KAZIMIERZ GORDON'S MISSION TO THE CAUCASUS IN 1846
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As the long war between Russia and the Caucasian mountaineers flared up with unexpected intensity in the mid-1840s the leaders of the Polish Great Emigration in Paris decided that the developments in the Caucasus afforded a good opportunity to galvanize Hotel Lambert's eastern politics. Polish envoys were to be dispatched to the Caucasian rebels. One of them was Kazimierz Gordon, a diplomatic agent of Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, who sailed out of Istambul on 8 June 1846 and after a few days' journey disembarked in Ubykhia, near the mouth of the Sochi River. Unfortunately, his mission went disastrously wrong. He did not get on with his host, a local chieftain named Kerandunk, and died in mysterious circumstances, probably in early 1847. Polish plans envisaged active support for the Caucasian freedom fighters with a view of weakening Russia and thus creating a political situation in which the Polish question could once again be put on the agenda. The agents sent out to prepare the ground for further initiatives achieved little in spite of their determination and daring. They had to traverse wild, unmapped territory, seek contact with people of an alien culture, and make do with very slender resources. The fate of Gordon's colleagues made the danger of the whole undertaking only too clear. Aleksander Wereszczynski fell ill and died; Ludwik Zwierkowski-Lenoir was badly wounded; Kazimierz Gordon disappeared without a trace. And the most painstakingly prepared mission, that of Józef Mikorski, came to naught even before it properly began: he failed to reach the Chekess coast. Later attempts to smuggle Polish agents ino the Caucasus proved equally ill-fated. In spite of the failure of Hotel Lambert's ambitious plans, the very effort deserves due acknowledgement. After all, the Polish émigrés round Prince Adam Czartoryski did come up with a remarkable initiative which Russia could not but see as a threat.
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