I wish you all a very happy Sarikamish - January, 2014

It's that time of the year again and I would like to wish you and your families a very Happy Sarikamish!

Don't understand?
Then please allow me to explain.

I am proudly commemorating the 99th anniversary of an epic Russo-Armenian military campaign that inflicted upwards of 100,000 casualties upon Ottoman army regulars at
the battle of Sarikamish.

Imperial Russian forces reinforced by a significant number of battle-hardened Armenian volunteers from the Caucasus preempted an Ottoman strike against the Russian Empire in the south Caucasus by advancing west towards Erzerum from the Russian held Armenian city of Kars. It was late December 1914, the initial stages of the Caucasus Campaign during the First World War, when the two imperial rivals met on the wind swept, snow covered mountainous landscape at Sarikamish on the outskirts of the ancient Armenian city of Kars. When the historic battle was over some four weeks later, the entire Ottoman force under the leadership of non-other-than Enver Pasha lay decimated. Thousands-upon-thousands of frozen Ottoman corpses lay strewn across the snow clad battlefield.  The Ottoman army had virtually collapsed on their eastern front. According to some accounts, out of a force of nearly 100,000 Ottoman troops about 80,000 is said to have perished during the Battle of Sarikamish alone, the rest being either wounded or taken prisoner. The following is a rare archival film footage of the battle's aftermath - 
Road of Sarikamish after the Turkish retreat December, 1914 (video): http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=80771
The exact number of Ottoman casualties may be disputed by historians today. What's not in dispute, however, is the fact that an entire Ottoman army was decimated in Western Armenia.

The Ottoman defeat at Sarikamish had finally opened the gates to historic Armenia. The Russian-Armenian force that defeated the Ottoman army at Sarikamish was essentially the same army that went on to liberate the ancient Armenian cities of Van, Erzrum, Baiburt, Erzingan, Artvin and Trapizon from the bloody clutches of Turkish and Kurdish tyrants. The following map details the Russian advances in Western Armenia during their Caucasus Campaign between December 1914 and May 1916 -

Russian successes inside historic Armenian territories enabled a significant portion of the region's native Armenian population escape the ravages of war and the genocidal campaign of Turks. After suffering several hundred years of Turkic-Islamic oppression and periodic massacres, Armenians were finally beginning to see a light of salvation. By early 1917 the Russian-Armenian frontier stretched as far west as Erzingan, there was no Turkish army in sight and the liberation of Western Armenia seemed all but completed. Then, quite suddenly, fate struck.

Alas, the sun was not to shine on the Armenian Highlands.

The Russian Empire had suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Germany on European front at the Battle of Tannenberg early in the war. This near total defeat of Russian forces in Europe between 1914 and 1915 had began to create serious sociopolitical unrest within the vast but now increasingly ungovernable empire. This set into motion series of events that would eventually lead to a successful Bolshevik takeover of Imperial Russia in a bloody revolution that would later became known as the October Revolution of 1917.

As a result of tumultuous events leading up to the October Revolution in 1917, the Russian Czar was forced to call off his highly successful Caucasus Campaign. Consequently, Russian troops began abandoning their recently acquired positions within Western Armenia by mid 1917. The gains made at Sarikamish and thereafter would prove futile. What followed the Russian retreat from Western Armenia was the darkest page in Armenian and Russian history.

By 1918, the Russian nation had entirely descended into a darkness that it would not come out of until after the Second World War and after tens-of-millions of Russians had perished. With the unexpected abandonment of the Armenia Highlands by Czarist Russia, using the pro-Russian sentiments of Caucasian Armenians as a pretext, Turks began to intensify their genocidal campaign against their defenseless Armenian subjects. By the early 1920s, nearly two million Armenians had perished and all of Western Armenia was all but emptied of its aboriginal Armenian population and was now fully under Turkish occupation once again.

It is important to note here that the military defeat the Ottoman army suffered at the hands of the Russian Empire at Sarikamish and elsewhere between 1914 and 1917 may have contributed to the already present paranoia of Ottoman Turks towards the hapless and semi-assimilated Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire who were not under Russian protection. Let's also bare in mind that as Ottoman Minister of War, Enver Pasha, who was also one of the principle architects of the Armenian Genocide, was directly leading the ill-fated Ottoman army at Sarikamish and he is said to have barely escaped with his life. But it would be utterly false to attribute the Ottoman Turk's genocidal campaign against Ottoman Armenians living very far from the battlefields of Sarikamish to Russian actions during the First World War. Ottoman Armenians had nothing to do with Imperial Russian actions. In fact, most Ottoman Armenians were semi-assimilated and some Armenians at the time were also rebelling against the Russian Czar. It is well known that Ottoman Turks had genocidal designs for their Armenian subjects going back to the late 19th century. There were periodic massacres of Ottoman Armenian long before a single Russian soldier stepped foot into Ottoman occupied Western Armenian. Simply put, the Russian Caucasus Campaign was only the pretext, the excuse Turks found to accelerate their plans to rid themselves of the "Armenian question".

Nevertheless, had it not been for the Bolshevik revolution in Russia (a Jewish funded and led revolution in which sadly many Armenians played an important role in), I strongly believe that the western reaches of Armenia today would have at the very least included Van, Erzingan and Trabizond - and there would not have been a bloody tragedy known today as the Armenian Genocide. In my opinion, Bolsheviks were indirectly, but no less, responsible for the horrible tragedy that befell Ottoman Armenians. The Bolshevik leadership was also of course solely responsible for giving Turks and Caucasian Tatars (known today as Azerbaijanis) the Armenian territories of Kars, Ardahan, Nakhijevan and Artsakh. That Bolsheviks were the lesser of evils when fate once again came knocking on the door in Armenia in 1921 is all together another story.

How unpredictable history can be and how cruel it has been for us Armenians for the past one thousand years.

Armenians can draw many conclusions and learn many lessons from these historic events: Was it wise for Armenians to place so much trust in the United States, France and Britain, nations very far removed from Armenia? Was it wise for Armenians to join Marxist movements and rebel against the Russian Czar, at a time nonetheless when Armenians were also rebelling against Ottoman Turks? 

But questioning the wisdom of Caucasian Armenians participating in Russia's Caucasus Campaign is out of the question.

To liberate one's oppressed nation, one must take calculated risks. Partaking in the Caucasus Campaign was a risk worth taking. After all, no one expected the Russian Empire to suffer a devastating defeat at the hands of Germany so early in the war and no one could predict the total collapse of the Russian Empire as a result of the Bolshevik revolution. From an Armenian perspective, a historic opportunity was presented during the early years of the First World War to free Western Armenia from the bloody clutches of Ottoman Turks and some Armenians in the Russian Empire were smart enough to take advantage of it. It would be wise to recall once more that there had already been large scale massacres of Armenians in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Therefore, when such an opportunity arises once again (and it will, sooner or later), I expect us Armenians to take advantage of it once again. Such a mindset is in fact what I try to cultivate through this blog.

Another clear lesson to be learned from the First World War is the importance of having a powerful Russia that is under Slavic, Christian rule. Russia's sociopolitical health should be a concern not only for Russians but for all Armenians as well. Armenians need to follow Russian politics just as much - if not more - than Armenian politics. Armenia needs to setup an academy of Russian studies. Armenians need to be a constant presence within the Kremlin. Russian-Armenians need to become better organized and politically active. 

As I have said, the Caucasus is like a table where Turks, Persian, Azeris, Georgians, Islamists, Western energy interests, Russians and Armenians sit. Imagine this table without its Russian occupant. In other words, imagine the plight of Armenia in a Turkic-Islamic dominated political landscape without having the Russian Bear to rely on.

Nevertheless, what's important to recognize is that as a result of Russian-Armenian collaboration during the First World War, as late as 1917, Western Armenia has been liberated for the most part. We must be collectively seeking for a rematch if we want to liberate Western Armenia. But, looking at our traditional Diaspora (the off-springs of the Ottoman Armenian genocide survivors) there is much let to be desired.

Misunderstood history, misplaced priorities, misled politics

Our politically shortsighted and genocide obsessed compatriots in the Diaspora are afraid of discussing these kinds of historical information simply because of fears that doing so might somehow undermine genocide recognition efforts in the West - as if the decades long, now standard modus operandi of our so-called "Հայ Դատ" has bared any fruit.

We as a nation must appropriately commemorate the Armenian Genocide on a yearly basis and always treat it as a historic fact. Having said that, the Armenian Diaspora's decades long obsession with achieving genocide recognition has only served to create several generations of terribly insecure, emotionally scarred and self-hating Armenians with serious victim mentalities and severe political ignorance.

For example: Beyond proudly and enthusiastically acknowledging that Armenians were victims of "the 2oth century's first genocide" and of course "the first Christian nation", the typical "proud" American-Armenian today knows next to nothing about Armenia's vastly rich national heritage and understands next to nothing about the political landscape within which Armenia is unfortunately located in today. Our unhealthy approach to Armenian matters, be it issues regarding the Armenian Genocide or sociopolitical matters pertaining to Armenia, has created abnormalities within our Diasporan communities.

The following is a brief look at how intellectually deficient, psychologically compromised and emotionally disconnected Armenians have become in the Diaspora today -

The voices above are not rare within Diasporan circles. We have quite a few "proud" Armenians these days that have emotionally divorced themselves from Armenia and see themselves first-and-foremost as "Western Armenians". We have significant numbers of Armenians today that see patriotism and national preservation as backward and dangerous concepts not worthy of "righteous" Armenians. We have significant numbers of Armenians today that seek "reconciliation" with Turks. We have significant numbers of Armenians today that wants Yerevan to sever ties with Russia. We have significant numbers of Armenians today that are more worried about "gays" in Armenia than about Armenia itself.

We have significant numbers of Armenians who want nothing to do with their homeland simply because the less-than ideal realities of the Armenia we have today does not live up to their personal fantasies of what Armenia should look like. 

I personally know quite a few of the aforementioned types in our society. Besides our unhealthy obsession with the genocide, for this pathetic situation, we can also thank Armenian tribalism, arrogance and egotism coupled with the Cold War era's anti-Armenia culture that is still somewhat prevalent within Middle Eastern Armenians and circles within the ARF. Nevertheless, basing an entire nation's identity on a genocide has severely damaged and deformed the Armenian spirit. And the more recent doom and gloom campaign and the information war relentlessly carried out against the fledgling Armenian state by Western operatives throughout Armenian society has only exasperated the situation.

Nations with victim mentalities, misplaced priorities and political illiteracy will always be manipulated and led astray. Insecure and politically ignorant nations that beg at the feet of others (especially at the feet of reptilian politicians in the West) can never accomplish anything in the world of realpolitik - nor will they ever be respected by the international community.

Spurred on by self-serving opportunists like Ara Papyan and subversive organizations such as Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee (TARC) and the Zoryan Institute, our hopelessly naive and deeply scarred compatriots still talk about "justice" and "international law" being on the side of Armenians and the need for "reconciliation" with Turk. But the same utterly fail to realize that as long as Armenia does not have strong Russian backing and the military and/or financial power to push its political weight upon the international stage, Armenia shall remain vulnerable in the eyes of Turks and worthless in the eyes on the international community.

Despite the wildest dreams of our reconciliation obsessed compatriots, Turks will never look at Armenians without hostility, nor will they ever put aside their pan-Turkist fantasies. Attempting to engage Turks in dialogue will only result in ugly situations such as this -


Neighbors like Turks and Azeris can only be talked to or negotiated with from a clear position of strength. Mind you that I am saying this as one that fully supported the "protocols" several years ago. Yes, the border between Armenia and Turkey needs to open. Yes, there needs to be dialogue between Armenian and Turkish government officials. But all this needs to happen very carefully and from a position of strength - and free of Western meddling. In recent years there has been a Western agenda to bring politically ignorant Armenians and sweet talking Turks together. This Western-backed agenda wants Turkey to walk away with a mere apology or some other largely symbolic gesture. Needless to say, such Western-backed initiatives are counterproductive for Armenians for they only serve to make us lower our guards. It would be very advisable to look at Western and Turkish intentions with regards to Armenia within the following context -

George Friedman: “Russian presence in Armenia is bad for Turkey”: http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2010/11/arye-gut-israeli-jewish-expert-in.html

Turkish Advice: Armenian diaspora, focus on Russia rather than Turkey! http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/armenian-diaspora-focus-on-russia-rather-than-turkey.aspx?pageID=449&nID=59677&NewsCatID=412

Russian General Leonid Ivashov: Turkey Seeks Separation Between Russia, Armenia: http://news.am/eng/news/36696.html

Opening of Armenian-Turkish Border Should be a Russian but not a U.S. Project: http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=27006

USA trying to break up Armenian-Russian military relations, general says: http://www.eurasianet.org/resource/a...0005/0040.html
Realizing that despite their economic blockade of a landlocked and poor Armenia - and periodic threats to finish-off what they couldn't during the First World War -  Armenia's strength in the south Caucasus is increasing with each passing year largely thanks to the Russian presence inside Armenia. As a result, Turks have begun to take the advise of their Western/Jewish counterparts by attempting to convince us Armenians that Turks and Armenians can indeed live side-by-side once again... if it wasn't for them pesky Russkies!

When it comes to Armenia, there is nothing that would please Western powers and Turkey more than driving a wedge between Armenia and Russia. This is the long term geostrategic agenda Turks and their Western benefactors are currently working on. 

The venomous anti-Putin protests we saw in Armenia in early December may be a troubling sign that this approach - to disarm Armenia of its Russian protection - is working to a certain degree. Here, I'd like to remind you once again that many within the Armenian community already blames Russians for the Armenian genocide, and Armenia's most beloved/psychotic "nationalist" Paruyr Hayrikian and his no-less psychotic followers think that Russians are worst than Turks. 

In short, as Stratfor's George Friedman candidly put it: "Russian presence in Armenia is bad for Turkey".

And as "Barcin Yinanc" slyly advises us: "Focus on Russia rather than Turkey!"

Get the picture? 

Anyway, when it comes to the Armenian Genocide, "recognition" per se is worthless and may even be counterproductive. And it is downright delusional to think that Ankara will voluntarily return historic Armenia to its rightful owners or pay the tens-of-billions of dollars in reparations as a result of "recognition", "reconciliation" and/or "international pressure". Such silly nonsense only serves to distract us from placing our pan-national emphasis on militarily, economically and politically strengthening the Armenian homeland we have today.

Russians and Turks 'will' come to blows again, will we be ready?

After all is said and done, one thing remains crystal clear to me:  If Western Armenia is to get liberated someday (and I think it's a very real possibility), it wont come by the way of a Diasporan Armenian-Kurdish cooperation (what a laughable idea) as some delusional ARFers think; it wont happen as a result of the ARF collaborating with Islamized Armenians inside Turkey (another laughable idea), it will only happen as a result of Russian-Armenian troops again marching westward from the south Caucasus. Kurds and Islamized Armenians will be utilized as factors on the ground only when such a Russian-Armenian force from the Caucasus enters Western Armenia.

This is the only hypothetical reality we Armenians must learn to recognize and appreciate. And this is the long-term, pan-national and geostrategic agenda we Armenians must work on, that is if we want to see Western Armenia liberated one day. 

In the meanwhile, Armenians must understand that international law is made by the powerful to control the weak. We must realize that only the strong can impose their version of history upon others. Only the strong can right the wrongs of history. Only the strong can enjoy a prominent position on the negotiation table. Only the strong are invited to lavish banquets as honored guests. We must also not forget that for thousands of years, politics has been governed by one very natural yet simple law: might makes right. 

As long as we Armenians continue thinking of ourselves as victims and continue acting like victims, as long as we Armenians blindly pursue Western fairytales, as long as we Armenians are distracted from fully exploiting Armenia's close alliance with Russia - we Armenians shall forever remain victims and Armenia shall forever remain destitute!

Once again: The pursuit of Western fairytales such as "democracy" and "human rights" in Armenia are dangerous red-herrings that only serve to stagnate the fledgling nation politically and economically and prevent us Armenians from collectively pursuing more important, more strategic matters facing our embattled nation.

But I believe better times lie ahead. Despite its severe growing pains, Armenia today stands on the verge of becoming a major Russian-backed regional trade hub. Despite its self-destructive peasantry, Armenia stands poised to be a strategic point between the Eurasian Customs Union and the Middle East, Turkey and Europe. As of the historic announcement made on September 03, 2013, I finally see some light at the end of our long and dark tunnel. Thankfully, we have had some competent leaders at the helm in Yerevan. President Sargsyan's September 3 decision was a very wise geostrategic move that will begin paying enormous dividends in the future for Pax Russicana in the south Caucasus holds many promises.

Therefore, it's high time we wake-up from our EUrotic fantasies and American wet dreams and use this historic opportunity for the betterment of our sacred homeland in order to strengthen it so that when the days come to move west, it will be ready to accomplish its mission.

When remembering historic events such as the Battle of Sarikamish and the Russian Caucasus Campaign during the First World War, Armenian nationalists cant help but be reminded of the plight of Western Armenia. The Russian-Armenian advance into the Armenian Highlands during the First World War shows us all that doing so is very possible (given that it is done under the right circumstances) and it encourages us to prepare, at least mentally, for the next historic opportunity.

I have no doubt that when opportunity does come knocking once again, a renewed Caucasus Campaign will have a drastically different ending. I have no doubt that Russians and Turks will come to blows once again. And when it happens, it will be a vastly different outcome. Are we ready?

Unlike in 1914, the Russian state today does not have any major sociopolitical issues within its borders. During the early 20th century, Russia was ripe for a major sociopolitical upheaval and Marxism was a growing force. Nothing of the sort exists today. Other than some pussy rioters acting all hysterical periodically, other than some angry gay activists throwing temper tantrums now-and-then, other than suicidal Islamists blowing themselves up from time-to-time, there is no major movement brewing inside the country that can even remotely pose a threat to Russian authorities. Unlike in 1914, Russian society is not in despair. In fact, Russia has one of the fastest growing middle class in the world. If Russia did not collapse in 1990s, it certainly ain't going to do so now or in the foreseeable future. Unlike in 1914, Russia today is a massive nuclear superpower who's military capabilities are getting better with each passing year. Unlike in 1914, Europe and much of Eurasia (including Turkey) are very dependent on Russian energy for survival. More importantly, unlike in 1914, the Russian nation has learned the lessons of the 20th century all too well. 

Let's also look at Armenia: Unlike in 1914, Armenia is an independent nation with a major military victory already to its credit. Unlike in 1914, Armenia has a relatively powerful military that is getting stronger. Unlike in 1914, Armenia is an established nation-state with an important strategic alliance with the Russian Federation and very warm relations with Iran. Unlike in 1914, Armenia also has a worldwide Diaspora than will come to its aid in time of need.

Nevertheless, with a land stretching virtually from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with natural resources virtually inexhaustible and with a massive nuclear armed military that is unbeatable on the battlefield, whatever serious campaign the Russian nation decides to embark upon today will be a safe bet. Having suffered the darkest period of its history during the first half of the 20th century, the Russian nation is once again on the rise and will certainly be continuing its forward momentum for the foreseeable future.

Turks and other regional Turanians have had an instinctual fear of Russia going back hundreds of years. It is essentially a natural rivalry within the human ecology that is similar to that of bears and wolves (pun intended) competing over the same feeding territory. In the 1990s we saw this rivalry between Russians and Turks play out in the Caucasus and the Balkans, and more recently we saw it take place within Syria. There may be periods of peace and cooperation between the two natural rivals but the rivalry between Russia and Turkey will never totally disappear and will at times come to blows. 

It's not only me predicting this, here we see an article by George Friedman's Stratfor also acknowledging this natural order of things -
Shifting Geopolitics: The Rise of Russia and Turkey (August, 2010): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2010/11/ultimately-both-russia-and-turkey-know.html
Because Russian trade makes up a very major part of the Turkish economy today, because Russia provides Turkey with more than half of its energy needs, because Russia's role is growing once again in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the south Caucasus, the fear of the Russian Bear by Turks is as prevalent now as it has ever been. When the time is right, and if Russians decide they can afford going to war to establish a wider buffer zone around their vulnerable underbelly and perhaps obtain direct access to warm water ports for their navy, there is nothing Turkey - or its friends - can do to stop them.

Liberation of Western Armenia

A nation that is tiny, landlocked, desolate, impoverished, remote and blockaded by hostile neighbors in a very volatile geographic environment will suffer severe socioeconomic and sociopolitical instability even under the best of circumstances. Therefore, reigning in Armenia's "oligarchs", as desirable as it may be, will not solve Armenia's most serious problems.

I have long maintained that sooner-or-later Armenia needs to expand - break out of its mountain prison - if it is to prosper and be taken seriously by the international community. I have always maintained that collaboration with Russia (and to a lesser extent with Iran) is the only way forward for Armenia in this regard. I have always maintained that the best route for Armenia to expand is through Georgia to the Black Sea and/or through Azerbaijan to the southern Russian border. My sentiments regarding this geostrategically important matter are reflected in the following blog entry -
The liberation of Western Armenia is also a hypothetical possibility and it should definitely be addressed. Allow me to start off by first saying that this is a very complex geopolitical matter. There are many variables involved, not the least of which is the unpredictability of tomorrow. No one but God knows when the day will come when Armenian tanks will drive into Van and reclaim Armenia's most ancient capitol. That glorious day may or may not happen within our life times. Having said that, we as a nation need to be vigilant and ready for when an opportunity to do so does arrive once more. If we are not ready to exploit such an opportunity - then obviously there is no chance whatsoever. However, if we are ready and work towards that particular goal - then there is a chance, a very good chance. Therefore, it's ultimately up to us as a people to decide what we want for our future.

Sadly, generally speaking, Armenians today have either given up on the idea, are indifferent to it, approach it irrationally or are categorically against it. And this Armenian reality is the main obstacle we face, not Turks.

Therefore, the "enemy" is us.

The last thing I want is for us to be asleep at the wheel once again when opportunity comes knocking. Despite all the patriotic songs and stories we have heard from the period of the First World War, the reality of the matter is that most Armenians at the time were either complacent with their overall condition as semi-Turkified Ottoman subjects or simply scared into inaction.

Let's remember that the Ottoman military had been utterly decimated and Turkey was not a serious fighting force towards the end of the First World War. Moreover, when Russians retreated from Western Armenia in 1917 they left behind large stockpiles of weaponry that Armenians could have used for the war effort. Had we - as a people - rallied around the goal of liberation and had we been well organized, we would have been able to preserve significant portions of our historic lands - despite the Russian retreat in 1917 - and there would most probably not have been an Armenian Genocide to lament over. 

Here, I think, we all can learn a lot from our compatriots in Artsakh.

We can learn a lot from the way they liberated Artsakh even against immense odds. Being that Armenians of Artsakh are the only major group within our nation that were not subjugated by any power at any time in history, they are the direct decedents of the warrior-aristocracy of the ancient Armenian Highlands. Therefore, it is fully understandable why a majority of the greatest Armenian men in modern times were derived from the territories of Artsakh. This speaks volumes about the importance of pedigree and what I term as biopolitics. While the rest of the Armenian nation was more-or-less reduced to subservient and semi-assimilated peasants, artizens and merchants during the course of the past one thousand years, much to the chagrin of Persians, Turks and Tatars, Armenians of Artsakh were able to preserve our people's ancient characteristics: Resourceful, resilient, stubborn, intelligent, aggressive, very patriotic and very warlike. 

Needless to say, Azeris found this out the hard way during the 1990s. Artsakh reminded us all that the enemy has always been and continues to be the Turk. Artsakh showed us that the only way forward is through armed struggle. Artsakh also gave us a real lesson in genuine patriotism and realpolitik. In a certain sense, Artsakh saved Armenia and the Diaspora, not the other way around. 

Getting back to the First World War: Only a miniscule percentage of Armenians actually fought for Armenia's independence in Western Armenia. Small numbers, the lack of discipline and the lack of cooperation and coordination with other Armenian groups often characterized the Armenian liberation effort at the time. Not only that, as noted above, many Armenians at the time were even rebelling against the Russian Czar and many within the Ottoman-Armenian community were actually conspiring against Armenian freedom fighters.

As much as we are inclined to blame Turks, Kurds, Germans, Brits, French and Russians for our devastating losses during the First World War, we Armenians also share equal blame. In fact, I would go as far as saying what happened to us back then was all our fault because, unlike us, all the other players at the time were merely doing what was in their best interests.

Anyway, that was then, this is now. Let's look ahead.

There are many important lessons to be learned from the First World War: The need for national unity; unconditional service to the flag; a powerful military; being a part of genuine alliances with regional powers; a heightened awareness to the political world we all live in; and geostrategic foresight.

Moreover, the need to approach Armenia's current sociopolitical issues rationally and objectively is also fundamentally important - so is the need to stop chasing our tails with dangerous Western fairytales: toxic concoctions known popularly as Democracy, Capitalism, Westernization and Globalization. 

More importantly, we need to pan-nationally work towards deepening our strategic alliance with the Russian Bear. We need to use our God given talents to figure out a way of turning Russia's national interests into an extension of Armenian interests. The foundation to do just that exists today for Moscow's and Yerevan's political interests converge to a great degree. This needs to be further cultivated. This convergence of interests between our two nations needs to become institutionalized.

Armenian officials, business tycoon and activists need to be a constant presence within the Kremlin. While Armenia's increasingly powerful military is without any doubt Armenia's TACTICAL advantage on the global chessboard, Yerevan's alliance with Moscow must be fully cultivated to become Armenia's STRATEGIC advantage on the global chessboard. 

Armenia's expansion is therefore mainly based upon the nature of Russo-Armenian relations, as well as various other geopolitical and socioeconomic factors. Armenian officials need to work on these various factors and the rest of us need to be patient and pray for the best. I firmly believe we will liberate our historic lands. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. 

I will now briefly address some reoccurring questions and objections some Armenians have every time the topic of liberating Western Armenia is brought up in conversation.

Will Russia help once again? When the circumstances are right, in other words when the West is in no position to intervene perhaps due to a major war or economic collapse or when the Turkish state is on the verge of falling, Moscow may be very willing to participate in a military campaign inside Turkey simply to gain assess to the strategic Strait of Dardanelles or to gain a foothold in the warm water sea ports at Cilicia. Geostrategically, it would fully serve Moscow's interests if their regional rival Turkey is broken into pieces and some of the pieces given to its strategic ally Armenia (as long as Armenia remains fully within the Russian orbit).

Will Iran participate? Iran's position in such a scenario is more difficult to predict for Iran is an Islamic state and it also has a natural fear of Russians. But, with proper negotiations with Moscow and Yerevan and perhaps some incentives Tehran may very well seek the destruction of its historic rival as well.

How will Armenians defend the land when it's liberated? The lands in question can easily be protect and defended by a well armed and well trained modern military force. The land is rugged and alpine, once you acquire it and dig in, you are in total control. Artsakh is a good example. Also, if you do have a nuclear device behind you, you are virtually untouchable. North Korea is a good example. Besides, I only envision Armenia making a move into Western Armenia when the Turkish nation is weak and with Russian support. In other words, when the Turk is vulnerable and the geopolitical situation is appropriate, you stomp on its head as fast as you can and as hard as you can and you don't stop stomping until you accomplish your mission.

What about the Kurds? There is a possibility that Kurds may be willing to accept the liberation of Western Armenia if they receive sovereignty in other Kurdish populated territories in exchange. In the event, however, Kurds oppose the liberation of Western Armenia, they will be made to move to northern Iraq or south and west of Van. It's no big deal. During times of geopolitical chaos, these things occur naturally. During their 2006 war against Hezbollah, Israel was been able to displace close to one million Lebanese within two short weeks. The much less capable Artsakh army was able to do the same with Azeris in 1993. Those who decide to remain within the liberated territories will do so as Armenian citizens (just as they are Turkish citizens now, there is no reason why they cant be Armenian citizens). In the big picture, Kurds are quite disorganized and fragmented. No need to worry about them as a military or political threat. Having said that, the emphasis should be placed on convincing Kurds to accept sovereignty in territories south and/or west of Van.

What is so important about our lands? Western Armenia, also known as Armenian Highlands is the cradle of Armenian civilization as well as the cradle of human civilization. Western Armenia is where our martyred ancestors lie in unmarked graves. Moreover, the region is rich in natural resources and agricultural potential. Every Armenian wants to see a prosperous Armenia, right? Well, a prosperous Armenia will need to expand eventually.
I envision the Armenian homeland growing in population within the next one hundred years. Armenians will eventually need more land, if only as living space. So, what better land than our lands to expand into? More importantly, the Armenian Highlands hold great geostrategic value to those that control it. The geostrategic value of the lands that Ankara controls today is the main reason why Turks have become major political and economic players in the region. The territory in question is an important international intersection. Those that control it automatically become major political players throughout the region and beyond. What's more, the only way we Armenians will be able to get some respect from the international community is by creating a large and powerful nation: A nation that would be able to sit on the table, as an equal, with major powers.

Let's not forget that politics is dirty business. If we Armenians want our homeland to truly prosper we need to be aggressive once in a while. Isn't this how the wealthiest and the most powerful nations on earth got their start? Isn't this how the wealthiest and the most powerful nations on earth live today?

To this effect, we need to get rid of our genocide complexes. We need to get rid our our Diasporan mentalities. Unfortunately, we Armenians think small. When one thinks small one accomplishes small. But as long as we remain small, dependent on foreign aid and politically indecisive and thus vulnerable, the international community will give us lip service at best or plot our destruction at worst. It's quite natural, for that is the natural order of international relations.

Nevertheless, whether or not we will be able to liberate our historic lands in Western Armenia is more-or-less based upon the following factors:
A settlement of the Artsakh dispute in Armenia's favor; The strength of the Armenian economy; The strength of the Armenian military; The strength of Russian-Armenian alliance; Superpower interests within the region; Strong Armenian-Iranians relations; Strong Armenian-Kurdish relations; Strong Armenian-Arab relations; Strong Armenian-Greek relations; Turkey's internal problems; Strains in Turkey's relations with the West; The readiness of the Armenian
The above are more-or-less the main geopolitical factors that would determine whether or not Eastern Armenia will be able to see the liberation of Western Armenia. Naturally, these are all hypothetical and to some extent wishful thinking. The condition today is not yet ripe. The factors are not yet there. But, as I said: If we keep this agenda in our minds and this desire within our hearts, there is a possibility. But if we don't, there is no chance. Thus, the pivotal factor is played by nobody but us. 

As we have unfortunately been seeing in recent years, throughout our history our people have been Armenia's biggest and most insurmountable obstacle. But with proper Social Engineering (political conditioning of the masses) our very talented people can potentially become Armenia's catalyst to a greater future. Despite its severe yet natural growing pains, our homeland in the south Caucasus is making good progress in many areas, but there is a lot more to accomplish. 

Once again: If Western Armenia is to get liberated someday in the future, it wont come by the way of a Kurdish-ARF military contingent, it wont come by the way of Islamized Armenians of Turkey, it wont come by the way of Western support and it certainly wont come as a result of "international law". If Western Armenia is to get liberated someday, it will only happen as a result of Russian-Armenian forces again marching westward from the south Caucasus. This is the reality we Armenians must learn to recognize and appreciate. And this is the long-term, pan-national agenda we Armenians must train ourselves to work on. 

At the end of the day, we must recognize that the Russian factor is the main reason why we Armenians have been able to create an Armenian homeland in a very hostile environment for the past two hundred years. Russia has given us an opportunity we have not had in one thousand years. We need to understand this, appreciate this and fully exploit this opportunity. With the following I'd like to take a brief look at the Russian factor in Armenia's rebirth. 

The Russian factor in Armenia's rebirth

On its own, the Caucasus has the natural tendency to revert back into being a Turkic-Islamic cesspool, as it has been for much of the past one thousand years. It is virtually impossible to visualize an Armenian homeland within such an Asiatic/Islamic cesspool despite our best imaginations. The Russian factor is the only reason why we Armenians have been able to create an Armenian homeland in such hostile environment for the past two hundred years. And as it has been for the past two hundred years, Armenia has risen with Russia and she has fallen with her. Armenia's situation today is no different. Due to historic, economic and geopolitical circumstances prevailing within the south Caucasus, Armenia is wed to Russia - for better or for worst. Armenians need to recognize this reality and simply work to derive the maximum benefit for Armenia.

October 12, 2013 was the two hundredth anniversary of the Treaty of Gulistan. This treaty reached between the Russian Empire and Persia saw the liberation of Artsakh from Islamic rule. Some fifteen years later, in 1828, the Treaty of Turkmenchay was realized by the Russian Empire. This historic treaty established the Arax river as the boundary between Russia, Ottoman Turks and Persia. By the middle of the 19th century the entire Caucasus north and south were fully under Russian rule and the Re-Armenaization of historic Armenian territories were commenced. Where would Armenia be today had Czarist Russia not come down to the South Caucasus? Would there be an Armenia today? Perhaps, but it's very hard envisioning an Armenian nation-state anywhere below the Caucasus mountain range had the region in question remained Turkic, Persian and/or Islamic - which is most probably what would have happend had Russians not come down to the Arax river.

These two hundred year old treaties also reminds us all that the south Caucasus has historically been a Russian zone of interest. The Russian nation has a historic obligation to the region. The Russian nation has an obligation to right the wrongs of history. I would even go as far as saying that the Russian nation has a strong obligation towards us Armenians. While fully acknowledging the immense importance of Russia in Armenia's life and appreciating all that the Russian nation has directly and indirectly done for Armenia, it must also be pointed out that Armenians have sacrificed and contributed immensely for the Russian nation for the past two hundred years. In fact, per capita, Armenians have given more to the Russian nation than another other people. We Armenians want this sacrifice and contribution to the great Russian nation to be fully acknowledged by Russians today. More importantly, we want Russia to see the far-reaching potentials of working with and strengthening an independent Armenia, a Christian civilization that continues to protect Russia's southern gate.

It is interesting that the recent commemoration of the Treaty of Gulistan has revived quite a bit of talks about the history of the Caucasus and Russia's role in it -
Experts say 200 years on, Russo-Persian peace deal still relevant: http://armenianow.com/karabakh/49499/armenia_roundtable_treaty_gulistan_russia_karabakh
Russian Expert: Nagorno Karabakh’s ties with Russia should be as strong as with Armenia: http://arka.am
For the occasion of this anniversary political activist and intellectual Zori Balayan wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The letter and the controversy it caused may indeed be a sign that the dispute over Artsakh is beginning to take center-stage. Needless to say, the letter elicited a lot of misleading venomous reactions from Armenia's Western-led opposition circles. The following are three such examples from Armenia -
Ռուսաստանին Հայաստանն առանց հայերի էր հարկավոր. Մարինե Պետրոսյան: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpYlc1FdckU
Պարույր Հայրիկյանը՝ Զորի Բալայանի նամակի մասին: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6WIHSy8WF0
Ավետիք Իշխանյանը՝ Զորի Բալայանի նամակի մասին: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPZJd5QoFps
Unlike his naysayers (i.e. armchair generals and nationalist nutjobs in the Diaspora and Western funded mercenaries and opposition freaks in Armenia) Mr. Balayan is a genuine patriot, an intellectual and a man very worthy of great respect. Mr. Balayan did not call for turning Artsakh over to Russia. Mr. Balayan is calling on Moscow to establish common borders with Armenia (something all Armenian nationalists are praying for) and he is asking Moscow to remember the region’s political history and assume the responsibility to settle the festering matter in Armenia’s benefit. In other words, unbeknownst to our opposition freaks, with the south Caucasus coming back under the Bear's influence, farsighted and patriotic men like Mr. Balayan are simply trying to prepare the field of play for Armenia's benefit. 

Let's now take a brief look back at some of the human factors that led to the time period in question that in turn led to the Treaties of Gulistan and Turkmenchay.

Israel Ori, Davit Bek, Mkhitar Sparapet, Valerian Madatov and Mikhail Loris-Melikov are some of the greatest names in modern Armenian history. The aforementioned individuals were unique in that they were also aristocratic men, both in demeanor and biological lineage. They were in essence remnants of Armenia's ancient military aristocracy that was still miraculously surviving in Artsakh and Zangezur in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

These men exhibited traits that have all but been eradicated from modern Armenian society (thanks in large part to Bolshevism of yesterday and Westernization and Globalism of today). They were noble men of tireless action, immense courage, military prowess and great political foresight. These men ultimately became directly responsible for the creation of an Armenian nation-state in a region utterly saturated and infested with Turks and Muslims. These men laid the very foundations of the Armenian nation in the Caucasus. One other common trait found within these great men in our history was their intimate connection to Imperial Russia.

Before the Russian Empire's invasion of the south Caucasus in the early 19th century, the region in question was a very different place: The Khanate of Erevan (Persian controlled Yerevan) is said to have had dozens of Mosques and only several Armenian churches and the territories of modern day Armenia had an overwhelmingly Muslim population.

How did this Islamic face of Armenia change?

Armenia slowly began to shed it's Islamic/Turkic facade and laid the foundations of an Armenian nation-state as a result of actions taken by one great 17th century Armenian statesman Israel Ori and due to the courage of great military leaders like David Bek and Mkhitar Sparapet. These men secured military support from Imperial Russia beginning in the early 18th century and by doing so managed to defeat Persian and Ottoman forces in a series of battles throughout the south Caucasus. Their actions set the very foundations of Armenia's eventual rebirth in 1918, which became the template upon which the second republic was created in 1991. After hundreds of years of living under Islamic occupation, a segment of Armenia's native population was finally able to shed the yoke of Islam through the courage and farsighted actions of a handful of men and their followers.

I'm going to briefly deviate from the main topic of discussion for a point I would like to make by asking: How did Armenia's peasantry thank a great patriotic war hero like Mkhitar Sparapet?

Well, Armenia's peasantry at the time thanked him like how Armenia's peasantry has often thanked its leadership: They murdered Mkhitar Sparapet, cut off his head and sent it as a reconciliation gift to the Turkish Pasha of Tabriz. 

Looking at our self-destructive peasantry from the Diaspora to the "opozitsia" type Western mercenaries and freaks in Armenia today, I'm afraid not much seems to have changed in Armenian society. Armenians today are ready and willing to decapitate their leadership for their personal desires. While bloodless, what Westyern led whores like Zaruhi Boztanjian did in Europe a couple of months ago was essentially the same: She figuratively beheaded her nation's leader in a public square in front of Western leaders. I'm sure that in an earlier time or under different circumstances, her beheading of the Armenian President to appease foreigners would not have been such a figurative one.

Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before puppet-masters in the West rewarded Zaruhi for her treachery.

It is now being reported that she will be sent to the US for a six-month training program at the CIA affiliated Tufts University. I'd like to remind the reader that Tufts is where American agents Raffi Hovannisian and Vartan Oskanian were also indoctrinated/trained. Washington is clearly preparing the field for a Ukrainian type uprising in Armenia. Therefore, in the coming months, expect Raffi Hovanissian's Heritage Party (in which Zaruhi is a high level official) as well as an emerging subversive group known as Nakhakhorhrdaran (Pre-Parliament) to provoke sociopolitical unrest, similar to what has been happening in Ukraine.

Back to the main topic. 

After the peace reached between Russia and Persia in 1813 with the Treaty of Gulistan, led by great Russian-Armenian military leaders like Valerian Madatov and Mikhail Loris-Melikov the Czar's imperial forces went on to conquer the rest of the south Caucasus by 1828 - which led to the Treaty of Turkmanchay. By liberating the region from Islamic rule, the Russian Empire thus became the very catalyst upon which the region's Armenian peasantry (unlike in Western Armenia where the Armenian population there had a substantial number of merchants and professionals) were eventually able to realize their genetic potential. Imperial Russia put in place various academic and military institutions that the region's Armenians would begin taking advantage of.

As a result of these changes in the region's cultural/political climate, the region's Armenian peasantry gradually began producing large numbers of scientists, intellectuals, writers, academicians, musicians, military men and statesmen. What followed was a flowering of Armenian culture at the time. It is also important to note here that Armenia's nationalistic movements was also in large part made possible by the presence of the Russian Empire in the Caucasus and by the Armenification program that had been started in the region by the famous German-Russian Czarina, Catherine the Great. Imperial Russia actively encouraged Armenian nationalism during the second half of the 19th century. This effort helped give rise to Armenia's political parties, one of which is very active to this day. What's more, Armenia's greatest war heroes of the 19th and 20th centuries were all trained by imperial Russia. Nevertheless, by the early 20th century, the numbers of Armenians had grown considerably in the present territories Armenia. When genocidal Turks began their anti-Armenian jihad in the late 19th century Armenians had a homeland to retreat to.

Therefore, next time Armenians feel that the strong, self-destructive and nauseating urge to claim that Czarist Russia wanted "Armenia without Armenians" they should instead shut their mouths, pull their heads out of their asses, take a deep breath and look at the big picture. And the following is a little snapshot from Wikipedia of the big picture I'm referring to -
After the incorporation of the [Erivan] khanate into the Russian Empire in 1828, many Muslims (Azerbaijani Tatars, Kurds, Lezgis and various nomadic tribes) migrated to Persia, and were replaced with tens of thousands of repatriated and resettled Armenians from Persia. Such migrations, albeit on a lesser scale, continued until the end of the 19th century... The Russian authorities allowed and encouraged Armenians living in Turkish and Persian territory to migrate into Russian territory - about 49,000 subsequently settled in the Armenian Oblast. Armenian captives who were moved and lived in Iran since 1804 or even as far back as 1795 were permitted to return, which permitted Armenians to regain plurality.
No matter how one chooses to look at it, the fact is that we have an Armenia today simply because of the Russian factor in the region's recent history. The Russian occupation of the southern Caucasus allowed the Armenia's merchant and peasant classes to finally cultivate and fine tune their natural, God given talents within all field of modern civilization. We Armenians are proud to have had great men such as Mikhail Loris-Melikov, Valerian Matadov, Israel Ori, Davit Bek, Mkhitar Sparapet, Garegin Njdeh, the Orbeli brothers, Aram Khachaturyan, Artem Mikoyan, Arno Babajanian, Hovannes Tumanian, Khachatur Abovyan, Hovhannes Baghramyan, Alikhanian brothers, Aram Hambartsumyan, Hovhannes Ayvazovsky, to name only a few - because of the great natural talents we Armenians have been given by God, coupled with the Russian factor in our modern history.

Simply put, had the Russian not come down to the south Caucasus and Anatolia starting in the early 19th century and had Christian Russia not been a safe refuge for a great number of Armenians for several centuries - we Armenians today would in all likeliness still be living stateless in eastern Turkey and northern Iran, not much unlike Kurds and Yezdis. The Russian nation today continues to be a historic opportunity. Russia today is in fact an opportunity Armenia has not had in well over one thousand years. Armenia's national borders have not been this impregnable in well over one thousand years. Arguably, Armenia has not been this independent in well over one thousand years. With deepening of Russian-Armenian alliance and Armenia's ascension to the Customs Union, Armenia stands poised to become a major regional power.

In conclusion, we Armenians desperately need to place more emphasis on the heroic aspects of our vastly rich national history. We Armenians desperately need to better understand our national history. We Armenians desperately need to better understand ourselves. We Armenians desperately need to better understand the harsh realities of the political world we live in. We Armenians desperately need to understand the importance of deepening Armenia's ties to Russia. It's high time we collectively strengthened the Armenian homeland instead of undermining it in our pursuit of outlandish Western fantasies. 

Let us therefore put aside our Washingtonian wet dreams, EUrotic fantasies, insecurities, self-pity and Disporan mentalities and let's properly salute the heroic participants of the Russo-Armenian army at the battle of Sarikamish - an epic battle where brave Armenian warriors from the Caucasus together with their Christian Orthodox Slavic brethren from the north brought the mighty Ottoman army to its knees and in doing so liberated Western Armenia!

The reader may be interested to know that the battle of Sarikamish has been turned into somewhat of a solemn holiday in Turkey in recent years. Every year, the Turkish military contemplatively commemorates the historic event that took place between December 1914 and January 1915. Therefore, in my humble opinion, I think it would be very appropriate, I would even say polite, to wish all Turks a very Happy Sarikamish!

Let's hope that the blessed memory of all those Armenians and Russians that gave their lives for the liberation of Western Armenia may inspire a new generation of brave warriors. And let's collectively pray that Sarikamish II - of course without the first one's Bolshevik ending - is not too far down the Anatolian road.

January, 2014


The Battle of Sarikamish

Russian-Armenian trenches in the forests of Sarikamish

Russia viewed the Caucasus Front as secondary to the Eastern Front. Eastern Front had the Russian manpower and resources. Russia had taken the fortress of Kars from the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War in 1877 and feared a campaign into the Caucasus, a Caucasus Campaign, aimed at retaking Kars and the port of Batum. The Ottoman generalship and organization were negligible compared to the Allies. A Caucasus Campaign would have a distracting effect on Russian forces. The plan found sympathy with German advisory that a success in this region would mean a diversion of Russian forces to this front from the Polish and Galician fronts. Germany supplied the missing resources and the Ottoman 3rd Army's manpower was used to achieve the desired distraction. Strategic goal of the Caucasus Campaign was set to retake Artvin, Ardahan, along Kars, and the port of Batum. For a longer term goal, Enver hoped a success would facilitate opening the route to Tbilisi and beyond with a revolt of Caucasian Muslims. The Turkish — or rather German — strategic goal was to cut off Russian access to the hydrocarbon resources around the Caspian Sea.

The long term goal made British vary. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was in the proposed path which had the exclusive rights to work petroleum deposits throughout the Persian Empire except in the provinces of Azerbaijan, Ghilan, Mazendaran, Asdrabad and Khorasan. In 1914, before the war, the British government had contracted with the company for the supply of oil-fuel for the navy. The headquarters of the 3rd Army was located in Erzurum under the command of Hasan İzzet Pasha. On October 30, 1914, the 3rd Army headquarters was informed by High Command in Istanbul about an exchange of fire during the pursuit of Goeben and Breslau in the Black Sea. High Command expected the Russian Army to cross the Ottoman border at any time. The Bergmann Offensive (November 2, 1914 - November 16, 1914) ended with the defeat of Russian troops under the command of Bergmann. The Russian success was along the southern shoulders of the offense where Armenian volunteers visible (effective) and taken Karaköse and Doğubeyazıt Hasan İzzet Pasha managed to stabilize the front by letting the Russians 25 kilometers inside the Ottoman Empire along the Erzurum-Sarikamish axis.

The war minister, Enver Pasha, devised an operation plan while he was at the Department of War in Istanbul. His strategy based on German principles copied from Napoleon. Enver's plan involved a single envelopment using three Corps. On the right flank, XI Corps would fix the Russians in place and conduct feint attacks. In the center, IX Corps would fight in the direction of Sarikamish Pass. Hafız Hakkı’s X Corps, which was to be on the left flank, would drive to Oltu, cross the Allahüekber Mountains, cut the Kars road and drive the Russians to the Aras Valley, where the Russian forces would be destroyed by all three Corps attacking in total harmony. Meanwhile a detachment unit under Stange Bey would conduct highly visible operations to distract and pin Russian units. The success depended on these troops arriving at their specified objectives at the correct moment. The Russians fulfilled the first part of this strategy with the Bergmann Offensive by Russian forces concentrating at Sarikamish and Köprüköy.

Photo said to be of the 4th battalion of the Armenian volunteers engaged at strategic Barduz Pass

Hasan İzzet Pasha was not in favor of an offensive action in the harsh winter conditions. He was planning to remain in defense. He wanted to pull the Russians to the Erzurum Fortress and launch a counter attack at the right time. Assistant Chief of Staff Colonel Hafız Hakkı Bey was sent to replace the commander of X Corps Ziya Pasha to energize the 3rd Army. After initial exchanges with Hafız Hakkı, on December 18, Hasan İzzet, whose release from the command was signed on December 14 by Enver, told to Enver: “We have to consider 8 or 9 days for a large scaled encircling manoeuvre. However, during this time the XI Corps, which will remain at the front, might be jeopardized. Even if we execute the manoeuvre with two corps, they will probably face difficulties against the enemy.” Enver Pasha wanted his plan executed through a winter offense. He decided to take in the charge. He left Istanbul with General Bronsart von Schellendorf and the head of the Operations Office Lieutenant Colonel Feldmann. They arrived in Erzurum on December 21. Senior Turkish commanders opposed the forced resignation of Hasan İzzet the Commander of the 3rd Army due to his rejection of the plan.

The total war zone was nearly 1,250-1,500 kilometers (776-932 miles) wide from Black sea to Lake Van, which made the military concentration difficult. The operation executed at a plateau averaging 1,500-2,000 meters (5,000-6,500 feet). The main difficulty about the region was the roads. The transportation infrastructure on the Ottoman side was far from adequate. Russia's main advantage was the railway up to Kars including a terminal at Sarikamish. The railway was 24 kilometers (15 miles) from the border. The only way for an army through the Caucasian heights was the high mountain passes in which were lied the cities Kars and Sarikamish. Beyond, the upper valleys of the Aras River and Euphrates extended westward. Everywhere else was the paths in tracks which were impenetrable to artillery. The forces were concentrated about 80 kilometers (50 miles) on each side of the border at the fortresses of Kars (Russian) and Erzurum (Ottoman).

The 3rd Army under the command of Enver Pasha was composed of the IX, X and XI Corps. 3rd Army's headquarters and the IX Corps were located in Erzurum. The X Corps was stationed in Sivas, whereas the XI Corps was in Elazığ (Mamuretülaziz). A detachment unit under the command of German Stange (lieutenant colonel) was established from the 3rd Infantry Division located at Erzurum Fortress to reinforce the offense and pin down the Russians. This detachment unit was originally stationed in Thrace; consisting of two battalions of the 8th Infantry Regiment and two artillery. The fighting power included 83,000 regular troops, reserves, and personnel of the Erzurum Fortress added to 118,000. The total manpower including transportation units, depot regiments, and military police was 150,000. There were 73 machine guns and 218 artillery pieces. Ottoman forces were inadequately prepared for the campaign. Two divisions of the IX Corps began a long trek with no winter clothing and only dry bread and olives for rations.

Armenian 3rd battalion cavalry and troops commanded by Hamazasp Srvandztian rallying at Etchmiadzin in 1914

The Russian Caucasus Army was a well-equipped 100,000 troops. The Russians redeployed almost half of the Caucasus Army to the Prussian front due to the defeats at the Battle of Tannenberg (August 23 - September 2, 1914) and the Masurian Lakes (September 9-14, 1914), leaving behind just 65,000 troops. To remedy these troop movements Count Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov consulted with the Mayor of Tbilisi Alexandre Khatsian, the primate of Tbilisi Bishop Mesrop, and the prominent civic leader Dr. Hakob Zavriev about the creation of Armenian volunteer detachments. The Russian Armenian reservists had already been drafted into the regular armed forces and sent to European theatre of World War I. The volunteer units would make up of Armenians who were not citizens of the empire or not obligated to serve. Originally, there were 4 volunteer battalions created. Along the Kars Oblast, the 3rd battalion commanded by Hamazasp (Srvandztian) and 4th battalion by Keri (Arshak Gavafian) operated on the front facing Erzurum between Sarikamish and Oltu. The Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Military District (Caucasian Army) was Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov. Effective command laid on Inf. General Aleksandr Zakharevich Myshlayevsky who was originally a military historian graduated from Imperial General Staff Academy. General Nikolai Yudenich was the Chief of Staff of General Myshlayevsky.

Hafız Hakki was at the left flank. His order was to move the IX and X Corps to Sarikamish and Kars. He contemplated a two step plan. A sudden initial attack ("major offensive") and second step with both Corps proceeding at full speed towards the Oltu. He expected the assault at İd to be concluded by the afternoon of December 22. Then the Corps would march 30 kilometers a day and arrive in the Kars-Sarikamish line by December 25. For the movement on the extreme left two divisions of the Stange regiment had been sent by sea from Constantinople to Trabzon. On early December 22, Hafız Hakkı ordered his troops to move forward. They engaged in a brief skirmish against a Russian brigade commanded by General Istomin, once these divisions reached to Oltu. The skirmishes at Oltu ended the next day after 4 artillery guns, 4 machine guns, and 1000 Russian troops were taken prisoner. On December 23, Istomin abandoned his position for the general direction of Ardahan. Hafız Hakkı sent 2 divisions to pursue Istomin. At the extreme left wing, the Stange Regiment, which had landed at Trabzon, was to move up the Çoruh valley towards Ardahan and across a pass of 2,4384 kilometers (8,000 feet) high.

On December 24, Hafız Hakkı was well beyond Oltu after having marched a hard 75 kilometers in just over three days. However, they were not at Kars-Sarikamish line as it was planned. On December 25, Ottoman troops had been marching for 14 hours under heavy snow. The soldiers were exhausted, fatigued, hungry; the fear of frostbite and Russian machine guns were slowly being replaced by absolute indifference. On December 26, at the 18th hour of this march, in the early hours of the morning, the 91st Regiment of X Corps came under enemy fire. The Russians left the scene after nearly two hours of fighting. The regiment hit the road again. Soon a snow storm began. Under these conditions the 91st Regiment managed to reach Kosor in 21 hours after leaving Penek, a distance of just 8 kilometers. Other units reached their destinations at a similar rate. While Enver was ordering a night attack, elements of the X Corps were spending the night in the villages of Kosor, Arsenik and Patsik, which were 40, 35 and 30 kilometers from Sarikamish respectively. The Allahüekber Mountains were in front of these units. It would take them at least 2 more days to reach Sarikamish.

The X Corps suffered a delay of 24 hours in the Barduz Pass. This added an extra deviation from Enver's all-attack plan. In the Barduz Pass conflict 4th battalion of the Armenian volunteers lost 600 troops. The Stange regiment looked down to Ardahan. When the commander Malyshevsky arrived army headquarters in the Russian front line, he was almost in a complete panic. He gave the order for a general retreat. The process of withdrawing was to start on December 25 and 26. The Russians evacuated Sarikamish, leaving only 2 cavalry squadrons and 1,000 railwaymen to defend it. Not all Russian commanders were in a state of panic. The Russian army headquarters maintained a solid grip on the situation, the effective command and control never lost. General Yudenich, taking command of the II Turkestan Corps, decided to put up resistance. On December 28 the Russians held by the XI Corps at Khorasan. The IX Corps were at Sarikamish. The X Corps were threatening to pierce the Russian front along the Kars railway at east side. The Stange regiment was descending upon Ardahan at sixty miles north-east. The Enver's operational plan looked liked succeeded on the map. The ground situation was alarming. Ottoman forces were worn out, half starved, and short of guns and ammunition, for no transport on earth could cope with such a breakneck march. Enver Pasha thought that the Russians were retreating to Kars. In fact, it was actually an encircling movement.

On December 29, the assault took place. The IX and XI Corps, totaling 12,000 men, began to attack Sarikamish. During bitter bayonet fighting, only 300 men succeeded in breaking into the city. At end of the day, they were driven off, losing 6,000 troops. Enver's positive mood replaced with disappointment when he received information that Russians were preparing to encircle his forces with a force of five regiments. This shock enabled Enver Pasha to see the truth. On December 31, the IX Corps was stuck in woods outside Sarikamish and down to some 2,500 men and 14 artillery guns and machine guns. On the same night bad news arrived from Bardız to Enver’s headquarters. The 32nd Division abandoned his positions to the Russians. This meant that Barduz and Kızılkilise roads were now in Russian hands. The Ottoman forces were inside a semicircle. Retreat through the open mouth of the circle would be the rational decision. Enver refused to lose momentum, and ordered his units to continue with the plan. On January 1, commander of the XI Corps pressed a frontal attack on Sarikamish lasting for the next 4 days; after that the heavy fighting began to lose momentum. Snow hindered advancing forces which were supposed to bring the relief. The IX Corps melted away on the way to Sarikamish. One of the divisions lost 40% of its strength in a snowstorm. The X Corps never come to the rescue. The 90% of X Corps was left on the slopes of Allahüekber Mountains. The XI Corps was fighting at the Aras region. A regiment entered Çerkezköy, only to be taken prisoner. According to schedule but exhausted, the Stange regiment entered Ardahan. The Russians were about to encircle the remaining forces.

On January 2, Russian artillery fire caused severe casualties. Enver Pasha received two reports; one was from the chief of staff of the IX Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Şerif, and the other from Colonel Hafız Hakkı. Both reports were saying that they did not have any capacity to launch another attack. They were simply too weak. Enver responded to the units “the offensive is to go on at full strength.” This was later used as a sign of his denial. Later, Enver slowly accepted the truth and focused on securing the routes for retreat instead of insisting on new attacks to take Sarikamish. He combined the two corps there, renamed it the “Left Wing Army.” He promoted the Colonel Hafız Hakkı to Brigadier General and gave the command of the Left wing Army. On January 3, I Corps were driven out again back to the Choruk Valley, in which direction the remnants of the X Corps were also retreating. Hafız Hakkı, who was just promoted to be a Pasha, was hoping for reinforcements. He did not order his units, Left Wing Army, to retreat. He believed it could be still possible to take Sarikamish. Meanwhile, around 40 kilometres south to Sarikamish, the XI Corps led by Galip Pasha was renewing attacks on Russian lines in an attempt to relieve the pressure on the IX and X Corps positioned in front of Sarikamish. However, the Russians were advancing now. The circle was getting narrower. On January 4, Hafız Hakkı Pasha toured the front line. He said to İhsan Pasha that it is over and he was hoping that some of the troops left on Allahüekber Mountains could be still alive.

On January 6, the 3rd Army headquarters found itself under fire. The Russians captured the entire 28th Division. The 17th and 29th Divisions were taken prisoner. 8 senior officers including İhsan Pasha surrendered to the Russians. Among the captives, 108 officers and 80 soldiers transferred to Sarikamish. Hafız Hakkı Pasha managed to save himself. He safely reached the headquarters of the X Corps. He found out that the IX Corps fell to the hands of Russians. He ordered a total retreat. On January 7, the remaining forces began their march towards Erzurum. On January 11, after four days of travel Enver Pasha and the German officers reached Erzurum. They stipulated in their original plan that the same route could be taken by the 3rd Army in two days. The transports dispatched from Constantinople which attempted to land troops and provisions at Trabzon were sunk by a Russian Black Sea squadron and the warships. The escorts SMS Goeben and TCG Hamidieh chased back to the Bosporus. On January 17, the remnants of Ottoman forces in woods outside Sarikamish were collected which signaled the end of final fighting in this front. On the other side, the Russian right wing cleared the Choruk Valley. Enver's project ended in failure after three weeks of heroic struggle amid high mountains and deep snowdrifts. For a time, at least, Russia was secure from attack in the Caucasus. Hafız Hakkı Pasha expected that the Russians use this success to capture the Erzurum Fortress. The 3rd Army immediately took reconstruction measures. This proved to be nearly impossible as all the local reserves depleted. On February 12, the young and energetic Hafız Hakkı Pasha died at the helm of the Army. Otto Liman von Sanders, who was asked before, rejected the position again. Mahmut Kamil Pasha took the command of the Army. The war minister Enver Pasha never commanded troops in any other battle again.

The Ottoman 3rd Army started with 118,000 fighting power. It was reduced to 42,000 effective in January 1915. There are conflicting figures on Ottoman Casualties. Sources do not agree on what the final sum should include. The Turkish official history states; 32,000 KIA, 15,000 died sickness, 7,000 prisoners, 10,000 wounded, some 50,000 casualty. The casualties of the conflict escalated beyond the end of active period as the most immediate problem confronting the 3rd Army became the typhus epidemic. The epidemic was so bad that the commander of the Army Hafız Hakkı Pasha died of typhus just a few weeks later in Erzurum. TAF presents a round-up 60,000 throughout all the period of operation. Russians had 7,000 POW's, which includes 200 officers. These POW's were kept under confinement for the next three three years in the small town of Varnavino, east of Moscow on the Vetluga River. After the final days of the Czarist empire, these soldiers had chance to return ailing Ottoman Empire. Russian losses were 16,000 KIA and 12,000 died sickness, mostly due to frostbite. TAF sources report a rounded 30,000 without giving details on the breakdown of this number.

Enver was the strategist of the operation. Hassan Izzet was the tactician who implemented the plan and remedied the shortcomings. The failure was blamed on Enver. Beyond his faulty estimate on how the enveloped Russians would react, his failure was on not keeping operational reserves that matched the needs of the conditions. He did not have enough field service to factor the hardships faced by the soldiers, he analyzed the operational necessities theoretically rather than contextually. Carrying out a military plan in the winter was not the major failure of the operation. A valid question is if the plan could have executed better? It would be hard to exceed the performance of the Turkish soldiers. The IX and X Corps marched with the possible best effectiveness under the given conditions. The authority of the command over the units were undeniable which extended to the human limits. The majority of the units managed to move to the right positions. In many respects, the destruction of 30,000 Russian units should be credited. The communication and cooperation between the Ottoman units failed, forces functioned separate units rather than mutually supporting engagements as originally planned. There was not sufficient operational reserve established, for size of engagement. The conditions of the Ottoman forces could have been better, if Enver paused the operations on December 14, or did not moved beyond Oltu line with the artillery pieces. The decision to take heavy artillery rather than short range smaller caliber beyond the Oltu line was failure as the forces were faced detachment units with better mobility. The plan's had faulty estimate on the Russian forces. The commanders of the X and IX Corps were replaced with little or no experience at the operational level. The chief of staff of IX Corps Köprülülü Şerif Bey "..troops fought on the top of tall mountains under snowstorm against the artillery of an enemy of centuries and they were completely annihilated, but not a single Turkish soldier has ever turned his back to his nation... In Sarikamish, there was no panic.”

During the battle the light infantry was used by both sides. The detachment Armenian volunteer units on the Russian side, and the detachment I Corps unit under control of Stange Bey bey provided skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying of the enemy advance or preventing them escaping. The Ottoman detachment unit whence the Armenian volunteers operated and also those settlements left exposed by tactical withdrawals of the Russian forces and Armenian volunteer units. The Armenian detachment units are credited no small measure of the success which attended by the Russian forces, as they were natives of the region, adjusted to the climatic conditions, familiar with every road and mountain path, and had real incentive to fierce and resolute combat. The Armenian volunteers were small, mobile, and well adapted to the semi-guerrilla warfare. They did good work as scouts, though they took part in many severe engagements. Armenian detachment battalions challenged the Ottoman operations during the critical times: "the delay enabled the Russian Caucasus Army to concentrate sufficient force around Sarikamish".

Martin Gilbert in The First World War states that in search of allies against the Turks, the Tsar visited the "Caucasus front" on December 30, telling the head of the Armenian Church that "a most brilliant future awaits the Armenians". With these words, the fate of hundreds of thousands of Armenians was endangered, as Ottoman Empire saw in its own large Armenian minority a source of fifth column activity, treachery and disloyalty, and did nothing to dampen anti-Armenian feeling. The relationship between the Armenians and the Ottoman Empire had already started to deteriorate after numerous massacres in eastern Anatolia during the 1890s. The Ottoman government claimed[citation needed] that it had a legitimate defense by sovereign state—at the moment of its greatest danger—against an actual or projected Armenian uprising in favor of Russia and Western Allied invasion of Ottoman heartlands. On his return to Constantinople, Enver Pasha blamed his failure on the actions of the region's local Armenians, initiating the repressive measures against the empire's Armenian population that were an early stage of the Armenian Genocide. 

Source: http://wapedia.mobi/en/Battle_of_Sarikamis

Caucasus Campaign: World War One


The Caucasus Campaign comprised armed conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, later including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Central Caspian Dictatorship and the British Empire as part of the Middle Eastern theatre or alternatively named as part of the Caucasus Campaign during World War I. The Caucasus Campaign extended from the Caucasus to the Eastern Asia Minor region, reaching as far as Trabzon, Bitlis, Muş and Van. The land warfare was accompanied by the Russian navy in the Black Sea Region of the Ottoman Empire.

On February 23, 1917, the Russian advance was halted following the Russian Revolution, and later the disintegrated Russian Caucasus Army was replaced by the forces of the newly established Armenian state, comprised from the previous Armenian volunteer units and the Armenian irregular units. During 1918 the region also saw the establishment of the Central Caspian Dictatorship, the Republic of Mountainous Armenia and an Allied force named Dunsterforce which was composed of elite troops drawn from the Mesopotamian and Western Fronts. The Ottoman Empire and German Empire had a hot conflict at Batumi with the arrival of German Caucasus Expedition whose prime aim was to secure oil supplies.

On March 3, 1918, the campaign was terminated between the Ottoman Empire and Russia with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and on June 4, 1918, the Ottoman Empire signed the  Treaty of Batum with Armenia.


The main objective of the Ottoman Empire was the recovery of its territories in Armenian Highland. These regions were captured by Russians after the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78. The strategic goals of the Caucasus Campaign for Ottoman Forces was to retake Artvin, Ardahan, Kars, and the port of Batum. A success in this region would mean a diversion of Russian forces to this front from the Polish and Galician fronts. A Caucasus Campaign would have a distracting effect on Russian forces. The plan found sympathy with German advisory. Germany supplied the missing resources and the Ottoman 3rd Army's manpower was used to achieve the desired distraction. War Minister Enver Pasha hoped a success would facilitate opening the route to Tbilisi and beyond with a revolt of Caucasian Muslims. The Ottoman – or rather German – strategic goal was to cut off Russian access to the hydrocarbon resources around the Caspian Sea.

Russia viewed the Caucasus front as secondary to the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front had the most Russian manpower and resources. Russia had taken the fortress of Kars from the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War in 1877 and feared a campaign into the Caucasus aimed at retaking Kars and the port of Batum. In March 1915, when the Russian foreign minister Sergey Sazonov in a meeting with British ambassador George Buchanan and French Ambassador Maurice Paléologue stated that a lasting postwar settlement demanded full Russian possession of the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, the straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, southern Thrace up to the Enos-Midia line as well as parts of the Black Sea coast of Anatolia between the Bosphorus, the Sakarya River and an undetermined point near the Bay of Izmit. The Russian Tsarist regime planned to replace the Muslim population of Northern Anatolia and Istanbul with more reliable Cossack settlers.

Armenian national liberation movement sought to establish First Republic of Armenia. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation achieved this goal with the establishment of the internationally recognized Democratic Republic of Armenia in May 1918. Also as early as 1915, the Administration for Western Armenia and later Republic of Mountainous Armenia were Armenian controlled entities, while Centrocaspian Dictatorship was established with Armenian participation. None of these entities were long lasting.

The British worked with Russian revolutionary troops to prevent Enver Pasha's goal of establishing an independent Transcaucasia. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was in the proposed path of Ottoman ambitions, which owned the exclusive rights to work petroleum deposits throughout the Persian Empire except in the provinces of Azerbaijan, Ghilan, Mazendaran, Asdrabad and Khorasan. In 1914, before the war, the British government had contracted with the company for the supply of oil-fuel for the navy.


The Ottomans had one army based in the region, the 3rd Army. In 1916 they sent reinforcements and formed the 2nd Army. The Ottoman generalship and organization were negligible compared to the Allies. At the beginning of the conflict, Ottoman combined forces estimate ranged from 100,000 to 190,000 men. Many were poorly equipped.

Before the war, Russia had Russian Caucasus Army with 100,000 men under the nominal command of the Governor General of the Caucasus Illarion Vorontsov-Dashkov. The real commander was his chief of staff General Nikolai Yudenich. At the onset of the Caucasus Campaign, the Russians had to redeploy almost half of their forces to the Prussian front due to the defeats at the Battle of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes, leaving behind just 60,000 troops. This Army had Armenian generals Nazarbekov, Silikian, and Pirumov who stayed in Caucasia. The Russian Caucasus Army dissipated in 1917 as the regular Russian regiments deserted the front line after the revolution. By 1917, when the Russian Caucasus Army disintegrated, there were 110,000–120,000 soldiers of Armenian ethnicity. This number approached to 150,000 for the total Armenians (including other Allied forces) for Near East where opposing to Ottoman forces.

In the summer of 1914, Armenian volunteer units were established under the Russian Armed forces. As the Russian Armenian conscripts were already send to the European Front, this force was uniquely established from Armenians that were not Russian Armenian or the ones that were not obligated to serve. It was initially established as detachment units (rather than part of Russian Caucasus Command) under the Viceroyalty of the Caucasus. These forces were commanded by Andranik Ozanian, and also Drastamat Kanayan, Arshak Gafavian, Sargis Mehrabyan. An Ottoman representative Karekin Bastermadjian (Armen Karo) was also united to this force. Initially they had 20,000 men, but throughout the conflicts it was reported that their number increased. At the turn of 1916, Nikolai Yudenich decided to either merge these units under the Russian Caucasus Army or dismantle them.

Armenian national liberation movement commanded the Armenian Fedayee (Armenian: Ֆէտայի) during these conflicts. These civilian forces generally organized around famous leaders, such as Murad of Sebastia (Armenian: Սեբաստացի Մուրատ). These were generally refereed as Armenian partisian guerrilla detachments. Boghos Nubar the president of the Armenian National Assembly declared that they accompanied the main Armenian units. The line from Van to Erzincan was organized through these units.

In December 1917, The Dashnaks of Armenian national liberation movement through the Armenian Congress of Eastern Armenians established a military force. The corps realigned themselves under the command of General Tovmas Nazarbekian. Drastamat Kanayan was assigned as a civilian commissioner. The frontline had three main divisions: Movses Silikyan, Andranik Ozanian and Mikhail Areshian. Another regular unit was under Colonel Korganian. The line from Van to Erzincan was organized through these units. It was mentioned that Adrianic had 150,000 men. After declaration of the Democratic Republic of Armenia Nazarbekian became the first Commander-in-chief of the whole Armenian state.

There were Kurdish militia in the region. They reportedly sided with both the Ottoman and Russian forces. Lionel Dunsterville was appointed in 1917 to lead an Allied force of under 1,000 Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand elite troops, accompanied by armored cars.


During July 1914, there were negotiations between the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and Armenian intelligentsia at the Armenian congress at Erzurum. The public conclusion of this congress was "Ostensibly conducted to peaceful advance Armenian demands by legitimate means". The CUP regarded the congress as the seedbed in establishing the decisions of insurrection. Historian Erikson concluded that after this meeting the CUP was convinced on strong Armenian – Russian links with detailed plans aimed at the detachment of the region from the Ottoman Empire. 


On November 1, the Bergmann Offensive, Russians crossed the frontier first. They planned to capture Doğubeyazıt and Köprüköy. The official Russian declaration of war to Ottoman Empire came on November 2. The established force for this goal was 25 infantry battalions, 37 cavalry units and 120 artillery guns. It had two wings. On the right wing, the Russian I Corps crossed the border and moved from Sarıkamış toward the direction of Köprüköy. They reached Köprüköy on November 4. On the left wing, the Russian IV Corps moved from Yerevan to Pasinler Plains. The commander of 3rd Army, Hasan Izzet was not in favor of an offensive action in the harsh winter conditions. His plan to remain in defense and launch a counterattack at the right time. This was overridden by the War Minister Enver Pasha. On November 7, the 3rd Army commenced its offensive with the participation of the XI Corps and all cavalry units. This force was supported by Kurdish Tribal Regiment. The cavalry failed to execute the encircling and the Kurdish Tribal Regiment proved to be unreliable. Russians gained territory after the withdrawal of the 18th and the 30th Divisions. Ottoman forces managed to maintain their positions at Köprüköy. By November 12, the IX Corps with Ahmet Fevzi Pasha reinforce the XI Corps on the left flank. The 3rd Army began to push the Russians back with the support of the cavalry. The 3rd Infantry Regiment managed to invade Köprüköy after the Azap Offensive between November 17 to 20. By the end of November, the front had stabilized with the Russians clinging to a salient 25 kilometers into Ottoman Empire along the Erzurum-Sarıkamış axis. The Russian success was along the southern shoulders of the offensive where Armenian volunteers were effective and took Karaköse and Doğubeyazıt. Doğubeyazıt was the northern neighbor of Van Province. Ottoman casualties were high: 9000 killed, 3000 taken prisoner and 2800 deserters.

During December, Nicholas II of Russia visited the Caucasus Campaign. The head of the Armenian Church along the president of the Armenian National Council of Tiflis in Tiflis Alexander Khatisyan received the excellence:
"From all countries Armenians are hurrying to enter the ranks of the glorious Russian Army, with their blood to serve the victory of the Russian Army... Let the Russian flag wave freely over the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, Let your will the peoples [Armenian] remaining under the Turkish yoke receive freedom. Let the Armenian people of Turkey who have suffered for the faith of Christ received resurrection for a new free life...."
On December 15, 1914, at the Battle of Ardahan the city Ardanuch was captured. It was an operation commanded by German Lt. Col. Stange. The mission of Stange Bey Detachment was to conduct highly visible operations to distract and pin Russian units. Stange Bey's initial mission was to operate in the Chorok region. The unit was materially assisted by the rebellious Adjars of the country, who seized the road. Later Enver modified the original plan toward supporting the Battle of Sarikamish. It was ordered to cut the Russian support link to Sarikamish-Kars line. On January 1, this unit was in Ardahan.

On December 22, at the Battle of Sarikamish 3rd Army received the order to advance towards Kars. In the face of the 3rd Army's advance Governor Vorontsov planned to pull the Russian Caucasus Army back to Kars. Yudenich ignored Vorontsov's wishes to withdraw. He stayed to defend Sarikamis. Enver Pasha assumed the personal command of the 3rd Army and ordered it into battle against the Russian troops.


On January 6, the 3rd Army headquarters found itself under fire. Hafiz Hakki Pasha ordered a total retreat. On January 7, the remaining forces began their march towards Erzurum. The resulting Battle of Sarikamish became a stunning defeat. Only 10% of the Army managed to retreat back to its starting position. Enver gave up command. The detachment Armenian volunteer units credited no small measure of the success which attended by the Russian forces; they challenged the Ottoman operations during the critical times: "the delay enabled the Russian Caucasus Army to concentrate sufficient force around Sarikamish". Enver blamed this defeat on Armenians living in the region actively siding with the Russians after his return to Constantinople. On January 18, 1915, the Lt. Col. Stange's unit was recalled from the area around Ardahan. It was to stay behind the lines in the region; only on March 1, 1915 did it regain its initial position.

In February, General Yudenich was praised for the victory and promoted to commander-in-chief of all Russian troops in the Caucasus. The Allies (British and France) asked Russia to relieve the pressure on the Western front. In return, Russia asked the Allies to relieve pressure in the Caucasus by a naval attack. The resulting operations in the Black Sea gave the Russians some respite to replenish their forces. Additionally, actions at the Battle of Gallipoli which aimed at capturing the Ottoman capital helped the Russian forces on this front. On February 12, the commander of the 3rd Army Hafiz Hakki Pasha died of typhus and was replaced by Brigadier General Mahmut Kamil Pasha. Kamil faced the daunting task of putting the Ottoman army back in order. The military planners back in Istanbul were scared of the Russians advancing deeper into the mainland.

During March the strategic situation remained stable. The completely devastated 3rd Army received new blood through reinforcements from the 1st and 2nd Armies, although these supplements were not stronger than a division. The Battle of Gallipoli was draining every Ottoman resource. Meanwhile, the Russians were holding the towns of Eleşkirt, Ağrı and Doğubeyazıt in the south. Military action never escalated above small-scale skirmishes—the Ottomans simply did not have enough forces to secure the whole East Anatolian region.

On April 20, the resistance at the city of Van began. The Armenian defenders protecting 30,000 residents and 15,000 refugees with 1,500 able bodied riflemen who were supplied with 300 rifles and 1,000 pistols and antique weapons. The conflict lasted more than three weeks until the General Yudenich came to rescue them. General Yudenich began an offensive (May 6) into Ottoman territory. One wing of this offensive headed towards Lake Van to relieve the Armenian residents of the Van Resistance. A brigade of Trans-Baikal Cossacks under General Trukhin, and some Armenian volunteers towards Van. On May 21, General Yudenich arrived to the city, received the keys to the city and citadel and confirmed the Armenian provisional government in office, with Aram Manukian as governor. The Fedayee turned over the city of Van. With Van secure, fighting shifted farther west for the rest of the summer.

On April 24, Interior minister Mehmed Talat passed the order of April 24 (known by the Armenians as the Red Sunday), claimed that the Armenians in this region organized under the leadership of Russians and rebelled against his government, as they had shown in their securing of Van for Armenian nationalists. The Armenians of the Van Resistance and others which were under the Russian occupation were spared from these arrests, since they had rebelled.

On May 6, the Russian advance began through the Tortum Valley towards Erzurum. The Ottoman 29th and 30th Divisions managed to stop this assault. The Ottoman X Corps counter-attacked the Russian forces. But on the southern part of this advance, Ottoman forces were not as successful as they have been in the north. On May 11 town of Malazgirt fallen. On May 17, Russian forces entered the town of Van. Ottoman forces continued to be pushed back. Supply lines were being cut, as the Armenian rebellions were causing additional difficulties behind Ottoman lines. The region south of Lake Van was extremely vulnerable. The Turks had to defend a line of more than 600 kilometers with only 50,000 men and 130 pieces of artillery. They were clearly outnumbered by the Russians. The region was mountainous, thus difficult to defend.

On May 27, during the Russian offensive, the interior minister of Talat Pasha ordered a forced deportation of all Armenians out of region with the Tehcir Law to the Syria and Mosul. By June 13, Russian units were back to their starting line. On June 19, the Russians launched another offensive. This time northwest to Lake Van. The Russians, under Oganovski, launched an offense into the hills west of Malazgirt. The Russians underestimated the size of the Ottoman arm, and were surprised by a large Turkish force at the counterattack. Russian forces began to march from Malazgirt towards Muş. However, they were not aware of the fact that the Turkish IX Corps, together with the 17th and 28th Divisions was moving to Muş as well. Although the conditions were extremely difficult, the Turks were executing a very efficient operation of reorganization. 1st and 5th Expeditionary Forces were positioned to the south of the Russian offensive force and a “Right Wing Group” was established under the command of Brigadier General Abdülkerim Paşa. This group was independent from the Third Army and Abdülkerim Paşa was directly reporting to Enver Paşa. The Turks were ready to face the Russian attacks.

On September 24, Grand Duke Nicholas was promoted to being charge of all Russian forces in the Caucasus. In reality, he was removed from being Supreme Commander of the Russian Caucasus Army which was the highest executive position [actual conduct of the war] for the Caucasus Campaign. His replacement was General Yudenich. This front was quiet from October till the end of the year. Yudenich used this period to reorganize. Around the start of 1916, Russian forces reached a level of 200,000 men and 380 pieces of artillery. On the other side the situation was very different; the Ottoman High Command failed to make up the losses during this period. The war in Gallipoli was sucking all the resources and manpower. The IX, X and XI Corps could not be reinforced and in addition to that the 1st and 5th Expeditionary Forces were deployed to Mesopotamia. Enver Pasha, after not achieving his ambitions or recognizing the dire situation on other fronts, decided that the region was of secondary importance. As of January 1916, Ottoman forces were 126,000 men, only 50,539 being combat. There were 74,057 rifles, 77 machine guns and 180 pieces of artillery. Ottoman force in Caucasus Campaign was big on the paper, but not on the ground. The Ottomans assumed that the Russians would not bother to attack. This assumption turned out to be false. 


In early January, Yudenich secretly left its winter quarters and marched towards the major Ottoman fort at Erzurum. The winter is not normally a time for military activity in this part of the world. The bitter cold and terrible roads contributed greatly to the annihilation of Enver Pasha's 3rd Army in the previous year. The Russian General Yudenich viewed this as an opportunity to take the Ottomans by surprise. The Russians achieved total surprise and destroyed an Ottoman division that was in winter quarters at Battle of Koprukoy (January 10–18).

On February 16, Mahmut Kamil forced to order the 3rd Army to retreat from the city, as Yudenich had an advantage in numbers against the Ottomans. The difference was not big enough to be decisive, so Yudenich's plan was to attack the center of the Ottoman defenses, with the key attack falling in a weakly held sector. While diversionary attacks held the attention of Mahmut Kamil near Deve-Boyun ridge, Russian forces broke through at Forts Kara-gobek and Tafet. The result was that both rings of the cities' defenses had been penetrated.

In April, the Caucasus army moved in two directions from Erzurum, part went north and captured the ancient port city of Trabzon. Other branch moved to Mush-Bitlis direction. These units pushed the 2nd Army deep into Anatolia and captured Battle of Mush and Battle of Bitlis (March 2 – August 24), driving the Ottoman army before it. Bitlis was the last defense point for the Ottoman Army to prevent the Russians from moving into central Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

During July, General Yudenich then countered the Ottoman attack with an offensive of his own towards Erzican with the Battle of Erzincan (July 2–25). On July 2, Erzincan was captured; the Ottoman offensive against Trabzon was halted as they tried to stabilize their front lines.

In August, Mustafa Kemal recaptured Mush and Bitlis. Earlier in the year, after these towns fell into Russian hands, the Ottoman War Ministry asked Mustafa Kemal to organize the defense in the region. The region was controlled by the 2nd Army. When Mustafa Kemal was assigned to his post, the enemy forces were in constant advance. Fighting around the east side of Lake Van continued throughout the summer but was inconclusive. In the earlier periods of the campaign, Mustafa Kemal’s XVI Corps managed to take Bitlis and Muş. Ahmet İzzet Paşa decided to attack one week after the conclusion of the Russian offensive. A military force, in three corps-sized groups, III, IV and XVI Corps, was gathered and sent marching along the coast. The Second Army advanced on August 2. While Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich was in the north and pushing the Ottoman 3rd Army, the Ottoman 2nd Army was in the south facing the insurgency and the second branch of Russian army under General Tovmas Nazarbekian and the detachment Armenian volunteer units controlled by Andranik Ozanian. However this initial success did not bring victory. The 2nd Army suffered from severe supply and logistics problems. However the Russians stopped Kemal's troops at Gevaş and prevented their assault to Van.

By the late September, the Ottoman attack ended. The cost for 2nd Army was 30,000 killed and wounded. The Russians strengthened their lines. They were strong enough to respond with counteroffensives in two weeks after the launch of the Ottoman offensive. The Russians held up the advance. From September towards the Russian Revolution, the Russian Navy still dominated the Black Sea.

The rest of the year 1916 was spent by the Turks with organizational and operational changes in the Caucasian front. Fortunately for the Ottoman commanders, the Russians were quiet during this period. The winter of 1916–17 was extremely harsh, which made fighting nearly impossible. 


The military situation did not change during the spring of 1917. The Russian plans for a renewed attack never substantiated. Meanwhile, Russia was in political and social turmoil. It was also influencing the army ranks. The chaos caused by the Russian Revolution put a stop to all Russian military operations. The Russian forces began to conduct withdrawals. Neither the Russian soldiers nor the Russian people wanted to continue the war. The Russian army slowly disintegrated. According to Fevzi Çakmak, in the winter of 1917 alone, Russia had lost at least 100,000 soldiers, though the soldiers opposing to Ottoman Empire numbered 250,000 at that time. Starting from the spring of 1917, the situation was completely disadvantageous as a renewed typhus, scurvy and similar problems resulting from hygiene and food, became very common in the Caucasian army. Until the Russian Revolution of 1917, Ottoman Empire's possible operation in Caucasia could not be imagined. After the Battle of Sarikamish, the Ottoman units were "almost always" in disastrous situation trying to hold on the left over regions in the occupied Ottoman lands.

Source: http://althistory.wikia.com/wiki/Caucasus_Campaign_%28Central_Victory%29



Николай Николаевич ЮДЕНИЧ (18 (30).07.1862 - 05.10.1933гг.) - русский военный деятель. Один из самых успешных генералов России во время Первой мировой войны, "носитель русской славы, не потерпевший ни одного поражения".

Генерал от инфантерии Юденич мог не только стяжать лавры "второго Суворова", но и славу лучшего русского полководца ХХ века. Этот человек должен был стать кавалером ордена Св.Георгия всех 4 степеней. Таких в истории русской армии было всего лишь четверо: фельдмаршалы Кутузов, Барклай-де-Толли, Дибич и Паскевич. Генерал Юденич командовал в Первую мировую Кавказской армией, а затем Кавказским фронтом - единственным, где русская армия не узнала горечи поражения или отступления.

Победы на Кавказском фронте сделали Юденича к 1917 году героем России. Но о нем в советское время писали только с уничижительными эпитетами, а о его славе и полководческом таланте молчали вовсе. По советским учебникам и монографиям получалась полная ахинея - что Кавказская армия сражалась без военачальников и при этом побеждала! Это замалчивание сделало свое черное дело. Сегодня мало кто знает, что именно благодаря Юденичу Российская империя должна была обрести проливы Босфор, Дарданеллы и Константинополь - Царьград, колыбель Православия, осуществить свою вековую мечту и великую миссию. До освобождения Константинополя от чужой и чуждой ему турецко-мусульманской оккупации оставались считанные дни. Судьба Турции была уже предрешена русским штыком - она должна была исчезнуть с Армянского нагорья и полуострова Малая Азия как чужеродный элемент, принесший коренным обитателям - армянам, грекам только лишь рабство, османское иго.

Но... Антигосударственный переворот в России сделал ее из защитника и оплота Православия его гонителем, из противника Турции она в одночасье, по химерическим устремлениям большевиков, стала ее союзником и другом, более того, она уступила ей не только ПРАКТИЧЕСКИ ВСЕ территории, завоеванные русским солдатом, но даже и те, которые НИКОГДА ей не принадлежали - часть территории Восточной Армении, перешедшей к России по Туркманчайскому договору с Персией. И более того - она создала на землях, также НИКОГДА Турции не принадлежавших, второе турецкое государство - Азербайджан, ставший сейчас головной болью и для нас, и для самой России. А сам Н.Н. Юденич, впрочем, как и П.Н.Врангель, как и А.И.Деникин, как и А.В. Колчак, были объявлены ее врагами.

События, происходившие на Кавказском фронте, по времени и месту, а также по составу участников имеют непосредственное отношение к Геноциду армян в Османской империи. Эти события, несомненно, прямо или косвенно повлияли на решение (нерешение) Армянского вопроса и сегодня нуждаются в новой актуализации ввиду необходимости прояснить военно-политическую обстановку, на фоне которой совершалось одно из самых кровавых преступлений прошлого века.

Одержанные Юденичем на Кавказском фронте победы над превосходящими силами турок в Сарыкамышской, Евфратской, Эрзерумской, Трапезундской и других операциях в 1914-1916 годах каждый раз с восторгом встречались союзниками по Антанте. В Сарыкамышской операции (9-25 декабря 1914 года), открывшей боевые действия на Кавказском фронте, русские войска неожиданным контрударом разгромили наступавшую 3-ю турецкую армию под командованием военного министра Энвера-паши (начальник штаба германский генерал Ф.Бронзарт фон Шеллендорф). Энвер тогда чудом унес ноги; по иронии судьбы от плена его спасли армяне - солдаты турецкой армии. Бои шли на высоте более 2000м в условиях суровой горной зимы, непрекращающегося бурана, когда видимость ограничивалась буквально двумя шагами. Турки потеряли более 70 тысяч человек. К 23 января 1914 года у Энвера в армии осталось всего 12 тысяч боеспособных солдат. За Сарыкамышское сражение Юденич был награжден орденом св. Георгия IV степени и назначен командующим Кавказской армии в чине генерала от инфантерии.

По мнению некоторых историков, турецкие власти организовали массовое уничтожение армян в качестве мести за поражение турецкой армии при Сарыкамыше, что не соответствует истине: события 1915г. были лишь пиком Геноцида армян, длившегося, с приливами и отливами, с 1870-х гг. до 1923г. и даже до 1936г. (резня армян, алевитов и курдов в Дерсиме (Тунджели).

Летом 1915 года великий князь Николай Николаевич (командующий Кавказским фронтом) и генерал Юденич (командующий Кавказской армией) предприняли экстренные меры по предотвращению вступления нейтральной Персии в войну на стороне центральных держав (Германии, Турции и др.). На ее территорию из Закавказья был переброшен 8-тысячный кавалерийский корпус, а из Туркестанского военного округа выдвинут сводный казачий отряд. Эти превентивные акции русских сорвали германо-турецкие попытки склонить Тегеран и Кабул к войне против Антанты. За разгром "правого крыла" 3-й турецкой армии (около 90 батальонов) в Евфратской операции, закончившейся 30 июля 1915г., Н.Н.Юденич получил орден Св.Георгия III степени.

Вершиной же воинской славы Юденича стала беспримерная в истории русского военного искусства времен Первой мировой операция - взятие крепости Эрзерум в 1916г., за которую Юденич был награжден Георгием II степени. В плен попали более 13 тысяч турецких военнослужащих.

Крепость Эрзерум являлась единственным и сильно укрепленным районом на Армянском нагорье и в Малой Азии; 11 фортов, подготовленных к долговременной круговой обороне: многоярусные башни с крепостными орудиями до 50 стволов в каждом, окруженные глубокими рвами, и все это на высоте 2400 метров над уровнем моря. Один вид этой твердыни мог привести в уныние кого угодно, но не русских, для которых это было повторением пройденного. Наступление началось 28 декабря 1915 года. После месяца тяжелых боев русские войска 3 февраля 1916 года во второй раз овладели Эрзерумской крепостью.

Этот успех, который в военной истории сравнивается со штурмом Измаила Суворовым, вызвал настоящий фурор. Перед русской армией открывался оперативный простор на Армянское нагорье и в Анатолию - центральные области Турции. Кавказская армия генерала Юденича продвинулись на 150 км. Турецкая 3-я армия была разгромлена полностью и потеряла больше половины своего состава: 66 тыс. человек убитыми и ранеными, 13 тыс. - пленными. Было взято 9 знамен и 323 орудия. Русская армия потеряла 2339 убитыми и 6 тыс. ранеными. Общие потери турок за кампанию составили 350 тыс. человек, из них 100 тыс. попали в плен. Взятие Эрзерума открыло путь на Трапезунд, который был взят в апреле, а позже, в июле, был взят Эрзинджан (Ерзнка). Русская армия глубоко продвинулась на территорию Западной Армении, практически всю ее освободив от турецкого присутствия.


"От Эрзерума к Трапезунду. Наши доблестные кавказские войска, заняв Эрзерум и оставив его далеко позади себя, победоносно продвигаются вперед. Заняв 15 марта город Офь и форсировав реку Огене-дере, они вступили на плацдарм, изрезанный параллельно текущими в глубоких долинах реками и ручьями. Приходится вести атаки в очень глубоком снегу, преодолевая при этом большое количество горных расщелин. На этом плацдарме, прикрывающем подступы к Трапезунду, турки оказывают упорное сопротивление, но наши, сбивая врага, уже 24 марта перешли вторую реку - Кара-дере. Отбросив неприятеля за реку Каре-дере, наши войска подошли почти к самому городу Сюрмене и теперь находятся на расстоянии всего 28 верст от Трапезунда".

Перед Черноморским флотом была поставлена задача оказать содействие приморскому флангу Кавказской армии в овладении Трапезундом. 23 и 24 января 1916г. корабли Батумского отряда ЧФ капитана I ранга М. М.Римского-Корсакова подавили турецкие батареи у р. Архаве, что позволило Приморскому отряду Кавказской армии (15 тыс. человек, 38 орудий) генерал-лейтенанта В.Н.Ляхова перейти в наступление. При содействии морских десантов 1 апреля отряд вышел к позициям турок на р. Кара-дере.

25-26 марта в Ризе и Хамургяне были высажены две пластунские бригады (18 тыс. человек, 12 орудий), переброшенные из Новороссийска на 22 транспортах под охраной отряда кораблей. Бригады высаживались под прикрытием кораблей Батумского отряда и авиации. 2 апреля Приморский отряд, усиленный пластунскими бригадами, овладел сильно укрепленными позициями турок на р. Кара-дере, а уже 5-го занял оставленный противником Трапезунд.

В результате успеха Трапезундской операции была прервана кратчайшая связь 3-й турецкой армии с Константинополем. Организованные русским командованием в Трапезунде база легких сил ЧФ и база снабжения значительно упрочили положение Кавказской армии.

Насколько продуманными были операции против Турции русских войск, настолько же неудачно действовали против нее союзники. С 19 февраля 1915г. англо-французская армада (18 линкоров, 12 крейсеров, 40 эсминцев) стала бомбардировать турецкие форты, начав Дарданельскую операцию с главной целью десантироваться на Галлипольский полуостров, овладеть Дарданеллами, Босфором и Константинополем. Несмотря на то что союзная армия в 550 тыс. человек имела двукратное преимущество, союзники потерпели сокрушительное поражение и вынужденно эвакуировали экспедиционные силы из Турции в Грецию, на Салоникский фронт. Не лучше обстояли дела и на Месопотамском фронте. 22 ноября 1915 года под Багдадом турецкая группировка нанесла сокрушительный удар по британским войскам, и те, осажденные в крепости Кут-Эль-Амар, в апреле 1916 года капитулировали.

В итоге спустя некоторое время в Лондоне (май 1916 года) было заключено секретное соглашение (договор Сайкса-Пико), по которому союзники дали обещание России выполнить Англо-франко-русское соглашение 1915 года о проливах: присоединить к России Константинополь, проливы Босфор и Дарданеллы и примыкающие к ним районы европейской и азиатской части Турции, а также передать России области Эрзерума, Трапезунда, Вана, Битлиса (т.е. практически всю территорию Армении по Севрскому договору) и часть Курдистана.


"В числе упомянутых в английском меморандуме пожеланий были еще следующие: устройство в Константинополе вольного порта для склада и провоза товаров, имевших назначение в страны Малой Азии и Юго-Восточной Европы, кроме России; оставление Аравии и мусульманских святых мест под независимой мусульманской властью; подчинение нейтральной зоны в Персии английскому влиянию путем пересмотра русско-английского соглашения 1907 года. На все эти пожелания лондонского кабинета, как и на те, которые были нам выражены г-ном Палеологом относительно уступки Франции Сирии и Киликии, русское правительство выразило свое согласие. Дальнейшая разработка и уточнение территориальных приобретений наших союзников за счет Оттоманской империи были произведены позже, в личных переговорах между мной и их особыми уполномоченными - сэром Марком Сайксом и г-ном Пико. В апреле 1916 года, по окончании этих переговоров и выяснении пожеланий каждого из членов Тройственного согласия, я сообщил в письме к союзным представителям в Петрограде о согласии императорского правительства на предъявленные ими требования о присоединении Англией Месопотамии и Францией - Сирии и Киликии под условием приобретения Россией в Малой Азии Эрзерума, Трапезунда, Вана и Битлиса вплоть до пункта на Черноморском побережье, который должен был быть определен при проведении новых границ. Часть Курдистана, лежащая к югу от Вана и Битлиса, должна была равным образом отойти к России, взамен чего Франция приобретала в Малой Азии значительную территорию с городом Харпутом. Вот в общих чертах соглашение, к которому пришло русское правительство с уполномоченными Англии и Франции в 1916 году".

Ясно, что данное соглашение в части, касающейся России, не было выполнено, поскольку после октября 1917 года она из члена Антанты превратилась в ее врага. Россия не приняла участия также в разделе сфер влияния по итогам Первой мировой войны, зато, уже в большевистском статусе, заключила в 1921 году бесславные Московский и Карсский договоры с Турцией и тем самым не только утратила завоевания российской армии в Первой мировой войне, но и уступила геополитическому противнику территории, отвоеванные в течение всего XIX века.

В этом контексте уместно заметить, что сегодня в российской прессе порой появляются опусы с экскурсом в 1918-1920 годы с намеком и упреком в адрес армян и лидеров Первой Армянской республики за их приверженность Антанте. При этом нарочито умалчивается (в расчете на неосведомленность читателя), что Российская империя сама была в числе стран Антанты. На чьей стороне тогда должны были быть армяне, если не на стороне доблестных генералов Деникина, Юденича, Краснова, Врангеля и других? (Вполне возможно, что среди причин, по которым большевики донельзя обкорнали Армению, отрезав от нее в пользу Турции, Грузии и Азербайджана (фактически - той же Турции) все возможное, не последнее место занимало и это обстоятельство: они не могли и не простили Армении союзничество с Белым движением и Антантой). И это в то время, когда большевики и эсеры в ожесточенных перестрелках выясняли, кто из них больше предан "мировой революции" и на каких условиях следует заключать Брестский мир. До сих пор турки оправдывают учиненную кровавую бойню в Западной Армении, называя ее "вынужденной депортацией" за приверженность армян Российской империи.

Приведенные исторические события в контексте Армянского вопроса вызывают обоснованное чувство досады, поскольку вынуждают оценивать трагическое прошлое в сослагательном наклонении (если бы...), что считается некорректным. Однако с точки зрения постулатов геополитики устремления России в регионе Малой Азии остались прежними. Тенденции России по освоению "Византийского наследства" совместно с восточнохристианскими народами, а также восстановлению своего влияния на Евразийском пространстве по всем признакам сохранились. Более того, эти тенденции не могут угаснуть, поскольку геополитические тенденции нации и государства обусловлены совокупностью объективных и постоянно действующих внешних и внутренних факторов; временами они могут не совпадать с программными установками отдельных партий, лоббирующих группировок, политических доктрин и деятелей, однако результирующий вектор поляризации, как правило, сохраняет свою прежнюю направленность геополитических устремлений.

ПОСЛЕСЛОВИЕ. Данная статья компилятивная, составленная по материалам русской прессы и российских аналитиков, в частности, ВН-Аналитик. Мои добавления и отдельные комментарии не меняют общей картины. Мы часто рассматриваем Армянский вопрос в отрыве от геополитической и военной ситуации на Армянском нагорье, между тем как при таком рассмотрении многое видится под другим углом. Материалы эти интересны еще и тем, что свидетельствуют об идущей сегодня в России серьезной "работе над ошибками", что неизбежно должно привести к переосмыслению роли и места России в Закавказье, ее отношений с Турцией и соседями по Закавказью.

И еще: не нам указывать, кого самим русским считать героями, но для нас имена генералов Н.Н.Юденича, А.Н.Деникина, Врангеля должны стоять рядом с именами их боевых соратников - генералов все той же победоносной Кавказской армии М.Б.Силикяна, Т.О.Назарбекяна и других. Для всех них понятия "честь" и "Родина" совпадали и были превыше всего.

Source: http://www.golosarmenii.am/ru/20405/society/26816/

Russian-Turkish Wars


Russo-Turkish wars,  series of wars between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in the 17th–19th century. The wars reflected the decline of the Ottoman Empire and resulted in the gradual southward extension of Russia’s frontier and influence into Ottoman territory. The wars took place in 1676–81, 1687, 1689, 1695–96, 1710–12 (part of the Great Northern War), 1735–39, 1768–74, 1787–91, 1806–12, 1828–29, 1853–56 (part of the Crimean War), and 1877–78. As a result of these wars, Russia was able to extend its European frontiers southward to the Black Sea, southwestward to the Prut River, and south of the Caucasus Mountains in Asia.

The early Russo-Turkish Wars were mostly sparked by Russia’s attempts to establish a warm-water port on the Black Sea, which lay in Turkish hands. The first war (1676–81) was fought without success in Ukraine west of the Dnieper River by Russia, which renewed the war with failed invasions of the Crimea in 1687 and 1689. In the war of 1695–96, the Russian tsar Peter I the Great’s forces succeeded in capturing the fortress of Azov. In 1710 Turkey entered the Northern War against Russia, and after Peter the Great’s attempt to liberate the Balkans from Ottoman rule ended in defeat at the Prut River (1711), he was forced to return Azov to Turkey. War again broke out in 1735, with Russia and Austria in alliance against Turkey. The Russians successfully invaded Turkish-held Moldavia, but their Austrian allies were defeated in the field, and as a result the Russians obtained almost nothing in the Treaty of Belgrade (Sept. 18, 1739).

The first major Russo-Turkish War (1768–74) began after Turkey demanded that Russia’s ruler, Catherine II the Great, abstain from interfering in Poland’s internal affairs. The Russians went on to win impressive victories over the Turks. They captured Azov, the Crimea, and Bessarabia, and under Field Marshal P.A. Rumyantsev they overran Moldavia and also defeated the Turks in Bulgaria. The Turks were compelled to seek peace, which was concluded in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (July 21, 1774). This treaty made the Crimean khanate independent of the Turkish sultan; advanced the Russian frontier southward to the Southern (Pivdennyy) Buh River; gave Russia the right to maintain a fleet on the Black Sea; and assigned Russia vague rights of protection over the Ottoman sultan’s Christian subjects throughout the Balkans.

Russia was now in a much stronger position to expand, and in 1783 Catherine annexed the Crimean Peninsula outright. War broke out in 1787, with Austria again on the side of Russia (until 1791). Under General A.V. Suvorov, the Russians won several victories that gave them control of the lower Dniester and Danube rivers, and further Russian successes compelled the Turks to sign the Treaty of Jassy (Iaşi) on Jan. 9, 1792. By this treaty Turkey ceded the entire western Ukrainian Black Sea coast (from the Kerch Strait westward to the mouth of the Dniester) to Russia.

When Turkey deposed the Russophile governors of Moldavia and Walachia in 1806, war broke out again, though in a desultory fashion, since Russia was reluctant to concentrate large forces against Turkey while its relations with Napoleonic France were so uncertain. But in 1811, with the prospect of a Franco-Russian war in sight, Russia sought a quick decision on its southern frontier. The Russian field marshal M.I. Kutuzov’s victorious campaign of 1811–12 forced the Turks to cede Bessarabia to Russia by the Treaty of Bucharest (May 28, 1812).
Russia had by now secured the entire northern coast of the Black Sea. Its subsequent wars with Turkey were fought to gain influence in the Ottoman Balkans, win control of the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, and expand into the Caucasus. The Greeks’ struggle for independence sparked the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, in which Russian forces advanced into Bulgaria, the Caucasus, and northeastern Anatolia itself before the Turks sued for peace. The resulting Treaty of Edirne (Sept. 14, 1829) gave Russia most of the eastern shore of the Black Sea, and Turkey recognized Russian sovereignty over Georgia and parts of present-day Armenia.

The war of 1853–56, known as the Crimean War, began after the Russian emperor Nicholas I tried to obtain further concessions from Turkey. Great Britain and France entered the conflict on Turkey’s side in 1854, however, and the Treaty of Paris (March 30, 1856) that ended the war was a serious diplomatic setback for Russia, though involving few territorial concessions.

The last Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) was also the most important one. In 1877 Russia and its ally Serbia came to the aid of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria in their rebellions against Turkish rule. The Russians attacked through Bulgaria, and after successfully concluding the Siege of Pleven they advanced into Thrace, taking Adrianople (now Edirne, Tur.) in January 1878. In March of that year Russia concluded the Treaty of San Stefano with Turkey. This treaty freed Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro from Turkish rule, gave autonomy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and created a huge autonomous Bulgaria under Russian protection. Britain and Austria-Hungary, alarmed by the Russian gains contained in the treaty, compelled Russia to accept the Treaty of Berlin (July 1878), whereby Russia’s military-political gains from the war were severely restricted.

Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/514064/Russo-Turkish-wars

Russian-Persian War


Disputes over territories along the southwestern coast of the Caspian Sea and in the eastern Transcaucasus led to war between Russia and Persia from 1804 to 1813 and again from 1826 to 1828. The military conflict between the two empires was nothing new, but it entered a more decisive stage with the dawning of the nineteenth century. At the root of the first Russo-Persian War was the desire of Shah Fath Ali to secure his northwestern territories in the name of the Qajar dynasty. At the time, Persia's claims to Karabakh, Shirvan, Talesh, and Shakki seemed precarious in the wake of Russia's annexation in 1801 of the former kingdom of Georgia, also claimed by Persia. Meanwhile, Russia consolidated this acquisition and resumed its military penetration of border territories constituting parts of modern Azerbaijan and Armenia, with the objective of extending its imperial frontiers to the Aras and Kura rivers.

War broke out when Prince Paul Tsitsianov marched to Echmiadzin at the head of a column of Russian, Georgian, and Armenian troops. The outnumbered Russian army was unable to overcome the town's stubborn defense and several weeks later also unsuccessfully besieged Yerevan. Throughout the war, the Russians generally had the strategic initiative but lacked the strength to crush the Persian resistance. Able to commit only about ten thousand troops, a fraction of their total force in the Caucasus, the Russian commanders relied on superior tactics and weapons to overcome a numerical disadvantage of as much as five to one. Overlapping wars with Napoleonic France, Turkey (1806–1812), and Sweden (1808–1809), as well as sporadic tribal uprisings in the Caucasus, distracted the tsar's attention. Yet state-supported, centralized military organization provided Russian columns with considerable combat power. In contrast, the Persian forces were largely irregular cavalry raised and organized on a tribal basis. Abbas Mirza, heir to the throne, sought French and British instructors to modernize his army, and resorted to a guerrilla strategy that delayed the Persian defeat.

In 1810, the Persians proclaimed a holy war, but this had little effect on the eventual outcome. The Russian victories at Aslandaz in 1812 and Lankarin in 1813 sealed the verdict in Russia's favor. Under the Treaty of Golestan, Russia obtained most of the disputed territories, including Dagestan and northern Azerbaijan, and reduced the local khans to the status of vassals.

Another war between Russia and Persia broke out in 1826 following the death of Alexander I and the subsequent Decembrist revolt. Sensing opportunity, the Persians invaded in July at the instigation of Abbas Mirza, and even won some early victories against the outnumbered forces of General Alexei Yermolov, whose appeals to St. Petersburg for reinforcements went unfulfilled. With only twelve regular battalions, the Russians effectively delayed the Persian advance. A contingent of about eighteen hundred, for instance, held the strategic fortress at Shusha against a greatly superior force. On September 12, a Persian army under the personal command of Abbas Mirza was defeated at Yelizabetpol. In the spring of 1827, the Russian command passed to General Ivan Paskevich. He captured Yerevan at the end of September and crossed the Aras River to seize Tabriz. In November, Abbas Mirza reluctantly submitted. Under the Treaty of Torkamanchay (February 1828), Persia ceded Yerevan and all the territory up to the Aras River and paid a twenty million ruble indemnity. 

Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404101165.html

Armenian, Russian Presidents open Hill of Honor


After the Armenian and Russian national anthems were performed, the Presidents welcomed the guests and the Gyumri residents. The Presidents’ speeches were followed by a pray for the repose of the Russian servicemen’s souls. The Hill of Honor is a cemetery founded on the order of Commander of the Caucasus corps, General Nikolay Muravyev in 1856. An orthodox church was later built there. Consecrated in 1886, the church has been preserved. The Russian President and his wife arrived in Armenia on August 19. On arriving in Yerevan, the Russian leader headed for the Memorial to Armenian Genocide victims. He laid flowers at the monument. On August 20, Armenian-Russian negotiations were held. The CSTO’s informal summit has opened in Yerevan. An opening ceremony of the Hill of Honor was held in Gyumri. The memorial was opened on the burial place of 156 officers of the Russian army killed during the Russian-Turkish wars in the 19th century. Participating in the ceremony were the Armenian and Russian Presidents, Serzh Sargsyan and Dmitry Medvedev. The Armenian and Russian leaders laid a wreath at the memorial, a NEWS.am correspondent reported. It is a sculpture is a soldier mourning for his killed comrades-in-arms and an eagle over the soldier’s head with the Turkish flag in its talons. 

Source: http://news.am/eng/news/28359.html
Russia, Our Best Friend


For centuries Armenians dreamed of having their own state and after each national tragedy and slaughter hoped it would be the last time. My paternal  grandparents dreamed of an independent Armenia but didn’t see its birth. I consider myself a lucky Armenian: I saw the emergence of an independent Armenia; what my ancestors hoped for centuries became true in my time.

My father, who doesn’t speak Armenian, says to me after each visit to the motherland: "Son, I feel that my soul is nourished and I can’t live without this feeling.” Despite the negative narrative among many Diaspora Armenians who turn their back to their ancestral land and the non-stop propaganda that Armenia is ruled by oligarchs, that depopulation will mark the end of the country, that the president is a crook, etc, I feel Armenia is intelligently managed in the turbulent Caucasus, a buffer zone and an extension of the Middle East.

One of the latest arguments in the Diaspora is that Russia is a threat to Armenia and that Moscow plans an Armenia without Armenians. I hear these arguments from Diaspora Armenians who live in the West and most of whom haven't visited their homeland, lack solid information about Armenia and cannot understand that there is an Armenia because Armenians are considered by Russians as loyal friends, an ancient Christian people who are Russophile and have contributed to Russia in many fields and still continue to do so. Those who want Armenia destroyed hope Armenia becomes anti-Russian. Thus they spread their anti-Russian propaganda.

In 2008 Russia didn’t abandon South Ossetia--one of the tiniest nations anywhere, with no oil or other natural ressources. Their only asset is their loyalty to Russia. In 2008, during the August War with Russia, Georgia received arms from many Western countries. Western private militias fought side by side the Georgian army. At the end Russian tanks were closing in on Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It was only through President Sarkozy's intercession that the life of Georgian President Miheil Saakashvili was saved. The Georgian leader had been called ‘son’ by U.S Secretary of State Colin Powell while Georgia was praised as a 'model' country by the Europeans and Americans for its intention to join the EU or NATO. At the end of the war, Georgia was once again humiliated and as a result of the war Georgia lost Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In recent centuries Georgia has survived thanks to Russian protection. But this fact is no immaterial to Georgians. Millions of Georgians live in Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's family originated in Georgia. Georgians who live in Turkey are Islamized and only a few can speak a sprinkling of Georgian. If a conflict emerges between Turkey and Georgia these Georgians will side with Turkey because their Sunni faith keeps them loyal to Turkey.

Samuel Huntington stated that religious or ethnic affiliation shape peoples’ perception of different conflicts. Why, for example, was NATO member Greece unenthusiastic about the bombing of the Serbs by NATO forces in 1999? The reason is simple: Serbs, like the Greeks, are Orthodox Christians and have an affinity to the Byzantine Empire just, like the Greeks. To which civilizational group does Armenia belong? Are we western like the British or Islamic like the Libyans? As Eastern Christians we belong to the Orthodox world headed by Russia. Russia is the only superpower which cares about the fate of Eastern Christians, just as it cares for the wellbeing of Syrian Christians.

International relations are, in general, based on interests. States have long-term agendas; they follow them right or wrong. But what if states also have a subconscience and memory? Syria is home to a Russian naval base in Tartus, a city on the Mediterranean. People can say that it's because of the base and arms sale that Russia doesn’t abandon Syria. I agree. But let’s look back to the 1990s when the Soviet Union broke apart. People mocked "Evil Empire" Russia. People said it was "Bangladesh with nuclear weapons". Even the tiny Chechens defeated them and created their own independent state. Even "Slavic Orthodox Brother" Bulgaria, which also owes Russia its independence from the Ottomans, declared Russians were no more welcome. Sofia joined NATO and became a member of the European Union. Experts predicted that following the Chechens' victory more secessionist nations would emerge within the multinational Russian state and that Russia was doomed to collapse.

What was the Syrian approach to Russia in those years? They kept the Russian naval base in their country and continued their warm relations with Mosow. I propose Syria is so dear to the ‘’Russian state memory” that Moscow will not abandon it just like Damascus didn’t abandon Russia in the latter's vulnerable years. Propositions to transfer the base to Cyprus (the Greek part) or the multi-billion Saudi bribe to bring down Assad didn’t influence Russia. It didn't compromise its friendship and rejected the ‘Libyan scenario’.

In Istanbul some years ago an Ossetian official told me that President Yeltsin of Russia was so embarrassed by the negative attitude of Western leaders toward Russia that he stated: "I will find such a man [as my successor] that nobody among will ever dare laugh at us.’’ Myth or reality? President Yeltsin, the sad image of Russia during that country's years of vulnerability, selected Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to replace him in 1999. Under Putin Russia recovered and found its place in the world. He stopped the looting of his country, re-organized the economy, boosted the military power and reasserted its territorial integrity. Russia rose from the ashes like the phoenix and refound its glory. It is once again a respected superpower. The Bear is back.

But Russia is an enigma to Armenians living in the West. We are mostly ignorant about Russia's history and what it is today. We know about the evil Communists, the gulags, the state atheism of Soviet times. Most of us don't know that Moscow is the Third Rome: after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks Russia became the main center of Eastern Christianity. The coat of arms of the Russian state is the double-headed Byzantine Eagle. (Some Armenologists say that the symbol was imported by Byzantium from Armenia). Russia is the continuation of the Eastern Roman Empire, aka the Byzantine Empire. It was the Byzantines (Armeno-Greek missionaries Cyril and Methodius) who converted the Russians to Orthodox Christianity in 988. It is a country where the cathedrals are more majestic than those of Italy.

Communist rule was a rupture in Russian spirituality. Tsar Nicholas II wanted to reconquer Constantinople and save the Armenians and other persecuted Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire. Earlier on, when the Russian army reached (1878) Hagia Stephanos, a province of today’s Istanbul called Yesilkoy, Western Powers such as Britain, France and Germany interfered and convinced the Russians that the Ottomans would no longer persecute their Christian subjects. The Russian army withdrew. We know what Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the Young Turks, and Ataturk did following the withdrawal of the Russians. For more than 200 years the West has protected the Ottomans when Russia defeated them over and over. Even today no Western state cares for the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein was an irrational and brutal leader but Iraqi-Christians, including the Armenians, lived a comfortable life and were not oppressed. Before the American invasion, Saddam Hussein sent his Chaldean Foreign Minister Tarek Aziz  to the Vatican. Aziz met Pope Paul John II and begged him to act as an intermediary. The pope tried to convince the U.S and the other members of the Western coalition to find a peaceful solution. His efforts were in vain. Only a shadow of Christianity remains in Iraq. Around 15,000 Armenians still live in the country.

How can one forget the mass slaughter (1922) of the Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna (now Izmir) by the Kemalist forces as British and French navies, docked at the city, idly watching?

Armenians remember the French rescuing one part of Musa Dagh’s Armenians and taking them to Port Said in Egypt. That was the only help that we got. We were betrayed over and over by the West and our blood fed rivers. Some Armenians would say "the Russians betrayed us, too. They retreated from Van in 1915.’’ It was the Soviets who retreated, not the Russians. When civil war broke out (1917) in Russia, the Tsarist army was urged to retreat to defend the regime. The Tsarist army lost and the Bolsheviks succeeded. If there was no Bolshevik Revolution, Armenians would have been saved by the Russian army and the Ottomans wouldn't have dared launch the Genocide. The Bolsheviks killed millions of people and the majority of their victims were ethnic Russians. Despite Lenin’s treachery, Soviet rule saved Eastern Armenia and Armenians later acquired high positions in the Soviet state. Nothing remained of Western Armenia.

Russian Communism is gone. Russia has a Patriarch named Kiril who can tell to Putin during a tete-a-tete: "If you abandon the Christians in Syria, we won’t support you anymore.” And Putin heeds the patriarch’s advice. There's no way a Western leader would take into consideration the opinion of a Christian spiritual leader in defense of the Middle East's Christians.

For me, as an Armenian, Russia is the bearer of light. The great Russian people have always defeated warrior tribes surrounding their country and managed to create a great civilization. They defeated the Mongols, Napoleon, the Turks, and with the help of other Soviet republics beat the Nazis. Russians have kept the secret of survival which the Byzantines forgot.  Russia has the best missile technology and more nuclear warheads than the United States. Russia is the saviour of many nations (Serbs, Bulgarians, Ossetians) who suffered from tyranny. It was the Russians who saved the Jews from Aushwitz in 1945. As an Armenian, I am thankful to this great nation.

Do Armenians of the West know of the strongest Armenian Diaspora? The strongest Armenian Diaspora is not in the Unites States or in France but in Russia. Its members are ministers, generals, billionaire businessmen, scientists, media personalities, university professors. Did the one-million strong California Armenians have a Secretary of State of Armenian origin? They had Governor Deukmejian or House Member Pashayan but they never had a cabinet minister. Russia’s current foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is half-Armenian. Russia is the talisman "kismet" of Armenians just as the United States is for Israel. I thank the Armenian government for erecting the United Cross Monument in Yerevan, symbolizing the Russian-Armenian brotherly relations which was unveiled during President Putin’s December visit to Armenia.

Armenia has no bigger friend than Russia. Despite Russia's selling of weapons to Azerbaijan, I have confidence in Russia's friendship--a friendship based on self-interest, knowledge, and sentiment. America also armed Saddam. The West sold chemical weapons to Iraq. Americans promoted him as the leader of the Arab World. Where is Saddam now?

Regarding the little known Russian military involvement during Armenia's 1918 war of liberation:

Shoulder to Shoulder in Armenia during May 1918
The contribution of Russian officers to the Armenian independence

By Hrant Sarkisov

May 26, 1918 marked a New Era for the Armenian people, era of Independence after more than five hundred years of subservient stateless existence. That day, the day of Battle of Sardarapat is the real Independence Day for Armenians. Therefore for us the words INDEPENDENCE and SARDARAPAT are nearly synonymous. Sardarapat is a small spot on the map of Armenia, spot that would have remained unnoticed if it hadn't become the symbol of the great victory, symbol of the glorious hour for Armenian nation, turning point in the modern Armenian history when we proved that we regain our capability to fight and win the battle. Sardarapat, village called in the name of wall built by the governor of a Persian province. Sardarapat… Sa – Ardar – Pat. This is a fair wall. So it sounds in translation from Armenian into English. Probably it was not just a coincidence that this battle took place exactly here. There is truth in it. Here people rose as a wall in the name of eternal truth, the freedom, in the name of life and independence. People remember their heroes. People remember everyone who stood shoulder to shoulder with the Armenians not sparing their life in the name of truth, and brotherhood. Speaking about Sardarapat let us first look at the theatre of operations where the miracle of Sardarapat became possible.

During the first world war Russia waged successful military campaign against Turkey on the Caucasian front. Before ceasefire concluded in December of 1916 many cities of Western Armenia, such as Van, Sarikamish, Erzerum, Trapizond, Artvin, Bayazet were liberated. A little more and the Turks would have surrendered. But the destiny disposed differently. After the October revolution bolsheviks who came to power signed the Brest-Litovsk separate treaty with Triple Alliance states according to which the Russian armies were withdrawn from Caucasus. Territories liberated by the Russian army were to be given back to Turkey.

Withdrawal of Russian troops from the Caucasian front (because of revolution more resembling exodus) began in December of 1917. That was putting Armenians in terrible situation when extended frontline got defenceless. The Armenian army corps had been urgently formed with the active assistance and participation of Russian officers and soldiers. Many of them stayed in Armenia helping to defend the country. For example, during the period of Erzinjan fights and the battle of Erzerum the command over the first Armenian infantry brigade was carried out by Russian army colonel Morel.

Despite the intense fights in the Western Armenia between Armenian forces and Turkish army Turks were rapidly advancing. Erzinjan fell on February 12, then followed Baiburt, and Erzerum. On February 24 Turks occupied Trapizond and Mamakhatun. The threat of Turkish invasion in Transcaucasia, beyond the line agreed in Brest-Litovsk Treaty, became very real. At that time Chicherin, Minister of foreign affairs of Russia, sent a telegram addressed to the German ambassador in Tiflis of the following content: "The Turkish army is advancing towards Batum, Kars, Ardahan, ravaging and killing the civilians. The responsibility for the further destiny of the Armenians is assigned to Germany, for the Russian armies were withdrawn from the Armenian areas at Germany's request. Now constraining the Turkish armies from usual excesses is up to Germany."

Policies of Transcaucasian Federation's government resulted in loss of Kars. The chairman of Transcaucasian Federative Democratic Republic's government Mr. Chkhenkeli ordered Lieutenant-General Nazarbekov, commander of the Armenian corps, hand over the city to the Turks without fight for all that the general himself was categorically against that decision as his armies had a real opportunity to repel Turks' attack and to keep Kars fortress area for more than a month. The objections of the commander of the corps were rejected, and the city and the fortress of Kars that had all resources to stand against the enemy at least for a month was given up with almost no resistance.

Then Turks occupied Alexandropol (Gyumri), and were advancing their large forces towards Karakilis and Erivan (Yerevan). The historical battle took place in the environs of Sardarapat, on the approaches to Erivan, where the Turks were stopped and defeated. The Russians, Greeks, Yezidis fought together with Armenians. The hastily formed First special horse regiment under the command of Sergeant-Major Zolotarev fought with a special courage. (In Cossack formations the rank of sergeant-major was equal to the rank of lieutenant-colonel). A famous Soviet commander Marshal Baghramian fought under Zolotarev's command who made Baghramian non-commissioned officer in the first squadron of the regiment. "He was an efficient, exigent and skilled commander", the marshal would write later about Zolotarev in his memoirs.

Under his command in the battle of Sardarapat the regiment successfully attacked the Turks from the limits of the Kerpalu (Arshaluis) and Kerdukli (Armavir) villages, and destroying Turkish detachments advanced to the Kamishlu (Eghegnut) railway station and liberated the village and Sardarapat railway station. Partisan infantry regiment that consisted of the Cossacks and Armenians under the command of Colonel Perekrestov distinguished in the battle of Sardarapat. The Cossacks caught the Turks by surprise suddenly appearing before them. Captain Shneur was appointed the Chief of staff of Sardarapat detachment. Together with the commander of detachment, General Daniel Bek-Pirumov, he directly participated in the battle.

One of the heroes of the campaign was General Movses Silikov, cadre general of tsarist army, and commander in chief of the Erivan group of the Armenian forces. Besides concentrating the main forces of the group in Sardarapat detachment he properly deployed them and ensured success of the whole campaign. Silikov, udin by origin, appealed to the Armenian nation calling all men and women to stand up for protection of their country. Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Baghramian in his memoirs wrote about Silikov: "I can not pass over in silence the outstanding merits of Major-General Silikov in routing Turks in the environs of Sardarapat in the spring of 1918. I am strongly convinced that Silikov was the most gifted commander among the Armenian generals of that time. As other generals and the majority of senior Armenian officers, he did not know the Armenian language, and had no sufficient notion of the people, its fighting traditions and specific traits of the personnel in national army." Thanks to General Silikov the Sardarapat operation was carried out successfully.

Three hundred yezid horsemen led by Jahangir agha also contributed to the victory, as did two squadrons of Russians who participated in the battle of Sardarapat under the command of Zemliak. Captain Bort headed the Armenian detached shock regiment created in Alexandropol. General Baratov, Lieutenant-Colonels Spitsin, Kafiev, Efremovich, Khmelnitskiy, Khelminskiy, Kablitskiy, artilleryman Ensign Klich, Captain Sakellary and many other Russian officers also participated in the battle of Sardarapat. Groups of volunteers were formed not only in Armenia, but also in Russia. A regiment of 500-600 bayonets under the command of Colonel Samartsev, part of Andranik's division operating on Karakilis line, was sent to Khnus front.

Among those who arrived from Russia to fight against Turkish aggressors, there was also Siberian Armenian company. In March, 1918 in Tiflis Andranik took command over the company which later became a part of the Armenian detached shock regiment. Three brilliant Russian officers were among the staff of the company. Lieutenant Kolmakov, one of its commanders, wrote in detail about this company in the series of articles titled the "Historical Armenian company." Articles were published in 1919 in several issues of "Nashe Vremia" Baku newspaper. "It was a company of 210 Armenian prisoners of war, - writes Kolmakov,- voluntarily surrendered to us in fights with Turks and for unknown reasons evacuated by our government to Siberia, as if in gratitude for their sympathies to Russia." Kolmakov, a Russian patriot fond of the Armenian people and appreciating its fidelity to Russia voluntarily joined the company and arriving in Tiflis joined the formed regiment. Later he joined Andranik's detachment.

Kolmakov participated in many battles, he was fighting side by side with Andranik. He wrote: "Andranik's detachment was encircled, Turks had captured the railway station. It was extremely dangerous situation but someone had to stop Turkish attack and ensure the evacuation of civilians from Kazanchi, Shnshtap, Chiftali, Guyullibulakh and other villages where fierce fights were going. Andranik himself on a lathery horse headed the fight with a naked sabre. Having slightly reined in the horse, the general commanded: "Forward! Follow me! Hurrah!" And he galloped forward fearless as always. We followed him. The Turks rained bullets and shells, but that could not stop us: Andranik was with us. There was Turkish cavalry. It couldn't endure our raid and ran away in panic. Turks were defeated. But Andranik didn't pursue them for a horde of Turks still approached us both from the front and flanks. He ordered all villages to evacuate for our group of three thousand fighters had to occupy a part of the front several thousand versts wide".

The days of the battle of Sardarapat, Andranik's division took up the main thrust of the Turkish army protecting a part of Karakilis-Tiflis road. He held the forces of Vekhib pasha who was intending to transfer the forces to Sardarapat. The Armenian army had to repulse also newly formed Azerbaijan Republic attacks that hankered after the Armenian lands. It is necessary to note here the outstanding role of General Denikin. Azerbaijan and Georgia on June 16, 1919 concluded a treaty against Denikin's Voluntary army and Armenia. In reply Denikin concluded a secret military pact with Armenia. The Republic of Armenia with its forces formed the 7th corps of Denikin's army. On September 9, 1919 Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia issued an order: "In view of hostile attitude of the Azerbaijan authorities to the Russian army and in view of perfidious encroachment of the Azerbaijan armies upon Armenia's lands I command all officers of the Russian service in the Azerbaijan Army to leave the ranks of that army."

In 1919 Armenia was supported practically only by the Voluntary army. Denikin sent to Erivan some arms from his poor stocks. The hope for restoration of united Russia didn't abandon the Armenians and the Dashnak government did its best to help Denikin's army. After gaining independence Armenia didn't receive the expected support from England, thus the idea of American support came to the fore. President Woodrow Wilson promised to help but the Senate counted up the possible expenses and decided that supporting Armenia would cost American tax-payers 151,2 mln pounds within 5 years. That was too costly, and in reply to Wilson's appeal to their humanism the senators answered: "We don't want to get involved in European affairs even for humanitarian reasons".

In 1920 after the defeat of the main forces of Denikin Army Armenia again remained face to face with the Turks. The indifference of the Entente states to the destiny of Armenia amazed Russian emigres. "Even Bolshevik Russia is a better protection for Armenia than their official patrons from the Entente", wrote Miliukov. History repeats and teaches us time and again. At the beginning of the century we were unable to reap the fruits of our victory. The events of 1917-1920 should make many our politicians look on current events with a different perspective. Similarities are striking. Those who fought and shed their blood for the Armenian independence forever will remain in the memories and the hearts of grateful Armenians. From generation to generation their names will exemplify the heroism, humanism, true brotherhood, and genuine internationalism. 

Source: http://armenia.ru/

A partial list of prominent Armenians that have contributed greatly to the betterment of Armenian-Russian relations

Israel Ori

Valerian Madatov


Valerian Madatov:

Mikhail Loris-Melikov

File:LorisMelikov Aivazovsky.jpg

Ivan Aivazovsky


Orbeli Brothers

Alikhanian Brothers


Marshal Ivan Baghramyan


Marshal Ivan Baghramyan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovhannes_Bagramyan

Aram Khachaturyan


Aram Khachaturyan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aram_Khachaturian

Victor Hambartsumyan


Victor Hambartsuamyan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Ambartsumian

Artem Mikoyan


Artem Mikoyan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artem_Mikoyan

Arthur Chilingarov


Arthur Chilingarov:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artur_Chilingarov

Sergei Lavrov


Sergei Lavrov: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Lavrov