The Transformation of Nakhichevan-on-Don’s self-government in the 1860s

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The author analyzes the Armenian self-government of the Nakhichevan-on-Don Armenian colony that had been established in 1779 after Armenians from Crimea were resettled to the Don region. The municipal self-government in Russia of the pre-reform period in general, and in particular the peculiar organization of the administration, police, and court in Nakhichevan-on-Don, have so far barely been studied. The present research is based on archival sources from the National archives of Armenia and on little-known publications in the Armenian language, as well as on Russian legislation of the 19th century. The main feature of the Nakhichevan system of self-government was the unifi cation of all Armenian immigrants from the Crimea - city dwellers as well as residents of fi ve Armenian villages - into one self-governing community. Based on a Charter issued by Catherine II, self-government in Nakhichevan was carried out on an ethnic basis, by Armenian immigrants from the Crimea. However, the Armenian self-government was gradually integrated into the general system of the Russian administration and court system. Several parallel processes can be discerned: 1) since the beginning of the 1850s, the expediency of the formation of a city Duma in Nakhichevan-on-Don was discussed at diff erent levels of government; 2) the magistrate was stripped of police functions in 1865; 3) in 1866 a temporary subsidiary body was established under the mayor: a council of 24 trustees and four assistants of the mayor, to be in action until a city Duma is established; 4) a six-member city Duma comes into being in 1866; 5) the magistrate was abolished in 1866 (its judicial and related functions were removed by May 1869); 6) in 1870 the economic part of the magistrate, which remained after its formal abolition, were transferred to the mayor, and the unique system of Armenian self-government in Nakhichevan ended despite the Nakhichevanis’ request to preserve the “rights and advantages” granted by Catherine II.

About the authors

Levon V. Batiev

Federal Research Center Southern Scienti ic Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.

Kandidat Yuridicheskikh Nauk [PhD in Law], Leading Researcher at the Laboratory of Sociology and Law

41, Chekhov Av., Rostov-on-Don, 344006 Russia


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