In the early morning of August 29, 1920, the occupying forces and their satellites launched a punitive operation to overthrow the Bukhara emir and establish Soviet power in Bukhara. The first attempts to capture the city were unsuccessful. Having suffered heavy losses, the Bolsheviks retreated. The situation for the occupiers was critical and then the group commander Mikhail Frunze ordered the use of artillery and aircraft. In total, 12 thousand shells, including chemical shells, were fired in the city, 11 aircraft bombed the city continuously. The bombing lasted three days.
According to the famous historian Kamol Abdullaev (From Xinjiang to Khorasan. The history of the Central Asian emigration of 1917-1934), as a result of the capture of Bukhara, 1,000 dukans (trade shops), 20 palaces, 29 mosques, 3 thousand residential buildings were burned and destroyed. In addition to the residence of the emir – Ark, about 300 buildings burned down. The Kazakh historian Sultan Akimbekov (Our World on September 15, 2010) writes the same thing: Using the chaos, the Red Army robbed the city for four days, until Frunze issued an order to shoot looters, but even then the robberies did not stop. The representative of Moscow, Mashitsky wrote that soldiers and commanders looted all the premises on the Registan, carried out massive violence against the population in the adjacent villages.
Kuybyshev’s personal diary stated: “September 15 – soldiers rob, September 16 – robbery of soldiers, 24 boxes of jewelry, September 17 – offer the Special Department to intensify the fight against looting”. Even the new leadership of the city was indignant and openly said that Bukhara was “robbed by the Bolsheviks.” Frunze himself grabbed a pair of gold sabers from the emir’s country palace. According to the testimonies of Bukhara residents and many participants in those events, a huge amount of gold, jewelry, jewelry, historical values, utensils and even clothes were taken from Bukhara to Tashkent, and from there to Petrograd.
On September 2, Frunze sent Lenin a telegram saying: “The fortress of Old Bukhara was taken by assault today by the combined efforts of the Red Bukhara and our units. The last stronghold of Bukhara obscurantism and the Black Hundreds fell. The red banner of the world revolution triumphantly flutters over the Registan. ”
According to various sources, the losses of Bukhara residents in the defense of the city amounted to about 5 thousand. The Red Punitive Army lost more than 3,500 killed.