The commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in the Caucasus, Prince Pavel Tsitsianov, paid great attention to the need to expand the possibilities of supplying Russian troops in the Transcaucasus. The Russian garrisons in the Transcaucasus connected only the Georgian Military Road with Russia, which was not enough even in peacetime and very dangerous during the war with the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Power. It was necessary to obtain a port on the Black Sea Coast or on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea.
Even before the opening of the 1805 campaign of the year, planning to occupy part of the coast of the southern Caspian and divert some of the Persian army forces from the main theater of military operations, the commander-in-chief ordered the Caspian flotilla to advance from Astrakhan to the south along the Caucasian coast. The main task was to seize the rich Persian province of Gilan (this was also of great economic importance for the development of Russia). On the way back, the flotilla was also supposed to drive out the forces hostile to Russia from the western (Caucasian) coast of the Caspian Sea and occupy Baku.
Prince Tsitsianov, when he was appointed Caucasian governor, at the same time received the post of head of the Caspian military flotilla. He planned to organize a naval expedition to the south of the Caspian Sea in order to return to Russia annexed by Peter Alekseevich in 1722-1723. territory. On the way back, the Caspian flotilla was to occupy Resht and Baku. The accession of the Baku Khanate, with the Shirvan Khanate already attached to Russia, resolved the issue of communications. Russia had the opportunity to supply troops in the Caucasus through the Caspian Sea. At the beginning of 1803, the state of the Caspian military flotilla was determined: 2-4 corvette, 2-4 lugger, 2 bombing ship, 6-10 transports. However, by the beginning of the cruise, the flotilla had only one frigate, one yacht and 5 Haliots. For the solution of the set large-scale tasks, these were small forces.
The direct command of the Gilyan expedition was entrusted to Major General Zavalishin. Irinarkh Ivanovich Zavalishin had an enormous combat experience: he began his service in the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment, served in the Shlisselburg Infantry Regiment, and under the command of Suvorov he fought in the Fanagoria Grenadier Regiment. Enjoyed the great confidence of Alexander Vasilyevich, becoming one of his close friends. Participated in hostilities against the Poles, the Swedes, in several naval expeditions. Distinguished not only as a combat commander, but also a talented writer and poet. In 1790, Zavalishin's poetic works were published, glorifying the Russian military victories over the Turks. In 1795 in Warsaw, Lieutenant Colonel of the Fanagori Grenadier Regiment composed the poem “Suvoroidu”. In 1804, Zavalishin was appointed chief of the Astrakhan regiment, he was entrusted with the supervision of the Astrakhan flotilla and the Astrakhan Cossack army. Tsitsianov offered him the post of civil governor in Georgia, the rank of privy councilor. However, a Suvorov school soldier did not want to leave a military uniform.
The commander of the Caspian Flotilla was Lieutenant Veselago. He took at the mouth of the Volga assault troops as part of the 6 mouth of the Kazan Infantry and 2 mouth of the 16 th rangers, all 1300 bayonets with 4 guns. In addition, small detachments were formed from seamen- "hunters" (volunteers). Yegersky lieutenant colonel Aseev commanded the landing party directly. 23 June 1805, the flotilla approached the main Persian port on the Caspian Sea - Enzeli. The appearance of the Russian flotilla took Shah's authorities by surprise. Therefore, the resistance was weak, although nature created all the conditions for defense - a narrow strait led by the fortifications led to the port. The military council decided to attack in stride. The strait includes 3 haliota. One of them with the help of artillery of other ships broke through to the city under fire from the enemy. The Persians lost heart and fled. The Russian trophies became the 3 ship and the 8 falconet with ammunition. The garrison of Enzeli had no other artillery. At this the resistance of the enemy was broken.
Zavalishin left a garrison in Enzeli, and moved a squad of 800 men to the Rasht with 3 guns. Part of the detachment moved up the river in boats. On the way, the town of Bury Bazar was captured. Halfway to Rasht, the path was blocked by 7-th. Persian Corps. Zavalishin energetically attacked the enemy, who occupied the dominant heights, but could not break through to Resht. The Persians destroyed the stone bridge over a wide irrigation canal and the Russian soldiers were stopped at the same time falling into crossfire. In addition, Lieutenant Colonel Aseev was seriously wounded. We had to retreat constantly repelling the attacks of the Persians. The detachment was still in the Gilyan province for about a month, constantly reflecting enemy attacks. In addition, high humidity and heat led to the emergence of a large number of patients. Zavalishin had too little strength and resources to firmly establish himself on the southern shore of the Caspian. For comparison, in the Persian campaign of Peter I in 1722-1723. participated before 37 thousand infantry, cavalry and sailors, with the participation of numerous irregular cavalry (Cossacks, Kalmyks, etc.); Zubov’s Persian campaign in 1796 was originally attended by up to 13 thousand people, and then the number of expeditionary corps was brought to 35 thousand people. The initial small number of forces Tsitsianov, did not allow him to turn around in full power.
Soon, the Persian prisoners reported that the Shah sent reinforcements to the Gilyan governor - 6 thousand soldiers with artillery. Zavalishin led a detachment to Enzeli, where one could rely on the fire of naval artillery. July 20 squad had to leave Enzeli and take a course on Baku. 12 August flotilla anchored in Baku Bay. Major General Zavalishin proposed to the Baku ruler Hussein Kuli Khan to surrender the city. Huseyn Kuli Khan, at the end of the 18 century, fearing the Persian invasion, asked for his submission to Russia. But now Khan did not want to surrender the city. Bakuvians decided to resist and sent the property to the mountains.
The flotilla shelled the fortress for several days. However, the failure of two mortars (they were torn) of the four available, and the expenditure of all charges to a single unicorn made the further bombardment of little effect. The fire from smaller-caliber guns could not destroy the powerful fortifications. By the end of August, the landing force had mastered advanced fortifications and dominant heights. Khan army. Made a sortie from the fortress, was broken. However, the previous battles in the province of Gilya and especially epidemic diseases greatly reduced the size of the detachment: only about 700 people remained combat-ready. To this ended the food and ammunition. At the same time, troops of Derbent Khan Sheikh Ali and the Kazikumyk Surkhay Khan arrived to the aid of the Baku Khan. Zavalishin was forced to lift the siege. September 9 flotilla left Baku Bay.
Tsitsianov hike in Baku
Tsitsianov was very upset by this outcome of the expedition. He believed that the Russian glory suffered a loss from the actions of Zavalishin. The deputy ordered to make a new attempt to seize Baku. But the repeated attempt to seize Baku was not successful. Zavalishin turned to Tsitsianov for help. The commander-in-chief, realizing that the bloodless squad, without strong artillery, was not able to take a strong fortress, decided to strike himself. Prince formed 2-thousand. detachment with 10 guns and with his characteristic determination moved through the Shirvan Khanate to Baku. Zavalishinu and the Caspian Flotilla again ordered to go to Baku. Baku Khan was once again offered to pass into the citizenship of Russia. The draft agreement proposed to introduce a port authority in Baku, the 1 garrison of thousands of Russian soldiers was introduced into the fortress. Khan was offered annual maintenance in 10 thousand rubles.
At the fortress again landed troops Zavalishin. Baku Khan locked himself in a fortress. Tsitsianova hike began in winter. On the one hand, it was profitable, the snow falling in the mountainous region from Tabriz to Karabakh, took away from the Persian command the opportunity to transfer troops to the aid of Baku. Subordinating the Shirvan and Baku Khanates, the Tsitsianov hoped to get peace from Tehran, establishing the border of the empire along the Kura and Araks rivers.
It should be noted that this campaign was hard for Tsitsianov. He was seriously ill and was in a gloomy mood. Eyewitnesses then say that the prince "accurately foresaw his demise." The squad made the 23 on November 1805 of the year. On the way Tsitsianov seriously ill. Attacks of the disease forced him to stop several times a day, and then catch up with the troops. January 30 1806, the Qitsian, approaches Baku and demands immediate surrender from the Khan. After some negotiations, the Baku Khan agreed to capitulate.
Death of Tsitsianov
8 February 1806 was to be the transition of the Baku Khanate to the Russian state. The advanced fortification of the city was occupied by a small detachment of infantry. Tsitsianov in 9 hours of the morning went to accept the surrender. With him there was only a translator - Lieutenant Colonel Prince Elizabar Eristov and a Cossack to follow the horses. The prince on that day was denied his usual precaution against Caucasian feudal rulers.
The venue was a well in the 100 fathoms from the gates. Time passed, but Hussein Kuli Khan did not show up. Then the Caucasian governor ordered Eristov to go to the gate and remind the ruler of Baku that he was insulting the representative of the Russian emperor. Soon the Baku elders-beckes and the commandant with symbolic keys to the fortress left the gate and presented bread and salt. They said that Khan is afraid and will not be at the meeting. Tsitsianov offered the khan to leave even with a thousand convoy, and he will be only with Eristov. Otherwise, the negotiations will be interrupted, and he will return to the walls already with the soldiers.
At this time, Khan arrived with an escort. Hussein Kuli Khan embraced friendly with Tsitsianov, they were familiar from the time of the Persian expedition 1796 of the year. Then the soldiers of Khan shot Tsitsianov and Eristov, and the governor was beheaded. A large detachment left the gates of the fortress, which took the khan and the vicar viceroy back to the walls. According to the report, Zavalishin Tsitsianov was killed by Khan’s close associate, Ibrahim Bey. The head and hands of the Caucasian governor Ibrahim Bey brought the Persian prince Abbas-Mirza. He granted him for this treacherous murder of the title of Khan and the land.
There is another version of the death of Tsitsianov. This is the story of the nuker warrior who attended this meeting. According to him, at that time in Baku there were two Persian Khans, who looked after Hussein Quli-Khan, in order to prevent him from coming closer to the Russians, with whom he had previously previously communicated to accept the citizenship of Russia. They acted through Khan's cousin Ibrahim-bey, who hated a relative and solicited power himself. He undertook to kill Tsitsianov in order to interrupt the negotiation process and embroil the Russians with the Bakuites forever. Hussein Khan knew nothing about this. Ibrahim and his soldiers killed Tsitsianov and Eristov, Khan was shocked by this murder, but he could do nothing. At night, Ibrahim fled to Tabriz, where he handed over the head of Tsitsianov to the Persians.
Unfortunately, Zavalishin was not up to par in this situation. The tragic death of Tsitsianova affected him distressingly. During these hours, the question of honor and glory of the Russian Empire and the Russian army was decided, but he preferred to withdraw the troops from the fortress. Justified by food shortages and a large number of patients. Although the officers of the detachment demanded immediately go on the assault and avenge the mean murder of the commander in chief. All the troops loaded the ships of the Caspian Flotilla and sailed into the sea, arriving first on the island of Sary. A month later, to the shores of Northern Dagestan, where a detachment of Tsitsianov departed for the Kizlyar Fortress. True, the enemies did not triumph for long, a year later the Baku Khanate was incorporated into Russia.
Results and significance of Tsitsianov’s activities
In the person of Pavel Dmitrievich Tsitsianov, the Russian Empire suffered a great loss. This intelligent, decisive and active statesman ruled the Caucasus for only three years, but in such a short juice he could completely change the balance of forces in favor of Russia. He took control of a relatively small territory - Eastern Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti), and pushed the borders of the empire to the Black and Caspian Seas. He left behind the Russian Transcaucasus almost within the borders of the beginning of the 20 century. And all these acts were committed in difficult times for Russia, when they had to prepare for war with Sweden, France and the Ottoman Empire. At this time, Tsitsianov could not count on serious assistance from Russia. The arrival of a single infantry regiment was considered a great reinforcement. The Caucasian governor with absolutely insignificant forces, relying on the political will, decisiveness and perseverance of Russian soldiers, was able to stand firmly in the South Caucasus and subdue a number of feudal possessions.
Tsitsianov calmed Georgia, pacified Lezghins, annexed the Imereti kingdom and the Mingrelian principality to Russia. Georgia was freed from the constant threat from Turkey and Persia, stopped paying tribute to the Lezgins. Legends about the raids of the highlanders, the destruction of the village, the removal of prisoners moved to the area of legends. Georgia stopped paying tribute not only with money, but with young men and women for harem comfort. Only Imeretia was to send the Turks 80 pairs of boys and girls in Turkish harems. Gone is the threat of Islamization of Georgia. In the 17-18 of the century, Georgia was already so conquered by the Persians that it was difficult to distinguish it from other Persian provinces. Tehran became the residence of the Georgian aristocracy. The shahs demanded that the Georgian kings and princes convert to Islam. An entire nationality in the area of Lazika was converted to Islam. The Georgian regions - Kakheti, Kartli, Imereti, Mingrelia, Guria, Abkhazia, Svaneti were united into one whole only under Russian power, which was not the case from the time of Queen Tamar in the 12 century. Georgia received the prospect of returning the areas that still remained under Turkish rule. From 1801, Tiflis actually became the capital of Transcaucasia.
Despite these achievements, many Georgian researchers do not like Tsitsianov and blame him for the russification of the region, the eviction from Georgia of all members of the Kakheti-Kartalinski Tsar's House and the cruelty of the Georgian aristocracy. In particular, the governor sent similar messages to fellow Georgians: “Wrong bastards! You probably think that I am Georgian ... I was born in Russia, I grew up there and have a Russian soul. "
The governor successfully started the war with Persia, repulsed the attempts of the Persian army to invade the possessions controlled by Russia. In 1804, by storm, he took the fortress of Ganja, subjugating the Ganja khanate. Subordinated to Russia the Shuragel region, the Karabakh, Sheki and Shirvan khanates. The tragic death of Tsitsianov did not stop the victorious march of the Russian Empire. Other Caucasian governors will bring the matter to a logical conclusion: in two wars they will crush the Persian power, annex the Russian Erivan khanate to Eastern Armenia, and other North Caucasian and Transcaucasian lands. Yermolov, the famous “thunderstorm of the mountaineers”, considered Tsitsianov to be his teacher in Caucasian affairs and recalled him constantly: “Since the death of the glorious Prince Tsitsianov, who can be an example for everyone and who was not only equal, lower than those, my predecessors left me a lot of work ". “His every action in this land is amazing; and if you look at the small means that he ordered, much must seem incomprehensible. ”
Tsitsianov showed himself well in the field of civil administration. When it began to develop the road from the Caucasus line to Georgia, updated the fortress city of Vladikavkaz, established a permanent mail message along the Georgian Military Highway. The governor paid attention to the development of the education system in Tiflis, about sending Russian teachers, delivering books and textbooks. He encouraged the training of Georgian youth in the educational institutions of the empire. He established order in the legislative sphere, he abolished the arbitrariness of local khans and beks. Encouraged the development of agriculture, crafts and trade. The prince laid the foundations of the military and administrative policy of the Russian Empire in Transcaucasia.
After Baku joins Russia, the remains of the Caucasian hero will be buried in the city’s Armenian church. In a few years Tsitsianov’s ashes will be transferred to the Georgian capital, to the Tiflis Cathedral of Zion. The transfer began on November 27 of the year 1811. The coffin was raised and handed down by officers of the Baku garrison. The funeral procession to Tiflis was accompanied by troops, giving military honors to their leader. The whole of Tiflis went out to meet the procession and silently accompanied the ashes of a brave commander and prince, whose kind descended to the dynasty of the last Kartli-Kakhetian kings. By order of the new Caucasian governor-general, Marquis Paulucci, a monument was erected above the grave. The epitaph said: “Under this monument, the perishable remains of Tsitsianov are hidden, whose glory will survive his ashes.” In 1846, a monument was erected in Baku “for eternal memory”, which was located a hundred meters from the place of the commander’s death, at the end of Tsitsianovskaya Street.
Monument to Prince Tsitsianov in the garden named after him (Baku)