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November 28, 2007


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"Does anyone else find this stuff interesting?"



Of course.

This has to be one of the few times pan-Turanism has had lasting political effects.


Very interesting. Area of the world about which I know darn all. Enjoying the history lessons.

By the way, did I miss Meeting a Minister part 2? I enjoyed part 1 and am still looking forward to part 2!

Bernard Guerrero

"He moved to California, dying in Fresno in 1927."

This is like the cherry on top of the sundae.


"Starting in 1915"
This actually goes back decades, with 1894-6 being the most prominent example. It even got President Grover Cleveland's attention at the time and he condemned it in one of his State of the Union speeches, for whatever that's worth.. This legacy helps to explain where revolutionary leaders like Antranik came from. What basic rights were not being achieved after many attempts, tanzimat being revoked, Abdul-Hamid's evilness against them and all that- caused many to lose hope and become more radicalized, using violence as a means of what they couldn't get peacefully. Basically taking cues from all the great powers who got everything by force.

"and the Armenians were still reeling from the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks"
Does this mean you have to leave Eden now?

"Turkey having lost the war, the six month old Republic of Armenia turned on a dime and invaded Anatolia again"
This actually came from skirmishes on the border with Turkish troops who had moved into territory that was officially part of Armenia/Georgia. It seems to me that this was essentially an attempt to draw Armenians out into a conflict. Turkish general Karabekir was ruthless in his treatment of this area. Personally it doesn't seem like the Armenian refugee camp, which indeed it was with thousands upon thousands dying of disease and hunger, would on a whim (even with foreign support) just invade Turkey without a reason, and there was indeed harrassment on the border. That Armenia was run by Dashnaks probably played a role in the quickness of this reaction since they had a militaristic history, but this is all speculation coming from me.

You've done a good job in summarizing what are very complicated events.

Noel Maurer

Please continue, Doug. I know next to nothing about any of this.


Nice blog, Doug. Interesting history, well told.

Your other blog entries are entertaining, too. I like to see different forms, local strains and variants of the same political insanity that seems to exist globally.

Jussi Jalonen

Minor trivia: there was one Finnish officer fighting in the Armenian ranks in 1918.

Artillery officer Väinö Vilhelm Svanström from Helsinki rose to the rank of captain in the Russian army during the Great War. The outbreak of revolution left him in Armenia, where he served from January to July in 1918, participating in the fighting against the Turks and the Azeris.

He returned in Finland in August 1918, and as an artillery officer, managed to remain in service still after the officers' purge of 1924-1925. He served as an artillery commander in the wars of 1939-1940 and 1941-1944, reaching the rank of general major.

So, any other, more famous examples of foreign adventurers in the service of the Caucasian nations in the revolutionary years?

Also, on a related note, I've forgotten the name of the Armenian Bolshevik commander whose troops finally managed to waste Enver Pasha in Bukhara. Who was it? The fellow is briefly mentioned in the introduction of the animated version of Hugo Pratt's "La Maison dorée de Samarkand", with his photograph.


J. J.


I love this blog.


Very interesting.

Joshua Letchford

This is really helpful and clear, thank you very much! I knew nothing about this until now.


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