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

In December he launched a successful attack on Lenkoran. The Persians surrounded and requested the Russian side for negotiations. The Russian conquest was confirmed by the Russo-Persian peace treaty concluded at Giulistan (Karabakh) on October 12,1813. The document was signed by Ratishchev and Mirza Abtul Hassan Khan. With the treaty Iran granted Russia control over Derbent, Ghuba, Baku, Talish, Shirvan, Shaki, Karabakh, Gandzak, Georgia, Daghestan,Shora-gial. Iran was granted control over Meghri.

Thus Russia took over Karabakh. The Khanate was annexed to Russia since 1805 but the Russo-Persian Treaty of Giulistan handed it over to the Russian Empire once and for all. The khanates of Nakhichevan and Yerevan were left to their fate and didn’t come under Russian rule until the Peace of Turkmenchai in 1828. The capture of Karabakh and the prospect of creating a Christian Armenian state, gave boost to national sentiment. However, Russian rule was rather more repressive than the somewhat over – hopeful Armenians anticipated, and in many ways was little improvement on the Persian administration; although Russia contained within itself the seeds of modernization.

The later years saw the disappearance of both the Armenian meliks and the Khanate of Karabakh, which was transformed into a Russian province. With a view of neutralizing national claims and dividing in order the better to rule, the Russian authorities later proceeded to make several changes in the territories they had conquered.

In 1816 the Emperor Alexander appointed General Alexei Yermolov governor and commander-in-chief of Caucasia, who, in the person of the religious head of Russian and Georgian Armenians – Nerses Ashtaraketsi found an expert advisor and brother-in-arms. He was considered the real head of the Armenian Church, and the Catholicos of all Armenians Yeprem never took a serious step without consulting him. Yermolov arrived in Caucasus accompanied by the heroic participant of the French war General Valerian Madatov, who was appointed a military regional governor of Karabakh, Shaki and Shirvan new administrative unit. Madatov was originally a Karabakh Armenian, from the Avetaranots village. He had left his country with an Armenian delegation still a young man. Melik Jumshud, Melik Freidun and his influential relative Captain Madatian were among the delegates. In Petersburg, through the intermediary of the meliks he entered the service of the Imperial Division of Guards, where became famous as a clever and brave officer and fifteen years later returned to Caucasus with a degree of General, a title of Prince and several ribbons.49 The young and talented general put an end to robbery. Peace replaced disorder and anarchy in the region. The Russian rule tried to do away with the Persian administrative units. After the death of the Shaki Ismail Khan in 1819, the Khanate was abolished. Sensing the threat, the Shamakhi Mustafa Khan fled to Iran. His territories were attached to Russia without any status. General Madatov was aware of the Mehti Ghuli Khan’s traffic with the agents of the Persian crown-prince Abbas-Mirza, but he wasn’t in a hurry to punish him. The Khan handed the Melik-Shahnazarian’s estates over to General Madatov, who managed to confirm his rights on the domain through General Yermolov. In return for this all the relatives of Mehti Khan were granted control over the former domains and villages of the Karabakh meliks. Even Mehti Khan’s secretary, joker and stable-man became landowner.

In late 1822 General Madatov formed a plot against Mehti Khan and undertook to realize it. Mehti Khan was forced to flee to Iran, thus ending the existence of the Tatar Shushi Khanate of Karabakh.

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