On a hillside near the Georgian capital Tbilisi is the grave of the great poet Alexander Griboyedov, whose comic poetic play "Woe from Wit" is still taught in Russian schools. But Griboyedov was not only a poet and playwright, he was the tsar's ambassador to Persia, where he and the entire staff of the embassy in 1829 was brutally killed by a crowd of local residents, furious with the disregard, as it seemed to them, of their customs ...
After being released from the investigation in the case of the Decembrists, since it was not possible to prove his participation in the conspiracy, Alexander Griboyedov was sent into honorary exile as the Russian ambassador to Persia in April 1828, so that he would work for the good of his homeland, and not poison society with revolutionary ideas. On the way to his destination, Alexander Sergeyevich spent several months in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), where he married Princess Nina Chavchavadze, the daughter of his friend, whom he had known since childhood, and with whom he had only a few weeks to live.
After the wedding, the newlyweds went to Persia, but, not wanting to endanger his pregnant wife in Tehran, Griboyedov temporarily left her in the suburbs at his residence and went to the capital alone. In Tehran, Griboyedov's main task was to get the Shah to comply with the articles of the peace treaty and, in particular, to pay the indemnity following the results of the Russian-Persian war.
Since January 1829, Armenians have found refuge in the embassy, asking Griboyedov for help with returning to their homeland, which by that time had become part of the Russian Empire. Among those who defected were two Armenian women from the harem of the Shah's relative, Allayar Khan, and an Armenian eunuch from the Shah's harem. Despite the possibility of dangerous consequences for himself and the embassy as a whole, Griboyedov allowed them to hide in the embassy.
This incident served as a reason for stirring up discontent among Islamic fanatics. As a result, (January 30) on February 11, 1829, a crowd of rebellious fanatics attacked the Russian embassy and killed everyone there. This event went down in history as the "massacre at the Russian embassy in Tehran" - the massacre of the employees of the Russian embassy by Islamic fanatics. During the massacre, the head of the diplomatic mission, Alexander Griboyedov, was also killed. His body was so mutilated that he was later identified only by a trace on his left hand, obtained earlier in a duel. The circumstances of the defeat itself are described by historians in different ways, since all who fought were killed, and there were no direct witnesses. According to the testimony of Persian dignitaries, that day there were about 100 thousand people at the embassy. The conspiracy leaders quickly lost control of them. And although the mission's convoy of 35 Cossacks resisted, the forces were unequal. Only the secretary Maltsev, who managed to hide, escaped from the entire Russian embassy. According to his records, the attack killed 37 people in the embassy and 19 attackers.
Nina, having learned about the death of her husband, lost her child due to worries. Griboyedov's body was transported to Tiflis and buried near the Church of St. David, according to the desire of the writer himself. Subsequently, on the grave of her husband, Nina erected a chapel, and in it there is a sculptural monument on which the inscription is inscribed: "Your mind and deeds are immortal in Russian memory, but why did my love survive you?" The remains of 35 Cossacks who defended the mission were buried in a mass grave in the courtyard of the Armenian Church of St. Tatevos in Tehran.
The massacre at the Russian embassy sparked a diplomatic scandal. To settle relations with Russia, the Persian Shah sent an official mission to St. Petersburg, headed by his grandson, Khozrev-Mirza. The ambassadors offered not only an official apology to Russia for the death of its envoy, but also in compensation for the shed blood, among the rich gifts they presented to Nicholas I was the famous 88-carat Shah diamond - one of the most precious stones in the world (today it shines in the collection of the Moscow Kremlin's Diamond Fund). Ultimately, there were no serious complications in relations between Russia and Persia.
In 1912, using funds raised by the Russian colony in Persia, the sculptor Beklemishev created a bronze monument to Griboyedov, which was erected next to the embassy building where the massacre took place. The last years of A. Griboyedov's life are devoted to the novel by Yu. Tynyanov "Death of Vazir-Mukhtar" (1928), based on which a television series was filmed in 2010.