Научная статья на тему 'Armenian volunteers on the Caucasian Front (1914-1916)'

Armenian volunteers on the Caucasian Front (1914-1916) Текст научной статьи по специальности «Философия, этика, религиоведение»

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CAUCASIAN FRONT OF WORLD WAR I / THE EASTERN QUESTION / GREATER ARMENIA / ARMENIAN VOLUNTEER SQUADS / ARMENIAN CARD

Аннотация научной статьи по философии, этике, религиоведению, автор научной работы — Hasanli Jamil

The author analyzes the events that took place 100 years ago on the Caucasian Front of World War I. He points out that the attempts of the great powers, the Russian Empire in particular, to use the Armenians against the Ottoman Empire created a seat of tension that remains prominent for over a century now. He relies on the documents of the Russian State Archives of Military History, many of which are being put into academic circulation for the first time.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Armenian volunteers on the Caucasian Front (1914-1916)»

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

Jamil HASANLI

D.Sc. (Hist.), Professor (Baku, Azerbaijan).

ARMENIAN VOLUNTEERS ON THE CAUCASIAN FRONT (1914-1916)

Abstract

The author analyzes the events that took place 100 years ago on the Caucasian Front of World War I. He points out that the attempts of the great powers, the Russian Empire in particular, to use the Armenians against the Ottoman Empire

created a seat of tension that remains prominent for over a century now. He relies on the documents of the Russian State Archives of Military History, many of which are being put into academic circulation for the first time.

KEYWORDS: Caucasian Front of World War I, the Eastern Question, Greater Armenia, Armenian volunteer squads, Armenian card.

Introduction

By the early twentieth century, the contradictions between the great powers determined to expand their spheres of influence had reached the highest point, while their practical moves in this direction divided the continent into two military blocs, thus bringing the Great War nearer.

The so-called Eastern Question figured prominently on the agenda of World War I, which broke out in 1914 and pushed the Russian and Ottoman empires against one another on the Caucasian Front. Armenians saw the clash between two empires as a chance to finally set up Greater Armenia. So-called Armenian volunteer squads never stopped at assassinations, murders, and plunder in Eastern Anatolia to realize the myth about the Great Armenian state. Instigated by the Russian Empire, the Armenians who fought in the Caucasus in 1914-1916 created a permanent seat of conflicts in the region.

Today, 100 years later, we should look into the past to find objective answers to many debatable issues of today.

Hostilities on the Caucasian Front and Russia's "Armenian Card"

World War I began in the summer of 1914 and soon spread across the Middle East and the Caucasus. In September 1914, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Mikhail Girs reported from Istanbul:

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

"It seems that the war cannot be avoided."1 On 17 September, 1914, a day after this notification was received, Czar Nicholas II issued a proclamation to the Armenians that said: "Russia is proud to remember its glorious sons. The Lazarevs, Melikovs, and others fought together with their brothers for the grandeur of their Motherland. Your centuries-long loyalty is a guarantee of your contribution to the ultimate success of our armies and our rightness. Oh, Armenians! Together with your blood brothers under the scepter of the tsar you will finally fully feel the delights of freedom and justice."2

In late October 1914, after the proclamation of Russian Czar Nicholas II, the commanders of the Caucasian Front drafted an address to the Turkish Armenians which said, in particular, that if the Armenian squads formed in Etchmiadzin entered Turkey, "the sovereign of the Russian land guaranteed that the Armenian people would set up, under the strong protectorate of Great Russia, an autonomous Armenia within the six Armenian vilayets and Cilicia connected with them."3

Russia's declaration of war to Turkey was accompanied by open anti-Muslim calls. Calls to make short work of Muslims were heard at the Duma rostrum, meetings of intelligentsia, chauvinistic-nationalistic press, etc. Christian ministers cursed "Basurmans" from ambo. Ali Mardan bey Topchi-bashev's (a prominent Muslim figure, head of the Muslim faction in the Russian First State Duma) archives had a text of appeal of Orenburg bishop Mathew to Orthodox parishioners. In his severe appeal the bishop referred to Attila, Genghis Khan, Emir Teymur and "Christian blood shed by the above" as saying that it was high time to take vengeance "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy spirit" and called Russian orthodox believers to set out for the last fight to liberate the holy land in the East and proceed with this war until a cross was hoisted in the temple of St. Sophia in Tsargrad, and "the holy lands" in Asia fell under control of Russian and Greek Orthodox Church. Inspired by the czar's promise, Armenians began forming volunteer squads. In the fall of 1914, the Armenian volunteers from Transcaucasia fought on the side of Russia against the Ottoman Army.4

By the latter half of 1914, the Armenians became convinced that the world war would help them realize their national idea. They never "concealed their claims to the lands stretching from Trabzon to Cilicia and from Angora to Urmia."5 In September 1914, they launched a conscription campaign, which ignited enthusiasm among the Turkish Armenians and also the Armenians "from Transcaucasia, the Northern Caucasus, Rostov on Don, and Nakhchivan, Crimea and Bessarabia, the trans-Caspian region and Turkestan, Rumania and Bulgaria, Egypt and far-away America—enthusiastic young people from these places strove to reach Tiflis to join the squads."6 On 20 November, when the hostilities had already begun, General Quartermaster of the Caucasian Army Bolkhovitinov wrote that "deputations of Armenians and Kurds come to our commanders to assure them of their loyalty."7 In their instructions to the department of supplies of the Caucasian Army of 5 October, 1914, Generals Yudenich and Bolkhovitinov pointed out that "the chief commander ordered that 120 Mannlicher rifles and 200 live rounds per each rifle be issued for the Etchmiadzin monastery. They should be transferred through attorney of law Samson Arutiunov, who lives in Tiflis (23, Griboedov Str.). He

1 Secret telegram of Ambassador to Constantinople Mikhail Girs. 16.09.1914, Russian State Archives of Military History (RGVIA), rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 535, sheet 116 (hereinafter all documents are in Russian unless otherwise stated).

2 Address of the Czar to the Armenians. 17.09.1914, Archives of Political Documents at the Administration of the President of Azerbaijan Republic (APD UDP AR), rec. gr. 276, inv. 8, f. 463, sheet 18.

3 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 49.

4 See: Address of Bishop Mathew of Orenburg to Orthodox Christians. 1914, State Archives of Azerbaijan Republic (GAAR), rec. gr. 3172, inv. 1, f. 2, sheets 1—2.

5 On the Question of Buying Off Armenian Lands in the Areas of Persia and Turkey Bordering on the Caucasus. 23.05.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 169.

6 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent, 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 52.

7 Secret Report from General Leonid Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant at the Military Governor in the Caucasus. 20.11.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 13134, inv. 1, f. 82, sheet 16.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

has been instructed to contact you about this."8 In his report to the Chief of Staff, Bolkhovitinov pointed out that "the Catholicos of All Armenians asked for 250 rifles and live rounds to distribute them as he saw it fit."

Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army General Nikolay Yudenich agreed and entrusted Mayor of Tiflis Alexander Khatisov with the task of delivering the weapons to the Catholicos.9 In this way, during the first months of the war, at least 45 Armenian villages of the Alexandropol (Gumri) District (most of the villages marked on the list had Turkic names) acquired 1,200 Berdan rifles and 24,000 live rounds.10 Russia not only distributed rifles among the Transcaucasian Armenians, it also armed those who lived in Turkey and were subjects of the Ottoman Empire. In a secret telegram that Caucasian Vicegerent Count Voronstov-Dashkov sent on 6 February, 1915 to the Foreign Ministry of Russia said in part: "Recently, representatives of the Armenians of Zeytun came to the Staff of the Caucasian Army to inform them that about fifteen thousand Armenians were ready to attack Turkish communication lines, but could not do this for lack of rifles and ammunition. In view of the fact that Zeytun is situated on the communication lines of the Turkish Erzurum Army, it seems advisable to deliver the necessary number of rifles and live rounds to Alexandretta, where the Armenians will collect them. I believe that it is desirable to contact the French or English governments, which will also profit from what the Zeytun Armenians plan to accomplish, with a request to deliver French and British rifles and ammunition to Alexandretta by French and English ships, because of the urgency of the question and because we cannot deliver the weapons directly to the Armenians."11

After receiving the telegram, the Foreign Ministry immediately instructed Russian Ambassador in London Benkendorf and Russian Ambassador in Paris Izvolskiy to study the routes along which weapons could be delivered to the Zeytun Armenians.12 In mid-1915, Artem Gasparian, head of one of the Armenian squads, was dispatched from Tiflis to the United States to gather volunteer squads of American Armenians in order to raise the Zeytun Armenians against Turkey. He, however, had to return because the sea routes across the ocean were controlled by Germany. In his letter to the governor of Tiflis, he wrote that "the English government agreed to help stir up a riot in Zeytun."13

Armenian churches in different countries were the main organizers of the Armenian volunteer squads. On 25 August, 1915, a Russian diplomat stationed in Cairo wrote in his secret telegram to Tiflis that "some of the Armenian Turkish citizens in Egypt who carry Egyptian passports and are recommended by the Armenian Bishop in Cairo want to join the volunteers in the Caucasus and are ready to travel at their own expense." The telegram sent on 7 September from Tiflis to Petrograd asked for permission to allow these volunteers to join the Caucasian Army.14

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A single telegram of the Russian diplomatic representative in Bucharest contained the following figures: 137 Turkish subjects wanted to join the volunteer squads in the Caucasus; 94 of them being members of Dashnaktsutiun and 43 of Gnchak parties.15

In his report to the Special Department of the Office of the Caucasus vicegerent, head of the Tiflis province gendarmerie, Colonel Pastriulin, wrote that "over a short period from the fall of

8 Telegram of Generals Yudenich and Bolkhovitinov to Chief Commander of Supplies of the Caucasian Army. 05.10.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 729, sheet 3.

9 See: Telegram of General Leonid Bolkhovitinov to Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army General Nikolay Yudenich. 05.10.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 729, sheets 7-8.

10 See: List of Villages of the Alexandropol District Which Received Weapons of the Berdan System and Live Rounds. 1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheets 135-135rev.

11 Telegram of Count Vorontsov-Dashkov to the Foreign Ministry. 06.02.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 172.

12 See: M. Perinjek, Armiansky vopros, Maroseyka Publishers, Moscow, 2011, sheets 104—105.

13 Letter of Artem Gasparian to the Governor of Tiflis. 26.08.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 78.

14 See: Belyaev's Telegram to the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army. 07.09.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 63.

15 See: Telegram ofthe Russian Envoy in Bucharest. 09.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheets 95-95rev.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

1914 to February 1915 about 520,000 rubles were expended for maintenance of Armenian volunteer squads."16 Even before 3 July, 1914, the day Turkey joined the war, when there was still no fighting, young Armenians asked the Staff of the Caucasian Army to supply them with arms. In a secret letter to the head of Kagyzman District of the Kars Province, Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army pointed out: "Young Armenians want to be organized into a squad, they want to carry arms and ask for weapons."17 The Greek and Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire sent similar addresses to the Black Sea governor, who, on 20 November, 1914, informed the Caucasian Vicegerent about them.18

On 4 August, 1914, head of the Kagyzman military district informed the commanders of the Caucasian Army that "there is a secret organization among the Armenians in Turkey, which in case of war between Turkey and Russia plans to organize special squads to fight in the Turkish rear; if the plan fails they plan to move over to Russia to continue fighting together with the Russian army."19

On 26 August, 1914, the Foreign Ministry of Russia, in its response to an inquiry of the Caucasian Vicegerent, pointed out that it was expedient to arm Armenians and organize them into volunteer squads.20 As soon as the hostilities began, Ensign Badmaev of the Novocherkasskiy regiment, an experienced soldier (at that time under medical treatment in Petrograd), who had fought in the Russo-Japanese War, applied to the Ministry of War "for permission to organize Armenian volunteers into a guerilla squad against the Turks."21 Even Baku Armenians raised voluntary donations in favor of Turkish Armenians. Agents' reports of earlier 1915 to the Baku gendarmerie said that the main task of the Central Committee of the Dashnaktsutiun Party in Baku was to "raise money for Turkish Armenians to fight against Kurdish oppressors and in favor of Armenian refugees; besides, the Dashnaktsutiun was engaged in recruiting Armenian volunteers to start fighting against Turkey."22 Pagos Nubar Pasha was one of those who received special powers from the Catholicos of All Armenians and who funded Armenian volunteer squads; in particular, he sent $2,500 to the Catholicos. Those who commanded the Armenian squads wrote to the so-called Armenian national defense committee: "You should no longer send money to the Catholicos, who never sends it to us. You would do better to send the money directly to us."23

EritassardHayastan, the central organ of the Gnchak Party in the U.S., sent 5,359 rubles to the six squads formed out of party members.24 On the whole, the Armenian volunteers were displeased with Catholicos Gevork V. Vramian, who arrived from Boston, wrote to Kh. Darpinian, the editor of the Ayrenik newspaper: "You know quite well that the Catholicos is a very weak person, this he is guided by those near him and that he is very different from Izmirlian (Catholicos Matteos II.—J.H.), Khrimian (Catholicos Mkrtich I.—J.H.) or Ormanian (Catholicos Makar I.—J.H.); he is a weak and colorless old man who is filling this post at the wrong time."25

16 Report of the Head of the Tiflis Province Gendarmerie Colonel Pastriulin to the Special Department of the Office of the Caucasian Vicegerent, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 8, f. 498, sheet 10.

17 Secret Report of General Leonid Bolkhovitinov to the Head of the Kagyzman District, Kars Province. 03.07.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 13134, inv. 1, f. 82, sheet 3.

18 See: A Letter of the Black Sea Governor to the Czarist Vicegerent in the Caucasus. 20.11.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 1300, inv. 1, f. 890, sheet 16.

19 From a Letter of the Head of the Kagyzman District. 04.08.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 528, sheet 2.

20 See: Telegram of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Vicegerent in the Caucasus. 26.08.2014. RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 505, sheet 32.

21 Request of Ensign Badmaev to the Ministry of War. 05.10.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 729, sheet 16.

22 Information Supplied by Agents in Early 1915 to the Baku Provincial Gendarmerie. 1915, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 8, f. 498, sheet 19.

23 Armianaskie dobrovolcheskie otriady, Azernesh, Baku, 2013, p. 97.

24 See: From the Central Committee of the 6th Armenian Squad to the Leading Organ of the Social-Democratic Gnchak Party in America, 15.09.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 133.

25 Letter of Vramian to Darpinian. January 1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 27rev.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

The Formation of Armenian "Volunteer Squads" and Exacerbation of Interethnic Disagreements in the Region

But, some Armenians perfectly understood that these actions would not cast a positive light on Armenians. University professor and Councillor of State Egiazarov wrote to Arakelian, editor of the Tiflis-headquartered newspaper Mshak: "In my view, Armenians started very badly. If they volunteered for the Russian army, this would mean that they fulfilled their civil obligations to the state. Turkey declared war and they undertook to defend their motherland. However, Armenians set up detached forces and started fighting with Turkey. Aside from this, Armenians of Turkey rose against their government. In return, Turkey, like any other state, began punishing rioters... Hence, Armenian leaders cast prudence to the winds."26

The tragic plight of these actions is known: mass murder of the Turks in Eastern Anatolia led to the deportation of Armenians. Though Armenians try to present these tragic events as "genocide" against them only, the historical truth proves the contrary. As viewed by some analysts, two flows of refugees ran into each other in Eastern Turkey: Muslims running from the Caucasus to escape from Armenian armed gang units; and Armenians running from Turkey to Russia. It was the confrontation of two refugee flows that resulted in the tragedy that echoed to our days. However, the confrontation of this sort mismatches the concept of genocide because in the reviewed period the Armenians of the western provinces of Turkey lived safe and sound.

General Bolkhovitinov warned against unquestioned acceptance of the huge number of victims quoted by Armenians: "It is extremely difficult ... to establish a real number of victims of Muslim vehemence. In any case, we should bear in mind the penchant to exaggeration typical of Armenians when it comes to the scope of misfortunes from which they suffered in Turkey and treat their figures of losses and casualties with caution."27

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Tragic consequences of this policy were put on debates at the Duma. In the frontline towns of Kars and Batum the Russian troops encouraged by Armenians committed illegal actions against Muslims in December 1914 and January 1915. In connection with these developments the Muslim faction of the Duma made a special statement titled "On the Situation around Muslims in the Caucasian Front."28

Deputy M.Yu. Jafarov headed for Kars and Ardahan where he witnessed atrocities committed by the Russian army. He detailed about these tragic events in his report forwarded to the Emperor Nicholas II.29

To clarify the true nature of events in the Eastern Anatolia of 1914-1915, suffice it to familiarize with a secret report of the Deputy Chief of the General Headquarters of the Caucasian front of Russia, General L.M. Bolkhovitinov, to the czar, and look through reports of the Russian diplomat V.F. Mayevskiy.30 In his report "Correspondence about the Armenian Squad, its Organization and

26 Letter of Councillor of State S.A. Egiazarov to Arakelian, Editor of the Mshak Newpaper. 10.09.1915, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 8, f. 463, sheet 45.

27 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 62rev.

28 Musulmanskie deputaty Gosudarstvennoy dumy Rossii. 1906-1917 gg., Collection of Documents and Materials, Compiled by L.A. Yamaeva, Ufa, 1998, p. 206.

29 See: Report of M.Yu. Jafarov to Nicholas II. January 1915, Russian State Historical Archives (RGIA), rec. gr. 1276, inv. 11, f. 1459, sheets 102-104.

30 See: Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 44-75; V.F. Maevsky, Armiano-tatarskaia smuta na Kavkaze kak odin iz fazisov armianskogo voprosa, Tiflis, 1915.

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Activity," sent to the deputy vicegerent for military affairs, General Bolkhovitinov noted that in October-November 1894 "bloody massacres broke out in vilayets of Asian Turkey—Trabzon, Er-zurum, Van, Bitlis, Sivas, Diyarbekir, Harput, Urfa, Adana, and Haleb—initiated mostly by Armenians themselves."31

Note that Armenian paramilitary units, particularly the first Armenian squad headed by notorious Andranik; the second squad under the command of the Russian subject, Armenian Dro; the third squad headed by Amazasp; and the fourth squad led by Keri acted as "fidains" in 1914-1915 and brutally massacred the civilian Turkish population.32

The start of combat operations in the Caucasian front strengthened Russian authorities' sympathies to the Armenians. The Elizavetpol governor personally wellcomed squads of Armenian volunteers specially arranged to fight Turks, and this caused serious anxiety of local Muslim population. Prof. J. Baberovski wrote that a part of these Armenians believed that the war against Turkey would end with measures to slaughter the Muslim population of the province.33 With due regard for these negative developments, Ali Mardan bey Topchibashev noted the growing hatred of Caucasian Turks against the Russian Empire during World War I, as well as the awakening of the will to independence. He pointed out that after the start of the war the Muslims looked confident though their hearts were full of anger and aspiration to throw off century-long yoke. Ali Mardan bey believed that future historians should be psychologists to identify alarm and expectations in the life of the Caucasian Muslims caused by the war.34

Three out of the four ringleaders of the so-called volunteer squads figured in criminal cases. One of them (Amazasp) had been serving his term in a forced labor camp before the decision of 12 June, 1914. From 24 October, 1910, Dro, another leader, had been on the Wanted lists of the Police Department for his involvement in several acts of terror. Since 1910, the Iranian police had been looking for Keri, a close comrade-in-arms of head of the Iranian police Efrim. In the summer of 1914, however, they were moved under the patronage of the Caucasian Vicegerent; their crimes were forgotten and they acquired immunity.35 One of the orders of the Commander of the Caucasian Army states that "no repressions for past criminal actions should be instituted against Dashnaktsutiun members for the period of war with Turkey."36 Those who fought in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th squads were mainly Turkish subjects; one of the squads was staffed with Turkish Armenians. The list of 346 volunteers contained information about their place of birth, age, and social status.37 In April 1914, Dro, an Armenian from Igdir, was entrusted with the task of forming a "band out of Armenians of all districts with the exception of Alexandropol." In his telegram of 19 April, which he sent from Erivan to General Myshlayevskiy in Tiflis, he reported that he had started to fulfill this task.38 On 23 October, 1914, General Yudenich, Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army wrote in a telegram to Commander of the Russian military formations in Igdir General Abatsiev: "Please order Dro and his squad to move to

31 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 46.

32 See: Ibid., sheets 53rev.-54.

33 See: J. Baberovski, Der Feind ist überal: Stalinismus im Kaukasus, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Munich, 2003.

34 See: Biographical Information about Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, Part I (concise exposition) // Archives d'Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 6/2. Le Centre d'études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (ERCEC), l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris, p. 18; Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi. A Biography. 16.12.1951 // Archives d'Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 3. CERCEC, EHESS, Paris, p. 11.

35 See: Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 54.

36 From the Chancellery ofthe Caucasian Vicegerent to the Chief ofthe Caucasian Army Field Headquarters. 29.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheets 170-171.

37 See: List of Armenian Volunteers, 15.12.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheets 373-377.

38 See: Telegram from Erivan to Tiflis, to General Myshlayevskiy. 19.04.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 722, sheets 4-5.

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Beyazit for joint action with the detachment of General Nikolayev."39 Armen Garo from Erzurum, who was a member of the Turkish parliament, was deputy commander of the second squad of Dro. On 11 November, General Bolkhovitinov informed the commander of the Julfa-Khoisk military group General Voropanov that the commander of the first volunteer squad had sent 100 volunteers armed with Mauser pistols to Andranik's squad. He wanted to know whether there had been enough Mauser ammunition among the weapons captured from the Turks.40

On 6 April, 1915, Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Front approved the list of Armenians that served the foundation for reestablishment, on 11 April, of six Armenian squads of 700 men each.41 According to what Maslovskiy reported to the Staff of the Caucasian Army, by late 1914, six Armenian squads had been set up within the First Caucasian Corps, three in the Azerbaijan-Van military unit, and one in the Chorokh unit.42 Each squad consisted of four regiments with 235 rank-and-file volunteers in each. According to the established numerical strength, there should be one sergeantmajor, one quartermaster sergeant, four senior and 16 junior warrant-officers, and 20 corporals.43 According to the documents of the Department of Supplies of the Caucasian Army, "each volunteer was entitled to 10 rubles per month" unofficially.44 On 18 October, 1914, General Yudenich issued a special order to General Voropanov, which said in part: "Starting on 10 October, you should give Samson a sum equal to 10 rubles per person every month for the Armenians of your unit out of the money you get as an advance."45 A day before General Yudenich had given orders for the Armenian volunteers and also the local Armenians loyal to Samson, one of the Armenian ring-leaders, to be armed. In his letter to General Voropanov, he wrote: "Arm Samson and the local people loyal to him."46 Starting on 28 October, 1914, in full accordance with the order, the commanders of the units in which Armenian squads had been formed calculated the amount of money needed every month and requested the needed sums from the corps commissary. If the latter did not have enough money, the needed sum could be requested from the district commissars, who could turn to the Main Administration of Supplies of the Caucasian Army.47 For example, former head of the 6th squad Gasparian pointed out in his statement addressed to the Headquarters of the Caucasian Army that he "received 2,500 rubles for the squad under his command" from the Chief of Staff of the Kars Fortress.48 No expense reports were needed.

In the first months of the war, the government of Russia allocated 242,900 rubles to arm the Turkish Armenians and stir up their riots in the rear of the Turkish army. As soon as a riot began, the Armenian volunteer squads were expected to break through the Turkish front and join forces with the rioters.49 No final report on how the money had been spent was presented. On 23 July, 1915, the Commissary Department of the Caucasian Military District reported to the Headquarters of the Caucasian

39 Telegram of General Yudenich to General Abatsiev. 23.10.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 729, sheet 2.

40 See: Telegram of General Bolkhovitinov to General Voropanov. 25.11.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 505, sheet 242.

41 See: Report of Ensign Prokhorov to the Military Commander of the Kars Fortress. 03.05.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 302.

42 See: Telegram of Maslovskiy to the Army Headquarters, to Lieutenant Colonel Saveliev. 1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 29.

43 See: Established numerical strength of the Armenian Squad. Draft. 1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheets 309-314.

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44 See: Main Administration of Supplies of the Caucasian Army to the Quartermaster of the Headquarters of Commanderin-Chief of the Caucasian Army. 28.02.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 212.

45 Telegram of General Yudenich to General Voropanov. 18.10.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 505, sheet 143.

46 Telegram of General Yudenich to General Voropanov. 17.10.1914, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 505, sheet 140.

47 See: Main Administration of Supplies of the Caucasian Army to the Quartermaster of the Headquarters Commanderin-Chief of the Caucasian Army. 22.02.1915, sheet 217.

48 See: Lieutenant General Saveliev to the Chief of Staff of the Kars Fortress. 12.08.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 19.

49 See: B. Borian, Armenia. Mezhdunarodnaia diplomatia i SSSR. Part I, Moscow-Leningrad, 1928, p. 360.

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Army that the department had not yet received information about where the former heads of the Sarykamysh, Kagyzman, Olty, and Erivan squads could be found (earlier they had received money to support the Armenian humbs [squads]). The commanders of the Caucasian Army asked for the names, military ranks, and places of service of these people. This was the way the Main Administration of Supplies tried to obtain reports from the Armenian commanders on how the money had been spent.50

Dashnaktsutiun and Gnchak, two Armenian political parties blessed by the Catholicos, set up a National Bureau in Tiflis to command the squads of volunteers and coordinate mobilization and the activities of the volunteers arriving from abroad. Armenian Bishop Mesrop, Mayor of Tiflis Alexander Khatisov, Director of the Department for External Contacts of Dashnaktsutiun Doctor Yakov Zavriev, Commander (khmbapet) of the armed forces of Dashnaktsutiun Samson Arutiunov and squad commanders Dro and Andranik were involved in what the National Bureau was doing. The heads of the Gnchak party placed 150 Armenian volunteers mobilized in Bulgaria under the command of the National Bureau. They carried flags that bore the inscription, "Self-defense of the Armenian nation. One for all and all for one. Long Live liberty. 1887-1914."51

The volunteer squads were staffed by coercion; Armenian clerics and Russian consulates tracked down Armenians who had escaped from the battlefield and sent them to the voluntary squads on the frontline. On 2 February, 1915, the Russian vice-consul in Varna sent a cyphered telegram to the Foreign Ministry, in which he said that groups of Bitlis, Mu§, Sivas, and Erzurum Armenians had been returned to the front.52

A Russian consul general in the provinces of Van and Erzurum since 1895, Mayevskiy wrote about crimes of the Dashnaks and a fabricated "Armenian question:" "I'd like to emphasize here that the so-called Armenian question, which was mainly lies, led the entire Armenian nation along a false path, perplexed the minds of perhaps its best representatives, stupefied hundreds of Armenians and stirred them up to anarchy and endless disasters, took thousands away from a beneficial cause, especially among peasants of Asian Turkey, and later on the Armenians of Transcaucasia. It was the mass media that fogged the truth, making it impossible for the light of truth to penetrate this fog."53 Mayevskiy was brave enough to inform his department about the following: "Facts I'm personally aware of about the clashes between Armenians and Muslims in different cities of Turkey suggest that bloody massacres are initiated by Armenians themselves."54

The Armenian Trace in Murders and Plunder in Kars and Ajaria

Armenian combat squads as a part of the Russian army were notorious in the history of world crimes with their massacres in Kars and Ardahan in the spring of 1915. Prof. J. Baberovski wrote that when the Russian army captured Kars, Erzurum, Trabzon and Erzincan, Armenian volunteer squads committed a lot of bloody crimes against the Turkish population.55

50 See: Main Administration of Supplies of the Caucasian Army to the Quartermaster of the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Army. 23.07.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 405.

51 Letter from Bulgaria to the Editorial Office of the Armenian Newspaper Mshak. 1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 55.

52 See: Cyphered Telegram of the Foreign Ministry Addressed to a Diplomatic Official. 02.02.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 232.

53 V.F. Mayevskiy, op. cit., pp. 36-38.

54 Zapiska generalnogo konsula Rossii v Ezerume V. Maevskogo, Baku, 1994, p. 17.

55 See: J. Baberovski, op. cit.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

In the first months of the war, genocide of the Muslim population carried out by the Armenians acquired dimensions that forced Major General Alexey Podgurskiy of the First Corps of the Caucasian Army to send a telegram to Colonel Grigolia in Sarykamysh and heads of the Ardahan, Olty, and Kagyzman districts with the following order: "Take the most decisive measures to prevent plunders and marauding of the Muslim by the Christian population. Warn that the guilty would be brought to courts-martial and sentenced to grave punishments; detain, disarm, and bring the guilty to courts-martial."56 A newspaper Iqbal published in Baku wrote in its issue of 19 February, 1915: "We are informed that Muslims are going through unbelievable hardships and massacres in the battlefield near the Ottoman borders: men are exterminated, women are kidnapped, children are scattered about mountains and woods, the region is in ruins... Refugees are naked and hungry, utterly impoverished... Our poor co-religionists suffered so much grief and troubles that, if described in our newspaper, our readers would get ready for mourning, not holiday."57

A massacre in Kars committed by Armenian gangsters caused great anxiety in Azerbaijan. As soon as the Azerbaijani public learned about mass murders of Muslims by Dashnak militants, including in Kars, Ali Mardan bey Topchibashev, Aghabala Guliyev from Baku, as well as prominent representatives of Ganja and Erevan provinces immediately left for Kars. The purpose of their journey was to identify facts of crimes of Armenians and inform ruling bodies about it, as well as "ask the authorities to protect Muslims against Armenians striving to annihilate Muslims."58 A Muslim delegation headed by Ali Mardan bey Topchibashev intended to ask from the authorities "a permission to raise money in favor of Tatar families who lost their lives because of bloody crimes of Armenians in the Kars region." They came to see General Myshlayevskiy who permitted them to raise money and "promised to take appropriate measures against impertinent Armenians."59

Shooting of the peaceful Muslim population of Ajaria in the spring of 1915 raised a new wave of protest against the anti-Turkic policy of the Russian Empire. This event aroused stormy response in the Muslim environment; the Muslim faction of the State Duma made a statement that caused anxiety in the ruling circles of Russia. However, the government decided to dismiss 78-year-old pro-Armenian Caucasian vicegerent Vorontsov-Dashkov, this being not the best way out of the impasse. On 23 August, 1915, he was replaced by Great Prince Nikolay Nikolayevich. He was the last vicegerent to perform duties of commander of the Caucasian front. To investigate the shooting of Ajarian Muslims, Ali Mar-dan bey visited Tiflis, Kutaisi and Batum in 1915 and collected documents disclosing the truth.60

Proceeding from these documents, he became confident that unfortunate Ajarians fell prey to the anti-Turkic policy of Russia. Ali Mardan bey pointed out that thousands of Ajarians were imprisoned and charged with betrayal on denunciation of their neighbors—Armenians; hundreds of villages were destroyed, thousands of old men, women and children became refugees in the Batum Region. He prepared a report on this tragedy and dispatched it to the Caucasian vicegerent, and facts as shown in the report were so tragic and terrible that the prince had to set up a special committee for investigation. The inquiry reaffirmed atrocities of the Russian army, especially Cossacks, against Ajarians. It became evident that it was false information and slander of Armenians against Muslims that led to the atrocities.61

56 Telegram of Military Governor Podgurskiy to Colonel Grigolia in Sarykamysh and Heads of the Ardahan, Olty, Kagyzman Districts. 12.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 460, sheet 75.

57 Iqbal, 9 February, 1915.

58 Letter of the Head of the Elizavetpol Province Gendarmerie to the Gendarmerie of the Caucasian Vicegerent. February 1915, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 8, f. 463, sheet 23 (for additional information, see: Attaques des musulmans dans la region de Kars. 1915, Archives d'Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 9. CERCEC, EHESS, Paris).

59 Ibidem.

60 Documents sur 1915: Adjars, Sarykamis, Archives d'Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 9. CERCEC, EHESS, Paris, p. 5.

61 Biographical information about Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi Part I (concise exposition) // Archives d'Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 6/2. CERCEC, EHESS, Paris, p.19-20; Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi. A Biography. 16.12.1951 // Archives d'Ali Mardan bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 3. CERCEC, EHESS, Paris, pp. 11-12.

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Activity of Ali Mardan bey directed to protecting rights of the Caucasian Muslims attracted attention of the ruling bodies. A secret report of the Baku mayor of 4 May, 1916, said that according to information of secret agents, Ali Mardan bey had been known since 1911 as the most prominent pan-Islamist.62

Van—1915

The events, however, took a course very different from what the Armenians had expected; everything happened much earlier than April 1915. In fact, Armenian "genocide" claims are not supported by facts. Analysis of the 1915 documents proves the contrary. It became apparent that Armenian "genocide" is none other than a fabricated myth. In his report, General Bolkhovitinov pointed out that when the Russian troops seized Van, Armenian squads killed everyone, making hay of the region.63 French scholar Georges de Maleville is right in holding that a thesis of the Turkish government's decision is "a fiction of the alleged secret plan of butchering Armenians to occupy their place. This thesis is groundless and primitive."64

The intelligence of the Caucasian Army intercepted a letter from a certain Arshak who fought in Van sent to an Armenian Tiratsiyan in Zurich (Switzerland), in which he wrote: "Van was occupied on 7 May by Armenian volunteers with the help of regular army units. Aram (Manukian), whom people call Pasha, a member of Dashnaktsutiun, is the governor of Van. Today, our troops are moving in the Mu§ and Manazkerd directions."65 The author complained: "The nation is in a grave situation: certain groups of state officials are unfriendly toward the Armenians. The press has been writing about autonomy, but the time was ill-chosen: it produced a very bad impression on the neighboring peoples and military circles. Volunteers demonstrate miracles of heroism, but for some reason, the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Army hates the Armenians; he made changes to the official papers that were detrimental to the Armenians. The Armenians complained to the Vicegerent. Our excessive preparations frightened the government to the extent that it reduced the number of volunteers; they were given bad weapons and forced to do the hardest jobs on the frontline."66 Arshak admitted that he envied Tiratsiyan, who lived in Switzerland; "There is a lot of poverty in Turkish Armenia; we are on the threshold of great disappointment... I envy your life in Switzerland. Here life is unbearable and prices are impossibly high ... people hope the Dardanelles will be opened soon so that Germany cannot send weapons to Turkey and Rumania. Turkey will fall; prices will become lower."67

The Armenian terrorist squads did not wait until the Dardanelles opened. On 18 May, 1915, The Times wrote that it had been discovered in Constantinople that Armenians and Turks hostile to the Young Turks Party plotted to murder Sultan Enver Pasha, Field Marshal von der Goltz, and General Liman von Sanders. The plot was discovered through an admission of the son of Zograf Effendi, an Armenian representative in Constantinople.68

After the Russian troops occupied Van, a "trusted" representative of the Armenian people sent an anonymous letter to the War Ministry, in which he said that to remain in control of the entire

62 Information about Topchibashi supplied by the Baku Mayor. 04.05.1916, State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF), rec. gr. 102, inv. 236, f. 609, sheet 48.

63 See: Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 71rev.

64 G. de Maleville, Armianskaia tragedia 1915 goda, Baku, 1990, p. 46

(G. de Maleville, La tragédie arménienne de 1915, F. Sorlot-F. Lanore, Paris, 1988).

65 From a Letter Signed "Arshak" and Addressed to Tiratsiyan in Switzerland. 29.07.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 5.

66 Ibidem.

67 Ibid., sheet 5rev.

68 See: The Times, 18 May, 1915.

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population it would be necessary to distribute weapons among the local Christians. This was to be done on a "mass scale" to make Russia's loyal allies of them. The author wrote" "The Muslims, Jews, and Georgians should not be trusted, they are hostile... I prefer to remain unknown so far, but my soul and my body are devoted to Russia and its peoples. [Signed] One of the loyal sons of Russia."69

Expecting to receive the Turkish lands occupied by Russian troops, the Armenian volunteers showed unrivalled cruelty toward the Muslims. On 5 April, 1915, they, by sheer chance, obtained a typewritten copy of the report the Commander of the Caucasian Army had sent to the Commanderin-Chief, which said in part that "it is expedient to settle the abandoned Turkish lands in the Alashkert, Diadin, and Beyazit valleys with people from the Kuban and Don provinces to make them borderline Cossacks." The document obtained by secret means (it had been intercepted in Rostov by Armenian advocate Grigory Chalkhushian and sent to the Armenian Bureau in Tiflis) aggrieved the Armenian leaders. The author suggested that Don and Kuban Cossacks should be moved to the occupied Turkish lands by way of encouragement. The letter was addressed to the provincial heads with instructions to promote the idea among the Cossacks. The letter to Head of the Kuban Province Cossack Ataman Labinskiy said that "the Russian population should be immediately informed about the possibilities of future resettlement in the territory captured from the Turks." Investigators discovered that the letter had been intercepted with the help of a certain Ayvazian, a village head in Armavir. On 12 October, 1915, when the truth was revealed, Ayvazian committed suicide.70

The Armenians were shocked. An article titled "Budushchee turetskoy Armenii" (The Future of Turkish Armenia), which appeared in the Kavkazskoe slovo newspaper on 18 August, 1916, caused a harsh response from the Foreign Minister of Russia, which invited another bout of Armenian anger. The minister pointed out" "Today, articles of this type on the Armenian question are extremely ill-timed; they serve the purpose of agitation and stir up political passions."71 He asked General Yanush-kevich, who supervised censorship, not to allow similar publications in the future.

The article looked at different versions of the settlement of the Armenian question: an Armenian state in the provinces of Van, Bitlis, and Mu§; keeping these territories under the Vicegerent of the Caucasus after the pattern of Finland; or autonomy under Russian protectorate. The author was fully aware that the areas in which the future state would be set up were not vacant. "Today, there are Kurds living in Turkish Armenia in the mountains; there are Turks in towns and cities; the Muslim population of Armenia is growing by the day."72

The Armenians were very sensitive to the territorial issues. A letter mailed on 14 August, 1916 from Tiflis to the Armiansky vestnik newspaper in Moscow and intercepted by military censors said that even though it was the Ottoman Empire that was mainly responsible for everything going on in Turkish Armenia, Russia, Armenia's perfidious friend, was no less guilty. It should be clearly stated that it was Russia's duty rather than its free will to help Armenia. "So far," the letter further said, "Armenia has had nothing from Russia apart from harm. The time has come, Mr. Editor, to stop humiliating ourselves and looking at perfidious Russia as a savior of Armenia. It is better for our motherland to die (forgive me, motherland) than to accept freedom from mean and impudent Russia after this blow."73

The military and political circles of Russia were fully aware that the Armenians could be saved only if the Russian army was successful; they were convinced that no further promises were needed.

69 An Anonymous Letter to the State Secretary of the War Ministry. 25.06.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 665, sheet 207.

70 See: To Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Military District, Information. 01.05.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 172.

71 Letter by Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent to the War-Time Governor of Turkish Regions. 26.09.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 13227, inv. 2, f. 8, sheet 6.

72 Kavkazskoe slovo, 18 August, 1916.

73 Copy of the Letter Sent from Tiflis to Moscow to the Editorial Office of Armianskiy vestnik. 14.08.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 13227, inv. 2, f. 8, sheets 2-3.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

This was what General Bolkhovitinov wrote on 25 February, 1916 in his response to the report "O chuvstvakh narodnostey v period voyny" (On the Feelings of Peoples at the Time of War) written by Prince Vasily Gajimukov on 21 January: "The Turkish Armenians lived and are still living in grave or even tragic circumstances. This means that any changes in Armenophylic sentiments would not suit Russia's political interests. The future of the Armenians depends on Russia's military successes. They all know this quite well and, therefore, there is no need to give advances. It is no secret that all prominent Armenian political parties openly declared their aim to be liberation from Turkey with the help of Russia."74 The Russian intelligentsia was not very enthusiastic about the Armenian idea of an independent state in Turkey.

Commander of the Beyazit detachment of the 4th Corps of the Russian Army in the Caucasus front, General Nikolayev, said in his report that he knew nothing of the mass massacres of the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia. He reported that "approximately 50,000 Armenian refugees left Van for Tapariz, and of them 100 refugees were killed by Kurds. Upon return from Tapariz to Bergri-gala, there were 500 Armenians who died of illness." According to General Bolkhovitinov, refugees numbering 200,000 were moving toward Russia. During their march from the southern part of Lake Van toward Khoisk and Igdir, "the refugees were dying from fatigue, hunger, and thirst."75 The commander of the 4th Corps of the Caucasian Army, in turn, informed that "he knew nothing about what had forced the Armenians to leave the Van District en mass, since there were no Turks there. Aram, acting governor of Van, had never asked about anything and had never reported that there was an exodus. There had been no slaughter of Armenians in the Malazgirt District when the troops were retreating and no slaughter of the people who were retreating in front of the troops."76 A certain Papa-ian, an Armenian, reported to Bishop Mesrop in Tiflis, "Right now there are about 15,000 destitute refugees from Van who fill the Beyazit Valley. I try to persuade them to return, but frequent retreats and the absence of economic guarantees of security routes and life breed suspicions and wavering. In expectation of more or less clear information, the refugees go hungry; there is no food and the aid is too small. I ask you to send us food as soon as possible and tell us where we can settle these miserable people."77

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For many reasons, the Armenians associated what happened in Van with the activities of the volunteer squads. They accused Dashnaktsutiun, one of their initiators, and insisted that it had been their involvement in the hostilities that triggered these misfortunes by provoking the Turks to take revenge on the Armenians. The party and its members called on the Armenians not to become dispirited and tried to calm the people with, "As long as there is one Armenian on earth, the Armenian Question will remain pending." They accused the Russians of the defeat in Van and insisted that the roots of all the misfortunes should be sought for in Russia's policy and accused certain commanders and officials who hated Armenians of deliberately moving the Armenians out of Van.78 In Van, captured by the Russians and ruled for a while by Aram Pasha, "the Turkish Armenians, who consoled themselves with their trust in Russia as their liberator, realized that they had found themselves in the enemy camp. So it comes as no surprise that many of them moved to the side of the Turkish authorities."79

74 Resolution of General Bolkhovitinov on the Report of Prince Vasily Gajimukov. 25.02.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 665, sheet 107.

75 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 74.

76 Ibidem.

77 Telegram of Papasian from Beyazit to Bishop Mesrop in Tiflis. 06.08.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 2, f. 646, sheet 107.

78 See: From the Chancellery of the Caucasian Vicegerent to the Chief of Field Headquarters of the Caucasian Army. 24.08.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 48.

79 Report of the Commander of the Tiflis Provincial Department of Gendarmes. 08.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 303.

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A telegram mailed on 22 August, 1915 by Vratsiyan, commander of a volunteer squad in Igdir, to the Orizon newspaper published in Tiflis described in detail everything what was going on in Er-zurum, Bayburt, Erzincan, Mu§, Harput, and Sasun: "A trusted person who left Hinis two weeks ago insists that there were no Armenian pogroms to the west of Erzurum; only soldiers were murdered. The Erzurum vali protested against the slaughter; the Armenians are safe in Bayburt, Erzincan, Harput, and other areas; the Turks are retreating together with the Armenians. The Mu§ valley, the city, and the monastery are ruined, all of the people have been slaughtered. Sasun continues fighting. According to a person who has just arrived from these places, the province avoided massacre; he saw with his own eyes that many of the Armenian villages survived. His information breeds hope."80

After the defeat in Van, many of the Armenian commanders, Andranik particular, became convinced that the squads should no longer take commands from the Russian Army and should switch to guerrilla warfare or be disbanded. Squad commanders Andranik, Basturmachiyan, Dro, Aram, Vratsiyan, and others met in Igdir to decide what to do next. The majority voted for preserving the squads and going on with the cause with renewed enthusiasm.81 Despite what had been said against the Russian commanders (allegedly they had deliberately sent Armenian squads to the frontline for extermination or because many of the Muslim commanders in the Caucasian Army had a soft spot for Turkey), nothing much happened. Andranik was very clear about "the need to fight together with the Russians since otherwise the Russian Government will arrest all the Armenian leaders and will mete out its punishment on all the Armenians."82

The meeting was especially displeased with Lieutenant General Abatsiev, who was an Osset, Prince Magomed Mirza Qajar, and General Nikolayev. The squad commanders accused General Abatsiev of entrusting command to the Tatars, Georgians, and Ossets and of oppressing the Armenians. The squad commanders were also displeased with the governors of Elisavetpol and Erivan.

The discussion was not limited to this meeting. On 4 June, 1915, the Catholicos of All Armenians discussed this issue with Caucasian Vicegerent Vorontsov-Dashkov. After reading the letter from the Catholicos, General Bolkhovitinov drafted a report for the vicegerent, in which he assessed the letter as an obvious attempt to interfere in military command, which could not be tolerated.83 In his letter to the Catholicos, the vicegerent deemed it necessary to soften the general's opinion. He referred to Chief of Staff General Yudenich to point out that in the military units fighting under General Abatsiev, the Armenians were not discriminated against.84

Mayor of Tiflis Khatisov, in turn, tried to interfere in military affairs. As a rule, the Armenian squads sent their reports to Tiflis "to Khatisov at the Main Staff' or to the "Armenian Staff." The Chief Headquarters of the Caucasian Front warned him against issuing military orders in the name of the city administration to the Armenian squads deployed in the areas of military action85 and sent a confidential letter to Petrograd with a request not to dispatch Muslim officers from other fronts to the Caucasian Front. General Bolkhovitinov wrote the following in this connection: "Recently, more and more Muslim officers have been asking for a transfer from the Western to the Caucasian Front. It would be wise to decline Giulazizov's request so as not to create a precedent."86 In fact, the Armenians were behind this.

80 Telegrams from Vratsiyan in Igdir to Orizon in Tiflis. 22.08.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 53.

81 See: From the Chancellery of the Caucasian Vicegerent to the Chief of Field Headquarters of the Caucasian Army. 24.08.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 48rev.

82 Ibid., sheet 49.

83 See: Report of General Bolkhovitinov. 10.06.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 356.

84 See: Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Army Vorontsov-Dashkov to the Catholicos of Armenians. 19.06.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 335.

85 See: From the Headquarters of the Caucasian Army to Mayor of Tiflis Khatisov. 26.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 1200, inv. 1, f. 558, sheet 74.

86 Telegram of Bolkhovitinov to the War Ministry. 30.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 535, sheet 34.

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The Armenian Volunteer Squads Disbanded

On 3 January, 1916, the commanders of the 5th volunteer squad gathered in Erivan for a secret meeting to discuss, among other things, the possible disbandment of the Armenian squads. According to the information supplied by the Special Departments of the Chancellery of the Caucasian Vicegerent, the meeting was attended by squad commander Vartan, his aide, known as Kostia, two other officers, Garegin and Nzhde (an Armenian of Bulgarian origin), and another Armenian from Iran. All those present insisted it was not in the interests of the Armenians to replace the squads with rifle battalions. They were "against the service of Armenian volunteers in the Russian army because of problems created by discipline; besides the Armenians would be deprived of the opportunity to serve the Armenian cause." The meeting passed a secret decision that "the Armenians should not join the newly formed rifle units and, if worst comes to worst, should go to England, from where they can join the army as volunteers."87 These negative feelings created the background against which the Armenian rifle units preferred to keep away from the action.

Deployed on the front, the Armenian units insisted that they should be removed from the action to the rear; they were convinced that they were much more effective as guerillas fighting civilians, rather than armed units involved in hostilities. The commanders of the Armenian squads gathered together to decide that they should try to weaken the enemy by organizing guerilla warfare to sow fear and panic among the peaceful population. The squad commanders bombarded the National Bureau and the Catholicos with their requests, but the demands remained ignored. Moreover, Mikael Safrian, commander of the 6th squad from the village of Unan, Mu§ Region, known among the Gnchak members as Pandukt, was replaced with Sub-Lieutenant Avsharov.88

In 1916, the Armenian volunteer squads showed no enthusiasm when fighting side-by-side with the Russian army. Many of those dispatched by the Armenian Bureau to the front tried to escape; the rank-and-file soldiers were especially determined. General Chernozubov reported to the Headquarters of the Caucasian Army that only 1,741 of the 2,482 Armenians sent to replenish the 4th, 5th and 6th squads reached their destination; "the others, 741 people, or nearly 30 percent, fled en route."89

On 20 December, 1915, S. Vratsiyan, member of the committee of contacts with the Armenian squads who had come from the United States, wrote from Erivan to Boston that he had been horrified by the doings of those obsessed with "restoring Armenia." He described what he had seen in the following way: "I have changed my opinion about the volunteer squads. It was with a lot of pain that I detected their numerous incorrigible shortcomings. I am disenchanted by our heroes. The hopes that I pinned on our younger generation are shattered; I have started doubting that these squads should be regarded as the beginning of a future army. This is incompatible with our great expectations. Look at the volunteers who have arrived from America and about whom I wrote a lot to you. Many of those who had been dispatched on the money of the Central Committee fled halfway; some of them fled even before they reached Tiflis. They are looking for plausible motives to extort money; a third group arrived here and, after dividing up your money among themselves (over three thousand rubles), refused to account for it. In short, in this chaos, the dog does not recognize its master."90 Mnatsakanian, who represented Gnchak in the Caucasus, confirmed this in his letter to the central structures of his

87 From the Chancellery of the Caucasian Vicegerent to the Commander of the Field Headquarters of the Caucasian Army. 24.08.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 16.

88 See: From the Chancellery of the Caucasian Vicegerent to the Commander of the Field Headquarters of the Caucasian Army. 23.01.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheets 22-23; Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 57rev.

89 From General Chernozubov to the Headquarters of the Caucasian Army. 29.08.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 245.

90 Letter of Member of the Organizing Committee S. Vrantsiyan to the Armenian Committee in Boston. 20.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheets 11-12.

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party in America. In July 1915, he wrote that "the guys I brought from America became bashibuzuks; they quarrel among themselves, they say that they do not like the food; they avoid training sessions. In short, I am going mad. They expected that they would be living like princes here, but they must obey the laws of wartime."91

How many Armenian volunteers were fighting in the Caucasus in the ranks of the Russian army? The address of the Armenian Socialist Party published in the La Libre Parole newspaper said that "130,000 Armenians are fighting under the Russian flag" on the Caucasian Front.92 This was an obvious overstatement—by November 1915 there were 771 so-called volunteers fighting under Dro in the 2nd Armenian squad.93 The report submitted by the Head of Gendarmerie of the Tiflis Province about Dro and his squad said that "nearly all the members of his squad are former terrorists. This frame of mind of Dro and the composition of his squad demand special attention."94

By 1 November, 1915, the list of the 3rd squad signed by its commander Avetis contained 718 names95; the list of the 7th squad signed by its commander Vartan contained 227 names.96 In the telegram of 20 January, 1915, to General Riabinkin, a member of the war council of the Caucasian Army, commander of the 5th squad pointed out that his unit was formed with the chief commander's permission and received 1,500 Mannlicher rifles on the order of the Headquarters.97 The number of distributed rifles indicates the squad's numerical strength—by mid-1915 there were 850 people in it.98 General Bolkhovitinov pointed out that "there were six squads fighting on the front; each of them should have had 1,000 people, but in fact the total number was slightly lower—about five thousand." The general pointed out that the number had dropped by late 1915—485 volunteers had been killed, while 1,260 were either wounded, ill, or missing. The general believed that "the number of those killed was somewhat overstated, while the number of volunteers removed from action or missing was more or less correct since desertion among the Armenians was widely practiced."99

It should be taken into account that in their correspondence the Russian military structures described not only the Armenians who belonged to the Armenian squads as volunteers, but also those Armenians who remained in the zone of fighting and had been armed by Russian military units. Military instructors from among the rank-and-file soldiers taught them how to handle weapons and obey discipline. They guarded tunnels and bridges; in the event of Turkish attacks, the volunteers were instructed to start a fire to warn other units and, together with their instructors, occupy positions on the frontline.100

Heavy defeats increased desertion among the Armenian volunteers. The Caucasian Army Headquarters responded to its huge dimensions with an order of 6 December, 1915, which transformed the Armenian squads into rifle battalions. Several days later, under the order of 13 December and according to wartime regulations, they became regular units. The status of the Armenian Turkish subjects

91 Letter of Mnatsakanian to the Governing Structure of the Social Democratic Party of Gnchakists in America. 22.07.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheets 31-31rev.

92 See: La Libre Parole, 11 June, 1915.

93 See: List of Volunteers of the 2nd Armenian Squad by 1 November, 1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheets 241-254.

94 Report of the Gendarmerie of the Tiflis Province. 08.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 307.

95 See: See: List of Volunteers of the 3rd Armenian Squad by the State of 1 November, 1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheets 230-240.

96 See: List of Volunteers of the 7th Armenian Squad by the State of 1 November, 1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheets 208-212.

97 See: From Vartan to General Riabinkin. 20.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 157.

98 See: Letter of Mnatsakanian to the Governing Structure of the Social Democratic Party of Gnchakists in America. 22.07.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 31rev.

99 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheets 75-75rev.

100 See: Report of the Commander of the Alexandropoli Volunteer Squad to the Commander of the Alexandropoli Garrison. 05.01.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheets 132-133.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

who served according to Russian laws mainly among the rank-and-file contingents created several problems.101 Some squads were disbanded. In his report of 17 January, 1916, Commander of the Al-exandropoli squad Vartapetiants wrote that his squad had been disbanded, while the weapons had been returned to the Alexandropoli artillery unit.102 As soon as the process began, the Armenian political parties warned the volunteers that they "should not return their weapons in order to become an armed force ready to fight the Russian Government if Russia refused to give autonomy to Armenia."103

On 23 August, 1915, Count Vorontsov-Dashkov was replaced with Grand Duke Nikolay Niko-layevich as the Caucasian Vicegerent and Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Army. A special meeting convened in Tiflis was attended by "General Myshlayevskiy, Steward of the Household Peterson; Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Military District General Yudenich, Head of the Tiflis Dioceses Bishop Mesrop; Mayor of Tiflis A. Khatisov; Chairman of the Armenian National Committee S. Arutiunov; and Doctor Ya. Zavriev. The Armenians were asked to set up special squads (khumbs) under the command of experienced chetniks (khumbapets)... The Armenians were only too willing to comply, but insisted on their regularly repeated demand that the Russian government seek preliminary agreement of the ambassadors of neutral countries to put pressure on Turkey to deprive it of the opportunity to institute an Armenian massacre. After unanimously approving the plan to set up the squads, the meeting promised the Armenians moral and material support."104

In 1916, the number of "volunteers sent to the front began gradually dropping; they were not dispatched in great numbers. On 27 February, 1916, the Staff of the Caucasian Army reported that 150puds of ammunition (apud = 16.3804815 kg.—Ed.) had been sent from Tiflis to the Julfa railway station to 40 Armenian volunteers under Jamal Chapkalian and the Van volunteer."105 On 9 May, 1916, Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Military District received an order from the commanders of the Caucasian Army, which said that "the Army commander is dead set against forming new Armenian squads."106

In 1914, when the war with Turkey began, Armenians began arriving in Tiflis either with documents issued by Russian consulates abroad or without documents. By mid-1916, the opposite trend began unfolding—those who wanted to return needed documents, but it turned out that the documents issued by the Russian consulates were not enough. Mayor of Tiflis Alexander Khatisov wrote the following to the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army: "A large number of Armenians from America came to Tiflis as soon as the war with Turkey began, they joined the Armenian squads. They left America under documents issued by the Consul General of the Russian Empire in New York, which did not have the legal force of a passport. Today, when the Armenian squads have been disbanded, these people want to go back, but they have no documents under which they can cross the border."107

The mayor of Tiflis asked the authorities to supply the volunteers who had come to Tiflis with documents to allow them to return home. By late 1915, Armenians with no documents were no longer allowed to join the Armenian squads; this was particularly true of the Turkish Armenians. The Russian commanders feared that there might be unwelcome volunteers among them. The Staff of the Caucasian

101 See: On Transformation of Armenian Squads into Battalions. 06.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 279; From Lieutenant Colonel Saveliev to the Chancellery of the Caucasian Vicegerent. 1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 332rev.

102 See: Report of Unit Commander Captain Vartapetyants.17.01.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 665, sheet 14.

103 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs at the Caucasian Vicegerent. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 49rev.

104 Ibid., sheets 50-51rev.

105 Telegram about Movement of Cargoes for Armenian Volunteers. 27.02.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 665, sheets 112-113.

106 From General Saveliev to the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Military District. 09.05.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 174.

107 Letter of A. Khatisov to the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army. 28.09.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 263.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

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Army passed a decision to demonstrate caution, since too many Turkish Armenians wanted to join the Armenian squads. Volunteers from other foreign countries arrived in Turkey and were allowed to join the squads under a treaty between the War and Foreign ministries, on the one hand, and the Armenian organizations, on the other.108

"The Bullet of a Russian Soldier Hits the Leg, the Bullet of an Armenian Soldier the Heart"

At the beginning of the war, the Armenians were driven to the Caucasus by lofty ideals; in late 1915 and early 1916 they fell into depression. S. Vramian, who had been driven from Boston to the Caucasus by dreams of a Greater Armenia, declined the invitation of Kh. Darpinian, Editor of Ayrenik, to return in late 1915. "Under present conditions my return is impossible. I would like to flee from here, but I cannot do this. The continued war and the sufferings of the Armenian people have greatly affected our philosophizing leaders: some of them live amid the tragedy, many of them are tired and can no longer work, still others joined the ranks of the disappointed. We are at a loss, we have made and continue making numerous errors, we are marred from the right and left, we cannot widen the scope of our activities. There are many opponents and many reproach us for the volunteers."109 In the same letter, Vramian sent a photograph taken on the front that showed General Oganovskiy, Commander of the 4th Corps of the Caucasian Army, and Armenian volunteers with the following inscription on the back: "He is considered an Armenophile, his is a correct personality. He participated in the capture of Van and the retreat from it. He did a lot for our volunteer squads, which he called 'my little allies'."110 Not all Russian officers were prepared to tolerate Armenia's whims. In his letter to a certain Sokolova in the town of Yuriev confiscated by military censors, Lieutenant Colonel Polianov spared no words: "Our Caucasian Front is perfect in all respects but one. The Armenians, who are a commercial plague and drag in all respects, poison our existence. They are everywhere, you run across them around every corner. They are past masters of feigning sickness and are incredible cowards, they flee from the fighting positions, do not want to work in the rear, they crowd the hospitals in huge numbers and insist on being discharged from the service. I keep statistics which I plan to present to the commanders; practically all of them retire—we have one '-OV' (most frequent male ending of Russian family names.—Tr.) for a thousand '-YANTS' (most frequent male ending of Armenian family names.—Tr.), who cannot cope with everything."111

The Armenian volunteers were responsible for another headache of the Russian commanders— they committed atrocities against the local Muslims and shifted the blame onto the Russian units. Between 17 March and 1 April, 1916, the commanders of the Caucasian Army received three telegrams related to the subject. The first of them, dated 17 March, was sent to General Quartermaster at the Supreme Headquarters; the second, dated 23 March, to the commander of the 4th Corps; and the third was addressed to Generals Bolkhovitinov and Pustovoytenko.112

The telegram of 17 March said that a request to investigate the atrocities committed by the Armenian volunteers against the local Turks had been sent to the commander of the Bitlis Army (the telegram referred to two thousand Turks exterminated by Armenians in Bitlis). Commander of the

108 From General Saveliev to the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Military District. 09.05.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 333.

109 Letter of S. Vramian to the U.S., Boston, Mr. Kh. Darpinian, Editor of the Ayrenik newspaper. 1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheets 27-28.

110 Ibid., sheet 28.

111 Letter to Sokolova in the town of Yuriev. 1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 164.

112 See: Letter of General Bolkhovitinov to Prince V. Orlov. 03.04.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 87.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

Bitlis Army General Abatsiev wrote the following: "As for the Armenian squad, there are many Turkish subjects among the fighters. On the third day after the capture of Bitlis, I had to remove the squad to the Bitlis-Mu§ communication line."113 This squad operated under Andranik.

In Todvand, the Armenian volunteers were even crueler. Russian riflemen and Armenian volunteers shared the same house divided into two parts. The Russians gave shelter and food to 20 Muslim orphaned children. After returning from a reconnaissance mission, they found them dead. The telegram said that the Armenians were left alone in the house. General Abatsiev reported that the investigation pointed to the Armenians as the culprits.114 Another letter dated 31 January, 1916 described the murder of two children in the village of Kinar (Beyazit District) committed by Nagabet Grigoriants, a volunteer of the 2nd Armenian squad, who had murdered a boy of 8 and a girl of 11 with his bayonet.115 According to written information dated 26 September, 1916, a former Armenian volunteer attacked the village of Yukhary Suleymanly. Three local people were killed, four abducted, and 12 buffalos stolen.116

The local Armenians, likewise, were involved in pogroms and violence against the Muslims. In a telegram to General Yudenich, General Nikolayev wrote: "I know that many of the local and armed Armenians follow our troops in Turkish territory to plunder Muslims and violate them."117 General Bolkhovitinov wrote the following in one of his reports: "Practically each and every combatant officer has seen with his own eyes how not only volunteers, but also their commanders violate military discipline, as well as their disagreements among themselves, intrigues and boasting, individual cases of cowardice, stealing and plunder and, finally, violence against the peaceful Muslim population of the Turkish areas occupied by the Russian army. These acts of violence and practically total destruction of the population of the Kurdish auls by Armenian squads, irrespective of sex and age, are confirmed, in particular, not only by intercepted correspondence from the volunteers, but also by letters from other people indignant about what the volunteers were doing."118 General Nikolayev wrote that the plundering organized by the Armenian volunteers during the capture of Van reached dimensions that required courts-martial to stop the wave of crime."119

After receiving information from General Nikolayev about the Armenian atrocities in Van, the Armenian National Bureau dispatched Duma deputy Iosif Khununts and writer Ovanes Tumanian on a fact-finding mission.120

The Armenian militia, set up allegedly to maintain law and order in the Turkish lands occupied by the Russian army, was also involved in plundering. In June 1916, Levon Varadian, one of the volunteers, wrote from Van to Ambartsum Arakelian, who edited the Mshak newspaper in Tiflis, that "most of the militiamen are robbers."121 Even the National Bureau, which coordinated the activity of the volunteer squads in Tiflis, admitted that the 6th squad comprising primarily the followers of the Gnchak Party was involved in plundering.122 A lot of documents in the Russian archives are related to the atrocities of the Armenian volunteers.

113 Telegram of the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army. 17.03.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 88.

114 See: Telegram of General Bolkhovitinov Addressed to General Pustovoytenko. 01.04.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 90.

115 See: About the Murder of Two Children in the Village of Kinar. 31.01.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2301, inv. 2, f. 119, sheet 1.

116 See: The File of Former Armenian Volunteers Who Attacked the Village of Yukhary Suleymanly. 26.09.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2301, inv. 2, f. 119, sheet 21.

117 Telegram to General Nikolayev to General Yudenich. 16.05.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 154.

118 Report of General L. Bolkhovitinov to the Assistant for Military Affairs ofthe Vicegerent in the Caucasus. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheets 66-66rev.

119 Ibid., sheet 68rev.

120 See: Ibidem.

121 Letter of Levon Varadian Addressed to Tiflis, to the Editor of the Mshak Newspaper Ambartsum Arakelian. 03.06.1916, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 19rev.

122 An Extract from the Letter Sent to the Eritassard Hayastan newspaper in the U.S.. 15.06.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 557, sheet 33.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

"A Memorandum of the Foreign Commissar to the Council of Commissars on the Armenian Question" was executed in 1916. The document confirms that the Armenian question was exploited by great powers to weaken the Ottoman Empire. The memorandum says: "The purpose was to make the most of the situation and seize the straits."123 It noted: "with the objective of weakening Turkey, Russia considered it a state duty to back Armenians in Turkey, so since 1912 the Russian diplomacy has been taking active measures to carry out reforms in Turkish Armenia."124

It added: "The efforts of the Russian diplomacy were a success largely due to the charm of the Russian name in the Armenian areas of Turkey. Note that Turkish Armenians, despite their civic duty, formed numerous armed forces to combat the Turks. In assessing the situation, one of the distinguished Turkish political figures, Jevdet-bey, stressed: 'A bullet of the Russian soldier hits our leg; a bullet of the Armenian hits our heart.' To clarify the role of Armenians in this war, suffice it to cite a fragment from a diary of a Turkish officer who died on the battlefield: 'Should our Armenians join us, we would crush Russians.'"125 A memorandum of the Russian Foreign Commissariat (Ministry) suggested: "Russia's goal is to put a barrier between the Turks, Kurds, and Azerbaijanis."126

It was a great migration of Armenians to the Southern Caucasus following the East Anatolian developments that stirred up national-ethnic confrontation in the region. Grand Duke Nikolay Niko-layevich sent a report to Nicholas II entitled "On the Political Situation in the Caucasus," which uncovered the nature of these contradictions: "In Tiflis, as a principal Center of the Caucasus, the public administration is fully in the hands of Armenians."127

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The bloody adventures of the Armenian volunteers in Turkey, the murders, violence, plunder, and ethnic purges they committed reached their logical conclusion. After the 1917 revolution, the Caucasian Front started falling apart; the Armenian volunteers, who served in the Russian army and thus acquired fighting experience in 1914-1916 in Turkey, brought it to the Caucasus. In 1917-1918, the Southern Caucasus became a scene of the Armenian volunteers' bloody struggle; in the Southern Caucasus, they were as violent as in Eastern Turkey and used the same methods, albeit on a smaller scale.

Conclusion

Today, 100 years later, the events described above have been moved from the sphere of history to politics. Deliberately or not, the atrocities of the Armenian volunteer squads perpetrated in Eastern Anatolia are pushed aside and forgotten. The Armenians insist that the world should recognize the Armenian genocide (which never happened) as a fact of history; they use it to put pressure on Turkey. In the last twenty years, in the context of history, this has become the main line of Armenian propaganda spearheaded against Turkey; in the political context, it is used to present Armenia (which occupies Azeri land) as an oppressed and vilified country to justify its aggressive policies.

123 B. Borian, op. cit., Part II, p. 413.

124 Ibid., p. 414.

125 Ibid., pp. 416-417.

126 Ibid., pp. 418.

127 Kavkaz i Rossiyskaia imperia: proekty, idei, illiuzii i realnost. Nachalo XIX-nachalo XX vv., St. Petersburg, 2005,

p. 551.