Friday Object Lesson #2: Gallipoli Medal

Ninety-three  years ago this week, between 11 and 15 November 1921, General P.N. Wrangel and the White Russian Army under his command abandoned the Crimea to the Bolsheviks and sailed across the Black Sea to Constantinople and exile. One corps of Wrangel’s army, led by General P.A. Kutepov, spent the next year in an internment camp on the Gallipoli peninsula. On this anniversary, here is the second in my series of Russia-related objects – a Gallipoli medal.

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The Russian Army arrived at Gallipoli as a defeated and demoralized force, but under Kutepov’s harsh leadership, discipline was restored and his soldiers regained a sense of pride and purpose. This moral resurrection, termed the ‘Gallipoli miracle’, became an important part of the mythology of the inter-war Russian emigration. To celebrate it, Gallipoli medals were awarded to all the soldiers of the Russian Army who were interned there. (For more, see my book The White Russian Army in Exile.)

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