A Review of the Memoirs of Konstantin Nikolaevich Smirnov, Crown Prince Ahmad's Tutor

Table of Contents

Smirnov’s Life
Anglo-Russian Rivalry from the Russian Perspective
Smirnov’s The Russians Officials in Iran
The Court The Court: Soltan Ahmad Mirza
Soltan Ahmad’s International Politics
The End of Smirnov’s Appointment
The Court: Mohammad Hasan Mirza
E‘tezad os-Saltane
Some Court Women
Political Events
Court Politics

Nugzar Konstantinovich Ter-Oganov (ed.), Konstantin Nikolaevich Smirnov, Zapiski Vospitatelya Persidsogo Shakha (1907-1914 godi) (Ivrus, Tel-Aviv, 2002)

The book under review contains the memoirs of K. N. Smirnov, the tutor of Ahmad Mirza, Iran’s Crown Prince and then Shah (pp. 33-218), with a lengthy appendix containing relevant documents (219-317), most of them authored by Smirnov, and a detailed preface (pp. 4-31) introducing the context in which the he worked.

The introduction explains that the material published is from Smirnov’s personal archives in the K. Kekelidze Scholarly Academy of Georgia. (p. 4) It goes on to give a detailed description of the archives history and contents. (pp. 15-17)

The first archive contains biographic material.

The second, in addition to the memoirs of his life in Iran, includes memoirs of his military career fighting Turkey during the Great War, research on the Kurds dated from 1914, “Intelligence on the Caucasian Front in the Period 1878-1918,” “Historical Material on the Origins of the World War of 1914 in the Caucasus,” an ethnography of Nakhichevan, a study of the Yerevan khans Hosein ‘Ali Khan, Gholam ‘Ali Khan, and Mohammad Khan at the end of the eighteenth century, Iranian khanates in the South Caucasus with documents from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, documents on Echmiadzin-Yerevan from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, and material on Georgian history. He had also contributed a collection of documents on the eastern languages of the Caucasus.

The third consists of personal correspondence, which contains valuable observations on events and personalities which came his way.

The fourth contained “miscellany.” It includes a translation of an article by the Iranian historian Jamil Kuzanli on the 1826-1828 Russo-Iranian war, registers from the Caucasian Military Staff on Turkey and Iran dating between 1880 to 1910, a study of the Jalali Kurds in the Maku khanate, and photocopies of Persian documents from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It also includes letters to the authorities from his wife as she sought in vain to get answers about her husband’s whereabouts. It also includes photographs (some of which are reproduced in the present work.)

The introduction concludes with a detailed analysis of the memoirs’ manuscript, the dates it was revised, how revisions would be indicated in the published version, and other technical issues. (pp. 18-26)

It also provides a biography of the author.

Smirnov’s Life

Smirnov was born in 1878 in Tamir Khan Shura (in Daghestan). Smirnov chose a military career and studied in the military officers’ school for Oriental languages. By 1906, he was an officer in the Caucasian Military Center’s staff, specializing in Turkish and Iranian affairs. It was from this position that he was recommended as a tutor for Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad Mirza. (p. 5)

The rising tide of Iranian nationalism would ultimately sweep him out of Iran, under the Second Majlis with a rising nationalist mood from the Court to the Majlis gradually making his situation increasingly untenable. He was reassigned, on the eve of the Great War, to a military position in the Caucasus. In 1915 he was assigned to the Russian occupation forces in Bayazid and then, in 1916, to join General-Lieutenant Baratova’s staff. The October Revolution deprived him of his military position, but he worked in the Tiflis military archives. He was arrested briefly by the revolutionary authorities but freed in September 1923. In 1924 he was restored to a military position and in 1933 he was transferred to do academic research in Tiflis. He disappeared after being arrested in 1938. After tirelessly pursuing all leads, his wife was able to confirm that he had been executed by the Stalinist authorities. (pp. 11-12)

Aside from his life as an officer, Smirnov’s legacy included scholarly writings. He authored a history of missionaries in Iran, herbs, and transportation in Iran. A military man, he was interested in the Iranian constitutionalist’s potential for forging an armed force and mobilize Iran’s potential, but also Iranian dervishes, philosophy, and historiography. He wrote a history of the Russo-Iranian wars of the early nineteenth century and worked on publishing a manuscript of Fath ‘Ali Shah’s personal secretary, Mirza Feizollah Shirazi, Tarih-e Zulkarnein. He wrote a book titled Persi, the first part on Iran’s religions and the second an ethnographic study of the country, published in 1914 and 1916, respectively, by the Russian military. He also published a work on the manuscripts of Nakhijevan of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, along with a colleague, which was well-received in Russian scholarly circles. He was working on an economic survey of Iran in 1934, but Stalin executioners cut his life short before it could be finished. (pp. 12-14)

Anglo-Russian Rivalry from the Russian Perspective

Ter-Oganov outlines the history of conflict between Russia and the Britain over Iran. The Russians had been severely weakened by their defeat in the war with Japan and the subsequent revolutionary convulsions. Smirnov saw the war as leading to a collapse of Russian prestige in Iran and the beginning of the anti-Russian agitation there. The Russians pinned their hopes on Crown Prince Mohammad ‘Ali Mirza, who was (quoting an official Russian document) “the most suitable candidate for the throne, for while in Tabriz, he not only proved to have been invariably concerned … with Russian interests in Azerbaijan, but showed interest in all Russians.” (pp. 6-8) However, the Russians were forced into an accommodation with the British for this reason and (unmentioned by the author) the looming conflict with Germany. This is in contrast to the English-language literature, which (following E. G. Browne) portrays this accommodation as a British concession to Russian might, the author. As Smirnov said, “We need Britain, Britain does not need us.” (p. 10) This agreement, according to Smirnov, led to a further decline in Russian prestige as well as the Qajar dynasty with which they were allied. Ter-Oganov quotes the relatively Anglophile Russian diplomat A. P. Izvolsky’s work on Anglo-Russian rivalry in Iran that it paralyzed the Consuls in the face of the arrival of guns and men from the Caucasus or their activities in Iran. (p. 10)

Smirnov’s Work in Iran

It was during this period of Russian decline that Smirnov arrived in Tehran.

Not surprisingly, the Iranian constitutionalists were unhappy with Smirnov from the start. He recalls that the prominent constitutionalist journal Sur-e Esrafil carried an article denouncing him (I could not find any reference to him in this journal; he later confuses this journal with Ruh ol-Qodos (p. 116)) and the Majlis had to go into closed session to approve his appointment. As Ter-Oganov remarks, “No wonder! It was completely obvious that the matter of K. N. Smirnov did not concern the prince’s education so much as the maximization of Russian influence in the Shah’s Court.” (p. 5) He was well aware of the fact that he was taking a fictitious position, acting as an agent of the Russian government in the guise of being a tutor, (p. 36) yet he took his educational work extremely seriously. (See his detailed reports on the Soltan Ahmad’s progress in, e.g., p. 164 ff, 187 ff, 207 ff, 228 ff, 266 ff, 282 ff, 293 ff) Sablin observed, however, that while his government was measuring its influence by how many of its people were in the Court, the British were developing their influence by supporting the constitutionalists. (pp. 36-37)

The Russians Officials in Iran

Smirnov owed his position to Captain Liakhov, the Russian commander of the Cossack Brigade. It was he who had recommended him and promoted his candidacy for his position, and who was, moreover, his immediate superior. Liakhov, in turn, had a contentious relationship with the civilians of the Russian Mission to Iran and other Russian agents in the Court, such as the military Sadovski and the captain of the royal convoy, Esaul Khabayev, and this complicated his relationship with them, since they were not in his chain of command and so could not control him. (pp. 36-37) After the June 1908 coup against the Constitution, Liakhov quarreled with everyone, including his protégé Smirnov, causing the Shah to order Smirnov back to the Russian Mission, (p. 76) yet Smirnov reports how Liakhov saved the day for the monarchist forces in the coup and came to the defense of the Cossack Brigade he commanded. (pp. 77-78) He was relieved of his duty for reasons Smirnov leaves unclear in late 1909 (p. 112) and replaced by Kazem Aqa, who had also distinguished himself in taking down the Majlis and, moreover, arresting Malek ol-Motakallemin. (Kazem Aqa was later drummed out of the Cossack Brigade for pocketing the 1000 tuman reward money, which Liakhov thought belonged to the Brigade. According to Smirnov, Malek was executed with 72 bullets—at variance with the history his son presented. The Brigade was upset with the execution and feared retribution from the revolutionaries.) (p. 115) It appears that Liakhov was replaced by an Iranian because he had become a lightning rod for Iranian anti-Russian sentiment. (pp. 117-118)

The Memoirs begin with a discussion of the Russian diplomats serving in Iran.

Nikolai Henrikhovich Hartwig, the Russian Mission’s charge d’affaires during most of Smirnov’s stay in Iran, was the son of a doctor who practiced in Gori, Georgia. Unlike most members of the Russia diplomatic corps, Hartwig had only served as an officer in the Asiatic Department of the Russian Bureau of International Affairs before beings posted to Iran. He was an ardent Russian nationalist and, despite his German background, distrusted the Germans. He was vehemently opposed to the Anglo-Russian Accord and despised the Russian diplomats such as Izvolsky who supported it. Smirnov regretted how he supported the Shah and ignored the constitutionalists and considered him inflexible p. ( ). He was personally extremely hospitable, his residence was the home away from home for much of the Russian colony in Iran, and had a warm personal relationship with Mohammad ‘Ali Shah. (pp. 37-38) On August 2 (15), 1909, when he left Iran, on his way to his next posting, in the Balkans, Hartwig wrote an angry letter to Smirnov. (p. 269 ff) He was just as glad to leave Iran, as his work was not approved of by the Foreign Ministry, which is indulging the “nationalists” (Hartwig’s quotation marks), who are simple robbers. He was only concerned that he would be asked to come back the next winter. The country was in a state of complete anarchy, with no one brave enough to step in and restore order. Russia was wasting its prestige and its abandoning the monarchic principle in Iran in its alliance with Britain. “Russia lost its Cossack Brigade, its Russian royal tutor, its Russian court doctor, Russian concessions, etc., etc.” “The impudent Sepahdar” would have the Shah’s Russian lessons stopped. Regarding the return to Iran of Zell os-Soltan, he said it was a joke, he would pay a hefty bribe and take the throne. All this would be done in the interests of the British and the British alone. But the British calculation would collapse, because Zell os-Soltan was going to ally with the Germans, and this would be the upshot of Russia’s “idiotic” policies in Iran.

Hartwig’s successor was Yevgeni Vasilevich Sablin, an ethnic Don Cossack. He was, however, as cosmopolitan as his ethnic German predecessor was a patriot. He had married an American who knew absolutely no Russian, only a bit of French, and was unappreciated by the Russian colony. Sablin himself Smirnov considered friendly and benevolent but weak and apathetic. He had been recommended to this position by the British (who found Hartwig impossible to deal with). As Smirnov commented wryly, “There can be no better combination for British interests than Barkley, who was experienced in Iranian affairs and had character, and the inexperienced and weak Sablin … During Hartwig’s time, the Majlis was overthrown, during Sablin’s, Mohammad ‘Ali Shah. … He was in contact with the British while unofficially trying to help the Shah.” In a footnote, written in 1933, Smirnov recalls how Sablin announced that he believed that Russia should be a national state, something opposed to the Empire’s identity as ruled under the principle of Greek Orthodoxy. He also recalls him as having said that the Russian political expatriates were simply frustrated patriots. (p. 123) Elsewhere, Smirnov writes that he deplored how the Foreign Ministry could find no one more experienced and energetic than Sablin and more liberal and flexible than Hartwig.

His successor, who lasted three years, was Ivan Yakovlevich Korostovets, whom Smirnov considered very intelligent and earnestly interested in promoting Russian interests, but not the appropriate person to have as Russia was drifting towards war. (pp. 40-41)

Next came Captain Stanislav Alfonsovich Poklevskii. A Pole who spoke bad Polish, had spent more of his life in Western Europe than in Russia, and was a personal friend of King Edward, he had nothing much to recommend him. (p. 41) The Crown Prince told Smirnov that he was an Englishman through and through, and this was bad for Iran. (p. 108)

The Memoirs dispel some of the mystery which clings to Serge Markovich Shapshal. He was a Crimean Karaite who entered the Orientalist faculty and from there managed to get sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Tabriz to be the Shah’s Russian tutor. When Mohammad ‘Ali Mirza came to Tehran to be crowned, Shapshal’s influence, which had been absolute in Tabriz, was greatly diminished. He tried to compensate by acting as the intermediary between the Russian Mission and the Shah. Upon his arrival in the Court, for example, it was made clear to Smirnov that he could not approach the Shah without clearing it with Shapshal, who exasperated Smirnov by evading him. Smirnov soon concluded that Shapshal is more interested in pursuing his private interests than Russia’s and that Russia would be better served if he were not in the Court. His inappropriate treatment of women in the Court further discredited him. But try as they might, they could not shake “this semi-Asiatic, semi-European figure with his ingratiating manner.” He adopted the title Adib ol-Saltane at this time and feigned a conversion to Islam, but it became clear after the Majlis had been bombarded that his conversion had not been genuine and he left Iran for the Crimean peninsula, where he served as a Karaite chacham (rabbi). He reentered the faculty of Oriental languages, and, soon before the Great War, resumed his career in Iran on a solid basis. (p. 43-44) An alternate explanation for Shapshal’s leaving the Court after the bombardment was this rivalry with Amir-e Bahador-e Jang, a Qarabaghi officer who was particularly close to Mohammad ‘Ali Shah, (p. 76) and Mojallel, a leader of the street toughs in Tehran and a confident of the Shah. He also tried to get Smirnov dismissed after his wife turned down an advance of his. He was disliked by the Crown Prince for usurping the ministers’ powers and pocketing 10% of his budget. (p. 81) In addition, he fell out with the Court over his compensation, which had been slashed in half. It was said that he then became disenchanted with the absolutist cause. For all this, the Shah trusted him and wanted him back. (pp. 78-79) In the end, he was dispatched to Tabriz in July. (p. 78) He tried to get back into the Shah’s good graces by sending him lavish gifts, and the Shah was impressed by the swag, although his mother called him a fool. Eventually, even Smirnov felt sorry for Shapshal, calling him a simple teacher devoted to the Shah. In any case, the Shah was lost without his old advisor, having no educated advisors free of cowardice. Smirnov says that Shapshal’s loyalties wavered between Iran and Russia. He exonerated him of the popular prejudice that he was the source of the Shah’s reactionary attitudes, since the Shah ultimately did as he pleased and often defied his mentor. But such popular beliefs were bad for Russian influence in Iran, and Smirnov was relieved when Shapshal went back to Russia. (p. 105-106)

A letter dated January 25 (February 6), 1909 by Vlademir Minorski to Smirnov (p. 242) gives a further idea of how despised Shapshal was by Russian officialdom. Minorski called him an adventurist who has climbed to the point where his impudence could be given free rein. “This fellow has sold out Russian interests for seven years,” he wrote, “and spied on us for the Shah, swindled Podgurski, compromised us before the Court, was politically irresponsible—and made a career and a reputation for himself out of this.” In a letter to Smirnov (p. 245) published a month later (February 24 (March 8), 1909), Minorski expresses concern that such a “fragrant” (Minorski’s quotes) character as Shapshal was considered for a post in Istanbul (or, as he called it, Constantinople), where his presence would offend the sizable Iranian community. He is astonished to see the Shapshal had insinuated himself into the position of mediating between the Ministry (presumably of Foreign Affairs) and Taqizade. “Shapshal, the man who strangled Malek ol-Motekallemin!” he exclaimed.

The Court

Smirnov soon managed to get his audience with the Shah. The Shah tried addressing his new servant in Russian, but Smirnov had a hard time understanding what he was trying to say, and so the Shah fell back on Persian and Turkish. He also met the Shah’s father, Kamran Mirza, with whom he conversed in French, Persian, and Turkish. (p. 45-46)

The Court: Soltan Ahmad Mirza

A report dated simply 1907 (pp. 225 ff) contains a detailed physical and psychological profile of the then-Crown Prince. He is handsome, carries himself with dignity, although he has a bad physique. He does not have Persian eyes. He has a tendency to over-react to clatter and cries, even in the presence of his retinue.

He smokes cigarettes and the water pipe, and his father knows it. He is intelligent, but has no patience and his memory is poor. His Persian is good. He has trouble learning languages, although he can understand Russian but not answer in it. (In another report, he says that his Russian could rival that of his father. p. 229) He speaks Azerbaijani Turkish well and Persian extremely well, but his Arabic is very bad.

He spends much of his time in the andarun, which has a bad physical and mental effect on him. The andarun is his refuge from study and the influence of educated princes.

Smirnov finds the Crown Prince is but little religious, but very fanatical. He enjoys discussion religion, but holds that only Islam has the truth. Yet he thinks nothing of taking the good things of European civilization, albeit superficially. He was arrogant and uncharitable towards the poor. He did not love money for its own sake, but was very acquisitive.

As for the qualities he needed to be a good ruler, Soltan Ahmad was an unabashed coward. His live in the andarun robbed him of his manliness. His political views change wildly. Sometimes he stands up for complete absolutism. Others, he says that he dreams of the day he can be the ruler of an independent Azerbaijan and his father would rule in Tehran. Other times he says he would like to leave Iran and live in Paris, supported by a hefty portion of the taxes from Azerbaijan.

His relations with his younger brother, Mohammad Hasan Mirza, who would become Crown Prince when Soltan Ahmad would take the throne, were bad; the two quarreled. On the other hand, the youngest son, Soltan Mahmud, was generally beloved. Soltan Ahmad loved and feared his father.

Smirnov found the ten year old Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad rather like an ordinary child. He treated him to some compote, and the Crown Prince consumed it eagerly and asked for another the next lesson. He was trusting but lazy, neglecting his homework. He would only learn what he wanted to and only that by rote rather than understanding the subject matter. The one subject which kept his interest was geography. Generally, he would hide from his lessons in the andarun, abetted in this by his old eunuch, who at one point declared, “This is an andarun, not a school!” (p. 67) Nor are school topics the only thing studied. Smirnov tries to educate the Crown Prince not to belch or yawn and to eat with silverware, explaining that this was European etiquette, to which his charge reasonably responded that he is not, of course, a European. (pp. 47-51, 62) The Crown Prince loved cock-fighting, and when Smirnov went to reprimand him, the Crown Prince’s court mullah came to his support, declaring it and all pointless brutality towards creation a sin. (p. 95-96)

Smirnov believed that a major problem for the Crown Prince’s development was his suite. He goes through them one by one and finds them ignorant, boorish, obscurantist, uncultured, etc., only occasionally relieved by a positive feature (courage, dignity, open-mindedness, religious learning). Tehran, Smirnov suggests, had men of culture, but they were few in the Court and utterly absent in the Crown Prince’s andarun. The Crown Prince would turn from his lessons and chat with his retinue as part of a campaign of passive resistance. This exasperated Smirnov, who threatened to quit if he charge did not behave. (pp. 55-57, 60, 185) The government’s financial difficulties afflicted the Crown Prince’s court, and his servants even formed an anjoman to demand their. For all this, the Crown Prince was an eager consumer of the better things imported from Europe—shoes, jewelry, toiletries, etc., which he consumed, however, indifferently, not having particularly good taste. (pp. 70-71)

In a memo written in 1910 (p. 276 ff), after the constitutional order was restored, Smirnov finds him becoming increasingly “fanatical,” out of line with the common people’s religiosity, under the influence of his pious mother, who was playing the same role she had played with Ahmad Shah’s two predecessors. This is not helped by his wife, Mo‘azzaz os-Saltane, who is “reactionary and fanatical,” from what he hears. He spends much time in the andarun, and the men of the new order keep him from all foreign influences and possible supporters of the old regime. The andarun has become still more reactionary than before because of this and his inner circle are predominantly Muslim fanatics. The young Shah spends his time either staring out the window or praying, which he does a great deal. His fanaticism, writes Smirnov, comes out in his attitude towards Christians and European, which has become less tolerant. For example, when the lesson in geography turns to people’s religions, he utters the Muslim formula against blasphemy. (An outward insistence on conformity to Islam would be a constant in the Shah’s life. In a report dated January 1 (14), 1911, Smirnov observed that the Shah considered indifference religion a grave sin. He noted that this was in conformity with his father’s views. (p. 291))

On the other hand, the young Shah kept himself informed of international affairs by having the Russian press translated for him and through the Persian-language press. The Shah, he continues, preferred the company of those members of his suite who had come from Tabriz along with Mohammad ‘Ali Mirza. They were simple people, indifferent to statecraft; he did not like the young upstarts who tu-toied him. But the Shah had to play up to this new element, and Smirnov wondered where he got the strength.

Smirnov is also concerned that Ahmad Shah’s stinginess was offending his Court, and recommended that he be more open-handed, and the Shah made a stab at this, none too successfully. As for his family, he was only interested in his father’s situation, but that he followed avidly. He closely followed news from Odessa where his father was in exile and would get offended if he read anything negative about him. He wrote an angry letter to Kaspi for not referring to his father as Shah.

On the whole, Smirnov thought that the young Shah had the self-control, tact, and political sense to become a fine king but not necessarily a fine ruler, lacking the strength to be an absolute monarch. He could even be said to be indifferent if his government were wrecked by liberalism or reaction. His mild character is not the stuff of tyrants. Smirnov had to be very careful about touching on these topics, because the wrong words could put him in bad odor with the young Shah.

The Shah did not much care for the British, respects the Germans, and was indifferent to Turkey. He has become increasingly Russophile, but is cautious about saying it, largely because Russia gave his father asylum, and has warm feelings for the Tsar. He is defensive about Smirnov, and is angry about attacks on him in the Iranian press.

Soltan Ahmad’s International Politics

The Crown Prince had a generally positive attitude about the Ottomans (referred to as “the Turks”). He had some sympathy for the Sultan, being a Muslim potentate, and Smirnov had to step in and remind him that he was a tyrant who claimed to be the Caliph and that Iran was a freer country than the one he ruled. After being reminded of this, the Crown Prince muttered, “pedar sukhte.” He expressed some interest in “studying the Turkish language,” but then saw no point in learning it, and addressed the Turks as a whole as “pedar sukhte.” (p. 61) This attitude changes over the years. Although in 1912 he called the Ottoman losses in North Africa retribution for Ottoman aggression against Iran, he retained pan-Islamic tendencies and even had some sympathy for the Kaiser as a protector of Islam. Smirnov tried to convince the now-Shah that the Kaiser was merely using the Turks. (p. 169) He expressed a similar sympathy for the Austrian role in the Balkans, since Austria was helping the Turks. (Smirnov identified Sadeq os-Saltane as the Austrian Envoy.) (p. 173) He saw the Balkan war as a religious conflict and wanted to see a jihad waged against the Serbs and the Bulgarians. (pp. 172, 310)

With the dethronement of the Ottoman Sultan after his failed coup against the Constitution, Smirnov expressed his devout hope that such a thing would never happen in Iran. Ahmad Shah, however, merely said that things would sort themselves out there eventually. On seeing a picture of Anvar Bey, he let out a curse. He retained sympathy for ‘Abdul-Hami, but absolutely none for Mohammad V. (p. 312)

As we have seen, Soltan Ahmad despised the British, using this term as an epithet when referring to a Russian envoy. He was shocked when he heard how they bombed an Ottoman harbor. “The Shah said that he did not like the British very much. They do everything for money without consulting anyone … It would be good if everyone got together and bombed all of England.” (pp. 171-172, 312)

As for the Russians, the Shah continued, although they are a little oppressive, they at least have a conscience and fairer than the British. (p. 172) The Shah generally sympathized with the Russian position. He recognized and appreciated Russia’s (formal) position of neutrality in the Balkans and discounted the Bulgarians’ protests over it. (p. 171) In Iran, he was happy that the Russians had hung the likes of the famous Azerbaijani constitutionalist revolutionary ‘Ali Mesyu (sic; it was his son who had been hung) in Tabriz. As he saw it, ‘Ali Mesyu, killed some poor soldiers. (pp. 172, 311) He said that without the Russians, Azerbaijan would have been lost, because Shoja‘ o-Dawle could not drink water without the Russians. Mohammad Hasan Mirza, Soltan Ahmad’s brother, declared that Tabriz needed the chub o falak (the bastinado), since they’re a bunch of rebels. (p. 175) But he found the continued presence of Russian troops on Iranian soil unpleasant. (p. 311) He liked Novoe Vremia because of how it treated his father. (A glamorizing article on Ahmad Shah from this journal forms the last piece in the present work.) He loved the Russian Tsar and kept his picture in his room. (p. 313) Yet he had told Smirnov that he liked the Russian government, and did not blame it for Iran’s current impasse, but Izvolski’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (p. 173) Indeed, he said that if he could get his hands on Izvolski, he would smash him to pieces. (p. 313)

The Crown Prince was not particularly religious. He had a passion for gambling, for instance. (p.80) Some years later, when Smirnov reminded the then-Shah that this was forbidden by the Koran, he shrugged it off, saying that just like drinking: if the circumstances required it, it was no sin. (His brother responded that the Europeans should worry about their own sins first.) (p. 177) He was not particularly interested in the fate of his subjects, and preoccupied himself with petty andarun matters. (p. 81) Smirnov noticed that as Shah, Soltan Ahmad drank water during the Ramadan fast and might even have been eating. (p. 170) At one point, the Crown Prince pulled from his pocket a note written by his father in horrible Russian saying that he wanted to drink cognac. When asked, the Crown Prince told Smirnov that although he himself didn’t drink cognac, his father did, after which he launched into a surprisingly outspoken denunciation of his father’s bad Russian. (p. 61; see also p. 111) The young Shah dabbled in European-style spirituality such as a species of kabbalism and was a fatalist. (p. 169)

Religious indifference did not stop him from being something of a bigot. When discussing Napoleon with Smirnov, the Shah cursed at him in Persian. When Smirnov said that this was disrespectful, the Shah said that he was an infidel and therefore unclean. When Smirnov argued that this was not the way for a constitutional monarch to speak, since the Constitution recognized the equality of all before the law regardless of nationality or religion, the Shah replied that the Constitution corrupted Islam. After arguing the point further, Smirnov said, “Think what you like, but you ought not say this sort of thing in front of me, a European.” Smirnov adds that such talk was heard every class. On another occasion, the Shah began insulting the Armenians, but after Yeprim and his fedais became powerful, he dared not. (p. 160) “The Shah insulted all Europeans as kafers, etc. (p. 172) Only once Smirnov noticed, according to a memo dated January 1 (14), 1912, Ahmad Shah carelessly let loose a flood of heated invective against the Armenians, calling them all supporters of Yeprim. (p. 303) He thought that the coming war would be good for Iran because it would weaken Europe. (p. 174; see p. 194 where the Shah disapproves of Russia’s efforts to keep Europe out of war.)

When the issue arose of granting Muslims women greater participation in public life, Smirnov said that this ignited the Shah’s “customary fanaticism when religious issues came up.” The Shah’s response was to insist that in his suite, with its European education, he has the broadest vistas for women, that he was for change and not against it. (The Shah’s outburst might be a bit defensive, but hardly a sign of religious fanaticism.) (p. 160)

As Shah, Soltan Ahmad was not particularly patriotic. In the course of a conversation between himself, Smirnov, his brother the Crown Prince, and Mozayyen od-Dawle, he said that there was nothing good about Iran, not its filthy land, its sleeping people, nothing would come of it. When Mozayyen od-Dawle and Smirnov objected to his unpatriotic outburst, the Shah laughed at Mozayyen. Smirnov told him that he had to appoint ministers who could save the country. The Shah smiled and told him to go save the country himself, it would come to nothing. (pp. 170-171 and 310) Again, he told Smirnov that he would prefer to be a Russian subject than an Iranian one. (p. 176; see also p. 186)

When the time came for him to consider marrying, he said that he would prefer to marry a European woman. He suggested that after providing an heir through an Iranian wife, he could then marry a European. Though a few of the Qajars had tried to civilize their wives and daughters, the Shah considered these efforts futile, except for a few who eagerly long for civilized development. Smirnov regards this as an advance over the Shah’s previous vow not to marry at all. Moreover, he speculates, such a marriage would cause a revolution for the ladies of the Court and a major development not just for the Shah, but for all of Iran. Of course, the bride would have to be a good woman, not some adventuress and, of course, fit into Russia’s political calculations. (p. 205) Another report says that he enjoyed having European women visit his Court, to the consternation of the Minister of the Court. The ladies seem to come away from these audiences impressed with the young Shah. However, he was not always as cautious as he should have been speaking to these ladies of the men of the European colony in their absence. He also, Smirnov added, needed to be more cautious about offending Iranian nationalist sensibilities. (pp. 208-209)

On the other hand, he was suspicious of Russian aims in Iran. He was convinced that the Russians wanted to seize Azerbaijan and continue south until it reached the Persian Gulf. (p. 160) Later, he said that Iran will only last another two years because Shoja‘ od-Dawle was working for the Russians to seize Azerbaijan for them. (p. 177)

One of the young Shah’s grievances against Russia was that it was not a sufficiently firm ally of the throne. In 1913, he declared that he was no longer a friend of Russia. He told Smirnov that he used to defend Russia in the Court, but now realizes that it was Russia which fooled his father. “He was good to the Russians, and what did they do for him? They fooled him once and then they fooled him again,” referring to the time he lost the throne and the time he came to Iran in a vain effort to retake it. “Now,” he continued, “I understand the Russians and they will not fool me.” The Russians had betrayed his father and sold out to the British. (See also pp. 180-181, where Smirnov objects that it was the Iranians who showed a lack of decisiveness and the Shah says that he has no quarrel with Smirnov himself) In late 1912 he had told Smirnov that he liked the Russian government, and did not blame it for Iran’s current impasse, but Izvolski’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (p. 173) He accused the late Dr. Sadovski, the Russian-trained royal physician, as having been bribed by the British, while the Crown Prince declared Gawhar Khanum and her daughter, Ziba Khanum were also Russian agents. (That Smirnov considered them invaluable Russian assets is made clear in a memo of January 20 (February 2), 1909 which he authored. See p. 23.) He conceded that the Russians did not mistreat his father personally, but they did betray Iran. He denounced Liakhov, saying that he served the Russian government and not the Iranian. He agreed with his brother, Mohammad Hasan, who said that the Russian-sponsored schools were there to Russianize the students and that the Cossack Brigade was composed of Russophiles. (p. 176) He even called the Tsarist government, “Just plain stupid,” earning a stern rebuke from Smirnov. Smirnov then threatened Loqman ol-Mamalek that if such an outburst was repeated, he would inform St. Petersburg and appropriate action would be taken. Loqman ol-Mamalek was terrified and anxiously tried to reassure Smirnov. The next day, Smirnov visited the Iranian Foreign Ministry, which obsequiously apologized and declared that the Shah, too, was very sorry for what he had done. When Smirnov returned to see the Shah, he was coldly polite toward Smirnov, but studied his Russian lesson as never before. Smirnov’s entry about this episode concludes, “Russophobia, whether liberal or reactionary, exploits this fertile ground and tries to turn the Shah against Russia.” (pp. 178-179)

By mid-1913, however, Smirnov believed that the Shah was holding out against the Russophobic agitation surrounding him, while maintaining his censorious position on Britain. He had, Smirnov said, made up for his previous hostility and suspicion towards the Russians. (p. 191) In fact, even after he witnessed Russia’s paralysis in the face of the revolutionaries, the young Shah maintained a touching hope that the Russians would come and protect the royalist cause. He asked Smirnov if it was true that Russian troops were on the march from Qazvin to take Tehran. Smirnov had to break the news to hm that Russia can no longer occupy Iranian land and that these rumors were impossible. (p. 268)

Once, the Shah inquired about Russian political parties and about the Social-Democrats, who particularly interested him. When Smirnov described their politics, he called them pedar sukhte. Smirnov had to explain that the European Social-Democrats had nothing in common with the Iranian Democrats (p. 160), whom the Shah, in any case, did not care for. (p. 303)

In his second to last memo (dated December 31, 1912 (January 12, 1913)), Smirnov observes that the young Shah is more intelligent than the average Iranian, but is lazy and has no taste for systematic work. As for religion, he is in principle a fanatic, but in practice very lax. He fasted for the first time, but very badly. He would get the Crown Prince to lie and say that he had performed his prayers. On the other hand, certain things fired up his religious zeal; for example, he still believed there should be a jihad in the Balkans, called for the slaughter of all Macedonians, insults Christians, and considers European women to be shameless. (p. 310)

The End of Smirnov’s Appointment

Towards the end of Smirnov’s tenure, considered Ahmad Shah “a new sort of Oriental monarch, a mixture of Oriental stagnation and progressive liberalism.” Smirnov saw the Shah as young enough to change. He believed that he was now rapidly preparing himself for governing. (p. 211)

Ahmad Shah’s coronation upon his reaching his majority was a diplomatic embarrassment for the Russians. Their gift of a samovar was far outshone by the elaborate gift from the Kaiser. The young Shah was offended that he did not get a Russian decoration, unlike his father. Smirnov had to explain that his father had served the Russians for years as governor of Azerbaijan before he received his decoration. The Shah tried to bribe Smirnov to intercede and get the order given him. In any case, in view of the storm clouds rapidly gathering, the Russian and French missions both left Iran and Smirnov’s tenure as the Shah’s tutor came to an end. (pp. 214-216)

Smirnov’s departure was truly emotional. The Shah was sincerely sorry to see his old tutor leave and the Crown Prince wept, as did other members of the Court and other Iranian statesmen.

The Court: Mohammad Hasan Mirza

Just as Soltan Ahmad was the subject of a lengthy profile (December 9 (22), 1908) (p. 234 ff) when he was Crown Prince, so was Mohammad Hasan. This memo comments on his diet, his love of hunting sparrows, his wearing a woman’s corset to control his figure, and the unreasonable number of his servants. He is rarely ill. He smokes, but rarely. He has bad nerves, but only occasionally cries. He is not a coward. Shapshal told Smirnov that the by now Crown Prince had had some escapades with girls. His younger brother hinted at some early signs of vice in the Crown Prince. On one occasion, he was overheard to have told an obscene anecdote. On another occasion, he told a story about the wife of his 18-year-old husband. (?) He also related what he heaerd about the story of his pederasty with his suite’s page. He blames the Crown Prince’s appetite for such “perversion” even before the age of puberty on his separation from schoolmates and his being hold up with his family. In addition, he indicts the spicy food he eats for his not being able to ward off these unwholesome appetites. To this, he adds the Crown Prince’s immobility and laziness.

On the other hand, he is happy that the Shah had only one wife, and hoped that this would “serve as a model” for “Oriental monarchs” and do something to bring the Crown Prince out of his “customary villainy.”

The Crown Prince’s intellectual development used to bring Smirnov to despair, although now he has shown increasing interest and achievement. He prefers studying with Smirnov to studying with the mullah. He was making some progress in Russian but had not yet started Arabic. He likes being read to and has an inquisitive mind. He was discouraged from learning French, his hours learning this topic (like those of his brother) being kept at an hour a week. In general, his education is retarded by his sickliness and indulgence as well as impatience, laziness, and weak will.

The Crown Prince’s “Muslim fanaticism” is gradually vanishing and he is tending towards religious indifference. He told Smirnov that he never prays unless forced to by his zealous grandmother. He remarked to his tutor that he noticed that a country progresses as its religiosity declines. He is openly hostile towards his brother, even openly declaring that he could no longer tolerate him, although he dearly loves his younger brother. Like the rest of the Qajars, the Crown Prince was selfish toward others but profligate when it came to himself.

He saw no point in a parliament, since every other country operates without one, never questioned his position as Crown Prince, and was terrified by the prospect of revolution. However, he was susceptible to popular agitation. He did not like the British, although he had some interest in the English language. He was interested in Russia and more or less liked the Russians more than other Europeans, but Russia’s reverses in the Far East made him doubt the point of an alliance with Russia. (In a report published in January 10 (23), 1909 (pp. 239-240), he observed that the new Crown Prince was becoming more sympathetic to the Russians.) He dreamed about visiting Europe, particularly Paris. He once commented to Smirnov that political exiles like Zell os-Soltan and Salar od-Dawle got to live in Paris, while he was stuck in Teheran.

Mohammad Hasan Mirza, Soltan Ahmad’s brother, wanted the throne himself, and the brothers did not get along, occasionally scuffling with each other. (pp. 97-98) At one point, he was caught sodomizing one of his servants. (p. 119) Smirnov believed that Iranian youths “begin life too early” and that this is due to their introduction at the age of ten to poetry such as Sa‘di’s Golestan which celebrates charming youths. In additional, he believed that spicy food and Tehran’s hot climate stimulated sexual activity. When his brother became Shah, he became Crown Prince. One of his traditional responsibilities would have been to go to Tabriz and govern, but he wanted no part of it, arguing (among other things) that this would force him to marry, and this did not interest him. (p. 173; see also pp. 191 and 195) Smirnov is very unimpressed by the Crown Prince, and believes he will be of no use to the people of Azerbaijan in any case. (p. 194) He did, however, fancy a trip to Paris, partly to study, partly to pass the time. (pp. 190-191)

The new Crown Prince was, if possible, a worse student than the old one. At one point, he got into an argument with the new Court mullah. Mohammad Hasan said he needed Arabic. The mullah replied, “You need Arabic, you need French, you need Russian, you need geography, etc., but you do nothing!” The Shah was shocked by the new mullah’s lack of familiarity with Court etiquette, not that it gave him a desire to study. (p. 194)

Oddly enough, since the Crown Prince had not denounced the Democrats, he attracted sympathy from the liberals. He also expressed anti-militarist sentiments and said that he hated war. (p. 196) Smirmov says that the “silly” Crown Prince was more affected by anti-Russian agitation than was his brother. (p. 194)

In a memo dated January 1 (14) 1910, a more pathetic image of the new Crown Prince emerges. He is the family’s unloved son. He is shabby and unkempt. He is neglected. No one notices that he does not eat or has developed an unwholesome lifestyle. He is hurt and sulks over his family’s negligence. This has led him into the vices of heavy smoking and pederasty. He does poorly in his studies—for all his study of French, he has learned only a bit more than Mohammad ‘Ali Shah, who, after twelve years of study, cannot speak it. On the other hand, he does have an interest in Persian literature and has begun Arabic. On the other hand, he is interested in military affairs and could become a good military man, except for his bad physique.

For all his troubles, he is engaging. The internationals have developed a sympathy for him, although the Iranians recognize him for what he is and dislike him. He has an aversion towards Russian and is, if anything, more bigoted religiously than his older brother. He has despotic inclinations.

By the end of 1912, Smirnov had a bleaker picture of Mohammad Hasan Mirza. He is paralyzed by despair. He does not even read the newspapers. He is nostalgic over the old order when he could lord it over everyone.

E‘tezad os-Saltane

Soltan Ahmad’s half-brother, E‘tezad os-Saltane, also gets a sketch. In a dispatch dated 1907, Smirnov writes that this prince cannot ascend to the throne because his mother was not of the Qajar tribe. We learn that Smirnov finds him likeable, but mentally and physically retarded. For all that, he is popular as carrying on Mozaffar od-Din Shah’s sympathy for the Constitution, and this might, he adds, make him suitable to be a minister. He is a Russophile, and has the additional positive quality that he knows enough military science to be useful to Iran but not enough to make trouble for Russia. He knows Azerbaijani and French, and Smirnov would like to teach him Russian. (pp. 223-224) He was also steeped in Islamic scholasticism, and dreamed of making a pilgrimage to Najaf. He was, however, quite ignorant of European learning. He called him a great hypocrite who took liberties of criticizing his brother the Shah as both a Muslim and as a human, although E‘tezad os-Saltane was not much of a specimen of humanity himself. (p. 314)

Some Court Women

Smirnov supplies some interesting details about an otherwise marginal character, Zell os-Soltan’s sister Banuye ‘Ozma (whom he calls “Banus Ozma”). (p. 99 ff) As opposed to her anglophilic brother, she was unusually close to the Russian Mission and particularly close to one of its members, First Dragoman Baranovski. She took Russian citizenship with his support, drank champagne, dressed in the European mode, and flaunted her relationship with Baranovski at parties.

Another was Princess Gawhar Khanum, who had presided over the Women’s Benevolent Association in Tiflis. Smirnov thought she would be helpful in furthering his program to “spread civilization among the Muslim women of the andarun.” Another woman who gave him “great hope” was her daughter, Ziba Khanum, who donned the chador in the andarun but (ironically) dressed in the European fashions in public. She was completely indifferent regarding religious matters, although she fasted and abstained from drink. Another Europeanizing Court lady was Khadije Khanum, who delighted in European clothes. (p. 107) A January 20 (February 2), 1909 (pp. 240-241) report filed with St. Petersburg on finding a governess for the Shah’s andarun that Gawhar Khanum was the wife of Officer Amir Kazem Mirza, one of Prince Bahman Mirza Qajar’s many sons. Amir Kazem Mirza lived in Russia and served the Tsar in the Russo-Turkish and the Russo-Japanese wars. Gawhar Khanum herself was from an aristocratic Caucasian Muslim family, the Isma‘elovs. She spoke good Russian, Azerbaijani, and Persian and was versed in the shariat and “Oriental literature.” She was the president of the Women’s Benevolent Society in Tiflis at the time they decided to move to Iran. Ziba Khanum was, according to this report, 20 years old and received a higher education in Russia. She spoke Azerbaijani (and, presumably, good Russian), but was not accustomed to life in the harem and was unaccustomed to “Muslim customs,” preferring to sit in a chair and eat with a fork.

Political Events

At first, the world is seen from inside the andarun. Only later do outside events come more into focus. The December 1907 coup attempt receives less than a paragraph, and most of this deal with Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad’s panic. (p. 60) The attempt on the Shah’s life rates about a page (pp. 64-65, 68), although some interesting details are provided. The June 1908 coup rates much attention. (pp. 72-77) Even here the fate of the mansion of Zaher od-Dawle, who was Smirnov’s well-educated, Sufi, Masonic friend, overshadows everything else. (pp. 74, 76-77) Otherwise the most sensational revelation in this passage is (p. 76) that of a Russian telegram offering to put Iran under Russian protection. At the time he thought it would be very dangerous for the Iranian throne, not realizing that the Shah had indeed proposed this to Russia in the first place. (p. 75).

Smirnov has an entry dated October 1908 on Tabriz’s resistance to the central government. He is concerned that, although Sattar Khan, the leader of the insurgency there, had guaranteed the Europeans’ safety, there were doubts that he was able to control his men. There were rumors that the Armenian quarter had been torched. On the other hand, he considered the tribal forces sent against Tabriz by the central government to be bandits which only drove the population into Sattar Khan’s hands. There was talk of sending a force commanded by the Russian officer Esaul Khabaev against the city as well as a force of Cossacks commanded by Captain Ushakov by December. The latter was someone who had been previously detailed to Tabriz. He was considered decisive and knew the land and the people, whom he, however, despised. He had also played an important role in the Majlis’ destruction. However, these plans came to naught because, as Smirnov saw it, Russia was kowtowing to the British, despite Tabriz being in the zone ceded to Russia under the Anglo-Russian Accord. (He earned the sympathy and respect of Vladimir Minorski. (p. 242)) A decision to strengthen the Russian consular guard was similarly scotched because Sattar Khan declared he would not allow them into the city and the Russian consular chief Pokhitanov said that it would have been ineffective in seizing Tabriz. In a marginal note, Smirnov declares that he believes the whole Tabriz insurgency will end in Azerbaijan’s separation from Iran. “The Persians and the Azerbaijanis are different in spirit and have long despised on another. The impetuous, arrogant Azerbaijani considers the submissive Persian a coward, while the Persian considers the Azerbaijani insolent. After the Iranians’ Majlis’ destruction, they forgot about their pretensions.” Smirnov ends these observations with a comment by a missionary friend of his who stated that the people of Isfahan, among whom he had spent some time, had no idea of what a constitution meant. While Tehran ought to be fighting for the Constitution, it is Tabriz which founded anjomans a few months ago while their brothers in language and faith from the Caucasus are rushing to their support. He envisions Iranian Azerbaijan uniting with Turkey as an Azerbaijani province of the Armenian-Kurdish province. (pp. 89-90)

Another memo concerns Iran’s domestic situation from October 1908 through the end of the year. (pp. 91-98) It opens discussing the fate of Vakil o-Dawle, who had become a focus for the constitutionalist public. In an event I have not seen reported in the other histories of the period, he is lured to an audience with the Shah, where he is set upon and bundled off to internal exile in Kashan, where an epidemic was raging. He discusses the problem of discipline in the Cossack Brigade, which he finds rather more brutal than Russian standards. Regarding those ultra-reactionaries who were rallying against the Shah’s proposal to restore some sort of constitution, he did not believe (as did many observers, particularly those who wrote the memos for the British Blue Book) that the Shah had put them up to it; rather, he saw it as a conspiracy by a clique around Amir-e Bahador-e Jang. The more liberal courtiers said it was “the extraordinarily reactionary” Prime Minister who had engineered this demonstration. He puts the number of telegrams which were coming in from the provinces to support them at between fifty and a hundred. These petitions were presented to the Shah by one Sheikh Sheipur, whom Smirnov had seen celebrating the Majlis in its heyday; the Shah accepted the petitions, but was evasive on their substance. Later in the memo, however, he indicates that the Shah, too, was conniving at the mobilization of the ultras. He mentions that the Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad’s court mullah was shocked at how the Shah could swear on the Koran to uphold the Constitution and then break his oath. The Crown Prince said, however, that it was the people who did not want the Constitution. His brother was more direct: “All Qajars lie. … Na’eb os-Saltane lies, the Crown Prince lies, Prince Mashdi lies; how could it be that he not lie?!” (Smirnov says of this aged mullah that he “combined in himself Islamic scholarship and a respect for progress” and tried to find a way to reconcile Islamic scholasticism with solving the people’s problems. Report dated December 31, 1912 (January 12, 1913), p. 314) On the other hand, he makes it clear that the Russians were not in agreement with Amir-e Bahador-e Jang and the Prime Minister on this. Amir-e Bahador-e Jang was too well-entrenched to remove due to the wealth and power he had accumulated. (p. 108)

He reports on the mission of Vakil ol-Molk to St. Petersburg “on the rather absurd excuse of expressing condolences” for the death of Aleksei Aleksandrovich,” but, as Smirnov writes, to complain that the Russians were not backing the Shah and asking for a clear declaration of support for the Shah, who had been forced to suspend the Constitution because it was the people’s will. The standard Iranian histories, which depict the Shah and the Russians as being in complete accord, report that he was simply asking for aid. Smirnov’s account makes it easier to understand why he was snubbed.

On the fighting in Tabriz, he reports being assured that the leader of the insurrection there, Sattar Khan, had no more than 2000 men and a bodyguard of 58 Caucasians, among whom were some Russian officers—Armenian, Turkish, and an officer from the battleship Potemkin (as indeed confirmed by the memoirs of a Georgian fighter, Sergo Gorji). Although there was a rumor that 5000 Russian troops were to be sent to Tabriz, a secret telegram sent by Izvolsky confirmed the Russian government’s policy of non-interference in Iran’s internal affairs. Smirnov then vents some spleen on how Izvolsky is courting the British, who, in any case, flaunt their own interference in the zone they control under the 1907 Accord. He also raises an alarm about growing German encroachments in the British zone and in Tehran, where German agitation has penetrated the Court, so that Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad has expressed sympathy for them. The Crown Prince further told him that the Shah was interested in obtaining German military advisers to supervise the expansion of his army and praised the Kaiser for promising to defend Iran against British interference. Smirnov even claims that Sattar Khan had German instructors. (A German doctor was allegedly captured when royalist forces defeated the constitutionalists at ‘Ajab Shir; p. 98)

When the Russians finally occupied Tabriz, Smirnov noticed that the Shah was visibly upset with them. But Smirnov argued that the Shah accepted Russian military activity when it suited him, witness the destruction of the Majlis. Moreover, the Shah did not give Azerbaijan to the Russians, but the constitutionalists did. (pp. 113-114)

Smirnov includes an entry on the revolution in Rasht. (pp. 102-103) He characterizes Rasht as a way station for revolutionaries coming in from Baku. Rasht, he concluded, had now become the revolution’s center of gravity. As the march on Tehran from Rasht gets under way, Smirnov is exasperated with Russian inaction. (Smirnov reports, in a dispatch on the events of April 28 (May 10), 1909 (p. 247), that the 400 revolutionaries who had occupied Qazvin would not continue on to Tehran if the government would agree to restore the Constitution. In this same dispatch, he reports that the Shah had asked the Russians to step in and drive out the Russian subjects who were participating in the fighting. See also a message from Smirnov to the Shah (p. 252), where he says that there were between 400 and 600 revolutionaries there along with about 70 Caucasians, mostly Armenians led by the Dashnaks.)

Another entry reports an arsenal in Rasht supervised by the famous Bulgarian journalist Panov, a biographical sketch of whom he includes. (p. 104) In the same paragraph, he mentions that Ardeshirji, a Parsi who was close to the constitutionalists, had approached him with the information that Sheikh Fazlollah had issued a fatwa declaring the property and women of non-Muslims legitimate for Muslims. Smirnov later reports that Ardeshirji told him that Panov had discredited himself with his belief in using terrorist methods to extort money; that even the Georgian fighters opposed this. It was said that he was on his way to Tehran to organize the assassination of Amir-e Bahador-e Jang and Liakhov; in fact, he went to Mazandaran, where he was routed by Turcoman tribes. (pp. 112, 247) Panov makes a cameo appearance in one of Smirnov’s reports to St. Petersburg; in 1910, after the Constitution’s restoration, he is reported to have come to Ahmad Shah for an interview, along with another leftist journalist, Tardov. He offers the young Shah a copy of the works of Pushkin and a geographic album and introduces himself as a friend of Sepahdar. The Shah very angrily responded that he had no sympathy for people like him. (p. 278)

With the constitutionalist forces’ advance on Tehran, it was decided to move the Court to Saltanatabad. (p. 118)

The Armenians’ motivations are said to be equality and a promise that there would be Armenians in the Majlis and the ministries. He accuses them of launching a terrorist campaign against the Russian Mission and military forces in Tabriz (which is not reported in the other histories of the period), including a bombardment of the Mission. (p. 121)

The Russians still had their hands tied by the 1907 Anglo-Russian Accords and the fact that the Shah was refusing to restore the constitutional order. Even Liakhov believed that more forces were needed to fight the constitutionalist forces, and presented precise calculations. (p. 122) Due to the Accord, Russian forces in Qazvin were unable to fight the constitutionalists and had to fall back to Tehran to protect the royal family. (p. 128-129) It appears that they believed that if they could protect the Shah, he could continue to reign. However, even Sablin was in despair over St. Petersburg’s refusal to provide a guard for the Shah. He recognized that the only other option was for the Shah to take refuge in the Russian Consulate, which would be the end of his reign. The Russian government would only agree to send a heavily-armed force to protect Russian interests but not the Shah. (p. 124) It became clear that they had no choice but to negotiate a surrender, but the Bakhtiari forces which were poised to take the city felt no need to be conciliatory, and no aid was forthcoming from Russia. The Shah, for his part, urged Sablin to get Liakhov to attack Qazvin (in which the revolutionaries were now firmly entrenched)! (p. 126) But the end finally came and the royal family fled Tehran under joint British-Russian escort. (p. 127)

The book includes two lengthy reports by Smirnov which gives a unique view of the Court on the eve of the conquest of Tehran by the constitutionalist forces. The first was a memo dates July 9 (22), 1909. (p. 253, ff) On June 30 (July 12), 1909, the Court got the news that the constitutionalists had surrounded Tehran. Smirnov reports that Amir-e Bahador-e Jang’s response was, “as usual,” to blame the Cossack Brigade. The Shah was determined not to waste time and called for the bombardment of Tehran from without. He did, however, express concern for the opinion of the Russian mission on this matter. There was no word on Officer Liakhov’s whereabouts. It was the Shah’s habit to have Liakhov come to the andarun twice a week rather than have to contact him through the Brigade’s Armenian staff officer Eskandar Khan. In this conversation with Liakhov, he told him that the situation was completely hopeless, that there was no way of avoiding Tehran’s occupation by the revolutionaries and counseled the Shah to surrender to them. Smirnov reported to the Shah that the Russian Mission did not have a definite opinion on Tehran’s bombardment, but that it was not against it. The Shah asked Smirnov about the bombardment of the city from Qasr-e Shirin, and Smirnov replied that he would only be prepared to do this if their lives were threatened by the revolutionaries, but that he had no such fear from the revolutionaries. Smirnov considered it his duty to stay with the royal suite in their palace in Saltanatabad to maintain connections with the Russian government. The necessary defences and watch-posts were set up. The Shah gave orders to take positions around Qasr-e Qajar (commanded by Officer Khabaev) to bombard the Majlis instead of Liakhov, but Amir-e Bahador-e Jang reminded that Shah that not a shot could be fired without Liakhov. “All this was done with typical Iranian sluggishness.”

In light of declarations of peaceful intentions and loyalty to the Shah by Sepahar and Sardar-e Asad, Smirnov recommended that he retain a part of the Cossack Brigade as his bodyguard, although he believed that they would suffer no harm. Both the British and the Russian missions would work to protect the Shah and lead to a peaceful resolution of this crisis. When the Shah asked Smirnov what to do, he replied, “Che arz konam?” and recommended that he accept the protestations of peaceful loyalty proffered by the Sepahdar and Sardar-e Asad. Another piece of advice came from the correspondent from Novoe Vremia, Yanchevetski, who also told the Shah it would be futile to try to bombard Tehran and added that the Brigade had no hope and advised the Shah to directly enter the Russian Mission. Smirnov told the Shah to ignore this advice. Meanwhile, the German and Ottoman missions filed formal protests against the Shah’s preparations to bombard the city.

The Shah was now demoralized and was considering stepping down, since the [Russian] Mission had tied his hands. Indeed, the Mission instructed Smirnov to tell the Shah that it could not countenance Tehran’s bombardment, since this would injure the lives and interests of internationals there.

There was shooting the entire night. The Shah held counsel with Amir-e Bahador-e Jang, Khabaev (who was one of four Russian officers, the other three being Blaznov, Perebinosov, and Smirnov), and two Bakhtiari officers, Sardar-e Jang and Sardar-e Arshad. The officers were planning their assault on the city. The problem here was that they did not know where the revolutionaries were and they were relying on artillery to strike fear into them. Meanwhile, Smirnov relaxed in the Crown Prince’s quarters—he disagreed with the idea of attacking the city. Around midnight, the Shah sent for Smirnov and told him that he was going to sleep, but he should tell the Russian officer in charge—Captain Perebinosov—that his artillery should bombard the city and his Cossacks should attack it at dawn the next day to support the two Bakhtiar Sardars. An obedient servant, Smirnov obeys the Shah’s orders. Either after consulting with the one Russian officer who was awake or as a way of delaying the attack, Smirnov told the Shah that the Russians needed more information about the attack, and that they needed fresh horses, since the ones they had were exhausted. He then told Perebinosov to go sleep in peace and that he would be told in writing what the details were, although he was skeptical about the idea of having the inexperienced Iranians operate his artillery. Since the Shah was sleeping, he spoke with Khabaev and sent him to talk with ABJ. He told Khabaev that the Iranian generals’ plans amounted to an undisciplined charge. The Cossacks were not under the command of Russian officers, but Iranian generals, for it was well-known that ABJ’s party disliked the Cossack Brigade and there was rivalry between Sardar-e Arshad and Liakhov dating to the latter’s beating the former to the seizure of the Majlis. Smirnov considered it impossible to get the Cossack officers to cooperate. He promised to send Perebinosov his horses, but ultimately decided that Perebinosov, who did not know Persian, should not lead the charge, but Khabaev, “who very eagerly championed the idea that it was necessary to help Liakhov.” Whereas Blaznov, one of the Russian officers, wanted to have the Cossacks led by the two Russian officers, Khabaev was convinced that he could get the Iranian Cossack officers to rally their forces for an attack. He worked the night through and prepared an attack at five in the morning.

But at five a.m., the four Russian officers met to discuss the attack on the city and decided unanimously that their goal was to defend Saltanatabad to protect the inviolability of the Shah and his family. Blaznov determined that an attack should only be made on Tehran if it would not jeopardize this mission. The Shah was informed about this decision upon awakening and expressed his agreement with it. They could actively support Arshad od-Dawle’s efforts, but not risk a squad of Cossacks. In any case, Arshad od-Dawle’s men seized the Dushantepe Gate and surrounded the Majlis. When it was discovered that some of his men were looting, he had them shot. Meanwhile, Amir-e Mofakham’s men took the Baq-e Shah Gate and sent a signal to Liakhov. By noon, Khabaev received a dispatch from Qasr-e Qajar to the effect that the situation was not as Arshad od-Dawle had described it. ABJ was asked to go establish order but, although he said he would do so with pleasure, the Shah did not send him. By evening, it became clear to Smirnov that the Shah’s order was getting nowhere. The soldiers were complaining of hunger and had not been supplied with picks to make a breach in the city’s walls. One of the intrepid khans who had been leading the fighting nearly wept. Most complained that the Cossack squad did not help, did not enter the city, did not take the Shimran Gate, that the Iranian troops’ efforts were unsuccessful, they did not decide to risk the Cossack squad, and that it was futile to have tried to take the Majlis with such puny forces.

In light of the “contradictory intelligence,” Smirnov thought it best to open peace talks via Sani‘ od-Dawle. The Shah, however insisted on the precondition that the revolutionaries drive out all the Georgians and Armenians and lay down their weapons, that is, as Smirnov noted, that they surrender. The Crown Prince reported to Smirnov that Liakhov might have surrendered and the Shah. It had not occurred to Smirnov that Liakhov would surrender, given the intransigent atmosphere at Saltanatabad. Indeed, Liakhov was not in a position to help in the fighting, this indicating the friendly advice of the diplomats. Smirnov did not want to raise with Liakhov the idea of surrendering because he did not want to undermine the martial mood prevailing in Saltanatabad. In any case, a letter from the Crown Prince on this subject arrived and Dr. Sadovski unsealed it and read it, was shocked at the rumor, and hurried off to tell the Shah. The Shah did not believe the rumor. He was convinced that the Majlis would be taken the next day. Meanwhile, the Shah was being fed false information by ABJ and Sardar-e Asad via Russian intermediaries in Saltanatabad about the panic which had seized the enemy and their craving peace. The Shah’s Russian conveyor of false information declared when asked that even if the rumor of Liakhov’s surrender proved true, it was insignificant.

Early in the morning of June 2 (15), a squad of Cossacks began maneuvers to seize the Majlis. It was decided that Blaznov not risk entering the city, but would build a batter complex from Liakhov’s supplied. The memo details the rather imposing amount of artillery which was to be brought to bear, but a more humble need arose from the Cossacks, and that was bread. Supplies were gathered, much of it from the royal cupboard. And then the word suddenly came from the missing Liakhov: There should be an immediate cease fire since the Brigade has entered into negotiations with the Majlis via the Russian Mission. This message also reported that Arshad od-Dawle was continuing to fire on the Majlis, but that Khabaev had returned to the Bakhtiaris. At noon, Khabaev sent Smirnov a message saying that Amir-e Mofakhkham was going on the offense and that the city would be in royalist hands that evening! (The letter itself is produced (pp. 264-265). According to it, Amir-e Mofakhkham had seized the Bagh-e Shah and the Qazvin Gates. An attack would be launched as commanded by the Shah. Shahsevan troops were ready to attack the Yusofabad Gate in coordination with them. Perebinosov would lay down an artillery barrage to cover their advance. Iranian officers Amir-e Maraghe’i as in a competition with the Bakhtiari Sardar-e Jang. It was said that Sardar-e Jang delayed part of his forces. In any case, he would have to show more energy, or things would not go well for Amir-e Mofakhkham.)

By 1 p.m., Dr. Sadovski arrived bringing the news that Liakhov had indeed acted in accordance with the rumor and was astonished that the Shah had ordered military action, and this while he was engaged in indirect negotiations. Liakhov relayed this information to a stunned Shah. This information infuriated Smirnov, who, in a message to Blaznov, called them a swindle and later on called Liakhov’s position “depraved.” He recommended that under these circumstances, the Russian-led forces retreat to Saltanatabad. In a message to Perebinosov, he asks how it could be that Liakhov could have done these negotiations without the Shah’s knowledge. Other Russian officers felt the same way. There were fitful plans to rally forces at the North West corner of the city, but even this came to an end with news that Arshad od-Dawle’s forces had been defeated. “The Shah referred to Liakhov with a bitter grin as the Commander of Port Arthur.” The Shah then sent for the Crown Jewels and prepared to take refuge in the Russian Mission. Smirnov organized a strong defense of the Royal Family and the destruction of the munitions he could not take with him so that they not fall into the revolutionaries’ hands. There was particular concern that the Caucasians might launch an attack.

On June 3 (16), they gathered the Shah’s suite in two carriages to take them to their refuge. Just then, Khabaev rushed in, with a plan to attack the Yusofabad Gate because Liakhov might launch a surprise attack to take the Majlis. (?) This led to another consultation among the officers who had not managed to get to Qasr-e Qajar the previous day in Khabaev’s absence. Blaznov and Perebinosov were skeptical about this, considering it politically foolhardy, but it was unanimously decided to inform the Shah about it. The Shah thought this plan a poor one, and this news was rushed over to the Russian and Iranian officers before any fatal errors could be made.

The Shah knew that taking refuge with the Russian Mission would spell the end of his reign and that he would have to live in Russia forevermore. When the time came, he took this step on his own without Smirnov. Preparations were made, the Shah paid a final visit to his andarun, a diversion was made to throw off the enemy, and they left. A Russian officer stayed behind in Soltanabad to remove belongings and destroy the remaining ordinance.

A Shahsevan cavalry and infantry guard and many “Turkish horsemen” escorted the Shah to the Russian Imperial Mission, where a crowd of people made an emotional scene, saluting the Cossacks as they witnessed “the political death of the monarchy.”

The Royalist were officers, “physically and exhausted and morally crushed,” but Smirnov was proud of how his comrades had performed their duties and had supported each others as comrades and had done Russia proud.

In a memo dated July 15 (28), 1909, Smirnov reports about plans to reinstall Mohammad ‘Ali Shah (as Smirnov persists in calling him) to the throne. There was a rumor that there would be a reconciliation between Mohammad ‘Ali Shah and the nationalists. There was also talk of Amir-e Mofakhkham proposing an attack to restore him to the throne with a force of 1800 which was at his disposal. The young Shah, i.e., Soltan Ahmad, said that he was not opposed to this plan and Amir-e Mofakhkham stated that he has no designs on the young Shah, but “wanted a self-reliant Shah on the throne and not a cardboard doll.” Smirnov urged the young Shah to keep quite about this and to maintain a neutral stance. He should obey God’s will and that of his father, with whose permission he had been installed on the throne. Mohammad ‘Ali Shah does not trust his family to its Iranian Cossack guard, but prefers to be protected by Russians. Meanwhile, some in the Court were saying that the Shah should not have taken refuge, since the people were in no way against him.

Mohammad ‘Ali Mirza lost the throne and since the Crown Prince was a minor, he was put under a Regent (who would have been Naser ol-Molk—Smirnov does not mention his name), who impressed Smirnov as being of the old-fashioned, unenlightened variety. (He would, after some delay, meet with Smirnov; see below.) In a memo written on January 1 (14), 1912, Smirnov said that the Regent was not fostering cooperation between the Shah, the ministers, and the Majlis. (p. 304) He was rather more impressed by Mostawfi ol-Mamalek as enlightened, at least by reputation. In particular, he favored the construction of schools to educate the disadvantaged. (p. 140) Upon closer acquaintance with this new Minister of the Court, Smirnov said he was, “a man of European education, but not energetic.” (p. 141) However, he approved of how Mostawfi was cutting out the dead wood from the Court and hiring “exceptionally educated” men, a list of whom he provides. He is pleased that they were Europeanizing the Court, although they did provide the Shah with an aftabe for the time being. They did not remove their shoes on attending a reception in the new Shah’s chamber. He notes that the new Court mullah shakes hands with him, although his fanatical predecessor would not. (p. 143-144)

Smirnov’s narration of the Mohammad ‘Ali Shah’s departure provides some touching details. He preferred to go to Karbala for his exile and not Odessa. He did not respond to the Europeans’ farewells or shake Sablin’s hand, but thanked them and asked Smirnov about Odessa and had (surprisingly) kind words for Barclay. (p. 133) Along with his military escort, a crowd of ordinary “emotional and kind Iranians,” escorted the Shah out, weeping as if they were at a ta‘ziye. (p. 134) On the other hand, Smirnov reluctantly registered his first negative opinion about the Shah, saying that he was “not much of a gentleman” in the way he treated his servants on his departure. Dr. Sadovski, his military-trained physician, remarked to him that he sure negotiated himself a good pension …

The restored constitutional regime was not kind to Smirnov. He was put on notice that it preferred that the young Shah’s tutor be an Iranian who would raise him in the national spirit. The new team of teachers would be a certain “Akhund” (elsewhere referred to as “Haji Akhund”), Sayyed (elsewhere Sa‘id) ol-‘Olema, Zoka ol-Molk, and Haji Sayyah. These teachers did not impress the young Shah; he said that Haji Sayyah should be exiled and called Zoka ol-Molk “pedar sukhte.” (pp. 135, 137) By late 1911, he was told that Gustave Demorgny, a consultant to the French Ministry of Justice, whom Smirnov calls an ardent Russophobe and friend of the Swedish officers, would be teaching all classes. This appointment appears to have been made by the Regent without having informed the French Consul, LeCompte. After protesting this, Smirnov was able to rescue something of his position. He retained a dislike for the Frenchman, saying he was uneducated, ignorant of Persian, a sloppy dresser and, as much as the Persians admired generosity, he was “as stingy as a French bourgeois.” (p. 161. This back and forth continued; see p. 163.)

Although he was treated very politely and even warmly, it was clear that Smirnov’s contract was being abrogated. He resorted to threatening to appeal to the Russian government over this breach of contract. (pp. 271-272) Ultimately, Smirnov got most of what he wanted, according to a report he wrote on October 6 (19), 1909, (pp. 274-275) although in a report dated October 18 (31), 1911 he complained that he was being treated like a common tutor and was getting no support for his position from the Russian government. (pp. 296-298) In a report published April 20 (May 3), 1910 (pp. 284-285), he reports cordial relations with Mostawfi ol-Mamalek, who has become his protector, although the people were concerned with Smirnov’s presence, being, as they saw it, a representative of the ancient regime. However, hostility towards Smirnov was declining, and this meant that eventually his profile could be raised. In his second to last memo (December 31 , 1912 (January 12, 1913)), Smirnov observed (p. 308) with satisfaction that between his language lessons and his military instruction that he was meeting with the Shah five times per week.

Smirnov, who believed in royal dignity, was not impressed by the rag-tag constitutional order, the political mojtaheds, Yeprim Khan and “the mass of fedais and Caucasian comrades” who blithely smoked in the royal presence. (See also p. 150) He felt that the military was in complete disarray. (This came to a head when Sepahdar, the Minister of War, fled and left his post vacant. p. 151) St. Petersburg took a non-confrontational policy towards the new government’s “defiant behavior.” And yet, Smirnov was impressed by Yeprim as chief of police. (p. 136, 139)

The Iranian press was more Russophobe than ever. Russian Cossacks and infantry were involved in a conflict with the people in Qazvin. There was the continuing conflict with Russian troops in Tabriz. There were calls in the Tehran bazaar for a jihad against Russia. (p. 136) An article in the Russian Birzhev Bedomost on the condition of Iranian women caused some excitement among Iranian journalists, one journal urging the Iranian consulate in St. Petersburg to bring it to the attention of the Russian government. Another urged that the author of the article be jailed for six months. Smirnov comments that it is unfortunate that the Russian Mission in Iran pays scant attention to the Iranian press and explaining its side of the story. He gives as an example how Russian troops defended Ardebil from marauding Shahsevans. The Iranian press claims that this whole episode had been arranged beforehand by the Russians to justify their presence, stating that among the Shahsevan were Russian instructors. (p. 138) In the meantime, he noted that a German-trained officer had organized resistance to Shahsevan tribesmen who were fighting to restore the old Shah, and sounded the alarm that the German Mission was intriguing to insinuate itself into Iranian politics.

The old Shah himself, in an interview with Russkogo Slovo by the famous Russian journalist Krinskii, denies any interest in returning to the throne; indeed, the journalist who conducted the interview claims that the Shah was quite content living the live of a European, visiting factories, etc. He said that he was under constant surveillance and could not even receive gifts. (Smirnov remarks that he didn’t trust Krinskii, who, he says, was a great fabricator.) (pp. 139-140) Ahmad Shah kept up a correspondence with his father, although the incoming letters were opened and the outgoing ones were censored. (p. 137)

By February 1913, Smirnov saw escalating anti-Russian agitation in the Court, particular after the Tabriz-Julfa railway concession was granted. The Shah, for his part, never ceased expressing dissatisfaction over the Russians. (p. 177)

Ahmad Shah’s Court did not impress Smirnov any more than Crown Prince Ahmad’s Court did. Hajeb od-Dawle, the Farrashbashi, was intriguing against the Minister of the Court for his position, but was not bright enough to get anywhere. The Shah and the princes considered him unstable and very treacherous. Master of Ceremonies Ehtesab ol-Molk the Shah considered “an amusing liar.” Loqman ol-Molk had served the Shah’s father and so had tremendous influence over the Shah. The biggest authority in the Shah’s court was his grandfather, Mo‘ezz os-Saltane, who could only be seen by a very few prominent courtiers and the Shah himself. Another prominent courtier was Nosrat os-Saltane, a constitutionalist prince who was considered by the Shah to be the most moral of the courtiers, but not at all realistic. The Minister of the Court, Moshir od-Dawle is “very cunning and a great liar, very tactful with a great knowledge of Iranian life, particularly the Court, where he had served for forty years,” but was otherwise an old-fashioned uneducated magnate. He was a friend of ‘Ein od-Dawle. The Shah largely ignores the Council of Ministers and is indifferent to Momtaz od-Dawle (the Prime Minister) and ‘Ain od-Dawle, whom he considered treacherous. (p. 185) He cautiously criticized ‘Ain od-Dawle for intriguing against his father, but defended him as useful in the present time. (p. 191)

The intriguing against the Minister of the Court intensified as 1913 came to an end. Many courtiers were partisans of Mostawfi ol-Mamalek and Hajeb od-Dawle. Loqman ol-Molk and his family were considered enemies of Movasseq od-Dawle, a fixture in Soltan Ahmad’s Court. It was expected that when Ahmad Shah would presently reach his majority, the Minister of the Court’s power would be greatly weakened. (p. 193) The Shah himself approved of Mostawfi’s delicacy, although he also had praise for ‘Ain od-Dawle and Sepahdar. He was also impressed by the Regent Naser ol-Molk and by the French advisor Mornard. (p. 211)

Most Iranians were not glad about the Majlis’ reopening, but indifferent. (pp. 139, 140) What little Smirnov had to say about this institution was negative.. It was incapable, for example, of dealing with the perennial problem of bread. Rumors were going around that the bakers were bribing the ministers, although a Tabriz liberal once passed through and tried to make order out of this chaos. (p. 145)

The new government discouraged ta‘ziye but rawzekhani was held. Fakhr ol-Eslam (whom Smirnov identifies as a Caucasian, but other histories describe as a convert from Chaldean Christianity) used the occasion to denounce the Russian government. A journal named Sharq published a play which featured a Mo‘in ol-Bokka, i.e., the Securer of Weeping, who closely resembled the Regent, leading to its being closed.

Smirnov reports that Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan were gathering armed men around themselves. Baqer Khan said that there both under Mohammad ‘Ali Shah and the current regime, singling out Taqizade and [Hoseinqoli Khan] Navvab in particular, declaring that they should be driven from the political scene, not stopping short at calling for their assassination and summoning some Tabriz fedais to do this. [?] There were rumors that this led to Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan’s downfall, since the British would stand by their friends such as Navvab. Smirnov then launches into a description of the fighting between Yeprim Khan’s forces and the forces of the Tabriz mojaheds. Smirnov characterizes Yeprim Khan’s fighting style as utterly ruthless; he had bombs thrown into cellars full of defenseless enemies and unnecessarily slaughtered his foes. The British and the Russians decided not to interfere in this fighting because they had agreed to support what Smirnov calls the Navvab cabinet, but the German Mission did intervene and got Sattar Khan to surrender his weapons in the presence of the Ottoman Mission, which was playing a more complicated game. Smirnov was surprised that Sattar Khan would be so foolish as to think he could resume his street-fighting tactics in the nation’s capital and, indeed, on a national level and believed that the Ottomans had had a hand in manipulating him since, in his opinion, Sattar Khan had been their man from the start. Their alleged agenda was to keep Iranian politics in disarray. (pp. 147-148)

In early 1911, Smirnov had a pleasant audience with the Regent, Naser ol-Molk. While at Court, he met with the old andarun, including Loqman ol-Mamalek, the Shah’s physician. There was open talk about a coup which would restore the old Shah to his throne, to what extent the Cossack Brigade would cooperate. It was said that 16,000 men could rally to the cause. The coup would involve Shahsevans and Turcomans, in unison with a movement in Tehran. Heshmat od-Dawle, another courtier, argued that with the continuing chaos, the people will demand a return of their old Shah and absolutist rule. The old Shah requested money from his old rival Zell os-Saltane and from his uncle, Kamran Mirza, but the former pleaded poverty and the latter was too scared. He even reports a rumor that Sepahdar and Sardar-e Asad were secretly in league with the ex-Shah and that a significant part of the various security forces were, too. And, finally, the current Shah cagily admitted he wanted his father to come back and take the throne. On the other hand, the British and the Russians were neutral on the man whom Smirnov called Mohammad ‘Ali Shah, but not sympathetic to the success of his enterprise. (pp. 150-152) It was also said that the bazaar rallied to welcome the old Shah. In the meantime, there was word that the ex-Shah was traveling to Vienna so that he could enter Iran incognito and not embarrass Russia. His main weaknesses were a lack of money and artillery. (p. 154) The ex-Shah entered Iranian territory at a time when the people were not embarrassed about condemning the constitutional order and an increasing number of them were glad he was arriving, while a majority of them were apathetic and only a minority of devotees to it standing by it. (pp. 154-155)

According to a letter written by Smirnov dated July 7 (20), 1911 (p. 296), the ex-Shah’s return provoked some excitement in the young Shah’s Court. Heshmat od-Dawle had to counsel caution, lest the Court be seen as a den of reaction. Along the same lines, the Minister of the Court forbade him from speaking on this matter. Smirnov, too, suggested he not lie, but maintain his silence. Thus it was that he showed no sign of happiness at his father’s return. In a memo dated January 1 (14), 1911 (p. 302), Smirnov recalls how the young Shah, pretending to be doing his Russian exercises, wrote on in Russian, “Was there a coup in the city?” and asked his tutor if he wrote correctly. After this exchanged continued in this vein, he tore out the sheets upon which he had written these incriminating questions and destroyed them.

Still, the Shah’s actual position remained an enigma to Smirnov. He speculated that the Shah was actually not so eager for his father’s return. He sensed a jealously in his father, and feared it. (p. 303)

In the meantime, the Salar od-Dawle and his Kurds were returning to the political stage, and Mojallel was rallying the Shahsevans in Ardebil. (p. 154) There were some real questions about who Salar was fighting for. The young Shah insisted that he was fighting to restore Mohammad ‘Ali Mirza to the throne, while Smirnov insisted that he was, as always, out to seize power for himself. Smirnov indicated to him that, while Russia was neutral on the issue of the ex-Shah’s return, she in no way supported Salar. (pp.164, 171, 311)

The resistance to the ex-Shah’s return was spearheaded by Yeprim Khan. Smirnov here describes him as a “pure adventurist” motivated by the interests of the Armenian people. Envoys from Istanbul (or, as Smirnov calls it, “Constantinople”) came to meet him to give him his marching orders. (p. 154) He declared that Yeprim Khan was the real force behind the constitutionalist minority and although his forces were small, they were powerful for a country like Iran. They were famous for their courage. He saw Yeprim Khan as being a member of a secret directory of seven which ran Iran behind the scenes. It had a list of men who would be arrested and then freed for a price. For example, Majd od-Dawle was arrested on suspicion of supporting Mohammad ‘Ali Shah, but his life spared for some thousands of tumans. There were even rumors that “the Armenians” were going to massacre the Cossack Brigade one night and seize their weapons. In any case, the Brigade was being Iranicized, with Russian officers being purged. (p. 156) In a word, a terror began in Tehran. The Armenians were anticipating a massacre due to Yeprim Khan’s activity, although all was calm for the time being. But Armenians were taking refuge at the Russian Mission, just as Persians had previously done at both the Russian and British Missions, fearing repression. Smirnov records the rumor the idea that the disorders were being generated by the Russians while the British are supporting the party resisting the ex-Shah, (p. 155) the latter part of which he confirms himself—he notes that the British had declared that they would resist the ex-Shah’s being enthroned. For Smirnov, this was a violation of the Anglo-Russian Accords. On the other hand, the Russian Consul in Tabriz, Pokhitanov, actively supported the ex-Shah’s forces. On the other hand, the head of the Russian Mission, Smirnov felt, betrayed the ex-Shah, being a hopeless Anglophile. (pp. 158-159)

The collapse of the new government’s forces infuriated Smirnov, who cursed their cowardice, villainy, uselessness, and even treason—he reports that that ex-Shah reproached his uncle Kamran Mirza for not informing Sardar-e Arshad, one of the most powerful of his officers, about the approach of Yeprim Khan’s forces, which ultimately lead to his army’s dispersal and his own capture and execution. They could, he argued, have prevailed against Yeprim’s terror. (pp. 158-159) In the meantime, Smirnov recalls, in a memo dated January 1 (14), 1912, that it was even recommended that Smirnov stay away from the Court, being as it was “surrounded by” Yeprim’s men. Ultimately, this ban was lifted when the Russian Mission protested. (p. 301) But a little later, Hakim ol-Molk’s brother, Moshir-e Khaqan, whom Smirnov calls an intriguer, spread the fantastic rumor that Smirnov and Court Minister Loqman ol-Mamalek were plotting to have the young Shah kidnapped. (p. 302)

Smirnov also has interesting observations on Morgan Shuster and his mission to Iran. He sees Shuster’s hand behind a Majlis vote to cut spending for the Court, although Shuster himself denied knowing anything about it. (p. 152) He was energetic, but had made many enemies among the Iranians and the Europeans. He notes his cooperation with Major Stokes in setting up a finance police, in violation of the Anglo-Russian Accord. (p. 154, 156)

Iranian Customs

Smirnov also observed various Iranian customs and his diary preserves his impressions. In an entry about Moharram (pp. 101-102), he expressed his revulsion at the “savagery” of the flagellations. He ridiculed the Iranians who gave no thought to their faith but beat their breasts in the Moharram processions. In another entry on the subject (pp. 103-104), he writes that the flagellations (“shakhsei”) were easier to perform than nazar, or oaths, which typically involved not cutting hair. This would lead to outbreaks of lice, which were difficult to eradicate. In the Moharram of 1908, concerns over political violence led to a large gendarme presence at the processions; these would commonly go to the local prison and demand the release of prisoners.


Ter-Oganov has done a tremendous service to students of the Iranian constitutional period by unearthing the archival material regarding Smirnov. His research has been accomplished with a bare minimum of support. It is devoutly to be hoped that he is provided with the material means to continue.

The Memoirs ought to be translated to make them more accessible to Iranists who do not have sufficient Russian to plough through them. The translator will have to consider him- or herself with a better index. Thus, Moshir od-Dawle, who is referred to in the Memoirs by his initials or by his title as Minister of the Court, is only indexed when referred to as Moshir od-Dawle. Again, Amir-e Bahadar-e Jang is referred to as “Sepahsalar” in a document; he ought to have been indexed as Amir-e Bahadar-e Jang. A minimum of annotation would make the work more accessible even to trained students of the period.

The Russian contains a few typos that I spotted, but the French words are often mangled. This would also have to be corrected.

Finally, the valuable introduction is taken bodily from an article Ter-Oganov had written for Russian History/Histoire Russe (Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring 2005)). This means that it repeats material contained in the body of the text. More seriously, the references in the introduction to the text refer to the manuscript, making it useless for those who want to look them up in the published version which is before them.

Court Politics

Of course, Smirnov’s prime mission was to observe and, if possible, influence Court politics.

Pro-German faction in Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad’s court. Including his Court’s manager, Movasseq ol-Molk.

Farmanfarma intrigues against Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad Mirza in favor of Mohammad Hasan Mirza. This will (somehow) benefit Prince Naser od-Din Mirza. (p. 119; see also p. 249)

An undated memo Ter-Oganov dates at 1908 (p. 230, ff) gives a thumbnail description of the members of then-Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad Mirza’s suite. It starts with Movasseq ol-Molk. He was Mozaffar od-Din Shah’s treasurer and accompanied him on one of his trips to Europe, but knew absolutely no European languages. He had liberal tendencies, and was a member of a number of anjomans. He also complained to Soltan Ahmad about Amir-e Bahador-e Jang. An agreeable but stingy man, he was not well-liked by the Crown Prince Soltan Ahmad and the rest of his suite. However, he saw that to ingratiate himself, he had to spread some of his largesse, and gave some gifts to the Crown Prince.

As for the minor characters in the andarun, ‘Abdollah Khan, the eunuch, connived with Soltan Ahmad Mirza his evading his lessons and intrigued against Movasseq ol-Molk. He was, on the whole, a baleful influence. His brother, the 45 year old Nazer, was humble but reactionary. The 25 year old Farrashbashi’s brother had served as the chief tax man in Tabriz. He adopted a European manner and learned French. He could not, however, overcome the rest of his colleagues’ influence and serve as a positive model for Soltan Ahmad Mirza. His brother, the Nazem ol-Khalvat, which Smirnov helpfully translates as the Chief of the Chamber, was both humbler and more mature than his brother. The Kashikchibashi (also known as the Mirakhor) was a prince. He was currently learning French and calligraphy. He had a resolute character and was a good hunter and rider. His courage and manliness can stir the then-Crown Prince. The 30 year old Abdarbashi was humble but ignorant. The 60 year old Lalebashi had a negative influence on the Crown Prince. A grandson of his had joined the revolutionaries and was driven from the Court. He was very poor but dignified, and poorly uneducated. He was filthy and beggarly and sluggish, and contributed to the then-Crown Prince’s fanaticism. He had, Smirnov concludes, the worst influence of all on Soltan Ahmad Mirza. The Mullabashi is very poor but extremely dignified. He is very learned in Islam. Although he is fanatical, he is personally quite friendly towards Smirnov. He does not have a negative effect on the Crown Prince, but the latter evades his lessons. The Tofangchibashi and Kafejibashi are quite uneducated and the most ridiculous people in the Crown Prince’s suite. Amjad os-Saltane, the chief treasurer is a thief who plays the dandy. Aziz is the Crown Prince’s page, Nazer’s son. He is filthy and stunted. He is dishonest, but not coarse.

With the restoration

Was too hard on the Iranians. (p. 34)

Turko-Iranian war. (p. 44)

Heshmat od-Dawle rivals Shapshal for influence over Shah. Russophobe. (p. 69)

Mo`alef od-Dawle, Loqman ol-Mamalek Francophiles. (p. 69)

Politics of language: Shah prefers Crown Prince learn Russian and not French. Smirnov wants him to learn French also. (p. 61?, p. 90, p. 230) Regent: CP to learn Russian. Smirnov: He should learn French. (p. 139)

Moshir od-Dawle decrepit. (p. 79)

Money to Friday Imam. (p. 83)

Soldier’s primitive life. (p. 84 ff)

Politics of what the royals wear. (p. 85-86)

A Muslim governess? Liakhov weighs in. (p. 87)

Yeprim & wife. (p. 130) Mme. Yeprim called a positive influence on Iranian women. (p. 145) Yeprim: Shah calls Europeans najes, Smirnov says that cannot be, but Yeprim stands by the story. (p. 139) Yeprim demoralized over rise of reaction, ducks out of politics. (p. 148) Soltan Ahmad Shah: If dad was bad, Yeprim was worse. (p. 177-178)

French-speaking mullah. (p. 130)

Zell’s candidate. (p. 131)

The new Shah & Crown Prince were convinced absolutists. (p. 131)

Young Shah not sad at Sadovskii’s death. Mo‘ayyen od-Dawle says how ingratitude is characteristic of the Qajars. Recording his death leads Smirnov to a meditation on the sacrifices Russians made in Central Asia, their deaths and burial far from home, succumbing to alcoholism to fight their depression. “This capital should be used for Russia’s interests and not England’s caprices, to drive us completely out of Iran.” (p. 145)

Comet and end of the world. (pp. 145-146)

Meeting with Naser ol-Molk. He was very friendly. Shook hands. He tried to dress like a European, but his collar was on crooked. They talked of the Shah’s education. (pp. 149- ) Another rising star was Hakim ol-Molk, who had, according to a report dated March 26 (April 8), 1910 (pp. 284-285), was adored by the young men of the new order.

These young men are enraptured with their freedom, and there is a noticeable rise in patriotism among them along with an international perspective brought in from Switzerland. They do not openly display anti-Russian feelings, but it cannot be confidently said that it does not exist. They express doubts about the usefulness of the Shah’s acquisition of Russian language and literature; they are concerned that it will lead him to absorb Russian sensibilities. Two of them know Russian themselves, and one, who was an officer in the German army, also wants to learn Russian. Hakim ol-Molk has taken the place of Loqman ol-Mamalek and his son, Loqman od-Dawle. Loqman ol-Mamalek used to have the privilege of bringing Mohammad ‘Ali Shah’s water-pipe to him during public audiences, but the honor of bringing the water-pipe to Ahmad Shah has now devolved upon Hakim ol-Molk, leading to bad feelings. Loqman misses Dr. Sadowski and feels that his replacement was showing preference to Hakim ol-Molk. For his part, the Shah did not trust his new suite, and was particularly fearful of Hakim ol-Molk; rumour had it that the latter had tried to poison the former. The exiling of his old servants and of Mo‘azzaz os-Saltane deprived the young Shah of any sense of security in the andarun. Rumors were swirling, meanwhile, about different factions’ intrigues. One faction allegedly was trying to get Zell os-Soltan to become Regent. Another was working for the old Shah’s return. Still another was promoting Farmanfarma’s interests, although it was unclear to Smirnov what they were.

Shah’s sighe with the eighteen year old daughter of a minor prince. She was completely uneducated. Smirks: So much for the free-thinking andarun. His sexual urges were distracting him from his duties. (p. 166) He was not interested in marriage, saying, “Iranian women are not very sympathetic, they tie down their husbands.” (p. 172) His brother the Crown Prince testified that the Shah was indifferent to women. He did, however, enjoy looking at cards with pictures of pretty girls. (p. 313)

Hajeb od-Dawle sends his fourteen year old daughter to Europe for an education. This scandalized a minority of Iranians, including the Shah. Another was Ehtesab ol-Molk, a very broad-minded man, suspected of Freemasonry. (p. 167)

Smirnov contemplates eliminating post of Minister of Court and putting the Regency in the hands of the Council of Ministers. (pp. 169, 172)

Concerned about overreaching Bakhtiaris. Contemplates a new army independent of the tribes. Like the Hamidiye. (p. 169) He distrusted the fractious Bakhtiaris

Discussion of when young Shah reaches majority. His ignorance of statecraft or simply of what’s going on. (pp. 183 ff)

Plan to have Shah study abroad. But Shah does badly on classes designed to prepare him to travel. (p. 186) His interest in French, particularly French history. (p. 189) Fraudulent exam. (p. 187 ff) “A necessary forgery.” (p. 189) But it was the young Shah’s first stirring of romantic feeling which inspired him to learn French. He developed a keen interest in French romances and had them translated, but wanted to read them for himself. He was fascinated by Napoleon and idealized the Bourbon period. (pp. 194, 203) He developed a flirtation with the daughter of a member of the Austrian Mission, a report on which was published in the Russian-language Kafkaz. (p. 197) He found the young Shah to be inconsistent, just as any young man. On the one hand, he idealized the simple life, on the other, he lived among such affluence. On the one hand, he shakes hands with Russian envoys, on the other hand he refuses to shake hands with Russian officers, even those in the Cossack Brigade and whose hands his grandfather shook. (p. 204)

Smirnov still has access to Shah five times per week, same as ever. (p. 192)

Shah’s daily schedule. (p. 202)

Feels not fit to rule as long as his dad is alive. (p. 206)

Not even fictive exams. His poor performance. His general health (eats too much fruit and salad) (pp. 207, ff.)

Iran takes a live and let live attitude towards bribery, as long as the bribe is generous. (p. 215)

The Iranians are great pacifists. (p. 217)

Baits Smirnov over defeat in Japan. (88)

Get the young Shah to read Russian literature to develop his sense of patriotic honor and duty as well as his sympathy for Russia. This would include a diet of Nikolai Gogol’s Taras Bulba, Alexandr Pushkin’s Prisoner of the Caucasus and The Captain's Daughter Lev Tolstoy’s The Raid, biographies of Tolstoy, Gogol, and, oddly enough, Napoleon. Such classics would inculcate in the young Shah the ability to rise above difficulty. (p. 267)

Germanophiles were saying that Russia had been weakened after the military defeat and the revolutionary wave and would never be able to develop capital and factories. These arguments, with their marshaled facts and figures, did not have much effect on the young Shah, who was much more sympathetic to Russia than the vast majority of the people who surrounded him, who were sympathetic to Germany, the Ottomans, or, in part, Britain. (p. 267)

The Shah declared that he would not obey the Regent, he would only obey God and my parents. Smirnov scolded him and said that the Regent was like your parents, you must not say such a thing. (p. 160)

Popular discontent with Shoja‘ os-Saltane’s government. (p. 195)

Dispatch to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Killing of two Russian subjects in Gilan. Killers to be extradited to Russia. Concludes with a long paragraph about how when Iranian subjects were killed or whose property was completely plundered in the Caucasus, e.g., Baku and Tiflis during “the disorders” there, they did not even receive compensation, much less were they extradited. The recent attempt on Engineer Mirza ‘Abbas Khan and the assassination attempt on the Iranian Consul in Baku. In Tiflis, the secretary of the General Consul was assassinated and the Iranian government is still waiting for the Russian government to exact punishment on the killer. (pp. 220-221)

Another dispatch mentions the summer 1907 attack by Ottoman forces on Iran recorded in contemporary sources and from there into the historical canon (Kasravi, p. 424 ff). It records the details of the interaction between the Iranian and Ottoman forces differently than the source cited by Kasravi. For example, it highlights the role of Prince Emamqoli Mirza in pacifying the border region around Urmia. In Kasravi, the Prince otherwise plays a marginal role in the administration of Azerbaijan and in Mohammad ‘Ali Mirza’s court. His battle with the Ottomans parallels that of the one cited in Kasravi, but occurs two months earlier: The Prince’s forces confront an Ottoman force, the Prince asks the Ottomans why they are attacking and the Ottoman officer in charge says he does not know, a reprieve is given, and then the Iranian forces are forced to retreat under a brutal bombardment. The Russian Mission in the Ottoman lands pressed the Iranian complaints. (p. 222)

Sons of Amir-e Bahador-e Jang and the Minister of the Court were in favor of a European education. Their sons were studying in Vienna. The young son of Mohandes ol-Mamalek is studying in Berlin. The Minister of War believed that the Russians were weak and that it was pointless for Iran to ally with them. (p. 230)

In a “highly classified” report dated 20 July (July 2) 1908 (p. 232 ff), Smirnov reported on the striking escalation of Court talk about Russia being weak. He saw the rivalry between the Ministry of War and the Cossack Brigade as a function of this. Smirnov seems to view this as a lack of gratitude—there was no such talk in the Court when the Majlis and the anjomans were dispersed. He saw this talk as resulting from Russia’s defeat by Japan. The role of the Russian officers was denigrated and that of the Iranian soldiers was inflated. The Iranians said that the Iranian Cossack soldiers shot accurately, but the Russian instructors who aimed their cannons aimed badly, and so most of the shells fell short of their target, although this is contradicted by an examination of the scene of the fighting. There was a proportionate increase in instructors from Austria and Germany and a rise in sympathy for these two countries on the part of the younger people. It is unclear how much impact all this has on the Shah (i.e., Soltan Ahmad), but it has left a strong impact on the Crown Prince (i.e., Mohammad Hasan). A report Smirnov filed a few months later (October 26 (November 8), 1908) (pp. 233-234) reports that the Crown Prince told him that the Shah wants a modern cavalry and wished that Fares os-Soltan (a friend of Sepahsalar) would command it. He wanted German, but not Austrian, instructors to train it. Smirnov reported that the Russians were a step behind the Germans in the Shah’s opinion, and that this conversation indicated how little he knew about the young Shah’s military-political predilections. (The balance of this memo presents a thorough inventory of the Iranian army.) A similar portrait of the Shah’s thinking is found in a memo published almost two months later (December 9 (22), 1908) (p. 234) makes the same point about the positive impression the German military was making on the Shah, according to the Crown Prince.


Smirnov’s last project was a school in which the Shah and the Crown Prince would be educated along with sons of the Iran’s better families, outside the confines of andarun and its minions. According to a document published in January 1 (14), 1911 (p. 287 ff), this idea was first suggested by Mostawfi ol-Mamalek in March 1910. The execution of this project was left to Hakim ol-Molk. Court Minister Movassaq od-Dawle made the ex-Shah’s old doctor, Loqman ol-Mamalek, principal of the school. There were to be fifteen youths in addition to the Shah and the Crown Prince, including the Court Minister’s son, the Regent’s grandson, the Farrashbashi’s son, a relative of the late Atabak, sons of Majlis deputies, and other prominent figures. None of these candidates had studied Russian or English, but most of them had studied French and two of them, German. The latter had been students at the German School and the former had been students at the Catholic school St. Louise. The students would be between ten and fifteen years of age. The lessons of instruction would be either French or Persian, depending on the subject. The teachers were extraordinary persons: Naser ol-Molk, the calligrapher ‘Omad ol-Kottab, former teacher in the German School Saham od-Din (son of Mohandes ol-Mamalek), Momtaz-e Homayun (brother of the Iranian ambassador to France), Zoka ol-Molk’s brother (who replaced Zoka ol-Molk after he was elected to the Majlis), French instructor Mozayyen od-Dawle, who had been the governor of Prince Sho‘a‘ os-Saltane, Prince Nosrat os-Saltane, and E‘tezad os-saltane when they were traveling in Europe with the Shah’s entourage. ‘Abbas Mirza, son of Farmanfarma was also among the faculty. Its gymnastics instructor was an Iranian in the German military service, Qasem Khan Qahremani, who had been the commander of Mohammad ‘Ali Shah’s tofangchis. Discipline was maintained by the use of the bastinado, and “needless to say, this instrument was used chiefly on the frisky Crown Prince.” The school included military drill, and generally took on a military quality. Smirnov, however was not impressed by the soldiering material these aristocrats would make. The Shah would take tea in a golden cup and watch the other students playing sports, ordering Mozayyan od-Dawle around. If the Shah was indisposed, the Crown Prince would take over this role. Among the outstanding members of the Shah’s birune suite were Medhat (which Smirnov writes as “Metkhat”) os-Saltane’s son Hosein Khan and Moshar os-Saltane’s son Moshar os-Soltan, who had studied in Russia and Switzerland and spoke French, Russian, and German, Mo‘aven od-Dawle’s son Amin-e Khalvat, who had studied in Switzerland and spoke French, Ehtesham os-Saltane’s son Salar-e Arshad was an officer in the German cavalry and spoke French and German, Hakim ol-Molk’s brother Moshir-e Khaqan spoke French, Amir Saham od-Din had studied in Germany and spoke French and German, Nayyer ol-Molk’s son Dr. Karim Khan was a member of the medical faculty in Lyon and was a French military doctor and spoke French. The brother of the Iranian ambassador in Paris, Momtaz-e Homayun, speaks French. Vazir-e Boyutat Dabir os-Soltan and Vazir-e Daftar’s son Akram ol-Molk teach in the Iranian school and does not know international languages. Zaher od-Dawle was a member of the Ne‘matollahi dervish order. These people were, however, extremely anti-Russian in general and against Smirnov in particular. However, he recognized that they were important for developing patriotic feeling in Iran and restoring the Iranian intelligentsia. They boycotted Smirnov so that if he were to enter the room, they would leave. Particularly hostile to Smirnov was Moshar os-Soltan, who had been accused of being his friend because he had spoken with him, and now had to live this down.

Of these educated Iranians, Smirnov was the most impressed by Dr. Karim, who was “completely Europeanized” and shared Smirnov’s educational vision, in particular, the idea that the school had to have more of a military character. (Smirnov, in a report dated January 1 (14), 1912 (p. 305-306), was discouraged by the absence of a strong military presence in the Shah’s Court. He had no use for the ideas of “brotherhood” and “world peace” which were popular there. He thought that it was vital for Ahmad Shah’s development into someone who could rule a country, that he witness warfare, get military training, and become used to the company of military officers. This would also instill in him a sense of sacrifice and obligation. For example, he was dismayed by how unmoved Ahmad Shah had been on hearing of Arshad od-Dawle’s heroic death for the royalist cause. Iran, he concluded, had no hope of awakening until its leaders rose above the level of its peace-loving people.)

The school collapsed as the Shah effectively mounted a strike against studying. Loqman ol-Mamalek said that the Shah did not care to study with the son of the mirakhor (technically the water-bearer, but actually a prince in his own right). (pp. 308, 309)

Smirnov detected a Germanophile and a Francophile faction in the Shah’s Court, with a great predominance of the Francophiles. There were French tutors, French language, advocates of the French school system, etc. However, most Iranians who went to Europe went to study in German schools. The Shah himself was inclined towards French culture, but was annoyed with the chauvinism of the French tutors, which came out, for example, in their geography lessons. There were no Anglophiles in the Shah’s suite, although there was interest in the English language and the Shah at one point expressed an interest in learning it. Russians are despised to such a degree that a pishkhedmat who studied Russian was hated for it. The Shah himself was continuing with his Russian; he does not try to speak it, but can understand what Smirnov is saying. He goes through Kaspi and indicates articles which interest him, which his pishkhedmant translates for him. The Russophilism which his father developed in Tabriz and which had been strengthened by Shapshal was not easily lost in the young Shah. In the face of the Russophobe and Germanophile agitation in his Court, he was more a Russophile than ever. (Smirnov, in a report dated October 18 (31), 1911, would express considerable exasperation with the French presence in the Court, particularly in the person of Demorgny. Having been the only international at the Court, he now needed to share that distinction. (pp. 296-298))

The “Turks,” i.e., those who had accompanied Mohammad ‘Ali Shah from Tabriz, were dissatisfied with this new arrangement in the Shah’s Court, but they eventually had to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. These were people who had been on intimate terms with the young Shah since his infancy and with whom he would converse in Turkish.

Smirnov believed that the Shah was more a reactionary than a liberal by conviction. The Court, indeed, the ministries, could therefore only be reformed with the help of European advisors. The Shah had moved from accommodating himself with the new order to constantly getting into quarrels with the constitutionalists. Smirnov is concerned that he is becoming too outspokenly anti-constitutional.

In a memo dated January 1 (14), 1912, Smirnov says that the Shah is not being prepared to rule. The Shah is led around, he does not make decisions. (pp. 304-305)

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