30 August, 2021
Saint George Sword
While the Northern Azerbaijan had been the part of the Russian Empire, local Muslim communities haven’t been called up for the military service. However, representatives of the upper classes could go into service, study in the military schools and, rising to the officer ranks, be engaged in a warfare. Speaking about bravery of Azerbaijani officers, general Ivan Paskevich wrote in his report to Nicolas I: “I feel it my duty in front of His Majesty Emperor, to witness great courage demonstrated by the Muslim regiments… Fighting with special exceptional bravery, they are always ahead of their troops in attacks. Most trophies, including artillery, flags and captives, are usually by them”. Azerbaijani officers and soldiers have been engaged in all wars made by Russia since the beginning of XIX century, and awarded with different Imperial orders and medals. Azerbaijanis also served in a personal bodyguard convoy of the Emperor. During the World War I of 1914-1918, there was a special Tatar (Azerbaijani) cavalry regiment formed by the Azerbaijani combatants. The regiment demonstrated courage in a number of battles against German and Austro-Hungarian units. In the war, there were also many officers and several generals of the Azerbaijani origin, including “the God of Russian artillery” Ali-Agha Shikhlinski, Lieutenant General Samad bay Mehmandarov and general Huseyn khan Nakhchivanski, all army and corpus commanders.
In the Museum’s collection, there are many artefacts which reflect service of the Azerbaijani soldiers in the Empire’s battles. One of these artefacts is a Saint George Sword. The sward had been an equivalent to the Order of Saint George – the most honourable military decoration of the Russian Empire, and had an inscription “For Bravery” on its’ surface. The sward from the Museum’s collection represents a shashka with steel blade, sharp point and double-fork pommel. More than 30 Azerbaijani officers and soldiers of the imperial army had been rewarded the sward, including generals Jafargulu agha Javanshir, Samad bay Mehmandarov, Ali-agha Shikhlinski, Kalbali khan Nakhchivanski, Huseyn khan Nakhchivanski, etc.