Enzeli Operation of 1920

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Enzeli Operation of 1920


a combat operation by the Soviet Caspian Fleet and the Red Fleet of Azerbaijan on May 17 and 18 that had as its objective the recovery of 23 Russian ships, including ten auxiliary cruisers, one air transport, and four torpedo boats, that had been taken by the White Guards to the Iranian port of Enzeli (now Pahlevi).

The Whites’ fleet at Enzeli was protected by units of the British 36th Infantry Division. On May 17, Soviet ships—two auxiliary cruisers, four destroyers, two gunboats, two patrol boats, one minesweeper, and three transports—under the command of F. F. Raskol’nikov left Baku; on the morning of May 18 the ships were deployed near Enzeli. The Soviet command issued an ultimatum to the British command, demanding the surrender of the port with the Russian ships and property. Receiving no reply, the Soviet command, supported by fire from its ships, landed troops under the command of I. K. Kozhanov east of Enzeli.

Attacks by the British infantry were fought off; by the end of May 18 the British command had accepted the ultimatum and withdrawn its troops to Rasht. The White Guards fled into the interior of Iran. The Soviet ships were recovered and left Enzeli. The Soviet government declared the Caspian Sea open to Iranian shipping and unconditionally turned over Russian commercial institutions in Enzeli to Iran.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.