ʿASKARĀN, village in Qarābāḡ about seven miles northeast of Stepanakert in the eastern Caucasus, where peace negotiations between Russia and Persia took place in 1225/1810. In 1220/1805, after achieving extensive territorial gains in the Caucasus, Russia, confronted by hostility from the Ottomans, the Persians, and rebellious Georgians, sought peace with Persia. A military setback at Yerevan (Iravān) in 1224/1809 (Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, pp. 449-51) led to replacement of the Russian commander-in-chief in Georgia, General Ivan Vasil’evich Gudovich, with General Alexander Petrovich Tormasov (see Bournoutian, pp. 520, 540). In December Tormasov sent Baron Wrede to arrange an armistice. The British envoy, Sir Harford Jones (later Brydges), warned, however, that such a settlement would be regarded as an affront to the British government, which would approve neither armistice nor peace (Public Records Offi;ce, Kew, U.K., F. O. 60/3, Jones to Meerza Shafee, 18 February 1810). Jones, an old friend of Mirzˊā Bozorg Qāʾemmaqām, vizier of Azerbaijan under the governor and heir apparent to the Qajar throne, ʿAbbās Mirzˊā, and also close to Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah, succeeded in having the negotiations postponed for nearly two months. Finally it was agreed that a meeting would take place in ʿAskarān on the Russian side of the frontier, and with the Shah’s authorization Mirzˊā Bozorg left Tabriz on 29 Ṣafar 1225/5 April 1810 (Public Records Offi;ce, Kew, U.K., F. O. 60/3, Brydges to Bathurst, Tauris 15 April 1810; Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, p. 468).
Ironically, it was Jones whom ʿAbbās Mirzˊā asked to prepare an outline for the armistice talks. Article 6 of that draft called for British approval as a precondition for signing any treaty, evidence of the degree to which Persia’s political sovereignty had been compromised already at this early date. Disagreement over the fate of Ṭāleš, Georgia, and the Ottoman frontiers (see BOUNDARIES ii, p. 404) led to a breakdown in negotiations and the rejection of Russian proposals that a Persian ambassador be sent to St. Petersburg to conclude peace (India Offi;ce Library, London, PFR 27, Project for a convention and armistice between Persia and Russia, delivered at the desire of the Prince Royal to Meerza Mohammad Hassan on the 5th May 1810 by Sir Harford Jones Bart.). In dispatches to the Foreign Offi;ce Jones was able to congratulate himself on having brought about the failure of the conference. Qajar chronicles provide very short accounts, if any, of the ʿAskarān negotiations, the failure of which was a foregone conclusion.
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):
ʿAbd-al-Razzˊaq Beg Donboli Maftun, Maʾāṯer-e solṭāniya, Tabriz, 1241/1825-26, fols. 119-21; tr. Harford Jones Brydges as Dynasty of the Kajars, London, 1833; repr. New York, 1973, pp. 411-16.
Muriel Atkin, Russia and Iran, 1780-1828, Minneapolis, Minn., 1980, pp. 139-41.
George A. Bournoutian, ed., Russia and the Armenians of Transcaucasia, 1797-1889. A Documentary Record, Costa Mesa, Cal., 1998.
Kamran Ekbal, “Der Briefwechsel Abbas Mirzas mit dem britischen Gesandten MacDonald Kinneir im Zeichen des zweiten russisch-persischen Krieges (1825-28).
Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der persisch-englischen Beziehungen in der frühen Kadscharenzeit,” Islamkundliche Untersuchungen 43, 1977, p. 21.
Fasāʾi I, pp. 259-60; tr. Busse, pp. 132-33.
Fażl-Allāh Ḵāvari Širāzi, Tāriḵ-e Ḏu’l-qarnayn, Ms. B. M. Or. 3527, fol. 120r.
Moḥammad-Ṭaqi Sepehr (Lesān-al-Molk), Nāseḵ al-tawāriḵ: Tāriḵ-e Qājāriya, ed. Moḥammad-Bāqer Behbudi, 19 vols., Tehran, 1351-53 Š./1972-74, XIX pt. 1, pp. 196-98.
Originally Published: July 20, 2002
Last Updated: August 16, 2011