Moritz Wagner on Vasily Behbutov – Books Don’t Talk About This

Famous German traveler, biologist, and geographer Moritz Wagner during his trip to the South Caucasus visited Armenia and spent some time in Yerevan in 1843. In his books “Journey to Ararat and Armenian Highlands” and “Journey to Persia and Kurdistan”, he described his impressions about Armenia.

“During my three-year wanderings in Asia, I received and saved my most beloved and saddest memories from Armenia as a result of new acquaintances and experiences,” Wagner writes.

In his works, he mentions notable facts from the Armenian reality. At the same time, he mentions the significant people of that time and their activities.

One of these persons was an Armenian general of the tsarist army Vasily (Barsegh) Behbutov (Բարսեղ (Վասիլի) Բեհբութով). Behbutov also was the governor of the Armenian governorate in 1830-1838.

Here is what the German scientist writes about him:

“Having Russian royal court’s full support, Russian protégé of Armenian descent Prince Bebutov, a many-year governor here, has been the most ruthless despot and robber. All the people considered him a disaster for the region and cursed him. And never any pasha or Persian governor stole as much gold from Armenians as this Armenian.

His unfortunate compatriots suffered incredibly under his long and cruel rule. Each of them dreamed only of returning to Persian rule. But out of fear of this man, everyone kept their mouths shut.

All provincial officials were his fans as they were allowed to oppress the people as they wanted. They were only required to pay for their positions…

The Russian authorities, on the other hand, encouraged Behbutov’s activities, establishing through him Russian orders and laws.”

Arshaluis Zurabyan


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