar Bammat archive also allowed me to access some striking information about this forgotten figure of the Caucasian liberation cause. 
Here is the story of Khadyshko Arsamakov, whose name has remained stuck among dusty archive shelves to this day, despite leaving deep traces in the history of the Caucasus...

Khadyshko Arsamakov during the years in Russia (Click on the image for a larger view)
Although we do not know Arsamakov's exact date of birth, the plot gives us the opinion that he was born in Ingushetia around 1895. Since Arsamakov is photographed in the uniform of the Ottoman Army in one of the two photographs we have, it is quite reasonable to think that he was a young officer enrolled in the Ottoman Army, acting in connection with the Caucasian Committee in Turkey when World War I broke out. We think Khadyshko Arsamakov acted together with two other important figures of the period who were close to the Germans, another Ingush, Djemaleddin Albogachiev, and Djemal-Ed Din Dalgat, a member of the Dalgat family, one of the well-known Dargin families of Dagestan.
We first encounter the name of Arsamakov, who introduced himself as the leader of an organization called "Sun, Star and Crescent" founded in 1914, in German sources in November 1915. We see that Arsamakov, who established the first contact with the Germans on this date, was frequently visible in German sources under the code name “Gasavat”. The German payment records prove that a large sum of allowances was allocated to Khadyshko Arsamakov. The fact that he stayed at the Hotel Adlon, the most luxurious hotel of those days, during his travels to Berlin can be an indication of this. As per the plots that the Germans developed,  Arsamakov secretly entered the Caucasus from time to time with a submarine to organize sabotage actions. He was in direct contact with the German command until the summer of 1918 and did not have a hierarchical relationship with the North Caucasian politicians or the committee in Istanbul.

Khadyshko Arsamakov in the Ottoman Army Uniform (Click on the image for a larger view)
Arsamakov's first contact with the North Caucasian Government began after more than a year he entered the service of the German Reich.  Arsamakov, who had many telegram and postal correspondence with Haydar Bammat between June and August 1918, came to Istanbul in August 1918 to present a report about his work to the North Caucasian delegation in Istanbul, and according to the meeting minutes, some of the North Caucasian politicians had encountered his name there fort he first time. Haydar Bammat, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the North Caucasian Government and the most authorized person in diplomacy with Foreign bodies, warned Abdulmedjid Chermoy several times about Arsamakov, for disregarding the diplomatical rules and traditions. From time to time Abdulmedjid Chermoy communicated with the Germans directly through Arsamakov and this situation caused some problems and quarrellings within the government.
After the German’s U-turn in the Caucasian policy following the counter-attack launched by the Allies in France with the support of the USA in August 1918 Arsamakov’s ties with the Germans were severed and, we can no longer see his name in any records as of September 1918.  Arsamakov, who was not received with much sympathy within the North Caucasian political circles permanently disappeared from the scene since then.
From the statements of his nephew Kambulat Gaysumov, who passed away in Ingushetia a few years ago, we understand that Khadyshko Arsamakov lived in Ingushetia after the Bolshevik occupation and that he was one of the names that was constantly targeted by the Bolsheviks. Gaysumov stated that the Bolsheviks, who failed to attract Arsamakov to their side, imprisoned him and he died of tuberculosis in prison at the age of 37.  Gaysumov also claimed that Arsamakov got married and had a daughter, but that both his wife and daughter lived a short life.
The followers of our website who want to get more extensive information about this mysterious name of the Caucasus can access the documents in German, Russian, and French that I have compiled from various archives in our primary sources section:

Click on the image to access the complete source file in our archive
Cem Kumuk
Istanbul, 25 February 2024

[1]   Wolfdieter Bihl, Die Kaukasus-Politik der Mittelmächte. Ihre Basis In Der Orient-Politik und Ihre Aktionen (1914-1917),Teil 1, Wien, 1975  
Wolfdieter Bihl, Die Kaukasus-Politik der Mittelmächte. Die Zeit der versuchten kaukasischen Staatlichkeit (1917-1918), Teil 2, Wien, 1992