Kars oblast

Coordinates: 40°36′25″N 43°05′35″E / 40.6069°N 43.0931°E / 40.6069; 43.0931
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Kars oblast
Карсская область
Coat of arms of Kars oblast
Administrative map of the Kars Oblast
Administrative map of the Kars Oblast
CountryRussian Empire
ViceroyaltyCaucasus
Established1878
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk3 March 1918
CapitalKars
Area
 • Total18,739.50 km2 (7,235.36 sq mi)
Population
 (1916)
 • Total364,214
 • Density19/km2 (50/sq mi)
 • Urban
12.30%
 • Rural
87.70%

The Kars oblast[a] was a province (oblast) of the Caucasus Viceroyalty of the Russian Empire between 1878 and 1917. Its capital was the city of Kars, presently in Turkey. The oblast bordered the Ottoman Empire to the west, the Batum Oblast (in 1883–1903 part of the Kutaisi Governorate) to the north, the Tiflis Governorate to the northeast, and the Erivan Governorate to the east. The Kars oblast included parts of the contemporary provinces of Kars, Ardahan, and Erzurum Province of Turkey, and the Amasia Community of the Shirak Province of Armenia.[1]

History[edit]

An 1883 map including the Kars oblast and adjacent provinces of Russian and Ottoman empires

The Kars oblast was a province established after the region's annexation into the Russian Empire through the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and the dissolution of the latter's Kars, Childir and Erzurum eyalets.[2][3]

With the incorporation of the region into Russian Empire, between 1879–1882 more than 110,000 people from the Kars oblast and 30,000 from the Batum oblast migrated to the new borders of the Ottoman Empire,[4] about 80% were Muslim.[5] In their stead, Christian settlers, mostly consisting of Armenians, Greeks and Russians,[2] were settled throughout the province. The Armenians, who eventually came to form the largest ethnic group in the region were largely composed of immigrants from the Six Vilayets escaping persecution in the Ottoman Empire.

During the First World War, the Kars oblast became the site of intense battles between the Russian Caucasus Army supplemented by Armenian volunteer units and the Ottoman Third Army, the latter of whom was successful in briefly occupying Ardahan on 25 December 1914 before they were dislodged in early January 1915.

On 3 March 1918, in the aftermath of the October Revolution the Russian SFSR ceded the entire Kars Oblast through the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to the Ottoman Empire, who had been unreconciled with its loss of the territory since 1878. Despite the ineffectual resistance of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic which had initially rejected the aforementioned treaty, the Ottoman Third Army was successful in occupying the Kars Oblast and expelling its more than 100,000 Armenian inhabitants.[6]

The Ottoman Ninth Army under the command of Yakub Shevki Pasha, the occupying force of the district by the time of the Mudros Armistice, were permitted to winter in Kars until early 1919, after which on 7 January 1919 Major General G.T. Forestier-Walker ordered their complete withdrawal to the pre-1914 Ottoman-frontier. Intended to hinder the westward expansion of the fledgling Armenian and Georgian republics into the Kars Oblast, Yukub Shevki backed the emergence of the short-lived South-West Caucasus Republic with moral support, also furnishing it with weapons, ammunition and instructors.[7]

The South-West Caucasus Republic administered the entire Kars Oblast and neighboring formerly occupied districts for three months before provoking British intervention by order of General G.F. Milne, leading to its capitulation by Armenian and British forces on 10 April 1919.[8][9] Consequently, the Kars Oblast largely came under the Armenian civil governorship of Stepan Korganian who wasted no time in facilitating the repatriation of the region's exiled refugees.[10]

Despite the apparent defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish agitators were reported by Armenian intelligence to have been freely roaming the countryside of Kars encouraging sedition among the Muslim villages, culminating in a series of anti-Armenian uprisings in July 1919.[11]

The Kars Oblast for the third time in six years saw invading Turkish troops, this time under the command of General Kâzım Karabekir in September 1920 during the Turkish-Armenian War. The disastrous war for Armenia resulted in the permanent expulsion of the region's ethnic Armenian population, many who inexorably remained befalling massacre, resulting in the region joining the Republic of Turkey through the Treaty of Alexandropol on 3 December 1920. Turkey's annexation of Kars and the adjacent Surmalu uezd was confirmed in the treaties of Kars and Moscow in 1921, by virtue of the new Soviet regime in Armenia.[12]

After Turkey's annexation of the region, Soviet diplomat Georgy Chicherin sent a letter to the Turkish ambassador to the RSFSR, Ali Fuat Cebesoy, complaining of the violence and expulsion against Russians in Kars by Turkish authorities. For example, in the village of Novo-Mikhailovka (present-day Dikme [tr]), the Russian population was placed into "stables and barns" and replaced by 2,000 Turkish settlers from Anatolia.[13]

Administrative divisions[edit]

The districts (okrugs) of the Kars Oblast in 1917 were as follows:[14]

Name Capital Population Area
1897 1916
Ardahan okrug (Ардаганскій округъ) Ardagan (Ardahan) 65,763 89,036 4,917.90 square versts (5,596.88 km2; 2,160.97 sq mi)
Kagizman okrug (Кагызманскій округъ) Kagyzman (Kağızman) 59,230 83,208 3,843.17 square versts (4,373.77 km2; 1,688.72 sq mi)
Kars okrug (Карсскій округъ) Kars 134,142 191,970 5,083.81 square versts (5,785.69 km2; 2,233.87 sq mi)
Olti okrug (Ольтинскій округъ) Olty (Oltu) 31,519 40,091[b] 2,621.27 square versts (2,983.17 km2; 1,151.81 sq mi)

Demographics[edit]

Population estimate[edit]

1886[edit]

Census population and average annual growth rate
YearPop.±% p.a.
187167,128—    
187269,996+4.27%
187678,650+2.96%
1880114,282+9.79%
1882162,979+19.42%
1886174,044+1.66%
1892200,868+2.42%
1893206,765+2.94%
1897290,654+8.89%
1899273,124−3.06%
1902297,125+2.85%
1903304,193+2.38%
1908310,155+0.39%
1910368,057+8.94%
1912371,903+0.52%
1913382,745+2.92%
1914391,213+2.21%
1915255,461−34.70%
1916364,214+42.57%
For 1897, see The first general census of the population of the Russian Empire in 1897.
For 1903–1916, see Caucasian Calendar publications for years 1904–1917.
Ethnic composition of the Kars Oblast in 1886[15]
Ethnic group Ardаhan Kagizman Kars Olti TOTAL
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Turkish 20,351 46.63 2,652 7.76 7,280 9.46 11,540 59.71 41,823 24.03
Armenian 262 0.60 12,544 36.72 22,544 29.31 1,734 8.97 37,084 21.31
Kurd 6,974 15.98 12,003 35.14 5,124 6.66 2,333 12.07 26,434 15.19
Karapapakh 6,229 14.27 593 1.74 17,308 22.50 4 0.02 24,134 13.87
Greek 5,617 12.87 4,880 14.29 11,002 14.30 2,026 10.48 23,525 13.52
Russian 1,036 2.37 0 0.00 9,657 12.56 1 0.06 10,695 6.14
Turkmen 3,128 7.17 1,426 4.17 2,749 3.57 1,591 8.23 8,893 5.11
Ossetian 0 0.00 0 0.00 418 0.54 12 0.06 430 0.25
Assyrian 0 0.00 0 0.00 321 0.42 0 0.00 321 0.18
Estonian 0 0.00 0 0.00 280 0.36 0 0.00 280 0.16
Lezgin 0 0.00 41 0.12 155 0.20 0 0.00 196 0.11
Persian 9 0.02 9 0.03 60 0.08 3 0.02 81 0.05
Roma 0 0.00 0 0.00 9 0.01 69 0.36 78 0.05
Adjarian 21 0.05 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 21 0.01
Abkhazian 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 12 0.06 12 0.01
Georgian 9 0.02 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 9 0.01
Polish 0 0.00 0 0.00 7 0.01 0 0.00 7 0.00
Bulgarian 1 0.00 0 0.00 3 0.01 1 0.01 5 0.00
Circassian 5 0.01 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 5 0.00
Kabardian 1 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 1 0.00
Other 0 0.00 10 0.03 0 0.00 0 0.00 10 0.01
TOTAL 43,643 100.00 34,158 100.00 76,917 100.00 19,326 100.00 174,044 100.00

1892[edit]

Ethnographic map of the Kars Oblast, 1902 (according to the census of 1886)

In 1892, the population of Kars Oblast was estimated as 200,868. The ethnic composition was reported as follows:[2]

Ethnic composition of the Kars Oblast in 1892
Ethnic group Number %
Turk[c] 48,208 24
Armenian 43,187 21.5
Kurd 30,130 15
Karapapakh 29,126 14
Greek 27,117 13.5
Russian[d] 14,061 7
Alevi Karapapakh[e] 10,043 5
Religious composition of the Kars Oblast in 1892[2]
Faith Percentage (%)
Islam 53
Sunni 46
Shia 7
Armenian Apostolic 21
Eastern Orthodoxy 14
Alevism 5
Spiritual Christianity[f] 5
Yazidism 1.25
Other Christian churches 0.75

Russian Empire Census[edit]

Kars 1897 Census

According to the Russian Empire Census, the Kars Oblast had a population of 290,654 on 28 January [O.S. 15 January] 1897, including 160,571 men and 130,083 women. This number may imply that the 200,868 estimate for 1892 given by Brockhaus is too low, or that a large-scale migration from other provinces of the empire took place in between:[16]

Linguistic composition of the Kars Oblast in 1897[16]
Language Native speakers %
Armenian 73,406 25.26
Turkish 63,547 21.86
Kurdish 42,968 14.78
Greek 32,593 11.21
Karapapakh 29,879 10.28
Russian 22,327 7.68
Turkmen 8,442 2.90
Ukrainian 5,279 1.82
Polish 3,243 1.12
Tatar[g] 2,347 0.81
Jewish 1,138 0.39
Lithuanian 892 0.31
Assyrian 585 0.20
Persian 568 0.20
Georgian 526 0.18
Ossetian 520 0.18
Estonian 455 0.16
German 430 0.15
Avar-Andean 328 0.11
Belarusian 250 0.09
Bashkir 207 0.07
Dargin 120 0.04
Other 604 0.21
TOTAL 290,654 100.00

The 30,000 excess population of male over females was mainly attributed to the European language speakers. Among the 27,856 speakers of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian, 19,910 men and 7,946 women were recorded. The Polish, and Lithuanian speakers were almost exclusively (99%) male as well; Germans and Jews, 80–90% males. This preponderance of males in the European language speakers (reported to a lesser extent in neighboring governorates as well) may indicate presence of a large numbers of soldiers or exiled persons in the region. This assumption supported by the fact that 28,875 or 9.9% of the population were military or administrative personnel.[19]

Faiths in the Kars Oblast in 1897

  Muslim (50.18%)
  Armenian Apostolic (24.47%)
  Eastern Orthodox (16.96%)
  Old Believer (4.27%)
  Roman Catholic (1.50%)
  Armenian Catholic (0.63%)
  Other (1.99%)
Religious composition of the Kars Oblast in 1897[20]
Faith Male Female Both
Number %
Muslim 76,521 69,331 145,852 50.18
Armenian Apostolic 37,726 33,397 71,123 24.47
Eastern Orthodox 31,115 18,180 49,295 16.96
Old Believer 6,069 6,351 12,420 4.27
Roman Catholic 4,286 87 4,373 1.50
Armenian Catholic 1,065 779 1,844 0.63
Judaism 1,114 90 1,204 0.41
Lutheran 854 323 1,177 0.40
Reformed 15 8 23 0.01
Baptist 7 1 8 0.00
Other Christian denomination 9 0 9 0.00
Other non-Christian denomination 1,790 1,536 3,326 1.14
TOTAL 160,571 130,083 290,654 100.00

Kavkazskiy kalendar[edit]

Nationalities in the Kars Oblast in 1916

  Armenians (32.46%)
  Sunni Muslims (24.87%)
  Kurds (13.66%)
  Roma (10.47%)
  Shia Muslims (5.34%)
  Russians (5.22%)
  Yazidis (4.86%)
  Asiatic Christians (4.61%)
  Others (0.51%)

According to the 1917 publication of Kavkazskiy kalendar, the Kars Oblast had a population of 364,214 on 14 January [O.S. 1 January] 1916, including 185,895 men and 178,319 women, 308,400 of whom were the permanent population, and 55,814 were temporary residents:[14]

Nationality Urban Rural TOTAL[h]
Number % Number % Number %
Armenians 36,268 80.96 81,949 25.66 118,217 32.46
Sunni Muslims[i] 4,055 9.05 79,249 24.81 83,304 22.87
Kurds 66 0.15 49,686 15.56 49,752 13.66
Roma 361 0.81 37,784 11.83 38,145 10.47
Shia Muslims[j] 322 0.72 19,122 5.99 19,444 5.34
Russians 1,800 4.02 17,197 5.38 18,997 5.22
Yazidis 0 0.00 17,698 5.54 17,698 4.86
Asiatic Christian 1,822 4.07 14,965 4.69 16,787 4.61
North Caucasians 0 0.00 909 0.28 909 0.28
Other Europeans 55 0.12 741 0.23 796 0.22
Georgians 19 0.04 117 0.04 136 0.04
Jews 29 0.06 0 0.00 29 0.01
TOTAL 44,797 100.00 319,417 100.00 364,214 100.00

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ 1914 population.
  3. ^ Including Adjarians.
  4. ^ Mostly sectarians.
  5. ^ Reported as "Turkmen".
  6. ^ Mostly Pryguny, Molokans, and Doukhobors.
  7. ^ Before 1918, Azerbaijanis were generally known as "Tatars". This term, employed by the Russians, referred to Turkic-speaking Muslims of the South Caucasus. After 1918, with the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and "especially during the Soviet era", the Tatar group identified itself as "Azerbaijani".[17][18]
  8. ^ These statistics do not include the population of the Olti Okrug due to the absence of its data in the 1916–1917 publications of the Caucasian Calendar.[21]
  9. ^ Primarily Turco-Tatars.[21]
  10. ^ Primarily Tatars.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tsutsiev 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Карсская область (Kars Oblast) in Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian)
  3. ^ "КАРССКАЯ ОБЛАСТЬ — информация на портале Энциклопедия Всемирная история". w.histrf.ru. Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  4. ^ Frary & Kozelsky 2014, pp. 221–222.
  5. ^ Frary & Kozelsky 2014, p. 246.
  6. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  7. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  8. ^ Andersen, Andrew. "Armenia in the Aftermath of Mudros: Conflicting claims and Strife with the Neighbors".
  9. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  10. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 204. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  11. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  12. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2015). Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide. Oxford. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-19-935070-4. OCLC 897378977.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  13. ^ Svitlana, M.; Erdogan, A. (2021). Selected Secret Documents from Soviet Foreign Policy Documents Archives 1919–1941. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-329-66638-2. OCLC 1301902295.
  14. ^ a b Кавказский календарь на 1917 год, pp. 198–201.
  15. ^ "население северо-восточной турции". www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  16. ^ a b "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". www.demoscope.ru. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  17. ^ Bournoutian 2018, p. 35 (note 25).
  18. ^ Tsutsiev 2014, p. 50.
  19. ^ Bournoutian, George (2017). "The Population of the South Caucasus according to the 1897 General Census of the Russian Empire". Iran & the Caucasus. 21 (3): 332. ISSN 1609-8498. JSTOR 26548902.
  20. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". www.demoscope.ru. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  21. ^ a b c Hovannisian 1971, p. 67.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

40°36′25″N 43°05′35″E / 40.6069°N 43.0931°E / 40.6069; 43.0931