The secret readings of the Police Department of Tsarist Russia in the 1890s

Mkrtich D. Danielyan

In the Ottoman Empire parallel to the Armenian massacres that began in the fall of 1985, the persecution of Armenian politicians by the Police Department of Tsarist Russia began in Transcaucasia. The Tsarist government thought that the idea of restoring national statehood among Armenians was very viable, so they considered the possible rebellion of Western Armenians against the Ottoman Empire as a dangerous example for Eastern Armenians. Therefore, in order to prevent the possible financial support to the Armenian national liberation movement, the Tsarist government first of all directed its attack directly to the ARF Central Committee of Baku or “Oskanapat” led by Christapor Mikaelian, in which Nerses Davtyan (Hrashali), Mikael Zalyan (Dr. Zaliev), Nerses Abelyan, Levon Tadevosyan (Papasha), Stephan Ter-Mkrtchyan (Gagik) played a major role, the latter later became the head of the military fund of ARF (Zinphon).

In such a situation, ARF and its leaders, in particular Christapor Mikaelian, were able to disguise their activities under the guise of various humanitarian and charitable initiatives. In this way they organized fund-raising and other initiatives in order to support the Western Armenians. However, these initiatives caught the attention of the Police Department, and many prominent figures, including Cr. Mikaelian, were arrested.

The presented documents include not only reports and bulletins of the
officials of the Police Department, but also the translations of the writings and letters of a number of famous figures of the Federation, which were confiscated by the Tsarist policemen during the searches, but due to the lack of knowledge of the Armenian language and the lack of necessary information about these figures, were partially distorted and were warped by the translators.

The first part of the documents that are being published includes the reports and bulletins of the officials of the Russian Police Department and the translations of the writings and letters of a number prominent ARF figures, which were seized during the searches.

The second part of the documents will include the documents related to the judicial investigation initiated by the Ministry of Justice based on the materials submitted by the Police Department.