The Caucasian Native Mounted Division (or 'Savage Division') (Russian: Дикая дивизия) was a cavalry division of the Imperial Russian Army, formed in 1914. It was composed of volunteers from Chechnia, Ingushetia, Daghestan, Karachay, Circassia, Kabarda and Azerbaijan. It took part in World War I, commanded by the Russian general, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Romanov, brother of Tsar Nicholas II.
There was also a Turkmen brigade in the "Savage division." All the division consisted of volunteers because according to the law Caucasian and Central Asian natives were not conscripted to the Russian army.
During Soviet-Afgan conflict. First kazakh-uzbek division that participated in Afganistan was called "Wild Division". Back to the topic! Russian Empire "Wild/Savage Division" was well known military unit that struck fear in to the enemies heart. It is rumored that they obliterated famed Kaizer Iron Division (name of the division needs to be checked). Information in wikapedia is not full on this subject.
Unfortunately, all the pictures of the "Savage division" I saw show the fighters from Caucasus. Haven't seen the Turkmen unit pictures yet, for some reasons. And that is strange cause they were regarded quite highly.
Well. Not in this case. Most of the men who enlisted in the "Savage Division" were simply "blood thirsty" and wanted to fight no matter who, for them it was an adventure. There was even a competion among Caucasians who will go to fight, because the numbers that the Russian army could allow were limited. So, those who couldn't go felt very humiliated.
You need to understand that it depended on the culture and social position of those people. Most of the North Caucasian peoples and Turkmens (at that time) have very strong warrior and I would say even "knight of the road" mentality (unlike, for example, as Kazakhs or Uzbeks who are rather peaceful people). In fact, in the end of the war Russian government tried to conscript Kazakhs for civil works on the front, as they couldn't be conscripted in the acting army, that didn't work out and ended with riots because Kazakhs didn't want to go. Also, most of those guys from the "Savage division" represented tribal aristocracy for whom "war" was the natural occupation, unlike farming and herding. It was one of the reasons why it was regarded as "elite" unit and was under the command of a brother of the Tsar.
Also note, that Russian government, being very smart, never used "Savage division" or other Muslim units against other Muslims such as Turks. "Savage division" fought exclusively with Germans and Austrians. Intrestingly, on the other hand, most of the ethnic German Russian citizens (there were a lot of those) who served in the Russian army, as a rule, were sent to the Turkish front.
Most of the men who enlisted in the "Savage Division" were simply "blood thirsty" and wanted to fight no matter who, for them it was an adventure.
I disagree! People who were enlisted were not blood thirsty and dreamed of adventure. At the begining only noble cherkesh where enlisted in the division, later on as some started to die on duty their relatives were subscribed on the letter of recommendation. (Showing cowedness after so much trust by others were above any man can handle) I speak so because I met the family who's ancestors served in that division. They now live in Jordan, Aman. They have a sad story of that time because they had to leave the homeland!
Most of the North Caucasian peoples and Turkmens (at that time) have very strong warrior and I would say even "knight of the road" mentality (unlike, for example, as Kazakhs or Uzbeks who are rather peaceful people). In fact, in the end of the war Russian government tried to conscript Kazakhs for civil works on the front, as they couldn't be conscripted in the acting army, that didn't work out and ended with riots because Kazakhs didn't want to go.
Well for the start I think you lack the knowledge about what it was like during that time in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan. After the rise of Kenesary Khan, Kazakh where placed in special case and were forbiden to have rifled barrel. To make the matter worse they rearranged the class system and provoked us in fighting each other. But still the people in Steppies showed their will to be independant which automatically erased them from the opportunity to be enlisted in the upcoming war. When Russian tried to employ Kazakh as a black workers at the warfront it was a disgrace to Kazakh and new conflic took place. (One of the leader of the uprise Amangeldy Imanov). During that uprise Russian army took some heavy casualties from the people who were fighting with sticks and old myltyk (mushket) as they didn't had rifled barrel. (That something must bring in the mind that they were not as you said unlike). (word Adai must ring a bell to you if you are Turkmen) Now about Kyrgyz. You've seen what they are capable of don't you! In Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan was an uprise from 1898 to 1916. During that time 40% of Kyrgys population were exterminated. North part of Kyrgistan during that time became deserted. Now can you train this people to become a soldier so that when they will be back home they can start an unrise again. Infact one of the reasons for people to riot was massive migration of Russian persants to Central Asia and taking land that belonged to the natives. (Identical situation happend in North America with native Americans) For the main part why people of Siberia and central Asia were not enlisted as everybody else. Is because Central Asia and Siberia time to time had become a trouble for the Russian Goverment and from 1907 all native people in Siberia and Central Asia were striped of the rights to vote and therefore lost their right to enlist in to the regular army.
It seems that it's you who don't know what you are talking about. Of course, Kazakhs, Kyrzyzes etc. wanted to be independent, I never discussed that fact.
However, those people were much peaceful than Caucasians. If you wan't to take a look at history. Just compare how Caucasus and Central Asia were incorporated into the Russian empire. Kazakhstan and Central Asia - rather voluntary submission or insignificant fighting with minimal Russian casualties except Turkmenistan which was conquered only after very bloody war and even massacres of certain tribes, not to mention the fact that Turkmens were terrifying all the neighboring people and were rather known only as warriors and slave traders than anything else.
Now, if you look at Caucasus, compare to somehow "passive" resistance in Central Asia, in Caucasus it was more than 200 hundred years of warfare with millions of casualties in the end of which still many Caucasians didn't want to submit and migrated to the Ottoman empire.
That is the fact, whether you like it or not. There has been no, aggressive and warlike mentality among Central Asians for the last 200 years.
Everybody who is more or less familiar with the subject would confirm that I'm right.
And about the savage division, I don't know who you talked to and when. But there was no need at all to force anybody to serve there. It was a very small unit only 7 thousand people served during the whole 3 years of war and there was always enough volunteers. The half of all the soldiers in the Savage division were decorated with the highest military decorations of the Russian empire which shows a very high level of their determination.
Those guys weren't even "trained" they came already as trained warriors with their own weapon.
The native of Caucasus and Central Asia didn't serve in the Russian army because they had different status than the Russian citizens. They were exempted of many taxes and duties and to the large extent were self-governed. Most of them even didn't speak any Russian at that time.
The desperate situation in the front, forced Russian government to conscript Kazakhs and Kyrgyzes for the works on the front, which left them without no choice, but to start resistance. In the time of famine and scarce food, they couldn't left their families without support. However, that was rather a result of extremely desperate situation and somehow stupid move (in that instance) by the Russian government, rather than demonstation of their "aggressivenes" by Central Asians. Even the most peaceful and harmless person would fight if he is left with no choice.