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Clark -

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Iranian Studies






It is well known to the students of Iranian history that the great powers of Britain and Russia played important roles in shaping events and their course during the period of the Constitutional Movement (1905-11). And nowhere was Russia's involvement greater than in the northwestern province of Azerbaijan, the closest Iranian to Russian territory in the Caucasus. Beginning in 1907, the extent of her involvement in the province increased, although it continued to be restricted to material support for the royalists in their struggles with the province's constitutionalists. The first example of direct intervention on the part of the Russians came when their forces arrived to lift the royalist siege of Tabriz in 1909 and deliver food to a starving population. That action brought the unwelcome arrival of troops into the province. Thereafter followed an uneasy two years of coexistence wherein the Russians repeatedly tried to weaken the constitutionalists. That came to an end in December when the troops went on the offensive, defeated the constitutionalists, and executed many of those whom they apprehended. The overall result of that victory was the elimination of the most radical exponents of constitutionalism in Iran, the end of the second phase of the Movement, the severing of Azerbaijan from the rest of Iran, and the beginning of a Russian occupation of the province that lasted for the next six years.


Copyright held by publishers Cambridge University Press. This is an accepted manuscript of an article originally published in Iranian Studies on June 30, 2006 and can be accessed at

It was included in Iranian-Russian Encounters: Empire and revolution Since 1800, ed. Stephanie Cronin in 2013.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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