Movses Silikyan (also known as Silikov) was born in 1862 into the family of a military man in the village of Vartashen in the Nukhi-Aresh district, Elisabethpol Governorate.
In 1882, the future commander graduated from the Second Moscow Military Gymnasium and two years later the Third Alexander Military School. Silikyan also studied at the officer school of the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Empire.
Movses Silikyan entered military service in 1884 as a non-commissioned officer and was soon sent to Yerevan to the post of deputy military commandant.
During World War I, Silikyan was the commander of the 2nd (Yerevan) Caucasian regiment which took part in all the battles on the Caucasian front.
In 1916, Silikyan became the first commandant of the city of Karin (now Erzurum) and received the rank of major general. After the February Revolution of 1917, Silikyan led the military formation of the city of Van.
After the collapse of the Caucasian Front, Movses Silikyan resigned. However, in February 1918, by the order of the commander of the Armenian Corps General Tovmas Nazarbekyan, Silikyan was appointed the commander of a separate 2nd Infantry Division.
In May of that year, the general led the defense of Sardarapat. Under his command, a decisive blow was dealt to the Turkish troops, stopping their advance toward Yerevan.
A young cornet participating in the battles near Sardarapat and future Hero of the USSR Hovhannes Baghramyan in his memoirs described Silikyan as an outstanding military commander.
“Finally, I can’t ignore the outstanding services of Major General Silikov in the defeat of the Turks near Sardarapat in the spring of 1918 who [Silikov] commanded the Erivan group of Armenian forces at that difficult time. In my deep conviction, of all the Armenian generals of that period, Silikov was the most gifted military leader,” Marshal Baghramyan writes in his memoirs.
After winning the battle of Sardarapat, Movses Silikyan was elected a member of the military council of the First Armenian Republic and received the rank of lieutenant general of the army.
After the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, Movses Silikyan was arrested four times. In 1936, at the age of 74, he was shot.
More than half a century later, in 1987, by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Armenian USSR, Movses Silikyan was rehabilitated.