Orynbek Bekov and the Kazakh theater

During his short life, Orynbek Bekov chaired the Spassky Revolutionary Committee. He fought bandits in the Karkaraly region and was the head of the county police. Despite all of that he spent most of his life in the theater
Orynbek Bekov and the Kazakh theater
Фото: e-history.kz 16.09.2022 18:00 2111

Orynbek Bekov was born in 1898 in the East Kazakhstan region. In 1912 he graduated from a two-year school in Spassk. In 1914, he began to work in social and political work. In 1917-1922, during the establishment of Soviet power Bekov was the chairman of the Spassk Revolutionary Committee and the council of deputies of Spassk, as well as the secretary of the county party committee. In 1923-1928, he headed the district police of Karkaraly, headed the department of the executive committee of the Semipalatinsk province, and also worked in responsible positions in the People's Commissariat of Labor.

Contemporaries remember Orynbek as a stately and brave man who, almost single-handedly, put an end to robbery gangs led by Doroshenko and Zaitsev, who terrorized the Karkaraly district.

Doroshenko arrived in Kazakhstan even before the revolution, settled in a place called Burma, located near the Zharyk station of the Shetsky district. According to contemporaries, he was a fairly wealthy man. As for another bandit, Zaitsev, researchers say that under the tsarist regime he served as head of the Spassky garrison. As soon as the power of the proletariat was established on the territory of the former Russian Empire, these two worked for police of the Karkaraly district.

The writer and one of the leaders of the Alash party Myrzhakyp Dulatov in his letter "Robbed" (1922) wrote about the events of those years that took place in the Karkaraly district.

“Last year, the border volosts of the Karkaralinsky district several times clashed with detachments that came from the Akmola region. As a result of these clashes, the residents of the volost became victims of robbery

These events are well known to the residents of the city of Akmola, Akmola region and the city of Karkaraly, Semipalatinsk region

So, recently there was another outrage

On June 25, 25 people arrived from Akmola to the Sarybulak volost of the Karkaraly district. The detachment called itself a communist detachment. The heads of the detachments were the well-known Doroshenko, Zaitsev and some Kolesnikovs. They demanded that the local population hand over their weapons. This detachment in the Sarybulak Volost committed atrocities, and those who resisted were severely beaten

In the village No. 5 of Duisen Bektemirov, they fired guns, threatened with executions, beat the Kazakhs they met and threw the half-dead into haystacks. They beat Duisen Bektemirov, Yerkebai Duisenov, Sattimbet Bektemirov, Kulzhan Amanov, Sakatbek Duisenov, Akhmet Bektemirov, Kazakbai Alkiev, Zhusupbek Amanbaev, Zhumakhan Sopin, Mauke Sopin, Mustafa Sopin (son of Sopa, grandson of Agybay batyr), Alimovakul Belgibaev, Zhakypbek Tugelbaev, Ainabai Baimaraev, Abilda Baimaraev, Zhaksybai Biganbaev, Usen Murzanbetov, Tulkibai Kultanov. They did not disdain beating women either

To scare the people even more, they fired machine guns. After that, the detachment began to rob. Of about 50 confiscated horses and stallions, they returned only 20, while the remaining 30 were appropriated. They also took away 181 pairs of saiga horns, 17 pillows, 5 dresses, 7 chekmens, 15 bracelets, 5 rings, 5 silver-hewn saddles, 2 sacks of flour, 20 silver soms, 15 spools (each of which weighs 4.25 g), 4 carpets, 2 fur coats, etc

From Agybay batyr there was a sword Narkesken. The bandits found it in the house of Sopa's wife, the daughter-in-law of Agybai Batyr. The woman asked to take everything they liked, but not the sword left by her father-in-law. She was beaten to a pulp, and the sword was taken away

After the looting, the detachment went to the volost executive committee and took several shotguns. Soon this small party took all the loot and left. However, already on July 12 they arrived in the Kyzyltan volost of the Karkaraly district

They came to the village of Asanbek Karabekov, demanded to put up two yurts and prepare two rams. There they spent the night. They gathered about a hundred Kazakhs and beat them. They threatened them with executions and forced them to look for guns in the houses of their fellow villagers. Akhmet Abdirakhmatov and Iskander Tolkynbekov, who spoke out against them, demanded that the party show a mandate, but were beaten and arrested. The group did not rest on this. Soon they raped all the women of the village, took about 20 horses, 5 fox coats, a silver-hewn saddle, 5 chapans, felt tekemet, 20 rings, 353 silver money, 3 duvet covers and one cart.

The looted volosts could not stand the arbitrariness and migrated from the Akmola region to the Turkestan region. From there, they recently returned to their native lands. On this occasion, the Karkaraly district committee sent a telegram to Semey and Akmola. However, this did not bring any result.

Orynbek Bekov at that time held the post of chairman of the Spassky Revolutionary Commission, which, however, did not prevent him from speaking out against the robbers. He promised the robbed and destitute auls to pacify the "communist detachment."

If for a modest people the gang of Doroshenko and Zaitsev looked terrifying, then for Orynbek Bekov they were only "incompetent descendants of yesterday's peasants stinking with moonshine." Therefore, he, who from childhood had dealings with such bandits, was able to take ruthless measures against the gang leaders.

Researchers of his life recall that he took only a small group of people with him and went to the village of Aigyrzhyl, not far from the Zharyk station, where the gang of Doroshenko and Zaitsev stopped. This is where the collision took place. In the midst of the battle, the brave Bekov noticed Doroshenko nearby and, preventing the latter from using the gun, knocked him to the ground with a blow of his fist. As soon as Doroshenko fell, he was grabbed by wrestler Soltan Turabay, who tied the robber. The last thing Doroshenko managed to say to Orynbek was: "I will destroy you anyway."

Soon the commanders of the “communist detachment” Doroshenko and Zaitsev were sent to the Karkaraly prison. They were tortured and interrogated for a long time. In the end, both of them died in Akmola prison.

For lovers of native literature, Orynbek Bekov is known as the editor of the Tilshi newspaper, in which he worked from 1928 to 1930. In 1930 he was elected as the first director of the Kazakh Drama Theater.

These years in Bekov's life are reflected in the memoirs of one of the founders of the Kazakh theater, director and actor Kanabek Baiseitov. In his memoirs, he quite vividly describes the events of their life.

“In 1930, Orynbek Bekov came to the Drama Theater as a director. Zhumat became the main director

Bekov came to us from the editorial chair of the regional newspaper "Tilshi". He saw a lot during the first years of the establishment of Soviet power, he was both a military man and an orator. A well-educated man was a great lover of jokes. In 1919-1922, he chaired the Spassky Revolutionary Committee and the Soviet of Deputies. In his character, notes of integrity and determination sometimes slip through, integral features of the strong character of that time. Immediately after his arrival, he tried to establish strict discipline in the theater, he did not like the frivolous behavior of some artists, he paid special attention to political literacy

His relations with Zhumat and Kurmanbek did not work out from the very beginning. From time to time they bickered and argued. In anger, Orynbek once even pulled out his revolver and pointed it at Kurmanbek

In the summer of 1932, Orynbek Bekov entrusted the writing of three performances to three different people. One play was to be written by Mukhtar Auezov. He was instructed to prepare a play based on the work of Dmitry Furmanov "Mutiny". The second play about the construction of the Turksib railway was given to Ilyas Zhansugurov, and the third play about collective farm life was given to me. We were given about two months to write the play. We were given three yurts in a sanatorium not far from Medeu. We wrote all day long, worked at night, read them to each other, consulted. In two months, June-July, the plays were finished. The Artistic Council of the theater accepted our work with a few notes

Zhumat Shanin wanted to start with Mukhtar Auezov's play "October". He briskly set to work. By the summer of 1933, the theater had finished preparing for the play. The entire political elite of the country came to the premiere: Mirzoyan, Isaev, Kabylov. According to the memoirs of K. Baiseitov, they did not like the acting. There were many reasons for this: the level of the actors, shortcomings in the performance of the artists and the preparation of the scene, a large number of characters, etc. They left without waiting for the end of the play.

The failure of the performance was a strong blow to the theater's reputation. Later, in 1974, Kanabek Baiseitov wrote to the writer Beksultan Nurzhekeyev:

“O. Bekov's relations with Zh. Shanin and K. Zhandarbekov only worsened after this incident. Now it became clear that hostility and group action had begun in the theater. There were no such groups during the period when Zhumat was both the director and the main director. Considering himself a strong politician, a proletariat, but not showing himself as such, Orynbek strongly doubted some artists and wanted to clear the theater of them. There really were bourgeois views in the theater, there was an opinion that the theater often showed volosts and biys, so Bekov tried his best to do something. He could use a strong word not only in Zhumat and Kurmanbek, but also in Elubay: “Illiterate, ignoramuses! You do not understand the political significance of either the play or life. Just having fun, don't educate yourself!"

There was truth in what he said. But the lack of restraint and impatience, coupled with an explosive temper in the methods of management, turned the entire management of the theater against him. Soon all participants in the conflict were summoned to the Regional Committee to resolve the conflict. The opening speech was given to Orynbek Bekov himself. According to the stories of K. Baiseitov himself, Bekov began his speech directly with accusations against Zh. Shanin and K. Zhandarbekov, and ended with accusations against most of the theater artists.

“Zhumat is not a director. Most recently, he failed the play "October". Messed up everything. We are still far from the level of professional theater. He still enjoys the title of founder of the first theatre. The artists themselves have no discipline. They have neither desire nor aspiration. There are a lot of idle artists. Zhumat does not forbid anything to them, he says that they are his fellow countrymen, that they came from the same region ...

... Kurmanbek himself is the son of a volost, his wife (Sara Zhienkulova) is generally the daughter of a famous merchant. He does not know what is happening in the political life of the country, he does not even try to understand ... "

Bekov ended his speech with the words: “How can one work in such a team at all?!”, which caused the anger of Zhumat Shanin, who was never seen in rudeness. In a rage, he attacked Bekov with the words:

“Bekov is a person prone to grouping. We were organized, on friendly terms, and he turned everyone against each other. He calls us all laborers and beys. He sowed discord between us. Bekov does not know how to manage people of art, “I will mow, I will destroy” - this is how he shows his bureaucracy. Threatened with complaints to the Central Committee. Once again: he turned everyone against each other, because of which the theater goes out instead of growing. Talking about artists. What he says that we are divided into lands, regions is a lie.

Kurmanbek Zhandarbekov spoke third:

“The main task of Bekov is to expel me from the theater. Since he became director, I have lost all the roles that I played before him. The reason for his anger is his unrequited love for Shara. He has no other reason. If he is seriously thinking about the theater, then why shouldn't he think about maintaining friendly relations between artists. It’s not us, he himself is a supporter of grouping

Among those who spoke out was also Yelyubay Umurzakov, who did not accept either side of the conflict. During his speech, Kanabek Baiseitov took the side of the artists. Subsequently, in a letter to Beksultan Nurzhekeyev, he wrote:

“I knew that Orynbek considered me his supporter. Yes, he helped me. He is intelligent, broad-minded, literary gifted, familiar with political issues - all this is true. But the fact that he also made mistakes is not an invention either. What needed to be said? If not to tell the truth here, then where? How can I say it in a way that benefits the theatre? I took a chance and spoke about the shortcomings of Orynbek. […] Groupings in the theater began with the advent of Orynbek. He connects public affairs with personal ones. I said that he was to blame for the fact that the theater's reputation had declined, and rumors began to spread about the artists. But I didn’t justify Zhumat either – he also made mistakes.

The last speaker was Ilyas Kabylov, secretary of the Regional Committee. He said that he had known Bekov for a long time, said that they worked together. His speech ended with the fact that he ordered that the issue be subjected to secondary research and analysis.

However, Orynbek continued to work in the theatre. The reason for such a decision, according to K. Baiseitov, could be that the basis for the conflict between the theater management and the actors was the failure of the play “October”, directed by Zhumat Shanin. This meant that responsibility was assigned to Zh. Shanin, and not to the director of the theater. Be that as it may, after the confrontation in the Regional Committee, Orynbek Bekov no longer allowed himself to behave as before. Zhumat also did not seem to believe in his victory, fell into a state of apathy, and a certain relaxation appeared among the artists.

The leadership of the region, who saw with their own eyes the failure of the play, the level of directing and the performance of the artists, hastily drew attention to the activities of the theater. This strengthened the patronage of the theater by the leadership of the Central Committee, and already on September 8, 1933, the Decree "On measures for the development of national art" was issued. Soon, within the framework of this program, director Taneev was invited to Alma-Ata from Moscow. At the same time, he staged M. Triger's play "Submarine".

Despite all the strife described above, Orynbek Bekov retained his post and worked in the theater until 1937. Then he was arrested and shot as an "enemy of the people." As for his literary works, they were published on the pages of periodicals, in the journal New Literature. In his writings of the Bolshevik orientation "Uly zholga bir kasyk kant" (1926), "Azamat sogysynda biz kalay zhanip shyktyk?", "Auyldy kenestendiru degen not?" (1928), as well as in the story "Sovetbike" it is indicated how he sincerely adhered to the ideals of socialism. He also made a lot of efforts to translate the Kazakh alphabet into Latin script. Having devoted the last seven years of his life to the development of the Kazakh theater, O. Bekov at the first congress of the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan made a report on Kazakh drama, prepared together with Mukhtar Auezov. So, having managed to do a lot of important things in such a short time, Orynbek Bekov was shot on May 20, 1937.

Telegram Subscribe to our Telegram channel and be the first to know the news!