A. S. Griboyedov, head of the Russian diplomatic mission in Tehran. Lifetime portrait of the work of P. A. Karatygin
The tortured body of the Russian ambassador was identified with difficulty - by the characteristic trauma of the injury, the reminder of that ill-fated 1818 fight of the year in Tiflis with the ensign of the Nizhny Novgorod dragoon regiment Alexander Yakubovich. Old история, which stirred up the capital, is the famous quadruple duel due to the ballerina Istomina. After the shot of Yakubovich, the brilliant cornet of the Life Guards of the Uhlan regiment, now transferred to the Caucasus, Alexander Sergeyevich Griboedov could no longer play music anymore - the left hand was damaged by a bullet. But it was only thanks to this mark that the hacked and stoned body could be identified. News of the tragic incident in Tehran reached St. Petersburg on March 4 1828. A fragile and short-lived peace between Russia and Persia hesitated. Everyone was waiting for the reaction of the young emperor Nicholas I, who was not inclined to the sentiments. However, despite the authoritative court rumors, the war did not happen.
In the shadow of a big enemy
For several centuries, the main Ottoman Empire in the southern foreign policy of Russia was a big and troubled neighbor, a source of numerous wars and fragile peace treaties. However, the Brilliant Port was by no means the only subject of Russian politics in the Middle East. The frontier in the South Caucasus was divided by the young metropolitan Petersburg with ancient Tehran, which easily created problems for both Russians and Turks.
The relationship of the two countries to the beginning of the XIX century. were already long and difficult. Their roots went back to the 16th century, when forests and swamps were located on the site of the future Northern Palmyra. In the reign of Ivan IV, the conquest of the Astrakhan Khanate was completed, and Moscow gained access to the Caspian Sea, a water basin connecting East and West with commercial ties. In the first half of the seventeenth century, Russia began to establish itself in the North Caucasus, building fortresses and fortresses there. Such actions have already closely affected the traditional influence of the Persian Shahs in this region, and, of course, they could not look at what was happening with the notorious Eastern calmness. At first, the struggle was waged for influence on the local highland tribes, the loyalty of certain leaders and small khans.
Russia made its first serious attack on Persia at the end of the reign of Peter I, when, after the end of the Northern War, the Russian emperor decided to organize a military expedition to the western coast of the Caspian Sea. The reason was the unstable internal situation of Persia and the attacks on Russian merchants by the Lezgins who rebelled against the Shah’s power under the leadership of Daud-bek. Formally, the campaign was directed not against Persia as such, but to restore order in the lands bordering Russia. In fact, Peter I planned to take control of several important cities in a geographical location, which would help Russia to trade with Central Asia, and through it with India. At first, the operation developed quite successfully. The Caspian Sea entered a large, almost three hundred units, transport flotilla, on the sides of which were about 22 thousand people of infantry, and headed for the Gulf of Agrahan. Regular and irregular cavalry were sent there from Tsaritsyn. Formally, the expedition was commanded by Admiral General Apraksin, but Peter was the actual leader.
27 July 1722, on the day of the Gangut victory, the Russian troops landed on the shore, and a month later they were busy with Derbent. The elements intervened in the further course of the expedition - a strong storm in the Caspian Sea thoroughly patted the transport flotilla, sinking part of the ships with food. The emperor was forced to return to the north, while a garrison was stationed in Derbent. It was, by the way, the last military campaign with the participation of Peter I. The following year, a new campaign took place in the Caspian lands, but with much smaller forces and without the participation of Peter. The Russian squad was occupied by Baku. Caught in a quandary not only because of the actions of its northern neighbor, but also because of the outbreak of war with the Ottoman Empire, Persia was forced to conclude a peace treaty with Russia in October 1723, according to which the cities of Derbent, Baku, Resht and some other territories.
However, these acquisitions were in the possession of St. Petersburg not for long. In 1733 – 1734, another governmental crisis broke out in the withering Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Russia sent troops there to prevent Stanislav Leschinsky from seizing the Polish throne. Ottoman Porta, seeing in this political act a threat to their own interests, began preparations for war. Empress Anna Ioannovna was forced to attend to the search for allies, and it turned out that Persia is the best fit for this role, leading another war with the Turks at that time. And, in order to make the negotiating partner more compliant, the Persian side was offered a deal: Russia abandons its Caspian possessions and returns them to the Persians in exchange for the obligation of a joint alliance against Turkey. During 1734 – 1739 Russian troops were withdrawn from all Persian territories.
In the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna, in the late 40-ies. In the 18th century, it became known that “enlightened seafarers” began to show suspicious activity in the Caspian Sea basin. By that time, England had developed trade with Persia and began to seriously think about the organization of the Persian fleet in this water basin — it began building two ships. Chancellor Bestuzhev, who has concentrated all the threads of Russian foreign policy in his hands, has come to the information that these ships will be protected not so much by Persian as by British interests in the Caspian Sea, since they will be commanded by British officers. Russia could not afford the appearance in the region of any other naval forces other than its own. And so Elizabeth Petrovna demanded to take appropriate measures. In the autumn of 1752, Mr. Bestuzhev reported to the Empress about the results of the special operation: the naval officers and servicemen sent from Astrakhan secretly penetrated the territory of Persia and burned both the ships that hindered Russian interests. Participants in this action received promotions and cash rewards. On this English adventure with the creation of a pocket fleet in the Caspian Sea ended.
The next serious military clash between Russia and Persia took place already at the beginning of the 19th century, during the reign of Alexander I. All of Europe was more or less drawn into the era of the Napoleonic wars, and the Middle East became the scene of confrontation between opposing coalitions. Alexander's father Pavel Petrovich had the misfortune to completely give up on his “Western partners” - England and Austria - and seriously nursed the plans of the Russian-French military alliance. Ataman of the Don army, Matvey Platov at the head of a large equestrian detachment was sent on an Indian campaign. Realizing the depth of the possible consequences of such a development of events, enlightened mariners began to act. Pavel Petrovich died suddenly from an “apoplexy stroke” caused by an unusually strong silk scarf around his neck, and an urgently sent courier returned the expedition, which was already in the Kyrgyz steppes, home. The sudden rush of Russia in Eastern politics was stopped, its energy was redirected to fight Napoleon.
Among the many new decrees and resolutions of the new emperor was the Manifesto on the establishment of a new government in Georgia, a Georgian gubernia was formed. In 1803, Mingrelia was annexed to the Russian Empire. Such steps in Persia were perceived painfully, and in June 1804, Shah Fath Ali, declared war on Russia, eloquently promising "to drive the Russians out of Georgia, to cut and destroy them". However, it turned out that the event is somewhat more difficult to implement than to proclaim. The Russian-Persian war lasted intermittently until the 1813 year.
During this time, the battles of Preussisch-Eylau and Friedland died down, Tilsit peace was concluded. After him, another Russian-Turkish war began, and English instructors appeared in the Persian army. The sons of Albion continued to train the Shah's soldiers even when the battalions of the Great Army crossed the Neman and moved on to Moscow. Nevertheless, the Russian command was able to restrain the Persian fervor in expelling outsiders from Georgia by very limited ground forces, assisted by ships of the Caspian flotilla. 1 January 1813 was taken as a result of a merciless and bloody assault of Lenkoran fortress, its entire garrison of more than three thousand people was destroyed. General Kotlyarovsky’s detachment, storming it, lost almost a thousand people dead and wounded. The general himself, who was in the thick of the fight, was crushed by the jaw, he lost his eye and was wounded in the leg.
For this assault, Kotlyarovsky was awarded the Order of St. George 2 degree. The determination of the Russians to defend their possessions in the Caucasus became clear even to the hottest heads of the Shah’s entourage, and Feth-Ali was forced to sheathe his sword. In October, 1813 was signed between the two camps of Gulistan Peace. Persia was finally deprived of a number of vassal khanates (Karabakh, Shikinsky, Derbentsky), as well as from its claims to Georgia, Dagestan, Mingrelia and Abkhazia. Separately, the exclusive status of the Caspian military flotilla was stipulated - only Russia had the right to have its warships in the Caspian Sea. However, the peace agreement did not make Russia and Persia good neighbors, but was only a long respite before the next war.
In the reign of Nicholas I
Abbas-Mirza, heir to the throne, second son of Shah Feth Ali
After the conclusion of the Gulustan peace treaty, Shah Feth-Ali begins to gradually move away from such a monotonous routine as the conduct of public affairs. The reins of government were concentrated in the hands of his second son Abbas-Mirza, who was declared heir to the throne, bypassing his eldest son, Mahomet-Ali. Things reached the point that the Russian and English consulates were located in Tabriz, where the yard of Abbas-Mirza was located, and not in metropolitan Tehran. The heir did not hide his anti-Russian views and sympathy for the British gentlemen. British agents and instructors were active in the country. The Middle East became an arena for the tense confrontation between Russia and England, known as the Big Game.
The Persian army re-armed and equipped according to European standards, and at the court did not particularly hide who it would be directed against. At the beginning of 1825, sensing self-reliance and succumbing to the sweet persuasion and whispering of the British, Persia violated the Gulustan agreement by occupying lands bordering on Karabakh. Her further attempts to test the patience of St. Petersburg were neutralized by the decisive actions of General Yermolov, commander of the Russian troops in the Caucasus, who brought additional units to the crisis section of the border.
The newly ascended the throne and still painfully experiencing the December events in the capital, Emperor Nicholas I decided not to escalate the conflict, but to try to solve the problem peacefully. For this purpose, Major General A. S. Menshikov, the king’s confidant, was sent to Persia with a special diplomatic mission. The Persian side was offered a mutual cleansing of the occupied territories (as opposed to the Persians, Yermolov occupied a small piece of land, formally belonging to Tehran), in addition the Russian side agreed to make some concessions. Menshikov was received with underlined hospitality and crumbled in courtesies, but his couriers were detained under various pretexts. While the general was shown a decorative desire for "constructive dialogue," the Persian troops with an accelerated march were pulling up to the border. The generous gifts brought by the Russian ambassador had no effect on the shah and his heir who entered the path of war. Soon the Russian embassy was cordoned off by the Persian troops, and Menshikov actually found himself in the position of a hostage. With great difficulty, barely having escaped the assassination, he managed to return to the borders of Russia when military operations were already in full swing.
Count Ivan Fedorovich Paskevich-Erivansky
16 July 1826, without a declaration of war, Abbas-Mirza, at the head of the army, crossed the Araks and invaded Transcaucasia. The next Russian-Persian war began. The weak barrier from the nine companies of the 42 th Jäger Regiment could not contain the onslaught of the many times superior enemy and was forced to retreat deep into its territory. Simultaneously with the beginning of the Persian invasion, an uprising of the local Muslim population began. The news of the war with Persia found Nikolai Pavlovich just at the height of the festive events dedicated to the coronation. The emperor treated General Yermolov, commander of the Caucasian army, with a certain bias, suspecting him of connections with the Decembrists. But it was just that the emperor was in no hurry to push the honored commander, a participant in the Napoleonic wars, who was very popular among the troops, with the post. He sent his protege — Adjutant-General NF Paskevich — to the theater of combat operations with full, unequivocal hints in a letter to Yermolov, in which he gave too much space to the state of health of the latter. The general expectedly resigned and surrendered command to Paskevich.
13 September 1826 of the new commander at Elizavetpol, having a little more than 10 under the command of thousands of people with 24 guns, attacked and defeated the 35-thousandth Persian army. Abbas-Mirza was forced to retreat across the border Arax to Persia. After 47-day defense, the fortress of Shusha was unblocked, and by the end of 1826, the whole territory of the empire was cleared of the enemy. The next year, 1827, Paskevich transferred the hostilities to the territory of the enemy. Russian troops faced not only the difficulties of supply in the difficult conditions of the mountainous terrain, their ranks were feared. Nevertheless, Paskevich was able to solve logistical problems and 1 in October 1827. To capture a well-fortified Erivan. For this, the general was elevated to the county dignity and was awarded the Order of St. George 2 degree.
Infantry General I. F. Paskevich and Abbas-Mirza in Turkmanchay
October 14 Russian troops occupied Tabriz, and Persia, quite rightly believing that it was enough for her, asked for peace. The negotiations lasted four months and ended with the signing of a peace treaty in February 10 in February 1828 in Turkmenchay. The date was chosen by the court Persian astrologer as the most favorable for the conclusion of a long and lasting peace. Russian-Persian War 1826 – 1828 became the last between Russia and Persia. According to the clauses of the agreement, Persia transferred the Erivan and Nakhichevan khanates to Russia and paid 20 million rubles of contributions. In addition, the paragraph from the past, the Gulustan peace treaty banning Persia from having a navy in the Caspian was confirmed. Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov, a diplomat, played a significant role in the creation and conclusion of the Turkchay Treaty, which was very beneficial for Russia.
Hussar and diplomat
The Turkmanchay treatise put an end to the war with Persia, and Emperor Nicholas I, seeking to strengthen relations with Tehran, established a special post of plenipotentiary minister to the Persian court. Griboedov was appointed to this high and responsible post.
Alexander Sergeevich Griboyedov was born on January 4 1795 in the family of a retired second major Sergei Ivanovich Griboedov. The genus had Polish roots and led its origin in Russia since the beginning of the XVII century. From a young age the boy showed great abilities, especially for languages. In 1806, he enters the verbal department of Moscow University, and after completing it, he consistently receives a legal and physical and mathematical education. With the beginning of the Patriotic War 1812, on a wave of patriotic impulse, the young man enrolls in the Irkutsk Hussars. However, this regiment was mostly in reserve, and Griboyedov did not have to go to the bloody battles of the Napoleonic era.
Griboyedov’s hussar drive-ups soon got bored and, after retiring to 1816, he entered the College of Foreign Affairs and settled in the capital, where he became close friends with local writers. A brilliant connoisseur of literature, fluently speaking in four languages, an improvisational musician, Griboedov soon became the soul of the salons. However, high life is full of intrigue and sophisticated discord. Alexander Sergeevich was involved in a conflict between his friend, Count Zavadovsky, and staff captain Sheremetyev because of the famous ballerina Istomina. At the initiative of Sheremetev and his second Cornet Ulan Life Guards Regiment Yakubovich duel was to become a quadruple: not only the instigators fired, but their seconds. 12 November 1818 on the Volkov field after a mistake by Sheremetev, Count Zavadsky, with a return shot, seriously wounded his rival, causing him to die the next day.
The fight between Griboyedov and Yakubovich was decided to be postponed by the parties. In the reign of Nicholas I, duels were officially banned, and the clarification of relations in this way could be very expensive for its participants. However, at the request of the old father of the late Sheremetev, the conflict was hushed up. Zavadovsky was sent abroad, and Cornet Yakubovich was transferred to the Caucasus in the Nizhny Novgorod Dragoon regiment. Griboedov was formally forgiven by the emperor, but after such a noisy affair, he did not want to remain in the capital. The then foreign minister, Earl Nesselrode, suggested that his staff member go to a diplomatic mission abroad: the choice was between Philadelphia in the North American States of America and Persia. Griboedov chose the East.
Alexander Sergeevich received an appointment as secretary to the imperial attorney in Tabriz, since the main center of diplomatic work in Persia was exactly where the court of the heir was located. On the way to his place of service, Griboyedov was passing through Tiflis, where the former Uhlanian cornet, now exiled from St. Petersburg, and now the dragoon warrant officer Yakubovich, was exiled there. Between them there was a delayed duel in which Griboyedov was wounded in the left hand. The conflict has been settled.
The head of the embassy at that time was a native of Venice, who arrived in Russia in 1807, the city of Simon (Simon) Smiloevich-Mazarovich. (Although this foreigner and émigré served in the diplomatic department, he received Russian citizenship only in 1836 year). Gradually, between them and Griboyedov, tensions arose in the relationship, because, in the opinion of the secretary, Mr. Mazarovich often allowed himself humiliating remarks in conversations with Abbas-Mirza, which was unacceptable for a representative of the empire. In the end, Griboyedov was transferred to Tiflis in submission to General Yermolov as secretary in foreign affairs.
In January, 1826 of Mr. Griboyedov was suddenly arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Decembrists case. He is brought to Petersburg and placed under arrest. However, the conditions of his content are quite mild - he is allowed to meet with friends and even walk around the city. The investigation proved Griboedov’s non-participation in the conspiracy, he was lowered with a “cleansing certificate”, and he returned to the Caucasus.
At the final stage of the Russian-Persian war, the diplomat took an active part in the drafting and signing of the Turkmanchay peace treaty with Persia. Paskevich himself noted his merits in his letters to the emperor. It is no coincidence that it was Griboyedov who took the ratification agreement to Petersburg. In the capital, the diplomat was awarded the highest audience, at which he was granted the rank of State Counselor, the Order of St. Anna 2 degree and four thousand ducats.
In April, 1828 Russia begins a war with the Ottoman Empire, and Griboedov is appointed plenipotentiary ambassador to Persia. Before his departure, Aleksandr Sergeevich had a conversation with his immediate superior, Nesselrode, at which he persuaded him to postpone the payment of the contribution by the shah, but was refused. In the summer of 1828, Griboedov left St. Petersburg forever and went to his last destination. In August, while in Tiflis, he married young Nina Chavchavadze, the daughter of Major General Alexander Chavchavadze. October 6 spouses Griboyedov arrived in Tabriz.
Feth Ali Shah
Already on October 9, the heir to the Shah’s throne, Abbas-Mirza, was received by the ambassador under the thunder of artillery salute from the hands of the ambassador, the Treaty of Nikolai I ratified by Nikolay I. After the solemn meeting rich working days flowed. Paskevich-Erivansky through Griboyedov insistently demanded from the Persian side the prompt payment of indemnity - Russia was at war with Turkey and the funds were superfluous. Abbas-Mirza tried to achieve a review of the terms, but Paskevich in his instructions was inexorable, and Griboyedov had to put pressure on the Persians. Dissatisfaction with Russian politics began to grow.
A certain role in this, of course, was played by the “English partners,” whose positions in Persia were quite strong. The personal physician and Abbas Mirza, and the Shah himself was an Englishman. Life Shah physician, British military doctor John McNeil, was known not only for his healing skills, but also for his excellent diplomatic skills. Mac-Neil managed to cure Feth-Ali's spouse and secure unconditional disposition and confidence of the woman. Soon, an enterprising Englishman became a healer for the whole harem and could simply draw information about the events outside its walls. Of course, the Russian and English missions were playing a difficult and complicated game against each other, which was complicated by the fact that in such an old Muslim country like Persia all outsiders were considered “unfaithful”.
The dissatisfaction of the local population was aggravated by the incorrect actions of some embassy staff. Thus, Rustam Bey, who was in charge of the business support of the mission, behaved quite tactlessly towards suppliers, often demanding from the Persians monetary compensation for the products on his list. With high probability, Griboedov was not aware of the details of the activity of his “manager”, but for some reason it was believed that Rustam-bek behaves so with the knowledge of his boss. The East is traditionally famous for the ability to give the right gifts to the right people. Provident Griboedov stocked up with a large amount of this necessary cargo, but the ambassador summed up the traditional slob: first, the train with gifts was stuck in Astrakhan, then arrived at the wrong port. So, the ambassador did not present gifts due to the lack of it - and they began to suspect him of greed and disrespect for customs.
9 December 1828 Mr. Griboyedov headed to Tehran to meet with the Shah. Together with him went the first and second secretaries of the embassy (Adelung and Maltsov), a valet, a steward of the farm Rustam-bek with thirty servants. The security was provided by a convoy of 16 Kuban Cossacks. On December 29, the embassy arrived in Tehran, where it was housed in the spacious house of the head of the Shah's artillery, Mohammed Khan Zemburacchi-Bashi, in the southern part of the city, next to the English mission. Griboyedov several times hosted Shah Feth-Ali, and disagreements between them began: the Russian ambassador presented to the Persian side a list of Russian deserters who were demanded to be extradited. One of the articles of the Turkmanchay peace treaty specifically addressed this difficult question. Only prisoners of war were subject to extradition, but not deserters. But Petersburg was pressured by Griboyedov, and he was forced to put pressure on the Shah. Discontent began to grow in Tehran, the demands of the Russian side were perceived as offensive.
Added fuel to the fire case. One night, a certain Mirza-Yakub, the eunuch of the Shah's harem, arrived at the embassy. An Armenian by nationality, Mirza-Yakub asked for diplomatic asylum and the possibility of returning to Erivan. At first Griboyedov repudiated, but the eunuch was very persistent, and the ambassador was forced to take him under his protection. The shah took the incident with Mirza-Yakub as a personal insult and began to demand his immediate extradition. When Griboyedov refused this, the situation in the city became explosive. The mosques began to openly proclaim the massacre of infidel Russians, and the supreme mullah of Tehran Mirza-Mesih was at the cusp of public outrage. Rumors circulated that women from the harem were being sheltered at the embassy, forcing those to reject Islam.
Mass grave of the embassy staff in the courtyard of the Armenian Church
30 January (according to Art. Style) 1829 was an explosion. The bazaar was closed, a crowd gathered in front of the main mosque, which quickly grew to several thousand people. After listening to the mullah’s incendiary speech, she moved to the house where the Russian embassy was located. The Persian guard offered no resistance, since he did not have guns, and fled. The crowd broke into the courtyard. The eunuch who decided to become a political émigré was the first to be killed - his head was cut off. Then a translator and two servants died. Kuban Cossacks fired for over an hour at the front door, without letting anyone in, but in the end, they were all hacked up. Furious with persistent resistance, the Persians rushed inside.
Griboedov and the mission's remaining survivors by then retreated to the depths of the house and barricaded themselves in one of the rooms. They probably hoped that the Shah’s troops would arrive in time and restore order. More help for them to wait was nowhere. The attackers were too many, they dismantled the roof and opened fire on the defenders. The crowd burst into the room, and the final came. All who were there were killed. Next to the already wounded Griboyedov, a Cossack constable, who had defended him to the end with his own body, fell. Alexander Sergeevich himself was desperately defending himself with a sword until he was stabbed with several blades at once. When the embassy was crushed, and its looting began, Shah soldiers appeared on the scene, who, however, were ordered not to open fire on the crowd, but to influence persuasion.
A total of January 30 killed 37 embassy staff and some local 80 in the massacre that occurred. Only the first secretary, Maltsov, managed to survive - on the day of the pogrom of the mission, he ended up visiting a local nobleman, who provided him with asylum. After several days of abuse, Griboyedov’s mutilated and hacked body was placed in the local Armenian church — he was identified by the ill-fated scar on his arm. The rest were buried right there in a mass grave. According to his will, the remains of Alexander Sergeevich were delivered to their homeland and 18 June 1829 were interred in Tiflis. Nina Chavchavadze Nicholas I’s widow of Griboedov, Nicholas I, appointed a lump sum in 30 thousand rubles and 5 thousand pensions.
The incident was much more significant than any scandal with a runaway eunuch, and gave Russia a reason to start a war. The possibilities of the Caucasian army in Tabriz and Tehran were well known, and the shah hurried to send his grandson Khosrow-Mirza to St. Petersburg with apologies. He presented the emperor with a huge diamond and hastened to assure that the guilty were punished — the instigator had sent the mullah out of the capital. Nicholas I accepted the apology and reduced the contribution by two million rubles. When emboldened Khosrov-Mirza also asked for territorial concessions, the emperor remarked that the Persians should be grateful that the troops in the Caucasus were not commanded by Yermolov - otherwise, after such an incident, the Russian troops would have been already in Tehran.
Russia and Persia were never at war anymore. All the circumstances of the 30 incident of January 1829 in Tehran - was it an unfortunate set of events, a manifestation of incompetence, or someone's evil will? who were the true organizers and inspirers of the pogrom, or was it really a spontaneous rebellion? - not fully understood until now. The gift of Russia from Feth-Ali under the name “Shah” is kept in the diamond fund in Moscow. So the "ill-fated Tehran incident" was consigned to eternal oblivion.