4 April 1855|
Tiflis, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||19 February 1931
Tiflis, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
|Allegiance|| Russian Empire (1876-1918)
Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)
|Years of service||1876—1920|
Lieutenant general (Armenia)
|Commands held||66th Infantry Division
2nd Brigade of the Caucasus
World War I
Armenian National Liberation Movement
Tovmas Nazarbekian (Armenian: Թովմաս Նազարբեկյան; 4 April 1855 – 19 February 1931), also known as Foma Nazarbekov (Russian: Фома Назарбеков), was an Armenian general in the Russian Caucasus Army and later promoted to commander-in-chief of the First Republic of Armenia.
Tovmas Nazarbekian was born to a wealthy Russianized noble family of Armenian descent in Tiflis. He attended military academy in Moscow. His early military involvements include the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05.
Nazarbekian was awarded the Order of Saint Stanislaus for his contribution to storming of the fortress of Ardahan during the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War. He was also awarded the Order of St. Anna for his success in Erzurum. In 1902, he was promoted to colonel. Years later in the 1904–1905 Russo-Japanese War, Nazarbekian was awarded the Gold Sword for Bravery for distinguished service during the Battle of Mukden. After the war, he attained the rank of Major-general in 1906.
World War I
Before the break of World War I, he was appointed as a general to fight in the Caucasus, initially at the Persian Campaign. His military achievements include Battle of Dilman over Khalil Pasha. He also commanded the forces that took the Bitlis, in the dead of winter, had taken his army down through the mountains of east Anatolia to the plain of Mush. He engaged with the Ottoman 3rd Army at the Battle of Mush and captured the city Mush. Later he moved toward Bitlis. The success in Battle of Bitlis set the furthermost position into the Anatolia. These military achievements set the wonderment of military critics both in Europe and America. At this position, he supported the British Mesopotamian Army by disturbing the support lines. He established the outposts which made possible the further advance of the British in the Mesopotamian campaign. Undoubtedly the army would now be beyond Bitlis and in close co-operation with the British General Marshal. General Nazarbekoff, for his wonderful feat, had been decorated by the French Government.
In 1917, the chaos caused by the Russian Revolution put a stop to all Russian military operations and the regular Russian regiments deserted the frontline. In this situation, December 1917, the Armenian volunteer units realigned themselves under the command of Nazarbekian, with Dro as a civilian commissioner. Tiflis (Armenian Congress of Eastern Armenians which united the Armenian National Councils) collected 50,000 force under Nazarbekoff. On 5 December 1917, the Special Transcaucasian Committee negotiated with the 3rd Army the Armistice of Erzincan, which froze the conflicts till 7 February 1918. Between December to 7 February the regiments of the Armenian Corps were immediately hustled off to the front. With the help of their Christian neighbors, Armenian forces increased its size until they have 150,000 armed men on the border. By the end of January, 1918, Nazarbekian's divisions occupied the major posts from Yerevan to Van and Erzinjan. In the following conflicts, he was driven back to Dilidjan in May 1918. However, at Battle of Karakilisa he pushed the advancing Ottoman 3rd Army back for a few days, giving the Armenian forces time to prepare for the Battle of Sardarabad.
First Republic of Armenia
Nazarbekian was appointed the first ever Chief of the General Staff in Armed Forced of the First Republic of Armenia. He used his knowledge and experience to the creation of the Armenian regular army. In March 1919, he was appointed Chairman of the Military Council of Armenia. During the Sovietization of Armenia, he was arrested with other Armenian officers in January 1921, but released four months later.
He settled in his hometown Tbilisi, where he lived quietly and wrote a series of memoirs about the war on the Caucasus Campaign from 1914 to 1918. Nazarbekian remained in Tbilisi until his death in 1931.
- Order of Saint Stanislaus, 3rd class (1877)
- Order of St. Anna, 3rd class (1878)
- Order of St. Anna, 2nd class (1878)
- Gold Sword for Bravery (18 June 1906)
- Order of St. Vladimir, 3rd class (1905)
- Order of Saint Stanislaus, 1st class (1915)
- Order of St. Anna, 1st class (1915)
- Order of St. George, 4th class (7 January 1916)
- Order of St. Vladimir, 2nd class (1916)
- Richard G Hovannisian. Palgrave Macmillan. The Armenian people from ancient to modern times (p. 229) ISBN 0-312-10168-6
- Brief biography
- Razvedchik Journal, page 819, 4 July 1916