Erzurum and Van Are Suitable for Expansive Settlement by Russians – Alexander Krivoshein, February 1915

Erzurum and Van Are Suitable for ExpansiveIn the spring of 1916, the United Kingdom and France signed the secret Sykes-Picot agreement on the division of the territory of the Ottoman Empire. Under this treaty, after the war, Russia, in addition to the Straits and Constantinople, would receive entire southwestern Armenia and a part of northern Kurdistan.

Britain planned to seize Palestine and Iraq, while the French intended to take the southeastern regions of Turkey (Cilicia), Lebanon, northern Iraq, and Syria.

Some higher dignitaries in Petrograd offered to give the new lands to the Armenians as it was their historical homeland. But Yudenich and Peshkov believed that Western Armenia in the interests of Russia should be settled by Cossacks from Kuban and Don to create a Cossack army there.

Alexander Krivoshein, Russian Minister of Agriculture, the leading participant in the Stolypin agrarian reform, and a member of the Russian Assembly had analogous ideas. Back in February 1915, he wrote:

“The successful development of our military operations on the Turkish front suggests that in the near future, there will be the possibility of rectifying the Caucasian border and rounding our borders in Asia Minor and Armenia. The Erzurum and Van vilayets are quite suitable for expansive settlement by Russians.”

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