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Rapport du capitaine en second Constantin Smirnov sur son voyage en Turquie en 1904

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

The article includes the Report (with Introduction, French translation and commentaries) of Junior Captain Constantine Nicolaevich Smirnov, a Russian secret officer, about his trip (in company with Colonel Vladimir Platonovich Liakhov, an ominous figure in the history of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran) to Turkey in 1904. The Report is being kept at present in the Archives of the Institute of Manuscripts of the Georgian Academy of Science in Tbilisi.

This document, never published before, has a considerable historical importance as a valuable source illuminating several issues of the history of Russian-Turkish relations, the situation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the policy of the Tsarist Russia and, in general, Russian radical nationalism towards Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century.

Smirnov's Report also clearly shows that the Kurds in the Ottoman Empire, unlike Armenians, were under the protection of Turks and were involved in all repressive military structures against Armenians and other national minorities of the country. Judging from this Report, the position of Russians towards Armenians and Kurds was similarly differentiated. In any case and despite the widespread opinion about the Russian State's positive role in the Armenian people destiny, the official policy of Russia, as well as the common approach of the Russian intelligentsia were always strongly anti-Armenian and sometimes overstepped even the mark of elementary morality.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Tel-Aviv


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