Russo-Persian War (1826–28)

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Russo-Persian War (1826-1828)
Part of Russo-Persian Wars
Battle near Elisavetpol.jpg
Date 1826-1828
Location South Caucasus
North Iran
Result Russian victory

Treaty of Turkmenchay

Territorial
changes
Russia loses but then retakes disputed areas; Persia cedes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Iğdır to Russia
Belligerents
Russia Russian Empire Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Persian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Russia Aleksey Yermolov
Russia Valerian Madatov
Russia Ivan Paskevich
Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Fath 'Ali Shah
Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Abbas Mirza
Strength
34,000 35,000-50,000

The Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828 was the last major military conflict between the Russian Empire and the Persian Empire.

After the Treaty of Gulistan concluded the previous Russo-Persian War in 1813, peace reigned in the Caucasus for thirteen years. However, Fath 'Ali Shah, constantly in need of foreign subsidies, relied on the advice of British agents, who pressed him to reconquer the territories lost to Russia and pledged their support to military action. The matter was decided upon in spring 1826, when a bellicose party of Abbas Mirza prevailed in Tehran and the Russian minister, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Menshikov, was placed under house arrest.

Campaign of 1826[edit]

In May 1826, Mirak was occupied by Russian troops, against the wishes of Czar Nicholas I.[1] In response, the Persian government sent Mirza Mohammad Sadiq to St. Petersburg in an attempt to discuss the issue. However, General Governor Aleksey Yermolov had Sadiq detained at Tiflis.[2]

On 28 July 1826, a 35,000-strong Persian army led by Abbas Mirza, crossed the border and invaded the Khanates of Talysh and Karabakh. The Khans quickly switched sides and surrendered their principal cities — Lenkoran, Quba, Baku — to the Persians.[3] General Ivan Paskevich, Yermolov's subordinate, stated that his commanding officer's actions had started this war.[4]

Aleksey Yermolov, Russia's General Governor of Caucasus, feeling that he did not have sufficient resources to counter the invasion, refused to commit Russian troops to battle and ordered Ganja, the most populous city in the Southern Caucasus, to be abandoned.[5] In Shusha, a small Russian garrison managed to hold out until 5 September when General Madatov's reinforcement arrived to their relief.

Madatov routed the Persians on the banks of the Shamkhor River and retook Ganja on 5 September. On hearing the news, Abbas Mirza lifted his siege of Shusha and marched towards Ganja. A new Russian reinforcement under Ivan Paskevich (Yermolov's replacement) arrived just in time to join their forces with Madatov and to form an 8,000-strong corps under Paskevich's supreme command. Near Ganja they fell upon the Persians and forced them to retreat across the Araks River back to Persia. The attack was repulsed but the war was to continue for a year and a half.

Campaign of 1827[edit]

The onset of winter weather led to the suspension of hostilities until May 1827, when Paskevich advanced towards Erivan, taking Echmiadzin, Nakhichevan and Abbasabad on his way. The principal war theatre was now Eastern Armenia, whose capital, Erivan, was stormed and captured by Paskevich after six days of siege (October 1). Fourteen days later, General Eristov entered Tabriz, forcing the Shah to sue for peace.

The outbreak of the new Russo-Turkish War revived Persian hopes and hindered peace negotiations, which were conducted by Aleksandr Griboyedov, among others. In January 1828 a Russian detachment reached the shores of Lake Urmia and the Shah started to panic. On his urging, Abbas Mirza speedily signed the Treaty of Turkmenchay (February 2, 1828) which concluded the war.

Aftermath[edit]

Main article: Treaty of Turkmenchay

According to the terms of the treaty, the Khanates of Erivan and Nakhichevan passed to Russia, encompassing modern day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nakhichevan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Iğdır Province. The Shah promised to pay an indemnity of 20,000,000 silver roubles and allowed his Armenian subjects to migrate to Russian territory without any hindrance. More importantly, the Shah granted the Russians the exclusive right to maintain a navy in the Caspian and agreed that Russian merchants were free to trade anywhere they wanted in Persia.

In the short term, the treaty undermined the dominant position of the British Empire in Persia and marked a new stage in the Great Game between the empires. In the long term, the treaty ensured the dependence of the Caucasus on Russia, thus making possible the eventual emergence of the modern states of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the territories conquered from Persia during the war.

References[edit]

Inline
  1. ^ Iranian relations with Russia and the Soviet Union, to 1921, F. Kazemzadeh, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol.7, ed. Peter Avery, G. R. G. Hambly and C. Melville, (Cambridge University Press, 1991), 337.
  2. ^ Iranian relations with Russia and the Soviet Union, to 1921, F. Kazemzadeh, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol.7, 337.
  3. ^ William Edward David Allen and Paul Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border 1828-1921, (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 20.
  4. ^ Iranian relations with Russia and the Soviet Union, to 1921, F. Kazemzadeh, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol.7, 337.
  5. ^ A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 1148.
General
  • N. Dubrovin. История войны и владычества русских на Кавказе, volumes 4-6. SPb, 1886-88.
  • Gen. V.A. Potto. Кавказская война..., volumes 1-5. SPb, 1885–86, reprinted in 2006. ISBN 5-9524-2107-5.