AMBARTSUMYAN K.R. Participation of Russia and Turkey in the Political Processes of the South Caucasus (1918)


Karine R. Ambartsumyan

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Department of Foreign History, Political Science and International Relations,

North-Caucasus Federal University,

Pushkina St., 1, 355009 Stavropol, Russia Federation

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Abstract. The article studies the influence of Russia and Turkey on the political development of the South Caucasus in 1918. The choice of 1918 year is conditioned by its transitivity in the relations of two countries with regard to the Caucasus region: peace treaty was concluded, but cooperation was not achieved yet. After the fall of the monarchy Russia entered the stage of reconstruction, while Turkey was on the verge of the final fall of the Young Turks. For both countries the territory of the South Caucasus became the stage of political struggle for realizing imperial ambitions and an attempt to prevent the final territorial disintegration of states. The author shows a difference between Russian and Turkish political approaches. Turkey acted directly, holding negotiations and introducing troops, while Russia had no contacts with Caucasus officials and tried to weaken the Turkish activity in the region through Germany. The conflict nature of the region, which had earlier been suppressed by the power of Russian monarchy, was revealed now. 

The author presents the political development of the South Caucasus in the form of evolution from the idea of autonomy within the Russian statehood to the proclamation of independence of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Considering the South Caucasus political development in the international context is conditioned by dependence on external challenges, which determined the decisions and actions of Caucasian political elites.

On the one hand, the newly formed Caucasian governments declared their independence at the international level. On the other hand, these governments were dependent on the leaders of world politics in achieving their goals. The participation of Russia and Turkey in the political processes in the South Caucasus was associated with the contradictory aims. Both parties didn’t want to be eliminated from the Caucasian region. At the same time, they tried to avoid military conflict. The Turkish government’s motivation to use the military power consisted in the need to protect the Muslim population, but not in opposition to Russia. In general, year 1918 marked two opposite perspectives for both countries: for Russia – the loss of the Caucasus as a territory and a sphere of influence; for Turkey – strengthening positions through the local Muslim population.

Key words: South Caucasus, Revolution of 1917, Brest Treaty, Trabizond Conference, Batum Conference, Transcaucasian Sejm, Young Turks, Bolsheviks.

Citation. Ambartsumyan K.R. Participation of Russia and Turkey in the Political Processes of the South Caucasus (1918). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 166-176. (in Russian). DOI:

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Participation of Russia and Turkey in the Political Processes of the South Caucasus (1918) by Ambartsumyan K.R.. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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