Prince Valerian Madatov – Armenian-born Russian General

Prince Valerian Madatov – Armenian-bornPrince Valerian Grigoryevich Madatov (1782 – September 4, 1829) was an Armenian-born Russian prince and a lieutenant-general of the Russian Empire. He was born Rostom Madatyan to a minor Armenian noble family as a melik (prince) in Avetaranots, a village of the historical district of Varanda in Nagorno-Karabakh, in 1782.

At the age of 15, Madatov along with a senior nobleman left his homeland for Saint Petersburg to seek support from Catherine the Great in their conflict against the Muslims. In Saint Petersburg, Madatov joined the Leib Guard Preobrazhensky Regiment and was conferred the rank of praporshik. He would spend the next 10 years training and serving in lower officer ranks and positions.

Madatov for the first time saw action on the Danube during the assault of the Brailov fortress in 1808. He would subsequently receive his first order of commendation. In 1810, Madatov joined the Aleksandriya Hussar Regiment as a captain. Later, he would be conferred the rank of major.

The first major combat experience of Madatov was the 1806 – 1812 Russo-Turkish War. On April 11, 1811, he was awarded the Order of St. George of 4th degree for his actions against the Turks. During Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, Madatov commanded a detachment, successfully serving in Barysaŭ and Kobrin, as well as during the seizure of Vilnius.

In 1812, Madatov was conferred the rank of colonel. In 1813, having been injured in Leipzig, Madatov marched his men across Paris. He would for some time remain in France as the Commander of the Hussar Brigade, as well as a co-commander of the occupational forces. Field Marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch called Madatov “the Russian Murat”.

In 1815, Madatov was called back for service in the Caucasus due to the fact that he knew most of the key languages spoken in the area and due to his familiarity with the region. There, he managed to consolidate the Russian power by mediating peace with the local rulers.

In 1816, Madatov was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Russian forces in the Karabakh khanate. During the following year, he was appointed the commander of detachments in several other khanates. In 1818, Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov conquered the Chechens with Madatov’s support.

The 1826 attack of the Persians on Karabakh started the 1826 – 1828 Russo-Persian War. Madatov hurriedly departed to Tiflis to assume the command of the Russian forces that would push the Persians out of Southern Caucasus. The 2,000-men unit under the command of Madatov smashed the 10,000 Persian army on the banks of the Shamkhor river, allowing him to retake Ganja on September 5.

Having learned about this, crown prince of Persia Abbas Mirza lifted the siege of Shusha and guided his army towards Ganja. Reinforcements for Madatov under Ivan Paskevich arrived at the right time to join Madatov and form an 8,000-men army under the command of Paskevich. The Russian corps faced the Persians near Ganja and forced them to retreat back to Persia. On September 28 of the same year, Madatov received the rank of lieutenant-general.

Madatov concluded his military career battling the Turks once again on the Danube during another Russo-Turkish War, the one of 1828 – 1829. On September 4, 1829, two days after the signature of the peace treaty that had ended the war, Madatov died of a pulmonary disease. The disease had been sharply aggravated by the burdens of the war, bringing closer Madatov’s last hour. Madatov’s remains would be buried at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in Saint Petersburg.

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