On the question of the Armenians of Western Armenia

  • by Western Armenia, November 27, 2023 in History

1917 in mid-December, when the military front was rapidly disintegrating, the Armenian Corps was formed in Tiflis under the leadership of General Nazarbekyan. The headquarters of the corps was initially located in the building of the Armenian Charity Society in Abbasabadian Square in Tiflis, and after some time it was moved to the building of the 3rd female gymnasium on Beibytyun Street. Armenian regiments. 1st - in Kanaker, 2nd - in Khnus, 3rd - in Dilijan, 4th - in Etchmiadzin, 5th - in Van, one regiment each is formed in Sarighamish and Alexandrapol. Colonels Gharakeshishyan, Hovsepyan, Pavel Pirumyan, Melik-Muradyan, Bey Mamikonyan, Arghutyan, Ghorghanyan and others are appointed commanders of the units. Dro is appointed commissar of the corps. General Nazarbekyan writes in his memoirs that the leadership of the corps meets the representatives of the allied states.

"It was necessary to make mutual visits with the representatives of the allied powers: the English general Shore, the French colonel Chardini and the American consul Smith. I got acquainted with Colonel Shardini back in 1915. at the beginning. He came to me when I was on the western shore of Lake Vana, in the village of Karmuj. All those representatives of the lordships were very interested in the formation process of the corps and especially the Armenian corps. The French were most interested. Colonel Shardini even sent an officer of the Armenian corps to a French artillery colonel." Soon Andranik arrived in Tiflis and met with Nazarbekyan. The latter offers Andranik to join the corps, which Andranik refuses. "He proudly rejected my offer and even that, apparently, surprised and offended him. It turned out that he was offered to form an Armenian squad from the Armenians of Western Armenia. "I couldn't understand whether he obeys me or not," writes Nazarbekyan.

1917 on December 18, another unit was formed from the Armenians of the Turkestan Army Corps, which, being distributed in six companies, reached Yerznka on December 22, where the situation was extremely difficult. after the departure of the military units, the Trebizond-Yerznka road did not work, the troops left the front line en masse. Already on December 26, the largest part of the Turkestan companies left the Yerznka front. one Armenian company remains: 4 officers and about 200 soldiers.

"After the departure of General Lyakhov, Colonel Morel is appointed the head of the Yerznka detachment. At the end of December, about 1,400 soldiers, 500 Turkish-Armenian volunteers, 2 field and 2 mountain guns remained in Yerznka. The commander of the Turkestan companies was Captain Hasanpashayan, and the commander of the volunteers was Sebastatsi Murad," writes Nazarbekyan.

It was obvious that the truce signed in Yerznka was a way to gain time for the Turks. The Turkish army was disintegrated from the long war, the supply functioned with great disruptions, the soldiers often went hungry. However, the retreat of the Russian army from the armistice created great opportunities for the Turks. They were very well aware of what was happening on the opposite side of the front and were trying to restore their strength for the next possible attack.

Various Transcaucasian Armenian organizations appeal to the population in order to recruit the Armenian military units. 1917 On December 15, the Armenian Military Union announced that in 1900-1905 born and serving soldiers will not be demobilized. At the same time, he called on the population to actively fight against deserters and to recruit the newly formed Armenian military units.

To be continued...

The source for the material was the forty-sixth issue of Badak in 1917.