"Bear and (All) for Bear"
Russian Man-Of-War Skobeleff. "I have one thing more to say to you, gentlemen; but allow me to exchange my beaker with wine for a tumbler with--blood; and I call upon you all to bear witness that neither I nor any one of us is or can be speaking on this occasion under any abnormal influence."
This Harper’s Weekly cartoon by Thomas Nast features General Mikhail
Dmitriyevich Skobelev as a fearsome Russian bear, flanked by Kaiser Wilhelm of
Germany (left) and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria (right).
Skobelev was an effective military leader in Russia’s policy of territorial
expansion. He was instrumental in the Russian capture of the khanates of Kokand,
Bokhara, and Khiva in central Asia (Turkistan). In February 1876, he was named
as the first Russian governor of Kokand (renamed Fergana). During the
Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, Skobelev fought on the European front, defeating
the Turks in several key battles, including the capture of San Stefano, which
forced Turkey to negotiate an armistice. He was called the "White
General" for wearing a white uniform and riding a white horse on the
battlefield. In 1880, he commanded the Russian campaign against the Turks in the
area of the Caspian and Aral Seas. His ruthlessness was revealed in January 1881
when he ordered the entire male population of Göktepe (now Gökdepe) killed. He
was recalled to Russia to command the Minsk Army Corps.
In early 1882, Skobelev make political speeches in Paris and Moscow,
stridently advocating militant pan-Slavism: the unification of all Slavic
peoples within the Russian empire, and their inevitable conflict with and defeat
of the Germanic peoples. In this cartoon, that concept appears in the caption
above the Bear Skobelev as "Re-Russianizing Russia." Underneath it,
the Russian double-eagle devours the banners of Germany and Austria, while their
emperors warily listen to Skobelev’s harangue. Since the Russian government
had signed an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1881, Skovelev’s
statements contradicted official Russian policy. He was promptly recalled to the
Russian capital of St. Petersburg, where he suffered a heart attack and died in
Robert C. Kennedy