CHAPTER 9 THE SHUSHI KHANATE (AVSHARS, KERIM ZEND KHAN, THE QAJAR INHERITANCE)

Emin stayed in Echmiadzin as a pilgrim for some time. It was here that he was reported about the death of the heroic bishop Avag. His intention to go to Karabakh and join the liberation movement under the heroic Avag, dashed to the ground. Instead of going to Karabakh or Tiflis, he made up his mind to leave for England and remaining there for some time follow his predecessor Israel Ori’s route and return to Armenia via Russia. In May 1761 Emin was already in England. Through the intermediary of Prince Golitsin who was the Russian ambassador in England, he obtained a Russian passport and left for Russia where was accepted by the Russian prime minister Mikhail Illarionovich Vorontsov in Petersburg. He met with the Georgian King Teimuraz, who due to a conflict with his son had left for Russia and was residing in St. Petersburg. Emin failed to pay a visit to the Empress Catherine II, as she was sick onto death and couldn’t accept him. The Princess Elizabeth was aware of Emin’s mission. The Emperor Peter III replaced Catherine II on the Russian throne. Teimuraz and Emin planned to return to Caucasia but soon Teimuraz passed away and Emin had to return to Armenia alone. He obtained a new passport, where he was mentioned to be “a bek’s son”. He took the prime-minister’s letter addressed to Hercule with him and left for Georgia. Probably the prime-minister considered that Emin’s activity would give an impetus to the liberation movements in Armenia and Georgia and thus assist the progress of the Russian power.

The activity was mutually beneficial. In Moscow Ori met with the celebrated representative of the Karabakh intelligentsia Moses Baghramian. They left for Astrakhan together, from there they went to Kizlar, which demarkated the Russian border. The commandant of the town sent Emin back to Petersburg, as his passport was signed by Peter III, who was overthrown by this time.

The Russian prime-minister suggested Emin to enter the service of the Russian army for several times and head the Armenian regiment deployed in Astrakhan, but Emin refused the offer. In Moscow Emin was introduced to Hovhannes Lazarian. In February 1763 accompanied by Moses Baghramian, Emin left for Georgia. He solemnly arrived in Tiflis. With the weakening of Persian power the Georgian influence had become stronger in Transcaucasia.

But the continuous Lezgi wars were destructive for the kingdom. Herkule was much interested in the person who had been educated in Europe and wanted him to enter his service. But he did not intend to assist Emin’s anti-Turkish project and fight against Turkey for liberating the Armenian territories. He was satisfied with the Georgian vassalage under Persia, as the country was enjoying independence and avoided any conflict with Turkey. Of course, as a Christian state he wasn’t against the advance of Russia, and in this case would like to submit to the Russians. He needed Emin only for his tactical knowledges to realize his own projects. Aware of Kerim Khan’s new Transcaucasian campaign, Emin coordinated the Armenian military capability mobilizing 8 hundred young soldiers for a special regiment. But soon Kerim Khan’s brother Zaki Khan revolted and Kerim had to leave for Isfahan without delay.27

Emin asked Herkule’s permission to lead a Georgian regiment of thousand of soldiers. He intended to join them with his Armenian brigade, move to Iranian Azarbaijan and with a sudden attack defeat Kerim Khan. Herkule tersely refused to help him. Taking his brigade of 24 volunteers. Emin left for Haghpat in October of 1763, to fight against the Lezgi plunderers. On his way he met a group of Lezgis consisting of 52 men. The battle lasted 10 hours. The Lezgis were forced to flee, leaving 14 deads. Only three Armenians were injured. Hercule had broken his promise of supplying the small group with food.

Again Emin applied to the Georgian for help. This time he requested for an army to advance to western Armenia, Kars, Baiazet, Van, Mush, to join the numerous Armenian regiments. This time Hercule agreed to assist him. The bishop of St. Karapet monastery, which was situated not far from Mush, promised to place an army of 49 thousand men under his authority, among them Kurd and Assyrian soldiers.

But a new event prevented this undertaking. The Catholicos of all Armenians did not back Emin’s revolt, so hearing about the promise given to him by Hovnan, he dismissed him from priesthood, as if for adherence to Catholicism. In fact Hovnan had cooperated with the Assyrians and Armenian Catholics only in the interest of the rebellion.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37