Russian Zombies Kill Persian Dreams

  January 30, 2022   Read time 2 min
Russian Zombies Kill Persian Dreams
Russia’s next strike at the Second Majlis was not long delayed. In order to collect the revenue a Treasury Gendarmerie was required. Major Stokes, then near the end of his four years’ service as military attaché at the British Legation, seemed to Shuster “the ideal man" for the task of organizing the Gendarmerie.

Shuster took up the matter with the British Legation by letter and on July 22, 1911, was informed by the British Minister that the major would have to resign his commission in the Indian army before accepting the command of the Gendarmerie. The major immediately cabled his resignation, and Shuster regarded the matter as practically settled. But in the meantime Russia learned of the project and began to protest. Sir Edward Grey referred the matter to St. Petersburg and then “informed Tehran that Major Stokes had been appointed without consulting Great Britain ; that his employment in the North might involve political difficulties and that he could not deprecate Russian objections to it.” In order to placate Russia, Grey told the Iranian government that Great Britain could not accept Stokes’s resignation from the Indian army.

In the meantime Russia had intervened directly in the matter. On August 19, 1911, the Russian Legation addressed a memorandum to the Iranian Foreign Office stating, 'Hie Imperial Government of Russia, for reasons explained at the time to the Persian Government, considers the engagement by the latter of Major Stokes as chief of the armed forces - called gendarmerie - for the collection of taxes as incompatible with its interests, and l am charged to protest against the appointment. Failing satisfaction, the Imperial Government would reserve to itself the right to take such measures as it might judge to be necessary for the safeguarding of its interests in the North of Persia.

Russia’s third blow to the Second Majlis was even more severe. After the “Nationalist Victory” and the restoration of the Constitutional government in 1909 Muhammad ‘All Shah had taken refuge in the Russian Legation and later escaped to Odessa. The Russian government, acting for itself and Great Britain, then assumed the responsibility of keeping the ex-Shah to his agreement not to indulge in any political agitation against the Constitutional regime in Iran. When, however, it seemed that the Second Majlis was determined to cast off Russian financial and -political controls, Russia decided to fight the Constitutional government on all fronts. The ex-Shah had long been subservient to Russia, whose interests he had served in the Russian-financed coup d’etat of December 1907 and in the Russian-supported destruction of the First Majlis in June 1908. He could now be unleashed to destroy the Second Majlis.

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