Military Review

Secrets of the Russian-British confrontation in the Caspian

Secrets of the Russian-British confrontation in the Caspian

Now we can say that in any conflict of states both parties are guilty, even if in different measure. Perhaps this is true for neighboring states. But what is the cause of many dozens of conflicts between Russia and England, whose borders in Europe have always defended more than a thousand kilometers?


The British climbed into any small conflict on the borders of Russia. Whether the violent pans in the Vistislensky region will be forgotten, whether the Turks will fight with the Slavs in the Balkans, whether the Turkestan governor-general will carry out a punitive raid against predatory tribes - the whole of England was the case. At the same time, Russia has never intervened in any war in Ireland, Asia, Africa and America, which England has continuously waged for 400 years.

Higher British diplomats systematically assassinated and conspired against the leadership of Russia — Paul I, Nicholas II, Lenin, etc. Accordingly, our diplomats and special services never dealt with this "god-pleasing" work on the territory of England.

Moreover, since the beginning of the 18th century, England has made desperate attempts to get a common border with ... Russia from the Caspian Sea to Tibet inclusive.

In the distant 1737, English captain John Elton appeared in Orenburg, where he became involved in "astronomy". There, the “enlightened navigator” made friends with the Astrakhan governor Vasily Tatishchev and in 1742 went to the Caspian to make some kind of governor's geshefts. Later, Tatishchev justified himself: “... allegedly I am with the English captain Elton, who is in Persia, I have a general bargaining”. For Elton and other embezzlements, Tatishchev was removed from his post as governor and put on trial.

Well, Captain Elton, along with another Englishman, Voordoff in 1742 – 1744, sailed along the shores of the Caspian and made cartographic surveys. Moreover, he proposed that the Persian Shah Nadir (1736 – 1747) build the “European manira” ships in the Caspian. Shah happily agreed.

In the evening of the same day, the Russian consul Semen Arapov sent a “tsidulka with tsifiriya” in Astrakhan. They read there: “Elton promised the Shah to make twelve great ships, only he, Elton, with his insanity took it upon himself ...”

Elton was a cunning guy. He ordered to collect in the coastal waters the lost anchors of Russian ships and to forge new ones according to their model. In Calcutta (India), gun casting began specifically for the Persian ships. Across Persia, they collected prisoners of Russian pirates and defectors and sent them to the construction of ships.

The Empress Elizaveta Petrovna demanded that London withdraw Elton from the Caspian Sea, threatening trade sanctions. Elton himself, if he left Persia, was promised a "weather pension for the death of 2000 rubles."

But in August 1746, a messenger from Astrakhan rode up to Tsarskoye Selo with unpleasant news: a Persian warship stopped a Russian ship from Derbent, and "the commander and his crew beat and other bitterness did to the Russian merchants." This has not happened since Stenka Razin.

Elizaveta Petrovna was not good, but she did not spill blood in vain either. In Russia, even the death penalty abolished. But here she was furious.

Eliminate the enemy Navy

21 August 1747 Elizaveta ordered to invite the Foreign Affairs College to discuss Persian affairs and develop a plan of action for General Earl Rumyantsev, Prosecutor General Prince Trubetskoy, General Buturlin, Admiral Apraksin and Privy Counselor Baron Cherkasov.

On August 27, this council decided: “To take advantage of the turbulence in Persia and the death of the Shah to eradicate the ship’s structure instituted by Elton: to do this, order the resident Cherkasov to be bribed by rebels or other Persians in Gilani to burn all the ships built or still under construction to burn them there the Admiralty, the bars, the sailing and other factories and tools that could be, would have burned everything, and would have ruined everything else to the ground, although at least some of their different people could be persuaded to burn as much as possible but rather they did it, and for that, at least give them a notable amount of state money. If this was not succeeded, it will be possible for those commanders who will be sent on ships with salable bread to the Guilan coast to instruct them, both on a voyage at sea and when they were at the coast, to be noticed and where they would get the Persian ships if it is possible, secretly, but because of need, although it is obvious to light it and thus do so that they disappear altogether; also, the commanders would have tried, being there on small vessels, secretly or under the guise of robbers to go to Lengerut and the occasion to look for the ships there and to burn every Admiralty structure and utterly destroy it. Even so, try to get the breeder of this ship’s structure, Elton, from there, to get it, or to persuade, or to secretly grab it, or to beg for money from the Persians and send it to Astrakhan immediately. ”

Somehow it happened that at night the conspirators penetrated the bed-room of Nadir Shah and stabbed him with a dagger. The country began dynastic unrest.

And in the village of Zinzeli on the Caspian coast, not far from the admiralty arranged by the British, a new Russian consul, Ivan Danilov, arrived. He managed to make friends with the "field commander" Haji-Jamal, who seized power in the city of Gilan. Danilov told Jamal about the huge amounts transferred to Nadir Shah Elton for the construction of ships.

He understood the hint and in the spring of 1751, he raided the town of Lengarut, where the Admiralty was located. Later, Danilov denounced: "Everything is ruined and burned ... And the Persians were taken away by supplies ...". Elton himself was captured by the Persians and later killed. For this reason, nineteenth-century Russian historians diplomatically wrote: "Elton went to no one knows where."

For the destruction of the British ships that had entered service, a secret expedition was organized in Astrakhan. 30 July 1751 of the year 12-gun shnyava “St. Catherine "and 10-gun heckboat" St. Ilya ”under the command of warrant officers Ilya Tokmachyov and Mikhail Ragozeo left the Volga delta and on September 5 arrived in Enzeli.

Ships have become close to the English courts. On the night of September with 17 on 18, Russian sailors disguised as robber robes, commanded by midshipman Ilya Tokmachyov, approached British ships in two boats. For unknown reasons, the team was absent.

Russian sailors poured oil on both ships and set it on fire. The ships burned to the waterline, after which shnyava and gekbot returned to Astrakhan. According to the Tokmachev report, both ships were three-masted. One of them, 100 feet long (30,5 m) and 22 feet wide (6,7 m), had 24 cannon ports in two decks. The second 90 foot length (27,4 m) and 22 foot width had four ports on each side.

Michman Ragozeo on the day of the burning of ships "suddenly fell ill and died." Personally, I do not exclude a battle with the Persians and the British, which ended with the burning of ships and the death of Ragozeo.


Despite the sad lesson, the British constantly tried to climb the Caspian Sea, but they constantly ran into a tough rebuff of the Russian authorities. Thus, in the nineteenth-century 30, Emperor Nicholas I declared: "The British have no trade interests in the Caspian Sea, and the establishment of their consulates in this country would have no other purpose than the establishment of intrigues." Alexander II also refused the British, but in a milder form.

The revolution and the beginning of the Civil War in Russia radically changed the situation.

In the spring of 1918, British troops embarked on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and captured the port of Anzely, making it their main base. There they proceeded to form a military flotilla. Commander Norris commanded the English naval forces. The task of creating a flotilla in the Caspian for the British was facilitated by the presence of the British military flotilla on the Tigris River. Naturally, they could not transport gunboats to the Caspian, but they removed marine guns of 152, 120, 102, 76, and 47 mm caliber from them.

Gunboat "Rosa Luxemburg". Photo courtesy of the author

The British seized several Russian merchant ships in Enzeli and began to arm them. The teams were initially mixed - the Russian freelance team and the English calculations of the guns. English officers commanded all the ships, and Russian naval officers were taken on secondary posts.

Later, Soviet historians will tell how the Bolsheviks defeated the 14 campaign of the Entente states. In fact, the aim of the intervention in the Caspian was not at all the overthrow of Soviet power. It was a classic “zipoon” campaign in the style of Stenka Razin, only on a much larger scale. The British Caspian flotilla delivered ground British troops from Enzeli to Baku.

As a result, all Baku oil fields came under British control, and then the oil pipeline and the railway to Batum. The British brought over a million tons of oil from Baku. From the end of 1918 to 1923, the British Mediterranean squadron used exclusively Baku oil for a year.

The British Caspian squadron drove the Soviet Volga-Caspian flotilla into the northern part of the Caspian Sea and ... no longer bothered her.

In August 1919, the “enlightened navigators” realized that it smelled roasted, and, in order not to be severely beaten, they withdrew their troops from Baku, and divided their Caspian flotilla between the Volunteer Army and the Baku Musavatists. Moreover, the best ships, including the Kars and Ardahan gunboats, were sold to Azerbaijan.

At noon on 27 on April 1920, four red armored trains (No. 61, 209, 55 and 65), carrying a landing party in two rifle companies and Comrade Anastas Mikoyan, invaded the territory of "independent" Azerbaijan.

At the junction railway station Balajary, the detachment divided: two armored trains were sent to Ganja, and the other two went to Baku. Early in the morning of April 28, two red armored trains broke into Baku. Musavat army capitulated in front of two Soviet armored trains. A train with Musavat leaders and foreign diplomats was detained on the way to Ganja.

Only on April 29 the red cavalry approached Baku.


In the morning of May 1, 1920, Baku met the ships of the Volga-Caspian flotilla with red flags, the orchestras played the “Internationale”. Alas, the whites and the British managed to hijack the entire transport, and most importantly, the bulk fleet in the Persian port of Enzeli.

1 May 1920, the commander of the Naval Forces of Soviet Russia, Alexander Nemitts, not yet aware of the occupation of the Baku flotilla, issued a directive to the Commander of the Volga-Caspian Flotilla Fyodor Raskolnikov about the seizure of the Persian port of Enzeli: “The cleansing of the Caspian Sea from the White Guard fleet must be done in any case . Since to achieve this goal will require troops on the Persian territory, then he must be made by you. At the same time, you will notify the nearest Persian authorities that the landing is undertaken by the military command exclusively for the combat mission, which arose only because Persia is unable to disarm the White Guard ships in its harbor, and that the Persian territory remains inviolable for us and will be cleared immediately on the performance of a combat mission. This notice should not come from the center, but only from you. "

This directive was agreed with Lenin and Trotsky. People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin proposed a tricky move - to consider landing at Enzeli a personal initiative of the flotilla commander Raskolnikov, and in case of complications with England, “hang all the dogs on him”, even declaring him a rebel and a pirate.

The situation with the white flotilla, which stood in Enzeli, was very difficult legally. On the one hand, Persia is a formally independent state, adhering to formal and de facto neutrality in the Civil War in Russia.

But, on the other hand, most of the ships that went to Enzeli were tankers before, and they were more than necessary for the transportation of oil from Baku to Astrakhan. There was no guarantee that white ships would not be armed at the right time and would not start cruising operations in the Caspian. Finally, according to the world of Turkmanchay from 10 February 1828, Persia had no right to maintain a military fleet in the Caspian.

At the beginning of the twentieth century there were several precedents - the landing of Russian troops in Enzeli. I will quote the Military Encyclopedia of the 1911 – 1915 edition: “The constant unrest and riots in Persia in recent years have often forced our diplomatic representatives to seek assistance from the Caspian Flotilla; the landing of troops in Enzeli, in Rasht, in the area of ​​Astrabad and in other points of the coast has become commonplace. ”

Early in the morning of May 18, the Soviet flotilla approached Enzeli. The British coastal batteries were silent. 18 May at 7 h. 15 min. the flotilla was already in the 60 cable from Enzeli. Here the ships are divided. Four destroyers - "Karl Liebknecht", "Active", "Rapid" and "Deliverable" - turned to the west to bombard the Kopurchal area, in order to divert the enemy's attention from the landing site. The auxiliary cruiser “Rosa Luxemburg” in guarding the patrol boat “Daring” headed south to attack the Kazyan area. The transports, accompanied by an artillery support detachment (auxiliary cruiser “Australia”, gunboats “Kars” and “Ardagan”, minesweeper “Volodarsky”) headed for the settlement Kivru for the landing of the landing force.

In 7 h. 19 min. destroyers opened artillery fire on the area Kopurchal. In 7 h. 25 min. Auxiliary cruiser “Rosa Luxemburg” began shelling Kazyan, where the headquarters of the British troops. Soon after the start of shelling, an ultimatum was sent to the commander of the British forces on the surrender of the port of Enzeli with all the Russian ships and property stationed on the radio.

At about 8 hours, the auxiliary cruiser "Australia" and the gunboats began artillery preparation of the landing near Kivru, in 12 km east of Enzeli.

It is curious that one of the first 130-mm shells of the Rosa Luxemburg cruiser exploded in the premises of the British headquarters. English officers jumped out of the windows literally in their underwear. Enlightened sailors simply slept the Soviet flotilla. The time in the Volga-Caspian flotilla and the English differed in 2 hours, and the first shots of Karl Liebknecht for the red ones sounded in 7 hours. 19 minutes in the morning, and for the English in 5 h. 19 min. (on the second standard time). Who gets up at 5 in the morning? Decent gentlemen should still sleep.

An eyewitness, the former commander of the white cruiser “Australia”, senior lieutenant Anatoly Vaksmut, wrote: “One fine morning we woke up from gunfire and falling shells in the port and among our ships. Having climbed the masts, we saw in the sea a mass of ships firing at Enzeli. In the English headquarters - complete confusion, none of the batteries did not respond in red. It turns out that from these batteries the British were running almost in the same underwear. After some time, we saw Lieutenant Krisley take one of our speedboats, raise a white flag and go to sea to red. We realized that the British were a bad defense, and we decided to act ourselves, that is, we had to leave. The farther we go, the more secure we will be. ”

Note that in Enzel the Reds landed less than 2000 sailors, that is, however, the 2000 British soldiers who were part of the 36 Infantry Division, and over 600 whites, of whom 200 were officers, not only did not throw the Bolsheviks into the sea, but also rushed to escape. And whites came running (better not to find the verb) in the city of Rasht a day earlier than the English.

In this regard, the White Guard, the former commander of the cruiser Australia, Anatoly Vaksmut wrote: “The British abandoned everything, all their warehouses were looted by the Persians, respect for them was lost, and the whole situation in Persia turned so that we became proud of our Russians, even though our enemies. "

As a result, the classes of Enzeli were captured big trophies: the cruisers "President Kruger", "America", "Europe", "Africa", "Dmitry Donskoy", "Asia", "Glory", "Milutin", "Experience" and "Mercury" "mother ship torpedo boat" Eaglet "air transport" Volga "with four seaplane, four British torpedo boats, ten transports over 50 guns, 20 thousand. projectiles over 20 stations, 160 thousand. cotton pounds, 25 thousand. tons of rails, to 8 thousand tons of copper and other property.

The vessels seized at Enzeli gradually began to be transferred to Baku. From a summary of the headquarters of the Volga-Caspian flotilla of 23 in May 1920: “I arrived in Baku from the enemy’s Talmud transports taken in Enzeli from 60 000 of kerosene pounds; shipped from Enzeli to Baku (from captured) transports: “Aga Melik” with 15 000 pounds of cotton wool, “Volga” with two hydroplanes on board and “Armenia” with 21 000 pounds of cotton ”.

The reaction of the Soviet government to the capture of Enzeli is very curious. 23 May 1920, the newspaper Pravda wrote: "The Caspian Sea is the Soviet Sea."

From myself I will add that until 1922, all Baku oil came to Russia exclusively through Astrakhan on bulk vessels and only then earned, and even then the Baku-Batum railway interrupted. It is also noteworthy that the Caspian merchant fleet at 1913 yielded the Black Sea 2,64 times in payload in times, but by 1935 in terms of tonnage and traffic volume it already surpassed the merchant fleets of any other USSR basin, including the Black Sea and Baltic. One of the reasons was that sending the Volga-Caspian flotilla to Constantinople, Bizerte, the ports of England, Shanghai and Manila, where the Russian fleet was hijacked by Baron Wrangel, General Miller and Admiral Starck, was not possible during the Civil War.
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  1. Lanista
    Lanista 5 February 2016 12: 11
    Accordingly, our diplomats and special services have never dealt with this “godly” business in England.

    But sometimes you listen to the next performance of a lord with born Russophobia and you think - but you need to, you have to ...
  2. Boos
    Boos 5 February 2016 12: 14
    Transport "Talmud", you can guess about the owners, the first Jew to receive a lord from the Queen of England. There they built their first nest of the current "global system of enslavement of peoples"
  3. sania275
    sania275 5 February 2016 12: 28
    "The Englishwoman crap."
  4. shelva
    shelva 5 February 2016 12: 43
    The most subtle diplomacy is British. Greed, envy, lies, etc. - the main toolkit of the "world metropolis". The Americans learned a lot from them - the result is obvious.
  5. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 5 February 2016 12: 47
    The situation with the white flotilla, which stood in Enzeli, was very difficult legally. On the one hand, Persia is a formally independent state, adhering to formal and de facto neutrality in the Civil War in Russia.

    Well, the British and the whites, basing their warships in the port of Anzeli, were the first to violate this Persian neutrality, thereby giving the Reds an excellent reason for further violation of this neutrality.
    Note that in Enzel the Reds landed less than 2000 sailors, that is, however, the 2000 British soldiers who were part of the 36 Infantry Division, and over 600 whites, of whom 200 were officers, not only did not throw the Bolsheviks into the sea, but also rushed to escape. And whites came running (better not to find the verb) in the city of Rasht a day earlier than the English.

    The fact that the whites ran even faster than the British and were the first to reach Rasht is not surprising. Unlike the British, the Whites had every reason to fear reprisals from the Reds - in that fratricidal war, both sides behaved towards the enemy in such a way that nothing good awaited them in captivity. In addition, the whites, having fought against the Reds side by side with the British for several years, knew perfectly well what these "allies" were and could not count on the fact that the British would not only defend them, but at least simply would not abandon them. to fend for themselves, saving their own skins - did you know precedents, in the same Caspian and not so long ago.
    In this case, I am entirely on the side of the Reds - they brilliantly carried out an operation in Anzely, and it is not a matter of defeating the whites, but the fact that the Reds loudly clicked Britain on the nose, seizing the port and rich trophies, including property previously owned by the British.
    I have the honor.
    1. Aleksander
      Aleksander 5 February 2016 21: 36
      Quote: Aleksandr72
      Besides white, some years fighting against the Reds side by side with the British,

      What nonsense ... What are some years, if the British appeared there less than two years ago before these events (by the way, they fought with advancing Turkey)? Where in the Caspian, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan did they fight with the whites? They helped one against the other, then, on the contrary, divorced and dominated. They blackmailed the whites and supported nationalists of all stripes against them.
      Quote: Aleksandr72
      In this case, I am entirely on the side of the Reds - they brilliantly conducted an operation in Anzely, and it’s not about victory over whitebut the fact that the Reds loudly clicked Britain on the nose, capturing the port and rich trophies, including property previously owned by the British.

      What is the "victory" over White? The Russian flotilla personnel were interned command of British forces in northern Iran. And this "operation" is legally called INTERVENTION against an independent state, as well as piracy, murder and robbery. The "brilliant" operation was a success because no one expected an attack on an independent state.

      At the same time, the Bolsheviks put themselves in a moronic situation and looked like complete idiots: the fact is that Persia was still BEFORE the "operation (s) lol "sent a letter to the Bolsheviks, about their readiness to transfer ALL Russian courts to the RSFSR-the letter did not have time to read lol
      1. Lone wolf
        Lone wolf 6 February 2016 02: 41
        Quote: Aleksander
        What nonsense ... What are some years, if the British appeared there less than two years ago before these events (by the way, they fought with advancing Turkey)? Where in the Caspian, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan did they fight with the whites?
        Yes, they had enough of these 2 years ... to feel .... and the British were always everywhere .. But they didn’t get out of Persia, they all cared ... learn the materiel .. in the history section
        1. Aleksander
          Aleksander 6 February 2016 09: 19
          Quote: Lone Wolf
          Yes, they had enough of these 2 years ...

          Where? Two years, was not.
          Quote: Lone Wolf
          and the British were always everywhere

          Empty chatter.
          Quote: Lone Wolf
          And they didn’t get out of Persia, they were all concerned

          What does Persia have to do with the passage you are commenting on? belay ? In the territory Russian Empire (and this is what we are talking about) they appeared only in AUGUST 1918. Yes, and in northern Iran they appeared only after the departure of Russian troops in 1918
          Quote: Lone Wolf
          ... learn materiel .. in the history section

          Learn to start at least UNDERSTAND meaning of read and commented,hi
  6. afrikanez
    afrikanez 5 February 2016 13: 37
    England, like a grandmother sitting near the entrance. laughing Grandmas also care about everything.
    1. cap
      cap 5 February 2016 14: 01
      Quote: afrikanez
      England, like a grandmother sitting near the entrance. laughing Grandmas also care about everything.

      Our grandmothers, although they know a lot, but they will not lay a pity for a legitimate wife.
      And the English grandmother, but rather the woman’s yaga, has been shitting for three centuries and will not quench.
  7. triglav
    triglav 5 February 2016 13: 39
    The English have always been against us. And now too. They can neither be trusted nor trusted. I would not communicate with them at all: we have nothing in common.
  8. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 5 February 2016 17: 51
    Beautiful sabotage! But it’s a pity that it’s not in England and it’s not its glass that flew out. (Well, always crap strangers .. I wanted to write - with my hands. Hey, how is it in Russian?)
  9. Scorpio05
    Scorpio05 9 October 2016 23: 34
    Everything is somehow described in zalyvatsky. It seems like a story, a thieves' legend about some gopnik raids. Especially regarding the description of events in Azerbaijan. Like the Musavat statistics army capitulated, etc. There was no Musavat statistics army there at all, on the northern border. All combat-ready units were pulled together in Karabakh. Armenian troops were smashed there. Entered Shusha captured at the time, etc. Tukhachevsky’s directive to the command of the 11th army and the Volga-Caspian military flotilla on the offensive on Baku: The main forces of Azerbaijan are engaged on the western border of their state. In the area of ​​Art. Yalama - Baku, according to intelligence, there are only insignificant Azerbaijani forces. In order to develop the directives I received, I order:
    On April 11 of this year, the 27th Army commander must cross the border of Azerbaijan and seize the territory of Baku province with a swift offensive. Operation Yalama - Baku to complete in 5 days. Send cavalry units to capture the Transcaucasian Railway in the Kurdamir region.
    By the time the units of the 11th Army approach the Absheron Peninsula, Raskolnikov should be deployed in the area of ​​Art. Alyat landing of a small detachment, which should be allocated by order of the commander of the 11th army. In a quick raid, take possession of the entire bulk fleet in Baku, and prevent oil spoilage.

    The 11th Red Army entered relatively without big problems, therefore, and then later, that Turkish officers, including Khalil Pasha, who remained in Baku, by agreement of Ataturk with the Bolsheviks, facilitated the entry of the Bolsheviks into Azerbaijan and even accompanied their armored train all the way. Turkish officers in Baku welcomed the Bolshevik coup in Baku. Like this...