The relations between the Tartars and the Armenians are of a very peculiar nature, and the two races have been brought into bitter antagonism by a variety of causes. In the first place, there is a religious difference, the Tartars being Mohammedans of the Shiite persuasion, and the Armenians Christians. Secondly, when the land was under the rule of the Tartar khans and of Persia and Turkey, the Armenians were cruelly treated, and mulcted, plundered, and murdered with impunity. Consequently the Armenians went over to the Russian invader as soon as he appeared. Since the conquest, equality of opportunity has told in their favor, and they have profited by the new order of things. The Tartars, especially the khans, could not forgive the Armenians for the part they had taken in the destruction of their domination, nor the sight of their former rayahs enjoying wealth, comparative security, and influence. It must not be thought that the authority of the khans has been completely destroyed; on the contrary, they still exercise great power over the Tartar masses accustomed to obey them for centuries, and the Russian Government has taken many of them into its service, both in the army and the administration. In many districts the magistrates and the police are all Tartars. Their wealth, too, is still considerable, and the Tartars on the whole are richer than the Armenians, for the land is mostly theirs. At Baku they possess most of the house property and the soil on which the oil wells are situated, whence they derive large incomes in ground-rents and royalties. In the same town they have most of the trade in their hands. Moreover, they lead extremely simple lives, spending only a small part of their income, whereas the Armenians wish to live like Europeans, m well-built and expensively furnished houses, to travel abroad, and to send their children to foreign universities. But the wealth of the Armenians makes more show, and therefore excites the envy of the Tartars. Another essential difference is that the Tartars are naturally warlike, non-industrious, and addicted to rapine and plunder from time immemorial, whereas the Armenians are peaceful and hard-working. Many of the Tartars are nomads, who spend the summer in the mountains, and descend with their flocks and herds to the plains in winter; in the course of these peregrinations they frequently come into armed conflict with the sedentary Armenians. There are whole villages of Tartars who have no other occupation than plunder, and even the khans are very like the robber barons of the Middle Ages, and maintain bands of freebooters, who regularly "forage" for them. Count Voronzoff-Dashkoff, the Viceroy of the Caucasus, said to me some time ago, that all the Tartars, rich or poor, have "the instinct of brigandage." According to a -secret document on the conditions of the Elizavetpol province, the richer and more influential are the khans, the worse is the general state of the country and people.

Source: The New Armenia, Volume 2

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