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by Armen Ayvazyan

Starting from the late 17th century, the Armenians were secretly planning an all-out uprising against the Persian Safavi empire (the details on this uprising could be found in A. Ayvazyan’s The Armenian Rebellion of the 1720s and the Threat of Genocidal Reprisal).

Their decades-long preparations and strategy, among other things, called for the three sets of clandestine activities: (1) production, procurement and smuggling of arms and ammunition; (2) the conduct of negotiations with the governments of Christian Europe and Russia about getting their military backing to the Armenian liberation attempts; and (3) the training of the Armenian officers and soldiers abroad, in several east European countries and Russia, with the aim of their prompt arrival into Armenia at the very outset of the uprising.  The vigorous implementation of these activities resulted, inter alia, in the extensive Armenian network of foreign agents covering Iran, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Rzeczpospolita Polska (Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth), Hungary, Crimea, Habsburg Monarchy (Holy Roman Empire), Wallachia, as well as, according to one of the archival documents, “other countries.”  The Armenian foreign intelligence “stations” were established in Kamianets-Podilskyi (at the time, the strongest fortress in Poland, currently a city in Ukraine), Tabriz and Isfahan (Iran), Moscow, the cities of the Crimean Khanate (then the protectorate of the Ottoman Empire) and elsewhere. Parenthetically, in April of 1724, the powerful Tabriz station was partly uncovered and thirty of its members were executed by the Iranian authorities.

To very briefly illustrate the capacity of this Armenian foreign intelligence network, here it will suffice to mention just a few facts.

In 1722, 285 Armenian soldiers were secretly transported from Crimea to eastern/Persian Armenia across the hostile territory of the Ottoman Empire.  This was one of the most successful operations of the Armenian intelligence in the 1720s.

About 500 Armenians – “all military men, disguised as traders,” as they claimed to the astounded Russian officials in 1727 – were secretly organized and scattered in small independent squads/cells throughout Poland, Hungary, Wallachia and some other neighboring regions of east Europe. Their command and control was performed by the troika of highest officers, going under the (probably fake) names of Isahak, Martiros, and Manuk who were usually based in Kamianets-Podilskyi.  The exact locations, the numbers and the commanders of each squad were known and responsible to these three superiors only.  On the contrary, neither the rank-and-file soldiers, nor seemingly some of the Armenian commanders had any definite idea about their exact identity or the whereabouts of their regional headquarters. In winter of 1727-1728, the troika called a general assembly of these well-trained and motivated forces in Poland and tried to organize their immediate transfer to Armenia via Russia.  This emergency moving was most probably ordered from Armenia by the leaders of the liberation movement who exactly in 1727-1728 were fighting against the increasingly overwhelming odds, beating back many Ottoman charges into the besieged mountainous provinces of Karabakh (Artsakh) and Ghapan (Syunik) in eastern Armenia.  In 1728, at least two Armenian detachments were allowed by the Russian authorities to pass from Rzeczpospolita Polska through vast Russian territory and ultimately the narrow wedge controlled by the Ottoman troops and their Caucasian allies to Armenia. Successfully entering Karabakh, they took part in the ongoing hostilities against the invading Ottoman armies.

In fact, the secret militarized grouping directed by the Kamianets-Podilskyi station of the Armenian intelligence was perhaps the largest ethnic organization of its kind in Europe of the XVIII century. These findings are valuable addition to our knowledge about the history of intelligence and espionage.

Below are the links to both the Armenian and Russian versions, published respectively in Hayastani Zrutzakitz (in Arm.) and Sobesednik Armenii (in Rus.):


Հայկական հետախուզության գաղտնի գործողությունները 1720-ական թթ. (V)

Հայկական հետախուզության գաղտնի գործողությունները 1720-ական թթ. (IV)

Հայկական հետախուզության գաղտնի գործողությունները 1720-ական թթ. (III)

Հայկական հետախուզության գաղտնի գործողությունները՝ 1720-ական թթ. (II)

Հայկական հետախուզության գաղտնի գործողությունները՝ 1720-ական թթ. (I)  




Тайные  операции армянской разведки в 1720-х  гг. (V)

Тайные  операции армянской разведки в 1720-х  гг. (IV)

Тайные  операции армянской разведки в 1720-х  гг. (III)

Тайные  операции армянской разведки в 1720-х  гг. (II)

Тайные  операции армянской разведки в 1720-х  гг. (I)

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Կայքի մոդերատորներն իրավունք ունեն հեռացնելու այն գրառումները, որոնք պարունակում են անձնական վիրավորանքներ, բռնության կոչեր, թեմայից դուրս գրառումներ, գովազդային նյութեր։ Նաև չի խրախուսվում շատախոսությունը (flood):

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