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The purposeful resettlement of Armenians from the Qajar Iran to North Azerbaijan


Güntekin Najafli

ANAS, Institute of History named after A. Bakikhanov

Head of the «History of Karabakh» department


“LİDER” qrupu üzvləri müəlliflərinin yaradıcılığı



Thousands of our compatriots have been expelled from their historical lands, subjected to aggression of the Armenian occupation by support of the Great powers. The mass settlement of the Armenians in the territory of North Azerbaijan in the first 30 years of the 19th century resulted in the creation of a state by the Great powers at the expense of our historical lands in 1918, and the distribution of part of our lands to the Armenians. The consequences of further development of this process were even more regretful: mass genocide against our people (1918-1920, February 26, 1992), deportations against the population of North Azerbaijan, total destruction of our culture, historical monuments and toponyms; exposure of our people to unprecedented atrocities by using arms after driving them out from the native lands, and other similar actions have been implemented.

Today, the Armenian-Azerbaijan Daghlig Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict is a source of tension, and a serious threat to peace in the entire South Caucasus region and in the world. It is directly related to the resettlement of Armenians to the South Caucasus. Thus, the study of history is of great importance for the establishment of peace in the world, for regional safety.

The issue of the Armenians’ resettlement to Azerbaijan lands was part of long-standing expansionist plans of Russia, who aimed at consolidating in the South Caucasus from the early 18th century and at establishing a buffer Christian state on the territory of Azerbaijan bordering the Ottoman state and Iran.

However, the small number of Armenians in the occupied South Caucasian region was contrary to the Russian Empire’s policy to create a buffer Christian state on the Iranian and Ottoman borders. In the previous chapters, except the Gregorian missionaries, the resettlement process of Armenians to Azerbaijan lands, as well as the Iravan region, began after the transfer of Armenian Catholicosate from Cilicia to Uchkilsa, the territory of the Azerbaijan Garagoyunlu state in 1441.[1]

Despite the occupation of lands belonging to Azerbaijani Turks by the Gregorian Church by different means, and the resettlement of Armenians in these lands from time to time after transfer of Armenian Catholicosate to the Garagoyunlu state’s territory, Armenians had been considered a minority in Chukhursad (Iravan) region.

Information provided by Armenians to Russia and other Christian countries in Europe always distorted and artificially exaggerated the size of Armenian population living in the South Caucasus, including the  North Azerbaijan. For instance, a small minority of the Armenian people in Iravan region is confirmed by the Armenian historian V.Gregorian in his work “The Iravan Khanate in the late 18th century (1780-1800)” with archival documents compiled at the end of the 18th century.  In 1783, when the Russian representative Pavel Potemkin asked the Armenian representative, who submitted him a letter on behalf of the Armenians living in the Iravan khanate, on why the message was not stamped and signed by the Catholicos of Uchkilsa, he was responded so: “Since Catholicos is the spiritual leader of Armenians scattered throughout the world, he cannot put his seal on a letter from a group of Armenians living in the province of Ararat.” [2]

Even in the Armenian-language archival documents of the late 18th century, is stated that there were few Armenians living on the territory of the Iravan khanate that they were called not a people but a group.

Armenian ideologists specially commissioned by the Gregorian Church artificially increased their number in the letters sent to Russian authorities to cover up the minority of Armenians living in the Iravan khanate. For instance, the Armenian community leader in Iravan, S.Ter-Sahakian, in a letter to Prince Gregory Aleksandrovich Potemkin in December 1784, frankly confessed that at the instruction of H.Argutian (Armenian religious leader in Russia – G.N.) he had “exaggerated the size of Armenians to “9 million and more”.[3]

The Russian Empire, which always aimed at settling of Armenians in the historic lands of Azerbaijan, since the time of Peter I intended to use Armenians as an instrument. The letter of the Archbishop of Ararat Joseph to Prince Gregory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tauricheski , dated April 28, 1784, proves this once again. The Archbishop expressed his gratitude to Prince G.Potemkin for help in settling  Armenians in the vicinity of Iravan. [4]

Those implementing the Russian Empire’s expansionist plan put one of the main tasks — to relocate of the Armenian population to weaken protests against Russia in the occupied territories in the regions. Immediately after the invasion of the Ganja khanate in 1804, Sisianov tried to settle  Armenians around it. The sharp increase in the size of Armenians that were in minority throughout the South Caucasus was one of the main tasks posed by the Russian palace . According to the information from 6 February 1823, out of the 6.730 people living in Ganja, 3.875 were Muslims and 2.855 were Armenians. [5]

Out of the 1532 families registered in Shusha in 1823, 1111 were Turkish  and 421 were Armenian families. The Russian Empire, which used Armenians as an implement in the occupation of the South Caucasus, had made the mass settlement of Armenians in the region its state policy, in order to be consolidated in the already occupied South Caucasian region. Due to the small number of Armenians in the occupied South Caucasian region, the Russian Empire decided to mass relocation of Armenians to the territories of Azerbaijan bordering with the Ottoman state and the Qajar Iran. I.Yenikolopov writes: “The study of archival documents confirms that the problem of relocation coincided with the wishes of  Armenians soon became the most important measure of the Tsarist government. Thus, the initial plan of the Russian government to move 80.000 Cossacks to the border with Iran had lost its force.” Opposing this project, A.Griboyedov preferred to settle Armenians in the newly occupied territories.[6]

The project of Armenians’ resettlement to North Azerbaijani lands was developed in 1827 in the South Caucasus Diplomatic Office headed by A.Griboyedov. The representative of Russia in Persia A.Griboyedov had been actively involved in the implementation of the project on the resettlement of Iranian Armenians to the newly occupied North Azerbaijan.  According to I.Yenikolopov, A.Griboyedov paid special attention to the relocation of Armenians from Iran to the Russian border, that is, the Chukhursad valley, and considered  this issue as a guarantee for strengthening Russia’s position in the East. Moreover, beginning from the early 18th century, Russia’s project to create Armenian settlements in the South Caucasus was known to A.S.Griboyedov, and he paid much attention to the negotiations between Russia and Iran in the Qaraziyyaddin region for the implementation of the resettlement plan of Armenians from Iran. The issue of Armenians’ resettlement arising in the Dehkargan negotiations between Russia and Iran was firmly resolved in the Turkmenchay Treaty and reflected in its Articles 15 and 16. [7]

During the wars that Tsarist Russia fought to occupy the Caucasus and won the QajarIran and the Ottoman Empire, began the mass relocation of Armenians living in the territories of these countries to the North Azerbaijan.First of all, this process began with the resettlement of the Armenians living in the Qajar Iran,on the border of Azerbaijan occupied by Russia. General Paskevich wrote in January1828 that we should not feed the Christianstoo much, in order to avoid the raising of Iranians against us.[8]

At the Russian side’sinsistence, on February 10, 1828, under Article XV of the same name agreement signed between the Qajar Iran and Russiain the Turkmenchay village of South Azerbaijan, the mass relocation of Armenians living in Iran to Azerbaijan was made official.[9]  Under this article, the Shah undertook to allow the officials and residents living in the country to move freelywith their family from the Iran province to Russia, and to give a year to take their moveable property and sell real estate without any obstacles by government or local administration and imposing no customs and tax upon their merchandise or property, their personal possessions.  With regard to immovable property, a five-year period is set for sale or disposal at its discretion. In regard to real estate, a five-year period was givenfor sale or at his discretion.[10]

As the Tsarism invaded the lands of North Azerbaijan, it also pursued a policy of Armenianization of the population aiming to strengthen on this areas. Following the Turkmenchay Treaty of 1828, this situation became more regular and purposeful.  Under  Article XV of the Turkmenchay Treaty, the Shah government should not have prevented those, who betraying their state (Armenians – G.N.) served the Russians during the war, to move to the territories being under the  subordination of Russia. Thus, the Armenians living in Iran were granted the right to freely pass under the protection of Russia.[11]

In order to carry out the systematic resettlement of Armenians from Iran to North Azerbaijan in 19 October 1827,  Russian Empire appointed Colonel Lazarev (Gazaros Lazarian – G.N.) *, residing in St.Petersburg, commandant of Tabriz.[12]

With the taking of Gazaros Lazarian, who had a great reputation among the Armenians, from St. Petersburg at his disposal by General Paskevich preparations for relocation began. He was appointed commandant of Tabriz and Dehkargan after the capture of these territories by Russian troops.[13] Armenians, “inspired” by his call during the invasion of Tabriz by Russian troops on October 13, as always, betrayed the state they lived, opened the gates of Tabriz to Russian troops.[14]

The Armenian clergy also had played a significant role in the development of Tsarist Russia’s policy on Armenians’ resettlement  to North Azerbaijan. The implementation of this policy was not confidential and was carried out overtly. The Catholicos of all Armenians, Bishop Nerses Hashtarakli, promised to render all kind of assistance in the implementation of the plan,[15] and even drew up the whole relocation project.[16] In this regard, Archbishop Nerses, who participated in the Dehkargan negotiations, demanded the participation of Armenians in peace negotiations between Russia and Iran. He wanted the relocation of Armenians to North Azerbaijan not only from Iran and Turkey, but also from the remote India.[17]

General Paskevich, in a letter sent to Sinyagin, the military governor of Tiflis, in December 1827, noted that 15.000 Aysors and and Armenians living around Urmia wanted to move to new territories seized by Russia. In his response Sinyagin suggested to resettle them in the Iravan and Nakhchivan provinces.[18]

The ruling circles of Russia were trying to send special “letters of request” through the Armenian priests on behalf of the Armenians from different parts of Iran. Already, from the beginning of 1828 letters began to be sent to Paskevich. In these letters, the Armenians sought permission to relocate to the newly occupied provinces of Russia.[19]

The main thing drawing attention is that Armenian leaders who knew that Iravan, Nakhchivan  and Garabagh were Azerbaijani lands wanted to achieve the organized and mass relocation of Armenians to these areas after the Russian occupations.  And this permission was to be given by the emperor himself. On April 17, 1828, War Minister Chernyshev reported to Paskevich that the emperor approved all proposals for the relocation of Armenians from Iran to Nakhchivan and Iravan provinces.[20]

A few days after the signing of the Turkmenchay Treaty – on February 14, 1828, Gazaros Lazarian in a report sent from the Turkmenchay village mentioned that Armenians had done everything possible forRussia to win during the war and now leaving their homes wanted to move to Russia (i.e., from Iran to North Azerbaijan – G.N.). He offered the following for the rapid and comfortable resettlement of Armenians: “First, Paskevich should provide him with written instructions to manage the relocation, and the concessions provided to the migrants;  secondly, to give him powers on  the issue of appointing as many as possible officers who know Armenian, to manage the resettlement activities (thus, Lazarian wanted to involve Armenian officers in this work – G.N.);  third, let the Russian army stay and wait for the displaced persons in the climatic conditions where the resettlement will be delayed; fourth, to allocate funds from the treasury for the poor settlers”.[21]

After Articles XV-XVI of the Turkmenchay Treaty was made formal, General Paskevich sent special instructions to the “Interim Office” of Iravan to implement these proposals. General Paskevic’s instructions to the “Interim Office” of Iravan highlighted the creation of a special committee consisting of Russian servicemen and Armenian representatives, which would deal with only the placement and settlement of Armenians moved from Iran, as well as with providing any care and attention to them.[22]

On February 29, 1828, General Paskevich gave special instructions to the “Interim Office” of Iravan on the organization of Armenians moved from Iran.[23] The fact that Paskevich’s special instructions to the “Interim Office” of Iravan on the settlement of Armenians moved from Iran, mainly in the provinces of Iravan and Nakhchivan, and partly in Garabagh is also confirmed by I.Yenikolopov who based on the Georgian Central State Archives.[24] However, the data of Russian Military History Archive dated May 26, 1828 shows that Armenians, who were moved to Garabagh consisted of 279 families and to Iravan- 948 families.[25]

The report from September 22–November 29, 1828 sent by Prince Paskevich to Debich on the relocation of Armenians to Iravan required to settle the Armenians from Iran as far as possible in separate villages. It was not advisable to place them in the villages where the Azerbaijanis lived and to intermingle with the Azerbaijani population.  In order to prevent possible conflicts, it was recommended to vacate  some Azerbaijani villages and to concentrate their populations in areas where the most Azerbaijanis lived.[26]

Moreover, Paskevich demanded that, along with the resettlement of the new settlers in the outskirts of Iravan, their settlement in Nakhchivan province, around Kafan and Mehri should be on the focus of attention as well.[27] It is obvious that the main purpose of Tsarist Russia was to place Armenians along the border of the Ottoman Empire and the Qajar Iran.

The 19-paragraph instruction given to Lazarev by Paskevich said: “Those Christians, who are engaged in trade should be settled in the cities to trade again; enough fertile land will be allocated to the peasants and they will be exempted from taxes for 6 years and land duty for 3 years;   families that are ready to move should be given list of concessions in special forms; displaced people should be divided into groups on villages, each group should have 150 to 300 families; it is necessary to direct the displaced people to the provinces of Iravan and Nakhchivan so that the Christian population in those areas can be increased as much as possible; to appoint an officer, who know Armenian and 2-5 Cossacks to accompany each group;  As soon as the groups of desplaced people start their way, it is important to send a message to “Temporary Office” in Iravan about the number of families, the climatic conditions of their area, their occupation, their herds, and the approximate time they will have reach at the border. To allocate 25.000 rubles of silver no more than 10 silver coins to help poor families.[28]

 Another insruction consisting of 18 paragraphs sent by Paskevich to “Temporary Office” in Iravan stated that “the Committee should allocate land in accordance with the number of resettled families and direct their settlement in the considered areas. The Committee should work to ensure that resettled communities are placed compactly in separate and adjacent areas, as in their previous areas. Those who lived in mountainous areas should be placed in the mountainous, and those who lived in the plains should be placed in plain areas, so to be able to avoid diseases and death as far as possible, and to create for them conditions to preserve their traditions and farming customs. It should not be allowed Christians to settle in villages where Muslims live, and create separate Christian areas and mahals. Christians (Muslims) living around the Muslim (Christian) villages should be moved to their coreligionists.[29]

Besides, resettlers was intended to be placed on state lands, not on landowners  lands. Before the new crop is harvested, the resettlers should be lent in equal amounts for initial grain sowing, and the loan borrowed to revive farming must be paid interest-free for a period of four years, should be paid off within the next six years. When choosing a place for settlement, health conditions and good drinking water should be considered.  A separate report on the placement of each family should be provided and the report should indicate the amount of total costs.”[30]

Soon all the requirements of the instructions on the basic principle of voluntariness in resettlement were completely violated. Thus, Gazaros Lazarian and his Armenian representatives began to relocate Armenians to North Azerbaijan, not voluntarily, but forcibly, violating terms of the Turkmenchay Treaty and instructions given them.

Abbas Mirza, who understood Russia’s policy of creating a buffer Armenian state, was concerned about the mass placement of Armenians along the new borders of Russia and Iran. Therefore, he was trying to prevent the mass resettlement of Armenians from Iran.  For this, the representatives of Abbas Mirza were going to the places, promising Armenians to be exempted from paying taxes for six years if they do not move.[31] Besides, Abbas Mirza twice appealed to Gazaros Lazarian personally to end the forced migration of Armenians and to fulfill the terms of the Turkmenchay Treaty.[32] The second letter sent by Abbas Mirza to Gazaros Lazarian, clearly exposes the hypocritical policy of the Armenian colonel: “Now you stay in Selmas and the troops are also there.You demand  money through the Cossacks and the esual (an official charge with the arrangement of the state processions) from the villages, which do not want to relocate and at the same time you give money to those who want to move”.[33]

Forcible resettlement of the Armenian population living in Qajar Iran to the occupied Azerbaijani lands  caused serious protests among them as well. The archbishop Nerses, in his letter to General Paskevich on March 17, 1728, asked the general to instruct the local commandant in Khoy to make Israel abstain from doing this, punish him by depriving of his rank and send to Uchkilsa because the bishop of the Selmas monastery Israel prevented the forcible resettlement of the Armenian population. [34] In a letter from General Paskevich to Nerses on March 19 of the same year, his request was promised to be fulfilled. [35]

Information on the resettlement of Armenians from the territories of Qajar Iran to the occupied Azerbaijani lands can be seen in the “Final Report”of Lazarev to count Paskevich on December 24, 1829. According to the report, the resettlement process began on February 26, 1828, and ended on June 11. The Armenian General Gazaros Lazarian, who showed great interest in the rapid implementation of this bloody policy, personally led it. Other Armenian officers — Lieutenant-Colonel of the 41st regiment of chasseurs Prince Melikov assisted in the relocation of Armenians of Uzumchu and the surrounding villages; Lieutenant-Colonel of the Georgian Grenadier regiment Prince Argutinski-Dolgoruki — Tabriz and the surrounding villages, collegiate assessor (civil rank in tsarist Russia) of Selmas Province, Qamazov- villages around the Maragha and Urmia khanates, and Prince Shalikov closely assisted in the resettlement of the Armenians living in the Khoy khanate  to Azerbaijani lands to the north of the Araz River.[36]

According to the Turkmenchay Treaty, as the withdrawal of Russian troops started from Maragha on March 8, first of all it was considered to relocate Armenians living there…  Already on March 9, General Paskevich and members of the Provisional Azerbaijan Executive Board left Tabriz. Abbas Mirza regained his power in Tabriz. And, Lazarev arriving in the Sufyan settlement, in north of Tabriz – to the Russian military commander and was able additional money to be allocated for the relocation.[37] On May 9 of the same year, in Lazarev’s report to  Paskevich it was stated that more than 4.500 Armenian families had been moved and brought to the bank of Araz River on the Iranian side.[38]

Qazaros Lazarian had sent all Armenians living in the villages near Turkmenchay to the territory of the former Garabagh Khanate from the Selmas and Qazvin khanates, and Armenians relocated from Selmas and Qazvin khanates joined those moved  from Maragha.[39] In a document dated February  27, 1828, the relocation of Armenians from Qajar Iran to the territory of former Azerbaijani khanates, occupied by Russia, is further confirmed.[40]

On March 30, 1828, Gazaros Lazarian, seeing slowdown in the resettlement, appealed to the Armenians.  The Appeal said: “You will get a New Homeland there (i.e., in North Azerbaijani lands – G.N.), settled by Christians… Thoughts of Christian lands should encourage you. You will see Christians scattered throughout the various provinces of Iran to be concentrated there. Hurry up! There is no time. Soon Russian troops will leave Iran, and your resettlement will be difficult then and we will not be responsible for your safe move.  Even if you suffer a small loss, you will achieve everything in a short time, and it will be for ever”.[41] The Armenian text of Lazarev’s appeal was immediately spread to all Armenians living in Iran.

Gazaros Lazarian, who was extremely active in the relocation of Armenians, in April-May, 1828, along with the Maragha, Tabriz, Khoy, Selmas, Urmia and Dilman regions, also provided the resettlement of  the Armenians living in the territory of Iran called Kurdistan, to the newly occupied provinces of Russia (the Azerbaijani lands – G.N.).[42]

Russian ruling circles paid special attention to the settlement of the Armenians moved from the territory of Iran mostly in the area of the occupied Iravan khanate.[43] In a report sent to General Paskevich on May 27, 1828, Lazarian stated that the 500 Muslim Kurdish families also wanted to move from Iran to the Iravan province. However, this plan of the Armenian officer failed. Because, on February 29, Lazarev was charged  with a special letter instructing not to allow Muslims to resettle.[44]

However, the Russian Empire was not content with the resettlement of the Armenians living in the territory of Qajar Iran, and sought to move other Christian communities there to the area of the occupied Iravan khanate, and this policy was continued afterwards as well. Materials gained from the Russian archives show  that in 1832, other Christian tribes living in the territory of Qajar Iran were also moved to the  “Armenian province”.[45]

It appears from Lazarev’s report that in the first three months and a half, 8249 Armenian families were relocated from Iran to Iravan, Nakhchivan and Garabagh, that meant at least 40.000 people;14.000 manats of gold and 400 manats of silver were spent on the relocation; 1.500 Armenian families who wanted to move had remained in Iran.  Because Lazarev did not have the opportunity to resettle them as the time given him for the resettlement elapsed.[46]

However, it should be taken into consideration that Lazarev’s report does not perfectly reflect the size of the Armenian families moved from Iran to North Azerbaijan.  The Russian language  archival documents of the 1832 year, show that at the time,  Armenians living in the territory of Qajar Iran were still resettling to the “Armenian province” then.[47] That is why the Russian researcher N.A.Smirnov wrote that 90.000 Armenians were moved from Iran and settled in Azerbaijani lands.[48]

Along with the impletation of relocation, there was a process of expatriation of Azerbaijanis from their native land. The majority of the 4.600 families living in Nakhchivan province in 1827-1728, that’s 4170 were Azerbaijani families. During the settlement of Armenians in the province, about 1.400 Azerbaijani families left Nakhchivan and in 1832 their size had dropped from 90 per cent to 60 per cent.[49]

According to the data provided by I.Chopin, 366 Armenian families (1715 persons) moved from Iran were settled in Iravan, 265 families (1,110 people) in Nakhchivan and 36 families (182 persons) in Ordubad.[50] The moved Armenians were settled in 119 villages of the Iravan province, in 61 villages of the Nakhchivan province and 11 villages of the Ordubad district. In total, 4559 (23,568) Armenian families were settled in Iravan province, 2137 families (10,652) —  in Nakhchivan and 250 families (1,340) — in Ordubad district. As a result, 6949 Armenian families covering 35.560 people were relocated to the so-called “Armenian province”.[51]

According to estimates of H.Verdiyeva, in 1828-1830, 3.000 Armenian families were moved to Garabagh province, 1395 families —  to Iravan province and 2285 families were moved to Nakhchivan province.  On the whole, 2.010 Armenian families, i.e.,  119.500 people, were moved to North  Azerbaijan in 1828-1830. If only 22.500 Armenians lived in Iravan province prior to the Turkmenchay Treaty, their number had increased threefold in the next two years. [52]

Qamazov, who fulfilled Lazarev’s instruction, said in his report that most of those Armenians moved to Iravan province were settled in the best mahals  –  Sherur,  Develi,  Garnichay,  Zangi,  Abaran, Girkhbulag,  Derechichek, and in Saad Chukhur (Chukhursad) –  in the Azerbaijani area located in Iran side of Araz River, i.e., in Surmeli mahal.  More than 300 artisan Armenian families were housed in Iravan in the homes of local citizens — Azerbaijanis.[53]

Under the instructions  of  I.Arquintinski about 200 Armenian families, relocated from the Selmas and Khoy khanates, were sent to the Surmeli mahal.[54] Thus, Armenians moved from Iran were settled in Iravan, Nakhchivan and Ordubad cities (in Nakhchivan  –  Dereleyez, Sherur, Nakhchivan and Azadjiran towns; in the central mahals of Iravan – Garnibasar, Zengibasar, Derechichek, Qerbibasar, Abaran, etc.[55]

Despite Paskevich’s directive on the moved people’s resettlement in the state lands, the majority of Armenians were settled in the lands owned by Azerbaijani landowners.  Armenians were also given houses of the Azerbaijanis, who were in summer pastures.  Azerbaijanis, who returned from the summer pastures, remained homeless.  Even the Russian-speaking author, I.Yenikolopov, who was of Armenian origin confirmed it by writing: “Following the signing of the Turkmenchay Treaty, the resettlement of certain groups began in an in a disorderly manner: For the reason that there was no special land fund, most of the new population (i.e., Armenians – G.N.) was placed in the the peasants’ houses (Azerbaijani Turks – G.N.),who at the time were in the  summer pastures. [56]

Besides, “Notes on the relocation  of Armenians from Iran to our provinces”, author of which is assumed to be A.Qiboyedov, indicate that “along with the settlement in the landowners’ lands and the Muslims living cooped on their own lands, Armenians were made concessions”. But the losers were Muslims. In fact, not Armenians, but Muslims here should be considered as settlers. Because during the war, the Serdar (Viceroy) of Iravan evacuated them from the battlefield, and they lived in the poorest conditions. At the time of the Armenians’ resettlement, most of the Muslim families were in the summer pastures, and they were unaware of the Armenians’settlement in their homes.” [57]

According to the Caucasian Archaeographical (Study and publication of early texts) Committee,  A.Berje not based to any source states that these notes  belong to A.Griboyedov. In the XXX volume of the Caucasus Collection, the idea of belonging of these notes to A.Griboyedov is repeated. However, it seems unrealistic that the supporter of the Russian Empire’s policy on relocation of  Armenians to the territory of North  Azerbaijan, who had played an important role in the implementation of this policy, Armenianophile  A. Griboyedov is the author of this article reflecting the real history. Therefore the information provided by I.Yenikolopov can be considered more accurate. Unlike Russian-language sources, I.Yenikolopov shows in his work  that according to documents stored in the Central State Archive of the Armenian SSR, these articles describing the bloody policy of the Russian government belong not to I.Griboyedov, but to the highly educated military journalist D.E.Zubarev, who was sent there on special purpose. Moreover, according to the author, D.E.Zubarev criticizing the resettlement committee in May 1829 wrote that to obtain the necessary information was impossible anywere.  It is not known who owns the property.  He states that most of the relocated Armenians are farmers and craftsmen. However, the proper registration of the number of relocated people had not been made yet.[58]

According to primary sources, contrary to the given instructions, most of the Armenians moved from Iran had been placed in Muslim villages. In the villages where previously resettled Armenians lived mixed with Muslims, there were virtually no new settlers. It is natural that the loss of their land and houses led to a sharp resentment of the Azerbaijani population. In Nakhchivan villages such discontent was more frequent. So, as a way out of the situation, Griboyedov offered to relocate 500 Armenian families formerly resettled in the villages of the Nakhchivan province to Dereleyez. His proposal was implemented.[59]

Even the chairman of the resettlement commission, I.Griboyedov himself, negatively evaluated the resettlement process, noting that Armenians were mainly relocated not on state lands, but on lands belonging to Muslims — landowners and Muslim peasants and that they oppressed Muslims.[60]

On the whole, the realization of the Armenians’ relocation from the territory of Iran to the territories of North Azerbaijan by Tsarist Russia, that is, the processes occurring in the region related to the implementation of Article XV of the Turkmenchay Peace Treaty, are essentially presented distorted in Armenian historiography. For instance, the Armenian historian V.Parsamian wrote about the resettlement of the Armenians: “The Turkmenchay Treaty for the first time allowed Armenians to return to their homeland (?), to unite under Russian rule, and to create much more favorable living conditions. The Armenian people accepted this agreement with great pleasure”. [61] As it turns out, the Armenian author  by distorting  the policy that was planned in the Russian Empire’s Palace, and which Russia needed more, tries to present it as a centuries-old dream of Armenians,  and to connect it with the Armenians’ desire of establishing  a national state. As we have mentioned before, it was the result of Tsarist Russia’s policy of establishing a buffer Christian zone along the border with Qajar Iran and Ottoman Turkey.

However, the Russian authors acknowledge that the purpose of the resettlement of Armenians to the North Azerbaijani lands occupied by Tsarist Russia was to create a state for them.  On account of this, S.Glinka wrote about the Azerbaijan lands, where Armenians were relocated: “these territories … will gather Armenian tribes scattered all over the world  and under the auspices of happy state  of Nicholas I, the Armenian tzardom will revive with its glory and all memories.[62]

According to approximate calculations, the relocation of Armenians had inflicted  damage to Iran, mainly to South Azerbaijan, amounted 32 million manats. The whole burden of the resettlement process fell on the local population, and worsened their situation.  Resettlement also resulted in the loss of fertile lands of Azerbaijanis in North Azerbaijan.  Almost all expenses of the relocation fell on Azerbaijan.[63] The military and religious figures, who were active in the relocation of Armenians from the Qajar Iran to North Azerbaijan were even rewarded by the Russian Empire.

It is obvious that the policy of mass relocation of Armenians from the Qajar Iran to North Azerbaijan by the Russian Empire was a reflection of the Tsarist Empire’s  policy to establish an ethnic and social support on the border with Iran, and to expel Azerbaijanis from their ancestral lands. In addition, the implementation of this bloody policy was also a preparation for the establishment of an “Armenian state”. The subsequent course of historical events has once again proved that the Iranian Armenians were relocated to North Azerbaijan with the sole purpose of creating a “New Homeland” for them.


[1] Սիմէօն Երեիանցի: Ջամբռ: Գիրք, որ կոչի յիշակարան արձանացռւցիչ, հայելի եւ պա­րռւնակող բնավից որպիսռւթեանց Սրբոյ Աթոռոյս, եւ իւրոյ շրջակայից վանօրէիցն: Վաղարշապատ: ՌՀԻԳ: էջ:100.

[2] Գրիգորյան Վ.Ռ. Երեվանի խանությունը 18-րդ դարի վերջում: Երեվան, 1958: էջ: 107; Наджафли Г.Дж. Азербайджан в XVIII-XIX веках. Бишкек, 2010, c.34.

[3] Գրիգորյան Վ.Ռ. Երեվանի խանությունը 18-րդ դարի վերջում: Երեվան, 1958: էջ: 109; Наджафли Г.Дж. Азербайджан в XVIII-XIX веках. Бишкек, 2010, c.34-35.

[4] Российский Государственный Военно-Исторический Архив (РГВИА), ф.52, оп.1/194, дело 331, ч.5., л.л.2,4.

[5] Акты, собранные Кавказской Археографической Комиссией (АКАК), (издан под ред. председателя комиссии А.Д.Берже), т. VI. ч.I,Тифлис, 1874, док. 1356, c.885.

[6] Ениколопов И. Грибоедов и Восток. Ереван, 1954, с.128-129.

[7] Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.128-129.

[8] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.4329. ч.3. л.л.164-164об; л.166.

[9] See: Полное собрание законов Российской империи (ПСЗРИ), Собр. второе, т.III. 1828, СПб., 1830, №1794, 123-130.

[10] ПСЗРИ., №1794, 130; Mahmudov Y.M., Şükürov K.K. Qarabağ: Real tarix, faktlar, sənədlər. Bakı, 2005, s.31.

[11] Грибоедов А.С. Записка о переселении армян из Персии в наши области // Соч. в двух томах, т.II. Москва, 1971, c.339-341; Şükürov K.K. Türkmənçay – 1828: Tarixi xronika. Bakı, 2006, s.85-86.

*  This colonel, a representative of a wealthy Armenian family, still in the 18th century, crept into the Russian tsar’s favour and strengthened in St.Petersburg and Moscow, like his brother Ivan Lazarev [see: При­соединение Восточной Армении к России и его историческое значение. (под ред. Г.М.Казарян). Ереван, 1978, c.649], who was known for ruthlessness against the Turks in the Ottoman-Russian war of 1787-1791, was the enemy not only of the Turks, but the enemy of the Muslims as a whole. In S.Glinka’s work, at the end of the appeal to Armenians (in Armenian) he was presented as Gazaros Lazarian (Ղազարոս Լազարյան) [see: Глинка С. Описание переселения армян адербиджанских в переделы России. Баку, 1990 (переизд..), c.111]. 

[12] See: Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung von vierzigtausend Armeniern, welche im Jahre 1828 aus den persischen Provinz Adarbaidschan nach Russland auswanderten. Leipzig, 1834, S.41; Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c,40.

[13] See: Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.128-129.

[14] See: Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c,38-40.

[15] See: Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.129.

[16] Парсамян В.А. А.С.Грибоедов и переселение армян. // Из исто­рии вековой дружбы. Ереван,1983, c.136-137.

[17] Семенов Л.С. К вопросу о значении Туркманчайского договора для истории Армении. // Историко-филологический журнал АН Арм. ССР. Ереван, 1959, №4, с.108.

[18] See: Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.129-131.

[19] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док. 978, л.л.19-20; Архив Внешней Политики Российской Империи (АВПРИ), ф.194, оп.1(528а), “Миссия в Персией” 1809-1913 гг. док.4.

[20] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.978, л.102.

[21] АКАК, т.VII, док. 553, с.595; д.561, с.603-604; Иреванское ханство. Российское завоевание и переселение армян на земли Северного Азербайджана. Баку, 2010, c.381-382.

[22] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.978. л.1, л.л.3-3об; л.л.4-4об; л.л.5-5об; л.6.

[23] Тунян В.Г. «Защитник отечества» – каталикос всех армян Нерсес Аштаракеци. 1826-1857 гг. Ереван, 2007, c.70.

[24] See: Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.129-130.

[25] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.978. л.114.

[26] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.979. л.л.1-1об; л.л.2-2об; л.л.3,4-4об; л.л.9-9об; л.л.22-22об.

[27] Развитие Еревана после присоединения Восточной Армении к России. (Сб. док.) Ере­ван, 1978, c.189-191.

[28] See: Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c,99-107; Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.80-86.

[29] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.978. л.6об; л.л.7-7об; л.л.8-8об; л.л.9-9об.

[30] Развитие Еревана после.., c.189-191; Иреванское ханство. Российское завоевание…, s.382-383.

[31] АКАК, т.VII, док.586, с.619-620.

[32] See: Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c.66-68, 76-78; Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.58-59, 65-66.

[33] See: Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c.78; Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.66.

[34] АКАК, т.VII, док.568, с.607-608; док.561,c.603-604.

[35] АКАК, т.VII, док.569, с.608.

[36] See: Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c.48,55,63,69,115-116; Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.47, 51,57, 60, 93-94.

[37] See: Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.51-52.

[38] АКАК, т.VII, док.592, с.624.

[39] See: Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.51-53.

[40] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.4338. л.л.69-69об; л.л.70-70об; л.л.71-71об; л.л.72-72об.

[41] See: Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c.107-111; Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.87-89; Иреванское ханство. Российское завоевание…, s.386.

[42] See: Neumann F. Geschichte der Übersiedlung.., S.54-55.

[43] РГВИА, ф.846, оп.16. док.4329, ч.5, л.224, л.л.288-288об.

[44] АКАК, т.VII, док.598, с.629; Иреванское ханство. Российское завоевание…, s.387.

[45] АВПРИ, ф.194, оп.1(528а), “Миссия в Персией” 1809-1913 гг. док.106.

[46] Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c.131; Иреванское ханство. Российское завоевание…, s.388.

[47] АВПРИ, ф.194, оп.1(528а), “Миссия в Персией” 1809-1913 гг. док.152.

[48] Смирнов Н.А.­По­ли­ти­ка России на Кавказе XVI-XIX веках. Москва, 1958, c.180.

[49] Григорьев В. Статистическое описание Нахичеванской провинции. СПб, 1833, с.30.

[50] Шопен И. Исторический памятник состояния Армянской области в эпоху присо­еди­нения к Рос­сийской империи. СПб., 1852, c.636-638.

[51] Шопен И. Исторический памятник…, c.636-638.

[52] Вердиева Х. Переселенческая политика Российской Империи в Северном Азербайджане (XIX начале XX вв.). Баку, 1999, c.91-113.

[53] Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.135-136; Məmmədova İ. XIX əsrin əvvəllərində Rusiyanın Azərbaycanda etnodemo­qrafik vəziyyəti dəyişmək siya­sə­tinin Azərbaycanın sonrakı ta­le­yi­nə təsiri. // Tarix və gerçəklik (Azərbaycan tarix qurumu). Bakı, 2008, №1(3), s.94.

[54] Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.141; Məmmədova İ. XIX əsrin əvvəllərində…, s.94.

[55] Воронов Н.И. Данные об армянском население в России А.Д.Еритсова. // ИКОИРГО, т.VII,  Тифлис, 1882-1883, c.93; Иреванское ханство. Российское завоевание…, s.388.

[56] Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.135.

[57] АКАК, т.VII, док.618, с.642-644.

[58] Ениколопов И. Грибоедов….,  с.140.

[59] АКАК, т.VII, док.623, с.647-648.

[60] АКАК, т.VII, док.618, с.642.

[61] Парсамян В.А. История арм­ян­­ского на­ро­да 1801-1900 гг. кнг. первая. Ереван, 1972, с.49.

[62] Глинка С. Описание переселения…, c.92.

[63] Şükürov K.K. Türkmənçay…, s.94.