The Treaty of Turkmanchay marked an end to the Second Russo-Iranian War (1826-1828). According to the treaty, the last two Iranian khanates of the South Caucasus, those of Yerevan and Nakhichevan, were annexed to the Russian Empire. The Russians combined the two khanates into a newly created Armenian Province (Armianskaia Oblast’). According to Article III of the said treaty, the Russians obtained the tax rolls and other relevant material on these two khanates from the Iranian officials in charge of the former administration. In addition, they also enforced article XV of the said treaty, which encouraged a large numbers of Armenians, whose ancestors had been forcibly deported to Iran in 1604 by Shah `Abbas I, to repatriate from the Iranian province of Azarbayjan into the Armenian Province.
Realizing the shortcomings of the previous surveys hastily conducted in Sheki, Shirvan and Karabagh by the order of the previous commander-in-chief of the Caucasus, General Alexei Yermolov, the new chief administrator of the Caucasus, General Paskevich ordered a detailed geographical, demographic and socioeconomic survey of the Armenian Province. The main purpose of the data was not only to determine the precise population and the total tax revenues collected by the Iranian administration, but also to determine the social and economic conditions of the newly formed Armenian Province.
Between April 1829 and May 1832, General Stanislav Merlini, Colonel Volzhinski and Councilor Pertikov conducted a number of surveys in Nakhichevan, while Ivan Shopen, a State Councilor and a member of the financial administration of the Armenian Province, was placed in charge of gathering data on the Yerevan region and of preparing a complete description of the Armenian Province. The resulting information became known as the Kameral’noe Opisanie Armianskoi Oblasti.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Trade commissioned Vasili Grigor’ev to compile a statistical survey only of Nakhichevan, which was one of the main conduits for exporting Russian goods to Iran and importing Iranian goods to Russia. His data reveals the exact location of the villages; the type of officials in charge of the province; specific information on the landowners; the various revenues; the professions of the Armenian immigrants from Iran; the type of soil and crops; the price of commodities; the scope of the Russo-Iranian trade, which went from Tabriz to Tiflis through Nakhichevan, and other interesting facts, which are absent from or differ in the Kameral’noe Opisanie. His Statisticheskoe Opisanie Nakhichevanskoi Provintsii [Statistical Survey of the Nakhichevan Province] was published in St. Petersburg in 1833.
The current study, the first in English, focuses on the above surveys on Nakhichevan.