Movses Silikyan

Movses Silikyan
Movses Silikyan
(Armenian: Մովսես Սիլիկյան)
Born 1862
Died 1937
Allegiance Russian Empire
Democratic Republic of Armenia
Service/branch Army
Rank Major General
Commands held

Russia: Russian Caucasus Army Armenian nationals: Armenian rifle division

Armed forces of Democratic Republic of Armenia

Movses Silikyan (Armenian: Մովսես Սիլիկյան), Russian: Мовсес Силиков, Movses Silikov) (1862–1937) was a famed Armenian general and national hero of World War I, Major General in the Russian army and subsequently in the Armenian army. He was arrested, charged and executed during Joseph Stalin's Great Purge of 1937 against military officers and countless other suspected enemies.

Silikyan was born in the town of Vartashen in Nukhinsky Uyezd of Elisabethpol Governorate (modern town of Oguz in Azerbaijan).

Silikyan graduated from the Moscow Military Gymnasium, Alexandrople Military School and the officer rifle school. From 1884 he served in the Russian Army, being promoted from battalion adjutant to division commander. On the eve of the First World War, he was the deputy commander of the forces stationed in Yerevan and part of the Caucasian Front.


World War I - Caucasus Campaign

In 1915 during the early stages of World War I, Colonel Silikyan commanded a regiment during the Van resistance. In 1916, he took part in the taking of Mush during the Battle of Mush. He also gained Bitlis during the Battle of Bitlis. He participated the assault of the Battle of Erzerum.

After his regiment entered the Erzurum, Silikyan was promoted to General. He was rewarded with many governmental honors, including the Order of St. George. He was promoted to Major General before the Russian Revolution.

Movses Silikyan portrait

Democratic Republic of Armenia

After the Russian Revolution of 1917 as the Russian Caucasus Army disintegrated, Silikyan left the Russian army. The Armenians reorganized their units and Silikyan became the commander of the 1st Armenian rifle division in January 1918. In 1918, he effectively commanded the Armenian forces in Yerevan. With the declaration of independence of the Democratic Republic of Armenia (ADR) on April 24, 1918, his forces united under the Armenian military. Within a short period, Silikyan created combat-effective regular units and prepared them to repulse the forces of the Ottoman Empire.

On March 3, 1918 the Grand vizier Talat Pasha signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Russian SFSR. It stipulated that Bolshevik Russia cede Batum, Kars, and Ardahan to the Ottoman Empire. The ADR did not accepted the loss of its territory, and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk acknowledged the existence of a state of war between Armenia and the Ottoman Empire.[1]

In May 1918, the Ottoman Third Army began to advance toward Batum, Kars, and Ardahan. Silikyan commanded the regular troops and militia. In the Battle of Sardarapat and the Battle of Bash Abaran, his forces defeated those of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian Army included numerous talented military officers of the time: Andranik Ozanyan, Drastamat Kanayan, Garegin Nzhdeh, Christophor Araratov, and the future Marshal of the Soviet Union, Ivan Bagramyan. Baghramian participated in the Battle of Sardarapat and noted that

Silikyan was the most gifted military leader of all Armenian Generals of that time...
—Ivan Baghramian

[citation needed]

In the autumn of 1920, Silikyan commanded Armenian troops against Turkish revolutionaries in the Turkish-Armenian War.

Transcaucasian SFSR

After the Bolshevik takeover of Armenia and establishment of the Transcaucasian SFSR, Silikyan worked in a number of Soviet positions. In 1937 during the Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, he was arrested, imprisoned and finally executed in Nork gorge, together with Christophor Araratov and other military heroes of Sardarapat. The charges were nationalism. Silikyan was rehabilitated posthumously during the Nikita Khrushchev era.


  1. ^ Richard Hovannisian, The Armenian people from ancient to modern times, pp. 292-293


See also

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