After the Leninist coup, the Russian army left Western Armenia and the South Caucasus. Thus, the defense of the front passed to the Armenian side. Although the Armenians had just begun the process of transformation, they had a huge advantage over the Turks thanks to the weapons, ammunition, and food supplies left behind by the Russians.
In February 1918, before the frightened Turks began their advance, absolute chaos reigned in Karin. There were countless power structures, armed groups, and “commanders” in the city, including the chairman of the Armenian Military Union Tigran Aghamalyan (Տիգրան Աղամալյան) who commanded 4600 soldiers and controlled military depots.
Aghamalyan together with his assistants was busy stealing weapons, ammunition, and food from warehouses. Moreover, all this was transported and sold not only in the markets of Tiflis but also to the Turks deployed outside the fortress walls of Karin (Erzurum).
In Karin, there was gossip that the people of Aghamalyan openly sold 75 boxes of Mosin rifles and 60 thousand bullets to the Turks. Someone by the surname of Amirkhanyan claimed that he had personally heard about Aghamalyan’s agreement with Vehib Pasha on the surrender of Karin for 20 thousand Ottoman gold.
Collaborating with General Odishelidze and robbing Russian warehouses, Aghamalyan made a fortune. Only from the warehouses of Karin, the anti-Armenian general earned five million rubles. By the way, Odishelidze was the brother-in-law of the commander of the Turkish army Vehib Pasha.
When commander Andranik arrived in Karin, he attempted to seize all power in the city. However, Hakob Zavriev (Հակոբ Զավրիև) and the “military commissar” Tigran Aghamalyan became an obstacle in his way. Andranik discovered a large espionage network that had telephone connections with the Turkish command and ordered that all telephone lines be cut.
Tigran Aghamalyan still managed to transfer Seyidov, an agent of Vehib Pasha, to Tiflis. Soon, taking with him a large sum of one hundred thousand rubles (about 50 thousand dollars) for “national purposes”, Aghamalyan also fled to Tiflis. When he reached Tiflis, he announced that the money was gone. His traces disappeared soon as well.