One hundred years ago, the 1891 July issue of the “Historical Herald” journal featured the article “The Father of Suvorov” authored by M.I. Pylyaev…
The father of Russian military leader and national hero Aleksandr Suvorov, General and Senator Vasily Ivanovich Suvorov was born in 1705 in Moscow. His ancestral home was on Tsaritsynskaya Street, the current Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street. He knew several languages and, as Pylyaev notes, has translated the famous work of Vauban (French military engineer) “The Foundation of Fortresses.”
Father Suvorov was married to Avdotya Fyodorovna, nee Manukova. Her father Fedosey Manukov has served under Peter I as a clerk. Apart from that, one lane in Moscow has been named after Manukov in the 18th century.
Avdotya married Vasily Suvorov in the late 1920s. As a dowry, she presented a house in Moscow and an estate in Oryol Uyezd. The spouses would soon have a son, the future prominent commander of Russia, and two daughters. The eldest daughter, Anna Vasilievna, would marry Lieutenant General Prince I.R. Gorchakov, while the youngest would marry real state adviser A.V. Oleshev.
In volume 26 of the “Moscow Necropolis”, it is written that the mother of Generalissimo Suvorov, Avdotya Fyodorovna, nee Manukova, had died before 1760. The church of Feodor Studit is indicated as her burial place. Her husband Vasily Ivanovich Suvorov was buried near her in 1775.
Were there any other Armenians in Russia in the 18th century with the surname Manukov? Yes, there were. Gabriel Manukov and Artyom Manukov are mentioned in the “Vedomosti of Officers and Privates of the Armenian Squadron at Kizlyar Fortress”.
Aside from that, Nikolai Vilmont, well-known cultural historian, writes: “The archi-Russian Suvorov was an Armenian from the maternal side. And the hypochondriac Prince Potemkin-Tavrichesky has found that ‘Alexander Vasilievich’s jokes clearly reminded of Caucasian humor.’”
As Vilmont explains, he had heard of Potemkin-Tavrichesky’s joke from historian Pavel Sheremetev. The latter had heard the joke from Prince Pavel Vyazemsky, the son of poet Pyotr Andreevich and grandfather of P. Sheremetev. Vyazemsky had heard it from gentlewoman Natalia Zagryazhskaya. Vilmont has “reverently put on paper this message from the aunt of Goncharovs.”
It is probably appropriate to say that Alexander Suvorov was closely acquainted with the leaders of the Armenian national liberation movement Count Ivan (Hovhannes) Lazarev (Lazaryan) and Prince Joseph (Osep) Argutinsky-Dolgoruky.
By the way, one of the adjutants Suvorov was Akim (Ovagim) Hastatov whose sister, Anna Vasilievna, was married to Minas Lazarev.
Perhaps it was precisely because of his academic rigor that A.P. Baziyants did not fully reproduce the following remarkable phrase by Vilmont:
“The invasion of a foreign element (racial or cultural) usually makes the great man the sovereign master of national culture. The first example of this is Pushkin, the descendant of ‘the moor of Peter the Great’ and the great-grandson of Christina Regina Siöberg. Moreover, he was nicknamed ‘Frenchman’ at the Lyceum…
But it is precisely about him that Gogol would say: ‘Pushkin is an extraordinary phenomenon and perhaps the only manifestation of the Russian spirit.’
And then, Vilmont wrote the quote that we’ve cited above… But within the strict framework of his article, A.P. Baziyants only designated the point “Suvorov and Armenians”.
Whether because of his Armenian half or by the will of circumstances, Suvorov took an active part in the life of the Armenian people. In 1782-1784, he commanded the Russian troops in Crimea and on behalf of Empress Catherine II organized the resettlement of Armenians from Crimea to the Don.
Earlier, in 1780, on behalf of Potemkin, Suvorov met Ivan Lazarev (Lazaryan) and Osip Argutinsky (Argutyan) to discuss the development of a project to restore Armenian statehood. He was even appointed commander of the Astrakhan group of Russian troops that were supposed to liberate Armenia.
On the subject of Suvorov and Armenians, a fairly considerable chunk of literature exists that has nothing to do with the free essays that have occasionally appeared in periodicals.
Let us cite one historian’s testimony: “In 1786 in St. Petersburg, for the first time… the book ‘A Brief Historical and Geographical Description of the Kingdom of Armenia from Ancient Writers of this People’ was published in Russian. This work based on reliable sources was published in India in Aramaic by Jacob Shahamirov. And recently, it has been translated from Aramaic into Russian by second lieutenant Varlaam Vaganov…
The list of individuals who signed the book is also noteworthy, including the great Russian commander A.V. Suvorov, the first publisher of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ Aleksei Musin-Pushkin, and many others (163 signatories for 364 copies). At that time, this was a huge number.”