Vladimir Minorsky (1877-1966) and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), or The Centenary of ‘Minorsky’s Frontier’
The article begins with contextualising the Russian Empire’s many-fold presence in Persia at the fin de siècle and the condition of Russia’s Persian studies therein. As the results of undertaken archival research support, Russia’s ‘Iranists’ quite often had a crucial impact on the course of international affairs, securing and extending the sphere of Russian imperial influence not only in the Greater Persianate World but also directly affecting the peripeteia of European politics. Thus the article explores Vladimir Minorsky’s early scholarly and professional career as a budding diplomat of Imperial Russia and focuses on his participation in the 1913-1914 activities of the Russo-Brito-Turko-Iranian Quadripartite Boundary Commission, which, exactly one hundred years ago, drew almost 1200 miles of the Iranian present-day western frontier. Finally, the article reveals what implications the outcomes of these activities (whose inspirer was mainly Minorsky) have had for Iran during these hundred years, particularly in relation to the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war.
The paper draws on the conceptualisation of the interplay of power/knowledge relations, discourses, and institutional and personal interests. The study of Minorsky’s activities is carried out based on the unpublished materials derived from his private diaries and the testimonies of the British officers who were members of the Commission.