on 1 October 2009
Quoting the official review:
'When a Tehran mob broke into the Russian embassy and murdered all the diplomats there, the dead included one of the most brilliant and promising writers of 19th-century Russia. In this first biography of Griboyedov in English, Laurence Kelly paints a vivid picture of his remarkable literary and diplomatic gifts which were nevertheless overshadowed by ill-fortune. He narrowly escaped punishment for involvement with the 1825 Decembrist plot to overthrow the Tsarist state. After this he was despatched to Georgia and Iran, to further Russia's expansionist agenda in the Caucasus and beyond. But while in Tehran Griboyedov fell foul of the zealous mobs. This book makes an invaluable contribution to the diplomatic history of Russia, the Caucasus and Iran at the same time illuminating the life and works of a writer who was among 19th-century Russia's most respected and prominent writers. ''
Griboyedov was an Aristocrat famous in Russia as a playwright ' Woe from Wit' his most well known if only work, and widely played to this day. He was also instrumental in the Persians signing away of most of the Caucasus during the Treaty of Turmanchai in 1828, when the Qajar Dynasty already weak and ineffective, finally surrendered millions of Muslims to the Russian Empire after a disastrous war with Russia. He, as Minister Plenipotentiary, presided over the humiliating treaty, thus triggering the backlash which culminated in his and the Russian legations brutal murders at the hands of an enraged Tehran mob. His famous last words being 'je m'en fous' - I don't give a damn. He was torn to bits, beheaded and his body dumped in a rubbish pit.
The pacification of the Muslim Caucasus struggles even today as a new incarnation of Islamic resistance manifests. This book provides a crucial and quite personal account of arguably one of the most important figures during this period, who engineered the annexation, for which so much blood has been spilt since.
It is also an excellent read, being well written and referenced. The characters are brought to life, and a fascinating and little known story of crucial historical importance is revealed.