On February 3, 2023 the Belgorod State Historical and Local Lore Museum held the presentation of the brochure called “Towns along the Belgorod Defense Line”, published in the framework of the Russian Historical Society Project “Russia’s Defence Lines” supported by the Presidential Grants Fund.
The presentation brought together historians, regional specialists, archivists, museum and library staff, public representatives, students and citizens who are interested in history.
Aleksey Bondarenko, Director of the State Archive of the Belgorod region, described the great national significance of the Belgorod defensive line in his welcoming speech: “In the 30s of the XVII century, when the situation was slightly improved, the tsar and the boyar Duma realized the necessity of solving foreign policy tasks. And what tasks did we have at that time? First, reunification with the peoples of Ukraine and Belarus, who were under Polish oppression; second, access to the Baltic Sea, but neither the first nor the second could be achieved without securing our southern borders.”
Alexander Nikitin, deputy director of the Kostenki museum-reserve, member of the Voronezh Oblast Public Chamber, addressed the participants in a video presentation: “Voronezh is the oldest city in the Wild Fields. Only thanks to the united system of 27 towns on the Belgorod Defense line we managed to secure the vast territory of the Russian state from the Tambov forests to the inflows of the Dnieper River. I am sincerely glad that a new brochure dedicated to the cities of the Belgorod Line has appeared. Thank you to the authors for popularising the historical and cultural heritage of the Central Chernozem region of the 17th century.
The concept of the publication, its contents and the history of its creation was shared with the audience by one of the authors, Vladimir Zhigalov, Chairman of the Ratnik Historical Society: “We wanted to tell as many people as possible about the history of the fortified cities of the Belgorod Defense Line, to introduce the role played by our ancestors, who served in the fortified cities, in the defense and establishment of Russia at the southern borders in the distant XVII century”.
This popular science publication introduces the history of 27 towns of Belgorod Defense Line, which were located on the territory of modern Belgorod, Voronezh, Lipetsk and Tambov regions of Russia and Sumy region of Ukraine.
There were 10 towns of the present Belgorod oblast: Belgorod itself, towns “from Belogorod to the right side of the line” – Bolhovoy (Bolkhovets), Karpov, Hotmyzhsk, and towns “to the left side of the line” – Nezhegolsk, Korocha, Yablonov, Novy Oskol (Tsarev-Alekseyev), Verkhossensk and Userd.
In the Sumy region of Ukraine was located the town of Volny.
In Voronezh oblast there were Olshansk, Ostrogozhsk, Korotoyak, Uvry, Kostensk, Voronezh and Orlov.
In Lipetsk oblast – Usman, Demshinsk, Belokolotsk, Romanov, Sokolsk, Dobry.
In the Tambov oblast – Kozlov, Bielsk and Chelnavsk towns.
The descriptions of the towns include information about the foundation of fortresses, fortified and defense buildings, policemen and watchmen, as well as about the town’s armament. The texts are accompanied by many illustrations: old maps, examples of old texts, diagrams, drawings, and photographs.
The aim of the edition is to tell the public about the history of Belgorod fortress towns, about the role our ancestors, serving in fortress towns, played in defense and formation of Russia on the southern borders in the far XVII century. The publication is addressed to all who are not indifferent to the history of their “smaller motherland” which is a part of the history of the great Motherland – Russia.
The event included distribution of part of the edition among the participants of the event, the remaining copies will be given to libraries, museums and archives of the Belgorod, Voronezh, Lipetsk and Tambov regions.
The Belgorod Defense Line Historical Park is a member of the Association of Private and People’s Museums of Russia.